Salty Almond Praline

almondpraline

Sooo has anyone else realised that all 6 seasons of Xena are on Netflix? I’m still on the first season but my crush on Lucy Lawless is well underway. I’m also in disbelief that it was aired right after school in the afternoon, so many sexual references! Xena and Hercules are also fun to watch because of the number of Australian and New Zealand actors who played bit parts before they got famous (and before they could act, ZING!).

Of course Xena has nothing to do with this praline, I’m just spreading the good word. I have doubled the original recipe because you need half for you and the other half for making friends, bribes etc. Sprankle over ice cream, fold into brownies or eat straight from the oven tray. Bonus points for being vegan and gluten free.

Salty Almond Praline

Recipe hardly even adapted from Salty Maple Almond Praline over at The Sugar Hit.

2 cups whole almonds

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 tbsp maple syrup

4 tbsp brown sugar

sea salt to taste (I started with 1/2 tsp)

Preheat oven to 180 C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl, taste and adjust the flavours to your preference.

Spread evenly onto your prepared baking sheet and place in the oven for 8 minutes.

Remove the tray and mix the nuts, spread out evenly and bake for another 6 minutes.

Remove from the oven, give the nuts a final stir and set aside to cool completely.

Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Honey Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Swirl

pbicecream

The last few months have been hectic but satisfying. I’m working more which makes me really appreciate my leisure time. The way I’m choosing to spend my down time at the moment is basking in the glory that is Bridezillas. Watching crazy people makes me feel normal by comparison and I can’t help but point out to The Boyfriend how happy he should be with me. My immersion is getting to the point that hysterically yelling “I’m calling off the wedding!” is becoming the normal response to any kind of opposition. The best part is definitely the passive aggressive narration, it really is a cut above normal reality show standards. It has also strengthened decision to never, ever help anyone to plan and execute a wedding (sorry, Sarah).

With less time for recreational cooking I have to get my priorities in order and with the humidity that the citizens of Brisbane are subjected to on a daily basis, ice cream is very much at the top of my list. I’m still working my way through Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home and loving every minute of it. I had all of the ingredients for this in my fridge and pantry, my favourite kind of recipe. Whenever I try to drip chocolate into ice cream to create freckles, it reaches a critical point where the chocolate starts clogging up the spinning blade in my machine. Rather than blow my motor I find that it’s easier to layer the rest of the chocolate in the tub with the ice cream. If you have a fancier ice cream machine than me you might not even run into this problem (and if having your ice cream machine jam up with chocolate isn’t a first world problem, I don’t know what is).

Honey Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Swirl

Adapted from The Buckeye State Ice Cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.

2 cups milk

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornflour

3 tbsp cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup peanut butter (if using salted, omit the salt from the recipe)

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/4 cups thickened cream

2/3 cup caster sugar

2 tbsp glucose syrup

2 tbsp honey

115g dark chocolate

2 tbsp coconut oil

In a small bowl mix together 3 tbsp of milk with the cornstarch to create a slurry, set aside.

In a bowl large enough to hold the finished mixture whisk together the cream cheese, peanut butter and salt (if using) until smooth, set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, glucose and honey, bring up to a boil over medium heat and boil for 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat, whisk in the cornstarch slurry, return to the heat and stir for 1 minute until mixture has thickened.

Remove from the heat and gradually whisk into the prepared peanut butter mixture until smooth.

Cover the mixture with cling film, pressing it down on to the surface to prevent a skin forming.

Chill overnight in the fridge.

Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

While the mixture is churning, melt the chocolate and coconut oil together, stirring until smooth.

In the last minute of churning, start drizzling in the chocolate mixture (if the chocolate starts jamming up the machine, layer the chocolate in the tub with the ice cream instead).

Transfer the mixture into a 1L capacity container and freeze overnight.

Chimichurri

chimichurri

For the longest time I wasn’t a massive fan of steak but as far as I can tell it was due to a childhood of eating blackened steak cooked way past well done (the treatment that Australians seem to give everything that they put on the BBQ). In response to this depraved childhood I now take my steak rare, although I am a chronic over-cooker as befits my Australian heritage.

Chimichurri is my new steak sauce of choice, it’s rich but still super fresh and has garlic for days. This recipe will serve around 4 people but go ahead and double it because the more of this you can slather on your meat the better. Use it as a versatile sauce for any grilled meats and chuck it on your salad as a dressing while you’re at it. It’s even great as a dip, I know that we couldn’t stop scooping it up with fresh bread. I’ve also got plans for using it on a steak sandwich, seriously, chimichurri can do anything.

Adapted from Chimichurri over at David Lebovitz.

1 large red chilli

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh oregano)

1/2 – 3/4 tsp sea salt

4 cloves garlic

1 1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley

1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tsp lemon juice

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (start with 1/4 cup olive oil and add more in between pulses).

Alternatively, chop everything finely then combine in a small bowl.

Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream + Places to Visit in Perth

strawcheesecakeicecream

I’m back from Perth! It was a whirlwind of brunches and family parties, with sooo much good food. We made repeat appearances at Ootong and Lincoln and I drank the tastiest Iced Coffee of my life at Typika, not to mention their insane Pulled Pork Quesadillas with Salsa (hopefully I will have a copy cat recipe up at some point).

typika

We had Tomato and Chilli Mussels at Little Creatures and ate Arepa’s and freshly fried Donuts at the Freo Markets. I tried the Hashbrown with Poached Eggs at the Little Stove Cafe and at The Roasting Warehouse I absolutely monstered the Cornbread with Maple Bacon, Poached Eggs and Salsa (this one would be super easy at home).

maplecornbread

This ice cream recipe is un-related to my trip to Perth (I didn’t get any photos of my food over there). It’s crazy easy and delicious, make it for the person in your life who can never get enough cheesecake.

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Cheesecake Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop.

Strawberry Swirl:

2 1/4 cups chopped strawberries

1 cup caster sugar

Combine the strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil for 5-8 minutes (until it reaches 105 C).

Allow to cool slightly then push through a fine sieve to remove the seeds.

Cover with cling film (press the cling film on to the surface of the syrup to prevent condensation) and chill completely in the fridge before using.

Ice Cream:

250g cream cheese

1 lemon

1 cup greek yoghurt or sour cream

1/4 cup thickened cream

1/4 cup milk

2/3 cup sugar

big pinch of salt

Cut the cream cheese into small pieces then place in a blender.

Zest the lemon directly into the blender then add all of the other ingredients and puree until completely smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover with cling film (pressing it onto the surface of the mixture) then chill thoroughly in the fridge.

Churn in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions, then transfer to a 1L container in alternating layers with the Strawberry Swirl.

Chill for at least 4 hours before eating.

If you have any extra Strawberry Swirl then add it to the ice cream as you eat it.

Peanut Butter Slice (No Bake, Gluten Free)

peanutbutterslice

The recipe that I adapted this from required the peanut mixture to be rolled into bite sized balls but I got about four done before I threw in the towel. I decided to improvise by turning it into a slice but it looked a little naked once I pressed it into the slice tin, so on went the chocolate topping. And you know what? They accidently taste like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Except that they have more texture (which I like) and there is no sugary centre that sets my teeth on edge (which I love). This can be made vegan by using agave instead of honey and vegan chocolate for the topping. I have whipped this up a few times now and it is so quick and easy but big impact flavour-wise. You would get serious brownie points if you gave this to any chocolate-peanut-butter-lovers.

Peanut Butter Slice (No Bake, Gluten Free)

Adapted from Peanut Butter Bites over at Sprouted Kitchen.

1 cup almonds

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup pitted dates, chopped

1/2 cup peanut butter

2-3 tbsp honey (or any kind of liquid sweetener)

big pinch of salt

1/2 cup dark choc chips

2 tbsp coconut oil

Line a slice tin with baking paper.

Pulse the almonds in a food processor until they become a rough meal.

Add in the vanilla, cinnamon, dates, peanut butter, honey and salt, pulsing until it reaches an even consistency and sticks together when you pinch it (if it doesn’t, keep adding honey 1 tablespoon at a time and pulsing until it does).

Press the mixture evenly and firmly into the prepared slice tin.

Gently melt the chocolate and coconut oil together ( I use the microwave) then spread evenly on top of the peanut butter mixture.

Chill in the fridge until the chocolate is set then cut into small pieces.

Cheesy Zucchini Bites

zucchinibites2

A savoury recipe? Whaaaaaaaaaat. Don’t worry, I’m not ill, I just had a bunch of zucchini’s to use up. As soon as these bites were cool enough I tried one, then another one, then just one more to be completely sure that they were DELICIOUS. These would be great for picnics, lunchboxes and as a savoury snack in general. You can flavour them any way that you like, just make sure you don’t add anything with too much moisture. I have dreams of doing a feta and mint version, how rad would that be?

Cheesy Zucchini Bites

Adapted from Baked Cheesy Zucchini Bites over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

3 cups grated zucchini, packed (about 3 medium zucchini’s)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 tsp garlic powder

6 tbsp finely chopped parsley

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 C and line a large baking tray with baking paper, spray it lightly with oil.

Place the zucchini in a kitchen towel and wring out as much liquid as possible (do this over the sink).

Mix together the zucchini with all of the other ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and slightly flatten them using your hands.

Bake for 16-20 minutes or until the edges start to brown (this depends a lot on your oven).

Allow to cool on the tray, eat warm or at room temperature.

Almond Brownies (Gluten Free)

almondbrownie

New favourite brownie recipe (you can have more than one favourite, right?). Super easy but makes the moist-est, fudgiest brownies in the known universe. They’re like eating brownie batter but this way it’s socially acceptable. It just takes one saucepan and minimal elbow grease. If you don’t need them to be gluten free then just replace the almond meal with plain flour.

Almond Brownies (Gluten Free)

Adapted from Sarah’s Cocoa Hazelnut Brownies over at The Sugarhit.

150g butter

1 1/4 cups caster sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp fine salt

2 eggs

1/3 cup almond meal

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 160 C and line an 8 X 8 baking tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on low heat then mix in the sugar, cocoa, vanilla and salt, allow to cool for 5 minutes off the heat.

Beat in the eggs and almond meal then fold in the chocolate chips.

Transfer to the prepared baking tin and spread evenly with a spatula, sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, allow to chill completely before cutting into squares.