Canadian candy for Australia Day

January 27, 2010

I was unfortunate enough to be working Australia day this year,a national celebration typically fuelled by alcohol and more often than not senseless violence. It’s the busiest day for emergency services, worse than NYE or christmas period. Most of the night is spent avoiding being spewed on by drunk youngsters, or patching up folks who have been victim of some bugger who gets aggressive when they drink.

But despite this the night wasn’t full of picking up idiots. We were busy, but plenty of real work helping people who legitimately need it, not attending to self inflicted dehydration and alcohol poisoning.

Everyone that was out and about got to sample some of these Canadian inspired Nanaimo bars in between jobs.

fresh cut nanimos

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

I made the graham crackers GF, but just with store bought GF flour mix, rather than getting a whole bunch of flowers I’d hardly used. I had intended to give these to my celiac friend, as I feel awful baking for a group and always seeing her miss out on the treats. She will be able to have some of the yum crackers, although I think I rolled them too think and cooked them to long, they are lovely and honey flavoured. Sadly tho, she won’t be able to have the finished nanaimo bar slice, as the custard powder I used for the recipe, I found out too late, contains wheat products! Booh! I wish things like gluten were more obvious on packaging, mistakes are so easy to make.

graham crackers

I also had problems with the middle frosting layer setting up. It may have been that it was too hot here, and melted, rather than whipped into a light frosting, while I hand beat it. But I thought it’s still solidify in the fridge due to the butter content. The only variations were some sour cream instead of heavy cream, and some FINELY diced fresh plum, to add some tart contrast to the sweet sweet frosting. And it did, deliscious! I didn’t add butter to the chocolate topping either, preferring to drizzle it on top.

drizzled choc top nanaimos

I really enjoyed the edition of the tart plum to the filling, and the base of coconut, cocoa and chopped almonds was soooooo tasty. I think I’ll have to think of this base next time I make hedgehog slice, or a chocolate slice of some kind. All the ambos on shift thought they were delicious, but were complaining how they’d stay slim on shift if I keep bringing such yummy treats for them 🙂 It was also nice to serve them frozen, to help them set up, but sooo nice and cool for a night where the temp kept up around 25 degrees!

yum, pink flecks from the plum

I had leftover graham crackers left, despite making only half the recipe. I am going to use them for a luscious cheesecake, so my celiac friend doesn’t miss out. If I have enough crumb I might even use some for rum ball truffles 🙂

Nanaimo Bars
Ingredients:

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter

Directions:
1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.


Sensational pork and beef satays-and a nutty sauce story

January 15, 2010

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

This recipe was so easy to make. Most of the downtime was in the marinade. I LOVE satay, so was really glad to be making this. It was sad I couldn’t grill or BBQ the finished product, but a flash in the fry pan did get a good char or caramelization on the outside of the meat. I used beef and pork as I wanted to sample the satay in a variety of meats. I would have used some chicken or lamb as well, but my extra money this month went to preparing for and buying lots of toys and treats for my new puppy Jet:

 

He is very young and a very good boy, but is noisy at the moment when he’s on his own 😦 breaks my heart to go to work. He did enjoy the trimmings of raw pork and beef from the prep work of this recipe.

So I chopped and pounded the marinade out in my motar and pestle, and used the zip lock bag method to marinate the meat over night. Easy peasy. The satay sauce I cheated on, couldn’t be bothered to pound up more corriander and cumin seeds, so it was a bit less spiced. But the peanut sauce was just wonderful. I was so glad I made rice to mop up the delicious sauce. I can’t wait to eat some re-heated rice smothered in more left over satay sauce (I was being a healthy girl and decided, tho delicious it would be, not to drink the rest of the satay peanut sauce).

 

Here is the delish dish, served with boiled salted rice, mixed lettuce, and some tinned beetroot, to give a nice tart contrast to the creamy satay sauce and spiced meats.

 

I would like to try putting more chilli in the recipe next time and using proper satay sticks, but they proved impossible to find! What section are they in people? I looked everywhere! Could supermarkets be less well laid out?

 

Anyhow, I recommend the recipe to you, go have a lush summer treat on the barbie:

Satay Marinade

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 T ginger root, chopped (optional) (2 cm cubed)
2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp ground coriander (5 mls)
1 tsp ground cumin (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (2-2.5 mls)
2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (30 mls)
1 pound of pork (loin or shoulder cuts) (16 oz or 450g)

 

Directions:
1a. If you have a food processor or blender, dump in everything except the pork and blend until smooth. Lacking a food processor, I prefer to chop my onions, garlic and ginger really fine then mix it all together in a medium to large bowl.
2a. Cut pork into 1 inch strips.
3a. Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.

Peanut Sauce

3/4 cup coconut milk (6 oz or 180 mls)
4 Tbsp peanut butter (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (2.5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground coriander (2.5 mls)
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)

1. Mix all together. I didn’t use spices or sugar in my sauce, and it tasted just fine. You may have to whisk to get the peanut butter evenly through the sauce.