Monday, December 28, 2009

So the leftovers continue....leftover Christmas pudding

Anchovy and oregano flat bread

Finishing off seafood wasn't a problem... I de-shelled the prawns and froze them (they hadn't been frozen beforehand; they will become a prawn cocktail in about a week or so, though they look slightly too messy so I may change my mind) and last night I served an entire mezze platter for dinner served with flat bread that was made from a recipe from this new book Bourke Street Bakery, which I was lucky enough to find underneath the tree this year. I served cold chicken pieces, Oysters Kilpatrick as well as olives and various other salad-y bits found in the refrigerator.


There was a large amount of dough in the recipe, though I was tempted to halve it, I decided to make a vaguely Georgian Hachapuri (I took inspiration from Nigella Lawson's Feast: Food to Celebrate Life, which I perused whilst my coffee roasted). I just used what cheese was already in the fridge; low fat ricotta, danish feta and some Parmesan.

Ironically though, the one thing I seem to be having trouble finishing off is the Christmas pudding! Despite lashings of custard, I'm a bit over sweet things at the moment (probably a good thing, I'm feeling rather hefty of late). However, when I'm ready to revisit the pudding, there are a few ideas around the Internets:


http://pudding.denyer.net/pageleftover_pudding.html

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/other-recipes/jamie-s-leftover-christmas-pudding-and-i

http://www.cooksunited.co.uk/recipes/586851208441007/Christmas-Pudding-Ice-Cream-and-Pears.html





Friday, December 25, 2009

What to do with Christmas leftovers? Tales of the over flowing fridge, and, our first christmas in Bega (and a recipe for Andrew's Mum's brandy sauce)



That is the question on everybody's lips right now; Christmas lunch is well and truly over, it's been picked over again at dinner time, and the tetris like game of finding room in the fridge has started all over again.

So what was the Christmas menu this year? Well of course it's Summer here, so for a lot of people, me included, seafood features predominately. We went very early in the morning to procure an assortment of local seafood, including prawns, and a big fat lobster. I work with a gentleman who has an oyster lease at Wapengo Lake so I ordered a couple of dozen from him.

I was getting a bit over excited about Christmas and really, really wanted to make Nigella Lawson's gravlax, however managed to restrain myself. I knew that what we had ordered would be far too much for the 2 of us, so consoled myself that I will make that another time....

I served a breakfast of bacon and egg muffins (an 'in-joke' for Food Critic Andrew and I), and of course lunch was this magnificent seafood affair, served with a big salad and fresh baked bread rolls. I fully believe that when cooking a Christmas lunch, whether for 2 or 20, relaxed is the key, unless of course you have an army of helpers! So aside from the bread and some puff pastry canapes, that was all the baking I did.

The pudding I made a few weeks ago and turned out lovely. Next year I am going to try a boiled pud. Santa was very good to me this year and I got a Sunbeam Mixmaster, and we made some of Andrew's Mum's Brandy Sauce in it to test it out.
Shirley's Brandy Sauce

Ingredients

1/2 cup whipped cream
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
pinch salt
3 tsp brandy

Method

1. Separate the egg from the yolk
2. Adding a pinch of salt, whip the whites until soft peaks form
3. Slowly add the sugar whilst continuing to whip.
4. Add the yolks, mixing carefully
5. Fold in the cream and brandy
6. Serve over your favourite pudding immediately.

So, what of the leftovers? Well, that's entirely another story. We went for a nice long walk this afternoon and decided to fry up the seafood, some chicken and some bacon in some oyster and soy sauces, along with whatever vegetables we could find in the fridge, add it to some rice, and call it Special Fried rice. I hadn't actually overindulged at lunch time so as long as I controlled my portions here, I was totally fine. And I even had room for another small bit of pudding.....


Thursday, December 17, 2009

the ice cream disaster



Sadly, Isabelle, I have to admit that my foray into peppermint choc-chip ice cream making ended up a bust! So, it looked quite nice, but it was far too "eggy" (no spellcheck, I don't mean edgy. far from it) to contemplate without far too much mint choc chip "Ice Magic". Well, it wasn't entirely a bad idea - of course I had fun making it, and now think I will make some mint choc chip ice cream using the simpler condensed milk and cream route, instead of the modified buttermilk disaster that I tried with this one. What did work with this was when it almost finished freezing, added some "Ice Magic" and swirled it through; Food Critic Andrew's suggestion that far outweighed my crushed Hershey's Chocolate Kisses idea. Oh, well, we all learn from our disasters, yes? I'll keep you posted of course - and I'll see you soon. Is this what you had in mind?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mint choc chip buttermilk ice cream

So I've been a bit obsessed with ice cream lately, and for good reason! It's well and truly into summer here, and the only sweet thing worth eating sometimes is a scoop of cold creamy ice cream. Sadly, I've just moved away from Sydney as Ben and Jerry open up their first ice creamery at Manly. I'm a big fan of Ben and Jerry's whose ice cream I first discovered many years ago whilst living in London.

Anyhow, as I've said, I finally have room in my freezer so bought come ice cream recently. It didn't last long, and surprisingly, Food Critic Andrew was a big fan of the peppermint choc chip that I had bought. So when I had some spare buttermilk, and some Hershey's Kisses in the pantry, I realised I had to make some peppermint choc chip ice cream! It is cooling in the freezer right now, so I hope that it is succesful - we'll wait and see.......

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Spiced cranberry muffins with pecan nuts

We've been in the new place for a week now - so I thought I should give the oven a real trial run before I attempted to make the best cheesecake ever (his favourite!) for Food Critic Andrew's birthday celebration. It is a fan forced oven and I was still getting used to it. Perusing the taste.com.au website, which I am a big fan of, I came across this recipe for Spiced cranberry muffins with pecan nuts. Now the recipe probably won't stay there forever, so I've copied it to this site as well, and hopefully the good folks over at the taste website won't mind too much. I've changed it slightly; I thought that there should have been more cranberry, less ginger. The tastes really develop overnight, so if you can make them before you go to bed for the next day!.

Instead of adding chopped pecans to the top (as per the "Taste" website recipe), I just added a half pecan and sprinkled demerara sugar over the top. They were rather delicious, and made me rather nostalgic. I grew up on a banana farm, and our wonderful next door neighbours, the Donnans had an avocado farm, with a grove of pecan trees (amongst other things). Their daughter, Kerry and I were similar in age, and were occasionally sent down to gather pecans from around the trees. We thought it was utterly great, because we were paid a small amount per bucket. We did spend a lot of time eating the pecans though, and probably didn't realise (or care) that we were eating into our profits. So whenever I eat pecans now, I am transported back to those carefree times. It is amazing how tone single taste can instantly transport you back to somewhere else. That is part of the beauty of food, I think.

This recipe made about 5 large muffins, and a dozen mini muffins. ( I really need to buy another mini muffin pan!)

Ingredients

1 and a bit cups (170g) dried cranberries
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
3/4 cup (155g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (70g) pecans, coarsely chopped
1 and a 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (185ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly whisked

halved pecans, extra to top
1 tbs demerara sugar, extra

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line 12 x 1/3-cup (80ml) capacity muffin pans with paper cases.
  2. Place the cranberries in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 10 minutes to soak. Drain well.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, pecans, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cranberries in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, oil and egg together in a jug. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined (do not over mix). Spoon evenly among the lined pans. Combine the extra pecans and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over the muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when tested. Turn onto a wire rack. Serve warm.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The importance of a routine (at least, to me!)


Ah, so I've finally moved into a new place (that's the view from the house! - looking north over farmland, Bega NSW here's another view, here) and my routine is slowly being re-established. I am trying to get used to a new oven, and restocking my cupboard. It's funny how the little things throw you. Even tonight, I made Food Critic Andrew a cup of tea, however of course I don't have any castor sugar in the house. (Add yet another thing to the list...) He is on the phone, so I took out demerara sugar and he'll have to live with that for the moment...hope it goes alright with Russian Caravn tea. Well it's late, and I had an early morning - a 5 am start! So I'm off to bed. I have been faffing around with the new fan forced oven, so am looking forward to baking up a storm in the next few days. It's also Food Critic Andrew's birthday on Saturday so I'll be digging out an old favourite of his...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moving south - and BBQ -o - rama

So we have finally made the "big move" and spent most of this week packing/moving/cleaning/driving/looking for a new place to call home and I can finally look forward to starting my new job on Monday. We are both so exhausted, and I'm looking forward to sleeping in a bit tomorrow.

We are staying in lovely accomodation which has BBQ facilities so we will be BBQ-ing up a storm in the next couple of weeks, until the place have applied to rent is available and we have been approved (though, we are thoroughly respectable so I'm sure that we'll be fine).

In the meantime sadly I will be missing my oven! I miss baking already, and *sigh* my beautiful espresso machine which is sitting in storage somewhere. So please bear with me good readers till repertoire food is back up and running at full steam ahead!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Last days in Sydney..and Norwegian cinnamon buns


So Food Critic Andrew and I are moving down south - I got the job and am starting in a couple of weeks. So I'm sorry I've been a bit slow on the blogging, but I've had my mind on other things - gosh it's stressful moving house! You forget....I think. I can't wait to move to the country and have loads more room - and access to the freshest seafood around, as well as some fabulous produce!

I've also been working a fair bit of overtime to finish up some projects at my current job, so on Sundays I've been pretty much curled up on the couch attempting (and failing!) the Samurai Sudoku. I'm great at the regular Sudoku but these Samurai things vex me entirely. The worst thing is that it's not until I'm about halfway through that I realise my mistake! oh well. Anyway, I have actually been cooking away with various bits and pieces - though when you're on the verge of moving, you try not to buy too many perishable good since you'll essentially lose them all (we have a few days without a refrigerator).

I made these yummy Norwegian Cinnamon buns from Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess" over the weekend. I have been experimenting with half batches to try and cut down on waste, and I've made these many years ago, so thought this might be a good recipe to try and halve. It worked; in fact, Food Critic Andrew commented that he loved it when I cook in half batches because I over estimate the spices/flavouring and things taste so much nicer....

On a side note, I can't wait to move partly because I promised myself I will make my Christmas pudding when we are settled in. Yum! I stare longingly at them in the shops, but I secretly know that store bought is never, ever as good.

Ingredients:

Dough:

300g flour
50g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp dried yeast
50g butter
200ml milk
1 egg

Filling:

80g butter (softened)
80g sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, beaten to glaze

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius
2. Combine flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl
3. Melt butter, whisk in milk and egg
4. Combine with flour mixture and knead until it is smooth and springy (I had to add a little more flour here...)
5. Form into a ball, and leave in an oiled bowl, covered for half and hour.
6. Take 1 third of the dough and roll and stretch it to fit over a brownie tin that has baking paper over it.
7. Roll out the rest of the dough (to a rectangle approx. 25 x 10 cm)
8. Mix the filling ingredients together and brush the mix over the base, as well as over your rolled dough
9. Roll the dough up, on the long side, so it makes a Swiss Roll type thing
10. Cut this into about 10 pieces, and arrange on top of your dough that is already on the brownie tin. (Yes, it may not look like it fits, but believe me, it will work!
11. Bake for 25 minutes and cool slightly on a rack.

makes about 10..Yes - mine are slightly burnt on top - certainly didn't affect the taste much!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Experimental portuguese custard tarts

So at the last minute today I decided to make sausage rolls for dinner -and "lo and behold"! leftover puff pastry. So I have some experimental Portuguese custard tarts in the oven right now - they are just browning! They look pretty good and hopefully taste nice as well (though - how can one stuff up custard and pastry? I don't think you can...)

........


So they're done! I think the oven was a little hot and the custard puffed up a bit(maybe the oven was too hot?). And I burnt my finger getting them out of the oven (boo!). Ugly little things too, but quite lovely in taste. Easy, too!

Ingredients:

1 sheet thawed puff pastry
2 tbsp custard powder
1 tbsp vanilla essence
250 ml milk
1 tbsp sugar
cinnamon
8 patty pans

Method:

1. Cut the puff pastry in half and sprinkle sugar over one half.
2. Pat the un-sugared half over the sugared half and press down
3. Roll up from the short end, and cut pastry into 1cm (approx) rounds
4. roll out rounds into 10cm (approx) rounds
5. press into patty pans in a patty tin, or straight into a greased tin
6. Spoon custard (made as per custard powder instructions, except you use half the liquid to get a really thick custard)
7. Sprinkle with cinnamon
6. Cook in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius) for about 30 min.s.

Not bad, but I'm going to play around with the flavour a bit and report back. It's a hard job, but someone has to do it!



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Around the interwebs: Gosh! You can buy all sorts of stuff on ebay...

So I'm not a huge "e-Bayer" - (though I have had my account for about 8 years now, I've only made about 15 transactions) - but somehow in my early Sunday Internet wandering I came across this site which further informed me that I can in fact buy all sorts of sweets on eBay. Huzzah! I guess it is sort of on my mind - we are moving very shortly (I have a new job! more on that after I actually start it) to a country town but I am slightly worried about sourcing the "exotic" ingredients I really rely on. I will also miss the beautiful view! But really, I can't wait to be living down at Merimbula - it's so nice and relaxing there, and when we went down recently to check it out, I felt so much calmer than usual. Anyway, back to the ingredients. I am so glad for the Internet - it has opened up a whole new world for you if you're away from the conveniences of city living. Assuming of course, you have Internet access. You just have to find the right sites.....

http://bartok318.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html

Anyway, there are all sorts of different Kit-Kats available on eBay - for example - all the Japanese versions as seen on the nestle site. This fact alone makes me want to go to Japan. Right now! I thought dark Kit-Kats were exotic but above is shown "Fruit Parfait" and "Green Tea" flavours. I love Meiji dark chocolate - I think I am going to go on an expedition to China town just to see if I can find these. Then - if no luck there - off to Japan. Just have to convince Food Critic Andrew now....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Super healthy baked apples


I didn't go for a run this morning - up far too late playing computer games last night, so slept through my alarm this morning. Woops! Oh well. No dessert for me this evening. However, for your delectation, I have the following super healthy treat: Baked apples. I usually buy Granny Smith Apples for Food Critic Andrew, and then after a while I turn the leftover apples into a healthy dessert. I often enjoy fruit based desserts - another favourite is fried bananas - a speciality of Food Critic Andrews...

Ingredients:

1 apple per serve
1 tsp sultanas or raisins per serve
1 tspn brown sugar per serve
1 tspn lemon juice per serve
Nuts such as walnuts, pecans, macadamias or almonds to sprinkle on top.
cinnamon

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
2. Cut apples in half and core before putting apples white side up on a baking tray
3. Sprinkle lemon juice, sultanas, brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon over apples
4. Bake for approximately half an hour until soft.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cupboard love eating - salmon patties




Sometimes you just have a few ingredients and dinner time is fast approaching. I always have a tin of pink salmon in the cupboard
- Salmon patties are a great Sunday night easy dinner. It's been such a lovely weekend here in Sydney - I wish it would realise it was spring and heat up a bit though! Still, more time for soups. Unfortunately, salmon patties are not the most photogenic little creatures! Quite delectable though...

Ingredients:


400gm tin pink salmon
1 cup of breadcrumbs (or mashed potatoes or cooked rice) 2 or 3 beaten eggs 1 onion, finely sliced
Salt, pepper, garlic, chopped herbs such as parsley, dill, chives Optional: rinsed capers

Aioli:
1/2 cup best mayonnaise
garlic
lemon juice
dill

Method:

1. Drain and mash tin pink salmon into a large bowl.
2. Add your breadcrumbs/rice/mashed potato
3. Add beaten eggs (to bind it together when cooking).

4. mix with a fork (and slightly mash to rice if you have added that)
5. Add salt, pepper, garlic, finely diced onion, dill, whatever you have around for taste. You can vary this part! I tend to use this dish as the "cupboard love" dish - using up

6.
Shape a small handful into a ball, and roll in breadcrumbs.
7.
On med/high heat, add patties to heated olive oil. Press down with a spatula to make then a bit flatter. You now cook them on each side until they are brown. Essentially, you are wanting the egg to cook through. Don't overcook - they can dry out.
8.Put on a plate with paper towel to drain off any oil. If you are doing them in batches, put the cooked ones into a warm oven
My recipe last night made 9 patties - I had 2 which was plenty (46g salmon in each one I calculated!), Andrew ate 3 with a serve of chips. Serve with salad, or chips, or potato, or whatever you like! With aioli on the side, and some lemon wedges if you are so inclined.

Monday, October 5, 2009

you must buy this!

http://www.eblong.com/zarf/periodic/closeup.html

This is possibly the coolest thing I've seen all day....I want one!

Merimbula Grapevine Pizza - Best pizza on the south coast!




Food Critic Andrew and I just returned yesterday from a trip down the south coast - a little further than we've ever been before. We had a few days to look around, and see what we thought of the place. Now, of course one of the things that are important if you're auditioning a potential area to live in is of course the local pizza place. So with that in mind we visited Merimbula Grapevine Pizza, which is right in the middle of Merimbula on the boardwalk. And we certainly weren't disappointed. They have a gourmet menu, with toppings like "Hut River Roo" - kangaroo, onion, fetta, roasted pine nuts on baby spinach, with cheese and fruit relish. However, we decided to stick with the classics, and ordered a small garlic and cheese pizza bread, Food Critic Andrew ordered a Napoletana, and I ordered the Mexicana. Helpfully - the lady making the pizzas actually checked how hot we'd like it - 7 out of 10, please! it didn't disappoint.

The garlic and cheese pizza was garlicky and cheesy, the Napoletana was covered in a generous sprinkling of anchovies and olives, and the Mexicana was just right. Also, I had a really great chocolate milkshake - and was impressed when one of the staff members came and checked whether I'd prefer that with my food or served immediately. The staff were friendly, and the place has people in constantly picking up their pizzas - which is a great sign in my books. Family friendly too - people were coming in to pick up their pizzas with pyjama clad kids in tow. Just what you want from a local pizza joint. Anyway, one thing that also impressed me was that they offer pizza bases that are gluten free - not something you find in Sydney all to often. Thumbs up! Anything I'd change? Well, since Food Critic Andrew and I are such huge garlic fiends, I'll definitely ask for extra garlic on the next one. But I suspect I have a much higher garlic tolerance than anyone really should....


Thanks, Tim and Staff! Hope to see you again, soon.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thanks!


I have had the best site traffic so far in September! Thanks everyone. I hope I can keep writing things you enjoy...Enjoy the view

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Little vanilla cupcakes...




Because sometimes, you just need something plain and simple. This recipe is from 500 Cupcakes, by Fergal Connolly. I made a half batch (which I've transcribed below). My darling sister has finally sent me her recipe for the lemon yoghurt ring, so I am excited to be baking that. Not baking too much this weekend though! Food Critic Andrew and I are going to the South Coast for the long weekend. I will miss my oven!

Ingredients:

112gm room temperature butter
112gm caster sugar
112gm SR flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 tspn vanilla essence

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees
2. Beat all ingredients until smooth and pale (5-6 minutes)
3. Spoon mixture into pattie cases (about 9)
4. Bake for 20 mins
5. Remove from oven and cool for 5 mins.
6. Remove from tin and cool on a rack.
7. Top however you like - I am preferential to whipped cream and strawberries....



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rediscovery - Morrocan chicken

Sometimes you haven't looked at a recipe book in a long time, and when you finally do, you rediscover many old dishes that have just been well, forgotten. And, they usually have faded. It's a good sign if it has food stains though - to me it usually means it's been tried and tried again. I try to add notes to recipes when I'm making stuff where possible. That way I don't have to rethink the whole thing, or try to remember what made it so good!

Last night I made this dish I haven't made in so long - a Moroccan chicken type dish that was my first savoury cooking using cinnamon. I think I found the recipe in an issue of Women's Health magazine. Of course, it was quite bland for my tastes at least so I chilli'd it somewhat, and I recall Food Critic Andrew and I having this quite regularly at our old place. I don't know why it fell off the radar. Well, it is quite carb heavy, (I used to mix cooked rice with it, THEN serve with crusty bread! Unheard of, nowadays with the new-ish healthy eating business.) Of course, if you wanted to make it carb-light - serve the rice separately, save the bread for your loved ones and add more vegetables, as I should have done last night.

Ahh, the weekend has gone far too quickly! I made a kick-ass Key lime pie and vanilla cupcakes though. Recipes to follow in the next few days, dear readers.


Moroccan Chicken Stew:

Ingredients:

500gm Chicken (I used breast, but thighs are fine)
1 large onion, cubed
1 large zucchini, cubed
1 stalk celery, cubed
200gm canned chickpeas
olive oil
salt and pepper
400g tin diced tomatoes
2 chicken stock cubes
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Baby spinach leaves
1 cup cooked rice (optional)
Fresh Coriander/cilantro, chopped
Crusty bread rolls

Method:

1. Heat oil in a large pan
2. Add chicken, salt and pepper, onion, zucchini and celery
3. When vegetables have browned, add chickpeas, tomatoes, stock cubes and spices. add more spices to taste
4. Simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes until chickpeas are cooked through.
5. Mix rice through (optional step!) as well as baby spinach.
6. Garnish with coriander/cilantro and serve with crusty bread.

Coming soon: Key lime pie! Here's a photo I just took....It is amazingly good.



Saturday, September 19, 2009

Herbed french toast with smoked salmon




Hi there. It's such a glorious Saturday morning here in Sydney, so I thought that I would make Herbed French toast with smoked salmon for breakfast this morning. This is a recipe from the Woman's Day website . Although - I already had some sour cream in the fridge so I used that instead of the creme fraiche they suggest. This served 2 - I had one slice of toast, Food Critic Andrew had a manly serve of 2 slices.


Ingredients:

120 gm smoked salmon
3 slices bread (of your choice - I used sliced wholemeal, because that's what I have right now)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp chopped shallot
1 tbsp chopped continental parsley
1 tbsp chopped dill, as well as some for garnish
pepper
3 tsp sour cream

Method:

1. Mix eggs, milk and herbs together.
2. dip bread in mix
3. Cook bread on both sides on a med-low greased pan (and then keep warm in a slow oven if you like.)
4. When all pieces are cooked, lay out the salmon on the toast, and top with sour cream - approximately 1 tsp per slice. Garnish with chopped shallot or other herbs to your liking. Yum! Serve immediately.

The best part about this is that there are no leftovers....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ow ow ow ow!




My feet hurt and hurt and hurt and hurt. Had an important meeting today so I made sure that I wore my suit (though, belatedly realised the pants are too big and need taking in) and some pretty looking heels. And of course, now I have blisters all over my feet! Ow. But some pastry with cream and strawberries made it all better! I always seem to have leftover pastry. And I just hate waste. so I cooked up these little beauties. They look postively gorgeous, and I enjoyed one very much. I got the idea from some canapes I did a little while ago (though they were savoury, and involved camembert and Branston pickle..more about those another time.

Anyway - if you have some leftover puff pastry and don't know what to do, try this:

Whipped cream
Strawberries
Leftover Puff pastry
cookie cutter


1. Cut the pastry with the cookie cutter into small circles.
2. Bake at 220 degrees until browned and puffed.
3. Cool
4. After cooling, grab a knife and cut carefully along the middle.
5. Add a dollop of cream
6. Add half a washed, hulled strawberry.
7. Yum! Eat up; serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cherry tarts!

The joy of Honey joys




I know, I know, I've been a bit lax with the posting lately. Entirely far too busy at work. I've been doing lots of cooking though - I find it very therapeutic. I've also joined twitter, and will soon figure out how to use it. I've just finished making a chocolate ripple cake (oh, yum!) and I haven't told Food Critic Andrew just yet - He'll find it tomorrow no doubt! It's a little surprise for him. Another big favourite of his is Honey Joys. These are so more-ish; I can never have any, because I just cannot stop at one.

Now, credit where credit is due - this recipe is from from Kellogs: I have halved the quantities though.

Ingredients:

45g butter or margarine

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon honey

2 cups Kellogg's® Corn Flakes

Method:

Preheat oven to 150°C.

Line 12 hole patty pan with paper cases.

Melt butter, sugar and honey together in a saucepan until frothy.

Add Kellogg's® Corn Flakes and mix well.

Working quickly spoon into paper patty cases.

Bake in a slow oven 150°C for 10-15 minutes.

Cool.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Lunch: Ploughman's lunch - including my new love, Branston pickle

Photo: Andrew Gale

1. Bread; 2. Dark stout; 3. pickled vegetables (including onion, cauliflower, pickle); 4. boiled egg; 5. salad and cheese plate (mushroom, eggplant, onion, lettuce, tomato, rubicon red cheese); 6. Soft drink (I can't drink stout!); 7. Branston pickle; 8. Egg Mayonnaise; 9. Cold sliced beef cheek; 10. Beetroot

So, it's the last Sunday in winter *hooray!* but unfortunately it does spell the end of Sunday Roasts for the season. Instead I decided on a whim to make a "Ploughman's Lunch", despite no actual evidence of any sort of ploughing activity on behalf of either Food Critic Andrew or myself. So according to Wikipedia, a "Ploughman's" is a "cold snack or meal originating in the United Kingdom, comprising at a minimum of cheese (usually a thick piece of Cheddar, Stilton, or other local cheese), pickle (called "relish" outside the UK), such as that made by Branston, breadbap), and butter. It is often accompanied by a green salad; other common additions are half an apple, celery, pâté, crisps, diced hard boiled egg or beetroot." And have a look at these Ploughman's.



Now, I'd never actually tried Branston Pickle before, and to tell you the truth, I didn't think I would like it at all. But it was the Best thing ever! l think I am in love. So is Food Critic Andrew. I can see us fighting over the last teaspoon full!

Anyway, you can see from the picture, I couldn't decide whether to use a baguette of a fresh loaf - so I bought both. We ended up using the loaf, so next time I'll just make/buy one of those. There always is far too much bread in our house! So basically it really just is another version of anti pesto. Let's call it "Anglo pesto", in deference to it's traditional roots... This is definitely something I'll make again - nice and simple. And this of course explains why my fridge is rapidly starting to overflow with condiments. I am thinking of renaming it "The Condimenteria".

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Novotel Barossa Valley - 5 course degustation





Food Critic Andrew and I were lucky enough to travel to the 2009 Barossa Food and Wine Festival, courtesy of Sunrice last weekend. It was just a flying visit! – 2 nights – and we attended the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort Gourmet weekend dinner, which was held in association with Langmeil wines. Now – I don’t know too much about wines – but these wines were absolutely fantastic, and it was lovely to meet Paul Linder from Langmeil, and his lovely partner, Natalie during the course of the evening.

The Barossa is a really wonderful place, and I’d recommend that everyone visit at some point. Lush rolling hills, and the locals are just about the friendliest, easy going people you’ll ever meet. The evening started off with some delightful canapés including shots of spiced cauliflower foam, which was paired with a sparkling Ondenc Cuvee. The General Manager of the Novotel welcomed us all, and Paul Linder gave us a wonderful talk about the winery and some interesting facts about the different wines chosen for the evening.

Shellfish ravioli (in a Blue swimmer crab bisque, which was so smooth …I wish there had been more of it!) was the second course – which in turn was followed by a Ballotine of Waechters duck with chestnuts and mushrooms. The ravioli was paired with a GWH Viognier – and the duck with a Cabernet. Next came my favourite course – braised aged beef cheek with celeriac and black pepper. The beef was so tender and tasty –I hope that I can convince them to share the recipe with me! This one was paired with my favourite wine of the evening – the 2006 Orphan Bank Shiraz. Now this wine is very special – as I understand it – the grapes come from a small lot of vines that were planted in the 1800's.

The next course was dessert – a Blue cheese crème brulee, which was served with pecans, dried figs and caramelised pears. This was an ingenious course – Food Critic Andrew said that the brulee went perfectly with the aged Shiraz that was served. I'm not really a fan of really strong cheeses, but the pairing was excellent.
Many thanks to the wonderful people at Sunrice, the Novotel Barossa, and Paul at Langmeil Wines. Of course - to everyone that made our weekend fantastic!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Deluxe dark chocolate mud cupcakes



So now that I'm feeling progressively better, I'm back into the baking with a vengeance. I currently have some Cinnamon and raisin bread in the oven, and last night I made up some dark chocolate mud cupcakes for a bit of dessert loveliness. They were indeed delightful! These get 2 thumbs up from Food Critic Andrew!
This is adapted from "500 cupcakes" by Fergal Connolly.

Ingredients:

300g dark chocolate chips

300g unsalted butter

5 eggs

115g caster sugar

115g SR flour
strawberries, as well as whipped cream or ice cream for serving

Method:
  1. melt chocolate and butter together in the microwave, stirring to ensure that it is smooth. Leave to cool
  2. Beat eggs and sugar together until mixture is pale and thick
  3. Fold the flour into the egg and sugar mixture
  4. Stir in chocolate/butter mixture
  5. Spoon into cupcake pan, and bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated, 160 degree Celsius oven
  6. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then remove, and serve topped with your choice of whipped cream, ice cream and strawberries. Let's be honest though - you could ice them, service just topped with some icing sugar sprinkled over, or however you please!
If they aren't all eaten, they should last up to 3 days in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fantastic quick, featherlight scones

Photo: Andrew Gale

Now, I've made many, many scones, but none as delicate and as featherlight as these.

When I choose a scone recpe, it needs to have half a dozen ingredients or less. These are wonderul - and are just enough for a small group. Makes about 8 scones, depending on how big you like them!


Ingredients:

1 and a 1/2 cups SR flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup thickened cream
1/2 cup lemonade

Method:
  1. Sift flour into a bowl
  2. Add other ingredients
  3. Mix
  4. turn lightly onto a floured bench
  5. roll out with your fingers until dough is about 2 cm high on a floured bench
  6. Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter, and place on a greased tray.
  7. Cook in a pre-heaated 220 degree celsius oven for 10-12 minutes
  8. Serve with jam, and whipped cream

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rum balls (including a non rum, and a peppermint variation!)

Now these are the yummiest, most easiest things to make. I've had the flu recently, so I've been taking it very easy with my experiments, and making some very comforting things. Perfect for a couple of desultory flu ridden folk. Oh goodness, I can't wait to feel better. But - you're not here to listen to my whining about my various maladies- bring on the sweet stuff! As we speak, I have some dough in the fridge, and can't wait for another go at Turkish pides tomorrow evening. I made Salmon cakes tonight - I'll blog them tomorrow - they are the most wonderful, comforting meal in the world.

Ingredients:

1 packet girl guide biscuits (or a packet of Arnott's Nice or Marie biscuits)
1 tin (395g) condensed milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoon cocoa
1 tsp rum essence (optional, or you could use 1 tsp peppermint essence instead)

1/2 cup shredded coconut to roll them in

Method:

  1. Crush all ingredients together and mix.
  2. Shape into balls, and roll in coconut (the peppermint ones I rolled in some flaked chocolate, since I have some hanging around)
  3. Refrigerate overnight to let the flavours mix in together

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lemon tart and homemade ice cream



Meh. I've had a touch of the 'flu recently. I went to the Dr, and he doesn't test for that nasty bacon related 'flu anymore (too many people have it) so I just got a sick note for work and was on my way. However, I've neglected to post some of the yummy-ness that I made over the weekend just past. I made some amazing lemon tart, which I served with a homemade (and ZOMG! it was so easy!) ice cream. I also made some rum balls for Food Critic Andrew, which I must say are thoroughly enjoyable. And the lemon tart - well, here is that amazing dessert. I made these with lemons from a work colleagues tree. Thanks, James!

Ice cream

Ingredients

600 ml thickened cream
395g tin condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Mix cream and condensed milk together, and beat with a stick mixer, until quite thick
  2. add vanilla essence, and stir thoroughly
  3. Freeze. At one hour, then a couple of hours later, remove from freezer, and quickly mix with a fork. (This prevents crystallisation, apparently). I'm not even sure this last step is needed. Next time I'll make some, and not do this part, and report back.
Lemon Tart:

Ingredients:

Base:

1 packet of your favourite plain biscuits (I use Girl Guide Biscuits! I think it is about 200g)
100g melted butter

Filling:

395 g tin condensed milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup thickened cream
Juice and zest of two lemons

Method:
  1. Mix the base ingredients together, line a pie dish and refrigerate until needed
  2. Mix filling ingredients together, and our over prepared base
  3. Bake for 30 min in a preheated 180 degree Celsius oven
  4. Remove and serve chilled with homemade ice cream, or cream, or whatever you like!



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rosemary bread - perfect savoury bread....



My friends at Aire Valley Guest House, who do the most wonderful food and accommodation, have graciously allowed me to share with you their Rosemary Bread Recipe! I love baking, because the smell of yeast reminds me of last years bio-tech classes. Enough with the nerdiness:

I thought I would give it a try to accompany Sunday lunch (which was another Corned Beef...We are big fans of Corned Beef in this house, so it got yet another run.) The weather here seems to be well on its way to Spring so perhaps we are nearing the end of our Sunday Roasts for yet another season. I am keen to keep going with a sit down Sunday Lunch though - and have a lot of recipes that would certainly fit the bill quite nicely.

This recipe is slightly adapted (I wasn't sure if they used fresh or dried yeast, so used dried ,and made sure it was activated beforehand; I also changed the quantities for home use, and egg washed, then sprinkled the loaf with salt , pepper and rosemary before baking) with thanks, from Martin and Annabel of Aire Valley Guest House:

Ingredients:

7g dried sachet yeast
500g bakers flour
tsp sugar
pinch salt
1 hand full of fresh rosemary
300 ml warm water
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper


Method:

  1. Mix yeast, sugar and approx 100ml of the water together, and leave for 15 min, until the yeast is bubbly.
  2. Mix the baker’s flour, sugar, and salt together in a big bowl
  3. Add the rest of the warm water bit by bit to the flour (you may not need all the water) and mix and knead until you have a good consistency.
  4. Put in a warm place and cover for 45 to 60 minutes until doubled in volume.
  5. Take a hand full or so of rosemary crudely cut. (Reserve some for the topping). Knead rosemary into bread mix and shape
  6. Brush beaten egg lightly over top, and sprinkle salt, pepper and rosemary across the top
  7. Bake in preheated oven, 220 degrees Celsius for 30 to 45 minutes. If larger rolls use 180 degrees and cook for longer.
It's absolutely divine - I'm sure this photo does not do the recipe justice!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Eating ethically - or resisting the siren song of cheap cherries

I've been seeing a lot of very cheap cherries at my local supermarket, and I'm dying to make some Cherry Clafoutis or some other divine dessert with them. But alas, I'm resisting the urge because of the fact that they are 1) out of season in Australia and 2) product of the northern hemisphere, and I'm trying to eat seasonally and locally, as much as possible. So *sigh* I'll just have to wait until Christmas time to do so. The idea of eating locally has really taken off recently, and for my own part, I've been trying to not buy fruits and vegetables imported from overseas. Australia has one of the most forgiving, and varying climates, so we have an abundance of food all right here, on our doorstep. Obviously, cost is a huge factor here, and I'm not sure I have the resources (time and money) to only eat foods produced in a certain radius from our doorstep, but if I can at least avoid imported fruit and vegetables, then I feel as though I'm making a contribution in some small way.



Thursday, July 30, 2009

Retro classics: Corned beef



I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about some of the things that make a classic. Our parents may well have grown up with a particular dish, but in an effort to make things interesting, and steering towards more multicultural cuisines, we often forget that some of the most delicious things are the simple and traditional. With that in mind, and because I’ve never actually cooked it before, I tried corned beef for our Sunday Roast. Technically speaking, it’s not roasted; it’s braised, and emits the most delightful smell whilst it’s doing so. You need to start a couple of hours beforehand for this one.

Method:

In a large soup pot, put your silverside, cover it with cold water, and add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar, 3 to 4 bay leaves, and a whole onion studded with half a dozen cloves. Add some pepper ass well, and cook for 1 and a half, to 2 hours.


Slice, and serve with your choice of roasted vegetables or a salad. (I served with a bit of both!) For this one, I also added a fabulous mixture of sour cream and djion mustard, mixed to taste and heated slightly (a few seconds, just so it's not cold)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Maisie, Maisie...


So I'm looking for some great yo-yo recipes. I'm sure I'll find one or a few! I think they must invlve custard powder somewhere. Anyway, totally not food related - but I had to share this cute picture and remind you why I love Andrew so much (awww!) So we were rushing around doing errands this morning and a dog wanders out onto the road in front of us. Andrew insists on stopping, and rescues the puppy off the road and attempts to call the owners, who cannot be contacted. So he contacts the next phone number on her tag, which turns out to be her vet. So we take "Maisie" down to the vet, all the while Andrew is comforting her, 'cause she looks a bit - well - confused. We then drive back past on the way back to our errands, and see a teenage boy out where we found Maisie, so Andrew gets out and informs the boy where the dog is. And then when the mobile phone owner calls back (she'd had a few missed calls - turns out it was this boys Mum...) Andrew nicely explained the situation and where she could find her puppy!. Such a cutie. Andrew is such a nice man! I am so very lucky.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This is soo cool

This site! I actually can't stand peanut butter on bread, but the thought of cooking with it makes me want to hug myself with joy. I just wanted to share the love, peeps.

Coconut sweeties





So, I've been going through the choc royale moussey stuff, and noticed that I have an absolute surfeit of condensed milk in my cupboards. What to do? I thought back to a recipe I found on the
Australian Women's Weekly website and made these delightful condensed milk and coconut balls. I'm not sure this is even classed as cooking, but whatever - they're so very very more-ish!


Ingredients:

250 g dessicated coconut
395 g can condensed milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate, melted with a little bit of butter and milk until smooth


Method:

Mix the coconut and condensed milk
Shape about a spoon full into ball shapes with your hands, and place them onto a plate.
Drizzle melted chocolate over them and leave to set.

Yum!

The thing about trying to find a decent coffee in the country is...

So, I’ve had the experience of being in a country town and in desperate need of a latte, and all the milky goodness that goes with it. I’ve discovered there are just far, far too many people who have access to an espresso machine and think they can actually use it with some aplomb.

Exhibit A: Modern looking country café that does the worst possible espresso you can imagine. Except, you are so desperate for a coffee by the time you reach them that you will actually choke it down. You’ve tried to pick the most modern looking place in sight, in the hope of actually getting a decent latte. But *sigh* it comes out, as brown as muck. You try it, and then shovel in sugar in an attempt to drown out the taste of the burnt beans, burnt milk, etc.

Exhibit B: Country café that actually can make a decent (and I mean, it’s no artwork, but can be drunk as it should, without sugar!) coffee, and so will charge you $4.50 for the privilege. They have essentially no competition, so gouge those that do visit. Food Critic Andrew and I were at this decent looking café – which I had chosen on the basis that it was relatively busy and therefore must be “alright”. We ordered our lattes and had a great old time reading the paper and hanging around (in fact, we were waiting for a nearby bookstore to open. It didn’t; but that’s entirely beside the point). When I went to pay for our drinks, I mooned around the counter waiting, admiring the various biscuits and gleaning some forthcoming ideas, that you will no doubt see in this blog in the future. Then the bill! $9! For 2 lattes! I was so gobsmacked I actually paid it, and then walked outside looking slightly dazed. I thought it was a mistake, and checked the menu to see if they’d charged me for the wrong table. Oh no – they’re expensive, and they know it. No names, no court martials – but seriously – that is just silly! See what happens when you can make a decent coffee, and really don’t have any competition? The mark-up on a coffee is already insane – it really doesn’t need to be higher that $3 or so.

Exhibit C: Joe Blow with a coffee machine. Bad idea, going to these places. Food Critic Andrew and I were up and on the road early once and eventually found a town - and a bakery with a coffee machine. I asked for skim, he asked for whole milk. As she is foaming the milk, the girl says “I’m jus’ gunna do ‘em both with skinny milk, cause that’s what I had out. Is that alright?” A bit too gobsmacked to protest, we agreed. Then got in the car, tasted the coffees, and promptly had to release them into the wild. I never thought I’d ever say this – but if you’re in the country – there is actually a reason to go to McDonalds “McCafe”. At least they’ve been taught how to make an espresso properly – and have some sort of understanding about actually making what you ask for!

I've not been near the internets in a few days...

So apologies for not updating. I have quite a few posts though!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gamer food! Hawt dawgs....



Hot dogs, really. Sometimes, there is nothing better than sitting down at your computer, with a beer, and scarfing down a fully loaded hot dog, with sauerkraut, mustard, onions and whatever you want on it. I can't work out whether this makes me terribly uncultured, or the fact that I had to look up the Internets how to cook hot dogs . *sigh*.