Monday, August 14, 2017

578/1038 - Classic apple pie

It's hard to believe it took 6 years and almost six hundred recipes for me to make a plain old apple pie - except that this apple pie is anything but plain.

It was the lard pastry which kept me from throwing this otherwise simple dessert together. I don't have anything against lard; it's just not something I generally keep in the fridge! I decided to give duck fat a whirl as a stronger tasting substitute and of course had already put the pie together by the time I did some research and discovered that the reason pig fat is the basis for lard is that it is largely tasteless. Unlike duck fat which tastes like, well, duck. Whoops.

Unperturbed, I baked my pie anyway, safe in the knowledge that apples go well with savoury dishes such as pizza and pork.

Persistence paid off! The pie was absolutely beautiful and looked stunning on the plates, filled with layers and layers of thinly sliced apples.

...and there it was! The apple chapter is now done and dusted. Nineteen down, one hundred and six to go. In order to speed this challenge along (because I am fairly sure none of us want to see this drag on for another ten years) I have decided to plan my next couple of recipes as soon as one is posted. All going well, we will see some yabby and tripe gracing the blog very soon.

Wish me luck! x

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

577/1038 - Jackie's mum's sponge cake

Friday night's dinner party also saw this lovely little dessert come out to play. 

I messed around with this recipe (with interesting results) because I just couldn't bring myself to buy custard powder! This was not because I am a purist (well that too) but also because my pantry is full to bursting and I just couldn't justify adding an item to the shelves that I just knew I wouldn't use. 

It turns out that messing about with baking ingredients doesn't always destroy the result. Granted, my sponge was so flat it couldn't be split even with the steadiest of hands, but somehow it was still beautifully light and fluffy. 

I broke the cake into pieces and served it drizzled with the passionfruit "icing" and beside a good dollop of whipped cream.

...and I didn't hear any complaints x

Saturday, August 5, 2017

576/1038 - Avocado and tomato salsa with macadamia oil

Last night we hosted a dinner party which was our first in quite some time. The premise of the evening was to share my pasta making skills with one of our friends who had a pasta maker gathering dust in her kitchen after purchasing it some seven years ago.

In keeping with the Italian theme, the first course was a simple bruschetta topped with this gorgeous little salsa. The only thing that had prevented me from making this in the past was a lack of macadamia oil in my pantry; an issue which has now been remedied. The salsa is still being consumed this morning on toast, on biscuits and amusingly, by the spoonful.

I didn't get organised and make the bread the day before the dinner party. Fresh bread is lovely but bruschetta loves day old bread. If I am completely honest, my baking delay was actually because the menu was not created until eight hours prior to the guests landing. Very unlike me but thankfully everything worked out beautifully.

The incredible pasta was rolled and cut by my very talented guests and I just adored having everybody buzzing about the kitchen and getting their hands dirty.

Definitely a dinner party model I will be replicating in future x

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Truly Madly Eatly


As my regular readers would be aware, a couple of years ago I quit my job and launched a little catering business. Catering other people's events is fun but I have decided to change things up a bit and host my own event! Guests will be treated to complimentary barefoot bowling and a degustation lunch which will feature items from our finger food menu. 

If you would like to come along (it would be lovely to meet you!) bookings can be made online at Truly Madly Eatly

I hope to see you there!

Kate x

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

575/1038 - Crumbed trotters with mustard mayonnaise

This is officially my favourite trotter recipe! Of course this is not a sentence you are likely to hear from many people given the squeamish nature of the majority of modern diners. 

I truly don't understand why people are averse to trying new things on their dinner plates. Using up as many parts of an animal just makes sense to me. If an animal needs to die for our dinner table, I believe it is our responsibility to use absolutely every morsel possible from that creature. People are getting better at understanding how we can reduce waste in other areas but I think have a long way to go with regard to the ethical use of animals as food. 

Pontificating aside, we absolutely adored this meal. While I forgot to get it in the picture, the mustard mayo was definitely a fabulous dipping sauce for these crunchy little feet and also for spreading on fresh bread at the end of the meal. I will admit to cheating with the mustard mayo and simply stirring some dijon through store bought mayonnaise. It was still wonderful. 

We actually shared two trotters between four of us which we felt was plenty of meat. The jellied meat was packed with flavour and dinner saw us all gnawing happily on the bones, groaning with delight as we inhaled the very crunchy crumb. 

As always, I will be continuing my war on waste by using the incredible stock in a tasty risotto for dinner tonight. 

How many times have I said this? Definitely another recipe I will be putting on repeat. I could have picked so many recipe books to cook my way through but I am so, so glad I picked this one x

Sunday, July 16, 2017

574/1038 - Chocolate and caramel bread puddings

This recipe has been tantalising me for weeks now and having a friend over for dinner last night inspired me to finally put it on the menu. 

Crème caramel is a dish I have made many times and to date have never had an issue with the oozy caramel which covers the dessert as it is turned out of its mould. Sadly, my touch with oozy caramel came to an end last night, with a dig into this lovely little pudding revealing a layer of hard toffee which had hardened and did not want to budge. 

Thankfully the pudding was still lovely and of course my industrious and sugar hungry teenager still managed to eat his caramel, using the microwave and brute force to prise it out of the ramekin. 

I can hardly complain. 574 recipes and only a very small handful which have not turned out as expected. 

Not a bad strike rate x

Thursday, July 6, 2017

573/1038 - Jerusalem artichoke tart

Another lot of gorgeous Jerusalem artichokes and another wonderful recipe. 

My cleaning method has definitely improved (enter the plastic scrubbing brush!) but the preparation of this many Jerusalem artichokes still takes up a good amount of time. If you are like me though, and adore the taste of this nutty and sweet vegetable, the effort is definitely a labour of love. 

The recipe instructed peeling and boiling the Jerusalem artichokes and then slicing them once soft. I thought I would be clever and as I cleaned and peeled, I also sliced each piece before putting them in the saucepan to boil. It was genius! Once soft, I simply turned the pot full of pieces out into a colander to drain, ready to be incorporated into the rest of the filling mixture.

It was dark when I got to the herb part of the recipe and I sent my eldest into the backyard with scissors and instructions to bring me some chives, a bay leaf and a good handful of parsley. Amusingly, he came in and handed me about four stems of parsley and had no idea why this didn't constitute a handful!

It goes without saying that the pastry was fabulous and seriously, how can you go wrong when you fill it with cream, herbs and one of your favourite vegetables?

Another happy evening of eating x

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

572/1038 - Rosemary and lemon panna cotta

I can not BELIEVE it has taken me this long to make panna cotta!

Such a simple recipe but so easy to get wrong. There is nothing worse than a panna cotta which is either flavourless or too firm. Being regular diners at lovely restaurants, sadly we have been on the wrong end of both of these disasters. 

The panna cotta recipe in The Cook's Companion (third version only) is absolutely foolproof and creates a perfectly wobbly dessert that has to be tasted to be believed.

The flavour choice is left completely up to the chef and I opted for lemon and rosemary because I still had some fresh rosemary sitting on my bench after creating rosemary skewers last week.

The reason I decided to make my panna cotta in glasses rather than moulds was due to a complete lack of any sweet oils in the pantry; required to ensure the panna cotta would slip easily from the moulds. If you are thinking coconut oil, forget it. Experience has taught me that this is a wonderful oil to use in cooking but is completely hopeless when used as a non stick agent.

For those seeking to make themselves a panna cotta treat for dessert tonight, this little beauty can be found hiding in the basics chapter.

Yum, yum and yum again x

Sunday, June 25, 2017

571/1038 - Greg's Lebanese pizzas with lamb, pine nuts and pomegranate

A funny thing happened in my kitchen last night...

Preparing to make this recipe, I pulled some lamb from the freezer and lamented the lack of a mincer in my cache of kitchen appliances. My husband gave me one of those looks that said, "For a very smart lady, you can be a bit vague sometimes..." and pulled my KitchenAid mincer attachment from the cupboard. 

Oh joy!!

Yes, little things make me VERY happy. 

This pizza was unbelievably good. Again, I used the grenadine I made earlier in the week in place of pomegranate molasses, adding just a dash of lemon juice to balance the sweetness. The addition of fresh pomegranate seeds and sliced nasturtium leaves was my own little twist on the pizza and they worked wonderfully. Of course, they also helped to make the photo look much prettier!

For those not into pizza, I would still highly recommend this recipe. The lamb mixture could be served with rice or on greens and would also make a great filling for a wrap. The flavour really is outstanding. 

LOVING my pomegranates right now x