Showing posts with label Autumn and Winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Autumn and Winter. Show all posts

Friday, April 11, 2014

Plum, Blueberry and Thyme Galette

plum, blueberry & thyme galette

Happy Friday! I'm thankful for a great week filled with work, but also some laughs, good food and exciting opportunities. There is the slightest chill in the air and with daylight savings ending, it's starting to feel like autumn is truly setting in. Truth be told, autumn might just be my favourite season in Sydney. Since I generally make these lists of the things I'm loving about once every season, I thought the timing was right for the Autumn edition. Here we go...

fairy floss cloudsepic french toast at Three Williams • getting ready to launch my new business Lulu & Bee - stay tuned! • beach picnics with champagne at sunset • pickles • facing my fear of dinosaurs • polkadot tights • exciting opportunities • oh, Daisy! • missing Malaysia, especially Penang • cooking dinner with my housemate • strawberry and gin punchKaren & Shaun's beautiful weddingand the invitation suite I designed for them • homemade pulled pork sandwiches • finishing my web development course • fabulous new maxi dresses • working with my sister • shooting cocktails at The Rook and The Winery • purple glitter manicure • rewatching Buffy • cuddles • late night flower arrangingBeth's 21st party • a slight chill in the autumn air

plum, blueberry & thyme galette

This galette straddles the line between summer and autumn, which makes it just perfect for this time of the year. It is the kind of dessert that looks impressive even though it was a breeze to make, shows off seasonal produce and has a stunning combination of flavours.

The thyme may seem like a slightly unusual addition, but I can assure you it is what makes this dessert special. It ties the sweet plums and tart berries together beautifully. With a big scoop of vanilla ice cream (or even ginger ice cream, which I have been making on and off for the past few years) on top, I can't imagine a more perfect dessert for right now. Make it this weekend!

plum, blueberry & thyme galette

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Chocolate & Stout Puddings with Ice Cream

chocolate stout pudding

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with winter. I love coats, scarves, boots, scotch, red wine and winter comfort food, but I seriously dislike rain, wind and cold - all of which we have unfortunately had in abundance! It's been a while since I made one of these lists, so I thought it was time to get my grateful on and share a few things that have been making me happy lately...

epic birthday festivities • a pledge for this year - do fun shit! • lots and lots red wine • my favourite new apple toy •  planning my america trip (new york, san francisco, los angeles and honolulu - only 2 weeks away!) • the xx • this view • slumber parties with the girls • chantelle grady's amazing photography • sunny winter days • polka dots and red lipstick (again) • scotch on cold nights • dreaming about visiting morocco (thanks to kay) • epic homemade lasagne • searching for a turquoise couch • writing a 30 before 30 list • warm winter desserts!

chocolate stout pudding

A few people (you know who you are) were sceptical about this combination when I mentioned it, but I never had a doubt that it would turn out beautifully. It just feels perfect for this time of year. Self saucing puddings are a favourite of mine if you haven't noticed. They're so easy to make, and of course I couldn't resist boozing it up. I used Coopers Extra Stout, which has chocolate and coffee aromas, making it a perfect match.

I reduced the stout to a syrup to really concentrate the flavour, and although it was noticeable, it was quite subtle in both the pudding and the ice cream. Feel free to adjust the ratio of boiling water to stout syrup in the recipe below if you're a big fan!

chocolate stout pudding


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Pepitas

pumpkin pie

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang

My mum has a huge recipe archive. But unfortunately it has got to be one of the least organised collections in history. I remember poring over it as a kid, in the days before food blogs, Pinterest boards and dedicated recipe websites, going through hundreds of scraps of paper, magazine cutouts, handwritten notes and carefully saved labels from cans and boxes - in no particular order. Quite painful if you were looking for one particular thing!

How things have changed! We are now completely spoiled when it comes to sourcing quality (and most importantly reliable) recipes online. Over the years, some of my favourite recipes have come from chefs, like this Chocolate Tart from Matt Moran, which is why I have been using Goodfood.com.au for the last few months. The online arm of Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food, it features recipes suited to all skill levels from some of Australia’s top chefs like Frank Camorra and Neil Perry, plus news, restaurant reviews, drink guides, helpful recipe collections and also great photography.

Choosing a recipe to review was fun. I wanted something sweet that I could share with some friends for my birthday weekend, but that wasn’t a cake! Coupled with the fact that I just booked flights to New York for mid-July (!!) this American-inspired Pumpkin Pie from Jeremy and Jane Strode seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

pumpkin pie

I used Careme Vanilla Bean Shortcrust pastry, because with my busy weekend of birthday festivities I didn’t have time to make pastry from scratch as I normally would. But unfortunately I found that it shrunk in the oven and didn’t blind bake properly. Next time I would use this recipe that I know works wonderfully!

As for the pie filling, I stayed very close to the recipe as it was written, only adding a little extra pumpkin puree (my 1.4kg piece of pumpkin made about 350g of puree), plus a little bit of cinnamon and vanilla. The filling was quite rich and eggy, and could maybe have stayed in the oven for a just a few minutes longer. I loved the idea of using caramelised pepitas for a crunchy topping, and it turned out wonderfully. I think it would be delicious served with a cinnamon or even caramel ice cream.

To find a drink match, I read this article about Fortified Wines and chose a Patina Wines Old Tawny Liqueur from Orange in NSW. A stunning match, with rich raisin and toffee flavours that complemented the spices in the pie and the caramelised pepitas on top. Delicious!

pumpkin pie

I also have five prizes to give away to five lucky readers. Winners will have the choice of these three different guidebooks from The Age and Sydney Morning Herald:

  • Good Food Under $30 (Sydney edition) 
  • Good Food Under $30 (Melbourne edition) 
  • Good Wine Guide 2013

Just leave a comment below answering the question, ‘Which recipe would you love to try from Goodfood.com.au?’ and nominate which guide book you’d love to win!

Entries close Monday 8th July at 5pm. For full terms & conditions please click here. Good luck!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Simple Dinners 03 / Lamb Stuffed Eggplant

lamb stuffed eggplant with pomegranate

Quick little post from me today. I just wanted to pop in and share this recipe that is one of my new favourites for an easy and delicious dinner, because after I posted this photo on Instagram a few weeks ago, I've had quite a few people asking for it!

Anyone who knows me, knows I loooove eggplant in any form, so when I spotted this recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's beautiful new book Jerusalem, I knew I'd have to try it. I've now made it three times in the last three weeks, and am now totally fascinated by Middle Eastern cooking.

The lamb mince mixture comes together pretty quickly in a frypan, you can relax with a glass of wine while it bakes, and it makes for great leftovers the next day too - the kind that make your workmates jealous.

I adapted the original recipe slightly by upping the amount of spices and substituting a few ingredients for those which I had available. I also topped the cooked eggplant with a huge dollop of tzatziki (or Greek yoghurt would be great too) and some pomegranate arils for a bit of extra colour and crunch, which I think works so well.

And to keep it interesting, here are a few ways to mix it up!

  • Try stuffing other vegetable with the mixture - capsicum, zucchini, pumpkin or even figs (!!) would be delicious!
  • Add some chopped pistachios to the lamb mixture, and sprinkle on top
  • Add some chopped fresh or dried figs into the lamb mixture at the same time as the pine nuts
  • Use a different kind of mince - I think beef, or even chicken would be delicious as well

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ricotta Hotcakes with Mulled Wine Stewed Rhubarb


ricotta hotcakes with mulled wine stewed rhubarb

I didn't mean for so long to go past without a new post, but there's been quite a lot happening around here and it's taken a little while to get back into the swing of things. I'm house-sitting for a friend and living by myself for the very first time, which I love... most days, anyway...

Over the weekend, I had ricotta hotcakes on the brain. Even though I'm now within walking distance to Bills, I decided to stay in my pyjamas, avoid the inevitable Sunday morning crowds and try making them for myself instead. But I'm still getting used to cooking for one, and needless to say I ended up with quite a lot of leftover pancakes, some of which were offered to a friend, and the rest I ate for dinner last night (Hi Mum!). The ricotta, combined with the whipped egg whites gives these pancakes an noticeable extra fluffiness and great texture.

mulled wine stewed rhubarb

I also bought a huge, beautiful bunch of rhubarb from the Kings Cross organic markets and decided to stew that up with some red wine and lots of spices, now that the weather has taken a definite turn towards winter. I love mulled wine and thought the flavour combination would work very well. I was right.

This would also be delicious with granola or porridge, or with ice cream, rice pudding or panna cotta for dessert. Or, if you reduced the amount of liquid, it would even make a great base for a crumble or pie - yum! Best of all, it can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to a week. If you want to get really indulgent, some extra just-sweetened ricotta on top of a big stack of hotcakes would be lovely, or try this amazing sounding homemade cinnamon butter from Raspberri Cupcakes. Woah.

ricotta hotcakes with mulled wine stewed rhubarb

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chocolate Passionfruit Banoffee Pie

chocolate passionfruit banoffee pie

Change is in the air. Last week was our first taste of autumn with my favourite kind of crisp mornings, sunny warm days and slightly cooler evenings. I've always thought that Sydney does the change of seasons really well. In the past I've always had great bursts of inspiration around spring, but I must have been too busy to notice last year because it's all happening right now. Better delayed than never! I get the feeling that 25 is going to be an interesting year.

But let's talk about this pie for a second. There's a chocolate pastry crust, a salted toffee caramel with just a hint of passionfruit, slices of banana that have been cooked in brown sugar, and on top some whipped cream and a mountain of chocolate shavings. It's Banoffee with a twist, and looks like the sort of decadent concoction that Miss Candy herself would think up. And boy, is it good!

Of course Easter is this coming weekend and this is a perfect choice for dessert. The pie crust and caramel can be made in advance, so putting it together on the day is a breeze. When making your caramel, watch the colour closely as it uses passionfruit juice rather than water and it's a little harder to tell when it's ready.

I hope you all have a lovely long weekend! If you're looking for any other Easter inspired recipes both savoury or sweet, head right over here.

chocolate passionfruit banoffee pie

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fig & Salted Caramel Meringue Smash

fig & salted caramel meringue smash

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!

fig & salted caramel meringue smash

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!

fig & salted caramel meringue smash

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!

fig & salted caramel meringue smash

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sticky Ginger Spice Cake

sticky-ginger-cake3

The single best thing about winter is all of the awesome comfort food you get to indulge in guilt free, at least until the start of spring! If you've been reading for a while, you may remember how much I love sticky date pudding. I've made it so many times i think it deserves to have its own category in my recipe index! Its something I make at least once every winter, topped with ice cream and cascading with warm butterscotch sauce.

But this year I'm taking a different route with this delicious ginger cake. I have been wanting to make it ever since I saw it on Jamie Oliver magazine a year or two ago. I finally found the required stem ginger in syrup in the David Jones Food Hall one day while browsing for something completely different and snapped it up.

sticky-ginger-cake2
The cake is super easy to make either in the food processor or a stand mixer. Of course I added a few extra spices to the mix because its my spicy blog birthday week, but feel free to stick to ginger if you prefer. Jamie suggests dousing the cake in rum once it's baked I added some to the batter instead.

The cake turned out a little differently to how I thought - a little less sticky and syrupy and more like a pudding, which is why ice cream and butterscotch sauce were my go-to accompaniments, but its also lovely as an afternoon tea cake completely unadorned, or topped with jam. And with a discovery as tasty as this, my old favourite sticky date might be on the back burner for a while...

sticky-ginger-cake1

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chai Spiced Rolls with Cinnamon Glaze

chai spiced rolls
Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever figure this whole grown up work/life balance thing out. The last few months have been crazy with work, freelance and managing three blogs (PS, you should all go check out the other two) but also so rewarding with a promotion to Senior Designer (!) and getting to work on some great projects with my clients. I think it's easier to become a workaholic when you love what you do, but the constant deadlines, lack of sleep and having to be creatively switched on all the time is a little draining.

Yet still, somehow, baking is like a never-fail mood enhancer. I woke up bright and early on Sunday and started making dough. While kneading, I didn't think about all the other crap I had to do, and while making the filling with the warm scent of the spices filled the air, I resisted the urge to check my email again. Stressed is just desserts spelled backwards, right?

  chai spiced rolls
The second recipe in my very spicy birthday week is a twist on one of my all-time favourites from my archives, originally published in Bon Appetit by Molly from Orangette, whose blog I've been reading for as long as I've had my own. I've made it a few times over the years and decided that it would be delicious with chai flavours in addition to the cinnamon. And oh boy, it was!

This time I made a very simple cinnamon glaze to accompany the rolls, but the cream cheese version from the original would be absolutely delicious here as well. Make sure you have heaps of friends around for brunch when you make these, because the recipe makes about 18 rolls and they taste best the day they're made. Serve with lots of warm chai, of course.

chai spiced rolls


Monday, July 16, 2012

Spiced Mulled Cider

spiced mulled cider
It's a very special week here on Spicy Icecream and I've got a lot in store for you, lovely readers!

Oh my, time has flown since I decided to start this blog, but here we are... five years later. Five whole years! I seriously can't believe it. I can hardly remember what I did on the weekends before I started spending them baking and photograhing. I’ve made some wonderful friends, shared so many wonderful meals, and so to celebrate, this week I’ll be posting five spiced up recipes over five days.

Warm spice recipes in the dead of winter is the perfect combination and I've had a lot of fun putting this series together. Even though it feels like I have barely any time in the kitchen these days, I still love the whole process of blogging – from coming up the recipe ideas (and often brainstorming them with other fab food bloggers) to making, photographing, writing about them, and then finally sharing them with you guys.

First up we have a seriously fabulous winter drink that I only discovered very recently at The Winery, but I couldn’t get enough! Mulled Cider is a great drink during cooler months, to warm you up from the inside out. Best yet, you can play around with the spices depending on your preference and even do a booze-free version with apple juice for the kids. I like cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves and a teensy bit of vanilla in mine, but perhaps some peppercorns, nutmeg or even some bay leaves would be nice too!

And as an added bonus, it will also make your whole house smell seriously amazing, like Christmas. I think it would also be delicious with pear cider too. I’ll be back tomorrow with another spicy recipe. Stay tuned!

spiced mulled cider

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mini Lemon Sugar Bundt Cakes

mini lemon sugar bundt cakes
I wasn't sure how to start this post, because really, these mini bundt cakes were not at all what I had planned to bake last weekend. I had visions of a wintery cake, maybe some brioche and if I got time, a batch of fun sprinkle-covered marshmallows, but I spied some cute mini bundt tins while shopping for something else entirely and thought about the Meyer lemons I had at home from my tree, Sparky. And then it all fell into place.

mini lemon sugar bundt cakes
One of the most important lessons I've been learning lately is to just go with it and see where I end up. I've fallen into quite a few serendipitous opportunities, which never would have happened if I kept trying to force things to happen. So maybe there's something to this whole "come what may" mindset...

Anyway, back to the cake! I based the recipe off Sweetapolita's vanilla bean bundt, which was so lovely the last time I made it. I stayed fairly close to the recipe except of course for adding lemon juice and zest, and reducing the sugar a little since I would be covering the outside with a zesty lemon sugar coating, inspired by Donna Hay's spiced version. Also, I halved the quantity which was the perfect amount for 4 smaller bundt tins. The lemon flavour came through beautifully and we all loved these sunny little cakes.

mini lemon sugar bundt cakes

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mac and Cheese, plus 13 ways with Gruyere

gruyere and fontina mac and cheese gruyere-title.jpg
It's no secret that I loooove cheese. I could spend an hour in front of the epic wall of cheese at Harris Farm. You may have noticed that I don't often do savoury recipes here, but be sure that when I do they are really something special. I hope you enjoy this round up of cheesy recipes from some of my favourite food blogs!

13 ways with gruyere

1. This thing of beauty was inspired by a wonderfully comforting Cheese Toastie we had at a dinner together at Gazebo Wine Garden. Steph from Raspberri Cupcakes take on it included sweet roasted garlic and oozy gruyere. Yes please!!

2. There is red hot competition for the title of Sydney's best burger and Rockpool's with bacon, gruyere and Zuni pickles rates pretty highly! I didn't manage to try it on my recent visit to Rockpool Bar & Grill in Perth (which you'll hear more about soon, promise) but I'll definitely be heading to the Sydney restaurant soon. Just look at that burger!

13 ways with gruyere
Picture Credits: Citrus and CandyTartelette

3. I can tell you firsthand how amazing the Gnocchi a la Parisienne is at Tastevin restaurant in Darlinghurst. Karen from Citrus and Candy made a beautiful version of it. The most interesting thing about this dish is that the 'gnocchi' is actually choux pastry, not made from potato. Note to self, try this at home... And make another reservation at Tastevin soon!

4. One of the ultimate comfort foods is French Onion Soup, especially as its getting colder by the day here in Sydney. Helene's version is stunning, especially when topped with steaming hot, deliciously melty gruyere toasts.

13 ways with gruyere
Picture Credits: Cannelle et Vanille & Donna Hay

5. I love the idea of these unique Apple, Gruyere and Sage Muffins from Cannelle et Vanille to accompany a bowl of  hot pumpkin soup. I imagine these would also be quite adaptable - substituting pear for apple, or perhaps adding in some bacon and changing up the herbs. Yum!

6. If Stuffed Zucchini Flowers are on a restaurant menu, it's fairly likely that they'll end up in front of me - especially if they're filled with cheese! I've never tried making them at home, but this recipe from Donna Hay looks particularly lovely.

13 ways with gruyere
Picture Credits: Spicy Icecream & Gourmet Traveller

7. This is a bit of a blast from the past, dug up out of the archives, but i had to share these Gougéres from the Tartine cookbook again because they were delicious. The perfect bite-size appetizer washed down with a glass of wine, you'll find it impossible to stop at just one. I also really liked the combination of gruyere and thyme.

8. I remember the very first time I tried a Gruyere Souffle at Ripples in Pyrmont, it was amazing! Being the twice-baked kind, it's a little easier for a home cook and every bit as delicious. I'm keeping this recipe from Gourmet Traveller on file for my next dinner party.

13 ways with gruyere
Picture Credits: Eat Little Bird & Williams-Sonoma

9. Savoury waffles is an interesting concept - usually I douse mine in ice cream and maple syrup! Eat Little Bird brings us Waffles with Gruyere and Thyme, which started as a way to use up leftovers in the fridge but I think it sounds like a delicious lunch. Note to self - buy a waffle maker!

10. Okay, so I've never actually eaten a Popover but by the sound of them, I think they'd be delicious - especially with Gruyere! The recipe from Williams-Sonoma suggests serving them with steak, which sounds like a beautiful modern take on the classic Yorkshire pudding.

13 ways with gruyere
Picture Credits: Real Simple & My Recipes

11. Bacon. Gruyere. Meatloaf. Yes please! This recipe from Real Simple dresses up the humble meatloaf into a delicious gourmet dinner. This would be lovely with a simple green salad.

12. I recently expressed my new found love of bread and butter pudding, and this Pear and Gruyere Strata layered with cinnamon bread from My Recipes looks delicious! I think it would be lovely for brunch or dessert, with a big scoop of ice cream.

gruyere and fontina mac and cheese
13. Mac and Cheese is a guilty pleasure of mine. I mean the nasty microwave stuff - so bad it's good right? But absolutely nothing beats homemade, even some fancy restaurant versions I've recently tried! In my opinion Mac and Cheese is best when baked with a scattering of breadcrumbs so the top gets nice and crisp.

I like experimenting with different cheeses and I think this version with Gruyere, Fontina and a smidge of Reggiano is a winner, but feel free to experiment with your favourite cheese varieties - the original recipe used an intriguing chilli-flavoured cheddar.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

salted caramel cheesecake
 I'm smiling as I write this post, thinking about what a great time I had in Perth over the Easter long weekend. The weather was just stunning, the mood was relaxed (yay holidays!) and I got to hang out with my very favourite person. It doesn't get much better than that. On Easter Sunday we hosted a nice casual lunch with the best roast pork I've made to date (mmmm crackling), heaps of sides and this Salted Caramel Cheesecake for dessert.

Yes I'm sharing this recipe a little after the fact, but it was so delicious I couldn't let it sit another week on my hard drive. I had been wanting to make this Salted Caramel Cheesecake ever since it graced the cover of the 2011 Entertaining Issue of Donna Hay. salted caramel cheesecake
 I have a love/hate relationship with Donna's recipes these days, sometimes they work flawlessly - like this one, happily - but I've also had my fair share of utter disasters where I can't figure out if I did something wrong, or if the recipe wasn't properly tested before it was published. Those disasters often end up in the bin and not on the blog! So past frustrations aside, I gave this recipe a crack, sticking to the instructions exactly. Well, almost exactly... I couldn’t help adding a glug of bourbon to the caramel sauce.

I am usually a bit iffy about ricotta as a general rule, but I loved the texture of this cheesecake. It was rich but not sickly sweet thanks to the addition of sour cream to the topping. This is definitely a recipe I’ll be pulling out again for the next special occasion! 

And here’s a gif, just because. salted caramel cheesecake

Friday, May 11, 2012

Earl Grey, Apple and Chocolate Bread Pudding

bread-pudding-3 If I were to pick my favourite ingredients to bake with, it would be a tough choice for sure, but tea (and booze!) would be right up there near the top. Every time I make something with Chai, Matcha or Earl Grey I wonder why I don't do it more often. Tea is usually a subtle but beautiful taste that seems to work well with almost everything, from chocolate to fruit and especially with creams and custards. I decided to combine all of the above in this recipe, although I can’t take all the credit – the genius idea came from the gorgeous blog Our Kitchen, by the talented team at Fisher and Paykel. Go and check it out!

When I made this bread pudding, my kitchen smelled positively ambrosial. I used T2 French Earl Grey because it’s my favourite and smells absolutely wonderful. The tea is infused into the milk and cream which then becomes the base for the custard, but I also decided to add some Earl Grey poached apple pieces and sultanas between the layers. I love the idea of using crossiants for the bread component. The buttery flaky pastries work really well to soak up that custard mixture.

earl grey, apple and chocolate bread pudding Served warm, in thick slices with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream, this is a fabulous dessert to make as we go into winter here in the Southern Hemisphere and would be very adaptable to almost any kind of flavours you want to put into it. Infuse the cream mixture with cinnamon and spices, or some lemon zest? Delicious. Throw in some frozen berries or chopped hazelnuts between the layers? Even better.

I think it would be lovely to make for Mothers Day too. My mum loved it, and mentioned that her Mum used to make a similar thing when she was young, albiet with white bread and sultanas, not crossiants and chocolate! Have a lovely weekend everyone! xxx

The beautiful apples used in this recipe were sent to me from Bite Communications

Also, it's time to announce the winner of my cookbook competition! Congratulations to Hannah from Wayfaring Chocolate! You've won a copy of David Herbert's 'Best Ever Baking Recipes' and will be receiving an email from me shortly :)

bread-pudding-2

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rum & Ginger Flan with Caramelised Figs + 13 Ways with Figs!

ginger and rum flan with caramel figs

figs-title.jpg
I would be in a world of trouble if someone asked me to name my favourite fruit. Could I do a top 10 perhaps? Don't tell the peaches and the strawberries but figs are right up there. I look forward to fig season every year, and I love that they go so well in both sweet and savoury recipes. So this month I thought I would share 13 interesting ways to use figs while their short season lasts!

figs-drinkit.jpg
13 ways with figs!
Picture Credits: The Kitchn & The Party Dress

1. The Old Fashioned has made a comeback in recent times, thanks in part to shows like Mad Men. I love the sound of this version with figs from The Kitchn. It looks like the perfect drink for autumn!

2. This fancy Fizzy Fig Cocktail from The Party Dress is about as festive as you can get, not to mention that it's absolutely beautiful! Plus I lovelovelove the idea of homemade flavoured sugar cubes. Imagine all the flavour possibilities! Plus they would make lovely little gifts for your foodie friends.

13 ways with figs!
Picture Credits: Eat Boutique & Donna Hay

3. I've recently been interested in infusing my own vodka but ive been a little intimidated by the whole process. This Fig and Vanilla Vodka from Eat Boutique shows how easy peasy it can be. And just think of all the delicious ways you could use your fig-infused vodka! Mmmm...

4. An oldie but a goodie, I remember when I first saw the recipe for this Fig Martini in Donna Hay magazine and thought it sounded so grown up and sophisticated. I’m looking forward to impressing the girls with this one at our next lunch.

figs-chillit.jpg
13 ways with figs!


5. This list wouldn’t be complete without some kind of boozed up iced treat, and thse Fig and Port Popsicles from Bakers Royale are just beautiful. That colour is so striking and I bet they would taste absolutely delicious!

6. Another classy and stylish dessert is this Coconut Panna Cotta with Fig Syrup from Inspring the Everyday (a blog that I discovered recently but have fallen in love with!) that would be perfect for your next dinner party! I love the sound of a dairy-free coconut panna cotta for delicious twist on such a classic dessert.

figs-bakeit.jpg
13 ways with figs!
Picture Credits: Tartelette & Spicy Icecream

7. Tartelette does it again with a gorgeous French dessert, Gateau au Riz, or a baked rice pudding studded with figs. It looks absolutely delicious, and this is definitely a recipe I want to try very soon.

8. One of the easiest and most delicious things you could do with figs is a Galette. No fiddly pie crusts here! This Honeyed Ricotta, Fig and Lavender Galette from my archives was a favourite last summer, and one that I'll definitely be making again soon! You could even add some prosciutto and a few sprigs of thyme for a savoury lunchtime version.

13 ways with figs!
Picture Credits: Cilantropist & Gourmet Traveller

9. As I mentioned before, figs are delicious in both sweet and savoury recipes, and this Sausage Goats Cheese Pizza with fresh figs from Cilantropist looks completely delicious!

10. I love this adaptable recipe for 'Whatever' Upside Down Cake from Gourmet Traveller. Their version uses figs (and looks amazing!) but you could use almost any fruit that is in season, making it a great one to add to your repertoire.

figs-cookit.jpg
13 ways with figs!

11. I can’t believe that I never thought of this before, since the flavours go so beautifully together, but this Fig Balsamic Jam from Burnt Carrots sounds absolutely delicious! I can imagine how awesome it would be as part of a cheese platter, or even just spread on hot toast for breakfast. This recipe is definitely going on my long list of things to make!

12. I always get excited when Aran from Cannelle et Vanille updates her blog, because her writing and photos are stunning. This post actually has two delicious recipes - Fig Hazelnut Financiers, which look delicious and this stunning Fig and Champagne Sabayon. Isn’t it just beautiful!

figs

13. One of my favourite combinations in the world is fig and ginger (well, if we’re being honest – almost anything and ginger!) so when trying to come up with a great recipe with figs, of course it was this that I thought of! And what a great recipe it is! Creamy, rich, caramelly, gingery, boozy, it ticks all the boxes and is a perfect match for the caramelised figs. It’s the perfect dessert for this time of year, straddling the line between summer and autumn.

ginger and rum flan with caramel figs


Rum and Ginger Flan with Caramelised Figs
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Serves 4

Caramel
• 90g caster sugar
• 65ml water
• 2 tablespoons rum

Flan
• 1 cup milk
• 160g caster sugar
• 1 thumb size knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
• 6 egg yolks
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• To serve, 4 figs, brown sugar


Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Combine 90g caster sugar and 65ml water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil, and cook until sugar turns deep caramel in colour. Add rum, stir to combine (being careful as mixture may spit). Pour caramel evenly between 4 ovenproof ramekins.

Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining caster sugar and ginger to the boil in a separate saucepan, for 5 minutes or to reduce mixture slightly. Remove from the heat and cover, allowing to infuse for at least 30 minutes. Whisk egg yolks, egg and vanilla in a heatproof bowl. Strain milk mixture over (discard ginger) and whisk to combine. Pour evenly between caramel filled ramekins. Place them in a roasting pan, fill with boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake until set (30-40 minutes depending on the size of your ramekins) Remove from pan, cool, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until cool.

To serve, cut figs in half and dip cut sides into brown sugar. Preheat a fry pan or BBQ plate, and place figs cut side down. Cook until caramelised. Serve flans in the ramekins, or dip bases into a pan of hot water and invert onto plates. Serve with caramelised figs.

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