Monday, January 30, 2012

112/656 - Stuffed eggs

Beautiful sunny weather means an abundance of eggs from our lovely chickens and so I thought I would make this oh-so-seventies dish as an appetiser for the family tonight.

I used sour cream rather than mayonnaise and chose dill, oregano and parsley as my herbs of choice. Blended with beautiful white anchovies and hard boiled yolks the result was sensational. Jules is absolutely not a fan of anchovies and even he was excited by the taste.

I realise the mixture was supposed to be neatly piped rather than shoved in with a teaspoon but there is only so much mess I can justify in the making of a family snack I know will disappear in seconds.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

111/656 - Mum's cherry sago

It was only Henry and I who were keen to try this cherry dessert tonight and so I used water to cook the cherries rather than wine or port.

We both liked the finished product very much and had a lot of fun spitting the pips out as we ate. If I made this for guests however I would be inclined to pit the cherries prior to cooking, purely for decorum's sake.

A very small bowl of this dessert is enough to satisfy a sweet craving and so we are looking forward to a repeat performance tomorrow night with some vanilla ice-cream to change things up a bit.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

110/656 - Prawn cakes

What says Australia Day better than steaming prawn cakes on the Varoma? Maybe it doesn't have quite the same ring to it as tossing a shrimp on the barbie...

My favourite ingredient in these little balls is the coriander root which I can't believe I used to toss away! It has the most amazing smell and adds incredible flavour.

We ate these dipped in soy sauce and sambal oelek and even though I doubled the recipe we were all disappointed when they were gone. Maybe to distract themselves from their empty plates, this snack kicked off an amusing round of the boys attempting to catch flies with their chopsticks, Karate Kid style.

Definitely an unconventional Australia Day!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

109/656 - Walnut afternoon tea cake

Stephanie says, "This cake does not look spectacular but it tastes wonderful" and I am inclined to agree.

This was made specifically to satisfy a ridiculously strong craving for cake that came over me after dinner tonight. As I have mentioned before I generally prefer my cakes without icing and this one was so moist I was more than happy to eat it plain.

It was flourless and so had an incredibly spongy, light texture which if I am honest had me heading back for a second piece much earlier than would be considered polite in certain circles. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

108/656 - Pineapple and rum pickle

I recently bought a lovely bottle of spiced rum and seeing as how it is not cold enough to start drinking hot buttered rum I thought I would make this pickle instead.

I can not yet report on the finished product as it needs to sit for at least a week so I will add a post script on here once we have had a chance to taste it. It smells great though and I already have the ham steaks in the freezer ready and waiting.

Yo ho ho.

Post script 25/1/12 - Served the pickle on ham steaks tonight. Very nice! Probably the first time I have really enjoyed the ham and pineapple combination.

Monday, January 16, 2012

107/656 - Basic brown lentils

Brown lentils were another of my purchases from the Vic market last week.  

Starting at the beginning always seems like a good idea so it was basic brown lentils for dinner tonight. Nothing too fancy, the lentils were boiled with onion, garlic, a bay leaf and a sprig of thyme. With the herbs and bits removed, the lentils were combined with salt, pepper, lemon juice, a splash of olive oil and some chopped parsley.

A very tasty little pile.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

105&106/656 - Pancakes with buttered apple

I have officially found my favourite pancake recipe! I think the trick to a creamy, lump free mixture is adding the milk warm which I had never thought to try before. I also followed the instruction to bring the mixture back to room temperature prior to cooking which I have also never bothered to do. The pancakes were lovely and thin and absolutely worth the wait. Except the first one of course which everybody knows will always be a disaster no matter what you do!

As I was cooking the pancakes I could have sworn I had 30 children and not just two. Every time a pancake was finished I had a child standing beside me holding their plate out waiting for the next one. 

The apples for the filling were cooked with butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. A very decadent start to the day! "Best breakfast ever" according to Jules. 

Can't argue with that.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

104/656 - Tomato soup with basil and croutons

This is one of the few recipes in this book I have made on a number of occasions. I adore the buttery taste that is left over from sautéing the onions and the sweet finish that is partly due to the removal of the tomato seeds.

The croutons were made from day old sourdough which was painted with oil, grilled and then rubbed with garlic.

Heaven.

Friday, January 13, 2012

103/656 - Brain fritters

This was not a quick meal by any stretch of the imagination, but was certainly one of the most interesting we have had.

I was all set to make brains for dinner last night until I realised they needed to be soaked overnight. I soaked them as instructed and then today spent quite some time removing the membranes. A tricky little prospect but I got it done and looked eagerly to the recipe for the next step. Poach the brains in court-bouillon. It was around this time I announced that we would be having a very special, but rather late, dinner tonight.

Thirty minutes and an unexpected blog post later, I poached the brains in some freshly made court-bouillon. Once poached, I laid them out to cool and proceeded to prepare the egg and fresh breadcrumbs. The entire family came by at this point wanting a taste of the brains before they were crumbed. The tastings evoked exclaims of pleasure, and amusingly a variety of zombie noises from Jules.

The brains cooled quickly and I dipped and crumbed them and then realised they needed to chill for an hour in the fridge before they could be fried. I really need to start reading these recipes ahead of time! I conceded it would now be a late, late dinner. If truth be told we usually tend to eat like grandmas at around 5pm so in actual fact dinner was on the table by a respectable 8pm. 

Brains have a wonderfully soft texture which in this case was beautifully offset by the crunchy breadcrumbs. I knew I was on a winner when my littlest zombie came sniffing around my plate hoping to steal my last one. 

102/656 - Court-bouillon

A court-bouillon is a well flavoured liquid used to very quickly poach a variety of foods such as delicate meats and seafood. I thought I would take a picture of mine before it had boiled as soggy herbs are not particularly nice to look at!

All going well I will have another recipe to post shortly which will utilise this lovely smelling concoction.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

101/656 - Lamb shank broth

You know summer in Melbourne is not at its best when you find yourself making soups in the middle of January. We enjoyed a lovely but cold morning at the Queen Victoria market today and a lamb shank is one of the many things I picked up while there.

I made this broth with the intention of eating it tomorrow so it has a chance to develop its flavour overnight. While I am looking forward to my soupy lunch, I am much more excited at the prospect of some warmer weather over the coming weeks.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

100/656 - Garlic and saffron soup

I must admit the ten cloves of garlic in this recipe almost had me running scared, but my desire to complete my 100th recipe spurred me on!

This very large pile of peeled garlic was simmered with stock, a wonderful array of fresh herbs, cloves, olive oil and a pinch of saffron threads. Once the garlic was soft, the soup was to be strained. By this stage my fear of garlic had disappeared and I mashed the life out of it to ensure there was plenty of garlicky goodness to be had. 

We absolutely loved the soup but for the sake of our friends we think we might stick together as a family tomorrow and avoid all contact with the outside world.

99/656 - Glazed carrots

The kids were in the mood for pasta tonight so I was looking around for a quick and healthy topping they would enjoy.

It seems lovely buttery glazed carrots, a fancy way of serving vegetables according to Stephanie, also work quite well as a topping for spaghetti.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

98/656 - Pumpkin scones

With some pumpkin in the fridge needing to be used up, I decided to try my hand at pumpkin scones today. My mum has always made the most amazing scones (her cheese and onion are the best I have ever tasted) and so as I began I was mentally crossing my fingers that I had inherited her knack.

For this recipe the ingredients were rubbed together to form a dough which was shaped into a circle and scored with a knife, ready to be split into 12 pieces. Once they came out of the oven the boys (all three of them) were hanging around the kitchen waiting for them to cool. Either they didn't eat enough for dinner or the smell was more tantalising than I realised! Once the scones were split and buttered they disappeared in under 15 minutes.

It looks like I may have inherited the good scone gene, although I think I will continue to leave the cheese and onion variety to the master.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

97/656 - Potato gnocchi

Potato gnocchi is something I have been wanting to make for a very long time but have been busy putting off due to an irrational fear that my efforts would produce nothing more than horrible little rubbery balls.

So today I bit the bullet and had a go. Imagine my surprise when I bit into my first gnocco (apparently this is the singular version of gnocchi) and discovered that it was tender and fluffy.

What a wonderful way to kick off the 2012 leg of this challenge!