Thursday, December 5, 2013
I made my Christmas Cake in September this year to give it some time to mature. The recipe that I chose is from the Australian Women's Weekly Christmas Food and Craft, dubbed "Celebration Fruit Cake". You can also find the recipe online here.
I liked the fact that there were no nuts in this fruit cake recipe, as the nuts tend to make the cake crumble when you cut it. I intend to ice the cake with marzipan and fondant and cut it into pieces as part of my annual Christmas gift boxes.
When I opened the cake up for the first time this week, it smelt very reassuringly boozy, so I hope that is a good sign. I haven't been "feeding" the cake as the recipe does not require it. I am also very happy with the colour - I like my fruit cake to be dark.
I did an Italian Christmas baking course at Gewurzhaus last weekend, which has given me some other Christmas baking ideas. We made these two tone shortbread stars:
and mini panettone:
among other things.
Are you making food as gifts this year? And if so, what are your favourite food gifts to make?
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
This week's Wednesday with Donna Hay recipe is Sweet Potato Soup with Goat's Cheese, chosen by Chaya. The recipe is online here.
I was not a fan of this soup. It was a little thin for me, andit seemed to need some spice. The goat's cheese added flavour, but seemed to sink into the soup. Unfortunately, this is not a repeat for me.
To see what Chaya, Kayte, Margaret and Sarah thought of this soup, visit their websites.
Monday, December 2, 2013
While in Tasmania, Tim and I stayed at Piermont Retreat in Swansea, a charming place with stone cottages, a private beach and rolling grounds. If you want to get close to nature, then Piermont Retreat is the place for you. In the evenings, possums, wrens and rabbits abound.
Of course, it would have been remiss of us not to dine at the restaurant at the retreat, unsurprisingly called Piermont Restaurant. It is open every night except Wednesday, and sits in a prime position overlooking the grounds of the retreat. The restaurant serves local food and wine in a fine dining atmosphere.
There is a degustation menu, but we decided to dine a la cart. I started off with a glass of sparkling rosé:
The amuse bouche was mushroom arancini:
Our meal was accompanied by delicious complimentary rye bread:
For entrée, we ordered lamb with crushed peas to share:
To accompany my main meal, I ordered a glass of refreshing Kelvedon (local winery) Pinot Gris:
For my main meal, I ordered the Tasmanian market fish with crumbed mussels and seafood chowder:
while Tim ordered the beef cheek, mashed potato and baby beets:
On the side, we ordered rocket, pear and parmesan salad:
The potatoes were the highlight - I could have easily eaten them all myself.
To finish off our meal, we shared a white chocolate and raspberry brulee served with what could only be described as toast fingers:
Although the toasts topped with raspberry powder were presumably for dipping in the brulee, I found them rather odd.
Overall, the food was good, and the location was spectacular. It was definitely worth going, although pricey (mains ~$36). If you are in Swansea, do check out this restaurant.
12991 Tasman Highway
12991 Tasman Highway
Swansea, Tasmania 7190
Ph: (03) 62578131
Sunday, December 1, 2013
On Saturday night, we had our office Christmas party at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne. The theme was The Great Gatsby, which suited me to a T.
On the menu, for entrée, there was onion tart:
or prawn cocktail:
I had the prawn cocktail, which unusually had potato salad in the middle. I liked it.
Main was either lamb:
I scored the chicken, which suited me.
Dessert was "petit fours" - actually, mini desserts in the form of chocolate mousse, lemon curd tart, a raspberry macaron and pannacotta with lemon grass jelly:
It was a fun night. The music was definitely not Gatsby era, so that we could all dance the night away. Late into the evening, there was even a staff band!
If you are curious as to my outfit, I went for a late 1920s bias cut dress that I already owned, and accessoried it 1920s stylee:
If you like 1920s fashion, do check out my photos from Miss Fisher's Costume Exhibition at Rippon Lea House here.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
The recipe that I based it on is Sprinklebake's Sweet Potato Pecan Praline Cheesecake Bars, but by making it as a round 10" cheesecake rather than bars, and substituting the sweet potato for a cup of mashed pumpkin. For the base, I used 1 1/2 cups crushed gingernuts mixed with 1/2 cup melted Nuttelex, baked for 10 minutes at 180 degrees. I baked my cheesecake for around an hour, and skipped the praline.
Here is the finished result:
I think crowd reaction speaks for itself - I put it in the kitchen for any takers, and came back 10 minutes later to find it was all gone. I thought it was delicious, but then again, I love cheesecake!
I hope that all who celebrate American Thanksgiving had a lovely day on Thursday.
Friday, November 29, 2013
For French Friday with Dorie this week, our assignment was Sugar Coated French Toast. I didn't want to splurge on brioche, so I used Viennese bread instead, and I topped my French toast with natural yoghurt and blueberries.
If you are interested, the recipe is available online here.
This was nice, but not sensational. As this is only a sometimes treat, it is probably just as well that I didn't think it was amazing.
To see what the other Doristas thought, visit the LYL section of the website.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
This week, Margaret chose Donna's potato, bacon and leek soup from p24 of Modern Classics I for Wednesday with Donna Hay. You can find the recipe online here.
This soup was really, really good. This is high praise from a person who feels rather lukewarm about soup. I substituted the bacon for prosciutto (because I had some left over from the pumpkin pizza last week), and I used the cream. Yum!
To see what Margaret, Kayte, Chaya and Sarah thought about this soup, visit their websites.