Braised beef cheek Fettuccine

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The mornings are darker, and the nights are cooler (and I needed an excuse to open a nice bottle of Pinot) so when I saw this recipe in the latest Gourmet Traveller I was really excited. I have altered the recipe a little as I couldn’t find beef shin so I used cheek, and I couldn’t find fresh rigatoni so I used fettuccine. Feel free to use shin and rigatoni if you can find them.

Serves 4-6

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Ingredients

2 1/2 TBSP Olive Oil

1 Onion finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic crushed

1 kg of beef cheek (cut into 4 equal pieces)

1/2 cup strong coffee

1 tin of crushed tomatoes

1 cup of red wine

1 cup of beef stock

1/4 cup of red wine vinegar

Juice and rind of 1 orange

2 fresh bay leaves

1 packet of fresh egg fettuccine

1 packet of Feta

Parsley to garnish

Method

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees (or if using the slow cooker, just turn it on to low) Brown the cheek in batches in a casserole that can go into the oven (or just brown the meat in a pan if using a slow cooker).

Remove the meat from the pan, and sauté onion and garlic until soft. Into the slow cooker add all the ingredients up to (not including) the pasta. Cook for around 5 1/2 hours or until the meat is falling apart.

Remove the meat from the sauce, and shred using two forks. Reduce the sauce down until it has thickened and while doing this cook the pasta according to instructions on the packet.

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Put the cooked pasta into a serving dish, cover with the meat and then the reduced sauce (with bay leaves removed) sprinkle over feta and parsley.

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Walnut and date cake with Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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I made a birthday cake for a good friend of mine, she isn’t a chocolate person but loves caramel so my inspiration for the cake was finding something that went well with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

For the icing, I use this recipe by Made From Scratch http://madefromscratch.co.nz/banana-layer-cake-with-salted-caramel-buttercream/

The cake is altered from a recipe by The AWW

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Ingredients

125 gm butter softened

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

1 cup plain flour

1 cup self raising flour

1 1/4 cups of plain yogurt

1/2 chopped dates

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, grease and line a 20 cm cake tin. Mix together the dates, walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together with a electric beater until fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in both flours and yogurt. Fold through the date mixture and pour into your line tin. Smooth the top.

Bake for about 1 hour, then cool in tin for 10 mins before turning out.

For this cake, I sliced it in half then spread a layer of caramel then caramel buttercream through the middle. I then iced it,and piped the top and finished with an extra drizzle of caramel. 

Caraway and Apple crackers

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I know many people who have a sweet rather than savoury tooth, often opting for cheese at dessert time. These crackers are definitely for them. It is an adaptation of the crackers in The Little French Kitchen by Rachel Khoo

Makes 16 crackers

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Ingredients

400 gms wholemeal flour

2 tsp caraway seeds

2 tsp dried yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tsp maple syrup

2 Granny Smith Applies cored and grated

160 ml water

Method

Mix the dry ingredients with the apple then pour over the water. Mix until you have a sticky ball. Place in a clean bowl and cover with a damp tea towel, leave in a warm place for 1 hour.

Preheat over to 180 degrees. Split the dough in half, and dust a bench with   

Roll out to 5mm thick (any thicker and the crackers will be chewy not crispy) Cut out with a cookie cutter of any shape and place on an oven tray. Bake for 20-25 mins and leave to cool.

Serve with cheese and a good fruit jelly.

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Chocolate and raspberry marshmallow slice

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I adapted a recipe from the NZ House and Garden magazine that was for Chocolate mint marshmallow slice. Here is my version.
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Ingredients
Base
250 gms (one packet) of super wine biscuits
2 tbsp cocoa powder
150 gms shredded coconut
300 gms melted butter

Filling
400 gms Marshmallows
250 gms dark chocolate drops
2/3’s cup milk
6 tsp gelatin
4 tbsp warm water
1/4 cup raspberry powder (plus more for dusting)
2 cups of cream lightly whipped

Method
Line the base of a slice tin (about 18cm x 28cm) with baking paper. Place biscuits, coconut and cocoa in a food processor and pulse until finely crushed. Add butter and mix well. Press into tin and chill.

Combine marshmallows, chocolate and milk in a medium saucepan and heat gently until melted and smooth.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over water and let swell for 5 minutes.

Stir gelatin and raspberry powder into marshmallow mixture until gelatin is dissolved. Cool 5-10 minutes until thickened then fold in whipped cream.

Pour mixture over base and chill at least 3 hours before slicing. Dust with more raspberry powder.

T2 Pomegranate and Berry Jelly

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I am still on the hunt for healthy desserts, and I have so many beautiful moulds and tins that I thought jelly was a good option. You could use any fruit/berry tea that you like but it needs to be pretty strong for the flavour to come through.

Jelly 1

Ingredients
1 litre of fruit/berry tea. I used T2 Tea Pumping Pomegranate. Brew according to the instructions for a strong flavour
2 cups of fresh mixed berries
A few drops of strawberry essence
4 gold gelatin leaves
Fresh berries and cream to serve

Jelly 2

Method
Brew the tea according to instructions, spray or wipe the inside of a jelly mould with a neutral oil (I use canola)
Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for around 5 minutes. Chop up the fresh berries and put in the bottom of the mould. Squeeze the water out of the gelatin leaves and stir through the hot tea until combined. Pour over the fruit in the mould and leave to set until firm (I left mine over night)
When you are ready to serve, dunk the mould in hot water for 5 seconds. Serve with fresh berries and cream

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Summer Berry Soup

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The hardest thing about changing my diet (less sugar, less processed food, more fruit and vege) is that I love entertaining and I set an expectation to deliver at least a 2 course meal whenever I have friends over. I am lucky I started my change in lifestyle just as berries are coming into season as there are some delicious nutritious recipes out there.

Here is a chilled berry soup, which was simply delicious served with some orange creme fraiche. You will need a couple of hours chilling time, so make ahead.

Serves 6

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Ingredients
2 punnets of strawberries
1 packet (600 gms) of frozen raspberries – defrosted (simply as fresh are so expensive, but use fresh if you can get them)
2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
The juice of 1 lemon
1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt (Or cream if you were being luscious – I recommend the new Lewis Road Creamery cream)
1 pottle (250 gms) creme fraiche
The juice of one orange
1 tbsp Cointreau
Extra berries to serve

Method
Blend the strawberries, raspberries, honey and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. There will be some pips from the fruit so if you want it silky smooth you could strain the liquid with a coarse sieve at this point (however I didn’t worry) mix through the unsweetened yogurt and pour into serving bowls.
Chill for a couple of hours. Mix the orange juice and Cointreau through the creme fraiche and chill for a couple of hours. When ready to serve dollop the creme fraiche on the top of the soup and decorate with fresh berries and a few mint leaves (if available)

Almond and Chocolate puddings

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I am trying my best to have a healthy diet lately but some days nothing but chocolate will do. I looked for inspiration on the Desserts by Green Kitchen ap and amended the recipe from there. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free (if you don’t add the yogurt to serve) and refined sugar-free.
This recipe makes 6 ramekins or would work equally as well in muffin tins which you could then turn out on to a plate.

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Ingredients
250 mls nut milk (I used Almond)
4 tbsp nut butter (I used Almond, but you could use smooth peanut, or hazelnut)
1 tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 tbsp honey or raw maple syrup
100 gms 70% cocoa chocolate
1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp cocoa powder (make sure it is gluten-free if you need it to be)
1 tsp cinnamon
Fresh berries to serve
Natural yogurt to serve

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees, grease your tins/ramekins if you want to be able to turn your pudding out, I didn’t worry about it.
Put the milk, butter & vanilla into a microwave bowl and heat for 1 minute, stir and heat for a further minute. The milk and butter should be well combined. Stir through the chocolate until melted and smooth and set aside.
Separate the eggs and beat the yolks with the honey until pale in colour. Set aside and whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Mix the almond meal, cocoa and cinnamon through the milk, butter and chocolate mix. Fold through the egg yolks then the egg whites.
Pour into the ramekins and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and dollop with yogurt (if using) and decorate with berries.

Salmon and Seaweed salad

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When Mr Goldie is away I do my best to fill up on fish and seafood (as he isn’t a fan). I felt like something a bit different and found delicious packs of seasoned seaweed at New World (where you would find the fish) so I made this salad. I think you could easily substitute the salmon for fresh salmon (rather than smoked) prawns, or cooked white fish.
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Ingredients

One packet of seasoned seaweed (approx 300 gms)

100 gms of smoked salmon

1/2 cup snow pea shoots

1 carrot peeled then use the peeler to make ribbons

1/2 yellow capsicum finely sliced

1/2 red onion finely sliced (spring onion would also work)

1/2 cup coriander leaves

For the dressing

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

salt & white pepper to taste

Method

Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl, pour the dressing ingredients into a jar and shake to combine. Stir through the salad and enjoy!
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Green Bean and Coconut salad

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I had a salad similar to this several times in Bali, it used fresh coconut which is so hard to find here. It was such a cooling salad in the hot weather so I thought it was perfect for the last few hot days we have been having.

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Ingredients

250 gms of green beans, chopped, steamed (but still crunchy) and cooled

1 cup bean sprouts

1/2 cup threaded coconut

1 red chilli finely chopped

1/2 cup coriander leaves

2 tbsp crispy shallots (or red onion dry fried until crispy)

For the dressing

1 tbsp rice bran oil

1 tbsp white vinegar

the juice of two limes

1 tsp fish sauce

1/2 tsp coconut (or palm) sugar

Method

Put all the dressing ingredients into a jar and shake to combine. Mix the salad ingredients (except the shallots) together in a bowl, pour over dressing and mix to combine. Sprinkle over shallots and serve

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Salmon and udon noodle salad

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The next salad in my series would be lovely with chicken and duck as well as salmon. The flavours develop over time, and it would hold up well as a picnic salad so it is very versatile.
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Ingredients
200 gms of hot smoked salad
180 gms of dried udon noodles
1 cup of mung bean sprouts
a small bunch of snow pea shoots
a small bunch of coriander
1/2 small red onion finely chopped
1 tbsp of black and white sesame seeds
the juice of one lemon
2 tbsp fried shallots

For the dressing
4 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
1 tbsp sambal oelek (or sweet chilli)
1 tsp grated ginger

Method

Boil the noodles as per instructions on the packet. Flake the salmon with two forks. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake until combined. In a bowl add the noodles, then all the other salad ingredients (except the lemon juice and shallots). Mix through with the dressing then squeeze lemon over top and sprinkle over the shallots

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