Archive | July, 2010

MasterChef – Mick Style

30 Jul

This post is dedicated to a dear friend of mine, Mick Were.

Mick is a great guy, very domesticated, often does a lot of the housework, much to his wife Tanya’s delight (Tanya of Curtis Stone’s Potato, Leek and Fennel Soup fame).

Although this one night Mick was quite the opposite of domesticated, and had us all in stiches as he uploaded the following series of photos to Facebook.

Enjoy : )

MasterChef Mick style.

Step 1: Remember wife is out tonight...hmm what to cook. Procrastinate for a while. Eat a few lollies each time you pass the kitchen to keep sugar levels up.

Step 2: Open up fridge and hope for something good. Pay special attention to tupperware in bottom levels..usually something good there.

Step 3: The cooking process. I like to use the "HIGH" setting for about 2 minutes. Maybe a piece of paper towel across the top to stop things getting messy in there.

Step 4: Left over Crust Pizza from last night - Mediterranean Lamb and Peri Peri Chicken. Mini Meat Pies from a previous party. Dinner sorted! Go back to lounge and devour. Try to beat cooking time.

Step 5: Find chocolate brownies. Dont worry about that "plating up" crap. Just eat straight from tupperware. Cop that MasterChef!!

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Bill’s Individual Cheesecakes

28 Jul

My mum is a baker.

Well, that’s not technically true, she is actually a nurse – but she is a recreational baker.

She often speaks about her desire to bake sweet treats and sell them in a specialty shop that also sells second hand books, flowers, coffee and has a facility to weigh babies (yes, weird I know, but that’s my mum!)

Last Friday night my mum and I made a big family dinner to celebrate the fact that all 6 of us were under one roof for a meal – something that rarely happens these days!

We baked these beautiful Bill Granger individual lime cheesecakes. They were lovely, plenty of lime tang, and just the right size. They were a hit with our four boys too!

Individual Cheesecakes

Ingredients
Base
  • 100g shortbread biscuits
  • 55g ground almonds
  • 50g unsalted butter
Filling
  • 400g cream cheese
  • 100mL sour cream
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
  • strawberries or raspberries to top
 Method
  • Preheat the oven to 160’C
  • Line a 12 hole, 125mL capacity muffin tim with patty pans
  • Crush the biscuits to fine crumbs, using a food processor or rolling pin
  • Put the biscuit crumbs, ground almonds and melted butter into a bowl and combine
  • Press 1 tablespoon of the mixture inot the base of each patty pan
  • Refridgerate while you make the filling
  • To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg first, then the egg yolk, vanilla and lime zest, beating well after each addition.
  • Spoon mixture over the bases, then sprinkle the berries evenly on top
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheesecakes are puffed and starting to colour.
  • Allow to cool, then refridgerate until ready to eat
  • Remove the cheesecakes from the patty pans
  • Top each one with fresh berries and dust with icing sugar to serve

 Being individual, these cheesecakes don’t need the overnight setting time a large one usually requires.

Things I Love Thursday – 2

15 Jul

I love holding hands.

I always have, I always will… It’s my thing.

I remember the first time Mark held my hand. It is actually a super cute story!

We were on our first date at Manly beach, it was a Friday evening, and we had walked along Fairy Bower from Manly to Shelley Beach. We sat on the beach in front of Le Kiosk for a while, and when it was time to walk back, Mark stood in my way so I had to walk up the rocks to the path, instead of simply up the ramp. As I was trying to negotiate the rocks, he offered his hand for support, and never let go : )

He hasn’t let go for 5 and a half years, and I hope he doesn’t let go for the next 70 years!

Fun Front Doors

12 Jul

I’ve always loved houses that have happy, pretty, colourful front doors.

I always think the people that live in them must be fun and friendly.

I’m desperate to paint our front door – but i’m not sure what colour! While I was searching for inspiration, I found these stunners.

Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

9 Jul

I’m having my family over for dinner on Monday night because my Mum and Dad are finally coming home from their European holiday!

I wanted to make a swanky dessert that people would love – but I wanted to prepare it beforehand, so I could listen to their stories, and NOT be standing in the kitchen preparing dessert missing out on all the fun! Yes, I have FOMO (fear of missing out…)

So I decided to make a beautiful, rich and creamy vanilla bean panna cotta – who DOESN’T love panna cotta!

I trialled it yesterday, and oh my goodness -what a success! It was beautiful and so tasty!

Enjoy the recipe, I hope you can get much much much use out of it, and check out my pretty photos! Thanks to my husband for sourcing the foam core!

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups cream (may be lite)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (may be lite)
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons gelatine powder
  • Sliced strawberries to serve
Method
  • Place the cream and milk in a saucepan
  • Use a small sharp knife to split the vanilla bean lengthways, then scrape the seeds from inside the bean. Add the seeds and bean to the saucepan.
  • Slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Discard bean from cream mixture.
  • Add sugar and return to a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until sugar dissolves.
  • Place 2 tablespoons of boiling water in a small heatproof bowl. Sprinkle gelatine over water. Let stand.
  • Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Remove from heat. Sit the bowl of gelatine in the water and stir until dissolved. Cool slightly, then stir into the cream mixture.
  • Pour cream mixture into pretty glasses or ramekins.
  • Refrigerate for 4-6 hours
  •  Serve dish with fresh berries.

Serves 6

Things I Love Thursday – 1

8 Jul

I love old fashioned lolly shops.

I love the colourful jars, the little scoops, and the feeling that you get when you buy a few dollars worth of your favourite sweet.

When Mark and I were on our honeymoon, we found this little lolly shop just around the corner from our hotel in Mayfair, London. Each day, I would buy £1.00 worth of chocolate covered raisins – they are my FAVOURITE.

What is your favourite?

 

 

Tanya and Curtis’ Fennel and Potato Soup

6 Jul

My friend Tanya is gorgeous girl who likes fun times and yummy food – maybe that’s one reason why we’re friends!

Recently Tanya cooked Curtis Stone’s roasted fennel and potato soup, and I loved it. I knew there was something extra  in the soup, and that it wasn’t merely potato and leek, but I couldn’t quite pick the fennel taste, as it was very subtle, but definitely gave it a depth of flavour which was beautiful.

I made it for tea tonight, the perfect meal for a rainy, wintery night – complete with crusty ciabatta toast and pastrami – oh, and the ultimate luxury – warm pyjamas, MasterChef and my husband : )

Roasted Fennel and Potato Soup

Ingredients
  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 leek, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 500g russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup lite cream (if you are like me, you can do without the cream, but I will use it when I have guests and want to impress!)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chives to serve
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180’C
  • Toss the fennel and onions with 1 tablespoon of oil on a large heavy baking tray to coat. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the fennel and onions are tender.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the leeks and sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened slightly.
  • Add the broth, potatoes, and roasted fennel mixture and bring to a simmer.
  • Continue simmering for 18 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender. Remove the soup from the heat and cool slightly.
  • Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth.
  •  Strain the soup into a clean large saucepan.
  • Add the cream to the soup and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls then garnish with the chives and serve.

Serves 6

Note: I cheated a bit with this recipe. I was in need of a quick to make dinner, so skipped a few steps, and the recipe was still beautiful! I softened the fennel, leek and potato in the bottom of the pot with a little bit of garlic and olive oil. To that I added my stock and let simmer until tender. I then Bamixed the mixture, then added the cream, then served. Voila!

One Can Dream…

5 Jul

I wish I had this in my backyard.

Can you imagine sitting here sipping a cuppa and reading a good book?

Bliss.

Light Up Your World

4 Jul

A new week starts in a few hours…

Before we know it, we’ll wake up tomorrow morning, and whether we like it or not, it will be Monday morning.

I know I need to learn to embrace it, instead of grumbling through the day, hating on Mondays!

I pose the question – what will you do to be a light in your world this week?

Share your plans by commenting below – we may all inspire eachother to be shining lights in our worlds!