The Romance of the Garden Bounty

It seemed like such a good idea at the time…

I’m always super enthusiastic about growing our own fruit and vegetables and when the first crops start coming through it’s very satisfying to be eating them hours or even minutes after they’ve been picked.  But as summer progresses and crops start to come in thick and fast, we suddenly have more courgettes/peaches/apples/rhubarb than we know what to do with; even after giving some away it can become a bit of a burden. This year was no exception and it became time to find some new ways of using the excess.

I found a couple of new courgette recipes this year; one savory and one sweet.  The savory recipe is based on a very simplified version of the Breakfast Fritter recipe in Donna Hay’s book “Life in Balance”.  I wanted a light batter for the fritter and this recipe achieves that by using egg whites and a small amount of rice flour.  It’s actually a great base for adding whatever vegetables that you want to.  On this occasion I added grated courgette and served them with lemon juice, plenty of salt and some Chevre cheese that I had in the fridge.  They’re great eaten fresh from the frying pan while the next one is cooking!

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The sweet courgette recipe is a stand out cake from Julie Le Clerc’s book “Made by Hand”.  It’s a chocolate courgette cake with walnuts, raisins and buckwheat flour.  It bakes to a gorgeously dark colour, uses up HEAPS of courgette and when it’s fresh, it’s crispy on the outside and moist in the middle…the way a good cake should be.  I’ve made this more than once and it’s definitely become a favourite.  I’m a bit lazy when it comes to icing and the great thing is that this cake doesn’t need it.  It’s got a gorgeous, deep, satisfying flavour.  I would like to say that because of this, one slice is enough *cough*; but really…is one slice of cake ever enough?!

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Blackboy peaches were the next big glut that needed dealing to.  Usually I just stew them or put them in crumbles (so good!) but they’re such nice peaches that I felt like I should try and do something more interesting with them for a change.  The first thing I did was make them into a Blackboy Peach and Raspberry Tart using the Peach Tart recipe from “Jane Grigson’s Fruit” book.  This is a great recipe that gives plenty of tips and techniques for preventing soggy pastry (which I’m happy to report that I achieved). The way the fruit is laid out looks absolutely stunning and the flavour is intense and beautifully offset by the cream.  As the icing on the cake, I glazed it with a homemade rhubarb and rose jam – to die for.

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The next peach recipe is by Emma Galloway – Peach, Rosemary and Yoghurt Cake from her book “My Darling Lemon Thyme: Recipes from my Real Food Kitchen”.  I don’t often use the harder herbs like rosemary in sweets so I’m always excited when the opportunity arises.  The batter is a mix of ground almonds and rice flour which gives it a lovely texture and the yoghurt and peaches help retain moisture in the cake.  Really really delicious and the rosemary adds a subtle piney flavour.  I’ve made this cake twice; on the second time around I didn’t put it in the fridge for a day or two – this was a big mistake because it went mouldy.  I was traumatised when I had to put it in the compost! *sob

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I know that looks like ash but it’s actually a mixture of rosemary and icing sugar 🙂

The last thing that I did with the blackboy peaches was to make a dessert from “Martin Bosley Cooks”.  This was also divine and a really straight-forward recipe.  Just crumble up amaretti biscuits and mix the crumbs with egg and brown sugar; spoon over the top of halved peaches and bake in the oven until tender and caramelised…drool.

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They’re topped with creme fraiche and mint

We tend to get a lot of rhubarb and raspberries in the garden as well (hence including the raspberries in my peach tart earlier).  We collect these with the intention of doing something delicious with them and then promptly forget about them/can’t be bothered…lucky compost (but poor us)!  I often put them into a clafoutis or a crumble (when I remember to) and this year I used them to make a Ricotta, Rhubarb and Raspberry Loaf using Annabel Langbein’s Miracle Cake recipe; this is from her book “Endless Summer”.  It’s so rustic looking and gets a gorgeous crispy top.  When my daughter bit into it it made her gasp which I think is a pretty good sign!  This one probably won’t get made as often as the others though because I don’t often have ricotta in the house and I don’t like to make special purchases for baking (is that weird?!).

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I haven’t mentioned the apples yet even though they’re actually our biggest crop. Luckily they’re great eating apples but we do get a lot of wind-fall ones that aren’t so good to eat.  You’d think this would call for copious amounts of apple crumbles but despite the number of desserts I’ve just mentioned, we don’t actually eat them often. We generally find that by the time we finish dinner we don’t have any room left for a heavy pudding. This year I used some to make Earl Grey Tea Jelly from Diana Henry’s book “Salt, Sugar, Smoke”.  I love Earl Grey tea (and I’m a bit of a tea addict in general) so I couldn’t resist this recipe.  It’s quite easy to make and also gave me the opportunity to use my jelly bag and boiling-water canner (small pleasures!).  I haven’t actually used this jelly since I made it but it tasted pretty damn good when I was licking the spoon!  The recipe suggests using it with ice cream or pannacotta (yum!) or with duck or game.  I imagine it would be pretty good on toast as well to be honest!

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And the final recipe from my garden glut is a bit of a cheat because it isn’t actually things from my own garden but just a build up of stuff in the fridge. Somehow we ended up with a huge number of carrots and a cauliflower from the market that had been sadly neglected.  Luckily I had just bought Nicola Galloway’s book “Homegrown Kitchen” which has a recipe for Crunchy Winter Vegetable Pickle using lacto-fermentation as the preserving method.  I love a bit of fermentation so couldn’t resist using said vegetables to make up a batch.  These I have tried since I made them and they’re delicious.  So far all I’ve done is eat them straight out of the jar…I need to up my game; the recipe suggests eating them with eggs or stirring them through rice with some herbs; sounds like excellent advice to me!

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So finally the garden has calmed down for the winter – I just picked our last courgettes yesterday – and the need to frantically use produce has passed.  Of course, next year I will have completely forgotten about the amount of work it takes and will once again romanticise the idea of bottling, preserving, baking and puddings and it’ll start all over again!  But to be honest…I love it really 🙂

(See, I’ve forgotten about the hard work already!).

Rebellious Baking

You might remember from previous posts that I’ve been trying to cut down on my sugar intake this year.

I don’t usually make changes to baking recipes because of the “science” involved

I started out using recipes that were designed to be low sugar but lately I’ve gone back to more traditional recipes which I’m adjusting to make them healthier. It’s quite fun deciding what to change and to see if it’ll work out or not;I don’t usually make changes to baking recipes because of the “science” involved so my recent experiments have made me feel rather rebellious!

The first recipe I adjusted was Nigella’s Banana Bread recipe from “How to be a Domestic Goddess” (you can find this recipe here).  This banana bread was soooo good that it has been promoted to my new go-to recipe.  But really, how could it not be good when it’s full of rum-soaked saltanas?!  It has walnuts in it as well which are dee-lish.

What did I change – I changed half of the flour from white to wholemeal and I reduced the sugar by about 1/4 of a cup.  Not huge changes but I thought it best to go gently at first.

Result – this recipe is delicious and didn’t seem at all impacted by the changes I made.  The cake is very moist which makes it a bit fall-aparty but it’s an issue I’m prepared to put up with!  It’s possible that the crumbliness was caused by the wholemeal flour.  Outcome – successful change.

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the banana bread…we were obviously too focused on eating it to think about preserving it for posterity!

The next recipe I meddled with is a family favourite that my Gran always used to make.  It was actually quite a big deal for me to change this recipe because I didn’t want to lose the essence of what makes Gran’s Brown Betty special…however the other option was not to make it anymore which didn’t appeal either.

What did I change – I left the quantity of sugar the same but I replaced the white sugar with a mixture of coconut sugar and rapadura (only because I didn’t have enough coconut sugar).  I read online that these sugars can be difficult to cream with butter because they’ve got larger granules so I ground them a bit finer in my mini blender and they creamed up nicely.  I also substituted pure maple syrup for the golden syrup and replaced all the white flour with wholemeal flour.

Result – you can taste the wholemeal flour but the flavour is still really good and by the time we’d been eating it for a couple of days we had adjusted to the change in flour.  The texture was good and most importantly, it still had that certain special something that is distinctive to Brown Betty.  So this time I went a bit further by changing the type of sugar and using all wholemeal flour.  Next time I will try reducing the quantity of sugar as well and see how that goes.  Overall a successful experiment.

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This is an outstanding dessert!

I have to admit that I made very little change to this last recipe but it didn’t contain a lot of sugar in the first place.  This is a dessert recipe for Roasted Figs with Pomegranate Molasses and Orange Zest from Ottolenghi’s book “Plenty More”.  If you want to try this recipe you can find it here.

This is an outstanding dessert!  The sauce consists of pomegranate molasses, strips of orange zest, thyme sprigs, lemon juice and brown sugar.  The figs marinate in this before being grilled with another sprinkling of brown sugar until caramelized…very easy!

While the figs are grilling the sauce is reduced and thickened then drizzled over the figs, which are sprinkled with thyme leaves and served with a dollop of sweetened mascarpone and greek yoghurt and a sprinkling of orange zest…devine…it looked stunning and tasted stunning!

This recipe would be great for a dinner party because most can be done in advance.  The mascarpone and yoghurt is whipped and put in the fridge and the figs can be left to marinate for a reasonable period of time until needed.

What did I change – there are only 3 tablespoons of brown sugar in the recipe but even so I cut this in half and I only used 1/2 tablespoon of icing sugar in the cream.

Result – I think the above says it all…devine!

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For my next experiments I’m keen to try replacing the white flour not just with wholemeal flour but other flours such as buckwheat, brown rice and almond meal etc.  Even though I’m still in the early stages of making these adjustments, there’s something very satisfying knowing that my treats are nourishing(ish).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating Through the Days

My standard breakfast fare consists of untoasted, unfruited muesli and to be honest I’m quite happy to eat that every day.  Even when I go out for breakfast I’m quite often tempted to get the muesli (except usually the muesli is a bit too elaborate for my taste).  However, lately I’ve been trying some alternatives to muesli in an attempt to vary my diet and nutrition and I’ve been enjoying them very much.  Below are some images of the breakfasts I have partaken recently…

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Steel cut oats topped with banana, activated sunflower seeds, cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup (inspiration from the Deliciously Ella Everyday cookbook)
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Chia Breakfast Pudding topped with…yes…untoasted, unfruited muesli!  Very tasty, from the Deliciously Ella cookbook
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Apple Pie Smoothie Bowl topped with…toasted and fruited muesli (I’m really branching out now!).  From the Simplicious cookbook by Sarah Wilson.  It wasn’t quite thick enough initially so I added some rolled oats and chia seeds.
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Go-to-Green-Smoothie from the Hemsley & Hemsley cookbook.  Very zingy and full of goodness (almonds activating in the background!).

I’ve been cooking a few more healthy snacks as well for my morning tea…

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Cinnamon and Raisin Cookies from the Hemsley & Hemsley cookbook.  These are gluten free with very little sweetener (other than the raisins).  They taste really good but have a very crumbly texture from the almond meal.
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Broc Bites from Sarah Wilson’s Simplicious cookbook.  These are little savoury bakes filled with broccoli and tons of cheese.  I added a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and parmesan cheese on top which give them a lovely heat and crispy outside with a gooey cheesiness to the dough.

I’ve been making more interesting salads for my work lunches too and trying to get the ingredients organised in the weekend so they don’t take so long to put together.  This consists of cooking grains in advance, boiling eggs, rinsing and drying lettuce etc…

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This was my own concoction inspired by the various healthy cookbooks I’ve been reading lately.  This salad consists of quinoa, butter crunch lettuce, avocado, green sicilian olives, red cabbage and green peas.  After this photo was taken I also added sauerkraut, home made japanese-style pickled beetroot (from the Momofuku cookbook) and some powerhouse dressing (from the Simplicious cookbook).
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This salad was really good.  It’s also out of Simplicious and is called Puttanesca Festival Abundance Bowl.  Julienne carrots, radish leaves (instead of rocket), leftover chargrilled courgette, tomato, olives, tuna and powerhouse dressing.  It was supposed to have pesto in it but I already had powerhouse dressing made up in the fridge.  I heated it up a little bit which was very pleasant.
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These are Power Up Salad Bowls from Anabelle Langbein’s Endless Summer book.  Beans, roasted kumara, kale, cranberries, grapes, seeds and nuts and a chia seed dressing.

Following on from all these lovely salads I need a good hearty dinner.  Recently I’ve been trying to use up all the white rice and pasta that we have in the cupboard…as part of my healthier eating I want to change over to wholemeal pasta but in the meantime I have to make do with white…

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Pasta with Lamb Ragu from the Nigellissima cookbook.  We had leftover roast lamb in the freezer so I used that instead of lamb mince.  It’s flavoured with Worcester sauce, chilli, oregano and dried mint which gave it a wonderful tang/heat/freshness.
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I’ve had a box of half-used pasta sheets in the cupboard for more than a year now so I decided to be really clever and made the same ragu sauce but this time layered it into a tin with the lasagna sheets and grated cheese…so delicious and some might say improvisational!
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While I was in an improvising mood I decided to get a bit intuitive as well (see goals)! I produced this meal by combining onion, tinned tomatoes, grated courgette, leftover roast kumara, chickpeas, cumin, and chilli flakes all served on a bed of barley.  I’m not sure how I achieved it but it had a lovely tang almost as though it had lemon juice in it…really tasty.

And to finish…a pudding…rice pudding to be exact to try and use up some of the rather large quantities of short grain rice I have in the cupboard.  This was a very quick and easy recipe to make (compared to some recipes).  It is a Nigel Slater recipe that we found online…grease the dish, bung everything in, stick it in a hot oven for an hour and Bob’s your uncle!

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I don’t need to tell you how good this was…(soooo good!).

A busy week!

We had a 3 day weekend last week and as a result I seem to have done an awful lot of cooking!  I didn’t realise just how much until I began uploading all the photos…brace yourself for a long post…!

First up I needed to find a way to use some of my beetroot.  I chopped the large ones into chunks and roasted them with some white wine vinegar, oil, salt and pepper using the instructions from the “Root to Leaf” cookbook by Steven Satterfield.  I liked the fact that this method didn’t have any sugar in it (I usually roast beetroot in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar!).  These roasted up really well and I stored them in the fridge to be made into beetroot salads.

The smaller, red beetroot I sliced really thinly with my mandolin and pickled them in a korean-style pickling liquid from the “Momofuku” cookbook by David Chang.  It is a very basic recipe – the beetroot isn’t cooked, it’s just packed into a jar and the cold pickling liquid of rice wine vinegar, salt and sugar is poured over the top..so quick and easy and can be used for lots of different vegetables.

I also had a bit of pizza practice during the weekend…this time I focused on learning the tomato sauce recipe and trying to make the bases and toppings from memory.  Tomato sauce is my focus recipe for this month; it’s an easy recipe to learn – just oil, garlic, tomatoes, sugar and salt – but the next step is learning how to use it as a base for other meals…another step towards my goal of learning to cook without recipes!  (the pizzas were delicious by the way 🙂 )

On Sunday we had some family round for afternoon tea so it seemed like an excellent opportunity to make some tasty treats.  I’m still trying to keep to healthy(er) food so I chose a cake recipe from a book called “Whole Food Slow Cooked” by Olivia Andrews.  The Orange and Poppy Seed Cake is topped with candied oranges (or in my case, mandarins because I ran out of oranges!) in syrup.  I used a mixture of almond meal and buckwheat flour, the fat comes from olive oil and the sweetness comes from honey. The mandarin slices are candied in a mixture of honey and orange juice which is poured over the cake when it comes out of the oven.  It was a beautifully moist cake with the lovely texture that comes from poppy seeds and the occasional gorgeous sweetness from the mandarin slices.

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The savoury treats of the day were Cheese Straws; this is a recipe that my gran used to make for every tea party that she hosted.  It was the first time I’ve made them and they are so incredibly quick and easy…and moreish!  These weren’t quite so virtuous as the cake…white flour, butter, salt, cayenne pepper and shed loads of tasty cheese…drool…

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The final treat I made for the afternoon was home made, dairy free chocolate.  I found this recipe online and if you’re interested in trying them (and I really recommend them!) you can find them at this link: http://www.quirkycooking.com.au/2010/11/dairy-free-raw-chocolate/.  The ingredients are very simple – cocoa butter, cacao powder, vanilla essence, salt and some sweetner – I used honey but other sweetners can also be used.  I don’t have a thermomix so I didn’t make mine raw – I just melted the cocoa butter in a double-boiler, chucked in the other ingredients, stirred them around for a while and then called them done!  I poured some into a tray to chop up later and poured the rest into mini cupcake wrappers with some flavourings.  I made some with sea salt, some with cocao nibs and some with chopped roasted almonds.  These worked out so nicely, I was super happy with them!  They have to set in the freezer which made the bottoms of them marbled (see below) but when they come out of the wrappers the top is lovely and dark and gorgeous looking.

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What a tasty spread!

Last weekend was also the weekend that I bottled my Kombucha – black tea which is fermented with the assistance of an organism called a scoby (the thing in the jar that looks like a sea-creature in the images below!).  I flavoured the Kombucha with boysenberries which was then left to sit on the bench for 3 days before being transferred to the fridge to slow the fermentation process.  I opened my first bottle the second I was able to and it was delicious and tart and fizzy…so thrilled!  My next batch is already on the brew 🙂

And of course, given that it was a long weekend, I had to do some slow cooking somewhere along the line and what better than two large lamb shanks?! I used a recipe from “The River Cafe Cookbook” which slow cooks the lamb in balsamic vinegar and red wine.  These became gorgeous and gnarly and produced a rich, onion sauce to serve alongside.  As a side dish I chargrilled some courgettes and dressed them in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and marjoram…this was from the same cookbook and was a nice fresh accompaniment to the lamb shanks…

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…and what could be better after a meal of lamb shanks than a delightful plum clafoutis made from the shiro plums from our tree?! Usually I use Julia Child’s clafoutis recipe but this time I used a recipe from “Root to Leaf” which had a slightly different technique.  The result was almost like a thick sweet omelette and the tart plums were delicious with a bit of sweet ice cream on the side…mmm…so tasty!

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Finally…a friend has lent me a book called “Deliciously Ella” by Ella Woodward so I decided to try one of her recipes right away.  The recipe I started with is called Lentil Bolognaise which contains (among other things) lentils (obviously!), tomatoes, tomato paste (lots!), sun-dried tomatoes (lots!) and carrot…however in my case I didn’t have any carrots so instead I used a lovely red cylindra beetroot.  This gave the dish an even deeper red colouring and provided a similar sweet earthy flavour that would have come from the carrots.

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The grated beetroot look so bright and luscious and match my glass of boysenberry Kombucha beautifully!

So quite a busy food week!  And I haven’t done too badly in sticking to healthy(er) options.  One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that I’ve also had a go at smoking some food on my stovetop…that’s the cooking technique I’m learning for February.  I will share my experiences and resources with you in a later post but let me say now that it was really easy and devine!

Happy cooking (and eating) and I look forward to writing to you again soon 🙂

The last of 2015…

These are my final meals to blog for 2015 and then on to a new year of cooking fun!

A couple of these meals are from quite a while ago.  The first one is from “Glorious French Food” called Pork Chops with Red Cabbage Flavoured with Vinegar, Apples and Bacon.  The cabbage and apple sauce was a really nice accompaniment to the pork and a nice variation of a traditional apple sauce.

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I also had a go recently at improving my pizza bases.  I made two pizzas using the recipe from Bill Granger’s book called “Bill’s Italian Food”.  This was a pretty good base and I was quite happy with my toppings as well.  The first flavour was Chicken and Cranberry & the second one was…
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…prosciutto and tomato.  It is unusual for me to achieve good toppings on my pizzas so I want to work on this some more in 2016 (it’s good to have some goals for the new year!).
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Earlier in the year my husband bought me a Mexican recipe book called La Boca Loca which I was very excited about, so imagine my surprise when I realised last week that I hadn’t used it yet!!  I decided to remedy this immediately by making the Chicken Enchilada recipe.  This was quite involved and required me to make corn tortillas, a sauce called Salsa de Enchilada, and a chili sauce to cook with the chicken (once I had roasted it!)…it was very satisfying to make all the elements and it tasted delicious.  I’m definitely keen to make these again.
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Another book that I used for the first time last week (and was my 100th recipe book for the year!) was “Thai Street Food” by David Thompson.  This recipe was called Chicken and Rice…the name is plain and the look of it is plain but the flavours are anything but plain!  The three of us who ate it were in heaven!  The broth was so flavoursome and the rice was too.  The broth is used to poach the chicken, then some of it is used to cook the rice and then the remaining is made into the broth that is served alongside.  Missing from the photo below is a yellow bean sauce which is served with it and adds a fermented, salty flavour hit.  Really really good, I can’t wait to cook from that book again.
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And my final meal for 2015 was Shepardless Pie from “Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook” which was served with a green salad and the leftovers of some Chewy Indonesian Rice Salad from the “Revive Cafe Cookbook”.  The Shepardless Pie had a lovely deep flavour which was partially achieved by cooking the lentils with lapsang souchong tea.  This imparted a subtle smoky flavour to the lentils and some of the cooking liquid is added to the sauce as well.  The smoky flavour isn’t overbearing but helps to add a nice deep flavour which would normally be provided by the meat (and it permeates the kitchen with a lovely bonfire aroma!).  The instructions for the polenta weren’t quite right and it ended up waaaay too thick so next time I will adjust this slightly.  However, this was a very satisfying last meal for the year.
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And to finish it off we had a Boysenberry Clafoutis made with boysenberries from our garden.  This was out of my Julia Child book and was served at 11.15pm on new years eve…what a lovely way to spend the last of 2015!
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Devine December Goodies

At Christmas time there are certain goodies that we need – Christmas Cake, Coffee Creams, Plum Pudding and Egg Nog Ice Cream – and this year was no exception!

My first bit of Christmas baking was my Christmas Cake, always an exciting occasion!  The recipe comes from an old Christmas issue of the Taste magazine that my husband bought for me when we first moved in together.  This was the first Christmas Cake I ever made, I had to go out and buy a tin especially for it and I’ve never looked back.  I nearly used a different recipe last year but after looking through all the other options I decided that my original was still the best.  Like any good Christmas Cake it is packed full of booze and then is continued to be “fed” whisky on a weekly basis after it’s cooked.  The dried fruit is mixed with the booze a few days in advance so that they can absorb the goodness and plump up prior to baking…how devine!

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A recently revived must have is a recipe called Donna’s Coffee Creams from my families recipe book.  Donna was a friend of my mums and her coffee cream recipe is legendary!  We used to have them every year when I was growing up and then I completely forgot about them until last year when I made a batch for Christmas.  They were a massive hit and still are a massive hit with everyone who tries one.  Balls of crushed biscuits, coffee, butter and other tasty things all rolled in chopped nuts…how devine!

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For dessert on Christmas day I love a Plum Pudding.  The recipe I use is called Mrs Chapman’s Christmas Pudding which is the recipe of my great, great (great?) aunt.  It’s another booze filled recipe which is steamed for a few hours in advance and then gets a final steaming to re-heat it on Christmas day.  I serve this with Egg Nog Ice Cream out of my Jo Seager Christmas book which is a nice substitute to brandy sauce (and easier because you can make it in advance). We had two Christmas dinners this year (why wouldn’t you?!), and for the other dessert I made Nigella’s Pina Colada ice cream out of her “Kitchen” book served with Meringues and fresh berries from the garden.  I was intending to make pineapple flavoured meringues but I couldn’t find the pineapple powder that I needed.  Despite this, I was very happy with my meringues; nice and crispy on the outside and fluffy and chewy in the middle…how devine!

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During the week some family come round for lunch and I made Sweet Roasted Red Onion and Garlic Bread from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie’s Kitchen” book.  It is well worth making; the onion and garlic are roasted in the oven with balsamic vinegar to give them a gorgeous sweetness, the dough is then flattened out, spread with the onion mix and rolled up so that when you slice into the bread it looks like a scroll…devine!

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But as so often happens over the Christmas period, our fridge was getting out of hand so I decided it was time to give it a good tidy up.  During this process I discovered that I had some green and black olives that need eating as well as some feta cheese.  I had recently found some recipes for marinated olives and cheese so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try them out.  The three recipes came from a book called “Italy Anywhere” by Lori De Mori which I picked up for about $3 from a second-hand shop.  The recipes are Spicy Green Olives, Lemony Black Olives and Marinated Cheeses.  These were really quick to put together, I did all three of them in about 45 minutes.  The cheese is ready to eat within an hour and the olives take 3-5 days.  I haven’t tried them yet but they look…devine!

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And finally for my December Goodies, I made a Raspberry and Almond Cake out of the Harbour Kitchens cookbook.  I made this to use a huge volume of berries that I collected from our garden this week.  There were only three of us at home so I made a half quantity cake and used full quantity berries.  It’s a gluten free recipe and the cake batter is made from whipped egg whites, almond flour and rice flour resulting in a beautifully light cake.  The raspberries are sprinkled over the top of the cake batter along with some sliced almonds and the raspberries soak into the top layer of the cake as it bakes…mmmm…devine!!

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Well, happy new year everyone and I look forward to another years cooking ahead!  You may have noticed on my front page that I was trying to use 100 of my cookbooks before 31st December and I’m pleased to say that I made it with a day to spare!

A Weekend of Roasts

I love to cook slower meals in the weekend when I have the extra time. This weekend I was on a roast craze starting with a boneless rolled pork loin. I chose a recipe out of a recipe book called “Ripailles” by Stephane Reynaud.  It’s the most amazing cookbook if you haven’t seen it, it’s an eclectic mix of recipes, sheet music, diagrams showing different cuts of meat, the French rugby team, different cigar sizes with the corresponding archetypal smoker…love it.  The recipe I used was Roti de cochon tout simplement or Roast Pork, Pure and Simple.  It contained fresh baby turnips and baby carrots bought from the Riccarton Bush Market that morning and the pork is crisped up before putting it into the roasting tray with the rest of the ingredients.  It was a nice recipe but it was a slightly dry so it could have come out of the oven a bit earlier.  The sauce gave it some moisture which was good and the vegetables cooked with the pork were lovely with the roasted garlic.

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This is before it went into the oven, I forgot to take another photo when it came out of the oven but it looked even better 🙂

For dessert I made a Christmas Pavlova from “How to be a Domestic Goddess” by Nigella Lawson.  This was mainly to use up some egg whites and a pomegranate that we had.  I made half the quantity of the original recipe; half quantity should have had 4 egg whites in it but I forgot to put the 4th egg white in.  Despite this it turned out beaaaautifully!  It’s cooked at a much higher temperature than other recipes and I was a bit concerned when an hour after I had turned off the oven it seemed to be completely collapsed with a lot of crust on the top…however I needn’t have worried.  The pav had a delicious crust and a nice thick quantity of soft meringue in the middle.  The mixture contains rosewater which gave it an extra subtle flavour and the pomegranate seeds provided a delicate texture that went really nicely with the softness of the pavlova.  This recipe should have served 5-6 people…3 of us managed to almost completely demolish it in one sitting…it’s just egg white though aye?!

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So beautiful!  So christmasy even though it’s not christmas…

 

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Look at that lusciousness!!

On sunday we went to the supermarket in search of further things to roast and came home with a piece of rolled beef.  There were quite a mix of recipes to bring this meal together.  I used some general instructions online to cook the meat, Marco Pierre White suggested that it should be 59-64 degrees in the middle for medium rare so I thought it was best to follow this advice and to good effect.  The yorkshire puddings were absolutely delicious from a Jamie Oliver recipe I found online (I’ve used this recipe once before and they turned out perfectly that time as well).  The salad was a version of a Harvest Salad of Annabelle Langbeins and the brocolli had a delicious olive and caper sauce from Nigella Express…absolutely scrummy!

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What a picture of loveliness!