Red Velvet Cupcakes

This recipe distributed in three steps i.e. Filling, Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting

Filling: Ingredients
225 grm package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
250 grm of white chocolate chips

Preparation: 
1. In a small bowl, blend cream cheese, egg and sugar. Beat until smooth.
2. Add white chocolate chips.

Cake: Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tbls cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
25 grm red food coloring

Preparation: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line 2 dozen standard muffin cups with cupcake liners.
3. Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk.
4. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside.
5. Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together really good with another wire whisk.
6. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.
7. Fill prepared pans 2/3 full and top with heaping teaspoon of filling.
8. Bake at 350 for 20 -25 minutes.
9. If you choose to frost these cupcakes, cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: Ingredients
450 grm packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 kg confectioners sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Preparation: 
1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
2. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, add confectioners sugar a little at a time.
3. Once all sugar has been added increase to medium speed until frosting is creamy.a

Beef Brisket Pot Roast

Ingredients
  2 kg beef brisket
  Salt
  1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  3 large onions, sliced
  5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  1 sprig rosemary
  1 sprig thyme  
  3-4 bay leaves
  2 cups of beef stock
  2-3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  1 Tbsp mustard (optional)

Method
1. Prepare the brisket for cooking. On one side of the brisket there should be a layer of fat, which you want. 
2. If there are any large chunks of fat, cut them off and discard them. Large pieces of fat will not be able to render out completely. 
3. Using a sharp knife, score the fat in parallel lines, about 3/4-inch apart. Slice through the fat, not the beef. 
4. Repeat in the opposite direction to make a cross-hatch pattern. 
5. Salt the brisket well and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
6. Cook brisket in a thick-bottomed pot with a cover. 
7. Pat the brisket dry and place it, fatty side down, into the pot and place it on medium high heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes, lightly sizzling, until the fat side is nicely browned. (If the roast seems to be cooking too fast, turn the heat down to medium. You want a steady sizzle, not a raging sear.) Turn the brisket over and cook for a few minutes more to brown the other side.
8. When the brisket has browned, remove it from the pot and set aside. There should be a couple tablespoons of fat rendered in the pot, if not, add some olive oil. Add the chopped onions and increase the heat to high. Sprinkle a little salt on the onions. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions are lightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes. 
9. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Use kitchen twine to tie together the bay leaves, rosemary and thyme. Move the onions and garlic to the sides of the pot and nestle the brisket inside. Add the beef stock and the tied-up herbs. Bring the stock to a boil. Cover the pot, place the pot in the 300°F oven and cook for 3 hours. Carefully flip the brisket every hour so it cooks evenly.
10. After 3 hours, add the carrots. Cover the pot and cook for 1 hour more, or until the carrots are cooked through and the brisket is falling-apart tender. 
11. When the brisket is falling-apart tender, take the pot out of the oven and remove the brisket to a cutting board. Cover it with foil. Pull out and discard the herbs.
12. At this point you have two options. You can serve as is, or you can make a sauce with the drippings and some of the onions. If you serve as is, skip this step. To make a sauce, remove the carrots and half of the onions, set aside and cover them with foil. Pour the ingredients that are remaining into the pot into a blender, and purée until smooth. If you want, add 1 tablespoon of mustard to the mix. Put into a small pot and keep warm.
13. Serve the brisket, sliced in 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices, against the grain of the meat, with the onions, carrots and gravy. Serve with mashed, roasted or boiled potatoes, egg noodles or polenta. 

Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
Serves: 8-12

WATER CHESTNUT/GREEN PEA SALAD

Ingredients
1 head lettuce, shredded
250 gms pkg. unthawed peas
1 cup. mayonnaise + 2 tsp. sugar mixed
1 can thinly sliced water chestnuts
1 red onion, sliced very thin

Method
1. Shred lettuce in a dish. 
2. Pour frozen peas evenly over lettuce then chestnuts over peas. 
3. Onion rings over chestnuts. 
4. Spread mayonnaise over onions. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. 
5. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 24 hours in refrigerator before serving.

CHICKEN SALAD WITH SNOW PEAS AND WATER CHESTNUTS

Ingredients
  2 tbsp. butter
  2 medium size chicken breasts
  Juice of 1 lemon
  1/2 grm snow peas
  1 cup sliced water chestnuts
  Zest of 1 orange & 1 lime
  Salt & pepper to taste

DRESSING:
  2 tbsp. soy sauce
  1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  Zest & juice of 1 lemon
  2 tbsp. honey
  1 tsp. chili oil 
  1/2 cup. oil
  1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  Salt to taste

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. spread Butter on baking dish. 
3. Put chicken in baking dish, skin side up. 
4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Cover with foil. 
5. Bake 25-30 minutes. 
6. Meat should be moist.
7. Blanch snow peas for 30 seconds. Drain and cool with ice water. 
8. Cool chicken, skin and bone; shred meat. 
9. Put chicken in bowl with snow peas and water chestnuts. 
10. Combine dressing ingredients, pour over salad.

Basic Vanilla Buttercream

This recipe for Basic Vanilla Buttercream is courtesy of Billy Reece from Billy's Bakery in New York City.


Ingredients
  1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  1/2 cup milk
  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract



Method
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. 
2. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. 
3. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.

Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients
  4 cups powdered sugar 
  1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 
  1/2 cup shortening 
  2 to 3 tablespoons milk 
  1 teaspoon almond extract  or vanilla 

Method
1. In large bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter and shortening with electric mixer on low speed until blended. 
2. Beat in milk and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. 
3. If necessary, stir in milk, a few drops at a time, until spreadable. 
4. Frosts or fills cakes with buttercream frosting.

Lemongrass Beef Stir Fry

Ingredients
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 lb beef sirloin, thinly sliced 
1 yellow capsicum, thinly sliced 
1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced 
1 clove garlic, crushed 
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, thinly sliced 
1 long red chilli, thinly sliced 
2 tlbs soy sauce 
1 tlbs fish sauce 
steamed rice, coriander and extra chilli, to serve

Method  
1. Heat a deep pan over high heat. 
2. Add 1 tlbs of oil and swirl to coat. 
3. Add half the beef. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. 
4. Remove to a plate. Repeat with 1 tablespoon of oil and remaining beef.
5. Add remaining oil, onion, capsicum, garlic, lemongrass and chilli to pan. 
6. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is soft. 
7. Return beef and any juices to wok. Add soy sauce and fish sauce. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until heated through.
8. Top stir-fry with coriander and chilli. 
9. Serve with rice.

Vanilla custard

Ingredients
3 egg yolks
50g castor sugar
¾ cup milk
¾ cup cream
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
300ml thickened cream, whipped to soft peaks

Method
1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. 
2. Heat milk and cream in a small saucepan with vanilla seeds and scraped pod until just below boiling. 
3. Pour slowly into egg yolk mixture, stirring continuously. 
4. Strain mixture into a clean saucepan and cook gently, stirring, until custard coats the back of a spoon.
5. Enjoy!

Goat Cheese, Rocket and Pomegranate Salad

A refreshing salad, good any time of the year.  One can substitute blueberries for the pomegranate seeds, and it’s really nice with arugula instead of romaine, if you like spicy greens.

Ingredients
  150g baby rocket, rinsed and dried
  1 ripe pomegranate
  ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  100g goats cheese
  2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  5 tablespoons olive oil
  Sea salt & Blackpepper to taste

Method
1. Discard the outer leaves of lettuce, if they are icky – you want the more tender leaves underneath. Break each leaf into very small pieces – the smaller you make the pieces, the more elegant the salad appears. Place the lettuce in a salad bowl.
2. Cut the pomegranate in half and use a fork to pick out the seeds. Let them fall directly into the salad bowl.
3. Add rocket, red onion and crumble in the goats cheese. 
4. In a jar, mix together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, put the lid on top and shake it up. Pour onto the salad.
5. Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving.

Useful Tip:
- Substitute baby spinach or other salad greens for the rocket if you prefer.
- The salad can be prepared in advance, covered with plastic wrap and stored in the fridge. Dress just before serving.

Cauliflower Puree with Garlic, Onions and Goat Cheese

Cauliflower is one of the world’s most versatile vegetables. Not only does it make a perfect pizza crust and a tasty fried rice, it’s also a surprisingly delicious alternative to traditional mashed potatoes!

Serving mashed cauliflower in lieu of potatoes is an easy way to lighten up your meal, and is a great solution for those of you who need to avoid starches. The sauteed onions and garlic give it a mellow, slightly sweet flavor that balances the strong flavor of the cauliflower and the tangyness of the goat cheese quite well.  

Ingredients
  1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  1 tsp minced garlic
  2 tsp butter, softened
  1/2 to 1 tsp herb of choice – I used rosemary, but thyme or chives would work well too
  1/3 to 1/2 cup goat cheese
  Sea salt & Blackpepper to taste

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350º F and lightly grease an 8″ x 8″ baking dish (a deep-dish pie plate will work as well).
2. Add cauliflower to a large flat-bottomed skillet or saucepan with enough water around the cauliflower so that it is halfway covered.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover tightly and let steam until cauliflower is tender, about 10-12 minutes. 
3. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft and translucent but not brown, about 7 – 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for another minute or two. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Drain the cauliflower well and place it in a food processor or blender with the goat cheese; process to a smooth purée. Add the onion/garlic mixture and pulse a few times to blend it in with the cauliflower – don’t over-mix. Taste; season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the prepared dish; bake for 15 minutes, or until and the top is beginning to brown slightly.
6. Serve immediately.

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