Thursday, July 27, 2017

Strawberry and Pistachio Galette

When I went to the supermarket this week, I found some beautiful plump, red strawberries on sale.  It immediately reminded me of a recipe for a strawberry and pistachio galette that I had seen in The New York Times earlier in the week.

Fortuitously, I already had pistachios in my stash, so making this galette was a no brainer once I saw the strawberries.

And isn't the finished product a beauty:

The outside was crunchy even absent the extra pistachios, and the inside was a dream mix of contrasting textures and flavours. I skipped the extra strawberries and icing sugar on top as I was taking it to work. Although some people were unsure what it was (I heard "breakfast pizza" mentioned), it was snapped up at morning tea time - a good sign.

If you have some nice strawberries about, I can highly recommend making this galette.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

TWD - Martine's Gateau de Savoie

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Gateau de Savoie.  This cake is claimed by both the French and the Italians, and was invented when a count asked his pastry chef to make him a cake to marvel at.

What is marvellous about this cake is that the only rising agent is eggs.  There are six eggs in this large Bundt cake, and the yolks and whites are whipped separately to give volume and lightness to this sponge cake.

I decided to fill the middle of my cake with berry jam, as it was a transportable way to add the same flavour that would be added to the cake if served at home.  It is a fabulous cake - crunchy on the outside because of the sugar that is used to coat the pan, and light and airy on the inside.  I confess to having more than one slice.

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Spanish Chicken

There are some fab recipes in the June 2017 edition of the Coles magazine, and I sought inspiration from it for dinners.

The first recipe I tried is Spanish Chicken, on p27.  It is a bright, colourful dish which is a breeze to make because it is all cooked in the oven - once the ingredients are prepped, it looks after itself.

I also added some pumpkin to the dish, as I already had it and I needed to use it up.

To make this version of Spanish Chicken, you will need:

4 chicken thigh cutlets (I used the more readily available drumsticks)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
500g baby potatoes, halved
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 capsicum, deseeded and coarsely chopped
1 zucchini, halved lengthways and sliced diagonally
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
1/2 cup chicken stock

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Combine the chicken, paprika and oregano in a large bowl.  Heat a large frying pan and cook the chicken for 2 minutes each side or until golden brown.  Transfer the chicken to an oiled baking dish. 

Add the potato to the frying pan and cook for 5 minutes or until golden.

Arrange the potatoes, onion, capsicum, zucchini and olives around the chicken in the baking dish, and pour over the stock.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bake the chicken in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Green Grass Scones

July's Red Tractor calendar recipe is Green Grass Scones.  Here is the quote of the month, this time from C S Lewis: 

I was a bit dubious when I read the recipe for these scones.  They are savoury scones with cheddar and feta cheeses, rocket (arugula) and cayenne pepper.  However, when I tasted one of these scones fresh out of the oven, slathered with butter, I was sold.  They are delish, and I love the kick from the cayenne.

To make these scones, you will need:

4 cups self-raising flour
(or just add baking powder to plain flour as per the tin)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 large handfuls rocket (arugula), roughly chopped
2 cups grated tasty cheese
2-3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
300ml cream
300ml soda water

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius, and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the rocket and cheeses.

Combine the cream and soda water in a jug.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into the well. Mix with a knife until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly, then shape into a rough rectangle about 4cm thick.   

Cut the dough into 20 square pieces, place on the baking tray, brush the tops with a little milk, and bake until puffed and golden (around 15-20 minutes).

To serve, split open the scones and slather with butter. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

TWD - Coffee Malteds

The second Dorie's Cookies selection for this month is Dorie's Coffee Malteds.  As the name suggests, these chewy, fat cookies are flavoured with coffee and malt powder.

These cookies are very simple to make and come out round and uniform.  They are well behaved all round, and taste very good.

To see what the other cookie bakers thought of these cookies, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Salmon Curry

I try, but fail, to include enough fish in my diet.  I like to cook in advance for the week, and many fish dishes do not accommodate this.

However, I recently found a recipe for Healthy Salmon and Vegetable Curry on Well Nourished that allowed me to cook in advance and freeze. 

This lovely curry, the recipe for which is here, has lots of good things - vegetables, oily fish and spices and herbs that support the digestive system or have anti-inflammatory qualities.  Fantastic!

This curry was delicious.  The thing of course that made it expensive was the salmon, but I am think thinking that canned salmon  could be used as a substitute to reduce the cost.

It is winter here now, so I enjoyed this spicy, warming curry to comfort me on the inside.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

TWD - Lavender Galettes

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Lavender Galettes.  These are curious cookies that are somewhat like tuiles, and have a similar use ofbeing able to be eaten with icecream. 

These galettes are rolled very thin, so thin that they are each rolled on their own individual piece of baking paper, with jagged edges, and bake up crispy.

I didn't have lavender, so I used crushed candied violets instead - they're floral, they're purple and hence seemed to fit the bill.

I was surprised at how much I liked these cookies.  I made a half batch and ate three (two with icecream), and gifted the rest to friends.

To see what everyone else thought of these, visit the LYL section  of the TWD website.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hairy Dieters' Chicken Provencal

I recently added another Hairy Dieters' recipe to my repertoire, this time their Chicken Provencal from The Hairy Dieters Eat For Life.   Chicken Provencal is a classic, and while mine didn't turn out with a sauce as thick as theirs, it was delicious. Even better, according to the book, it only has 282 calories per serve.

To make this version of Chicken Provencal, you will need:

12 chicken thigh fillets (I bought half as many as I had super-sized fillets) 
2 teaspoons oil
2 thinly sliced onions
2 crushed cloves garlic
400g canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon white sugar
300ml chicken stock
2 teaspoons dried herbs de Provence
100ml red wine
1 capsicum cut into 3cm chunks
2 zucchinis cut into 2cm slices
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon cold water
salt and pepper

Trim all the visible fat off the chicken and cut each thigh in half.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil and fry the chicken in batches until lightly coloured.  Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, stock, herbs and wine, and stir well.

Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the zucchini and capsicum and bring back to a simmer.  Cover the pan loosely with a lid and simmer gently for another 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Mix the cornflour and water together in a small bowl, then stir into the chicken mixture and simmer until the sauce has thickened.

Serve the chicken provencal served over rice (or in my case, bulgur wheat).

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Winter Roast at The Gables, Malvern East

Wow look at you now
Flowers in the window
It's such a lovely day
And I'm glad you feel the same
Cause to stand up, out in the crowd
You are one in a million
And I love you so
Lets watch the flowers grow

Flowers in the Window, Travis

A couple of weeks ago, Tim and I went to The Gables in Malvern East for their Winter Roast.  For $65/head, you receive a glass of wine or beer, a three course roast menu, and pot coffee or tea.

We were seated in the front room with a wonderful blazing fire to keep us warm on a rather chilly Melbourne day:

Here is the menu:

The starter was celeriac and hazelnut soup:

The soup was lovely - not too much celeriac, which can be quite salty and strong in taste, and the hazelnut was definitely ascertainable.  The soup was rib-stickingly thick, and was served with your choice of a bread roll or bread.

Next up came the roast, served smorgasboard style.  You could choose between roast lamb or beef, sliced to order, with Yorkshire pudding and red wine gravy.  You helped yourself to vegetables, including roast potato, pumpkin, kohlrabi and baby carrots, and broccoli and beans with almonds.  There was also a vegetarian gnocchi available as a side, featuring zucchini, peas, gorgonzola and herbs: 

The least exciting course was the dessert (I know! coming from me).  There was apple pie, trifle, chocolate mousse and cheese.  Tim had the apple pie, which was more an apple frangipane tart than a regular apple pie.  I went for the trifle, which was good without being spectacular, and the chocolate mousse sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries, which seemed a little bit overset:

This is one of the beautiful tiles surrounding the fireplace:

And here is the lovely plaster cornice:

Last but not least, this is one of the stained glass windows viewed from the inside:

Tim and I walked back from The Gables. Tim remarked that there were flowers in the window of one of the houses we passed, which instantly reminded me of the Travis song, Flowers in the Window, which is one of my favourites.  I was also excited to learn recently that Flowers in the Window was co-written with Paul McCartney! Always good to know about The Beatles connection. 

15 Finch St
Malvern East VIC 3145

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pumpkin Bulgur Wheat Cake

Who doesn't love a slice of cake with their morning cuppa, and even better if it is a little off the beaten track.

Last weekend, I made Dan Lepard's Pumpkin Bulgur Wheat Cake - you can find the recipe here

This cake is so good to eat, not unlike carrot cake in flavour.  However, it contains grated pumpkin and bulgur wheat.  Dan says the latter makes the cake chewy, a little like ground almonds.  There are also walnuts in the cake to give it added texture.

Whatever way you put it, this cake is delicious.  If you like carrot cake, then I recommend giving this cake a try.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

TWD - Classic Jammers

This week's Tuesday with Dorie (Dorie's Cookies) recipe is Classic Jammers.  These cookies were apparently dreamed up by Dorie, literally, while she was in bed one night.

Classic Jammers comprise a sable base, topped with half a teaspoon of jam (in my case, three berry jam from Bramble Patch in Glen Aplin, Queensland, given to me by my friend Kerry), and surrounded by streusel.  These cookies are a little fussy to make because there are two separate recipes and three steps to form the cookies, with chilling in between.  I made a half batch and got 24 cookies.

These cookies are delicious, but the extra steps and fussing with cutters and muffin tins means that they won't be on regular rotation here.

To see what the others thought of these cookies, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Happy 4th of July to all of my US readers!!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Cake - Melbourne Cake Club - Sensational Song Cakes

This month's Melbourne Cake Club theme is Song Cakes.  The Cake Club met on a cold night at Lady Grange in St Kilda to exchange cakes inspired by our favourite songs.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album by The Beatles, so I decided to make a cake inspired by the title song.  The drum skin for Sgt Pepper is iconic, and being round, is the perfect shape for a cake.

I tossed up about making a cake containing pepper as the base cake, but figured that might not turn out well, so instead, I focussed on the psychedelia that went with the Sgt Pepper era, and made a psychedelic zebra cake from this recipe from The Cake Mistress:

The challenge then was how to recreate something at least resembling the graphic art on the Sgt Pepper drum skin.  Originally, I thought about getting an edible icing transfer, but I have used one of those in the past and couldn't get it off the backing paper, so I skipped that. 

My next thought was to use all fondant, so I bought rolled fondant in all of the Sgt Pepper colours.  I hit a snag when I went to actually decorate the cake, as I found that my letter cutters were too big to cut out all of the wording in fondant.  Also, the multiple layers of colours would have made the icing too bulky if everything was made of fondant, so on the go, I opted for a mixture of fondant and edible markers to produce the design:

It's not perfect, but in the end, I think it turned out pretty well. It was definitely a learning on the go experience, and I had to make a few of the pieces more than once.  A trick that I picked up from Whimiscal Cakehouse class that I  used in decorating this cake was that if you smudge colour onto white icing, you can dab it off with a little milk on a cotton ball or bud.  (The blue rings smudged a little as I was placing them, but the milk dab did the trick to remove the unwanted colour bleed.)

And here's a peek inside the cake:

At Lady Grange, in keeping with The Beatles vibe, I ordered a Penny Lane cocktail (vodka, coconut, peach, watermelon):

(Incidentally, Penny Lane was recorded at the same time as Sgt Pepper, but was released as a double A side with Strawberry Fields instead of making it onto the album.)

Club members had a terrific time seeing what everyone else had made, and we all had very different inspiration.

Abi made an Over the Rainbow cake, complete with lemon drops spelling out melting "Troubles", and a bluebird over a rainbow layer cake sandwiched with vanilla buttercream and lemon curd:

Sue made a gluten free, fudgy mocha Count Down cake, with the Count Down logo emblazoned in cachous on top of the cake:

Alex made banana, mango and macadamia muffins, inspired by the tropical sound of Mr President's Coco Jumbo:

Dalya sings You Are My Sunshine to her daughter, so she made a delicious lemon and almond sunshine cake:

Last but not least, Karen made a cake inspired by The Bangles' Eternal Flame, being banana and raspberry cake with orange icing to mimick the colour of flames and decorated with modelling chocolate:

So there you have it - our sensational song cakes!

If you would like to join us in August, our theme is Magic Cakes - the details are here.

1 Fitzroy St
St Kilda VIC 3182