Friday, February 3, 2012

What I've been cooking lately

I've been absent a lot from my blog lately. I could apologise, but really this is probably the way things are going to be for a while. Blogging twice a week would be ideal for me, I never wanted to be a once-a-day sort of a blogger, but even that is way beyond my capacity right now. The little girl keeps me more than busy most of the time, and we're also renovating our house.

That hasn't meant that I've forgotten about food altogether, I still love spending time in my kitchen, and find that even on my tiredest days I am revived by preparing and eating something that I truly enjoy. Mostly that means old favourites that I don't feel like writing about. Pesto, curries, baked eggs....

I've started experimenting with jams too. These strange fruits are a native Australian fruit that we found in my Father-in-law's garden. Like many of those not-so-nice fruits the literature says they are 'good for jam'. Most things are good when immersed in their weight in sugar, but anyway, I thought I would give it a go.

They are strange things, very solid, with a pale flesh that could be compared to an unripe nectarine or peach. Each fruit also contains 4 to 5 very solid black stones that need to be removed. The preparation part for the jam was a lot more arduous than using traditional stone fruit I must say, even with my sharp Global knives I struggled to cut into the black apples.

The rest of the jam making process was fairly normal, although once finished I found that the fruit was still very solid, rather than soft like other stone fruit would be. It was quite edible but a bit of a fail overall. There is a reason why we don't see black apple jam on the shelves of Coles!

Another little experiment was making praline, inspired by The Rose Bakery cookbook. The bakery is a beautiful little cafe near the Gare du Nord in Paris which I visited on my last trip to France in 2007. They have no website for me to link to, but here's a lovely review by Chocolate & Zucchini.  They bring English style food to Paris, that is less delicate and refined, but healthier and really tasty.

The book is gorgeous and I hope to be cooking a few other things from it over this rainy Sydney weekend.  Granola, Pistachio cake and some of the savoury tarts are all on the to do list.

Chopping almonds

Making the sugar syrup

Caramel setting over the almonds

Praline shards in my Magimix


The praline is so beautiful. The nuts make it less sweet than a pure caramel dust would be. I sprinkled it over Connisseur vanilla ice cream. And the best part is that I now have 2 jars full in the cupboard which can be used to sprinkle over cakes, muffins, ice cream and yogurt.

Have you tried Twinings new Australian Afternoon Tea? We bought some at the weekend. It's a strong but beautiful blend, something that would be more suited to the morning for me personally (I'm more of an Earl Grey or herbal girl in the afternoons).

We had a few friends over for dinner last night and I turned to Nigella. I've made this Greek lamb, lemon & chilli dish a few times, it's easy to pre-prepare the oven trays and put them into the oven for an hour or so when needed. The chilli and lemon make the dish special.

I served it with fresh bread and a green salad.  Simple, uncomplicated dinner.

For lunch today I used some of the lamb cutlets left over from last night and quickly fried it with some halloumi.

These were added to a winter salad of Israeli couscous, roasted pumpkin and a few green salad leaves with a bit of lemon juice on top. A strong combination of flavours, but just what I was after on this cold and wet Sydney day.

My new Emile Henry pie case awaits for this weekend, I just need to find the perfect beginner's recipe tonight to work out what to make.  Any suggestions would be welcome.

Have a great weekend everyone x


  1. I keep hearing about the Rose Bakery cookbook- it looks awesome & full of great recipes :) And oh goodness, the almond praline sounds amazing...I bet it would make any bowl of icecream of yoghurt taste that much nicer!!

  2. thanks Hannah and SSG. Yes the praline was really worth trying out...

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  4. You've been very busy indeed! I'm interested in that fruit, at first I thought that I had seen them on trees in Qld and they call them cherries but they're different from cherries. But I think these look bigger than those! :)


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