A: Festive season update (Part 1).

Posted in Personal on January 14, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

The 15th of December, 2008 marked 365 married days for man and I (hooray!) as well as the 10 year anniversary of our first kiss (aw…). To mark our paper anniversary, I thought I’d opt for the aptly named Mexican Wedding Biscuits from Belinda Jeffrey’s Mix and Bake (one of my baking bibles of this decade!).

Once our new bamboo floors go in and we’re able to move all our furniture out of the toilet and shower recess I shall once again have access to all my cookbooks, at which point I promise to share the recipe. Having said that, the recipes I have seen on the wise and wonderful internet all appear to be fairly similar. I especially like the one listed here.

anniversary-003These biscuits are incredibly easy to make, and crumble in your mouth the way shortbread should, sticking to teeth and melting into a gooey sticky mess as you attempt to tidy the explosion of icing sugar off your hands and face!

Man invoked his right as anniversary participant to eat as many biscuits as he possibly could before the day was over!

Man invoked his right as anniversary participant to eat as many biscuits as he possibly could before the day was over!

Prior to dinner, we thought maybe some bubbly was in order and decided to splurge on a bottle of Pol Roger instead of the usual cheap(er) stuff. After suffering through a 10 minute exposition on how wonderful Pol Roger champagne is and how it’s made from x varieties of grapes and how the Roger family is incredibly down to earth and how the champagne is best in its class etc. etc. etc… the lady at the bottle shop finally let us leave with our single bottle. It was probably the fact that I cut her off at one point and said something along the lines of “I just think it tastes nice”, that hurried her little speech to its end. To be honest, I’m just as likely to ooh and aaah at a bottle of locally brewed sparkling wine (Western Australia is currently producing some competitively tasty brews) as I am at a bottle of $90 champagne. Special occasions however, demand a certain degree of extravagance. Enter: bubbly, cheese and a hot afternoon on the balcony with our languid and otherwise indifferent cat.

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I suspect the poshness of the bubbly was offset by the cheap plastic containers and crummy serving plate, but who cares!

Life is good!

Life is good!

On our way home from dinner (which was good but nothing to shout about) we were fortunate enough to spot the giant moon (you might remember between 12-15 Dec last year the moon was the closest its ever been to earth and so appeared HUGE at night?).Unlike the pros that had gathered on the South Perth foreshore with their gargantuan camera lenses and tripods and other fancy paraphernalia, all I had was my little digital camera, which didn’t really do the moon much justice as I took my shots.

This was unfortunately, the best of the lot.

This was unfortunately, the best of the lot.

Although this one's pretty cute- hand shook mid-shot and ended up with a heart-shaped moon. Pretty neat!

Although this one's pretty cute- my hand shook mid-shot and ended up with a heart-shaped moon. Pretty neat!

And so concluded the end of anniversary celebrations as we knew it. Not too shabby, if you ask me. 🙂

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A: The prodigal blogger returns…

Posted in Uncategorized on January 11, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

6 blog-free weeks for me and the guilt weighs horrendously on my shoulders! Man and I are in the midst of a home renovation overhaul and in between stacking cookbooks in the shower recess, ripping out carpet and playing furniture tetris out on my space-starved limited balcony, it’s been difficult to say the least, mustering up the energy to even think about blogging! Stay tuned however, I have lots to report on since I last wrote… if only I could remember where I placed my camera cable so I can upload photos!!! Watch this space!

R: Sodium Surprise

Posted in Uncategorized on January 3, 2009 by gluttondressedaslamb

After another eventful Canningvale visit, and a nice relaxing afternoon at Langford, we came home and whipped up some guacamole and tomato salsa to put a little dent in the box of tomatoes and avocados we got.

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And as we settled aroung the bbq grilling the capsicums (also from the market), we dug into the dips with our improvised corn chips. Well, improvised by just toasting lavash bread till cripsy, and really because we couldn’t find out favourite coles brand salt reduced corn chips. I like chips that are less salty 😀

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Anyway, while waiting for the capsicums to blister, we started looking at the ingredients list on the lavash bread and GASP. It had MORE sodium than the packet of potato chips I got out from the cupboard. That really surprised me because when I eat a potato chip, my first thought is ‘HMM, SALT’. But my first impression of a lavash bread has never been of its saltiness.

There you go! I wonder what other products have caught other people by surprise!

A: Inside outside drum-side crumb-side!

Posted in Chicken, Mains with tags , , on December 11, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

OR- Topsy-turvy turkey dinner.

Thanksgiving didn’t factor much when I was growing up, and Christmas was more about curries and fried chicken wings rather than roasts and boiled-to-death brussel sprouts. So generally inexperienced with turkey, I thought I might do a me-version of a roast turkey dinner last Sunday.

Maryland cuts of poultry have got to be my favourite. Most flavourful (=fatty), and no dry or bony bits to eat around either. My current favourite, and substitute for whole roast chicken is turkey maryland, or even just a drumstick, which as I found out on Sunday is more than generous for 2 people (even us greedy ones).

BUT, one cannot have a roast turkey without stuffing- it’s the best bit! And so the topsy-turvy turkey dinner was born. Stuffing is squished into the bottom of a loaf pan with the drumstick resting on the top, lightly seasoned and greased. Bake at 200C till done and there you have it– crispy around the edges but moist through the middle, the stuffing ends up just the way I like it. Plus, it’s a one-pan-wonder, and not a very big pan at that. Served up with sauteed silverbeet with leftovers for 2 lunches the following day, who’d have thought a drumstick could stretch that far!

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Topsy-turvy turkey dinner (for 2)

Ingredients:

1 turkey drumstick

2 handfuls mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 cacciatore sausage, chopped (I also had leftover spicy salami, which I added to the mix.)

2 handfuls fresh breadcrumbs

fresh parsley, chopped (and any other fresh herbs you like)

1 egg

Method:

Heat olive oil/butter (or a combination of both) in a large pan and saute sausage for 1 minute.

Add onions and mushrooms and cook until most of the liquid in the mushrooms is cooked out.

Transfer mixture to the baking tin and add parsley, breadcrumbs and egg and stir well.

Oil and season turkey drumstick and place on top of the stuffing. Bake at 200C for 45-60 minutes.

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Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes, then gobble gobble gobble it all up!!!

A: Fruit Fairy.

Posted in Personal with tags on December 7, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

Our recent visit to the wholesale markets was cancelled, which meant a free lie-in and no more excuses to complete the burgeoning list of household chores. In the midst of pulling out wall fixtures and sanding down walls, who should call on me but the lesser known but highly respected Fruit Fairy! No need for bodyparts under pillows or evil step-sisters for this one to appear- she just does! And look what she brought me:

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Now I know it technically isn’t a fruit, but look!

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There were loads and loads of these finger-sized carrots in my box of goodies and I am becoming increasingly attached to one that looks like an inquisitive worm, peaking its head out of the mud to say hello.

So, here’s a big thank you to my own personal fruit fairy. The fruit bowl is busting at the seems with vitaminal (yes, I have decided that that should most definitely be a word) goodness and my body thanks you.

A: Squished squash.

Posted in Jams and Butters with tags , on December 5, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

R’s brave return to the Canningvale wholesale markets found me carting a cardboard box full of goodies back to mine a few weeks back. Sitting among the apples, mushrooms and zucchinis were golden-yellow squash– plump and perfect, just screaming to be pickled!

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Enter the all-accommodating Digby Law’s Pickle and Chutney Cookbook.

Pickled yellow squash (adapted from Pickled Yellow Courgettes)

Ingredients:

8 cups sliced squash

2 cups sliced onions

1 cup diced green capsicum

3 tbsp salt

2 cups cider vinegar

3 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp celery seed

1 tsp mustard seed (I didn’t have celery seed and doubled the mustard seed)

Combine the vegetables and sprinkle with the salt. Let veggies stand for 1 hour.

Drain well without rinsing.

Combine vegetables with remaining ingredients and boil gently for 10 minutes.

Pack vegetables into hot, clean jars and cover with the hot syrup before sealing.

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Ready to eat in 4 weeks!

We’re off to the wholesale markets tomorrow morning and I am determined NOT to come home with:

– Tomatoes (For real this time. Really, really, really real. Really.)

– Squash (Been there, done that.)

– Peppers

– Over-ripe mushrooms (Way too stressful trying to use everything up before it all goes rancid. Having smelt rancid mushrooms one too many time this is one experience I will gladly miss out on!)

Everything else is fair game! (Especially strawberries, mangoes, pineapples, watermelons and fruit of all manner. YUM!)

A: Stuck a feather in his hat…

Posted in Biscuits/Cookies with tags , , , on November 30, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

…and called it macaroooooony!

There is only so much pavlova or meringue one can make with leftover eggwhite before becoming completely and utterly sickened at the mere thought of recipes that call for yolks only. I used to freeze my leftover whites, fully intentioned to use them at some point to make cakes, biscuits, etc. only to leave them forgotten in the freezer as the stockpile of whites pile up gradually over the year. So when we was faced with 2 egg whites left over from a carbonara last night, I prompted placed them in the fridge and vowed to use them this morning.

Nigella Lawson has a wonderfully simple recipe for chewy macaroons in Feast, which I have made countless times before. They do tend to be quite sweet as she recommends a 1:1 ratio of sugar to almond meal. I make it with much less sugar, which doesn’t seem to affect the texture much and results in a far more palatable biscuit for someone with only a moderate sweet tooth, looking for a side-of-the-saucer biscuit for afternoon tea. If anything, I love making these as I end up with lovely rose water-scented hands for the rest of the day, which I find to be strangely restorative and grounding all at once.

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Chewy Macaroons (adapted from Feast)

Ingredients:

140g caster sugar

200g ground almonds

2 egg whites

1/4 tsp ground cardamom seeds

approximately 24 blanched almonds (depending on how greedily you shape your macaroons, one almond per macaroon)

2-3 tablespoons rosewater

Method:

Combine all your ingredients except for the blanched almonds and rose water into your mixer and using the paddle attachment, mix until well-combined.

Coat your hands with rosewater, then shape mixture into walnut-sized balls, rolling each ball between your hands to scent it.

Place biscuits on a baking sheet, spaced 2-3 cm apart, squish an almond into each macaroon, flattening it slightly and bake at 200C for 12 minutes.

Macaroons are pale even when ready, and will firm slightly on cooling.

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From mixer to table in under 20 minutes, a perfect mid-week sweet!