Archive for October, 2008

R: Beetroot Bonanza!

Posted in gardening, Vegetables on October 30, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb
Just when we least expected it!

The one and only that made it

A little garden can be full of big surprises~! GFM’s done it again! 🙂

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A: A rumble for a crumble!

Posted in Cakes with tags , on October 28, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

Reading R’s post on her luscious strawberry crumble was so inspiring that I couldn’t possibly ignore the overwhelming urge to crumble any longer! Armed with a beautiful bottle of limoncello and some pineapple sage from the garden, I proceeded to satisfy an insane need for warm fruit on a cool spring evening.

Divide 250g of washed and hulled strawberries between 2 ramekins. (What can I say, I like my fruit!)

Divide 250g of washed and hulled strawberries between 2 ramekins. (What can I say, I like my fruit!)

Add 1 tbsp limoncello, 1/2 tsp sugar and 2-3 torn leaves of pineapple sage/mint/basil to each ramekin.

Combine 30g flour, 20g butter, 1 tbsp ground almonds, 1 tbsp sugar and mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. Top ramekins with mixture. (Unlike R, I really don’t like wholemeal, the virtues of which are superseded by the fact that it tastes like cardboard to me!!!)

Bake at 200C for 30 minutes.

Enjoy as is. OR…

With lashings of cream and a fancy garnish!

With lashings of cream and a fancy garnish!

Verdict? Too little crumble for man, who is a confirmed Atkins dropout. The good thing about fruit crumble is that it’s versatile enough to accommodate all manner of tastes. Now that my carbohydrate-loving manrat has declared his need for a near 50-50 fruit-crumble ratio, I know for next time to adjust accordingly, where I could easily eat stewed fruit as is!

As I write this I am reminded of the lovely ruby-red rhubarb that sits in my fridge awaitng further instruction. Watch this space for the next installment of the crumble diaries!

A: Pickle in a tickle

Posted in Vegetables with tags , , on October 28, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

What better way to address an abundance of cucumbers than to conjure up a batch of pickles! Bread and butter pickles, to be precise. (Apparantly named for the fact that they go really well on buttered bread. The creativity there is mind-blowing.)

I consulted my all-knowing fail-proof Pickle and Chutney Cookbook. That’s Digby Law’s Pickle and Chutney Cookbook to you northern hemisphere dwellers who are yet to experience the privilege of reading this New Zealand classic. It’s got no pictures, no interesting Nigella-esque anecdotes or fancy language. Just really, really good recipes for pickles, chutneys and preserves. I love it. I keep it in my car when planning my chutneys or pickles just in case a bargain catches my eye in the shops (it was VERY useful at the wholesale market!).

Bread and Butter pickles

Ingredients:

8 large cucumbers, unpeeled and sliced

3 large onions, sliced

4 large green peppers (I used red seeing how an entire box of red peppers just happeded to be sitting on my dining table.)

1 cup salt

9 cups cold water

1.8 litres malt vinegar (I found 3 varieties of malt vinegar at my local supermarket- light, dark and spiced. I opted for light this time.)

1 tbsp turmeric

1 tsp mustard seed (I used black)

1 tsp celery seed (Had none so upped the mustard)

Method:

Combine vegetables in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and add the water. Let stand for 3 hours. Drain without rinsing.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Heat until boiling, add the vegetables and bring back to boiling point but do not boil.

Pack into hot, clean jars and seal.

Ready to eat in 3-4 weeks and should keep for 6-12 months.

“A jar of pickles can be extremely attactive when arranged with care.” – Digby Law

R: Stuffed mushrooms II & Strawberry Crumble

Posted in baking on October 27, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

GFM made buffalo wings for dinner tonight, basting with our freshly homemade spicy tomato sauce. Inspired by A’s stuffed mushrooms, I did a vego one as an entree. With the mushrooms as big as saucers, 1 per person was more than enough!

Mushrooms make wonderful edible plates

After the wings, we had a strawberry fruit crumble for dessert. Hmmm…. it was sticky, blood red, and full of fruity goodness… so good that I forgot to take a picture before digging in! DOH!

I decadently split 1 punnet of strawberries among 3 ramekins then and added 2T of pimms, 1T of ginger wine and 1T of A’s lemon curd to each ramekin. To make the crumble, I blitzed 100g of wholemeal flour with 100g of cold butter then stirred in 100g of oats, a handful of chopped almonds and sunflower seeds. Finally, I topped the strawberries with the crumble mix and grated a little more butter on top for good measure.

After about 30mins in the 200degC oven, when the strawberries are bubbling up and engulfing the golden crumble, and the sweet smell of baked strawberries is in the air, you know its ready. Tuck in and try not to burn your tongue like I did!!

Point in time where I thought about taking a picture

R: Italian Hot Chocolate- Best in Perth !

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

GFM recently returned from a Tuscan holiday, and besides the awesome cycling he got to do, the other thing he raved about most was their hot chocolate. He loved its thick, creamy, mousse-like consistency and the rich depth of flavour. Having had a cup every single day he was there, he is now an authority on what makes a good hot chocolate.

Now, A & I have had it at Cafe Pronto in Claremont (Also excellent for its wonderful waitstaff!) and The Riverbank Winery at the Swan Valley, so we knew what he was talking about. So this became a challenge to me- how to make GFM praise-worthy hot chocolate!

Research on the internet didn’t throw up much details on where we could get it from (to sneakily investigate the ingredient list). There were Ciociatto , Hot Ciok and Ciobar available, but not much luck buying them in Perth. We were going to try the Re-Store at Leederville or Northbridge, but it was a Sunday and neither were open.

Then, thanks to the always dependable google, I found that other people what similiar quests for this magical hot chocolate. The Drunk Chef and The Diversionary suggested recipes to try out, and GOLLY GOSH! Who wouldav thunk that the trick to make a good chocolate extrodinary was cornflour!

Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold

To make the hot chocolate for 2, I heated up 2 cups of milk with 4 squares of Lindt 85% chocolate (40g) and enough swiss hot chocolate mix to give it the right sweetness and colour. It is important you do not let the milk boil. I then slowly stirred the cornflour/water solution until it gave me that thick moussey consistency. Don’t go overboard as it will continue to thicken as it cools. I guess for more accurate measurements you should refer to the links above!

The GFM verdict? As good as the Italians do it! And that’s both green thumbs UP!!

A: Get stuffed!

Posted in Vegetables with tags , , on October 26, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

A mountain of produce still sits on my dining room table, begging to be stewed/baked/fried/bottled. I managed to utilise some of the capsicums last night by making stuffed peppers but had some leftover stuffing, which I saved for lunch today.

Arrived home starving this afternoon and after a quick consult, it was decided that stuffed mushrooms would solve a multitude of issues– leftover stuffing, mushroom glut and imminent starvation!

I used Karen Martini’s recipe for stuffed capsicum, which strikes a balance between my obsession with stuffed vegetables and man’s need for meat at every meal. Her stuffing consists of fried onion and garlic mixed with cinnamon, mint and chilli, breadcrumbs, egg, beef mince and parsley. I stuffed the mushroom with the mince mix, topped it with chopped tomato, parmasean and a knob of butter. Lots of seasoning and into the oven at 220C for 20 minutes!

We probably could have had this with a salad or bread on the side but for a light lunch, this was just perfect. In fact, I think I prefer the stuffed mushroom version to the pepper version!

A: Merry berries.

Posted in Jams and Butters with tags on October 25, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

And so marks the start of preserving season (in our house at least). On man’s request I decided to address the self-inflicted strawberry glut by making jam. This batch of strawberries are decidedly sweet. This, combined with the fact that I don’t possess a particularly sweet tooth resulted in a reduced-sugar jam that in my view, was just sweet enough.

I use the juice of 1 lemon for every 500g of strawberries, plus a third in weight of sugar. Combine ingredients for 2 hours, during which the strawberries surrender a phenomenal amount of liquid resulting in what looks like a strawberry soup!

Bring mixture to a boil and simmer gently until quite thick. (It took me about 2 hours.) Due to the reduced sugar levels, don’t expect this jam to set as thick as it would with a 1:1 sugar-fruit ratio. It is quite runny, but very, very fruity!

Transfer hot jam to warm, sterilised jars and store in the fridge when cool. I do this as I’m not all that certain how the reduced sugar affects the shelf-life of the jam. Not too sure how long this should keep although I have consumed it months and months after jarring and it was just fine! This is the way jam should be- simple, hearty and all about the fruit (with 3 ingredients you really can’t get much simpler!).

Note: Every 500g of strawberries yield about 300ml of jam.