Friday, 15 May 2009

Petite Brioches

A wonderful breakfast treat - ideal for a special tea of coffee party and a great stater - all from one simple recipe. 4 cups all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons sugar 1 package Rapid Rise Yeast 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup water 3/4 cup butter or margarine -- cut in pieces 4 eggs CREAM CHEESE and FRUIT PRESERVES 1/3 cup whipped cream cheese 1/3 cup apricot, raspberry or cherry preserves HAM AND CHEESE 1 cup shredded cheese 1 cup diced cooked ham In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120º to 130ºF); butter does not need to melt. Gradually add to dry ingredients; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 3 eggs, 1 egg yolk (reserve egg white) and 3/4 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. With spoon, stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. (This can be done in a bread maker or a food processor) Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Stir dough down. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight. Remove dough from refrigerator; punch down. Transfer dough to floured surface. Remove 1/2 cup of dough; reserve. Divide remaining dough into 16 equal portions; shape each into ball. Transfer to 16 well-greased 2 1/2-inch brioche pans or muffin cups. Divide reserved dough into 16 equal pieces; shape each into ball. Make deep indentation in center of each large ball; moisten slightly with water. Press small ball into each indentation. Cover; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Lightly beat reserved egg white; brush on tops. Bake at 400ºF for 12 to 15 minutes or until done. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks. This is the unfilled variety - ideal for Breakfast or brunch - however you can make them into tea time treats or an unusual first course by filling each brioche as follows: • For Filled Petite Brioches: Flatten each large ball to 4-inch circle. Place desired filling (recipes follow) in center; bring dough up around filling, pleating and pinching firmly to seal. Transfer, pleated side up, to prepared pans. Proceed as recipe directs. Cream Cheese and Fruit Preserves: 1/3 cup apricot or raspberry preserves and 1/3 cup whipped cream cheese. Use 1 teaspoon each of preserves and cream cheese per brioche. Fruit Preserves: 2/3 cup apricot, raspberry or red cherry preserves. Use 2 teaspoons preserves per brioche. Ham & Cheese: 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese and 1 cup diced cooked ham. Use 1 tablespoon each of cheese and ham per brioche. Cheese: Grate or shred a sharp or flavoured cheese and mix with a little mustard - use 1 tablespoon per brioche. Pate: Fill with 1 tablespoon of good quality or home made pate. Seafood: Fill brioche with a mixture of anchovies (or anchovy paste) and tomato - or use smoked oysters - one per brioche. make up your own for a truly unique taste treat.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Chicken Alexander

Everyone in Zimbabwe loves chicken and in my opinion the best way to buy it is in chicken portions - breats are economical as there is no waste This is one of my son Alexander's favourite ways of serving chicken - it is good for lunch or as a party dish! 6 Whole Chicken Breasts Without Skin 2 Tablespoons Butter 1 Can or tube of smooth Pate Salt And Pepper -- to taste Mixed Herbs -- to taste 2 Tablespoons Brandy 1/4 Pint Cream Chopped parsley for garnish Saute chicken in butter until cooked but not brown. Whip pate, brandy and cream and season with salt, pepper and herbs. Add pate mixture to chicken breast in frying pan and heat through. Garnish with finely chopped parsley Serving Ideas : Green beans or peas, baked potatoes and tomato slices.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Peanut Ice Cream from Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans love ice cream in any form! This is smooth, creamy and very good - serve in a melon half for an exciting dessert or pour caramel sauce over it and top with whipped cream or a glace cherry! It is also Divine when served with bananas fried in butter and brown sugar with a dash of brandy! Make up your own combinations...........yum! 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14.5 oz.) 4 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup peanut butter 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.) or tinned cream 1/4 cup milk Immerse the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in enough boiling water to cover and boil for 20 minutes. Do not let pan dry out or you will have condensed milk all over your ceiling! Remove the can from the water, let cool, and chill in the refrigerator for several hours along with a 2 quart non plastic bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer. Whip the chilled milk in the chilled bowl with the chilled beaters. Add the lemon juice and sugar and beat until blended. In another mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, evaporated milk or cream, and milk and beat until combined. Carefully fold the whipped mixture into the peanut butter mixture, until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into a large freezer container and freeze until firm - about 3 hours depending on your freezer. Garnish as wished and enjoy!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Zimbabwe sweet potato Fritters

Sweet potatoes are now in season in Zimbabwe - ours are just about ready to be pulled. They make a wonderful accompnayment to chicken or almost any meat. this is a good way of serving them - but remember to drain them well on kitchen paper. They also make a good starter if served with apple sauce or tomato salad. 1 pound sweet potatoes -- peeled 1 cup flour 1 egg 1/4 cup butter or margerine melted 1 Pinch salt 1 teaspoon of cinnemon or mixed spice a pinch of nutmeg Oil Grate potatoes. Cover with boiling water and let stand 10 or 15 minutes. Drain. Combine potatoes, flour, spices, egg, butter and salt. (If batter is too stiff, add a little warm water; if it is too wet, add more flour.) Drop by tablespoonfuls into hot oil and fry until nicely browned and cook through.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Zimbabwe Banana Pancakes

A different and easy way to serve bananas as a dessert. very good after a light meal.
4 bananas 1 cup brandy 1 cup pancake mix - made of three eggs, one cup flour, two teaspoons baking powder, one cup milk, pinch of salt and three teaspoons of sugar - put all together in a food processor and process until smooth. 1/4 inch cooking oil 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs 3 tablespoons melted butter 4 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon ground ginger In a 1-pint bowl: cut 4 bananas (peeled) in ½-inch slices.
Add ½ cup brandy and marinate for ½ hour. Make up the pancake batter and drain the bananas.
Place the drained liquid into the pancake batter.
Add bananas to the batter and stir thoroughly. In a medium frying pan heat ¼ inch cooking oil. Drop the mixture by tablespoonfuls (2 or 3 pieces of banana in each spoon) into the hot fat until golden brown on both sides.
In a bowl: Combine ½ cup soft bread crumbs made by grating fresh bread, 3 Tbs. melted butter, 4 Tbs. sugar and 1 tsp. ground ginger.
Place 3 or 4 peasant pancakes on dessert plates.
Sprinkle 1 to 2 Tbs. crumb mixture over the pancakes.
Crystallized ginger may be used instead of ground ginger, in which case use 2 Tbs. sugar and 2 Tbs. crystallized ginger, minced finely.
Garnish with extra bananas, crystallized ginger berries in season, or other complimentary fruit - I like to use the kumquats I preserve each year.