Thursday, June 30, 2016

EwE - Warm Bulgar Salad with Grapes and Feta - The Colour Purple

This week's Eating with Ellie theme chosen by Margaret is The Colour Purple.  I made Ellie's Warm Bulgar Salad with Grapes and Feta - the grapes and red onion in the salad are purple, and I used cracked purple wheat.

This dish is lovely - the nutty bulgar wheat pairs nicely with the creamy feta and sweet grapes, and the kick from the red onion.  It is a nice filling salad as well, and I served it as a side with Ellie's Pork Tenderloin with Fennel and Grapes.

I would definitely make this salad again, and it is yet another winner from Ellie.

To see what other purple dishes the others made, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

TWD - Rice Pudding, Strawberries, and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup

This week's Tuesday with Dorie alternate recipe is Rice Pudding, Strawberries, and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup.  I do love rice pudding, so I was very happy to make this.  However, I only made a half recipe because I didn't want to make my rice pudding into a roly poly (me).

The rice pudding is made with a very small amount of arborio rice, which is pre-cooked then plumped up with lots of milk.  I used skim milk because that is the only milk that I use, and it worked fine.  The pudding is topped with chopped strawberries (no magic there), and a spiced syrup which is meant to be flavoured with hibiscus tea.  The spices are black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and orange. I couldn't find pure hibiscus tea, so I used a passionfruit tea that claimed to have "a twist of hibiscus".  In reality, it just tasted like passionfruit, but that suited me fine.

I really enjoyed this pudding.  The serves are quite small, but when you consider that one serve contains a whole cup of milk, that is adequate.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cantaloupe Bread with Walnut Glaze

Recently, I needed a cantaloupe (that's rockmelon to me) for a fruit salad.  Unfortunately, being winter, cantaloupes are thin on the ground.  I miraculously managed to find one, but it was absolutely enormous, and the fruit salad only required a quarter of it.  What to do with the rest, recognising that I would never just eat it all?

I did a Google search on cantaloupe recipes, and was pleasantly surprised by the variety that I found.  In addition to the granitas and sorbets (which were not what I wanted in winter), there was quite a number of recipes for baked goods. I would never have thought of putting cantaloupe in baking before, but I was surprised at how many people already had in a creative way.

One of the recipes that I chose was this recipe for Cantaloupe Bread with Praline Glaze. (I only made half the recipe to make one cake.) This recipe comprises a beautiful soft cake (which someone told me tasted like banana bread), topped with an irresistible brown sugar and butter glaze, studded with nuts (walnuts, in my case):

This bread tastes as good as it looks, and it went in a flash at work.  Quite a few people told me how much they liked this, which is another sign that it was exceptional.
The only disclaimer I will put on it is that the cake is quite soft and the topping sets reasonably hard, so cutting the cake is a challenge.  However, this is a small price to make for such a delicious morsel with an unlikely main ingredient. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Slow Cooked Beef with Cannellini Beans and Cauliflower Mash

Winter has well and truly hit us in Melbourne.  It is, more often than not, cold and grey and wet.  It is good weather for staying indoors, snuggled up with a warm beverage, and for soups and stews and roasts and warm puddings.

Many winter foods, although comforting, can be a little unfriendly on the waistline.  Accordingly, when I spied a recipe for Slow Cooked Beef & White Beans with Cauliflower Mash in the June 2016 edition of Taste magazine, I was stoked.  It fulfils my need for warming, hearty food to ward off the cold, while remaining friendly on the calorie side (334 calories per serve).

Without further ado, here is the recipe (serves 8):

1 tbspn olive oil
800g diced blade steak
2 finely chopped red onions
4 finely chopped celery sticks
2 finely chopped carrots
4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
1 tbspn chopped fresh rosemary
250ml red wine
2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
1 tbspn balsamic vinegar
2 x 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 large cauliflower divided into florets
2 tbspns milk
1 tbspn horseradish (I omitted this)
baby spinach leaves

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Heat half of the oil in a casserole dish over high heat.  Brown the beef in  two batches in the hot oil, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in the casserole dish over medium heat.  Cook the onion, celery and carrot until soft.  Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the beef and the wine to the casserole dish and simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.  Add the tomatoes and vinegar and stir well, and bring the mixture to the boil.

Remove the casserole dish from the heat, cover, and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.  Add the cannellini beans to the dish, stir, and cook for a further 30-60 minutes in the oven until the beef is tender.

Cook the cauliflower in a saucepan of boiling water until soft, then put into a food processor with the milk and horseradish (if using) and process until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the mash with the beef on top, and baby spinach leaves on the side (if desired).

Thursday, June 23, 2016

EwE - Apple Coffee Cake - Margaret's Birthday, Let's Make Cake!

This week for Eating with Ellie, we are celebrating Margaret's birthday with cake.  Ellie doesn't have a lot of cakes, but if the one I made is anything to go by, the ones she does make are good.

I chose Ellie's Apple Coffee Cake.  The recipe is from a book I don't have, called Comfort Food Fix, but someone has published it online here.

What can I say - this cake is just delish.  It contains brown sugar, apples, walnuts and cinnamon.  It has an amazingly low amount of oil and butter (2 tablespoons of each).  Yoghurt adds a little more fat and protein.  Half of the flour is wholemeal flour, for a bit more protein. 

Despite all of these adjustments, this is one tasty cake, especially when served warm.  I served my piece with a dollop of yoghurt on the side.

To see what the others made for Margaret's birthday, check out the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.  Happy birthday Margaret!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Apricot Slice with Lemon Icing

I really enjoy the ABC program, Kitchen Cabinet, with Annabel Crabb, a journalist.  For the uninitiated, the show each week comprises Annabel visiting a different politician for a meal.  The host cooks the main course and Annabel always brings dessert.  Recently, Annabel released a cookbook called Special Delivery, which contains lots of delicious recipes (savoury and sweet) that you can transport to share.

For absolutely ages, I have had my eye on the Apricot Slice with Lemon Icing in Special Delivery, the recipe  for which Annabel attributes to her friend Wendy's mother.  I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Special Delivery, but if you can't, an admirer of Annabel's work has posted the recipe here.

What's not to love - dried apricots plumped up, butter, coconut, sugar, flour and almonds make up the dense, cakey slice (that's a bar cookie in the US), and it is topped with a dead simple icing of icing sugar and lemon juice.  Annabel reckons it's even sturdy enough to post.

I'll be taking note of this one as a future quick and easy crowd pleaser.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hairy Dieters' Tuna and Sweetcorn Pasta Salad

Recently, I acquired a couple of books from The Hairy Dieters series.  From The Hairy Dieters Book 1, I chose to make the tuna and sweetcorn pasta salad one week for work lunches.  The recipe is also online here.

This pasta salad was very easy to make, and was quite tasty.  The only criticism that I have is that in the suggested serving size, I found the amount of salad a tad unsatisfying.  I normally have the opposite problem with recipes in that the serving size is way more than I want, but here, I could actually have done with a little more - perhaps dividing the salad into  3 portions instead of 4.

However, I am overall impressed with The Hairy Dieters' recipes, as they are just good old home cooking dishes made more calorie-friendly, and I will continue to try out some more.