Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Breads are actually pretty easy to make. You mostly let the machine do the kneading, then leave the dough to rise while you go about doing your chores, updating your Facebook status and checking out what's happening on Twitter, enjoy a cuppa etc. Then, it's time to roll out the dough and shape them into whatever you like, which doesn't really matter because after you let them rise again, they somehow bounce back into shape. I hardly make breads because I'd have to make a big batch, and they are best eaten on the same day.
These cinnamon rolls however, can be kept overnight refrigerated, about two days. All it takes is a few seconds in the microwave, and you've got fresh, soft and tasty cinnamon rolls all over again. I was never a big fan of cinnamon rolls as I find them a little too sweet and sticky for my liking. These, on the other hand, are not sticky nor overly sweet. It's the combination of that cream cheese frosting and the almost-savoury cinnamon filling that make this so addictive, and yet not too rich that you'd stop at one.

The kids came back from school one day saying that they had super-awesome cinnamon rolls in school, and that gave me the perfect excuse to make these. As they preferred their rolls plain, I skipped the frosting on half the batch. I must say, I was pleased with how they turned out. If you leave the frosting to set on the rolls for a few minutes, it leaves a thin crunchy layer on top, like Krispy Kreme frosting. The rolls rose beautifully despite the fact that it was a cold winter's day, and it helped to place the dough under the cooker hood lights for some heat.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Chicken Cacciatore with Pappardelle

Chicken Cacciatore is a simple and delicious Italian-style chicken stew made with tomatoes and white wine. "Cacciatore" means "hunter" in Italian, so this is also known as hunter's stew. I first made this a year ago when my friend Tracey shared her recipe with me. I think she visited some cooking school on her Italian holiday and kept raving to me about chicken cacciatore. Get hold of fresh pappardelle if you can (here, I've used cracked black pepper and basil pappardelle), but otherwise, any of your favourite pasta will work too. You can omit the red peppers if you like, but I find that it lends a lovely sweetness and flavour to the dish. This is ideal for those big family dinners, where you can cook up a big batch, let it simmer on the stove while you sit, relax and have a sip or two of wine. That's stress-free cooking for you. Read on to get the recipe.