Sunday, November 19, 2006

Texas Corn Bread

I received a number of corn bread recipes in response to my request. Needless to say, the ingredients were basically the same but the proportions vary enormously. This recipe kindly sent by Beverly makes a nice runny batter and moist corn bread. It goes great with turkey and cranberry leftovers!

1 c yellow cornmeal (I've also used polenta or coarse grind cornmeal)
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 t salt
1 c buttermilk
1 egg
1 T baking powder
1/2 c milk
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 c melted butter

Thoroughly mix the cornmeal, flour, and salt. Then add the buttermilk, egg, baking powder, milk, baking soda, and melted butter. DO NOT MIX!! DO NOT BLEND!! (Yet)

Grease an 8" square cake pan, muffin tins, or cornstick molds and heat them in the oven. Stir the cornmeal mixture until just combined and pour into the hot, prepared pan.

Bake at 450 degrees until done, about 20 minutes. The bread will be light and moist and brown and crusty on the bottom. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie

Sweet Short Pastry
Buy it if you must but it is so simple to make:

75g butter
3 tsp water
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg yolk (save white for pie filling)

Beat together in food processor until a blob forms. Don't try to roll into a flat sheet, just take clumps and press into your pie dish. Prick bottom of pie crust with a fork in several places.

I usually make three times the pastry and filling recipe which is plenty for two 20cm pie dishes. Any pastry and filling left over can be used in ramekins to make mini-pumpkin pies like this:

Pumpkin Pie Filling
Use this as a starting point and make up your own variations. Provided there are enough eggs to make a custard, the mixture is very forgiving:

1 cup pumpkin pulp (eg butternut or Jap/Kent)
1 egg (plus whites left over from the pastry)
1 dessert spoon flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg and ginger
2 tablespoons sugar

Blend together in food processor or big bowl until smooth.
Pour into base and cook 40 minutes at 200C (400F).

This makes a golden coloured pie like this:

If you use molasses/treacle instead of golden syrup and use brown sugar, you get a darker pie like this:

Other variations include adding grated fresh ginger and Chinese five spice. And I have it on good authority that cracks and pooling of sugar is the hallmark of a good pumpkin pie...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Classic Masala Curry & Rice Pulao

When I was in Canberra, I had the treat of dining at an Indian restaurant. Here at Copacabana, we do not have such exotic dining options and have to be more self sufficient. This is a versatile Terry Durack recipe from Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend magazine back in 2001 :

Basic Curry (serves 4 but can stretch a little)
2 T butter
2 T vegetable oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 T finely grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 t cayenne powder
2 t garam masala* (see recipe below)
1 t ground cumin
1 t salt
800g canned tomatoes, chopped
150 runny cream (not strictly necessary but yummy)
handful fresh coriander leaves

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based pan, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spices and salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes or until the oil comes to the surface. Gradually add the cream, stirring constantly without boiling.

Other variations:
  • Chicken Masala - 450g boneless chicken meat cut into bite sized chunks, seasoned well with salt and pepper and browned and semi-cooked in separate frying pan before adding to curry.
  • Prawns - add peeled cooked or uncooked prawns to curry and warm through/cook just before serving.
  • Lamb - add 450g large diced lamb to curry and slow cook in 150C oven for 45-60 minutes.
The curry can be made in advance and often tastes even better a day or two later:

Garam Masala
Garam Masala is an aromatic essential seasoning in the cuisine of Northern India. You can purchase it at Asian markets or make your own. Here are a couple of different methods:

From ground spices mix:
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 2 t black pepper
  • 2 t ground cardomom
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground cloves
To grind your own:
Combine the following spices on a baking tray:
  • 2 t whole black peppers
  • 2 t cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 t coriander seeds
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • 3/4 t whole cloves
  • 1/2 t cardomom seeds (without pods)
  • 1 stick cinnamon (broken)
Roast at 125C for about 20 minutes. Grind in blender or mortar and pestle.

Rice Pulao
Risotto aside, I've never been much good at cooking rice but this works every time (especially if you use a non-stick pot). It's worth the extra effort:

300g basmati rice
2 T vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely sliced
1/2 t cumin seeds
1/2 t brown mustard seeds (I've been known to use ones that don't look more golden)
1/2 t salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t tumeric powder
1 bay leaf
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
2 cloves
600 ml water

Wash the rice in cold water and drain well. Heat the oil and fry the onion until soft and brown. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cook for one minute. Add the salt, pepper, ground cumin, coriander and tumeric, stirring. Add the drained rice and toss well to coat the spices. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.

Add 600 ml boiling water, bring back to the boil, stirring, then reduce heat and cover tightly (wrap the lid with a piece of kitchen foil, scrunching it around the edges). Cook very gently for 15 minutes (don't lift the lid during that time), then loosen the grains with a fork, cover and set aside for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I was horrified on Saturday night when Leona said that she'd had pancakes for brunch on Saturday... I probably would have been ok has she got one of those pancake mixes, but she'd purchased pre-made pancakes. Apparently the look on my face was priceless.

(As opposed to the pancakes which I suspect were a small fortune.)

The following recipe is one I perfected during my summers at Cafe Luna in Hahei... and super easy to make bigger quantities, if you can do your 1 x tables.

1C Flour
1C Milk
1 Egg
1t baking Powder
1T Sugar
1 pinch of salt

Whisk; leave about 1/2 an hour to bind; pour into pan; turn etc

Makes about 6 which is good for two people. Serve with real butter and golden syrup.

You can also add things like vanilla, some plain yoghurt, spices, whatever to give the pancakes different flavours.

L will have to come back and defend herself next weekend once she's tested the recipe.