Almond and Orange Tuiles

Time saver: Phil tweaks Chef Eddy’s Almond Tuiles recipe, and reaps the sweet sweet benefits.

almond and orange tuilesWhen I first wrote about Almond Tuiles I said that I hadn’t changed the recipe at all. That’s different now, and I’m ready to stamp my mark on it. As I said the first time around, Chef Eddy’s Almond Tuiles recipe is my inspiration (reference, source), so feel free to refer to him or use his recipe instead of mine. (He has some great photos, so maybe check it out even if you decide to use my slightly altered one.)

Tuiles are a great crispy dessert cookie, with a distinctive curved shape. The combination of vanilla, orange and almond is subtle and (to me anyway) sublime. They’re best eaten on the day they’re made, but if you have a really airtight container you can try keeping them. (I’ve had mixed results – they stay crisp for a couple of days then go slightly chewy.)

The main changes I’ve made to the recipe are:

  • halved the quantities (and then adjusted slightly)
  • doubled vanilla
  • quadrupled the orange zest
  • reduced almond to a quantity commonly sold in NZ shops (impossible to find 90g bags)
  • shifted a lot of the weight based measurements to volume based – it’s less accurate, but faster if you don’t have to weigh everything

One of the great things about this recipe is that it leaves you with unused egg yolks, which is a nice problem to have. Sounds like you’d better make crème brûlée. I haven’t put up a recipe for crème patisserie yet (though I’m planning to eventually) but that would be a good option too. (Let’s not get me started on pastry cream, suffice it to say that I love it.)

Almond and Orange Tuiles – makes around 25

  • 60g egg whites (skip measuring and just use the whites from 2 large eggs)
  • 90g caster sugar (this is around 7 Tbsp or ½ cup minus 1 heaped Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla essence
  • 3 Tbsp white flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 30g melted butter (around 2 Tbsp)
  • 70g packet slivered or sliced almonds
  • 2 tsp orange zest (zest of around half an orange – or more if you love oranges)
  1. Heat oven to 205°C (I use “high bake” which uses the bottom and side elements with the fan going).
  2. Put almonds on a baking tray and roast in the oven for around 5-6 minutes – you should probably check them after 4 minutes or so and give them a bit of a stir. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in a bowl.
  3. Whisk together the egg whites, sugar and vanilla essence in a stainless steel bowl. You’re not aiming for meringue, but whisk it to the point where it’s well-blended.
  4. Add the flour and salt and mix till smooth.
  5. Add the melted butter, cooled almonds and orange zest. Mix well.
  6. Line baking trays with baking paper, then drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the paper. (Yes, it really is supposed to be that runny.) My baking trays aren’t that big, so I only get 9 per sheet (in a 3 x 3 grid). Leave plenty of space between each one as they can spread while cooking. Shape into rounds with a fork, which you can dip in melted butter to help get clean edges.
  7. Cook the tuiles (one tray at a time) for around 6-8 minutes until golden-brown. The edges will brown and the middles should be golden.
  8. Remove from the oven, then quickly lift each one from the tray with a metal spatula/fish-slice, and drape over a thin rolling pin to get the distinctive curved-chip shape. You may need to press them into shape. As they cool they’ll harden, at which point you can remove them from the rolling pin and leave on a wire-rack to finish cooling. If you don’t manage to shape them all you can return the tray to the oven for a few seconds to soften the remaining ones before attempting to shape them again.
  9. Serve on the side with coffee or ice-cream.

almond and orange tuile

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Bacon-wrapped Asparagus

Time saver: wrapping things in bacon is kind of cliché, but luckily that doesn’t stop it from making things delicious.

This is a great one for summer, and is pretty quick and easy to prepare. I cooked mine in the oven tonight, but you can also do them on a grill, in a frying pan, or of course outside on the barbeque. If you’re doing them on the barbeque or in a frying pan, you may want to use tooth-picks or skewers to hold it all together.

I used dry-cured manuka smoked bacon from the Grey Lynn Butchers, and it was truly delicious. John Campbell has been known to shop here (I’m not sure if that’s an endorsement or not – you might want to pick your times to avoid bumping into him).

You can serve these with a meal, or just enjoy them on their own. For a variation you could also try wrapping individual asparagus spears with prosciutto (if you’ve come into money or something).

Bacon-wrapped Asparagus – makes 6-7 pairs

  • 250g fresh asparagus (should be around 12-14 spears)
  • 200g streaky middle bacon (you need one strip per 2 asparagus spears)
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C (I used “fan-grill”, which heats the top and side elements, while running the fan).
  2. Trim the woody ends of the asparagus spears, then place asparagus on a plate.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the asparagus, then turn them to get them evenly coated. Season with a little freshly cracked black pepper (and salt if you want it – though the bacon may be salty enough).
  4. Divide the asparagus into even-lengthed pairs, then wrap a strip of streaky bacon around the middle of each pair. Depending on your bacon you should be able to cover the middle half of each asparagus spear.
  5. Place the asparagus on a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper on it, arranging them so the loose ends of bacon are held under the asparagus. (Alternatively, you can thread a couple of tooth-picks or skewers through to hold the bacon in place.)
  6. Place the baking tray in the oven, and cook for around 10 minutes. Remove when the bacon is cooked and the asparagus is still al dente.

Uncle Phil’s American-Style Pancakes (with berries)

Time saver: with the berries baked right into the pancake, you’ll forget that I’m not American, and that I’ve never cooked these for anyone who calls me “Uncle”. (One day my nieces and nephew, one day…)

blueberry pancakeAlthough I grew up on crêpes, I still like the fatter American-style pancakes from time to time. And when you include berries baked right into the pancake, they’re downright irresistible. I usually make these with strawberries grown on the deck, but you can use blueberries, raspberries, basically any berry you can get your hands on will probably be great. (The photos show blueberry pancakes.)

You can also make these without including the berries. In that case, serve with maple or vanilla syrup, or stack with fried bacon and bananas and a light drizzling of maple syrup.

Uncle Phil’s American-Style Pancakes – serves 2 (makes around 5 pancakes)

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1-2 eggs (1 is fine, but you can use 2)
  • ¾-1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter (around 30g)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen berries (this is around 125g – if berries are large, chop to size of raspberries)
  • butter for frying
  • maple syrup OR vanilla syrup OR icing sugar to serve
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, and into this crack the egg.
  2. Also pour in the melted butter and milk, then stir to combine with a fork. Start in the centre and work your way out to the sides, mixing thoroughly to combine and remove any lumps. (There’s a balance here – the less you mix, the lighter the pancakes will be, but you don’t want lumps of flour from undermixing either.)
  3. Add the berries and stir through the batter.
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat (I use the 4 of the 1-6 heat-range of my element) . Melt a knob of butter in the frying pan and spread evenly over the frying pan’s surface. A small non-stick frying pan works really well and will help you get a round pancake. (They’ll work fine without it, but you may end up with irregular sides.)
  5. Pour a ladle-full of pancake mix (about ½ cup) into the centre of the frying pan (without tilting the pan). If necessary, push the berries around to distribute a bit more evenly. Cook on that side until bubbles begin to form on the surface, then flip and cook on the other side. (Flipping can be a little difficult at times – you don’t want the bottom to burn, but if the top isn’t cooked sometimes the mixture runs or splashes. If you’re really struggling, maybe try cooking on a lower temperature, which should give you more time before the bottom burns.)
  6. Serve with maple or vanilla syrup, or a light dusting of icing sugar.

blueberry pancake closeup

Satay Noodles

Time saver: when the lady wants satay noodles, she gets satay noodles.

When I asked what to cook for tea tonight, I got told “satay noodles”, so that’s what I did. The key thing with satay for me is getting the balance of the sauce right. It’s easy to end up with a really rich sauce that tastes great at first but quickly becomes overbearing. A lot of recipes use milk, cream, or coconut cream and that sometimes contributes to the problem, so this time around I left those out.

Quick note, I used tamarind paste, which is a fairly unusual ingredient for New Zealand cooking. It’s quite sour and has an interesting taste, and you can find little jars of it in most supermarkets. If you don’t have it and don’t want to buy it, just use the zest and juice of a lemon instead.

I hope you like it. (I’m nuts about nuts, so it works for me.)

Satay Noodles – serves 4

  • 500g rump steak
  • 2-3 shallots, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2 Tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce
  • 3-6 Tbsp peanut butter (depending on how peanuty you like it)
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind paste OR zest and juice of a small lemon (could add this even if you use the tamarind paste just for an extra kick)
  • 1 Tbsp crushed ginger
  • 1 tsp or 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil (or another vegetable oil – not olive oil)
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, ends trimmed, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 head brocolli, cut into florets
  • 2 courgettes (zucchinis), ends trimmed, cut into rounds
  • 600g udon or hokkien noodles
  • 1/2 cup water (more if needed)
  1. Trim fat from steak, then cut into strips (cutting across the grain) and place in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the chopped shallots, Thai sweet chilli sauce, peanut butter, tamarind paste, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and chilli flakes. (If using lemon add this too.)
  3. Pour the sauce over the meat and stir through to coat meat evenly. Leave to marinate for a few minutes.
  4. While the meat is marinating, prepare the other vegetables.
  5. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large frying pan (electric non-stick is great) on medium-high heat.
  6. When the frying pan is hot, add the meat and sauce mixture (scrape out bowl so you get all the flavour). Stir constantly for 3-4 minutes till meat is seared, then add vegetables and continue stirring.
  7. After 2 more minutes, add the water, stir thoroughly and continue cooking for 3 more minutes. Add the noodles, stir well then cook for a further 3 minutes. Add water as needed if sauce starts to dry out. Then serve.

Ruby’s Prawn and Vege Fritters

Time saver: these come to you from my friend Ruby. It’s like a complete meal, in a fritter.

Close up prawn and vege frittersI was going to make these a few times and settle on a combination I liked, but it turns out that if I wait until I do that, I’ll never get another post up (and that would make baby pandas cry).

This recipe is copy and pasted more or less verbatim.The quantities are a little vague, so you sort of get to interpret it however you want to. When I made it I think I used a bit too much cabbage (I used about 1/8th of one), and next time I wouldn’t cut the prawns so small (I used about 200g prawns, next time I’d go for a bit more than that). I also didn’t have coriander (well I do, but it’s bolted and lost all its leaves), so I used fresh parsley and a few mint leaves instead.

They’re pretty tasty, and I’m sure you can tweak the recipe to take it wherever you want. (E.g. you could add a bit of crushed garlic and ginger, and then add a bit of lemon or lime juice and a dash of fish sauce to the sweet chilli sauce you serve them with for a more Thai flavour, etc.) If you want to serve it as lunch/dinner, all you need is a bit of a side salad to dress it up. Anyway, here you go:

Ruby’s Prawn and Vege Fritters – serves 3-4

They can be as big or as small as you want (I prefer smaller ones – they tend to cook a little better) makes around 12 – give or take, depending on size.

  • 1½ cups standard flour
  • ¼ tsp of tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 1 egg
  • water to mix (between ½ to 1 cup of water) depending on what consistency of fritter you like
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chives
  • spring onion
  • cabbage (finely chopped)
  • carrots (finely chopped)
  • fresh coriander
  • 5 large prawns (or as many as you like!) (Phil’s note: I’d go with at least 250g prawns, and don’t cut them too small)
  • sweet chilli sauce
  • oil for frying
  1. Chop up the veg (as much or as little as you like).
  2. Make batter with top ingredients (Phil’s note: put flour, tumeric and chicken stock powder in a bowl, make a well in the middle and crack the egg into it, then pour water into well, mix well with a fork, starting in the middle and working out till the batter is smooth, season with salt and pepper).
  3. Add veg and roughly chopped prawns to batter and mix well.
  4. Cook in hot oil. (Phil’s note: heat around 3 Tbsp oil in a frying pan over a high heat, then spoon heaped tablespoons of mixture in to the frying pan and flatten slightly to make a round fritter. Cook on each side until golden brown, then serve. I got about 20 fritters doing that. I recommend using peanut oil for a bit of flavour, but otherwise use whatever you have.)
  5. Serve with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Prawn and vege fritters