Monday, August 3, 2015
I recently found a recipe for a Chocolate Dump-It Cake in The New York Times. Although the name is not very attractive (it refers to the fact that all the ingredients are dumped together into one bowl), it certainly makes a very tasty cake.
The recipe called for a tube pan; as I don't have one, I just used a bundt pan instead. I also opted for a chocolate water icing rather than ganache on top.
I think it looks very pretty:
Here's a peek inside:
If you are a fan of chocolate cake, this one is definitely worth a shot.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
On Day 11 of our New York trip, Tim and I took a Gray Line tour to Rhode Island, Cape Cod and Boston.
We had a bright and early 7.30am start, piling into a mini bus with our fellow travellers and our guide, Stefano.
Our first stop was at New Haven, Connecticut for a wander through the grounds of Yale. As you can see, the grounds are very picturesque, as is befitting an Ivy League college:
Hillary met Bill at Yale Law School:
We then left the sunny climes of New Haven for the rather more moody appeal of Newport, Rhode Island:
Newport was our lunch destination for the day. Given that we were in the heart of seafood country, Tim and I opted to eat at The Black Pearl, which is noted in particular for its clam chowder:
As you can see, it is a cosy and popular venue kitted out to reflect the insides of a ship:
Tim opted for the famed clam chowder ($9.50) as a starter:
He says it was good.
I couldn't fit in a starter, so I went straight to the mains, and opted for the Lobster Salad ($20):
It wasn't what I was expecting, but it tasted good.
Here is Tim at The Black Pearl with two of his favourite things - a map and a glass of beer:
From Bannister's Wharf, we moved on to The Breakers, an exotic mansion once owned by the Vanderbilt family:
We did a self-guided audio tour through The Breakers, and I was certainly inspired by the beautiful but lavish interiors. I am glad that the powers that be were persuaded to preserve the home as a museum/tourist attraction, as they certainly do not build homes like this anymore.
After the tour of The Breakers, we loaded back into the mini bus for the journey to our last destination of the day, Cape Cod. I was interested in visiting Cape Cod to see where the Kennedy clan play.
At Cape Cod, we visited The John F Kennedy Hyannis Museum:
The museum is quite small and comprises posters and photographs of John F Kennedy and his family and friends, together with a couple of short videos focussing on Kennedy's visits to Cape Cod:
We then went to the beach at Hyannis, which was beautiful, but the water was a little cool for swimming:
At Hyannis beach, there is a memorial established in honour of JFK:
Hyannis is not a big place, so there were not that many dinner options. Tim opted for Mexican at The Beech Tree Cantina:
As with all Mexican restaurants that we have encountered in the US, we were presented with a complimentary serve of corn chips and salsa on arrival:
When in Rome ... I had a Mexican beer, Sol, to go with my dinner:
The food at the Beech Tree was good; my trouble was that there was way too much of it for me to handle it. For starter, I ordered the Chilli Soup with ground beef, onions, peppers and Mexican spices, topped with jalapeno jack cheese ($7.50):
It was really good but very filling. And then my real troubles began, as I had also ordered a main in the form of a Chicken Burrito (grilled chicken, refried beans, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, confetti rice & pepper jack cheese) ($13):
I could only scratch the surface of this and had to leave most of it behind - I was just too full.
There being little else to do in Cape Cod in the evening, we then retired to our hotel to prepare for the next day's journey by road to Boston.
Newport, Rhode Island 02840
Ph: +1 401-846-5264
599 Main St
Hyannis, MA 02601
Ph: +1 508-534-9876
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Our Weekend in a French Kitchen (Cafe Boulud) dish this week is Boston Mackerel au Vin Blanc. Essentially, this is mackerel fillets pickled in white wine that has been flavoured with spices. This was not what I envisaged from the title of the dish, so I was a little disappointed when I went to make it.
I bought two mackerel from the fishmonger:
and had the not fun task of gutting and filleting them - and I made a bit of a hack job. The hot pickling mixture is poured over the raw mackerel fillets, and the fish are left overnight to pickle.
The end result is pictured at the top of the post, on toast spread with tomato relish (Kayte, look away!). I ate it for breakfast and it was fine, though not a repeat - pickled fish are not exactly my thing.
To see what the other Cafe Boulud cooks thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the website.
Friday, July 31, 2015
I adore Medjool dates - I love them so much that I used to buy them by the kilo and eat them like sweets. I had to stop that, but I am always keen when I see a recipe using Medjool dates.
Frank Camorra's Date and Banana Cake with Orange Icing is replete with soft, juicy
Medjool dates. When I saw this recipe in The Age magazine, it went straight to the front of the list to make.
I wasn't disappointed - it is a beautiful. moist cake, full of the goodness of bananas and dates:
The orange icing, although not essential, was a beautiful way to top it off.
If you are looking for an afternoon tea cake with a difference, you can't go wrong with this date and banana cake.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
I have been on a fast food splurge in the last few weeks, trying things I don't normally have.
I started off with pizza at Pizza Religion in Malvern. Pizza Religion is new to Malvern this year, and sells gourmet pizzas in a restaurant setting.
All pizzas except the Margherita are $20.
We ordered a Chorizo Pizza (Chorizo, Prawns, Chipotle Sauce, Jalapenos):
and a Salmon Pizza (Cured Salmon, Fried Capers, Caramelised Onions, Rocket):
My favourite was the chorizo pizza, as it had a lively kick to it.
To make us feel virtuous because we were eating our greens, we also ordered a tomato, olive, fetta and cucumber salad ($9):
We got our pizzas fairly quickly. The service was OK. I recommend booking a table - Pizza Religion is popular with families because pizza is a kid-friendly food.
The weekend before last, I stumbled upon the Snag Stand near Melbourne Central:
As it was lunchtime and I was hungry, I decided to give it a go. Snag Stand sells all kinds of fancy hot dogs:
with various sides and meal combos available, as well as burgers:
I decided to go for the Backyarder - a grilled wagyu sasage on a rustic roll with coleslaw, BBQ sauce and cheddar cheese ($8.90):
The sausage was really good, with a nice bit of spice. I am a fan of BBQ sauce, so you can't go wrong there. However, the slaw and the cheese didn't add that much to the equation, and the bun was a bun. These are pretty pricey dogs and, while it was tasty enough, it wasn't worth the price for me.
My final excursion into fast food was Huxtaburger, a popular burger joint named after the family in The Cosby Show (obviously way before all the recent headlines):
Huxtaburger does really good burgers. Their basic version is the Huxtaburger (beef patty, mayo, mustard, tomato sauce, cheese, lettuce, pickles) ($9.50). Their are several variations to the Huxtaburger with add-ons to make the Bill, the Theo and the Denise. There is also a fried chicken burger (the Clair), a vegetarian tofu burger (the Sondra) and a mini burger (the Rudy) for kids. You can also get crinkle cut fries, with chipotle on request.
The beauty of Huxtaburger is that you can order and pay online. You then get a text confirming your order telling you to wait 15 minutes and then pick it up. This is what I did - it allowed me to keep working while they made my order up, and I just sauntered in when I was ready to pick it up:
I ordered a Huxtaburger with beetroot for an extra fifty cents:
I know that the rest of the world thinks Aussies are crazy for adding beetroot to their burgers (or at least David Chang does), but I tell you, there is nothing that beats beetroot on a burger - yum.
The verdict on the Huxtaburger - very tasty and very filling, although as a personal preference, I would go easy on the mayo. But that's just me - I am not a huge fan of mayo. Now that I have tried the Huxtaburger the way that its makers intended it (with a little beetroot thrown in), I know next time to ask for no mayo.
If you want a quick, satisfying work lunch and you are happy to take away (because the seating in the CBD Huxtaburger is very limited), my recommendation is order a Huxtaburger burger online and pick it up when you are ready - a hassle free way to beat the queues and get on with more important stuff.
12-18 Claremont Ave
Malvern VIC 3144
Ph: (03) 9576 0444
Cnr La Trobe & Swanston St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: (03) 9639 6544
Rear 357 Collins Street
(enter via Fulham Place)
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: (03) 9417 6328
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
In the June/July 2015 edition of Donna Hay magazine, there are a number of great looking muffin recipes. I decided to make the Lemon, Ricotta and Chia Muffins from p140.
They are sunny looking muffins that you could eat glazed or unglazed:
However, most people tell me they like icing, so icing it is:
To make these muffins, you will need:
2 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 cup superfine sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
1/3 cup black chia seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
1 cup ricotta
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease a 12 hole muffin tin. (I actually got 18 muffins, so you may need to grease another one.)
Place the flour, sugar, lemon rind and chia seeds in a large bowl and mix to combine.
In a separate bowl mix the ricotta, eggs, vanilla, yoghurt and oil. Add the mixture to the bowl with flour and mix until just combined.
Scoop the mixture into the muffin tin, and bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
For the icing, put the sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to combine and ice the cooled muffins.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Our Tuesdays with Dorie recipe this week is Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta. This dessert comprises a mango puree topped with vanilla panna cotta.
I made a single serve, just for me. I think I added too much gelatine, because it was slightly on the rubbery side, but it was otherwise good - the mango puree made it. It was delicious even with tinned mango (because there is no way I am going to get fresh mango in the middle of winter).
To see what the other TWD bakers thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.