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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ciabatta Bread

For all the bread lovers! Crispy crust on the outside, soft and spongy on the inside.

Note: Proving time is 10-12hrs (step by step process below)


4 cups plain flour (or wholemeal)
2 cups water
1 packet of dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt


In a large bowl, combine flour, dry yeast, water, sugar and salt. Mix thourougly with a spatula - the texture should be fairly runny and lumpy.

Leave to prove for 18-20hrs. Heat oven to 250C, brush dutch oven or a cooking pot with vegetable oil. Place in the oven for 5-7mins to heat while empty. Take out of the oven and add the bread mixture into the hot dutch oven. Bake on 250C for 40 minutes with the lid on. Take the lid off and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Take out of oven and place on a cooling rack. Wrap in a clean tea towel and leave to cool. Enjoy with you favourite spread or plain.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Snapper carpaccio with orange segments

Perfect entree for the spring season - it is sure to wow your guests.
Recipe by Richard Ptacnik from Otto ristorante - Woolloomooloo.

1 bulb fennel
1kg snapper fillet, skin off
1 punnet baby parsley 
1 punnet red radish cress
1 bunch chives, finely chopped
1/2 bunch dill, pickled
4 oranges, segmented
200g salmon roe
1 punnet edible flowers
pink salt flakes to taste (alternative white sea salt)

Citrus and Chardonnay dressing

2 teaspoons Chardonnay vinegar
2 teaspoons strained freshly squeezed orange juice
1 table spoon extra virgin olive oil
salt flakes to taste

To make citrus and Chardonnay dressing:

Whisk all ingredients together. Thinly shave fennel and place in icy water to prevent discolouring.

To make snapper carpaccio:
Cut pin bones and blood line out  of snapper by cutting straight down the centre of the fish either side of the bones.
Slice into 1cm thick pieces, then separate bunches of 4 pieces. Place pieces stacked diagonally on top of one another between two layers of 'go-between'** paper on a chopping paper). Pound gently with a kitchen mallet to achieve an even thing slice should be as circular as you can make it. Using a smaller plate as a guide, trim into a circular shape just smaller than the serving plates. The carpaccio slices should be 2mm in thickness. Remove top sheet of 'go between' paper and turn over onto a serving plate then remove the other piece of 'go-between' paper.
Drizzle citrus and Chardonnay dressing over the fish and sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle chives over the top and place orange segments and salmon roe around the fish. Scatter baby parsley, red radish leaves, dill and shaved fennel over the fish and top with edible flowers to decorate.

Note: "Go-Between" paper comes in the same packaging as cling wrap or foil and can be found in your supermarket.


Russian hats topped with Persian fairy floss - Subarice sa Persijskim vunenim secerom

Coconut coated delights with soft centre filling between the moist chocolate sponge.
For the base:

6 eggs
12 table spoons flour
14 table spoons sugar
6 table spoons cocoa
1.5 sachets baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C

In a large bowl separate egg whites and whisk until soft peaks form. Add sugar spoon by spoon until you get a firm and glossy texture. Gradually add the egg yolk one by one and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and cocoa and add spoon by spoon into the egg mixture.  Once everything is mixed well, line baking tray with baking paper and brush with oil. Pour cake mixture in the baking tray and bake on 160C for 15-20 minutes or until set well when poked with a baking skewer.

Cream filling:

500ml full cream milk
2 table spoons flour type 00 (from your supermarket)
3 table spoons gustin/corn flour (White Wings)
8 table spoons sugar
200g butter softened
50ml rum
Vanilla essence

Separate flour and a little bit of milk in a measuring jug and mix well until smooth. Pour the remainder of the milk in a medium sized saucepan, add rum, a little bit of vanilla essence and sugar. Mix with a wooden spatula and place on medium heat. Bring to the boil. Slowly pour in the flour and milk mixture and stir well until the texture thickens. Make sure you are continuously stirring on medium heat to avoid any lumps, your aim is to have a very smooth texture. Leave to cool.

Once the base is baked - cut out small circles with a cutter and then cut the rounds in half with a knife (step by step process shown below). Spread cream filling over each half round and top with the other half like a burger. Coat the outside of every round with the cream filling and then coat the sides in coconut it should be fully coated leaving the top as is.

In a ceramic bowl add cooking chocolate and a bit of thickened cream and place over a steaming saucepan. Melt to make chocolate ganache. Cover the tops of all the round with the chocolate ganache and leave to cool. Serve this way or if you want a bit of an extra effect top with Persian fairy floss** to add to the aesthetic of the cakes.

Note: Persian fairy floss - Pashmak can be found in selected deli's.

Step by step process:

Lesnik rolat - Hazelnut Rollade

Recipe to be loaded soon.

Squid Ink Spaghettini with Salmon and Cherry Tomatoes

I learnt how to make this dish at the Sydney fish market seafood school. Recipe by head chef Richard Ptacnik from Otto ristorante at Woolloomooloo.


500g piece chinook salmon fillet, skin off
2 punnets baby parsley
1 bulb fennel, finely shaved and placed in icy water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pink salt flakes to taste (white sea salt is also fine)
250g red cherry tomatoes, halved
250 yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small red chilly, chopped finely
250ml dry white wine
300ml shellfish stock (fish stock is fine also)
600g Fresh spaghettini (recipe follows) - otherwise you can buy Latina pasta.
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
120g salmon roe
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Place the salmon on a chopping board and slice down the centre, removing the blood line and pin bones. Cut into 1cm thick strips send set aside.
Combine baby parsley, fennel, a little olive oil and salt and set aside.
Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan.
Add red and yellow cherry tomatoes, and cook for 30 seconds.
Add garlic and chill and cook for another 30 seconds, then add wine and stir well to create an emulsion.
Stir in Shellfish Stock.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add pasta, stir well to prevent it sticking, and cook for about 3 minutes, until tender.
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce.
Toss the pasta through the sauce then add the salmon and remove from the heat.
Add the chopped parsley and salt.
Serve pasta in bowls and top with salmon roe. Place fennel mixture on top, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

Fresh Spaghettini (makes about 1.4kg)

100g squid ink
1kg type 00 flour (from your supermarket)
7 eggs
Type 00 flour, extra for dusting

Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk eggs and squid ink together and pour into the well. Stir the eggs into the flour, with your hands to form a dough. Tip onto a lightly floured work bench and knead the dough for about 5 minutes with the heel of your hand, pushing it away from you and folding it back towards you until it is smooth and workable (not too soft and not too hard).
Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for 15-30 minutes. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough out to a thickness that can go through a pasta machine. Pass the dough through a pasta machine, starting with the widest setting and decreasing the setting each time so the dough becomes thinner and longer.
Fold the pasta back over itself a few times and put the rollers back to the first setting. Repeat this until you obtain a sheen on the pasta. Then continue rolling to a thickness of 3mm. Cut sheets approximately 30cm long and pass through a spagetinni cutter.


Gibanica - Cheese layared pastry stack

Traditional Serbian delicacy - often served after the main meal or alongside other dishes. A must at any celebration.

Ingredients for 2 baking trays - half ingredients for one baking tray:

1x packet Turkish pita bread (split in half) - alternatively you can make your own pastry
1x 500g cottage cheese
2x 250g sour cream
1/4 cup butter milk/full cream milk
5 whole eggs
2/3x pinch of salt


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix through well. The mixture should be nice and smooth and the same texture as a pan cake mix.

Brush regular size baking tray with vegetable oil and put the first layer of Turkish pita bread on the bottom (make sure you have cut the pita bread open so that it isn't too thick).

Put a generous amount of the cheese mixture then layer again with pita bread. Do this interchangeably until all ingredients are used up. The top layer should be covered with cheese mixture a generous amount should be left on top.

Preheat oven to 220C and bake for about an hour in a fan forced oven. Take out once golden - it should be soft and moist when cut through.

Serve alone or alongside other meals.

Happy Baking!

Kuglof - Bundt Cake (cut)

Effective and easy - perfect for entertaining.

1 cup of buttermilk
2 cups of sugar
Half a cup of vegetable oil
2 whole eggs
2 cups of flour
1 sachet of baking powder
40g blended almonds or raisins or both
1 teaspoon of Cocoa

Mix all ingredients except for cocoa together. Eggs should be lightly beaten before added to the mixture.

Separate 1/4 of the mixture into another bowl and add cocoa so that it goes brown.

Place white mixture in a tray (I used a round bundt shape tray) then add the brown mixture in whatever pattern you like, swirl it around with a fork.

Bake on 180C for about 30 minutes or until fully set and golden.

Happy Baking!