Friday 25 March 2011

Peach-stuffed French Toast

Okay, so while I am posting one I may as well set one to post tomorrow night. I made this French toast ages ago now but just hadn't gotten around to posting it. 

This recipe required brioche loaf. I haven't been able to buy that where I live. I did consider just using regular bread however I decided that I would have a go at making my own brioche loaf. I had had this recipe bookmarked for ages and it seemed like the perfect time to try it out. It was really easy to make, although the texture of mine was pretty light, airy and cakish. I think this had to do with it being so hot on the day that I made it and the dough rose really quickly. The farm-fresh eggs that I used in it also made the brioche really yellow. It was really good though. 

As for the actual French toast, it was nice but I had trouble stuffing it without the brioche breaking up. Also the 4 cm seemed way too thick and it didn't "compact" down the way that it looked like it did in Bill's picture. I found it incredibly rich and had trouble finishing half of a serve. The peaches and yoghurt were lovely. The brioche was great toasted with some honey on it but I wouldn't go to the trouble of making the French toast recipe again. 

Peach-stuffed french toast

serves 4

  • 1 kg ripe peaches
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 8 slices of brioche loaf, 1.5 inches/4cm thick
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • yoghurt, to serve


  • Blanch peaches for 10 seconds in boiling water then refresh and peel.
  • Slice peeled peaches into 1cm slices and toss with lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar.  Leave for 20-30 minutes.
  • Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, remaining sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in  a bowl.
  • With a sharp knife carefully slit open one side of each slice of bread to form a pocket.   Make sure to leave at least 1cm buffer at the edged.
  • Stuff the bread pockets with as many peach slices as you can.
  • Reserve any leftover peach slices for serving.
  • Soak the stuffed bread for 1 minute in the egg mixture, flipping once after 30 seconds to soak both sides.
  • Preheat oven to 180C. 
  • Heat butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add egg-soaked bread slices to pan to brown on both sides.
  • Place on a baking tray and finish cooking in the oven.  Bake for about 12 minutes or until done.
  • Serve with leftover peach slices and yoghurt.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Delicious - March 2011 - Five-spice Chicken & Cucumber Banh Mi

Oh dear, I cannot believe how long it has been since I have updated my lovely little blog. Spend some time in the doldrums and the sprinkle liberally with spending time with a new friend and other things seem to fall by the way side. I have even been doing a lot of cooking. At least not stuff for my blog, to don't want to be blogging about spaghetti with grated parmesan, garlic olive oil and shredded basil... **oops** Oh and there have been plenty of sandwiches and a few convenience meals from the supermarket freezer section, none of which have been very nice. 

It hasn't all been bad though. This month's Delicious. magazine had some fantastic recipes in it. The first that I wanted to make was Rachel Allen's Slow-roasted Ginger & Citrus Shoulder of Pork. The recipe is a sweet citrusy marinade with ground star anise in there. It is marinaded overnight and then roasted for 12 hours. Instead of a bone-in shoulder, I used boneless and cooked for 10 hours. The flavour was fabulous but it was over cooked. Next time I would probably reduce the temperature further and probably reduce the cooking time a bit more. The crackling didn't crackly but I never seem to have any luck with crackling if the skin has been marinaded. It was find the way it was though. 

From this issue I also made David Prior's Five-spice Chicken & Cucumber Banh Mi. I followed the recipe almost exactly. The only thing I did differently was to marinade the chicken overnight, oh and I pan fried rather than grilled the chicken. This meal was so wonderful. Just perfect for a special lunch time meal. There was so much flavour in the chicken and it all combined perfectly. Don't skimp on the mayonnaise though. I used Neil Perry's mayo, my go to for bought mayonnaise now. I highly recommend this. It is easy to make. It is flavoursome just a little bit fancy. Oh and the left over chicken meat was fabulous in salads. 

Five-spice chicken & cucumber banh mi 

Serves 6
  • 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar 
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) white vinegar 
  • 3 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks or grated 
  • 900g skinless chicken thigh fillets 
  • 1/2 cup (150g) whole-egg mayonnaise 
  • 2 baguettes, cut into thirds, split 
  • 2 long red chillies, seeds removed, cut into thin strips 
  • 1 telegraph cucumber, thinly sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced 
  • Baby rocket, or other salad greens
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce 
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 4 eschalots, finely chopped 
  • 2 tbs fish sauce 
  • 1 tbs caster sugar 
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp five-spice powder
  • Combine sugar, vinegar and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl, stirring until sugar and salt dissolve. Add carrots and toss to coat. Stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain. 
  • Combine all the marinade ingredients together in a large bow. Add chicken, turning to coat. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours or overnight. 
  • Preheat frying pan to medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade and pan-fry, in batches, for 6-8 minutes, turning, until cooked through. Slice on an angle and keep warm. 
  • Spread mayonnaise on bottom half of baguettes, then fill with carrot, chilli, cucumber, chicken, onion and rocket. Serve immediately.

Friday 11 March 2011

Bill's Apple & Rhubarb Pie

Busy, busy day at work today. I felt like I barely had time to turn around. I was so tired mid-afternoon but had a small banana as a pick-me-up and felt much better after that. Even if the banana did cost heaven and earth. We are really starting to feel the effect of of the devastation from cyclone Yasi in far north Queensland. I did even think to look at the price before I bought them and for 4 small bananas it cost $5.70! It was just what I needed though. However next time I think I will need to buy some thing else. While bananas are my preferred fruit I will not pay huge amounts for them.

Speaking of paying large amounts for fruit, I paid an outrageous sum of money for some rhubarb to make this fabulous pie. I love rhubarb and I have some planted in the garden but it just doesn't seem to be doing any good. I hope that it will grow and produce at some stage. The price paid for the rhubarb was worth it for this terrific pie. My grandmother gave me some freshly picked granny smith apples from their tree so I invited them up for dinner a couple of weekends ago. I had planned on making a couple of Bill's recipes on the night but I was unable to get a nice whole fish to do make what I wanted. Plus the pie wouldn't really go with a fish meal. Instead I decided to go with Jamie Oliver's Moorish Pork Chops. They were really nice, except for the fact that I overcooked them slightly and they ended up a bit dry. My grandparents thought they were fine but for me a touch dry. My grandmother was particularly taken with the bean dish that went with them. 

Bill's pie was a big hit too, although the pastry was so crumbly and it fell apart as soon as I looked at it let alone cut it. Plus the edges browned way too much. When I make my regular apple pie, actually most fruit pies, I don't normally cook the filling first. I have always had a lot of success doing it that way. That is the way that my mum always did pies and is the way that my mum's mother did it too. I was curious as to how this one would turn out and I was quite impressed with the results. It tasted so good. My apples were very tart, in fact they were too tart to eat uncooked, if you apples are okay to eat fresh I would probably reduce the amount of sugar a bit. I would also recommend making this pie the day before you want to serve it. I made it on the day and as I said before the pastry was so crumbly but the next day it cut perfectly and didn't fall apart. Definitely much easier to handle the next day. The pastry was also very hard to handle when attempting to roll out. I would definitely recommend rolling out between two pieces of baking paper to make it easier to move it. Over all, this recipe is definitely a keeper. 

Apple & Rhubarb Pie 

  • 1kg Granny Smiths, peeled, cored and finely sliced
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g butter, cut into small pieces
  • 300g rhubarb, chopped
  • 300g catser sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1 qty shortcrust pastry (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar for sprinkling
  • Toss the apples with the lemon juice and zest.  
  • Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.  
  • Add the apples and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened slightly.  
  • Add the rhubarb and the sugar and cook for 1 minute further.  
  • Add the flour and cinnamon, stir gently to combine.  Allow to cool.
  • Place 2/3 of the pastry between two pieces of baking paper and roll out until 4mm thick.  
  • Lightly press into a 23cm pie tin and refrigerate while the filling is cooling.  
  • Preheat the oven to 200c.
  • Spread the apples & rhubarb evenly in the pie shell.
  • Roll out remaining pastry in between baking paper until 4mm thick.  
  • Cover pie with rolled pastry. Trim, press edges of the pie firmly together and crimp the outer rim with your fingertips. Cut a couple of holes in the top crust.  
  • Sprinkle with caster sugar.  
  • Bake the pie for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown. (Watch closely from about 45 minutes it browns quickly)
Shortcrust Pastry 

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 360g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • Place flour, icing sugar, salt and butter in food processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  
  • Add just enough cream for mixture to form a ball.  
  • Divide pastry into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.

Thursday 10 March 2011

Bill's Prawn and Chilli Linguine

I am tired tonight. It was a long day a work and I bought some lasagne for lunch that gave me terrible heartburn so I haven't felt the best this afternoon. Will go back to tuna salad sandwich tomorrow, see I do like some seafood. lol 
Just a quick post of a quick recipe. This was a very quick and easily made dinner. With it I kicked off making some of the seafood recipes in this lovely book. At least this was one where I could easily get all the ingredients. However, I wasn't all that keen on it. The flavours weren't bad but I just found it oily. At first I thought that I could just reduce the amount of oil in the recipe but realised that without all the oil it would be dry. I don't think that I will be making this one again. It is just not to my taste. 

Prawn & Chilli Linguine

  • 250g linguine
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 10 green prawns, peeled & deveined
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 small red chillies, finely chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 50g rocket, washed & dried
  • Cook linguine in rapidly boiling salted water according to packet instructions. Drain well. 
  • Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add prawns, season with salt & pepper then cook for 1 minute. 
  • Add garlic & chillies & cook for another minute. 
  • Add butter and reduce heat to low.
  • Add the rocket & linguine & toss until pasta is well coated.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Baked Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream & Caramel Sauce

It is late but I have a headache and ear ache tonight and I just can't sleep so thought I would get another post done. It is hard to believe that it is already March. It really does seem like this year is flying by. I am not sure why as I really haven't been that busy.

There are two things that I have become concerned about with making all of the recipes in Bills Sydney Food. The first is the amount of sweet/dessert recipes there are. There are quite a few sweet breakfasts as well as desserts for both lunch and dinner. I do like dessert but I really don't eat it that often and I am starting to wonder about making all of them before the end of the year. I guess that I will just have to see how I go. The second concern is the amount of seafood recipes in the book and the availability of said seafood to make these dishes. I have said before that I am not overly keen on seafood but I do want to add more of it to my diet. The main problem though is the access. Although I did find out recently that you can order whole fish through one of the local butchers. I may have to try that with a couple of the recipes that use whole fish. I will have to invite people when I do that though as I will definitely need more than one person to eat a whole fish. 

This was a really quick little dessert to make. The sauce wasn't as easy as I first thought that it was going to be but it did work out in the end, I cooled the sugar syrup too much and it hardened when I added the cream. I had to gently reheat it to get it all to melt again but it did eventually work. I really liked the peaches and would definitely do them again but probably would worry about the caramel sauce. 

Baked Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream & Caramel Sauce

  • 4 peaches, halved and stoned 
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar 
Pre-heat oven to 220 C. 
Sprinkle cut side of peaches with sugar and bake for 15 minutes or until soft. 
Cool slightly. 

Caramel sauce
  • 3/4 c sugar 
  • 1/4 c water
  • 3/4 c cream
  • 1 tsp lemon juice 
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat stirring until sugar has dissolved. 
Bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, until it turns a golden colour. 
Place bottom of saucepan in a sink of cold water to stop the cooking (I don't think I would do this next time). 
Once slightly cooled add cream carefully. When it stops foaming up add lemon juice and stir until smooth.