Friday 30 April 2010

April 2010 - Stuffed Mushrooms with Gorgonzola Dressing

With a recipe like Valli Little's Baked Caramel Cheesecake with Toffee Shards on the front cover of issue #92 how could you possibly go wrong. Unfortunately I sort of did, you see I didn't make Valli's cheesecake. I decided that I should make something for a weekend lunch from this issue and instead of choosing Poh's Char Kway Teow, Curtis Stone's Risoni, Roast Tomato & Capsicum Salad, Valli's Chorizo, Corn & Black Bean Salad with Tortillas or Jill Dupleix's Lentil Fritters with Labne I made Andy Bunn's Stuffed Mushroom with Gorgonzola Dressing.

Now to be fair, the actual stuffed mushroom was very good, I did leave out the anchovies though. The beans with it were a very nice with the mushroom and filled it out to be a bit more of a meal. It was just the dressing and, to be honest, I think that may have been my fault. I didn't have any sunflower oil to make the dressing out of so instead I used macadamia oil instead, which I always thought was a rather neutral oil. The dressing tasted terrible and I suspect that my oil may have been rancid. I would recommend the actual stuff mushroom but I don't really know about the dressing. Don't make it with macadamia nut oil if you do try it though...

Stuffed Mushrooms with Gorgonzola Dressing

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8 anchovies, roughly chopped
  • 3 c (210 g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 c (80 g) grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 large flat mushrooms
  • 250 g Roman (flat) beans, trimmed and steamed until just cooked
Gorgonzola Dressing
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp hot English mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 100 ml sunflower oil
  • 20 g gorgonzola piccante
  • Preheat oven to 200 C.
For Dressing:
  • Whiz egg yolk, garlic, mustard & vinegar in a food processor until combined.
  • With the motor running add oil drop by drop at first, then in a steady stream until thick.
  • Add gorgonzola and process until smooth. Set aside.
For Mushrooms:
  • Heat butter and 1 tbsp oil in fry pan. Add onion, garlic and anchovies and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is soft and anchovies dissolve, about 8 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in breadcrumbs, parmesan and parsley and season with salt & pepper.
  • Remove stalks from mushrooms and place on oiled baking tray.
  • Top with breadcrumb mixture, drizzle with oil and bake 15 minute or until topping golden and mushroom soft.
  • Divide beans between plates and top with a mushroom and drizzle with dressing.

Stuffed Mushroom with gorgonzola dressing

April 2009 - Baked Meatballs with Tomato & Tamarind Sauce

I am not even going to faff about with what I could have made from issue #81 because while there were a couple of possibilities nothing interested me as much as the recipe that I ended up making. Bill Granger's Baked Meatballs with Tomato & Tamarind Sauce caught my eye and I decided that I must try it.

I have tamarind in my pantry although it doesn't get used very often. I have loved everything that I have had it in though and this was no exception. The meatballs being baked were great. I didn't have to worry about accidentally breaking them when turning like I have a habit of doing when I fry them in the pan. I think next time I make this, and there will be a next time rather soon I think, I will put them on baking paper in a tray so that I can use less oil. The meatballs could have had a bit more zing although that is all dependent on what type of chilli you use. I didn't have any fresh chilli so I used a small amount of sambal oelek, I will know for next time that more is needed.

The sauce for the meatballs had just the right amount of sweet and sour. I did add a little bit too much tamarind so the colour was a bit darker than the picture of Bill's and I needed to adjust the sugar slightly. I think next time I will use palm sugar instead of regular and use a splash of fish sauce instead of the salt.

Bill suggested serving this wonderful dish with a currant & cashew pilaf, english spinach raita and mint sambal. I, unfortunately just didn't have time to make it all so I served it with some plain rice. I stirred in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach leaves to the sauce and topped with a dollop of natural yoghurt. It was a very enjoyable meal and one that will definitely be added to the often made list.

Baked Meatballs with Tomato & Tamarind Sauce

Serves 4


500g minced beef or lamb (I used beef)
1 small onion, grated (I just chopped very finely)
55g fresh white breadcrumbs
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, plus extra to garnish (I used all parsley)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 red chilli, seeded, finely chopped (I used a bit of sambal oelek)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

Tomato and tamarind sauce

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced (I sliced in half and the slice half-rounds)
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
2 x 425g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tamarind pulp (or 2 tbsp lime juice)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 220C.
  • Combine all the ingredients, except the oil, in a large bowl. Mix gently with your hands, then shape into small balls.
  • Toss the meatballs gently in the oil in a roasting tin and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, for the tomato and tamarind sauce.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium to low heat.
  • Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and turmeric and stir for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Then add the tomatoes, tamarind, sugar, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the meatballs into a frying pan with the sauce and stir carefully until the meatballs are coated in sauce then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with rice, raita and any other Indian condiments you may have.

Tomato & Tamarind Meatballs

Wednesday 28 April 2010

April 2008 - Jamie Oliver's Potato & Rosemary Rolls

Issue #70 is just packed full of wonderful recipes and I went back and forth trying to decide what to make. The luscious chocolate fondant with mint chocolate ice cream on the cover looked so rich and lovely. The mint ice cream would have just been a wonderful touch. I am not a huge fan of chocolate fondants though. They always look so good but I find myself strangely disappointed with them. I think it normally has to do with the quality of the chocolate used to make them. I don't have any decent chocolate in the house at present so there is no point making them.

The Roast Capsicum & Tomato Soup with Spinach & Goat's Cheese Muffins looked really good and would make a lovely lunch time meal. However, red capsicums were ridiculously expensive when I went to buy some. I thought that I could just make the muffins, but discovered that the smell in the fridge that had been getting worse and worse was actually the goat's cheese...oh dear, what a waste, so no muffins either.

Phillip Johnson's Poached Quinces sounded really nice and there was also a Spiced Quince Trifle recipe that used the poached quinces. All of it sounded so great. The poaching liquid is nicely spiced with vanilla, cloves, star anise and cinnamon but it used a whole kilo of caster sugar! That is for 6 quinces but it is still a lot of sugar. Plus quinces still haven't hit the stores here yet. I would have thought that the would be in stock by now, hopefully they will show up soon.

Jill Dupleix's Kumara & Pancetta Tart was another option. This is a very easy looking tart and with the addition of a nice green salad would make a wonderful lunch. I am always looking for things that I can make for lunches as I come home from work for lunch and need to have things that I can grabs relatively quickly. I don't want to be cooking when I come home so things like this tart and salads are great especially in the summer. It is getting easier now as the days are starting to cool down so I can just heat up some left overs, and I have nice soups and stews in the fridge to keep me going. I ended up using my kumara in a meal on the weekend so didn't have any to make the tart with.

In the end I decided to make Jamie Oliver's Potato & Rosemary rolls as I had made Chorizo & Bean soup last night and I thought that the rolls would go really well with the left over soup for lunches for the rest of the week, and probably into the weekend. This was a really easy recipe to make. I only made half of it as a full recipe makes 12 rolls and that is too many for me to eat before they are stale and while I realise that I could freeze them, they just wouldn't be the same. The dough came together quickly and I loved the addition of the semolina into the dough. The flavoured oil that the potatoes were doused in was terrific, although I did find that the anchovy flavour didn't blend as much as I would have hoped. I would probably leave them out the next time and just add a touch more salt. I would highly recommend making these, they are easy and tasty.

Potato & Rosemary Rolls

Makes 6


  • 100 g fine semolina
  • 400 g strong flour (I needed probably another 50 - 100 g as it was quite sticky)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 7 g (2 tsp) dry active yeast (or 1 sachet)
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 325 ml lukewarm water
  • Pile semolina and flour onto a clean surface and sprinkle over salt.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in half the water and then add yeast and sugar to the water.
  • Leave for a few minutes for the yeast to start to froth and then start mixing in the flour until you have a slurry then add the rest of the water. Work in the rest of the flour and knead for 5 minutes or until you have a smooth springy dough.
  • Put it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Knock back and then flatten out with your hands. Sprinkle with potato mixture (below) and fold over, then knead to mix in the potato.
  • Divide into six (or more if you want smaller rolls) and place on a greased tray. Place in a warm place for 20 minutes to rise.
  • Pre-heat oven to 200 C while rolls are proving.
  • Drizzle over a little olive oil and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until cooked through and golden.
Potato Mixture
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked, roughly chopped (I didn't chop them)
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 350 g boiled potatoes, roughly broken up (still warm)
  • Crush garlic, rosemary and lemon zest with a little sea salt in a mortar & pestle.
  • Pound in the anchovies, stir in oil, lemon juice and a few pinches of pepper.
  • Scrape mixture into a bowl, add still warm potatoes and toss to combine.

Potato & Rosemary Rolls

Potato & Rosemary roll

April 2007 - Coddled Eggs

While looking through issue #59 for what to make it wasn't really a difficult decision. As I thought that it was about time that I picked something that could be made for breakfast/brunch again.

I did, however, briefly consider the slow-cooked lamb shoulder with pumpkin agrodolce and wilted spinach from the feature article on the launch of the Dutch edition of delicious and Jamie Oliver's Fifteen in Amsterdam. The lamb is rubbed with a combination of fennel seeds, garlic, oil and salt and slow cooked. The pumpkin is slices of pumpkin in coated in a mixture of herbs spices, onion, garlic, vinegars and sugar and then roasted. It all sounds so full of flavour and a wonderful meal to make on a weekend when you have plenty of time. I had already decided to make a lamb dish from the previous issue though so wanted something different from this one.

There were two options that I though would work for breakfast/brunch. The first was Valli Little's Egg & Bacon Pizzas. Lovely little individual pizzas topped with sundried tomato pesto, mozzarella, eggs, bacon and cherry tomatoes. They looked really nice and I am sure they would make a nice lunch or a light dinner but I wanted a more traditional breakfast food. So I decided to go with Jamie Oliver's Coddled Eggs. I had never made coddled eggs before. I have had them but had just never made them. I really like coddled eggs but after making Jamie's recipe and then looking around at a few other recipes his seems to lack one ingredient, a drizzle of cream and to be honest, I think it really missed it. While I enjoyed it, it was not as good as ones that I have had in the past. I will admit to having over cooked slightly, however I think that the little bit of cream I found in a lot of other recipes would have helped the texture and the richness of the dish. Jamie also suggested serving with sautéed asparagus. I had ended up using the asparagus that I bought for something else so I served it with toast fingers instead.

Coddled Eggs

Serves 2

  • 2 tbps finely grated parmesan
  • 4 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • grated fresh nutmeg
  • Preheat oven to 190 C.
  • Grease two ramekin or oven-proof cups (I used my mini enamelled cast iron pan), then sprinkle the parmesan around the inside of the dish.
  • Put 2 eggs & 1 yolk in each dish, being careful not to crack the yolks.
  • Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • Cover dish with foil and place in a tray and pour in hot water until it reaches the same level as the eggs.
  • Bake for 12 - 15 minuted or until the white is set but yolks are still runny.

Coddled Eggs with toast

Monday 26 April 2010

April 2006 - Pistachio-crusted Lamb Racks

At some point during the tossing and turning as to which recipe to make from issue #48 I thought about making the cover recipe of Pea & Haloumi Fritters. They look really good and would make a nice lunch time meal. I also considered Rick Stein's Cornish Pasties. They looked exceptional and I really like pasties but I really wanted to make an evening meal from this issue.

There is a beautifully rich looking Daube of Lamb with Pappardelle recipe from Gordon Ramsay. I had most of the ingredients, except for the lamb and some of the vegetables. It served 4 although I always find that portions are a bit too generous and I often end up with 6 serves from these types of recipes. I also always find that to make these types of dishes it just doesn't work correctly halved. It really is a case of the full recipe or none at all.

I then considered making the Warm Risoni, Chickpea & Kumara Salad. It did sound quite nice and reasonably light, even though there is pasta in it. However, with the weather starting to turn cool in the evenings and I wanted something a bit more like winter food.

In the end I went back to the recipe that was the first to catch my eye in this issue and the one that I kept tossing up on whether to make, Valli Little's Pistachio-crusted Lamb Racks. I really wanted to make this as I really like lamb but at the same time I thought that a rack of lamb might be a bit too expensive. I managed to find a nice one that didn't cost too much and in the end got three meals out of it so it probably was worth it. This was really nice. The mint and the pistachios combined nicely, it was slightly oily but not too bad. It was slightly fiddly to make but worth it. The only problem I had was that it took almost double the time to roast that it stated in the recipe. I am not really sure why. It is hard to tell whether my rack was bigger than the one in the magazine, I don't think so. Due to this the sautéed potatoes that I did to go with them were a bit overcooked and then only just warm by the time they were served. When I served the last of I cut some kumara in to chunks and drizzled with olive oil and chilli honey and then roasted them in the oven and also sautéed some finely sliced cabbage with some bacon and onion. I actually think this was a better combination than the potatoes and mixed vegetables. I would definitely make this again. It would be perfect for a special meal, although if you were following the recipe, to serve 6, it would probably be quite an expensive one.

Pistachio-crusted lamb rack

Pistachio-crusted lamb rack

Saturday 24 April 2010

April 2005 - Gingernuts

I have been rather neglectful of this poor little blog of late. I have been cooking up a storm but just have not had a chance to sit down and write to posts. Well, that is not exactly true, there has been times when I could have been writing but some how it just never seemed to happen. I guess that I just need to right motivation to write and the urge just did not hit until tonight.

I struggled with what to make from issue #37. It was not struggling in a nothing I want to cook way, it was the constant swaying back and forth as to which of the lovely recipes to make.

The first recipe that I was going to make was Juliet Kellow's Mediterranean Salmon. Juliet is a registered dietitian and has a column about super foods in delicious magazine. The Mediterranean Salmon is basically salmon fillets, thick sliced potatoes, garlic, cherry tomatoes and herbs that are baked in the oven for various lengths of time. The picture accompanying looks so good and I had fully intended on making this but I could never seem to find a nice piece of salmon to make it.

The next recipe that I really wanted to make was from the guest chef for the month, Tyler Florence. His recipe for Mexican Street Tacos with Pico de Gallo looked sensational. The recipe was packed full of all those flavours you would expect from Mexican food, chilli, lime, garlic and, unfortunately, coriander. I wanted so much to make this, even though I though it would be difficult to reduce the two recipes. Unfortunately since I do not (will not) eat coriander and I just did not think that it could be substituted without it really effecting the taste so I decided to cut my losses and make something else.

I moved on to planning to make a very simple but tasty sounding dish from the Junior Cooks column called Savoury Vegetable Puddings. It is basically vegetables, they used carrots and peas, in a thick cheesy batter in individual ramekins topped with breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. It sounds so simple and could easily be made with different vegetables. I had planned on broccoli, carrots and corn. I was going to have it with a nice steak however I just seemed to keep putting it off and then I had other meals planned so I decided make something else.

The final recipe that I was tossing up making and the one that I finally settled on was Bill Granger's Gingernuts. I really like ginger biscuits/cookies. I have a really nice recipe from my Mum's old Better Homes & Gardens cook book that is nice and gingery and rolled in sugar. I was drawn to these ones of Bill's as they used grated fresh ginger in place of the usual ground (dried) ginger. These were really easy to make, although I think that they could have done with a bit more ginger. I think next time I make them I will put in 4 or 5 tsp of grated fresh ginger just to give them more of a kick. They are lovely and soft and cakey, just the way I like them. I don't like the store bought gingernuts that are so hard they could break your teeth.


  • 2 cups (300g) plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 firmly packed cup (200g) brown sugar
  • 3 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 125g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp golden syrup
  • Preheat oven to 180 C
  • Put flour, soda, sugar, ginger and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.
  • Add butter and whiz until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • In a small bowl whisk egg and golden syrup together. Add to processor and whiz until it comes together. (I had to add about 1 - 2 tsp milk and finished combining with my hands.)
  • Roll teaspoons of dough and place on lightly greased trays. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes (I baked for 12) or until lightly browned.


Saturday 17 April 2010

April 2004 - Quick Beef Stroganoff

This is the second magazine in a row where the cover recipe looks so good that it is hard to resist making it. However the amount of chocolate in The Ultimate Chocoholics Muffin is just too much for me to eat at the moment.

I was going to make the Country Chicken & Vegetable Pie. It looks so good and was one of only two recipes that I had marked in this issue. The creamy filling topped by a lard and butter pastry looks pretty glorious. It seems to be an easy recipe and I am sure that it would be tasty. I hope to make it one day. I seem to be building up a lot of recipes that I want to come back to. These are all added to the huge amount of recipes that I have bookmarked from other blogs and websites. Then, of course, there are the ones that I have already tried but are so good that they have to be made again. There just does not seem to been enough days to make all these incredible recipes. This is especially so when I almost always end up with leftovers. It would be a lot easier if I could make just exactly enough to feed me.

While the chicken pie looked really good, a couple of weeks ago I was looking for something quick and easy to make for in dinner after work. In the end I settled on the other recipe that I had marked in issue #26. Valli Little's Quick Beef Stroganoff was very easy to make, was quick and very tasty. Valli's serving suggestion was boiled potatoes and gherkins. I didn't want heavy potatoes with it so I steamed a piece of spaghetti squash and some green beans to serve with it. I enjoyed it enough to say that I would make it again when I am looking for a simple after work meal. It also helps that I normally have all the ingredients for it in my fridge/freezer, with the exception of the sour cream but it is not hard to pick that up on the way home.

Quick Beef Stroganoff

  • 600g fillet steak, thinly slice (I used eye fillet)
  • 1 1/2 tbs flour
  • 2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 250g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) brandy
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 300ml sour cream
  • Toss meat in a bowl with flour and paprika to coat.
  • Heat oil in a large frypan over high heat and fry steak quickly in batches for 1-2 minutes or until seared on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  • Reduce heat to medium-high, add butter and onion and cook for a few minutes until the onion starts to soften and colour.
  • Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then thyme and mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add brandy and stock and allow to bubble for a further minute.
  • Stir in sour cream, steak and any meat juices, then season with salt and pepper.

Quick Beef Stroganoff

Tuesday 13 April 2010

April 2003 - Beetroot Risotto with Goat's Cheese and Walnuts

Jamie Oliver's Chocolate Fridge Cake looks glorious on the cover of issue #15 doesn't it? It would have been nice to make it but after all the chocolate from the chocolate caramel tart last month I think that it is time to give chocolate a rest for a while. There are quite a lot of chocolate recipes and various other cakes and desserts in this issue. Most have an Easter theme to them, which is not surprising really. I have already made hot cross buns so I think that fulfilled my Easter cooking quota.

There are also a number of lovely features in this issue. One from Maggie Beer that featured some great recipes like a chunky potato salad or a very interesting braised green olives with roasted almonds. It is a shame that I am not particularly fond of green olives. I love black ones but the green ones always seem a bit bitter to me.

The feature from Bill Granger and Ben O'Donoghue includes a terrific looking roasted loin of pork and lovely glazed oven-roasted vegetables. I considered doing the vegetables but the dutch carrots were a bit limp and blah looking so I decided to do something else. I then considered Ian Parmenter's Moussaka recipe. I really enjoy moussaka It is a lovely combination of flavours, really a lasagne with eggplant instead of noodles. The problem with moussaka is that it makes so much and I find that it doesn't freeze as well as lasagne. I think that the eggplant tends to disintegrate when frozen so I would prefer to make it when I have people over for dinner so that I am not eating it for the next week.

The a - z ingredients this month is pumpkin. There is a lovely pumpkin soup recipe with a pumpkin seed pesto that sounded really interesting. However it was a bit warm to be making soup. The pumpkin & tomato curry looks terrific and I have to admit that I didn't really notice it before. Perhaps the rather large ingredient list made me skim over it without looking at it too hard. Looking at it now I have most of the ingredients already, I may come back to that one at some stage. There is also a very nice looking pumpkin pie recipe. I love pumpkin pie but I love my mum's recipe for pumpkin pie which uses evaporated milk in the filling. This recipe is full of large amounts of cream and I think that it would just be a bit too rich for me at the moment.

In the end I decided to break with what I have said before and make something that I have already made before. In fact I have made it several times before, only once strictly following the recipe. Valli Little's Beetroot Risotto with Goat's Cheese and Walnuts that is part of the regular Tuesday Night Cooking section is a wonderful recipe with one exception. The exception is the "short cut" of using tinned baby beetroot. The first time I made this recipe I had some cooked beetroot that needed to be used up so I used those in it and I had a glorious meal that had the lovely earthy flavour of the beetroot together with the creaminess of the goat's cheese. The next time I made it beetroot was out of season so I used some tinned beetroot and I found it to be rather unpleasant, sweet and vinegary and the lovely, expensive, goat's cheese was smothered. I think that if I had made it this way the first time around I never would have come back to it. However knowing how good it was the first time around I have continued to make it.

For the beetroot I use 4 small-medium or 2 large that have been rubbed with garlic olive oil and oven roasted until soft, which takes about an hour at 180 C. It is best to turn them a during cooking too. It is then chopped into a small dice. I use a litre of vegetable stock and add the beetroot before adding the last ladle of stock so that it has some time to colour the risotto to the beautiful deep burgundy. I tend to toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 - 7 minutes, as I think that they taste better toasted. This time I used a goat's cheese in ash that was terrific and I think added a little bit of extra tang that my regular goat's cheese doesn't have. I would highly recommend this meal to anyone and even though it is a risotto and you have to stand there and stir for 20 minutes it is a relatively quick and easy meal to make. I normally roast the beetroot and peel it a day or two before I want to make this dish so that it is quicker on the actual day.

Beetroot risotto with goats cheese and walnuts

Saturday 10 April 2010

April 2002 - Potatoes with Swiss Brown Mushrooms

On to another month of wonderful delicious magazines. I have to say that I am really enjoying doing this. There is just so much in each of them to read besides all the recipes that can be made. There have only been a couple that I have struggled to find something that I really wanted to make but even those ones I enjoyed reading the articles. It has also meant that I haven't needed to buy any other magazines for a while now, oh except for my other obsession Doctor Who magazine. :)

This issue contains one of the recipes that I have made the most over the years. It is Ainsley Harriott's One-pot Chunky Beef Bourguignonne. I have made the recipe for friends, for family and just for myself and it has been universally declared one of the best. Everyone that I have served it to has requested the recipe and gone on to make it themselves. It has a full bottle of red wine in it. I like to use a Cabernet Sauvignon and it must be a good one or the end product isn't as good. It is rich and glorious and very much a winter meal. It is not feeling much like winter at the moment so I am actually going to make something else from this issue. I am continuing on the idea of making something new and different. I have made the bourguignonne so many times that it wouldn't have been a challenge really.

One of the recipes that I considered making was Maggie Beer's Pickled Quinces. I love quinces. I remember one place that we lived when I was a kid had a couple of quince trees and Mum used to make quince jam and stewed quinces. They are a rather old fruit although they are starting to make a bit of a come back and they can be purchased in store for a very small window each year. When they are in store they are pretty expensive though. These pickles sound so good but unfortunately quinces are not in store presently so I can't make them yet.

There is a Stephanie Alexander feature in this issue. It was around the time of the release of her book Cooking & Travelling in South-West France. I have to admit that I haven't even looked at this book. I do like Stephanie Alexander's work but I do not have a lot of her books. I did recently buy her new book Kitchen Garden Companion and it is great some wonderful information on how to grow plants and then recipes to use the produce. The recipe that I decided to make from the feature was Potatoes with Swiss Brown Mushrooms. It is such an easy recipe but a very tasty one. It would make a nice side dish with a roast dinner. I served it as Stephanie suggested, with a nice salad.

Potatoes with Swiss Brown Mushrooms

  • 2 - 3 large, flat Swiss Brown mushrooms
  • 3 potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp duck fat
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Remove stems from mushrooms but keep. Slice caps in to 1 cm thick slices.
  • Slice potatoes into 5 mm thick slices.
  • Chop up the mushroom stems, garlic and parsley together.
  • In a large frypan heat the duck fat over a medium heat.
  • Add potato slices to the pan and cook for 3 minutes turning regularly. Remove.
  • Add mushroom slices to the pan and cook 2 minutes turning regularly.
  • Return potatoes to the pan with the stems, garlic and parsley mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a lid, leaving it ajar and turn the heat down as low as possible.
  • Cook until potatoes a soft and nicely browned, approx 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Potatoes with Swiss Brown Mushrooms

Saturday 3 April 2010

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross bun

I love hot cross buns. It just isn't Easter time without hot cross buns. They have been out in shops here since a few days after Christmas and even though I love them I would not buy them until after the end of February. Normally it would be the end of March but with Easter being early this year I though that making myself wait until 1st March was long enough. I did end up buying a few bags the bakery as they had a deal of a free loaf of bread with the purchase of 6 buns, and who can resist something free? They were nice but not as good as ones that I have made previously.

The last few years I have made at least one batch of my own. I have always enjoyed making breads and buns so it was just a natural progression. Initially I just attempted to add spices and fruit to my Gramma's bun recipe. They were okay but it didn't work as well as I had hoped. I decided that I needed a specific recipe and there are a lot of them to choose from. The first recipe that produced a bun that I was happy with was one from,au. I have used that recipe for several years now but decided this year to give a different one a chance. Over on Taste forums there is a fortnightly Cook's Club Challenge where a member posts 3 recipes that they enjoy making for other members to make. It is a way of getting out of the comfort zone and making at least a few different things. I do try to participate but I have been a bit slack lately.

The Challenge that this hot cross buns recipe came from was posted a couple of years ago now, before I was really aware of Cook's Club. I only made some minor changes to the recipe. I added more spices, probably 3 - 4 tsp in total. I don't have mixed spice so I added a combination of nutmeg, ground cloves, ground cardamom, ground allspice and cinnamon. The cardamom, allspice and nutmeg were all freshly ground. I find fresh ground cloves too strong so I tend to keep some of the bought ground cloves in the cupboard. The only other change I made was to add sugar to the crosses paste, it really makes a difference. These buns are so good fresh out of the oven split in half and spread with a bit of butter. I made them yesterday and they were still quite fresh tasting today. Hopefully they will remain so for the next few days. If not then I may use left overs for Valli Little's Chocolate Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding or I will make a regular bread and butter pudding with them.

Hot Cross Buns