Getting back into cooking since 2009.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Warm Almond & Berry Cake

Here be some messed up version of Rhubarb Slice from the 'Bake It' book, due to a) not having any rhubarb, b) making it gluten intolerant friendly for my favourite norwegian at work and c) it not really working well enough to be considered a slice in the end. HOWEVER it was pretty good still warm, the bottom half of it still soft and a bit gooey and the top and edges with a really nice chewiness almost like meringue for some reason. Served with a scoop of icecream it was a nice dessert.

Sooo it didn't turn out much at all as intended (that being a slice to feed coworkers at morning tea) or like the original recipe but I am ok with that! Where the original looks like a tasty rhubarb topped cake, this looks like nothing very exciting BUT has awesome surprises of blueberries and raspberries underneath the vanillary cake top. SURPRISE! Here is the recipe:

Cream 185g unsalted butter, 230g caster sugar & 1/2 tsp vanilla.
Add 3 eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift over 3/4 tsp baking powder & 90g almond meal (*original recipe used plain flour) and stir to combine.
Spread over a greased & lined tin (20x30cm), and scatter a big handful of (defrosted, though i think mine were still a bit icey woops) blueberries and raspberries (*original used 300g chopped up rhubarb) over the top.
Sprinkle with sugar and bake in 180C for about 40 minutes or til golden.
Cool in the tin, lift out and slice up and serve with some icecream and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

As a warm dessert I give it A+. As the intended slice, FAIL. TOO SOGGY. I will try it again though and get it to actually be morning tea-able, some time..

Monday, February 23, 2009


Seafood is a definite weak spot in my cooking repertoire, basically because it's so goddamn expensive that I get a bit scared about stuffing it up, so I usually opt for something else.

Anyway, in the last year or two I've been trying to branch out a bit, cooking a lot of scallops, some fish, squid, prawns, etc. Today was the day to try mussels.

Mussels are only about $9 a kilo from Kailis; you need about half a kilo per person as the weight is mostly in the shells and you'll lose a few.

These were very simple: quickly stir fry some garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stem and chillies. Add the mussels and a little bit of sesame oil, turn them over 'til they've opened. Add a tin of coconut milk and the juice of a couple of limes, bring to the boil, stir in some coriander and serve.

We sopped up the liquid with bread, which was a tad inappropriate. Probably should've steamed some jasmine rice. Also too many of these had to be thrown away due to not opening, so I probably didn't cook them for long enough before adding the coconut milk.

Still, a good first try!

(As an aside: I walked to Kailis from my work near City West... Why is Perth so hostile to pedestrians? There's basically nowhere you can cross Loftus St without feeling like you're imperiling your life.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Six courses that are not KFC

Recently we cooked a multi-course dinner for three friends who have been known to subsist on pies from BP, honey sandwiches, KFC buckets, Doritos and the occasional Flying Taco burrito. Without wanting to suggest that any of these things are somehow less than worthy of culinary acclaim (I am a fan of the Flying Taco and honey sandwiches), I hope this meal was a bit of a change of pace.

First course was the chilled corn soup that I posted about previously. This time I double strained it, and the smoother texture is definitely preferable for a chilled soup. The chilli oil is nice, but it’s tough to get the right amount of kick in a couple of drops of oil without overdoing it and inducing coughing fits.

Second course was a beetroot, feta and apple salad with a beetroot chip, all made by Soda. I think she was unhappy with the results, possibly due to it being a bit dry? Still, it was a nice refreshing little second course.

Third course was ricotta gnudi with sage brown butter sauce, my personal favourite. I’ve been daydreaming about gnudi since eating them at the Spotted Pig a few months ago. They’re like gnocchi, but instead of potato and flour they’re made with ricotta, parmesan and a bit of semolina. You mould them into their little bullet shapes and then leave them to sit overnight immersed in semolina so that they develop a bit of a crust on the outside. When you cook them the crust holds them together but the inside is an oozy, rich delight.This recipe came from River CafĂ© Easy. One note to self: cook these in a couple of batches.

Fourth course was fillet steak, wrapped in bacon, basted with salsa verde and served with Locatelli’s broad bean puree. Self explanatory really. Incredibly tasty. Credit for this course has to go to the awesome butcher at Torre on Lake Street who cut from the middle of the fillet for me, so I could have nice round steaks to wrap in bacon.

Fifth course was walnut tuilles and honey-roasted pears (both made by Soda) and some brie. I cannot get enough of this flavour combination.

We finished with a Campari and agrum jelly topped with a pink grapefruit sorbet. I sometimes find the sour/sweet combination a bit hard to master with a citrus sorbet, but this worked pretty well with around 150ml fruit juice to 200ml simple syrup.