Monthly Archives: September 2012

Nostalgic inspiration

I may be giving my age away a bit here, but I learnt to cook by consulting my mother’s Australian Women’s Weekly Recipe Card collection. That box contained a treasure trove of inspiration that transformed many a quiet Sunday into an afternoon of experimentation with rewards for my efforts. My sweet tooth was dominant even back then, so most of my focus was around the Light ‘n’ Lovely Desserts,  Favourite Cakes and Homemade Confectionery sections. The Australian Women’s Weekly Recipe Card Collection box sets fetch hansome prices on ebay these days and have turned into quite the collectors item.

One of my favourite recipes from this collection was (is) Passionfruit Bavarian. I used to make one large one in a tupperware jelly mould, but for my recent attempt I used individual jelly moulds. It helps if you use a mould with a removable top / base as this breaks the air-lock and makes the un-moulding process smoother. You may want to spray your moulds with a little neutral tasting cooking spray like a canola oil spray to further assist the un-moulding process. It may also help to dip your moulds in hot water for 5 seconds or so when you are ready to plate up to help with the un-moulding process.

I recently made a trip to Herbie’s Spices and stocked up on some native Australian herbs and spices to experiment with, including strawberry gum. According to the packet strawberry gum is a ground native Australian herb,  with a flavour profile of berries, passionfruit and sweet spices (and I can attest this is a fairly accurate description) – perfect to incorporate in my Passionfruit Bavarian recipe. If you don’t have / don’t want to track down strawberry gum, you can stick closer to the original recipe and leave it out. You can order Herbie’s Spices online, or they are stocked in many delis and gourmet food stores.

I’ve included details using gelatine as specified in the original recipe and a vegetarian agar agar version for those that don’t eat gelatine.

If you would like a quick lesson on beating egg whites, the Bakingsheet blog gives a comprehensive rundown.

Passionfruit and Strawberry Gum Bavarian

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon agar agar or 1 packet / sheet of gelatin made according to directions on the packet
  • 300 mls cream
  • 1/2 cup or 115 g sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground strawberry gum
  • 4 large or 6 small passionfruit, plus extra for serving / garnish

Method

  • Separate the egg yolks and whites – yolks into a saucepan and whites into a bowl.
  • Add sugar, 150mls of cream and agar agar (if using)  to the egg yolks in a saucepan and mix to combine. (Or make gelatine according to directions on the packet.)
  • Stir the egg yolk, cream and sugar mixture over a low heat until the custard thickens. Be careful not to cook too quickly or you will end up with sweet scrambled eggs.
  • Remove the custard from heat and add (the gelatine if using) passionfruit pulp and strawberry gum, stir to combine and set aside to cool.

  • Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  • Beat the remaining cream until whipped.
  • Gently fold the cream into the custard mixture, then the egg whites.

  • Transfer the mixture to your moulds – either individual jelly moulds or a large jelly mould or whatever pretty bowl you plan to serve your bavarian in.

  • Refridgerate until set.
  • To serve, un-mould your bavarian(s) and top with extra passionfruit pulp, or top your dish of passionfruit bavarian with extra passionfruit pulp. Enjoy.

What is your favourite childhood recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Custard, Passionfruit, Recipes, Spices, Sweet, Vegetarian

Bondi as a foodie shopping destination

I wanted to share with you some foodie shopping ideas from my part of Bondi, and the shops included in list below are all within walking distance of each other. Up the hill and tucked away a bit from the beachfront Campbell Parade strip, these are some of my favourite spots in Bondi. My recipe this weeks lets some of these amazing products take centre stage without too much interference from me, with details for mini smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels.

Kemney’s

137-147 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

If I am having trouble tracking down a specific ingredient for a recipe, I can normally find it here. Kemney’s is part independent supermarket, part gourmet deli, part independent liquor store. It stocks a variety of labels and products you won’t find in mainstream supermarkets, including a wide choice of European, Kosher and even Brazilian products. I love just having a browse through the treasure trove and seeing what I come across. The liquor section has a fantastic range at good prices, including extensive clear skin wine options. There is also an online website for ordering liquor http://www.kemneys.com.au. Parking can be tricky but you might be able to score a parking spot in the car park on Watson Street behind the store, and if you’ve stocked up you might even get some help transferring your purchases to your car.

Wellington Cakes

157 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

The bus load of tour group people are an indication of how popular this bakery is. This bakery sells a delicious range of breads, bagels, pies, quiche, biscuits, studels, cakes, slices and biscuits. The cherry and cheese strudel is my favourite.

Glick’s Cakes and Bagels

173 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026 (other branches also in Sydney and Melbourne)

Glick’s produces the most amazing bagels, including mini-bagels which are perfect if you are catering for a girly high-tea or bring-a-plate type get together. Be warned, they are closed during the day on Saturdays, and it pays to place an order ahead of time if you want something specific (I pre-ordered my poppy seed mini bagels) and to get there early (open from about 7am) as the line extends out the door as the morning progresses on Sundays. As well as bagels, Glick’s also sells a range of breads, biscuits, cakes and pastries.

Krinsky’s Kosher supermarket

175 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

Next door to Glick’s, Krinsky’s stocks a wide range of asian, middle eastern and other Kosher foods. A handy place to stock up on vegetarian jelly that does not contain gelatin. Worth having a browse if you want to try cooking with different ingredients or are looking for a bit of inspiration.

Russkis Deli

131 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

A Russian inspired deli that has an extensive range of smoked fish products, caviar, cured meats, dips, and other European delights.

Mini smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels

Ingredients

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 400g smoked salmon
  • 18 mini bagels
  • lettuce

Method

  • Add the cream cheese, chives, lemon juice and zest to a bowl and mix to combine.

  • Wash your lettuce and cut or break into smaller sizes to suit your bagels.
  • Cut your bagels in half.
  • You are ready to start asembling – spread a generous amount of cream cheese to the bottom half of each bagel. Top with some lettuce and smoked salmon. Add your bagel top.

  • Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Enjoy.

What is your favourite foodie shop? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Breakfast, Cheese, Foodie Shopping Tip, Lemon, Recipes, Salmon, Savoury, Seafood

Spring strawberries

The beautiful sunny spring days and abundance of strawberries are the inspiration for this my post this week, strawberry and white chocolate mousse.

I actually used Ikea tealight candle holders to serve my strawberry and white chocolate mousse. They are the perfect size and the clear glass shows off the pretty pink mousse and decorative strawberry slices. The thinner you are able to make your strawberry slices, the better they stick to the sides of the tealight holders.

I’ve avoided using gelatin and instead relied on the chocolate to make the mousse set. I used Green and Black’s white chocolate because it is organic, fairtrade and has lovely flecks of real vanilla pod seeds through it. With so few ingredients in this recipe, it is important to use a good quality white chocolate.

You could serve some biscuits with your mousse to give some contrast in texture, something along the lines of ginger thins or some tulles.

Strawberry and white chocolate mousse

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 200g white chocolate
  • 150mls cream
  • 1 punnet of strawberries

Method

  • Wash and hull the strawberries.
  • Use some of the smaller strawberries to slice thinly. Decorate the sides of the 4 glass containers with strawberry slices.

  • Place the rest of the strawberries in a blender with 50mls of the cream and blend until smooth.

  • Heat the white chocolate and the remaining 100mls of cream over a double boiler until the chocolate is melted and the cream is combined.

  • Cool the cream and white chocolate mixture. Once cool, whip with electric beaters until thick and creamy.

  • Add 100mls of the blended strawberry mixture to the white chocolate and cream mixture, gently stir to combine then whip to add some extra lightness to the mixture.

  • Fill up your glass containers with your mousse. You could add some of the remaining strawberry mixture to the top. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Enjoy.

What is your favourite spring recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Berries, Chocolate, Recipes, Sweet, Vegetarian

Asian inspiration

This week’s recipe is quite easy to scale, I’ve included details for one piece of salmon, but you can simply multiply the ingredients depending on how many you are catering for.

Kecap manis is a Indonesian sweet soy sauce that is thick and delicious. It is great for using as a dipping sauce for spring rolls or other asian nibbles, or in your stirfries, and can be found in the asian sauces section of most supermarkets these days. Miso paste is a Japanese soy bean paste, it comes in a white and red form, which you may have to go to an asian grocery store to track down. While you are at the asian grocery store you can pick up some mirin, which is a type of rice wine.

I’ve used salmon in this recipe, but it would work just as well with ocean trout or you could experiment with other types of fish. It is up to you if you want to use a piece of fish with the skin on or off.

Because of the high sugar content in the sweet soy sauce, you may end up with a black coating after cooking, to try and avoid this cook your salmon over a low heat and a piece of fish with the skin on will provide extra protection. I served my marinated salmon alongside some stirfried asian greens and rice, but feel free to improvise.

Asian marinated salmon

Ingredients

  • Drizzle of oil for pan frying, I used coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon red miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed
  • chilli, finely chopped, to taste
  • 1/2 a lemon or lime worth of zest, use rest of the lemon or lime to serve
  • 200g salmon filet

Method

  • Add the miso paste, mirin, ginger, kecap manis, garlic, chilli and lemon or lime zest to a shallow dish and stir everything to combine.

  • Add your salmon to the dish and coat in the marinade, leave to soak up the flavours for 10 minutes (an hour would be even better).

  • Heat your pan to medium heat, add your oil to the bottom of the pan and add your marinated salmon filet. Turn down the heat and cook the salmon for 3-5 minutes depending in how thick your piece of fish is and how you like it cooked.

  • Turn the salmon filet and cook for a minute or two on the other side.
  • Your salmon is ready to serve, garnish with the lemon or lime. Enjoy.

What is your favourite fish dish? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Lemon, Salmon, Savoury, Seafood

Everybody seems to love a burger

Everybody seems to love a burger, and in an effort to create a (reasonably) healthy version of junk food, I made veggie burgers this week.

When making your veggie patties, you can use your favourite pulses or dried beans. I normally use red lentils in this recipe, but this time I decided to experiment and used soya beans which turned out well, although the soya beans took a lot longer to cook. Or if you want an express version, you could try using 2 tins of drained lentils, chickpeas or your favourite beans.

For my mixed herbs I used a combination of rosemary, parsley and thyme from my balcony garden but feel free to use whatever herbs you have on hand, or you could substitute 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs.

For my burgers I tend to keep it fairly simple and use avocado, baby spinach or lettuce, a veggie patty and chilli sauce, but you can include whatever are your favourite burger ingredients.

Left over uncooked patties can be stored in the fridge or frozen until you are ready to use them, and can be cooked straight from frozen, just reduce the heat a little to prevent the outsides burning before the centre is cooked through.

Veggie burgers

Makes approximately 8 patties.

* This recipe was adapted from a cheese and lentil rissoles recipe in Vegetarian Cooking by Lalita Ahmed, straight from the 80s. I have modified and adapted it over the years to come up with the below reincarnation.

Ingredients

  • oil for shallow frying
  • Rolls for your burgers
  • Your favourite burger ingredients, I used avocado and lettuce
  • Your favourite sauce, I used chilli sauce

Veggie patties

  • 175g of your favourite pulses or dried beans, I used soya beans
  • 1 litre of water
  • 4 fresh or 2 dry bay leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable stock powder [I use Vegeta brand, or if you have homemade stock, use this instead and discard the need to add water]
  • 200g grated cheddar or tasty cheese
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely crushed
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • Generous pinch of salt and pepper
  • 100g plain flour

Method

  1. Add your pulses or beans, water, bay leaves, the whole lemon, and stock powder to a saucepan. Cook over a medium heat until the pulses or beans are soft (the time will vary depending on which pulses or beans you are using). Stir occasionally to ensure nothing catches and burns on the bottom of the pan and add extra water if the liquid starts to dry out before the pulses or beans are cooked.
  2. Allow your cooked pulses or beans to cool, strain off any liquid, remove the lemon and bay leaves and transfer your pulses or beans to a large bowl.
  3. Lightly mash the pulses or beans with a fork, you don’t want the whole lot mashed smooth, it’s good to retain some whole pulses or beans for added texture.
  4. Add the rest of the veggie patties ingredients (minus the flour) to the bowl, and stir to combine.
  5. Divide the mixture into 8 flattened patties, and dust in the flour.
  6. Your patties are ready to shallow fry, or store in the fridge or freezer.
  7. To shallow fry your patties, heat a fry pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of oil to coat the bottom and fry your patties on both sides until golden brown.
  8. Assemble your burger, adding your favourite ingredients to your roll, add your patty and favourite sauce. Enjoy.

What is your favourite burger? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Burger, Cheese, Lentils, Savoury, Soya beans