Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Buffalo Yoghurt Pannacotta with Mango and Plum Powder

In Dessert, Farm products on January 31, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I just came back from spending a few days with my family north of Auckland. On the way home, my mother and I stopped at the Matakana markets. In my opinion, the highlight of the market is always the Whangaripo Valley buffalo cheese. However, this time I also bought some yoghurt. I’d never tried it before – it’s deliciously creamy! I found this recipe for buffalo yoghurt pannacotta online, and seeing as I’d never made pannacotta (but always loved eating it) I thought I’d give it a try. I had to change it a little, as I only had about 1 cup of yoghurt – and I don’t think I really nailed it completely, but it was almost there and sure was delicious! (I think the waterbath is the issue – it has to be in the water for the exact right amount of time.)

4 tbsp caster sugar

1 vanilla bean, cut in half then split lengthways

1 cup yoghurt (or one container of Whangaripo Valley buffalo yoghurt)

2/3 cup cream

1 tsp gelatin

Put sugar into a bowl, scrape insides from the vanilla bean into bowl (reserve rest of bean for another use), break up seeds and distribute throughout sugar. Add yogurt to sugar and whisk to combine.

Put 1⁄4 cup of the cream into a small pot and heat over medium heat until just hot. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin to dissolve it, 2–3 minutes. Add 1⁄2 cup of the yogurt mixture; whisk to combine. Whisk yogurt–gelatin mixture back into remaining yogurt mixture and set aside.

Put remaining cream into a large bowl and whisk to stiff peaks. Fold cream gently into yogurt mixture. Divide mixture into ramekins – I used two relatively large ones (at least 4 cm high, and mine were about 9 cm in diameter). Cover ramekins with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely set, 8 hours or overnight.

Set each ramekin in a hot-water bath for 1–2 minutes, run a sharp knife around the edges, and turn pannacotta out onto the plates. This is the tricky part! First time I left the ramekin in too long, and the second time it was too short and had to go back in again. I decorated the pannacotta with some mango powder that I got for Christmas from my mum – it was perfect!

Buffalo Yogurt Pannacotta - the first one

The first bite, smooth and creamy!











The second one, I topped with plum and mango powder – not completely sure that was a good call. I probably should have gone with just the plum, but nevermind.

Second pannacotta - topped with mango and plum

The consistency of this one was a bit better, I think











Anyway, it’s something I will definitely try again. It’s a good start!


Pasta part 2: Ravioli & Tortellini – with handmade ricotta, roasted pumpkin and spinach filling

In Cheese, Entertaining, Farm products, Main meals, Pasta on January 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I promised a follow up to my ravioli post, and at long last here it is. I made a batch of handmade ricotta recently, and decided to try two new fillings – roasted pumpkin puree with ricotta, as well as spinach and ricotta – which I had mentioned in my previous ravioli post. I also wanted to try some different shapes, making tortellini as well as ravioli. It took a while, but the results were fabulous!


Roasted pumpkin puree with handmade ricotta

1 small butternut pumpkin – peeled, cut into chunks, roasted in oil and then pureed until relatively smooth

Few generous scoops handmade ricotta (or storebought if you want)


Just combine ingredients in a bowl, mixing until well combined. Season.

Spinach and ricotta filling

Few portions frozen spinach, or use fresh if you want.

Few scoops handmade ricotta


Make sure the moisture has been well drained out of the spinach, then combine with the ricotta and season.


I’m not going to go into details about how I make my pasta dough again, if you want to read about that, please refer to my previous ravioli post. At the beginning, I followed much the same method – using the circular ravioli cutter and sandwiching filling between two rounds.

Filling on the ravioli round

Spinach on ravioli rounds












I then cooked these, with a greater success rate than the first time I made them. I had only one or two instances of the rounds splitting apart and filling spilling out. The end result, a lovely bowl of classic round ravioli!


I also experimented with the same ravioli round by folding them in half to make crescent shapes; I don’t think they were quite as pretty, but still – I’d hardly call them a failure either.

Crescent moon ravioli

Now for the exciting part! Tortellini! I actually kind of made up this method as I went along. I just used a glass instead of a ravioli cutter to make nice perfectly round circles. I then folded them over to make semi circles, and twisted the ends around to join. I was really happy with the results, and thought they looked pretty legit!

Tortellini shapes

End results - pumpkin tortellini!

Spinach tortellini!

And the end result…

Enough pasta to keep my busy for a week! (at least)

I will be most likely posting again with some more exciting sauces to serve the pasta with, but by the time the pasta was finished, I was too tired to make anything exciting. So I just made a sauce with sauteed onions, garlic, cream and grated tasty cheese – topped with chopped chives.

Cooking the sauce

Recook tortellini for a few mins in boiling water

Tortellini smothered in creamy cheese sauce!

Handmade Ricotta

In Cheese, Farm products on January 26, 2012 at 7:51 am

I took advantage of having access to beautiful creamy milk straight from the vat to make my first batch of handmade ricotta. It was a huge success, and I will definitely be making it frequently in future. It’s about the same price as buying it or cheaper, and it’s lovely to have it fresh. And easy! I will be using it when I make more ravioli, and attempt tortelli – which I will be posting about soon.

Creating a curd

Muslin is tied around wooden spoon and strained

Ricotta, after being drained

Ricotta - ready to use and enjoy!

Danish Delights!

In Baking, Dessert, Pastry, Snacks on January 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I have been wanting to make something with buttery light pastry for a long time – either croissants, danish pastries or pain au chocolat. This recent post from Kelsy made me decide to give danishes a go, seeing as hers looked so yummy!  I am up at my parents farm for a few days, and thought danish pastries for breakfast would be a nice treat for them. I was really pleased with how they turned out. It took me a while, as I was using a unfamiliar kitchen and oven, so I probably cooked them a tad long….but for a first attempt, they looked pretty good – and absolutely delicious! The pastry was just right, if I do say so myself. I’m on my mum’s laptop and she doesn’t have photoshop so I can’t adjust the lighting…so apologies for any dark photos.

Danish pastries!

The recipe is taken from my dear dear Comfort Food book. It is fairly involved, so if you are wanting to make these, do set aside a couple of hours (of course there are breaks in between).

Pastry ingredients:

275g/2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp caster sugar

225g/ 1 cup butter (softened)

2 tsp surebake yeast

1 egg, beaten

1/2 (scant) cup chilled water

Filling ingredients:

3 tbsp near boiling water

2 tbsp ground coffee

3 tbsp butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 egg yolk

1 cu ground almonds

1 egg, beaten

1 cup apricot

2 tbsp water

For decoration:

sliced almonds

glace cherries (optional, I didn’t use them)

1 1/2 cups icing sugar (for making coffee icing, I didn’t do this because I left my piping bag at home)

1. To make pastry, sift the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl. Rub in 2 tbsp of the butter. Stir in the yeast. In a separate bowl, mix the egg and water together, add to flour mixture and then knead into a soft dough. Lightly knead for 4-5 mins. Place in a plastic bag and seal. Chill for 15 mins.

2. Put the remaining butter for the pastry between two sheets of baking parchement and beat with a rolling pin to make a 18 cm square. Chill.

3. Roll the dough on a floured surface to a 25 cm square. Put the butter in the middle of the dough square, angled like a diamond, then bring up each corner of the dough to enclose it fully.

4. Roll out the pastry thinly to measure about 35cm in length. Turn up the bottom third of the pastry, then gently fold down the top third. Seal the edges together with a rolling pin. Wrap the pastry in clear film (plastic wrap) and chill for 15 mins.

5. Repeat the folling and folding process three more times, turning the pastry over so that the short ends are at the top and bottom. Allow the pastry to rest for 15 mins between each turn.

6. To make the filling, pour the hot water over the coffee and infuse for 4 mins. Strain through a fine sieve. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg yolk, ground almonds and 1 tbsp of the coffee.

7. Divide the dough and filling equally into three. Roll one dough portion to an 18 x 35 cm rectangle. Spread with filling and roll up from short end. Cut into 6 equal slices. Roll another portion into a 25 cm round, cut into 6 equal segments. Put a spoonful of filling at the widest end of each segment. Roll the pastry towards its point to form a crescent. Roll out the remainig dough into a 20 cm square; cut into four. Place some filling in the centre of each square. Make slices to create 4 triangles and fold ovr almost to the centre, twisting half the triangle. (The picture might help make it clearer). I had a little bit of filling left over.

Rounds and crescents

Star like shape

8. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius. Place pastries on lined baking tray, spaced well apart. Cover with cling film and leave to rise 20 mins.

Cover and leave to rise 20 mins

9. Brush with egg and bake for 15-20 mins until lightly browned and crisp (mine were left in a bit long). Cool on wire racks.

Left them in oven a bit too longer (mum's oven is hot!) but fortunately it didn't affect them too badly, and certainly not the taste!

9. Put the jam in a pan with water; bring to the boil, then sieve. Brush the jam over the warm pastries. How you want to decorate is up to you; I just added some sliced almonds, but you could also top with glace cherries or make coffee icing with the icing sugar and remaining coffee. Drizzle using a piping bag. Leave to set before serving.

Enjoy the decorating process!