March 30, 2009

The Marriage of Shortbread and Caramel Pots

I can't believe it's the end of March and we still have 4-5 more weeks to get the house organized for 4 weeks holiday. I have cut back my raspberry bushes and I still need to apply some fertilizer to provide food, but the ground is so dry as we haven't got any rain for, let's see, at least a week and a half?

The weather is quite pretty with hot sun at midday but chilly mornings and nights. Mostly we have 10-12C to start with, and then will be improving to 26-28C at midday. I was careless about this drastic weather as often as I got sunburn on my face because I thought the sun will be mildly shining, you see. It's not Summer anymore, but here I am, got my lesson learned.


caterpilar on swan plant by ab '09

green pupa by ab '09

We've been watching monarch butterfly's life cycle these days (you may want to see my journal Raising Monarch Butterfly back in 2007 with updated photos, or visit my photos blog (Magical Moments), if you like. I've uploaded more photos for you to see, from tiny egg to newborn butterflies (perhaps your children or grandchildren might like to see too?). If you'd like to use the photos for a certain reason, please acknowledge me firsthand. I will send you the photos without watermarks with bigger pixels, if you like, just for the sake of science and awareness of green environment and raising Monarch butterfly at your home garden).

Back to the kitchen. It is the time for KBB#10: Caramel Pots with Minted Shortbread Sticks, which recipe you can view here (English and Indonesian versions).







velvety smooth caramel pot by ab '09

I know I won't be able to eat this, so I just dedicate it to my beloved, who love caramel sort of goodies. My kids like the shortbread, and that means, everyone is happy (well, I am happy too because they are, really).

homegrown peach by ab '09


In the orchard, there are peaches I have to keep picking and preserved, other than eaten fresh or let the brown rots taken them in a huge mess. It's pretty mad this year, both crops and brown rots. But the weeds! You have to look at our garden at the moment, the weeds are just growing crazily. They are just crazy! I think everyone in the neighbourhood has complained about this year's weeds. They're tough and self-seeds and just drop their tiny seeds, and off they go. Sadly, when we attend our garden regularly, we can't really expect anyone else to do the same, but they can expect us to receive their weed seeds blown by the wind or brought by birds to our lawn, garden, paddocks, and orchard. They believe that they can share their perfect mess. And yes, we got it, thank you very much.



IMG_1360


Anyway, with peaches are bountiful, I halved and caramelized them. I made plum puree and use it as the sauce. I just love its dark red colour. Suits the mood of brownish and yellowish colour in the whole frame. So, here's a vision: the father takes pleasure of the velvety smooth caramel pots, the mother devours the caramelized peaches, and the children enjoy the delicate minted shortbread, from one plate :) It's just like three bears without Goldilocks, don't you think?

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Caramel Pot and Minted Shortbread with Caramelized Peach



Waktu bikin KBB #10, aku bikin caramel pot dulu karena musti didinginkan. Setelah masuk ke kulkas langsung bikin shortbread-nya. Sehari jadi sih, soalnya bikinnya hari Minggu sejak pagi-pagi, disambil sama tugas-tugas rumah tangga lainnya. Anak-anak kebetulan ikut bantuin meremas-remas adonan shortbread sebelum ngacir ke rumah eyangnya di seberang jalan.


Caramel Pots

125g caster sugar, 2 sdM air, 125ml susu, 250ml krim, 3 kuning telur

Kocok dengan whisker gula ke dalam air di atas panci. Hati-hati saat memanaskannya (pakai api kecil saja) dan masak hingga berwarna coklat karamel. Campur susu dan krim di sebuah panci yang lain dan hangatkan, jangan sampai mendidih. Kocok dengan whisker susu ke dalam karamel. Biarkan dingin sejenak.

Kocok kuning telur hingga mengental. Tuangi sedikit demi sedikit dengan karamel panas tadi, aduk rata (pake whisker ngaduknya).

Tuang ke dalam 4 buah ramekin. Panggang di dalam water bath dengan suhu 160C selama 30 menit atau hingga set. Angkat, biarkan dingin, lalu masukkan ke dalam kulkas untuk didingkan lebih lanjut. Untuk 4 porsi.



Ketika nulis resep ini, aku sengaja meninggalkan satu step, yaitu saat mengocok kuning telur sebelum dituang ke dalam ramekin. Ingin tahu siapa yang teliti membaca resep sebelum bikin. Emma yang pertama ngacungin tangan dan sempat kongkalikong supaya jangan bocorin dulu ke teman-teman di milis hihihihi... Inget kan kata mbak Ine dan mbak Litha, kita ga cuma baking, tapi juga belajar teliti membaca resep. Iya dong, kudu dilatih indra ketujuhnya... loh?


KBB#10 Caramel Pots-Making by ab '09


Eniwei buswei, ga ada kesulitan yang major banget sih waktu bikin caramel pot ini, dan ukurannya pas banget sama 4 ramekin ukuran 3/4 - 1 cup. Jadi kangmas dah punya desserts untuk 4 hari. Beliau suka banget ama jenis2 caramel pud kayak begindang. Sweet tooth deh meskipun aku kurangi takaran gulanya 50g, beliau tetep enjoy.


KBB#10-Minted Shortbread by ab '09


Minted Shortbread Sticks

100g icing sugar, 200g tepung terigu, 100g maizena, 250g mentega tawar, lunakkan (di suhu ruangan), 1 batang vanili, ambil bijinya dan sisihkan, 1 batang daun mint, cincang (halus)


Panaskan oven suhu 150C. Alasi loyang dengan baking paper.

Campur icing sugar, semua tepung, mentega, biji vanili dan mint di dalam mangkuk dan aduk rata. Gilas sekitar setebal 1cm. Potong-potong dengan ukuran 2 x 8cm (like fingers). Letakkan ke atas loyang yang sudah dialasi baking paper dan panggang selama 20-25 menit, hingga sedikit kecoklatan (musti diingat, shortbread pada umumnya berwarna pucat). Biarkan dingin dan simpan di dalam wadah kedap udara hingga diperlukan. Untuk 30 potong.



Waktu bikin biskuit juga ga begitu ada halangan yang berarti. Hanya gulanya aku kurangi jadi cuma pakai 80g. Ketika mengaduk adonan pake tangan, anak2 sempat ketawa ketiwi karena adonannya lengket dan ga sempat mereka cetak karena udah dijemput sama eyangnya, jadilah aku yang menikmati hasil remasan mereka hehehehe. Mungkin karena pemakaian softened butter ya, jadi adonannya ga se'keras' adonan yang memakai chilled butter. Akhirnya sebelum dicetak aku masukkin ke kulkas dulu sekitar 15-20 menit, baru dicetak atau dibentuk persegi panjang. Selain dicetak persegi panjang, juga aku cetak bulat-bulat, sisanya dibentuk persegi panjang lagi.


caramelized peach by ab '09

Karena sedang panen peach pada saat pembuatan, aku juga memasak peach memakai brown sugar, caramelized. Sebentar aja sih, ga sampe peach-nya lembek. Aku juga bikin plum puree untuk dijadiin sausnya. Jadi di dalam satu piring, semua bisa makan: kangmas makan pudingnya, aku peach-nya dan anak-anak biskuitnya. Adil ya.

Sampai ketemu di KBB#11! Siap2 going traditional yaaaaaa!!








March 19, 2009

Pear Deals

Has Autumn arrived yet? It seems Summer is fading away with its heat, leaving us nothing but debris of latest harvests. Berries are a long gone season by now, well, from our garden anyway. Black Boy peaches have been bottled and enjoyed. Some late peaches are still green and slowly maturing when there's not enough heat to boost them to ripen, not sure when they are.

Our garden is such a mess with kikuya grass growing knee-high in my flower beds and around my roses beds. This is a hard grass with shoots can dig deep into the earth and one way to get rid of them in the garden is digging them out, otherwise they'll be back before I've finished the whole beds. It is a hard work, but I want to get everything done before we go to Indonesia in May. If I don't work on it now, I am not sure if I can get everything else done as well.


homegrown apple by ab '09 homegrown kiwifruit-3 by ab '09 homegrown nashi by ab '09


We're still enjoying nashi (have a look at my latest experiment on nashies) and apple from the orchard while kiwifruits are in awaits to ripen in Winter. For Eating with the Season, I am thinking to send a gluten-free cake experiment I made with pears. I use Borsch pears which have delicate flavour and excellent firmness to be cooked with cakes.


Gluten-Free Almond Chocolate Baby Pear Cakes-2 by ab '09


I meant to bake the baby cakes for me too, but when we tested, they failed the muscle test. A little bit disappointed as I had used ingredients which are gluten-free and fresh, but perhaps I shall also consider the combination of them that may work with my body. Anyway, I am still doing baking for my family, although I can't eat the baked goods. I also have been experimenting here and there, to find out which baked goods I can take and which combination of ingredients does not agree with me.

This is my entry for Eating with the Seasons, hosted by Maninas: Food Matters.

Gluten-Free Almond Chocolate Baby Pear Cakes by ab '09


Gluten-Free Almond Chocolate Baby Pear Cakes

1 1/2 cups Healtheries Simple Baking Mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 - 1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup rice bran oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 baby pears, peeled, cored, and quartered caramelized lightly with a little butter and brown sugar, set aside

Preheat the oven to 170C. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder in a bowl. Break the eggs in another bowl, whisk with caster sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until well-combined. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture, and fold in, mix well. Pour into 8 pudding moulds or 8-hole Texas muffin tin. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until cooked (after first 15 minutes, insert the quartered pear in each half-baked cake). Serves 8.


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March 12, 2009

Lamingtons and Cappucino in Memoriam


Dribbling by ab '09

Looking back this is, the day when I still could enjoy cappuccino and cakes. The cafe was just by the lake, Rotorua Lake, with boats floating faithfully accompanied by ducks, black swans and seagulls. Some visitors threw crumbs at these birds and they shrieked madly, trying to be the ones who could enjoy the biggest part, giving a crazy vision to my eyes. Black Swans are just like magical witchy crafts from Heaven but so powerful in beauty. I have had experience with geese which marked a scar on my thigh, forever one I am afraid, that I will not want to happen again although swan and goose are different, but they have similar beak and length of neck! And I photographed in a cloudy, wet day, before I enjoyed the fragrant and frothy cappuccino with a plate of lovely and moist slice of lamington triangles with piped cream decorated with a glace cherry.

lamingtons by ab '09

cappucino by ab '09


A memory indeed... I won't go back to that 'normal' day anymore. Don't pity me, please. I just want to be fit and healthy until the day it's chosen I won't be anymore. Enjoy your own health and fitness, my friends! Don't spoil it!

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March 05, 2009

Click: In the Wooden Basket

The more we are approaching the end of February, the cooler weather it is. Now, it is March and look at what we've got. One day of full sunshine, just lovely to take children to swim or cycle up the school, the next day can be abruptly an opposite with ghastly wind and heavy rain. We have to cancel to swim at the school club yesterday when we learned the wind turned to be a nasty strong bugger. There is no heater at the pool and I thought there would be no good point to swim in a cold wind.

I also was not really well a day before. Monday afternoon at the dance class there was a girl who was always keen talking to me and being near me. I knew she was having cold but it was just too mean to shove her off from me while she was enjoying my company. So, I was being a good ten year old girl and pretending not to know that there are possible germs or viruses started attacking me. Wednesday morning I decided not to go to Tai Chi class as I could feel the infection was developing in my system, and I did not want to infect aged ladies there. And guess what? I had had snooze twice in the afternoon instead of bothering to do the house chores. Something I have never done in my life, unless I am ill, the afternoon nap. My good husband took care of the house work, the piles of clothes I had missed to do with my busy early days of the week. I just love him.

This is my first illness of the year and first time to test out the newest method I have been applying to take food which are good for me that is, rather than give pleasures to the palate only. I feel so much benefit from muscle test, really. Last year, when I was attacked by the virus or same illness, it would take a week at least for me to recover, but now with this newest condition my body can deal with it much better than I can ever hope. It was only a day for my body to get rid of the virus, and here I am now, being active again. Although I still need to take Echinacea drops every two hours, I can feel that my body is a lot stronger than before. I am so happy that this muscle test works for me and keeps me aware of what I eat in order to stay healthy.

monarch butterfly by ab 08-09

Being healthy makes me happy. And there's another thing that makes me (all of us, to be frank) happy: we spotted monarch butterfly in our garden yesterday. YAY! I thought they won't come this year as they usually come to my garden and lay eggs in the middle or late February. I have been told that last year was a bad year for them. Can you believe that these insects are fluttering from one continent to the others just to lay eggs? They are pretty hard workers, these beautiful creatures. I often found the ones just came from, goodness, wherever, have faded wings and sometimes are torn. The wings are so worn out, you could just take a pity and help them gently to lay eggs on the proper place. I also have planted more swan plants this year, just in case more and more of them will be coming and I can't bear to look at starving caterpillars. You know, they are greedy when they have to eat a lot to wave wax around them before transform themselves into pretty fluttery butterflies. Oh, yes I and my children watch them every move, nothing to be missed!!

peach preserve by ab '09

One of these days, the fruit trees in our orchard are stripped off where the latest fruits are stored in the lidded jars. I bottled them to be enjoyed in Winter when there are out of season. I am quite keen on preserving and I think it is a good way to use up abundant of Summer fruits home-grown or locally grown.

Introducing you The Black Boy, one of many varieties of peaches we are home-growing. These peaches are ripening in the late season of Summer. I have to pick them just before they have gone soften as they are prone to brown rot and other disease, besides being yummy yummy food for possums and birds.


Black Boy Peaches by ab '09


This is my entry for Click: Wood. I am honoured to be on the judge panel this round before I have to pack to visit Indonesia in May. So, come on, send us your entries, let your imagination run wild with wood and make us impressed by your creations!