Archive for May, 2009

Adriano Zumbo – 40 Days and Nights in Paris

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

May 2009

I have been so excited about going to see Adriano Zumbo’s new collection of cakes and macarons since I heard about the launch 3 weeks ago and got even more excited when I saw a sneak peak preview on Not Quite Nigella!!! Lucky Lorraine!! (I’m secretly [or not so secretly] very jealous! 😉 ).

“…….” - Hazelnut meringue, anzac moisture, mint chocolate disc, vanilla apple tatin chantilly, apple tatine compote, isomalt caramel.

“…….” - Hazelnut meringue, anzac moisture, mint chocolate disc, vanilla apple tatin chantilly, apple tatine compote, isomalt caramel.

I have never been to Zumbo’s before and have been reading great reviews about it for the past year. This is also my first time in meeting some fellow food bloggers and my first review of a café. A big thanks to Reem for organising this lovely get together, it was great to finally meet everyone: Reem, Lili, Steph, Chris and Tim, Belle, Trina, Simon, Karen and Susan.

I not only love cakes, biscuits, chocolate, macarons, cream and all other things sweet, but I also love when people present their dishes in a gorgeous way, so I was in for a treat!

“!” - Smoked rice orange brulee, violet curd, pate sable with mandarin and ruby grapefruit segments.

“!” - Smoked rice orange brulee, violet curd, pate sable with mandarin and ruby grapefruit segments.

After seeing the preview I had an idea of definite cakes to try, the chocolate ‘popcorn’ stack and the Mille Feuille … and don’t forget the lovely range of macarons.

“Escape from a Colombia Rainforest” - flourless chocolate sponge, dark chocolate fizzy disc, cherry cola jelly, cherry cola slurp, chocolate sabayon mousse.

“Escape from a Colombia Rainforest” - flourless chocolate sponge, dark chocolate fizzy disc, cherry cola jelly, cherry cola slurp, chocolate sabayon mousse.

“P” - Mandarin mousse, tonka bean brulee, pain d’epice, sour cream jelly, almond ginger crunch disc.

“P” - Mandarin mousse, tonka bean brulee, pain d’epice, sour cream jelly, almond ginger crunch disc.

Adriano, Rachel and the other lovely staff at the café had a spread of the new collection of cakes out for us to photograph and after choosing a few to buy and take home, we were able to share the remaining cakes there.

“6/11/81″ - Milk passion caramel mousse, lime creme, passionfruit marshmallow, coconut crunch and brownie.

“6/11/81″ - Milk passion caramel mousse, lime creme, passionfruit marshmallow, coconut crunch and brownie.

At Adriano’s I tried a beautiful lime and passionfruit marshmallow cake. There were two sections to this cake, one with a slightly crunchy coconut layer on the outside, with layers of marshmallow and cake and the other covered in luscious mousse. I would have this again – and have been craving it since! 🙂

Smoked toasted marshmallow & chocolate cake, Carrot and seaweed teacake  and Gianduja ganache with caramel in a pate sable shell

Smoked toasted marshmallow & chocolate cake, Carrot and seaweed teacake and Gianduja ganache with caramel in a pate sable shell

Adriano also bought out a few different cakes that were sliced up on the spot. A carrot cake wrapped in seaweed along with a marshmallow cake which had marshmallow in the top of the cake, with a distinctly smoky flavoured cake and glaze, which was topped with marshmallow and ‘coal’-like pieces on top.

“S” - Tea and passionfruit soaked pears & savarin, lavender saffron mascarpone creme, crumble, raspberry jelly, coconut rehydration pipette.

“S” - Tea and passionfruit soaked pears & savarin, lavender saffron mascarpone creme, crumble, raspberry jelly, coconut rehydration pipette.

“W” - Chocolate pop rock & popcorn disc, vanilla almond chantilly, dulce de leche, flourless chocolate sponge, almond feulletine.

“W” - Chocolate pop rock & popcorn disc, vanilla almond chantilly, dulce de leche, flourless chocolate sponge, almond feulletine.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try the chocolate popcorn stack, but heard it was lovely, this means I’ll have to travel back there 😉 Anyone interested?

‘X' - Pine nut gianduja mousse, dark chocolate crème, pate feulletage caramelise, sacher sponge

‘X' - Pine nut gianduja mousse, dark chocolate crème, pate feulletage caramelise, sacher sponge

I decided to buy two cakes to take home for my family to try. One was the Mille Feuille, which consisted of layers of pine nut mousse, fresh and cripsy puff pastry and chocolate crème. There were a few flavours I couldn’t pick in this dish and most people enjoyed this one.

(It fell while I took in on trek home), but it didn't change how much I love it. “V” - Macadamia praline mousse, macadamia dacquoise, vanilla chantilly, pear tatine palette, macadamia feulletine.

(It fell over while I took it on the trek home), but it didn't change how much I loved it. “V” - Macadamia praline mousse, macadamia dacquoise, vanilla chantilly, pear tatine palette, macadamia feulletine.

I really enjoyed ‘V’. After hearing the numerous amounts of ways macadamia were incorporated into this dish and seeing its gorgeous presentation, I thought both my family and I would certainly enjoy this tremendously. It was certainly one of the favourites with the vanilla chantilly working wonders with the macadamia layers, and the pear tatine cutting some of the creaminess in the dish.

Macaron flavours, clockwise from back left: Baklava, Rice Pudding, Toffe Apple, Dark Chocolate

(These also got a bit broken on the way home). 🙁 Macaron flavours, clockwise from back left: Baklava, Rice Pudding, Toffe Apple, Dark Chocolate

I took four macarons home to try as well. The rice pudding was my favourite with a lovely vanilla flavour and rice texture. The chocolate macaron was lovely, slightly bitter with rich dark chocolate. The baklava macaron had a big hit of what I thought was cardamon? But I’m never good at picking flavours and the toffee apple had a hard and (beware for those with loose fillings) chewy outside toffee shell, with a soft apple interior.

The Man himself - Adriano being inundated by bloggers wanting photos

The Man himself - Adriano being inundated by bloggers wanting photos

Thanks again to both Adriano and Rachael at the café for all the hard work they put into making sure the food bloggers had a great range of cakes to try. They were both lovely, friendly and very helpful. Thanks again and I look forward to my next visit. Thanks also to all the food bloggers!! 😉

Adriano Zumbo
Café Chocolat
Shop 5, 308 Darling St Balmain
Ph 02 9555 1199
Open from 8 to 4 Monday to Friday, 8 to 5 on Saturdays and 9 to 5 Sundays

Pâtisserie
296 Darling St Balmain
Ph 02 9810 7318
Open 8 to 6 Monday to Saturday and 8 to 4 on Sundays

Melomakarona – Walnut Syrup Biscuits

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

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Since being introduced to Greek food, with the main focus on Greek sweets, I just can’t seem to stop trying new biscuits and baklava. A batch of biscuits made with a cup of oil seemed a bit concerning to me… I find it easier to justify when I use that much butter, as somehow it doesn’t seem as scary to me. I’m game to try out new foods though and if that includes using a cup of oil, who am I to criticise?

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Using my KitchenAid, the oil beat up a lot quicker than the suggested time and I wasn’t sure whether I should have used a whisk attachment instead. Although once rolled and cooked, I was happy with the result and it seemed those who tried them also enjoyed them. There was a beautiful melt-in-your-mouth feel to the biscuits, with a lovely subtly spiced sweet syrup with a hint of walnuts – Very nice indeed 😛

Melomakarona (walnut syrup biscuits)

(Recipe from Super Food Ideas and Taste.com.au)

Makes: 32

1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup white sugar
2 oranges, juiced
½ lemon, juiced
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon ouzo liqueur (optional – I left this out)
3 cups self-raising flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups walnuts, finely chopped

Syrup
1 cup white sugar
½ cup honey
½ cup boiling water
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
½ lemon, juiced

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 flat baking trays with baking paper. Using an electric mixer, beat oil, sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice and 2 tablespoons lemon juice on high speed for 10 minutes or until thick and creamy (start electric mixer on low speed and increase speed as mixture thickens).

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Add egg yolk and ouzo. Beat for 5 minutes. Sift flour and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon over oil mixture. Fold gently to combine (mixture should be a light, doughy texture).

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Using hands, roll tablespoons mixture into oval shapes. Place on prepared trays. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm to touch. Allow to cool on trays.

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To make the syrup, combine ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 4 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly.

Using a slotted spoon, dip cooled biscuits, 1 at a time (I put 4-5 in at a time), into hot syrup for about 30 seconds, turning over often until well coated. Return to trays. Combine walnuts and remaining ground cinnamon. Sprinkle over biscuits. Allow to cool. Serve.

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Meatloaf with Hidden Boiled Egg – Cooking Class 7

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

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You may be surprised to hear that I can only remember maybe once eating meatloaf and I certainly can’t remember if it had egg in it. This dish was chosen with the special condition that there was whole boiled eggs hidden in the middle of the loaf, so when it was sliced when serving, a lovely slice of egg was evident.

This mix was very tasty, the only problem being that the meat mix fell apart a bit while slicing. Maybe we should push down on the mix more, compact the top? Possibly add a bit more beaten egg to combine the meat better? Either way, it was a lovely flavour combination and I would be more than happy to try and perfect this… maybe the host would too? 😉

Meatloaf with Hidden Eggs

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large size brown onion, finely chopped
8 eggs (2 of these eggs, beaten lightly)
2 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
¼ cup of tomato sauce
1.5kg beef mince
500g sausage mince
1½ cups breadcrumbs
¼ tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 medium carrot, finely grated
5 tablespoons of HP sauce

Hard boil 6 eggs and allow to cool before removing their shells. Heat a large saucepan to medium heat, add the oil and cook the onion for 5-10 minutes, until translucent.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Mix beef and sausage mince using a wooden spoon or by hand. Add the remaining ingredients, including the beaten eggs (excluding the boiled eggs) and mix until well blended.

Spoon half of the mixture into the bottom of 2 or 3 greased loaf tins. Form small indentations for the hard boiled eggs and place eggs into mixture. Smooth the remainder of the mixture into the tin over the eggs.

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Bake in oven for 30 minutes, then remove from oven. Remove from the loaf tin and place on a baking tray. Cover loosely with foil to prevent over-browning. Bake in oven for a further 20 minutes.

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Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve with vegetables.

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Flourless Chocolate and Almond Cake

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

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There aren’t a whole heap of cakes that I’ve made that don’t contain flour… maybe some friands and macarons. I’ve tried a lovely chocolate flourless cake at a bakery near my work and wanted to try making one similar to this and for anyone who is unable to eat foods containing flour.

I wanted to make sure this was moist and between the consistency of brownie and a cake, so icing wasn’t needed. Therefore I took the cake out of the oven a little earlier than I would a normal cake. The middle had risen and started to crack – two things I didn’t really want to happen. So I took it out of the oven when there was slightly wet cake mix sticking to the skewer and let it cool in the tin, where it finished cooking and the middle sunk down.

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The result: a very lovely moist chocolate cake, I know many people enjoyed it on Mothers Day and I hope more people try it and enjoy it.

Flourless Chocolate and Almond Cake

200g dark chocolate, chopped
150g butter, chopped
150g caster sugar
2 tablespoons Kahlua (optional – I didn’t notice any taste from the Kahlua)
5 eggs, separated
100g almond meal

Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and line a 20 or 22cm round tin (I used a spring-form tin).

Place chocolate, butter, sugar and Kahlua in a bowl over simmering water (make sure the water is not touching the bowl. Stir until just combined and remove from on top of saucepan and allow to cool slightly.

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Add egg yolks and beat in one at a time. Fold in almond meal.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Mix a few large spoonfuls into the chocolate mix to lighten the mixture. Fold the remaining egg white through the chocolate mix and pour into prepared tin. Bake for 40 minutes (more if you want it more cake like, less if you want it more fudgey).

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Enjoy with thickened cream or ice cream.

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White Chocolate and Honeycomb Mud Cake

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

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I know I said that I would be trying a white chocolate and hazelnut mud cake after making my first white chocolate mud cake, although I saw this recipe and thought it sounded so fun and would be perfect for my turn baking for our work meeting.

I love anything honeycomb and chocolate so combining this into a cake sounded great and the ganache on top looked lovely and fluffy, even though it doesn’t contain any icing sugar. Due to time restrictions I had to make the cake two nights before the meeting, the ganache the night before and I chopped up the remaining violet crumble just before the meeting so it didn’t soften or go sticky due to moisture.

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Unfortunately I only have photos of the two remaining slices that I had to hide away so Nick could try the cake (as he had been tempted by it during the baking as it smelled gorgeous and the ganache was beautiful and looked like ivory silk – although stiffened up slightly with time), This means the Violet Crumble was a little sticky and melted. The Violet crumble throughout the cake was not very evident, although the pieces which were at the top of the cake while cooking formed a lovely caramelised tasty top to the cake. I would definitely make this again (and already have), I’ve even added a little more Violet Crumble in the cake mixture… 😛

We had to tweak the ganache slightly as I tried to whisk gently the cooled chocolate and cream mixture and it did nothing. It was still very runny. After adding 2-3 tablespoons cold thickened cream (or letting it cool for a lot longer than the recommended time) and beating the mix with a hand mixer, scraping the sides a few times (I found this rest helped it thickened faster) it changed to a light and fluffy ganache.

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White Chocolate and Honeycomb Mud Cake
(Recipe adapted from super food ideas May 2009)

180g white chocolate, chopped
250g butter, chopped
1 cup milk
1¾ cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence/extract
1¾ cup plain flour, sifted
½ cup self raising flour, sifted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-2 x 50g Violet Crumble bars

White Chocolate Ganache
180g white chocolate
1/3 cup thickened cream
+ 2-3 tablespoons cold cream extra
1 x 50g Violet Crumble bars, chopped just before serving

Stir white chocolate, butter, milk, sugar and vanilla essence in a saucepan over low-medium heat until melted and smooth.

Pour into a large bowl and leave to cool for 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 160C or 140C fan forced. Grease and line a 20-22cm round tin with baking paper.

Add eggs and sifted flours and whisk to combine. Fold through Violet Crumble. Pour into prepared tin and cook for 1½ -2 hours or until skewer combs out with clean or with a few crumbs. If the cake starts to brown too much, cover loosely with a piece of foil.

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Remove from oven when cooked and rest in tin for 10 minutes. Allow to finish cooling on cooling rack.

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To make the ganache, put the white chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave on high for 1 minutes, stirring half way through. Stir until smooth. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

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Using an electric beater, beat the white chocolate mix for 2-3 minutes. Add extra cream to help cool down the mix and help it thicken easier. Beat on high for 2 minutes at a time, scrapping and observing the texture. Once it is nice and thick cover the cooled cake with the ganache.

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Just before serving, chop up the remaining Violet Crumble and scatter over cake. Serve.

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Phad Thai – Cooking Class 6

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

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For the latest family cooking class there was a desire to find the perfect home-made Phad Thai. Although this was a lovely mix (I especially loved the sugar content 🙂 – although this was one of the downfalls for most others), the host of this weeks cooking class was not satisfied with the overall flavours and textures of this dish.

We would certainly try to combine some aspects of this recipe with some other recipes and try to improve on the overall dish.

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Any suggestions on things we are missing or how things could be improved would be most welcomed. 🙂 But I’ll give you the recipe in case anyone likes a sweet Phad Thai.

Phad Thai Noodles

Serves: 4-6

375g packet rice stick dried noodles, soaked in cold water for 2 hours or overnight to soften, drain
vegetable oil
½ onion, sliced
500g chicken, cut into small strips
2 tablespoon pickled white radish (optional)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 eggs
2 spring onions, sliced
½ can baby corn pieces
1 carrot, sliced
half bunch Chinese chives, cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 cup bean sprouts
3-4 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts

Sauce
2 tablespoon tamrind concentrate
1 cup sugar
1½ tablespoons fish sauce
½ cup water

Make sauce by mixing ingredients in a saucepan and heating on medium heat, boil for around 15 minutes while preparing the rest of the meal and keep warm.

Heat oil in wok on medium heat and cook onion until transparent and browning slightly. Remove from wok. Cook chicken in batches in the wok and set aside.

Add eggs and stir-fry until scrambled and slightly dry. Remove from pan.

Add some oil and cook spring onions for 1-2 minutes, then add corn, carrot, cooked chicken and onion. Add sauce and noodles and mix. Add chives and bean sprouts and serve with lime wedges, chopped peanuts and ground chilli, if desired.

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Choc-A-Block Trifle

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

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Now this is my sort of trifle! When I first saw this recipe in the delicious Magazine I knew I would one day make it. How could you resist making a trifle that contains chocolate brownies with dark chocolate sauce and Kahlua, fresh thick white chocolate custard and whipped cream with white chocolate and walnuts… are you drooling yet?

Well I certainly am.

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You certainly need to leave room for THIS dessert! With the gorgeously rich chocolate layer at the bottom – I must admit I had a little trouble finishing it, after eating a rather largish meal beforehand – others didn’t seem to have this same problem and cleaned out their glass. I loved the addition of the walnuts and white chocolate to the cream, which really complimented the chocolate layer wonderfully. I was expecting a little more participation from the white chocolate custard, but it got a little lost between the other two stronger flavours. I also found it didn’t thicken as much while cooking as I was expecting (something like the Portuguese custard tarts) so I may have overcooked it a little – unfortunately. :o( . Once cooled it was set, with no problems spreading the cream layer on top.

Apart from the long waiting times between layers setting, the entire recipe doesn’t take terribly long. It’s fantastic having a dessert already waiting for a diner party and I had easily made double the batch, using 14 baked brownies from the previous day. The other problem I had with the recipe (apart from the custard overcooking) was the addition of water to the melted chocolate…

The first tablespoon of boiling water was added to the melted chocolate and delicately stirred in… and the mixture became a conglomeration of thickening hard chocolate!! The more I stirred, the more it thickened – I was supposed to be making a sauce!! After an immense amount of stress on my part, Nick came to the rescue and took over stirring wildly, while adding boiling water faster than I was game – the recipe did say to add one by one to stop the chocolate seizing. Once the initial thickening had occurred, the chocolate formed a lovely sauce, which thickened up in the fridge to be decadently rich and slightly runny.

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Choc-A-Block Trifle
Recipe from delicious magazine March 2008 by Valli Little

Serves: 6

4 good-quality chocolate brownies (about 85g each) (I used 7 of my home-made brownies)
¼ cup (60ml) Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur)
275g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
3 egg yolks
1½ tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon cornflour
600ml thickened cream
150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
¼ cup (30g) toasted chopped walnuts
Dark chocolate curls (see note), to decorate

Break up brownies into small pieces and place in the bottom of a 1.5 litre dish or 6 x 1 cup (250ml) serving glasses. Drizzle over the Kahlua, then set aside.

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Place dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Allow to melt, then stir very gently until smooth. Remove from heat and add 225ml boiling water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring to make a sauce (don’t add water more quickly or the chocolate will ‘seize’ and become grainy). Pour sauce over the brownies, then cover and chill for 2 hours.

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Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl with electric beaters until thick and pale.

Heat 300ml of the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until just below boiling point. Pour the hot cream mixture over the egg mixture, stirring to combine. Transfer to a clean saucepan and place over low heat. Stir for 2-3 minutes until a thick custard forms.

Place two thirds (100g) of the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour the custard into the bowl, stirring until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well combined. Cool completely, then pour over the chocolate brownie base. Chill for 2 hours.

Place the remaining 50g of white chocolate in a food processor with the walnuts and pulse until fine. Whip the remaining cream to soft peaks, stir in the walnut mixture, then spread over the trifle. Chill for at least 2 hours until set, then serve decorated with chocolate curls, if desired.

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All the layers of goodness!!

All the layers of goodness!!

Quiche

Monday, May 11th, 2009

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I haven’t had many good quiches, they’re always a bit too eggy for me. Either a strong egg taste or uncooked egg in the middle – eww. This is one of the reasons other family members also haven’t (or should I now say “hadn’t”) liked quiches.

But when I saw a great looking quiche with a fantastic crispy pastry on Not Quite Nigella’s blog, I knew I had to make it. I’ve used the same base for the quiche mix, changed a few different ingredients as I was missing some of the suggested ingredients and used the same pastry recipe.

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The pastry is delicious either cooked with the quiche mix or blind-baked for a bit too, it’s lovely and rich and extremely easy if you have food processor, which I now do! We, and when I say ‘we’, I mean Nick has tried grating of butter for the pastry, which is definitely easier when place in the freezer for a bit, although is a little messy and a bit more difficult.

The pastry, bacon and capsicum or pumpkin and ricotta make the quiche a very tasty meal, the only problem is trying to eat a small portion! It’s very easy to divide it into 6 serves… or 8 if you’re not as greedy as me 🙂 .

Quiche
Recipe adapted from Perfect Picnic Quiche on Not Quite Nigella

Serves: 6-8

200g cream cheese
125g cold butter
1 -1 ¼ cups plain flour

4 rashers bacon, chopped – fat removed, but few large pieces kept for cooking
1-2 red capsicums, chopped
5 spring onions or 1 brown onion, sliced finely
Olive oil
6-7 eggs
1½ cups milk
1 cup grated cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2½ tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
1 tomato, sliced (or a handful of cherry tomatoes)

Heat a saucepan over medium high heat, add bacon fat with bacon. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until bacon starts to brown. Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and add the spring onions and red capsicum. Continue to cook on medium high heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to medium low and continue cooking until capsicum starts to soften.

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Preheat oven to 180-200°C. Place a baking tray in the oven.

Chop cream cheese and place in microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cook in microwave for 30sec or until soft. Grate butter and add to cream cheese, stir quickly and then stir in plain flour, alternately place the soft cream cheese in a food processor, add chilled butter cut in cubes, process then add plain flour and process until combined. If it is too wet, add a bit more flour.

Place in a quiche dish (I used a 20 x 25 cm lasagne dish) and press out dough with fingers until covering the base and sides evenly. (If you want extra crispy pastry, cook this for 10 minutes in the oven, then remove and add filling – my pastry fell down the sides a bit but still turned out good).

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Whisk eggs, add milk and mayonnaise and whisk again. Add cheese, parsley, plain flour and salt and pepper and mix. Add the cooked bacon, capsicum and spring onion mix, stir and then pour into the pastry. Place sliced tomato on top.

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Place quiche on baking tray and cook at 180-200°C for 40-60 minutes, or until golden brown and firm on top.

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Alternative: Roast 1/8 (approx 300-400g) large kent or jap pumpkin, peeled, cored and cubed on a roasting tray in the oven at 180°C for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through. Cube 100g feta and add to normal quiche mix with pumpkin and feta in replace or bacon, capsicum and tomato.

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Swedish Meatballs – Cooking Class 5

Friday, May 8th, 2009

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I’m not sure of the reasons behind Swedish meatballs being chosen for the fifth cooking class… but I’m glad it was! Having never had Swedish meatballs before, I can’t comment on the authenticity of the flavours, but I was very happy with these flavoursome, slightly creamy, very more-ish meatballs. So much so that I did… lick the plate 🙂 .

This is a definite dish to try and can be modified to what you’ve got in the fridge or freezer, the original recipe was modified to include both pork and beef mince as I was told many of the Swedish meatball recipes on the internet varied between different minces and different ingredients. Our meatballs were served with mashed potato and honeyed caramelised onions in kumara (sweet potato) mash, although serve with what you desire, salad, rice or steamed vegetables.

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Swedish Meatballs
Recipe from Taste.com.au

Serves: 4

1/2 cup (45g) breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (60ml) cream
500g Heart Smart beef mince (or 350g beef mince + 150g pork mice)
1 small onion, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
3/4 cup (185ml) beef stock
1 teaspoon cornflour
1/2 cup (125ml) cream, extra
Mixed salad leaves and crusty bread, to serve

Soak breadcrumbs in the cream. Add the mince, onion, garlic, allspice, egg and salt. Season with pepper. With wetted hands, shape mixture into small balls.

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Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. In batches, cook meatballs until brown. Drain excess oil.

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Return all meatballs to the pan and add the stock. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the meatballs and cover with foil to keep warm.

Combine the cornflour with a little water and stir into the stock mixture. Heat through until boiling. Reduce heat to low. Add extra cream and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour sauce over meatballs and serve with salad leaves and crusty bread – or serve with mashed potato and veggies, as we did.

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Dukkah

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

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I am becoming quite adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, although a few years ago I wasn’t the most adventurous eater. Nick and I were out for a lovely dinner out on Sydney Harbour. At the beginning of the menu, for either sides or starters was dukkah served with oil olive and bread. I couldn’t pronounce the name of the dish on the menu and just read the description, which was something like an Egyptian nut and spice mix.

So, taking the plunge I decided, lets order that! Nick, with a surprised look on his face due to my decision at trying something quite ‘random’ at the time, was a little hesitant to order it in case I didn’t like it – but I continued to express my interest in it, so we ordered it.

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… and what a great decision. Once we had dunked a bit of bread into the oil and then into the dukkah, the taste was amazing. We couldn’t stop eating the relatively small helping we were served. Although as we ate, we tried (and when I say we, I mainly mean Nick, as he is better at distinguishing tastes) to determine what flavours, nuts and spices were included in this mix – as this was a definite dish to try at home.

I searched the internet quite soon after (probably the next day) to try and find a recipe that matched closely to the flavours we detected. We found a fantastic recipe and then a few months to a year later saw dukkah becoming increasingly more popular and sold at all supermarkets, although mind you, at supermarkets it is quite overpriced.

I still have yet to try the many different flavours you’re able to use while making dukkah, so hopefully in the near future I can trial out a few more recipes. (I just find it difficult to move away from a recipe that I already know I love).

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Dukkah
Recipe from Recipezaar

1 cup of shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup blanched almonds
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ teaspoon salt

Toast the pistachio nuts and almonds in a hot oven for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Toast the spice seeds and sesame seeds separately in the same way.

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Cool and combine with the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Grind the mixture until it resembles small breadcrumbs. The mixture should be very dry and crumbly, not a paste.

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Be careful as over processing can release the oil from the nuts making the mixture moist, which you don’t want.

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This can be made a few days in advance and stored in an airtight container. Serve with hot bread rolls and olive oil.

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