Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Empanadas de Carne - Meat Empanadas

If there is one food I have to put on the most requested list from Argentinean delicacies - empanadas are up there with Alfajores!  When I was recently in Argentina, one of the most amazing culinary experiences in my life is visiting my Aunty Marie... she makes the most delicious empanadas - it's like a snack before the amazing BBQ is finished!  Meals at Aunty Marie's are like a banquet...a feast...she makes the most amazing meals - and you often wonder if it's possible to finish all the food... but  in the beautiful slow cook, slow eat tradition of an Argentinean meal... somehow you manage to talk for hours, eating amazing food and always...always have room for more!

There's nothing more satisfying that munching on empanadas - knowing the feast is yet to come!  They are also amazing as left over food - I love nothing more than having empanadas left over for next day munching...although there are rarely any left over in my experience!


Empanadas can be made with all sorts of fillings  sweet and savoury! I'll start with the traditional mince meat filling.



Empanadas de Carne (Empanadas de Marie!)
















Ingredients

Pastry:
The traditional pastry is made with lard  instead of butter... for those who feel they would rather not cook with lard I have added an alternate recipe.  Fresh lard is no better or worse to us than butter... it is lard which is made to keep in refrigeration on supermarket shelves which contain trans fats... so if you can get your hands on fresh lard (unprocessed) - definitely use this in your recipe!

  • 300g of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of lard (boiled and cooled so it is liquid like)
  • 6 teaspoons of cold water
(alternate: 4 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 200g of butter, 1 cup of hot water).

Filling:
  • 250g of mince meat
  • 2 diced onions
  • 150g of whole olives (green stuffed olives work best just make sure you take out any pips for any olives you use)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs cut into small pieces
  • 1 small box of sultanas (40g)
To make the filling:
Lightly brown the onions in a pan adding the mince meat and cooking through.  Add salt to taste.  Once the meat is cooked add the box of sultanas to the mix and sir through.  Leave te mixture to cool down.  Place in a bowl the egg and in another bowl the olives.  Leave to the sde until you have made the pastry ready for filling.

To make the pastry:  Place the flour in a bowl.  Place the lard in the bowl mixing hrough and adding the water as necessary to make a dough.  Leave to rest for 15 minutes. 

Roll out the dough into a thickness of about 1/2 cm. Using a plate - 10cm or so in diameter (you can make them bigger/smaller to taste) cut out circles ready to fill.

In each circle of pastry place in he centre (leaving approx 2 cm spacing from edge) some mince, a piece of egg and one olive.  Pull one edge of the pastry over creating a crescent moon shape and turn up the edges.  For a nice patter use a fork to pat down the edges or turn up.  Sometimes it helps to dunk your finger in some water and run arond the edge before sealing to help seal the pastry.  Set aside in a well lined baking tray.

There are a few methods for cooking the empanadas.  You can place in a pre-heated oven on high, 200 degrees, for 15 minutes or untl golden.  You can also deep fry.  If you are going to deep fry you should fry in lard (unprocessed) as it adds a better flavour to the empanadas and this is how it's been done for centuries!

You can see the live recipe on Cocina de Mama's YouTube Channel.

Cocinar, comer, ser feliz!
Leticia

Monday, December 28, 2009

Arrollado Suizo - Swiss Roll


They say you inherit many traits from your parents... some good, some bad... I have luckily managed to learn (or is it genetic!!) the art of cooking from my mum... but I inherited something from my dad which goes hand in hand with this skill... a sweet tooth and pure delight in tasting and trying all things delicious! 


I always remember that no matter what was being baked in the kitchen... dad was our official taster... a very important role in any kitchen!!


This next recipe is quite delicious!  It is called Arrollado Suiso and is based on the basic Bizcochuelo Blancaflor we saw a few blogs ago.




Arrollado Suiso








 








Ingredients

Cake (see Bizcochuelo Blancaflor recipe)
  • 3/4 cup of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
 Cream:
  • 150g of butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup of icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
Dulce de Leche
  • See previous blog entry for how to make the Dulce de Leche - remember to make this at least a day before.

To make the cake: Follow the directions for making Bizcochuelo Blancaflor (previous blog)

To make the Cream:  Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until creamy. If it appears a little bland place in the fridge to let it settle and it should stiffen up.

When you have mixed all the ingredients as per recipe for Bizcochuelo Blanaflor stretch the dough  in a very shallow well lined tray about 1/2cm thick.  Cook in a high heat oven (200 degrees pre heated oven) for about 10-15mins.

Once cooked gently remove from the tray and place on a humid clean dishtowel which has been sprinkled with sugar, cut the edges to make a neat rectangular shape.  Place a healthy amount of Dulce de Leche over the whole cake. Now carefully start rolling the cake - remember if there are parts which split don't fret... keep rolling and the cracks will be covered by beautiful cream!  Leave to cool covered by the dishtowel.

Once cooled place the cream all over the roll..and it's ready to eat!

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!
Leticia

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tarta De Manzanas - Apple Pie

When I was a little girl growing up - we lived by the maxim "an apple a day...."! My brother and I would open up our lunch boxes every day and see a fresh new apple ready for little lunch or we'd get home and munch on an apple before dinner... There were always various apple type treats about as well. I was reminded of one on my recent trip to Argentina when my Aunty Llemy made a wonderful tea cake and we got to try it straight out of the oven! It was so delicious - it actually didn't last more than 4 hours sitting on the table, every one who wandered by would take a piece... or two! It's so light and easy to make, I'm sure it will become a household favourite!

Tarta de Manzana










Ingredients


  • 250g of self raising flour
  • 125g of butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 100g of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 3-4 large red apples sliced in half-moon shapes
  • black or brown sugar



Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees


In a bowl chop the butter into small chunks. Hand beat the eggs until well mixed and put in with the chunks of butter. Add the flour and mix wth your hands, breaking down the chunks of butter. Add the sugar and vanilla essence to the mix. Mix until it becomes a dough - if you need some more moisture to unite all the ingredients, slowly add water until you get a dough like consistency.


In a well lined long baking dish (can use a round mould) spread the dough, leaving a good 1-2 cm base spread across the baking dish. Cover the dough with the apple slices until completely covered. Sprinkle liberally with black sugar (my Aunt actually uses black sugar - which can be found in Asian stores here, but haven't found it easy to find in supermarket shelves so you can substitute brown sugar)... Chop a few chunks of butter and sprinkle over the apple halves.

Place in oven for 40 minutes until dough is brown.

Enjoy warm from the oven or with a nice scoop of ice cream!

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!
Leticia




Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bizcochuelo Blancaflor - Tea Cake

Sometimes when the festive season rolls around, there are so many rich, heavy desserts we are left feeling a little gluggy and unable to enjoy all the treats surounding us!



I always remember that on rich dessert filled days - there was always a super habit of providing a simple tea cake, not too heavy, but substantial enough to feel like you had really participated in the festivities! I had the joy one year of unwrapping a special fire engine red oven my dad hand made for me - and inside was a newly cooked Bizcochuela Blancaflor... straight from the oven ;) I think to this day it remains the best Christmas present I ever received!

This particular recipe is great as it forms the basis for many awesome cakes... lots of which I'll share with you on this site.





Bizcochuelo Blancaflor















Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Separate in two bowls the egg whites and egg yolks.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until creamy. In another bowl whisk the egg whites until fluffy and you can make peaks. Mix in gently the egg yolk/sugar mix and add the flour and vanilla essence. With a wooden spoon gently fold through the ingredients until well mixed.

In a well lined baking tin (around 20cm in diameter) place the mixture. Put in the oven for 45-50mins or until a skewer/knife comes out clean.

You can leave this cake simply as is. If you wanted to add a little more pezazz to it - you could cover with some icing sugar or place some dulce de leche or marmalade in the middle...

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!
Leticia

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rosca de Carne - Meat filled pastry dish

One thing that I always enjoyed about Christmas was the incredible array of food that was produced every year. It wasn't just a turkey, or ham... there was always a slight variation, a new recipe from an old time. It was a bit like Mums Christmas tree - all the ornaments were decades old... but every year there would be a new additon - in what seemed like an impossibly full tree!! Just as we thought you couldn't get a new ornament, whether it was one she hand made or bought, on the tree - we often couldn't believe it when we'd see a new dish on the table to suprise us for Christmas.
Rosca de Carne is a nice additon to the Christmas table as an alterative to the roast ... and great left over food!



Rosca de Carne




Ingredients



Pastry:
  • 350g of plain flour
  • 125g of butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of cognac
  • 1 cup of milk
Filling:

  • 300g of mince meat
  • 300g of pork mince
  • 1/4 minced onion, cooked to lightly golden in butter
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs soaked in white wine
  • 3 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the pastry by combining the flour, eggs, salt, cognac - add enough milk to unite the pastry you may need to use a little less or more than the 1 cuo. You want a dough like consistency. Leave in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.

For the filling, mix the mince meat and the pork mince, the onions, the bread crumbs (squeezed dry), minced onion, eggs and salt and pepper to taste.

Sretch the pastry to a square shape. Place the mixture on the full edge of one side of the square and roll into a large sausage like shape - turn the ends around to create an almost donut looking shape. On the outside of the roll cut along the side ever 4 centimetres or so.

Place in a pre-heated oven of 180 degrees and cook for 40mins or until the pastry is golden brown.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!


Leticia




Friday, December 18, 2009

Strawberry or Cherry cake with Cream Cheese Icing - Torta de Fruitilla o Guindas

There was nothing more exciting every year than walking down to the corner grocers and seeing the punnets of strawberries and boxes of cherries gleaming from the shelves! And even more exciting... was when mum would buy some - because it meant that she was going to make one of her special strawberry or cherry cakes, depending which fruit was fresher at the time.




You can use strawberry or cherries for the mixture below...both are scrumptious!



Strawberry or Cherry Cake















Ingredients

  • 125 grams butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of castor sugar
  • 2 cups of self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of mashed strawberries

Icing

  • 60g of cream cheese
  • 30g of soft butter
  • 3 strawberries mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.

Place butter and sugar into a bowl and mix well until creamy. Add the eggs one by one and mix well. Add vanilla essence and mix through.

Slowly sift the flour into the mixture and alternate with milk and fold through the mixture (do not use electric mixer, mix by hand.

Add the mashed strawberries into the mixture and fold through.

In a cake tin that is well lined (around 20cm diameter will do for this recipe) place the mixture. Put into the oven for 40mins or so - until well cooked (when the knife or skewer comes out clean). Once cooked allow to cool.

To make the icing:

Mix the cream cheese and butter until creamy

Sift in the icing sugar until mixed well through.

Fold through the mashed strawberries until well mixed.

Ice the cake and add whole strawberries or cherries (depending which you used for the cake) for decoration.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Leticia




Friday, December 11, 2009

Tia Lidia's Chocolate Cake


It seems that every birthday I can remember as a child was filled with amazing versions of gleaming, dulce de leche infested, chocolate cake! My mum used to call it Tia Lidia's Chocolate Cake... her sister, my aunt, is an amazing chef in Argentina and used to hand write recipes and send them i nthe post...which in those days could take up to 3months to reach us. The biggest thrill was when mum and Aunty Lidia would record tapes and send each other tales of the comings and goings of their lives...so far away from each other...yet never apart in so many ways.


Mum would copy the recipes down meticulously in her little book as her sister would be baking and telling her how she was making the cake over the tape...being interrupted by cousins sticking fingers in bowls, dogs causing havoc in the yard, or general stops and starts in a family kitchen!

I visited Argentina for the first time when I was four and remember the joy of helping my aunty make fresh pasta as it rolled out of the pasta machine. This recipe was one of the favourites and most used in the household - how can you go wrong with a Aunty Lidia's chocolate cake! It's a simple cake - but sometimes the simplest things are the yummiest!


Ingredients

  • 200g of butter
  • 300g of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 420g of plain flour
  • 150g of cooking chocolate
  • 1 cup of milk
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a round tin (approx. 26cm diameter).

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and the colour is light. Add the eggs in one by one and beat well.

Add the flour and milk slowly and alternate into the mixture. Hand mix until fully mixed together (do not beat with a mixer).

Melt the chocolate until liquid-like. (Do this by placing the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water and stirring until melted). Let the chocolate cool down, so it is cold or lightly warm as you don't want it to melt the butter in the mixture. Add the chocloate and hand mix well into the mixture.

Place the mixture into the well lined baking tin. Cook for 30mins or until cooked through and remove from the oven.

Leave to cool.

Once cool you can eat as is. The classic cake mum made always had dulce de leche in the middle!

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!
Leticia

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Alfajores de Maicena - Argentinean Shortbread like Biscuits with Caramel Filling.

Of all the hundreds of recipes that I have I think the one most synonymous with my Mum is Alfajores. Every Christmas she would make Alfajores for friends and family.

They became so popular we used to end up making batches of over 300 alfajores every Christmas - it was a veritable production line of dulce de leche, biscuits, and coconut... and of course with the occasional guest appearance from my Papa (seen here in a photo with my brother) who liked to sneak out with the broken bits which couldn't be used!!

After my mum passed away I took up the mantle and make Alfajores for my friends every Christmas, in a small attempt to keep the memory of those days and the joy of her spirit and love of life alive.


Alfajores de Maicena















Ingredients

For Biscuit:

  • 100g of butter
  • 3/4 cups of white sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of lemon rind
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of cornflour
  • 1/2 cup of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

Dulce de Leche (Make the Dulce de Leche the day before):

See previous blog entry under Dulce de Leche for how to make the famous Argentine caramel)

  • Condensed Milk
and
  • Dessicated coconut


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees. If you have pre-made the Dulce de Leche, take out of the fridge before you start cooking to help soften the caramel for later use in compiling of the Alfajore)

To make the biscuit:
In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar into a bowl until creamy.

Add the egg yolk and then the whole egg and beat some more until the whole mixture is creamy and mixed in.

Place in a small amount of the lemon rind and mix.

In another bowl mix the flour, cornflour and baking powder. Once mixed place in the mixture above and slowly mix through making a dough.


Roll part of the dough onto a floured surface (makesit easier to manage if you do it a little at a time until about 1/2 cm thick.

Use a round cookie cutter to cut out circular biscuits and place on a well greased baking tray (for Christmas I have used other shapes too - but the traditional alfajore is round).

Place in the oven and cook. The alfajore shouldn't take colour - this is very much a recipe which will require you to look at the biscuits and assess if they are ready ... you can tell when the dough is cooked and it takes a biscuit like shape and texture. Once they are ready take the tray out of the oven. Once the bisucuits have cooled down a little, pile the biscuits carefully on the plate. Continue making more biscuits until the dough is finished.

Compiling the Alfajore:


Place some dessicated coconut into a bowl.

Open a can of Dulce de Leche.

Take a biscuit andplace a generous helping of dulce de leche over the whole biscuit. Take another biscuit and place on top. On the outside edges of the two biscuits gently place some dulce de leche with a butter knife covering from the top to bottom of the sides. Take the biscuit edge and pass through the dessicated coconut so that it sticks to the edge of the biscuit.

You can see the live recipe on Cocina de Mama's YouTube channel.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Leticia




















Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Fruit Mince Pies





Christmas...hot days...visits to the beach...presents!!! To this day though the two memory tastes which permeate my senses every Christmas are Alfajores and Fruit Mince Pies. Every year - without fail mum would whip up by early December fruit mince pies (in time for my brothers birthday on the 11th - these were his favourites!) and a new batch by late December for Christmas gifts and of course Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I was always lucky enough to be in the kitchen helping spoon the mince in the patty tins or when things got super fun I would get to punch out the dough circles with the cookie cutters - which I loved! Fruit mince pies are a great addition to any collection of Christmas treats but can certainly be made any time of the year!

Christmas Fruit Mince Pies









Ingredients
  • 1 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup of castor sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt


Beat the butter and sugar until creamy.
Add the egg yolk and vanilla essence and beat well.
Add in the sifted flour and salt and mix together.
Wrap dough in grease proof paper or cling wrap and place in fridge for at least 15mins or until required.

If you want to make your own fruit mince you can! Robertsons Fruit Mince is a great alternative to making your own and is what my mum always used for her yummy Christmas fruit mince pies! (A traditional recipe for fruit mince given to me by a neighbour, who made her own every year, is below if you prefer to keep it all home made...)

Roll out the dough to about 3cm thick and use a round cookie cutter to cut out rounds. You can use a star shape for the tops of the fruit mince pies, but for the sake of keeping with tradition I will go with mum's round shapes all the way through!

Place one round in a patty tin and place spoon full of mince in the centre. Place another round on top to cover the mince and unite on the side gentle .
Once you fill all the putty tin rounds place in the over for 15mins or until golden brown.



If you want to make your own mince you'll need to do it a few days before you want to bake the pies.

Fruit Mince:
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tbs brandy
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, coarsely grated
  • 85g raisins, coarsely chopped
  • 85g currants
  • 85g sultanas
  • 60g glace cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 115g (1/3 cup) breakfast marmalade
  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice


In a bowl put in the brown sugar, raisins, currants, apple, sultanas, cherries, marmalade, brandy and mixed spice in a bowl. Set aside, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 days to macerate.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!
Leticia

Friday, December 4, 2009

Princessitas - Dulce De Leche Cup Cakes



In the last blog we learnt the secret of dulce de leche.

I saw it used throughout the years in various forms in many desserts and I'd like to share with you a few of my mums favourites that she cooked for us as Sunday afternoon treats. There was no better way to face the impending doom of Monday than to wash it away with a small treat which made us cherish the day we had at hand... and of course there was always one or two left over for the lunch boxes in our school bags on Monday - just to see us through the day - and make all our school chums a tad jealous!

I'm sure, to this day, that is why my brother and I are smiling so insanely in this photo - we knew what was awaiting us in the school case!

A lovely way to utilise the dulce de leche is on a cup cake. These little tea cakes are called Princesitas (little princesses).


Princesitas



Ingredients
Cup Cake:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 90 grams of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 3 egg whites
  • 35 grams of plain flour
  • 3 tablesoons of cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
Filling:
  • 1/4 kilo of dulce de leche (see previous blog to learn how to make this Argentinean caramel).
  • 1 tablespoon of port
  • 1 tablespoon of icing sugar
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
Place the egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and beat until creamy.
Add the Vanilla essence and mix in.
In a separate bowl whip the egg whites until they are fluffy and stiff.
(Small tip: It is best to begin at a slow speed and gradually move up to high when beating egg whites. Also be sure to stop beating your egg whites when they get fluffy If you overbeat them, they will liquify again. Make sure you use beaten egg whites right away. Do not let them sit).
With a wooden spoon, gently fold the egg whites into the previous mixture.
Mix together the plain flour, corn flour and baking powder and add gently again to the previous mixture, stirring through (you only need to make sure it is all mixed in - so don't over stir the mixture).
Place the mixture in cup cake tins which have been lined with butter and flour to prevent sticking. Place in oven for 15minutes.
Once cooked let the cup cakes cool down and remove from the mould.
With a circular cookie cutter remove the top of the cup cake gently. You don't want to cut down too deeply roughly 1 or 2 centimetres.
Place the tops of the cup cakes to the side - be careful to keep them whole.
Mix the port and the dulce de leche until creamy.
Fill the cut out part of the cup cake with dulce de leche/port mixture (letting it overflow a little). Place the top of the cup cake back on top (like a princesses tiara!). To finish, gently sprinkle some icing sugar over the cup cake.
Cocinar, Comer y ser feliz!
Leticia
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