Saturday, May 23, 2015

Coconut Cream Cake

I hate wasting ingredients, and I find that Google is my friend when I am looking for ways to use up odds and ends of perishable ingredients.

Recently, I found myself with the best part of a can of coconut cream to use up.  Turning to trusty Google, I found this recipe for coconut cream cake by Anne Thornton.

It is quite a decadent cake, being a double decker glory, so instead of coating the whole cake in icing, as suggested by Anne, I just filled the middle of the cake and iced the top with the cream cheese frosting:

This cake is beautifully moist and very coconutty in flavour.  I would definitely make it again.

Friday, May 22, 2015

FFWD - Last recipe - Chicken in a Pot – the Garlic and Lemon Version

Well folks, it's been a wild ride, but here we are - the last one.  We are up to the very last recipe in Around My French Table - Chicken in a Pot - the Garlic and Lemon Version.  This is the cover recipe, so it is fitting that it is the last recipe that we make. The recipe has been posted online here.

You can see pretty easily from the photos what comprises Chicken in a Pot - roast chicken and vegetables with broth steamed in a pot in the oven, with a basic dough used to seal in the steam.  The vegetables are the classic combination of carrots, onions and celery, with sweet potatoes and whole garlic cloves thrown in for luck.  The broth is comprised of chicken stock, white wine and herbs.

The dish is served with bread on the side - for soaking up the broth, of course!!! 

There is nothing not to like here - who doesn't like roast chicken?  It was an easy to dish to make - not much chopping, and the chicken and vegetables being browned before going into the oven to give them some colour and flavour.

For the last time on our almost five year journey, go visit the LYL section of the FFWD website to see what the other Doristas thought of Dorie's Chicken in a Pot – the Garlic and Lemon Version.

However, don't despair - we are partying on for another four weeks to reminisce about the highlights of our Around My French Table odyssey.  Join us for the fun!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

EwE - Shrimp Creole

It was my turn to pick for Eating with Ellie this week, and I chose Shrimp Creole.

I went seriously off piste with this recipe.  I found I had no onions, so I used leek.  I bought a yellow, not a green, capsicum.  I used Cajun seasoning as Creole seasoning is not a thing here, and Cajun sounded pretty close.  I also used frozen spinach instead of fresh baby spinach, as I used up all the baby spinach on something else, not realising that I needed it for this.

I really enjoyed this dish.  It had a bit of zing, with the Cajun seasoning and tabasco sauce, and tasted really good.  This is definitely one I'd make again.

To see what everyone else thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WWDH - Hot Potato Mustard Dressing

For Wednesday with Donna Hay this week, Kayte chose Hot Potato Mustard Dressing from p143 of Off the Shelf.  This involves boiling kipfler potatoes, and while they are still hot, tossing them with a mustard based dressing (ingredients here).  I don't like red onions, so I swapped them for shallots.  The dressing was very tasty.

As suggested by Donna, I served my potatoes with some pan fried salmon.

To see what the other Donna cooks thought of Hot Potato Mustard Dressing, visit the LYL section of the WWDH website.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bowery to Williamsburg, Melbourne

If American style sandwiches are your thing, you can't go past Bowery to Williamsburg in Oliver Lane, Melbourne.  I am late to the party on this venue, which I found out about by accident through a colleague who raved about their Reuben sandwich.  I love a good Reuben, so I couldn't resist trying the version at Bowery to Williamsburg, where the Reuben is their signature sandwich.

Here is a quick peek at the menu:

The prices are rather steeper than the Reuben that I had in Branson, but that is true of most things in Australia.

The interior of Bowery to Williamsburg is decked out in a New York-inspired theme, as their name would suggest:

It gets very busy, so it is best to go early for lunch.
I visited Bowery to Williamsburg with Tim.  We decided to hedge our bets by sharing a Reuben (corned beef, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, cheese) ($13):

and a Rachel (presumably named after Rachel from Friends), which was the same as the Reuben except that the meat was turkey, not corned beef ($13):

It turned out to be a good move, as Tim preferred the Reuben and I preferred the Rachel.  Both sandwiches were tasty and very filling.

You can order a sandwich, side (either macaroni cheese or salad) and a drink for $17.  I am glad that we didn't - I was well and truly satisfied with just the sandwich.

Tim washed his sandwich back with a Brooklyn lager, actually brewed in New York state:

while I had a Soho sparkling mineral water ($4), from Doncaster, VIC (not quite the same!):

We enjoyed checking out the interior of the cafe from our elevated perch on stools at a bench tucked away from the madding crowd:

I'd definitely go back - the food was good and plentiful, and the service was friendly. 

16 Oliver Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Claire Ptak's Kumquat Almond Cake

Recently, Tim gave me some kumquats from his parents' tree.  I had sent him an email about a kumquat cake recipe by Claire Ptak, so he provided me with the kumquats to make the cake.

The cake is meant to be made with buckwheat flour, but I substituted spelt flour.  The crowning glory is candied kumquats on top:

Here's a peek inside:

This cake is perfect served warm with some of the candying syrup and icecream:

Friday, May 15, 2015

(French) Food Revolution FFWD - Fighting for Food Education - Caramel Almond Tart

Today is Food Revolution Day, a global campaign launched by Jamie Oliver to put compulsory practical food education on the school curriculum.  One of the Doristas, Mardi, is an ambassador for Food Revolution Day, hence for French Friday with Dorie this week, we are hosting a French food revolution.  Mardi has asked us to choose a recipe or technique that we have learned from Around My French Table that we think is a "must know". 

Now, while I realise that pastry is not a necessity of life, it is a very handy skill to have, as pastry can be used as a basis for making meals such as pies and quiches, as well as for making desserts and treats.  Before Dorie, making pastry scared me, as I had had more than one failed attempts at making it.  However, through Dorie, I have discovered a fail-safe technique for making pastry that is quick and easy, and does not even require you to endure the sometimes tricky task of rolling out the dough.

The recipe that is now my go-to pastry recipe is Dorie's Sweet Tart Dough from Around My French Table.  Although it is a sweet tart dough,  I don't see why it can't double up for certain savoury applications because it is not overly sweet (but note that Dorie also has a "good for almost everything" tart dough that can also be used for this purpose).

I applied Dorie's sweet tart dough recipe to making her Caramel Almond Tart from AMFT.  The dough is made in the food processor, so there is no need to fear rubbing the fat into the flour or sticky hands.  I also always just press the dough into the tart pan rather than rolling it out - which means less effort and no breakage, with a perfect fit every time!  Another self-taught tip that I have when using Dorie's sweet tart dough is that if the mixture comes out too crumbly to come together easily, just add a little ice water  to assist in bringing the dough together.  Dorie also taught me how to prevent shrinkage of the pastry during baking by chilling the dough before shaping and chilling it again after it has been moulded into the tart pan.   Here's my pressed-in sweet tart dough, partially baked and covered with toasted sliced almonds in preparation for my caramel filling:

Another skill that I have learned from Dorie is making caramel.  It really is simple when you know how.  You just melt sugar and water together - don't touch otherwise it will crystallise, but gently swirl to get an even colouration, until you get a lovely amber colour:

then stand back and add the cream - it will pop and spit, but just add the cream slowly and don't put your face over it, and everything will quickly calm down: 

et voila - in this case, a lovely caramel cream filling, but you simply change the proportion of cream to make caramel sauce, caramel candies etc - the same basic principles apply:
Mastery of these two techniques (making pastry and making caramel) results in a wonderful caramel almond tart for your family to enjoy:
Fun to make, good to eat, and best of all, you know what is in your food because you made it from scratch - no nasty chemicals.
To see what the other Doristas learned from Dorie for our French Food Revolution Friday, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website.