The local garden shop has mutated into a local garden shop that also sells really interesting obscure organic ingredients. Excellent. One of their interesting obscure ingredients was strawberry powder, which is freeze-dried strawberries ground into a powder. It’s lovely – very sharp and strawberryish and not at all cloying. But what to do with it? Macarons or meringues seem like the obvious options, but I am feeling far too lazy for either of those options just now. On the other hand, the shop also had blueberry powder, and the idea of a primary coloured marble cake flavoured with blueberry, strawberry, and lemon, was impossible to resist.
The base recipe is standard Margaret Fulton. The weird fruit powders are all mine… (mine, all mine… my precioussss…)
Your shopping list
125g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
2 cups of self-raising flour
3/4 cup of milk
zest of one lemon
3 tsp strawberry powder
3 tsp blueberry powder
food colouring in red, yellow and blue (optional but fun)
Posted in baking, cakes, dairy-free, everyday cooking, nut-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged big cakes, blueberries, dairy-free, fruit powders, nut-free, recipes, strawberries, vegetarian
I’m reading a fair bit of young adult literature at the moment. There’s some very good stuff around. So when an online friend reviewed a YA book that was full of food and cooking I thought, yep, that’s one for me, and promptly went out and bought it.
This book is a lot of fun. It’s also utterly excruciating, because I identify quite strongly with the protagonist and her food-based methods of dealing with emotional issues, and I can understand completely why she does the things she does (who hasn’t done stupid and unwise things in the pursuit of teenage crushes?), but I can also see exactly the ways in which they aren’t going to end well, and it’s almost unbearable to watch and be unable to do anything!
This drove me absolutely batty. I suspect this is a sign of excellent writing. Continue reading
I’m a rotten gardener. I have absolutely no attention span for things like weeding or watering, and when it comes to feeding plants, or mulching, or pruning, well, for one thing I’m not really sure how, but it actually doesn’t matter because even if I did know how, I probably wouldn’t ever do any of those things anyway. And I’m really bad at staking tomatoes.
Plants in my garden need to be the kind which cope with intense, freakish levels of interest in their early stages (I’ve never *quite* dug up seeds to see if they were sprouting, but I have been known to gently disturb the earth above them, just to see if they were about to poke out of the ground), feverish watering and weeding in their first month of life, and total neglect thereafter.
Self-seeding plants are my favourite kind, and I do quite well with nasturtiums. And we aren’t even going to talk about Jerusalem artichokes.
But when it comes to planting things that I might actually get to eat one day, my attention span can expand to as much as several months. Continue reading
Posted in garden
Many years ago, I purchased a cookbook called Garlic, Garlic, Garlic!. I purchased it pretty much for the sake of one recipe, garlic fudge. I figured that garlic fudge was not a recipe I was going to find anywhere else, possibly because there can’t be too many people who would not only come up with an idea that insane, but also be able to persuade their publisher into including it.
I went straight home and made the fudge. It was… not good. I’d never made fudge before, which probably didn’t help, and the sharp, uncooked garlic flavour (the original recipe infuses the butter, sugar and evaporated milk on a very low heat with six cloves of garlic, so the garlic does not cook) was bizarre and rather unpleasing.
A normal person would probably chalk this up to (regrettable) experience, and leave garlic fudge (and garlic ice-cream, for that matter) well and truly alone. But for reasons even I don’t fully comprehend, I was looking at this recipe again the other day and thought, you know, if you roasted the garlic, it might actually work… Roasted garlic, after all, becomes buttery and sweet, just like fudge! How could this possibly go wrong?
In all honesty, I’m not sure what I think of this fudge. It is deeply, deeply weird, yet strangely moreish. It’s like a delicious caramelised garlic dip, except that it is confectionery and rather sweet. It’s like a lovely buttery fudge, except that it really quite distinctly has garlic in it. It is frankly peculiar. I have no idea whether it’s good or bad or whether I like it or not, but it is certainly interesting. I may have to try it out on my unsuspecting scientists tomorrow…
Your shopping list – if you dare!
1 bulb of garlic, whole and unpeeled
a smidge of light olive oil
50g unsalted butter
250ml evaporated milk
450g caster sugar
pinch of salt
Posted in confectionery, desserts, egg-free, gluten-free, low fructose, nut-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged confectionery and sweetmeats, culinary misadventures, egg-free, garlic, gluten-free, insanity, low fructose, nut-free, vegetarian
This gallery contains 1 photos.
Difficult decision this weekend – do we go to the Preston Farmers’ market, today (closer and held less often, but has fewer vegetables and more sweets), or do we go to the Show Grounds Market tomorrow (better range of veggies … Continue reading
This is one of my standbys when I’m tired and feeling unimaginative. It was especially fabulous when I gave up meat for Lent this year, and promptly regretted it because I couldn’t cope with long work days and then being imaginative in the kitchen in the evening. These tacos are fast, nutritious, and very comforting. They are also vegan or vegetarian, depending on your cheesy preferences, gluten-free if you use corn taco shells (and you should!) , and has a fairly low Glycemic Index. What’s not to like? Of course, I should probably mention that I’m typing this recipe right now because even though this is really easy, I still can’t face cooking just yet! It’s that sort of night…
Your Shopping List
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tsp cumin, approx
1/2 tsp oregano, approx
chilli powder and paprika to taste
2 tins of black beans or red kidney beans (or one of each)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 chipotle chilli in adobo, or more if you like, finely chopped. Beware – they are quite fiery! If you can’t get chipotle in adobo, use whatever sort of chilli in whatever quantity you would normally add to a 4 person serving of chilli.
2 brown onions, sliced
1/2 tsp cumin
4-5 assorted peppers or those big Italian sweet chillis, sliced into thin strips
1 fresh chilli, finely chopped, or more, to taste
12-16 taco shells (the stand-and-stuff ones are easiest to use)
grated cheese and guacamole or puréed avocado, to serve
Posted in dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, Latin American, low glycemic index, main courses, nut-free, Recipes, vegan
Tagged capsicums, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, legumes, low GI, main courses, nut-free, recipes, tomatoes, vegan, vegetarian
I’m having rather a nice re-introduction to work this week after my holidays, at least as far as the non-work parts are concerned (alas, work itself has been pure trained-monkey stuff since Monday). About half my scientists are off at a conference at a Queensland resort island, and the rest of us have been assuaging our feelings of envy with High Tea at the Langham on Tuesday, and a champagne breakfast today.
(Of course, the main topic at today’s champagne breakfast turned out to be whether or not our travellers would actually make it home, since the airline helpfully cancelled their flight 36 hours before departure, and I’ve spent most of the intervening time trying to get them re-booked, despite the best efforts of said airline. We’re still not all that sure that they won’t wind up stranded in Sydney tonight.)
But I digress. We decided to investigate a new cafe in Brunswick, Veri Koko, which is on Sydney Road between Albert and Glenlyon and serves food with a Mediterranean and Greek feel. Actual Greek food is pretty rare on Sydney Road – you can take your pick of literally dozens of Turkish restaurants, and we are certainly not lacking in pizza shops, but I don’t think there are any other Greek places there at all. I cook a lot of what I think of as Generic Mediterranean food, and am rather fond of Turkish food, which uses similar ingredients and flavours – but it’s only when I actually eat at a Greek restaurant or café that I am reminded just how distinct the flavours are. Greek flavours seem to be cleaner and freshers, at least to my palate – more imbued with lemon and oregano, and much less imbued with yoghurt and cumin.
I wanted to do something beautiful with those rosemary branches. That’s pretty much all the commentary this gets, because that was the entire inspiration for this meal. This recipe is truly mine – I’ve made jewelled pilafs to a number of recipes, but this isn’t any of them, and marinades are something I tend to improvise. I had to make an effort to measure things. Depending on the size of your dish, you may need to use more or less marinade – just keep the proportions about the same and you’ll be fine.
Your shopping list (serves 4)
8 large, woody rosemary stalks
4 chicken breast fillets with tenderloins, or 8 chicken thigh fillets
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
couple of splashes of white wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, sliced
seasonings of your choice – I used a teaspoon of French Lavender Salt and a little rosemary and it was amazing, but salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme would be a lovely combination too
25 g butter, pref. salted
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup water or stock
a good pinch of saffron
1 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, halved (dried cranberries, currants or dried figs would do if you can’t get cherries)
1/4 cup dried apricots, sliced
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 red capsicum
1 lebanese cucumber
extra virgin olive oil (infused with lemon or blood orange, ideally)
white wine vinegar
Greek yoghurt, to serve
Posted in dairy-free, egg-free, everyday cooking, gluten-free, low glycemic index, main courses, Middle-Eastern, Recipes
Tagged apricots, cherries, chicken, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, lemon, low GI, main courses, pine nuts, pistachios, recipes, rice, rosemary, saffron
Someone in my workplace has been pruning their rosemary bush, so there were big branches of rosemary stacked on the bench of the Tea Room, dark green and aromatic, a gift to the hopeful cook.
I grabbed four big branches. My office smells like heaven…
I know exactly what I’ll be doing with them – big, woody rosemary branches make wonderful skewers for kebabs, and I have those beautiful chicken breasts and tenderloins just crying out to be marinated for tonight’s dinner. I think I’ll keep it simple, and let my ingredients speak for themselves – I have white wine, really good olive oil, lemons and garlic for the marinade; I have the aforementioned dried cherries and almonds which will be beautiful in a jewelled pilaf with dried apricots and pistachios; I have home-made yoghurt for a sauce, and maybe my garden will yield me some mint and parsley and nasturtiums and rocket for a nice, herby salad.
I’m hungry already…
These are lightly adapted from a recipe in Paul Young’s book, Adventures in Chocolate, which is, incidentally, a completely and gloriously insane book containing recipes for things like marmite truffles and garlic ganache. Actually, I really need to try the garlic ganache, and not just because then it could join garlic fudge in my special Hall of Fame for Inadvisable Things To Do With Garlic. Come to think of it, I should try the garlic fudge again, too. It was, after all, my first attempt both at roasting garlic and at making fudge, so it is possible that the recipe was not wholly at fault for that particular unfortunate incident (though I’ll admit the evidence is against it).
Anyway, I digress. In between recording these magnificently insane recipes, Young has also provided a few recipes suitable for
normal people cooks who are not completely insane less adventurous cooks, and one of these recipes is for brownies with dried cherries in them. Being a young(ish) woman in possession of some very good dried cherries, I naturally must in want of a recipe which uses them, and this is it. It’s gorgeous – fudgey, heavy, rich, very-nearly-almost too sweet, and studded with the fruity, black-forest goodness of dried black cherries.
And how did I adapt it? Those who are familiar with this blog will be unsurprised to learn that I added more chocolate. And more cherries. And more coconut. And then had to add to the cooking time, because for some reason it didn’t want to cook through as fast as the recipe had suggested. I have no regrets.
(actually, this is not true – I regret having brownies for breakfast this morning, but I have no regrets regarding the recipe itself)
Your Shopping List
100 g unsalted butter (European style is nicest)
150 g raw caster sugar
100 g brown sugar
75 g golden syrup
300 g 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
4 free-range eggs
75 g spelt flour
60 g shredded dried coconut
115 g dried black cherries
Posted in baking, cakes, dairy-free, desserts, gluten-free, nut-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged brownies, cherries, chocolate, coconut, dairy-free, gluten-free, little cakes, nut-free, recipes, vegetarian