Posts Tagged ‘spinach’

Tea Party for Theresa

In Baking, Cheese, Entertaining, Pasta, Snacks on April 14, 2012 at 4:35 am

Part I: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes

Today we celebrated our lovely friend Theresa’s 23rd birthday with a tea party! We made all sorts of goodies, but one of the main features were these cupcakes. The recipe is courtesy of the wonderful Smitten Kitchen website. It is an AMAZING recipe – I highly recommend it. However,  you could probably make the alcohol portions a bit stronger, as despite the three different kinds of alcohol in these cupcakes, the taste of it isn’t strong at all! (Possibly that is a good thing, as far as the Guinness is concerned)

Seeing as it is a Smitten Kitchen recipe, there’s no point in reposting it – you can find it here.

I also made some marzipan roses to decorate the cupcakes – I don’t want to go into detail how I made them right now, though I might post about that later.

Below are a few pics of the cupcakes in various stages of their creation:

Plain Cupcake, without ganache filling or icing

Cupcake with ganache filling and icing

Cupcakes with Baileys frosting, filled with ganache and topped with marzipan roses

Cupcakes on tier

More cupcakes

Dissected to show ganache filling

Part II: Other Goodies!

Here’s a selection of some of the other goodies we served. Leave me a comment if you want the recipe for any of them as I can’t be bothered copying them all out for the sake of it! Other things we also ate (but I didn’t photograph) were pesto filled cherry tomatoes, mini BLT sandwiches as well as egg sandwiches. There was also sparkling punch made with orange juice, pineapple juice, gingerale and cider.

Stuffed Giant Pasta Shells - filled with soft buffalo feta and spinach

Potato, Apple and Camembert Terrine

Spiced Pumpkin Mini-Scones

Spongey/Butter Cream and Jam Sandwich Cake

All together, it was a great team effort from all of us – Theresa, Emma and I – so well done us!

A Tea Party with Scones and Everything

In Baking, Entertaining, Pastry on March 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

It was my Birthday!

The occasion called for tea, scones and fairy bread. It also called for pastries, cheesecake and wine.

Oh the scones. Here’s what happened:

The oven was preheated to 230C,

a 1/4 cup of diced butter was rubbed into 4 cups of self-raising flour with a pinch of salt,

a tablespoon of lemon juice was stirred into 1 2/3 cups of milk and left to stand for a minute

and then it was mixed gently into the dry mixture to make a soft dough.

It was kneaded lightly on the floured benchtop,

rolled out,

rounds were cut with a cookie cutter,

placed on the greased baking tray,

brushed with milk

and then baked for twenty minutes, or so.

Far right is a monster scone.

and HERE, they’re a bit ugly I suppose and I can’t pretend to perfectionism. I do take delight in peculiarites! Isn’t that fortunate.

How perhaps to eat a scone:

Fresh, with butter, cream and gloopy jam.

The recipe came from the exceedingly beautiful Complete Comfort Food. I hear clotted cream is pretty ideal and superb when it comes to this sort of thing. alas!

I’ll just quickly show you the pastry things, the spinach and feta parcels were somewhat of an invention and the Schweineöhrchen (based on a recipe in my beloved German baking book) used the leftover pastry.

Here, took (flaky) pastry, spinach, crushed garlic, ground nutmeg, chopped almonds, feta, salt, pepper and some imagination.

Spinach & Feta Parcels

Schweineöhrchen. I guess it translates as 'little pig ears'. They consist of flaky pastry, rolled up with butter and sugar. And then more sugar. And dipped in syrup for the hell of it (this part however not prescribed in the recipe).

I will admit they looked quite different in the book. Baked them too long for a start! There’s always next time and the time after that.

Savoury Pie – with Spinach, Handmade Ricotta, Prima Donna Maturo, Basil and Egg

In Baking, Cheese, Egg, Main meals, Pastry, Pickles & Preserves, Pie on February 3, 2012 at 1:40 am

Savoury Pie - with Spinach, Ricotta, Prima Donna Maturo, Basil and Egg

I got an idea to make this pie from my Italian cookbook – which had a recipe for a savoury Easter pie, and the ingredients included ricotta, grated parmesan, beet leaves, artichokes and eggs. I decided not to follow the recipe because I lacked too many of the ingredients, but I ran with the general concept.

I will refrain from giving exact ingredient measurements, because I didn’t really use any, but rather made the recipe up as I went along. I began with about half a packet of leftover frozen spinach – defrosted it in the microwave, squeezed out excess water and sauteed it in frying pan with generous amount of extra virgin olive oil. I had thought to do onion and garlic beforehand (I put them in almost EVRYTHING savoury) but forgot. To the spinach, I added basil and some thyme from the garden – washed and shredded. I removed the pan from the heat, then added what was left of my handmade ricotta – about 100-150g? I completed the filling with about 90g of prima donna maturo – grated – which I bought from the Dutch cheese sellers at the Dargaville Farmers Market.

Prima Donna Maturo, Thyme, Basil and Handmade Ricotta

Sauteed spinach

Then I made the pastry, trying to stick with the authentic method described in my cookbook. Instead of using a bowl, I just mounded around 2 cups of white flour on the bench – maybe a bit more – making a well in the centre. I poured in olive oil and a little bit of water, and started to work the flour into a pastry dough, adding more oil and water as necessary. I eventually ended up adding an egg as well. It made the pastry quite springy, and I was worried that the pastry was going to be too tough – but it actually turned out to be well suited to this pie, and wasn’t tough at all!

Once more or less the right consistency, I split the dough in half and rolled out to a circle. I put this in my small, greased pie dish, and trimmed the edges until they were neat. I filled the pastry shell with the ricotta mixture (I found the amount of mixture a bit much, I only needed about half of it in the end – will have to find something to do with the rest!). I then made a circular dent in the middle of the pie and cracked an egg into it. I covered the top with the remaining pastry.

Egg with filling in pastry shell

Topped with pastry

Finally, I brushed the pie top with an egg, then left it in a preheated oven (180 degrees celsius) for about 35 mins. I left it to cool a little before before cutting. I devoured my (very generous) slice with some of my homemade tomato relish.

Pie fresh out of the oven!

Pie - with my epic slice removed!

I was very excited by how well the egg cooked!

Served with my homemade tomato relish!

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!