Thursday, 2 May 2013

Hot Dog Scrolls

Antipodeans are aware of the cheesymite scroll, which can be found at Bakers Delight amongst other places, and they are oh so delicious! Every time I am back in New Zealand I make sure I have at least one. So what happens when an American hot dog meets a cheesymite scroll? Well they fall in love of course! But seriously they make this: The Hot Dog Scroll. 




Hot Dog Scrolls


3 cups plain flour (or you can use self raising flour just leave out the baking powder)
50 g butter375 ml milk

4 tablespoons of baking powder
A pinch salt
1 tablespoon of mustard (depends how hot you like it)
4 tablespoons of passata (could use ketchup or tomato chutney as alternatives)
1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
70g smoked sausage, thinly sliced, and then halved.
200g grated cheddar cheese


1. Sift flour and salt into a bowl then rub through butter. Stir in enough milk to make soft dough. Knead gently on a lightly floured surface, and then roll to form a 40 cm x 25 cm rectangle.
2. Spread the passata and mustard over the dough with a tablespoon, then sprinkle over 3/4 of the cheese and the finely chopped onion. Roll up along the long side to enclose the cheese. Cut 10 x 4cm pieces from the roll and place them cut side up on a greased baking tray. Keep them around 1 inch apart.
3. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese on top of the scrolls and bake in a hot oven for 220 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until cooked and golden. 








Thursday, 18 April 2013

Secret Supper Club - By Stolen

After 5 years, I am leaving the amazing city of London to return to Auckland. I wanted an intimate private dining experience with a difference, and what better way to do that than a secret supper experience by Stolen. Using restaurants cookbooks they expertly recreate ('steal') meals, using top quality ingredients. 



Our Farewell dinner London Crew


Our evening was inspired by the famous Ottolenghi in London. Our hosts and founders of Stolen were Mia Kulla and Leonardo Santos and it was apt that Leo had worked in Nopi, another one of Yotam Ottolenghi's restaurants. The evening was off to a good start.


Our bespoke menu for the night


The venue is an old laundry building which is now a residential home, and host up to 30 guests. This location had people second guessing whether they had turned up to to the right place! Being hosts we were first in and Mia instantly made us feel at ease, popping our champagne (Stolen is BYO) and giving us a run down of the evening. Guests are arriving, with me welcoming them at the door as if this was own home. This is where using Stolen for private parties really comes into its own, its like hijacking someone's kitchen for the night and you don't have to cook or better yet clean up! 

But the highlight was of course the food. With the chefs culinary skills and Mia's expert hosting, the food and wine flowed. 


Stolen working hard in the kitchen


We started with sharing plates butternut squash and Tahini spread, purred beetroot and yoghurt za'atar. This was served with veg sticks and homemade bread. 




Next up was a roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad. The cauliflower was served cold, which was a refreshing change, and I loved the crunchiness of the hazelnut and the pops of flavour the pomegranate seeds gave.




Main was a slow roast leg of lamb (cooked for over 6 hours) which was served with a lovely wild grain rice, now I don't have a picture of this as I was so keen to get stuck in totally forgot. A true testament to the food. Seconds of lamb came round (something that you never see in restaurants) and eyes lit up at the opportunity of more of the succulent lamb.

For dessert, originally it was an almond and rhubarb crumble, which I felt wasn't quite right, but Stolen are so flexible and suggested a bitter chocolate tart with ivory cream instead. Chocolate is a firm crowd favourite, and it was served with an orange sauce which cut through the sweetness of the chocolate perfectly.



The evening finished with farewell speeches, and everyone helping get through the pick and mix of drinks that people had brought along. It was a fabulous night and one that loved by all. I would recommend and do it again in a heart beat.

Best For: Couples time, take your friends, private parties, take your parentals.

Bonus tip: Don't have a reason to throw a private party? Every Monday stolen host dinners where you and whoever pleases you can take one of 15 chairs available to partake in this experience. Happy Days! 

The Details:

Stolen: http://www.stolen.it/, info@stolen.it
Location: Somewhere in Notting Hill, for you to find out! 
Anything else?: Its BYO, so bring your favourite tipple. 
Cost: Between £38-£42.00

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Chewy Peanut M&M Cookies

Nothing makes the house smell more irresistible than cookies in the oven. That sweet smell cannot be beaten! I have been experimenting with various sweets in cookies, and while some I can't quite perfect yet I have a great way to turn a pouch of M&M's into a culinary masterpiece...cookies!




Chewy Peanut M&M Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
225g butter, softened
1 large egg + 1 yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup corn flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
180g pouch of Peanut M&M's


1. Beat together the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Mix together the flour, corn flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix just until combined. Add 3/4 of the M&M's. Refrigerate the dough until firm, ideally overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (170 fan oven). Roll cookies to desired size and place on ungreased baking tray a couple inches apart. Bake cookies for about 7-10 minutes or until the edges are golden. Press the rest of the M&M's onto the cookies whilst they are still warm.

Have one fresh from the oven with a tall glass of cold milk #kid.

Let me know how yours turned out! Remember you can always freeze the cookie dough and defrost for a later date! 








Thursday, 21 March 2013

Gin tasting Menu? Yes please!

Alright all you Gin drinking Londoners have I got a story for you. A friend of mine is a member of the London Gin Club and for our monthly covenant meeting (girls night out) we went to The Star at Night Bar in Soho to partake in a Gin tasting menu. 








We opted for tasting menu one which consisted of the following:

Edinburgh Gin: Blackberry
Sloanes: Grapefruit Peel
Plymouth: Lime
Hayman's Sloe: Raspberry


This will set you back £21 each or £19 as a member. I recommend tasting in this order: Lime first, then the Raspberry, then the Grapefruit and last but not least the Blackberry. This means you mix it up with the sour/bitter, then the sweet. You are presented with two huge balloon glasses with large shards of ice in it, and 4 small square plates with a small bottle of Gin and a piece of fruit to accompany it. 

Directions:

Pour the Gin over the ice first, then add the fruit, then top up with Indian Tonic (they supply Fever Tree Indian Tonic - arguably the worlds best) in which you can have as many of these as you need.



Best For: Take a date, Couples time, take your friends.

Bonus tip:

If you not keen on a full tasting experience, please please please, have a Sip Smith G & T, this is the smoothest Gin I have ever tasted. It is the first copper pot distillery to open in London in nearly 200 years, and the Gin is 
triple distilled. Top dog.





The Details:

London Gin Club:  www.thelondonginclub.com
The Star at Night: 22, Great Chapel Stree, Soho, London, W1F 8FR
+44 (0) 207 494 2488 - www.thestaratnight.com
Sip Smith Gin - http://www.sipsmith.com/


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Pina Colada Cake

If you like Pina Colada's da duh da da and getting caught in the rain ... come on I know you were thinking it! But yes it is possible to make a cake taste like a tropical cocktail, and it is the most luscious cake you will ever eat!

I first tried Pina Colada cake at a cafe 9 years ago, and they wouldn't let me have the recipe (*cough* Jay), so I have spent all these years trying to recreate that taste memory via trial and error and have finally cracked it. I like making it in a loaf tin, as it is easy to slice and serve. Make sure that you make it in either a loaf or a ring tin as this is a very moist cake.



Pina Colada Cake

Cake Mix

150g butter softened, plus a little extra for greasing.
150g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
2/3 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
1/2 vanilla pod (or a couple drops of vanilla extract)
2 medium eggs at room temperature
150g (1 cup) plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp of Malibu or Dark Rum (or 1tsp rum essence if you don't want to use alcohol!)

Frosting

230g of cream cheese
50g butter softened
3-4 cups of icing sugar
1 tsp of Dark Rum
Couple of drops of Rum essense
Desiccated coconut for dusting on top

1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees (fan 160 degrees). Grease and line the loaf tin with baking parchment.

2. Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl with a hand held electric whisk or a free-standing electric mixer until light and fluffy. Split open the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds and add them (or the extract) along with the Malibu or dark rum with the 2 eggs and beat again. Keep beating until the mixture starts to come right.

3. Add flour, baking powder and salt and stir in the crushed pineapple. Tip the mix into the loaf tin. Spread the mixture flat with the back of the spoon and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the skewer comes out clean. The mix is quite wet, so depending on your oven it may take a little longer. Take out of the oven and leave to cool.

4. To make the icing, Beat together softened butter and cream cheese for around 2 minutes until smooth. Add the dark rum (optional) and add the icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the desired consistency. Spread over the cake, and sprinkle desiccated coconut over the top. I piped mine over, but you can ice whichever way you please. Slice into 12 and serve. Lush!

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