Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Swedish Coconut Biscuits

This years biscuits were the Laura's Shortbread (heart-shaped biscuits with coloured centres, then clockwise), Chocolate Chip Biscuits with nut-free chocolate, Swedish Coconut Biscuits (see below) and Orange, Cardamon and Brandy Biscuits from Bill Granger's Open Kitchen which I discovered after reading about Niki making them in her food blog Esurientes - The Comfort Zone.

I altered the shortbread recipe by cutting a hole in the cut-out biscuit dough and when they were on the baking paper-lined tray, filling the hole with crushed boiled lolly. These turned out to be the small food critic's favourite, she renamed them 'jelly biscuits'. After much anticipation on my part she didn't take to the chocolate chip biscuits at all.

My favourites are the Swedish Coconut Biscuits which are very buttery, quite fragile and horribly moreish, or when I'm sitting down with a cuppa - the orange, cardamon and brandy biscuits. The later seem to require very soft butter and lots of beating of the butter and sugar to make the mixture cohere. And I skipped giving the biscuits an egg white wash before sprinkling them with sugar, the sugar still adhered (well I put enough on that some of it did) and they looked fine when baked.

Swedish Coconut Biscuits

125 g unsalted butter
100 g caster sugar
125 g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp backing powder
1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence
35 g desiccated coconut

Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Sift the flour with bicarb soda and baking powder, add with coconut and work the mixture with hands until it comes together.

Make two sausages 6 cm in diameter. Wrap and chill overnight.

Cut slices about 2mm in thickness. Bake at 180 degreesC for 8 - 10 minutes. Watch carefully as they brown very quickly and you want to catch them just as the biscuits on the edge of the tray are starting to change colour.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cha-sui Pork

This is an awesome dish, great hot, fabulous cold and as a bonus - very easy. The recipe is an adaption of one found in Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cook's Companion'. Even Rufus the cat does circuits of the kitchen when it's cooking and being eaten, he knows how good it is and will not allow us to forget him.

This quantity serves the three of us with lots of left overs. (And yes the rice in the photo does look weird - it has a liberal dollop of yoghurt on it, the small girl wouldn't eat it otherwise). You'll find the first three ingredients in an Asian grocer.

1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup red rice vinegar
1/4 cup mirin
1 tbs honey
1 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 tbs grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of 5 spice powder
1/2 kg of pork fillet

Combine all of the marinade ingredients then add the pork. Marinade in the 'fridge for 1 to 3 hours (3 hours is better, but I'm never that organised).

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Place pork on a meat rack in a baking dish filled with about 1 1/2 inches of water. Roast the meat for 40 minutes or until cooked.

Slice and serve with steamed rice and stir fried vegetables.