Quite a nice food day today. For one thing, my copy of Hermé’s Macarons arrived this morning, so I got to spend a significant portion of my day at work being an Evil Temptress and making people drool over both the macarons and the cookbook.
Monthly Archives: September 2011
We currently have the two radiation guys living on our floor at work, and one of them turned 60 on the weekend. My Divisions are very cake-oriented and we felt it would be terrible – terrible! – if someone living on the same floor as us did not get birthday cake. But how could he get birthday cake with no lab to bake for him?
Fortunately, there was an easy answer to that question, and you can probably guess what it was…
This cake looks like a completely insane – and enormous – chocolate cake, and certainly, the fact that it has about a kilo of chocolate on top of it does make it hard to argue that it isn’t chocolatey. But don’t be fooled – the inside is a moist butter cake packed with almond meal, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. It’s based on a Women’s Weekly recipe which I have naturally altered beyond recognition. The cake itself is enormous – I used a 30 cm round tin which is about 10cm deep. The cake filled it to the brim. I was aiming to feed 70-odd people, and I succeeded. The decorations were not entirely successful, largely because I was too tired to think, but the actual method for decorating this cake is pretty easy and looks very spectacular – instructions are at the end of the recipe.
Your Shopping List500 g unsalted butter, at room temperature or a little softer 880 g caster sugar 12 egg 300 g sour cream 2 cups almond meal (the more wholemealy, the better) 2 cups plain flour 1 cup self-raising flour 600 g mixed berries 600 g dark chocolate 1 cup cream 200 g white chocolate 200 g milk chocolate
This is my favourite weeknight dessert. It’s hot and fruity and tastes healthy and the leftovers are lovely for breakfast. And it makes heaps, which means you have breakfast for *days* afterwards. It’s not really a standard crumble recipe – I think it started off as my mum’s recipe and then developed all the Anzac Biscuit sort of elements in a bid to convince Andrew to eat fruit crumble. Andrew now claims he always liked fruit crumble, but that’s not what he told me when I first tried making it for him eleven years ago. I think what he actually meant is that he doesn’t like the kind of fruit crumble people write recipes for, which means that he’s pretty safe because this is definitely not how most people make fruit crumble.
You see, while I make this crumble about once a week, never make it the same way twice and I never measure anything. This is a problem, because people ask me for my crumble recipe probably more often than they ask for any other recipe I’ve made, and I don’t know what it is. Tonight I actually resorted to weighing the boxes containing things like oats, flour, sugar, golden syrup and so forth before and after making the recipe, and then finding the difference. And then when it was all done and in the oven I realised I had forgotten the almond meal (which was not something that used to go into this recipe, but has become a frequent and valued participant of late), so I’ve guessed that part… So this is not a perfect recipe, but it is probably as good as I’ll ever get it. If you’ve ever asked me for my crumble recipe, this is a good starting point.
Your shopping list2 kg apples (a mix of cooking and eating apples is nice) 50 g raw sugar 250 g berries – I used strawberries today, but blueberries, raspberries or blackberries all work. 75 g butter 100 g golden syrup 50 g flour 50 g brown sugar 100 g almond meal 300 g rolled oats Continue reading
Edible glitter is, admittedly, awesome. And it makes last-minute birthday cakes look fabulous with very little effort. But it isn’t cheap, and should not be wasted. Continue reading
Two of my lovely scientists are getting married next Tuesday. The wedding is being organised very much at the last minute, because they are heading overseas to visit family and have the baby christened the week after.
And I get to make the wedding cake!
(because naturally my response to someone saying “We’re getting married next week!” is “Can I make the wedding cake?”)
This post feels a bit like a daisy chain, because on the one hand I am pointing you at a post with a recipe I absolutely loved when I made it last week, and on the other hand I am pointing you at a post about a recipe of mine that someone else absolutely loved and made a few weeks earlier…
The other reason I haven’t been blogging much recently is that my meals have either been fairly mundane or fairly unsuccessful. This does not lend itself to food blogging as well as you might think. One of the less successful dishes in recent times was traditional Osso Bucco with Risotto Milanese. The Osso Bucco actually had a pretty good flavour, it just turns out that neither Andrew nor I actually like that particular cut of meat. Live and learn… The risotto, alleged to feed two people, was ridiculously abundant, leading to the question of Leftovers and what to do with them.
You can make this risotto cake with any leftover risotto at all. It’s really easy and can be eaten hot or cold, depending on whim, and makes useful picnic or lunchbox food, as it is quite sturdy once cooked. We’re having it for lunch today and Tuesday, with assorted tiny vegetables and hummus. And probably chocolate cake, but who’s complaining? It’s pretty basic – almost bland – but you can add *anything* to it, which makes it an excellent blank slate dish. See variations for ideas!
Your Shopping List
(Why are you shopping? This is leftover risotto!)600 g leftover risotto 3 eggs 90 g mozzarella seasonings (a herbed salt is good here) a handful of breadcrumbs olive oil
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It’s sunny and beautiful at the market today. The blood oranges are gone, so we know winter is over, but where is the asparagus? Today’s market seems to be less about primary produce than usual, and there are more made … Continue reading
Ah, cheesy pasta bake. The best comfort food in the world, not least because you can put practically anything in it successfully. Pasta bakes are my go-to dish when I have a lot of random vegetables in the fridge and no idea what to do with them. Or when I have bits of cheese in the fridge with no apparent unifying factor. Or when I am tired and unimaginative and just want some melty cheesy goodness to make everything better.
My pasta bakes actually started life as tuna casserole, but over the years, the veggies have gradually edged out the tuna. Corn developed companion onions, then capsicums and carrots and celery, then baby spinach or other leafy greens, then asparagus or tomato or cauliflower or broccoli, and pretty soon you end up with a situation where you look at the casserole dish and you look at the vegetables and the cheesy sauce and you realise that you will have to choose between adding tuna and adding pasta (or a situation in which you pile everything into the dish, totaly misjudge its capacity, and end up with cheese sauce all over the kitchen). The tuna always loses. The cheesy sauce, you will note, is never even considered as something to leave out. While I have made pasta bakes without it, cheesy sauce really is the point of this dish.
Anyway, while I never really make the same pasta bake twice, tonight’s iteration was successful enough that I felt I ought to write it down. The quantities are a little vague, but I think you should view this not as a bug but as a feature – consider the areas of uncertainty an opportunity for you to add your own chosen ingredients. Or more cheese. Go wild!
Your shopping list
(technically, this is not a shopping list, because if you are doing this right, it’s more of a case of foraging through the fridge and realising that hey, you have a roasted pepper over here, and look! there’s still some mascarpone left! But if you are actually trying to replicate what I did, here is what you need.)1/2 a bunch of baby spinach 1/2 a bunch of rocket 1 roasted pepper 2 heads of broccoli 2 heads of baby cauliflower or half a head of the full-grown kind 6 spring onions 75 g butter (garlic butter is good) 90 g flour 750 ml milk 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, plus a couple of teaspoons of the sauce 100 g cheddar 100 g parmesan (actually, I have absolutely no idea how much cheese I used, but it was certainly a lot) 75 g mascarpone, maybe. I really have no idea about this one – it was what was left in the tub… black pepper 375 g curly pasta or short pasta of your choice
This cake is incredibly easy to make, and really, really lemony - it verges on being too sour, in fact, which may possibly have something to do with the fact that I didn’t follow the recipe and also to do with the fact that I used the enormous lemons from our tree. It’s also the most glorious sunshine yellow, which has nothing to do with the lemons at all. You see, we’ve started getting our free-range eggs from the farmers’ market too, and the yolks come in a truly extraordinary palette of colours at this time of year: deep orange-gold, daffodil-yellow, pale butter-yellow, and an almost chartreuse-green-yellow. (This does make me wonder just how free range those supermarket eggs are. Judging by the uniform colour of their yolks, they certainly do not have the varied diet of the chickens who lay our eggs).
Anyway, aside from providing endless entertainment when cracking eggs (and hard boiled eggs from these chickens are even more fun), I’m finding that even the palest of the yolks from these eggs give anything they are mixed into a much brighter and more vibrant colour than I am accustomed to. Omelettes and frittatas are positively fabulous in their yellowness. And this cake is pretty fabulous, too.
Your shopping list100 g butter, softened (unsalted is best) 100 g caster sugar (raw caster sugar is lovely here) + 2 tablespoons 3 large, unwaxed lemons (Who waxes lemons anyway? It’s not like they have hairy armpits) 4 eggs (free-range and from the farmer if you can get them) 250 ml milk 300 g self-raising flour