Friday, March 23, 2018

Chicken, Plum and Chilli Tray Bake

Happy Friday!! This morning's post is short and sweet to share one of the dishes that I made recently.  This was Chicken, Plum and Chilli Tray Bake out of the March 2018 Coles magazine. There are haters of meat and fruit combinations but I am not one of them, and I was excited to find another good plum recipe while plums are still in season (because that autumn chill is definitely in the air).

I used a green chilli instead of a red chilli because my little Woolworths Metro had no red chillies when I went to buy the ingredients - go figure.  However, I have become very lazy with the supermarket so close and I wasn't going anywhere else to get that red chilli. The flavours have a terrific Asian slant, with soy, oyster sauce, star anise, chilli, ginger, orange and plum.

I enjoyed the flavours of this dish, but would have liked  a bit more sauce.  And of course, mine looks nothing like the photo (taken from the Taste website, which Coles seems to be in partnership with). 

If you are tempted to try this meat and fruit combination (ignoring my unglamourous rendition of this dish), you can find the recipe online here.  It was delicious (it's hard to stuff up baked chicken), just needed more sauce, as I said.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

TWD - Sunny-Side-Up Meringues

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Sunny-Side-Up Meringues.  They are so called because they look like fried eggs.

These meringues are baked with a cavity formed with your finger in the middle, and the cavity is filled with Citrus Curd.  I even made Dorie's Mixed Citrus Curd because I had an orange I had bought for something else just for the skin, so it seemed a shame to waste it (it cost the princely sum of $1.50!). The curd recipe makes two Bon Mamon sized jars of curd.  This is quite a lot of curd for someone like me and there are lots of leftovers.

There is not much else to say about these - they are easy to make, although a little time consuming (1 1/2 hours baking and 2 hours cooling in the oven).  The sharpness of the curd cuts nicely through the tooth aching sweetness of the meringue.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Red Tractor March - Colcannon

It was St Patrick's Day yesterday, so it seemed fitting to make the Red Tractor March recipe - Colcannon.  Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of cabbage and mashed potatoes all mixed together - a bit like Heaven and Earth is apples and mashed potatoes.

I chose to serve my Colcannon with corned beef, mustard, tomato sauce and mixed vegetables - a pretty good meal.  Corned beef is also quite economical as you get a lot of meat for your money and there are always tons of leftovers.

Here is the accompanying Red Tractor quote for March, an Irish blessing:

To make Colcannon, you will need:

1kg Sebago potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup milk
a knob of butter

Boil up the potatoes and cabbage separately until soft, and drain.

Mash the potatoes, then add the garlic, butter and milk and mix well.

Add the cabbage, spring onions and parsley and mix well again.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Persian Chicken and Roasted Plum Salad

Back in the summer, I made a Persian Chicken and Roasted Plum Salad from the January 2018 Coles magazine, which was very tasty.  The recipe is online here.  You will instantly note that my version is not all posed and pretty like theirs.  That doesn't mean it wasn't good.

This salad contains chicken, pearl barley (I used cous cous instead), plums, pumpkin, cinnamon, pistachios, mint and feta.  Those are some wonderful flavours all in one salad.  

Plum season is coming to a close here soon, but if you are coming into summer instead of winter, this tasty chicken and plum salad could be an excellent addition to your repertoire.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

TWD - Apple Weekend Cake

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Apple Weekend Cake.  I made it on Melbourne's Labour Day holiday, when the annual Moomba parade is held.

This is a good, solid, honest cake with chunks of apple and rum and vanilla for flavouring.  It is easy to make and even easier to eat, with the apple giving it moisture and texture. It was also a fab way to breathe new life into rather leathery old apples.

I would definitely make this cake again - it is delicious.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Chocolate, Plum and Macadamia Cake

As long time readers know, I have an eye for unusual cakes.  As soon as I laid eyes on Jordan Rondel's Chocolate, Plum and Macadamia Cake,  I knew I had found yet another kindred spirit cake.

The ingredients in this cake, as the name suggests, are delicious - chocolate, plums and macadamias, all baked up into one lovely cake.

However, what you do need to know is that this cake is, like the old Picnic ads, "deliciously ugly":

It didn't help that I poured the ganache onto the warm cake as I wanted to cut a slice for a friend I was seeing the day I made it. 

Despite the less than Instagram-ready appearance, I received lots of compliments on the flavour of this cake.   I even received a request for the recipe.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Jordan Rondel, she is a New Zealand cake maker who makes beautiful, naturally decorated cakes and trades as The Caker.  Her website is here. I own her first book and have made a few things from it, including this Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake.

If you love plums, chocolate and macadamias, this may be the cake for you.  It is delicious!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women's Day Cupcakes

Today is International Women's Day.  At work, there will be presentations by illustrious women both external and internal to my employer.  I am going to the presentation by the women who are employed in management at my employer to hear about their journeys to their current positions.

I also made these purple and green cupcakes, the colours of International Women's Day.  I didn't want to go too fancy.  In the end, I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing from my usual recipe, and coloured a half batch of the buttercream with two drops red and one drop blue liquid colouring to make a pretty lavender coloured icing.  (I was terrified of making some horrid murky grey colour.)

The flowers are made from Dr Oetker's green ready to roll icing punched into flowers with a plunger cutter.  I used the blunt end of a skewer rolled in the centre of the flowers to give them a little petal like shape, and a dab of water to stick black sugar pearls into the middle of each flower as the centre.

The piping is not as neat as it could be, but at 10.30pm at night when I was doing it, these things tend not to bother me too much.

I think the cupcakes look pretty neat, and they are a fun way to mark the occasion of IWD.

Happy International Women's Day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

TWD - Hamantaschen

For Tuesday with Dorie this week, I have made Hamantaschen.  These are Jewish cookies made to celebrate Purim (which was from 28 February to 1 March this year).  

These cookies have three corners to represent the three-cornered hat worn by Haman, the Persian Grand Vizer and the villain in the story who wanted to kill all of the Jews because Malacai  refused to bow down to him.  Malacai and his mother Esther learned of Haman's plot, saved the Jews and did away with Haman.  I have wanted to make Hamantaschen
since first seeing a recipe for them in The New York Times, so TWD finally got me to make them.  I made the full batch and got 23 cookies (Dorie says 24 so I was pleased).

The cookie dough is very like rugelach dough, and is not easy to work with.  Once it is removed from the freezer, you have to work with it quickly, otherwise it sticks to everything and tears.  The cookies are filled with a rough dried fruit jam. They taste like an Arnotts Spicy Fruit Roll.  I quite liked them, but they won't feature regularly in my house because the dough is hard to work with.

To see what the other Dorie cookie bakers made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Madame Brussels and Dear Abbey

It has been a busy weekend for me, with lots of people to catch up with.  I thought it would be fun to take you with me to a couple of those catchups.

The first catchup was on Friday night with some girl friends at Madame Brussels in Bourke St, Melbourne.  I have been to Madame Brussels before with the Melbourne Cake Club and thought it would be a great place to catch up as they serve awesome cocktails.

One of my friends and I started with a glass of sparkling rose served in Marie Antoinette glasses (pictured at the tope of this post) ($12).  This wine was tasty and a fitting accompaniment to the girly atmosphere.

My friend asked to meet Pearl, the owner, to express her delight at the premises, so here she is in a blurry action shot (the background is perfectly clear):

While waiting for our other friend, we ordered the Charcuterie plate ($30), with pastrami, ham, pork terrine, rillets, mustard, pickles, baguette and crackers:

This was all absolutely delicious.

When our other friend arrived, I ordered a 50 Shades of Pink Cocktail ($20), with rhubarb, berries and elderflower:

The disappointing part about this cocktail was the amount of ice cubes in it - I would have preferred fewer icecubes and more drink.

On Saturday, a friend and I went to lunch at Dear Abbey in Moonee Ponds:

It gets its name from the fact that it is built in a converted church.

The coffees that we ordered on arrival were terrific.  

For lunch, I ordered the Aromatic Garden Cakes (sweet potato, baby spinach, peas and broadbeans) with sumac hummus and caramelised pineapple frisee salad ($18.90):

This tasted as amazing as it looks.

The sweets are ordered in and I have been to another cafĂ© that has the same sweets.  This time, I ordered the Black Widow - dark chocolate brownie, espresso caramel, chocolate ($5.90):

This was simply devine.  It was worth the walk there and back to taste this beauty. (Update - Butter Mafia in Northcote makes these sweets, which are all gluten free.)

I would go back to both places - both were fun and the food and drinks were good.

59 Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000

23A Gladstone St
Moonee Ponds VIC 3039Ph: (03) 9372 0093

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Fig, Jamon and Gorgonzola Tart with Honey and Rosemary

A couple of weeks back, I found some lovely fresh figs at Prahran Market  for the bargain price of $4 for 2 punnets.  Immediately I thought of making ficci biondi, and bought the ingredients to make it.  However, I then decided to do something a little different, and found this recipe for a Fig and Blue Cheese Tart with Honey and Rosemary.

I added in some jamon because I had bought it to make the ficci biondi.  When the recipe says it's juicy, believe them - there are lots of juices that flow from the tart.

However, this tart tastes delicious.  If you are a fan of ficci biondi, this takes it up a notch with the wonderful flavours of balsamic vinegar, honey and rosemary. It makes a great starter or main if you have access to some fresh figs.