Sunday, July 11, 2010

DAY 85: Meyer Lemon Risotto w/ Mascarpone & Scampi

So, DAY 84 kinda went missing in action, but it DEFINATELY wasnt a lost day! I spent the day researching for ingredients and gathered some raddichio, pigeon and more. Oh, and I may of also taken my research to the Good Food & Wine Show - strictly research... Ha!

DAY 85's dish was great, taste wise and presentation! As some may already know, I'm really not a seafood lover (or even eater) and even I enjoyed this. The risotto was very very creamy and the lemon was slightly overpowering. The way I looked at it though was that the risotto accompanied the scampi. A nice little trick was learnt here (when roasting the scampi) in that if you crumble a little ceylon tea over the scampi it brings out the sweetness. I loved it!

DAY 83: Olive Oil Brioche w/ Candied Seville Peel

I made this Brioche into some delightful little mini loaves to share with loved ones (yeah, I'm that nice...). The first hiccup involved the lack of candied peel, and although Maggie told me how to time was lacking. So, I hate to admit it... But I kinda might of used mixed peel... Eeek! I promise that I will remake it with the appropriate ingredients... The Brioche itself was your typical Brioche, dense and hearty. The peel used was less than desirable and was a little disappointing...

DAY 81: Fresh Pasta

What an experience and how so Masterchef of me! I was very very excited to be making my first batch of pasta EVER! I made the dough and rested this in the fridge for approx 30 mins after which I split it into 6 chunks. This was then fed through the pasta machine starting at 7 and working my way to 2 (thickness). Each piece needed to go through on each thickness about 3 times, so you can imagine that this was a bit of a lengthy process (but I kept telling myself it was totally worth it!). Once I made it to 2, it was time for the transformation into fettucine (this sounds hard than what it is), which involves feeding it through a cutter (much like the rollers). Next thing I knew, my clothes dryer was completely full of pasta! As you can imagine it took no time at all to cook, and tasted pretty damn amazing...

DAY 80: Jerusalem Artichoke & Pink Grapefruit Salad w/ Walnuts.

A delightfully light and delicious salad that would go with almost anything. A combination of suttle flavours that refreshed the palette. Fresh, juicy grapefruit, crunchy walnuts, delectable jerusalem artichokes (which I have never had before but are oh-so-wonderful) and peppery rocket goodness... Oh, not to mention the gorgonzola!

Posts: few and far between...

Apologies to all for my lake of committment on the blog front, if you're a facebook follower you will know that I havent been slacking off! Its just that the blog version is a little more extended and takes a little more time. So right now, on this cold, wet, wintery day, I will attempt to update the beloved blog! Sorry for the onslaught that is about to occur... x

Monday, June 28, 2010

DAY 78 & 79: Minestrone w/ Cavolo Nero & Ribollita

Two amazing soups, one using the other, & a recommendation for one and all. The most amazing Minestrone I have ever eaten (and yes, I have eaten a fair few) which combines a variety of vegies including the hard to find Cavolo Nero! The soup cooked for approx 1.5 hours with the Zucchini & Green Beans added just before the soup was ready. No salt required as the flavour was just perfect.

Today (DAY 79) I made Ribollita which uses the Minestrone from the previous day and extends it in a way and creates a slightly different dish. I cooked a bunch of Cavolo Nero in stock for approx 20 minutes before adding it to the soup. In the meantime, I sliced some delicious Sour Dough (from the Passionate Baker) and grilled on both sides until brown. I then rubbed garlic on the bread and drizzled with some EVOO.

Both wonderful dishes and highly recommended! x

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DAY 74: Marmalade-A-La-Lizzy

A wonderful creation putting my 'acquired' oranges to good use. I cooked thinly sliced oranges and lemons in a whole lot of sugar and water. After about 3 hours I assumed that it was ready. I stirred through a cup of Whisky (yes it told me to!) and spooned it into my nicely sterilised jars... Am yet to taste...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DAY 73: Barbecued Sugar-Cured Kangaroo

So, I bought this really lovely chunk of Kangaroo whilst up in Perth last week. I was really looking forward to cooking it as I have had little Kangaroo meat experience. The chosen recipe - Barbecued Sugar-Cued Kangaroo. The recipe called for the Kangaroo fillet to be placed in Salt, Sugar, Juniper Berries, Thyme and Black Peppercorns, overnight. I placed the Kangaroo in this mix early yesterday morning (intending on cooking it last night) but as circumstances (and wine) lead me, I ended up cooking it tonight. The fillet had become very... hard, like really hard, and dark. A lot like Biltong... Hmmm...

I persisted onwards & cooked the Roo quickly over a high heat. It was left to rest for approx 10mins. Things were looking a little more hopeful, the meat seemed a little more tender... Let's see how we go!

I knew things weren't right when I struggled to cut the meat... Once gaining a piece upon my fork - into the mouth it went! Arh... not so good. Hard, salty and yuck! What a disappointment. Maybe it was the cut of meat? Maybe it was the time left to cure? Or maybe it was my lack of ability? They can't all be amazing right?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

DAY 70: Dinner Party...

Well, this is my second posting in regards to DAY 70 but you must want to know just how the dinner went...? I think I left you all at about 10am after that "devastating blow"? Well, things got better from there. I had my first glass of wine at about 11.30 which I think definitely assisted in the day looking brighter.

I headed out to the shops, the Farmers Markets, and to my brothers house (to pick up the Duck he had so generously organised for me through DBC). This was a welcome break to get out of the kitchen and the house, regroup, and refocus... On my return I was straight back into it. I was boiling Parsnip, cooking Bread, rolling Pastry, blind baking, constructing Lemon Tart filling, roasting & peeling chestnuts, and lots lots more.

By about 5pm it was shower time. Then back in the kitchen to prep the final things like vegies for dinner, cooking off the Chestnuts & Bacon, construction the taste plate, setting the table, and every other last minute thing that needed to be done.

By 6:40 I thought, "Yes, I should probably get ready...". The first guest arrived 5 minutes later! Everything ran smoothly. The guests slowly arrived and everyone was here by about 7ish. The Entree Taste-plate was already on the table and ready to go - a bit of a breather and a glass of wine! P.s. The South Cape Brie I had was a definite high-light, so soft & gooey!

So, I jumped up mid Entree to get the Main on the go. I put the steamer on, Parsnip Puffs in the oven, and got the Duck ready for show time. I heated a pan - like really really heated it, and placed the Duck breast in - skin side down. This let off an almighty sizzle and my poor little exhaust was struggling a little and the whole room might of filled with smoke a little... Open the doors! Thank god the smoke alarm didn't go off - that would of been a little awkward!

Once the Duck skin was a rich golden brown, I flipped it onto the other side for just a minute. These headed into the oven for approx 5mins whilst I steamed the broccolini, wilted and glazed the Radicchio (we'll just pretend that that is what it was), and warmed the Chestnuts & Bacon in this sweet stickiness...

As I was slicing up the Duck breast the Husband was plating up the bed of Radicchio, Chestnuts & Bacon for it to rest upon. All other accompaniments were already on the table and waiting. The dinner itself was a success. I was totally surprised (as usual) and even more so that I had had about 3 glasses of wine by this stage and could still cook! Great!

But truly, the Main was great, and the flavours were amazing and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we were ridiculously full by this stage!

Lets not forget the Lemon Tart & Almond Macaroons though! Always room for those! The Lemon Tart was slightly gooey and nothing like those standard Lemon-type tarts you can find at your local cafe. I'm pretty sure that you could actually taste the love! And my Macaroons, well... I was pretty much stoked with their outcome - they were beautiful - even to just look at!

All up, a full-day of cooking, emotional highs and lows, and as always beautiful gastronomic surprises in the end... SUCCESS!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

DAY 70 devastation...

Ok, Its day 70 and I have 6 guests arriving for dinner in approx 9 hours. I'm prepping away and getting things on the go - and as usual doing a little bit of research. I am a little stressed and now a little bit devastated (I'll get to that in a minute).

After a successful day in Perth yesterday visiting places like Kakulas Bros and Wing Hong (Chinese Butcher), I was all excited to come home, get a good nights sleep and be ready to tackle the day (today). Off to a good start with my bread already resting, and growing. Almonds have been roasted and egg whites are ready to be beaten (for the macaroons). I've got my list together for the Farmer's markets and am ready to battle my way through the crowd. I've roughly worked out a timeline in which I should cook things and I have this beautiful image in my mind of how the evening will be perfect (food-wise at least).

Now for the devastation part... So, I am a little stressed in regards to the frustration and lack of radicchio and am thinking "How I am going to do this? What else can I possibly use..?" So, I do a little research on the net, and try to suss out what else I could possibly use (even though this need of substitution alone pains me...) and what do I find....?

"Maggie's Harvest Or Bust!" Yes, you heard me. A blog, about cooking, ABOUT COOKING EVERYTHING FROM THE VERY SAME BOOK! Complete devastation... Among the downsides (like this lady starting back in December, and living in South Australia - and PROBABLY has Radicchio access at every corner of the state) there are some upsides. She has no timeline, no order of cooking and few postings. So, whilst we may, in theory, be taking on the very same project, there are definite differences.

I wish her nothing but luck, and it is kind of nice to think that someone else might be going through the very same insaneness as I am. Many of my friends said "you don't need to tell anyone" but I was insistent on being true to those who are following... So, I hope this doesn't change our relationship, I hope that I still have something to offer you, and I hope more than anything that I still have your support. My dedication and determination still remains...

On to the food though. In case you didn't know, today I am cooking a feast for 8 tonight. On the Menu:


Grape & Walnut Bread w/ a selection of cheese, chorizo, salami, olives, dried muscats, dips and other accompaniments.


Seared Duck Breast w/ Chestnuts, Bacon, & Vino Cotto Glazed Radicchio.
Parsnip Puffs.
Caramelised Onion Salad.
Pan-seared Asparagus.


Lemon Tart
Almond Macaroons

So, if you're still around... Check out the photos later on.

Ciao for now x