Saturday, September 10, 2016

534/1038 - Piña colada custard doughnuts

My mini chef unexpectedly picked out a pineapple as one of his market selections yesterday. It was an interesting choice given his rather intense dislike for most fruits! 

As such, I thought it best that I used some of said fruit in a recipe to prevent it from ending up in the chook bucket. Love, love loving the sound of piña colada custard, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and put it inside the doughnuts I had promised to make in lieu of the market variety. A promise borne from my dislike of waiting to be served almost every week...

I am aware that some people will question my spelling of the word doughnut, given that the more commonly used "donut" is more succinct and of course, easier to spell. There are two reasons I stick with the longer version of this word; 1) Given the choice I will always opt for the English, rather than the American spelling of words. Call it a nod to my ancestors. 2) Whilst the shorter form, "donut" has been around for some time, its popularity grew exponentially after the opening of Dunkin' Donuts in 1950. The fact that a massive fast food chain increased the popularity of this word is reason alone for me to avoid it at all costs! 

It was fortunate I searched for a doughnut recipe early in the day given that the batter required a minimum of six hours in the fridge...and that was before the 2+ hours of proving! 

It was Joanne Chang (of Flour Bakery in Boston) who provided me with the doughnut recipe and I liked it (they actually tasted like doughnuts) but think I will get a better result next time if I heat the milk a little before adding it to the yeast. I am kicking myself that I didn't go with my gut and do that this time but I am usually one to trust a recipe the first time I test it out. I can only assume that the yeast she uses is of better quality than mine which is why my doughnuts didn't quite prove to the expected height. 

I am pleased to report that we have leftover custard (hooray!) which will be used to enhance our fruity desserts over the next couple of days x

Our little market pineapple

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

533/1038 - Penne with truffles

We had dinner out with the family recently and as we were preparing to leave, my sister in law sidled over to me holding a very suspicious looking little package. Wrapped in glad wrap and with a layer of paper towel underneath, its strange appearance had me wondering. Once she shared with me the nature of its contents, she became one of my very favourite people. 

A truffle, given to them by a friend who owns a truffle farm, was now in my possession. My excitement could not be contained! 

Of course we did the obligatory "infuse the eggs with truffle" before we used it, storing two eggs in a container alongside our lovely little fungus for a couple of nights so as to get more bang for our buck, truffle wise. We poached the eggs and they were delicious, with just enough hint of truffle to make them a very special lunch indeed. 

That night it was truffle pasta for dinner, finished with a gorgeous melty gouda as I couldn't get my hands on a good Gruyere.

If you can get your hands on a truffle (or have a very generous sister in law), it is a highly recommended culinary experience. If not, try this recipe anyway with some lovely fresh mushrooms x

Truffle infused poached egg

Friday, September 2, 2016

532/1038 - Apple Charlotte

I am on a bit of a Spring roll with my posts at the moment... (See what I did there?)

With plenty of apples on hand and an overseas guest to impress, an Apple Charlotte was on the menu for a recent dinner party. 

I had made two loaves of bread that day and one of them turned nicely into the crust for this lovely dessert. I will be honest and admit I was too nervous to turn my Charlotte out on to a dish, instead serving a scoop to each guest with a serve of my husband's fabulous vanilla ice-cream. 

A tip for anybody else trying this recipe; coconut sugar is the bomb! I use it a lot and it was particularly wonderful with this dessert, adding a depth of flavour that was very well received. Our guest of honour does not readily hand out compliments, but this apple Charlotte received a big thumbs up. 

It MUST have been good! x

Thursday, September 1, 2016

531/1038 - Oxtail braised with black olives

More market fare...

Again it was the mini-chef's choice which has made it to the blog, but quite unintentionally! One of our favourite market butchers was telling us about his fabulous oxtail and my mini-chef was smitten, deciding then and there that oxtail was his must have for the week. 

It wasn't until we got home that I realised there was an entire chapter dedicated to these rather expensive little tails. So not wanting to waste one, it was straight into our first oxtail recipe, braised with black olives.

The recipe called for 6-8 tails to feed 6 people. I have no idea if we eat like birds or if the cow from which our tail was lopped was some kind of monster, but one tail was plenty for the four of us!

Dinner was sticky and delicious and we even had sauce and a few small pieces of tail left over for the following night. The leftovers were expanded by tipping the sauce and all of the lovely fat into a pan with a couple of tins of tomatoes and a huge pile of mushrooms and cauliflower.

Magnificent x

Sunday, August 28, 2016

530/1038 - Fennel-marinated fish

We are now four months into our Vic Market routine and still my favourite moment of each week is watching my mini chef select a new protein for us to cook. This gorgeous Kingfish was one such selection, and he gave it to me along with the instruction that it must be pan fried. 

I didn't mind at all, knowing that I would get to use my gorgeous filleting knife from Japan to take the fish apart. Smearing the fillets with fennel paste (blitzed in the Thermomix) was a wonderful idea and we all agreed that it definitely enhanced but did not overpower this beautiful fish. 

This recipe only appears in the original, orange-spined version of The Cook’s Companion, so my apologies for inspiring those who do not have access to the correct book!

One for you, Mum x

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

529/1038 - Gruyère tart

As I munch on the leftovers of this tart, it strikes me that this challenge has greatly enhanced the standard of food I serve up to my little family. This is not a result of the challenge teaching me to cook (although I am sure the extra practice has helped!) but instead, it is the number of recipes I aim to churn out on a monthly basis which has seen many weeknight dinners elevated from simple meat and three veg to fancy roasts and tarts. 

Something else this challenge has inspired is my love of making pastry. It is something I do now on a regular basis (sorry waistline) and I can't imagine wanting to buy frozen shortcrust ever again. Puff is another story of course...

According to my youngest, aka mini-chef, this tart was lovely but would have been better with bacon. Mind you, according to him, most things would be better with bacon! 

Another one down, nine cheese recipes to go x

Thursday, July 21, 2016

528/1038 - Molly cake

Given that one of my very favourite (but now deceased) pets was named Molly, making this cake was a little bit special for me. 

I opted to fill the majority of the tree fruit quota with dried figs, which turned out to be an outstanding choice. I also included chunks of dried apple and the leftovers of a packet of mixed peel for a touch of added sweetness. 

Molly cake is a bit like a regular fruit cake, but moist and very sweet. So far we have enjoyed it three ways; as is, with cream and also with ice-cream. I can confirm that each iteration was equally fabulous! x

My little Molly atop a VERY young version of my husband!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

527/1038 - Robert's beans

Two things happened when I cooked this recipe; I completed my sixteenth chapter (only 109 to go!) and I conquered artichokes.

Artichokes have always been a bit of a mystery to me and so I have largely avoided them. When I have cooked with them in the past, to be honest, I didn't really know what I was doing. A few You tube videos later and I was ready to give these little beasts another go.

I adored this recipe and the artichokes were an absolute hit with three quarters of my family. My teenager was not convinced about the taste or the texture but by the third serve of beans (this recipe makes quite a lot!) I noticed that he cleared his plate without question. 

For somebody who loves food as much as me it is amusing to think that I have only now added this crazy little thistle to my repertoire x

Monday, July 18, 2016

526/1038 - Chickpea salad with the remains of roast lamb

Is there anything better than leftovers and a game of chess? I think not! 

This lovely little dish became the central element of our dinner the night before the leftovers session pictured above. We cheated and did not serve the salad with leftover roast lamb, but instead actually baked a roast lamb for the sole purpose of serving it as leftovers. Crazy, hey?

The salad is lovely and sweet, as you would expect from a dish that is loaded with fabulous caramelised onions. It is also quite substantial and alongside said roast lamb, served four very comfortably for dinner.

Another great recipe and I won the chess game too. Double win x

Friday, July 8, 2016

525/1038 - Mussels in coconut-milk curry

This was another lovely catch from our most recent trip to the Queen Victoria market. It was mussels for dinner last night and my goodness, this recipe was delicious! 

I will confess to using red instead of green curry paste, purely because I could not justify buying more curry paste to add to my fridge collection. Red is a staple in this house and I am happy to report that the taste was still wonderful.

Sadly, due to the time of year, I could not add basil to the final dish and it was definitely missed. What a shame, we will just have to make this again in the summer months to see what the complete dish tastes like! x