Ice Magic Recipe

I’m in a “Recipe Club”, where we get together once a month for dinner, to share food on a particular theme, and try out favourite recipes or those we hope will become favourites. This month, the theme was chocolate, and I had volunteered to make a dessert.

Towards the end of summer, I had gotten into Cottee’s Ice Magic again (although, to be honest, it was the Woolworths’ brand version). It had been years since I’d had it and was surprised that it was still good. And, as you do, I’d been wondering how it works and whether you could make some yourself that tasted *really* good.

So, this was in the back of my mind when I was trying to think up a chocolate dessert, and so I decided to see if the Internet knew the answer. And it did.

The main trick was finding refined Coconut Oil. It is the essential ingredient, as it is liquid above ~24 degrees Celcius but solid below that. Hence, it is liquid at room temperature (at least, in summer) but sets when poured on ice-cream.

I easily managed to find a jar of Melrose Organic Refined Cocout Oil (Butter) in a random health food store in Melbourne city. Unless you really want a coconut taste, make sure you get the refined variety rather than the virgin variety.

My final dessert was home-made double white chocolate ice-cream with almond praline and this recipe for Ice Magic over the top. However, that’s for another post.

Ingredients

40g good quality chocolate (it will taste just like the chocolate)
15mL refined coconut oil

Method

If the oil has turned solid, stand in a bowl of hot water until it returns to liquid state.

Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwave-safe container. Place in a microwave on a low setting (e.g. 30% of a 800W unit) for a minute or so until the chocolate sags and is beginning to melt, then remove.

Stir the oil into the chocolate until fully combined, forming a chocolate syrup.

Pour the syrup over cold icecream to serve. It should set within a minute, forming a hard chocolate shell.

If the syrup sets while you are storing it, you can microwave it back to life or rest the container in a bowl of hot water.

Serves 2-3 people.

Easter Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe

If you’re anything like us, and had more Hot Cross Buns in your house this Easter than you knew what to do with, then this recipe is for you. Previously, I’ve recommended French-toasting them, but baking them into a pudding is also a very satisfying option. We served them up for a dessert at a family lunch today, and it was very yummy.

This is based on the recipe for Bread and Butter pudding from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics Book 2.

Ingredients

600g slightly stale Hot Cross Buns (we used an 8pk of Woolworths bakery buns)
~100g Spreadable butter
4 large eggs
4 cups (1L)  milk
1/2 cup (125mL) brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5mL) vanilla extract
~1 tablespoon (15mL) raw sugar (a.k.a. demerara sugar) for topping
Water for hot water bath

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.

Leave the buns in a block, and slice off the “crusts” from the sides and bottom (leave the crosses on). Then slice the block of buns in half, butter both sides and put back together.

Slice the block into thumb-width strips, e.g. 2 buns long and something like 1/3 or 1/4 of a bun wide. Butter the sides of the strips.

Grease a 6 cup (1.5L) round baking dish, and arrange the strips around the inside. A nice pattern is to put the strips in pointing up, but on an angle, arranged in concentric circles.

Place the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk briefly. Then add milk mix to combine.

Pour the liquid over the buns in the baking dish and stand for 2-3 minutes.

While waiting, boil some water. When finished, sprinkle raw sugar onto the buns, place baking dish into a baking tray, and pour water into baking tray so that it comes half-way up the sides of the baking dish.

Put the whole thing into the oven and bake for 65 minutes (or until the liquid sets).

Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving with cream or ice-cream.

Serves 6-8 people.

Nuts and Bolts Recipe

My grandfather always makes this recipe at Christmas, so for me it is part of that bundle of food associations that make this time of year particularly special. However, this year he’s been a little unwell, so didn’t have time to make the stuff. He normally produces enough Nuts and Bolts to feel a small nation, and gives gifts of the savoury snack to every family member. The dinner table wouldn’t have been the same this year without it, so I made a quick batch. It is deliciously more-ish!

Ingredients

250g dry-roasted peanuts, unsalted
300g Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain (these are the “bolts”)
1/2 cup (125mL) of light oil (preferably peanut oil)
45g packet of French Onion Soup mix
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of mustard powder

Method

Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Warm oil in microwave, for example, on High setting for 30 seconds, then pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spread the mix across a large, flat baking dish and put into the oven for 15-20 minutes, removing to stir every 5 minutes or so. The result should look dry and smell very aromatic.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before eating. Needs to be stored in an air-tight container.

This recipe is easily adaptable to taste, e.g. use more or less Nutri-Grain, nuts, curry or mustard as your taste dictates.

Makes enough Nuts and Bolts to fill a 2L container. Best eaten before 1st January.

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Choc-Mint Biscuit Recipe

We took some time off, over the Cup Day long weekend, and I took some of that time to do some baking. The most recent Donna Hay magazine (issue 47) has many seductive pages of biscuit recipes, and I succumbed to this one that makes biscuits that taste like a cross between a choc-fudge brownie and an after dinner mint. Donna Hay calls them Chocolate Peppermint Crackles, but it would be simpler to just call them Choc-Mint Biscuits.

Ingredients

1/2 cup (125mL) hard peppermint lollies
200g dark chocolate
80g butter
1 1/2 cups (375mL) brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (310mL) plain flour
1/2 cup (125mL) cocoa
2 teaspoons baking power
1/3 cup (80mL) milk

Method

Get the butter out and allow it to soften.

Start by turning the hard peppermint lollies (I used the supermarket’s home-brand peppermint) into a power that the biscuits will be coated with. Put the lollies into a food processor or spice/coffee-grinder and process until they become a fine powder. Set it aside.

Break up the dark chocolate into small pieces for melting. You can either melt it the traditional way (in a heatproof bowl sitting above a simmering saucepan of water) or the fast way (a minute or so in the microwave). Either way is fine as the chocolate will be going into the biscuit mix, and it doesn’t matter if the chocolate loses its shine. Once the chocolate is mostly melted, stir until it is fully melted. Then set it aside.

Now we can start on the biscuit mix.

If the butter isn’t soft, give it a little zap in the microwave. Place the softened butter and brown sugar into a mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes.

Add both eggs, beating well after adding each. Add in the vanilla. Then beat on high for another 2-3 minutes until the mix is pale and creamy.

Add the melted chocolate into the mix, and beat well.

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into the mix, stir in the milk, and then beat until smooth.

Cover the mixing bowl with cling wrap and put into the fridge for 30-60 minutes, until the mix is very firm.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (355 degrees Fahrenheit).

Spread some of the peppermint powder onto a plate.

Take the mix out of the fridge. Scoop out heaped teaspoons of the mix, roll them into balls, and roll the balls in the peppermint powder until thoroughly coated.

Lay the balls out, well-spaced, on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes. The balls should spread out and the white coating should crack.

Cool on the trays. Makes between 40-50 biscuits.

Like a chocolate brownie, they are probably better the day after baking.

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One Tin Slice recipe

When Kate and I went to the show the other month, we of course visited the Country Women’s Association of Victoria stand. It’s a mandatory visit to have tea and scones there, and admire the extensive tea-towel collection of its members.

What leads to this post is that Kate impulse-bought a copy of The A to Z of COOKED & UNCOOKED SLICES. A retro self-published cookbook without any pictures, but with eight different Caramel Slice recipes, seven different Lemon Slice recipes, and this recipe called One Tin Slice from someone by the name of Stella Warton from Benalla.

It’s functional name belies the sheer tastiness of this sweet slice. I feel compelled to share it with others! Thanks Stella.

Ingredients

125g Arnotts Nice (or equivalent) biscuits, i.e. half a 250g pack
100g butter
180g choc bits
1 cup of mixed nuts (try to include almonds)
1 cup of dessicated coconut (or shredded coconut)
395g sweetened condensed milk

Method

Get things ready by preheating oven to 180 degrees, then finding a 28cm x 18cm slice tin, greasing it, and lining it with greaseproof paper. Also, crush the biscuits well so there are no big pieces, and crush the nuts so they’re about the size of peanuts. (Don’t crush the biscuits and nuts together, in case you were thinking about that.)

Melt the butter (e.g. in the microwave), and pour into the slice tin so the butter covers the base.

Now, sprinkle in the ingredients into the tin in layers. Start with the crushed biscuits (make sure there are no big gaps), then add choc bits, then half the coconut, then the crushed nuts, then the rest of the coconut. Lastly, pour the sweetened condensed milk over it all.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the slice has turned brown. Cool in the tin a little before removing and slicing.

Should make about 24 pieces.

Cheesecake Recipe

Last piece of cheesecakeIs it “cheesecake” or “cheese cake”? The former looks like it has an “e” too many, and the latter looks as bizarre as “salad pudding”. But you know what I mean.

I made this.. uhh.. cake for the first time on the weekend, from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics Book 2. Again, this book has come through for me, and I’ve rewarded it by almost completely plagiarising the recipe below (although she calls it the “classic baked cheesecake”). It was much simpler than other recipes I’ve made before that used a water bath, and at least as tasty.

Ingredients

125g Arnotts Nice (or equivalent) biscuits, i.e. half a 250g pack (for base)
2/3 cup almond meal (for base)
60g butter (for base)
1.5 tablespoons cornflour
1.5 tablespoons water
330g softened cream cheese (do not buy Philadelphia spread – buy the stuff in a rectangular box!)
360g fresh ricotta cheese
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups white sugar
1 medium lemon (or specifically, the juice and finely grated rind from one)

Method

If you haven’t yet, get the cream cheese out of the fridge and let it soften.

Crush the biscuits in a food processor (or like me, grind up in a mixing bowl mortar-and-pestle style using the end of a rolling pin). Melt the butter, then add in the almond meal and melted butter, processing (or stirring) until nicely combined.

Grease a 22cm springform tin, line the base with greaseproof paper, and press the biscuit mix into the bottom to form the base. Put it in the fridge while we make the filling. You can probably get the oven going at 150 degrees celcius, too.

If you haven’t yet, grate the lemon to produce about a tablespoon of rind, then juice it to produce about 60 ml of juice.

Mix the cornflour with the water in a medium-large mixing bowl, until blended. Ensure your cream cheese is softened, cut it up into small pieces and drop into mixing bowl. Stir together until it forgets its original shape.

Add in the ricotta cheese (and stir), the eggs (and stir), the sugar (and stir), the lemon rind (and stir), the lemon juice (and stir). Stir until smooth. Or forget all this stirring and just put it in your food processor.

It’s okay to have some small cream cheese “lumps” in the mixture, but squash any large lumps.

Get the base out of the fridge, and pour the filling in. Then put into the oven for at least 70 minutes (according to Donna).

Maybe our oven is stuffed, but after an hour we raised the temperature to 160 degrees, and kept cooking for another hour again. You can tell when it’s cooked because it will be browned a couple of inches from all the edges, and if you poke a skewer into the middle it will leave a hole when it’s removed.

Let the cake cool a little, and then put into the fridge until it is time to serve. Serve with thick cream.

Serves 8.

Mrs Fields, eat your dough out

Classic Toll House Chocolate Chip CookiesI’ve been munching on these for the last week, so I might as well share the pain. I’ve had that extra incentive to go to the gym, too. But it must be healthy – it’s got nuts in it!

When Kate came back from the States a couple of months back, she brought me a souvenir: an American-style biscuit (err.. cookie) cookbook called “Old Fashioned Cookies”. I’ve made a couple of things out of it now, and they’ve been fab. This recipe was just like those Mrs Fields cookies, and the book calls them “Classic Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (not powder)
1 teaspoon of salt
250g softened butter
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup (firmly packed) brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
375g pack of dark chocolate buds (e.g. Nestle melts)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Method

Preheat oven to 190 celcius.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Add eggs one at a time and stir them in. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into the mixture and stir through.

Coarsely chop the chocolate buds and the nuts (if necessary). Mix into the dough.

Make balls of dough approximately one rounded tablespoon in size, and place on a tray lined with baking paper.

Cook for 9 minutes. Then remove and allow to cool slightly and set before moving them to a cooling rack.

Best eaten when still slightly warm, although should keep for several days after if stored in an airtight container.

The above is the recipe that I followed, although if I made them again, I would use more nuts (perhaps 1 1/2 cups) and slightly less baking soda (perhaps 3/4 teaspoon).

Easter French-toast Recipe

Well, Easter’s coming up this weekend, and everyone will be eating chocolate. But, before then is Good Friday – the day of the Hot Cross Bun. Once you’ve eaten your fill (and then some) of the buns, and a couple of days have past, the buns will be starting to go stale. Instead of throwing them out, recycle them in this recipe, as it will be many months (at least 8) before you see them on the supermarket shelves again. And, it’s a fantastic way to recover from too much chocolate (it’s healthy, it’s got fruit in it!)

Ingredients

3 or 4 slightly stale Hot Cross Buns
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
Butter
Small amount of icing sugar (for decoration)
Maple syrup (for decoration)

Method

Slice the buns in half, so you have a “crossed” half and a plain half. Set aside for a second. Beat the egg and milk together until it’s fluffy and well-mixed. Heat a frypan on the stove, and start to melt the butter in it.

Place one of the sliced buns into the mixture. Wait no more than a minute, flip the halves over so that the other side soaks for a little. After it, too, has soaked a little, place the pieces into the frypan. Cook one side, flip, then cook the other. It doesn’t take very long.

Remove the french-toasted bun pieces and put on a plate. Dust with icing sugar and lightly drizzle with maple syrup. Serve!

Repeat the soaking-frying-dusting for each of the buns until you’re full (again) of bun, or have run out, and will need to wait until next Easter (or January, whatever comes first).

Banana Icecream Recipe

Now that banana prices have come down, it’s time to gorge on this fruit (err.. herb) that we’ve been denied so long. The prices aren’t back to reasonable levels, so some kind of special dish with intense banana flavour is needed. Here’s the perfect use for bananas as we come into warmer weather: icecream! It’s probably the world’s simplest icecream recipe, as well.

Ingredients

3 large, ripe bananas
300ml cream (thickened cream is fine)
395g can sweetened condensed milk (full fat – I haven’t tried skim)

Method

This recipe is tolerant to variations in amounts of ingredients, so don’t be worried if not exactly as above.

Break up the bananas and drop into a food processor, then blend into pulp. If using a blender instead, add the cream and tip the blender from side to side to ensure bananas get to the blades. Don’t over blend.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix together, then pour into a freezer-safe container, at least 1L in size.

Place in freezer for at least 4 hours.

Baklava Recipe

The other weekend I baked a few little things for an afternoon tea, and I was asked for the recipe I used to make the baklava. I like baklava, and having it made it now, I’d probably buy it rather than bake it, as it is a bit time-consuming. However, the satisfaction of having done it yourself does add something to the flavour. This recipe is a modified version of the one from Donna Hay’s excellent Modern Classics Book 2.

Ingredients

36 sheets of filo pastry (one 375g pack of Pampas filo is sufficient)
125g melted butter (for pastry)
3 tablespoons oil
1 – 1.5 cups chopped walnuts (100-150g of walnuts)
1.5 cups chopped almonds (150g – blanched is good but not required)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (for filling)
1/3 cup brown sugar
45g softened butter (for filling)
1 cup water
2 cups white sugar
0.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon (for syrup)
2 cloves

Method

Heat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Defrost the filo pastry. Grease a shallow, rectangular tray about 20cm by 30cm (don’t line with foil or baking paper).

Make filling by finely chopping and combining all the nuts with cinnamon, sugar and butter.

Combine butter and oil. Place a single sheet of filo into tray, and moisten with butter-oil using pasty brush. If a single sheet doesn’t fit, just tear the pastry to size, or even cover with multiple pieces of sheets so that whole tray is covered. Put another sheet down and moisten again. Build up 12 layers of sheets this way.

Spread half of the spiced nut mixture evenly across the pastry. Cover with another 12 layers of pastry, as before. Then spread the remaining half of mixture on top. Finish with the remaining 12 layers of pastry in the same way.

Cut the tray of baklava into diamonds – one set of cuts parallel to the sides, and another at an angle. Should make about 28 pieces. Put it into the oven, and bake for 1 hour. But don’t stop yet, there’s the syrup to make.

Put the sugar, water, cinnamon and cloves in a saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for a further six minutes until it forms a syrup, and then remove from heat. Take the cloves out.

After the baklava is cooked, remove and let sit for five minutes or so, then pour the syrup over. It’s tasty warm, or if you’ve got self-control, wait about a day, and it will be even better.