food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘recipe

almond and strawberry trifle

leave a comment »

On the first Tuesday of November, everything in Australia (and particularly Melbourne) stops for the Melbourne Cup, a prestigious annual thoroughbred horse race. Everyone dresses up for the occasion and hats or fascinators are almost compulsory. For those who don’t go to the races it’s a great excuse for a party, usually involving sweeps on the races of the day. This dessert was perfect for our Spring Carnival celebrations. Easy to make ahead and transport and a perfect combination of decadence and freshness.

Take an 8″ (20cm) square pound or madeira cake and cut it into thin slices, leaving them out to dry for an hour or two. Meanwhile make your custard. Whisk 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1½ tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch) and 3 egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Carefully whisk in 2½ cups of milk in a thin stream. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat, whisk in 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and allow it to cool. Meanwhile mix strawberry jam with lemon juice to taste. This cuts the sweetness and makes it a little thinner and easier to spread. When you’re ready to assemble, spread the jam onto ⅔ of the cake slices and make triple sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches into cubes and arrange or scatter them into your serving bowl. Coarsely crumble 1 cup of amaretti biscuits and scatter them amongst the pieces of cake. Drizzle with 1 cup of Marsala and then pour the cooled custard over everything. Now whip 2 cups of cold whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar and continue to whip until stiff. Pipe or spoon the cream onto the trifle. Cover and chill at least overnight or up to 3 days. When you’re ready to serve decorate the trifle with a lot of fresh strawberries and some toasted sliced almonds.

*adapted from a recipe in The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

Advertisements

Written by michelle picker

December 13, 2017 at 12:08 am

lobster tail

leave a comment »

Here’s a simple and delicious treat for a luxurious lunch. Christmas, perhaps?

Trim the lobster tails and cut down the middle of the inside with a pair of chicken shears. Now, with a heavy knife, cut through the middle of the tail just enough to allow it to open and still stay connected. Season with a generous amount of salt and freshly ground black pepper. When you’re ready to cook, heat a pan to medium, add a little olive oil and place the lobster tails in – shell side down. Cook for a few minutes (this will depend on size) until the shell is quite pink. Now add a good amount of butter and turn the lobster tails over. Cook for a few minutes more, allowing them to colour a little. Serve with a fresh green salad and a chilled white wine.

Written by michelle picker

December 6, 2017 at 12:18 am

chocolates

leave a comment »

I was researching sous vide cooking when I came upon some information on Serious Eats about tempering chocolate by that method. I had to try it. It was certainly easy but not absolutely necessary, as you can see in Three Ways to Temper Chocolate. My first attempt was nice and crunchy, melted nicely in the mouth and had a good shine.

My moulds were small round silicone ones and I painted the chocolate in with a brush which was not too wasteful and worked well. I decided on two different fillings. For the first I soaked dried cherries in vodka for a day or two and then added some shredded coconut. The cherries were quite sour and needed some sugar. The second filling was made from natural salted crunchy peanut butter, sweetened a little with powdered sugar and watered down to a good consistency. When the chocolate shells were set, I heated a small frypan and used the bottom to melt the first half of each chocolate flat. When I’d mounded in as much filling as I could I melted the second half and stuck the halves together. The only problem was that the chocolates were a little too large, if that’s a problem!

Written by michelle picker

November 22, 2017 at 12:19 am

slow-roasted lamb shoulder

leave a comment »

Iranian in style, this fragrant slow-roasted lamb shoulder is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Serve it with rice and a fresh salad.

Preheat your oven to 160ºC (320ºF). Cut 3 onions into wedges and scatter them into a large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste. Place the lamb shoulder on the onions. Coarsely crush 2 teaspoons each of toasted cumin and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a bowl and add 4 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons of ground sumac, 1 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper, ½ a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, cardamom and allspice, the grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ½ a cup each of finely chopped fresh mint and coriander (cilantro). Combine well and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place this mixture on top of the (seasoned) lamb and pat into place to form a crust. Combine the juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange with 300ml (10 fl oz) of chicken stock. Pour this around the lamb shoulder and add 3 dried limes (available from Middle Eastern grocery stores). Cover the lamb shoulder and roast in the oven for 5-6 hours until very tender and falling from the bone.

*from a recipe by Emma Knowles and Alice Storey in Gourmet Traveller

Written by michelle picker

November 8, 2017 at 12:16 am

sour cream panna cotta with berries

leave a comment »

Cindy made this panna cotta (Italian for ‘cooked’cream’), the perfect dessert to follow our home-made pizzas. It’s a great make-ahead recipe that’s always elegant and delicious. She followed this recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.

For the panna cotta pour 1 cup of milk into a saucepan and sprinkle with 2½ teaspoons of unflavoured gelatine powder. Allow the gelatine to soften for a few minutes then place the saucepan over low heat and, without boiling, stir until the gelatine dissolves. Now add 2 cups of whipping cream, ½ a cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Continue stirring, still without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Allow this mixture to cool for a few minutes. In another bowl, whisk 1 cup of sour cream then, while whisking, pour in the warm cream mixture. When this mixture is smooth divide it into 6 – 8 glasses or ramekins and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until fully set. For the berry sauce combine 1 cup of raspberries with 1 cup of halved strawberries. Place half of this mixture (1 cup) in a saucepan with ½ a tablespoon of lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until syrupy. Add the remaining berries and immediately remove from the heat. Allow the berries to cool completely before spooning them onto the chilled panna cottas to serve.

Written by michelle picker

November 1, 2017 at 12:12 am

zucchini, parmesan and basil soup

with one comment

Do you keep those rinds from parmesan?  Here’s a truly delicious way to use them and to eat your greens.

The first step for this soup is to make a stock from the parmesan rinds. A pressure cooker helps to shorten this process. Cut 4 -6 pieces of rind into small pieces and cook them in 1 litre (1 quart) of water until they are almost melted away. This will take 20-30 minutes in a pressure cooker and 2-3 hours in a pot and may need more water. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan sauté 1 chopped onion and 4-5 chopped zucchinis in some olive oil. Season to taste. When you’re satisfied that you’ve extracted the most out of the parmesan rinds, strain the stock into the saucepan and continue to cook until the zucchinis are just soft. Purée the soup with a stick blender or food processor until the mixture is emulsified then add fresh basil leaves and process again. Check the seasoning before serving with a drizzle of olive oil.

Written by michelle picker

October 25, 2017 at 12:08 am

greek lemon chicken and potatoes

leave a comment »

Looking for a simple meal that’s enticing and delicious? Here is a wonderful version of this Greek classic from Chef John at Food Wishes.

Preheat your oven to 220ºC (425ºF). Cut a chicken into 6-8 pieces (I left the breasts whole as they cook more quickly) and place them in a large bowl. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add 1 teaspoon each of dried rosemary and oregano, some cayenne pepper to taste, 6 cloves of minced garlic, and ½ a cup each of freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Peel and quarter 3 large potatoes and add them as well. Mix well to coat everything with the marinade then place the chicken pieces and potatoes into a lightly oiled roasting pan, reserving the marinade. Pour ⅔ of a cup of chicken stock around the chicken and potato pieces then spoon the marinade onto the top of each piece. Roast in the oven until the chicken pieces are golden brown and cooked through, turning in the marinade now and then but leaving the skin side facing up. When the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken pieces to a serving platter. Toss the potatoes in their marinade again. Turn the oven to high or transfer to a grill (broiler) and finish the potatoes until they are golden brown and the marinade is a little caramelised. Remove the potatoes to the platter and deglaze the roasting pan with a little more chicken stock to loosen it. Taste for seasoning and pour it over the chicken and potatoes (you can strain it if you prefer).  Serve with a salad of greens and feta with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing.

Written by michelle picker

October 18, 2017 at 12:18 am