Saturday, April 27, 2019

Bull & Barley Inn, Cambooya

On a glorious autumn day, my family and I visited the Bull & Barley Inn in Cambooya, Queensland, for lunch.  Cambooya is a rural town on the Darling Downs that was once home to Arthur "Steele Rudd" Davis, author of the Dad and Dave stories.  Here is a glimpse of the countryside that you drive through on the way to Cambooya:

The Bull & Barley Inn was built in 1902, when it had the much less poetic name of the Cambooya Railway Hotel.  There is not much else in the township of Cambooya, so just come for the drive and a great pub meal.  I recommend booking for a visit to the Bull & Barley, as it was quite busy when we were there, and most tables were reserved.  

The extensive menu at the Bull & Barley is very reasonably priced.  We all ordered from the lunch menu.  You take the menu to your table and order at the counter when you are ready. 

My pick was the steak sandwich, with rib fillet, bacon, caramelised onion, cheese, salad and barbecue sauced on a bun (not really sourdough) ($20): 

All lunch menu items come with a side of very good chips.  I really enjoyed this sandwich - hearty, medium rare steak, and two musts - barbecue sauce and beetroot.

My Mum ordered the Club Sandwich ($24), with bacon, chicken, sans onion for Mum, cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayo:

I laughed when this came out, as the serving was huge and Mum doesn't eat much.  I was very proud of her for managing to finish the entire sandwich - a testament to how good it must have been.

My brother ordered the Wagyu Beef Burger ($20), with bacon, onion and salad - again not really a sourdough bun: 

He polished this off along with half of Mum's chips, again a testament to the quality of the food.

To down your meal, you can order a beer at the bar:

When you are finished your meal, go for a wander down the lovely tongue and groove board hallway, complete with archway:

and make your way to the pool room for a spot of billiards or darts (but no Daryl Kerrigan memorabilia):  

61 Eton Street
Cambooya Qld 4358
Ph: (07) 4696 1235 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Nigella's Italian Christmas Pudding Cake

Way back in February, it was my friend Vanda's birthday.  To celebrate, she held a gathering of family and friends at her house.  Vanda's family is Italian, so they always put on an amazing spread.  Although we didn't have to bring anything, I decided to contribute a dessert to the spread.

Being an Italian gathering, the natural choice of dessert for me to make was Nigella's Italian Christmas Pudding Cake, recipe in Nigellisima, but also published online here

I had bought a panettone at Christmas time and kept it, so it came in handy as panettone is a key ingredient in Nigella's Italian Christmas Pudding Cake.  Slices of panettone are brushed with marsala, and layered with marscapone, chocolate chips, nuts and candied chestnuts (or candied ginger, in my case).  The top of the cake is decorated with more nuts, chocolate chips and pomegranate seeds:  

How pretty is that!  And it tastes devine.

To make your own Italian Christmas Pudding Cake, you will need:

625g panettone (I used the whole 900g panettone!)
6 tablespoons marsala or coffee liqueur
2 eggs
75g sugar
500g marscapone
250ml cream
125ml marsala
 74g candied chestnuts or other glace fruit of your choice
125g chocolate chips
100g chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Line the base of a 22cm springform pan with baking paper.  

Cut the panettone into 1cm thick slices.  Line the base of the springform pan with 1/3 of the panettone slices.

Sprinkle the panettone in the base of the pan with 2 tablespoons marsala (or other liqueur of your choice). 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar until creamy and thick.  Slowly whisk in the marscapone and the cream.  Add  the 125ml marsala and whisk thoroughly.  Put a cup of the marscapone mixture into the fridge.  

Add the chopped glace chestnuts or fruit to the remaining marscapone mixture.   Add 100g of chocolate chips and 75g of pistachios, and fold through until well combined.  Spread half of this mixture over the panettone lining the springform pan.

Top the marscapone in the pan with another 1/3 of the panettone slices.  Sprinkle over another 2 tablespoons marsala.

Spread the remaining half of the marscapone over the top of the panettone layer, then top with the remaining 1/3 of the panettone slices.  Sprinkle over the last 2 tablespoons of marsala.  

Cover the pan with cling film, put a weight on the top of the cake, and chill for up to 2 days.

When ready to serve the cake, unmould it from the springform pan and place on a cake plate.  Spread the top of the cake with the reserved cup of marscapone mixture, and sprinkle it with the remaining chocolate chips, cjopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds.  

Slice and serve - enjoy!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

TWD - Palmiers

The last Tuesday with Dorie recipe for this month is Palmiers.  These treats comprise puff pastry that is rolled with sugar, folded, then coated with melted butter and more sugar, to create  layers of puff pastry that are cut into "ears" and caramelised in the oven.

Palmiers to my taste are very plain, but they are apparently adored by French children.   To me, the best use for palmiers is Dorie's suggestion to place them on top of other soft desserts to add a bit of crunch and texture.

Some of my palmiers refused to stay folded up as they baked, so that you can see that as well as ears, I have hearts and "C" shapes.  The shape really doesn't matter if you aren't trying to sell them - they all taste the same.

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

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Matzo Toffee Crunch

For Tuesdays with Dorie, I had to buy matzo crackers to make Matzo Morsels.  I had an open packet of matzo crackers that I did not want to waste, so I decided to use them up by making Matzo Toffee Crunch.  I used this recipe over at Tori Avey.

I have made matzo toffee crunch/brittle/crack once before, but I did not realise that it was eight years ago!  Wow, time does fly when you are having fun.

The principles behind this recipe are the same - line a sheet pan with matzo crackers, make a toffee using butter and brown sugar, bake to help spread the toffee out, top the hot toffee with chopped chocolate, allow it to melt, spread out the chocolate over the top of the toffee, then sprinkle over chopped nuts.  Tori's recipe also uses a sprinkling of salt over the chocolate to give the toffee crunch an extra flavour hit.

Cut the toffee crunch into squares before placing into the freezer to set the chocolate.  Serve and enjoy!!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Old Man Drew, Ascot Vale

A relatively new but cool and quirky café on the north side of Melbourne is Old Man Drew in Ascot Vale.  Old Man Drew combines a café with a shop selling gourmet foods and gifts, and a glorious garden out the back.  It also comprises a number of different rooms, all kitted out differently, so you can eat in an atmosphere that suits your mood that day.

Here is a shot of the front of the café, looking out towards the shop and counter:

These are a few of the goodies for sale in the shop:

Old Man Drew has a delicious selection of cakes on display in the front counter, which changes daily:

I have visited Old Man Drew twice.  The first time, my friend V and I were seated in a spacious, cathedral-like atrium garden area:

All of the tables are prettily dressed with vases of real flowers, and flowers and herbs are used to decorate the food and even the water jug:

I ordered the chicken 'n bre sandwich ($20) - I subbed out the Turkish roll for sourdough, which was filled with chicken, brie, lettuce, avocado, lettuce and cranberry sauce, and decorated with edible flowers:

V ordered the chilli scramble ($18) - chilli scrambled eggs with baby spinach, parmesan and aioli on garlic bread:

On the second occasion, we sat inside in a room with a downstairs suitcase, with this sitting room next door:

I just love the quirky wallpaper and the "Sherlock Holmes" feel of this room.

Our table was decorated with this beautiful vase of flowers: 

As much as I loved the chicken 'n brie first time around, I decided to try the Schnitzel roll ($22) on my second visit:

It looked different to what I expected, but in short is a brioche roll filled with chicken schnitzel, Asian slaw and aioli.  It was delicious but very filling.  V had the chilli scramble again, so I think that speaks volumes about how much she liked it.

Here is a chair in one of the other rooms, replete with a tapestry cat cushion:

Out the back, there is a beautiful garden, where you can also sit if you desire. On our first visit, it was a glorious sunny day, which helped us to make the most of the garden: 

Old Man Drew has great food and a fun atmosphere - it is highly recommended by me.

359-361 Mt Alexander Rd
Ascot Vale VIC 3032
Ph: (03) 9375 4024

Friday, April 19, 2019

Vanilla Glazed Choc Chunk Hot Cross Buns - QBC

It is Good Friday today, heralding the start of the holy Easter season.  For Queen Baking Club this fortnight, the recipe was fittingly Vanilla Glazed Choc Chunk Hot Cross Buns.

These hot cross buns contain a traditional blend of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) and raisins, together with the less traditional addition of chocolate chunks.  The finished buns are glazed with a syrup that is flavoured with vanilla.

Here are my buns just before going into the oven:

I found that I needed twice the amount of flour paste suggested in the recipe to make crosses for all of my buns, 20 in all.

Here is a yummy hot cross bun, fresh from the oven and spread with butter:

The smell of hot cross buns is amazing!  Loved these buns, and my colleagues seemed to like them too.

Queen's recipe is quite straight forward, should you wish to try making your own hot cross buns for today.

Wishing you a blessed Easter.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

TWD - Matzo Morsels

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe doesn't involve any baking at all - it is a melt and mix concoction that you could easily make with your children as a holiday treat.  It is Matzo Morsels, comprising chocolate, chocolate chips, raisins, crushed matzo crackers and butter all combined together and chilled in the fridge.

Matzo Morsels are not unlike Chocolate Crackles, Hedgehog Cake or other "refrigerator" cakes.  Very simple to make, even easier to eat.

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

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday Reed's Rolled Oat Biscuits and Love Exhibition

Lust picks us up like instruments
and puts us down again retuned,
makes music of what hands invent, 
a universe from an empty room.
                                   Ode to Lust, Cate Kennedy

I recently visited the Love exhibition at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne.  This exhibition was developed in conjunction with the Heide Museum of Modern Art, and unsurprisingly contains a lot of material relating to the Reeds and the artists who were part of the Heide crowd.

This exhibition asks - We all have a love story - what's yours?  It covers the full spectrum of love in all of its types and all of its phases, from the first thrilling rush of lust right through to grieving for love lost.  The exhibition is not just concerned with eros love, although there are a number of exhibits which deal with this form of love.  It also covers love between friends, neighbours, communities and families.  One of the best features of the exhibition is that it was accompanied by a free audiovisual presentation on an individual iPod, so that you could go through the exhibition at your own pace, and read and hear the detail relating to the exhibits without straining over someone's shoulder to read a card.

The exhibition is divided into a number of different segments, each dealing with different phases or aspects of love, and highlighted by an illuminated neon sign relevant to the theme of that section.  For example, the name of the first section was taken from a telegram from Sweeney Reed to his wife, Pamela, and dealt with the early stages of love:

A highlight of this first section was a photo of young John Perceval and Mary Boyd associated with the Heide set, to which the audio was a recitation of Ode to Lust by Cate Kennedy, a stanza of which appears at the top of this post.

There was a whole section devoted to the love between John and Sunday Reed, the founders of Heide, and the various other people who featured in their relationships:

Perhaps my favourite exhibit was in this section, being a modern drawing featuring various prominent places and things associated with Heide, interspersed with photos of the Reeds:

Another section of the exhibit dealt with long-lasting love, including a group of friends who had been together for more than 50 years:

There was a section of the exhibition dealing with devotion.  An example of the exhibits in this section included the story of a Vietnamese couple who escaped to Australia via a perilous sea journey, a statue made to honour the victims of Black Saturday, and trinkets of Sweeney Reed kept by Sunday Reed and Joy Hester.

The final section entitled "Each Year I Grieve Another Year" dealt with love lost.  This section related, not only to the loss of love through death, but also through other forms of break-ups.  In this section, Mirka Mora, another member of the Heide set,  explains that she started making dolls after she left the familial home following her break up with her husband, leaving her three boys behind.  The dolls helped to make Mirka feel closer to her boys.

After viewing the exhibition, there is an opportunity for visitors to write their love story on a card and hang it on one of the strings along the wall dedicated to the purpose.  It was interesting to read other people's thoughts and stories on these cards.  I left my own story, but what I wrote shall remain a mystery to all but me.

Inspired by the Heide exhibits in the Love exhibition, I hauled out my copy of Sunday's Kitchen - Food and Living at Heide, and chose a recipe to commemorate my visit to the exhibition.  I chose a very simple recipe for Rolled Oat Biscuits on p173.  These biscuits are true to their name - they are made solely with rolled oats, with no flour or golden syrup (unlike ANZAC biscuits).  This recipe comes from Sunday's own recipe collection.  

While the biscuits taste great, I found them a little difficult to form, as there is only egg and melted butter to glue the ingredients together.  I perservered with the crumbly dough and managed to make 12 biscuits as stated by the recipe (with a little left over).

To try Sunday's Rolled Oat Biscuits to get a taste of a little bit of magic from a Heide arvo tea for yourself, you will need:

2 cups traditional rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted butter (~45g)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix together the rolled oats, sugar, egg, salt and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Add the melted butter and mix well to combine.  

Place small mounds of the oat mixture onto the lined baking tray and press down lightly with a fork to flatten slightly.  (You should get around 12 biscuits.)  Bake the biscuits in the oven for around 10 minutes or until golden brown.   Remove the baking tray from the oven and allow the biscuits to cool on the tray completely before carefully removing with a spatula.  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Chocolate, Caramel & Malt Cheesecake

Happy Friday all!  Today, I thought I'd put a smile on your dial with a gorgeous Chocolate, Caramel and Malt Cheesecake that graces the cover of this month's Delicious magazine.

This cheesecake, by Phoebe Wood, is as decedent and delicious as it looks. The crushed malt biscuit crust is filled with a layer of caramel cheesecake, then a layer of chocolate cheesecake, and finished off with dark chocolate ganache.  Ooh la la.

I halved the recipe because the quantities of ingredients in the original were a little OTT for my tastes - but you can knock yourself out by making it the original way if your motto is "go big or go home".

This cheesecake was, unsurprisingly, very popular at work.  The only complaint I received was that there was not enough of it.

To make this cheesecake my way (half recipe), you will need:

250g packet malt biscuits (I used Malt O'Milk)
100g butter, melted and cooled
400g cream cheese at room temperature, cubed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornflour
1 1/2 eggs (for the half, break one egg into a cup, whisk with a fork and only use half) 
125g dulce de leche (I used Nestle Top 'N' Fill)
100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 cup malted milk powder (I used Ovaltine)
1/2 cup pouring cream

For the ganache topping:

100g dark chocolate, chopped finely
1/3 cup thickened cream

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line the base of a 22cm springform pan.

Put the malt biscuits into a food processor and blitz into fine crumbs.  Add the butter and blitz until combined.  Press the biscuit mixture evenly over the base and up the sides of the springform pan, and chill in the fridge until needed.

Put the cream cheese into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Add the sugar, cornflour and eggs, and blitz until well combined. Transfer half of the cheese mixture into a separate bowl.       

To the cheese mixture left in the food processor, add the dulce de leche, and blitz to combine.  Pour the caramel mixture over the biscuit base, and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes (50 minutes if making the whole recipe) or until just set.

Combine the reserved cheese mixture with the melted chocolate, malted milk powder and cream, stirring well.  

Remove the cheesecake from the oven, pour the chocolate mixture carefully over the top of it, and return the cheesecake to the oven to bake for an hour or until the cheesecake is just set.  Turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake inside with the door ajar to cool for roughly 3 hours.

Once the cheesecake is cool, chill it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Once the cheesecake is thoroughly chilled, make the ganache topping by placing the ingredients into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, and stir from time to time until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.   Cool the ganache to room temperature before pouring over the top of the cheesecake, and allow the topped cheesecake to set in the fridge for another 30 minutes before serving.

Slice and enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

TWD - Double Chocolate Marble Cake

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is the equivalent of a piebald horse.  It is a Double Chocolate Marble Cake, with half of the batter combined with white chocolate, and the other half combined with dark chocolate.

This is a very sturdy cake, and quite heavy in texture.  It is not really the kind of cake that I go for, but is nice enough in its own way.  If dense, pound-style cakes are your thing, you may love this cake.

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

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Chicken and Plum Tray Bake

I love meat and fruit together - the sweet and the savoury are like ying and yang.  Accordingly, when I saw Anja Dunk's recipe for Chicken and Plum Tray Bake in Strudel, Noodles & Dumplings, I knew this was a recipe I'd have to make.  You can also find the recipe online here

I recommend using sweet plums for this recipe.  I used ones that were slightly tart, and that tarty flavour was front and centre in my dish.  That didn't mean it wasn't good - it just meant that I think it would have been better with sweeter fruit.

The beauty of a tray bake is that it takes minimal time and effort to put together - everything is thrown into a baking tray with very little preparation, and left to its own devices to cook in the oven.  Brilliant!

If plums are in season in your area, I highly recommend trying out this recipe.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Adam Liaw's Irish Tea Cake

A few weeks ago, Adam Liaw published a recipe for Irish Tea Cake in the local newspaper.  It looked just the ticket to me - rich, tea soaked dried fruit, packed into a glossy cake.  I definitely had to make it! 

I can say without a doubt that this recipe lived up to its promise.  The cake was moist, flavoursome and choc o'block with delicious, tea soaked dried fruit. I used English Breakfast Tea as opposed to Irish Breakfast Tea to soak my fruit (does this make my cake an English Tea Cake?), and subbed the cranberries for dried figs. Fascinatingly, there is no butter or oil in the cake itself.  

I absolutely adored this cake.  It doesn't really need butter, although that is how it is traditionally served.

As Molly Meldrum would say, do yourself a favour and make this cake!!

You will need:

1 black tea bag
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup prunes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried figs, roughly chopped
225g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
150g brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup white sugar

Brew the tea in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and pour over the dried fruits.  Allow to steep for a couple of hours.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 30cm loaf tin.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and spices.  Drain the liquid from the fruit (reserving it for later), and fold the egg and the fruit through the dry ingredients.  Add some of the fruit liquid as necessary to make a pourable batter.

Transfer the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 75 minutes or until cooked through when tested.

In the meantime, combine the white sugar with 1/4 cup of the reserved fruit liquid (or 1/4 cup of water if you have no more fruit liquid left) in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and simmer until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

After removing the baked cake from the oven, brush the top of the cake with the sugar syrup  while the cake is still hot.

Once the cake has cooled completely, unmould from the tin and slice and serve (with butter if desired).

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

TWD - Good, Better, Best Cookies

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Good, Better Best Cookies.  Dorie's idea is that the cookies alone are good, they are better with a Biscoff spread based filling, and best when also chocolate dipped.  Me, I stopped at the good part - I don't have Biscoff spread and I don't want to try and find any as it is really not something I have a use for.

The cookies contain both flour and toasted almonds, and are quite delicious.  However, I found the dough generally painful to work with as it is quite crumbly - I gave up trying to deal with it after cutting 16 cookies (a batch is supposed to yield 24).   For that reason, I won't be making these again.  

To see what the other Dorie bakers made and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.