Sunday, April 29, 2012
The fruit man's fig tree has come to the end of its run, with autumn now well and truly upon us. Sandra shared the last of the figs with Lee and I, and with mine, I decided to make fig and ginger jam to preserve those glorious figs for the long winter months. (In Melbourne, it certainly doesn't get as cold as in parts of Europe and North America, but it doesn't really warm up again until November-December.)
My fig and ginger jam was inspired by this recipe on TahiniToo. However, I didn't use as many figs (as I didn't have as many ;)), I left the skins on, and I upped the fruit:sugar ratio so that I didn't have to use pectin. However, I did take on board all of their glorious flavours, including the addition of vanilla, cinnamon and of course, fresh grated ginger. The resulting jam was just marvellous - I could eat it by the spoon from the jar.
My recipe is as follows:
900g fresh figs, washed and stalks removed, mashed
600g white sugar
1" knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Sterilise some glass jars and their lids by boiling them, or heating them in the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes (my preferred method).
Put all of the jam ingredients into a large, heavy-based saucepan, and bring to the boil over medium heat. In the meantime, place a saucer in the freezer. Once the ingredients have come to the boil, reduce the heat and continue simmering the ingredients ("a rolling boil") until they begin to thicken. Test whether the jam is ready by taking your saucer out of the freezer and dropping a small amount of jam onto it - leave it for around 30 seconds, then run your finger through the jam (being careful not to burn yourself) - if the jam does not run back into the gap made by your finger, then it is ready. Otherwise, if it is still runny, keep boiling the jam, but be careful not to overboil it or you will get candy.
Once the jam is ready, pour it into the sterilised glass jars (ideally you should fill them almost to the top to eliminate air), then seal. Allow the jam to cool on the bench in the jars.
Enjoy your jam however you fancy and remind yourself of summer on a cold day.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Today is my colleague Lee's 40th birthday. Happy birthday Lee! Lee is hosting a wonderful party for the occasion, into which she has put so much effort and planning. I don't think I have put so much effort into anything since I ceased having to choose then timetable University subjects. I hope Lee has a magnificent evening.
To celebrate Lee's birthday, I made her a cake for work. Lee is on a weight loss plan at present, so I made her a Low Fat Chocolate Fudge Cake from the Australian Women's Weekly 501 Low Fat Recipes. You can find the recipe online here.
This is the cake before frosting:
However, a birthday cake is not a birthday cake without decoration, so I made it a little less low fat by making up a frosting with low fat cream cheese (250g) and icing sugar (100g). The decorations are writing gel, silver cachous and crystallised violets.
This is what the cake looks like once sliced:
Lee seemed to enjoy her cake - glad she liked it.
Have a great weekend all.
Friday, April 27, 2012
If you are looking for a gorgeous cake that is different from the norm, then this month's Daring Bakers challenge serves up a gorgeous, caramelly nutmeg coffee cake:
The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.
(This is not my grammar - these are the blog checking lines and I cannot change them.)
I didn't have time to make both, so it was a no brainer to choose the Armenian nutmeg cake. And what a lovely cake it is - it has a dryer bottom crumb layer topped with a rich batter, with nuts on top. I didn't have walnuts, so I used flaked almonds instead. Here is the end result:
The cake has warm, caramel-like undertones from the brown sugar, with a spicy edge from the nutmeg.
A slice of the cake served warm with icecream was just perfect:
To see how the other Daring Bakers fared, visit the slideshow at The Daring Kitchen.
This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Navarin Pritanier, a lamb stew. This is a gorgeous stew of lamb shoulder, braised onions, turnip and carrots, peas and potatoes in a rich sauce of tomato paste and stock.
You were supposed to use 1 1/2 kg of lamb shoulder, but at $40, there was no way I was using that much, so I bought slightly less than half of that. With all of those vegetables, I wasn't hungry:
I had never cooked a turnip before, but quite enjoyed it. Judith Lucy asked the audience the same night what a turnip was, and the person she asked correctly identified it. However, Judith reckons 65% of Australians can't correctly identify a turnip. Hmmm ...
To see what some of the other participants thought, visit the LYL section of the FFwD website.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
It is Anzac Day today, as I mentioned in my previous post, so I could not resist making Anzac biscuits for the occasion. Merle's award winning recipe would have been terrific; however, my aim was to go for less fatty boombah, slightly healthier, so I used the National Heart Foundation's recipe instead. That way, I can bake my cookies and eat them too.
And the verdict? Well, they are nothing like the ones mother used to make, and they certainly not as buttery and rich as I am sure that Merle's would be; however, they are very servicable Anzac biscuits for the weight conscious, with the lovely caramelly flavours of golden syrup and sugar against the crunch of the oats. They also beat the commercial version, as far as I am concerned. I realise a lot of people love the commercial version, but for me, the homemade version wins every time, even the low fat version made with margarine.
I hope that my fellow Australians are enjoying their Anzac Day.
It is Anzac Day today, and Australians have a national holiday to remember the contribution of service men and women from all wars fought by this country. A big cheer to all those service men and women marching in today's parades around the country.
From my blog's perspective, today is the last Wednesday with Donna Hay for a while as the group goes into hiatus. Today's recipe is Hummingbird Slice, chosen by yours truly. Donna's version of hummingbird cake/slice is light and spongy and fruity all at once. Donna suggests serving it with honey, but it really doesn't need it - the slice is sweet enough from the carrots, banana, pineapple and sugar without needing frosting or honey, unless of course you want it.
To see what Kayte, Chaya and Margaret think of this slice, visit their blogs in around 15 or so hours time.
It is cold and wet miserable in Melbourne at present, so excuse me while I wrap myself in a blanket and curl up with a good book and engage in some California Dreamin'.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Today, 23 April, is St George's Day. St George is the patron saint of England, and 23 April is the date of his death. It is also celebrated as Shakespeare's Day to celebrate the birth and death of William Shakespeare. Keeping with the English theme, it was Queen Elizabeth II's 86th birthday on Saturday. Putting all of these together, I thought it would be most appropriate if I made that most English of puddings to celebrate today, Queen of Puddings.
Queen of Puddings is comprised of a baked egg custard with breadcrumbs, topped with a layer of raspberry jam, then topped with fluffy meringue. It is meant to be enjoyed warm from the oven.
There are many different recipes for Queen of Puddings, but I used 1/4 of the recipe from the Great British Book of Baking. If you would like to try it, the pudding for one recipe (slightly adapted by me) is as follows:
150ml milk (I used low fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla (they used a vanilla pod for their grander scale version)
1 tablespoon butter (I used reduced fat margarine)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon white sugar
25g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon strawberry jam (I used raspberry jam)
1 egg white
25g white sugar
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a one cup ramekin (or spray with oil, as I did).
Put the milk into a small saucepan with the vanilla, and heat until the milk is steaming (not boiling). Remove the milk from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes to steep in the vanilla flavour.
Put the egg yolk into a small bowl with the lemon zest and sugar, and beat until creamy. Stir in the milk, drizzling it in slowly while constantly stirring so that you don't cook the yolk. Stir in the breadcrumbs, then pour the custard into the ramekin, and leave standing for 15 minutes.
Place the ramekin into the oven and bake for ~ 30 minutes or until the custard is set. Remove the ramekin from the oven and leave it stand for at least 5 minutes. Spread the jam over the top of the custard. Beat the egg white until soft peaks form, then add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Pile the meringue on top of the jam, and bake in the oven for a further 15 minutes, until the top is crunchy and golden brown. Serve warm from the oven.
Enjoy! Happy St George's Day to those in England.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Hi to all! Hope you have been having a great weekend. Mine has been pretty busy. On Friday night, I went to see legend Burt Bacharach at the Regent Theatre, playing with Orchestra Victoria and his own Burt Bacharach Band. In a word - brilliant. The man is 83, and while I can't see him jumping about disco dancing any time soon, he is amazing for his age. His three vocalists were superb, especially the ladies. I couldn't pass up a chance to see Burt after seeing him in Austin Powers, and I had no idea he had written so many great musical standards that are a part of many people's musical consciences.
The weather on Saturday (being Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 86th birthday) was just gorgeous, and I popped into South Yarra to pick up my dry cleaning as an excuse to do a spot of shopping. I bought a beautiful silk blouse in damson and a pair of black trousers from Jigsaw - it will be a perfect outfit for the chilly weather that is just around the corner. I also learned through Facebook that the lovely Marian, a former work colleague, married her sweetheart on Saturday - congratulations Marian!
Saturday night, I moved onto comedy for the second last night of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, going to see Judith Lucy at The Comedy Theatre (we had seen Tim Ferguson a couple of weeks before.) I laughed until I thought I would be ill during Judith's show. I love her shows - but don't be late or sit in the front row, m'k? On the way in, I saw Magda Szubanski leaving the theatre from the previous show - I adore Magda, so it was exciting to see her so close (about 5m away!). I didn't point her out to V out of a desire to be polite - although V told me afterwards that she wished that I had.
Today, I went with Tim to Loi Loi in Richmond for lunch. We started with the spring rolls pictured at the top of this post, which came with sweet chilli dipping sauce. Unusually, they also came with a mountain of iceberg lettuce leaves and mint:
The idea is to wrap a spring roll with some mint in a lettuce leaf, and dip it in the sauce, so that you get the contrast of hot and cold, crispy and soft. It was delish, and definitely worth a repeat:
Tim ordered duck with barbecue sauce, which came with a lovely array of veges, including baby corn, snow peas, water chestnuts and spring onions:
I ordered the slightly less healthy chilli mango chicken, comprising fried chicken pieces in a chilli mango sauce and crunchy fried noodles, and tasting not unlike sweet and sour chicken:
We ordered steamed rice on the side to soak up the glorious sauces. Both meals tasted very good, and the serves were very generous (I am not sure that I needed the entree).
We sat in the back room, which is not as salubrious as the brighter open part at the front of the restaurant, but is dressed up with some lovely art, including these shell peacock pictures:
Tonight, I made some fig and ginger jam with the last of the fruit man's figs - and let me tell you, it is da bomb! I like it better than the plain fig jam that I made. I will post about it soon.
As predicted, the glorious summery weather that we enjoyed this weekend is disintegrating into miserable, rainy weather in the teens this coming week, so I am grateful for the opportunity to have been out and about this weekend to enjoy what may well be the last of the warm weather.
I hope that you have had a good weekend too!
Friday, April 20, 2012
This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Coconut Friands. Normally friands are made with icing sugar, egg whites and almond meal, but these friands are made with egg whites, coconut, castor sugar and flour. The coconut factor struck fear into the hearts of non-coconut lovers in our group, but I am a fan of coconut, so I wasn't phased.
These were sweet, light and delicious - I really enjoyed them, more so than a denser regular friand. However, Dorie must have used awfully small tins to get 20 cakes - I barely got 12.
Here is my container of friands in all their glory (yes, that glamorous dish is Tupperware):
To see what the others of our group thought of these friands, visit the LYL section of the FFwD website.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
On Monday, it was my friend Craig's birthday. Craig is gluten and dairy intolerant, so I wanted a recipe that was free of both, but was not something typical of gluten free cakes (eg almond meal/chocolate).
Indulge by Rowie Dillon contains a recipe for a gluten free Lemon and Saffron Tea Cake (which can be made dairy free by using margarine, or in my case, vegetable oil). You can find the recipe online here (see p5). Rowie describes this cake as "exotic", which seemed to fit the bill for a birthday. I made a small cake just for me so I could try it - here is a peek inside:
The cake has a glorious yellow colour from the saffron. However, I am not so sure of the flavour - it may have been the saffron, the soy milk or the quinoa flour, or a combination of all three, but the taste of this cake was on the unusual side - definitely exotic! It was much nicer than the muffins I made out of the same book (which Sandra and I were not that keen on, but which Tim liked), but the flavour was not what you would usually expect from a cake. It's hard to describe, and you will have to try the cake for yourself to decide if you like it.
My cake was nowhere near as tall as the one in the photo - I can only assume that they used a smaller tin than was specified in the recipe, or had some mighty kickin' baking powder. (I don't think the spoonful that I made into a cupcake for myself would make the cake that much smaller.)
As this was a birthday cake, I iced it with lemon icing and wrote Happy Birthday on it with piping gel:
I am having dinner with Craig tomorrow night, so I will have to ask his verdict on the cake then!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
This week's Wednesday with Donna Hay recipe was Lemon and Dill Smoked Salmon Pasta, chosen by Chaya. This dish comprised spaghetti, coated with lemon juice and olive oil, and mixed in with smoked salmon, green onion, capers and dill (I skipped the mint).
The first night that I ate this, I was rather overwhelmed by the strong flavour of the smoked salmon; I enjoyed it much better the second day, when I zapped it in the microwave to heat it up, thereby cooking the salmon and toning down the flavour.
I am not a huge fan of smoked salmon, so this is not likely to be a regular a my place; however, if you love the flavour of smoked salmon, this may be a perfect dish for your repertoire, as it is relatively quick and fuss free to make.
Tomorrow, go see what Kayte, Chaya and Margaret thought of this dish.
Next week: Hummingbird slice
Before we go, the lovely Mireia of Baking in Spain awarded me the Versatile Blogger award:
Thanks Mireia! The rules of the award are:
- Add the award to your blog
- Thank the blogger who gave it to you
- Mention 7 random things about yourself
- List the rules
- Award to 15 bloggers
- Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blogs or on Facebook
(a) My state of origin demands that I follow the Maroons in all things sporting.
(b) I am going on a bus tour of the West Coast of the US later this year - yay!
(c) My brother has a dog called Fred.
(d) Fred bit me before Easter - which means that everyone in our family has now been bitten by Fred.
(e) I do clinical Pilates once a week to hold my body together.
(f) I catch public transport to work.
(g) I am currently swooning over a DVD of the BBC Sherlock Holmes series - love it!
Rather than naming 15 bloggers, I am going to share this award with all the lovely bloggers that I visit regularly - you make my day.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
This week's Baking with Julia recipe is Lemon Loaf Cake. For those readers familiar with the concept of a pound cake (it is not a term commonly used in Australia), this is what this cake is - a lemon flavoured pound cake.
I was a little worried about making this cake, as some members of the BWJ forum found it to be dry or not lemony enough. To address the latter issue, I took up the tip of substituting some of the cream for lemon juice. Re the former, it really wasn't a problem - this cake was not dry to my palate, although it was dense, as a pound cake should be:
The flavour of the cake was not overly lemony, but was definitely there. The cake was also a lovely yellow colour from the lemon juice and zest.
To see what the other BWJ bakers thought of this loaf, visit the LYL section of the website.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I'm just a hunk, a hunk of burning love
Just a hunk, a hunk of burning love
Elvis Presley, Burning Love
A few weeks ago, I went to see Petula Clark live at The Arts Centre in Melbourne. Petula will be 80 in November, but she still has an amazing voice, and she moves about the stage like nobody's business. If I am anything like in as wonderful shape as she is when I am 60, let alone 80, I would be very proud. Her performance was fabulous, and she has the most wonderful stories of many famous folk who have now sadly departed this earth. One of Petula's stories was about meeting Elvis Presley (lucky her!) for the first time, and segued into one of his songs.
In her latest book, Pie It Forward, Gesine Bullock Prado has named one of her recipes after Elvis - the Velvet Elvis Pie. Like Elvis' famous Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, this pie contains bananas and peanut butter - oh, and if that isn't enough, dulce de leche. It is seriously evil but seriously good. You can find the recipe for Gesine's Velvet Elvis Pie here.
The only change that I made to the recipe was that I baked my condensed milk a la David Lebovitz rather than boiling it, as I am terrified of explosions and burns featuring boiled condensed milk. Umm, except that I forgot to add the water bath to the roasting pan, which meant that the milk was cooked a little more viciously than in should have been, and my resulting pie filling was therefore not as smooth as it could have been. Oh well, it still tasted good, and I wasn't going to waste a perfectly good can of condensed milk.
Try the Velvet Elvis - if you dare.
Friday, April 13, 2012
We've made it to Friday - I breathe a sigh of relief, as my weeks are rather frantic and have been for months. I am looking forward to the weekend when I can relax.
This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Sardine Rillettes (pronounced ree-etts). It is effectively a fishy cream cheese spread made from canned sardines, cream cheese (light in my case), green onion, chives, lemon juice, cayenne and salt and pepper. I didn't want this hanging around in my fridge to be wasted, so even though it is meant to be served as a snack on crackers, I ate the whole lot as a meal on a slice of toasted sour dough.
The verdict - it was OK, although I would probably have enjoyed it way more in a smaller quantity as a snack. It was all rather too much richness for me in one hit, but I can't complain about the flavour.
To see what everyone else thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the FFwD website whenever it happens to come up (probably when I am asleep tonight).
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
On my mother's side, I am of German heritage. I always wish that I had take German as a subject at school instead of the book-keeping that my practical mother persuaded me to take instead - I haven't used the book-keeping, and the German would at least have been interesting from a personal perspective. Learning a second language as an adult is quite difficult (I know, having done a year of Italian classes), so it is unlikely that I will take up learning German now.
However, that doesn't mean that I can't explore my German heritage in other ways. For almost two years, I have possessed a book called German Baking Today by Dr Oetker, with the best intentions of baking delicious German treats. Sadly, I have been quite lax about doing so, and the book has sat on my shelf unused - until now.
I was looking for something quick and easy to bake this week, so I selected Red Wine Cake from p24 of German Baking Today. It is a tasty cake without being sickly sweet - it contains rum and red wine (yeah!), almonds and chocolate. With that set of ingredients, how could you go wrong?
This cake seemed to be popular at work, as it was all gone in a couple of hours - a good litmus test for baked goods, I think.
To make this cake, you will need:
125g sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
4 teaspoons rum
250g plain flour
3 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons baking powder
150g grated chocolate (I used coarsely chopped chocolate)
100g chopped almonds
125ml red wine
125g sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
4 teaspoons rum
250g plain flour
3 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons baking powder
150g grated chocolate (I used coarsely chopped chocolate)
100g chopped almonds
125ml red wine
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a 30cm x 11cm loaf tin.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, cocoa and baking powder. Set aside.
Beat the butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until the butter and sugar are well combined.
Add the eggs to the mixture, beating in one at a time. Beat in the rum.
Using a rubber spatula, alternately fold the dry ingredients and the wine, chocolate and almonds into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and level off the top with a metal spatula. Place the cake into the preheated oven for 70-75 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.
Once the cake has baked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before unmoulding it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust the top of the cooled cake with icing sugar if desired. Slice and serve.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I'm back! I went home to my family for Easter, and it was a blissful 4 days. The weather was simply gorgeous ("home" being more northern than my chosen place of residence, where winter has already started to set in), and it was simply wonderful to just be. I have Easter eggs flowing out of my cupboards, both from home and work - I can feel my backside expanding just thinking about them, though I am very grateful to be so blessed. I hope you all had a great Easter.
My absence explains why this Wednesdays with Donna Hay dish of roasted capsicum and chicken bruschetta, chosen by Kayte, became my dinner last night. I reluctantly dragged myself out into the cold after work to do my grocery shop for the week, and bought the ingredients for this week's WWDH pick, then cooked it the same night.
This dish was actually quite delicious. I have no idea where my grill pan is, so I just toasted my oil-sprayed sourdough in the oven. Otherwise, I pretty much made the dish as stated, but divided it in half as a meal for one. The dressing of red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar and salt and pepper was simply perfect, and gave some kick to the rather mild chicken and tomato. I even roasted my own capsicum over a gas flame for this recipe - definitely not one of my favourite jobs, but now I know I can do it, I'd do it again. I simply pan-fried my chicken breast in a pan sprayed lightly with spray oil, and sliced it thinly rather than shredding it. I used Thai basil, as it is sold in smaller packs than regular basil, but both are hideously expensive.
Kayte is on hiatus, but go check out what Margaret and Chaya thought of this recipe tomorrow (as they are the best part of a day behind me).
Next week: Lemon and dill smoked salmon pasta
Friday, April 6, 2012
This week's FFwD dish is Asparagus with Bacon Bits. It's just what it says on the tin - blanched asparagus with bacon bits. I liked the blanched asparagus, something I have never done before, as it keeps the asparagus green and fresh. The bacon and onion gave the dish a lovely flavour zing, and the lemon and oil dressing (I just used olive oil) gave just enough coverage and flavour without overwhelming the other flavours.
To see what the other FFwD cooks thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the website.
May you have a restful Good Friday and a Happy Easter.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Happy Thursday! If you are lucky enough to have a glut of figs on hand (eg because you have a fig tree), a quick and easy dessert to make using the figs is a fig galette. I made one based on the recipe here.
However, being a little time poor, I used store bought shortcrust pastry, which wasn't as nice to work with as my own pastry (hence the rather rough appearance of my galette). I also used fig jam instead of marmalade for the base - after all, aren't figs and fig jam a match made in heaven?
I could not let today, 5 April, pass by unnoticed as it is the lovely Jane Asher's birthday today. Happy birthday to Jane! I had planned to make something out of one of her baking books to mark the occasion, but unfortunately, life had other plans. If you are ever in London, and you are a baking or sugarcraft enthusiast, pop into Jane's store in Chelsea - it is tiny, but tre cool.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
This week's Wednesday with Donna Hay recipe was chosen by Margaret of Tea and Scones. She chose Soft Poached Eggs with Sweet Potato Hash Browns.
This dish contains two of my favourite savouries - asparagus and sweet potato - and one cooking nemesis - the poached egg.
I didn't even try to poach my egg the whirlpool water way - I used a plastic egg poacher. Sure, the shape isn't as lovely, but then again, if you had seen my past attempts at whirlpool water poached eggs, you'd think the egg poacher version was marvellous. I burst the yolk when loading the egg onto the hash brown, hence the reason why the yolk is all over the plate.
I don't have and have never purchased horseradish, and didn't want to use fatty boombah sour cream in the sauce, so my sauce was low fat yoghurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper. If I had curry or mustard powder, that may have been good in the sauce in place of horseradish, but I had neither on hand, so I went without. Honestly, I was happy with my sauce as is.
My hash brown is not a work of art, because I only used a thin coating of oil in the pan rather than deep frying. It stuck a little, and was a little browner than a deep fried version may have been, but tasted fine.
This was a nice change for breakfast, but a little heavier than my usual breakfast preference of cereal and fruit. It's definitely a weekend breakfast, because it takes a bit of work.
To see what Margaret and Chaya thought of this dish, go visit their blogs on Wednesday their time. (Kayte is currently on hiatus.)
Next week: Roasted Capsicum and Chicken Bruschetta
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
After another fortnight's hiatus, I bring you this week's Baking with Julia recipe - Pizza Rustica, a recipe by Nick Malgieri. Our host for this week is Emily of Capital Region Dining. What is pizza rustica? Pizza rustica is more akin to an egg, cheese and bacon pie than a pizza - kind of a quiche with crust on top as well as below.
The pastry for this pie ended up causing me the most grief, and it wasn't the bottom crust that caused it - in our warm weather, the very soft pastry strips broke when warm or cracked when chilled, so I ended up with a patchwork rather than a lattice of pastry on top of my pie:
The pie tastes quite good, but is not something I would make regularly - it would be good picnic fare, I think. One thing I did find rather weird was the sweetness of the crust - it contains sugar, but I think it would have been better without it.
To see what the other BWJ bakers though of this dish, visit the LYL section of the Baking with Julia website whenever it is Tuesday in North America - can't tell if it's East or West Coast time on that site, but my guess is it's East.