Sunday, 28 February 2010

Raspberry coulis

I know you have already seen this picture of the Brown Sugar Custard - but I am showing it again as it displays my raspberry coulis beautifully!

Anyway, the recipe:
  • 150g raspberries (frozen is totally fine)
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • up to 3 tbs water
Bring to boil, then simmer 'until thick' - but remember that it will thicken more once it cools.

Let it cool - strain through muslin or a super fine mesh if you don't like the seeds.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Currently craving: sugar thermometer

Now I have the rosette mould, now I need a sugar thermometer so I can follow Martha's recipe - G has promised a thermometer now that I have a reason to need one. 

Asparagus salad (with a poached egg)

Pretty simple meal for dinner really, but nice and quick.  Asparagus were ridiculously expensive at the greengrocer, so I bought a bunch of asparagus, and bulked the salad out with some snowpeas (already in the fridge) and tomatoes (in the fruit bowl).  Served with a poached egg, and a toasted english muffin with goat's cheese...

Friday, 26 February 2010

Not quite peach melba

I assume that the recipe is called 'not quite peach melba' because the peaches are grilled, not poached.  Anyway, it seems like a super easy way to do it, and I really liked it.

Halve the peaches, sprinkle with sugar, grill.  Serve topped with almonds (toasted with icing sugar in the recipe), ice cream and raspberry sauce.

Modifications? Many.  I didn't peel the skin off the peaches afterwards - they were too hot (although the recipe did say that was allowable).  The raspberry sauce was a last minute effort with some frozen raspberries mashed up (the grilling time for the peaches was not enough time to make and cool raspberry coulis) and I used almond ice cream, rather than the vanilla in the recipe. 

It tasted so good!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Egg poacher cups

G loves poaching eggs but often that means multiple sauce pans on the stove so he can poach each egg, and we end up eating breakfast separately.  So we bought these silicone egg poach cups - they are so cute, they have little faces on them (you can the little faces on the left).

Anyway, they should be sprayed with oil before you put the egg in, and then you have to lower them into a pot of simmering water (that you splash some white vinegar into first!)

They come out quite smoothly - though you have to tip the water off the top carefully before you then put the egg on the dish (in this case, an asparagus salad that I will be blogging about soon).

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Rosette iron - update

Stalked eBay USA and got one!  It came with 4 cookie moulds, 3 tartlet moulds and a double prong and a single prong!


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Tomato and goat's cheese tart

So this heirloom tomato tart with edith's goat cheese has a pretty complicated name for what really is a rich, plain, quiche topped with tomato and crumbled goat's cheese.

It's pretty easy to do - mix up a rich quiche mixture (heavy on the cream, more egg yolks than whites) and season it with herbs, and pour it in to a blind baked tart shell.

The recipe includes the pastry recipe, but I cheated: pampas short crust pastry.  Too hot too make pastry quite frankly, and I did not read the recipe early enough in the day to make the pastry.  Too bad, tasted good.

I used the herbs that we add - dried oregano and rosemary and fresh chives and spring onions.  The trickiest part of the whole thing was pouring enough quiche mixture into the tart to make it a high quiche (no one likes lots of spare pastry except G) and yet not pour over the edge.  Poor G had to lower it very careflly into the oven - I couldn't even watch!

Anyway, into the oven until cooked and then back out - top the cooked quiche with goat's cheese and then tomato.  Another modification - just cherry tomatoes, no interesting tomatoes available at the green grocer!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Brown sugar custard

I can't make custard - even though I can follow a recipe - so G helped with this one a fair bit!  To be fair, he is usually somehow involved (unless he is at cricket) but generally his assistance is restricted to heavy lifting (e.g. pulling the food processor out of the cupboard) or cleaning!

When it came to custard, he was mostly in charge!  Egg yolks, sugar, milk and vanilla.  Heat, whisk, bake... delicious.

Topped with whipped cream, and my raspberry coulis (a tried and tested post to soon come!)

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Spiced zucchini soup

I made some simple, disturbingly green spiced zucchini soup!  Saute some onions, throw in some grated zucchini, appropriate spices, some rice (as a thickening agent) and simmer away. 

I put it in the food processor to blend it into soup, and luckily I only made enough soup for 2 or I would have had to blend in batches!

G had a blonde moment (and he is actually blonde) and removed the blade from the food processor bowl and unfortunately the soup was up higher in the bowl, and started pouring out the middle of the food processor - we rushed around and rescued most of the soup.

Topped with some blanched zucc ribbons and yoghurt = all ready to go!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Ben's pumpkin scones

Ben O'Donoghue (info about Ben) recently moved to Queensland and wanted to cook something that we would associate with that state.  Apparently, a former Queensland premier's wife used to cook pumpkin scones - and if I were older I probably would have known that! Flo Bjelke-Petersen, who was also a politician,  was famous in the 1970's and 80's for pumpkin scones - info about Flo.

Ben's pumpkin scones are a variation on his lemonade scones (which I have never made).  There was just one small problem, there was no pumpkin in my fridge, nor at my supermarket.  So I used sweet potato.  I figured it has a similar texture and obviously a similar colour!

The scones were pretty successful, however mixing the dough together with a knife was not fun; it took way too long, and in the end I gave up and dumped the dough out on to a floured bench and worked it together by hand.

Into the oven for 13 minutes, back out and serve with jam and cream!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Popcorn machine

I have wanted a popcorn machine for a long time!  Various people have promised to get it for me for various occasions, but finally we have one!

We gave it a trial run last Saturday night, while watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (which I likeed) and just put on some salt and rosemary.  We did 1 scoop, as recommended by the instruction manual, but that was too much popcorn for 2 people.

There are a whole host of yummy toppings suggested in the manual, which I am sure we will work our way through.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Currently craving: rosette cookie iron

So I was watching a Martha Stewart podcast called Rosette Cookies and I absolutely have to make them!  You make a thick batter and then dip a cast iron mold into the batter, then into hot oil and deep fry the batter for a couple of minutes or so.  Then you pull the cooked batter (the rosette cookie) off the mold and tada! Rosette Cookie!

Info about the molds here and the Martha Stewart recipe here.

I have been stalking Ebay USA to try and get the molds...

Monday, 15 February 2010

Fish with lemon potato salad

I made the panfried fish with lemon potato salad for dinner the other night.  It turned out pretty well - I did the fish in a fresh herb crust, an optional extra, which I think really helped carry the flavours through.
It was a low effort dinner - like most of Bill's recipes to date, and simply required cooked potatoes, tossed with herbs, chilli and lemon, and pan fried white fish - think we used blue eye.    I do find cooking white fish more difficult than salmon/tuna - I am worried about cooking it all the way through!  Managed to do it, without overcooking it either, so was quite happy with that outcome.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Turkish Eggs

Breakfast out of Bill's Open Kitchen today - Turkish Eggs.  Quite an odd dish when you break it down: warm yoghurt, topped with a poached egg and some olive oil and paprika.  Quite a delicious dish when you eat it!

Well there were a couple of issues:
  • poaching the eggs while they are wrapped in gladwrap - did not work nicely
  • there is spinach in the recipe, but not in the picture in the recipe book
  • way too much garlic called for!
So as you see we included the spinach, and unfortunately the egg wasn't awesome - it was very hard to get it out of the gladwrap.  Tasted pretty awesome though

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Some more Jazz Apple Cafe cupcakes

Over the last couple of months G and I have sampled some more of the Jazz Apple Cafe cupcakes 

On the left is the sticky date and toffee, on the right peppermint choc chip
Key lime and coconut on the left, black forest on the right.

Verdict - the sticky date and peppermint choc chip = tie for first place.  There was not enough cherry jam in the blackforest for it to be blackforest - it was basically chocolate with a 5c piece size squirt of cherry jam.  The key lime and coconut just tasted fake - I have no idea why they didn't use actual coconut and lime, instead it tasted just like artificial flavourings and too much sugar/sweetener.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Bridget's onion and feta cheese tart

Caramelised onion + puff pastry + salty feta = delicious!

Very simple, very effective, and combined with a good salad, a great meal.

The recipe is easy, and a little time consuming.  You have to chop up all the onions, which generally involves crying, and then caramelise the onions - all up that took 35 minutes to do about 350gram of sliced onions.  The actual recipe in the book calls for 1 kg of onions, and serves 6.  I was after a tart that would serve 2, so I had to chop a lot less onions.  I guess if I had done a kilogram the cooking would have taken the same amount of time (in a larger saucepan), but I would have needed more time for chopping!

Once the onions were caramelised I threw them on my scored, parmesan covered pieces of puff pastry and baked it.  I just threw on the chopped feta and some mint (not oregano, as I didn't have oregano) and served it. 

Sunday, 7 February 2010


I love to make palmiers (also known as Elephant Ears) - however, I can never get mine to look as good as I have seen in shops, so I usually dip them half in chocolate (I can cover up the less attractive side).

Yesterday I made palmiers, and dipped them in white chocolate - my friend loves white chocolate.  I got a lot of compliments!  At least 2 people described them as 'phenomonal', which is almost embarrassing given how easy they really are.

My original recipe came from Dyann Bakes - her (no longer active) blog can be found here.  She used to star in a video podcast that I thought was pretty good.  She only did less than 20 episodes, and finished in early 2008.  However, her on screen manner was good, and her recipes aren't 'fashionable' so the old episodes are still good today (in my opinion).

Anyway - 'the recipe':
  • Defrost a sheet of puff pastry
  • Cover in sugar
  • Fold top into the middle, bottom to the middle and then fold the top over the bottom 
  • Fridge for 30 minutes
  • Slice and bake
  • Once cool, dip in chocolate (optional)
I love to serve them with strawberries dipped in chocolate. 

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Cupcake stand

A couple of Christmases ago G's parents and siblings gave me a bundle of cupcake/baking stuff as a gift.  Included in the bundle is my cupcake stand, that holds 18 cakes.  Obviously, you don't always need to make 18 cupcakes - 1 batch makes 12 or 13 cakes, and that is plenty (for most occasions).

However, when there is an opportunity that calls for more than 12 cakes, I love to pull out my cupcake stand.  Last Easter we celebrated with Geoff's extended family - so with all his family being there - plus a few extras - I make plenty of cakes and was able to show off my stand!

There are so many different brands, styles, heights and colours of stands available, and you should choose one that you like.  I like this simple white one - some of the more ornate ones are beautiful, they look like wrought iron, but I think the simple one is good for pretty much any situation.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Spagetti with proscuitto and egg

When you read this recipe you will think 'oh, this is just fancy carbonara', and really, that is correct - except that it tastes much better than carbonara (in my opinion).

It's pretty simple really.  Cook some pasta (or spagetti, whatever you have) until done.  Pan fry some garlic (and I added spring onion), and then add the proscuitto. 

Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the drained pasta, throw in a whole egg, and stir so the heat of the pasta cooks the egg.

Top with greenery to make your photograph extra pretty, and eat while sitting on a balcony on a balmy late summer evening!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Apricot slice

Bill Granger and I must have different sized lamington tins - his recipe calls for 14 apricots, whereas I only needed 6 1/2, and I could not fit the 4 rows of 7 halves he suggests, rather my tin fit 3 rows of 5.

The other difficulty, also presumably connected to the size of the lamington tin, was that mine took 10 minutes longer to cook than Bill said.  I assume this is because the same amount of mixture was piled higher (in a smaller tin). 

The end result was delicious - see for yourself!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Ocean Trout with smashed potatoes (and tartare sauce)

Firstly, there was no tartare sauce -  G does not like cornichons so couldn't make it.  I substituted some Simon Johnson hollondaise, which was delicious.

The recipe was super easy, and mostly done in the oven.  Cook the potatoes, smash the potatoes, bake the potatoes, bake the potatoes for a bit longer while the trout is in the same pan.

I left out the 'bush spices' - I read that on the ingredients list and, at the time, I didn't realise you could buy a spice blend called 'bush spices' in the supermarket.  I just used a cajun spice blend I already had.

Result - a delicious meal, that looks pretty decent too.

Monday, 1 February 2010

'Open Kitchen' by Bill Granger

At the moment I have three 'books of the moment' - you already know about Cheesecakes of the World and I am counting my monthly Delicious magazine as a book - but I have added Bill Granger's 'Open Kitchen' to the mix. 

Published in 2003, Bill's Open Kitchen is Bill Granger's third book and he has gone on to write a further four books.  Open Kitchen is divided into (mostly) sensible divisions of breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and dessert.

I say 'mostly' sensible as some of the recipes suggested for a lazy weekend lunch would work equally well for a mid-week dinner, though certainly not a mid-week lunch!  The afternoon tea/dessert division works.  In the afternoon tea section are mostly cakes, whereas the desserts are puddings, or frozen treats.

Each recipe is a whole meal, although I tend to add a salad to every dinner, and is beautifully photographed.  The presentation is pretty, and achievable.

I have written a long list of recipes that I want to try from this book - I hope you will all enjoy looking at the results almost as much as G and I enjoy tasting them!