Thursday 29 July 2010

July 2009 - Creamy Chicken, Pea & Bacon Pies

Well coming to the end of July and I really struggled with what to make out of this issue. I was going to make the Beef Daube on the front cover but I just haven't had the time. I was then going to make the Creamy Pancetta, Brie & Mushroom Croissants. They sounded terrific and would make a good brunch. I even bought croissants to make it but they never made it that far, I just ate them heated with jam....yum!

Finally I decided to make the Creamy Chicken, Pea &  Bacon Pies. These were lovely looking and I thought that it would be something that would be great to have for a very busy night tomorrow night. I am decorating a birthday cake tomorrow after work and I also have to make a couple of dips. So in between making buttercream for the cake and dipping strawberries in dark chocolate I made the filling for these pies. The filling was a little salty but very tasty. So I placed it in one of my Corelle serving bowls and covered with glad wrap to place in the fridge. While doing this I managed to knock the bowl off the counter dumping the contents on the floor and smashing my bowl. So, unfortunately I will not be able to make my pies tomorrow night and since I will be spending Saturday at the party I will not get a chance to make anything else from this issue. I will definitely give this another go as I really liked the filling and it was really easy to do. 

Creamy Chicken, Pea & Bacon Pies 

Serves 4 

  • 2 - 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 chicken breast fillets, cut into 2 cm cubes (I cut mine smaller) 
  • 6 bacon rashers, chopped 
  • 1 large onion, diced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 150 ml dry white wine 
  • 4 bay leaves 
  • 3 tsp thyme leaves 
  • 60 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c (35 g) plain flour
  • 2 c (500 ml) chicken stock, heated
  • 1/3 c (80 ml) thickened cream 
  • 3 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream 
  • 1 c (120 g) frozen peas 
  • 375 g block puff pastry, thawed 
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Heat oil in deep pan, cook chicken in batches until browned, set aside in a bowl. 
  • Add bacon to pan and fry until slightly crispy. Add to bowl with chicken. 
  • Add onion to pan and cook until soft without colouring, then add garlic. 
  • Add wine and herbs to pan and reduce to approx 1 tbsp. The add to bowl with chicken & bacon. 
  • Melt butter in pan add flour and cook for 2 minutes or until golden. 
  • Slowly add stock, stirring, and cook until smooth and thickened. 
  • Return chicken mixture to pan with cream and simmer until thickened. 
  • Season to taste and the place in a bowl and cool completely. 
  • Remove bay leaves. 
  • Pre-heat oven to 200 C. 
  • Mix the creme fraiche and peas into the chicken mixture. 
  • Spoon into 4 individual pie dishes, or one 2 litre baking dish. 
  • Roll out pastry to 5 mm thick. Cut out 4 rounds to use as lids. Cut a thin strip from the edge of each piece, brush with a little water and press onto the rim of each pie dish. 
  • Brush once more with water, then cover each dish with pastry. Press pastry edges together to seal, then trim excess. 
  • Brush the tops of the pies with a little egg. 
  • Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until pastry is golden and the filling is heated through, then serve. 

Tuesday 27 July 2010

July 2008 - Cheesy Mustard Soda Bread

I will just quickly get this one started while I am waiting for the sparky to finish getting my power point working again. I shouldn't be too late for work, maybe 30 minutes. That is not too bad I guess. It is a different guy this time. If it has been the guy that I usually deal with I would have just left him to it and gone to work but when it is someone new I just like to be a bit more careful.

There are a lot of delectable recipes in issue #73 and like most other issues it was difficult to decide what to make. My initial menu plan for the month has me making Jill Dupleix's Roast Marmalade Chicken with Winter Salad. I really liked the sound of this. The main reason that I didn't end up making it is that I don't have any marmalade in the house. I do know that marmalade makes a nice glaze and is used in some other recipes I just don't eat it as a spread so I was reluctant to purchase a whole jar. The recipe serves 4 and only uses 3 tbsp and I would be using even less so it made me even more reluctant to buy it. I usually make marmalade as part of my Christmas hampers as my grandmother loves it. So I might keep a small amount for myself this year when I make it and I will try this recipe then. I am going to have to start making note of where all these recipes that I want to try at a later date are or I will forget....

I would highly recommend Jamie Oliver's creamy mushroom soup on the front cover. It is an excellent recipe and a terrific soup. I had never made mushroom soup before I came across this recipe in Jamie's Dinners, which is a fabulous book in itself. I would definitely recommend that all mushroom lovers make this soup.

I considered making, and am actually going to make tomorrow night, Tobie Puttock's Shanghai Beef Noodles. I love Shanghai noodles, although I haven't had it with beef before. I have had chicken and just a vegetarian one so I can't wait to try it with beef. I have been pleased with the recipes of Tobie's that I have tried so I am hoping that this one doesn't let me down.

Another recipe that was considered very carefully was Skye Gyngell's Slow-roasted pork belly with apple-paste aioli. What a glorious combination it sounds. After roasting pork belly for the first time this year I was keen to try another roast. The only thing that held me back from making it was the need to make the associated recipe of apple paste to go in the aioli. This required 2 kg of granny smith apples, sugar and lemon juice. It makes a lot and then states that it will only keep for a week. So as much as I wanted to try it I decided that I would make some thing else.

While deciding on something to have with the Baked Beetroot & Apple soup I was flicking through this issue and came across Jamie Oliver's Cheesy Mustard Soda Bread and I thought it would be the perfect accompaniment. I made half a recipe although it still made a lot. It was a bit denser than I would have liked, although maybe that is what soda bread is supposed to be like. I couldn't taste the mustard in it, so I would recommend using more, and it seemed a little light on for cheese too. It was nice but not something that I would be rushing to make again.

Cheesy Mustard Soda Bread

  • 350 g wholemeal flour
  • 175 g plain four
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50 g freshly grated cheese
  • 350 ml milk
  • 1/3 c. (80 ml) sour cream
  • Preheat oven to 200 C.
  • Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Mix milk & sour cream together and pour into dry ingredients.
  • Mix to form a wet, sticky dough then divide in two and form into balls.
  • Flour hands and pat balls down to form 2 discs approx 20 cm across.
  • Score the top into six pieces then bake for 30 minutes or until it is brown and crusty on top.
Cheesy mustard soda bread cut

Sunday 25 July 2010

July 2007 - Thai Pork Stir-fry

I started this post a couple of days ago and haven't managed to get back to it until now. I am sitting here waiting for the electrician to turn up. He was supposed to be here an hour ago but he had an emergency call so will hopefully be here soon. I am hoping that I will not end up being too late for work. I have already called work to let them know I might be. I guess that I will have to work late to make up the time, although I already have to make up some time from yesterday when I had to do to a medical appointment. Wonderful to have a boss that is flexible enough to let me do these things.

Anyway, back to the food. There were a few recipes that I considered in this issue. The first was Jamie Oliver's Mulligatawny Soup. I don't think that I have ever made a mulligatawny soup before, although I am pretty sure that I have had it. It looked pretty easy and sounded really tasty but I had just made a soup and even though it is winter, I didn't want to make another one straight away.

Next option was Valli Little's Pumpkin, Sage & Ricotta Lasagne. This is such a good recipe. I have actually made it and various other vegetarian lasagne recipes before. I would highly recommend it. It is an excellent dish for entertaining as it can be made ahead of time and then just popped in the oven when needed. It is also quick to put together and very tasty. If you don't have sage in your garden it is an herb that is seasonal. It can die off in the winter months so supplies of it can be short depending on where you live. You can try other herbs. I have used oregano before and it is lovely but not quite as good as the sage. However since I have made this recipe a number of times it was time to make something else. Although I just had to share it with you all.

I had originally intended on making two different recipes to make a full meal, both from Skye Gyngell's feature on hazelnut recipes. The first is pan-fried veal and english spinach with hazelnut picada. This seems to be an easy dish, the picada with a combination of sourdough crumbs, hazelnuts, sage, orange zest and juice, with a few other ingredients, sounded terrific. To go with that the facing page in the magazine has a beautiful looking roast pumpkin & blood orange salad with toasted hazelnuts. The combination sounds divine. I am not normally a huge orange fan but I do love blood oranges although they are few and far between here. The green in the salad is lamb's lettuce or mache which I don't think I have ever had or seen so I probably would have needed to substitute something else. I have a party this coming weekend for which I am making a few things so I may give it a whirl if I can find some blood oranges. Although I will probably end up just making my spinach, avocado and roast pumpkin salad with lime vinaigrette. I coat the diced pumpkin in garlic olive oil before roasting and it ends up with a beautiful hint of garlic in the salad without it being too overpowering.

After struggling with what to make it was decided one night when I just needed something quick to make after work. I ended up making Valli Little's Thai Pork Stir-fry. This was fabulous. I had most things for it but did have to make a couple of substitutions. I didn't have any green beans so used some zucchini and carrot. I had Asia at Home massaman paste in the fridge so use that one. I didn't have thai basil but did have some sweet basil that I was going to use but forgot until I was sitting down eating. While I was eating this I had vague recollections that I may have made this before, either when issue #62 first came out or as a recipe that I had found on Although since it isn't saved in my cookbook on Taste I am assuming it was from the magazine. So I guess that I broke my rule about making new things, although I didn't remember that I had made it before which is strange as it was very, very good. I will definitely make this one again. I still have some massaman paste so I might make it again soon. It doesn't look that great on the plate but it definitely is worth making.

Thai Pork Stir-fry

Thursday 22 July 2010

July 2006 - Baked Beetroot & Apple Soup

I seemed to whiz through doing recipes for this month but I have been really slack with blogging about them. It is not really a loss of words, just a bit of a loss of motivation. However I have had a bit of a loss of motivation in most areas lately. On days when I don't have a clearly defined cooking plan I have tended to be eating fairly average food. I guess that I am just going to have to start making some clearly defined menus for a while.

There were a couple of options from this issue. I really liked the look of Tobie Puttock's Roasted potatoes with milk, rosemary and garlic. It is basically a potato bake but without the cream of a regular recipe. I am sure it would be very nice but I was looking for something a bit lighter and something that didn't require making a bunch of other stuff with it.

I did quickly consider making Valli's Lentil & vegetable cottage pie. I have, however, made it before. It is very good and I would highly recommend it for a meat-free meal. I also considered Bill Granger's Spicy Tomato Soup. I do make tomato soup, I have a tomato & basil soup that I got from a Taste Cook's Club Challenge that is terrific. This soup uses canned tomatoes. I think that canned tomatoes are great for a lot of uses but when the tomato is the star of the dish like this soup I am firmly of the belief that fresh is best and mid-winter is not an ideal time to be attempting to locate quality fresh tomatoes for making soup.

In the end I decided to make Valli Little's Baked Beetroot & Apple Soup. This was a fantastic soup and so easy to make. I would suggest having a pair of gloves on hand for the peeling and grating of the beets or they will stain your hands and pretty pink colour. The apple adds a bit of sweetness and the lemon juice a bit of tang. It is made nice and rich by the cream. I actually think that this would be even better if creme fraiche was used instead of cream. This would make a wonderful starter but also made a very nice meal with the addition of a soda bread.

Baked beetroot and apple soup

Tuesday 20 July 2010

July 2005 - Fig, Pistachio & Ginger Muffins

I had so many things marked in issue #40 that I wanted to try and it was very hard to pick just one thing out. The Thai-style pumpkin soup on the cover looked really nice. However I make pumpkin soup regularly. I have also done a Thai inspired one after having it at a cafe a number of years ago. I normally fry off some red curry paste before adding stock. It is very nice.

Glenn Reid's Field mushroom tarte tatin with cress salad was the first recipe to catch my eye but I cannot get cress so decided to move on to one of the other options.

I have had Valli Little's bean trenchers marked to make ever since I got this issue. It is basically a baked bean mixture cooked on the stove served on toast. I have made my own baked beans before. No matter how hard I try I always end up with a massive pot of beans and get sick of eating it before I get through it all. This recipe sounds great but serves 6 and I am sure that even if I cut the recipe in half I would end up with more than 3 serves as I find that most recipes give more servings than they say they do.

Another marked recipe is Valli's chunky potato corn & bacon soup. I have made this one before and it is a wonderful hearty soup. Perfect in the winter time. However since I have already made it before I decided to go with one of the many other options.

When I made up my blog menu plan for the month I had opted for Nancy Duran's date, gorgonzola & prosciutto tart. It is an easy recipe and perfect for lunch. I was going to make one change, substituting goat's cheese for the gorgonzola. This was for two reasons, firstly I am not overly keen on blue cheese and it is hard to get a nice gorgonzola here and secondly, I had some goat's cheese left over from another recipe. I ended up not making this because I used the goat's cheese for some thing else and it was another recipe that had a cress topping to the tart. I may have to look into how to grow some cress. On the couple of occasions that I have been able to purchase it, I have quite enjoyed it so if it is easy to grow it would be a nice addition to the edible garden.

I ended up making fig, pistachio & ginger muffins. A recipe from Tanya Beard, it was included as part of an article on Toby Smith, owner of Toby's Estate coffee. These were fabulous muffins. I uses pecans instead of pistachios as that is what I had on hand. I am sure the pistachios would be terrific in there too. The reconstituted figs soft and almost caramelised. Even though I burnt my hand while removing the pan from the oven. I am not sure that they were worth it exactly but they are extremely good. So good I have already bought more figs to make them again. This time I am planning to use macadamia nuts, again because I have them on hand. They store and reheat well too. I think that they could also be very successfully frozen.

Fig, Pistachio & Ginger Muffins

Makes 12

  • 350 g dried figs
  • 3 1/3 c (500g) plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 c (220 g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c (560g) thick natural yoghurt
  • 150 g unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 3/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped (I used pecans)
  • 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 c (80 ml) milk
  • Preheat oven to 200 C. Grease 12-hole muffin pan.
  • Soak figs in boiling water for 15 minutes then drain and chop.
  • In a bowl combine all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk eggs and then add yoghurt and butter and stir well to combine.
  • Pour egg mix into flour mix and stir with a metal spoon until just combined.
  • Add figs, ginger and nuts and gently stir to combine adding milk if the mixture is too dry.
  • Spoon mixture into muffin pan until 2/3 - 3/4 full.
  • Bake 25 - 30 minutes.

Fig Pistachio and Ginger Muffin

Fig Pistachio and Ginger Muffins

Sunday 18 July 2010

July 2004 - Chicken Tikka with Hot Red Onion Relish

Sorry to be absent for so long. I was a bit clumsy last weekend and injured myself. I managed to fall down my back steps and scrape my leg and knees, getting some colourful bruises in the process. Then still a bit shaken up I managed to burn my hand while taking a pan of muffins out of the oven. I think that I am starting to turn into my accident-prone father. Smiley I have also come down with a case of shingles, so I am feeling pretty sorry for myself at the moment. Hopefully all will be healed up and cured soon. At least I am back typing without too many problems now.

While going through issue #29 for something to make I came across Jill Dupleix's Greek Rice Pudding that was also in the June 2009. I guess that it is hard not to repeat. Plus it was a very tasty rice pudding so I would recommend it. Not that I was going to make it again for a blog post. I considered Jill's Ma Po Beancurd. I had almost everything for it, including a package of tofu in the fridge. The only thing I didn't have was dried cloud-ear mushrooms. I know that I used to have some but I am not sure how long ago or where they went, perhaps I used them all. I will definitely get some more and give this recipe a go as I just love ma po tofu.

Bill Granger's focaccia looked really nice, and I think that this recipe had also featured before. Although it may not have been a Bill Granger one previously. I really like focaccia and I have tried to make it before and not been successful. Although, I had always hand kneaded before but after reading about Phe.MOM.enon's 1 bowl 1 hour perfect dinner rolls I started using my KitchenAid. It makes me wonder why I never used it for yeast doughs before. I highly recommend those dinner rolls, they are so easy and very tasty.

In the end I decided to make Nigella's Chicken Tikka with Hot Red Onion Relish. Since I was having one Indian dish I decided to make a bit of a theme of it and made Aloo Palak (Spinach with Potatoes) and Indian Spiced Eggplant and steamed rice to go along with it. It was all very nice even though I burnt some of the aloo palak and slightly overcooked the chicken tikka so it was a little bit dry. I think that it would actually have been better if I had used chicken thigh fillets. The flavour of it all was just terrific and it would make a lovely banquet for entertaining with some type of kulfi for dessert.

Chicken Tikka with Hot Red Onion Relish

Serves 4

  • 4 chicken fillets
  • 2 tabs of unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5cm piece ginger
  • 2 small red chillies
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp of tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp of garam masala
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of plain yoghurt
Hot onion relish
  • 2 small red onions
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander (I used parsley)
  • 1/2 tsp of dried chilli
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Make the marinade by whizzing the garlic, ginger and chillies until finally chopped.
  • Then add the rest of the marinade in the processor until it looks like a smooth mushy paste.
  • Place chicken fillets in a bowl and cover with the marinade.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least 4 hour, over night is best.
  • For Relish - slice up the onions into moons and then add the coriander, tomatoes, lemon juice and chilli. Give it a good stir, cover and refrigerate. Remove from fridge 30 minute before serving.
  • Remove chicken from fridge for 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Melt the butter is a fry pan and cook the chicken over a medium-low heat
  • The marinade will disappear as you cook it ( but not all the taste). You should end up with fillets that are nicely browned and crispy on the outside.
  • Serve with rice and relish together with the aloo palak and indian spiced eggplant.
Indian food

Chicken Tikka with Hot Red Onion Relish

Sunday 11 July 2010

Cookbook Challenge

Interesting little challenge over at Zeralda's Diary which asks you to choose which cookbook you would choose if you were limited to only one for the rest of your life.

Thinking about the books sitting on my shelf it would have to be The Kitchen Garden Companion by Stephanie Alexander. I will put my hand up to not being overly interested in her Cook's Companion but I just adore the Kitchen Garden Companion. Not only does it give you recipes for wonderful seasonal produce it also tells you how and when to grow these things. It is tied in with her Kitchen Garden Foundation which is a program going in schools to help kids learn about growing their own food and then cooking that wonderful fresh produce. Stephanie is an inspiration to me and I hope that she will continue to be an inspiration to a whole new generation of children that are learning about food because of her.

July 2003 - Gateau Opera

This month was my Bake Club Challenge month over at Taste forums. This is where a person posts a recipe of something that they have always wanted to try making. The person who posts and other members then proceed to try the recipe and comment on how it all goes. There are normally some really nice recipes posted and it is a lot of fun. I decided that I would be able to kill two birds with one stone and choose something from one of this month's delicious magazines as my challenge recipe.

One thing that I have always wanted to attempt making is an Opera Cake after seeing it all over blogs a couple of years ago in the Daring Bakers challenge. There were some amazing looking opera cakes made during that time, not a traditional recipe, but amazing none the less. I was surprised but very pleased to find Valli Little's Gateau Opera in issue #18. I posted the Gateau Opera as my bake club challenge on a Tuesday and in an amazing stroke of good luck Gary Meighan made one as part of Masterclass on the Australian version of Masterchef the following Friday. Gary's was slightly different so before I started making mine I made sure to pull up the video of Gary on the Masterchef website.

I really enjoyed making this. It wasn't nearly as difficult nor did it take as long as I was expecting too. I did a number of things differently to Valli's recipe. I have posted those along side the method in the recipe so that it is easier to follow. The only thing I will mention up front is that the topping of pure melted dark chocolate that Valli uses is not something that I would do again. It took over a bit but it also made it difficult to cut. I would instead do as Gary Meighan did and make a ganache with scalded cream, chocolate and butter. The flavours can also be varied to suit yourself too as the Daring Baker's showed. I am going to make another one although I have not yet decided if it will be green tea and lemon or pandan and coconut...

Ingredients (serves 6)

85g caster sugar
3 eggs
3 egg whites
100g almond meal
30g plain flour, sifted
1/4 tsp baking powder
150g dark chocolate, melted, cooled


55g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
3 tsp instant coffee powder
140g unsalted butter, softened


70g dark chocolate, broken up
85ml milk
170ml thick cream, whipped


1 tsp instant coffee powder
100g caster sugar


Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease and line base of a 20cm square cake pan.

Beat the sugar and 3 eggs in an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until pale. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold into the egg mixture. Combine almond meal, flour and baking powder and carefully fold into egg mixture. Spread into pan and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked. When cool, remove from pan and carefully cut into 3 thin layers. After some reading on blogs, I decided to spread the batter onto two sheets of baking paper, on which I marked a 30 x 20 rectangle. I decided this would be easier than trying to slice the cake into three. Spread out slightly bigger than the rectangle so I could trim. Then cut into two 20 x 20 squares and two 10 x 20 rectangles.

Image batter Image on baking paper
Image baked Image trimmed & sliced

To make buttercream, heat sugar and 100ml of water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil for 5 minutes or until thick and sticky. Remove from heat. Whisk egg yolks, then pour into hot syrup. Continue whisking until thick and cool. Dissolve coffee in 1 tablespoon of boiling water and whisk into egg mixture with the butter. Cool completely. The syrup needs to cook a lot longer than 5 minutes. I followed Gary's instructions from Masterclass and used my candy thermometer and got it up to 120 C. This took almost 15 minutes and it was quite thick and syrupy. Also, whisk the egg yolks to light and fluffy before adding the sugar syrup. Also make sure that the butter and the egg/syrup mixture are a similar temperature before adding the butter. I made one batch following Valli's instructions and it was a dismal failure. Gary's produced a perfect buttercream. (Sorry I forgot to photograph it.)

To make ganache, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water), until the chocolate melts. Bring milk to the boil in a separate saucepan then combine with chocolate. Remove from heat and cool, stirring occasionally. Fold cream into the chocolate mixture.

To make syrup, place coffee, sugar and 100ml of water in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil for 2 minutes, then cool. I boiled for about 5 minutes.

As per Gary, I brushed the underside of the bottom layer with some melted chocolate and let dry before assembling to make the base a bit more sturdy. Place the base layer of cake on a serving plate. Brush with 1/3 of the syrup, spread with all the butter cream, then carefully place another layer of cake on top. This is where I used the two 10 x 20 rectangles arranged side by side on top of the buttercream layer. Brush with another 1/3 of the syrup and spread with ganache. Place final layer of cake on top and brush with remaining syrup. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm. Spread the melted chocolate over cake, (this should have been a proper ganache, the plain chocolate cracked badly when sliced) reserving a little to be placed in a piping bag. Pipe the word 'opera' on the cake.


Image chocolate base Image syrup on base
Image buttercream Image topped with chocolate



Thursday 8 July 2010

July 2002 - Mulled Wine

July is an incredible month of delicious. magazines. I have so many choices in each magazine and struggled to make final decisions. Although like every other month the menu is not set in stone. I haven't managed to get through one whole month without making changes to my initial menu. I hope that I might get through one month before the end of the year but I am quite fickle when it comes to deciding on what to eat.

The first recipe that had me really interested in issue #7 was Valli Little's Garlic Custard with Antipasti. I was intrigued by the idea of a garlic custard. It sounded so good but was full of cream, milk and cheese and my next recipe is one that is full of cream so I didn't want two heavy recipes in a row so the intriguing little garlic custards will have to wait for another day.

Jean-Christophe Novelli's Mandarin Brulee sounded wonderful. A creme brulee with mandarin juice would be a perfect dessert. I much prefer mandarins to eat over oranges, although I am not sure I would want to juice about 15 mandarins to get the 500 ml of juice required for the recipe. Plus I already had my dessert for the month sorted out so this one will also have to wait.

I ran into the same problems with Nino Joseph Zoccali's Quince, Sangiovese & Muscatel Torta. There are some amazing desserts in this issue. I am not sure I would have been able to find muscatel grapes and the quinces that I have seen lately haven't looked all that good. I waited hoping for the price to come down a bit but it looks like I have waited too long and the fruit in store is now starting to look a bit old and soft. I should have learnt by now that quinces do not come down in price. Their season is short and they are expensive and if I want to have some I need to suck it up and pay the price or find someone that has a quince tree that is nearby and willing to share.

What I ended up doing was making something that would be lovely served with the dessert from the next issue. So Valli Little's Mulled Wine it was. I really like mulled wine, it is the perfect drink on a cold winter night. This one was nice but I am used to a bit more spice in there, like star anise and cloves. I used a lovely Coonawarra Shiraz, although I think a cabernet sauvignon might have been a better choice. It was a very cold day/evening when I made this and it was beautifully warming and went well with dessert.

Mulled Wine

Serves 6 - 8 (yeah right, lol)

  • 750 ml bottle red wine
  • 2 tbsp light brown or golden caster sugar
  • 1 large piece orange peel
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, plus extra to stir
  • Grated fresh nutmeg
  • Slices of orange, studded with cloves
  • Combine wine, sugar, orange peel, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan over a low heat.
  • Stir until sugar has dissolved and spices have released their flavours.
  • Do not boil.
  • Place orange slice in a glass and top with wine and place a cinnamon stick in to stir with.

Mulled wine