Saturday, 28 November 2009

raspberry friands

Back when I blogged on Xanga, I was making friands every other week (there are the blog posts for evidence). I'd alternate between blueberry and raspberry friands, made hazelnut friands when the berries got expensive and overtime, the boy started to get addicted to them. Then the friand making stopped when I started at LCB where I was making much fancier cakes, I started to buy a whole lot of cookbooks (which I continue to do) and well, let's just say that there are way too many recipes out there and the friand got left by the wayside.

The boy recently commented that I hadn't been making friands and that I should make them ('because I like them'). Whilst he supports my baking adventures and does his best to suggest improvements to everything I bake (usually it's me nagging at him going 'but what can I improve'? It can't be just good. It usually drives both him and my mum insane because I never settle for a cake being just good). His favourite is the friand and he'd rather have a friand over the other cakes that are out there.

I used the recipe from 'In the Kitchen' (making this recipe number 16 from the book!). The recipe only makes 9. I'm actually quite curious as to why every friand recipe I've come across either makes 9 or 10 friands. Not one recipe makes 12 friands (so why do I need a 12 hole friand pan?)
Top with raspberries.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. I'm a bit out of practice; my friands turned out a little brown (but still tasty).
Here they are!
I actually do enjoy baking friands but after every batch I make, I'm always left with the dilemna of what to do with the egg yolks. In the past, my dad has used them to add to his omelettes and fried rice, I made creme caramel once and well this time round, I did slightly better and flipped through 'In the Kitchen' (whilst the friands were baking) and found myself a recipe that had egg yolks in it (post to follow).

The boy was happy with his friand, as was mum (I'd say that they are the world's two biggest friand fans). For me. I'm glad that the boy got me to start baking friands again and hopefully I'll be baking some more in due time.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

the little snail @ murray st., pyrmont

To see mum off before she went to Tahiti, my aunt organised for a family lunch at The Little Snail at Pyrmont. They have a lunch special; 3 courses for $32 (would I be correct to say that it's the cheapest 3 course meal in Sydney?) Amongst us, a few of us had been and for the younger ones, they got quite excited, perused over the menu on their website and got there on the day and announced what they were having even before we had all sat down. It was actually my third time at The Little Snail but as always, wherever I go, I still had a good look through the menu and took my time to order.

If I had to pick out the best thing about the meal, it had to be this side of Chilli, cheese and honey bread. I questioned how this one would taste but it's one of those ones where you need to pop in your mouth and go 'Oh...this is good'.
Most of the table went for the Snails. I've had this before so didn't get it this time round. Should it be your first time at The Little Snail, my recommendation would be to try the snails, it only make sense if you have the Snails at The Little Snail!
Here's my entree - Carpaccio of fruitwood smoked salmon with lemon caviar aioli and vinaigrette dressed mixed leaves. Beautifully presented, simple and a great entree to balance some of the heavier second and third courses.
In the meantime, across the table, my cousin B ponders over the Pate du jour (homemade duck liver pate flavoured port and brandy served with Melba toast) he's ordered. There's definitely not enough toast for that pudding of Pate.
My main was meant to be the Slow Roasted Lamb set on ratatouille and mash with rosemary-infused port-wine demi-glaze. They advised that it was just a Roasted rack of lamb today with mash and peas. I still went for it; I was having a craving for lamb and this little baby did the trick.
Whilst eating my lamb, I scabbed off mum's Veal tenderloin with piquant cream sauce of smoked bacon, shallots, sun-ripened tomatoes, glazed potatoes and buttered beans. I found this one quite filling but lovely.
To my right was my cousin D who had the Grilled Tasmanian salmon on mascarpone enriched risotto and puree of sweet peas. I actually had this one last time (loved it, in particular the crispy layer of salmon skin!)
I told mum to get the Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and vanilla ice-cream. The slice of pudding was huge the last time I had it, it was noticeably smaller this time but still enough to fill you up.
My choice of dessert was the Handmade profiteroles with creme patisserie, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. I like this photo, it'll remind me of how the cream flopped over when my cousin C sneezed across the table :D
Overall, a lovely lunch out with family. By the end of the meal, I was forgiving about my Ice Lemon Tea fiasco (sorry guys but 3 times to get me my drink is a poor effort when you took the order and new exactly what I ordered but 1. forgot to bring it and brought everyone else's drink 2. Then giving me a peach tea when you knew it was a lemon tea 3. Getting another waitress to tell me I ordered a peach tea when the order was taken down as a lemon tea.) Argh...but seems like it's the curse of the Lemon Tea at the moment, similar thing happened at another place I ate at. Just waiting for the third strike as all bad things happen to come in lots of 3. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

blueberry & coconut muffins

It's been awhile since my last 'In the Kitchen' post but trust me, I haven't given up on this book yet. Recipe #15 was a batch of blueberry & coconut muffins baked in a spare moment on a weekend. I just remember there being an urge to bake and within seconds, I was opening up kitchen drawers, pulling things out and no sooner was the batch of blueberry & coconut muffins in the oven baking, I was flipping through the book, and mixing up my next recipe.

Anyway, let's start off with the blueberry & coconut muffins. Whenever I bake now, it's an opportunity for J to practice his photography - look how focused I look in this pic! Haha!
Muffin batter doesn't take long to whip up. The trick is to keep the batter lumpy - don't overmix.
I've seen others neatly scoop out batter with an ice cream scoop but for me, 2 spoons seem to do the trick.
This batch took about 15 minutes to cook. Generally if your muffins are looking like this (golden brown and crunchy on top), they're ready.
I love muffins when they come out of the oven (they smell great and taste great too). This recipe used coconut cream so had quite a rich texture to it - having the one will probably keep you quite full.

So continuing my praises for 'In the Kitchen', this recipe was a real charm and definitely one that I'll use again. I found that with the coconut cream in the recipe, it was better for these muffins to be kept in the fridge and then reheated in the microwave; this way they just seemed to keep for a bit longer. Strangely enough, the recipe only makes 10 muffins but you could always double up the recipe if you need to. Anyway, I've got so many cookbooks fighting for my attention at the moment, will have to keep this post short and sweet!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

bills @ crown st., surry hills

So I'm a pretty big fan of Bill Granger; love his cookbooks, love his recipes and well, if only he could publish a few more cookbooks a year, I'd buy them all! His books are the ones I refer to constantly and end up cooking from most of the time; love how simple he makes cooking and so far, all the recipes I've tried from his books have turned out superb (it's great also that most of the ingredients he asks for are ingredients you can readily find at home). Long have I been wanting to go to try his restaurants (esp. brunch) so when J asked me to pick a place for dinner in Surry Hills, it had to be Bills!

Sourdough with ricotta and olive tapenade. An extra slice of sourdough would have been good to use up all the ricotta and olive tapenade.
They've changed the menu since J&I ate here and I'm sad to see that the slow roasted lamb is off the menu. Boo hoo!
Grilled Angus sirloin with herbed fries and anchovy butter. I do love a flavoured butter (especially after trying the truffle butter at Tetsuya's) - this anchovy butter complimented the sirloin perfectly.
Coming to Bills, I was probably the most excited about trying his desserts (yes, I'm usually excited about dessert but even more so when you talk about Bill Granger!) Here's Bill's signature chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce and creme fraiche (loved the chocolate pudding but wasn't so sure about the creme fraiche, I reckon it could've done without as the chocolate is already quite dense). Behind is the Buckwheat crepe with caramelised banana and honeyed pecans (probably my favourite of the two but quite a big serving, under the crepe you'll find yourself two whole bananas).
J's hot chocolate speckled with chocolate buttons.
The meal was everything I expected it to be. Simple food which yes, you might be able to cook at home but which you don't, because you're better off coming to eat it here. There's just a natural charm about Bill and his food which I find ever so welcoming and I really, really want to come here for brunch. Anyone care to join me?

Service here was immaculate and I admire how the staff carry themselves. My jaw dropped listening to the demands of a lady that was dining next to me, so glad my waitressing days are over! Kudos to Bill and your team of lovely staff!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

jamie oliver's chorizo & tomato omelette

I'm back home and also back with internet! Still not in the best health (I blame going to Macau; the two times I've been, both times I've returned home sick) but well, it's good to be back! Catching up on my favourite blogs, I'm absolutely gutted that I missed Adriano's Macaron B'day. The boy seems to think I'm being silly ('What would you do with 48 macarons?' to which my response was 'Eat them!') On another note, Max Brenner have launched a cookbook and 'I love macarons'; a book which I've had my eye on for the last couple of months is now available for sale on Fishpond! Work is busy, not quite crazy yet and well, this blog of mine has been a little neglected in the usual pattern of things.

This was a recipe I tried out prior to going on holidays. It's from Jamie's 'Jamie Dinners'; one of my favourite cookbooks at the moment. Lots of easy, no-fuss recipes and this particular recipe for a chorizo and tomato omelette, Jamie claims you can knock up in 4 minutes and 58 seconds (it falls under the chapter of '5 minute wonders'). I didn't actually time myself but I wouldn't imagine this recipe taking any more than 5 minutes. It's deadset easy!

Ingredients: Chorizo (sliced thickly), ripe tomato (deseeded and sliced), parsley, eggs, fresh red chilli, sea salt and pepper, spring onion.
Cook the chorizo in the frying pan with a little extra virgin oil.
To the chorizo, add the tomato and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, chilli and season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pan with the chorizo mix. Using a fork, mix the eggs around in the pan a little and then throw in the spring onion.
Fry the eggs till set.
My omelette ended up looking like a pizza! Anyway, I had my omelette with some buttered toast.

Loved how colourful the omelette turned out and with me improvising with the ingredient proportions, this recipe ended up serving 3. The recipe in Jamie's book serves 1 (and to be honest I didn't think I'd add much more ingredients to his list) so I think the recipes might be a tad larger than your average 'serving size'.

There should be a few more posts of recipes from this book. I'm having a bit of a crush on Jamie at the moment!