Thursday, March 30, 2017

EwE - Healthier Pecan Pie - Sweetypie

I chose this week's theme of Sweetypie for Eating with Ellie.  My interpretation of this theme was to make Ellie's Healthier Pecan Pie from Comfort Food Fix
Ellie makes the pie crust healthier by replacing some of the butter with low fat cream cheese, and by using a mixture of wholemeal and plain flour.

She makes the filling healthier by using mashed sweet potato to replace some of the sugary bits.

All in all, this pecan pie was delicious - I liked it just as much as an ordinary pecan pie.

To see what the others made this week, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

TWD - Pithiviers

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Pithiviers.  This involves filling two rounds of puff pastry with a rough home-made prune jam and almond cream, cutting shapes in the pastry to make it look fancy, and baking it until golden.

I had a lot of fun cutting pointy triangles around the edge of my pithiviers, and I think it looks super-impressive (although was easy to do):

For some reason, during baking, my almond cream and my prune jam melded, so you can't see two distinct layers.  No matter - it tasted good.

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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Rice Paper Scissors, Melbourne

Recently, on a cold, wet, miserable Melbourne day, we went to see Kinky Boots The Musical at Her Majesty's Theatre.  It was a fun musical which I almost skipped, but it was so uplifting and cheerful, I am glad that I added it to my schedule of entertainment. 

Before Kinky Boots, Tim and I went to lunch at Rice Paper Scissors.  This restaurant is modelled on the hawker bars of South East Asia, and is all about shared food.  The only catch is that you can't book for less than 6 people and it can therefore be hard to get into, as it is a small but popular venue.

When we went, they were in the middle of their special yum cha season:

We didn't have the yum cha, and instead ordered off of RPS's extensive menu.  The price of the dishes varies, but there is a special where you can order 5 dishes for around $60 (that is, around $30 a head).

Our first choice was the betel leaf topped with fresh lobster, green mango salad, crispy pork belly and chilli jam:  

And what a delight little bite this was! The fresh Asian flavours are irresistible.

We also ordered one of the specials of the day, a Wagyu beef stiry fry - delicious but very hot in flavour (it definitely cleared the sinuses):

Next up was the Galloping Horses - caramelised pork, prawn and peanut on sour pineapple:

It sounds a little out there (so of course, I chose it), but it was sensational.

We also went the more traditional route and ordered the Steamed Pork Buns with pork belly, cucumber, shallots and hoisin sauce:  

The buns were soft and juicy and light as a feather.
Our final dish was the Duck Salad - crispy roast duck and banana blossom salad with lychee and herbs:  

This was a fresh tasty way to finish off.

As this was our first visit to RPS, we also ordered dessert - in our case, the Vietnamese tiramisu ($12):

It looks like a houseplant, but the "dirt" is actually chocolate biscuit crumbs that cover the coffee flavoured mousse beneath.

We washed it all down with Hawkers Pale Ale ($8):

The service was very efficient, and we were out of there quite quickly (it's hard to get in right away, but you can pout your name on the list and the turnover is quite rapid).  We in fact dallied longer than our fellow diners who arrived at around the same time so that we could talk and while away the time until Kinky Boots.

We loved RPS and would definitely go back.

19 Liverpool St
Melbourne VIC 3000

Thursday, March 23, 2017

EwE - Roast Beef Sandwich with Watercress and Horseradish Sauce - Lunch! Soup Salad or Sandwich

For Eating with Ellie this week, our theme is Lunch! Soup or Salad or Sandwich.  I made Ellie's Roast Beef Sandwich with Watercress and Horseradish Sauce from So Easy (also online here).

They don't sell bread as pumpernickel here, so I opted for dark rye bread.  (Fun fact - pumpernickel means farting devil.) I also didn't find watercress, but I did find micro watercress, so I went with that.  I figured the flavour profile would be the same.

This was quite a tasty sandwich.  There was just the right balance of zing vs sweet, and the flavours melded well.

To see what the others made this week, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

TWD - "Corked" Breton Galettes

For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie (Dorie's Cookies), I made "Corked" Breton Galettes.  In reality, these are buttery shortbread formed by cutting discs off a log of dough, baking in a muffin tin, and using a wine cork to make an indentation in the cookie while still hot, to be filled with whatever sweet filling you like.

I filled my cookies with Rosella jam - because I could.

I loved these sandy, buttery little cookies.  Yet another hit from Dorie's Cookies.

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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pear Parmesan & Rocket Salad

The March Red Tractor calendar recipe is Pear Parmesan and Rocket Salad.  I really enjoyed this one as it was tasty and quick.

The quote for the month is from Jon Bon Jovi:

To make this salad, you will need:

1 large handful rocket (arugula) leaves
1/2 small greenoak lettuce (washed)
50g shaved Parmesan cheese
40g candied walnut pieces
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
1 ripe pear


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Put the dressing ingredients into a small glass jar, put the lid on and shake to combine.

Peel, quarter and core the pear, then slice each quarter into four.   Put the pear and the remaining salad ingredients into a large bowl.  Add the dressing to the bowl and toss to coat the salad with the dressing. 

Serve immediately.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Maggie Beer's Preserved Figs

It is fig season in Australia, short and sweet as it is. I have been lucky enough to track down some reasonably priced figs to play with.

This time, instead of baking with the figs or making jam, I made some preserved figs instead using this  Maggie Beer recipe.  The beauty of doing this is that the figs stayed in a near to natural state, but were saved from rotting (as they have a very short shelf life). Instead of Stone's ginger wine, I used the non-alcoholic Rochester's ginger syrup.

The figs were lovely served on icecream and on breakfast cereal and on toast!! Highly recommended.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

EwE - New Classic Meatloaf - March To Your Own Drummer

For Eating with Ellie this week, Kayte chose the theme of March to Your Own Drummer.  I interpreted this to mean I could make whatever I wanted to, so I made Ellie's New Classic Meatloaf from Comfort Food Fix.

This meatloaf may be a plain Jane, but it is very tasty.  I particularly liked how so many veggies were packed into the meatloaf itself (carrot, mushrooms, onion).  As you can see from the photo, they magically blend into the meatloaf so you'd never guess that they were there.

I served my meatloaf with frozen veggies, thereby increasing the vegetable serves in this dish even more.

To see what the others made this week, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.   

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

TWD - Black-and-White Marbled Madeleines

For Tuesdays with Dorie this week, I made black and white marbled madeleines.  I have made madeleines with Dorie a few times now, and have learned quite a bit about making them.

The key things are not to overfill the moulds and to chill the madeleines before baking so that they get their characteristic hump.  I ended up discarding some of the madeleine mixture because there was too much of it for my twelve-hole madeleine mould.

Madeleines are rather cute because of their shell shape.  I am glad that I invested in the mould long ago for Dorie baking groups, because madeleines are just not madeleines to me without their characteristic shape.

Apart from their shape, there is nothing showy about madeleines.  They are just little sponge-like cakes that are not very sweet, hence why Proust liked to dunk them in tea.   

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

Thursday, March 9, 2017

EwE - Swedish Meatballs - Bite-Sized Dinner

Peggy chose this week's Eating with Ellie theme, Bite-Sized Dinner.  This one made me put my thinking cap on - what could I make to fill the brief?  Then I was flicking through Comfort Food Fix, and found Ellie's Swedish Meatballs recipe.  Perfect.  Meatballs are bite-sized!

One problem that I faced in making this dish is that I do not have a working broiler.  Ellie broils the meatballs to give them caramelisation instead of frying them.  Without caramelisation, the meatballs lacked a little flavour.  They did get better after day 1, but I strongly recommend that you either broil the meatballs as per the recipe, or if you don't have a broiler, shallow fry them in a fry pan.

To see what the others made for their bite-sized dinners, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

TWD - Salted Chocolate Caramel Bars

It's Tuesday with Dorie - Dorie's Cookies time again.  This week, I made Salted Chocolate Caramel Bars.

What can I say - yum!!  These comprise of a chocolate shortbread base, topped with chocolate caramel and toasted pecans:

Just loved these.  However, I did find that the caramel didn't stay set outside of the fridge, so that is where I kept them.

I am continually surprised at how much I have liked all of the cookie recipes in Dorie's Cookies so far.  They have all been winners.

To see what the others made this week and what they thought of them, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Chocolate Hidden Heart Cake - Melbourne Cake Club - Made with Love

We had our first Melbourne Cake Club meeting for this year on Tuesday night, and our theme was Made With Love.

That left plenty of scope for what I could have made.  However, my instant thought was to make a Hidden Heart Cake - something I had wanted to do forever, but just never got around to.  On one level, I could not believe that the cake baked for the shapes would not dry out when baked again inside the cake.

I was also a little scared about whether there would be a "shape" when I cut into the cake.

I'll leave you in suspense while I explain how I made this cake.  First, I made a red velvet sheet cake in a slice pan using a half recipe of my favourite red velvet cake by Libbie Summers, from Sweet and Vicious.  (Libbie hasn't shared the recipe online, so I won't either.) I then cut out heart shapes from the cake using a heart shaped cookie cutter, and froze then until it was time to assemble the cake:

I then whipped up a half recipe of my favourite chocolate cake, the Dinosaur Rock Cupcake recipe from the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook (so sad that the bakery itself folded).  I spooned a fifth of the batter into the bottom of a greased and lined loaf pan, then placed the frozen hearts upside down and close together on top of the batter.  I finally spooned the remainder of the chocolate cake batter into the pan, covering over the hearts, then baked the whole thing (it took over an hour).  And the end result before decorating was this rather plain looking cake:

I left the cake upside down so that the hearts would be right side up when I cut into the cake.  Next, I whipped up a batch of Dorie's ganache, and poured it over the cake.  Finally, I decorated the cake with sugar hearts from Coles and one big heart made by placing the heart cutter into the wet ganache and filling the cavity with crumbled red velvet cake left over from cutting out the hearts:

At the Melbourne Cake Club, it seemed that great minds think alike, as all three cake bakers baked hidden heart cakes, made in different flavours and using slightly different techniques.

Karen made a butter cake with a strawberry heart and strawberry frosting:

Her technique was similar to mine, but she did not freeze her hearts, and "glued them in place before baking with apricot jam.

Dalya made a Lemon hidden heart cake with chocolate hearts on top:

Her heart was made by digging out a cone in the bottom layer of her cake and a tube in the top half (using her finger as a guide), then filling the cavities with crumbled chocolate cake before joining the cakes together with lemon curd.

Here you can see the surprise hearts:

Here's a close up of my heart inside the cake:

We also enjoyed some lovely cocktails and mocktails at our host venue, The Ugly Ducking in Richmond:

I hope you enjoyed these cakes, Made With Love!

If you live in Melbourne and would like to join The Melbourne Cake Club, you can find us here on Facebook.  Meetings are 8pm to 9.30pm on a weeknight, with meetings held in the Melbourne CBD or in the southeast.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

EwE - Better Beef Lasagne - Italian Night

Hey, mambo! Mambo Italiano!
Hey, mambo! Mambo Italiano
Go, go, go you mixed up Siciliano
All you Calabrese do the mambo like a crazy

                                                   From Mambo Italiano

For tap dancing, our first routine is for the Moomba Festival in Melbourne, which takes place annually on the Labour Day long weekend.  I will be away that weekend so I am not participating, but I still get to dance along with my class.  The theme for Moomba this year is food, with two chefs, Guy Grossi and Karen Martini, being crowned Moomba king and queen.

Our tap dance routine is to the dulcet tones of Dean Martin singing Mambo Italiano. I am not a great dancer, but I have a lot of fun at tap dancing, laughing at how clumsy I am sometimes.  Our dance moves include waving around a teatowel and a latex pizza.

When I chose the theme of Italian Night for Eating with Ellie this week, I had no idea I would be back at tap dancing after 15 years away, let alone that we would be dancing to an Italo-American song, but it happens to tie in nicely.

I decided to make Ellie's Better Beef Lasagne, from Comfort Food Fix. This lasagne cuts down on grease and calories by subbing some of the meat for portabello mushrooms, and subbing the white sauce for a mixture of spinach and ricotta.

I didn't have quite enough Napoli sauce, so for the top of my lasagne, I just used more ricotta and spinach.  This made my lasagne perhaps a little dryer than it should have been, but I enjoyed it regardless.  (Aside:  The recipe refers to "marinara" sauce, which in Australia is known as Napoli sauce.)

I couldn't find wholewheat lasagne sheets, so I went for organic ones instead. I also subbed the mozzarella for light cheddar.

This is one of those dishes that gets better with age.  The first night, I was not that enthused about it, but after that, the flavours developed and the lasagne sheets soaked up more moisture from the other ingredients so tasted better. (I did not pre-cook my lasagne sheets, which is not the norm for lasagne sheets here.)

I served my lasagne with steamed carrots and beans - delish!!  And I didn't miss the extra meat or the greasy white sauce.  I like the fact that the lasagne gets in an extra serve of veggies with the spinach.

To see what the others made this week, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.