Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Turkish Delightful & Earl Grey Tea

Time has completely escaped me of late. Busily planning the mega research trip through France means little time for blogging so my apologies in the delay in updating the blog. Today's post over at Daily Life is probably one of my favourite recipes. Although to be honest, anything with Turkish delight usually is.

Turkish Delight Tart

I am not immune to the “white sugar is the devil” brouhaha surrounding our food media of late. I’m not a disbeliever, but I’m certainly no believer. Because in that world I can’t have Turkish delight. And I much prefer my world, where I envisage lying in a hospital bed in some exotic locale (read infection free) watching MadMen and Game of Thrones on repeat from my bed which has several liposuction tubes attached to each of my thighs while I snack on sandwiches made of Turkish delight (the posh stuff) lovingly sandwiched between two slices of Fry’s (the not so posh coated in chocolate stuff) Turkish delight.  You see, that other world has nuts and grains and whatever other few food groups you are allowed whereas my world has Donald Draper. And Turkish delight.

And Donald Draper.

I digress, this tart embraces the delight of all that is Turkish with the incorporation of those wondrous spices and dates with, you guessed it, Turkish delight. If you blind bake the base sufficiently, the tart is just as good served on day three as it is fresh from the oven. Enjoy.


Sweet short crust pastry
150g plain flour
pinch salt
100g caster sugar
100g butter, softened, cubed
1 egg

100g butter, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground cardamom
vanilla bean, seeded and scraped
2 eggs
135 g almond meal
130g dates, softened in water, finely chopped
100g pistachios, shelled, roughly chopped
130g Turkish delight, chopped, frozen

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Prepare the shortcrust pastry by sifting the flour into a bowl. Add the salt and caster sugar and stir briefly to combine. Add the butter and using your fingertips massage the butter into the flour until a course crumb consistency is achieved. Add the egg and continue mixing with your hands until a smooth dough forms, being careful not to overwork. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper to 3mm thick. Refrigerate and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature then line a 13 x 35cm rectangular tart tin (or 23cm round tin). Trim excess pastry and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Line the pastry with baking paper and pastry weights and blind bake for 10- 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
Beat the butter, sugars, spices and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer until pale. Add the eggs, beating briefly to combine then gently stir through the almond meal and softened dates. Scoop the mix into the pastry shell and spread across the base until even. Gently push the pistachios and pieces of Turkish delight into the frangipane mix.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, turning half way through. If you are concerned the tart is browning too rapidly, cover with foil and continue cooking, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Earl Grey Tea Bundt Cakes

It is rare that more than 24 hours can go by without a bit of baking going on in my kitchen. A pie. A loaf. Or a cake. What it is will depend on how I am feeling, the weather outside, and most likely what ingredients I can find in the fridge. Baking has a solidarity, it is a therapeutic zen state, particularly any form of cake making which I find an incredibly calming type of cooking. And Bundt cakes are one of my favourite go to baked goods – it is based on a kind and forgiving butter style cake, and what’s best the beautiful shape of the tin does all the decorating for you.  Here several cups of tea are infused – making this the cake equivalent of the ultimate zen state. 


125ml milk
6 teaspoons Earl Grey tea (or use 6 tea bags)
120g butter, unsalted
225g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
3 free-range eggs
250g plain flour, low protein, sifted
1 ½ tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 12-hole bundt tin and set aside.
Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. As the milk begins to simmer, add the tea and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside for 30 – 40 minutes to allow the tea to infuse.
Cream the butter and sugar in a food processor until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla bean seeds and eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all the mixture is incorporated. Sift over the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Strain the milk over the flour, then gently incorporate the flour and milk into the mixture, being careful not to overwork the batter.
Carefully spoon mixture into the bundt tin, filling each one two-thirds full.  Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Leave in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

I also had to show you this really cute video from Spoonful - a delightful zine dedicated to happiness - now if that isn't a brilliant premise for a publication I don't know what is.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A quick update on posts from about the place - an article for the fabulous site Urban List. This is my favourite go to guide for where to shop/eat/drink in Brisbane whenever I get a chance to visit. I've also included my weekly recipe post for Daily Life for Chocolate and Salted Guinness Caramel Waffles. I barely managed to photograph these before scoffing the lot - very, very addictive!

I'll have what she's having.... title=I'll have what she's having....

I have a thing with other people’s food. I want it. Always. 
My gastronomic habits are unapologetically a symptom of the modern malaise of always wanting more. But its not gluttony, it is sheer unarguable paranoia. Someone, somewhere might be eating something better than me. 

I never understood the ‘don’t covet thy neighbour’ concept when the crux of the issue undoubtedly lies with lunch. Anyone with sense would have realized that if everyone were worrying about important things, like a bite to eat, they’d be too full for any real shenanigans other than a lie down and a belly rub. You see, neighbours wife. Sorted. 

I covet my neighbour’s plate. Always have.  The salad properly dressed, a chip far more golden and crisp than my own or that perfect, perfect sliver of cake. I could order exactly the same thing and it simply would not taste the same. 
It’s what you’ve got that I want. I know so perfectly how it would taste, how it would feel in my mouth, and how good it would look on my fork rather than yours. It is stealing. Often in daylight and in plain view. It is a gloriously inappropriate invasion of your personal and sensory space. And I love it.

As a regular restaurant reviewer, people often agree to a United Nations format of dipping rights. How dull. And entirely legal. Where is the frisson? The impropriety? The thrill? Now if we happen to go to dinner and you offer to share, no thank you. 

It’s what you’ve got that I want. I know so perfectly how it would taste, how it would feel in my mouth, and how good it would look on my fork rather than yours. It is stealing. Often in daylight and in plain view. It is a gloriously inappropriate invasion of your personal and sensory space. And I love it.

Know this. Nowhere is safe. The Bunnings sausage sizzle, for example. Oh the illicit delight of scoffing down the last of your sausage in bread. Now that’s a particularly authentic buzz. 
I could dine out for hours on your look of outrage and hunger riddled frustration amidst the tools.  And don’t think you can stab me with a garden fork; I’m like Batman, but with Spiderman’s sticky hands and the irrepressible hunger of Oliver Twist. 
In other words freakin untouchable. 
I’ve just been informed I’m offering nothing new here – something about having your cake and eating it too. Strangely the neighbour’s wife has nothing to do with it.… Anyway, how about lunch? Say next Saturday? 

Chocolate Waffles with Salted Guinness Caramel
If a brewery and a cocoa farm had a romantic tryst these chocolate waffles with salted Guinness caramel would be their love child. Gloriously self-indulgent and completely addictive, they would be a stretch to call breakfast but I’m willing if you are. There are two types of waffle iron available. Either cast iron for heating on the stove top, or electric waffle irons that work in a similar way to sandwich toasters. If you’ve got neither, just make pancakes, they taste just as good.
 plain flour
50g, cocoa powder
2½ tsp baking powder 

½ tsp
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 

6 tbsp 
caster sugar
3 eggs 

sour cream
100g dark chocolate
½ cup
110g butter, melted plus extra for greasing the waffle iron
Guinness Caramel
(3/4 cup) Guinness
½ cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
½ cup thin cream
A generous pinch of salt.

Stir together Guinness and brown sugar in a saucepan. Place over low heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until syrupy. Add the butter and whisk until melted. Remove from heat and add the cream and the salt, stirring to combine.
While the caramel is cooking make the waffles by sifting the dry ingredients into a bowl. In another large bowl, combine and mix the eggs, sour cream and milk. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk or beat together until smooth. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water then add to batter mixture, stirring well. Let the batter sit for at least 30 minutes (or overnight covered in the fridge).
Melt some extra butter to grease the waffle iron/pan. Pour in enough batter to fill the waffle cavity. If using a cast iron version, the waffles are ready to fli when bubbles appear and the waffle takes on a darker appearance. Cook for approximately 1 minute on each side. Keep in mind waffles are just like crepes or pancakes – the first is never the best looking. Serve hot topped with ice cream or crème fraiche and drizzle over the Guinness caramel or freeze and toast later.
Makes 16-18 waffles

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A few recipes....

My apologies in the lack of recipe posting of late. Between a fair bit of recipe development work, some kind of lurgy/gross flu from hell and an obsession with the lords, ladies and dwarfs from Game of Thrones time has not been my friend. 

Below are a few catch up recipes from the column over on Daily Life.  Also there will be a new Kitchen Coquette magazine coming in the next few weeks with some bumper giveaways and plenty of recipes. For now these recipes are taking you the full gamut - lentils to nutella. Health to hedonism. Enjoy.

Tiramisu Meringue with Nutella Ganache

I love the flavours of a tiramisu. Unfortunately I’ve never loved the texture of the softened savoiardi (sponge fingers) so I have incorporated the concepts of this delightful Italian dessert using a meringue base so you can have the lovely boozy coffee, chocolaty flavours with the crisp edge of meringue.

I’ve left the quantities fairly large for the filling and coffee chocolate ganache, reason being their uses extend far beyond this recipe. The mascarpone is delightful smeared on toast. Ditto for the ganache which also works well over ice cream, chocolate pudding or anything that needs a touch of nutella…. in other words 85% of foods. You may find the consistency of these differs slightly to normal ganache and cream fillings, but don’t be concerned, its just the addition of lovely winter warming alcohol. To sustain the crispness of the meringue, don’t construct the layers until you are ready to serve.


150g eggwhite
225g caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp dutch cocoa powder

250g mascarpone
250g crème fraiche
60g icing sugar, sifted
25ml amaretto

Coffee chocolate ganache
100g dark chocolate
4 tbsp nutella
50g glucose syrup
30ml espresso coffee (or more to taste)
50ml brandy
25ml amaretto

½ cup hazelnuts, roasted, roughly chopped to serve

Preheat oven to 180C. Using an electric mixer, beat eggwhites and a pinch of sea salt until soft peaks form, then, with the motor running, gradually add caster sugar and beat until sugar is incorporated, then add lemon juice and cocoa powder and beat until combined. Make sure you beat for a sufficient amount of time so that the caster sugar and cocoa powder are properly incorporated, otherwise the meringue will crack and bleed in the oven.
Spoon the mixture onto 3 sheets of baking paper cut to a similar size. The key is to make 3 pieces of meringue relatively the same size – it won’t taste any different whether you make them circular or rectangular.
Reduce oven to 150C and bake for 1½ hours. Turn off oven and, leaving door ajar, stand the meringue in oven for at least 2 hours to cool. (These can be made one day ahead)
To make the mascarpone filling, whisk the mascarpone, crème fraiche, icing sugar and amaretto in a large bowl until incorporated. Set aside until serving.

For the coffee chocolate ganache, melt the chocolate and in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Add the nutella and glucose syrup and stir until combined. Remove from the heat and stir through espresso, brandy and amaretto until well combined.

To serve, spread the mascarpone filing over a meringue disk. Top with some chocolate ganache and hazelnuts and top with the second disk. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Puy lentil and slow roasted tomato salad with labne & fresh herbs

Serves 6

Lentils are a brilliant pulse. Uber healthy, a great source of protein and fibre and basically an all round great winter ingredient.The trick is to use puy lentils – they are the best in terms of keeping shape and texture. From the area of France to the north-west of Lyon, they retain their shape when cooked and have a brilliant nutty earthy sort of flavour. And they are low maintenance – no presoaking, only a low key simmer in liquid for 30 minutes or thereabouts. Then when warm tossed with whatever may take your fancy, absorbing their flavours to create an incredibly comforting and satisfying result.

375g Puy Lentils
1 red onion, very finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp good quality red wine vinegar
Sea salt
5 tbsp chopped chervil
6 tbsp chopped chives
3 tbsp chopped dill
1/4 cup mint leaves pulled, loosely packed
120g labne
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
100g pancetta, chopped

600g plum tomatoes (about 20)
12 thyme sprigs
1 tbsp thick balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp balsamic glaze
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 130C. Quarter the tomatoes vertically and place skin side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Top with the thyme. Drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until semi-dried. Discard thyme and allow to cool.
Place the red onion in a bowl, pour over the vinegar and sprinkle over salt. Stir and leave for five minutes so the onion softens. Place the lentils in a pan of boiling water and cook until tender (twenty – five to thirty minutes). Drain well and sieve. While still warm add to a large bowl with the sliced onion. Add the olive oil, garlic and season with pepper and stir to combine. Allow to cool slightly before adding the herbs and gently tossing the salad. Adjust the seasoning.
To serve pile up the lentils on a large plate or bowl, integrating the labhne, tomatoes and pancetta (if using). Drizzle the tomato cooking juices and dressing on top and serve.