Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pear Tarte Tatin

No Ellie for me today, as it is a catchup week.

Recently, it was Mara's birthday, and she requested a from scratch tarte tatin.  I had some lovely pears in the house, so I decided to make her a pear tarte tatin for her birthday. I used this recipe from  Instead of ready rolled puff pastry, I made a single batch of Nick Malgieri's quick puff pastry.

Mara said that she loved her tarte tartin, as did her family.  She especially loved the caramelised bits on the pastry.  I'll have to take her word for it, as I didn't try it, but I am happy that she enjoyed it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WWDH - Caramel Popcorn, Almond and Malt Cookies

This week's Wednesday with Donna Hay is a catchup week.  I have nothing to catch up, so I am instead posting a Donna recipe that I made some time ago but not yet posted.  In a recent edition of Donna Hay magazine, Donna published a delicious looking recipe for Caramel Popcorn, Almond and Malt Cookies.  I subsequently found that the recipe is also published online here.

I decided to make these cookies because I still had heaps of malted milk powder left from this cake, and I had leftover Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs from this Dorie recipe. It seemed that these odds and ends were custom made for Donna's cookie recipe.  I just used roasted unsalted almonds and it was fine.

These cookies were very simple to make and tasted delicious.  I don't think I'd run out and buy the ingredients especially, but if you have them on hand, it is a tasty cookie recipe to make.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

TWD - Coconut Tapioca

Tuesday with Dorie this week leads us to prepare Coconut Tapioca.  I have never cooked with tapioca before - my only previous brush with tapioca was using it to fill a cushion we made at preschool.  I have tried the tinned tapioca and that is gross, so I was a little hesitant about this week's recipe.

 However, I need not have worried - this coconut tapioca was absolutely delicious, although a little tedious to prepare because the tapioca has to be soaked for at least 6 hours before use. (I could only find small pearl tapioca which worked just fine.)  Otherwise, the process to make it is very straight forward, and the finished result is delicious.

I served my tapioca with lychees, because the smooth, sweet fruit offers a nice contrast to the thick, textured tapioca.

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

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mango and macadamia cake

One of my favourite things to do when I go home to visit my mother is to read all of the women's mags that she has accumulated since my last visit.  As she is a reader of a weekly magazine, this usually ends up being quite a lot of magazines.  I catch up on all the latest celebrity baby names, who's dating who and who is having a rocky marital time.

I also love looking at the recipes in mum's magazines.  There is usually something that takes my fancy, even if I never end up making it.

Back in March, I saw a recipe for Mango and Macadamia Cake in one of mum's magazines:

Delicious - I am sold!  I was a very bad person and tore the page out of the magazine to make the cake.  It was worth it - the cake was a delicious light spongy confection full of mangoes and macadamia nuts, and topped with even more macadamias (I skipped the extra mango on top).

The recipe is from a February-March 2015 edition of Woman's Day magazine (no idea which one - the pages unhelpfully don't contain that information), but it is from p61, and the recipe is as follows:

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cream
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
 grated zest of 1 lime
1 small mango, peeled and diced
2/3 cup chopped toasted macadamia nuts

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line a 20cm springform pan.

Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the cream, eggs, water, vanilla and lime zest.  Fold in the mango and half of the macadamias.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until cooked through.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To ice the cake, combine 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar, 1 tablespoon of lime juice and one teaspoon of vanilla essence, drizzle over the cake and top with the remaining macadamias.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wine Bank on View, Bendigo

On our recent trip to Bendigo, Tim and I had lunch at Wine Bank on View, a wine bar and wine merchant which also serves food.  It is situated in the very opulent former ANZ Bank Building - the building is a wonder to behold.

Being at a wine bar, we started off with a glass of wine each - in our case, a glass of Harcourt Valley Vineyard 2014 Rose each, a local drop:

For lunch, we decided to share a number of entrees.  First up was the spicy chicken quesadilla with tomato salsa, sour cream and guacamole ($16): 

This was a light, tasty choice.

Next came the homemade sausage rolls with tomato chutney (3 for $12):

These sausage rolls were flavoursome and beautifully spiced - definitely not your standard bakeshop offering.

Our final dish was the duck, pork and rabbit rillettes with pear chutney and sour dough toast ($17.50):

Yummo - all of the elements  combined on toast made for the perfect light meal.

Afterwards, you can stroll around Wine Bank to check out their magnificent wines:

Wine Bank is a cool, soothing, atmospheric place to escape from the madding crowd for a bite to eat.

45 View Street, Bendigo VIC 3550
Ph: 03 5444 4655

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Anzac Biscuits for the 100th Anniversary of ANZAC Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

For the Fallen, Laurence Binyon
This year is the centenary of ANZAC Day.  ANZAC Day falls on 25 April every year, and honours Australians and New Zealanders who have participated in wars and peacekeeping operations around the world.
ANZAC is an acronym for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, who landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 in World War I.  Anzac biscuits were supposedly sent to the troops in World War I because of their keeping qualities.
Although Anzac biscuits are "keepers", they are delicious - they are made from rolled oats, sugar, coconut and golden syrup, and smell like heaven.
In honour of the centenary of Anzac Day, I made these Anzac biscuits from  a recipe on p84 of the April 2015 edition of Taste magazine.  I was not that happy with it - it uses caster sugar instead of brown sugar, the latter of which I feel gives the biscuits a lovely caramel flavour, and the butter stated was not near enough to roll the batter into balls.  Looking at other recipes, it seems that the ratio of dry ingredients to butter was slightly off.  The recipe makes crunchy Anzacs - I like mine chewy.  They tasted fine, but were just not what I am used to.
If crunchy Anzacs are your thing, here is the recipe with the quantity of butter adjusted - you could even add a little more butter, because I still struggled a little to make balls from the batter:
150g plain flour
155g caster sugar
140g rolled oats
80g coconut (I used dessicated, they used flakes)
150g melted butter
60ml golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon boiling water
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, oats and coconut.  Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the melted butter and golden syrup, and stir the mixture to combine.
In a small cup, combine the bicarbonate of soda and water, then pour it into the biscuit batter and stir to combine.
Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls, place 2cm or so apart on the baking trays, and bake for around 15 minutes or until golden brown. 
Remove the Anzacs from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking trays.
The recipe says you should get 26 Anzacs - I got 18.
Lest we forget.

Friday, April 24, 2015

FFWD - Sardine Escabeche


Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key.
Alan Bennett

This week is our second last French Fridays with Dorie seafood dish.  Unfortunately, it comprises a rather oily fish concoction called Sardine Escabeche.

This challenge required us to use fresh sardines, so I dutifully went to the Queen Vic Market to find some (knowing that my suburban fish shop would not stock such a thing).  Fresh sardines were only $6.50 a kilo.  When I asked the fishmonger to fillet my sardines, he flatly refused, but was keen to sell me a 500g tray of frozen sardine fillets for $13!  Ahem - no.  (For the record, my 12 fresh sardines cost the princely sum of $2.55.)

Accordingly, on the night I made this dish, I set about filleting these little guys a la Karen Martini's video:

I have to say that it is quite a gory process.  I was prepared for it from the video, and wore food gloves to limit the mess.  Still, filleting 12 little fish with all of their organs still intact was not exactly a pleasant task.
Once the filleting was done, the rest of the process (flouring and shallow frying the sardine fillets, frying up some veges, adding a large quantity of oil to the veges and simmering,  then pouring over the fish before chilling for 6 hours or so) was quite easy.
Unfortunately, I do not understand the European love of putting large quantities of oil on fish.  I can understand that back in the day, it was a means of preserving them, but in the era of modern refrigeration, I just don't get it.  But then, I guess, some people really like oil-covered fish (see Salmon in a Jar). 
Thankfully, although this is definitely not a repeat dish for me, it tasted way better than salmon in a jar.  It was pleasant enough for cold oily fish with vegetables - at least everything was pre-cooked.  However, it still doesn't grab me.
To see what the other Doristas made of this dish, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

EwE - Asian Chicken and Vegetables in Foil

Margaret is giving us a touch of Asia with this week's Eating with Ellie, choosing Ellie's Asian Chicken and Vegetables in Foil.

This dish comprises chicken breast fillets steamed with carrots, capsicum and shallots with an Asian inspired sauce, steamed in the oven in a foil packet, then topped with toasted sesame seeds and more shallots (oops, I put those in the foil packet).

Unlike many of the other Ellie dishes, this one took more like 45 minutes to prepare and cook because of all the vegetable chopping involved.  However, it is quite simple to prepare.

I liked this dish, but it definitely needs more veges and some rice for a complete meal.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WWDH - Green Olive Baked Chicken

Peggy chose Green Olive Baked Chicken from Off the Shelf for this week's Wednesday with Donna Hay.  It is the perfect comfort food now that autumn has well and truly kicked in, as evidenced by the leaves on the trees in my neighbourhood:

I liked this dish because it was quick, simple and unfussy to make -  a one pot wonder.  I think it tasted best the next day when all of the flavours had had some time to meld.

To see what the other WWDH cooks thought of tis dish, visit the LYL section of the website.  Or if you want to try this dish yourself, the recipe is online here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Raspberry Ripple Cake for Stacey

Monday last week was my last Pilates class with our instructor, Stacey.  She is a trained exercise physiologist, and found a full time job in her field, hence her reason for leaving.  I am very happy for her and very sad for me - she is one of the best instructors we have had, and a very nice lady to boot. 

As you will know, I love baking cakes, so I couldn't let Stacey leave without baking her a cake.  I chose Edd Kimber's Raspberry Ripple Cake from The Boy Who Bakes.  That book has been around for a while, but I only acquired it late last year, and this was the first time that I had used it.  If you don't have the book, a few people have published the recipe online, including here.  

I made a few adjustments to the recipe.  Instead of three layers, I cut the cake batter recipe in half and made only two layers, which seemed quite substantial anyway.  I also swapped out the Italian meringue buttercream (I personally hate Italian meringue buttercream!) for my favourite Primrose Bakery buttercream, but incorporated the same raspberry and white chocolate flavours that Edd used.

When I tried swirling white chocolate buttercream through the raspberry buttercream, I didn't get the ripple effect suggested by Edd, and I just messed up the smoothness of my frosting job.  I also tried to pipe little swirls on top for decoration using supermarket bought frosting in a tube, and the swirls unfortunately looked as though they could use some Viagra:

Oh well.  I hope Stacey enjoyed eating this cake - it certainly smelled amazing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

When I made chocolates for Easter, I needed something to fill them with.  I didn't have any cream so many of the usual fillings were out.  By luck, I came across this recipe from Honey and Spice for Dark Chocolate and Roasted Hazelnut Spread - homemade Nutella!

I was surprised at how easy and delicious this spread was.  I will shamefacedly admit that I have been eating the remainder out of the jar - it is that good.  Best of all, I know what's in it, which you don't with store bought Nutella.

While this spread  is not as smooth as Nutella, it has that lovely chocolate-hazelnut taste, and would be perfect on toast etc, just like Nutella.  Or for eating out of the jar ...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Masons of Bendigo

On our recent trip to Bendigo, we had a wonderful dinner at Masons of Bendigo, on the recommendation of my work colleague, Wayne.  We had a sneak preview of Masons on our Food Fossicking Tour earlier in the day, and it certainly heightened our anticipation of dinner at Masons in the evening.

Masons is very popular, and we were told on our tour that you have to book at least two weeks in advance.  I had booked a month in advance, so that part was taken care of.  As I mentioned in my post on the food fossicking tour, Masons has an open kitchen so that you can watch your meal being prepared.  Masons prides itself on its use of local produce which it highlights in its fusion style menu.  There are two dinner sittings at Masons - 6pm and 8pm.  We went for the earlier sitting - I would be so hungry if I had to wait until 8!

On arrival at Masons, we are presented with a plate of bread with miso butter:

The bread was delicious, and the miso butter was devine.

Next, our drinks arrived.  I ordered a glass of red:

and Tim ordered a local Tooborac beer:

Then came the good stuff - Tim and I ordered two entrees to share.
First up came seared Hervey Bay scallops, curried cauliflower, salmon caviar, coriander vinaigrette and squid ink crackers ($14 for 3, we bought an extra scallop):

This was my dish of the night - just heavenly.

Next came steamed sticky beef buns with shitaki mushrooms and pun chun sauce ($8 for 2):

No complaints here:

For main, Tim ordered the Beijing roast duck red curry, with caramelised pineapple, okra and puffed rice ($30):

with a side of jasmine rice:

while I ordered the baked barramundi with sweet and sour calamari salad, peanuts and yellow curry ($32):

Both mains were top notch, and we enjoyed them very much.

To finish off, we could not go past the Masons Tasting Plate ($26) - vanilla and peach brulee, Eskimo pie, yoghurt pannacotta with passionfruit gel, choc-hazelnut delice, baked cheesecake, Yuzu curd and tapioca pot with summer fruits, pomegranate icecream and Persian fairy floss:  

It was all pretty good, but I think my favourite was the pannacotta.

The service at Masons was very friendly and efficient, and Tim was chuffed that Nick, the owner, remembered him from the food fossicking tour earlier in the day.

We would definitely return to Masons when we are next in Bendigo.

25 Queen Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
Ph: (03) 5443 3877

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Plum Tart

Do you ever pick up a copy of the free supermarket magazines?  If you do, do you ever make anything from them?

I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to supermarket magazines, because in some respects, they are one big ad for the products sold by the supermarkets.  However, every now and again, you get a gem of a recipe that  is worth making.

The March 2015 edition of Coles magazine featured such a gem in the form of a beautiful mixed plum tart featured on the front cover.  I was immediately drawn to the tart, and bought some plums especially to make that tart.  You can find the recipe online here.

I used Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart dough recipe for the base instead of the one stated in the recipe, because it is my go to tart dough and you don't have to roll it - it can be pressed straight into the pan.

For the plum component, I used all yellow plums, which happened to be on special that week at Coles.

This tart was very tasty - nutty, sweet and texturally interesting.

If you have some fresh plums on hand, do give this beautiful tart a go - it is well worth it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

FFWD - Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees

I had a sense of deja vu with this week's French Friday with Dorie dish, as I had made Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees back in 2010.  Granted, the photo back then was a little confronting with all that unrendered fat on the roast, but I enjoyed it very much.  That meant that I was happy to front up for round two.

This time, instead of using a pork roast, I used pork tenderloin medallions - faster and easier to cook, and less waste for one person.  I used fresh mango and tinned lychees (fresh ones being out of season).

I am a sucker for meat and fruit together so I loved this dish.  On the day I made it, I couldn't eat it because I had been having a bad day health-wise, and the smell of the garlic and onions in the sauce made me feel nauseous.  However, next day, I was right as rain and enjoyed every last drop of the sauce.

This was once again a winner for me, and a dish that I would happily repeat - but I will have to be careful of the company I serve it to, because I can see from the Dorista forum comments that the fruit-meat combination (or maybe just the lychees!) is confronting for some.

Visit the LYL section of the FFWD website to get the insight of the other Doristas on this dish.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

EwE - Tuscan Kale Salad

For Eating with Ellie today, Kayte chose Tuscan Kale Salad from p41 of Weeknight Wonders.

I have never cooked with kale before, and I have to say, I wasn't a big fan - it tasted a lot like grass, even with the lovely raisins and toasted pinenuts.   (For some background, I am not a green salad girl.)

To make it more palatable, I served it with yesterday's WWDH spaghetti, making it just another green leaf in the spaghetti.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WWDH - Spaghetti with Lemon, Capers and Rocket

For today's Wednesday with Donna Hay, Sarah chose Spaghetti with Lemon, Capers and Rocket from p130 of Modern Classics.  You can also find the recipe online here

This is a spaghetti flavoured with capers, garlic, chilli, lemon and parmesan.  I used wholemeal spaghetti to make it a little healthier.  I was not sure about the rocket through the pasta (in my case, mixed leaf salad), but it actually tasted quite good.  I really enjoyed the clean, fresh flavours of this pasta.

To see what the others thought of this dish, see the LYL section of the WWDH website.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

TWD - Limoncello Cupcakes

It's Tuesday with Dorie today, and I was excited by this week's recipe of Limoncello Cupcakes because I got to bake with limoncello.  I had never heard of limoncello until I started blogging, and I bought a bottle of limoncello about 8 years ago that I had never opened - until now!

There are quite a few steps in making these cupcakes.  No mixer is necessary, but you have to make a syrup and a frosting as well as the cakes, and you fill the cupcake papers in two steps because they contain a jewel of marmalade in the middle (in my case, orange marmalade). 

Dorie said that the frosting would only make enough for a ruffle in the centre of each one, but even then, I had some frosting left over:

Here's a peek inside:

I think these cupcakes are so pretty and elegant, and the syrup brushed on top while the cakes are still warm adds shine as well as flavour.  The lemon flavour is subtle and not at all alcoholic.

To see what the other Doristas made of these limoncello cupcakes, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Choc-Cherry Slice

At my Pilates studio, they have a selection of magazines to help you pass the time while you are waiting for class.  I always read The Womens Weekly, primarily for the recipes, but also for the amusing columnists.

In the March edition of The Weekly, Julie Goodwin published a recipe for a Choc-Cherry Slice (bar cookies for my US readers).  Being a huge fan of Cherry Ripes, I thought that this slice sounded just like a cherry ripe in slice form, so I memorised the recipe to make at home.

I am so glad I made this slice.  Don't get me wrong - it is very decadent and chocolatey, but for a treat, it is absolutely devine.

To make this slice, you will need:

250g butter
250g dark chocolate
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup chopped glace cherries
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup plain flour
1 cup cocoa

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line a 19cm x 30cm slice pan.

Melt the butter and chocolate together over a saucepan of simmering water.

Beat the eggs in a stand mixer until thick and pale.  Add the sugar to the eggs gradually, beating until the mixture forms ribbons.  Fold in the chocolate mixture, then the cherries and the coconut.

Fold in the flour and cocoa.

Pour the mixture into the prepared slice pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

Allow to cool in the tin then cut into bars.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Food Fossicking Tour, Bendigo

Recently, Tim and I went on a Food Fossickers Tour of Bendigo.  The tour costs $75 per person, and starts at the Bendigo Visitor Centre.  There, we met our guide, Sharyn (pictured above).  The tour goes for approximately 2 1/2 hours, and is a walking tour, so wear sensible shoes and a hat.
Our first stop was Bendigo Wholefoods, which sells fruit and vegetables, organic, gluten free and global foods, and has an excellent kitchen garden nursery:

We were provided with some samples of breads, dips and olives, and I went back later to buy some spelt flour.

Our next stop was The Epicurean Deli:

The Epicurean Deli is run by an Italian family, and a fabulous range of fresh foods and pastas are prepared every day.  It also sell cheeses and small goods sourced both locally and internationally, not to mention a tempting array of sweets:

We were treated to a coffee of our choice to drink with a platter of meats, cheeses and crackers, including a fabulous French brie.   

Moving on, our next stop was The Good Loaf:

The Good Loaf is located in an unusual looking building which was once a Beaurepaires roundhouse.  It specialises in traditionally handmade sourdough breads and cakes:

One of the owners of The Good Loaf, Laurie, gave us a behind the scenes tour of the bakery, and allowed us to see, smell and taste his sour dough starters, which he prides on making from scratch.  We also tried two different breads - one sourdough, one corn sourdough.
Next, we moved onto chocoholic heaven - Indulge Chocolates, owned by Hayley:
After some chocolate tasting, Hayley took us on a behind the scenes tour of her chocolate making enterprise.  Here are the tempering machines flowing with delicious chocolate:

And here's a glimpse of the dazzling array of chocolates available at Indulge: 

The final stop on our food fossicking tour was at Masons, located in the old WD Masons Glass shop:

Masons has a large open kitchen where you can watch the food being cooked:

Masons has a seasonal menu utilising seasonal local produce, with many dishes designed to be shared.

On our food tour, we each were served a glass of white or red wine:

We received a plate of Berkshire pork belly skewers with sweet and sour blood plums and Szechuan spice:

and lamb fillet with crisp belly, smoked yoghurt, charred eggplant and pomegranate:

Both dishes were fantastic!  We were also lucky enough to have a booking for dinner that night so that we could experience more of the wonderful food at Masons.
In the cost of the tour, we received some samples from each establishment that we visited to take home.
From the Epicurean Deli, we received this bag of scrumptious crostolli and biscotti:

From The Good Load, we received a sourdough hot cross bun, a pumpkin sourdough roll
 and some granola:

This was my favourite sample - everything was delicious.

From Indulge, we received two dark chocolates filled with delicious merlot ganache:

Wholefoods Bendigo gave us each a pot of smoky sea salt:

I also bought some chocolates from Indulge for me and to share:

I loved the Food Fossicking Tour, and highly recommend it if you happen to be in Bendigo on a Saturday morning.

Bendigo Visitor Centre
51-67 Pall Mall
Bendigo VIC 3550
Ph:  +61 3 5434 6060
Bendigo Wholefoods
314 Lyttleton Terrace
Bendigo VIC 3550
Ph: 03 5443 9492
The Epicurean Deli
79 Mitchell St
Bendigo  VIC 3550
Ph: 03 5443 2699
The Good Loaf
404 Hargreaves Street,
Bendigo VIC 3550
Ph: 03 5444 2171
 Shop 26 Fountain Court
Bendigo VIC 3550
Ph: 03 5441 1770
Masons of Bendigo
25 Queen Street    
Bendigo, VIC 3550
Ph: 03 5443 3877