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

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

524/1038 - Quick strawberry jam

My little one and I ventured in to the Queen Vic market again this morning; a gorgeous weekly ritual we have been undertaking since the end of April. We found some beautiful Queensland strawberries and, inspired by our weekly purchase of jam doughnuts, I decided to make a jam of my own. 

I am SO pleased to report that I have just checked on my jam and it looks as if it has set! I wasn't sure if my inclusion of coconut sugar (around 100g) was a good idea, but all seems to be well.

I couldn't wait to try it out and so enjoyed my bowl of yoghurt with a good dollop on top. I also have plans to make a big, fluffy loaf of bread today so we can enjoy PLENTY of jam on toast. I will be having mine with tasty cheese; a combination my dad introduced me to many years ago and one I adore to this day. We all like fruit on our cheese platter, so jam and cheese together makes sense if you think about it. 

After a very slow period of blogging, it appears I am back with a vengeance. More to come in July! x

Sunday, July 3, 2016

523/1038 - Date and chocolate cake

To finish off the world's most relaxed dinner party, this cake was not only ridiculously easy to make, but also a joy to eat.

Although a very simple recipe to execute, I must confess to a lapse in concentration which almost saw our dessert relegated to the scrapheap. 

Whisk egg whites with sugar - check
Add chocolates and dates - check
Bake and then leave to cool in the oven - check
Turn oven back on with the cake still inside - whoops...

Luckily I opened the oven within a couple of minutes of turning it on and rescued my already reheating cake. Crisis averted! 

The resulting cake/meringue was delightfully chewy and lovely served with cream and fresh strawberries. 

Definitely a go to recipe for a time poor host x

Saturday, July 2, 2016

522/1038 - Glazed onions

Many, many dinner parties have been hosted in our modest dining room. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but last night I learned a new one! 

As I planned the menu, it occurred to me that it would be lovely if I didn't have to leave the table AT ALL during dinner. Crazy, hey?

Cooking like a demon throughout the day paid off and with my husband preparing the final dish, dinner was truly a relaxed affair. The menu was as follows;
  • Glazed onions
  • Slow cooked tomatoes with green beans and chorizo
  • Silverbeet and blue cheese tart (with melt-in-the-mouth homemade pastry)
  • Flatbreads
  • Beetroot and parsley dip
  • Baked potatoes and garlic
  • Date and chocolate meringue cake with strawberries and cream
...and champagne of course! 

These glazed onions were such a revelation that I simply can't believe I have always skipped over the recipe. The result of quite a simple cook was onions that were soft and sweet and worthy of eating on their own. 

There are a few left and I am thinking that they might go really well with my election sausage x

Sunday, June 26, 2016

521/1038 - Roux (used in a fabulous chicken soup!)

Winter is DEFINITELY here...and I can't believe I almost let a month go past without posting! 

The third edition of The Cook's Companion has some recipes listed separately for the first time; roux being added to the the basics chapter, bulking it out to a whopping forty four recipes. 

Looking for a simple dinner to make, I decided that a chicken soup was in order, and used the roux to turn it into a delicious and creamy concoction. 

One of my favourite memories from childhood is creamy chicken soup (yes, it was all about food even then!) but of course being the seventies, the version I loved was straight from a can; just add milk and heat. 

My palate has come quite some way since then and eating soup from a can is but a distant memory. My very simple version is full of wholesome ingredients and even better, is very quick to make! 

So there it was; the first (and possibly the only) post for this month.