Thursday, May 31, 2012

Passionfruit Tart with Lime Butter Pastry

I just love being able to make something with fresh produce from my own garden! Last week I had a HUGE bowl of passionfruit, desperately calling me to turn them into something deliciously sweet.  There were a few limes on the tree too, so I decided on a Passionfruit and Lime tart. I picked most of the limes off my tree as they were more yellow than green, then zested and juiced them to freeze for later.  I can't say that grating lime (or lemon) rind is my favourite thing to do.

I couldn't decide between a Passionfruit and lime tart or a Passionfruit flan with lime butter pastry. I really liked the idea of the lime pastry, and I didn't have double cream but did have light coconut cream, so I made a combination of both - a zesty lime sweet pastry for the shell, filled with a passionfruit-lime-coconut cream middle mm-mmmm!  I kind-of overbaked the pastry. I was bathing the kids and cooking dinner, rice. I could smell rice, but thought 'no, I've turned the rice off'. A good 20 minutes later I realised it was the rice in the shell that was blind baking. Oops! Chocolate shell? Now there's an idea.

My boys get really excited about the idea of dessert, but often don't want anything other than icecream or custard. The absolutely loved this ("can I have mine without the black bit, Mum"). Both wanted seconds. And thirds. Which was probably just as well, as I could have eaten half of it myself.

This recipe makes a really big tart, bigger than the quiche dish I own, so there was enough pastry left for a couple of mini's (which I didn't burn), and still some filling left over.

Passionfruit Tart with Lime Butter Pastry

zest of one lime
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp water
225g (1/2 cup) plain flour
60g icing sugar
125g butter, chilled, chopped

200ml passionfruit pulp (about 10-15 smaller passionfruit)
2 tsp finely grated lime ring
40ml lemon juice
60ml lime juice
155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
270ml tin light coconut cream
6 eggs, lightly whisked

1. Process the flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the lime zest and stir through. Add the egg yolk and water, processing until the dough comes together.  Cover in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge of 30minutes to rest.

2. Blitz the passionfruit pulp in a food processor for a few seconds, then strain it through a sieve. (the seeds wont be chopped up, it just separates the seeds from the flesh making it easier to strain).  Whisk passionfruit juice, lime rind, lemon and lime juice, caster sugar, coconut cream and eggs in a bowl. Place in the fridge 1 hr to chill. Add 1 1/2 tbsp seeds back to the mix. If you prefer, you could leave them out all together.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200C.  Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 4mm-thick disc.  Line a 3cm-deep, 23cm fluted tart tin, with removable base, with pastry. Or your quiche dish. Trim the pastry. Cover with non-stick baking paper and fill with pastry weights or rice (don't  use rice that you might want to cook afterwards). Bake for 10 minutes. Remove paper and pastry weights/rice. Bake for 8 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool slightly.  Place tart on a baking tray.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 150C. Pour filling into the pastry case. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until just set. Set aside to cool. Place in the fridge for 1 hr to chill. 

Yesterday, I made Passionfruit and Lime Cupcakes. They were OK. Not the best, cooked them for too long. The recipe said 20 minutes, which I did think was a bit long for cupcakes. I'd planned to check them after 10 minutes but got busy until the timer went off after 16 minutes. My Mum always checks baking when she smells it. I dont think she burns much either. Turns out Mum's do know everything.

We have a bazillion broccoli in the garden right now. Broccoli soup?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Curtains for a baby

No, not my baby! My neighbour's baby. She found some great off white curtain fabric for $5/m on a clearance table and I volunteered to sew up curtains. How hard could it be.

Hem four straight edges. Curtain tape across the top and a blindstitch hem along the bottom.

About 2 (non-consecutive) hours later...Hey presto, new curtains. Fit for a beautiful new girl. (Sorry I didn't get to photograph them up in the room).

We're not quite sure whether they'll keep as much sunlight out as she wanted, perhaps a blind behind them will do the trick...

And because they were a plain white (well, plain cream), I thought some bunting would dress them up a bit. I went for the 'neat' finish, rather than 'pinking shear' edges.

The owl fabric was left over from some I had bought to use as trim on a soft, brushed cotton cot blanket for Little Miss.  I didn't have quite enough (always the way) to do both sides of two owl flags, so for the back I found some pale pink 'toile' print. I think I like the pink better than the owls.  I had a bit of a 'doh' moment, cut the first two pale pink flags, upside down. Probably would have gone unnoticed, but I knew. I did have enough to cut to more. Lucky.  Mental note for next time, think before cutting!


The supersoft cot blanket. Home made bias binding (loving it!) around the outside and a wider strip across the top. The finished size was 120cm x 137cm, which was about about 3cm shorter than I planned. I shouldn't have cut length of brushed cotton before washing it, but I wanted to leave some unwashed to make a rag quilt.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Friday

You know the feeling you get, when you drive off in the car, just by yourself. With no little people. On Friday before Mother's Day, I left the little two with a friend, so I could go to kindy for a Mother's Day afternoon tea. And be pampered. I was enjoying the thought of the pampering, probably a bit too much.
The pampering was, well it was nice. I looked nice- before kindy.  I still looked nice after kindy, according to my four year old, who painted my nails. Six different colours. Put eye shadow and blush on my face.  I didn't mind the gel in my hair so much, unlike one of the other Mum's..."oh honey, I've just washed my hair. Literally. Just now. Washed and dried it (she's smiling  grimacing at me across the table).. OK honey, go ahead". (Insert image of long hair being smushed with gel). I love my short hair. I also received a hand massage. We made a flower together with tissues. He made me a braclet with some beads. All in the space of an hour at kindy. Wow, we did a lot together.

The best part was eating the cupcakes that we decorated together. The real icing on the cake was listening to his description of the awesome plate that he made for me.  It has a half a rainbow over the top of us together.

The kids also gave the Mum's a little card watering can with flowers in it. So sweet.

And I didn't mind one little bit, being pampered by my little man. I loved it.

Then, when I got home, my kids had an early Mother's Day present for me. A new kettle! Clique I know, to get a 'kitchen gift' but that is what I wanted. And really, I'd been boiling water in a saucepan since Monday, which was getting old.

To top off a fantastic Mother's Day Friday. Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gingerbread Cookies & Bias Tape

OK. I am allowed to make gingerbread cookies. Just as well. I was going to anyway. These ones ended up being egg-free. Not because I didn't have an egg, which often happens, but because my nephew, who is allergic to eggs, was going to be visiting (but didn't). And they turned our great! I think they do rise a bit more with egg, but we quite like ours just like this. Mental note, no need for egg next time either.

The recipe for these delicious cookies is below. I think it's from a Women's Weekly cookbook originally.  I do often sit my mixing bowl on the scales and weigh ingredients into it, after learning that some things, like flour, especially the non-wheat, non-white varieties, can vary quite a bit in weight. If you dont weigh your flour and you thinks it's too dry add a bit of water or milk. Or an egg. And I never sift. Well almost never. I did sift the bicarb in this cute little mini sifter I have. It was pretty lumpy.

Gingerbread cookies (egg-free)
125g butter, chopped
1/3 cup (75g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (175g) golden syrup
3 cups (450g) plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves (grind some in a mortar and pestle if you need to)
2 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
icing and hundreds and thousands to decorate.

Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced. Grease and line oven trays with baking paper.
Combine butter, sugar and golden syrup in small pan, stir over low heat until smooth (or microwave). Cool 5 minutes.
Sift flour, spices and soda into large bowl; add butter mixture and vanilla extract (and egg if you're using one), stir until mixture is combined.
Knead dough on floured surface until smooth. Roll dough between sheets of baking paper to 5mm thickness; refrigerate 10 minutes.
Using biscuit cutters, cut out shapes from dough; place on trays.
Bake about 10 minutes or until browned. Cool on trays.
Decorate biscuits with icing and decorate with hundreds and thousands, coloured sprinkles, sparkling cachous or currants.

Makes about 40 cookies.

The dough was quite stiff, and went really hard in the fridge (too hard for the kids to cut shapes from). I was a bit worried it would be too crumbly, but the kneading sorted that out. Dont worry if the edges are a bit crumbly the first time you roll it out. Once you gather those bits up and roll it again it'll be fine (I only refrigerated once). It'll also be easier to cut the second and third...and fourth times around.

Now, the bit about the bias tape - I went looking for fabric to make into bias binding, to match this fabric that I've had in my stash for a really long time...

and when I found this...I though perfect!   Really?!

I keep thinking 'jelly stripes. It really is Hoot owl stripe something-er-other from Spotlight.  I did have this pale blue which would have been a nice match , but I didn't think it suited the person it was going to (plus I didn't have enough) - it was a bit too carefully matched, too 'run of the mill' and I wanted something a bit more daring and colourful.

Like I said, I didn't really have enough of the pale blue but I just wanted to make sure. (This was before I found the jelly stripes). I went scouring other blogs, trying to find out how much bias I would actually get out of my remnant, I discovered a few different ways of making bias tape.

Something for Kate, who keeps saying she needs me to teach her how to make bias tape, this tutorial is for you! Makes my method of marking and cutting seem unneccesarily tedious!! So EASY.

Guess what else? One metre of fabric makes around 8.5m of 1/2" double fold bias and about 5.5m of 1" double fold bias. Now I know! The other nifty thing I bought last week was a bias tape maker. Fantastic!

So, eventually, I completed this little project last weekend. Almost. I just need some cord to finish it off.

I cant tell you what it is, because I haven't gifted it to my friend yet. Can you (can she) guess? I'll let you know if you're right, after I've given it to her.

Hoot Owl Stripe David Textiles
Butterfly Bliss Michael Miller
Clover 25mm bias tape maker
Polyester batting

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sweet treat Tuesday


Today is baking day. I thought I'd wait until Keegan was home from kindy so he could help. On the way home he told me that he only bakes gingerbread cookies with Nan "in fact, I only bake any biscuits with Nan", which is a shame because she lives 780km away. Looks like she might have to come and visit again soon!

I started to make gingerbread biscuits then realised we didn't have enough golden syrup. Lucky, because "only Nan makes gingerbread biscuits, Mum".

So, here we have "Lactation Boosting Biscuits", AKA 'Boobie Biscuits' or 'Choc Oat Biscuits', until we can come up with a better name, that everyone can eat. I'm pretty sure my father-in-law didn't try one after he was told what they were called....  These biscuits are tasty, filling and suitable to eat whether you are breastfeeding or not!

Lets gather our supplies. Yes, you do have to use brewers yeast if you want to boost breast milk production. Historically, brewers yeast is a breast milk stimulant, though there is insufficient evidence to support its efficacy.  Both linseed meal and brewers yeast can be found in most health food stores. I buy mine from Bills Scoops in Kardinya.

Mix it up until it is a delicious sticky bowl of mess (this is what was left after I filled up the first trays).

QUICKLY, put them in the oven before they get eaten off the tray, right before your eyes.

I dont want to help make them because you're not Nan, but "please, can I have my photo taken with the biscuits, Mum?!"

Hot off the press, or more correctly, out of the oven

 Oh, yum, still warm, soft and gooey chocolate in the middle! Awesome...

So, here's the recipe.

Lactation Boosting Biscuits 
200g butter
1 cup sugar (I've just realised I didn't put sugar in...oops...they're still great!)
1 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp linseed meal
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 generous tbsp brewers yeast
3 cups oats
>1 cup dark choc chips (or raisins, sultanas, cranberries etc)

Preheat oven at 190C  (or 170C fan forced).
Mix together linseed meal and water, set aside for 3-5 minutes.
Cream butter and sugar,  add eggs one at a time, mix well.
Add linseed mixture and vanilla.  Beat until blended.
Sift together dry ingredients, except oats and choc chips then add to butter mix (dont forget the brewers yeast here).
Stir in oats then choc chips.
Roll into balls or scoop and drop onto baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes, depending on size of biscuits.

Makes about 60.