Monday, June 30, 2014

Acoma Sky Village, El Rancho, Wigwam Motel and Cafe Ole, Flagstaff

After a wonderful day in Albuquerque, it was time to move on.  Before we left New Mexico, we stopped over at the Acoma Sky Village, where visitors can get some insight into the lives of the Acoma Pueblo tribe of Native Americans.

Note the blue doorway in the photo at the top of the post, to ward off evil spirits.

Our guide was very informative, taking us around the village and explaining the significance of various buildings and events in Acoma Pueblo history.

This cute dog followed us everywhere during our tour:  

Here is the view from the edge of the mesa where the Sky Village is located:

We also made at stop at Gallup, New Mexico to visit the El Rancho Hotel on Route 66: 

Lots of movie stars have stayed at the hotel while filming in New Mexico, and the doors of the rooms have plates with the names of their former occupants.  There are also photographs all around the lobby of stars of the past who have frequented the El Rancho Hotel: 

After a quick stop over at a supermarket for lunch, where I grabbed a Southwest Chicken Salad:

we continued on into Arizona, where we stopped for a photo opportunity at the Wigwam Motel on Route 66 in Holbrook, Arizona:

After admiring the wigwams, we drove onwards into Winslow, Arizona.  You may know this town from The Eagles song, Take It Easy - you know:

Well, I'm a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona
and such a fine sight to see
It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin' down to take a look at me

Our overnight stop was in Flagstaff, Arizona, which has a lovely old historic down town:

Tim and I opted for Southwestern food for dinner at Café Ole - which I have just learned is now closed for good:

Wow, that's a shame - we enjoyed our meal there.

The interior was bright and Mexican inspired, as you would expect from the name and the cuisine:

On arrival, our friendly waitress gave us green chilli salsa and corn chips, which we learned is  standard at Mexican/Southwestern establishments in the US (and is a very welcome custom!):

Tim ordered a New Belgium Rampant India pale ale from Colorado:

and I ordered a $5 margarita - the best (in Australia, you are looking at ~$15 + for a margarita):

It was mole Tuesday when we went to Café Ole, so we ordered chicken mole with refried beans and rice:

This dish was absolutely delicious.  Tim and I really enjoyed our meal at Café Ole, and I am rather sad that it was a once off experience.

Via Sky City Cultural Centre
Pueblo of Acoma NM 87034
United States
Ph: +1 505 552 7861
100 E 66
Gallup NM 87301
United States
Ph: +1 505 863 9311
811 W Hopi Drive
Holbrook AZ 86025
United States
Ph: +1 928 524 3048
119 S San Francisco St
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
United States
Ph: + 1 928 774 8272

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake for Jacqui

Friday was Jacqui's last day at work.  There was a morning tea being hosted in her honour, so I made a cake for the occasion.

I chose to make a recipe from The Caker by Jordan Rondel, as Jacqui introduced me to this book.  There are lots of tempting sounding recipes in the book, but I was really keen to try the Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake - because it sounds so delicious!

The recipe for Jordan's peanut butter and jelly cake is online here.  My icing turned out weirdly solid, almost like play dough, but it tasted just fine.

For decorations, instead of fresh raspberries (which are really expensive in the middle of winter), I  used crystallised violets and coloured sugar pearls.

The Caker is a really lovely book, so if you are a cake baker like me, it is well worth a look.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jelly Roll for the Picnic Game

Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations is hosting The Picnic Game for International Picnic Day.  What is the Picnic Game?   Check out Louise's post here to find out.

I am going on  picnic, and I am bringing:

A - Angel Food Cake


J - Jelly Roll 

It's not just any old jelly roll - this recipe comes from Margaret Fulton, doyenne of the Australian kitchen, from p 215 of The Margaret Fulton Cookbook.  This book is the very first cookbook that I bought, 10 years ago, and is an updated version of the one that my mother received for her 21st birthday, so it is pretty special to me.

If you want make this jelly roll, you will need:

110g self raising flour
pinch salt
3 eggs
115g white sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon hot water
3-4 tablespoons jelly of your choice

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius.  Grease a 30 × 25 cm jelly roll tin and line with greased baking paper.

Sift the flour and salt together.

Put the eggs and sugar into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and whisk together for about 10 minutes or until mixture is very thick and creamy, or if using an electric mixer, until the eggs and sugar are just warm.

Remove the bowl from the water and continue whisking or beating the batter with a mixer until cool. Fold the flour gently into the batter, then fold in the hot water.

Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll tin, and spread evenly over the base of the tin using a metal spatula.

Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 7–10 minutes or until pale golden and springy.

Turn the hot cake immediately onto a tea towel sprinkled with sugar. Carefully pull off the baking paper so as to avoid tearing. Cut off the crisp edges of the cake with a knife, then roll the cake up in the towel, and leave to cool.

Unroll the cake, and spread it with the warmed jelly to the edges of the cake.  Using the tea towel to help, roll the cake into a firm roll.

Place the roll onto a wire rack with join underneath to cool. Sprinkle with more sugar before serving, if desired.

Please come along to the picnic - Louise has posted the entire Picnic Game roundup here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

FFWD - Guacamole with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers

This week's French Friday with Dorie recipe does not, at first blush, appear to be very French.  It is for Guacamole with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers, which seems rather Mexican in flavour.  However, we are assured by Dorie that in France, guacamole with chips is all the rage, hence the reason for this recipe appearing in her book.

I was pleased that the guacamole was a quick and easy recipe to make.  I made it for breakfast (why not?), and served it on a crumpet with smoked ocean trout and a poached egg: 

The lovely runny yolk mixed with the guacamole to give the dish a lovely rich flavour:  

To see what the other Doristas thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Martha Rose Shulman's Seeded Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you read the cooking sections in the newspapers?  I look forward to Tuesdays, the key food day in most newspapers, and to the weekend newspaper magazines, which also feature recipes.  I have way more clippings and bookmarked recipes than I can ever possibly make, but that doesn't stop me from looking for my next recipe fix.

Recently, I found a recipe for Seeded Chocolate Chip Cookies by Martha Rose Shulman, of the New York Times.  I was attracted to this recipe because it includes chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and rolled oats (all of which I had to hand), making them a little different from other recipes.  I made the recipe as stated except that (a) I used dark chocolate chips because I was not in the mood to chop up chocolate; and (b) I used tablespoons of dough instead of teaspoons because I clearly cannot read, so I only got 18 cookies (though I doubt that I would have got 4 dozen, as the recipe suggests).

I was glad that I made these - they were really good cookies, and just a little different from your usual chocolate chip cookies.  I even received a verbal compliment at work for them - because I bake fairly often, this is quite rare.  I would definitely make these cookies again sometime.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

WWDH - Paella

We are going Spanish on Wednesday with Donna Hay this week, as Kayte chose Paella from p144 of Modern Classics I.

I have never made paella before, so I found it an interesting  exercise.  Donna's recipe calls for clams and mussels.  To the credit of the Malvern fishmonger, they stocked both - but mussels cost $12.50 for a small packet, and the clams cost $31.50!!!!  As I am neither a major seafood aficionado or having a dinner party, I skipped over to Woolies and bought marinara mix instead.  Sure, it isn't as picturesque without those shells popping open, but it is way more wallet friendly.

I made only a third of a portion of Donna's recipe, enough for me for two meals.  I quite enjoyed this dish, after being initially a little dubious.  I'd definitely make it again, especially as it is a much simpler paella recipe than others that I have seen.

To see how Kayte, MargaretChaya and Sarah fared with this dish, visit their websites.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sandia Peak Tramway and High Finance Restaurant

Our day in Albuquerque was rounded off by a trip to the top of Sandia Peak on the Sandia Peak Tramway, followed by dinner at High Finance Restaurant.  "Sandia" means "watermelon" in Spanish, and supposedly the Spanish were inspired to name the Sandia Mountains because of their reddish colour.  Sandia Peak is at 10,378 feet above sea level: 

You travel up there in little tram cars on a cable system.  A few ladies in our group were very scared of heights, and shut their eyes the whole way up.  I am scared of heights, but because we were encased in our own little bubbles, the trip up to Sandia Peak didn't bother me at all, and I enjoyed the view.  Here I am - I made it:

Our tour group sat down together at reserved tables - here is our table (Margaret and Dennis, Allan and Julie, Tim and I):

We chose our meals from a set three course menu:

For entrée (or appetizer, depending on where you come from), I chose the soup (yes Kayte, I really enjoyed your American spicy soups!):

I have no recollection of what type of soup this was, except that it was spicy and good. 

For main, I chose the grilled salmon with soy citrus glaze on rice with vegetables:

As you can see, the vegetables were a little sad, but the salmon itself was really good, and the glaze perfectly complemented it.

The star of the show was the dessert - a peanut butter/chocolate mousse style delight, not unlike a Snickers bar in flavour:

After a lovely dinner, we all rolled back down the mountain - ha, ha, no, we got back into the tram cars and enjoyed the sunset over the Sandia Mountains:

Our Sandia Peak experience was the perfect end to a perfect day.

30 Tramway Road NE
Albuquerque, NM
United States
Ph: +1 505 856 7325
Sandia Peak
Albuquerque, NM
United States
Ph: +1 505 243 9742 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Grape Harvest Cake

Recently, I spotted a lovely recipe called Grape Harvest Cake on Lorraine's website.  I had some grapes in the fridge and thought it would be a great way to use them up, but alas, those grapes had already gone to God.

A week or so went by, and I kept thinking about that cake, so I bought some grapes this week especially to make it.

I am glad that I did - isn't it a beauty:

Unfortunately, the grapes on top did not want to stay there, so they sank into the cake, but it really doesn't matter - it is a fabulous cake anyway.  It is golden and wonderfully moist from the grapes, and would be wonderful served at room temperature, or warmed up with some icecream or custard on the side.
If you have some surplus grapes to use up, or really just like fruity cakes, then this is a perfect recipe to try.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hot Poppy and Beatrix, North Melbourne

Last Saturday, I went for brunch with my friend V to her part of town, North Melbourne.  V chose a new to her place straight off the Internet, Hot Poppy.  Hot Poppy is an unobtrusive establishment in Errol Street, conveniently located on the No. 57 tram line.

I arrived early, and ordered a skinny flat white:

The coffee at Hot Poppy is good, and wins a big tick before going on to the food that you came for.
Both V and I ordered off the specials board.  V ordered crumbed egg on chorizo, roast pepper and white bean ragu ($18.50):

The eggs had a perfect runny yolk inside.  V really liked this, but found there was so much food that she couldn't finish it - not a complaint!

I ordered the Europa eggs ($18.50): Cevapcici with 2 poached eggs, peperonata, basil pesto, tomato and grilled turkish bread:

This was also a really good dish - I enjoyed dipping the cevapcici (European meatballs) in the runny yolk of the poached eggs.  Again, the serve was very generous, although I had no problems polishing it off.

The service was a little slow, but that may be because I was there for around an hour before V arrived, in which time I only ordered a coffee.  However, it was friendly enough, and the interior was warm and inviting on a chilly wet morning.

Before meeting V, I walked a short way up the rod to visit Beatrix, a tiny café which is famed for its baked goods:

I bought a potato brioche donut with lemon icing (a house speciality, $4.50) and a chocolate tart ($7):

The donut was very light and fluffy. but largely tasted of the thick lemon icing:

The chocolate tart had a pleasantly bitter filling, but the crust seemed rather dry and tasteless (not just my opinion - I shared my goodies with a friend later):

I know that Beatrix is dearly loved by many (it has a 5 star rating on Urban Spoon), but I wasn't particularly impressed with these goodies, and won't be trekking back to the other side of town to visit soon.

9 Errol Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Ph: +61 3 9326 9299
688 Queensberry St
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Ph: + 61 3 9090 7301

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tea Towels from US Trip

This post is especially for Kayte, who wanted to see all the tea towels I picked up on my recent Route 66 trip.

Starting off is a towel featuring Route 66 motifs:

It is technically a scarf, but I am going to use it like a tea towel as a backdrop for photographs.  I picked this up in The National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma.

Next is a yellow striped tea towel with pom poms on the fringe, and applique herb pots:

This cute tea towel is from Sur La Table at the Farmers Market in West Hollywood:

Also from Sur La Table at the Farmers Market, I picked up this grey patterned tea towel with gorgeous applique cupcakes and a double frill at the bottom:


 The details of this tea towel are amazing - crochet, beads, ribbon and a pom pom:

Finally, I bought a flour sack tea towel at the Five and Dime in Branson, MO:

I adore owls, and this tea towel was super cute:

I love picking up new tea towels as a backdrop for photographs, and I had fun choosing these.