Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sumo Mandarin Syrup Bundt Cake

The first time I spied a Sumo mandarin I stopped in my tracks and said 'THAT'S HUGE!'. They are certainly a showstopper compared to their smaller mandarin cousins.

So when I heard there was a competition from Sumo Citrus using these beasties, I was onto it.  Pop over to the Sumo Citrus competition website and check out the entrants [click on 'See Entries']. I am entering the competition a tad late, but would love you to vote for my recipe :)  Voting closes 4 September 2015. 

Now... what did I make?

A moist, mandarin syrup laden bundt cake, generously drizzled with melted dark chocolate. This showcases the Sumo mandarin flavour zested in the cake, seeped onto the cake with the syrup, and the match with chocolate is just heavenly.

I found the perfect syrupy bundt cake recipe in Susanna Shorts' book 'Bundt Cake Bliss', but I adapted her oranges and lemons, for Sumo mandarins, and added a drizzle of chocolate.

Sumo Mandarin Syrup Bundt Cake

1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carb)
225g butter, at room temperature and soft
1/2 cup sugar
grated zest of one Sumo mandarin
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup low fat vanilla yoghurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Juice of two Sumo mandarins
1/2 cup sugar

70g dark chocolate
10g butter
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Start by heating your oven to 160 degrees Celsius (fan forced). Spray a bundt tin with cooking spray and set aside. 

Beat the egg whites until stiff, and set these aside. 

In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. 
Using a stand mixer (or electric beaters) beat the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add in sugar and mandarin zest and beat until sugar is dissolved, takes about 6 minutes and makes the mixture light and fluffy. Next, add in the egg yolks, yoghurt and vanilla. 

Run the mixer on low speed, and carefully spoon in the flour mixture, until its all incorporated. Next, gently fold in the beaten egg whites until they are just mixed in. Pour the mixture into the bundt tin, and smooth down the top. 

Pop into the oven for about 30 minutes. Check if the cake is cooked by inserting a toothpick, it should come out clean with no crumbs sticking to it. 

Meanwhile, while the cake is in its final 10 minutes cooking, begin the syrup. Pop the juice and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for about 8 minutes, until nice and syrupy. When the cake is cooked, turn out after 10 minutes onto a cooling rack, and baste the syrup over the cake while it is still warm. When the cake is cooler, melt the chocolate, butter and oil in the microwave, and drizzle over. 

Thank you for reading about my luscious Sumo mandarin bundt cake. I really had fun making it, and if I get any votes in the competition, that would be an absolute bonus!


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Banana and Date Scones

So I heard about International Scone Week (ISW), and I am hopping on board. Thanks go to the three lovely blogging ladies of Heidi, Joanna and Celia for inventing ISW and keeping the tradition alive! Thanks too go to Tandy of Lavender and Lime blog for hosting this year's ISW.

So here goes! 

I grew up with our dad making a batch of scones Every. Single. Sunday. Sunday just wouldn't be Sunday without the sounds and aromas of his scone making, the TV announcing the opening trumpet jingle of the Sunday show hosted by Jim Waley, and the citrus juicer whirring away carving juice from fresh cut oranges. Ahhhh Sundays. 

Dad's scones were fairly typical. Standard dough, rubbed in butter, mixed until it held together and cut with metal cutter into rounds.  

I tried my hand to make these myself over the years, but just couldn't perfect the fluffiness that dad's scones attained.  

Until now. With the help of my new Nordic Ware scone pan!  The pan looks a little unconventional, but it produces the most lovely scones, each one with three crispy corners, and fluffy centres. I have made a few different flavour variations, and my latest ones turned out a treat. Banana and date scones.  Here they are before their time in the oven...

For my recipe, I used:

2 cups of plain flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda (bi-carb)
110g butter, cubed
3/4 of a large banana, cut into small pieces
4 dates, chopped finely
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (plus extra splash if needed)

In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Plop in the cubed butter and either rub in using your fingertips OR use a pastry cutter (they are sooo handy!). Next I added the banana and the date pieces and made sure they were evenly tossed in the flour mixture. The date pieces needed some convincing to separate, as they are deliciously sticky. 

Next, mix the vanilla with the milk, and add this to the scone mix. Using a spatula, carefully mix the batter, until it starts to clump together. You may need to add in an extra splash of milk if required. Do not overmix the dough, to keep it nice and light. 

Then I pulled off small pieces and rolled into ball shapes. I then patted these gently into the triangle sections of my scone pan. 

Once the pan was loaded, I popped it into a 180 degree (fan forced) oven, for around 15-18 minutes, or until they started to colour on the top. Remove from the oven, and let sit in the pan for a few minutes more to crisp up. Transfer to a cooling rack.

I shared this lot with my workmates to make a Monday morning just a little easier :) 

Thank you for letting me join International Scone Week! 
I can't wait to see all the other scone creations and get some inspiration for my next batch! 


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Blood Orange Curd

Move over lemon curd (as tasty as you are)... there's a new player in town.

Blood. Orange. Curd.

And its wonderful. 

Redbelly brand blood oranges

We have been buying citrus week in, week out for... well, weeks. No chance of scurvy in this household! Of late we've dabbled in blood oranges as well, and are gobsmacked by the beautiful colour of their flesh, and their juice. These are Redbelly blood oranges, grown near Griffith, New South Wales. I picked up a little $20 citrus juicer to make the job of juicing easier, and its awesome to juice a blood orange, as the crimson colour virtually erupts into the juicer. Its almost the colour of beetroot! And the taste... sweet, with just a little hint of tart. Oh so moreish.

Picture of cut blood oranges next to pile of orange zest

Picture of citrus juicer next to glass of blood orange juice

But I digress. This post is about Blood Orange Curd. A recipe I wanted to try with my haul of bloods. I searched the repository of all things foodee (ie Google) and came across a recipe by Marisa McClellan on her blog Food In Jars. (Click her blog link to view the recipe.) It was a perfect recipe, with not too many ingredients, and it wasn't too complicated. Let me say I'm not a jam maker, and I haven't got many stove-top custards under my belt (in, yes) so I was a little apprehensive about making this curd.

Bowl with whisk

I shouldn't have doubted myself. It was easy, and after a few minutes of stirring in my glass bowl over a small saucepan of water, the magic happened and the mixture thickened up. I'm not sure of exactly the moment when it coated the back of the spoon, but it did happen.

Jars of cooked blood orange curd

I have visions of dolloping this curd in vanilla yogurt for breakfast... smearing it over pikelets, or just having it on a toasted English muffin. 

If it lasts that long! 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Beef Fajitas

My boss owns a small property, on which he had (I stress the word 'had', noting this blog post title...) two cows. A small herd, but fiesty, and problematic. He would tell us of tales of them eating through the electrical wiring covers of the dam pump... of escaping time and time again through electric fences into neighbouring properties, and of generally causing grief as they just wouldn't behave. 

So, he had enough, and decided to reduce his herd from 2.... to zero. 

That's where we, his colleagues, benefited. He was selling off the excess meat for the exceptional price of $10 a kilo, which is extremely good value.  I bought one of the 10 kilo packages, which included:

  • A large Topside beef roast (so big, we cut it into two)
  • Chuck steaks
  • Topside steaks
  • Beef mince
  • Beef ribs
  • Blade steaks
  • Diced beef pieces and
  • Home spiced sausages

When I got the huge packet of meat home, I set about portioning each cut into smaller amounts, and wrapped and labelled them for a date with my freezer. Glad that my vegetarian step-daughter was not at home that night, as the kitchen looked like an abattoir !! Here are the cuts, ready for the freezer. 

Tonight I defrosted one of the topside steaks, and turned it into amazing beef fajitas. 

I sprinkled the meat with a tasty spice rub from Costco, that had just a little kick of chilli which was a great addition. 

An easy, throw it together, pile it on yourself dinner. Perfect for a quiet night in, or a casual option for feeding a large group.