25 June 2012

Chicken & Mushroom Vol-Au-Vents

There's not much to be said about this recipe other than that my sister has been making these Vol Au Vents for about 21 years.  They are easy, delicious and a family hit every single time. 

Whilst the recipe calls for entree size pastries only, if you have small children you will find that the bite size pastries will be their favorites as they can manage it with their hands and eat it in a couple of bites.  My sister always makes a combination of both entree and bite size and I have no qualms in stealing some small ones, whilst I also indulge in the entree size ones as well.

Chicken & Mushroom Vol Au Vents

36 entree size pastry cases (vol au vents)
800g chicken fillets,sliced as if stir-frying (skin-off)
400g mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2T tomato paste
110g butter
0.5C plain flour
2C milk
Salt & peeper to taste


Annie preparing the chicken.
Melt 50g butter in a large and deep frying pan that has a lid and saute the onions.  Add the chicken and salt and pepper, then give it a stir.  Turn the heat to low, put the lid on and let it cook until the juices from the chicken evaporate.  Stir occasionally.

Add the mushrooms and tomato paste, stir and put the lid back on.  Let it cook until most of the juice from the mushrooms evaporate.  Ideally the mixture remains slightly moist.  Set aside and make the sauce.

Chicken and mushroom mixture.

On low heat, in a small non-stick saucepan melt the remaining butter and progressively add the flour and mix it together.  Add the milk in quarter cup portions and stir well and keep mixing.  It should be a pasty mixture without any lumps.  If there are any lumps just push the mixture through a sieve.

No lumps.

Add the mixture to the chicken in the frying pan, give a good stir so it's all mixed. 

In a large baking tray place the vol au vents and then with a tablespoon fill the cases evenly.

No fancy brand needed, just the
local Coles is good enough.
Annie filling the cases.
Place in the oven at 150 degrees to warm them up and slightly brown the cases.

Vol Au Vents ready to go in the oven.

Serve with green salad and
a chilled white wine.

Enjoy.  I sure did and went back for more.

24 June 2012

Orange Torte

After several soup recipe posts, I think it's time for a shift to something wickedly sweet.  Mind you this cake is certainly not for the weight conscious.

Made by my grandmother since she was a young lady, this recipe is approximately 80 years old.  Passed down to my sister, she has been baking it for the last 20 years and perfecting it each year. It has become the traditional birthday cake amongst the family and it never lasts beyond the next day.

Whilst time consuming in the preparation and baking, it is certainly worth the effort for those really special events.

Orange Torte


10 eggs, separated
300g sugar
200g plain flour
Juice of 1 lemon

Orange Cream

280g sugar
2 full eggs
6 egg yolks
2 tsp plain flour
6T milk
2 orange rinds
300g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes



Preheat oven 160 degrees.  Separate the eggs into two large mixing bowls.  Add the sugar to the yolk and mix until it has a creamy texture.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks then gently fold into the egg yolk.  Add the flour and lemon juice, gently fold again.

Beating the egg whites to stiff peaks.
Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolks.
Add the flour and lemon juice
and gently fold till mixed.

Pour the cake mix into a large non-stick springform baking pan and bake in the preheated oven for about an hour until the top is golden-brown and the wooden skewer comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Golden-brown on top and the wooden skewer is clean.

Orange Cream

Combine all the ingredients and mix until nice and creamy.  Add the orange rind and transfer into a non-stick saucepan.  Cook on low heat and stir constantly.  You will find as it cooks, the cream will rise in the pot.  Keep stirring.  The cream will start reducing and thickening.  The cream is cooked when the consistency is thick.  Put the saucepan into some cold water in the sink to cool it quickly and stir a couple times.

Combine ingredients until creamy.
The reduced and thickened cream.

Place the cubed butter into a mixing bowl and add the cream mixture from the saucepan.  With an electric mixer, beat until all mixed in, fluffy in texture and the colour is light.

Light and fluffy texture of finished cream.
The necessary taste test.

Cut the cake in half horizontally and spread about half the cream on top of the base evenly.  Replace the top half of the cake and evenly spread the cream on top and the sides.  Decorate if preferred with chocolate sprinkles.

We don't fuss with perfection too much.
We just want to eat it...
...but it was Grandma's birthday,
so we made an effort and junior made
sure we did it right.
Serve with a sweet dessert wine.