Thursday, July 20, 2006

Apples, Flour, Sugar, Butter

There are so many really good food blogs out there. They range from broad, wide ranging blogs such as Heidi's 101 Cookbooks to specific blogs such as Chockylit's Cupcake Bakeshop. Each of them has their own charms and eccentricities which make them popular with a given crowd. I have a couple of favourites which I read often. I like David's blog for its wit and great recipes, chez Pim for the recipes and Clotilde's Chocolate and Zucchini for a great combination of fun stories and even better recipes. So while I was cruising the archives at C&Z I happened across a recipe for Tarte Tatin. So here is the recipe with a couple of modifications.

Tarte Tatin
5 granny smith apples, cored and sliced
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup raw or demerara sugar
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, extra
splash milk

Set your oven to 180 C (375 F) and grease a 24 cm (8") round cake tin. Mash the raw sugar and 1/3 cup of butter together in a bowl. Add flour and mix in. Then add enough milk to form a dough, wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 an hour. Meanwhile, melt your sugar with the remaining butter in a pan to form an undercooked caramel. Place your apples in the cake tin and pour the caramel over. Toss lightly. Roll out your pastry on a floured surface. Place over apple and tuck down sides. Pierce the top with a knife and place in oven for 45 mins. Remove and flip onto a plate to serve by itself or with your favourite accompaniment (vanilla or caramel icecream are nice)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

SHF #21 - Middle-of-Winter Lemon Sorbet

So it turns out that my aunt has a lemon tree in her garden. It also turns out that she has a lot of fruit on this tree at this time of year. So what does one do with 100 lemons? Simple, give them to me. Of course this poses a lot of problems, there are so many things to do with 50 fresh, organic lemons. I just had to decide what to make. Lemon curd, lemon tarts, lemon chicken, lemon everything! Then I was checking IMBB and noticed that this SHF is titled Ice, Ice, Baby, now who am I to say no when there are 2 great reasons in front of me to make lemon sorbet, so in the middle of the Australian winter I got out the Donvier Ice Cream maker and made some sorbet.

Those Lemons

This sorbet is very, very simple. So simple I'm not even going to write out the recipe I'll just tell you what to do. Prepare your ice cream maker. Make a simple syrup of 1 1/2 cups white sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to the boil for 1 minute. In a bowl, beat 1 egg white until frothy. Allow syrup to cool slightly and mix into the egg white. Add 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice and the finely chopped zest of 1 lemon to the mixture and stir. Chill this liquid and then process in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Serve by itself or as I have with a lemon and poppyseed cookie.

Middle-of-Winter Lemon Sorbet

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

When Boredom Set In...

... bake something.

Too Good to Eat?

At least that's what happens with me, unless I start to randomly surf food blogs instead, anyway, I got excited an made Lychee-Coconut Cupcakes with Ginger-Cream Cheese Frosting courtesy of Chockylit, one of my favourite recipe bloggers. The recipe can be found here.

The cupcakes didn't work perfectly for me and didn't rise properly, I think I added too much liquid. It didn't really matter as they were really, really, tasty and were nice and moist. The cupcakes had good coconut and ginger flavour with the lychee coming through as a light undertone. This recipe is well worth trying and is a delicious treat.

Monday, July 03, 2006

What To Do With Cheese When There Are No Crackers?

Herby Camembert Tartlets with Caramelised Onion

I was looking through our fridge and found a small round of camembert. Finding that there were no crackers to complete the impending dinner I was forced to find something else. That something else was a savoury take on a sweet favourite, Portuguese Custard Tarts. The result was nothing like the original except that it tastes great and uses the same crust. By using frozen puff pastry this can be made in under 30 minutes and makes a great, quick and tasty meal when paired with a light salad.

Herby Camembert Tartlets with Caramelised Onion
makes 12 tartlets

1 sheet frozen puff pastry
150 gm camembert cheese, chopped
1/3 cup cream
3 eggs
1 tbsp chives, fnely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp rosemary, crushed with 1/2 tsp salt
carmelised onion (see below)

Preheat oven to 220 C (425 F).

Cut slightly thawed pastry into two halves. Place one on top of the other and roll into a short, fat log. Cut log into 12 rounds and roll out into 14cm (3.5") rounds.

Add crushed rosemary to cream and microwave for 30 seconds to infuse flavour. Beat into eggs.

Grease a 12 cup muffin pan. Place a round into each cup, it should reach part way up the sides. Place some cheese in each tart, split the herbs evenly between each tart and finally top off with egg mixture. Place a small amount of caramelised onion on top of each tart.

Bake until bubbly and egg is set. Allow to cool slightly on rack. Serve with a light salad or as an appetiser.
Cooked Tartlets
Carmelised Onion
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
olive oil

Fry onion in olive oil over medium heat. When clear add sugar and allow to brown slightly. Add lemon juice and cook until golden brown. Cool.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Good Lunch

Baked Atlantic Salmon in Thai Caramel Glaze with Coconut Rice

It seems in my family that all the birthdays fall at once. Just a week ago it was my grandmother and that called for a good lunch. With my grandmother living in small-town, virtually no decent food Albury we had to look for somewhere good. Of course, in small towns, news travels fast and we heard about the Stanley Pub. Attached to the pub is a quaint little restaurant serving Mod-Oz cuisine, with a heavy focus on seafood. The menu was reasonable and they have a good selection of daily specials. The atmosphere is warm with a fireplace running and a good light space. It wasn't too busy for lunch but still felt nice and cosy.

We had the Baked Atlantic Salmon, Sweet Chilli Prawns, Ocean and Earth and Prawn and Scallop Pesto Linguini as our mains. They were all tasty and cooked well. The Salmon came across with the best flavours, a good Thai flavour with subtle caramel coming through. The pasta was also good, made with homemade pasta and with fresh seafood. The other dishes were well prepared and quite fine. Overall, a well balanced set of mains, which appeared to sum up the menu as a whole.

Bailey's and Butterscotch Schnapps Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis

Desserts at the restaurant are also excellent. While they are never the same any two times you visit they are wonderful. We had the Bailey's and Butterscotch Schnapps Cheesecake and the Chocolate Brownie Pudding. Both were tasty and not overwhelmingly sweet. The cheesecake had a beautiful texture and was served with a good dollop of unsweetened cream and an intense raspberry coulis. The brownie pudding was also good.

As a sum of its parts the experience was great and well worth it. Reasonably priced and tasty food in a comfortable environment.

The Stanley Pub
1 Wallace St
Stanley VIC
(03) 5728 6602

Monday, June 26, 2006

Birthday Cupcakes

With tomorrow being my Mum's birthday I thought I would make her some chocolate truffles for her birthday. While that was fun and tasty, you can have too much chocolate. So I decided that for her birthday cake I would go non-chocolate for this first time in about 7 years. Last time was when I decided to be different and go with the Icecream cake trend. Well this time I was inspired and used a wonderful recipe for Carrot Orange Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Orange Peel this recipe was found here at Cupcake Bakeshop. So off I went, I decided to cut out the pecans, as I'm not a huge nut fan where not essential to a dish or baked product and I chose not to use anything fancy on the topping. So I came out with a nice fluffy cupcake/muffin (it was sort of in between). I added some minced orange zest to the frosting to add a bit more flavour. Once out of the oven I resisted the urge to pop a couple in my mouth, waited for them to cool and added the wonderful frosting to them and topped with a couple of pieces of candied peel.

Carrot Orange Cupcake with Zesty Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Orange Peel

Quite enjoyable overall. Also seems like something Mum will enjoy as she has always been into the Carrot Cake thing so this will be a nice take on it. Come to think of it, it may be nice with a very light dusting of that Valrhona cocoa powder I have lying in the cupboard. Mmmmm.

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