May 9th, 2013
I am staying with my Dad this week in the countryside outside Beaudesert. My Mother has gone to New Zealand to visit her relatives and it gave me the idea of coming up and keeping Dad company. The husba has come too. The change from living in a city apartment is remarkable! First it is quiet. If a car drives you notice it. You don’t hear ambulances or any sirens. There are LOTS of bird calls. My Mother likes to feed the birds so when you get up there are Lorikeets, Magpies, Butcher birds and Kookaburras waiting to be fed. It gets cold here. I noticed my face cream has turned hard and the cord of the hairdryer was stiff. The apartment is always warm. I am not saying one is better, I am just noticing all the differences.
Yesterday we had a visit from a neighbour, June. June had driven down to near Falls Creek Victoria to see family and had brought gifts for my parents upon her return. Quince from a laden tree that nobody wanted. Of course I had to pinch a couple to make something with. I had stopped on the way at fruit shop and picked up Bosc pears so I thought Quince and Pears what a delightful combination.
I tweaked another recipe and the result was excellent. The pastry is excellent and it is wonderful with ice cream or cream.
- 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 150 grams unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons of sour cream, cold
- About 1 1/2 tablespoons ice water
- 4 Bosc pear, peeled and cored
- 1 large or 2 small quinces, peeled and cored
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- About 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 2 tablespoons Demerara, or other coarse sugar
- 1/3 cup apricot preserves
To make the crust, put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse until the butter is in pea-size pieces. Add the sour cream and pulse until the butter and cream cheese are in pieces that vary in size from oat flakes to peas. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the ice water, a little at a time, adding just enough for the dough to hold together when you pinch a clump between your fingers. You can do this by hand which is how I do it if you prefer. You rub the butter into the flour mixture and then add sour cream and lastly water.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly just to bring it together into a ball. Flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic film, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 1 day.
Cut the quince and pear into roughly. Put the fruits into a bowl, sprinkle with the brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt, and toss to coat evenly. Mix the butter evenly into the fruit.
Preheat the oven to 375°F Use a large cookie tray, and cover the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper.
Place the dough disk on some baking paper and roll out in to the shape of a circle. If the circle is uneven, don’t worry and you are going to fold it over.
Arrange the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edges. Fold the border up and over the fruit, tucking and pleating the pastry to snugly fit over the fruit as you go.
To finish, brush the pastry rim with half-and-half and sprinkle the turbinado sugar evenly over the pastry and the filling.
Bake until the fruit is tender when pierced with a knife and the dough is golden, about 50 minutes. Let the galette cool on the pan for 15 minutes, then slide the baking papaer with the galette onto a wire rack to finish cooling
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March 6th, 2013
Passionfruit is quintessentially Australian. Just like the lemon tree next to the chook pen and the clothes hoist, there is always a passionfruit vine meandering it’s way up a wooden or wire fence. The amazing thing about the passionfruit vine is that it doesn’t need much looking after in order to thrive and before you know it you have a crop of fruit that you’re not sure what to do with. The plant is actually native to Brazil however Australians have taken it into their hearts and our national dessert the Pavlova is often decorated with passionfruit. I was lucky enough to be given a big bag of this glorious fruit from my dear friend’s father. Thank you Joe. With all the passionfruit I made several tarts and a couple of jars of passionfruit curd. It made me think that people could easily exchange their fruit and vegetables with people like me who like to cook. That way we would turn the crop into something we both could eat. Here is a photo my friend’s father and the passionfruit curd and tart that I made him.
Dark chocolate and passion fruit go surprisingly well together. It takes the tangy taste to another level. This tart is quite an experience so if you are out to impress, this is the recipe for you. If you can find a couple of passionfruit flowers to go on the plate the tart will look even more gorgeous.
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1/4 cup icing sugar mixture
- 150g butter, chilled, chopped
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons chilled water
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- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 150grams of unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 3 passion fruit, halved and just the pulp and juice used
150 grams of dark chocolate
1 cup of cream
Process flour, icing sugar mixture and butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add yolk and chilled water. Process until dough just comes together. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Grease a 3cm-deep, 24cm (base) round, loose-based fluted flan tin. Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Line pan with pastry. Trim excess. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Then blind bake with beans or pastry weights on top of baking paper until the pastry is golden about ten minutes. Then remove weights or beans and bake a further ten minutes.
To make Passion fruit filling: Whisk eggs, sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice, and passion fruit pulp in a bowl. Place this is a saucepan over a low flame and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter in small cubes and stir until the mixture thickens then remove from the stove. Pour into the tart base leaving room for the next dark chocolate layer. Place in the fridge until the filling is set.
In a double boiler or a bowl resting above water in a saucepan, mix chocolate and cream until well combined. Pour on top of passionfruit filling, return to fridge to set.
December 29th, 2012
So how did your Christmas turn out? I hope you had a wonderful day with lots of great food and fun. Our day went well. I had twelve guests and everyone seemed to be laughing and smiling when they weren’t helping themselves to the enormous amounts of food. We started with the Burrata with Peas and Prosscuito (from a previous post) and a Salmon Mousse served with a horseradish sauce that my mother made. I must ask her for that recipe! It was a lovely light starter and I was pleasantly surprised by how well the two went together.
I served a roast rolled turkey breast and a de-boned whole turkey for the main course. They were both absolutley delicious. My good friend Tak brought a baked orange glazed ham too, so we had plenty of meats to choose from. Of course there were roast potatoes and beans with toasted flaked almonds and a big salad.
For my favourite course… Dessert, I made a Merry Berry Pavlova, Chocolate Mousse and my mother baked a Mango Cheesecake. It was one of the guest’s birthday so we popped a few candles in the mango cheesecake and all sang “Happy Birthday”. All in all it was a great day made better by wonderful company and plenty of help when clean up time came.
The Chocolate Mousse was so easy and I put a tiny ball of raspberry ice cream on top of it and then a blueberry. I was able to use the glass bottles that I brought home from Paris. They are just the containers that the supermarkets sell yoghurt in but I loved the shape so much that I ended up bring nine of them home. I will be making this chocolate mousse again. Here is the recipe.
200g of dark chocolate (best you can find at least 70%)
4 large eggs separated
300ml of cream
1 cup of castor sugar
Whip cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form.
Melt dark chocolate over a double boiler until like liquid.
While chocolate is cooling beat egg whites until stiff and then slowly add castor sugar a tablespoon at a time until the sugar has dissolved (you must beat egg whites in a glass or metal bowl and make sure no egg yolk is in the egg whites).
When chocolate has cooled add egg yolks and combine well.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture and then fold in the egg whites using a metal spoon.
Pipe or spoon this mixture into containers and refrigerate until set.
When serving add a small ball of raspberry Gelati and a blueberry on top.
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