Did you see the cake last night on MasterChef???? Wasn't it beautiful - I want one for my 50th birthday next year!!
I don't think I am the only one in Sydney that wants one either. Looking at the on line forums last night it looks like it is on the wish list of every bride to be in Sydney as well!
If you ask me the winner of Series 2 of MasterChef isn't the person whose picture is going to be on the next issue of the magazine - it is the person who is on the cover of the latest issue - Adriano Zumbo! Everyone wants his V8 cake and his Macaroon Tower! The queues around his bakery are apparently phenomenal.
There is no way I could have tackled a cake like that - the technical skill involved in producing a work of art like that is totally beyond me - besides where do you get titanium dioxide from?
On to more achievable recipes. Last night I made the Chicken pasta bake that is featured on the cover of the latest Super Food Ideas. Saying that though, I did modify it to suit me. I will give you the recipe as it is printed, and then in red what I did to it.
Chicken Macaroni Bake
Serve 4 (6)
1 1/2 cups dried macaroni pasta (500g)
1 tbs oil
1 brown onion, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
500g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed sliced (1 kg breast - sliced)
1 tbs plain flour
2 tsp wholegrain mustard (2 tbs honey mustard wholegrain mustard)
300ml light cooking cream
50g shaved ham (200g)
300g broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 cup frozen peas (1 cup)
125g grape tomatoes, halved (250g)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (1 cup)
1/2 cup grated reduced fat tasty cheese (approx 1 cup)
Preheat oven to 180C.
Cook macaroni in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, following packet directions.
Meanwhile heat oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook stirring for 3 minutes, or until onions are soft. Add the chicken. Cook stirring for 5 -7 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the flour over the mixture. Add the mustard and stir through. Return to heat, and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Add the cream and ham. Season with salt and papper. Stir to combine. Add the broccoli and peas and the macaroni. Toss to coat.
Lightly grease an ovenproof casserole dish and spread mixture in dish. Top with the tomatoes halves. Combine the breadcrumbs and cheese and sprinkler over the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and cheese is melted.
This was a great dish - had everything in it. Making the quantity that I made I certainly have leftovers for tomorrow night. Admittedly "the Darlings" picked out most of the vegetables, but I figure if I include them often enough they will eventually get sick of picking them out and just eat them!!!
Now to go into their school lunches I made some Cornflake and Sultana Cookies. These were so easy that I suggest you double the recipe, as it only makes 24 cookies - they will devour those in no time!!!
Cornflake and Sultana Cookies
Makes approx. 24 cookies
125g butter, chopped, at room temperature
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
2 tbs milk
1 1/2 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup sultanas
Preheat the oven to 160C non fan.
In an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar and vanilla until creamy. On low speed add the flour, and mix until combined. Add the milk and mix until the dough just comes together. Using a spoon stir in the cornflakes and sultanas, mix until well combined.
With your hands make small balls (slightly larger than the size of a walnut). Flatten lightly onto baking trays that have been spread with baking paper (this saves washing up!!)
Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden.
Cool on trays, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Great with a glass of milk after school!!!