"It's hard to get good mobile reception when you live in the woods"
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Recently my sister and I have been delving into the art of food pairing. If you haven't yet heard of it then check out this site and have a play; it's pretty awesome, almost like rsvp for flavours. Some combos make sense and don't venture too far out of our palette's comfort zone like rosemary and lemon. Then there are others, well, have you ever imagined oysters and passion fruit hooking up? Apparently (chemically speaking) it's a hot date.
Today I had hopes to share with you a truffle revolution. I attempted to make lavender and mint tea infused dark chocolate truffles. They were going to be spectacular, with a minted salt sprinkle and everything. I thought maybe you guys were due for a little excitement after last weeks pikelet highlight... but don't go knocking pikelets ok?!
I followed the tea-infusing rules and steeped the warm cream in tea leaves to infuse all the flavour, strained the leaves out (do you like the little makeshift sieve and-measure thing I had going?), added a little peppermint essence for an extra kick, blended it in the the melted chocolate and popped it in the fridge to set. Then with great anticipation I chipped off the first piece to taste test, lollied it around to get a full appreciation for my taste sensation and then... blah! Instead of smooth, rich, minty deliciousness I had somehow created a slab of grainy, over-brewed tea, chocolatey crap. I have to admit feeling the same disappointment one feels when you finally meet up on a date only to realise that your potential partner's profile pic is about 7yrs out of date (true story). Needless to say I will not be sharing that recipe with you today.
What I do have for you is a match made in heaven; scallops and chorizo. I had some venison chorizo from my trip to Margaret River stowed away in my freezer, awaiting a special occasion. When Jules suggested we prepare a weekday feast and splash out on scallops and Champagne... was I really going to argue?
Now this dish is seriously rich, especially with the venison chorizo. The freshness of the coriander and lemon at the end helps cut through the richness of the self-saucing duo (bread dunking is mandatory) but don't be fooled into thinking that you will be able to devour more than a few scallops and slices of chorizo per person. Probably the only economical aspect of this meal... I'm still not arguing.
Although I couldn't find this OMG-totally-hot-stuff-flavour-combo on the food pairing website I can assure you that you'll be teeing up a second date before you've even finished your meal. In the meantime I'll keep my dreams of becoming a professional matchmaker to myself.
Adapted from 'Nigella Express' by the Goddess herself
110g venison chorizo (by all means, any chorizo will do)
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbs chopped coriander
Slice the chorizo into 3mm-ish rounds. Heat a frying pan and dry-fry the chorizo until golden and caramelised (appx 2 minutes). Remove the chorizo rounds and set aside in a warmed bowl and fry the scallops in the remaining oil for appx 1 minute either side. Return the chorizo to the pan, add the lemon juice and coriander then serve immediately with fresh crusty bread.
Saturday, 11 May 2013
Hot coffee with cinnamon French toast, drowned in honey; just the way I like it
I'd like to say that this morning was relaxing and carefree with an angelic baby girl providing cuddles on request and unlimited sloppy kisses, but alas; that's not my kind of girl. Instead we we're up at 7, terror on all fours, with Daddy being the favourite of the day (this might actually work out well). Both Mummy and Kitty's we're being harassed left right and centre, the target of tantruming and frowning... oh don't get me started on the frowning!
It was then that I realised that this hot-headed, independent, incredibly adorable and ever demanding little girl was definitely my daughter and I have no one to blame but myself. In saying that I'd never change her for the world. I love you ragamuffin.
I hope you have a beautiful Mother's day, with whatever you have planned. It's cold here in Perth... perfect weather for a cup of tea and snuggly couch cuddles!
Monday, 6 May 2013
The other morning my husband turned to me and asked for pikelets for breakfast but with strict instructions that they had to be the way his Mum made them. Now it's a tall feat to ask a spouse to even try to attempt to replicate a dish from one's childhood but pikelets are delicious so how could I refuse?
Unarguably pikelets are from the pancake family but they deserve to be recognised in their own right. They are small fluffy pancakey versions of their big brother, slightly sweetened and if you are making them the way Damien's Mum makes them; a little fruity... but in a good way I assure you.
It just so happens that they are in my opinion, the perfect toddler food. They are the right size for little hands, delicious cold (how many pancakes can you say that about?), travel well and using Sheryl's trick (that's Damien's Mum by the way) you can hide fruit in them... not that I've ever needed to hide fruit from Amelie!
Apple pikelets and some with banana, yum!
These little babies are starting to make a regular appearance at our table and I'm fond of making double batches to follow on as afternoon tea. So far sultanas, grated apple and sliced banana have all been mini successes but plain with jam or Vegemite (that's how my Mum used to make them) go down a treat too. I'm thinking on substituting the sugar for honey next time but for now I'm happy to stick with a recipe that works.
Adapted from The Basic Cookbook by Lesley Pagett and Yvette Thomson
125g self raising flour, sifted
1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp vinegar
3 tbs caster sugar
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup fruit, grated apple, sliced banana, berries or sultanas
In a bowl add all ingredients except for the butter and mix until smooth. Melt a quarter of the butter in a pancake or frying pan on medium heat. Pour a tablespoon of the mixture at a time (you can usually make 3-4 at a time depending on the size of your pan) to cook. When you can see bubbles forming around the edges its time to flip and cook for another minute on the other side. To avoid an undercooked middle give the pikelet a little squish with you spatula after flipping it to ease out any gooey batter in the middle. Repeat with remaining butter and batter, keeping your little pikelets warm on a plate tented in foil in the meantime. If you're planning to use banana you could mix it in with the batter, however after you've poured the batter onto the pan if you lay the slices on them, once they're flipped the banana caramelises beautifully, depends how you like to roll.
Thursday, 2 May 2013
Saturday, 27 April 2013
Rosey, fellow cupcake lover, maker and eater, this post is for you.
A couple of weeks ago I made a choc raspberry cupcake with raspberry filling (a little more on that later) and Rosey wanted to know the secret to how to make the gorgeous two-tone swirl. It's super easy and looks impressive... I love that kind of stuff! So here's how I did it:
Get yourself a large mug/glass/vase, whatever you have on hand that's deep enough to hold the piping bag upright for you... this step is not essential but it does make life easier and I'm all for that.
A colouring paste is the best choice here as it's thick and vibrant. I know they are a little on the pricey side but they last for ages and a little goes a long, long way. You just don't seem to get the depth of colour from the liquid variety and they have a habit of watering down your icing if you use too much. On my googling-stripy-swirl search I came across a couple of videos which I'll share in a minute. If you didn't have the colouring paste on hand you could try one of the other techniques.
Use a skewer to stripe up the sides of your bag. I instinctively went for a toothpick at first which I normally use to tint icing but then I realised for the task at hand that would be a very colourful mistake. Be generous if you want a strong stripe or less so if you are after something more subtle.
Add your icing carefully to the bag, bit by bit, trying to disturb the colouring paste as little as possible. I tinted my icing pink before hand to create a raspberry swirl effect but how cool would the red against white icing be for Christmas; like a candy cane!
Pipe out a little icing on the side before you go on to decorating your cupcakes as it will take a little bit for the stripe to come through and then voilà, two tone piped perfection!
Ahh, so pretty!
Here's a couple of videos that I found along the way that might help you out:
This technique uses the colouring paste...
And this one you could use your liquid food dyes with...
And here's an extra video of different swirl techniques, I have shown this one before but to save you scrounging through the archives...
I love the stripy icing effect, it's one of my new favourites. Hope you have fun on your baking adventures, If you come across any cool cupcake techniques let me know xo
Monday, 15 April 2013
The great bakeoff has been... and gone and I am still no closer to owning a Kitchenaid. To tell you the very honest truth; I was disappointed, but only for about a minute. Because as I was standing amongst the crowd (after 'Amy Deering' was not called out, poo!) I realised I was surrounded by a bunch of totally awesome people. My friends and family. All of which has travelled from all corners of Perth to be there and stuff there faces with cupcakes just to make sure mine was definitely the yummiest... at least that's what they told me!
In a weird twist of fate, a gorgeous chick who I knew through work happened to be there with a delicious coffee and white chocolate cupcake. It looked pretty darned special and happened to be the lucky winner to the next round. Bec... here's to you 'cyber champagne clink', you bake your little heart out like I know you will and you win that Kitchenaid damn it!
Before I head off, a big thank you to my husband... don't think I didn't appreciate all the taste testing I made you do, not to mention the fact you did the dishes (twice), scraping icing off my just-finished little cakes when the raspberry icing split into a curdled puddle and for getting me Macca's to help counteract the sugar shakes, I love ya hun xo
Vote for my MUM, Her cupcakes are YUM!