Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bringing Back the Berg

Can we take a moment? Just a brief one, so we can properly rejoice in the return of the iceberg lettuce? It never left some tables (or some peoples tacos) but when the mixed bag and then kale came riding into town she got pushed aside. So I gladly welcome her return to menus this country over.
Why she ever left I don't know – there are very few foods in the world that taste like a crisp glass of water (honestly how good is that), and none so willing to be the vessel that allows other adornments to shine. I was playing around with what I had in the fridge and came up with what I like to think isChristmas/Summer/Good times in a salad.
And she is so damn pretty to look at and a joy to eat with all her punchy complexity. The tomatoes and pomegranates work amazingly well together – a curious combo of sweet and sweet while the smoked salt adds a bit of intrigue; the black garlic is reminiscent of caramel, molasses and good times.

Head of iceberg, washed thoroughly, outer leaves discarded and cut into 4 wedges
250g punnet of mini roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 pomegranate, hulled, seeds and juice reserved
½ small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of black garlic, finely sliced
A few mint leaves
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
Smoked salt to taste
Herb dressing
¼ cup coriander leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ cup pistachios
4 tbsp grapeseed oil
Tahini Yoghurt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
½ cup natural yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini paste
Nigella seeds and mint leaves to serve
Combine the tomato, pomegranate seeds and juice, red onion, black garlic and pomegranate molasses in a bowl and set aside. After about twenty minutes, season with smoked salt to taste.
Add the ingredients for the herb dressing to a blender and blitz until a rough pesto like consistency is achieved. I like it still quite rough and chunky so be careful not to over blend.
Combine the tahini yoghurt ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
To serve, arrange the wedges on a large serving plate and spoon the pomegranate salad over the top. Drizzle a little of the herb dressing and add a dollop of the tahini yoghurt. Scatter with nigella seeds and extra mint leaves just before serving.

Friday, October 9, 2015

PInk lamingtons

As promised I am going to fill your feed with pink recipes this month. And I feel its my duty to share this one - pink lamingtons. Gah, who doesn't need pink lamingtons in their lives! The athletes may have their arm bands but the bakers, well the bakers get limited edition polka dot Kitchen Aid bowls. I know, I know. So stupidly pretty. And even more importantly Kitchen Aid are donating some of the proceeds of each and every sale to the Breast Cancer Network Australia and New Zealand.  I love interchanging the metal and ceramic bowls depending on what I am doing with the mixer so its functional as well as beautiful. The bowls are available anywhere that sells the mixers but if you wanted to check first check the Kitchen Aid website for stockists before you schlep to the shops.

Now to the recipe! I used one of those individual brownie tins but you can also use a regular muffin pan which is something everyone is more likely to have. The cooking time/outcome doesn't change at all whichever cooking tin you use.


½ cup (75g) self-raising flour
¼ cup (30g) plain flour
⅓ cup (40g) corn flour
½ cup (80g) caster sugar
90g butter, softened to room temperature
2 x 60g eggs, at room temperature
75ml milk, lightly warmed
½ packet strawberry jelly crystals (reserve remaining for coating)
100ml thickened cream
1 tbs strawberry jam
¾ cup (70g) desiccated coconut
1 tbs extra strawberry jelly crystals

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced). Grease the base and sides of a mini muffin tin well with butter.
Attach the flat beater to a stand mixer. Place the flours and sugar in the mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.
Add the butter, eggs, and milk to the flour mixture. Mix until combined. Increase speed to high and beat for 1 minute.
Divide the mixture between the holes of the muffin tin, filling each hole to about ¾ full. Bake on the lower centre shelf 8-10 minutes or until the little cakes are golden and just firm.
While the cakes are baking, make the jelly, following the instructions on the packet, but using only half the packet of crystals and only half of the water recommend. Refrigerate until just syrupy, this takes anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the coldness of your fridge.
When the little cakes are firm and lightly golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool 3-5 minutes before carefully removing from the pan. Place on a cooling rack.
Attach the mixing bowl and whisk to a stand mixer. Add the cream to the bowl and beat until soft peaks form.
Spread one flat edge of the cakes with a little jam and sandwich together with a little cream.

Quickly dunk and toss each lamington in the jelly, lightly coating and roll in the coconut combined with extra jelly crystals. Place on a rack to set. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Best eaten on the day made.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Elderflower, white chocolate and strawberry semifreddo

October is breast cancer awareness month and this recipe is a nod to all things pink and a perfect recipe for you to make should you decide to participate in one of the many cooking fundraising initiatives that happen across the country. I'll be posting lots of pink inspired recipes here on the blog.
This does need to come with a warning. Don't make this pretty ice cream if you're not prepared to eat it in disturbing amounts (all of it in one sitting) and feel that weird cold headache, ate too much feeling that comes with such consumption. This ice cream does not like to be alone in the freezer waiting for friends. Its an extrovert – loud, bright and so so delicious to serve at a dinner party or equally consumed during a Netflix marathon sitting in front of your lap top in pajamas holding a spoon hostage until you reach the bottom. If you embrace the "just can't stop" feeling when it comes to summer in ice-cream form then friends this is it. Strawberries, vanilla, white chocolate and elderflower – they belong together. With you. In your belly. Happy times.
You will need to begin this recipe one day ahead.
Makes about 2 litres.

Elderflower strawberries
250g punnet strawberries, hulled, roughly chopped
½ cup elderflower cordial
7 egg yolks
300g caster sugar
¼ cup elderflower cordial
1 vanilla bean, scraped seeds only
150g white chocolate (ensure its good quality) melted
450 ml thickened cream
375 gm crème fraîche
For the elderflower strawberries, place the strawberries and cordial in a bowl and set aside for 2-3 hours until the berries have macerated. Add to a blender and pulse ever so briefly, you want some glorious chunks of strawberry to remain. Set aside.
For the semifreddo, whisk the yolks, elderflower cordial, 0vanilla seeds and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until thick and pale (4-5 minutes), then transfer to an electric mixer, whisk until cool (2-3 minutes) and set aside.
Whisk cream and crème fraîche together in a bowl until soft peaks form, then fold in cooled yolk mixture and melted white chocolate. Spoon into a 2 litre- capacity container, adding the elderflower strawberry mixture as you go, swirling to form a ripple effect. Freeze until firm (6 hours-overnight), then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until required. Makes about 2 litres.