Sunday, May 28, 2006

I've found a kindred spirit

Over the past couple of weeks I've been trawling around looking for bread recipes, as I wait for my copy of Rose Beranbaum's Bread Bible to arrive. This is how I found my current favourite blog ~ Bread Basketcase. Marie in Minnesota is baking her way through the very same book. Every recipe. She's a great writer and is turning out some fab looking bread.

She inspired me today to give the Sourdough a go. So, lurking in Chris Manfield's Spice I found a recipe for a sourdough starter based on Lionel Poilâne's methods.

So I've made this gooey mess which is living under a damp tea towel in the loungeroom for a couple of days. We shall see!

And the other photo is the cat. Her eyes were looking particularly opal like so I thought I'd share.

The Weekend

Thursday evening was fend for yourself night. S.O. went off to see a friend's film which I couldn't get to and had a kind of polenta based bubble and squeak for my dinner.

Friday night, our soon to be wed friends came over to show off THE RING. Lovely it is too. S.O. made a great big tray of lasagne and I tried out an olive oil and pine nut bread, which wasn't too bad. A rocket salad, and Bob's Your Uncle.

He then went to Party interstate on Saturday, so I got to eat leftover lasagne with my hangover on Saturday night. Did manage to throw together some Chocolate & Cherry Brownies, thanks to finding the recipe at The Food Palate. I don't think mine was as good though, and they ended up being hellishly expensive as I couldn't be fagged going to the supermarket (it was the hangover you understand) and so bought the Lindt chocolate and the good butter at the local Convenience Store. Yikes.

Feeling much more refreshed on Sunday, I was able ~ finally ~ to make a platoon of Cheesy Feet for the Cookbook Fairy.

And there's a bit pot of Minestrone on the stove. And yes, that's a Parmesan rind floating in it. Something Marcella Hazan recommends. Keep the ends of your parmeson in an airtight bag in the freezer and add to your veg soups. Delicious.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Food Memories from Childhood

I love this idea. Lasang Pinoy 10: Food Memories from Your Childhood. Now whilst I'm not Filippino I did visit there in the '70s and had a fantastic time.

I grew up in the '60s and had parents who were besotted by a decent feed. That's probably where I get it from. Both were well travelled, and Dad had grown up in India, so we were always trying something new. These are the food things that stand out for me as a kid (in no particular order):

1. My Dad's Chicken Curry
2. Auntie Gloria's Honeycomb Ice Cream
3. Mussels (collected by us on day trip to the beach)
4. Mushrooms (also collected by us after a day in the 'country')
5. My Mum's spare ribs
6. Rollmops on a Saturday morning
7. Auntie Bet's Xmas Cake
8. My folks taking us out to eat Vietnamese and Turkish food in the '70s.
9. Black Forest Cake from St. Kilda
10. The family Spag Bol.

And this was a time when most of the country was still eating meat and three veg Anglo style. How lucky were we?No photos. Just memories.

Monday, Tuesday...

Time to branch out on the bread making. Found this great sounding Buttermilk Seed Bread and decided to give it a go. It's absolutely delicious and SOOO good for you. I modified recipe ever so slightly in line with Mr Oliver's recipes and used 3 x 7g sachets of yeast, and omitted the sugar.

Monday evening: Corned Beef, baby carrots and brussels
Tuesday evening: Toulousse snags withe cheesy polenta (oh SOOOO bad for you)

No pics of either due to dodgy camera battery.

Tonight, I believe we're revisiting the Shank & Quince Tagine

Monday, May 22, 2006

No Snag? Have some Belly.

The four hour roast of pork belly. Just a wee bit you understand. Found on the BBC site ~ and I'm still trying to work out what to do with the lemon that was in the list of ingredients. Never mind. It was okay. Very like porchetta. Served with the braised leeks, fennel, onion & thyme.

The bread is the other half of the calzone dough. Okay. Nothing to write home about.

Dessert ~ bread & butter pudding, carved out of the rosemary & sultana bread of a previous posting. A couple of splats of the poached pllums in the fridge between the layers. And that tablespoon or so of soft brown sugar went very brulee-ish.

Dessert eaten whilst watching Eurovision. Go, Finland. They're kidding, right?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Search for the Perfect Snag 1

No, I don't mean one of those blokes who can cook and clean AND fix things, I mean the good old porky variety. (No smutty jokes, please!)

Without even realising we seem to have been on a quest for the sausage of our dreams. We love the ones from the Eumundi smokehouse. Our local butcher had some very nice looking pork sausages ~ a new mix he tells me ~ that I felt needed testing. And delicious they were. Your basic pork sausage: fat and glistening.

To let the sausage shine, we decided on Nigella Lawson's very, very simple Sausages & Lentils. Damn fine, they were.

Desert ~ Defrosted some poached plums I had lurking in the freezer, along with a baby Panettone (I hoard them after Xmas, also in the freezer), and a splash of cream.

Calzone Catastrophe

It all started off well. A trip to the market. Lots of nice organic meat and some delicious looking veg. One piece of cheese this week ~ it seems to be as close as we get to being on the program. Some gorgeous looking grapes that I was going to use for the pork, but oh no... I had to get over enthusiastic about the bread making. It had been going so well.

The grapes just looked magic, and smelled fantastic, mixed with rosemary, toasted pine nuts, ricotta, sugar and a splash of sherry.

Nothing out of the ordinary going on with the bread dough. All seemed fine.

I think I didn't roll it thin enough, and didn't cook them at high enough heat. Anyway, half of them exploded back to their pizza origins, although that looked quite nice, and the others just looked like bad, bready pasties.

The photo at the top is Mr. Oliver's, whose recipe it was. The beauty of the digital camera with a macro lens. The photo at the bottom are the poor sad creatures I turned out.

Postscript: I thought I just saw the dog with her ball in her mouth. Nup, it was a Catastrophic Calzone fresh from the kitchen bench! At least she likes them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I'm a very lucky girl.

Okay, so that was dinner. Very nice it was too. Mussels. The were lovely tender Victorian ones. Because really S.O. and I are getting a little porky.

But what is infinitely more exciting is this:

Colleague of S.O.'s has seen fit to pass on to me some of her cookbooks, as she is packing up and going o/s. Woo hoo. Chris Manfield, Holly Davis, a little gem called The Decadent Cookbook and more. I'm as happy as a clam. Which is funny, considering we had mussels tonight. Spooky...

Thanks Vic. An army of Cheesy Feet coming your way.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Later That Very Same Night

The Verdict:

Base ~ not bad, but I would like to have got the base a bit thinner and crisper.

Topping ~ Spicy tomato sauce from Fratelli Fresh, Mozzarella from Paesanella, Proscuitto and shaved Parmy. What the base lacked, the top made up for.

Must try the old terrracotta tile in the bottom of the oven trick.

And what to do with the other three balls of dough. Hell, it's only $2.50 or thereabouts, so lets see what kind of bread loaves it makes.

The Verdict:

Oven too hot for too short a time, thereupon making bread just slightly too gluey. If we'd wanted that we could have bought a white sliced. But really nice flavour. Would make great rolls if done in smaller portions.

Antipodean Blogging By Post II

An update. Do you see Australia on the map above? No.

Five Fearless Kiwis have registered to send over a food parcel to us starving Aussies as part of Antipodean Blogging By Post.
But not an Australian has come forward so far to help out our fellow Anzacs. Come on, people, it'll be fun.

ps: My apologies to Barbara and the others for inadvertantly biting off more than I can chew by publishing addresses. They've gone now ~ I sincerely hope. Sorry again.

I Have A Theory...

...that the things we like to eat the most are the things we cook the best.

I don't have much of a sweet tooth, which is why I think my cakes aren't much 'chop'. However, I love a good bit of bread, and so far, so good on that front. I guess the proof of the pudding will continue to be in the eating.

But then, they say people look like their dogs:

That's all.

It's Pizza tonight, Pizza tonight...

I have had the very beautiful La Pizza for about 12 months and never used it. We're going to give pizza whirl tonight.

What I really want to cook it in is one of these, a a Slingsby Wood Fired Oven. The look gorgeous. Saving up.

Oh, and last night we had Osso Bucco with a white bean garlicky thingie, followed by an Apple Tart with a scoop of homemade banana icecream. Made the icecream prior to Cyclone Larry, thankfully, or it would have been about $5.00 a scoop!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Not A Cupcake Craze, But A Foot Fetish

We've still got bread, so I could hardly make more. But ever since reading about Nigella's Cheesy Feet in her book, Feast I've wanted to make them. And the Vegetarian Egg Hating Yak found a foot cookie cutter at Peter's of Kensington when we were there buying the KitchenAid.

So, many feet later, I had a boxful to take to our friends M&M where we were going on Saturday night. I couldn't believe when their kids said, "But I don't like cheese." Doesn't matter, the adults loved 'em.

They looked like the appendages of Bart Simpson to me. I also made some hand ones. And of course, not being able to leave well enough alone, I added some Morrocan seasoning to one batch ~ Fez Feet, and Italian Seasoning to another ~ 'Talian Tootsies.

S.O. nibbling my toes below.

Pete & Sue's ~ Their Real Names!

So Friday night we're off to our friends Pete & Sue's, and my we're looking forward to it. These people are big fans of Nigel Slater's too, so we know it'll be good. And it is.
  • Prawn Bisque
  • Beef Bourguignon (out of which Sue even removed the mushrooms for 'Shroom hating S.O.)
  • Beetroot and Onion sides
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake ~ a yak present

    As you can see we hoovered the lot. It was perfect for a very autumnal evening. And we had walked round there with our pooches in tow, so we felt like we'd had a tramp through the country, and were justified in eating our fill.

    We look forward to more eating with them.
  • Friday, May 12, 2006

    Yet More Bread

    What has been very excitingon this very wintery afternoon ~ for me at least ~ are the latest loaves of bread. Jamie Oliver's Rosemary & Raisin Bread, although I did use sultanas, because we had them, but didn't have raisins.

    Yet to be tasted, still cooling, but I'm pretty happy with the way she looks.

    Since Last We Met

    We have been eating very Anglo of late. Lamb chops, beans, sausages, potatoes, and our favourite... the brussel sprout. We love them.

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Antipodean Blogging By Post

    The Europeans are doing it, the Canadians are doing it. Why don’t we do it? (Actually, Augustus Gloop has told me it's been done before, but let's give it another go.)

    The idea is this:

    Australians food bloggers and their Kiwi counterparts get together by post and swap some great items unique to them. I match up Austn/NZ bloggers and we send each other some particular foodie thing we love. It doesn't have to be a food, it could be a cookbook from your area, a locally made kitchen gadget ~ or yes ~ something to scoff. But the beauty is it's local and not widely available to the other country/state/area.

    If you'd like to play, post a comment to this blog entry and let me know:

  • Which country you’re in
  • The permalink URL of your Antipodean Blogging By Post entry
  • Your name
  • Your blog’s name
  • Your blog’s front page URL
  • Your postal address
  • Any allergies or dislikes that you have
  • Your email address

    ** Your names and postal addresses will not be published.

    Remember about fresh produce (Don’t do it! Customs and Quarantine might hold it up and never let us have it) Glass (might break) Weight (could be expensive postage).

    If we end up with a greater amount of people willing to participate in either country, I’ll try and put together those who are the most geographically remote from each other.
    I, for one, love getting stuff in the post, which is why I love Amazon, Ebay, Trademe… It’ll be a bit like Xmas, so date for registering is June 2 so recipients should get their ‘gift’ by June 25. Kind of Xmas in the middle of the year.

    We only need two people to participate, but the more the merrier.

    RULES (if you want to call them that):

    Please try and post on a Monday so that the package is delivered that week rather than sitting at the post office over the weekend. (Airmail or Express Post, please)

    Please share with us all what you got, what you did with it, and a photo.

    Once you have received the package, please leave a comment in for the person who sent it to you.

    Please send me the link to your blog entry when/if you post something about your package.

    I'm looking forward to it, and hope you are too.