Wednesday, April 28, 2010

mild evenings au campagne

right now i am meant to be writing a french assignment, instead i am doing everything besides that, and blogging....

i had a joyous weekend at the farm where i did very little and probably ate too much. We celebrated my grandmothers birthday and since she did not want a cake, candles ect. and would probably kill us if we even mentioned singing happy birthday, i made her a pear tart tatin, which was delicious and a very unembarrassingly informal way of finishing a birthday "shut up i refuse to be old" dinner.

(this is the one i made on the weekend, nice and rustic)

A tarte tatin is a really great thing to be able to make because it is relatively simple and most people have the ingredients already in their cupboard/ fridge so it can be made without planning or shopping if you suddenly get the hankering for something warm and comforting or if someone turns up and you feel the urge to stun them with your Susie-Homemaker talents.

So, all that really is essential for a tart tatin is butter, sugar, some sort of fruit or vegetable (i.e.. apples, pears, bananas, leeks, aubergine..) for the filling and some good butter puff pastry- oh, and i big cast-iron pan to cook it in.

Firstly turn you oven on to about 180'c so that it has plenty of time to get hot, then heat up your cast-iron pan and throw in some butter. now, let that melt down and when it starts to go brown put in about 1/2-1cup of sugar and let it go all syrupy (but not burnt, if it burns there is nothing you can do to save it, chuck it out and start again.) Then lay what every filling you are going with in the pan in a pretty arrangement. you can slice it really thin and fan it out or just quarter your fruit and make it look rustic and really casual. Now it is important that the filling gets cooked by the toffee dosen't burn so put some alfoil over the pan and stick it in the overn for about 20 mins.
while you are doing that take out some puff pastry and cut it to just about the pan size, even a smidgen bigger is better. prick it with a fork and put it back in the freezer or fridge becuase you want it really cold when it goes into the oven so that the butter renders and you get a great flakey puff out of it.
After the 20 minutes take the alfoil off and check on it, the cooking time will all depend on how you sliced the filling and the density of it. if it isn't cooked then you can leave it longer with the alfoil off or if it is cooked take it out and grab your chilled pastry circle. place it ontop like a lid and then carfully tuck the overlap into the pan, which will make a crust, and press down to secure to filling onto it. the put it back into the oven.
Keep watching the pastry and take it out when it is going golden brown (about 18mins) and then let is stand for a few. now, my dedicated 4 followers here is the tricky part- the inverting of the tarte. get a scraper and run it allog the pastry so that nothing is stuck. get a plate which is alittle bigger than the pan and put it ontop, the rest is up to how much it stuck and fate. turn the dish upside down holding the plate firmly ontop of it and hope fully it will all gracefully arrive onto the pate as you made it. Serve this tasty anytime treat with some ice-cream for that great hot-cold, toffee-cream combination... hom nom nom nom...

university library/ i hate people day

i honestly believe that the university library is making be slowly more and more racist. i am normally not at all racist. but the longer i stay in the libraries at UQ the more hating towards other ethnicities and their ways i become. okay so it is mostly asians, please don't judge me...
a perfect example of this was when i was happily enjoying my assignment writing time in peace on a lovely big table all to my self- books all spread out and feeling nice and productive- all of a sudden a massive group of international students came over- thats cool don't even bother asking wether you can sit at MY table!!!!!- plonked them selves down and started talking!!!!!!
this is totally not on!!! my table, my library (they were studying stupid maths in the political science library) and they where talking!!!-

in first year i was polite and silently cursed them in my head hoping that they would just f-off, i am now way past that stage and have moved onto the glaring at them hoping they will die stage. i am very concerned what i will do next if it happens again, or even if the person who is currently sitting next to me does not stop sniffling- as i refuse to abandon my study spot.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

lightbulb moment

so i had a bit of a eureka moment just before which i thought i should share with you, my dear three followers......

Cooking and thinking about food is fattening... oh i know, heady stuff right there. but seriously i feel like i possibly gained about 3 kgs this weekend after doing two birthday dinner parties and a massive brunch, all of which where totally delicious, and totally, sinfully fatness inducing.... and on that note i am going to make dahl (india monk food), which will hopefully take away my guilt from all the bad things i ate yesterday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Paella Party

so i made a paella last night. one of the most delicious things that i know how to do with rice, not to mention it feeds a huge amount of people. for me one of the massive appeals of paella is not just that i get to imagine that i am a spanish senoria but that i get to wield this massive steel paella pan and feel totally authentic and cool. this is important, as my extremely high ego must be constantly given positive re-enforcement - even if it is my its self- which probably explains this highly self absorbed blog that no one has probably read...
anyway paella is dead easy. so here is a how to guide for all those people that i like to pretend in my head read this and then actually attempt to make my suggested food.
- get yourself a nice big cast iron pan or just a really heavy fry-pan and heat it up with a little olive oil (which will eventually kill all your non- stick pans but really who is not going to use good olive oil for the sake of a fry pan, you control it- the pan does not control you!) - when is is hot enough that the oil kind of moves toward the centre and you can see little lines or ripples in it- but not smoking that is too hot!!! and the olive oil is dying!!!- put some whole chorizo sausages in about 4. these should be the good pork and spicy kind that you find at the butcher not the coles fake chorizo style sausage variety. and cook them until it is all firmed up and cooked on the outside, then take them out and rest them. now, your pan will be all lovely and chorizo flavoured. Add your chicken (organic free range chicken thighs sliced into 3) to the pan and cook till browned but not over cooked, go on and take those out and let them keep the chorizo company. Now scrape any chickeny bits up and add a little more oil if you need and then add some onions (diced) garlic (crushed with your knife and then chopped) and capsicum (julienned/matchsticks)- cook till soft then chuck the chicken and chorizo sausages (which by now you have sliced thinly into little tasty spicy disks) and keep on going as the sausage crisps up and all the flavours meld then some diced tomatoes (not tinned)- if you want you can put in some sliced mushrooms and/or beans. then add your rice (alborio). now i work on a 1 part rice and 2 parts chicken stock ratio. to the pan and rizzo up- cook till all nice and coated with everything else in your pan and all the tomato juiced ate soaked up.

now is time for the stock, don't worry this the main bit is done. this stock can be done ages before even a day of three as long as it is refrigerated and sealed- blah blah blah- none of you have killed yourself with food poisoning yet or you wouldn't be able to read this so i am not going to bother with food safety lessons that you already know or at least your sub-concious common sense knows. pour some really good chicken stock (best home made- will one day do a post on stocks) but a good bought one is okay as long as it isn't like 20% salt and other crap. now with is stock that you have lovingly driven to the shops and got you need to add some little bits of magic. grab yourself some saffron threads (i know they are expensive but they are totally worth it), some peri peri, some paprika and some cayenne pepper. grind them up all together with a tiny bit of salt to get it going and then add it to your stock. let this beautiful elixir simmer away for about 20 minutes then put the lid on and let it cool on its own.

so your rice has started cooking in the tomato juice and looking thirsty- ladle your stock all over the pan and hopefully it will start simmering, let it- but stop it boiling. after about 3 minutes you will start to see the rice again, this is where you put in the seafood part of the paella- the prawns, calamari and mussels. poke them into the rice, or use a spoon if you have sensitive hand so that they are covered by the stock, don't forget to wash the mussels and de-beard them. now sit back pour yourself some lovely fino and watch all your hard work do its thing for about 20 mins. your paella is cooked when there is not more stock, don't worry if you think it is sticking on the bottom- that is the best bit. dress it with some flat leaved parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper. i like mine with aioli but that is mostly just for the prawns and chorizo- totally negotiable. Just chuck it on the table and basque in the complement that come pouring over you from this thoroughly scrumptious dish.

maybe someday some one will read this blog......

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oh how embarassing

So building on my last post I was getting changed today to go to uni. Put my jeans on and noticed something in the pocket.... It was a teaspoon.... This has to stop.

-- Post iPhone

Sunday, April 18, 2010

addiction is delicious

i think i have a problem...... i might be addicted to food.
this became apparent when i read an interview with Thierry Galichet when he was talking about dieting so that he could eat more when he when on holiday. i totally agreed with this idea. i also realised that i am sightly more excited about looking at kitchen ware than clothes, this happened today when i went to david jones after work to pick something up. however, this maybe attributed to the fact that i was not feeling very attractive and did not want to further let myself down by seeing my own reflection in some highly unflattering mirror under change room neon lights.
i think about food all the time, what i am going to make for dinner? what is in season and what i could do with it? what kind of dish would i use to serve the jellied chilled soup i was planning?why do starches/proteins/sugar behave the way they do?
is it all very wonderfully obsessive but not all together healthy, especially for one's waistline (imagine my mothers voice saying the last part), i did have to drag myself away from a beautiful tart tatin dish by Emile Henry which wait for it.... now comes in aubergine just like the tagine!!!! I must have one, it even has the plate that you flip it onto (eeee!!!).

But i really do love cooking (not just the eating, if any of you are thinking that i am some gastronomically obese pig), but good food and the satisfaction that comes from making a beautiful meal for people- for example i made rack of lamb (a great sunday night basic) crusted up with caramelised onion which i deglazed with red wine vinegar, fresh rosemary and fresh toasted bread crumbs- only because a certain someone did not buy the rack with the lovely renderable fat on the outside- i served the crumbed lamb (think crispy on the outside and soft and tender, soft- almost mousse like on the inside with that lovely sweetness) with a tangy cranberry and orange reduction and some mashed Nikola potatoes which i roasted in the oven in their skins and then peeled hot and mashed with the introduction of butter, milk and fresh nutmeg (sounds weird but go with me on it) and some crunchy little lightly blanched french beans. i really love sunday night dinner

......that being said i probably should attempt some kind of diet.

Monday, April 12, 2010

right well...

so i have noticed that i had by some stroke of luck acquired two followers, which is nice.
so it has not been the best few days for me, but by all means it hasn't been the worst either. it all started on saturday night as i was leaving a cocktail party at the port office hotel after being disgusted by the very ordinary middle aged men that were allowed onto the second floor after 12. any-who i was walking towards the cab rank and got my beautiful high heel stuck in the old cobble stones that for some reason a badly informed 80's town planner must have thought looked good and i rolled my ankle. now this would not have been so bad escaping the fact that i attempted to catch myself with my other foot which also bore a high heel and managed to roll it as well but with all the combined force of that action. so my french martini lubricated brain found its self sitting on the ground about 5 meters from the cab rank at 12.30 on a saturday night. so, i would call having to pick yourself up off the ground and fall into a cab a pretty low point.
but away from highly embarrassing and painful events. right now i have gotten home from a long day at uni and have warmed up some pistachios in the oven so that they are all nice and toasty and am happily popping open each little salty sweet nutty kernel with contented pleasure.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

master of the layout

i have conquered the blog layout. hazar!!! but seriously it took me about two hours to get that little picture up the top, but at least i know how to do it now. in fact i am going to post a picture in celebration. this is a shot of artichoke hearts which have just been blanched with slices of lemon wrapped around them to stop them oxidising (going brown). looks pretty and what not.

beginning post

right. so it has occurred to me that some thing was missing in my time wasting time table somewhere between megavideo, opening the fridge and staring at its contents and then closing the fridge and planing imaginary trips places. So.. here is a blog. Probably for absurdly no one to read or enjoy but regardless....

now i loath any sort of hi, this is me.. kind of first post idea so i will just tell you some thing useful to go do instead.

Recently, as in the last three days, i have made about five quiches all of which were ravenously consumed and loved by all eaters. So i though i would equip you with a quiche recipe so get this whole blog going.

Basically pick a filling, be it your basic lorraine ( bacon/ jambon, gryere) or a caramelised onion or something fancy like blue swimmer crab meat. Then go and make some nice flakey buttery pastry, or drive to your local deli and by a pre-made frozen short crust. Fit it to a quiche dish/tart tin/ baking dish and blind bake for a little bit.
-that means through it in a pretty hot over till it starts to cook so you pastry won't go all soggy when you pop the eggy goodness in.
Now, mix 6eggs (please use free range), 300ml of cream (or if you are weight conscious "light sour cream" but what is the point? just have half a slice of the real thing), had a cup of milk and season with salt and pepper.
Mix your "custard" up until all the proteins are combined, but please done whip the crap out of it or it will lose its yummy creamy-snotty texture. (thats right the word snotty was a good thing!)
Then chuck you chosen filling into the bottom of the pastry shell and ladle in the eggy custard mixture. And carefully put it back into an oven which you have turned down to about 160'c. Don't bother turning it off between the pastry just turn it down.

Wait for about 40mins to an hour, you will know when it is cooked because it has firmed up and if you are lucky souffl├ęd a little too. Poke it in the middle and there should be a definite hold with the mixture, think soft but not dry, just oozy not wet. Pull it out, letting it stand for about ten mins to firm up and then serve with a really simple salad or take it on a picnic or just stand in the kitchen with a fork and eat it right there.