Sunday, August 5, 2012

Procrastination

I always put off making recipes where there is zesting any sort of citrus involved. Which is a shame - zesting is really NOT that hard. So I think I need an easier tool to zest with - as in a proper zester - not just using the fine setting on my grater. This weeks roast is a Cuban style lamb recipe that I picked up somewhere on the Internet which involved a lot of zesting and we await the results of my labours....

Meanwhile, the cheesecake I made yesterday turned out awesomely - here's a picture of it straight out of the oven:

I am rather pleased at the lack of cracking! Success. Perhaps I'll have the energy to make a cafe style banana bread this afternoon as well..

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weekend cooking

This weekend I'll be making a household favourite: Best ever cheesecake (apparently). The cream cheese is sitting out of the fridge and waiting to get to room temp, and the Marie biscuits are awaiting mushing....Hopefully will get some nice pics of it as well. Currently not feeling super hot because of a head cold, but we struggle on, yes? And there's no better feeling for me than pulling a perfect cake out of the oven...It is sure to cheer me up immediately! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New favourite restaurant ever....

I mean, who could go past a dessert like that? I just had to have it. Had to. I especially love that they didn't even bother to put loads of custard under the creme brûlée - they admit it - we're all just there for the crackly sugar glaze on top....



So if you're in St Kilda around dessert time, Oenoviva is the place to be...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Poffertjes! A metric f$%kton of little pancakes...

So I've been staring at a poffertje pan that I bought some time ago. And every time I open the cupboard, my line of sight goes directly to a packet of poffertje mix that I found in the supermarket soon after buying the pan.....


Photo: Penny Williams
I had some doubts that my little stove top could actually heat up the big cast iron pan,  so I kept putting the project off and off yet again....

This afternoon I finally decided to make up the packet. I chose to do it this afternoon  so there would be no time pressures - no one waiting on dessert or breakfast!

Seems simple enough - all that is required aside from the packet mix and the pan was 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons milk and 800ml of milk.....wait....That seems like  a lot. But then....there was a lot of mixture. Then, I decided I'd make this a packet mix review and soldiered on....
Photo: Penny Williams

Here is the mix after adding all the ingredients -  seems pretty much like pancake mix from what I can see...but no need to leave it to let the gluten soften (but then, you don't need to do that with packet pancake mixes either..)


Photo: Penny Williams

I oiled up the pan (as above) with a spray on oil... and proceeded to start the process of cooking...

Photo: Penny Williams

And was still going much much later.... the entire packet took forever! Above is a picture of the process. Much to my surprise, the entire pan actually managed to heat up (though I did notice there seemed to be 3 distinct zones of "hot". The middle of the pan obviously heated up very quickly, the left side went medium speed and the right side was very slow. But I guess that is mostly dependant on your particular stove top.

Assistant chef (or he was just waiting to be fed...)
Photo: Penny Williams
 And finally.....a metric f&^kton of poffertjes. Way more than the 2 of us could eat!


Photo: Penny Williams
But, you know - we have managed to put a decent dent in them. Toppings we used were cinnamon sugar and cream; also lemon, sugar and butter - but there's whole world of other fillings out there - just put it in your favourite search engine! They can be savoury as well - at at the moment I have a particularly sweet tooth!

I'd probably not bother buying the packet mix in future - I'd just make a standard pancake mix, perhaps with a bit of extra sugar or buttermilk for a bit of extra zing. The tiny little poffertjes take a fair amount of time, but if you have it (the time, I mean!) I'd recommend this for a bit of fun....It did get quicker as I went through (as the process got easier) so I daresay that it would be quicker next time (oh, and I wouldn't make so damn many...)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Current obsession: Doughnuts!

These look amazing (of course, the ricotta part will have to wait, but the lemon cream....yum!)

But you know.... I just can't stand deep frying things. I cannot stand the fact that my kitchen smells like oil for days after, my clothes, hair etc all stink of oil afterward as well.....

Perhaps if I got a deep fryer instead of using a deep saucepan and oil, things would go easier, but that goes against my stance against buying uni-tasker items...

So I'm in a quandry. But thinner for it, at least...an easy way to make doughnuts at home would make me very large indeed..

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The great lasagne debate....(and frustrations with my local supermarket..)

I generally am inspired to make lasagne once a year, usually in march. This year, I did not make it. Generally what happens is that I get all inspired to make the lasagne - then we eat it, I am reminded how bloated I always feel after eating it and the remaining portions are then sent to freezer purgatory, where they are never eaten because I can't stomach the thought of being all bloated, and Food Critic Andrew doesn't eat leftovers. 

 When Food Critic Andrew bought this up this evening I thought long and hard but I've decided to give it a miss this year..... I've actually eaten lasagne a couple of times while out and I think I've had my fill for the year. 

But onto my rant of choice. My local supermarket (one of the big two) has a magazine which currently features peking duck. It is on the cover, and there are products (heavily advertised, mind you) is some sort of peking duck kit and has the pancakes and hoisin sauce all there. Since we are in a rural area I though I might give these a try since we cannot get peking duck anywhere around here....

Of course they don't stock it...despite it being heavily advertised....and I can't believe I waited so long for the staff to consult with each other and finally work it out.....FAR TOO EXOTIC FOR THIS PART OF THE WORLD! *sigh* You can tell I have the winter irrits, huh?

Monday, June 25, 2012

light and fluffy pancakes...

On the weekend I made some pancakes - using the old trusty recipe but found them kind of flat and boring.I think making Bill Granger's ricotta hotcakes forever and then going back to plain pancakes sort of kills the love a bit... Anyway ricotta is off the menu for the moment but I've been doing some research into making some awesome fluffy pancakes and have come across this recipe. They look pretty awesome! I might try making some for dessert sometime this week to give them a go. I suppose it is probably the baking powder that makes the difference - perhaps really I should just try adding baking powder to my regular recipe..stay tuned....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Closing the urban/country divide.


I have noticed that there is such a huge disconnect between the consumer and producer - city people sometimes don't understand where the milk/food comes from. Logically, we all know that milk comes from cows, fruit and vegetables from the earth, meat comes from animals etc. but at 7.45 on a Tuesday morning, that thought doesn't come so easily when you are ordering a latte and ham and cheese croissant. 

I grew up on a banana farm myself, and have lived in cities (Brisbane, London, Sydney) and now find myself now in rural Victoria. I work in the dairy industry and of course I write about food so this issue is particularly close to my heart.  

With that in mind, blogger "Talking Fairleigh" (another South-East Queenslander! yay!) has put the challenge out to every cafe in Australia to carry rural newspapers in their business so that their patrons can start to understand that where their food/drink comes from is not just an abstract concept but a living, breathing close by place - and part of the same community - whether they are visible or not. Check out her article here:

As she says: "the benefits to rural Australians of having more urban people with a greater understanding of where their food and fibre comes from, of the people and communities who produce it, and the conditions under which they produce it, could be extraordinary!"

If you're a cafe owner, I challenge you to stock a rural periodical. If you are a cafe patron, you should challenge your local coffee shop. Tell them, twitter, FB or email them the link and lets get this happening! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cupboard love....(and a confession..)

I don't know whether it is my new found love of all things savoury but I seem to have developed an overflowing pantry! Time to use up some of those more um..obscure ingredients. The thing about trying new recipes is that you often might only use something once, then you find what is left months later and have to figure out something to do with it! So of course you need to buy more obscure ingredients...and the cycle continues. We went through a brief phase of trying out vegetarian meals. For better or worse, I guess, we've fallen back into our carnivorous ways. Case in point:  I have had though, a tin of Sanitarium nutmeat in the cupboard; and no ideas what to do with it. I decided to see if I could get away with putting it into a lamb pot pie and see if there's any taste difference.  It  didn't work. Despite spending about 40 minutes trying to disguise the overpowering nutty flavour - and smell. When Food Critic Andrew put the first forkful in his mouth he immediately spat it out and declared that it had some terrible "chemically type "taste. I vehemently denied that I could taste anything different and kept on calmly eating. I'm sure it's healthy, but that stuff is gross! There was no way I could disguise the taste any further without drowning the entire meal in Tabasco. In fact, I'm not even sure that would do the trick. I'll never, ever buy it again. I think I'll just leave that secret between myself and the blogosphere. I did actually make quite a lot of cupboard space in my quest to get rid of the "nutty" flavour though - I went through several different ingredients trying to find the"right" thing.




Last night I made up a Queen of Puddings from the SBS website (and the latest Feast Magazine). My friend Sandy had recently had some issues with SBS' recipes - they don't seem to be tested very well, so I was interested to see how this turned out. I don't think this recipe was tested. It claimed that you needed 750ml of milk, but the pudding turned out way "wetter" that it should. The base was practically swimming. Wiki does say that the base should be firm - but there is no way the mixture as suggested in Feast would ever set. 
It is delicious though - you can't really go too far wrong with meringue, jam and sugar! I place far too much faith in recipes and too little in my own gut instinct that was telling me it wasn't right. 

I will try with 500ml milk next time; perhaps when Guest Editor Shirley visits in a couple of weeks. 


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lamb Maharajah


Does it really count as "Indian" food if it is  Nigella Lawson recipe?

Well, this recipe comes from her book, Feast. It certainly is Indian inspired, if nothing else. I've made this quite a few times now, and the recipe has done the email rounds. I had actually thought I'd put this here on repertoire food, but apparently not. The thing is, it isn't the most photogenic of dishes. I'll take some photos of the ingredients to pretty it up.... 

Meanwhile, Food Critic Andrew had a kitchen epiphany this evening while making a pepper sauce. He had some trouble with lumps forming and I suggested he use a whisk. Of course, he declined and threw out the mix. New batch - same problems. I came back  a few minutes later and he was using the whisk - saying "Wow! I should have been using this all along." I had just assumed that he knew what one was for, but he tells me that he hadn't. Bless him.  

As usual, I have moded the recipe to suit my own quantities/purposes. 

Lamb Maharajah - by Nigella Lawson

Ingredients
45g ghee or butter
350g onions, roughly chopped
2.5cm piece ginger
3 cloves garlic
3 small red chillies (can de-seed if less heat is required) – (or use a couple of teaspoons of chili paste like I have before)
1 tsp nigella (kalonji) seeds

3 tsps ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp black pepper
1kg lamb (neck or casserole type lamb), cut into large cubes (can also use beef)
150ml plain yoghurt
1 tspns salt
2 tblsps ground almonds
1 tblsp lemon juice
2 tblsps fresh coriander

Method
1. Heat half the ghee/butter in a large pan. Place the onions, ginger, garlic and chillies in a processor until finely chopped then tip into the hot pan. 
2. Cook for 5 minutes until softened then remove and set aside in a bowl. 
3. Heat remaining ghee/butter and add the nigella seeds, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and pepper; fry for a minute. 
4. Turn up the heat and add the lamb/beef to brown. 
5. Add  the onion mixture back into the pan along with the yoghurt and 160ml water. 
6. Stir in the salt and bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and gently cook for 1 to 1 and a half hours until tender. Remove the lid and stir occasionally. You can also put this in a casserole dish, then into the oven to cook slowly at 160 degrees for 1 and a half hours instead of cooking on the stove top - or you can also put this in the slow cooker.  I generally freeze half the mixture at this point for another day. 
7. When the meat is nice and tender, stir through the ground almonds, coriander and lemon juice.
8. 
Serve with a dob of yoghurt and basmati rice. I also serve with a roti (flat bread) to mop up the juices.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Aren't these just the cutest things you've seen all morning?




Update: I actually ended up making these for a work do; in fact we participated in Australia's biggest morning tea which is a fundraising event. They turned out nicely, if a little dense for my liking. I think they might be nice with rice four instead so I will try that. Probably very good for kid's parties, probably. 

I also made some of Donna Hay's macarons which are pretty good for packet stuff! I had them in the cupboard for a while as a backup to some "from scratch" macarons I was making so decided to make these for the fundraiser as well. I don't recommend putting the teaspoon of cold water in step 4 - it made mine too wet and they started to slop all over the place. A second lot went way better without that teaspoon of water. I also made them with chocolate powder which is very forgiving if you have an unevenly heated oven such as mine (some macarons turn out browner than others- the chocolate powder hides this)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

La Zuppa contest! I want to know your favourite soup recipe...

Salmorejo - from Agata's Kitchen blog


The soup-fest continues! We've enjoyed trying all the different soups La Zuppa has to offer and am pleased to announce that the good folks over at La Zuppa are giving away a have sent repertoirefood a prize pack that includes their entire range for a lucky reader. 

All you need to do is to let me know your favourite soup recipe - you can leave it in the comments - or if you've found it on-line let me know the link. I will be picking the best recipe on Saturday 26 May so you have until Midnight Friday (Australian Eastern Standard time) to get your recipe in! The best recipe will be featured here on repertoirefood and the winner will receive a prize pack which includes the entire La Zuppa soup range. 

In conjunction, La Zuppa are also running their own competition at the moment on their facebook page where you can win some cash for submitting your soup ideas so I encourage you to "like" their page and enter your great idea!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lots and lots of soup..





So, I've been sent a huge box of soup to review for the lovely folk at La Zuppa. Just in time, too - the weather has turned dreadful down here. They have an amazing range, and I've been given a couple of each to try out and take to work for my colleagues to try. Here's the thing though - soup overload! At first I was all  "hmm, what am I going to try today??" Then the same the next day, then for a couple of days after that....and then I started thinking that maybe a salad was more up my alley...

No seriously. They're pretty great! So far, Food Critic Andrew and I have tried about half of the flavours between us (he works with me, it's OK!). The chicken and corn chowder is a particularly good one since it is tasty and full flavoured. I also like that they are convenient enough to take to work and since they don't need to be cooled, I won't lose then from the communal fridge. I think the only thing they need is a little bit of sour-dough toast on the side, amply buttered of course.


I also made sure that we had a small interdepartmental lunch where we bonded and of course tried some of the lovely soups on offer. They were all pretty popular - especially the Ribbolita Tuscan vegetable. A small criticism was that the Minestrone tasted more like a pumpkin soup with vegetables in it - and unfortunately no pasta in the soup. 

So I thoroughly recommend them. Best of all, they're 99% fat free, and gluten and dairy free if you have allergies. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sushi at home



I cannot believe that I haven't gotten into making sushi at home a whole lot sooner. It is amazingly easy! That said, I'm not suggesting that sushi chefs have it easy - my home version probably wouldn't pass muster by actual sushi experts, but we'll get by with my not very authentic Warrnambool version.

The only sushi that is for sale around here is at a very small smoothie shop. They sell 3 varieties: smoked salmon, tuna and a chicken/cucumber version. Andrew and I really miss Sushi Train from our Sydney days so I decided to take the plunge and try to make my own, and was surprised at how easy and fun it actually is. That being said, it was a little slow at first, and I still probably make far too much for the two of us. It is a learning experience though, right? The fillings I am currently using are:

salmon nigiri
cooked prawn nigiri
cooked chicken schnitzel/avocado rolls
cooked chicken thigh/shallot/carrot
eel/shallot rolls
salmon/avocado/shallot
cooked salmon/avocado/shallot
tempura prawn


I also asked the good folks on the forums at taste.com.au to suggest some fillings other than what I am making, so if you're interested, please have a look. There's some good stuff there. 


So, for the rolls: all you need to do is follow the sushi rice instructions on the pack and then spoon the rice out onto your nori sheet (thickness can vary, depending on your taste I suppose!) add your filling at one end then roll it up. You can purchase little sushi making kits at the supermarket which have the little bamboo mat that helps you roll your sushi.

If you would like to make nigiri (the little mounds of sushi with a bit of wasabi then  the topping) all you need to do is shape your sushi into the required shape with a wet hand and then add a swipe of wasabi then your topping. Easy stuff!

This has quickly become a favourite at our place and I hope that you'll give this a try - it really is very easy!

For more technical explanations of sushi, take a look at this wikipedia article. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Morroccan chicken salad





Down here in the southern part of the country, Autumn (Fall) is upon us. So, using this recipe as inspiration, I made this lovely spicy Moroccan Chicken salad. Actually, if you follow the taste.com.au recipe word for word - it is a very nice salad, but I happened to have some chicken that needed to be used up, so effectively I substituted chicken for the chick peas here. I also made mine a bit spicier! Of course, if you would prefer, you can use a "pre-made" Moroccan seasoning. It won't have the same depth of flavour but if you need something quick for a weeknight meal, that is always an option. 


Monday was a public holiday here in Victoria so the week is flying by. I can't wait to get stuck into some serious cooking again this weekend! The tomato glut continues, so I will be pickling them this time. Guest reviewer Shirley has kindly provided me with a green pickled tomato recipe that has been passed down the generations so I will be giving that a try to use up some of them. Then it will be time to get the garden ready for winter planting! Can't wait to plant some root vegetables and new lots of greens. 


Enjoy the recipe folks - this is definitely something I'll be making again!


Moroccan Chicken Salad


Ingredients
1/2 butternut pumpkin, peeled, chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 zucchini,diced
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) vegetable stock, heated
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch mint, leaves picked
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, leaves picked
  • 2 tbs flaked almonds, toasted
  • 170g tub tzatziki



Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
1. Lightly grease an oven roasting tray. 
2. In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin, carrot and zucchini with the chicken, spices and about 2 tablespoons oil, ensuring everything is evenly coated in the oil and spices.
3. Arrange in a single layer on the baking tray and roast for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked evenly and the vegetables are golden and tender
4. Whisk together the lemon juice and zest with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
5. Stir the dressing into the salad. Gently toss the roasted vegetables, cherry tomatoes, onion, mint and coriander with the couscous.
6. Spoon the salad onto plates and sprinkle over the toasted almonds. Serve with a dollop of tzatziki.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Slow roasted tomato sauce

There is no end to the tomatoes. We've tried giving them away, every cooked meal has involved tomatoes somehow and  so now it is time to do some preserving. This year, I've decided to go with a slow roasted tomato sauce - it might have a better uptake in the household. Last year I made chutney, and whilst it was nice, I knew I could do a whole lot better with a sweeter sauce. 

So having a look over the internets for a lazy (I didn't particularly want to blanch, peel and seed all those tomatoes!) sauce I came across this from Cuizoo: slow roasted plum tomato sauce. So I took this as my inspiration and made up my own version...

Slow roasted tomato sauce

Ingredients
1 kg tomatoes, quartered
500g onions, cut up/sliced
8 cloves fresh garlic
2 tsp fresh oregano, leaves torn
2 tsp fresh basil. leaves torn
3 bay leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
honey
red wine vinegar

Method
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius

1. Add your tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs to a large roasting pan, and cover with olive oil
2. Roast for 4 hours and then cool
3. remove bay leaves, and blend till smooth
5. Blend till smooth, then pour into a large saucepan/pot
6. Sweeten to your taste with honey and red wine vinegar. 
7. Pour into sterilised jars (here's a refresher on how to do that here) and keep in the fridge. My lot made about 2 very large preserving jars worth. You can also reduce it a bot more if you prefer a thicker sauce. Of course, now I have to make some sausage rolls to dip in this yummy sauce!
Just before going into the oven....
You might also like:



Friday, March 9, 2012

I don't know how I find these things..

....on the internet BUT you have to check out the food photography on this site, Luxirare. I think the photography is amazing - I love the minimalistic backgrounds and the lighting is spot on! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

All quiet on the western front...

...but furiously working away behind the scenes. Repertoire Food is turning 3 (!) next month so I have finally bitten the bullet and bought some internet real estate. I am currently teaching myself how to build a website so repertoirefood.com will hopefully be up and running very shortly!

P. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Plan B



Surprisingly for this time of year, we appear to be having a heat wave! So I am rethinking the Chicken with sauce chasseur, and will make instead a vegetable tagine salad. Some roasting of vegetables is involved, but only 25 minutes worth as opposed to over an hour. Hopefully looks and tastes great, I'll try to get a shot and share. Gotta get moving!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Roast Chicken with sauce chasseur

Picture: Penny Williams
It's the end of another busy, fantastic week. I have a new role (in another department) at the company I work for, and am in the process of transitioning between the old and the new roles. I am working a couple of days (Sunday/Mondays) in my old role, then the new one for the rest of my working week. I have 2 more weeks of this to go then I can finally sink my teeth fully into the new role - so I feel like I am in a holding pattern at the moment. I think my new boss and team are wonderful, but I already miss the camaraderie of the lab. I am more in a "corporate" type role now and it is a whole new world - even though it is only 100 metres away!

My week started out on a high after our team win at the Whaleboat Championships on Sunday. I also managed to break past my "8 minute barrier" when running. It took a while to get past it, but this week I forced myself to not look at the timer on the iPhone app and somehow managed to push through a whole 12 minutes non-stop. I am pretty sure I levitated all the way home after that. I am now dealing with the fact that I actually am starting to enjoy running. (let's try and keep that just between you and I, yes?).

Food Critic Andrew and I are having  a house-guest this weekend! An old friend is doing a yoga retreat at Apollo Bay then will be staying with us for a couple of nights to explore Warrnambool/indulge in some more seaside meditation.   There are no whales to be seen this time of year, but there is a "Dirty angel". Yeah, that's pretty unfortunate!

Pfft, enough digression - let's talk about what we're all here for - the Chicken that gave me my mojo back.For ages, roasting a decent (and tasty) chicken seemed to be a pipe dream but Guillaume Brahimi has saved the day! Late last year I visited his Bistro Guillaume in Melbourne, and Food Critic Andrew and I were hugely impressed by the tastiest ever roasted chicken we ate there.  

So I don't think it was a coincidence that a copy of "Guillaume - Food for friends" landed in my lap recently. Of course it has the recipe for roast chicken with sauce chasseur ("hunter's sauce") within and I have made it 3 times now, each time with wonderful results. I'll faithfully reproduce the exact recipe here -noting that I substituted fresh ground white pepper with fresh ground black pepper. One thing I won't substitute is a free range chicken - it is well worth paying a bit more for all that extra juicy, ethical  goodness.


Roast Chicken with sauce chasseur
from "Guillaume: Food for Friends" by Guillaume Brahimi

Ingredients

3 large bay leaves
1/2 bunch thyme
1 head of garlic (cut in half, across the middle)
1 x 1.6kg free range chicken (Brahimi recommends Barossa Valley Poultry here, but I think that any brand free range chicken will do)
sea salt and fresh ground white pepper
50ml olive oil

Sauce Chasseur

25g unsalted butter
6 Swiss brown mushrooms, stalks removed, sliced
1 golden shallot, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, peeled, seeded and diced (yes, it is totally worth the extra step here, I promise you)
75 ml dry white wine
175 ml chicken stock/jus
1 small sprig tarragon, leaves only
fresh ground white pepper


Method

Firstly, preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius, or 200 fan forced
1. wash your chicken, and place a bay leaf, half the thyme and one half of the garlic in the cavity. Season with salt and pepper
2. tuck the wings and legs in and tie with kitchen twine
3. In a large fry-pan, heat the oil, then brown the chicken on all sides at medium heat
4. Transfer the chicken to a roasting tray (with rack) and add the remaining herbs and garlic to the tray under the chicken
5. Roast for approximately 55 minutes (until juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh)
6. Remove from the oven, and rest the chicken before serving

Whilst resting the chicken, prepare the sauce chasseur as follows

1. melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat, adding the mushroom and cook for 3 minutes
2. Add the shallot and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until golden brown, then stir through the tomato
3. Pour in the wine to de-glaze and cook until the wine is reduced by half
4. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer until reduced by a third
5. Remove from heat and stir though tarragon and pepper to taste
6. Before serving, pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve with roasted vegetables, (or as Guillaume suggests, paris mash or gratin dauphinois)


If you liked this, you might like:
Roast Duck! http://repertoirefood.blogspot.com.au/2009/05/sunday-roast-crispy-duck-with-cabbage.html


What to do with leftovers?
Chicken Udon noodle soup: http://repertoirefood.blogspot.com.au/2009/04/chicken-udon-noodle-soup-favourite.html

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Want!!!


I hope this won't end up as a coffee-centric blog so I won't bore you with the great latte explosion of 2012 (which occurred only yesterday). I am definitely downloading this app later on. It looks pretty awesome if you are after your "optimal caffeine zone". I think it would be handy for exams of you are studying!  Or, just to get you through the day....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Captive audience + espresso machine = price gouging....




I totally get that restaurants/cafes have to pay their staff, pay their utilities and generally try and make a profit in there somewhere, but surely, surely $4.50 is way too much for a large takeaway coffee?


I was at the 2012 Australian Whaleboat Championships today and after the second heat decided to wander over to Proudfoot's (let's clarify before you comment, it is definitely "foot's", not "feet") to order a coffee. The only other food available (without having to physically drive anywhere) was a Rotary sausage sizzle, or the local rowing clubs hot dog stand. I'd already supported these 2 wonderful causes (the mystery meat journey has continued this week) and so ended up at Proudfoots looking for a caffeine hit. 

But humph! $4.50 for a bit of steamed up milk and a couple of shots of espresso - and don't forget the chocolate sprinkles. I am usually a latte drinker, but when I am not familiar with the Barista's work I order a cappuccino in case it is bitter (my theory is that the chocolate might go some way to masking any bitterness). 

It WAS a decent coffee, but price gouging makes me so angry! Just because you have a captive audience doesn't mean you should take them for a ride. 
Kitty Esposito took this awesome picture of the team.
Anyway, the good news of the day is that our team - The Sungold Lab Rats won the day - we are the "back to back" Australian Champion mixed team. That's me sweeping (um...standing up and steering if you're not familiar with that sort of language). We are now working on getting our faces on milk cartons this year - the women's team that won last year got their face on Vegemite jars but we aim to go one better.....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just roasted up some marvellous PNG coffee beans..



I have just roasted some amazing beans, and of course I (my hair! my entire being!) smell like coffee. In fact, no let's just skip that to my entire house smells like coffee. But I'll have some amazing coffee love in the morning. I've pulled out the coffee roaster to take my mind off the Australian Whaleboat Racing championships tomorrow - I am steering the damn boat! I am pretty nervous about over correcting and generally looking like an idiot out there on the water. Captain Giorgio just sent everyone a text reminding us "no booze, no sex!"). Oh, well I guess I could put that (well deserved) glass of temperanillo down, yes?




Saturday, February 11, 2012

Late summer in the Repertoire Food garden!


Yeah, there's supposed to be passion-fruit and capsicums somewhere in there.
Photo: Penny Williams
I am an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to gardening, especially in the colder climate we now live in. I grew up in a sub-tropical climate where snails and frost were unheard of and you can grow tomatoes all year round.

So this year (our second here in Warrnambool) I have learnt from last years mistakes and there are all sorts of good looking plants all over the place. We have, thanks to our compost pile, feral tomatoes starting up all over the garden and  I am leaving many of them to grow.

I had put in a passion-fruit plant and surrounded it with compost for a good start. It was promptly decimated by snails (who knew they were such fans?)Then the tomatoes grew all around it and dwarfed the poor thing. It is still hanging in there - at least the tomatoes have given the poor thing a physical barrier from snails. I am hoping it will continue to survive and outlast the tomato harvest.


Mint. Probably should be in a pot!
Photo: Penny Williams
I have planted many more herbs (tarragon, mint, basil) and put in some capsicums and zucchinis (blackjack, I think they are). The capsicums have been well, overwhelmed by the tomatoes and I have so far had a lot of zucchini flowers but no actual fruit. 

I also found that the Silverbeet (Swiss chard) roots that I had composted last year had sprung back into life and now we have 2 lots of it. Which would be great if we actually ate a lot of it....I am cooking up Guillaume Brahimi's Roast Chicken with Sauce Chasseur this evening so perhaps I'll add this as a side. 

Yes, there are more feral tomatoes to the left there....
Photo: Penny Williams

Friday, February 3, 2012

On collecting recipes...and a recipe for Cafe Style Banana Bread



Picture: Penny Williams

One of my favourite things is searching out new and interesting recipes to try. Of course, this means that every time I find one, I bookmark it under "recipes to try". I have these sub folders in my bookmark file: "recipes to try" and "recipe sites" and "food shopping". I find a lot of these ideas at tastespotting as well as the food blogs I read on a regular basis such as notquitenigella and FOODjimoto. It is a wicked spiral of course, because on these sites I find plenty of things to cook and there IS only so much time and so many meals in one's life. Of course, that tally doesn't even begin to include the recipes that are found in magazines or cookbooks! I also seem to collect too many of them. So over my summer holidays had a bit of a cull a few to declutter and make more room. Of course, that made more room for the cook books I received as Christmas gifts..so of course it is a vicious cycle! One thing is for sure, I need more room in my kitchen.

Anyway, one of these recipes I found recently on the Internet is this wonderful Cafe Style Banana Bread over at Clairekcreations (a fellow Qld'er to boot! I miss my home state sometimes) I just made some this afternoon and it is just delicious. I think you have to be really careful with the banana bread recipes; this one however is lovely and moist -just as it should be. In this lot, I left the walnuts out since I didn't have any and didn't feel like wandering down to the store. I have kept it in the recipe though.  I love the pictures on the recipe -she has so much more patience than me to photograph the whole process!

Cafe Style Banana Bread (from http://clairekcreations.com/2011/04/cafe-style-banana-bread/)

Ingredients
1 cup mashed banana (this was about 2 and a bit small bananas)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
40g butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup buttermilk (I didn't have any, so I followed Clairek's suggestion and used milk with a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice in it)
1/4 cup treacle or 1/4 cup honey (I actually used a teaspoon of molasses, then topped up to a quarter cup of honey here, for a stronger taste)
1 and 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup SR flour
2 heaped tsp mixed spice
1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
heaped quarter cup chopped walnuts (you could also use chopped pecan nuts if you wish)

Decoration (not required, but looks lovely!)
extra banana, thinly sliced lengthways
Sugar crystals, such as CSR Coffee Sugar Crystals 

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, or 160 degrees (fan forced). 

1. Combine the wet ingredients (banana, sugar, eggs, butter, buttermilk, treacle) in a large bowl or mixer. 
2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and then transfer to a greased loaf pan
 *if you would like a bit of decoration put thinly sliced banana diagonally on top, then shake some sugar crystals over that for a bit of crunchiness)
3. Bake for 1 hour. An inserted knife or skewer should come out clean at this stage. If you decide to make these as mini muffins instead, it will take about 20 minutes
4. Let it cool in pan for around 5 minutes then transfer to a rack. 
5. Serve to your adoring masses, toasted (or not!) with butter slathered on liberally.