Monday, 31 May 2010


This is not true stracciatella - 2 confessions:
  1. I cook risoni in the stracciatella
  2. I don't make my own stock
It's super simple and super tasty - a fabulous combination of parsley, stock, egg, butter and parmesan and you will end up with this:

Bring some stock to the boil (375ml per person) and throw in 1/4 cup risoni per person.  Cook that until done (to your taste).

Stir in a knob of butter, then stir in 1 beaten (with a fork) egg per person.  I like to not beat the eggs too much and then you get some distinct strands of white and yolk as well as some mixed strands.

Quickly stir in as much chopped parsley as you like, some grated parmesan and some pepper - you probably don't need salt if you use regular stock (not salt reduced) and parmesan.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Zucca's orange and olive salad

This is delicious, but not a meal - more like a side (interesting) salad, and the recipe can be found here.

I pulled out my food processor (which I love) for the olive tapenade, and replaced rosemary for the thyme in the recipe and I served it with a chicken and broccollini stir-fry:

I would say this is one of Mark Bittman's more attractive recipes, though technically it is not his - he 'borrowed' it from his favourite restaurant (and fully attributes it).

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Chocolate taste testing

G and I get given a lot of chocolate, because most people know that we love it!  However, we don't eat it everyday and quite often we build up a 'stash'.  So the other night we decided to sit down and try some of the weird and wonderful chocolate we have in our house.

Clockwise from top left: catanie, cherry tomato and salt dark choc, dark lindt, apricot and rosemary dark choc, and dark raspberry chocolate.

Least favourite: the tomato and salt
It had no chocolatey smell, was a pretty blah chocolate taste, and the aftertaste was ok salty/sweet.

The best?  a tough call between the catanie and the apricot and rosemary dark chocolate.

The catanie is an almond covered in praline or marzipan and cocoa and had been handled too many times when I took the photo of the plate above because you can see where some of the cocoa has come away,

The dark chocolate with apricot and rosemary came from Shop Handmade (their blog) and is by a company called The Curious Chocolatier (their site) and the illustrations on the packaging is just gorgeous!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Hainan chicken

Mark Bittman calls this Hainan Chicken (from the Hainan area in China), but I have eaten this in Singapore as Chicken Rice and it probably has some other names too!

It required a fair amount of time to prepare and put this together, but not that much work.  A lot of the time is just waiting (for the chicken to poach).

Poach a whole chicken and then tear it up:

then do pour hot peanut and sesame oil on grated garlic, ginger and chopped spring onions and chilli:
mix together:

Amazingly delicious!

Recipe here, but there are probably hundreds of other recipes out there!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Americolor Gourmet Writer Food Decorating Pen

Goodness me, I would love to get my hands on these!

You can get black, Christmas sets (red and green), 10 colour sets...  and there are some amazing pictures of how very clever people have used these.  One of my favourite examples is the decorated cookie.

I particularly liked the post about drawing on hardened fondant to make themed cupcakes (post here) but there have also been a number of posts about using the pens to decorate marshmallows (post here).  I love how simply you could decorate a cake or cupcake and really make it something special with these pens, some corn syrup and some sparkles!

Now to find somewhere to buy them in Australia...

Thursday, 20 May 2010

May Delicious - the Italian issue

Everything in this issue is so tempting... but given it is already mid-May I am going to limit myself to just a few recipes:
  • crisp fried cheese ravioli
  • gorgonzola cheesecake
  • broccolini and chilli pasta with pangrattato
  • lamb caponata
  • mushroom lasagne
  • roast pumpkin rotolo
  • lemon and prosecco cake
  • frittatine (frittata cooked with white wine)
Let's see how far I can get...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Jean-george's fried rice

I do love fried rice - I make Bill Granger's Thai Fried Rice regularly - onion, vegies, fish sauce, rice and an egg.  It's pretty simple, and delicious.

Even simpler is Jean-George's fried rice - courtesy of Mark Bittman and cooked by G (recipe). Rice, ginger, garlics, leek topped with a sunny side up egg.  Of course, no meal is complete without vegetables in my house, so G kindly served it with some stir fried greens/mushrooms:

Topped with the egg:

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Running a little late with April Delicious

There were a lot of things I wanted to make from the April magazine (as detailed here).  Disappointingly, I didn't manage to get through about half of the ones I had planned, for a variety of reasons.  I actually think there were too many sweet things that I wanted to make, and not enough office birthdays/family occasions to warrant making them.
  • Apple tart
  • White chocolate scones
  • Chicken cacciatore (which I can make from a packet!) - I can make it from a packet...
  • Pistachio meringues - actually really simple and not that exciting sounding once I read the entire recipe
  • Hot cross muffins - Easter had already passed by the time I thought about this, maybe next year
Then of course, there were the recipes I did make:
  • Orange drops - delicious, easy, more interesting that plain butter biscuits
  • Pan fried mushrooms - not filling enough as a dinner (not that I can blame Jamie for that one)
  • Stuffed mushrooms - pretty delicious
  • Risoni salad - too much risoni to salad even though I followed the recipe
  • Chocolate mousse - probably the best recipe in the issue
  • Blue eye with a sun dried tomato crust - delicious, and quite restaurant looking for an at-home dish, and the crust was fantastic stuffed in the mushrooms
  • Oven baked risotto - my first successful risotto!
Of course, I didn't get anything made from the Food for Friends booklet that accompanied April Delicious...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Orange drops

G rates these as pretty awesome - one of the best biscuits I've made:

The recipe calls for more ingredients than I would normally expect to see in a biscuit, but the flavours made it entirely worthwhile - almond meal, orange, sugar, flour, eggs, butter, baking powder and vanilla.

The strangest part was the egg wash at the end - a beaten egg with some water brushed over the top.  It really made the biscuits super shiny and delicious looking.  G absolutely gilded the lily by dipping the cooked biscuits in whipped cream - they made a delicious addition to a very civilised afternoon tea:

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Carrot salad

This is such a simple salad that can be jazzed up to match whatever you serve it with.

At its most simple it is grated carrot, spring onions, salt, pepper and olive oil.  To make it more complicated/match the rest of dinner I add slivered almonds, fresh herbs, sesame/peanut oil, aloo bhuja (crispy Indian flavoured noodles) or crispy fried shallots.

This one is almonds, sesame, spring onions and aloo bhuja:

Monday, 10 May 2010

I love school cake stalls

I remember, back in the day, when I would accompany my parents to vote in Federal and state elections in church and school halls near our house.  Inevitably, there would be a sausage sizzle and a cake stall, sometimes if we were lucky there would be a 2nd hand toy or book stall too.

Then the food regulations changed in Victoria and it made it very difficult to sell cakes and slowly the cake stall disappeared.

When I moved to Canberra and finally had a chance to vote I was really excited at the prospect of the cake stall, but apparently it was not a tradition in the area I lived in and I was disappointed to find an empty school ground on election day.

I've not had the opportunity to vote in Australia since, as I've voted in Australian embassies overseas when the time came in 2004 (Germany) and 2007 (Japan).  Definitely no cake stalls then, but nor did I expect it.

Today I was pleasantly surprised by an impromptu cake stall at the local shops.  It's not an election day, but perhaps it was because of Mother's Day.  Regardless of the reason, I was happy to be able to buy a pair of orange and lemon cupcakes for the princely sum of $1.50.

It was a simple vanilla cupcake with basic icing sugar icing, but it was delicious to eat, while sitting out on the balcony sipping a coffee.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Egg noodles in soy broth

Wow - this recipe takes 'quick and easy dinner' to the extreme.  Practically no cooking, practically no ingredients... but of course I had to make it a more rounded meal and add salad!

Anyway, you make a broth that tastes good to you using tomato paste, soy sauce, pepper, vinegar/mirin, sesame oil and chilli and then you throw in some cooked egg noodles (hokkien noodles).  Though if you want to follow the recipe you can.

Top with spring onion.  Done.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Custard powder biscuits

I have 2 biscuit recipes that I love - for different reasons.  This recipe, which uses custard powder and no eggs, creates a deliciously soft dough and a biscuit with soft insides - perfect for jam drops or larger biscuits!

250g butter
125g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup custard powder
2 tbs milk

All in the stand mixer (using the paddle attachment)/using hand beaters if they are strong enough

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla
Beat in custard powder, flour and milk until a soft dough forms
Turn it out onto your bench (either floured or otherwise greaseproof'ed - paper, nordicware baking sheet etc) and bring together into a ball, which you wrap in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.

Make whatever biscuit shape you like, which will also determine the cooking time.

I like interesting jam in my jam drops - I made half with orange marmalade and half with blueberry jam, and baked for 25 minutes at 180 degrees.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Veggie twister

Neuer look fur ihr gemuse!  Please pretend the umlauts are there - after all, this is a German invention. 

You can make skinny or wide spirals, depending on which end you use.  Sometimes I use it to make the carrots look interesting in a salad, and I have made 'spaghetti' with zucchini using the wide spirals (lamb meatballs).  There is an interesting looking 'potato chip' where you cut wide spirals and bake - worth a try with potato or sweet potato I think!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Lamb meatballs (but not as dolmades)

Mark Bittman gives 2 options with these - serve as meatballs, or turn into dolmades.  I took the first option, and served it with zucchini spagetti.

Instead of breadcrumbs the recipe calls for burghur (which is known in burghul at my supermarket), which has been soaked in hot water, some onion, some herbs and some lamb.

Recipe here and my photo:

Of course, meatballs are a bit messy to make - which is what G is for!  He put his (clean) hands into the bowl to mix and then roll the meatballs out.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Woohoo - crazy salt!

A fair while ago I blogged about Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt and how much I wanted it! Now I have it!