Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TWD - Les Whoopies


Blogging is terrific for broadening your experiences.  Until I began reading blogs, I had never heard of the US treat known as Whoopie pies, but became fascinated with them because of their pretty cool name.  The origin of Whoopie pies is disputed, but are thought to have been the creation of the Pennsylvanian  Amish community.  They are also the state pie of Maine.  A Whoopie pie comprises two cake-like cookies which are sandwiched together with a sweet filling of some kind. 


This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Les Whoopies, and it is the first time that I have made Whoopie pies.  There is a café down the road from me that sells great Whoopie pies, so I have tried them before.

I didn't bother getting a Whoopie pie pan - having known about Whoopie pies for around 10 years and never having made them before, I don't think I can justify a Whoopie pie pan.  It is not necessary to have a special pan to make them, and while it would have made  my Whoopie pies slightly more regular in shape, I was quite happy with my results without it.

These Whoopie pies are light, fluffy and chocolatey, and the peanut butter flavoured filling is a perfect match for the chocolate.  I would happily make these again.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hairy Dieters' Beef Stroganoff



I like hearty dishes in cold weather, and the Hairy Dieters' Beef Stroganoff surely hit the spot.  The Hairy Dieters have taken an old favourite and made it calorie friendly, for example, by subbing cream with half fat crème fraiche.

You can find the recipe posted online here, but I highly recommend the book that it comes from, The Hairy Dieters Eat For Life.  What's not to love - beef, mushrooms, onions and of course, sauce!

I served my beef strog with boiled wholegrain rice to soak up all the lovely sauce.  Definitely a winner!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Garden State Hotel, Flinders Lane, Melbourne


In the US, New Jersey is the Garden State, but in Australia, Victoria was previously known as "The Garden State".  (Now I think Victoria is "On the Move".)

In Flinders Lane, there is a hotel named the Garden State Hotel.  One Sunday for lunch, before seeing Viceroy's House at Kino, Tim and I wandered into the Garden State Hotel's Public Bar for lunch: 


Above our table, I loved this print quoting Rumer Godden, author of The Greengage Summer (which I have read and became aware of through the lovely Jane Asher, who starred in a movie adaptation of the book as a child, and who once dated Paul McCartney - hence there is a Beatles connection!):  



They have quite an extensive "Beer Garden" menu.  On the day, Tim ordered the market fish with Kipfler potatoes, caper and peppercorn dressing ($21):



Tim said that this meal was delicious.  I especially liked that the fish was served with potatoes instead of fries, making it slightly unusual and more healthy.

I ordered the Borrowdale pork schnitzel with brussels sprouts and mustard ($22): 




I was initially rather surprised to see the brussels sprouts shredded and covering the top of the schnitzel, but I think that the idea was to make them into a sauce with the mustard.  I enjoyed it, although in the end it was probably a little large for me to handle (not a bad issue).

The atmosphere at Garden State was relaxed and casual, the staff were friendly, and at this Sunday lunchtime, it wasn't overcrowded or noisy. 

We enjoyed our spontaneous lunch at Garden State and would go back again.

Garden State Hotel
101 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Ph: 03 8396 5777


Thursday, June 22, 2017

EwE - Asian Chicken Wrap - Picnic Day


This week's Eating with Ellie theme is Picnic Day, chosen by moi.  For my recipe, I chose Ellie's Asian Chicken Wrap from So Easy, also online here.

I made a couple of changes to the recipe.  The recipe called for Asian cabbage (wombok) leaves, but my supermarket rarely stocks those, so I used lettuce leaves instead.

I also detest raw capsicum, so I subbed in sliced tomatoes.

Here is the filling before being wrapped: 




I really liked the sauce that Ellie included in the recipe to drizzle over the ingredients.  It lifted the wrap from boring to interesting.

To see what the others made for Picnic Day, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

TWD - My Newest Chocolate Chip Cookies



This week's Tuesday with Dorie (Cookies) recipe is My Newest Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The recipe made 50 cookies, so I quartered it to avoid drowning in cookies.

These cookies are buttery, chewy and packed with chocolate.  I ate two warm out of the oven and they were delicious. 

When you taste cookies like this, you wonder why anyone with an oven and a baking tray would buy hard, tasteless store-bought versions.  These cookies are quick to prepare, require no special skills (I made them while keeping an eye on Cake Wars, so wasn't even giving them my full attention) and yield a terrific result for little effort. 

To see what cookies the other Dorie bakers made this week and what they thought of them, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower



It is winter here, a season for hearty comfort food, and roasts are high on the agenda.

No good roast is complete without a side of roasted vegetables.  If you don't mind the smell of "stinky" vegetables roasting, and you like brussels sprouts and cauliflower, then you might like this tasty recipe for roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower that appeared in the June 2017 issue of Mindfood.

It really is quite simple - preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Wash, drain and halve 400g brussels sprouts.  Cut a whole cauliflower into florets and wash.  Toss the vegetables with 2 garlic cloves and half a cup of olive oil, season to taste, then roast for 30-40 minutes in the oven. 

Remove from the oven and  allow to cool a little before tossing in a mixture of 1 cup Greek yoghurt, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon ground coriander. 

Garnish with herbs and serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

EwE - Cool off with ... Peach Pie Smoothie



It is summer in the US, so for this week's Eating with Ellie, Margaret has chosen the theme of Cool Off With ...  It has just entered winter here, so cooling off is not an issue for me.  However, I couldn't just submit "winter" as my post, so I flicked through my Ellie books and chose Peach Pie Smoothie from So Easy

This smoothie contains lots of cooling ingredients, like milk, yoghurt and ice.  The original recipe also contained frozen peaches; I have never seen frozen peaches sold here, but I keep my opened canned fruit in the fridge, so I used cold canned peaches.  The sum of all of this is a rather cooling drink.  The "pie" component comes from sprinklings of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and a little added sweetness comes from honey.

I made mine for breakfast one weekend morning, and I rather enjoyed it - it was nicer texturally for me than a banana smoothie I tried earlier in the year.

To see how my Ellie friends are cooling off, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TWD - Streusel-Topped Rhubarb Lime Tart


I love fruit desserts, and now that it is winter, it is a great excuse to make warm, comforting fruit desserts.

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is one such dessert.  In this case, it is Streusel-Topped Rhubarb Lime Tart.  Rhubarb is tossed with sugar and lime juice, loaded into a pre-baked tart shell, then covered with custard and streusel.  Not bad, eh?



Here's a peek inside this little beauty:



I obviously tried this tart, and I gave some to Tim.  The rest of it went to work, and someone left this note on the empty plate:


BEST. FEEDBACK. EVER.

I took Dorie's advice and reserved the juice drained off the rhubarb, and combined it with mineral water to make this lovely pink drink:
 


To see what Dore recipe everyone else chose this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Plum Glazed Leg of Lamb



It is winter here, and time for hearty, comforting recipes.  Accordingly, I thought it very fitting that this month's Red Tractor recipe is Plum Glazed Lamb. 



How delicious - a small leg of lamb is glazed with a spicy plum jam sauce, and coated with sesame seeds.  I roasted my lamb with potatoes and brussels sprouts, and also served it with boiled beans. 



If you fancy making this recipe, you will need:

470g plum jam
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot English mustard
1.5kg leg of lamb
3 garlic cloves (peeled and halved)
sprigs of rosemary
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon plain flour

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  In a bowl, mix together the sauces and jam til smooth and set aside.

Score the lamb with a knife and insert the garlic pieces into the cuts.  Line the base of a roasting pan with the rosemary, and put the lamb on top of them.

Pour the sauce over the meat and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Roast the lamb in the oven for an hour and a half or until cooked to your desired level of doneness.

Remove the lamb and rosemary from the roasting pan.  Add the flour to the sauce in the pan, and stir over the heat until the sauce thickens to make a gravy.

Carve the lamb and serve with the gravy and vegetables of your choice.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Eating with Ellie - Steak with Grainy Mustard Sauce and Parmesan "Fries" - Sauce It Up


For Eating with Ellie this week, Kayte chose the theme of Sauce It Up. 

I decided to make Steak with Grainy Mustard Sauce and Parmesan "Fries" from So Easy.  The mustard sauce was excellent with the steak. and I highly recommend this simple but tasty dish.  The "fries" (oven baked potato chips) were also very good with their cheesy finish.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the EwE website. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

TWD - Blueberry Buttermilk Pie Bars



This week for Dorie's Cookies, I made the Blueberry Buttermilk Pie Bars.  These comprise a shortbread base topped with custard and berries.

You would be correct in deducing that I didn't just use blueberries - it isn't blueberry season here, so I used frozen mixed berries.

I thought these pie bars were delicious.  They disappeared at work too, so I am counting that as a good sign.

To see what the other bakers made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sticky Port and Fig Chicken Tray Bake


The only food magazine that I still subscribe to is Taste magazine.  I had to stop the magazine subscriptions as I was not making things out of them most of the time, and the magazines are taking over my little apartment.  Taste usually has fairly ordinary dishes that I go "yeah, I'd make that" when I see them, so it has stayed.


In the June 2017 edition, there is a recipe at p38 for Sticky Pork and Fig Tray Bake.  Doesn't that sound delicious? So of course, I made it for dinners last week. 

The sticky port, fig and onion sauce adds a lovely flavour to the chicken.  I also added halved potatoes to the pan so that apart from the beans, it became a "one pot" dish.  The plants draped over the chicken are tarragon stalks.

If you fancy making this dish, you can find the recipe online at the Taste website here.

On a fun note, I went to the Good Food and Wine Show in Melbourne yesterday with my friends Sandra and Vanda.  We caught up with TV chef Miguel Mastre from The Living Room at the Maestre Family Foods stand, and here is Vanda and I posing with Miguel: 



It was all good fun, and came after we'd watched Miguel cook mushrooms earlier in the day.  We spent over 5 hours at the show, so there was plenty to eat and drink!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Panettone Pudding Tart


Tim is a fan of panetonne, so before Christmas, I bought one and put it away with a view to turning it into something else for him.  Last weekend, I sought inspiration from Google on what to make with the panettone, when I found this recipe for Panettone Pudding Tart, based on a Jamie Oliver recipe.

And here is the end result:


I had a chocolate studded panettone, so instead of adding chocolate chips, I added cranberries.  I also had a smaller panettone than called for by the recipe, so my tart is a little more custardy than the one in the recipe.  But boy, it was good.  I gave Time roughly a half of the tart and kept a half for myself, and had no trouble gobbling it down for dessert over a few nights.

I liked this recipe because the panettone was the star of the show, and the other ingredients were things I normally have in the house (cf recipes for panettone cakes that call for all sorts of exotic and expensive ingredients).

I am yet to hear Tim's verdict on the Panettone Pudding Tart, but it gets a thumbs up from me.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

EwE - Chili Tortilla Chips - Garden Party



Originally, when Peggy suggested Garden Party as our theme for EwE this week, I was going to make sweets.  However, I then turned to the savoury side of things, because you need sweet and savoury at a Garden Party.

I made Ellie's Chili Tortilla Chips - recipe here.  I would use half the chilli powder next time as they were a little too hot for me, but otherwise, these were good.  They'd be excellent with a cooling dip like tzatziki.

To see what everyone else made for our Garden Party, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Prune Gingerbread



I really like prunes.  As a kid, my Mum would stew them and serve them with rice pudding. To quote Tim, prunes and rice pudding was "grouse".

I was therefore pleased to find a recipe for Prune Gingerbread in a recent issue of Australian Country magazine.  I like gingerbread and I like prunes, so it sounded like a match made in heaven.  This is a full bodied gingerbread, complete with molasses.

I think the gingerbread turned out well, but was just slightly too brown on the bottom for my liking.  Next time, I'd cut the cooking time, but otherwise, I really enjoyed this.

The recipe says to serve the gingerbread warm with sorbet, but it just as well served cold.


If you would like to try thins gingerbread recipe for yourself, you will need:

150g butter
150ml golden syrup
150ml molasses or treacle
125g dark brown sugar
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (didn't have any, left it out)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
300g plain flour
2 eggs
1 cup plain yoghurt
150g chopped stoned prunes

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line a 23cm square cake tin.

Combine the butter, sugar, golden syrup, molasses and sugar in a saucepan. (Tip for measuring the syrup and molasses - oil your jug or measuring cup so that the syrup/molasses doesn't stick.) Heat gently until it all melts together and the sugar dissolves.  Cool.

Sift the spices, bicarb and flour into the  sugar mixture, and combine with a rubber spatula.  Whisk together the yoghurt and eggs, then combine with the cake batter.  Fold through the prunes.

Pour the cake batter into the cake tin, and bake for 1 hour or until cooked through.  Cool the cake in the tin for 15 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice into squares and serve warm with sorbet or icecream, or just eat it as is!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hoofers High Tea at Big Mouth, St Kilda


Last Sunday, my tap dancing school did a public performance at Luna Park and Acland Plaza in St Kilda to celebrate Melbourne Tap Week. My dances were Kitten In a Blender and the Shim Sham Shimmy. Afterwards, we could attend an optional Hoofers High Tea at Big Mouth, a pub in St Kilda.

The photo at the top of this post features some fellow tap dancers at the Hoofers High Tea, with the school head mistress, Miss Jane,  photobombing in the Jackie O sunnies at the back.

A friend of mine said that as a pub, Big Mouth is quite good. It was clearly not a high tea venue, although some of the food was tasty.

We started off with "scones" (actually, mini brioche topped with pearl sugar) with jam and cream:


These were quite tasty, and were one of the best items on our menu.

Next up came chicken and avocado ribbon sandwiches:


Unfortunately, one side of the bread on these sandwiches had dried out, which detracted from the eating experience.

Next came mini vol au vents filled with cheese sauce - these were also very good:


Next up on the menu was mini vegetarian quiche - these were fairly average:


Much to the bemusement of many, the sausage rolls were served in thin slices - unusual, I will grant you:


A lot of people left after that, because the courses were very spread out.  Two hours after we started, the desserts came out, and featured some of the best items on the menu, so I am glad that I stayed.  I changed tables for dessert because my original table of tappers went home:


Featured left to right are sticky date pudding (meh), brownies (good) and churros with salted caramel dipping sauce (the highlight!).  One wise tapper put the sticky date pudding with the churros dipping sauce, a la butterscotch sauce, which I am sure made it taste better. 

Like my friend said, Big Mouth is a good pub - I just don't think high tea is normally in their repertoire.  The food was a mixed bag, but there were definitely some delicious nibbles.  I think the best part about the Hoofers High Tea was the camaraderie and getting to meet some other dancers.  They were a nice bunch of people, and made me, as a new comer, feel welcome.

Big Mouth
168 Acland St
St Kilda VIC 3182

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hairy Dieters' Chicken Bhuna


The Hairy Bikers have a lot of really good recipes, and their Chicken Bhuna, a curry, is no exception.  I used the chilli and it really pumps up the volume of taste (but if you drink the sauce, it can make your eyes water).

I served my Chicken Bhuna with a little rice to soak up some of the sauce:



The Hairy Bikers use a lot of capsicum, which doesn't always agree with my GIT, so next time, I think I'd cut down on the capsicum and sub in something else for some of the capsicum.  Nevertheless, this is a great recipe.

To make your own Chicken Bhuna, you will need:

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 each of red, orange and green capsicums
40g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 medium onions, quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp mild curry powder
2 tsp garam masala
 ½ tsp hot chilli powder
1 tbsp cooking oil
400g can chopped tomatoes
600ml chicken stock
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp cornflour
Salt and pepper


Trim visible fat off the chicken thighs, then cut each thigh into 3 pieces. Season with pepper. Deseed the capsicums and cut into 3cm chunks. 

Cut the ginger into small pieces and put into a food processor with the onion quarters, garlic, curry powder, garam masala and chilli powder. Process into a smooth paste. 

Heat the oil in a large non stick saucepan and add the onion paste.  Cook the paste for 10 minutes until softened and lightly browned, stirring regularly. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken and capsicums to the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and sugar, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender, stirring from time to time.

Mix the cornflour with the water and stir the mixture into the sauce. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper and serve with boiled rice.

Friday, May 26, 2017

White Chocolate Cake - 10 year blogiversary


Today is this blog's 10th birthday.  I can't believe it has been 10 years, but it has.  Despite all the changes in my life over those 10 years, this blog has been a constant.

I started off as a blog lurker 2 years before I started my own blog, and gradually I decided that I could blog too!  Many of the blogs that I used to read no longer exist, and the number of blogs has skyrocketed since I started.

My plans for this blog were quite simple - to document the food that I made.  That was my plan then, and it remains the same.  This simple goal keeps blogging pleasurable.

I am combining my blogiversary with this month's Red Tractor recipe, which is for white chocolate cake.

Here is the calendar quote for the month, to tie in with Mother's Day:


First up, I made this white chocolate cake from the calendar recipe (top sliced off):


To make a half recipe (which is what I did), you will need:

100g chopped white chocolate
175g chopped butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease and line a 9" round cake tin. 

Pu the chocolate, butter, sugar and milk into a large saucepan.  Stir over low heat until smooth.  Pour the batter into a large bowl and cool for 20 minutes.  Whisk in the flours, vanilla and eggs.  Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for around 45-50 minutes, or until cooked through.  Cool the cake in the tin.


It was not clear what kind of chocolate the Red Tractor recipe called for in the ganache recipe. For that reason, I used another recipe for white chocolate ganache, online here.

Once the ganache had started to set up, I decorated the top of the cake with wafer flowers and butterflies and pink disco glitter.



This is a peek inside the cake.  I found the cake to be quite sweet, which is not surprising considering the white chocolate.  If white chocolate is your thing, this may just be the cake for you.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

EwE - Chicken Paella with Sausages - As You Like It



For Eating with Ellie this week, I chose the theme of As You Like It.  This has nothing to do with Shakespeare's play of the same name - it simply means, make what you want.

I chose to make Ellie's Chicken Paella with Sausages and Olives from So Easy.  However, there was one slight problem.  When I went to use my jarred olives, they had grown a healthy layer of grey mould on top - so no olives in my paella.

This was simple to make and very tasty.  I like that the paella is finished off in the oven, which makes things super-simple by taking away the supervision factor. I would definitely make this again.

To see what everyone else liked to make this week, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

TWD - Pistachio and Berry Gratins


This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Pistachio and Berry Gratins.  Berries are combined with sugar to help create a syrup from their juices, then placed in ramekins.  The berries are then topped with a pistachio cream.



I used raspberries for my gratins.  I made just two of them by quartering the recipe.

These gratins made a delicious dessert - not too sweet and full of flavour.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Oat Pancakes


Tim recently gave me a sheet of recipes from a nutritionist who had visited his work.  The recipe that immediately caught my eye was for oat pancakes.  I had been thinking of making pancakes for a couple of weeks and not gotten around to it, so I was spurred into action when this recipe landed in my lap.

These pancakes are so easy and delicious:


To make them, you will need:

2 cups oats
2 eggs
1 banana
3/4 cup water

Blend the oats in a food processor to a fine meal.  Add the remaining ingredients and process til smooth.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frypan, and add spoonfuls of batter to the   pan.  Cook until bubbles appear, then flip the pancakes and cook the other side until just browned.

Serve with toppings of your choice.  I used maple syrup, Greek yoghurt and microwaved frozen cherries.