Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baked custard pudding

Baked custard pudding is just the thing for all this unseasonably cold weather! I think here in Australia we are suffering through one of the coldest summers in a very long time. I'm no weather expert of course, so go ahead, flame away!

I tried this easy baked custard recipe a little while ago and have repeated it a few times since. It is spectacularly easy. It's just a shame it isn't quicker but I guess that is the way that custard rolls. I'll be making this again this evening since for dessert post Thai beef salad (that's another post, coming soon, incidentally. It has just reached repertoire status in our house!).

The custard takes about an hour and a half when all is said and done, but it is totally worth it. It tastes just amazing served with some fresh fruit, or perhaps some poached apricots.

Baked Custard Pudding (from

Serves 2 very greedy adults, or maybe 4 if you are feeling generous!


1¾ cups milk
½ cup cream
¼ cup caster sugar

3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
nutmeg or cinnamon
Fresh fruit (for serving)
I have also seen some recipes that throw in a handful of sultanas in the bottom of the baking dish. It does sound lovely, actually.


1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Lightly grease a 1 litre baking dish
2. Slowly heat the milk and cream in a saucepan  - do not boil. Remove from heat
3. In a large bowl, whisk the caster sugar, eggs and vanilla until well combined
4. Gradually add the milk/cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
5. Strain the mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle with the cinnamon or grated nutmeg
6. Place the baking dish in a large roasting pan, and fill the roasting pan with warm water (enough to reach 2/3 up the side of the baking dish)
7. Bake for about an hour, or until the surface is firm when touched lightly.
8. You can also use small ramekins for this recipe: bake them for about 35 minutes before you start checking whether they are cooked.
9. Serve warm over fresh fruit. Divine! It is also very good served cold, if it makes it that far.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sucuklu menemen

Food Critic Andrew and I recently went up to Melbourne and I stocked up on sucuk, which is a spicy Turkish sausage. Of course, you may know we are relatively new to Victoria, so I needed to find a new Turkish Butcher. I found one, caught the tram up Sydney Rd to Brunswick and bought half a dozen sucuk. I just swanned into the butcher and asked for half a dozen, sight unseen. Of course, I didn't know that they were 1kg instead of the usual 500g I am used to from my old Auburn Butcher! I lugged them back to the hotel with the help of a very unimpressed Food Critic Andrew.

Of course aside from all the Turkish pide we have been eating, I have been searching for new recipes to use up all the sujuk that is clogging up my freezer. I found a recipe stuck into one of my old recipe books called Sucuklu menemen. I tried this on a lazy Sunday evening after a long tiring day of gardening and can thoroughly recommend it for a "one pot" meal. I served it with a side salad, fresh baked bread rolls and a glass of wine! It was even better because I had all of the ingredients in the fridge/freezer/garden.

My apologies if it is not terribly authentic - it is terribly delicious though!

Sucuklu menemen

This recipe will serve around 2 people, so adjust accordingly for more/less.

2 tbsp olive oil
1onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1-2 small red chilies, finely chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 large handful chopped kale
1/2 capsicum, finely chopped
2 tbsp basil pesto (jar stuff is fine)
300g (at least) sucuk, available at continental delicatessens and middle eastern butchers. My Melbourne recommendation is Istanbul Halal Meats in Brunswick. In Sydney, Saddik Bros Butchers sell an awesome spicy sucuk
3-4 eggs at room at temperature
Salt and pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a small/medium pan and add onion, capsicum and chilies
2. Cook over a medium/high heat until the the onion and capsicum is soft
3. Add the tomato, pesto, salt  and pepper  and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes. 
4. Add the sucuk and kale, and cook for a further 5 minutes. 
5. Break eggs into pan evenly over the mixture, and simmer until the eggs are cooked to your liking. 
6. Serve with bread and a side salad. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

On when it all goes wrong...

How the cake should have turned out...

So, the self imposed blogging hiatus is over, and I am back, ready to go! There's a cake (chocolate fudge) in the oven, and I have to confess, there have been more than a few disasters recently. I don't think I'm the only one that feels the pressure of the work bake-off. There are some seriously good cooks at my work and recently, it was finally my turn on the "cake roster". So I thought I would bake my tried and true bee-sting cake. I've made it a hundred times. It has never failed me. I would never try something new and difficult for this sort of thing -too many variables and I really dislike having to go back to the supermarket, or turn up with a bought cake (that stuff is far too expensive).

I was sooo prepared as well. I was being slightly over cautious, and bought new flour, new baking soda, new custard powder, half a dozen eggs etc etc. The best case scenario was that I would make 2 cakes, one for home, the other for morning tea at work. The worst case scenario (or so I thought at the time...) was that I had enough ingredients to make a second cake if the first one failed for any unforeseen (and unexpected) reason. I hadn't made it yet in this oven so I thought I was playing it safe.

Anyhow, cake #1 is mixed perfectly and goes into the oven. Looks great and comes out looking great. I turn around for just a second, and the damn thing has sunk! Never mind - I am prepared and can easily make a second one. I think to myself that perhaps the oven was a bit cold when I put the cake in. So I try again, of course my oven is well and truly at temperature this time....

So cake #2 comes out of the oven, looks even better. Of course, I turn around, and yet again, it sinks. Not as much as the first one, but enough to be pretty damn obvious what happened. I start negotiating with myself - maybe I can take the base from one and the base from the other.....? The night is wearing on. I pour myself a drink and resolve to buy a cake in the morning. The cake I buy sets me back $35. Seriously? It was yummy, but that was ridiculous.

The worst part? The next morning I see that one of my colleagues is interviewed for the "person of the week" feature on our internal website and my cake making skills are feted. I want to cry all over my bakery bought, overly expensive mud cake.

As an interesting side note, I mentioned this story to several colleagues, and one said that their wife had also bought the same brand of flour from the same supermarket that day, and also had a cake failure on the same night, and then on the next night, also with a tried and true recipe. So I'll blame the flour! It has been banished to pastry duty.

When your confidence is shot, the best thing to do is to get back into the kitchen and keep baking. I will make that cake again, and it won't fail.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A trip through my favourites...

....Or, all the stuff I would cook if only I had the time!

A few people have asked me this week what food sites I find inspiration from, so I thought I would share a few links, both to specific recipes, and otherwise to blogs and sites that I frequent. So here are just a few...

Tastespotting - This is an absolute feast for the eyes! It has many new and interesting ideas, and happily, leads me to many new blogs and food sites. The beautiful pictures help of course, and one day I would love to have the courage to submit something to their site.

Not Quite Nigella - I have been following this blog for a couple of years now. I don't remember how I found it, but I really enjoy NQN's wonderful prose, pictures, and adventures. I visit this a few times a week, and always find something new and exciting. As a former Sydney resident, I recognise many of the restaurants as well, which always gives me a healthy dose of nostalgia

Foodjmoto - This website I stumbled across recently. I love the Japanese influence on Karolyn's cooking, as well as her wonderful stories of family life.

Paris Patisseries - when you click on this link, you'll understand why!

Diner's Journal -  A source of inspiration, especially for Mark Bittman's minimalist meals. 

Of course, as you can well imagine, every time I open up my browser I manage to find something else I simply "must try". Food Critic Andrew is a willing taste tester, and a few recipes even manage to make it through to these lovely pages.

And here's some epic meat for you! Bought to you by Epicmeattime - these guys are hilarious!

And not to forget "My Drunken Kitchen"...The editing really makes this...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mobile Repertoire Food!

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to say that I have been rejigging the site a little,  including getting a Facebook page up and running for the site, and smartening up the widgets. I have also made the site available for mobile phones. Enjoy - I've had a bit of a look from my iPhone, and it really is quite user friendly. Let me know if you have any problems in the comments section. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Facebook fan page

Hi everyone,

I have also started a Facebook fan page for this blog - I'd love if you joined! 

Find it here

Review: Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix

Photo: Penny Williams
It is Friday, and it is the weekend for me! I get to start my weekends early because the working week at my day job starts on a Sunday. Yeah, that part totally sucks, but hey, at least it is a nice quiet day - few distractions and no hassles. I've been doing this since last November - and if I had a choice, I would like to go back to a normal "Mon-Fri" schedule. But even more, I would love to make this blog more a part of my working life (read...make some money off it!).

Anyway, for a girl working full time (or, in fact anyone), sometimes a packet cake mix really does make the day a whole lot better. Imagine, it is a Sunday evening, and you've promised your work colleagues that you will bring a cake tomorrow. This cake mix is the answer for you. Betty Crocker does one of my favourite cake mixes. It is very easy to make (4 steps only!), relatively mess free and uses ingredients that I normally have in the cupboards. Best of all, for a "packet" cake, it tastes natural and works every single time. 

Cake with whipped cream centre.
Photo: Penny Williams

The only extras you need are water, vegetable oil and 3 eggs (and 50 minutes of so). A stand mixer helps, but isn't necessary. I didn't have one for years, but now I really enjoy the convenience of having one. I can start a cake whilst the dishes are being done of an evening and a few minutes later am ready to pour the mix into a pan. Of course, you can also make this recipe into cupcakes if you have some patty pans available.

The "Creamy deluxe frosting" is also included in the box and I personally think this is the best part - and the reason I prefer to buy this particular cake mix. You can buy the frosting separately, but frankly, I think I would probably sit down in front of an episode of "True Blood" and devour the whole lot in one sitting! So best to leave it well alone. 

This time, you will see that I cut the cake in half and spread whipped cream all over the base, before putting the top back on and icing. Then of course devouring some.... Nope, this one certainly didn't make it to work! It won't even make it past the front door, if Food Critic Andrew and I have our way....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Hi everyone,

Just a quick August roundup for you from Repertoire Food. Well, we've had the most traffic we've ever had per month since I started this blog way back in April 2009 - so a big thank you to all my wonderful readers and supporters of this blog.

It is the final day of winter here, and I am looking forward to shedding some layers and exploring some lighter food, I have seen some beautiful salad recipes from our friends in the Northern hemisphere and am looking forward to trying them out this summer.

The garden has suddenly sprouted into life, and yesterday I picked my first ever home grown radish. It was sort of misshapen, but I was rather proud of myself!

So onwards and upwards folks! I have some wonderful recipes coming up in September, and something cooling right now waiting for its closeup. Of course, you know it probably involves chocolate, right?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Passionfruit and lemon steamed puddings

photo: Penny Williams

The spell-check function here on Blogger disagrees with me that "Passionfruit" is one word (and not two!), so we'll just have to labour under the assumption that it is, folks. The only thing that annoys me more than restaurants with "no bookings" policies is bad spelling...

Rant over.

I was recently looking for a quick dessert to make on a weekday evening, and came across steamed puddings. Of course, I have made them before, but only large puddings, which of course take about an hour and a half to cook. I spied the "1/2 hour individual moulds" on the recipe and was instantly converted. This recipe is based on that old favourite book of mine - "Cookery The Australian Way" (Fifth ed. - Cameron, Russell and Williams). I went a bit off the books with the flavouring since I had some lemons and passionfruit to use up.

This recipe makes approximately 6 ramekins, depending on their size (mine are 150ml).

Passionfruit and Lemon Steamed Puddings


1/2 cup (125gm) butter
1/2 cup (125gm) Castor sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 and 1/2 cups (225g) SR flour
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
juice and zest of 1 and 1/2 lemons
4 tbsp passionfruit pulp (I used tinned passionfruit pulp here)
Whipped cream, the serve


1. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2. Add egg and mix well.
3. Stir in lemon juice and zest, then flour and milk. Mix thoroughly.
4. Into the bottom of the ramekins, spoon the passionfruit pulp evenly
5. Place pudding mixture in ramekins (being careful not to mix with the passionfruit too much), approximately 2/3 full
6. Seal tightly (leaving room for the puddings to rise) with aluminium foil and rubber bands.
7. Bring water (enough to fill a large fry pan approximately halfway) to boil and place ramekins inside.
8. Cover with a tight fitting lid and occasionally check that the water has not boiled dry.
9. Leave for approximately half an hour, until the puddings have risen underneath the foil.
10. Remove foil, invert puddings and remove from the ramekin and serve with whipped cream.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chorizo and halloumi bake (after Nigella...)

Photo: Penny Williams

No wonder I couldn't find this one in any of my Nigella cookbooks! It's been so long since I actually consulted the recipe - I actually couldn't quite remember the name of it. As it turns out, Nigella's recipe uses Merguez sausages, and I have always used chorizo. Looking up "Chorizo" in the index was no help at all. Thank goodness for Google! I just adore this recipe - it is good for both midweek dinners all the way up to dinner parties - all you need to do is adjust the amount of ingredients you put in. For example, for the 2 of us, I just out in a couple of potatoes, 1 onion, whereas the quantities are easily changed to feed many more. And, even better, if you are trying to limit your own consumption of carbs, you can fill up your plate with vegetables and you'll never feel as though you are missing out.

Chorizo and Halloumi bake (for 2 - adjust quantities for larger groups)
Adjusted from Merguez with halloumi and flame roasted peppers - Nigella Express


2 chorizo sausages
125gm halloumi cheese
2 potatoes
1 onion
1 each of red, green and yellow capsicum (bell peppers)
a handful of cherry tomatoes (please feel free to substitute regular cut up tomaotes if that is what you have)
To serve: crusty bread and baby spinach or other greenery


1. Cut potatoes and onions into chunks and put into a roasting pan.
2. Slice the capsicums and add them to the pan.
3. Roast for approximately 1 hour at 200 degrees Celsius, until the potatoes are cooked (if you find everything else has cooked too quickly, you can take out the onion and capsicum.
4. Add the cut up chorizo sausage, and sliced halloumi.
5. Add the chorizo, halloumi and halved cherry tomatoes to the pan (put the onions and capsicums back in if you have removed them
5. Return everything to the oven and cook until the halloumi is melting and the chorizo is browned. It should take about 10-15 minutes.
6. Serve with crusty bread and baby spinach.

Photo: Penny Williams

I am sitting here in the lounge room in front of the heater. The cat seems to be enjoying the warmth far more than I am though....Just a perfect expression of a lazy Sunday evening...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Blueberry and passion-fruit cheesecake slice

I have mentioned previously that I don't have much of an affiliation with Cheesecake, and Food Critic Andrew is a Cheesecake traditionalist (baked please, no topping frippery such as fruits) so you might find it odd that I have chosen to make this particular beast....and you know what? - I made this chiefly based on looks alone. Lucky I have workmates who devoured this one! I am told that is was absolutely delicious, so of course you absolutely must make it. I am not sure where it comes from, my colleague Stacey might enlighten us in the comments (or, if you happen to be the author of the recipe book in question, please let us know). Stacey scanned the recipe and sent it to me with a request for some baking.

I have made a few changes to the original recipe. I added more butter to the base (as I thought the original ingredients might make it a bit dry), and omitted the lime zest (couldn't be bothered, honestly) and the cooking time was far longer than I expected. Though be honest, it did make me wonder whether the recipe had actually been tested prior to publishing. Anyhow...without further delay:

Blueberry and Passion fruit cheesecake slice


250gm Marie (or other plain) biscuits
125gm butter, melted

500gm softened cream cheese
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (I ended up doing 1/4 cup sour cream, and 1/4 cup thickened cream, and I don't think the recipe suffered for it)
2 tbsp lime juice
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1/4 cup passion fruit pulp (canned is fine)


1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees centigrade, and line a 20 x 30cm slice tin with baking paper (or grease, if you prefer.
2. Process the biscuits and add in the melted butter. Press into the slice tray, pressing down with the bottom of a glass tumbler. Refrigerate.
3. Mix cream cheese, caster sugar in a mixer, at medium speed until smooth.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, then add sour cream and lime juice.
5. Pour mixture over cooled base.
6. Sprinkle the blueberries over the top, then add the passion fruit pulp evenly.
7. Cook in oven for approximately 1 hour, or until set.
8. After cooling slightly, refrigerate overnight.
9. Cut into portions as you desire.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Key Lime Pie

This recipe is a big favourite of mine....I have made this several times and each time it gets better. So it is finally time to share. This one goes out to the awesome Narelle who is far far away in Hong Kong, but soon moving back to Australia.

This recipe started off as a recipe, but I have changed a few bits and pieces and made the pie "bigger" to suit my own pie dish. Despite there only being 2 of us, we make short work of this delicious pie sitting in the fridge.

The only thing that stops me from making this more often is that I get so impatient grating the lime zest. I really need one of those zester things.

If you haven't ever tried this, please do; it has this irresistibly creamy, yet zingy taste and I guarantee you'll be going back for another slice...

A quick note: Key limes aren't actually available in Australia as far as I know, so I used Tahitian limes instead. If you happen to know different - drop me a line....

Key Lime Pie


250gm "Marie" or other wheaten style biscuits
125gm butter, melted
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 tbsp caster sugar

395gm tin condensed milk
200ml thickened cream
100gm ricotta cheese
finely grated rind and juice of 4 limes
5 eggs, lightly beaten.


1. Process the biscuits until they are finely crumbed.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix the melted butter, biscuit crumbs, almond and caster sugar.
3. Press into a pie dish with your fingers, then the bottom of a glass tumbler to ensure the base and sides are tightly packed.
4. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
5. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees centigrade.
6. Mix the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Adjust for taste (I sometimes prefer to add a little bit more lime juice here.)
7. Pour into the base, and gently put into the oven.
8. Cook for 1.5 hours, or until set. In my oven, I actually turned the heat down to 150 after the first hour, as the base was cooked, but the filling wasn't quite set.
9. Cool in the fridge.
10. Serve with thin slices of lime over the top, and a dollop of whipped cream.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why you should roast your own beans...

I've been roasting green coffee beans for a few years now, and finally I think the time has come to let everyone in on the secret: it really is very easy. It's also a lot cheaper than buying roasted beans, and obviously they are so fresh!

I've been ordering my beans since 2009 over the 'net from the good folks at Coffee Snobs and have always found them to be on time and good value. Previous to that, I was visiting Withams, give them a go if you are in the Sydney area!

Coffee Snobs operate a "bean bay", where, once a month, they fill the site with new specialty coffee beans. That being said, whilst some sell out very quickly, I always find my beloved South American and Indonesian beans in stock, no matter what.

I use a popcorn popper to roast my coffee beans. I currently use a Sunbeam "Cornelius". Just so you know, I have been roasting beans since approximately 2007, and I have been through about three popcorn machines. They are easily trashed by the beans, grow dark on the inside, and with experience, I have learnt not to melt the plastic top. So: don't expect to be using your popcorn machine for actual popcorn after a few roasts. There are plenty of quality coffee roasting machines out there, but I get decent results with Cornelius for the small amount of coffee that I roast. Saying that, an I-roast 2 would be a wonderful gift someday (hint hint, Food Critic Andrew).

OK, so aside from a popcorn maker, I also need 2 large mixing bowls. One sits underneath the outlet of the popcorn maker, and catches any flying beans. They usually stay inside the popcorn maker, and a few lighter weight beans usually find their way out. It also catches the chaff, which is a waste product of the process. Some types of beans have more chaff than others.

I use the measuring cup provided with the popcorn maker to measure out a heaped lot of green bean. Then put it into the popcorn maker, and turn it on. Let the beans roast until they are your desired roast. This depends on the type of bean, I prefer a darker roast, because I drink milk based coffees and like the richness to come through.

Here is an excellent visual guide. Using this scale, I roast my beans to approximately 12-13.

After the mixing bowl is filled, I leave the beans to cool, and then package with the date. I tend to find that the beans I prefer take 7-14 days to mature to their full potential. Of course, others may vary. The chaff goes into the garden.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Deep fried macaroni (the grown up version)

Food Critic Andrew and I were sitting down recently, enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning over crumpets and coffee. As is our tradition, we devour "The Saturday Age" and usually discuss the feature on page 3 of the "Life and Style"section, where the main gist of the story is a celebrity interview intertwined with a restaurant review.

Of course, one of the main topics of conversation is whether the food is actually worth the what you pay for it. So of course, when one of the dishes included some deep fried macaroni, I set about the not too difficult challenge of proving that deep fried macaroni isn't overly difficult, it also probably isn't worth the price of a restaurant meal. (Of course, I know that there are lots and lots of overhead that contribute to an expensive meal...but seriously? deep fried leftovers?)

So, a quick whiz around the internet, and I have this delightful recipe for your benefit. I am not sure whether I would make this again, only possibly as a novelty canapé or something or rather.
Of course, I did enjoy a couple of them in all their cheesy/carb-alicious goodness, but they are only a "quick make" if you have already made the macaroni and cheese earlier (which is not hugely popular in my household). As such, I will assume that the macaroni and cheese is already made, and cooled.

Deep Fried Macaroni cheese balls.


1 large mixing bowl of your favourite macaroni and cheese, cooled overnight
1 onion, cut finely (or, food processed for even smaller chunks)
cayenne pepper to taste

Flour (plain)
1 egg, beaten
Panko bread crumbs


1. Heat a deep saucepan that is approximately 1/3 full with vegetable oil (or other oil suitable for deep frying) until a small cube of bread turns golden-brown within 10-20 seconds of you dropping it in the oil.
2. Mix the onion, macaroni, cayenne pepper in the bowl, until well combined.
3. Form small, uniform balls of your cooled macaroni and dredge in flour.
4. Dip the ball in the egg, and then finally into the panko. Roll around until well covered.
5. Gently lower the balls into the hot oil with a metal slotted spoon, and let them cook until they turn golden brown.
6. Remove from oil with slotted spoon, and place onto a paper towel on a plate to soak up any excess oil. Place into a slow oven (around 120 degrees Celsius) until all macaroni balls are cooked. Haste is important though! Serve as soon as possible, like with all deep fried foods.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

So, about these danish pastries

One thing I've noticed down here, is that as much as I love Warrnambool, for the life of me, I can't get my hands on fresh sour cherry danishes. So, I decided to make some for myself. I have always been a bit wary of pastry, but trying out Maggie Beer's Sour Cream Pastry was a watershed. It really isn't that hard; just follow the instructions, keep the pastry cool, and you are totally bound for pastry success!

Anyhow, I have soo much unsalted butter sitting in the refrigerator now. Now that I have practiced the laminating technique on these danishes, next stop is puff pastry for sausage rolls!

This recipe is from Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess"
I looked at the pastry recipe in the "Bourke St Bakery" Cookbook, but the proportions were far too much. For goodness sake, making 36 danishes just for the 2 of us seemed a bit too far fetched, even for pastry lovers like Food Critic Andrew and myself. However, I do like the idea that the Bourke St Bakery folks have of using a ferment process. I think it would give a much deeper flavour to the pastry. Now that I am a bit more confident freezing the unused pastry (I took Nigella's advice and froze half the mixture), I think I may just give it a go sometime. Of course, I will report back... I really love sour cherry danishes!

Also, a note as to my variations on Nigella's recipe: I mixed the yeast differently, to ensure that it was still viable. I also cut the sections into 9 parts instead of 6, I felt that this made a better pastry to fruit ratio. I also omitted the sweet icing on top (not the sugary glaze; I tried that on the first lot, but it wasn't a success). I have never been a fan of the sweet icing. Oh, and I also used my stand mixer for this, so it is technically not "Processor" but "mixer"

Processor/Stand Mixer Danish Pastry

(adapted from Nigella Lawson)


60ml warm water
7g (1 sachet, or 2-ish tsp) dried yeast. Even better, use 15g fresh yeast if you can get it
25g caster sugar
125ml room temp milk
1 (room temp) egg
350g white bread flour
1 tsp salt
250g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes


1. Add the yeast to the water, along with a teaspoon of sugar and mix. Leave for 15 minutes to ensure that the yeast froths up, and is viable.

2. Add the egg to the milk, and beat to mix.

3. In a stand mixer, put the flour, salt and remaining sugar. Add the butter cubes, and mix. You still want chunks of butter visible. (I panicked at this stage and wondered if my chunks were far too big. I wouldn't worry though; in the laminating stage, the butter gets nicely mixed through).

4. Add the liquids, and use your hands to fold it together briefly. The mixture is sticky with buttery lumps though it. Cover and leave overnight (or up to 4 days, according to Nigella).

5. On the day you are ready for your pastries, take it from the fridge and leave it to go to room temp, about and hour or so.

6. Roll into a 50cm x 50cm square (I didn't quite get it that big I don't think, but aim for that at any rate)

7. Laminating: Fold the dough into thirds, like you are folding a business letter. Then turn it clockwise so that the closed fold is to the left. Roll it out again to 50 x 50, and laminate again. Do this 3 times.

8. You can cat the dough into halves and freeze one portion here.

9. Refrigerate for half and hour (this lets the gluten in the dough rest).

10. Roll out the pastry into a big square, and cut into 6 or nine pieces, depending on how big you want them to be. I recommend the 9 piece option.

11. Place on baking paper and add your sour cherries, again, you can go free form here and add any sort of fruit. I also did a few with stewed apricots, which were very good.

12. Fold over the corners, and let them rise in a warm place for about one and a half hours. They should double in size.

13. Add an egg glaze if you so choose, and bake in a preheated 180 degree centigrade oven for approximately 20 minutes. The pastry should be a coppery brown colour.

14. After removing the oven, immediately glaze the pastries in an icing sugar/water mix (I just added some water to a small bowl of icing sugar and mixed it. It should be very gluggy).

15. Let them cool slightly....
Food Critic Andrew has added extra icing sugar to sate his sweet tooth!

16. And then finally you get to eat them! A lot of steps, granted, but totally worth it, especially if you don't have access to fresh danishes in your area...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tomato Chutney....

Summer is ending, and the days are getting shorter. It is time for changes in the vegetable garden. This month, I'll be planting carrots, lettuce, and trying to get my hands on some mizuna seedlings. The tomatoes are finishing up, and the weather has prompted me to use up a glut of tomatoes into a healthy tomato chutney.

It was on the stove forever... Of course I made the beginner's mistake of leaving the lid on at first, but a quick exploration through the advice posted on various Internet sites. It is pretty good though. Here's a quick recipe for you:

Tomato Chutney


1.5kg tomatoes
250g chopped onions
5g garlic
635ml (about 2 and a half cups) of vinegar
6 cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
350g sugar


1. Cut the tomatoes up very roughly. Some people prefer to blanch them first to remove the skin, though I find this step unnecessary

2. Throw everything except the sugar into a large pot and cook with the lid off until the sauce thickens (between 1-2 hours)

3. Add sugar, stir until boiling then let it cook for half an hour. Pour into sterilised jars and cover.

4. After cooling, wipe clean and label.

5. Serve however you please! Food Critic Andrew loves his on toast, I prefer over halved sausages with dinner.