30 June 2010

Yoghurt Week - Day Three & NCR Winner

















A cake for day three of Yoghurt Week. One I have made twice now. The flavour of coconut and orange together is just glorious and the texture of the cake is really fluffy. This cake is a joy to make and a joy to eat.

The first cake I frosted with orange icing and topped with giant buttons. As you will see from both cakes, my icing skills leave a lot to be desired. The second cake was baked for my friend Trudi's birthday and the icing was supposed to be orange once again. I know it is red, really, really red. What can I say, except food colouring bottles need a redesign. A dripper would be much easier for a clutz like me. Splut and red cake it is! Trudi loved her cake, so that's the main thing.




















Frosted Coconut Orange Cake
adapted from Cakes
by Rachel Lane & Carla Bardi

½ cup milk
½ cup Total Greek Yoghurt
¾ cup shredded coconut
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup/125g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
zest of 1 orange
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt


Frosting

2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice


Colour as required.

In a bowl mix together the milk, yoghurt, coconut and orange juice. Cover the bowl and leave to stand while you work on the rest of the cake.

Preheat the oven to 170f/325c/gas mark 3. Line your cake tin with greaseproof paper or a liner. My cake tin is a 9 inch/23cm one, but if your tin is slightly different then just keep an eye on the cake as it gets near to the end of baking.

In a large bowl beat together the sugar, butter and orange zest until light and creamy then add the eggs one at a time, continuing to beat as you do so. Gradually beat in the flour, baking powder and salt. Adding some of the coconut mixture after each addition of flour until it is all used.

Spoon the cake mixture into your pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. Check the cake is ready by inserting a skewer, toothpick or as my mum does, a fine knitting needle. If it comes out clean, then the cake is done.

For the frosting mix together the melted butter and icing sugar and add a little orange juice at a time until you have the desired consistency. Add colour at this point, if you wish.

And on to other news, we have a winner for this month's No Croutons Required.

This month's challenge was to create a vegetarian soup or salad featuring the humble courgette or zucchini as it is sometimes known and it was a humdinger of a round. All the entries were so varied and mouth-watering. I am sure it was hard for everyone to choose, but one entry took the lead and was triumphant.

So, without further ado I would like to congratulate Vanessa from Sweet Artichoke, who won with her luscious Zucchini and Lentils Cold Soup. And to tie-in nicely with Yoghurt Week, I would like to point out that the soup contains yoghurt. He, he, it couldn't have worked out better.


29 June 2010

Yoghurt Week - Day Two
















Day two of Yoghurt Week and I was excited to make and try these puff tarts. Cooper has been a bit poorly today, but this is an easy recipe.

I used ready-made puff pastry (life is just to short to make your own, although it is fun to make), ready-made custard, Total Greek Yoghurt, a vanilla pod, fresh berries and a sprinkling of icing sugar.

Heart Tarts



















1. Flour your work surface and roll out a block of puff pastry until it is roughly 3 or 4 mm thick. I sprinkled my rolling pin and surface with icing sugar, but flour would do.

















2. Use a knife to carefully cut out heart shapes, approximately 11 or 12 centimeters high. If you have a cutter, feel free to use that.

















3. Score a line into the pastry, following the shape, about ½ cm in from the edge. This will create a lip which will hold in the custard filling.

















4. Brush the pastry hearts with milk. Place the hearts on a baking tray covered in greaseproof paper. It might be an idea to flour the paper too, as my hearts stuck a little. Place the hearts in a pre-heated oven. 200c/400f/gas mark 6. Bake for around about ten minutes until they are starting to turn golden.





















5. Mix together ½ cup custard and ¼ cup greek yoghurt.

















6. Slice along a vanilla pod with a sharp knife and scrape out all the seeds.

















7. Blend the vanilla seeds into the custard mixture.

















8. With a teaspoon, gently press down the pastry in the centre of the hearts, leaving a raised edge.

















9. Fill the pastry with the custard mixture.

















10. Top the custard with berries and once all the hearts are filled, put the hearts back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

















11. Remove the pastries from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before sprinkling with icing sugar.

















12. Place the pastry hearts in the fridge to cool and set. Then take one out and bite into it and sigh deeply as you fall in love with these dainty little treats.

Do try to share them.

28 June 2010

Yoghurt Week - Day One

















I was lucky enough to be sent out a rather large supply of Total Greek Yoghurt. I was extra pleased because it is my normal yoghurt of choice and I know just how delicious it is. It was a bit of a tight squeeze in my wee fridge, but all in all I was a very happy blogger.

I sat and had a think about what I might make with the yoghurt and instantly came up with a few ideas, so I decided to make a little series of it. I hereby christen this week 'Yoghurt Week'. I plan to post a different recipe or serving suggestion each day.

I am easing myself into Monday with some 0% Total Yoghurt for breakfast. "What's new about that?" I hear you say. May I remind you I have recently had a baby. Let me give you a run down of my morning.

Baby wakes. I wake. Baby plays with music box happily for 20 minutes or so. I lie with my eyes shut and try to wake up without alerting baby I am awake (sneaky huh?). I eventually give in to the fact that I have to get up. Baby is instantly aware I have opened my eyes and starts getting excited, gurgling and kicking his legs. I get out of bed, walk around the bed and smile down at baby in his crib and say good morning. Next, I wake daddy, who has to get up for work anyway and pass baby to him. Daddy takes baby and changes his nappy while I go downstairs and make daddy's lunch. Daddy brings baby downstairs and I feed baby for about an hour, playing on facebook whilst feeding baby.Daddy leaves for work during this time. Baby finishes feeding and I burp baby. Chat to baby for a while and then head upstairs with baby to make the bed and tidy around. Head downstairs, open mail and water plants. Take baby upstairs and give him his bath and get him dressed. Read baby a story, have a cuddle. Time for another feed and some time to check emails and blog whilst feeding baby. Do a spot of housework, have shower and get dressed. Time for another feed. "Oh my goodness, it's 2pm and I haven't had anything to eat yet!".

Yes, that is how my morning usually goes. Breakfast doesn't get a look in and if I have to be anywhere early it is a nightmare and the house is just abandoned in whatever state it is in until we get home again. Goodness knows how I am going to manage when I go back to work.

Baby has kindly fallen asleep this morning. Neither of us are washed and dressed yet, but I am going to take advantage of the moment and have some breakfast. I am going to treat myself to my favourite Summer start to the day. Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit and honey. As an extra treat I am having my yoghurt, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with a dollop of manuka honey (courtesy of my friend Lisa). Mmmmmmmm, it is so good. More like caramel than honey.

Breakfast. I should have it more often.

24 June 2010

Courgette Vichyssoise With Parmesan Crusted Courgette Croutons



I wanted to give you a chance to view my friend Hilary's entry for this month's No Croutons Required, so you could judge it properly alongside the other entries. So without further ado, I pass you over to Hilary.

Summer has finally arrived in Bonnie Dundee, and not being used to the heat I felt like I wanted to cool down. I decided to try to create a cold soup for the No Croutons Required challenge. I am a huge fan of Gazpacho, but felt a different treatment was required for the courgette… and then I hit upon the idea of using courgette as the flavour in Vichyssoise instead it’s more wintery friend, the humble leek….. I was very pleasantly surprised with the result, and the great advantage to this soup is that if the weather doesn’t hold it is equally good served hot!








Courgette Vichyssoise with Parmesan Crusted Courgette Croutons

2 ½ organic courgettes
2 organic medium potatoes
½ medium onion (finely chopped)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
salt & pepper
semi skimmed milk
2 tsp marigold bouillion – with 500ml boiling water

garnish – ½ courgette ( cubed), grated parmesan, olive oil

drizzle – lemon zest (unwaxed), chopped parsley, olive oil


Method

1. Heat pan on medium heat, drop in olive oil, warm, then add onion
2. Peel outer skin from courgette and potatoes, and cube in 1cm cubes. Add to onion. Stir, and sweat veg for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
3. Bash garlic cloves with flat blade of knife and place in pot. Season veg with salt and freshly ground pepper.
4. Add 500ml marigold bouillion veggie stock and bring to gentle simmer. Put on lid, and continue to simmer for 30 mins on a low heat.
5. Fish out the 2 cloves of garlic, and then using a hand blender, blend soup. Add semi skimmed milk to required consistency. ( I used about 300ml)
6. Allow to cool before chilling in fridge.

To Serve:-

Make drizzle oil by combining lemon zest, parsley and olive oil and leaving to infuse

For croutons, heat olive oil in frying pan, than pan fry courgette cubes and after 5 minute remove cubes from pan, toss in grated parmesan and then return to pan for 2 mins, stirring constantly.

21 June 2010

NCR - The Courgette/Zucchini Roundup

For this month's No Croutons Required I asked you to create a vegetarian soup or salad featuring the humble courgette or zucchini as it is sometimes known.

I really didn't realise how versatile this unassuming vegetable could be until the recipes started pouring in. Have a look and see what you think. Do take the time to vote for your favourite.


1. Zucchini, Greens and Chickpea Salad with Blueberry Dressing
Johanna (Green Gourmet Giraffe)

Johanna has the most gorgeous little lemon tree in her garden and the lemons are ripe and ready for picking (you must go and have a look at the photo. It is the sweetest little tree). So she decided she just had to add some lemon to the most appealing blueberry dressing which coats her salad of zucchini, mixed green leaves and chickpeas.

Melbourne, Australia



2. Chilled Summer Salad
Sayantani (A Home Maker's Diary)

This is Sayantani's first time cooking zucchini and she has certainly done it proud in this vegetable packed pasta salad. Zucchini, carrot, potato, cauliflower, beans, capsicum, baby corn, onion, garlic and tomato, all lovingly swaddled in a luxurious cheese sauce. Mmmmmmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

India



3. Zucchini and Apple Salad with a Lemon Hazelnut Sauce (Taratorlu Kabak)
Janet (The Taste Space)

Janet transports us to Turkey with this salad. After gathering all the ingredients she needed, Janet baked zucchini and apples and then sprinkled them with chopped hazelnuts and drizzled on the most lush lemon and hazelnut sauce. Janet tells us "The winner in this recipe is the lemon hazelnut sauce. It is deliciously creamy with the roasted hazelnuts ground to a thick paste with garlic, and then infused with fresh lemon juice and olive oil". Sounds good, doesn't it and I just love the stripey zucchini.

Toronto, Canada



4. Zucchini Pasta Salad
Suzy (Strong Arms For Kids)

I don't think I can describe this dish as eloquently as Suzy, apart from saying I want to dig my fork into this right this minute, so I will let Suzy tell you in her own words. "Its a delicious pasta salad where the zucchini and carrots practically melts into the pasta creating a delicate texture. The tomatoes add some extra color and a bit of moisture to the dish. The portabellos on top give this salad a whole extra dimension allowing it to stand on its own as a main dish instead of just an interesting side." I hasten to add that Suzy has continued on to make this recipe over and over. The photo she has given us is of her first attempt, which mainly starred zucchini (just in case you are wondering where the carrot and tomatoes are).

Ishigaki, Japan

5. Courgette, Brie & Cumin Soup
Jacqueline (Tinned Tomatoes)

I bucked the trend and made soup with my courgettes. As soon as I had settled on my choice of ingredient, I knew what I was going to make. This is a simple soup I used to make fairly regularly, but haven't made for years now. I souped (forgive the pun) up the recipe by adding some cumin and cannellini beans and I was thrilled with the resulting rich and creamy soup. It is lovely and sunny here, so I could have served my soup cold, but heck, I like my soup hot, so that is how I served it.

host - not in vote

Dundee, Scotland



6. Mediterranean Courgette Salad
Lucie (Cooking at Marystow)

This salad is one for bbq season. Courgettes, red peppers, baby plum tomatoes, rocket leaves and spinach leaves. The courgettes and pepper are cooked on the grill for a lovely smoky flavour and the whole salad is coated in a lovely mustardy dressing. I think this would be a great salad to take along to a picnic.

Midlands, UK


7. Chickpea and Lentil Salad with Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Lisa (Lisa's Kitchen)

Doesn't this look amazing? It must taste fabulous. It is a combination of zucchini, puy lentils, chickpeas, red onion, red pepper, jalapeno pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and all dressed up in a sun-dried tomato dressing and a scattering of fresh basil. Mmmmmmmmmm, love it Lisa!

host - not in vote

London, Ontario, Canada


8. Zucchini and Lentils Cold Soup
Vanessa (Sweet Artichoke)

This is a real flavoursome soup that Vanessa has cooked up. She serves it cold, although her hubby, like me, likes his soup hot. It's a personal choice really, isn't it? She has certainly packed plenty of taste into her soup, whichever way it is enjoyed. Zucchini, black lentils, ground cumin, garlic, coriander leaves and yogurt. Don't you just want to dive in?

Switzerland


9. Courgette, Carrot and Orzo Salad
Mangocheeks (Allotment 2 Kitchen)

Mangocheeks grows her own courgettes, but they weren't quite ready to pick yet, so she bought some from her local farmer's market. She grated the courgettes along with carrots, added orzo pasta and some crunchy seeds and dressed her salad with olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. A simple, but delicious salad with a bit of crunch.

West of Scotland


10. Zucchini Salad with Minty Yogurt Dressing
Denny (Oh Taste N See)

Denny is marketing this as finger food. I think that's a pretty exciting way to serve up salad, although I could see myself getting into a right mess, but with a napkin at hand, who cares. The salad dressing is super tasty. Yogurt, lemon juice, freshly chopped mint, salt, freshly cracked pepper, ground cumin and topped with crunchy salted peanuts. Slurp!

Seattle, USA



11. Sage Marinated Zucchinis
Brii (Briiblog in English)

Those little jars of zucchini look fab, don't they? Brii whizzed up the zucchini, together with garlic, scallion, sage leaves and olive oil, in a mixer then left to marinade for 4 hours, although if you have the time, leave it for 24 hours in the fridge and it gets even better. As well as salad, Brii recommends using these marinated courgettes as base for a soup or on top of pizza, focaccia or quiche. Lovely!

Valsorda, Italy


12. Courgette Vichyssoise with Parmesan crusted Courgette Croutons
Hilary (emailed entry)

This delicious entry is from my good friend Hilary. She doesn't have a blog but wanted to join in this month and her food is always stupendously good, so I was more than pleased to accept her entry. Hilary is a joy to be around, she is one of those people that really sparkle and I think you could describe this soup in the same way. Think of a traditional Vichyssoise, but change the leek for courgettes. So, another cold soup for you to consider. I will be publishing this soup over the next couple of days, so that you have a chance to judge it along with the other entries.

Dundee, Scotland


13. Grilled Vegetable Tortilla Soup
Claire (Chez Cayenne)

Grilled veggies really enhance the flavour of this wonderful soup. Zucchini, corn, poblano peppers, sweet onion, fire-roasted tomatoes and garlic are the base of this soup. Throw in some spices, tortillas and avocado and you have one humdinger of a soup and a big smile from those you serve it to.

Houston, Texas, USA


14. Zucchini Carpaccio Salad
Sweatha (Tasty Curry Leaf)

In case you don't know what carpaccio is, I will let Sweatha explain. "Carpaccio is a dish made of raw meat (or veggie as in my case) which is thinly sliced and topped with dressing or sauce and is served as an appetizer." Sweatha sliced her zucchini so thin that it is transparent. A mandoline is good for this, but watch your fingers, it is a dangerous beast. The zucchini is layered on to a plate, seasoned and topped with spring onions, chives, dill, crumbled paneer, toasted pine nuts and finished off with a lemony dressing. Tasty, tasty as my husband would say.

Bangalore, India



15. Warm Potato and Zucchini Salad, Indian Style
Maybelle's Mom (Feeding Maybelle)

This is another dish that makes the most of the excellent flavour that roasted vegetables bring to a meal. Maybelles mom roasts zucchini, cauliflower, potatoes, red onion and chickpeas. You just know it is going to be good already, don't you and that is before the veggies are tossed in spices. Garam masala, turmeric, ground ginger, cumin, salt pepper and olive oil. This salad is going on my list of must-haves!

Cleveland, Ohio, USA



16. Courgette and French Bean Salad
Brownieville Girl (Brownieville Girl)

This, our last entry is from Brownievile Girl and I have to let her describe it to you. It sounds so good when she does. "The soft, smooth grated courgette was a wonderful textural contrast to the crunchy barely cooked french beans. The mellow caramelised onion brought a warm back note to this otherwise zingy salad." Mmmmmmmmm, did that description get your attention? It got mine. I think it is the carmelised onion that had me immediately and the salad is finished with a lovely mustardy dressing, one of my all time favourites.

Ireland

So that is the roundup and a stunning one it is at that. I am continually astounded at how each round of No Croutons Required just gets better and better.

Please vote for your favourite dish.


Keep moving down the page if you would like to see who won my veggie haggis or just to have a laugh at my inept independent adjudicator who kept throwing the hat in the air and scattering the names assunder. Oh well, he is only a few months old and we did get a winner in the end, although he thought he was in a spy movie and tried to eat the evidence. Very funny!

National Vegetarian Week Giveaway Winner

And the winner of the veggie haggis is ..........





























My independent adjudicator has chosen Choclette as the winner of my National Vegetarian Week Giveaway. Congratulations Choclette. A veggie haggis will be winging (yes they do fly) it's way to you just as soon as you email me your details.

The No Croutons Required Roundup will follow later today.

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