Vietnamese caramelised tofu with red peppers

Quick and easy, sweet and spicy and full of flavour, this Vietnamese caramelised tofu with red peppers is one of our regular weeknight stir fry dinners. We serve it with noodles and a side of stir fried Asian greens.

Vietnamese caramelised tofu with red peppers

This recipe was adapted from a video recipe on herbivoracious – I eyeballed the quantities for the sauce and changed the method and ingredients a bit to suit us.

Ingredients

Serves 6

peanut oil for frying
about 600g (21 oz) firm tofu, dried on paper towel and sliced
2 medium onions, halved and sliced lengthwise
100g (1/2 cup) granulated (white) sugar
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine or sake
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
chilli flakes to taste (I use about 1/2 tsp)

1-2 red peppers (depending on size), chopped
2 spring onions (scallions), chopped

Directions

Heat a couple of tablespoons of peanut oil in a large skillet and fry tofu until golden on both sides (you may need to do it in 2 batches). Remove from pan and set aside to drain on paper towel.

Add a dash more oil if needed and fry onion on medium heat for a few minutes, just until softened.

Whisk together sauce ingredients (sugar > chilli flakes), pour into pan and bring to a simmer over high heat.

Stir in tofu and let cook over high heat until sauce caramelises, about 5 minutes.

Add red pepper and stir fry until just cooked but still crisp.

Serve topped with chopped spring onions.

Posted in asian, dressings&sauces, tofu | 1 Comment

Prague Kolach

It’s Daring Bakers time and I am actually posting on reveal day for a change!!! Yay me!  ;)

This month, we were given a choice of three amazing Czech traditional sweet treats, and as 3G was going to a bring-a-plate party and volunteered to provide dessert (yes, I got less than 24 hours notice that I was making dessert for a bunch of teenagers), I went for the Prague Kolach. It was a hit!

Pražský koláč (Prague Kolach)

I did mess with the system, though, so this is my interpretation… The original recipe called for mayonnaise in the cake but as I was getting everything out to bake I realised I was out, so I used mascarpone instead. The original recipe also called for a pastry cream made with custard powder (like vanilla pudding mix) and I didn’t have any of that either, so I made my usual pastry cream instead. As always, the recipe given here is as I made it. For the original recipe and the recipes for the other two types of kolach, see the pdf linked below.

Pastry cream

240ml (1 cup) whole milk, divided
2 tbsp cornstarch
75g (6 tbsp) granulated (white) sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

75ml (5 tbsp) double, heavy or whipping cream, chilled

Directions

Dissolve cornstarch in 1⁄4 cup of milk in a mixing bowl.

Combine the remaining 3/4 cup milk with the sugar in a small to medium heavy based saucepan on medium-low heat, bring to the boil, whisking occasionally so it doesn’t form a skin on top or scald on the bottom, then remove from heat.

Beat the egg yolks and vanilla into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly (this tempers the eggs so they don’t cook before they are mixed into the custard).

Return saucepan to low heat and pour the egg mixture back into the milk in a stream while continuously whisking.

Continue whisking until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Scrape into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to fill cake, whip the cream to stiff peaks and fold into pastry cream.

Cake

250g (2 cups, scooped and scraped) all-purpose (plain) flour
30g (2 slightly heaped tbsp) granulated (white) sugar
1 x 7g sachet (2 1/4 tsp) instant dry yeast
1⁄2 tsp fine salt
125g (1/2 cup) mascarpone, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature (I used a medium one)
75ml (5 tbsp) milk, warm

Topping

50g (1/3 cup) all-purpose (plain) flour
50g (1/4 cup) granulated (white) sugar
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g (3 1/2 tbsp) butter, chilled and diced

1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash

Directions

Note: if using active dry yeast instead of instant, activate it in the milk for five minutes before proceeding.

Whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl, then add mascarpone, egg and milk and mix to combine. Knead with dough hook on low speed or by hand for 10 minutes, until you have smooth dough. It will be very soft and sticky.

Scrape dough into a ball, cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, until doubled in volume.

Tip the dough into a lightly greased cake pan, 20 – 25cm (8 – 10″) in diameter. Press the dough out into the pan with damp fingertips. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F) while you prepare the topping.

Topping

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add cold butter and, with your fingers, mix all ingredients until you have the texture of soft breadcrumbs.

Brush the cake with egg wash and sprinkle with the topping.

Bake in centre of oven for about 25 minutes, until golden.

Cool cake in pan for ten minutes then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before filling.

Use a large serrated knife to cut the cake into two layers, spread the pastry cream onto the bottom half and replace the top.

*****

Daring Kitchen Blog-checking lines: The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

Download the original recipe pdf here.

Posted in cake, daring bakers, dessert, sweet | 10 Comments

Vegetarian sausage rolls

Packed with 3 different kinds of beans for taste and texture, these vegetarian sausage rolls are low in fat and loaded with goodness. You can add herbs and spices to your taste, make big ones for dinner or little ones for finger food, and they just take a few minutes to throw together.

We served ours with barbecue sauce and spicy wedges.

Vegetarian sausage rolls

Ingredients

Makes 16

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely minced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400g (14 oz) can cannellini beans
1 x 400g (14 oz) can red kidney beans
1 x 400g (14 oz) can chick peas (garbanzos)
2 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup
2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper

2 sheets puff pastry, each 42 x 26cm (approx. 16 x 10″), thawed if frozen
1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash, or 1 tbsp oil for vegan

Directions

Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F) and line a large baking sheet with parchment.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the onion until it starts to soften, then add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Rinse and drain the beans well, then roughly mash them together with the onion and garlic, tomato paste or ketchup and oregano – you can do this in the saucepan, so you don’t need to dirty a bowl. Season well.

Cut the pastry sheets in half lengthwise. Put a quarter of the filling lengthwise down the centre of each piece of pastry, then fold the sides tightly over the filling and pinch closed. You can use some water or egg wash to seal it if you like, but I found it unnecessary. Use a sharp knife to cut each long roll into four.

Place the rolls seam-side-down on the parchment, brush with egg wash or oil and bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown.

 

Posted in burgers&patties, pastry, tart&pie | 6 Comments

Sourdough adventures – cheesy cornbread waffles

I’ve been so neglectful of the baking and cooking groups I belong to… *guilt*

But I am trying to get back into the swing of things, so I’ve jumped back in the Sourdough Surprises challenges this month with cornbread. We were given loads of choices, but I’m still on my waffle kick so I chose to go down that route again.

Sourdough cheesy cornbread waffles

These were great served with red bean chilli, guacamole, sour cream, spring onions and tabasco!

Ingredients

150g (1 cup) fine cornmeal or polenta
115g (1 cup) grated mature cheddar cheese
1 tsp baking (bicarb) soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
240g (1 cup) 100% hydration sourdough starter
85g (1/4 cup) honey
120ml (1/2 cup) whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
55g (1/2 stick, 1/4 cup) butter, softened

Directions

Toss together the cornmeal, grated cheese, baking soda, salt and paprika in a large bowl.

In a second bowl, whisk together the starter, honey, milk, beaten eggs and softened butter until smooth.

Add the cornmeal mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 2 hours in the fridge. This will soften the cornmeal as well as develop the flavour.

Heat your waffle maker to medium high, stir the batter well and spoon a couple of heaped tablespoons into each section. Bake the waffles at your preferred heat setting until deep golden brown. About 4 minutes on medium-high was sufficient for me, but it depends on your machine.

These are quite soft if served immediately, but you can keep them warm in an oven heated to 120°C (250°F) and they will crisp up on the outside.

*****

Check out the amazing things my fellow sourdoughers came up with this month!

*****

Also submitted to YeastSpotting

Posted in bread, side, sourdough surprises | 9 Comments

Triple chocolate muffins

Yep, another chocolate thing. Not very inventive on my part, but a classic which never goes out of style.

Triple chocolate muffins

I use a standard muffin recipe as a base for all my muffins, but I generally vary the liquid portion to create the flavour base, then add other things for oomph. This one uses a combination of sweetened condensed milk and melted milk chocolate as the liquid portion, meaning there is no need to add additional sugar because both of those are sweet enough. If you use dark chocolate, you may want to add a couple of tablespoons of sugar when you whisk up the dry ingredients.

Ingredients

Makes 6 jumbo or 12 standard sized muffins

250g (2 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
120g (4 1/4 oz, about 2/3 cup) chocolate chips/chunks
180ml (3/4 cup) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
80ml (1/3 cup) sunflower oil
2 large eggs
200g milk chocolate, melted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Grease a muffin pan with vegetable oil or line with paper liners.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

In one bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Toss through chocolate chips/chunks.

In a second bowl, whisk together condensed milk, vanilla, oil and eggs, in that order. While whisking, drizzle in the melted chocolate – it will still be warm and you don’t want the eggs to cook, so you are tempering them by mixing it in slowly.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just enough to combine, only until moistened.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups. Bake in centre of oven for 27 minutes for jumbo or 22 minutes for standard sized, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with just a few small crumbs.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Posted in cake, muffin, snack, sweet | 3 Comments

Peanut butter & chocolate cookies

Decisions, decisions!
What kind of cookies will I bake?
Peanut butter?
Chocolate?
Both?
Okay!

Peanut butter & chocolate cookies

Ingredients

Makes about 24

115g (1 stick, 1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
100g (1/2 cup) granulated (white) sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g (2 1/4 cups, scooped and scraped) all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

100g (6 tbsp) smooth/creamy peanut butter

100g (3 1/2 oz) dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

Directions

In a bowl or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine well.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder and add to the butter mixture. Stir just to combine.

Divide the mixture in two (it should be about 560g or 20 oz, so 2 x 280g or 2 x 10 oz) and add the peanut butter to one half and the melted chocolate to the other half, stirring each until well combined.

Form each dough into a slightly flattened ball, wrap each in plastic or place in ziploc bags and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

When ready to bake, take a good pinch of each dough, roll each into a ball and squish them together to form a larger ball. Arrange the balls about 5cm or 2″ apart on the baking sheets, with the seam running across the top, and flatten them slightly with your fingers.

Bake one sheet at a time in centre of oven for about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Posted in biscuit, cookie, snack, sweet | 5 Comments

Strawberry & cream muffins

Back to school means back to baking lunchbox treats. I had a mind to make muffins and as I was browsing the kitchen for ideas, I found a tub of double cream in the fridge that I’d bought for another project but hadn’t used. Waste not, want not!

strawberry and cream muffins

These strawberry and cream muffins are rich and flavourful, and so soft and moist! For me, texture is the deal-breaker for muffins – they should not feel like hard work to eat! I’m pleased to say these are not hard work at all, either to make or to eat :) They don’t require an electric mixer, just a couple of bowls and a whisk.

Ingredients

Makes 12

250g (2 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
50g (1/4 cup) granulated (white) sugar
250ml (1 cup) double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
80ml (1/3 cup) light olive oil (or sunflower oil)
2 large eggs
120ml (1/2 cup) strawberry jam

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Grease a 12-hole muffin pan with vegetable oil or line with paper liners.

Stir jam until very smooth, microwaving for a few seconds if necessary – you want it quite thin. Set aside.

In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a second bowl, whisk together cream, sugar, vanilla, oil and eggs, in that order.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just enough to combine, only until moistened. Swirl through strawberry jam, just until there are no big clumps of jam but it’s not entirely combined.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups. Bake in centre of oven for 22 minutes, until deep golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with just a few small crumbs.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Posted in cake, dessert, muffin, snack, sweet | Leave a comment