Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Summer Hill 'corner store' has corn syrup.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Summer Hill Butcher has liquid smoke.
Just sayin'.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Vietnamese summer salad

Does anyone have a better salad than this? its still pretty damned good but not perfect. I added fish sause and about a handful of mint.

much better...it also needs more chilli....lots of chilli


¼ cup light soy sauce
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup water
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp red chili sauce/paste/oil
1 ½ tsp minced ginger
½ pound flank steak
1 cup fresh basil leaves (I didnt have this)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (or this)
1 cup fresh mint leaves (this I had...it was good)
½ red onion, sliced finely (used shallots instead)
½ seeded English cucumber, halved and sliced finely
2 cups julienned carrots
½ cup dry roasted peanuts

*Optional* cooked rice, prepared as you like

Combine light soy sauce, lime juice, water, sugar, garlic, and chili sauce/paste/oil and ginger in medium bowl. Whisk or stir to blend. Pour approximately 5 tablespoons into a resealable plastic bag or large container. Cover and refrigerate the remaining dressing. Add steak to bag/container, seal, and turn to coat. Chill 30 minutes or overnight (for a more stronger flavor) to marinate.

Heat broiler to 400 degrees F. Broil steak 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, or until medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes and slice thinly at an angle, across the grain.

Place basil, cilantro, mint, onion, cucumbers, and carrots in large bowl and toss. Top with sliced steak, drizzle with reserved dressing, and sprinkle with peanuts.

Can be eaten with a bowl of cooked rice or alone for a healthy low carb alternative. Let the ingredients mingle overnight for a more intense flavor. If you choose to do this then keep the basil, mint and cilantro out of the dish till you are ready to eat to keep them from getting droopy in the dish.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Roman Cheesecake

It's been a while since I cooked it for Yule Feast and Cold Wars. I have a cunning plan to put it in many places so it can't be lost.

Savillum (Cato 84)
(Cato - 180 BC
Cato. Liber de agricultura)

Savillum hoc modo facito: Farinae selibram, casei P. II S una
commisceto quasi libum, addito mellis P. - et ovum unum. Catinum
fictile oleo unguito. Ubi omnia bene commiscueris, in catinum indito,
catinum testo operito. Videto ut bene percocas medio, ubi altissimum
est. Ubi coctum erit, catinum eximito, melle unguito, papver
infriato, sub testum subde paulipser, postea eximito. Ita pone cum
catillo et lingula.

Make a savillum this: Mix 1/2 libra flour and 2 1/2 libra cheese, as
is done for libum. Add 1/4 libra honey and 1 egg. Grease an
earthenware bowl with oil. When you have mixed the ingredients well,
pour into the bowl and cover the bowl with an earthenware testo. See
that you cook it well in the middle, where it is highest. When it is
cooked, remove the bowl, spread with honey, sprinkle with poppy, put
it back beneath the testo for a moment, and then remove. Serve it
thus with a plate and spoon.

Serves 4
750g ricotta
1 cup flour
6 Tbs honey
1 egg
2 Tbs poppy seeds

Blend cheese flour, 4 Tbs honey and egg. Grease baking pan with oil.
Pour in mixture and bake in hot hot (400F) for 20-30 minutes. Cover
with foil for first 10-15 mins. Remove from oven drizzle with honey
and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Replace in oven for 5 minutes and

The above recipe, translation and redaction comes from Giacosa, Ilaria
Gozzini, (1994), A Taste of Ancient Rome, The University of Chicago
Press, Chicago.

And here is the recipe we actually used at the feasts.... not quite
the same, but I didn't re-read the recipe at Cold War, and the result
was so well received, we just did the same again for Yule.

3kg ricotta
750g honey
200g poppy seeds
4 cups flour
5 eggs
makes about 12 cakes

Mix every thing together. Shove into buttered foil pie tins. Bake in
oven about 200C-ish until starting to brown. Allow to cool a little
before attempting to stick in head.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Le parfait d'armangnac aux pruneaux

Frozen prune mousse with armangnac (with commentary)

450g best quality presoaked dried prunes, stoned (I got a packet from the shops, that were soggy in their bag already, stoned, and they seemed to work fine. Perhaps Oz has better access to prunes?)
a few strips of lemon zest (I could have gone a little heavier on this I think)
4 tbsp armagnac (I used brandy. Couldn't get armangnac)
500ml thick double cream
whites of two large eggs
2 tbsp caster sugar
a pinch of salt

Soak the prunes with the lemon zest and armangnac for an hour or so. Remove lemon zest and whizz prunes and armangnac in food processor until a puree.
Whisk egg whites with salt until stiff, then add sugar. (And then whisk some more? The recipe says nothing. I whisked, and don't think it did any harm.)
Whisk the cream until it has a floopy consistency. (Why? Surely thick double cream has been beaten enough already? I had to be careful not to make butter)
Carefully fold the prune puree into the cream and then, with a wooden spoon, fold in the stiffened egg whites. (I think all the egg whites are doing is cutting the thickness of the cream. I may be wrong)
Spoon into individual serving pots and place in the freezer for no more than 2 hours. (it says 6-8 serves - I filled 10 espresso mugs, and then a small pyrex dish, and had plenty of bowl to lick. No idea how big their pots are!)

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Goat in Goat with Goat


I cant claim credit for this. It come from liam but .... COOOL :-)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Fruitcake for BaggyT

Made from stewed fruit that was over-spiced. Recipe adapted from Ye Olde "Day to Day Cookery Book" which is the standard text HomeEc cookbook in Queensland.

3 cups cold spicey stewed fruit (BaggyT's special mix of a besquillion secret fruits and spices but had in there - apples, cinnamon sticks, half a lemon, ground cloves, honey, brown sugar. Fish out lemon and cinnamon sticks before making cake)
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
1 1/4 plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix fruit and eggs. Fold in sifted flours and baking soda. Stick in two loaf tins lined with baking paper. Cook in 150C oven for 1 hour or until skewer is clean. The end.

It's very good with icecream. Be sure the fruit really is cold before you put the eggs in. I was never a patient cook, but eggs poached in fruit is not a good look

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mmm bunny

Just in case you missed it elsewhere...

About 300gm pork belly, fried off, and as it caught on the bottom of the pan, deglased with red wine. Removed.
Rabbit, halved to fit in the pot, browned in the pork juices and more olive oil. Removed.
Two onions, lotsa garlic, into the rabbit/pork juices. Thyme, rosemary chucked in, then sliced fresh tomatoes. Add the meat back in when everything's a little softer, top-up with vegeta stock. (I didn't put enough liquid in I think. The resulting rabbit was a little dry, and could have been moister. He cooked for the whole time not wholely covered. Next time, enough liquid to cover.)
Stuck in the oven for close to 2 hours.
At about the 40 minute mark, I had a smell, and while it was good it needed...something...sweet? I threw in a good slug of orange flower balsamic vinegar. I love this vinegar - more please if you're heading to tassie! It seemed to be a good idea.
About 30 minutes before I wanted to eat it I threw in a large cup of 'french' lentils. I need to remember that while it takes about 30 minutes to cook a cup of lentils on the stove, it takes a little longer in the oven, and they suck liquid like a bastard. So next time, the lentils go in about 45 minutes before the eating, maybe even an hour, and a splash more liquid.
Fz stripped the carcass and stirred the meat back into the lentils. Cunning way to make the meat accessible to all. Could be left in the juices for a while too, to soften up some more.

It was tasty. Not pork, not duck, not chicken...but very enjoyable. The last bunny I ate was well musky, and I didn't like it. This is only my second tasting attempt. I'm not sure I'll make it a thing, but it could be a fun party trick. The bunny cost $14, and the whole meal was about 20 bucks, and would have fed 6 people happily. I have 2 small serves left now in the freezer, and with either bread or potato we will have a tasty second dinner sometime.
I served it with steamed potatoes and a salad of bitey rocket and tomatoes, with a tiny drizzle of orange balsamic. And a bottle of Italian red.

I plan to pull this new knowledge out for Festy Feast, with added porks and lentils to feed the masses.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Onion Jam

Basic premise

1 brown onion
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Cook everything together.

What I actually did was 4 times the above quantities with 1/2 clove of garlic and about a punnet of home grown cherry tomatoes.

It's completely yummy on toast with a slice of cheese. I just need to cut the onion up a little more next batch.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Epic BBQ vs Summer Heat

I so wasn't in the mood for making something hot, or meaty. And I'm glad I didn't - there was so much meat already. So I made mojito iceblocks, in little plastic shot glasses. There was 58 of them, and they kept us cool and minty! And I made sure I followed a recipe, 'cause then I knew that the alcohol amount would be enough to ensure freezing.
I'm interested in some of the other recipes, if they're available - jerk marinade, for starters!

Monday, 18 January 2010

General Bottling

*queue Hey Hey It's Saturday cheesy memories*

Hello! General Bottling here!

Okay, enough of that.

Over at BT's we've been talking about bottling stuff, and I though I'd copy down my notes on bottling stuff, the basic methods you can apply to anything you want to bottle, like jams, sauces, pickles, stewed fruit etc. I still find it disconcerting that it's called canning on the US. Bottles, people. Bottles.

In general, to bottle something:

1) the liquid must be boiling hot. If you've let something cool down, bring it back up to a boil for a few minutes.

2) the jars and lids must also be hot, to avoid explodifications. Hot liquid + cool jar can sometimes = bang. You can be mildly cheaty and do this straight out of the dishwasher. Or if they're already clean, microwave them (except the lids, put them in a bowl of boiling water). I tend to stick jars and lids on a tray in the oven on about 100C until you say OUCH when you touch them.

3) put your hot bottles onto a teatowel on the kitchen bench to help avoid other explodifications. Hot bottle + hard or cool surface may = bang.

4) leave about 1 - 1.5 cm for expanding/contracting at the top. Where the bottle becomes the neck is often a good guide.

5) ideally, wait until the liquid is no longer steaming, then put lids on. Too hot can mean too much condensation. If it's too cool, you may not get a good seal.

6) once filled, you can do one of three things:

A: Seal lids about quarter turn too loose (ie, not completely tight) and boil in a saucepan of water, making sure the water doesn't come right up to the neck. The boiling expands the bottle, causing a tight seal. You still need to check this seal and make sure it's tight. It usually is.

B: Seal lids completely (as tightly as you can by hand) and turn upside down to cool. Turning upside down helps to create a vacuum against the lid as it cools, thus making the seal tight.

C: Be a slack tart and just seal tightly. I like to think this isn't completely slack, because if I turn jam upside down it would set like that and then be messy-looking when I turn it back upright. I do it for sloppy things though.

7) Rest the bottles on a teatowel until room temperature (see explodifications, bottles thereof).

8) In theory, pop-tops should pop down. If they haven't, and they pop down when you press them, it's worked. I usually have a few which go SNAP and it's very satisfying ;-) If they don't, it's still probably worked but you might like to store them in the fridge just in case. So far I haven't had any problems.

9) I've used some jars with plastic screw lids (like the Vegemite jars) for things that either aren't going to be kept for very long, or are going to be kept in the fridge. So far, so good.

Got any other tips to add?

Note: As exciting as it sounds, I haven't had any exploderating bottles experiences, nor do I want to. I'll leave that to Dr Nik to explore ;-)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Sweet Tomato Chutney

8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
5 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped
2x400g tins chopped tomatoes, or 800g peeled fresh
300 clear vinegar
350gm jaggery or brown sugar
2 tablespoons sultanas
2 teasp salt
3/4 teasp cayenne pepper
chili powder (optional)

Combine garlic, ginger and half the toms in a blender and blend till smooth.
Put the rest of the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, sultanas and salt in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil and and add the garlic and ginger mixture. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 90-120 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick enough to tall off a spoon in sheets. Make sure the mixture doesn't catch / burn.
Add the cayenne. For a hotter chutney, add the chili. Leave to cool, then pour into steralized jars. Store in a cool place, or in the fridge.
Makes 2 cups.

I find that the cayenne is enough to give this quite a nice warmness, without being evil. I always add a little more garlic, of course. And I was mad enough to take the skins off the cherry tomatoes before I made it, and I think it was worth it.

From The Food Of The World

Saturday, 2 January 2010


Today, I've turned 2.5 kilos of cherries into jam, using this recipe. I'm yet to see if it will set - I think it will. I cooked it for far longer than recommended, convinced it wouldn't set each time I was ready with jars...I'm a jam beginner. On the dream wish gift list now? A thermometer!

This cooking frenzy was brought on by a buying frenzy yesterday at the markets. We picked up a box of toms for 5 bucks, and the 5 kilos of cherries was 6. Sadly, I might have got most of the 5k out of the box if I'd done this yesterday. The compost is happy and dripping red.

There's about 800gms of cherries left. I might make muffins. Or jelly - I'm keen to try that out, now that I know about gelatin. And I'm not scared of hand-pitting the last of them. Not now.

Two kilos of toms became roasted tomato puree, using this recipe. I'll slip that into some freezer bags soon. It tastes good - better than the old eye-tie/aussie boil up. I might finish the rest of the box that way. Most of it will be a donation to Pasta Night.

Also got a fist full of basil from the markets for a buck. That's become pesto for Pasta Night, using pine nuts, brazil nuts and almonds that got a quick and dirty dry roast beforehand - so dirty, in fact, that I burnt a few. Pesto still tastes grand though!

What did you cook this Sunday?