27 Aug 2015

A little bit about lemon coconut slice

One of my favorite flavors is lemon. I love lemon cheesecake, lemon water, iced lemon tea... Sometimes when I crave something sweet but not too sweet I look for lemon recipes.

This time it's a lemon coconut bar.

This is quite possibly the easiest baking recipe, even a kid can do it.

It's almost like a cake, which makes it dessert appropriate too. I think it would be perfect eaten with natural/ greek yogurt- the tang would counteract the sweetness of this slice.

A slice with tea would also make the perfect tea time treat.
Cut it up into cubes and serve it on a high tea platter.
Or larger squares for a bake sale.
I actually halved the recipe posted below but didn't have a tin small enough. So I used my ingenuity and held up the sides with ceramic ramekins :P It worked fine!

I think this lemon coconut bar perfect for those times when you have to bring a dessert or plate to share and you don't have a lot of energy to prepare a cheesecake or cupcakes.
Mix everything in one bowl and while it's baking for half an hour you can get ready for your event. Take it out of the oven and it will cool slightly in the car. By the time you get there it'll be the perect temperature to eat warm!

250 gr butter
2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
1½ cups plain flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
The juice and rind of 2 lemons
Icing sugar to dust

1. In a bowl, melt the butter in the microwave
2. Mix in sugar
3. Add in eggs, one at a time until mixture is glossy
4. Sift in flour and mix well together
5. Add coconut, grated lemon rind and lemon juice
6. Bake at 180C for 30 mins. Test with skewer
7. Let cool and dust with icing sugar

It will keep in an airtight container for 3 days.

And to conclude,

my bffe got married and I got to be her bridesmaid :) We did our own makeup!!!



22 Aug 2015

A little bit about panna cotta

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made with cream and gelatine. It's no-bake and is set in the fridge for 4 hours.
'Panna cotta' means cooked cream. It's simple really, you cook the cream, sugar, vanilla and gelatin and serve with a simple sauce; berry, caramel or as I did; espresso.
I was surprised at how easy it is. The hardest thing was taking it out of its moulds.

This is another Donna Hay recipe; you know what that means! It's foolproof.

It requires one vanilla bean. When I was in Farro's looking for vanilla beans I was surprised at how expensive they are. $15 for a pack of 3. That's $5 for a single bean.
Luckily I have generous friends... Miss Shell kindly gave me one of hers in exchange for the final product.
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise through the middle with a sharp knife.
Then run the knife through the middle to scrape the seeds out.
Get every single bit of seed out; that stuff is expensive.
I used powdered gelatine. There are other recipes that use sheet gelatine.
Sprinkle the gelatine over a bowl of water. After 5 minutes, the water should be absorbed and you're left with a semi-hard lump that will hold your panna cotta in shape.
In a saucepan goes the cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds.
Bring to the boil and stir. Add the gelatine and stir until it is dissolved.
I used tea cups as moulds. This nautical teacup I got from Lauren is the perfect size because the panna cotta is quite rich so you only want a few spoonfuls. The bigger plain teacup was better for sharing in my opinion.
This recipe filled five tea cups. I think 6 would have been better- split up some of the bigger portions.

In the fridge it goes for 4 hours or overnight.
To take them out of the moulds, fill a bowl with WARM (not hot) water and let the panna cotta sit for 10 seconds. Put a plate on top, invert and give a little shake. When you hear the 'plop', that's when you know the panna cotta has come out. Use a teaspoon or small rubber spatula to loosen the edges if you have to.
Remember what I said about using WARM water! Don't leave it in there for too long or the cream will melt!
For the espresso sauce, make a cup of strong black coffee. Pour in a saucepan with white sugar and bring to the boil.

This is the recipe from Donna Hay's 'A Cook's Guide' cookbook.

Panna cotta
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp gelatine powder
500ml cream
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

1. Place the water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatine evenly on top. Leave for 5 minutes or until hardened.
2. Pour the cream, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Add the gelatine and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until gelatine is dissolved.
3. Pour into moulds and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
4. Let the panna cotta moulds sit in a bowl of warm water for a few seconds before inverting onto a plate.

Espresso sauce
2 Tbsp instant coffee powder
200ml hot water
1/3 cup white sugar

1. Dissolve the coffee in hot water
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the coffee and sugar. Bring to the boil for 5-8 minutes until thickened and syrupy.
3. Refrigerate until cold.

I love the black dots from the vanilla. You can use paste instead of seeds, but the dots make it look more fancy.

There are a lot of panna cotta variations. In the cookbook, Donna Hay also has passionfruit jelly panna cotta, chocolate, brown sugar with espresso and cinnamon and rhubarb. I think next time I will use some coffee liquor. 

The espresso sauce turned out quite nice. It complimented the creamy panna cotta and it wasn't too sweet. Still- it's a rich dessert. 
But amazingly simple and easy to make. Will definitely impress your next dinner guests.

And to conclude,

Have I told you about a little gem called Ponsonby Central?
I can't believe I've only recently discovered it!
It has a market place at the back that sells fruits, veges...
And my favorite place (the only reason I go there) Crepes-a-gogo!
This is the cream cheese, sundried tomato and mushroom.
But my favorite is the 'Croque monsieur'- ham, cheese and bechamel sauce.
Get 10% off with your student ID!
This is the other place I want to try. They sell ice cream sandwiches!! Choose your cookies and scoop of ice cream!
Have you been here? What flavors do you recommend?