Saturday, 19 October 2013

Recipe: Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Every Friday at school we take turns putting on morning tea once a term. 4 people are randomly allocated a week and you make a couple of things to bring. In the past I've made a few Jo Seager recipes from her Cook School Recipes book (particularly the white chocolate caramel oat cake which was a winner) and they've all gone down well. Today I decided to try and be organised for this week and get my baking done in advance. So I turned to my favourite Jo Seager and consulted the 'filling the tins' baking section. These raspberry cheesecake swirl brownies jumped out at me. I remember when I worked at Moore Wilson's Fresh and there was a brownie we sold that was pretty much this exact recipe, and it was absolutely delicious. I've always assumed it must be really hard because it looks and tastes so good, so I'd never bothered to attempt it. However, it isn't that hard. It's pretty straight forward and really impressive. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did when we sampled a piece (strictly for quality control purposes).

Recipe: Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies from Jo Seager's The Cook School Recipes.

For the brownie:

4 eggs
2 cups caster sugar
150gm butter
375gm dark chocolate melts
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (I used frozen and din't thaw them)

For the cheesecake:

250gm tub regular cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line a 23cm x 23cm brownie tin with baking paper.
  2. To make the brownies beat the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and creamy. 
  3. In a microwave or over a pot of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth. 
  4. Add the egg and sugar mixture then mix in the flour, baking powder, cocoa and vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl beat all the cheesecake ingredients together, until smooth.
  6. Spoon the chocolate and cheesecake mixtures alternately into the prepared tin and dot the raspberries on top. Gently with a knife swirl the mixtures together to create a marbled effect.
  7. Bake for approximately 1 hour until the brownie appears to be set on top. It will still be quite moist and fudgy if checked in the centre with a skewer. 
  8. Allow to cool at least 2 hours in the tin before carefully lifting out. Then slice and dust with icing sugar. Jo say's this should be cut into 24 pieces and I'd agree, smaller is better (although my husband ate at least 2 large pieces). This is very very rich. 

I had all my ingredients at room temperature except the cream cheese which I'd forgotten to take out of the fridge. The result was a lumpy cheesecake mixture which didn't affect the finished product but was a bit concerning before I found out it was ok when I cut into the brownies. Phew. But, obviously, room temp for everything would be ideal.

I will keep the brownies in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last just fine for a week if kept refrigerated.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Recipe: Baked Enchiladas with a Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Coriander-Lime Chicken filling

I'm a Pinterest addict. I admit it freely. Those endless images of delicious recipes is like a drug to me... I can happily while an hour away pinning things onto my 'deliciousness' board. Sometimes I decide to actually make something from my board, and this is one of those times. But seriously, I need to remember to take photos of my recipes. This one was especially delicious, so I'm really annoyed at myself for not snapping as I cooked.

Recipe: Baked Enchiladas with a Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Coriander-Lime Chicken filling

I based the filling of my enchiladas off this recipe from

Sweet potato and black bean filling

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried thyme
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 onion, finely diced
1 red pepper (capsicum), diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained (I used black beans with chopped jalepenos)
Fresh coriander, chopped
Spring onions (scallions) chopped
Half a can of enchilada sauce (I used Las Palmas red sauce, medium)

Put everything into a large oven safe dish and mix around. Pour over half a can of enchilada sauce. Cover with foil and place into the oven (bake, 180 degrees Celsius) for 1.5 - 2 hours until it's all soft and mashable. Squash the sweet potato down with a fork a bit. Set aside and get to work on the chicken.

Coriander-Lime Chicken (this is a recipe by moi)

200 - 250 grams chicken tenderloins
1 tbsp Mexican seasoning
Chopped coriander to taste
The juice of 1/2 a lime
Enchilada sauce - aprox 1/4 - 1/3 cup (I used Las Palmas red sauce, medium)

Heat your fry pan and add a dash or a spray of oil. Add the chicken and allow to brown. Sprinkle some of the mexican seasoning on the chicken. Turn when brown on underside and continue to cook. Add a splash of the enchilada sauce and the coriander. Squeeze half a lime over the chicken. Remove from the heat and shred / chop into smaller pieces.

Assemble the enchiladas

Sour cream (I used light)
Enchilada sauce

Take a tortilla and place a generous amount of the sweet potato filling in the middle, top with a few pieces of the chicken and roll up. Place into a large oven safe dish. Repeat until you either have no more tortillas or no more space in your dish! I reached no more space but still had some filling and tortillas left so I made some to put in the freezer. My dish held 6 enchiladas.

Finally I poured the remainder of the enchilada sauce into a jug and added a cup of light sour cream. I gave these a good mix together and poured the lot over the rolled enchiladas in the dish, spreading it around to ensure the top was covered. I covered the dish with foil and placed into the oven, which was preheated to fan bake at 200 degrees Celsius. I cooked the dish for 20 minutes and then removed the foil and cooked for a further 20 minutes uncovered.

Here is a picture of enchiladas I didn't make, but look a lot like the ones I did (minus the salsa)

This is yummy alone or would also be delicious with some salsa or salad on the side. My husband really enjoyed the left overs for lunch the next day. You can top the enchiladas with cheese if you want to, but I decided mine didn't need it.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Recipe: Jerk Chicken with Pineapple-Coriander Rice

Jerk Chicken

Chicken thighs (bone out and skin off)
Jerk seasoning - I use Walkerswood jerk seasoning 'hot and spicy'
Bbq sauce

In a bowl or a resealable bag place chicken thighs, 1 - 2 tbs jerk seasoning and a few squirts of bbq sauce. Massage into the chicken and set aside for 1 hour or more to marinate. 

When you're ready to cook place the marinated chicken thighs into an oven dish and fan bake uncovered at 200 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or until cooked. You don't want the chicken to dry out so do cover it if it looks like it's getting a bit crispy on top. 

Pineapple-Coriander rice

1 cup rice (I use basmati)
Jerk seasoning
1 small tin of crushed pineapple in natural juice, drained but retain the juice
Coriander, finely chopped (coriander is also known as cilantro)
Chicken stock (low salt)

Squirt some oil into a medium saucepan and turn your stove to medium heat. Place 1 tsp of the jerk seasoning and the rice into the saucepan, stirring around and allowing it to toast until the rice is golden brown and the spices are fragrant. Add the chicken stock and pineapple juice you reserved from the tinned pineapple. You will need 2 cups of liquid altogether. Add the tin of drained pineapple and the chopped coriander. Allow the rice to come to the boil, give it a couple of stirs and then reduce the heat to low and place the lid on. Set your timer for 12 minutes. When your timer bings take the pot off the stove and allow the rice to continue to steam for a further 12 - 15 minutes. Resist taking the lid off to check!! Fluff your rice up with a fork before serving, taste test for salt and add if needed. You can sprinkle some more chopped coriander on top if desired. 

Monday, 7 October 2013

My Thai food obsession continues

Thai Red Curry

On Thursday night my husband was out for a work dinner. I took the opportunity to make up a new recipe (although upon further investigation it seems others have done similar recipes) using thai red curry paste, coconut cream and chicken breasts. I didn't want to do the usual cooking style for red curry (in a pot) so I decided to see if it would work in the oven. I placed the red curry and coconut cream in a jug and gave it a good stir. I placed the chicken breasts in an oven dish, poured the coconut curry mixture over the top and placed the whole lot, uncovered in the oven (preheated to bake, 200 degrees). After 20 minutes I turned the chicken and basted it with the surrounding sauce. After a further 20 I checked the chicken and it was done. The results were good! The chicken was really moist and the sauce was delicious. I had the red curry on its own with a piece of roti I may or may not have forgotten I was heating up in the oven. Fun fact: roti becomes flakey pastry when left to crisp up in the oven.... yeah, don't do this.

Thai Red Curry Pizzas

I had some left over chicken in red curry sauce from Thursday night so I decided to use it up in a red curry pizza. Unusual I know, but surprisingly delicious! I spread some of the curry sauce on the bases, then layered up sliced cooked chicken breast (from the curry), finely sliced red peppers, coriander, spring onion, fresh chilli. Then I poured a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce into a ramekin and thinned it with a bit of water and drizzled this over the pizzas. Finally I finished everything off with some grated cheese. I popped the pizzas in the oven on fan bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes until everything was piping hot and the cheese was melted. Yummy!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Recipe: Pad Thai

I love pad thai. Love. Love. LOVE! I ate it all over Thailand on our honeymoon and it's my most favourite take-away choice. However I've never had much luck making it at home. The first recipe I tried was an easy cheats pad thai which tasted like very nice fried noodles but nothing like pad thai. Last week we went to the Sunday market by Te Papa and I saw a woman selling all kinds of curry pastes and sauces. I bought a tom yum paste, some tamarind sauce and a red curry paste. The tamarind is something I've never cooked with but I know is a vital pad thai ingredient. So I went to the supermarket to grab all the ingredients I needed and based my recipe off this one.

Pad Thai: a recipe tweaked by me but inspired by the one linked above.

Serves 2 - 3

120g 2-3mm wide flat rice sticks
60ml fish sauce
60ml tamarind water (you can use tamarind concentrate/sauce, thinned with a little water)
60g palm sugar
Fresh chilli, chopped, to taste
80ml groundnut or vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (I used 4)
200gm skinnless chicken breast, finely sliced
2 large eggs, ready cracked
100g beansprouts (mung beans)
2 - 3 spring onions (scallions), sliced diagonally
Fresh coriander (cilantro), to taste50g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Lime wedges, chilli, fish sauce and sugar, to garnish
Soak the rice sticks in hot water for about 10 mins until they are pliable. You'll know they are ready when you can wrap a strand around your finger. Drain and set aside.

Make the sauce by combining the fish sauce, tamarind and palm sugar in a small pan. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and taste – add more of any of the ingredients as you wish. Strain if you've used tamarind paste as there will be some tamarind pulp and bits of seed left behind which aren't lovely to eat. Set aside until you're ready to use.

Make sure the ingredients are all ready for you to grab as you'll be working fast from now on. 

Put a wok (I used a fry pan) on a high heat and add half the oil. Add the garlic and whites of the spring onion, stir fry for a few seconds, then add the noodles and a splash of water. Stir fry until they're drying out, then add the sauce. Fry until they are almost soft enough to eat (they should be slightly chewy).

Push the noodles to the side of the wok and add the rest of the oil. Fry the chicken until it is beginning to colour, then push to the side and add the eggs. When the eggs are starting to set on the bottom, scramble.

Stir through the noodles, and add the beansprouts, fresh chilli, green part of the spring onions, coriander and peanuts. Stir fry until well combined, then serve with the garnishes for people to add as they wish.

I found this ended up to be just right for my taste. My husband was a lot less keen and felt it was too heavy on the fish sauce. Which he told me, after I'd been in the kitchen quite a while making this for our dinner and subsequently ended up with an ear bashing. Which I later apologised for but not until I'd dissolved into giggles hearing him blasting protest songs from his man cave (where he'd holed up in protest of free speech.) 

Pad thai is a very subjective dish so do tweak it to your own taste (and maybe your husbands?!) Make sure you taste as you go along so you can adjust and balance the sweet, salty and spicy flavours. You don't want to end up with a stand off as we did in this house.