Saturday, October 29, 2016

539/1038 - Avocado bavarois

Our weekly market habit is in its seventh month and so it is unsurprising that we now have favourite stalls which we frequent on each trip. 

Shane's Fruit (from memory, stall B9-B12) is run by a lovely man (who we assume is Shane!) and each week we pick up our weekly load of unsprayed apples, bananas and whichever other goodies catch our eye. 

We have scored lovely avocados from Shane's Fruit a number of times, however they are generally consumed as a healthy mid afternoon snack. An avocado bavarois sounded like a fun change from my regular balsamic/cracked pepper combination and also a lovely complement to my planned chicken and vegetable dinner.

As ever, my family get nervous when I make a dish which is required to do something special such as ooze (think soft-centred puddings) or set. Gelatine is not always my friend, but I am pleased to say that on this occasion all turned out as hoped. As evidenced by the vertical indentations in the bavarois pictured, I had lined my moulds with baking paper, nervous that the avocado would stick. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. The lovely little custards slid straight out on to the plates and became a gorgeous little topper for what might otherwise have been a fairly average meal.

The bavarois received a surprising four sets of thumbs up.

Nice x

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

538/1038 - Soft-centred chocolate puddings

My eldest quite randomly requested a mud cake last weekend and I decided that soft-centred chocolate puddings would be a close enough response. 

I have never made lava cake and so my anticipation of seeing oozy centres when we cut into our pretty little desserts was running way off the chart. 

Instead of six puddings, I decided to make only four. Largely to avoid the squabbles I just knew would ensue when my family of four had eaten their fill in the first sitting. Because I had messed with the pudding sizes, the required cooking time remained a bit of an unknown. The first pudding, which will forever be known as "failed test pudding", oozed in a splat on to the plate. As luck would have it, young boys quite like oozy, chocolatey sludge and so number one disappeared with said pudding and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. 

The remaining three went back into the oven and I promptly forgot about them. When I finally remembered to take them out, I was fairly sure I had overcooked them, but held on to a small glimmer of hope that the lava would still exist. The initial incision was videoed ... and let's just say the result was not at all worth sharing. 

The upside? The centres were only just cooked and so we got to eat the lightest, fluffiest, most wonderfully melt-in-the-mouth chocolate cakes we have eaten in a very long time. 

Even better was finding a use for the dehydrated strawberries I had made only a couple of days earlier. 

Win x 

(See, even a lose is a win!)

Monday, October 17, 2016

537/1038 - David's eggplant pickle

Pickling is not my favourite thing to do. When undertaking this recipe I discovered that I am definitely "waiting-for-pastry-to-chill" patient, but not "waiting for vegetables to pickle" patient! 

Sooooo....pickled eggplant. The pickling process was relatively easy, but I will confess to completing it in between many other tasks and leaving the red wine vinegar on the the eggplant for w-a-a-a-y too long. Unfortunately this meant that the final product was lovely, but slightly more "pickly" than I would have liked. 

I decided to serve the eggplant as a part of an antipasto spread for dinner, which was lovely in theory but actually ended up being a little rich for my taste. Too much oily fish, oily olives, oily eggplant and I ended up feeling full, but a little nauseous by the end. 

This is a really lovely recipe but I think the learnings for me were - 1) put a day aside and complete the pickling in an appropriate timeframe, and 2) When serving antipasto, add lots and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables to the mix.

P.S - The family loved it so still calling this a win! x

Thursday, October 13, 2016

536/1038 - Blue cheese dressing for lettuce

My little family loves all food, but we have a special place in our hearts for cheese.

Blue cheese is certainly divisive in the general population, but I am pleased that of my family of four, 100% of us are firmly on the side of this smelly little delicacy. 

With a mid-week trek into the city to watch the socceroos planned, I thought a quick burger meal would be an appropriate pre-game option. 

This easy and fabulous blue cheese dressing was the perfect accompaniment to my home-made patties and incredibly peppery, garden-fresh rocket. An enormous pile of raw green beans were also consumed, each scooped heartily into this wonderful dressing. 

I halved the recipe and it still made a mountain! The small bowlful that is left will be added to the antipasto platter I plan to put together for dinner tonight. I am so organised food-wise at the moment I almost don't know myself x

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

535/1038 - Chinese crisp-roasted pork

Is it completely immodest to proclaim this the best pork belly I have ever eaten? 

I will admit I was sceptical. I have only ever created pork crackling one way and that is with olive oil and plenty of salt. This version has the belly boiled and dried before the skin is salted and the meat, marinated. It is then left uncovered in the fridge for a number of hours before being blasted in the oven. 

The only tiny thing I changed about the recipe was to turn my oven to full heat rather than 230°C for the first twenty minutes as we have found this the best way to get a great crispy crackle. 

Not only was the crackling UNBELIEVABLE, but the flavour of the meat was also mouth wateringly good. Soy sauce and garlic on pork; who knew? 

My husband is the master of crackle and my mini-chef has actually warned me that one bad crackle attempt and I will be immediately removed from pork duty! After serving this one up, I do believe I have earned his crackle related respect x