Treasure Finds

I actually discovered a little treasure of a bookstore on Charlotte Street, here in Brisbane called ‘Archives’. It’s a handsome second hand bookstore. I have to admit, as much as I love the smell and feel of brand new prints, I also share a love for the lovely old browned page of a book someone else in the yesteryear has enjoyed and managed to treasures all these years.

I also checked out another new cafe, Belissimo! with god awful cakes and excellent coffee (that’s a piccolo latte I’m having, my absolute favourite) . I ordered a lemon meringue cupcake with a ‘curd’ surprise in the middle whereas my friend had a white chocolate raspberry mud cake. Both a waste of our money. Both the cakes were dry like as if they have been left in the fridge for a month and the curd tasted like lemon detergent. I found it pretty strange that a joint that made such good coffee was messing up the cakes. Pity. But I signed up for coffee appreciation classes with them and can’t wait till I try it out.

In other treasures I have uncovered, is a 20 minute raspberry cream cheese tart recipe which I made today. The the filling was a Paula Deen (Food Network)recipe and the raspberry sauce was my own.

I used Sara Lee frozen raspberries which were going on discount at $3.99. Not one to say no to discounts I took the liberty to get me a few boxes to last the next few weeks and needless to say I use raspberries in everything except curry. In fact I even experimented with making Raspberry tea yesterday night and maybe I will post a recipe once I have perfected it.

And look! They turned out pretty great and obviously with a 15 min tart you buy your tart shells which always are in the frozen food section at your grocers. I like to use the ‘Pampas’…. mostly because that’s the only brand they have at my supermarket.

They were pretty darn good and I think they could be quite healthy (don’t quote me on that) if you perhaps choose low-fat cream cheese or something like that. I am not familiar with that area of practice since I always go full-fat with milk cheese and butter because I believe it makes my skin glow and my hair shine.

Love,

The Starting Chef

 

Recipe

Ingredients

Makes 12 tarts

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 frozen Pampas tart shells
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup cold water

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake tart shells for ten minutes and let it cool.

Combine the raspberries, sugar, and orange juice in a saucepan. Whisk the cornstarch into the cold water until smooth. Add the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the desired consistency is reached. The sauce will thicken further as it cools. You can sieve the sauce if you have time but I like it with the seeds.

 Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. ( I used a whisk and it was fine) Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Spoon cream cheese mixture over half baked tart shells. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow tarts to cool completely. Serve with raspberry sauce on top.

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Lazy Saturdays


I don’t know about yours but I like my Saturdays served lazy.

Waking up to room service knocking on your door , having a nice warm shower and then making your way down to a cute French bakery down the street? I don’t know anything that could be better.

(Except of course not having a shower and going to the coffee shop under my block and having roti prata with fish curry and a steaming cup of black coffee. But this is not an option)

I am not trying to make any of you jealous because… really.. waking up to the breaking dawn and going for 10km run and having muesli for breakfast would be infinitely better for your health but in all honesty I truly believe pastries and coffee give about the same effect on your mood and much more easier to achieve.
Anyway the point I wanted to make was this French bakery I found today morning was brill. Loved the waiters and the counter girl (all of them French no less) , all of them friendly and sweet. (My waiter even fixed my creaky table for me. Very gallant.)
It is called Le Bon Choix and it’s situated in the far end of Queen Street. Cakes, bread, macaron and croissants you name it they have it and all in fine taste.
What impressed me best was the almond croissant. It was warm, crumbly, buttery, sweet with the slight crunch of  the toasted almonds as you bite into it…as the crumbs unglamorously fall onto your lap and nestle all over your chin… Maybe not if you’re one of “those”.

But anyway, point being -they are delicious. The plain croissants are stuffed with a rich almond cream filling known as crème d’amandes. Traditionally French bakeries used this method to give new life to day-old croissants. And boy am I glad I was the one to give new life to this day old croissant. My kind act for the day.

Love,
The Starting Chef
P.S: That’s the chocolate donut I had after the almond croissant because life is short.

Strawberry Truffle Tart

Yes I AM back. Once again I have been so caught up with work and completely piss tired after hanging out with my friends and KB that I completely forgot about my blog! Again!

But a few days back I was browsing the net and I came across a recipe for ‘Raspberry Truffle Tarts’, on the website it looked as amazing as I imagined it to taste like.

Unfortunately, my beloved Samsung Camera died on me. Yes it did. The day before my graduation ceremony when I was in Perth last month. My mum bought a cheap Canon one. For the price AUD100 it took decent photographs but this truffle tart that I made was taken by KB’s Iphone3G. The quality ain’t so good. I have to invest in a camera soon. Maybe me, my bro and KB should share $$ and get one of those fancy schmancy DSLR cameras or whatever it is people call them nowadays.

Plus I need to get a food processor. I want a Cuisinart food processor but my budget only allows a Kenwood one but still not so bad. Meanwhile I am making do with a mortar and pestle to crush the daylights out of the biscuits used to make bases for my cheesecakes and tarts. Very messy.

Okay I can whine for days if you let me, so let’s get moving to ma truff tarts.

Firstly, I met KB at Carrefour at Plaza Sing (that’s where we roll) where he was extremely late but me being the gracious lady I spent the extra time browsing through the many goodies there!

(BTW grocery shopping is my favourite past time)

However, the 20 inch heels that I vainly wore that day didn’t permit me to browse too much so I contained myself to the bread section. The bread section in Carefourr is unbelievable. I got crankier by the second regardless of my stationary position, thankfully KB arrived right around then and made me feel MUCH better by laughing at my selection of shoes that day.

ANYWAY, I kindly informed KB that I wanted to make rasb truff tarts, so we went in search of raspberries and the sales assistant there kindly informed US that raspberries were sold out. That was enough to make me throw a hissy fit, but KB dragged me along before I could do any damage and coerced me to get strawberries instead.

Strawberries as substitutes for raspberries?!?! Pffft unheard of. But I bought it anyway saying that it would be used for another purpose AND DEFINITELY NOT FOR MY RASPBERRY TRUFFLE TARTS.

And because KB was blessed with a kind heart since birth we ended up at the Cold Storage at Northpoint to see if they had any raspberries there. But there were absolutely NO RASPBERRIES.

So my point is…. Yesterday I made Strawberry Truffle Tarts.

And boy was it good.

Love,

TSC

Adapted from Joy of Baking

Biscotti Crust:

8 ounces (225 grams) store bought biscotti, broken into pieces

5 – 6 tablespoons (70 – 84 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

140 ml strawberry sauce (recipe follows)

10 ounces (I used 340 grams) semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (Good quality pls, I used Ghiradeli)

1 cup ( I used 300 ml) heavy whipping cream (contains 36-40% butterfat)

Strawberry Sauce:

1.5 cups fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar, or to taste

Garnish:

Fresh strawberries

Strawberry Truffle Tart: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degree C). Have ready a 8 – 9 inch (20 – 23 cm) fluted tart pan.

Biscotti Crust: In your food processor, place the biscotti and process until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and add the melted butter. Stir to combine. Press this mixture over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before adding the filling.

Strawberry Truffle Filling: First, make the strawberry sauce. Place 1 cup of fresh strawberries in your food processor and process until the strawberries are broken up. Pour into a strainer, set over a bowl, and gently press the strawberries to extract their juices. Add sugar to taste. You will need 140ml of strawberry sauce.

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes or until melted. Stir until smooth. Stir in the strawberry sauce. Pour the chocolate filling into the baked and cooled crust, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

To Serve: Cut into small slices and serve with fresh strawberries, whipped cream and/or creme fraiche but it tastes perfect just on its own.

Serves about 12 – 14 people

Kueh Tart (Pineapple Tarts)

 

 

 

 

Kueh Tarts have become that much easier to make because of the pre-made pineapple filling that’s available in every supermarket!  And I am wise enough to know what sort of stuff to make from scratch and what not to; and the pineapple filling is not one of them. Sitting down and grating the life out of the pineapple? I’ll leave that to the experts! But of course good on you if you choose to do so! ( My mum used to do that too)

 

Anyway, you can spruce up the filling (I use the BakeKing brand) by adding it to a heated pot, pouring in half a cup of water, one tablespoon of sugar, some pandan leaves and wait till its nice soft and sticky!

For the dough I am afraid I do not have the exact recipe as I measured it according to the texture of the dough.. But here it is, I added in 500gms of plain flour, 200gms butter at room temperature, half a tin of ghee (small) , one tbsp icing sugar, one egg, pinch of salt and a tbsp of vanilla essence and I was done. The dough should be able to form a nice smooth ball and not be sticky or crumble into pieces when you touch it. If it does just add more flour.

Then, I just rolled the dough into small balls, made a little indentation in the middle then I “sipet” (make designs) around the indentation. I baked it at 150degrees Celsius for about 10-15 minutes.

 

 

It turned out pretty and KB thought it tasted good too and he finished 8 tarts in one sitting while my bro and dad polished off the rest! I actually do not enjoy eating kueh tart or even mahmur for some reason, but I really enjoyed this one!

 

 

 

Love,

The Starting Chef