Monday, December 26, 2011

95&96/1038 - Pizza rustica with potato and rosemary (& home-made pizza dough)

This amazing pizza was cooked in my husband's nifty pizza oven which resides on top of our chiminea. The hardest thing about making it was dragging myself up from a nanna nap to put the dough on in time for dinner.

I think this may officially be my last challenge recipe for 2011. I didn't quite reach triple digits as I had hoped to, but I am thinking that 96 recipes in 5 ½ months is not such a bad effort.

Happy New Year to all. x

Friday, December 23, 2011

94/1038 - Potato salad with bacon and sour cream

I like potato salad but I do not love it. This potato salad however, was such a lovely pile of decadence I found myself going back for a third helping! 

Not being a big fan of mayonnaise on potatoes, I think my favourite element was the sour cream. The bacon fat, two types of mustard and red wine vinegar helped to finish off a potato salad that not only looked inviting but was also very tasty. Sadly I don’t have chives in my garden at the moment so there was no sprinkled greenery to give the impression that this side dish might have been even a tiny bit healthy.  

I am not sure if I will be doing any more challenge recipes over this busy Christmas/New Year period but if not, this would be a great recipe on which to finish the year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

93/1038 - Buttery leeks

This recipe is for anybody who likes the idea of taking a healthy green vegetable and turning it into a fattening pile of buttery goodness.

This 'fondue of leeks' is cooked in rather a large amount of melted butter and then sprinkled with pepper, salt and freshly ground nutmeg. I use AA grade butter which was perfect for this recipe as it is beautiful and white and made only of pasteurised cream and salt. This was a very decadent side dish to the unbelievably good Portuguese-style chicken cooked by my husband on the barbecue tonight.

If we continue to eat like this I may be in danger of putting on those Christmas kilos slightly earlier than expected.

Friday, December 16, 2011

92/1038 - Home-made fettuccine with bug meat and roasted tomato sauce

It was Moreton Bay bugs for dinner again tonight. A very different experience from the citrus marinated bugs, this dish was one of those extra delicious experiences that actually evoked groans of pleasure from the family as it was consumed.

I was kicking myself when I realised the tomatoes had to be peeled because I bought mini romas to use for this recipe which almost quadrupled my peeling duties. To peel tomatoes I score a cross in the skin and dunk them in boiling water which certainly does make the job easier. Once skinless, the tomatoes were roasted for an hour with onion, garlic, thyme, chilli and an enormous glug of olive oil.

The incredibly rich roasted tomato sauce was added to the freshly sautéd bug, lemon juice and zest. Coupled with freshly made fettuccine, this meal was absolutely fantastic. Actually it was so good I am pleased to report that my youngest has now been converted to the wonderful world of bugs.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

91/1038 - Yam goong (salad of bug meat with mint and lemongrass)

My youngest was completely grossed out when I announced that we would be eating bugs for dinner and to be honest, remains sceptical of the whole Moreton Bay bug caper. He came home after the bug had already been sliced and marinated and so was convinced that the little pieces on his plate were individual wiggly bugs.

I was personally thrilled with dinner tonight. The marinade for the bug meat was a combination of mint, fish sauce, lemongrass, chilli and lemon juice. What we ended up with was a lovely light summery meal that went down very well with a glass of sparkling Moscato.

Hooray for Summer!

Friday, December 9, 2011

90/1038 - Angie's lemon cake

We are off to our first official Christmas do tomorrow and I thought this lemon cake would be a lovely dessert to take along. I obviously haven't tasted it yet as it would be rude to present it to the hosts with a slice missing, but judging by the lovely lemony smell that was emanating from the oven, I am fairly sure I am going to like this one.

As soon as it was taken out of the oven, the cake was doused in lemon syrup which very quickly disappeared as the cake soaked it up like a sponge. I am rather hoping we will get to enjoy a first and second slice so fingers crossed the kids at the party don't like it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

89/1038 - Melita's skordalia

Before making this skordalia, I checked the calendar to make sure I was not seeing any close friends the next day. I am never sure if anybody can tell when I have eaten loads of garlic the previous day, but am fairly sure it is better to be safe than sorry!

This yummy dish is basically mashed potato with plenty of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, milk and some freshly ground salt and pepper. We may all be stinky tomorrow but it was yummy enough to be absolutely worth it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

88/1038 - Gougères

These little French cheese puffs were made to be eaten with dinner, but I also think they will be an interesting addition to the kids' lunchboxes. I was feeling a bit lazy and so didn't pipe the dough onto the baking trays as instructed, but instead fashioned neat little circles with a spoon. They turned out quite round as I had hoped so no harm done.

I particularly like the slightly burnt cheese on top and can see a couple of these disappearing before the boys arrive home today.

Monday, December 5, 2011

87/1038 - Papaya and banana smoothie

This smoothie was supposed to be made with papaya (hence the title) however as per Stephanie's suggestion I substituted the papaya for mangoes. We had friends drop over bearing mangoes yesterday and so it was smoothies all round for breakfast this morning!

After another weekend of party food I think this may have been just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, November 28, 2011

86/1038 - Blueberry muffins

I am heading off on a sojourn on the Mornington Peninsula with my mum tomorrow and thought I would bake some blueberry muffins for the kids to eat while I am away. I would like to think this late night baking was driven by motherly love, however I am fairly sure it had more to do with guilt than I am willing to admit.

The recipe was fairly simple, however having never made blueberry muffins I was completely thrown by the instruction to halve the berries. At first I thought Stephanie was asking me to divide the berries into two lots, however reading further into the recipe I realised I was actually required to slice each berry in two. It makes sense when you think about it, but I was still very amused as I set about my task of cutting each tiny berry neatly down the middle.

It's late at night but I confess I have already eaten a muffin. They are so good I think the boys may even forgive me for deserting them for three days of heavenly eating, shopping and general mother-daughter bonding.  

85/1038 - Okra with tomatoes

Okra is not a vegetable I would generally use, but cooked with onion, garlic, tomato, lemon juice and ground coriander seeds, I have discovered that it really is a very tasty vegetable. The texture can be a little slimy and although this can be offputting, apparently it is very good for you. As a bonus, it can also help to thicken casseroles. 

My effort will be served alongside Stephanie's home-made lasagne tonight (made by the lovely Chas) which I think will work very nicely.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

84/1038 - Sweet potato cornbread (or corn pone)

A close friend of ours is American which means we are lucky enough to be invited each year to help his family celebrate Thanksgiving. It has come to be one of my favourite celebrations with everybody coming together for turkey and pumpkin pie and not a present in sight.

This year I was asked to bring a starter and so being the dedicated friend that I am, I googled Thanksgiving to check out what might be an appropriate dish to make. I was absolutely thrilled to find that cornbread was on the list, mainly because I knew there was a recipe for it in The Cook's Companion, but also because it is something I have always been curious to try.

I used golden sweet potato for this recipe, hence the lovely deep colour. I received the best compliment of the day from our American friend who told me it was "really good and very authentic."

A very happy Thanksgiving indeed!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

83/1038 - Chinese-style roast duck

There was never a doubt that when I finally got around to roasting a duck Chinese-style it would be served as Peking duck in lovely little home made pancakes.

After separating the skin from the breast, the duck was dipped three times into a pot of boiling water and hung to dry. It was then coated and left to swing beside a fan for a further 2-3 hours which at least gave me plenty of time to look for a suitable pancake recipe. If anybody had dropped in on me unexpectedly today they would no doubt have been disturbed by the unusual (and slightly creepy) sight of a duck carcass hanging from my stairs.

I am so pleased with how this turned out. The duck skin was shiny, crispy and incredibly tasty and the meat remained lovely and tender. The pancakes were fantastic and we all had a lot of fun rolling our own creations for dinner.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

82/1038 - Roast chicken (the all-time favourite!)

Tonight I made my first ever roast chook. Given all of the cooking I do, I know this will come as a shock to some people, and I must say I was quite surprised when I realised it myself. 

The reason for the delay in my roasting endeavours is simply because I am lucky enough to be married to the roasting king. Many (many, many) years ago, and long before I was particularly interested in cooking, my husband made a lamb roast which was so absolutely spectacular I decided to assign all roasting duties to him from that day on.

Not any more.  

With no offence to him intended, this was quite simply one of the best roast chickens I have ever eaten. The chicken was rubbed all over (inside and out) with lemon and then stuffed with lemon, garlic, butter and rosemary. The vegetables were tossed in oil and rosemary and then the same oil was massaged into the chicken. The bird was baked first on one side, then the other, and last of all breast side up which ensured the bird was beautifully browned all over.

The end result was simply stunning. The flavour of the smashed garlic and lemon had permeated the meat which was so tender it was falling off the bone as I carved. The sauce (made from pan juices and a good splash of Sauvignon blanc) was deeply flavoured and heavenly. The vegetables (fennel, beetroot, carrot, potatoes, pumpkin) were made even lovelier with the sauce drizzled over the top. 

As I took away the serving platter, my youngest actually chased me with a carrot, desperate to have one last dip. I am sure the roasting king will never actually hang up his crown, but I will no doubt be muscling in on his territory in future.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

81/1038 - Potato gratin

Who doesn't like potatoes baked with cream? Certainly nobody in my house that's for sure.

I was feeling a bit lazy and so I used my KitchenAid to slice the potatoes which meant they were cut a bit thinner than I would have liked. But how could I complain when the slicing was completed in a matter of minutes? The result was still great, it just meant I had to be more vigilant during the cooking process to ensure the top layer did not burn to a crisp.

In between the slices of potato were thin slices of garlic (my apologies in advance to anybody I see tomorrow), pepper, salt and freshly grated nutmeg.

I would almost certainly be twice the size if we ate like this regularly but I do enjoy a decadent side dish such as this every now and then.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

80/1038 - A simple dressing

Whilst there are certainly some interesting recipes in this book, there are also some that appear to be aimed squarely at the beginner cook who is, perhaps, setting foot in the kitchen for the very first time. 

This is one of those recipes.

So, as boring as it may seem, my cooking accomplishment for today is a simple salad dressing. Simple, but made oh so fabulous with garlic infused olive oil and tarragon vinegar kindly donated by the lovely Stewart family. I did like Stephanie's method of mixing the dressing in the bottom of the bowl and tossing the salad in on top, so technically I did learn something new today.

Conclusion: Salad + kangaroo steaks on the barbie = one happy family and a house that stayed cool on a 30°C day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

79/1038 - English rice pudding

The thing that surprised me the most about this pudding was that it contained only four tablespoons of rice. Doesn't seem much for a rice pudding does it?

Actually I think the restrained amount of rice was what made this pudding so good. It was rather like a beautiful baked custard with just enough rice to make it interesting. I particularly loved the bay leaf which I thought was a really interesting addition. Every time I opened the oven to check the pudding's progress it was the main thing I could smell!

This was not an overly sweet dessert, but the boys loved it. I am an absolute sucker for a rice pudding so it goes without saying that I was in pudding heaven tonight.  

78/1038 - Ham soufflé

I love a weekday meal that sounds just a little bit posh.

Lovely cubes of ham in cheese sauce, eggs and tabasco makes for a very nice soufflé indeed. I made them as individual portions and they were so light and airy you could almost forget the number of calories they actually contained.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

77/1038 - Fish balls

It was fish balls for dinner tonight - yummy little balls of whizzed up fish, herbs, spring onions and Asian flavours. This is definitely the type of recipe I enjoy, a long list of ingredients with no measurements provided. The only down side to this is that I had to stomach 3-4 spoonfuls of raw fish until I was comfortable with the balance of flavours.

Apart from the fact that the finished product looked more like a pile of pucks than little balls, I was very pleased with the outcome.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

76/1038 - Carrot salad with Thai seasoning

Tonight's dinner was a flavoursome fusion of Vietnamese and Thai food.

This Thai carrot salad was absolutely bursting with flavour and took only 5 minutes to make, mainly because I let my Thermomix do all of the work! I threw all of the ingredients except the carrot and the peanuts in first and blitzed the life out of them. I find lemongrass such a pain to cut up and so having a machine do it for me was an absolute godsend. Once that was done I threw in the carrots and peanuts and blitzed them just enough so that the pieces were fine but not completely massacred.

I served this up with some diced chicken that I marinated in nuoc cham. Nuoc cham is actually a dipping sauce but I had some left over and thought it might make a nice marinade. The recipe came from my Red Spice Road cookbook which contains recipes from a wonderful restaurant of the same name. I am pleased to say that it worked, and the chicken was delicious and very moist. 

Wrapped in iceberg lettuce leaves, this combination made for a very tasty dinner.

75/1038 - Leek and potato soup

I had a friend come over today to have lunch with me, and also to drop in my belated birthday present. This of course means I have officially stretched out my birthday celebrations for more than a month. That has to be some sort of record, even for me.

Lucy is well aware of my Stephanie challenge and so I was under strict instructions to make something for lunch that "did not wobble," no doubt with offal on her mind. I would never actually dream of serving brains or tongue to my guests...unless of course I was trying to ensure there would not be a return visit.

The leek and potato soup was perfect for lunch. Not too heavy, not too light.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

74/1038 - Salmoriglio (oregano sauce)

If you blink you are in danger of missing the very short chapter on oregano and marjoram which contains only three recipes.* This oregano sauce was fantastic on fish and I ended up eating about twice as much as is shown in the photo.

Apparently it is also a lovely sauce to serve with lamb which I will be more than happy to test out over the next couple of days.

*Three recipes in the original edition, four once the upgrade is complete! 

73/1038 - Peperonata

This is such a wonderfully sweet, caramelised dish that I do believe I could polish off the entire quantity myself if left to it. The stewed tomatoes help to create the thick sauce and some red wine vinegar added at the end works to take the edge off the sweetness.

Stephanie advised that my lovely Spanish potato and chorizo fry up would go wonderfully well with stewed sweet peppers. Of course she was right.

72/1038 - Spanish potato with chorizo

This was actually one of the first recipes I made after taking on this challenge. The shame is that I made it before I decided to share my progress with the world, therefore there is a distinct lack of photographic evidence of this first attempt.

Given the love affair my family have with chorizo, nobody complained about me having to redo this recipe. A fry up of so many of our favourite things - chorizo, potato, garlic and onion, it was always going to be a welcome addition to the dinner plate.

71/1038 - Candied sweet potato

This challenge occasionally requires me to cook things I would not ordinarily make, and this recipe is a fine example of this. In my opinion, the word candied should only be used in the titles of desserts and sweet treats and not married with a vegetable. Definitely a case of different strokes for different folks. 

I used the golden variety of sweet potato which was boiled and then tossed in a bubbling mixture of butter and sugar. A splash of balsamic to finish and I had my first candied sweet potato. It wasn't as ghastly as I had expected, however it certainly did leave me with the feeling that I had skipped main course and headed straight for dessert.

Not my favourite, but highly recommended for those with a particularly sweet tooth.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

70/1038 - Squid stuffed with pork and prawns

My husband, being the nice fellow that he is, was out mowing the entire street's nature strips today and one of our neighbours caught him at it. To say thank you, he brought over some squid he caught on a recent fishing trip. So, thanks to our generous neighbour, I have just completed my first recipe from the squid, calamari, cuttlefish & octopus chapter.

The base of the stuffing is minced tentacles, pork and prawns. This step gave me quite a ridiculous amount of pleasure. I never seem to tire of watching my KitchenAid mincer in action, creating masses of wiggly worms. Apparently it doesn't take much to amuse me. Actually there was quite a lot of enjoyment going on in my kitchen today, with not two but three boys inking themselves silly during the squid cleaning process.

Once the squid were cleaned, stuffed and briefly sautéd, they went into the oven with some tomatoes, chilli and wine. The end result was definitely worth the insane amount of mess we managed to create whilst making this dish.

69/1038 - Parsley salad

Stephanie's parsley salad 'recipe' is not a recipe as such, but rather a list of suggested ingredients that could be added to a huge pile of parsley to make a lovely big salad.

I decided to use some fresh herbs (coriander, mint and oregano) as well as shitake mushrooms, toasted pine nuts, rocket, radishes and feta. If that wasn't enough fabulousness, it was finished with some lovely garlic infused olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. A lovely, healthy salad that went beautifully with dinner.

Dinner post to come...

68/1038 - Bacon muffins

Bacon muffins, as in little muffins filled with baconey goodness, are perfect for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast. I ate mine with tomato paste, a poached egg and some perennial basil. It was definitely much more interesting than plain old toast!

Although plain old toast is not always just that. My husband has been making a bread lately that is specifically designed to make wonderful toast and it is amazing. But of course that is another story...

Friday, November 4, 2011

67/1038 - Simple banana cake

This is a recipe I have made too many times to count. 

Stephanie's banana cake is hands down one of the best banana cakes I have ever tasted. Incredibly fluffy and light, it has just the right amount of sweetness. This cake is also quite fabulous with the addition of chopped walnuts or pecans. There is absolutely no need to ice it as the texture of the cake is brilliant as is.

I can't see this one lasting longer than the weekend.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

66/1038 - Quick orange cordial

Halfway through this recipe I officially reached the 10% mark of this challenge.*

I think I might celebrate with a glass of cordial.

*When the challenge was only 656 recipes! Upgrading to the second and third edition has increased the number of recipes significantly.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

65/1038 - Pappa al pomodoro

I needed day old bread for this recipe and so I cut a few slices from the olive bread I made earlier and threw them in the oven for a few minutes to "age" them. The resulting soup was tasty but perhaps a bit breadier than I would have liked. I think this could have been due to one or more of the following reasons;
  1. This recipe was not designed to be halved
  2. Having been off carbs, the bread was a bit of a shock to the system
  3. It's just not my type of soup (Husband loved it)
  4. You really shouldn't fake day old bread
Whatever the reason, this is the first recipe I don't think I will make again. That's pretty good odds given that I have loved 64 out of 65 recipes so far.

64/1038 - Olive bread

It was a special day of cooking for me today as I have recently acquired a second copy of The Cook's Companion. My original version is now all but completely destroyed, covered in food spatters and hanging precariously from it's spine. My new addition is in near perfect condition and belonged to a dear friend of mine. I will continue to use my old version for cooking but will take great pleasure in gently handling my new, treasured version as I scan the book for prospective dinners and treats.

We have been watching our carb intake over the past two weeks in the lead up to a friend's wedding, and so bread was always destined to be on the menu today. I used the Thermomix for kneading but think I may have had it on the wrong setting. Rather than kneading my dough, it chopped up all of my lovely pieces of olive which created a bit of a disaster as the juices were released into the dough. A few handfuls of flour later I had rescued my dough and set it in a bowl to prove. A special thank you to Craig and Kate for the lovely Milawa olives!

Once proved, the bread had to be shaped and then laid in a tea towel to allow it to rise again. Another near disaster ensued as I rolled the dough from the tea towel onto the oven tray, which had to be in the oven and heated through before the bread was put in. As I rolled the bread in, I knocked the tray off the oven shelf, not once but three times. It's fair to say that the innocent ears of my children may have been slightly tainted today.

All's well that ends well. The bread is really lovely and I can feel a "pappa al pomodoro" coming on for dinner.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

63/1038 - Mum's red devil's cake

Australia celebrates World Teachers' Day tomorrow and so I thought I would bake a cake for the teachers at my children's school.

And what a decadent cake this is!

With more sugar, chocolate and butter than you can imagine, this is definitely not the snack for the dieter. Apparently Stephanie's mum did not usually ice this cake but I decided to up the fat content even further and top it with chocolate buttercream icing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

62/1038 - Jill's warm prawn and mint salad

We decided to cook our fish and veg on the barbecue for dinner tonight and a warm prawn salad sounded like a wonderful accompaniment.

The dressing for the prawns had a coconut milk base and was spiced up with fish sauce, lime, garlic, fresh chilli, sugar and ginger and then topped with shredded mint.

Once the prawns had been devoured, we discovered this was also a lovely dressing for barbecued fish. Definitely another keeper.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

61/1038 - Gingerbread

As Stephanie wrote, "This is one of those dark, fudgy gingerbread cakes, not the chewy sort used for making gingerbread men or houses."

I love traditional gingerbread, but am now also a huge fan of this incredible ginger cake. Apparently it is lovely served with ice-cream or whipped cream but I think it stands quite well on its own.

Post script - Sincere apologies for this very boring post! I am so pleased I improved my storytelling as time went on. I believe the issue at this stage of the challenge was a focus on quantity rather than quality. In my opinion, not a great choice! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

60/1038 - Baked bananas with meatloaf

I have always wondered what this recipe would taste like and now that banana prices have come down (hooray) I thought it was time to try it out.

The meatloaf was very simple to make (and dead easy in a thermomix!) and was baked in the oven, bare at first and then wrapped in bacon. I didn't have any streaky bacon in the house and so I improvised, covering the meatloaf with short cut bacon secured with toothpicks. It looked a little bit like a very long, very pink echidna.

The gravy was rich and lovely, the meatloaf very tasty and I have decided that the bananas were an inspired addition, nice and soft and just a little bit sweet.

Post script: My husband and I have always joked that this is the worst blog picture I ever posted. Looking back at it more than eight years on, I am sure this is still the case.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

59/1038 - Red cabbage salad

One of the things I absolutely love about this book is the number of simple recipes that take almost no time to prepare, but which occasionally provide me with flavour combinations I might not have discovered on my own.

This recipe took only a matter of minutes; the cabbage was sautéd with garlic and chopped anchovies, with a dash of red wine vinegar and pepper to finish. I used white anchovies which are fresh rather than cured, and have a milder flavour than the ones you generally see used on pizzas etc.

What I loved most about this salad was that the anchovy flavour was gently dispersed throughout, leaving no boring bits.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

58/1038 - Warm broccoli and cauliflower salad

It was great to have the opportunity to use my shiny new Thermomix in a challenge recipe today!

This salad calls for the broccoli and cauliflower to be boiled but I like to steam my veg wherever possible. So out came the varoma and I was pleased to find that an entire head of broccoli and a head of cauliflower were able to be steamed together! Once steamed, they were dressed with oregano, olive oil, parsley, lemon and a lovely crack of pepper over the top to finish.

Definitely an afternoon snack worth repeating.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

57/1038 - Asparagus soup

It has been a week since my last recipe, and the best excuse I can come up with is that my husband took the camera away to Phillip Island with him and I just couldn't bear to take mediocre quality photos of my creations.

So with that out of the way, I am pleased to report that this is a really lovely springtime soup. The only instruction I did not obey was the straining of the soup at the end. The asparagus I used were small and sweet and I did not find the consistency hairy at all as Stephanie indicated it might be.

I also left off the whipped cream that is served with the soup, but that was purely a health related decision and I am sure it would have been a divine addition.

And then there were 656...(a confusing title now that I have upgraded)

So it turns out my whiz bang spreadsheet is fallible after all. After a bit of a double check, it turns out there are actually 656 recipes in The Cook's Companion, not 655.*

I toyed with the idea of updating all of the previous post headers, but realised that would be an insane waste of my time.** Particularly given the fact that I am probably the only person who would notice the changes anyway.

So there it is - 656 is the new golden, and neatly palindromic, number.***

* This post was written before I upgraded to the second and then third version.

** This is now done. In my defence, I am bored and currently locked in with my family due to COVID-19.
***The author reserves the right to discover further counting errors as this challenge progresses, although she is secretly crossing her fingers that this will not be the case.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

56/1038 - Bok choy in hot and sour sauce

What a nice, simple recipe for a Tuesday night. The hot and sour sauce was fantastic, made from salt, sugar, cornflour, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce and rice wine. I decided to take the bok choy out of the wok and fry the chicken in the sauce which was absolutely fantastic. I was a bit heavy handed with the dried chillies which I quite enjoyed, but the boys ended up a bit goggle eyed and running for the milk. They still told me that the sauce was "awesome", so no harm done. Their tolerance for chilli is becoming quite impressive! 

Time to hit them with a good vindaloo I think.

I doubled this recipe which was lucky because it meant that we all got a good sized serve, but also that the chicken was well coated as it cooked.

Too easy and a great, simple sauce to add to my repertoire of things that make steamed vegetables taste good.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

55/1038 - Spinach ricotta terrine with pear dressing

We had dinner with friends tonight and this was my contribution to the table. The terrine was very simple to make and is baked rather than pressed. It reminded me a lot of a very tall, very rich quiche.

The dressing was made from pears, olive oil, walnut oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. I think my pears must have been a bit on the measly side as I found the walnut flavour a bit overwhelming and had to add an extra pear to mine. The texture of the dressing was lovely and smooth and added tons of flavour to the terrine.

How exciting, 55 recipes down, only 600 to go!*

*Of course this was the case before I upgraded to the second and then third edition of the book! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

54/1038 - Cucumber as a cooked vegetable

Cooking cucumber was a first for me, and I must say I quite liked it! The cucumber is peeled, steamed and then pan fried with butter until you have a nice burnt butter sauce. Once the butter is sufficiently browned you throw in some lemon juice (which stops the butter from cooking) and some parsley.

Stephanie's recommendation was that this be served over either chicken or fish. We chose to throw it over some prawns which I thought worked quite nicely.

53/1038 - Fennel and potato fry-up

I think this might be the nicest way I have ever eaten fennel!

The fennel is pre-blanched and then fried with potato, bacon, fennel seeds, garlic and onion. It is difficult to see how you could go wrong with this recipe. The entire family absolutely loved it and there was not a left-over to be seen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

52/1038 - Coconut ice

I just love coconut ice and I made this batch specifically to bring some lovely colour to a party table. 

It was, however, almost a disaster. I put the mixture into a tin that was not quite big enough, and so the coconut ice was quite thick and deep which made it extremely hard to get out. After muttering a few choice words that I am pleased my children were not around to hear, I managed to get the majority of it out and in fairly well shaped pieces.

Disaster averted, it tasted like it was supposed to and provided a good hit of sugar for my guests as energy was flagging. 

51/1038 - Brutti ma buoni (ugly but good)

These little biscuits are like slightly chewy meringues flavoured with hazelnuts. They are aptly named because they are definitely not the most attractive biscuits I have ever made, but they certainly are yummy.

My special tip for anybody who makes these biscuits would be to NOT drop them all in a tin together expecting them to come apart easily. I was mortified to find a massive ball of biscuit when I pulled the tin out a couple of days after I had made them. With some careful prising I managed to pull them apart but I am thinking that a single layer in a long, flat tupperware container might be a better option next time I make them.

50/1038 - Old-fashioned almond bread

I was so thrilled to make this bread and have it turn out so well because it has always been a favourite of mine. 

The first bake takes the bread to a dense cake-like consistency which is then cooled and finely sliced. Lucky for me, I have an old laser cut knife that was perfect for a fine job such as this. The slices are then put back into the oven where they become golden and crisp.

Ridiculously easy and a yummy, not-too-sweet bite to have with a coffee.