Saturday, March 8, 2014
One of the best things about summer is the fruit that is available. Summer fruit is plentiful, varied and features my personal favourites, mangoes and cherries.
Summer has sadly passed here for another year and we are into early autumn. We are still getting some nice days, but the sun is rising much later, and the mornings and evenings are markedly cooler.
Plums are stone fruit that are at their peak in summer. The last of the plums are still in the stores, so I decided to seize the day and buy some plums to make a recipe that I have longed to make since last August from Gesine Bullock-Prado's G Bakes! website. The recipe is for Zwetschgendatschi, a Bavarian plum cake. I would describe this cake as being more like a tart, as it comprises a pie dough base topped with nothing but sliced plums and sugar.
Some versions of Zwetschgendatschi feature a yeasted dough base instead of the pie dough, but personally, as a lover of pie over bread, I choose the pie dough base. It is the easiest dough in the world to make - you just wazz everything up in the food processor, and the dough is pressed, not rolled, into the tart pan. For the record, I left out the condensed milk and added ice water instead.
For the filling, I was unable to obtain damson plums, so I used dapple dandy pluots (yeah, crazy name!). I also could not get the hang of separating the halves so that they still hang together at one end, like Gesine suggested, because I had to twist the two halves to get the stones out, which separated the halves completely.
I was pretty pleased with the end result:
This tart is not particularly sweet - in fact, it is slightly on the tart side. However, I thought it was delicious, especially given how simple it was to make.
It is a long weekend for Labour Day here in Melbourne, so I am looking forward to relaxing and doing not much. Have a great weekend folks.
Friday, March 7, 2014
For this week's French Friday with Dorie, I think it is more descriptive to borrow Trevor's description and tell you that it is "stuff on toast". There - much easier to conceptualise than "two tartines from Le Croix Rouge", although I don't think Dorie's publishers would have allowed her to call it that.
At the top of this post, we have tartine number one, being the Norwegian one - whole wheat bread sliced thickly, toasted on one side, buttered (I used cream cheese) then topped with smoked salmon slices, capers, lemon, salt and pepper.
I loved this - something to definitely make again.
Tartine number two is the St Germain version - whole wheat bread sliced thickly, toasted on one side, slathered with mayo, sprinkled with chopped gherkins and topped with thin slices of roast beef, and seasoned with salt and pepper:
There you have it - stuff on toast two ways. To see what the other Doristas thought, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
A couple of weekends ago, Tim and I spent the weekend in Woodend, a country town in the Macedon Ranges region of Victoria. On our first night, we drove into town looking for a likely place for dinner. We couldn't go past the prominent Holgate Brewhouse looming large on the main street.
The Holgate Brewhouse does gourmet pub grub, and has its own range of craft beers.
There is a great range of snacks and sharing plates at the Holgate Brewhouse. Tim and I decided to start with one of those in the form of grilled chorizo, topped with parmesan ($10):
What's not to like about spicy grilled sausage?
Mains were a difficult choice, because I could have eaten everything on the menu. In the end, Tim chose the generously portioned and exotic-sounding venison, duck and bacon burger with tomato, wild rocket, kasundi (no, I don't know what it is either), onion marmalade, cranberry mayo and chips ($20):
This looked amazing, and Tim rather enjoyed it. However, given its size, I was glad that I opted for the slightly less generous pork sausages with caramelised onion gravy and celeriac mash ($20):
See how rich that gravy looks? If you can imagine how good that tastes, that's what it was like - superb.
We had a great night in the convivial farmhouse-themed atmosphere, with fast and efficient service from the bar staff. If you happen to pass through Woodend, the Holgate Brewhouse is a great place for a meal and to have a relaxing time.
79 High Street
Ph: +61 3 5427 2510
79 High Street
Ph: +61 3 5427 2510
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
This week's Wednesday with Donna Hay dish was chosen by Chaya. She selected Carrot and Parsnip Fritters with Marinated Goats Cheese. The recipe for these fritters is available online here.
I made big fritters instead of the small ones in the recipe because I couldn't be bothered fussing around with heaps of small ones. I also skipped the rocket.
I thought these fritters were a little bland - I think I should have maybe fried them a little longer, and added a little more seasoning.
To see what Chaya, Sarah and Margaret thought of these fritters, visit their websites.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Friday was my colleague Peter's last day. To send him off on a high, I made a Chocolate and Stout Cake using this recipe from the BBC.
Here is the cake fresh out of the oven (you can see that it stuck a little on one edge):
I found that the cake slightly rose above my 9" inch pan, so I recommend using a deep pan or a 10" pan.
The icing was a bit of a nightmare to work with and required much hot water knifing to whip into shape:
I decorated the cake with chocolate rocks and writing icing rather than nuts.
The resulting cake is deep, dark and delicious:
If you enjoy a rich chocolatey cake that is not overly sweet, this one is for you.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
I always find that "dishes that mother made" are comforting. They remind me of a simpler time when Mum made all the meals. One of the things that she made and still makes is a delicious ham and egg pie. The recipe, originally for a bacon and egg pie, came from my kindergarten's cookbook, and it morphed into Mum's recipe through her changes.
I had a piece of ham that I wanted to use up, so I asked Mum to send me the recipe for her ham and egg pie. I made my own change by replacing the shortcrust pastry with filo to lighten it up, and leaving out the tomato in the original recipe.
This pie is easy and quick to make with ingredients you are likely to have around the house, and makes a hearty meal.
To make this pie (as adapted by me), you will need:
4 sheets of filo pastry
25 g butter
200g piece of leg ham (or use 4 bacon rashers)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
salt, and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon mustard
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Spray a 9" deep pie dish with cooking oil spray. Place one sheet of filo into the base of the dish, then brush it with butter, place the next sheet of filo on top, and continue with the remaining two sheets in the same way. Trim the pastry as necessary.
Chop the ham into small (~1") cubes. Beat the eggs and milk together in a medium bowl, then stir through the ham, onion, salt, pepper and mustard. (Also add chopped tomato if you like.) Pour this mixture into the pastry-lined pie dish, then sprinkle the top with the grated cheese.
Place the pie in the oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for around 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
You can eat this versatile pie warm or cold. Serve it with a salad for an easy light meal.
Friday, February 28, 2014
This week's French Friday with Dorie recipe is Garbure from the Supermarket. Huh?
Apparently the name of this rustic, chunky soup comes from the fact that you eat it with a fork. There are no set ingredients in France, as it is meant to use up whatever you have. This impresses me because I bought but forgot to add the beans, I couldn't buy turnip, I didn't add sausage or duck confit, and I used cayenne pepper instead of the fancy spice you were supposed to use. As you can see from the photo, I also didn't end up with much liquid in my soup after the three hours (yes, you read that right!) of cooking time.
Despite all of that, this dish was really, really good. It had heat, it had texture, and it had both meat and veg, making it a complete meal. I used a ham bone to make my garbure, and the meat just fell off the bone, creating deeply satisfying, gelatinous goodness.
Because of the long cooking time, I probably won't make this again, but boy it was good to try once. It was so delicious and satisfying - my kind of soup.
I also made Dorie's lemon curd:
This curd is great because it uses the whole egg (so there are no whites left over), and it is easy to make in a few minutes. I made it to fill some cupcakes, but I have a pleasing amount left over to eat from the jar:
To see what the other Doristas thought of Garbure from the Supermarket, visit the LYL section of the website. Next week, we have two toasties on the menu - oops, tartines. Harry and Christo, eat your heart out.