RECIPE OF THE WEEK

Each week we'll have a new recipe to add - and if you'd like to add your own, email us at members@vff.org.au or phone 1300 882 833.

RED VELVET CAKE

Ingredients
Cake
250g butter, softened
3 cups (660g) white sugar
6 eggs
30ml red food colouring
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups (375g) plain flour
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Cream Cheese Icing
85 g cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
Serves: 12

Method
Cake
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Grease and flour a 20cm cake tin.

In a large bowl cream the butter and the sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix food colouring with cocoa and add to mixture.

Add flour alternately with milk. Add vanilla and salt.

Mix the bicarb with the vinegar, and gently stir into mixture. Be careful not to over mix.

Pour batter into prepared 20cm round cake tin. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool.

Cream cheese icing
Beat cream cheese and butter and vanilla with electric beaters until well-blended.

Gradually add in icing sugar, a half-cup at a time, and beat into cream cheese until smooth and creamy.

Either layer the icing between three layers or cover over the top of the cake, taking it down the sides of the cake.

CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE GINGERBREAD

Ingredients
3 cups (450g) plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
125g unsalted butter
½ cup (110g) brown sugar, firmly packed
1 extra large egg, lightly whisked
½ cup (125ml) golden syrup
200g Milk Chocolate buttons
Red, white and silver sugar, to decorate

Makes 30 cookies.

Method
For the gingerbread, pour boiling water into a small saucepan about a third full and sit a small bowl on top. Add 80g chocolate buttons and allow to stand until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. 
In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves together.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg, golden syrup and melted chocolate, beating until just combined. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating until mixture forms a smooth dough. Divide dough into two equal discs, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Lightly grease 2 baking trays.

Roll dough to a thickness of 1cm between two sheets of baking paper. Using Christmas cookie cutters, cut out different shapes.

Peel away dough from around the shapes and reuse. Place sheet of baking paper with gingerbread shapes onto prepared baking tray. Bake for 8‒10 minutes. Allow to cool a little before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process until all the dough has been used.

To decorate, melt remaining chocolate following the instructions above. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cooled gingerbread shapes and sprinkle with coloured sugar.


FARMERS’ FUND YOGHURT

Makes 4 cups.

INGREDIENTS
4 cups Farmers’ Fund milk
3 tablespoons plain yoghurt (purchased, unsweetened)
Flavourings such as jam, honey, fresh or dried fruit
A thermos to be used as an incubator 
Mason jars are good for storage

PREPARATION
Prepare an ice bath, filling a large bowl or sink with ice.

Pour milk in large heavy pot. Place the pot over moderate heat and heat the milk until it boils, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming and making sure the milk doesn't scald or boil over. 

Alternatively, place the milk in a large microwave-safe bowl or a large glass measuring cup with a spout (for easy pouring) and microwave it in 2- to 3-minute intervals, until it boils.

Remove the milk from the heat and allow it to cool to a warm temperature. To speed the cooling process, place the pot in the prepared ice bath and stir the milk occasionally.

In a small bowl, combine about 1 cup warm milk with the purchased yoghurt and stir to combine. Add the yogurt-milk mixture to the remaining warm milk and stir until completely incorporated. Do not stir vigorously.

Pour or ladle the mixture into a warmed thermos (warm the inside with hot tap water) and incubate for 5 to 10 hours, depending on the desired flavour and consistency—longer incubation periods produces thicker, more tart yoghurt. Do not disturb the yoghurt during incubation.

Cover the yoghurt and refrigerate until cold, 2 to 3 hours. (If you used a thermos to incubate, 

Transfer the finished yoghurt to a non-insulated container for chilling in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Stir in flavourings just before serving. 

Yoghurt can be stored in the refrigerator, in covered glass, ceramic or plastic containers, for up to 2 weeks.

RASPBERRY SEMIFREDDO 

Really easy summer recipe – make the night before and enjoy on the veranda watching the sun set. Serves 6-8

Ingredients
6 eggs
250 g caster sugar
250 g raspberries
750 ml double cream

Method
Whisk the eggs with the sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water until thickened, then remove from heat and continue whisking the mixture until completely cool.
Mash raspberries in a shallow dish.
Stiffly whip the cream and stir in the egg mixture and mashed raspberries.
Line a rectangular loaf tin with plastic wrap (cling film) , pour in the mixture and smooth the surface.
Put in freezer overnight or for at least four hours.
To serve, turn out and remove cling film.

Can substitute raspberries with other fruit – aim for something slightly sour to counter the sugar.

Scattered Love Ginger Hearts

Not quite award winners at the recent Melbourne Show, however a favourite with my children.

Ingredients

350 g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons ground ginger
Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
100 g chilled butter
175 g brown sugar
1 medium egg
2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle
Small heart shaped cookie cutter (or any other shape that you fancy)

Method
Heat the oven to 180oC. Line two baking trays with baking paper
Sift flour into large mixing bowl
Sift in ginger, cinnamon and bicarbonate soda
Cut the butter into chunks and stir in so that is it coated with flour
Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
Stir in sugar
Break egg into small mixing bowl and beat with a fork.
Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix everything together
Holding the bowl in one hand, use your other hand to squeeze the mixture together until you have a smooth dough
Use a blunt knife to cut the dough in  half
Sprinkle flour on work space and roll out the dough
Use the cookie cutter to cut out lots of hearts (or other shapes) 
Repeat this until all the dough is used
Put on baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden
Use spatula to lift cookies onto wire rack to cool
Store is airtight container or share with friends immediately.

The mini hearts make great decorations on top of vanilla ice cream or stuck together with a mix of whipped cream and custard.

Theodore’s roast chicken

Theodore arrives home from school and whips up dinner so it’s ready to eat when the rest of us walk in the door at 7pm.

Method
Turn on the oven to 220 oC fan forced

  • Put chicken in baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and squeeze lemon juice over the top.
  • Stuff squeezed lemons inside the chicken cavity.
  • Crack salt and pepper across the top.
  • Cover with silver foil.
  • Put in oven for 20 minutes, then turn oven down to 180 oC.

 
Roughly chop washed (unpeeled) potatoes and scatter around roasting chicken.
After 30 minutes turn potatoes.
Total cooking time is 20 minutes per 500g. 

Carve the chicken onto plates, scatter with roasted potatoes and drizzle juice from the pan. Serve with ripped leaf salad.

Bircher Muesli and Farmers’ Fund Milk

I cup of rolled oats
1 tablespoon of each – chopped dried apricots, cranberries, dried blueberries, sultanas (or a mix of your fav dried fruits)
A few dry roasted almonds
 
Mix together in beaker or glass jar with lid. Top up with Farmers’ Fund milk.
Refrigerate overnight.
 
For breakfast, top with dollop of yoghurt and shredded apple.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

75 g softened butter
75 g caster sugar
75 g soft light brown sugar
1 medium egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
175 g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
150 g chocolate drops, dried cranberries or other dried combinations

Method
Heat oven to 180oC fan forced
Line two baking trays with baking paper

In a large mixing bowl, stir together butter and sugar until well mixed.
Lightly beat egg and pour and mix into mixture and stir in vanilla.
Sift dry ingredients together and mix well.
Stir in 150 g of chocolate drops, dried fruit etc

Using hands or tablespoon, put balls of dough evenly spread on each baking tray. Flatten with fork
Bake in oven for 10 minutes – start checking around 5 minutes to get chewy cookies.

Remove from oven, leave on tray for a few minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes 24 cookies.

 


SOMERVILLE BEEF PIES

Wangaratta’s unofficial version of a Cornish Pasty, these beef pies can be made quickly and left to cook whilst herding children into homework and end of day activities. This recipe feeds 10 people and the pies can be frozen.

Ingredients
500g mince beef
1 onion diced
1-2 garlic gloves
½ cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 sheets puff pastry
1 carrot
1 head broccoli
3 shakes of Italian herbs
1 cup frozen peas
1 beaten egg

Method
Put carrot, broccoli, onion and garlic in food processor, process into small pieces. Fry mixture in a pan for 10-15 minutes and add beef, herbs, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cook until beef is browned. Add tomato sauce.

Microwave the peas and add to the mixture and let the mixture cool. 

Cut each puff pastry sheet into four squares, making the top squares a little larger. On a lined baking tray, line up the smaller pastry squares, having brushed the bottom with egg. Spoon on some meat mixture. Put larger pastry square on top and fork around the edges to seal the pies. Brush tops with egg.

Cook in oven at 180C for 40 minutes. 

Serve hot from the oven. Leftovers for school or working lunch the next day. 

NEW YORK CHEESECAKE

A cake steeped in New York history.  The introduction of cream cheese in the late 1800s and the resulting wave of immigrants – Jewish and Greek – saw the first New York Cheesecake being sold on the Lower East Side in the 1920s. 

This amazingly rich cheesecake is easy to make, although requires a couple of hours to cook and overnight refrigeration. Perfect for a crowd as can make the day before. Serves 8-10 generously

For the crust
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 and a ¼ cups granita biscuits crumbed (about 10 crackers)
2 tablespoons sugar

For the filling
1.25kg cream cheese at warm room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
1 cup double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence 

Method
To make the crust, preheat oven to 165oC. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 23cm springform pan (cake tin). In a bowl, combine the melted butter, biscuit crumbs and sugar and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened. If too moist, add a further crumbed biscuit.
Press the crumb mixture into the springform pan – evenly across the bottom and 4cm up the sides. Bake until the crust dries out slightly, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely in the tin on a wire rack.
To make the filling, put cream cheese in large mixing bowl and beat on high speed until smooth, about 5 minutes. Mix the flour and sugar together then add to the cream cheese mix and beat until well blended.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with spatula to ensure mixture is evenly beaten.
Add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time beating after each addition. Add cream and vanilla and beat until combined.
Pour mixture into the spring form pan over the prepared crust.
Bake until the cheesecake is set and the centre jiggles slightly, usually about 80-90 minutes. Do not overbake.
Cool in pan on wire rack. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Before serving, unclasp the sides of the springform pan and remove. Cut the cake into wedges, served chilled with fresh berries or a coulis.


END OF THE WEEK APPLE CRUMBLE

On a rainy winter’s Sunday afternoon, empty the fridge and create a delicious family pudding to end the week.

1. Gather up all the apples, pears and other fruit you have left in the fridge. Peel, chop into chunks and gently simmer in a pot of water on the stove until just soft
2. Put aside to cool
3. In a bowl, mix together two cups of plain flour and 125 grams of butter (cut into pieces). With clean fingers, crumble the butter and the plain flour together. Stir in one cup of brown sugar
4. In a baking dish, layer the apple mixture along the bottom. Pour in a little of the juice so it doesn’t dry out. Squeeze a lemon across the top of the apple mixture
5. Sprinkle the crumble (should be a thick layer) across the top of the apple mixture and bake immediately for 30minutes at 180oC
6. Serve with thick custard and creamy vanilla ice cream.

Add a twist: passionfruit or raspberries are a great addition to the apple mixture.  
Advice: Only add the crumble just before cooking the pudding otherwise it will go soggy!

SUGAR CRUSTED LAMB

The sweet savoury combination gives this dish a richness that is perfect for the middle of the week.

Ingredients
8 lamb cutlets
2 tablespoons hot English mustard
4 tablespoons demerara sugar
2 sprigs rosemary leaves
Olive oil
2 potatoes

Method
Heat the grill to 200C.
Spread the cutlets with mustard on both sides and roll in sugar and scatter on rosemary leaves.
Drizzle old on a baking tray, slice the potatoes thinly (skin on), and lay on baking tray in a single layer. Drizzle more oil on top and scatter on rosemary leaves and season.
Lay cutlets on top of potato slices. Grill for 10 minutes without turning, until golden.
 
Serve with salad or steamed greens. Delicious!

JUSTINE’S LEMON SLICE

Base:

100 g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup coconut
1 cup cornflakes
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup white plain flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

Lemon icing:
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180°C. In a large saucepan melt butter, golden syrup and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients and blend well.
Press the mixture into a greased 20cm x 30cm slice pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Once the slice has cooled to room temperature, ice.
For the icing, beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Blend in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Spread over the base.

Cut slice into squares and store in air-tight container.

Justine was a boarder at secondary school. A day girl use to make this slice and bring it in to feed the hungry boarders. 

OAT BISCUITS

Ingredients:
1 cup rolled Australian oats
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup sugar 
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
125g Australian butter
2 tbsp local honey

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 160oC.
Add a twist: a handful of choc chips and dried cranberries – reduce coconut.
Melt butter and honey together (can zap in microwave for 20 seconds).
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and pour over melted butter mixture. Stir together.
Press into a lined square brownie baking pan flatten with fork and cook for 8-10 minutes at 160oC, until lightly golden. Cool in baking pan and cut into squares. Store in airtight container.

Perfect for morning tea.

ANCIENT GRAIN SALAD

A delicious nutty, grainy salad great with Sunday roasts and perfect the next day as leftovers. Feel free to substitute grains and pulses such as whole wheat, cracked wheat and quinoa. Replace seeds and nuts with your favourites.
 
Ingredients:
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 cup freekah (or cracked wheat or quinoa)
1/2 cup lentils
2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp baby capers
1/2 cup currants
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp Australian olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1 cup pomegranate seeds
 
Dressing:
1 cup thick Greek yoghurt
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tbsp honey
 
Method:
Blanch freekah and lentils separately in boiling water until both just cooked. Drain well and allow to cool. 
Mix the yoghurt, ground cumin and honey until combined. 
In a medium bowl, place the coriander, parsley, red onion, freekah, lentils, toasted nuts, capers, currants, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well and season to taste. 
Place into serving dish and top with cumin yoghurt and pomegranate seeds. If looking a little dry, mix in a little more olive oil. 
Serve with Sunday roasts.
 
Original recipe from Hellenic Republic.

ROGAN LAMB SHANKS 

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 2-3 hours
Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
4 lamb shanks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
300 ml Greek-style yoghurt
450 ml hot lamb or chicken stock 
4 cardamom pods, cracked
1 pinch saffron strands
4 small tomatoes cut into wedges

Method:
Mix together the flour, chilli powder, coriander, ginger, salt and nutmeg. Dust the lamb shanks in the flour, reserving any excess.

Pre-heat oven to 180oC. Pour the oil into a large roasting tin and place over a high heat. Cook the lamb shanks for 10 minutes turning until well browned. Transfer to a large plate and set aside.

Add the onion to the pan and cook for 10 minutes until golden brown. Add the reserved spiced flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Stir in the yoghurt and stock.

Return the lamb to the pan. Add the cardamom and saffron and bring to a boil. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 1.5 hours. Add the tomato wedges and cook for a further 40-60 minutes until the lamb is almost falling away from the bone. Serve hot.

Notes: The spices can be intermixed with any spices you have to hand; its a robust dish that works well with a range of spices. Keep the foil tight over the dish during cooking which can be up to 3 hours. Serve with steamed winter vegetables or in summer an iceberg lettuce salad is the perfect side. Leftovers the next day can be lighted with couscous or mixed grains. Still hungry afterwards? Use the remaining yoghurt, topped with fresh fruit.

Original recipe by Ansley Harriot.