Archive for July, 2008

A: When in Rome…

Posted in Vegetables with tags , on July 31, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

… eat Roman broccoli!

This is my new favourite vegetable. I don’t actually think it has anything to do with Rome, or even Italy. But it is lovely in all respect to vege-dom. Firm like cauliflower, but tastier and way prettier. Man and I are very pleased with this great find!

Decided to keep it simple since I wasn’t sure what to expect, so blanched its beautiful conical florets in boiling water and served it up with home-made hollandaise. Mmmm…. I’m hooked!

Speaking of hollandaise, which most recipes insist on calling on a double boiler and way too much fiddling, I have decided that a food processor and microwave will pretty much produce the same results. I have fiddled and I have blitzed, and am sold on the blitzing.

5-minute hollandaise

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks

125g butter

2 tbsp white wine vinegar (if you can be bothered, it’s worth reducing 1/4 vinegar with a bay leaf and white peppercorns to get your 2 tbsp worth, but the taste is comparable nonetheless)

Squeeze of lemon, seasoning

Method:

Place egg yolks into processor with salt and pepper and blitz.

Melt butter (in microwave or pan- 20s in the microwave should do it!)

With the motor running, add hot melted butter to egg yolks slowly (mind you, I added it all at once and managed to not make scrambled eggs, so it’s up to you.)

Add vinegar and lemon juice, tasting as you go and adjusting the seasoning as you like.

That’s it!

Hollandaise does thicken on cooling– I just give it 10s in the microwave and it’s as good as new! (Don’t count on reheating it more than once though, it WILL split!)

I must mention that the conical design of the Roman broccoli made it perfect dipping material for the hollandaise. 🙂

Bandwagon

Posted in Cakes with tags , , on July 29, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

A’s been going as wild with her lemony posts, as she has making all sorts of lemon produce. Which is sort of seasonal- winter lemons, summer berries…. its an exciting continuous madness!

I haven’t quite encounterd a lemon glut as yet- my modest eureka tree is only in its first year of fruiting. But with all the great dreams I have for it, I wanted to marry my great expectations with a great memory of this fantastic self-saucing lemon pudding I made ages ago.

I dug out my old fashioned favourites cookbook and found (eureka!) a recipe for an old fashioned (what else!) lemon pudding. And you know how some people have this absolute fear of making souffles, and rate the souffle-making-trauma as poorly as cooking rice?

The lemon surprise that did

My lemon pudding had even greater ambitions and wanted to be a souffle!!!! HUH!!!

Ah…. the quest continues….

A: Making lemon season last…

Posted in Jams and Butters with tags , on July 26, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

HOW EXPENSIVE ARE PRESERVED LEMONS IN THE SHOPS?????????

Now, I do like what Maggie Beer has done for the profile of Australian produce, but A$10.45 for 300g of preserved lemons? NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Other producers tend to hover around that price range as well, making it one of the most profitable items on supermarket shelves to date I’m sure!

I say so only because I know so. I have been making my own preserved lemons for a while now and though I get my lemons mostly for free when in season, they’re really not that expensive. I use rock salt for preserving my lemons which again, isn’t the most extravagant of ingredients. So, in my quest to put preserved lemon-sellers out of business, here goes my recipe which by the way keeps indefinitely in the fridge once opened. Really, it does. I have read accounts of cooks leaving it on their counter-tops and topping up their jars with fresh lemons and salt when running low. Google it, you’d be surprised!

Preserved lemons

Ingredients:

Lemons (Meyer lemons make the sweetest, most divine preserved lemons. But whatever you can get your hands on will be just fine.)

Rock salt (roughly 3 tablespoons per lemon plus extra 1/4 cup for the jar)

Enough jars for your lemons (or lemons for your jars, depending on how you operate.)

Bay leaves, cardamom pods, black peppercorns, fresh red chillies, whatever you like!

Olive oil

Method:

1. Place spices into the bottom of a sterilized jar.

2. Soak lemons in water for up to 3 days, changing the water daily. This apparently disperses bitter/acidic gases or something like that. I find that it softens the skin and really does sweeten the lemons.

3. Cut length-ways down the lemon in a criss-cross fashion about 3/4 way through each lemon. If your jars are smaller, cut each lemon length-ways in half then 3/4 way in half again.

4. Fill cracks of lemon with as much salt as it will hold then really pack the lemon into the jar. It’s okay if you squeeze some juice out. (Best to do this over a bowl so you don’t waste any juice or salt!)

5. Keep going until you absolutely cannot fill the jar anymore. Add all the salt and juice from your bowl, plus the juice from an additional lemon and about 1/4 cup of salt.

6. Fill jar with hot water then leave for a few minutes to get rid of all the bubbles. Top up with olive oil and put the lid on.

7. Leave in a dark place for 4 weeks (at least) before using. Refrigerate once opened and take pleasure in knowing that you have just saved yourself at least $10.

A: Beam me up, spotty!

Posted in Cakes with tags , , , on July 26, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

I made this cake for a friend’s birthday a while back and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. I’m not too great at decorating or fiddling about with things, thanks to my giant farmer’s hands good for hard manual labour and not much else! YET, the spotted collar came out beautifully! I did need an extra pair of hands to place the collar on the cake but apart from that it was all me. I originally found the recipe here, but since then have actually seen it in an actual cookbook as well (I’m terribly sorry to have forgotten the name of the book, it does annoy me when people don’t cite original sources). If you do go to the website and wonder why my cake looks a lot like magicpantry’s in the comment section, it’s because that’s my comment!

Ingredients:

125g butter

125g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 eggs

160g morello cherry jam (any berry jam will do quite nicely, even marmalade!)

40g self-raising flour

125g plain flour (or 165g plain flour and 3 tsp baking powder, just omit the self-raising flour)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

60g cocoa powder

185ml buttermilk

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 oC/gas 4.
  2. Brush a deep 9 inch round cake tin (or 2 similar-sized sandwich tins) with butter.
  3. Line base/sides with parchment.
  4. Beat butter, sugar & vanilla essence together.
  5. Add eggs gradually beating well after each addition
  6. Add jam; beat until smooth.
  7. Fold in sifted flours, soda & cocoa alternately with buttermilk. Stir until smooth.
  8. Pour mixture into prepared tin.
  9. Bake for 40 mins or until skewer comes out clean.
  10. Leave cake in tin for 5 mins until turning onto wire rack
  11. Cool completely before icing.

    Chocolate icing:

    150g white chocolate

    125g butter

    80ml cream

    Combine ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan. Heat over low heat until butter and white chocolate melts, stir then leave to cool to a mud-like consistency. Frost in between cakes and on the top only, or if baking one layer, frost all over.

    Chocolate collar

    Ingredients:

    40g white chocolate, melted

    80g dark chocolate, melted

    Method:

    Cut out a rectangular strip of baking paper about 3 cm wider than the height of the cake (including icing) and 2 cm longer than the circumference of the cake.

    Drop dots of melted white chocolate randomly over strip.

    Allow to set, then spread a layer of melted dark chocolate over the entire strip. (Make sure the chocolate has cooled a little so you don’t melt the while chocolate).

    Working quickly, wrap paper, chocolate-side in around the cake. This is where you might need to grow extra hands or yell out for help!

    Hold paper strip in place until the strip holds itself on.

    Put the cake in the fridge until the chocolate collar is set.

    When set, carefully peel away the paper. Take a moment to enjoy your artwork!

    Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. Just before serving, fill the top of the cake with fresh berries, glaze with melted jam if you like, dust with icing sugar/cocoa and serve!!!

    Note: I imagine you could make a Pollack-isque collar by drizzling the white chocolate across the baking paper in long strokes or if you’re really game, the name of the lucky birthday boy/girl. The possibilities are endless!

    A: Old mother Hubbard…

    Posted in Uncategorized on July 18, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

    Well, the cupboard wasn’t bare, not really. But the fridge pretty much was, us having cleaned it out before leaving for our respective holidays over the last 2 weeks. So in true Ready Steady Cook style, armed with what looked like the tight-wad bag, I set to work!

    Baked rice with red pork

    Ingredients:

    3 rashers of bacon, sliced

    3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    2 hot chillies, finely chopped

    3 tbsp olive oil

    1 pork fillet approx 400g, sliced

    1 heaped tbsp achiote paste

    1 heaped tsp smoked paprika

    1/2 tsp chilli powder

    1-2 tbsp lemon juice

    1/4 cup vermouth

    1/2 tsp pepper

    1 cup risotto rice (I used arborio)

    1 1/2 cups frozen corn/peas

    2 chillies in tequila, finely chopped (optional)

    2 cups vegetable stock plus 1/4 cup vermouth

    Method:

    Heat oven to 180C.

    Combine achiote paste, smoked paprika, chilli powder, lemon juice, vermouth and marinate pork for 30 minutes.

    Combine bacon, garlic, chillies and oil in a large oven dish and bake for 10 minutes.

    Add pork and bake for a further 10 minutes.

    Add rice, vegetables, stock, vermouth, hot peppers (extra smoked paprika and pepper as well) and bake for 30 minutes. (I had it covered for 15 and uncovered for the last 15.

    Ta-daaaaaaaaaaaah!

    Ta-daaaaaaaaaaaah!

    This is really a make-it-with-whatever-you-have-on-hand kind of dish. I like it hot, so I added 3 kinds of chilli to the dish. Much thanks to R for the chllies in tequila, the bottom of the jar is fast approaching and I am beginning to panic! I like to do this with cheese, but was greeted by a wave of blue and green when I looked into the cheese box after 2 weeks of festering. Ew.

    Procured at the annual Chilli festival at Araluen Botanic Gardens in Roleystone

    Procured at the annual Chilli festival at Araluen Botanic Gardens in Roleystone

    A: Eggcellent environmentally-friendly idea #1

    Posted in Muffins with tags , , , on July 18, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

    At the risk of sounding a little too pleased with myself, I am so very proud of this particular stroke of genius!

    Firstly, I do believe I have found the world’s best chocolate muffin recipe (yes, really). Thanks once again to Dorie and her amazing substitution ideas combined with the unfaltering user-friendly recipes from Leiths Baking Bible I have discovered what just might be the perfect combination of liquids to use when baking (see recipe).

    Secondly, check out the funky packaging!!!

    Not quite what you were eggspecting?

    Not quite what you were eggspecting?

    Now, I’m not claiming to be the first person to have thought of transporting mini-muffins in an egg carton. In fact, I’d be quite surprised if no one’s thought of it before! BUT, I am nonetheless pleased with my clever discovery.

    Triple Chocolate Muffins (adapted from Leiths Baking Bible)

    Ingredients:

    285g self-raising flour

    55g cocoa powder

    225g soft light brown sugar

    1 egg, beaten

    85g butter, melted

    175ml evaporated milk

    100ml buttermilk

    55g white chocolate chips

    55g dark chocolate chips

    85g milk chocolate chips

    Method:

    1. Heat oven to 180C

    2. Combine flour, cocoa and sugar and whisk to combine

    3. Combine egg, butter and both milks in a jug and add to the dry ingredients, mixing carefully.

    4. Add chocolate chips and mix well.

    5. Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes (15 minutes if baking mini-muffins)

    6. Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

    Makes 12 muffins plus 12 mini muffins, or 36 minis, or 18 muffins, or 6-10 jumbo muffins or one really, really big muffin. Mmmmm….. giant muffin……

    Note: The evaporated milk may be substituted for milk and buttermilk for soured cream (as was in the original recipe), but I do find that the evaporated milk made the mix extremely creamy with a lovely, sticky mouth-feel, while the buttermilk gave it a fairly light crumb. Mix and match to figure out what suits you!

    A: Back from England!

    Posted in Restaurant reviews with tags on July 18, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

    Congratulations to my big sister on finishing her Masters degree in Linguistics and TESOL! To celebrate we decided to do a whirlwind tour of the south coast of England before heading to her graduation ceremony. Seeing how it would have been summer, I thought it was a genius idea. Having lived in England for 3 years, you’d have thought I would know better than to expect English weather to be predictable. It poured! It didn’t just pour, it stormed!!! Oh well, at least we did get to eat at Michelin star restaurant, Elephant as well as pig out on lovely summer berries and good old fashioned English fair. Will update on the trip in bits but here’s some photos from an amazing dinner at Elephant to start. Bon appetit!

    duck egg

    Low temperature cooked duck egg with Deli Farm cured ham and salted toffee pea soup

    OMG the duck egg was sublime. Still translucent and only just cooked as it burst forth with warm yolk into the pea soup. If it were socially acceptable to lick one’s plate at a first-rate restaurant, I would have so been there.

    Fillet of aged Devon beef on the bone, creamed wild garlic mash, celeriac chips and red wine jus

    Fillet of aged Devon beef on the bone, creamed wild garlic mash, celeriac chips and red wine jus

    Perfectly pink, melt-in-your-mouth, beautifully pink and adorned with the sweetest most adorable little mushrooms. Carnivore heaven.

    Sweet cicely panna cotta with pineapple carpaccio and a carrot and orange mousse

    Sweet cicely panna cotta with pineapple carpaccio and a carrot and orange mousse

    I could have eaten an entire pineapple’s worth of carpaccio. Wafer-thin, crispy and beautifully sweet-sour. Yum.

    The decor at Elephant isn’t amazing, that has to be said (given the prices you pay for the food). But the view to the sea is wonderful, as is the service and cocktail selection, oh and the food of course.

    Go there now!!!