Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Strawberry coconut ice



For a recent afternoon tea that I hosted, one of the nibbles that I made was strawberry coconut ice.  The inspiration for this was that the afternoon tea was originally going to be pink themed.  In the end, I found that too hard, but I kept some of the ideas from the pink theme for the actual menu.

The recipe for the strawberry coconut ice came from a Coles supermarket magazine (September 2014?).  It is an easy recipe using condensed milk rather than the scary boiled one, so anyone can make it.  The recipe is as follows:

 2 cups icing sugar
4 cups dessicated coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
395g can of condensed milk
60g strawberries, hulled and quartered
red food colouring

Grease and line a 21cm square pan with baking paper, allowing the paper to overhang the sides.

 Put 1 cup of icing sugar and 2 cups of coconut on a large bowl.  Stir in the vanilla and two third of the condensed milk.  Press the mixture into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, mash the strawberries until almost smooth and colour with a drop or two of red food colouring.  Add the remaining 1 cup of icing sugar and remaining condensed milk, and press into the prepared tin on top of the white mixture. 

Place the pan into the fridge overnight, and once the coconut ice is set, cut it into 36 pieces.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Triple Layer Orange Passionfruit Tart


Recently, I had a hankering for my Mum's Triple Layer Orange Passionfruit Tart recently, and coincidentally had all of the ingredients in the house.  This was  a great excuse to whip one up.

The recipe is published in the Blogger Aid Cookbook (2009) - you can buy one here.

While this tart is a little fiddly, as it has four components (pie dough, passionfruit filling, orange custard, and white custard topping), it is well worth the effort, and none of the components is hard to make:


It always amazes me how the passionfruit layer sets up with just lemon juice - you start off with something really runny, but it just comes together like magic. 


This tart is a marvel.  I recommend buying the Blogger Aid Cookbook for this and a host of fabulous recipes from bloggers around the world - and you will be doing your bit to raise funds for the World Food Program's School Meals Program. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

FFWD - Vanilla Vegetable Salad




This French Friday with Dorie required us to make a very healthy salad with squash, carrot and salad greens, and an unusual vanilla flavoured dressing.  The vegetables are shaved into fine strips before being dressed.

 I am not really a salad person, but this one was OK.  I served with fish for a light lunch.

 There's not much else to say, I'm afraid.  To see what the other Doristas thought, visit the LYL section of the website.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Matteo's Restaurant, Fitzroy


For my recent birthday, Tim took me out to Matteo's Restaurant in Fitzroy for dinner.  The menu is French-Asian fusion, making its menu quite unique  from other places that I have been to.

On walking into Matteo's, the entrance is decorated with gorgeous gold and red wallpaper.  There is a downstairs section of the restaurant, with big plate glass windows giving views of the street, and there are intimate booths upstairs.  Out the back, there is a large function area that was buzzing on the night that we were there.

On being seated in one of the booths, and after ordering two glasses of Prosecco, we were provided with some bread to start:  

 
The bread was the perfect vehicle for the delicious sea salt and seaweed and almond meal condiments:

 
For entrée, I chose the Jerusalem artichoke soup with goats cheese ($23):

 
The large, creamy balls of fried goats cheese swam in a moat of smooth and delicious soup which was poured into the bowl at the table.

Tim chose the king salmon with salmon roe and yuzu dressing ($24):

 
He said it was delicious.

For main, Tim ordered the wagyu beef ($39):

 
I have no further information about this dish other than that it was tasty.

I wanted to try something a little different, so I ordered the pork hock roulade with cauliflower and prunes ($33):

 
I knew that this dish would be rich, but I didn't really understand how rich.  I was glad the waiter steered me away from the Chinese doughnut with scallops and congee for entrée, as two rich dishes would not have been good.  Don't get me wrong, this tasted good, but the sheer fatty goodness of the hock was a bit overpowering to someone who is used to choosing lean cuts of meat. 

On the side, we ordered a beetroot salad (~$10):

 
and Asian greens in soy sauce (also around $10):

 
My favourite side was the Asian greens.

For dessert, both Tim and I ordered the panna cotta trifle with berries and gelato ($18):

 
My favourite part of this dish was the crunchy cereal balls, which contrasted nicely with the smoothness of the panna cotta.  We were both very happy with this choice, and I could have eaten another despite feeling very full by this stage.

We did some celebrity spotting when Goerge Calombaris of Masterchef fame came to dine with three companions.  They were seated by the big plate glass windows, so I could only see him  by glancing sideways.

The service at Matteo's was impeccable.  Our waiter was attentive without being intrusive, and I appreciated his advice on my menu selections.

We finished off with a coffee each, which was served with a mini raspberry macaron with chocolate ganache filling:


It was a perfect end to a perfect evening.

533 Brunswick St
Fitzroy North VIC 3068
Ph: (03) 9481 1177

WWDH - Crispy Sage Potatoes with Fried Eggs

 


For Wednesday with Donna Hay this week, I chose a breakfast inspired dish - Donna's Crispy Sage Potatoes with Fried Eggs.  As the name suggests, it involves fried potatoes flavoured with sage, with a fried egg cracked on top.

This was really quick and simple to prepare, and very tasty.  What's not to like?

To see what Margaret, Chaya and Sarah thought, check out their websites.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pumpkin and sultana muffins



I try to avoid wasting food as much as possible.  I have found that most vegetables on their last leg are fabulous in a stir fry, and fruit can be included in cakes and jams.

Recently, I had a forlorn piece of pumpkin in the fridge, so I made Phyllis's pumpkin muffins with it.  I have no idea who Phyllis is, but she was a member of The Toowoomba Chronicle Kids Club in 1936 - before my Mum was born!  Phyllis' recipe has been republished, and is online here.

As well as mashed pumpkin, these tasty little muffins contain sultanas.  I really enjoyed these for a change.  Here's a peek inside:



So there you go - if you have a sad piece of pumpkin past its prime in the fridge, whip up some of Phyllis's pumpkin muffins for morning tea - you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Margaret Fulton's Beatles Cake and The Meaning of Life


Forty-two is the number Deep Thought gave as being the Ultimate Answer.  Ford Prefect
The Restaurant at the End of  the Universe, Douglas Adams

It was my birthday recently.  As I do not live near family, if I don't make my own cake, I tend not to get one, so I always make my own.  This year, I had no trouble deciding what cake I was going to make.  After visiting The Beatles in Australia photographic exhibition earlier this year (of which you can read more details in this excellent post), I was fixated by a Beatles party cake in a magazine at the exhibition.  The recipe, which was published in Woman's Day (visible at the bottom of Sewing the 60s exhibition post), was devised by Australia's queen of the kitchen, Margaret Fulton.

I had no idea where I'd get the recipe for this cake, as the magazine in the exhibition was published in the 1960s, way before the Internet, and I had no idea how to track down the magazine.  However, my idle Internet surfing was rewarded recently when I typed in "margaret fulton beatles cake".  By chance, Woman's Day had turned 65 last year, and to celebrate, they had republished Margaret's recipe in an August 2013 edition of the magazine.  Phoodie had published a post about this, so I did another Google search, this time for "woman's day beatles cake".  I then hit the jackpot - the Margareet Fulton Beatles Cake recipe from the 1960s was on their website.  You can find it here.  The cake is described as a burnt sugar party cake, and is frosted with a caramel icing.

You will see from the recipe that Margaret assumed her readers would have some cake baking experience, because while the instructions are adequate for an experienced cake baker, some of the finer details required to make this cake successfully would be lost on a novice baker.  Unfortunately, the link to the Beatles biscuit template does not work, so I had to design my own template, working from the photograph of the cake.  I also decided to use a different caramel icing recipe, as Margaret's version uses 4 cups of brown sugar and is of the tricky fudge variety that is impossible to work with.  That said, the icing that I used got tricky to work with over time, as it dries out and sets fairly quickly.  With respect to the biscuits, I found that they took much longer than the 8-10 minutes quoted for baking time.
 
Here's a peek inside:
 

 
 
My adapted version of the cake and biscuit recipes is as follows:

Cake

1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup hot water 2 ¾ cups plain flour 3 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt175g butter 3 eggs ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup milk
Grease and line 2 x 8" round cake tins.  Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Place 1/2 cup of sugar into a heavy saucepan and stir over low heat.  When the sugar just turns dark brown, remove it from the heat.  (Don't take the sugar off too early as you won't get a nice caramel coloured cake, but don't leave the sugar for too long or it will taste bitter in the cake.)  Carefully and slowly, add the hot water to the sugar (be careful and stand back, it spits!), and stir the mixture until well combined. Allow this syrup to cool.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.

Beat the softened butter in a stand mixer until soft.  Add the remaining sugar to the butter, beating until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs to the sugar mixture, one at a time, and beat well before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla and the syrup. 

In a stand mixer on low speed or using a spoon, add the flour and milk alternately to the butter mixture, starting and ending with flour, with three tranches of flour and two tranches of sugar. Mix in each tranche until just combined. 

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tins and bake the cake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning them out onto wire cake racks to cool completely.
       

 Biscuits

125g butter
5
0g sugar 1 egg yolk 1 cup plain flour 1 cup self raising flour pinch of salt iced waterblack licorice straps for hair and eyescashews for Ringo's noseunsalted peanuts for other nosesglace cherries for mouths 
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Beat the softened butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk.

Using a spoon, fold both flours and the salt into the butter mixture.  Add iced water to the dough and knead in if necessary to make firm dough. (I did add some water.)  Form the dough into a flat disc, wrap it in cling film, and allow it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll the chilled dough out on a floured surface or between two pieces of baking paper until 1/4" thick.  Using a paper or plastic template as a guide, cut out the Beatle heads from the dough with a small sharp knife.  (Cut out 12 head shapes.)  Put the biscuits on to the lined biscuit tray and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Remove the chilled biscuits from the fridge and bake in the preheated oven 8-10 minutes or until pale golden colour. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cut out hair and eyes from the licorice straps, and mouths from the glace cherries, then stick these and the nut "noses" onto the biscuits with a small amount of chocolate icing (see below).

Makes 12 Beatles.   (I only made the four biscuits I needed for the cake - that was more than enough!)        



Caramel icing

I used this icing recipe rather than Margaret's.  Work with it as quickly as you can, as while it is malleable to start with, it firms up quickly.  Use a hot knife to help spread the icing if necessary.

Chocolate icing for piping and sticking on Beatles' "faces"

50g softened butter
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa

Beat together the butter, icing sugar and cocoa in a stand mixer. Add sufficient milk to make the icing a smooth piping texture.   

Cake assembly

Place one half of the cooled cake on a cake board or cake plate.  Spread one third of the caramel icing on top of the cake, going right to the edges.  Place the second cake on top of the first, then spread the remaining caramel icing over the top and sides of both cakes. Pipe music notes around the sides of the cake (and Beatles lyrics if you like) with the chocolate icing. Place the Beatles biscuits on top of the cake, securing with a little chocolate icing if necessary.



Yeah, yeah!