Saturday, July 28, 2012


We are enjoying a glut of apples at the moment - granny smiths, pink ladies and half eaten being the current order of the day. This afternoon some of all of the above will be going into a pie. Along with a little rhubarb which should help counteract the sweetness of the pink ladies. Earlier, when the sun was a little higher in the sky and the whole afternoon stretched out making pastry seemed like a good idea. Some time later I wasn't so sure but having the ingredients and no instant alternative persuaded me to pull it together. Flour, butter, sour cream together with the ever magical food processor and I had some sour cream pastry (only been meaning to try Maggie Beer's recipe for five years). Once rested, rolled, rested and cooked it was wonderfully light and flaky.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tarte Tatin

The first time we made Tarte Tatin we took it on a little drive to dinner with friends. A fantastic end to a french meal celebrating the start of the Tour de France. Sticky, caramelised, crisp and memorable. Made easy with recipe from Chez Panisse' book Deserts. Really so very easy we keep saying we should do it again. And we do - at least every time LE TOUR is here ...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Favourite new ingredient is (bacon)

My latest new ingredient kick is bacon. Which I find a little strange. I mean bacon's great - for breakfast or brunch or variations on a theme like a good burger. But I feel like I'm discovering just how versatile it is, how it adds depth and flavour to all kinds of dishes.

How about some great 'baby' zucchini sliced up finely, basil from the garden, garlic cloves so young & fresh they hadn't really formed skins & some bacon - a great pasta dish.

This weekend just gone, bacon featured in all its' glory in the form of a mountain of crispy streaky fried & eaten with eggs and olive bread cooked in the rendered flavour. An excellent use of a public park bbq plate!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kim Chi Jigae

We've been having an extended run of 'what's for dinner?'. Luckily it's been coupled with a fridge heaving under some obviously forgotten or perhaps not quite obvious gems. How many meals can we cook (and more importantly enjoy) before we really need to pick up some ingredients or takeaway?

Quite a few.

Tofu steaks with ginger, shallot and dipping sauce.
Tomato chilli pasta (sans the vodka it was originally famous for).
Kim Chi Jigae requires some Kim Chi and a few things from the pantry ...

Have Kim Chi - will Jigae.
A few years ago a friend bought a super large container of Kim Chi from her local korean supermarket and shared it with a couple of us. She didn't believe that we would eat such a large quantity as is, so it came together with a few recipes with personal annotations and a few other ingredients including powdered fish stock, red peppper powder and mackeral in tomato chilli sauce. Together it made for a fantastic hearty soup and I even overcame my abborence of fish in a can.

We've just made it again in celebration of our local supermarket having the same brand of Kim Chi (much more lively than the standard brand we always see). It was great again but sadly I couldn't find my handwritten instructions so it was a bit of a concoction from a few blogs and food sites.

Kim Chi Jigae
... recipe to come

Vanilla Salt

This is a story of an impulse 'lets go with it' purchase.

Now some time later, hoping the balance of vanilla and salt flakes is intact, I really have very good intentions of using said Vanilla Salt.
In something. Or on something.
I'm just not sure what yet - but I think it should involve caramel.

Salted caramel is one of those luscious things like a good lemon tart. It has the power to cajole or compell the ordering of deserts or the purchase of macarons and such when I feel otherwise quite happily sated.

But the balance and texture and pairing has to be just right or it could be just as disapointing as a poor lemon tart (you know the ones that are just a bit too eggy or too sweet or have caky or downright ordinary pastry).

I'm thinking a good caramel slice with salted caramel and finished with a few flakes atop the chocolate might be the go. Having been searching for the holy grail of caramel slice recipes I have options a plenty: the best to date being roughly based on that in Bill's Holiday with a few tweaks (hoping I can remember which techniques and which caramel were king) closely challenged by a heady slice from the CSR packet (thanks to Hilary).

This is the CSR recipe. Not keen on the oil with chocolate though ...

Caramel Slice (CSR packet)
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
125 g butter
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 (400 g) can sweetened condensed milk
70 g macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon golden syrup
60 g butter
200 g dark chocolate
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
• Preheat oven to 180C conventional or 160C fan forced.
• Melt 125g butter and combine the flour, coconut and dark brown sugar.
• Press into baking paper lined 26cm x 16cm slice pan.
• Bake for 12-15 mins or until golden brown.
• Heat the 60g butter and golden syrup in a saucepan until butter has melted and simmer over low heat for 3 minutes.
• Add condensed milk and stir over a medium heat for a further 10 minutes or until caramel becomes golden brown in colour.
• Pour over the prepared base.
• Chop macadamia nuts, sprinkle over caramel and drizzle with extra golden syrup.
• Melt chocolate and oil over simmering water and stir until smooth.
• Spread over the cooled caramel and refrigerate to set before slicing.
• For ease heat the knife in hot water before slicing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You CANNOT have ze DUCK

This has been an ongoing joke since someone I know saw that movie (LA Story) as I almost always have the duck if its on offer.

So when the local farmers market had a muscovy going begging just before we headed home it came with us. Lucky we had a trolley of sorts to pile everything into (a pram heaving under the weight of everything other than our child).

What to do with it? We roasted it, after a quick dip in boiling water to help crisp the skin, surrounded with potatoes cut small to catch as much duck fat as possible. Stuffed with orange zest, smashed juniper berries and star anise and rubbed with more of the orange zest, a touch of five spice and salt. Best duck skin ever & fabulous meat. Few pieces of orange zest next to the potatoes went really crispy too. Served with pan fried chard & a salad of fennel and orange. Great with an 05 Muddy Waters pinot.

And as the duck that went on giving, last night enjoyed duck & celery ramen with the broth enriched with soba sauce & topped with shallots from the garden.

Now thinking of all the great salads I could make next time. Last great duck dish I made was David Thompson's duck & lychee salad (from the pink thai bible) or then there's Glebe Point Diner's duck, grape & raddicio salad (salad and confit together and soo good).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Soup for Winter

Easy winter soup.
Pumpkin and Swedes, browned in a heavy based stockpot, some chicken stock, a handful of fresh thyme. Blitzed. A little cream.