Vegan Pandan Cake

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Pandan. Amazing. Smells and tastes like nothing else I’ve experienced, and the colour is something else! It is used in so many desserts in many asian countries, but also works beautifully in savoury dishes like curries and rice. Fortunately lots of Asian grocers in Australia now stock Pandan leaves, and will definitely stock the Pandan essence I used for this cake. The Cassava flour turns the cake into more of a pudding texture, it is unusual but delicious. I iced this cake with condensed milk that was simmered and reduced with Pandan essence to form a sort of caramel. But if you want to keep the cake vegan, I would suggest using a simple icing of icing sugar, lemon juice and pandan essence.
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Recipe

Ingredients

4 cups cassava flour

1 1/2 cups palm sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

3 cups coconut milk

2 tsp chia seeds mixed with 2 tbs water

1 tsp pandan essence

1/4 cup white vinegar

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a 30cm cake tin.

In a large bowl combine the flour, palm sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.

Add the coconut milk, chia, pandan essence and vinegar. Stir to combine.

Spoon into prepared pan and bake for about 40-50mins or until risen and springs back to the touch.

Cool in pan.

Turn out and ice as you please.

 

Balsamic Fig and Lemon Cheesecake with Walnut Crust, Candied Walnuts and Fresh Figs

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These little organic figs I found in the local market on the weekend reminded me of a beautiful holiday to Lagos, Portugal, with one of my dearest friends. We would go for a jog along the harbour every morning and pick wild figs from the sides of the road on our way back to our hostel. They were small and dodgy looking and we had to be sure to cut them open and check for maggots before eating them (speaking from experience). But, the good ones were delicious and perfect with some greek yoghurt and berries before a day at the beach.

This is a different kind of baked cheesecake, not so heavy, creamy and cheesy, and a little lighter and fresher. It would be lovely served with some greek yogurt or vanilla ice-cream on the side. You could replace the figs with strawberries if you like.

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Recipe

Ingredients

Base

150g digestive biscuits

30g walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

Big pinch of salt

80g butter, melted

Balsamic Fig Jam

12 small figs, roughly chopped

2 tbs balsamic glaze (click for recipe)

1/2-3/4 cup water

Filling

200g cream cheese

125g caster sugar

zest of 2 lemons

2 eggs

400g crème fraîche

4 tbs plain flour

To serve

4 fresh figs quartered

2 handfuls walnuts

3 tbs balsamic glaze

Extra balsamic glaze, to drizzle

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a spring form cake tin or slice tin.

Place the biscuits, walnuts, cinnamon and salt in a food processor. Process until fine crumbs. Add to a large bowl with the melted butter and mix to combine. Press into the base of the cake tin, using the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Place in the oven and bake for 10mins. Remove and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, for the balsamic fig jam, in a small saucepan, add the chopped figs, balsamic glaze and some of the water. Over medium heat, bring to the simmer, reduce to low and cook, stirring for about 20mins or until jam like in consistency, adding extra water if necessary. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the caster sugar and lemon zest. Use electric beaters to beat until combined and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, until combined. Add the crème fraîche and flour and continue to beat until combined and fluffy.

Spread the balsamic fig jam over the base. Top with the filling and spread out evenly. Place in the oven and cook, for 45-50mins. Until golden and firm on the edges.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place in the fridge and allow to cool for at least 4 hours.

To serve, heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Combine the walnuts with the balsamic glaze, spread onto a baking tray and bake, for about 10mins. Allow to cool.

Top the cheesecake with the balsamic walnuts, fresh figs and drizzle with extra balsamic glaze. Decorate with edible flowers if you like.

Enjoy!

 

Lemon, Thyme and Goat’s Milk Yoghurt Cake with Lemon Glaze, Golden Plums and Red Currants

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We’ve just returned to Amsterdam after a three week, whirlwind road trip through Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and France. We were so lucky and grateful to be able to join our friends in their van for the amazing journey. As well as staying in a few funny little campgrounds along the way we were also able to find some free-camping spots in the most magical settings; amidst mossy pine forests, in the valleys of the snow capped Alps, next to rushing glacier rivers lined with wild thyme and oregano, and nestled (hidden) amongst the vineyards in Tuscany. We were also shown some beautiful hospitality by friends in Germany and Italy and stayed in some cute little apartments in Rome and Paris, where I was grateful to do some cooking on a real chopping board, with a real knife, rather than on a plank of wood with a pocket knife (although I do really love camping cooking).

After three weeks in the van, we arrived in Paris, in the midst of a heatwave, and in dire need of a good shower, a soft bed, and some clean clothes. It was too hot during the day to wander the streets of Paris for more than a couple of hours at a time so I resided in our tiny apartment’s kitchen and did some cooking. With a glass of wine and some french radio playing, I couldn’t help but feel I was getting a better Parisian experience than the hoards of people lined up to go up the Eiffel Tower.

If you can’t find goat’s milk yoghurt for this you can use regular natural yoghurt instead. You could also replace the lemon zest with orange or mandarin and change the plums and red currants to whatever fruit is in season in your area.

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Recipe (adapted from Delicious Magazine UK)

Ingredients

175g butter, softened

350g caster sugar

Seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

3 large free range eggs

350g plain flour

200g natural goats milk yoghurt, plus extra to serve

1 tbs baking powder

2 tbs fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

6 small golden plums

250g fresh red currants

Icing

175g icing sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp boiling hot water

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Method

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees celsius. Grease a 24cm bundt or ring shaped cake tin with butter (use a regular cake tin if that’s all you have).

With electric beaters, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together, for about 5mins, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest and then beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with the second and third egg.

Spoon half the yoghurt into the mixture, sift over the baking powder with a pinch of salt, and half the remaining flour, then fold in. Repeat with the remaining yoghurt and flour, along with the thyme.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake, for about 50-55mins, or until golden brown and springs back to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 5mins and then turn out onto a wire rack over a baking tray.

For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the lemon juice and water and mix until smooth. While the cake is still slightly warm, spoon over the icing, letting some run down the sides. Sprinkle with the time leaves and leave to set.

Slice the plums and fill the middle of the cake with them, allowing them to spill out and over. Add some currants on top and around the cake. Serve with the extra yoghurt.

Enjoy!

Vegetarian Turkish Lahmacun. Spiced Lentil Flatbreads with Garlic Yoghurt and Pickles.

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I made this dish whilst we were back in Germany, staying with a friend who loves food and loves to eat. It was perfect for me! I had access to her awesome little kitchen the whole time we were there and I had the best time preparing breakfasts, snacks, afternoon teas and dinners for all of us, which, in turn, resulted in lots of lovely hours, sitting around, chatting, eating and drinking. Bliss!

Germany is renowned for it’s Doner Kebabs and there are many (MANY) turkish restaurants. It got me thinking about a dish I had seen, a kind of turkish pizza. I mentioned it to our friend and she said, yes, it’s called Lahmucan, but, she had never been able to try it because it is only ever made with lamb mince and she is a vegetarian. So, I decided to try and make a meatless version of Lahmucan. And, boy did I nail it! The dough was amazingly soft and beautiful to work with, and turned out perfect when baked. The topping was spicy and tasty, especially with a drizzle of lemon and the garlic yoghurt, and the freshness of the parsley and pickles. You have to give this a try!

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Recipe

Ingredients

Dough
7g sachet of yeast
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch salt
Olive oil
Spiced Lentil Sauce
Olive oil
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
250g swiss brown or button mushrooms, roughly chopped
400g can brown lentils, rinsed and well drained
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp sumac
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
Yoghurt Sauce
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 tbs lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Pickled Radishes
Bunch radishes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
To Serve
20g walnuts, roughly chopped
Bunch of parsley, leaves finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced on a mandolin
Lemon wedges
Pickled peppers

Method

For the dough, combine the yeast with 1/3 cup warm water and allow to stand for 10mins, until bubbles have formed on top.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the olive oil. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the egg mixture and the yeast mixture to the flour. Stir briefly, until just combined. Cover with a towel and rest for 10mins.
Use olive oil to lightly oil a clean work surface and your hands. Turn dough out onto work surface and knead for 10secs, gently pushing it away form yourself and folding it back over. Return to the bowl and cover with the towel. Leave to rest for 15mins. Repeat this process twice more at 15min intervals. After the last kneading, cover again and leave to rise for an hour.
After an hour, divide the dough into four equal portions. Dust a clean work surface with flour and line two large baking trays with baking paper. With a rolling pin, roll the portions out into 30cm by 20cm rectangles (or whatever shape you manage). Place on the trays and cover with tea towels. Leave to rise for another 45mins.
Meanwhile, make the spiced lentil sauce.
Add the walnuts, the lentils, the mushrooms and some salt to a large food processor. Using the pulse action, process until just finely chopped, try not to turn it into a paste. In a large frying pan, over medium high heat, add a tbs of olive oil and add the lentil mixture. Cook, stirring, for about 10mins. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add another tbs of olive oil. Cook the onion, stirring, over medium heat, for 5 mins or until soft. Add the garlic and the chilli and cook, stirring, for a further minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, sugar, and some salt and pepper. Bring to the simmer, turn heat to low, and cook, stirring often, for about 10mins, or until thick and fragrant. Add the lentil mixture and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, combine the yoghurt with the garlic, lemon juice and salt. Stir well to combine. Leave in the fridge until needed.
In a medium bowl, combine the radishes with the vinegar, sugar and some salt. Using your hands, massage the radishes with the vinegar. Allow to sit, stirring every so often, for at least 30mins before serving (you can also make these up to 1 day ahead, stored in the fridge).
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Drizzle the 4 dough rectangles with a little olive oil. Spread with the lentil sauce, leaving about 2cm around the edges. Place in the oven and cook, for about 45mins, or until lentil sauce is dry on top and the edges of the dough are nice and golden brown.
To serve, top with the pickled radishes, sliced onion, parsley, walnuts, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of the yoghurt and the pickled peppers on the side. (I like to just put everything in the middle of the table and let people top their own)
Enjoy!









Strawberry, Apple and Sour Cream Cake

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We’re off to Berlin tonight, an overnight bus that I hope I will get some sleep on as tomorrow we will be going to a music festival with a friend and I feel it might be a bit of a big day….

I made this cake the other day, with the abundance of strawberries we’ve been getting form the local farms here. I wanted to make something for the beautiful people we’ve been staying with, to say thank you. It’s really been so enjoyable and such a great insight into German life. There is nothing like staying with locals to really discover a place. I’m so appreciative and i can’t wait to have them stay with us one day in Australia.

My Mum used to make this cake all the time, in the form of a slice, and just with apples. It was the highest selling slice in the little cafe we owned and ran at the time. I don’t know what made me think of it the other day but I wanted to re-make it with the addition of strawberries. As you will see in the recipe, there is a bit of a shortcut. At first I wasn’t going to do it, but then I thought, hey, it was always so good when Mum made it, why change a good thing? In Australia we used to use the Homebrand Butter Cake Mix, but I couldn’t get that here in Germany so I had to tweak it a little by adding an egg and a little extra butter. The recipe here is how you would make it in Aus, but if you can’t get that Butter Cake Mix, then just use what you can find and add what you feel. You just want a kind of dry biscuit base dough, not a runny cake batter. Good luck!

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Recipe

Ingredients

1 packet Butter Cake Mix

1 cup desiccated coconut

150g butter, melted, plus 25g

2 apples, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes

750g strawberries, halved

2 tbs spiced rum (optional)

6 tbs caster sugar

400g sour cream

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a spring form cake tin.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix with the coconut and the 150g melted butter. Mix well to combine. Press mixture evenly into the base of the cake tin and place in the oven. Bake for 15-20mins or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the 25g butter and add the apples, along with 4 tbs of the caster sugar and the rum. Cook, stirring, for about 5mins or until just starting to soften. Add 500g of the strawberries and continue to cook, stirring, for a further 5 mins. Remove from heat.

Using a slotted spoon to leave the liquid behind, spoon the apple and strawberry mix on top of the cake. Evenly distribute the fruit and then top with the sour cream, smoothing with the back of a spoon.

Combine the remaining 2 tbs caster sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the sour cream.

Return cake to the oven and cook for a further 25-30mins, or until sour cream has set.

Allow to cool in the pan.

Meanwhile, set the leftover fruit cooking liquid over medium heat. Bring to the simmer and turn heat to low. Simmer for 5mins or until reduced and thick. Allow to cool and then mix with the remaining 250g strawberries.

To serve, remove cake from pan and top with the strawberries and syrup.

Enjoy!

 

White Asparagus, Spring Onion and Chèvre Tart with Herb and Walnut Salad

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After six weeks in the craziness of Indonesia, landing in Europe has been an amazing experience. Coming from a place where the general hum is the sound of loud scooters and touting stallholders, we have found ourselves in a town so peaceful, even the church bells sound too loud. Although that could have something to do with it being next door….

We landed in Frankfurt and were immediately whisked away to this beautiful little town of Walldorf, the home of our amazing friend and her very generous family. I had to show our new friends here a youtube clip of the old children’s show, Postman Pat, as a way to explain how this town seems to me so far. Rolling green fields, farms selling seasonal produce, small pubs, fresh baked goods from the local bakery, old guys smoking and chatting on a park bench, and friendly ladies in the supermarket who were only too happy to help us choose between all of the different types of sour cream and milk.

It’s asparagus season here at the moment and the locals love it so much there is even an asparagus festival in a couple of weeks, I wish we were still going to be there for that, I could have entered the asparagus peeling contest!

White asparagus is favoured here and is sold in different grades, first grade being the straightest, whitest, not too thick and not too thin. This was, of course, what we bought from the farm that we visited, as well as some new season strawberries and radishes. We also got to go out into the field and have a go at picking some asparagus, it’s not an easy task and I can definitely appreciate why it is one of the more expensive vegetables. Mostly Polish people work the fields, backbreaking work for a couple of months a year, made worth it for them by the good pay. The lady that we met, and who showed us how to dig out the lovely white spears, has been coming here every year for twenty years!

After hardly getting the chance to cook while we were in Indonesia, I was jumping out of my skin with excitement to get back into the kitchen. And so excited to be able to cook for our generous hosts. I love making tarts and this one looked beautiful with the asparagus and the spring onions. You could use green asparagus if you can’t find white, just blanch it quickly rather than boiling it.

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Recipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plain flour

150g cold butter, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg yolk

1 tbs cold water

400g white asparagus, peeled, ends trimmed off

100g white asparagus, peeled, ends trimmed off and shaved into ribbons

1 tbs white sugar

2 tbs salt

8 spring onions, peeled, cut to about 15cm lengths, and cut in half vertically

olive oil, for drizzling

100g gruyere cheese, finely grated

5 eggs

1 cup milk

100g chèvre (goats cheese), sliced into 5mm thick pieces

Bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

Bunch dill, leaves picked

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Juice of half a lemon

1 tbs olive oil

salt and pepper

Method

For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the butter and use fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until mixture resembles sand. Add the egg yolk and the water. Mix with a spoon until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until just smooth, about 1min. Wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for an hour.

Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out to a 3mm-thick disc. Grease and line the base of a round, fluted tart tin, with removable base (or any tart tin that you have). Line with the pastry, trim most of the excess but leave about 1/2cm of overhang to allow for shrinkage. Prick the base with a fork. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to rest.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper. Fill with pastry weights or rice. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove paper and pastry weights or rice. Cook for a further 7 minutes or until golden. Set aside.

Place the spring onions on a lined baking tray, cut side up, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook, for about 20mins, or until golden and soft. Set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the sugar and salt. Add the 400g asparagus and cook for about 10-15mins, until just tender (time will depend on the thickness of the asparagus). Remove and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, gruyere, and milk with some salt and pepper. Pour mixture into tart case. Arrange the spring onions, boiled asparagus, and sliced goats cheese around the tart in a sort of clock design. Place in the oven and cook, for about 30mins, or until golden and firm in the middle. Remove and set aside for at least 10mins before serving.

While tart is cooking, prepare the salad.

In a bowl, place the 100g shaved asparagus and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for a minute, strain, and refresh under cold water. Squeeze out excess water and return to the bowl along with the herbs. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Only add the walnuts just before serving.

To serve, add the walnuts to the salad and toss to combine. Top the tart with the salad if desired, or serve it alongside.

Enjoy!

 

 

Spinach, Egg and Chinese Sausage Pie

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I woke up yesterday morning, feeling nostalgic for Easters as a child, where, if I’m remembering this correctly (it was either Christmas or Easter), Mum would always make the most amazing bacon, egg and cheese pie. It was so delicious, and such a treat for us all to sit down and share breakfast together. I’m sure Mum was trying to fill our bellies with something wholesome to prevent us from making ourselves sick on Easter eggs. I was always the type to eat as many chocolate eggs as I possibly could, running out in a couple of days, where, my little brother, would save his for so long that they would start to turn white. I’m pretty sure he did this just to annoy me.

We always had a such an awesome time on the Sunday morning Easter egg hunt. Our Mum was a genius at making it seem like the Easter Bunny had been to our house, going as far as muddy rabbit paw prints through the house and half eaten carrots on the back porch. She was also fantastic at hiding the eggs, so good that we’d be finding them in the backyard for weeks to come. I can’t wait to do this for my kids one day!

Anyway, back to this pie. Yesterday being Good Friday, nothing was open to be able to buy the necessary ingredients to make this pie as I reminder, so, I had to make do with what we had. Which turned out to be absolutely delicious!! The eggs, spinach and basil all came from the backyard, and since living up here I’ve been keeping a constant stock of chinese sausage (lap cheong) in the cupboard, as it is just so flavoursome and can add a lot to asian dishes. I had to make do with the little amount of butter that we had for the pastry, but I think the mixture of butter and olive oil worked perfectly, with the parmesan giving an extra boost. You could serve this at any time of the day, with some spicy barbecue or tomato sauce and a little side salad (or not, up to you). Just make sure you place a marker, such as a little pastry leaf, on top of the pastry lid, where you have placed the eggs, so that you can cut right down through the centre of each to serve. Just cause it looks really cool. As you can see, the chickens only gave us three eggs this day. You could replace the chinese sausage with bacon or chorizo, or even some feta or haloumi for a vegetarian pie.

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients
Pastry
270g plain flour
40g parmesan, finely grated
40g cold butter, cut into cubes
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
Filling
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
120g chinese sausage (lap cheong), finely sliced
120g brazilian spinach (or any other type of spinach), roughly chopped
400g can crushed tomatoes
130g grated cheddar cheese
large handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
4 eggs
milk, for brushing
Spicy barbecue sauce or tomato relish, to serve

Method
In a large bowl, sift the flour, add the salt and parmesan, stir to combine. Add the butter and olive oil and, using your fingers, rub the mixture together until it resembles sand. Add the water and use a spoon to combine. Knead briefly to bring it all together, about 1 min, until smooth. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion and cook, stirring, about 4 mins, until soft. Add the garlic and sausage and cook, stirring, for a further 4 mins, or until starting to turn golden. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, for 1 min, until wilted. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until simmering. Allow to simmer for 5mins, stirring often. Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
Add the grated cheese and basil and some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a 20cm spring form cake tin.
Take the pastry from the fridge and cut away two thirds of it to use for the base. Roll out into a 30cm circle and then carefully press into the prepared tin. Prick the base with a fork and place in the oven. Cook for 15mins, until dry. Remove from the oven.
Pour the pie filing into the pastry case. Make four holes in the mixture and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top each egg.
Roll out the remaining pastry into a 25cm circle. Brush the edges of the case with milk. Carefully place the lid on top and press together the edges to seal. Brush the edges and all over the top with milk. Pierce a hole in the middle for steam to release. Use the pastry cutoffs to mark where the eggs are, if you wish. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake the pie for 45-55mins, until golden and crunchy on the edges. Remove from oven.
Allow to sit for about 10mins before cutting.
Serve with sauce and salad, if desired.
Enjoy!

Crunchy Nut Fish with Wasabi Mayo and Veggie Chips

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This is a funky recipe, shown to me by an awesome guy we have been staying with, it’s not often I’ll take a shortcut like this when preparing food, but I thought this little trick was too good not to share. I’ve heard of using crushed salt and vinegar chips as a crumb for fish, but never had I seen this before! Crunchy Nut Cornflakes are the star here, they lend a subtle sweetness and perfect crunch to the outside of the deliciously soft fish. I didn’t actually know what I was eating at the time, until I later asked him what he had used in the crumbs, I was shocked! I asked if he wouldn’t mind me using his idea and sharing it on my blog. And at the time I had all intentions of making my own crunchy nut crumb, but then I thought, hey, why change something that already rocks! So, for the first time in my life I bought a box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, of which Benny has been enjoying the leftovers of for breakfast the last couple of days!!

We shared this meal with some friends down at the beach, trying to make the most of our last week in Darwin. Now that we are about to leave I’m ashamed of myself that we haven’t had way more sunset beach picnics. Time flies by so fast, it’s scary. One good thing about having a life like we do at the moment is that we really do live each day to the next without ever really knowing what might happen next, but the days still seem to melt away….

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Recipe

Ingredients
800g trevally (or other firm white fish), de-boned and cut into 10cm pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs whole egg mayonnaise
2 tbs plain yoghurt
1 tsp hot english mustard
salt and pepper
300g crunchy nut cornflakes, finely crushed in a mortar and pestle or food processor
Coconut oil, for shallow frying
2 medium red rascal potatoes, skin left on, cut into thick chips
1 large, white skin, purple flesh, sweet potato, skin left on, cut into thick chips
2 beetroot, peeled, cut into thick chips
Olive oil
Lemon wedges and a simple green salad to serve, if desired
Wasabi Mayo
4 tbs whole egg mayonnaise
4 tbs plain yoghurt
Juice of half a lemon
2-3 tsp wasabi paste

Method
For the fish, in a large, non-reactive bowl, combine the garlic, mayonnaise, yoghurt, mustard and salt and pepper. Add the fish and stir to coat. Cover and leave in the fridge for half an hour to marinate.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Prepare two baking trays with baking paper. In one large bowl, toss the potato and sweet potato with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto one tray. In the same bowl, toss the beetroot with some more olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto the other tray. (Keeping them separate will prevent the beetroot from staining the other vegetables).
Place in the oven and bake for 40-50mins or until golden and crunchy on the edges.
Meanwhile, for the wasabi mayo, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and use a whisk to thoroughly combine. Leave in the fridge until ready to serve.
To cook the fish, heat some coconut oil in a large, non-stick frying pan, over medium high heat. Place the crushed cornflakes in a bowl. Coat each piece of fish in the cornflakes, pressing into the fish firmly to coat.
Fry the fish pieces, about 2mins per side, until golden and crunchy. Drain on paper towel.
Serve the fish with a sprinkle of salt, the veggie chips, lemon wedges and wasabi mayo.
Enjoy!

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Tropical Easter Pavlova Mess

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Happy Easter everybody! Whatever it means to you, I hope you have a lovely long weekend, relaxing and enjoying the company of your friends and family, cooking, eating and trying not to freak out about the fact that nearly a third of the year has flown by already!

Here’s another one of those experiments I was talking about the other day. It may not be as pretty as it could possibly be, but considering it was the first time I’ve made a pavlova, let alone a meringue, it’s not too bad. It was a fun experience and the taste was way better than I was expecting!! The meringue was never going to look amazing, considering the temperamental oven, but, by leaving it in the oven overnight (after it’s been switched off), the outside was super crunchy and the inside soft and gooey and perfect, without tasting eggy, which is something I’ve noticed in large meringues before.

If I had kids I’d definitely be using this idea to save them eating so much chocolate at easter time. The little chocolate covered grapes look just like mini easter eggs, but in my opinion, taste even better, with the fresh grape burst in the centre.

You could use any fruit you like, but I love the tartness of the passionfruit against all the sweetness.

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IMG_3736Recipe

You will need to start this recipe the day before

Serves 8

Ingredients

6 egg whites

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups caster sugar

2x170g can passionfruit pulp, strained, seeds discarded

2 tins coconut cream, chilled overnight in the fridge

300ml thickened cream

1/4 cup brown sugar

6 fresh passionfruit

A few handfuls of seedless purple grapes

300g white chocolate, melted

150g dark chilli chocolate, melted

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 120 degrees celcius.

Add the strained passionfruit pulp into a small saucepan and bring to the simmer over medium high heat. Simmer, stirring, for about 5mins, or until thickened and reduced. Cool and place in the fridge until cold.

Place egg whites and the pinch of salt in a large dry bowl. Using electric beaters, beat until stiff peaks form, about 4mins. Add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, beating constantly (you can continuously add the sugar, no need for beating between spoonfuls). Once all the sugar has been added, beat for a further 2-3mins or until thick and glossy. Do not over-beat. You can test whether the sugar is dissolved by rubbing a little of the mixture between your fingers, it should be smooth, not grainy. Using a spatula, gently fold through the passionfruit syrup, you just want to create a marbled effect.

Spoon the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, into a 20cm circle, swirling and lifting the spoon as you go to create texture and peaks.

Place in the oven and bake for 20mins. Reduce the heat to100 degrees celsius and continue to bake for another 11/2 to 2 hours. Turn the oven off and allow to cool in the oven for about 6 hours, or overnight. Keep in an airtight container until needed.

To make the chocolate covered grapes, make sure they are cold and dry each with a paper towel before dipping into the melted chocolate. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Using a teaspoon, dip one grape at a time into the white chocolate, place on the lined tray to set. (your first few will probably be a bit ugly, but don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it). Place in the fridge to set. Once set, drizzle with the melted dark chilli chocolate.  Place in the fridge to set.

When ready to serve, prepare your coconut whipped cream. Remove each tin of coconut cream from the fridge, keeping it upright so as not to deserve the separation that will have occurred. Open each can and into a large bowl, spoon out the top layer of very thick cream, leaving the coconut water at the bottom (you can keep this for another use). Add the regular cream and the sugar and, using electric beaters, beat until thick and soft peaks form.

Spoon the cream onto the meringue and top with the fresh passionfruit pulp. Decorate with the chocolate covered grapes.

Enjoy!!!!