Sunday, September 18, 2005

A tale of two slices

It was the lemon slice show-cased here so beautifully that drew me back to making another slice. And it was the last drink of the evening - a passionfruit flavoured cocktail at the Lychee Lounge two weeks ago called the "Pavlova" that made me want to bake the Coconut and Passionfruit Slice from Bill Granger’s "Sydney Food".

The texture of this slice is more custard-like compared with the lemon slice, as this slice has eggs and cream as the main influences over the texture and it was the ricotta which exerted a influence over the cheese-cake like quality of the lemon slice. I am comparing because I like to know what might be expected from each slice.

The ingredients for the Coconut and Passionfruit slice remind me of a cocktail too, a modified pina colada - passionfruit instead of pineapple and minus the white rum. I wouldn’t mind turning this slice into a cocktail this summer.

Lemon and Ricotta slice

Coconut and passionfruit slice

Coconut and Passionfruit Slice

125g (4oz) butter
½ cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
1 ½ cup (12fl oz) cream
1/3 cup plain flour
160ml (5 ½ fl oz) coconut milk
juice and zest of 1 lemon
½ cup (4fl oz) passionfruit
Preheat the oven to 180 c (350F).

Beat butter and sugar in bowl until light and creamy, add egg and vanilla essence and beat well. Add sifted flour, baking powder and salt, and stir until combined and the mixture forms a sticky dough.
Flour hands and press pastry evenly into the base of a greased and baking paper-lined tin ( 23cm x 23cm/ 9x9inch) Bake pasty base in oven for 15 minutes

Place eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale. Add coconut, flour, cream, coconut milk, lemon juice, zest and passionfruit pulp, and stir to combine. Pour filling over pastry base in the tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

When cool, slice into squares. Makes 20 square.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

bruschetta con zucchini e leg ham

I bought some gorgeous Italian pane yesterday, and we ate some of it mopping up the sauce on the veal that P made last night and then again for breakfast today. I let P sleep in of course and kept the children quiet, while I juiced about 20 cold oranges.

I then prepared a saute of fresh tomato and shallot and fried up some crispy bacon and made a herb omelette and filled it with rocket and chilli feta and served it with the toasted pane. I made P a nice flat white and woke him at 9am and let the children give him his gift and then lead him to the table which was set and had the paper ready for his perusal.

After breakfast I cleaned up and took the children shopping while P took some time to finish the paper on the lounge in the sun on the deck. When I returned I made the self-frosting cupcakes below. After that I thought, I have to use this marvellous pane again for lunch. I have made this bruschetta once a long time ago, but I have always remembered how much I enjoyed it. Before there was Nigella, there was Jamie and before there was Jamie there was the River Cafe girls, Rose Grey and Ruth Rogers. This recipe is from the Green book ( I also have yellow and blue and use them for inspiration when planning special dinners) which has many, many fantastic recipes for vegetables. The recipe actually calls for prosciutto and I tell you if I had remembered to buy some while I was out earlier I would have made it that way, but ham had to do and it was still very tasty, and the photograph doesn't do the zucchini, lemon and herb mixture justice at all.

Here is the recipe:

1.5 kg small firm zucchini, trimmed
3 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsely leaves
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
1 thick-skinned lemon, washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled, 2 finely chopped
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices sourdough bread
extra virgin olive oil
18 slices prosciutto di parma or ham

Cut the zucchini in half lengthways and then in half again. Slice across into rough dice. Chop the herbs together. Peel the lemon, remove any white pith, then finely chop the peel ( or zest with a microplane if you have one).

Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the chopped garlic and a few seconds later the zucchini. Stir to combine, keeping the heat up high. When the zucchini are beginning to brown, add half the herbs and salt. Put on the lid, lower the heat slightly, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave for a further 10 minutes with the lid on.

Add the remaining herbs and half the lemon peel to the zucchini mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill the bread on both sides, rub with the whole garlic clove on one side only and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Spoon over the zucchini, sprinkle with the remaining lemon peel and serve with the prosciuto.

Self-frosting cupcakes

I guess it shouldn't be a surprise to many that I had to give these cupcakes a go, there are few food bloggers that haven't!

Anyway these are my efforts, I would appreciate a grading on the swirling I would give me a C+ when compared with many of the efforts on the various foodie sites like Barbara's, Niki's, Nic's, and chichajo's.

That doesn't mean however, that we should be comparing and grading our goods, these swirls are much like the food writers who produced them and are as individual as we are all -and that is despite our wanting to bake each other's goods;)because as it is said "copying is the sincerest form of flattery".

It also reminds me of a conversation I had earlier in the week when a very good friend was being very complimentary about my food blog and encouraging me to do further things with it and I replied to her that I am not a chef and am entirely derivative so I couldn't see how my work would stand out from anyone else's, and there were people on the net doing far better than I was though I am just happy in my little corner of the net doing my thang for myself as much as anyone else.

Anyway for my own sake I will post the recipe here too though variations and hints can be found on any of the above sites should I be the one to lead you into temptation..

140 grams butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
200 grams sifted plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
~1/3 cup Nutella (or other chocolate peanut butter spread), slightly warmed

Preheat oven to 165C.
Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Don't worry if the batter doesn't look smooth. Add vanilla.

Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains ( I was lazy and used my electric beater for this part). I added a splash of milk here to loosen the batter very slightly as suggested by Niki.

Fill each muffin liner with batter. They should be 3/4 full (seemed to much for my cakes as those ones overflowed so I tried half for a smaller neater looking result). Top each cake with 1 1/2 tsp chocolate spread (again I used just less than a small teaspoonful).

Swirl the spread in with a toothpick or knife point ( I used a wooden skewer) making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the spread. When I made the mistake of too much chocolate I put a small dob of batter on top and blended that in, cheating probably, but alls fair..when trying to get those damn swirls on top I say.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Strangely enough I made 15 though the recipe says you should produce 12. They were enjoyed by one and all.

One last aerial shot of those swirls before you give me the grade if you please!

Chilli and garlic peas

I made a special trip on the weekend to pick up these peas from a shop that a colleague at work told me about. It's an Indian food store and it is in a shopping centre which I rarely frequent but thought I would try and do my weekly shop there. I found it difficult to say the least. I must be getting older as I found it increasingly difficult as I went into each isle of the Action supermarket and couldn't find the things I was used to find in the place I usually find them at the Coles or the Woolworths shops I tend to use.

I was also disappointed with the butcher outside the supermarket as I was after some veal for a dish that P wanted to make that night, one of his specialities, thinly pounded veal wrapped in prosciutto and filled with boccincini, fresh oregano and lemon oil. I found the butcher's veal at an excellent price $14.99 per kilogram however I simply did not think that it was veal - I would call it yearling it was far to deep a colour to be veal, I almost wanted to tell him that I was happy to purchase it on the basis that it was yearling but felt gyped that he was calling it veal. I wouldn't mind paying more if he actually could provide veal in fact I would pay more! Nevertheless I purchased the veal yearling and took it home and said to P not to consider it veal and on that basis we enjoyed our meal.

I also just couldn't finish my shop in this centre and had to pack it in purchase what I had so far and drive to my usual shopping centre. Ah familiarity... I can't believe I how much I need it in shopping aisles.

Back to the peas, they were worth the trip and I could imagine eating them on a hot afternoon while drinking a Corona with a bit of lime in the neck of the bottle, like the complete tosser that I can be when I want to be..

Farmers' markets goods

Pistachio and macadamia brownie

I went to the Farmer's markets last Saturday morning as usual, 6amish and when it starts getting light around 5am I will be going at 5.30am. I like to avoid the crowds and the parking problems that come with attending later.

Apart from my usual purchases which includes, the rice and polenta loaf from Sol Breads, the free range and organic eggs, flowers and herbs to pot and some herbs to eat, I sometimes treat the kids,myself and buy some sweet treaties. One of my favourite stalls is a bakery one called Le Sebastian which apart from having irresistible goods has a young man with an equally irresistable French accent and if he is not busy I cheekily get him to tell me what is on offer without any intention of buying more than I actually have in mind.

Some of the things I have purchased have included the raspberry and almond croissants, the buttery shortbread biscuits sandwiched with strawberry or lemon cream ( a steal at 3 for $2!) and these gorgeous brownies (another steal at $3), which I actually do take home and offer to the children after they have their freshly boiled egg and ciabatta toast. This bakery also does beautiful sour dough bread and on occassion I have purchased a loaf for a special dinner.

Last week I also found the gorgeous and whimsical white chocolate brownie (below) with the enchanting candy pink icing ($2 each!). They were not as rich as the dark chocolate brownie and had quite an intense vanilla flavour I would probably purchase them again, however Elliot wasn't so keen on the icing with the sugar crystals on top.

It has taken me years but I have finally learned some restraint when shopping at the Farmer's markets and I don't buy smoked trout, dips, cheeses, breads and meats (Gungel pork, mandalong lamb, spatchcock, duck etc) there every time, just when I really, really need too. I will probably post next week about some delicious fudge I have been buying there too, I can't this time because I didn't photograph it before all of it was consumed!

White chocolate brownies with candy pink icing.

About Me

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Mother of two with one of each. Wife of one.Dogless. Busy working five days a week, baking and cooking when time allows. Writing rarely these days. Wishing I had time to read more often.