Monday, November 18, 2013

White Chocolate Mojito Cheesecake

I haven't joined the SABH hop for a while as I'm trying to cut down on the desserts that I was preparing, and even monthly was getting a bit too much for our waistlines but I thought, given the theme, I would hop back in!

My hubbie's favourite dessert is cheesecake. Probably Mango Cheesecake. With the mango season only just beginning, I was able to convince him that for a dinner party dessert, and for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop hosted by Nic from Nic Cooks, it was time to try a different variety that's been on my list of recipes to try for ages (since I saw the recipe in Delicious Magazine in November 2009!): White Chocolate Mojito Cheesecake. It definitely had the kick and flavour of a mojito with the creaminess of a normal cheesecake. It was really simple to make, and because it didn't require baking, or even much cooling, was fantastic for making in the morning for the evening party.

White Chocolate Mojito Cheesecake (serves 6)


For the base
150g ginger biscuits
20g butter

For the filling
juice and zest of 3 limes
110g caster sugar
100ml Bacardi (or another kind of white rum)
1 cup of mint leaves
120g white chocolate
400g soft cream cheese
250g mascarpone

For serving
handful of pistachios
sprinkle of kitchen grade lavender (optional)


  • Melt the butter
  • Whiz the ginger biscuits in a food processor, add the melted butter and pulse to combine
  • Split the crumb mixture between 6 low ball glasses (or other serving glass) and put in the fridge to chill
  • Bring sugar and 60 ml water to boil in a saucepan and let the mixture simmer for about 5 mins till it makes a syrup
  • Add lime juice, zest, rum and mint and muddle with the end of a rolling pin to bruise the mint. Let this sit for 20 mins or so to infuse
  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (a bowl over boiling water), then leave it to cool slightly - but not till it goes hard!
  • Put the cheese in the cleaned food processor and whiz till they are
    creamy and combined. Pour in the strained mojito syrup and keep whizzing till it's mixed. Scrape in the white chocolate and whiz just a little till it's all combined.
  • Spoon the cream mixture over the crumbs and chill in the fridge till ready to serve
  • When it's time to serve sprinkle over edible lavender and some crushed pistachios (crush with a mortar & pestle, or put some in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin) - the real recipe suggested edible flowers, but I couldn't find any. They would look pretty!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What's for Dinner, Curtis?

As a chef stalker, I was so excited to meet Curtis Stone and have his new book, What's for Dinner? signed earlier this year. He's managing to muscle in between me and my thing with Jamie, and I've been cooking through a few of his recipes so far.

What I love about his book is the diversity - quick things, healthy things, not-so-healthy-but-very-yummy things, seasonal dishes, classics and new interpretations of old favourites so I wanted to show a few of his collection.
Chicken Cassoulet with Fennel and Bacon, with Endive and Shaved Fennel Salad

I have been trying to hide pulses in our dishes trying to trick my hubbie who claims to be not a big fan. This was an amazing dish for that and he even asked for seconds even after discovering that they were beans). I Apart from the chicken pieces being juicy and moist, the veg and bean concoction underneath was so flavourful. This was a great and cost effective low carb choice on a cool night.

Spiced Lamb Chops with Grilled Zucchini, Feta, and Olive Gremolata (served with Curtis' pickled onions)

I loved the simplicity of this dish, and it is great for preparing earlier and putting on the barbie when everyone is having a drink out on the balcony to admire the aroma - or in our case rushing to try to stop the smoke alarm beeping (think we need to clean the BBQ) The grilled zucchini is a good trick to make veg taste amazing; and with the onions and feta, this dish goes from a traditional meat and veg to a delicious, different but very healthy dinner.
Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches with 'Fireworks' Coleslaw (and Apple Bourbon Sauce)

This recipe, and in particular the sauce, are the reason to buy this book! I amended the slow cooked pork recipe for my slow cooker (I didn't basically the same but cooked it in the slow cooker for 8 hours instead of 2 1/2 which Curtis recommended. The pork falls apart, and it's the amazing sauce/chutney that puts it back together and makes an amazing sweet, tart, spicy sauce. Served with the coleslaw (where I substituted yoghurt for the mayo to make it healthier) this was a great dish for a posh night or casual night in!

Hope you can grab a copy of the book and try out a few. If you're anything like me, you'll love it! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tastes on my Travels

As I travel it has started to become clearer what type of restaurants I am drawn to. Of course, I love going to the classics and trying out the acclaimed chefs' places when in their home city, but what I've noticed as I browse through the restaurant recommendations I receive is that I'm drawn to a couple of things: I like quirky buildings or locations - restaurants in buildings converted from another purpose; I love the underdog - not the top restaurant in town, but the best new restaurants, off the beaten track ones; and I love interesting produce that's a bit different to the norm, but where the preparation isn't too out there with gels and soils etc. 

Recently, I've just come back from a few weeks work and play in North America - San Jose and Vancouver to be specific - where I found some restaurants I really enjoyed which fit some or all of the criteria!

This recommendation came from a colleague who thought I'd love it! Of course I did. I watched a YouTube clip of the feature on Diners, Drive In's and Dives and was really excited to try it. Classic American burger and fries but with a twist! Perfect. Even better was the courtyard out to back of the converted garage in San Jose. We sat on long shared tables and relaxed on the summers evening enjoying the food, wine and music from a jazz band playing at the back. It was a great place to kick back and chill!

Wildebeest, Vancouver

I was really excited to go to Wildebeest in Vancouver. The menu looked so interesting when I was scouring websites for where to eat in Vancouver and wow! It delivered. I really enjoy the idea of share plates which are a little bigger than starter size but not as big as a main, so you can try quite a few things. These dishes were delicious with every bite packing a punch. We had a bunch of  things including bison tartare, so interesting and flavoursome; delectable quail with the hay still smoking; tender and melt-in-your-mouth beef shortrib. The restaurant had a great vibe contrasting to the quiet Gastown street outside when we left!

Fable Restaurant, Vancouver

Fable is another Vancouver favourite established a few years ago inspired by Top Chef Canada "restaurant wars." For a Monday night I didn't think we'd have trouble getting a table but this is a popular haunt and we just squeezed in for an early sitting! This was another colleague's recommendation (they really know me!) and it was fabulous. The highlight for me was the "canned tuna" - confit (I think) tuna with preserved lemons served in a "can" but the other dishes were delicious - perfectly cooked duck and lamb; clever potato crusted chicken and good old Steak Frites! 

 Ah, great food really makes a great holiday for me. And really makes me want to return to try some of the other menu items that I didn't pick - makes my travel wishlist that bit longer though!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

If you could choose only one meat, what would it be?

We were having a dinner party conversation last week "if you could only eat one meat from now on, what would you choose?" It's a toughie for most meat lovers but my answer is most definitely a PIG! Whilst Pork wouldn't be the highlight of a last meal (I'd be choosing Roast Beef with Yorkshire puddings and horseradish sauce for that!) pork is an all rounder. Let's play it out over a weekly meal plan - for which I am famous!

Rick Stein's Pea and Ham Soup
Monday - on Monday at our place we like to have fish so maybe for "porker" week I would choose Jamie Oliver's bacon wrapped fish on a bed of asparagus. (Roasted white fish wrapped in smokie bacon, with lemon mayonnaise and asparagus)

Tuesday - often I am out on Tuesday nights so I leave something for my hubbie to prepare for himself - how about bangers and mash - a Dude food speciality!

Wednesday - whilst trying to lose weight, I am always looking for fast and lean. One of my favourite ingredients these days is pork loin.  Marinated in hoisin sauce and quickly seared in the pan is a quick, delicious mid week dinner. (Hoisin Pork Fillet with Stir Fried Chinese Greens)

Thursday - typically by Thursday I am starting to get lazy so a delicious  pea soup with ham hock that I've
prepared earlier in the week will be just the ticket. 

Friday - Friday night is pizza night in our place, a prosciutto and rocket pizza takes us right back to our Italian Honeymoon. 

Crackling with Roast Pork
Saturday - Saturday I like to spend a bit more time in the kitchen. Maybe some homemade pasta with a bacony carbonara sauce, or a classic slow cooked pulled pork, falling apart in some yummy BBQ sauce? (Curtis Stone's Pulled Pork Sandwich)

Sunday - Sunday kicks off with a big breakfast with poached eggs, garlic mushrooms and of course bacon. And of course, it finishes with a roast - juicy Roast Pork with mouthwateringly crispy crackling

Now do you see what I mean? So, which meat would you choose? 

*this post was not sponsored in any way by any Pork authority, but if any of them felt like giving me a lifetimes supply of pork, I could happily find ways to use it! Oink oink! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wham Bam Thank you Nahm!

Nahm..... the 32nd best restaurant in the world and we were THERE! And it was fabulous - a great culmination of a week of fabulous Thai feasting. Nahm's menu was inspired by David Thompson's studies into old Thai cookbooks. He also produced a cookbook called "Thai Street Food" and we definitely tasted some refined versions of the tasty street vendor fare. How could you choose from a 6 page menu, so we went for the set menu - a selection of canapes for entree, followed by one of each of the soup, salad, stir fry, curry and relish, and then dessert. Our eyes were a bit bigger than our stomachs, but it was delicious. 

Our Menu

The canapes arrived at the table to kick the meal off. They were fresh little bites. The smoked fish, peanut and tapioca dumpling reminded us of a dish we'd not been so fond of earlier in the week - this was obviously the right way to cook tapioca! The salted threadfin perch with ginger, chilli and green mango on betel leaves was a flavour combo to be enjoyed in one bite. 

This was so spicy it nearly blew our mouths away, and had us giggling for a while, whilst sipping on our Thai cocktails and beer. We cooled down our mouths with some watermelon and mango dipped in toasted coconut before tackling the prawn and coconut wafers with pickled ginger.

For main, we had the one of all the different sections of the menu:
Salad - Salad of fresh water crayfish with pork and Asian pennywort
Soup - Clear soup of roast duck with Thai basil and young coconut
Relish - Minced prawn and pork simmered in coconut cream with young chillies, red shallots and coriander with fresh vegetables and deep fried cured carp

Curry - Aromatic curry of wagyu beef and sweet potatoes with cucumber relish
Stir Fry - Scallops stir-fried with spring onions and chilli

The wagyu beef curry was definitely the highlight. Melt in your mouth slow cooked falling apart meat infused with delicious spice flavours. The scallops was a close second. Perfectly cooked and tasty!

We really didn't need dessert! Sooooo full! But this is what we had 
Lychee in scented syrup with Thai Cup cakes
Sweet Thai wafers with poached persimmons and golden duck egg noodles.

The sweet Thai wafers were definitely an adaption of the street food that we had tried earlier in the week. These wafers though were crispy and creamy and juicy! 

The lychee was cool on our tongues and refreshing. The cup cakes were also a reminder of the markets throughout the week with the surprising (but not as surprising this time) salty, savoury spring onion mixture in the middle of the sweet batter.

32 in the world..... Amazing (but we rekon some Sydney restaurants are better!)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Game for Jamie!

Me and Jamie! See we have this game. Jamie writes cookbooks with a time limit and show me how to make them on TV and I try to match his time. I am sure it's a game you've played before too!

Jamie makes these stunning meals in such a short time. My goal is not only to get them done in a similar time, but make them look as close as possible to his version! And sometimes, I am pretty darn close. The other day I beat all my records (but not Jamie's) and cooked his 30 min roast beef in 40 minutes. Pretty good since the kitchen didn't look like a hurricane had been through it. We're down to 25 ish mins for his 15 min dishes. Quite impressive really, considering we would spend 25 mins faffing about with a salad if not under the pressure of the clock.

What I love most about Jamie's dishes are the family style rusticness of them and even though I don't have the crockery to match, I think I do a good job. I'll hone my skills and be an expert one day but by that time, he'll probably have released a 5 min meals version to contend with!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Gerard's Bistro, Brisbane: "Can I eat this everyday?"

Oysters with Pomegranate
When we were up in Brisbane the other day, we booked early enough to get a table at Gerard's Bistro. I had been scouring the internet, twittersphere and blogs for restaurant ideas and I'd come across a few posts about Gerard's which it turns out is the "Best New Restaurant 2013." The menu looked a bit out of the ordinary with the Middle Eastern twist on the dishes, which caught my eye, and the realistic prices also made me think that we were on to a winner!

Slow Roasted Wagyu Brisket
Winner it was! I loved the passion that all of the staff brought to their descriptions of the food, and the casual but classy atmosphere. We were watching a group next to us tucking in to what turned out to be one of the house specialties  the slow roasted Wagyu Brisket, and we couldn't get past it, so after a couple of oysters each and a charcuterie plate, we were brought our board with the melt in the mouth, tender beef and interesting veggie sides.

Spiced Date Cream

One comment from the table was "Can I eat this every day?" Yes....It was that good!

After polishing off that lip licking deliciousness, we got a dessert for the table to share - the spiced date
cream. It looked stunning and finished off a gorgeous meal perfectly whilst still allowing us to remember the piece de resistance, the gorgeous Brisket. We'll be back again the first opportunity we can get!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pork Belly Perfection

Babi Guling
I was inspired by the My Kitchen Rules Winners, Dan and Steph, to make Babi Guling, a  Balinese roast pork belly. So, I found a recipe in one of my Gourmet Traveller Magazines, bought a couple of pork bellies for our dinner party, and ground the fabulous paste to marinade the pork. I haven't had much luck with pork belly in the past, so I was starting from scratch in my mind, hoping it would go as nicely as Dan and Steph's turned out on MKR. It looked so good, and was exactly the kind of flavour combinations we love.

What an amazing result! Tender, juicy pork, with an amazing flavour, and an impressive crackling (although I didn't follow the recipe on this one - instead of brushing the skin with turmeric, I sprinkled some ground turmeric on and oiled it up as usual) Just delicious!

Laksa Leftovers
The question I always have with amazing roast dinners, is what to do with the leftovers. Chicken is easy - I just add it to a salad. I have a great recipe for filo parcels for leftover roast lamb. Nothing though for Pork. This pork leftovers had that amazing paste running through it - mildly spicy with a great curry flavour. Perfect I decided for Laksa. All I needed was some noodles, coconut milk, stock, fried tofu, chilli, and some veg to throw in and out came a delicious Laksa!

Winner dishes that will be a definite addition to our regular repertoire!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fab Crab

I am not normally a big crab eater. I love the taste, so am happy to use crab meat in recipes and munch on a soft shell crab sushi roll or crab cakes but for a full crab in it's shell I really have to be in the mood for the fuss. Recently when in the US, the Boiling Crab Restaurant came highly recommended, and a bunch of us from work decided to make the trip. The first highlight of the evening was when were picked up from our hotel, not in a Maxi-taxi that we'd ordered, but instead a stretch limo! Oh, the irony! Of all places to be arriving in a limo.....From the sublime to the ridiculous!

Crab in the bag!
After bibbing up with full frontal heavy duty bibs, the food started to arrive. At a restaurant called Boiling Crab, you have to of course have crab. We tried King Crab Claws and Dungeness Crab, as well as Shrimps (commonly known by us Aussies as King Prawns), Corn and Cajun Fries. Rather than plates, they arrive in large plastic bags full of delicious sauce drenched seafood. You dig into the plastic bag and just chuck the shells on the table. Sounds messy? It was!!! I am not shy of getting into a mess in the kitchen, or at the dining table, but this has to be the messiest meal I've ever enjoyed. And enjoy we did!

My colleague, also a foodie, who regularly frequents this restaurant, had a sixth sense of how much to order so the piles of seafood that arrived at the table which seemed like we'd never get through ended up being the perfect quantity! We feasted until we were crabbed and prawned out, cracking open the shells and sucking the juicy flesh from claws! Fabulous crab in a fun place where I didn't mind the fuss!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Feaster Easter

Normally at Easter we seem to be entertaining overseas visitors. Typically we end up camping but this time, with an onslaught of many guests we decided to stay at home. This was the first Easter feast that we would prepare at home but we wanted to make sure we had an Aussie Outdoor BBQ feel. Knowing that it is expensive to get steak in the Philippines (that we learnt first hand from showing up at a mall steakhouse only to find that the price of a steak there was more than a meal at Kingsleys or Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney) we decided to do a traditional Aussie BBQ with steak and homemade snags.

As an over achiever in the kitchen though, I couldn't stop at that. We needed to showcase some other Aussie fare. We had a cracker of a kangaroo dish - sous vide style - which I replicated for the guests but with just taster forks of the tender meat, along with some prawns and seafood sauce. You can't get much more Aussie than that!

Of course dessert was pavlova - 2 in fact to feed 18- the largest table we have ever hosted. The Aussie Easter feast kicked the festivities off for a great fun weekend.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Toblerone Tipple

I was looking for a simple cocktail dessert to go with a Jamie's 30 Minute Meal I was preparing and went back to my (late) childhood to a dessert I remember my parents making.

It's a quick an easy recipe - perfect for the 30 minute meal concept and I've no idea where it came from, but I've suitably adapted it from the original!

This recipe does come with a warning. It's perfect for the boozy Sweet Adventures Blog Hop cocktail blog hop hosted by JJ from 84th&3rd and is inspired not only by my childhood, but my hubbie's recipe for the Toblerone creamy cocktail!

Toblerone Tipple - makes 6 low ball or large wine glasses

600ml thickened cream
250g mascarpone cheese
4 tablespoons honey
1 x 30ml measure of each of the following liqueurs:
Sabra (Israeli choc. orange liqueur, could substitute with Cointreau but not quite as good)
24 Chocolate Chip cookies
Sprinkle of cocoa for serving

Whip the thickened cream until just before it forms stiff peaks;
Add the mascarpone and honey and whip a little more till just combined;
Mix the 4 liqueurs in a plate or shallow bowl;
Spoon a layer of cream on the bottom of each glass;
Dip 6 chocolate chip cookies in the liqueur mix and leave to soak for a few seconds;
Place one choc chip cookie in each glass;
Layer again alternating between cream and soaked cookies - I did 3 layers with 2 biscuits halved for each top layer, as the glass was wider at the top, but you can do 4 layers if you prefer;
If there is excess liqueur mix, drizzle this over the final layer of cookies;
End the layering process with a final layer of cream;
Cool in the fridge until ready to serve;
Just prior to serving sprinkle a little coooa over the top before digging in.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fabulousness in 15 (and a bit)

Crispy Duck 
I'm back on my Jamie bandwagon. I received his 15 Minute Meals book for Christmas and we've already tried quite a few of the recipes. What I have loved is that, although it doesn't take me 15 minutes yet (and my hubbie, when I timed him, took 26 mins) is that he encourages multi-tasking. Whilst something is searing, instead of watching it, I'm blitzing, chopping, marinading so that no time is wasted and a complete dish reaches the table all at the same time.

Chicken with 6 Veg Ragu
I love the variety of proteins and the way that he prepares them sometimes is quite unusual. We've had the Crispy Duck which also includes tofu and is the first time my hubbie has been able to palate it. We've tried a few dishes with lentils and all of the meals have lots of different types of vegetables, salad that are great supplements to get the veggie count for the day up eg. he often uses radishes and sprouts - things that I wouldn't ordinarily put on a salad, but they fit really nicely with the dishes and make the dish extra healthy!

Finally, I love getting the most out of my beloved Kenwood Chef. I can make the dressings blitzing them in the little jars, slice the veg in the food processor and liquidise sauces all with the same machine!

I think the book was made for cooks like me - gadget lovers needing some speedy after work ideas, who enjoy preparing and eating fresh, healthy produce!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Zuppa Inglese Gelato

When I heard of the License to Chill Sweet Adventures Blog Hop hosted by the Kitchen Crusader, I was really excited because one of my favourite kitchen appliances is our ice cream maker. I was thinking of all the different flavours of ice cream that I am still to make....hmmm.... rum and raisin.... rocky road......ZUPPA INGLESE!

When I was in Italy as a kid over 20 years ago, I discovered this amazing gelato - half creamy, custardy ice cream and half trifle. Then, when we were in Florence on our honeymoon and on the day of my birthday I discovered it again! I started doing a bit of research on what exactly is in a Zuppa Inglese - the original trifle, rather than the gelato variety, and it turns out that it is savoiardi biscuits soaked in an Italian liqueur called Alchermes, a spirit infused with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla flavours. Not having come across this before in Sydney (although I'd love to find it) I decided to replicate the flavours in my Zuppa Inglese Gelato and soak the biscuits in Pipeclay Tawny Port from Pieter van Gent winery in Mudgee which has many similar flavours through it - I'm sure you could substitute with any Australian Tawny to get the same effect as my dessert.

Zuppa Inglese Gelato

500ml Milk
125ml Cream
Cinammon stick
1 vanilla pod (I used 1 teaspoon of Queen Vanilla Bean Paste instead of the real thing)
8 cloves
5 egg yolks
110g caster sugar
8 Savoiardi Biscuits
125 ml Pipeclay Tawny Port
Cocoa powder to sprinkle

Put milk, cream, cinammon stick, vanilla pod (or paste), cloves into a saucepan over a low heat;
Separate the eggs, and beat the yolks with the sugar until the mixture is thick, creamy and looks like a ribbon when you lift the whisk out of the bowl;
When the milk mixture is a at almost boiling (you can see little bubbles starting to appear around the edge of the saucepan), pour quickly into the egg mixture. Be careful to keep the cinnamon stick in the saucepan when you pour it;
Whisk it all together for a few seconds, till combined, and then pour it back into the saucepan;
Stir constantly with a wooden spoon over a low heat until the custard thickens. You'll know it's ready when the custard coats the back of the wooden spoon, and holds the position when you run your finger through it;
Sieve the custard into a jug or bowl, and discard the cinnamon sticks and cloves;
Cool the custard in the fridge;
When the custard is cold, churn in the ice cream maker according to the instructions;
Once churned, it's time to layer the gelato and soaked savioardi biscuits;
Soak the savioardis in the Tawny Port till they are completely covered by the port, but not totally soaked through;
Layer one scoop of gelato with half a savioardi; repeat this twice but in the 3rd layer use a whole savioardi and finish by a layer of the gelato;
Put back in the freezer until ready to serve;
Serve sprinkled with some cocoa powder.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Gie her a Haggis

I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm originally from Scotland. Us Scots are a proud bunch and love to party, so what better occasion than a Burns Supper, the celebration of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, to get back to my Scottish heritage with some festivities and food.

The real purpose of Burns Night for Scots overseas is the opportunity to eat haggis, the infamous dish traditionally encased in the stomach of a sheep. In the olden days, haggis was a poor mans' dish. The innards, typically lungs, of the animals were bulked out by oatmeal and heavy spiced to disguise the grim flavours of the off cuts and innards of the animals. Nowadays, especially in Scotland, where there were limitations on using some parts of the animal due to mad cow disease, we are much more choosy of what we stuff into our haggis and it wouldn't be any different to what you would find in a sausage. The casing too, is now similar to a sausage casing rather than being the stomach of the sheep. The spices and shape though still remain, to take us back to our roots.

Talking of roots, haggis is traditionally served with specific root vegetables, neeps and tatties - translated that is mashed turnips (or swede actually) and mashed potatoes. Typically, as whisky lovers, it's also served with a whisky sauce or just a splash of whisky poured over the meat to add some moisture and flavour.

One of the most important traditions of a Burns Supper is having the haggis piped into the room by a kilted bagpiper and the address to the haggis, originally written by Robert Burns, being recited. At our Burns Supper we were true to tradition. The sounds of the bagpipes resonating around Glebe would have been heard all up and down Glebe Point Road, probably confusing the locals dining in other restaurants! We were too busy enjoying the dramatic spearing of the haggis during the reciting of the Ode to a Haggis, and the shots of whisky to toast it (any excuse!).

"Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware; 
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis"
(extract from Robert Burns, Ode to a Haggis)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

MasterChef Professional: Being a Winner!

Me and my Mate Marco
I won!!!!!! I don't normally win things but, apart from the lottery, there was nothing better I could think of that would be better than winning a Pre-screening of MasterChef Professionals, which started last Sunday. So off we went to Fox Studios to see the kick off of what promises to be "the most challenging food competition yet." Of course, I've been looking forward to Marco and Matt putting the pros through some gruelling challenges, so it was pretty exciting. What I had failed to remember in the excitement of winning something, was that Marco and Matt were also going to be there answering questions. With only another 20 or so people there there was plenty of opportunity to hear from Matt and Marco on Australian food culture, MasterChef behind the scenes, favourite moments from the series, George and Gary ability to let go and Marco's reputation for making Gordon Ramsay cry. What a great afternoon and an amazing opportunity to meet an amazing food great (oh, and Matt Preston!)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mojito Sorbet

Thinking of tropical climes, for the Sweet Adventure Blog Hop hosted this month by Nic from Dining with a Stud, always makes me crave a great cocktail - something refreshing and cool to soothe the sizzle of the day. There are some classics I love when on vacation like Pina Colada or Sex on the Beach, but one of the most refreshing after a long day on the beach is a Mojito, zesty lime and muddled mint with a hit of rum and plenty of ice. Delicious!

And, what better to cool you down during these hot evenings than a sorbet. I decided to have my cake cocktail, and eat it too with this easy to prepare, fun to eat summer dessert

Mojito Sorbet

1 cup of caster sugar
1 cup water
rind of 2 limes
juice of 5 limes
1/4 cup of loose mint leaves sliced thinly + whole leaves to garnish
60ml bacardi

Make a sugar syrup by dissolving the caster sugar in the cup of water. Leave to cool;
Mix the remaining ingredients (reserving some whole mint leaves for garnish) into the cooled sugar syrup;
Churn in the ice cream maker following the instructions of the machine;
Serve in Martini glasses decorated with a mint leaf as a refreshing end to a summer meal.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Food: Transforming America's Table

Food: Transforming America's Table

Food: Transforming America's Table in the Smithsonian museum of American History had been open only for a month or so - just in time for our visit to Washington DC. It was a real highlight of the trip to become acquainted with some of America's celebrity chefs from the early days, and to see some of our favourites from top chef cooking with Julia Childs' early in their careers!

Julia's kitchen was replicated looking like she'd just walked out of it a few minutes earlier and her infamous recognisable chortle resounded around the place as if she was doing a demo right there!

Julia Child's Kitchen
Another fascinating exhibit case had appliances from the ages. It was the fondue set that caught my eye having just had an experience at a fondue restaurant on the West Coast. A crepe pan, pasta roller and Dutch oven  were displayed here again, perhaps to highlight the European influences to food culture in the US.

After about an hour in the food gallery, I dragged myself away and I decided I really should see the star spangled banner as a more traditional take on American history before immersing myself in the other sights of Washington DC and enjoying some of the modern food culture at the city's restaurants shaping the new food history!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Food Resolution

The end of the year is a good time to reflect on the year past and gear up for next year.

2012 was my year to master fish. I wouldn't say I am quite a master but I do have coral trout, scallops, bugs, salmon, snapper and whiting under my belt. I am no longer fearful of the fishys.

This year I received my amazing Kenwood mixer. We experimented with sausages and now have a few sizzlers up our sleeves for summer BBQs. I tried some great desserts in the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, attended my first pop up restaurant hosted by Kylie, Audra and Mindy of Masterchef fame, learnt and feasted during an amazing trip to Adelaide for Eat Drink Blog 2012 and discovered some new favourite recipes from my wonderful collection of magazines and books on our new food bookshelf! We are now set up for great success in 2013.

Armed with the Kenwood and some great new cool books from Jamie Oliver, Andy Allen and Gordon Ramsay we are heading well equipped into 2013. What will 2013 bring? MasterChef Pros is just around the corner to keep me occupied! Health kick, at least in Jan, more fresh produce to cook with and in winter I am going to augment my soup repertoire with M(i)sch(i)ef soup kitchen with an attempt to post some recipes! So, with that, let's crack open the champers, clink your glasses! Happy New Year and here's to 2013!
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