Friday, 25 February 2011

Pumpkin and sage crepe ravioli

Choosing a recipe that starts with "cut pumpkin into 1cm cubes" probably was not my finest hour.   It would be possible to cut the pumpkin into bigger pieces, but it would have taken longer to cook.

The rest of the recipe was pretty easy though - perhaps to balance out all the chopping?

Make a crepe batter, let it rest, cook the crepes.  Mash the pumpkin with seasoning (and onions) and fold that into the crepes to make "ravioli".  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake.


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

French style fruit tart

A maggie recipe.  To me that means it will be rustic looking (ie looks like it can be made at home) and will be full of flavour - Maggie Beer is not about subtlety or refined flavours, she's more about great combinations of flavours (almonds and stone fruit in this case).  It also means that the recipe will work.  Maggie's pastry recipes are wonderful - made in a food processor, then chilled and rolled.

Make a fragipane-ish mixture and pour that on the rolled out pastry and top with fruit.  My plums were obviously much bigger than Maggie's.  She called for 15-20 plums (600grams), but I only needed 6 1/2 plums. 

Maggie's recipes always end up tasting good. 

Friday, 18 February 2011

Cocktail night at Cafe Vue

G and I had dinner at Cafe Vue's Cocktail night 'The Evolution of Alcohol'.   Food, paired with cocktails.

We started with a seared tuna on couscous with some orange sorbet. 

Just delicious - the couscous had orange in it too, really carried the flavour through.  This was served with 'beer' - beer that had been reduced and tricked up to be citrusy and delicious.

That was followed by an amazing piece of confit trout, served with apple ribbons and horseradish gel.

I would have like more horseradish but G thought it was the perfect amount.  This was served with a delicious white peach sangria.

The third course was the duck course - confit duck that was crumbed, on top of mashed sweet potato and served with cherry and cherry gel.  The black stuff?  That's charred leek powder, the smoke in the dish.

Brilliant.  Delicious.  Served with a red wine something drink - matched, nothing super special though.

Dessert number 1 was carrots and licorice.  The cake is vaguely licorice tasting, apparently made in a microwave and very spongy.  Served with carrot ribbons, creme anglais foam and sweet carrot puree.

Good, not awesome.  I cannot remember what drink this was served with - obviously not memorable!

However, dessert 2 was fantastic.  Caramelised french toast, with caramel ice cream.  Oh my goodness it was amazing.  I wanted to lick the plate to get all the melted caramel ice cream!  This was served with a cold drink which I did not like - it was bitter and I did not like the hot to cold sensation given the evening was getting chilly.  Maybe if I'd had a jacket I would have enjoyed it more.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

A food photography course

I was lucky enough to be gifted a photography course all about food - run at Michael's Cameras in Melbourne.

I had so much fun - even though I only have a little point and shoot.  Actually the instructor was impressed with the capabilities of my camera and said it was what he would want just to have around, when he didn't want to lug a big DSLR - high praise indeed!

I learnt a lot about playing with lamp settings (ie natural light, fluro light) and managed to create various effects.

Also had some fun with some salads and vegetables

And finished off with some cake and chocolate

So not all the photos worked - but I learnt a lot about my camera and how to take photos of food.  I also learnt that I prefer to get close rather than just rely on the zoom.  I think it is easier for me to compose the picture when I can easily reach out and move things, rather than jumping out from behind a tripod.  However, the other people on my course all had DSLRs and looked to be really enjoying their tripods - maybe it's just a question of camera?

Monday, 14 February 2011

The Cupcake Family

Coincidentally, I was sitting outside the State Library of Victoria (a lovely green patch in the middle of Melbourne) enjoying a harajuku crepe and saw someone walk past holding a bag emblazoned with "The Cupcake Family".  I took a note of the name and googled it, and was glad to find that it was a local shop.

G and I went to the cricket (twenty20, Australia v England at the MCG) so I picked up a few mini cupcakes from The Cupcake Family to make the cricket more fun.  The cupcakes were delicious - the fruit flavours taste like the fruit, nothing like oils, or essences.

Lemony sunshine, chocolate with strawberry icing and vanilla with strawberry icing - all yum!

Of course, having experienced the delicious mini cakes (purchased mini cakes just in case it was awful) we had to go back for the big ones.

(from top left corner: lemony sunshine, swiss dark.  Middle row: raspberry white chocolate, strawberry cheesecake; front row: strawberry and coffee crunch)

Seriously. Amazing. There was lemon curd inside the lemon one, choc ganache in the choc one, real cheesecake in the middle of the strawberry cheesecake and the white chocolate and raspberry was filled with, you guessed it, white chocolate sauce and raspberries.  The best commercial cupcakes ever. 
Want to get some Cupcake Family of your own?  Level 2 of the QV building in Melbourne, at the Swanston St end.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Roast chicken with lemon (myrtle)

G listed a bunch of recipes from February Delicious - most of which happen to be desserts.  I struggled to find a dinner I could make, and then couldn't find the right ingredients, so I'm finding it hard to really evaluate the recipe!

200 degrees, 55 minutes - a combination of roasting and steaming (olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and lemon pepper).

With some salad and smashed potatoes... yum!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Chinese new year - food!

G and I went down to the Hawker's Bazaar at the Crown Promenade on the weekend - here is a photo filled summary!

Mmm prawn pancakes - made using a special pan:

This was followed by a satay salt flavoured "twistto":

We had a seafood prosperity stick (noting a theme of food on skewers yet?)

(various fish cakes)

And finished off with some deep fried (another theme) calamari

HAPPY NEW YEAR (of the Rabbit)

Friday, 4 February 2011

Potato galette

Another recipe found while compiling the journal I explained here.   This one certainly looked tricky, but isn't IF YOU OWN A FOOD PROCESSOR.  Seriously, the first step of this recipe should say "1.  Buy/borrow a food processor unless you want to slice 2kg of potatoes in 2mm slices by hand."  That should be enough to convince most people.

In case that's not enough, I also used the food processor to slice 2 onions that were so strong I was crying while cooking them, and to grate 200g of cheddar. 

That's not all the potatoes - I couldn't fit 2kg into the bowl of my food processor which is not a small food processor!  Feel sorry for G - he had to peel all the potatoes.

Then it was simply a matter of layering potatoes, softened onions, chopped parsley (on hand, rather than purchasing the required sage) and grated cheddar.  That's a lot of layering.

Quite frankly, it was the layering that took the most time (although without a food processor that would be a different story).

Then it took a fair amount of time in the oven (1 1/2 hours in total) before dinner.  Totally worth it though.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Tim tam tarts

I made these for Australia Day - what could me more Australian than tim tams???

They were a little bit of effort - mostly done by my food processor.  Tim tam "dirt" - that is, tim tams with a little melted butter to make it stick.  I chose dark tim tams because I love dark chocolate. 

After chilling the cases I filled them up with a chocolate, cream and egg yolk mixture. 

If it wasn't for my dislike of eating raw eggs I probably would have licked the bowl in which I mixed the chocolate-cream filling.

Then served to end a relaxing Australia Day with some raspberry coulis and a little cream.