Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Consider this recipe a farewell to this summer's berry season, a final hurrah if you will. I can't believe February (and summer) are almost over already, this year is already flying by! Berries are making way for stone fruit, figs and grapes, and soon we'll be seeing new season autumn fruit like pears and apples. While I can't play favourites with summer fruit (I love it all), blueberries are right up there, and a cobbler is a delicious way to serve them.
Unfussy, perfect for a crowd, with just a few simple accompaniments and a baked top that is half way between an American style biscuit and a cake. I really meant it when I said I'd be happy to only bake these kinds of fruit/pastry desserts for the rest of time!! But of course, this recipe can be adapted to almost any fruit. Nectarines or peaches would be quite lovely here too I think.
This recipe comes courtesy of The Bucket List on Sydney's famous Bondi beach via February's issue of Gourmet Traveller. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it! The clam bake story was beautifully photographed and actually made me wish I liked clams... Anyone who knows me, knows about my aversion to oysters, mussels and clams. And as someone who used to dislike all seafood I've come a long way in the last 5 years, but I can't imagine ever enjoying eating an oyster!!
I scaled the recipe back as I only had two punnets of blueberries in the fridge, but kept roughly the same quantity of booze and vanilla. I was intrigued when I saw dark rum in the mixture as I'd never thought to pair it with blueberries, but it was really delicious.
Something else that goes wonderfully with blueberries is lemon, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the lemon curd ice cream recipe that had been floating around in my head. I truly love that my favourite no churn ice cream can be adapted soooo many different ways, and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to go back to making proper custard based ice cream!
I hope you have all enjoyed the summer as much as I have, and can make the most of the late season fruits in a recipe like this one soon!
Monday, February 18, 2013
The last time I made one of these lists a few months back, I was having an absolutely terrible week and the act of thinking about and writing down the good stuff in life totally helped my mood. This time around I am realising how important it is notice the little things and to be thankful. It's so easy to take this stuff for granted, but the little details are what make life special. It's one of my goals this year to appreciate them more! So here are a few things that I'm loving lately...
• weeknight adventures • yacht club dj's mixtapes • maxi skirts • editing videos • timber chopping boards made by my dad • handwritten lists • playing with the vine app • my new favourite cauliflower salad • polka dot shoes • polka dots in general • vietnamese pho • red lipstick • tea-infused hot chocolate • going for walks • epic salads from room 10 • cardigans • writing in my 365 journal • surprising Stevie with phone calls • the best figs I've ever had!
Eton Mess seems to be the dessert of the summer, popping up on restaurant menus all over Sydney, and I'm definitely not complaining! My favourite is the one at Sweethearts with fresh summer berries, but I think this tasty dessert should not just be reserved for summer fruit! I decided to make a more autumnal version with figs stewed with brown sugar, vanilla and dark rum until jam-like, complete with lashings of salted caramel sauce, mascarpone whipped cream and crumbled meringues. Yes, I promise that it tastes as good as it sounds!
I've used store bought mini meringues to save on time, but if you really wanted (or if figs aren't in season where you are) you could use a good quality fig jam instead of stewing fresh figs. I will say that they were the best part though! The caramelly sweetness from the brown sugar was delicious, and you already knew that rum goes perfectly with figs!
This dessert can be as dressed up or casual as you like. With words like 'mess' and 'smash' being thrown around, it's not meant to look perfect!! Pile everything onto a large platter if serving this dessert at a casual weekend BBQ, or if you're feeling fancy, layer it up in sundae glasses or jars like I have. Preferably one with clear glass so you can see all of those awesome swirled layers!
Thursday, February 14, 2013
The first time I tried to visit Chin Chin in Melbourne's CBD, we arrived before 6pm and were told there would be a 4 hour wait for a table of two! So we went round the corner and had a truly fantastic meal at Movida Next Door instead! Luckily on my next Melbourne trip we tried for a late Friday lunch and were seated straight away.
There is a lot of hype surrounding this restaurant. It is one of the most reviewed on Urbanspoon, and now I can see why. The offering seems simple - modern Asian dishes to share by exec chef Ben Cooper - but the food and drinks are excellent, the decor appealed to the designer in me, and the place exudes a very cool, very Melbourne vibe.
Arriving back from Malaysia just the day before, my mind was still on Asian flavours and it was rather difficult to choose a drink because the whole cocktai list sounded great. This Lemongrass cocktail with 10 cane rum, fresh lime, ginger syrup and palm sugar hit the spot perfectly. Refreshing, delicious with a nice kick from the ginger syrup, I really loved this drink!
I couldn't go past the Chin Chin Pork Roll Ups with red braised suckling pig (mmmm), pancakes, sour herbs and slaw. Get interactive with your entree and build your own pork pancake! This dish made a perfectly relaxed and delicious start to the meal. I can hardly remember a time where sharing menus weren't the norm! I think the concept is here to stay, and it works particularly well with this style of Modern Asian cuisine.
We also shared the Caramelised Sticky Pork with sour herbs and chilli vinegar. The pork fell apart under your fork into a tangle of crispy, sweet pork. While it was seriously delicious, I almost wish we had picked something a little more different to our entree as the two dishes were quite similar and there are so many amazing sounding dishes on the menu. A return visit is definitely required!
The Palm Sugar Ice Cream sundae with salted honeycomb and lime syrup was our first pick off the dessert menu, and our favourite of the day. While the flavours weren't overly complex, they worked quite well together. Steve and I had a spoon fight for the last pieces of honeycomb.
As I mentioned, we had just flown in from Malaysia the day before, with our first stop being Melbourne's new Mamak outpost, we definitley had roti on the brain! I knew we had to try the Grilled Banana Roti Bread, even though we were struggling for stomach space by this point! My eyes lit up when I saw the pool of condensed milk that it was served in. We enjoyed this dish but the roti was quite thick in places and not flaky like the similar dish at Mamak. I liked the addition of cinnamon, and I suppose I should have expected it, but this dish was super sweet, even for me!
Restaurants like Chin Chin and Ms G's almost need a restaurant genre all of their own - modern fusion Asian casual fine dining, perhaps? But I can now definitey understand why it's so popular. Take my advice though, and head over there early as there are no bookings taken for smaller groups, or have a drink in the very cool Go Go Bar.
Chin Chin, 125 Flinders Lane Melbourne (03) 8663 2000
Monday, February 11, 2013
Ahhh Valentine’s Day. Since I can remember, I have not been a fan of the nauseating commercialism that surrounds the 14th of February. I'm fairly certain I’ve never posted anything heart-shaped on this blog! The boy and I have never even been on the same side of the country to actually spend it together. Showing love to your partner and friends on just one day of the year is, frankly, not good enough. As I’ve said before, I think it's the small thoughtful gestures shown on a regular basis that are truly appreciated.
So there will be no bouquets of roses around here on Thursday. But a bouquet of doughnuts? Well that's different! I can almost guarantee your Valentine (or your friends) will love a homemade gift, and these ricotta doughnuts are perfect.
They're easy to make, but super cute and delicious - just mix everything all in one bowl - no rising, rolling or proving here! The recipe came from fellow blogger Lara Ferroni's great book, and has made some of the lightest and fluffiest doughnuts to have ever come out of my kitchen.
I experimented with fresh raspberry in these doughnuts as an alternative to jam and I think it worked really well. I served them with a simple dusting of icing sugar but if you want to get even more fancy, try a honey and rosewater glaze or serve with white or dark chocolate dipping sauce to turn this into a decadent and romantic dessert.
Are you guys on Vine? I gave it a try for the first time when making these doughnuts. It was fun and I was quite pleased with the results, so behold, a little video for you as well! Click here to see it, and feel free to follow for more mini videos in future too.
I'm interested to know, what are your thoughts on VDay? Let me know in the comments!