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.