Bury Me In Food

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My 2009 Christmas – I love family and I love Christmas! :) January 9, 2010

I’ve been neglecting my blog of late, not because I haven’t been buried in food…oh no, far from that!  It’s taken me this long to climb out of the mountain of food that I’ve been blissfully buried in.  Unfortunately, the long climb out has also made my memory a bit hazy, so I can only put in a couple of entries – Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Night…there were Yum Chas, Thai Dinners with homemade soufflés, Pork belly dinners with crème brulee, ramen at Ajisen – I might actually write about that one, and more I can’t even remember now.  So let’s start with Christmas.

Every Christmas, my sisters (and next year my brother) take turns hosting Christmas (in my family, it’s all about being fair).  This year, Christmas would be hosted by my sister ELLE and we all bring a couple of dishes and we all dig in.

This is the menu:

Chips and dip (a tomato one and a basil and cashew nut one)

Crackers with King Island double cream brie

2kg of Prawns

Triple smoked ham with mustard marmalade glaze (best ham ever)

Rosemary and lamb sausages

Herbed pork sausages

Roasted Peppers

Roasted Pumpkins

Roasted Potatoes

Duck roast potatoes with truffle salt

Cauliflower puree

Creamy potato salad

Chicken Caesar salad

Marinated chicken wings

Lamb chops

Fruit platter – rockmelons, mangoes, strawberries, lycees, kiwi fruit, cherries, plums, peaches

Sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and almond praline

berry and white chocolate cheesecake

Needless to say, we all pretty much had a nap after lunch…actually, I don’t know about anybody else, but I was certainly snoring.

I was in charge of desserts, so here are the recipe for the sticky toffee pudding.

Sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and almond praline

My sticky toffee pudding actually came from two recipes, I like doing that…looking at heaps of different recipes, and then choosing my favourite bits from each recipe and combining them.  So far, it has worked beautifully.  When I make the butterscotch sauce, I never really follow the recipe, I just haphazardly had stuff as I ‘look’ at the sauce and I like to had fresh grinding of salt into the sauce because I like the little salt crystal bursts in amongst the sweetness.

Pudding:

200g of pitted dates, finely chopped

250 ml of water

2 tsp of bi-carb soda

75g of unsalted butter

125g of brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tablepoons of golden syrup

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

200g plain flour, sifted

Sauce:

200g brown sugar

60g of salted butter

150ml of cream

2 tbls of golden syrup

1 tsp of vanilla

grinding of salt (optional)

Praline:

1/4 cup of toasted slivered almonds

1/2 cup of caster sugar

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 170 C and line an 8 inch cake tin.

Bring the dates and the water to boil and then simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the bicarb soda, it will froth up.

Cream butter sugar together in a mixer until creamy, add eggs in one at a time and mix.  Add in syrup, vanilla and sifted flour and mix.  Beat in the frothy date mixture in two lots and pour it into your pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

For the sauce:

Melt everything (except for cream and salt) together on medium heat.  Once melted and it’s starting to bubble, add the cream, it’ll bubble lots.  Once you take it off the heat, add the grinding of salt.

For the praline:

Line a baking tray with non-stick paper and sprinkle over with the toasted almonds.  Combine the sugar and two tbls of water in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat and swilr around until the sugar has dissolved.  Don’t stir this, just swirl.  This takes a bit of time, but remove once it’s a deep golden colour, if it’s too light, it won’t set properly.  Pour over the almonds to cool until set, and then break to serve on the cake.

To serve:

I poured the sauce over the pudding, and the pralines on top and had a jug of the sauce for those who want more sauce (everybody does).


 

Nip it in the Bud December 24, 2009

Filed under: Home Cookery,random — Dobsessed @ 8:03 am
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One of my favourite things to order from a menu is pork belly, I love the crispy crunchy crackling and the fatty meat, full of flavour.  I invited KK over to dinner and decided to try my hand at this ‘cheap’ meat.  I went to the butcher’s and got a nice big slab of pork belly and went home.

The recipe I was following was Gordon Ramsey’s Pressed Pork Belly.  I love Gordon Ramsey recipes, though sometimes a bit process-y, they always taste delicious.  It said to score the fat and rub oil, salt and pepper on it, as I was doing this, I noticed that there were a few nipples on the slab of meat.  Makes sense when you think about it.

Now, I’ve never come across what to do with nipples on a piece of meat (for eating) or seen on TV what you do with nipples.  Do you trim it? Or leave it on? As my hands were slicked with oil, I decided to just leave the nipples on there…and in case you were wondering, there were definitely not mistaken them for nipples.

I promptly forgot about the nipples when it came to eating the pork belly, they were delicious, and the crackling crunchy and the nipples were too.

I went to work and asked some of my foodie colleagues and most of them were disgusted by my question, so we Googled it.  If there are nipples, you’re suppose to clip them off, and if there are hair, you have to singe them off with a blow torch…luckily, my pig was hairless…so I must apologise to my friend KK for serving her pig nipples for dinner.  She told me it was delicious.

 

My holiday feasting! Part 1. November 11, 2009

I’m on holidays at the moment, and everyone’s been asking me, where are you going? Etc etc etc…thing is, usually, I do go somewhere, short trip overseas, interstate, anything…but this time, I’ve taken two weeks off just to relax and it has been excellent. I really recommend it to everyone…I’ve honestly enjoyed every single day of it, I’m already dreading having to go back to work.

I’ve been eating out heaps! After Koh-Ya, I also went to Food and Soul, which I thought was alright, the service was friendly and familiar, with the chef/owner Terry seating us and explaining to us his dishes, very generous servings, but perhaps not as refined. I went Yum Cha with some girlfriends of mine and I had lots of my favourite dish, that is the rice noodle rolls with the BBQ pork and the sweet soy sauce. My family’s favourite story is always me eating 4 plates of these when I was 4 years old, my grandmother egging me on before throwing up all over the carpet in the restaurant, nice.

Then there was my nephew’s 3rd birthday where was a veritable feast of vietnamese betal leaves wrapped pork, BBQ sambal sting ray, my brother-in-law’s very delicious vietnamese pork chops, honey and chicken sausauges from the helpful and friendly butchers at Sunnybank Plaza, homemade coleslaw and loads of other stuff. I’d spent all day on Saturday baking a cake for my nephew. I wanted to do something interesting, so I decided on a basil scented cake with brown butter frosting (a recipe I saw on Not Quite Nigella) but the recipe didn’t work – she’d made cupcakes, I’d wanted to make a whole cake. The cake was an absolute disaster with the outside crispy and biscuity – quite delicious really, and the inside, sloppy, tasted pretty good though. I had to start all over again, but I’d run out of basil, so I used vanilla bean instead, which ended up being moist and delicious with the crusty top and sides.

Elmo cake!

I also decided to try my hand at macarons (that’s macarons – ONE O). Macaroons is made with a base of coconut, and macarons is usually made with a base of almonds, one is English and one is French (so Wikipedia tells me). My macarons were plain macarons with white chocolate and raspberry ganache and they were lovely and crispy. They were full of almond flavour and were chewy. They even had a frilly foot on it! Although I blame the lopsidedness of the macaroons on my sister’s dodgy oven. A few tips that were given that I believe helped my mild success with my first attempt at macarons:

– I used old egg whites (left out of the fridge overnight – pre-cracked into a container, I saved the yolks to make creme brulee – check out my creme brulee entry for the update)

– I let my macarons sit for at least an hour before I baked them which allowed them to develop a crust

– Drawing circles on the parchment and then flipping them over helped me pipe similar sized macarons – though when I didn’t flip them over, I got pencil marks on the bottem of my macarons…not good.

– With a wet finger, I flattened the tip of my macarons so they were smooth on the top (although I also did a batch with the pointy top and I quite like the billowy look to them).

Macarons! With White chocolate and raspberry ganache

During my holiday, my sister and I spent a very busy day at the coast starting with a window shop at a huge kitchenware store – I could’ve spent hours there but our bellies and the beach called out to us. We went to Food Fantasy and the highlight was surprisingly the boozy spaghetti bolognaise, I also really enjoyed the white chocolate mousse, very good value at $12.50 each (ultilising the Entertainment Card). We went to the beach, and then went to Ikea, where we both stocked up on their Swedish Meatballs then ended up at an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet at Sunnypark (only Wednesdays). There were sushi with fresh salmon, tuna, tempura, ebikatus, okonomiyaki, desserts, salads but overall, I wasn’t overly enthused. Give me Hanaichi kaiten sushi anytime.

All that I’ve described has only been my weekend, and the first day of my holidays…definitely more to come…

 

Help! How do I get my Creme Brulee to set?! October 3, 2009

Filed under: desserts,Home Cookery,random — Dobsessed @ 9:01 pm
Tags: , , ,

So, I bought a blow torch today!! It was great, so easy to use and I had a lot of fun learning how to use it…I have a problem though, it won’t set!!

I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t cook it enough, if I didn’t leave it in the fridge long enough, or if I fiddled with burning the top too long, does anyone know how I can stop it from being so runny??

I might have to just do an experiment…watch this space for a possible creme brulee revelation…

Or please leave a comment and help a fellow foodie out!

Attempt #2

So a week after my failed creme brulee (it tasted great but it didn’t set), I tried again.  My second creme brulee attempt set, but I had to cook them much longer, which made the creme brulee curdle a little bit and it wasn’t smooth.  These were some of the things that I did different:

– I didn’t allow the creme to boil, apparently scalding point means to bring it to the point that it’s about to boil (small bubbles) but not;

– I ‘tempered’ the egg mixture by adding a ladle of scaled cream to it, mixing this, before adding the rest of the cream mixture (I previously let it cool – you actually need the hot cream to ‘set’ the egg yolks;

– I cooked the creme brulee on a higher oven temperature, 160 degrees celsius instead of 120 degrees; and

– I used full fat cream rather than light cream.

Tomorrow I’ll attempt it again, as it’s still not perfect…watch this space.

Attempt #3

So, I’ve been trawling different recipes to try to find one that will actually set properly (or technique) and I came across that instead of cooking it in a water bath in an oven, you cook it over the stove, stirring constantly on the lowest heat possible until it is the texture of a custard and then you pour this into a ramekin and leave it in the fridge to set.  The recipe also called for 2 tablespoon of corn flour (with one vanilla bean, 300 ml of full fat milk, 300 ml of full fat pure cream and 4 egg yolks).  This recipe has probably worked the best out of all the ones I tried…however, I’m not sure if I like the addition of the corn flour.  I still tempered the egg mixture with the warmed vanilla infused cream before I added the rest of the cream into the eggs (why you then transfer into a saucepan and stir over low heat til it thickens – this took me about 25 – 30 minutes).

The resultant creme brulee was a lot richer than the usual creme brulee but it set without curdling and was delicious.  I’ll try it again without the corn flour.

Creme brulee attempt no #3