Sunday, July 27, 2008

Holidays at last

Weather conditions are downright crappy at the moment. Freezing cold, wet and windy. So I'm heading north to a warmer climate tomorrow, for a much needed break from daily routines. Darwin is the destination, and at least I can seek a reprieve from the sub zero temperatures each morning, enjoying a sip by the pool, fresh tropical fruit, varied Asian cuisines, with a side trip to Singapore for a touch of shopping and more food delights. Herb crusted rack of lamb was the most adventurous dish prepared this weekend, apart from Vegemite on toast!!
For the crust, combine fresh herbs, bread crumbs, a couple of good dollops of grainy mustard and moisten with olive oil. Press onto lamb racks and roast at 200 C for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 170 C until done. This was simply served with roast vegetable salad on a bed of rocket, with balsamic reduction dressing.

I'm off to pack. If anyone knows which horse is going to win the Darwin Cup, I'd be grateful for the tip.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Adults Only Tiramisu

With the amount of alcohol in this recipe, I had to warn my daughter not to drive after eating this luscious Italian dessert. Her probationary license stipulates zero alcohol content in your system, and I'm sure a breathalyser test would have registered way up there after only a couple of mouthfuls. Luckily only the biscuits are quickly "dipped" into this potent brew, otherwise we'd all end up happily tipsy, not that that would be an issue. I must confess I have only made Tiramisu once before, and that was due to a request from my eldest when she turned 16. Because she was "grown up" in her eyes, the customary birthday cake made way for this "adults only" dessert. Maybe it was her way of consuming alcohol right under my nose, instead of waiting for a party with her friends!! She is now 24, well and truly grown up, and I'm happy that I have an excuse to make it again. So are the dessert deprived members of this family. They all think HHDD is fabulous, because they can indulge in the rare treat of desserts after a meal. When I told my youngest what the theme for this month was going to be, she insisted we shop for the ingredients immediately. I wonder if her enthusiasm would have been the same had the theme been some savoury dish. I think not.
Alexandra, from Addicted Sweet Tooth, the deserved winner of the last round of Hay Hay it's Donna Day, a fun event now under the wing of Bron Marshall, has chosen Tiramisu for this months challenge. This is a no-bake (right up my alley when it comes to desserts), rich Italian dessert, that literally translates as "pick me up" or "make me happy/less sad". We all know the virtues of coffee, chocolate and alcohol, each providing a momentary state of euphoria. Combine them all together and what do you get? An exhilarating uplift with every spoonful, equally addictive as the individual ingredients can be on their own. Just don't drive for a while. Enjoy your happiness.


Prep time: 30 minutes

2 hours refrigeration


300 ml espresso coffee

3 ½ tblsp Marsala

2 tblsp Kilkenny cream (coffee and chocolate liqueur)

2 tblsp brandy

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

3 eggs separated

75 g caster sugar

300 g mascarpone

Cocoa for dusting

100 g good quality dark chocolate, grated

Savoiardi biscuits

Chill six 300 ml glasses. Combine coffee, coffee liqueur, brandy marsala and vanilla in a large bowl and set aside.

In a bowl beat egg yolks with sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in mascarpone. Beat eggwhites intil soft peaks form, then fold into the mascarpone mixture.

Dust the base of each glass with a little cocoa and sprinkle with some of the grated chocolate. Add a spoonful of the mascarpone mixture to each glass. Quickly dip the biscuits, a few at a time, into the coffee mixture and arrange in a single layer on top of the mascarpone, breaking biscuits to fit if required. Dust with cocoa and chocolate and then repeat layers again, finishing with mascarpone. Leave to chill for a couple of hours in the fridge and then dust again with cocoa and grated chocolate.

BBD #12 Small Breads

Krispy Kreme © donuts are not common in Australia...yet. Their franchise has obviously hit the major capitol cities, but not the small rural communities, and hopefully it will be a long time before they do, if these copycat donuts are any indication as to why people are raving about them. Who needs another fast food franchise in their town? Not me. Bread Baking Day #12 is travelling to India this month, where Aparna, from My Diverse Kitchen has chosen small breads as the theme. This is a monthly event created by Zorra from Kopchtopf, and I was just in the right mood to make donuts this last weekend. And as I'd just whipped up a batch of delicious lemon curd, I thought I would incorporate the tangy flavour with the sweet bread, and fill the donut "holes" with it. Personally, I think the holes are the best part!
breadbakingday #12

Copycat Krispy Kreme© Donuts

2 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons yeast
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
7 cups sifted flour

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cold water

Melt butter in hot milk. Add 1 teaspoon sugar and salt. Allow to cool to lukewarm.

Beat in yeast, nutmeg, eggs and 3 cups flour.

Add rest of flour (dough will be sticky). Knead for 5 minutes then allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Roll out dough, cut into shapes. Do not re-roll dough. Allow to rise for 30-45 minutes.

Mix together ingredients for glaze; set aside.

Heat oil to 365F.

Fry donuts 2 minutes on each side or until brown.

Dip in warm glaze.

Makes 48 donuts

This makes a lot of donuts, so be prepared to be chained to the deep fryer for a fair amount of time. Also be prepared for the plate of donuts to disappear before the next batch has finished cooking. Make sure at least one is saved for the cook!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Moroccan mania for Taste and Create

Right now I'm in the height of a Moroccan obsession, and so I was duly excited to be paired up with Ann and Jack from from Redacted Recipes this month, for Taste and Create, a monthly event created and coordinated by Nicole.

Tagines are a regular guest at our dinner table, at least once a week. The mention of "stew" for dinner always brought comments of disdain from the family in the past, but if the word "tagine" is substituted, there isn't a problem. It sounds much more exotic, and of course it really is, because Moroccan spices make an ordinary old stew sing like a star.

So dinner last light was a lamb tagine. This dish was so delicious, the cinnamon really shone through, and the prunes gave it a fruity lift. I think it's the first time everyone ate zucchini without leaving it to the side of the plate.

Ann and Jack's recipe can be found here. I really wanted to serve this with their Za'atar Bread to mop up the luscious juices, but just ran out of time. I will make it next time though, and the lamb tagine will definitely be on our menu again.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Herbed Ricotta Fritters

When you have a couple of egg yolks staring at you, 1/2 kilo of ricotta in the fridge that you're undecided what to do with, want to make something really quick and easy, dying to sit and relax with drink in hand, then these little fritter-balls are the perfect solution to your woes.

Two cups of chopped herbs are folded through the ricotta/egg/flour mixture and shallow fried in minutes. The combination of herbs is entirely up to you. As we are in the depths of a freezing winter, with snow on the mountains and frosts on the ground, I'm still lucky enough to have the old reliables flourishing in the garden - rosemary, parsley and oregano.

Initially, I thought that these might be a bit bland and overpowered by the herbs, but after one bite my fears were put to rest. They would make a wonderful addition to any party platter, but I would double the recipe 'cause they're just so tasty.

Herbed ricotta fritters


  • 500g fresh ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour, sifted
  • 2 cups mixed fresh herbs, chopped (we used flat-leaf parsley, oregano and rosemary leaves)
  • 150g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for shallow-frying


  1. Place ricotta in a sieve over a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow excess moisture to drain from ricotta. Drain, wash and dry bowl. Spoon ricotta into the bowl. Add egg yolks. Mix until well combined. Add flour, herbs and 1 1/2 cups parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  2. Preheat oven to 160°C. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Using 1 heaped tablespoon of mixture per fritter, cook fritters in batches of 4, turning often with a metal spoon, for 3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack over a baking tray. Keep warm in oven while cooking the remaining fritters.
  3. Place fritters on a plate. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Simona, from Briciole, is hosting this months Weekend Herb Blogging event, the brainstorm of Kalyn, from Kalyn's Kitchen. There are some new rules being introduced for next weekend, rules for the better, in my honest opinion, so that this event remains primarily about herbs, so check them out here.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Fish and Fresh Fennel Tagine

You can't get any fresher than this. The dirt from my garden is still clumped to the fennel roots. The aniseed perfume is so much stronger than any supermarket bulb, left wilting on the shelves for who knows how long. The crunch as the knife slices through the crisp layers is almost deafening. The pleasure of eating something grown from scratch, and with a little love, is immeasurable.

Fish was on the menu last night and fennel and fish are a marriage made in heaven. This is yet another Moroccan inspired recipe which I adapted from my latest cookbook purchase, Moroccan Modern by Hassan M'Souli, a restaurateur from Sydney. I know I'm going to get my money's worth from this book, the recipes are just fabulous.

This dish is abundant with coriander and parsley. The tomato chermoula is so versatile in it's uses, as a marinade, or even as a sauce for pasta marinara, I think I will always make double the recipe from now on.

Pam, who cooks, sews and knits in her "spare time" from Sidewalk Shoes is kindly hosting Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging this week.

Fish tagine


  • 4 x 2 inch thick firm fish fillets (try swordfish, dhufish, Ling or cod fillets)
  • 2 cups of tomato chermoula (see recipe below)
  • 1 large fennel bulb (the original recipe used celery sliced lengthways)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 small red capsicum
  • 1 small green capsicum
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of fish stock
  • A handful of kalamata olives
  • 1 preserved lemon cut into wedges
  • 4 roma tomatoes halved and roasted
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander


Marinate your fish fillets in the tomato chermoula for at least two hours.

Slice the fennel (or celery) and place slices parallel across the tagine base. This stops food from sticking and burning to the bottom.

Next place the fish fillets over the fennel. Next slice the carrot diagonally in 1cm slices. Peel and slice the potatoes in the same fashion. Deseed and remove membranes from capsicums and slice the flesh to be double the thickness of the potatoes. The slices need to be varied accordingly so that they all cook in time.

Alternate the carrot & potato slices around the outer edge of the tagine and on top of the fish. Place the capsicums in alternating colours on top of the whole dish.

Mix the tomato chermoula with the tomato paste and fish stock and whisk until well combined. Pour over the vegetables and the fish, and top with olives and preserved lemon wedges.

Cover with tagine lid and simmer over a low heat for 45 minutes.

Serve the fish tagine directly to the table, garnished with tomatoes and sprinkle with fresh coriander.
Tomato Chermoula

Tomato Chermoula is a great accompaniment for seafood dishes.


  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 brown onions diced
  • 4 x 400g cans of crushed tomatoes
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • Salt & pepper


Gently heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the garlic and onion until soft. Add the tomatoes, cumin, and lemon juice. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the fresh herbs and remove from heat. Season to taste. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.