Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black & White Wednesday - Pavlova

It's amazing how when you start looking, things you've never noticed before start popping up everywhere. That is what happened as I started posting in Black and White Wednesday run by Susan from the Well Seasoned Cook

Last Sunday was the Sweet Adventures Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop (or #pavbloghop for short) and one pic that didn't make my blog post on the weekend was the raw pav about to go into the oven. When I reviewed the original photo it seemed almost black and white even in "colour" so perfect for submission this week!

Pavlova in Black and White

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Upside Down Lemon Meringue Pie Pavlova

Being part of a pavlova blog hop meant that in order to add something a little different to the mix, creativity was the key. I looked around my kitchen and had heaps of lemons, and thought about making a lemon meringue pie. Then it dawned on me that instead of a pie, I could do an upside-down version and use it as my pavlova entry!

Straight lemon curd I felt would be a little overwhelming on the already sweet pavlova base, so I merged the traditional cream with some home made lemon curd to make a tangy creamy topping.

Upside Down Lemon Meringue Pie Pavlova
To balance against the sweetness, I picked raspberries and blueberries which aren't as sweet as other fruit.

I wanted to replicate the pie base texture so I crumbled a little lemon shortbread on the top. It was a nice addition giving a little extra texture as well as the crisp pavlova shell.

The result was an indulgent dessert! Perfect for a summer evening!


4 Egg whites
200g Caster sugar (for 5 egg whites: 220g caster sugar, for 6 egg whites: 250g caster sugar)
2 tsp corn flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Pre heat oven to 100º;
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper;
  • Whisk egg whites till they form hard peaks and the bowl can be turned upside down without the egg whites moving;
  • Slowly add the caster sugar spoon at a time;
  • When sugar is combined and mixture is glossy, add corn flour and vanilla essence;
  • Scoop the mixture on to the lined tray and cook for 1 hour - 1 hour 20 mins until the outside is just crisp;
  • Leave the pavlova to cool in the oven with the door open for a few hours till the oven is completely cold. Close the door and leave till cool. 
Home-made Lemon Curd
Lemon Curd
this makes extra lemon curd but it can be kept in the fridge for a few weeks

2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
165g caster sugar
80g butter
zest and juice of 2 lemons

I used my saucier for making the lemon curd, but I don't know if this is a gadget that features in many kitchens. For those who don't have every gadget under the sun:
  • Stir the eggs with sugar until the mixture is smooth; 
  • Add the zest and lemon juice; 
  • On a low heat, stirring constantly, gradually add the butter; 
  • Keep stirring until the mixture is thick. This will probably take about 20 -30 mins; 
  • When thick, pour into a jar and cool completely.
Before the Oven - Lemon
Shortbread Crumb
Lemon Shortbread Crumb
this makes 12 fingers - you only need 1 for the pavlova recipe so if you want to drop a step, just use a bought shortbread finger!

125g plain flour
80g butter
40g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon

  • In the food processor whiz the flour and butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs; 
  • Add the caster sugar and zest, and combine;
  • Knead the mixture till smooth and shape into a 2cm diameter sausage;
  • Wrap with Cling film and chill for 30 mins; 
  • Preheat the oven to 170º; 
  • Slice the chilled shortbread dough into 0.5cm slices; 
  • Lay on a baking tray and bake for 10 - 15 mins until golden brown; 
  • Remove from the oven and cool.
The "finished" product

300ml thickened cream
handful of raspberries
handful of blueberries

  • Whip the cream until it reaches a stiff peak consistency;
  • Gently fold in half of the lemon curd. Try not to completely combine the curd, but swirl it into a ripple effect;
  • Top the pavlova with the lemon curd cream mixture;
  • Decorate with raspberries and blueberries;
  • Crumble 1 small shortbread piece over.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black & White Wednesday - Ink Risotto

In my first contribution to Black and White Wednesday run by Susan from the Well Seasoned Cook, I am showcasing the Ink Risotto with seared calamari, gremolata and parsley oil I had at Pier Restaurant the other day. It suited the black and white effect as the contrast between the black of the risotto and the almost translucent seared calamari gave the dish a dramatic effect which is highlighted in the black and white version.
Ink Risotto with seared Calamari, Gremolata & Parsley Oil, Pier Restaurant, Rose Bay, Sydney

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Eat Drink Blog 2011

Slow Cooked Lamb with Broad beans and Tomato Salad for Lunch
One of the great things about any hobby is the ability to share it with others! Foodies are lucky in that there is never a shortage of friends hanging around when a piping hot roast comes out of the oven, or a freshly iced cake gets sliced! It's always nice though to meet other like minded food bloggers from whom you can share war stories, pick up tips and tricks and exchange ideas.

The Eat Drink Blog 2011 Food Bloggers Conference was that opportunity!

As you would expect from a Food Bloggers Conference there was no shortage of delicious food and one of the highlights was the delicious Slow Cooked Lamb lunch followed by the Lamb MasterClass by Nonie Dwyer. It was just like being in a MasterClass on MasterChef as Nonie broke down the lamb and whipped up some deep fried lamb bacon, lamb neck stew and demonstrated how to replicate her amazing lunch. The aromas of the spices that had teased the audience through the first half of the days sessions on legal and copyright matters,  SEO techniques and an insightful presentation on blog writing by Valerie Khoo, were revealed!

To work off the bellies full of food in the afternoon, Peter Georgakopoulos got the creative juices flowing in a Food Styling Workshop, Quentin Jones gave workable tips to the every day Food Photographer and some filled up even more at Kingsleys Crab MasterClass or Brasserie Bread's Sour Dough session.

After even more info on ditching the day job for full time blogging, and bloggers ethics, the Conference kicked on to Kingsleys Steakhouse for a wonderful dinner. Thanks to the Eat Drink Blog crew for an inspiring informative day meeting great new friends!

Thanks to the organisers: Trina from the Gourmet Forager, Jen from Jenius, Simon from the Heart of Food and Reemski from TummyRumble
and to the generous sponsors who enabled such an awesome experience:

Electrolux for the conference venue
Toby’s Estate for providing tea, coffee & a barista
Breville for providing a juice bar
Daylesford and Hepburn Mineral Springs Co. for providing non-alcoholic beverages
Brasserie Bread for providing breakfast as well as morning and afternoon tea
Meat and Livestock Australia for providing lunch
Pacific Restaurant Group for providing dinner

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Welcome to Sydney Jamie!

Bucatini Carbonara at Jamie's Italian

We were trying our luck to get into Jamie's Italian, Sydney's first offering from our favourite chef, Jamie Oliver, on the first Saturday of it opening, but with the no booking policy I figured we had as much hope as anybody. Just for Jamie we agreed to the 30 min wait for a table for 4. As it turned out, a date would have been quicker as there are plenty tables of 2! It was well worth the wait!

Being from the UK it was great to have some banter early on with the English bar men, shaking up mojitos and topping up our champagne glass, so the half hour went quickly by.

The two level restaurant on Pitt Street is urban chic style - some classy graffiti on the walls, warehouse style decor, and pretty unexpected nestled between the impersonal office blocks flanking each side. Perfect for the casual style of the restaurant.

We enjoyed the salt and pepper squid and the Arancini risotto balls as a first course. The pasta - I couldn't get past the traditional carbonara - was deliciously al dente, and apparenetly the sausages were served with the best lentils our friend had ever tasted.

With attentive staff, a fun ambience and great food. We would have been happy to hang around, but the theatre called. Anyway, we'll be back and I think it will be a city favourite, a reasonably priced fun and delicious restaurant certainly filling a gap and very welcome!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bircher Brekkie

Serving Bircher Muesli in a Bowl
Breakfast like a king they say! That's all very well on the weekend when there is enough time to prepare but not so running from the early morning workout, to the shower to work!

It's all to easy too to get into the habit of buying breakfast every morning - doorstop wedges of toast with butter and jam takes away all the hard work of my gym slog though.

So, it has to be something to take to work and I found a great solution. Bircher Muesli! Apparently the soaking of the oats in juice activates the enzymes which is good for you? I just think it tastes great! Shop bought Muesli can be packed with sugar. This recipe's sugar content at least comes from the dried fruit rather than any added sweetening. Why make your own muesli if only to add some "not so fresh" juice so  I opted for freshly squeezed orange.

My Tupperware-full of Bircher Muesli
I sometimes make a big tupperware at the start of the week and take a few spoonfuls of the muesli out to take to work. Alternatively, sometimes I make up the dry ingredients in advance and take a half cup of that in a mini tupperware with half a squeezed orange. I let that soak overnight and add a few scoops of yoghurt before rushing out the door.

You can add grated apple, a couple of sliced strawberries or even a small handful of frozen mixed berries to the tupperware. They have defrosted by the time I get to work making a perfect accompaniment!

Dry Bircher Muesli Ingredients
Bircher muesli

2 cups oats
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup goji berries
1/2 cup currants or raisins or sultanas
Juice of 3 oranges
250g unsweetened yoghurt

  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl or tupperware container.
  • Squeeze the oranges and add the juice to the oats,seeds, dried fruit mix.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Leave for an hour or overnight for the juice to be absorbed.
  • Add yoghurt and mix well.
  • Serve as desired (see ideas above)
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