Tuesday 29 October 2013

October 2013 - Couscous, watermelon & feta salad with spiced lamb

Nothing to much to say. This was nice but I made a few changes. I didn't have lamb backstrap so I just used some lamb cutlets. There was no vegetables in the meal at all so I added cherry tomatoes, asparagus and snow peas. The dressing was a bit sweet for me. I doubt I would make this again. 

Couscous, watermelon & feta salad with spiced lamb

125 g Pearl couscous
1/4 c evoo
2 x 250 g lamb backstraps 
1/3 c dukkah
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp honey
1/4 seedless watermelon, sliced
150 g marinated feta, crumbled
2 cups picked watercress sprigs

Cook couscous as per packet instructions. 
Season & cook lamb in a medium high heat. Remove from pan & roll in dukkah. 
Combine lemon zest & juice, honey and oil. Add couscous and stir to combine. 
Slice lamb & serve on top of couscous with watercress, watermelon & feta. 

Monday 21 October 2013

Peppered Beef Stir-fry

I made this for the Cooks Club Challenge over on Taste. This month it has been recipes from the 30 Minute Meals collection. There is still some time left in the month so if you are an Aussie pop on over, make a recipe and post a photo. This month the prize is a copy of the Sydney Seafood School cookbook by Roberta Muir. I am not really big on seafood but I am sure there is someone out there that would love the book.

I am going to admit to being a food magazine snob. When I search for a recipe on Taste I tend to bypass recipes from Super Food Ideas. I have found that so many of them call for a jar of this and/or a packet of that. Some of them really aren't recipes at all as far as I am concerned just combining pre-prepared items. I have found the occasional good one and this Peppered Beef Stir-fry is one of them. I actually had some char siu sauce in the fridge, who know how long it had been there, so it was definitely time to use it up. I would suggest that 1/3 cup is too much though. I think that 1/4 cup would be plenty. I also didn't put the left over marinade in as there was enough still on the meat. I used snow peas, asparagus and spinach for the vegetables and served with noodles. I really enjoyed this. The pepper came through nicely even with the strong flavours from the char siu sauce and soy sauce. It was nice and quick for a mid-week meal. I would definitely make it again. 

Monday 14 October 2013

Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream

Yes! You read that right strawberry & basil ice cream. It is strawberries this month for the Bake Club competition over on Taste. If you are an Aussie pop on over and have a look. With a copy of The Commonsense Cookery Book - The Kitchen classic up for grabs it is worth throwing something together from the collection. 

This is also a delicious mag recipe and I remember seeing it in the magazine at the time and being intrigued by the combination. It has been one of those recipes that pops up when searching for other recipes. I decided that it was finally time to give it a whirl for the competition. 

I wish that I had tried on every other occasion I have looked at the recipe as it is incredible. I really wasn't that sure about the combination but it just seems to go together perfectly. I only had blood oranges so the colour is a little deeper. It is a lower fat content ice cream so it does harden up quite a bit and even when softened I found it doesn't scoop that easily. It does have just the right sweetness, tang and herby flavours. I would definitely make this again. 

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Cheesy Pesto Mushroom Burger

It was, apparently, world vegetarian day on October 2nd. I only discovered it when I was reading one of the newspapers online. There seems to be a day for every thing now. I try to make a vegetarian dishes regularly anyway. I had planned to make a mushroom burger the day before but didn't get it made so I decided to give it a go. 

It turned out to be an interesting exercise. I had the mushroom out and turned on the oven and then the power went out and remained out for almost 12 hours. So the rest of the meal was made by torch and candle light. I spread the inside of the mushroom with pesto and then put sliced havarti cheese in it, dipped in egg and finally coated in bread crumbs. Thankfully I have a baby Q weber bbq so I was still able to cook. I was going to make chips to go with it but I didn't know how to do that on the bbq and after prepping the mushroom via torchlight I didn't feel like doing any more. I was really pleased with how this turned out. I was concerned that the crumbs would burn on the bbq but they didn't. I haven't used my weber a lot so far but now that it is starting to heat up I plan to use it a lot more. I also took the photo via torch and candle light and it turned out better than expected. 

Monday 7 October 2013

Pork Belly with Caramel Dressing

Like my last post this dish was made for the September Cook's Club Challenge over on Taste forums. The challenge was to choose a recipe from the Spring recipes collection. There was some fantastic looking recipes in the collection and there was a number of different ones that I had bookmarked to make. However this was the only one that I did get around to making. My cooking as been rather dull lately. Nothing too exciting but it is food and keeps me alive. I am hoping to get back into some more exciting food with this month's challenge, the latest delicious magazine and some of my cookbooks. The cookbooks have been languishing on the shelf so time to pull them out and cook a few things. 

The Pork Belly with Caramel Dressing recipe comes from the November 2010 issue of delicious magazine. I love pork belly and have often looked at this recipe while browsing through the pork belly recipes on Taste. So when it came up in the collection I decided it was the recipe to make. It was so good. I ended up cooking it for closer to 2 hours but my piece of belly was a bit bigger. I ended up turning the grill on at the end to finish off the crackle. What made it for me was the dressing. The flavours were just wonderful. It was beautifully spiced with the star anise and the sweetness partners so well with the pork. I don't think that I reduced it quite enough. I think it would be better if it had been a bit more syrupy and it just didn't get there for me. I served with steamed broccolini and rice to which I added mint. I highly recommend this dish. 

Sunday 6 October 2013

Moroccan orange blossom and cardamom yoghurt cake

Over on Taste forums there is monthly cooking and baking competitions, if you are an Aussie pop on over and have a look at the challenges for this month. Last month it was any recipe from the Morning & Afternoon Tea collection. I wanted to make something a little different so and chose the Moroccan orange blossom and cardamom yoghurt cake. It seemed like such an unusual combination but it was wonderful. The lemony cardamom combined beautifully with the orange blossom water. It was rather sweet but I think that little bursts of pomegranate served with it would cut that a bit. I couldn't get any pomegranate so served with some chopped pistachios. I would definitely make this one again. 

Friday 4 October 2013

Haloumi French Toast with Chorizo & Mushrooms

This is a once a year, or maybe decade, breakfast. I found the recipe over on taste.com.au and I knew that I just had to make it. It was stunning. So much flavour going on in there. Incredibly rich and ridiculously filling. It was ever so good though and I would definitely recommend trying it. Chorizo and haloumi are natural companions. I use them together regularly. The only thing I did find was that it was a bit salty. I think that would depend on the brand of cheese. Like feta the brand seems to make a difference in the saltiness of the cheese. I think some cherry tomatoes thrown in the pan with with chorizo and mushrooms would be excellent. I didn't have any almonds so didn't worry about them.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Cake Decorating

I have done a few cakes since I posted one. The first was a repeat on Peppa pig. My god-daughter was going to have a princess party until I was showing her mum photos of the Peppa Pig cake which said little girl saw too. Her mum said that for the next two weeks she went around telling everyone she was having a Peppa Pig party. lol

The next was a quick cake for a friend's daughter. I had to make this one for the weekend after being away for a week. I made the cakes before I went away and froze them. I decided to try something new and used buttercream and did the ombre look. It is a lovely cake and really wasn't hard to do but I much prefer working with fondant.

For the same weekend I made this little cake topper for a friend of a friend. Nice little quick one using leftover coloured fondant.

Finally, I made another Skylanders cake for the same little boy as last year. I was sent a screen cap of a cake by text and asked if I could replicate it. I have tried to find the source photo but have been unable to. I would love to be able to credit the person so if you know who did a similar cake design (with handmade figurines which I didn't make) please let me know. This one was lit up with lights again. Flickering again only this time the lights were green and purple. When I was asked if I could do them coloured I had no idea how I was going to do it. I ended up colouring them in with texta. It worked really well. However my lights are now permanently purple and green. If anyone else wants a lighted cake it will be purple and green. lol

Video of the lights