June 2009 Archives

 

Orange Blossom & Cinnamon Semolina Dumplings

By Ms.Gourmet on June 30, 2009 8:50 AM
We're not elaborate breakfast people. Actually I should rephrase that and say on weekdays we tend to steer clear from elaborate breakfasts and generally do what is fast and easy and what can get us all out the door by 8.30am. So it's muesli, cereal, and Vegemite on toast, scrambled eggs, toasted bagels and coffee, coffee and more coffee.

But the weekends and school holidays are an entirely different story as we have the luxury of time and can therefore lounge around in our pyjamas until mid afternoon. Hence, a whole other 'breakfast world' comes alive for us as we don't have the pressure of school bells and Connex train timetables.

These orange blossom and cinnamon semolina dumplings are an example of the more elaborate weekend and school holiday breakfasts for us. They're pretty easy to make but rolling tablespoonfuls of semolina mixture into balls and lightly coating them in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs can be a little fiddley. Hence why we save this breakfast treat for weekends and school holidays.

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Simplicity

By Ms.Gourmet on June 29, 2009 6:37 AM
Some days my fridge is heaving with all manner of possibilities. And then other days it's just a barren wasteland. Today is one of those wasteland kind of days. But thankfully there was a bunch of flat leaf parsley and a good sized chunk of grana padano. Not exactly pesto, but with a handful of almonds and a glug of extra virgin olive oil we have a simple dinner in a matter of moments (well that is if I can find some spaghetti).

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Spicy Moroccan Olives

By Ms.Gourmet on June 26, 2009 9:06 AM
Most of the things I eat on a day to day basis do not appear on this blog. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, I have a life outside of this space which keeps me very busy. And secondly, although a lot of the things I eat are delicious, they are incidental and not necessary blog worthy.

I do however find myself tweeting about a lot of things I eat in between. For example, a couple of weeks back I mentioned I was marinating olives and both Denise and Nikki almost instantly tweeted back asking for a recipe. So ladies - this one is especially for you!

spicymoroccanolives.jpgSpicy Moroccan Olives

Recipe adapted from Mediterranean (1999)


Ingredients


800g green olives, unpitted & cracked

½ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped

½ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1tsp dried chilli flakes or 1 red chilli, finely sliced

1tbsp ground cumin

Juice of a lemon

Extra virgin olive oil

 
Method

1. With the blade of a large kitchen knife crack the olives hard enough to break the flesh, but be careful not to break the stone. Place the olives in a bowl of cold water to remove any excess brine and leave to soak over night.

2.  Mix the olives and all the ingredients together with some olive oil. Pour the olives into a glass jar, adding more olive oil to cover, if necessary.

3. The olives can be eaten the next day but are obviously going to taste better the longer they get to sit in the spicy marinade.
 

Baked Lemon Cheesecake with Lemon Curd

By Ms.Gourmet on June 25, 2009 8:32 AM
Do you have one of those simple, easy, foolproof desserts that you take with you whenever you visit family and friends? Well this baked lemon cheesecake is my stand by treat.  And this is what I should have made in the first instance last weekend instead of the mascarpone and berry tart blunder that ended up all over the kitchen floor in a pool of berry sludge!

The only complaint I have about this cheesecake is that once you remove it from the oven and allow it to cool in generally splits. The way I get around this annoying attribute is to cover the cheesecake with lemon curd, sour cherries or chocolate ganache.

I have made many variations of this cheesecake over the years and all of them have been good. Actually better than good, they've been down right sensational!  I've made lemon cheesecake with chocolate ganache, Cointreau cheesecake with chocolate ganache, Amaretto and chocolate cheesecake with ganache and vanilla bean cheesecake with sour cherries. As long as you have a good, trustworthy basic recipe like this one the variations are limitless.

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We are Family

By Ms.Gourmet on June 24, 2009 8:07 AM
As a family we have had our fair share of trials and hardships over the years. We've had to struggle through a redundancy (thank-you tech-wreck), having a child, becoming parents, post-natal depression, having another child, another redundancy, running our own consultancy, falling out of love, a premature mid-life crisis (not me) and falling in love again.

When I reflect back on the last couple of years and see how far we have come I am grateful that 'we' are still here and that we're a family. But above all I am grateful that there is honesty, truth and love.

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Roast chicken drumsticks with hazelnuts, honey and saffron

By Ms.Gourmet on June 23, 2009 8:03 AM
When inviting someone into your home for the first time to share a meal, it's probably best to stick with the tried and true recipes in your repertoire so to avoid any unforeseen blunders or mishaps. And that is exactly what I intended to do until I saw this recipe for roast chicken with hazelnuts, honey and saffron in Ottolenghi. I'm so glad I decided to break with convention because it was nothing short of spectacular and thankfully our dinner guests were of the same mind.

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'Food is family. Family is life. Life is everything'

By Ms.Gourmet on June 22, 2009 8:05 AM
On Saturday we celebrated mum's birthday by having a family lunch at Hellenic Republic. We chose George Calombaris East Brunswick taverna because we all love Greek food and because this particular restaurant is extremely child friendly. We have eaten there several times before and love it, but my parents and brother and sister in-law haven't. Dad who prefers home cooked meals as opposed to 'fancy restaurants' with small portions was concerned from the outset that there wouldn't be enough food. And my sister in-law is a vegetarian and often finds Greek restaurants a bit of a challenge.

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Fridge Friday

By Ms.Gourmet on June 19, 2009 11:46 AM
Maggie from Eat Boutique contacted me last week asking if I would interested in participating in Fridge Friday. If truth be told, I have never been asked to divulge information about the contents of my fridge before. As you can appreciate I was a little hesitant about the request because my fridge is a private affair. But Maggie is one of those lovely, genuine souls that I find difficult saying 'NO' to - so I agreed!

Below is the list of questions that Maggie emailed me and my subsequent answers. The images below are images of my 'actual' fridge. Those of you who know me well can vouch that this in fact is my fridge.

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Fair Trade

By Ms.Gourmet on June 18, 2009 8:30 AM
Today Hoover received her last round of jabs in accordance with the current immunisation schedule. It's at times like this that you realise that the older your children get the more astute, discerning and argumentative they have become. Hoover is far more perceptive than she was two years ago when she had her last jabs and that is probably why I have let it slip.
 
Earlier this week I received a stern letter reminding me that my child couldn't start school until she had been fully immunised. Well that was all the impetus I needed to call our family doctor and make an appointment. I then sat Hoover down and told her that we were going to see Dr Jeremy on thursday morning. Well that went down like a lead balloon and she flatly refused to go! I then explained that every child in Australia needs to be fully immunised or else they would not be allowed to go to school.

Hoover was clearly perturbed about her impending fate and at 10pm last night she was still unable to get to sleep. So, late last night Hoover and I sat on her bed chatting about her 'im-bu-zi-zation'. The trade off was simple - she would willingly have her jabs if I got her a pair of golden ballet slippers.

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Morning at Maha

By Ms.Gourmet on June 17, 2009 7:30 AM
For those of you who are new here I just want to reaffirm that although I am born and raised in Melbourne, I am also proudly and unashamedly Maltese. I love that tiny Mediterranean island. I love her people, history, culture, food and language, so much so that I am currently enrolled in Maltese classes as I am determined to learn the language as a thirty-something year old. I also go back to Malta once a year to visit family and friends and the dream is to eventually retire there. As far as I am concerned Malta is heaven on earth.

The only Maltese thing that I'm not terribly fond of is fenek - rabbit. I don't have a problem eating the zalza tal fenek - the rabbit sauce with spaghetti, but the thought of eating a teensy little rabbit leg seems so wrong! I also have similar issues with quail. I'm not sure if it's because I have an overall aversion to miniature animals being served to me on a plate, or if it has something to do with dad breeding rabbits and quails when we were growing up and it's just a simple case of overkill - m' inix jaf?

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Medjool Date & Almond Tart

By Ms.Gourmet on June 16, 2009 8:22 AM
I made this lush, dense, moist Medjool date and almond tart the other week for that Middle Eastern soiree we had at our place. But rather than go on and on about who was there and what we ate, I thought I'd share a little passage from Arabesque by Lucy and Greg Malouf as it's a far better read.

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Baker Girl

By Ms.Gourmet on June 15, 2009 8:18 AM
Yesterday we shared lunch with Gillian and Brendan and their gorgeous family as we are in the process of planning our trip to Malta and Spain later this year. As per usual there was way too much food, and we all needed a little Campari induced siesta after our long lunch.

Brendan made a hearty French onion soup  for entree and Gillian made a wonderful spicy fish tagine with Maltese potatoes for main. I managed to redeem myself after my marscapone & berry tart disaster and made a baked lemon cheesecake for dessert.

Probably the most gorgeous gesture of the day was Isabella's chocolate cookies that she prepared earlier for afternoon tea. Isabella is Gillian and Brendan's eldest daughter and she is proving to be a rather impressive baker at the tender age of fourteen.

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I can jump puddles

By Ms.Gourmet on June 11, 2009 7:52 AM
After years of little or no rain, long periods of drought and subsequent water restrictions Melbourne is finally experiencing rain! Hoover could not be happier - ecstatic actually as her pink spotted Wellies now go with her everywhere.

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It's raining, it's pouring and the Cranberry & Apple Crumble is in the oven

By Ms.Gourmet on June 10, 2009 7:53 AM
It's cold, dark, cloudy and wet in Melbourne and as far as I am concerned that can only mean one thing - 'crumble season' is now well and truly upon us. As I sit here and write I can hear  hail bouncing off our tin roof and the weather bureau has gone as far as to suggest that 'snow is developing about the nearby hills' tonight.

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Dulcie May Kitchen

By Ms.Gourmet on June 9, 2009 7:48 AM
I first came across Natalie Oldfield's book Gran's Kitchen while flicking through the April edition of KiaOra (Air New Zealand's in-flight) magazine. I was so moved by Natalie's story that I decided to contact her and let her know that I intended to review her book. I attempted to write the book review several times, but in the end I suggested to Natalie that instead of me doing the review that maybe she should do a 'guest post' on Gourmet Worrier.

I am delighted that Natalie not only accepted to do a guest post, but thrilled that she also decided to share one of her Gran's favourite recipes. So without further ado I will hand you over to Natalie.

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Lizzie's birthday weekend

By Ms.Gourmet on June 8, 2009 9:24 AM
We kicked of the Queens birthday long weekend by having a Middle Eastern soiree at our house on Saturday night with some lovely friends. Thankfully, both Hoover and Fussy were staying overnight at the farm which meant that we were able to sleep in on Sunday - bless!

Sunday was spent lolling around in pajamas, watching a couple of movies and grazing on leftovers.  After tossing around several suggestions as to what to do and where to go we finally decided to head over to the Kent Hotel today for a celebratory lunch in honour of dear Lizzie.

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Free Reign

By Ms.Gourmet on June 5, 2009 7:50 AM
This is generally what happens when you leave a couple of four year olds alone for five minutes with a bowl of chocolate frosting and some chocolate flakes while you attempt to have a quiet cup of tea...

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Spanish Peach Clafoutis

By Ms.Gourmet on June 4, 2009 7:45 AM
Last Wednesday after I had dropped the children off to school and kinder, my neighbour Lanie called to confirm that lunch was still on even though Jane was now unable to make it. Right! That would be the lunch that I completely forgot about - the impromptu neighbourhood soiree that was happening in a couple of hours. 

To make matters worse I vaguely recalled saying to Lanie the previous week (when we were discussing our midday soiree) that I would bring dessert! After my initial panic had subsided I opened the pantry to see if there was anything in there that was remotely 'dessert worthy'. Lots of tinned tomatoes, muesli, a day old loaf of bread, several tins of tuna and a rather large tin of Spanish peaches. I took one look at the tin of peaches and thought to myself 'that'll do'.

spanishclafoutis1.jpgSo I turned the oven on, answered a few emails, greased and sugar dusted a baking dish, popped on a load of washing, gently warmed some cream, responded to several more emails, mixed some flour, sugar and eggs together and voila there you have it - 'Spanish Peach Clafoutis'.

Spanish Peach Clafoutis

You can use any brand of tinned peaches for this recipe I just prefer Spanish peaches as I find them sweeter and juicier. If you don't have tinned peaches you can always use sour cherries, fresh cherries or what ever fresh fruit you happen to have handy.
 

Ingredients

840g tin Spanish peach halves in syrup, drained

½ cup plain organic flour

½ cup raw caster sugar

4 organic eggs, beaten

800ml thick cream

½ vanilla bean, slit & seeds removed

12 strokes freshly grated nutmeg

Unsalted butter, to grease the baking dish


spanishclafoutis2.jpgMethod

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/428F/Gas 7.

2. Grease and sugar dust a baking dish and place the drained peaches in the base of the dish. Pop the cream, vanilla bean and nutmeg in saucepan and gently warm. In a bowl mix the flour, sugar and eggs together. Carefully add the warmed cream to the egg mixture and stir until well combined.

3. Pour the combined mixture over the peaches and sprinkle the top with a little extra sugar. Pop the baking dish into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the eggs have set. Serve warm with runny cream or vanilla ice-cream.

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Let her roll...

By Ms.Gourmet on June 3, 2009 7:50 AM
 

Qaqoċċ mimli - Stuffed artichokes

By Ms.Gourmet on June 2, 2009 7:40 AM
The greengrocer that I frequent most days is owned and run by a couple of local guys called Paul and Hamish. Not your typical greengrocer boys - Paul is an ex-marketing guru who has recently returned from London and Hamish is an ex-AFL player. Admittedly they are quite unlike Joe, Vince and Gaetano the third generation greengrocers several doors down who stock your standard seasonal produce as well as your basic everyday needs - dried pasta, wood fired bread and fresh ricotta (yes I am spoiled for choice really)!

Both Paul and Hamish are now used to my many and varied requests. I am happy to report that they now stock purple garlic, Mt Zero pulses, organic eggs and tahini on a regular basis. I have just recently come clean with the guys about my blog, so whenever I'm in the shop they now ask 1. What are you cooking today and 2. Will any of the produce stuffed in your bag be featured on your blog?

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What's been happening in the Agrarian Kitchen

By Ms.Gourmet on June 1, 2009 7:39 AM
Back in March I introduced you to the Agrarian Kitchen - a sustainable farm based cooking school in Tasmania. The other day I asked Séverine if she could update my readers as to what has been happening in and out of the kitchen. I suggest you go pop the kettle on and make a cup of tea as this post is a little longer than usual, but one well worth reading!

It has been five months since Rodney and I first opened the Agrarian Kitchen cooking school in Tasmania and it has been very full on for both of us.  So many things have happened that we can't believe nearly half the year has already passed us by.

The cooking classes have been a great success so far with many return guests already attending more classes.  We have had extremely positive feedback from everyone and at the end of each class Rod and I read through our guests' comments in our guestbook with utter excitement.  We just want everyone to have a great experience with us and it's always nice to read the beautiful comments left by all. It makes all our hard work worthwhile and reassures us that our dream to give people a wonderful and different experience was not a crazy idea as some first told us.

Rodney's birthday was in February and because he had never really had a proper 'birthday bash' I thought it was time for me to finally organise a big party now that we lived on our dream property and had the space to entertain as madly as we wanted.  We ended up with 45 guests from Sydney and Tasmania. Lee Christmas, our friend and butcher who raises rare breed Wessex Saddleback pigs and teaches our 'Whole Hog Masterclass' brought a lamb as a gift and our friends at the Two Metre Tall Company gave Rod a keg of their fine hand brewed ale. You can imagine how delighted all the boys were, especially those from Sydney to have a keg of fine hand brewed ale at their disposal all day and night!  Rodney and our best friend, Luke, cooked a feast and roasted the lamb in our newly built wood-fired oven. 

The delicious potato rolls that Rod and Luke made and cooked in the wood-fired oven were also a hit with our friends. Roasted potatoes and a selection of lettuces from our garden also accompanied the dinner. Baby Carrots, zucchini, beans and Rod's aioli started the day off with a bang.  We were so excited to be able to use all our own grown produce for the party. To top it all off our friend and teacher of our 'Pastry Masterclass', Alistair Wise, made Rod a Chocolate Deux Mille Feuille cake. Rod and Luke also made a strawberry mascarpone cake for the birthday cake and gorgeous rhubarb and rose petal fizz which everyone still talks about.

Photos - Luke Burgess (2009).
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