Monday, August 31, 2009

Vanilla Slice with Bry

I have always wanted to make vanilla slice - this one was so moorish. The original recipe calls for 2/3 cup of sugar. Next time I will be tempted to cut it down to 1/2 cup.

2 sheets of puff pastry

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup cornflour
1/2 cup warm water
6 egg yolks

1 tbsp passionfruit pulp
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 - 1 cup of icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the pastry on glad bake on a baking tray, then top with another piece of gladbake and finally another baking tray as a weight. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Press down gently while still warm to flatten slightly. Cool on a rack.

Place the milk, cream, vanilla bean and extract and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat until hot but not boiling. Mix the cornflour and water together to a smooth paste and whisk into the hot milk mixture.

Remove the milk mixture from the heat and pour slowly into the eggs, whisking continuously. Pour back into the saucepan and return to the heat. Simmer for 6 minutes or until thickened, and the cornflour has cooked through.

Allow the mixture to cool in the saucepan to room temperature.

For the icing mix together the passionfruit, icing sugar, zest and lemon juice to taste to get a thin, pouring consistency.

Spread one of the pastry sheets with the custard and top with the remaining pastry sheet. Drizzle with the passionfruit icing.

This would also be delicious served as a dessert with fresh strawberries or raspberries - my mouth waters at the thought of it, yum.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Spinach and Potato Zuppa

I planted some silverbeet and it is ready to harvest. It is beautiful. Not much beats fresh vegetables from your garden. The photo below is after I had mutilated the silverbeet by picking an armful of it.

1/2 cup olive oil
2 large (600g) brown onions, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, sliced
1.5L chicken stock
6 large potatoes, cut into 8 pieces
1 large bunch of silverbeet, washed and chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sherry
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese and crusty bread to serve

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic with salt and pepper until softened and lightly coloured.

Add the stock, spinach, potatoes, and half the parsley. Simmer gently, covered for 1 1/2 hours or until the potatoes are very tender. Add more water if necessary.

Roughly puree the soup with a stick blender or potato masher, leaving it a bit chunky. Add the sherry and lemon and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve hot, sprinkled with extra parsley and parmesan cheese.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Chris' portrait. Done by Rob Davis - Christmas 2008.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Angela is getting nostalgic

Angela has been uploading all her pictures to Flickr. She has been sending me them when she gets notsalgic.
Here are the three siblings at New Years Eve ?three years ago in Taormina, Sicily. Chris is not even fake smiling... that is strange!

5.23km in drizzling grey

So cold - 6am, the sun only just peeking over the horizon. Drizzling rain. Grey sky. 8km? No thanks. Let's try for 5. Not too bad!

Eliza's Corn Cakes with Salsa

Eliza made these for dinner last night. They were awesome. Very filling! She served them with smoked salmon. I reckon they would be nice with bacon and maple syrup. It would be great to cook bite-sized ones as nibblies at a party, or smallish ones as an entree at a dinner party.

Corn Cakes
1 1/2 cups fresh-cooked corn kernels cut from the cob (approx 2 cobs)
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 1/2 cups fine polenta
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
2 tbsp sour cream
butter and vegetable oil for cooking
sour cream, salsa and smoked salmon or bacon and maple syrup - to serve

2 big ripe tomatoes, finely diced
1 avocado, finely diced
Juice of one lime
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1/4 spanish onion, finely diced - optional
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all salsa ingredients in a bowl. Adjust seasoning and lime juice to taste.

To cook the corn - place in cold water in a pan. Bring to the boil. Roll the corn a few times as it nears boiling point. Boil for 1 minute then drain. Remove kernels with a small, serrated knife.

In a big bowl mix together the flour, polenta, baking powder and cayenne pepper. Create a well in the centre and pour in the milk and sour cream. Leave to sit for a couple of minutes to let the polenta soften. Add the corn and mix well.

Heat 1tsp butter with a splash of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the mixture in batches - about 2 tbsp per cake - cook each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and risen in the centre.

Serve warm with salsa and sour cream.
Add bacon and maple syrup or smoked salmon to taste

I still don't like sago pudding

Eliza made sago pudding for sweets last night...
I told her how I had always hated it as a child (sorry mum! - it's the gelatinous texture).
She said I should try it the way her mum makes it. No luck.
The baked apples on top were fantastic!
The sago was.... gelatinous - yuk!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Afghan Cookies!

Cupboard biscuits - you shouldn't need to go to the shops to make these delicious biscuits. Super easy and extra delicious!

200g butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
1 3/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup coconut
2 cups corn flakes
Chocolate icing

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until light and creamy. Beat in the egg.

Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture using a metal spoon. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add some warm water.

Form small balls of the mixture, then press down on the baking tray.

Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on the tray for 2 mins, then put onto a cooling rack so the bottom of the biscuits don't go soggy.

Store in an airtight container.

Ice when ready to eat, and top each one with a walnut.

Chocolate Icing
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp melted butter
2-3 tbsp warm milk

Mix all ingredients until you have a thick icing of spreadable consistency.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Poor Little Guy

6 month old boy from Kalgoorlie.
Has been in hospital for 2 months now (most of the time at PMH, then back to Kalgoorlie). He had IV antibiotics for 1 month, then oral antibiotics for 1 month. This is his chest X-ray after all of the antibiotics.
?immune problem and repeat infection ?congenital abnormality.
He has other dysmorphic features - a very big head. His sister has Sotos syndrome.
He was all alone in the hospital all day. He was gorgeous - now back to PMH for treatment.

Baked Apples and Engagement Champagne Breakfast

Matt proposed to Courtney over the holidays. To celebrate I decided to hold a surprise champagne breakfast for Courtney.

Breakfast - there must be tea, coffee and fruit. Unfortunately it is winter so the fruit selection is rather dismal. Apples are cheap - how about baked apples!

Enough apples for 2 each
Chopped dates
Chopped almonds (I used whole, unblanched almonds roughly chopped)
Brown Sugar
Lemon zest
Lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180C. Take the core out of the apples using an apple corer. I was worried about the filling falling out of the bottom of them, so I cut up a small section of core and stuffed this back in the bottom to prevent this problem. If you have a better idea - please help!
Score a line around the side of the apple (horizontal to the bench when it is standing upright), just through the skin - this prevents explosions.

Mix together chopped dates (I used about 200g for 30 apples), almonds (about 3/4 cup for 30 apples), 1 tsp cinnamon, grated zest of one lemon.

Stuff each apple with about 1/2 tsp brown sugar then fill to the top with the almond and date mixture. Place in a baking dish, then sprinkle with more cinnamon. Squeeze over the lemon juice. Place a knob of butter on the top of each apple (about 1tsp per apple).

Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins or until soft but not mushy. If it seems like there is juice burning around the bottom of them add some water.

Serve with cinnamon yoghurt cream.

Cinnamon Yoghurt Cream
This is a delicious accompaniment to any cake or dessert. It is lighter than cream, but more luxurious than yoghurt.

300mL cream, whipped
300mL natural yoghurt
1-2tsp cinnamon

Mix together all the ingredients. Add cinnamon to taste. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon

Me and my Shadow

House-sitting for Kylie for a week.
More time with shadow and the rabbit storm.

Mishaps -
1. forgetting to feed shadow for one day
2. letting the rabbit out and then forgetting about him (i found him in the end)
3. leaving the water running into the fishpond - so much for a total sprinkler ban!

Lovely walks with shadow to the park. He loves swimming. I put him on a strict diet and exercise program - he is kind of fat.

9.14km from Kitchener Road

City to surf training... a bit tiring but not too bad

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Beer Bread

3 cups SR flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
450mL beer
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 200C. Grease and line a loaf tin.

Mix together flour, sugar, salt. Slowly add beer. Mix together gently, being careful not to overmix.

Pour into loaf tin then sprinkle over cheese then sunflower seeds. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the base sounds hollow when tapped.

Enjoy!!!! We are having it tonight with carrot soup.

Weekend life in Kalgoorlie

Sleeping, cooking, eating, watching dvds and foxtel, playing cranium, knitting, hockey and running.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pumpkin Curry

This recipe is an adaption of one featured in the August Issue of 'Delicious' Magazine, Australia. The original is by celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue. The original recipe called for the pumpkin to be boiled whole. I love the flavour of roasted pumpkin, so roasted it instead.

This basic tomato sauce is a good base for any vegetables or even meat. It would be nice to stir through some nice grilled chicken.

1.2 kg butternut pumpkin
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 small bunch coriander, roots and leaves chopped separately
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 large tomatoes, chopped
Juice of one lime
Yoghurt, basmati rice and indian breads to serve

Preheat the oven to 190C. Chop the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces - leave the skin on. Place the pumpkin on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until soft and golden around the edges.

Fry the onion gently for 3-4 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the coriander roots, chilli and spices and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and about 1/2 cup of water or enough to moisten. Simmer gently until the sauce is thick and the tomatoes have broken down - about 10 minutes.

Add the pumpkin to the tomato sauce along with the lime and coriander leaves.

Serve with yoghurt, rice and indian breads.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

To drive the entire length of the Great Eastern Highway in one day

Wake up - 7am.... packing - not done, pile of clothes all over my room.
One cup of tea for caffeine/wakefulness
Prompt departure at 9.24am - after a detour to pick up dog food for honey (we always seem to run out at inconvenient times)
Heading for the Great Eastern Highway. Must go through subi - anticipating a delicious croissant/pastry from Jeane Claude bakery - but unfortunately due to cost cutting/difficulty finding staff they are not open on saturdays anymore. Maybe we can try some other cute Subiaco cafe/patisserie for post-breakfast snacks. Try Boucla cafe? Sure why not. Wow... quite intense for the senses - food everywhere, smells, very busy, interesting decor. My raspberry teacake was great. I would have loved to try a slice from each of the giant cakes sitting on the counter - definitely home made and almost certainly delicious. Neil had a little quiche-type thing. His report was that it was great - to paraphrase "those things can be disgusting - but this one is amazing - really shows how great the place is" or something like that is what he said. One hot chocolate (neil) one tea (me) - minus the lid because take away tea with a lid makes the lid melt and the tea taste like plastic. 10 minutes of sipping hot tea later...
Now we could hit the road.

Headed to Great Eastern Highway. Slight detour - is the Great Eastern Highway the same as the Great Eastern Highway Bypass? Do we still end up in Kalgoorlie?? oh dear... it's going to be a long trip
Stop one - fruit shop somewhere between Bakers Hill and Clackline - the fruit and veg must be beautiful and cheap out here - no such luck. Expensive and average. No fruit. Wee stop #1. Toilet quality - very poor. Fuel stop #1
Stop two? - no we didn't stop.. Neil suggested how lovely it would be to take photos of beautiful flowering yellow fields with his big camera. I agreed and kept driving. Instead he took photos with my phone through the window. (I thought how nice it would be if he had brought his camera.) Hours later he pulled his camera out of his bag... woops. I guess we will have to take photos of pretty flowers next time

Stop two - rest stop between Cunderdin and Kellerberrin - toilet quality - great
Stop three - Merredin - we must visit the bakery and eat a choc muffin (and lunch)! yum
Stop four - Karalee Rocks - near yellowdine - one of the stops on the golden pipeline heritage trail. ~4km off the road. No idea what to expect. Pleasantly surprised. Huge granite rock formation with a wall around it. The idea is that when it rains the water collects from the whole area. It then runs down the slip-way to a big dam. Beautiful. It was also great to hop out and stretch our legs. We met a lady. She had no idea where she had been but recommended a place called ?etchenbotting? something similar.

Stop five - Truck stop short of Coolgardie. Met the police here. Nice
Stop six - finally back to Kalgoorlie. It felt like coming home

One night and one day with Neil
Then put him on a plane back to Perth
It was lovely to have him for the drive (i'm sure he saved my life being there to keep me awake)
It was lovely to have him for the day!
House-sitting for Kylie again. She has just installed a new projector home movie system - with Wii attached - awesome. Played new wii-sports on a HUGE screen :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009