Wednesday, 30 September 2009

persimmon chutney

This sweet and sour chutney is quite runny, but has a little texture from the firmer Fuyu persimmon flesh (see info on persimmon types here).

The flavour is certainly sweet with a tang and spicy kick, and it goes well with barbequed and grilled meats and fish.

Persimmon Chutney

Anna’s very own recipe. Makes 250ml.


1 ripe Hachiya persimmon
1 ripe Fuyu persimmon
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
Pinch of ground cinnamon


1. Peel the Fuyu persimmon and cube flesh. Put aside in bowl.

2. Scoop the jelly-like flesh out of the Hachiya persimmon. Add to Fuyu.

3. Combine all other ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute.

4. Add persimmon pulp, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until pulp is soft and spices have permeated the chutney.

5. Pour into a sterilised jar and allow to cool.

6. Can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months.

Monday, 28 September 2009

basque oxtail stew

I have always enjoyed eating oxtails but, until this year, I had never cooked them myself. That's why they were another one of the tasks I set myself in my 2009 Food Challenges.

I have to say oxtails were a little difficult for me to prepare. It felt like they took forever to get tender and, once they were, I had a doozy of a time picking the meat from their boney wheels. But I'd certainly cook them again.

This particularly recipe was a hearty winter dish. The flavours are warm and robust and I loved eating the rich gravy over chunks of boiled potato.

On egin!

Behi Buztanak Anda Goriren Zaltzan (Basque Oxtail Stew)

Recipe adapted from The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines by Jeff Smith. Serves 2-4.

800g oxtails, rubbed with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chopped celery
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1¼ cups beef stock
¾ cups red wine
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon dried thyme, whole
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Using a heavy pot, brown the seasoned oxtails in the olive oil. Remove to a plate to rest.

2. Leave the oil in the pot and sauté the celery, onion, carrots, garlic, shallots, and parsley.

3. When the onions are clear add the flour and stir in well. Sauté for a few minutes.

4. Add the beef stock, red wine, bay leaves, and thyme, along with the oxtails. Simmer partially covered for 1 hour, or until tender. Stir occasionally.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste as the dish finishes.

I have actually posted about thyme previously for WHB but, since I’m only plagiarising myself, I thought I’d re-post it here:

The name thyme covers a genus (Thymus) of around 350 herbaceous plants and shrubs, native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. The stems are narrow and woody while the leaves are dense and evergreen in most versions.

Thyme has been used for millennia for a variety of different purposes: Ancient Egyptians used it for embalming; Ancient Greeks scented theirs baths and candles with it; Romans used it to flavour cheese and alcohol; and in Medieval Europe it was used to aid sleep and prevent nightmares.

It has been believed to bring courage since the times of Ancient Greece and during the Middle Ages in Europe knights and warriors would receive sprigs as gifts.

It’s essential oil contains 20-55% thymol, which is an antiseptic and apparently the active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash. Previously thymol was used to disinfect bandages; kill foot fungus; treat coughs, bronchitis and throat inflammation; and aid childbirth. Gargling water that has been boiled with thyme can be a useful mouth and throat antiseptic.

Unlike other herbs, thyme retains much of its flavour after being dried and is used widely in the cuisines of Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon and the Caribbean. It pairs well with game meat, lamb, chicken, eggs, tomatoes and cream. Thyme is also a feature of famous spice blends such as bouquet garni, herbes de Provence and za'atar.

This week our WHB host is Marija from the gorgeously photographed blog Palachinka! Try her red risotto, leche frita, elderberry jam or homemade orange liqueur for starters, then check out her round-up of this week's herby recipes.

Other thyme recipes from The Net include:
Baked Jerusalem Artichokes w Thyme & Lemon - Morsels & Musings
Butter Bean, Bacon & Thyme Soup - Greedy Gourmet
Corn Bite w Thyme - Eat Make Read
Green Beans w Almonds & Thyme - Simply Recipes
Mushroom & Thyme Farro Salad - Closet Cooking
Peach & Thyme Sorbet - Je Mange La Ville
Peach, Blueberry & Thyme Cupcakes - Cupcake Blog
Poached Pears w Wild Thyme & Raspberries - Dhanggit's Kitchen
Roast Chicken w Lemon & Thyme - Morsels & Musings
Roasted Figs w Thyme, Cinnamon & Honey - Nami Nami
Roasted Strawberry & Thyme Sherbet - Baking Obsession
Sage, Rosemary & Thyme Ice MilkJe Mange La Ville
Savory Pecan, Parmesan & Thyme Shortbread - Pittsburgh Needs Eated
Strawberry, Rhubarb & Thyme Shortcakes - Baking and Books
Strawberry Thyme Stuffed Cupcakes - Feeding Maybelle
Thyme-Braised Lentils w Petimezi - Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Thyme Flower Ice Cream - Chez Pim
Thyme, Hazelnut & Lemon Cookies - My Own Sweet Thyme
Tomato-Thyme Soup - Farida's Azerbaijani Cookbook
Venison w Juniper, Blueberries & Thyme - Morsels & Musings
Zucchini Bake w Feta & Thyme - Kalyn's Kitchen

This time previously on Morsels & Musings:
2008 - Chorizo & Chickpea Tapa
2007 - Spelt Fettucine w Hazelnuts & Goats Curd
2006 - Lebanese coriander potatoes

Saturday, 26 September 2009

the cocktails of new orleans

What better post for the weekend than a whole bunch of cocktail recipes?

Jonas and I enjoyed a plethora of good cocktails in New Orleans, home of many of the world’s most famous drinks.

Did you know that New Orleans is the home of the following cocktails:
• Sazerac
• Ramos Gin Fizz
• Brandy Milk Punch
• Hurricane

Just as I suspected, the Brandy Milk Punch turned out to be my favourite of New Orleans' cocktails. Perfect to start off the day at breakfast, or end the evening with a milky treat before bed. Delicious, sweet and comforting!

Brandy Milk Punch
Recipe by the Museum of the American Cocktail. Makes 1.
2 oz. (60ml) brandy
1 oz. (30ml) sugar syrup
4 oz. (120ml) milk
1. Shake with ice and serve in a punch glass. Dust with nutmeg.

The Sazerac is supposed to be America’s first cocktail, originating in pre-Civil War New Orleans in the 1830s. For those with a low alcohol tolerance, this is one dangerous drink.

Recipe from Makes 1.Ingredients:
3-4 dashes of Herbsaint
2 oz. (60ml) Rye of Bourbon blended whiskey
3-4 hearty dashes of Peychaud bitters
One long, thin twist of lemon
Sugar cube, water, club soda—optional
Method:1. Place Herbsaint in a well-chilled Old Fashion glass. Tilt glass to coat sides completely and pour off excess Herbsaint.
2. Place Rye and Peychaud bitters into cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake for 30 seconds and strain into prepared glass.
3. Twist lemon peel over drink and drop in gently.

This photo was pilfered from because I was too busy drinking to take a photo of my own!

This great cocktail is pure deliciousness. Originally called the New Orleans Fizz, it was invented by Henry Ramos in 1888. Based on a regular gin fizz, the addition of eggwhite and orange flower water gives an aromatic elegance to Ramos’ version.

Ramos Gin FizzRecipe by Art of Drink. Makes 1.
Ingredients:2 oz (60ml) gin
½ tablespoon egg white (powdered)
½ oz (15ml) sugar syrup
½ oz (15ml) lemon juice
½ oz (15ml) lime juice
1 oz (30ml) cream
3 drops orange flower water
1-2 oz (30-60ml) soda water
1. Combine the gin, cream, egg white, lime juice, lemon juice and sugar syrup then shake, shake, shake until it gets creamy.
2. Then add a scoop of ice and shake for another 30 seconds. Once that is done strain the drink into a tall glass with an ounce or two of soda water on the bottom.
Tip: Don’t add the soda water after the drink is in the glass because it breaks the foam and makes for a watery drink.

According to Pat O’Brien’s (the Hurricane creators) during WWII staple booze was in low supply so salesmen would force bars to buy mass amounts of cheap Caribbean rum to get a little of the good stuff (like whisky). Pat O'Brien's owner decided to entice the crowds with cheap fruity rum punch in a novelty shaped (hurricane lamp) glass.

Recipe from The Gumbo Pages. Makes 1.
1.5 oz (45ml) light rum
1.5 oz (45ml) dark rum
1 oz (30ml) orange juice
1 oz (30ml) fresh lime juice
¼ cup passion fruit juice
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 teaspoon grenadine
Cherries with stems, and orange slice to garnish
Ice cubes
1. In a cocktail shaker, mix the rum, passion fruit juice or syrup, the other juices and the sugar until sugar is dissolved.
2. Add the grenadine, and stir to combine, then add ice and shake.
3. Half-fill a hurricane glass with ice, then strain drink into glass; add ice to fill. Garnish with orange slice and cherries.

Napoleon House is a beautiful bar, built as a residence in 1797 for New Orleans’ mayor Nicholas Girod. It was offered as a refuge Napoleon Bonaparte in 1821, explaining how it got it’s imperial name. Although not a cocktail invented in New Orleans, Napoleon House makes such a mean Pimm’s Cup that it might as well have been their’s to start with.

Napoleon’s Pimm’s Cup
Recipe by Napoleon House. Makes 1.
Ingredients:1 ¼ oz. (40ml) Pimm's No. 1 Cup
3 oz (90ml) lemonade (made from lemons!)
Freshly sliced cucumber
1. Fill a tall 12 oz glass with ice.
2. Add Pimm's and lemonade.
3. Then top off with 7up.
4. Garnish with cucumber.

The first written record of the mint julep was published in London in 1803 and called it “a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning”. Given that the mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, it’s most certainly known as a Southern drink and is drunk en masse in New Orleans (which seems to claim it as its own).

Mint JulepRecipe by the Museum of the American Cocktail. Makes 1.
½ oz. (15ml) sugar syrup
2 sprigs of fresh mint
2 oz. (60ml) bourbon
Method:1. Muddle, with sugar syrup, one sprig of mint in the bottom of a highball glass or a silver julep cup.
2. Fill with crushed ice and add the bourbon.
3. Swirl with a bar spoon until the outside of the glass frosts.
4. Top up with more ice and garnish with a sprig of mint.

So which were my favourite bars in New Orleans?

Napoleon House
500 Chartres Street
Historic bar
Sit at the bar and soak up the 200yrs of atmosphere.

Chart Room
300 Chartres Street
Casual bar/pub
Local watering hole oozing with character.

Bombay Club
830 Conti Street
Martini bar / restaurant
Romantic, smoky, colonial charm.

Enjoy the drinking!

View New Orleans in a larger map

Thursday, 24 September 2009

pickled smoked sausages

Yesterday we woke up to an eerie red glow and looked out the window to see Sydney blanketed in an impenetrable mist.

It turned out to be a huge dust storm that dumped 1000 tonnes of iron-rich dust on Sydney from the drought-stricken outback. As the sun tried to penetrate the fog, the light glinted off the tiny iron particles in the soil and created the most beautiful red glow.

Unfortunately the entire city is now filthy and anyone with any kind of breathing issue is not a happy camper.

But onto the recipe . . . during a visit to the Czech Republic in 2003 I tried my first pickled sausage "utopenci". I loved it.

Next taste was 2005 in the USA, when I found snack-pack pickled sausages as well as huge jars at Walmart. My grandfather, father and I spent a summer afternoon sitting in the shade of the garage drinking ice tea and eating pickled sausages from a giant jar (in the Florida humidity)!

These memories were the inspiration behind this 2009 Food Challenge and I made my very own batch of pickled sausages to munch on at home.

Note, these are not "Marco Polo" brand, that's just the jar I used!

I highly recommend you make yourself some pickled sausages. They sound gross, but they are truly delicious.

Also, make sure you add beetroot juice or your sausages will turn an unappetising grey hue.

Pickled Smoked Sausages

Recipe by Glenn Shapely.


1kg pre-cooked, smoked sausages
500ml cider vinegar
125ml boiling water
40g sugar
15g pickling spices
5g onion flakes
A few drops of beetroot juice


1. Cut sausage to fit container and place inside.

2. In a saucepan add the vinegar, water, sugar, spices and onion flakes to the boil.

3. Pour the pickling liquid into the jar, add beetroot juice and put on lid. Turn upside and allow to sit for a few minutes to sterilise and seal the lid.

4. Refrigerate for 2 weeks before eating.

Pickling Spice
Anna's very own recipe. Makes 1 batch.


2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 allspice berries
2 bay leaves
1 clove


1. Combine and add to vinegar when preparing pickling liquids.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

sticky date pudding & butterscotch sauce

When I eat sticky date pudding I think of three people: my mum and my two stepsisters Shamu and Stinky.

In the 1990s, between mosh pits at angsty grunge concerts, I would visit local cafés with my mum and sisters and gorge on this delicious cake. We’d even do cake runs on Saturday nights!

In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find someone from Sydney who didn’t overload on sticky date pudding in the 90s. It was the dessert of choice and pretty much every café and restaurant served it.

These days it’s been replaced by newer fads, but I still have a soft spot for this moist, rich cake so I made it for a friend's BBQ where it followed Tim's amazing crispy pork belly (soon to be posted for your viewing/eating pleasure).

I found this recipe in Australian Gourmet Traveller’s 40th Anniversary Issue in the 1990s section. It’s a particularly good version.

Sticky Date Pudding

Recipe from Gourmet Traveller (August 2006). Serves 8-10.

170g dates, pitted & chopped coarsely
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
60g butter, softened
170g (¾ cup) sugar
2 eggs
170g (1 cup) self-raising flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Butterscotch sauce (see recipe below), to serve
Double cream, to serve


1. Preheat oven to 160’C. Grease and line cake tin.

2. Combine dates and 300ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-high heat.

3. Remove from heat, add bicarbonate of soda and stand.

4. Beat butter and caster sugar with electric beaters until pale and fluffy.

5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

6. Add flour, date mixture and vanilla and mix to combine.

7. Spoon into a cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre withdraws clean.

8. Remove from oven and pour a quarter of butterscotch sauce over warm pudding then return to oven for 2-3 minutes so sauce soaks into pudding.

9. Serve pudding with extra butterscotch sauce and double cream or vanilla ice cream

Butterscotch Sauce
Recipe from Gourmet Traveller (August 2006). Makes approx 500ml.

200g (1 cup) brown sugar
125ml (½ cup) thick cream
130g butter, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


1. For butterscotch sauce combine all ingredients in a saucepan

2. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer or 3 minutes.

The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is a miraculous plant, providing so much to the people that rely upon it.

Dates have been part of the Middle Eastern diet for thousands of years and archaeological evidence shows cultivation as far back as 6000 BCE. They probably came from the Persian Gulf and spread though Mesopotamia into prehistoric Egypt

Dates are so important to the Middle Eastern diet that all four stages of the ripening process have their own word in Arabic: kimri (unripe), khalal (full-size, crunchy), rutab (ripe, soft), tamr (ripe, sun-dried).

Wikipedia lists over 40 different kinds of dates and not surprisingly, the Middle East leads the way in date output with the world’s top five producers being Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

Date palms can take up to 7 years before they bear fruit but once they do they can make up to 120kg (264lbs) per harvest. They are not only the source of palm sugar but they also can be used to produce syrup, honey, vinegar and alcohol. There’s even sparkling date juice!

Apart from the fruit, young leaves and the palm heart can be cooked as a veggie, ground seeds make flour or flavour coffee and the flowers are added to salads.

And you don’t even need to eat date palm products. You can make soap from the sap; cosmetics from the oil, specialist charcoal and beads from the seeds; brooms from the fruit stalks; thatching, mats, screens and baskets from the fronds; and even a leather waterproofing agent from the syrup.

Dates can be eaten fresh once soft or also eaten dried. Fresh dates are high in Vitamin C but it’s lost in the drying process.

Dates are an amazing 80% sugar and the rest is protein and fat. They are high in fibre and potassium. Their high tannin content makes them useful in treatments for sore throat, colds and fever relief.

Date by-products are also used for treating diarrhoea, urinary problems and toothaches and in Nigeria the fruits are added to flavour beer because its believed they counteract intoxication.

Dates are my Weekend Herb Blogging theme ingredient this week, hosted by Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs).

Other recipes using dates:
Bacon-Wrapped Date 'Cannolis' w Pine Nuts - DISHtrict
Banana-Date Smoothie - Pink Bites
Bengali Date & Tomato Chutney - Ahaar
Date & Coconut Burfi (Indian fudge) - Laws of the Kitchen
Date & Earl Grey Madeleines - The British Larder
Date & Ginger Charoset (sweet Syrian paste) - I Heart Kale
Date & Walnut Loaf - More than Words
Date, Molasses & Cardamom Cake - Arabic Bites
Date Scones - Vicious Ange
Drunken Date & Blue Cheese Flatbread - Choosy Beggars
Kharjura Payasa (Indian date dessert) - Monsoon Spice
Kobz Abraj (North African breakfast pastries) - Kitchen Chick
Lärabars (date, nut & cocoa bar) - Chocolate & Zucchini
Mandarin-Date Sweet Potatoes - The Gluten Free Hippie
No-Cook Apple, Date & Onion Chutney - The Cottage Smallholder
Persimmon Fruit Salad - Morsels & Musings
Pistachio Stuffed Dates - Elana's Pantry
Pumpkin-Date Loaf - Culinary in the Country
Sesame-Date Muffins - I Think I Have A Recipe For That

From the M&M archives:
2008 - finger lime martini
2007 - kimchi jjigae (Korean spicy cabbage stew)
2006 - artichokes w lemon & garlic


Saturday, 19 September 2009

paneer bhurji (fried paneer)

Bored of bacon and eggs?
Toast just not cutting it?
Cereal getting you down?
Then here’s a brekkie recipe for you!

Chilli and spices are tempered with the mild creaminess of paneer (cheese) in this Indian breakfast best served with flatbread.

Paneer Bhurji (Fried Paneer)

Anna’s very own recipe based on various internet versions. Serves 2.


300g fresh paneer, crumbled coarsely
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon lime juice
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon coriander powder
Pinch of asafeotida (hing) powder
Chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
Rice or flatbread, to serve


1. Heat the oil, add the onion and green chilli and fry until soft.

2. Add the cumin seeds and fry until browned and fragrant.

3. Add the pepper, chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, coriander powder and asafeotida (hing) powder and fry until fragrant.

4. Next add the grated ginger, sugar and chopped tomato.

5. Now add the paneer and salt and fry, stirring continuously, until heated through.

6. Remove from the heat and stir through lime juice and fresh coriander leaves.

7. Serve hot with rice or Indian flat breads like roti, chapati or naan.

Interested in some other exciting breakfast recipes from the M&M archives?
Baked Eggs & Beans V
Blackberry Breakfast Cake V
Blueberry & Sour Cream Wholemeal Pancakes V
Blueberry Focaccia V
Breakfast Crumble V
Chilaquiles (Mexican bean, tomatillo & tortilla bake) V
Çılbır (Turkish eggs w spiced yoghurt) V
Fatteh (Syrian chickpeas, tahini & yoghurt) V
Grape & Aniseed Schiacciata V
Jonas' Breakfast Beans V
Khabeesa (Omani rose & cardamom porridge) V
Khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread) V
Moringa Omelette V
Mulberry & Vanilla Muffins V
Pears Poached in Passionfruit Juice V
Persimmon & Bourbon Bread V
Persimmon Fruit Salad V
Potato Breakfast Curry w Poached Eggs V
Quinoa Porridge V
Ricotta, Strawberry & Choc-Chip Muffins V
Roquefort Popovers V
Zucchini, Mint & Feta Bake V

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

mâche w chive & mustard dressing

On recent visits to specialist green grocers, I’ve discovered Sydney is awash with packages from a new company selling fresh, wonderful mâche.

I remember when I was about 12 and my mother started growing mâche. I would happily eat the nutty, sweet leaves.

Looking back on it, I was very lucky I had a mother who grew sorrel and rocket and mâche when all the other kids ate nothing but iceberg lettuce (all that was available in the supermarket in those days).

But after that mâche supply ended, I was without my favourite salad green until 2 months ago when I found Sydney’s new supplier. Now mâche is back on the menu!

Mâche has a gentle, sweet flavour that is easily overpowered with too much acidity. To be honest, the dressing I’ve used below could be considered “too much”, so use your own judgement.

Instead I would probably recommend using a gentle oil (like walnut or hazelnut) and a light acidulant like verjuice.

Mâche w Chive & Mustard Dressing
Anna’s recipe. Serves 2.


100g mâche rosettes
1 heaped tablespoon wholegrain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chive paste (or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar


1. Carefully wash mâche rosettes, being sure to remove any residual dirt in their layers.

2. In a jar, shake Dijon mustard, chive, olive oil and vinegar until well combined (is emulsified a word or have I been ruined by George W?).

3. Combine mâche and dressing and serve immediately.

Mâche (Valerianella locusta) has many common names like corn salad, lamb’s lettuce, field salad, field lettuce and rapunzel

Mâche grows in pretty rosette clusters so dirt easily gets caught in the folds. Make sure you clean it well to remove any hidden grit.

Mâche grows wild in parts of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia and often pops up in unused fields. It was once a green foraged by peasants but by the reign of France’s Sun King (Louis XIV 1643-1715) it was part of the royal garden.

Full of vitamin C, B6, B9, E, and omega-3 fatty acids, mâche is a very healthy green.

The Weekend Herb Blogging host for this week is Chriesi from Almond Corner. Be sure to check out the round-up.

Other blogger recipes:
Algerian Clementine, Onion & Mâche Salad - Mediterranean Creole
Goat Cheese & Mâche Risotto - La Vie
Lamb's Lettuce & Chicken Soup - Chocolate & Zucchini
Mâche & Jicama Salad - sophistimom
Mâche Green Smoothies - She Simmers
Mâche w Orange Cumin Dressing - Kitchen Parade
Mâche, Raspberry & Viola Salad - Lekker, Lekker, Lekkerste
Vegan BLT - Healthy. Happy. Life.

From the M&M archives:
2008 - Drumstick Masala
2007 - Poire & Prosecco (cocktail)
2006 - Lentil Potage


Sunday, 13 September 2009

lemon slice

Lemon Slice is one of Australia's traditional treats.

It's very sweet and very tangy and reminds me of Sunday afternoons climbing the Jacaranda tree in my yard as my sisters road their bikes up and down the street (I couldn't ride a bike, but I could climb highest in the tree!).

Lemon Slice

Recipe from Makes 12 pieces.

½ cup sweetened condensed milk
100g butter
200g plain biscuits
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 lemon, rind finely grated
Lemon icing
2 cups icing sugar mixture
40g butter, softened
1 lemon, juiced


1. Grease and line a 3cm-deep, 15.5cm x 25cm rectangular pan.

2. Place condensed milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until butter melts.

3. Place biscuits in a food processor and process to fine crumbs.

4. Combine crumbs, coconut and 2 teaspoons lemon rind in a bowl.

5. Add hot butter mixture. Stir until well combined.

6. Press biscuit mixture into prepared pan. Refrigerate for 1½ hours or until firm.

7. To make lemon icing, place icing sugar mixture, butter and 2½ tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.

8. Spread icing over slice. Refrigerate for a further 30 minutes or until icing has set.

9. Cut into pieces. Serve.

Friday, 11 September 2009

tamarind & kaffir broth

It's been a while since I got my act together and participated in Presto Pasta Night! But here I am with this tangy, quick comfort soup that I whip up when I'm hungry. The ingredients (or most of them) are usually on hand ever since my parents gave us a kaffir tree for the balcony.

It's delicious, healthy and really hits my sour spot!

Tamarind & Kaffir Broth w Vermicelli

Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 2 as a starter.


500ml vegetable stock
1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
2 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, finely diced
1 tablespoon peanut oil
80g thin rice vermicelli


1. Heat peanut oil in a small saucepan.

2. Add chilli and kaffir leaves fry for a minute.

3. Add garlic and fry another minute.

4. Add tomato and scallion and fry, smashing tomato, until it begins to break down a little.

5. Add stock and tamarind concentrate and bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

6. While soup simmers, prepare vermicelli according to manufacturers instructions.

7. Drain vermicelli and add to soup. Remove from heat and stir through fresh coriander and lime juice. Serve hot.

This week's host for Presto Pasta Night is Rachel, The Crispy Cook. Be sure to see what other pasta/noodle delights await.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

duck w cherries

This recipe came from Australian Gourmet Traveller’s 40th Anniversary Issue where they reprinted some of the recipe over the years in a decade-by-decade history of food trends.

Duck w Cherries was firmly wedged in the 1960s along with Black Forest Cake. From the 1970s we got steak tartare and fondue, the 1980s gave us flaugnarde and neenish tarts and the 1990s was all about laksa, pannacotta and sticky date pudding.

Ahhh the memories (OK, so I’m only old enough to have memories of 1½ of those decades, but you get the idea).

I love sweet fruit sauces with meat, as you’ll see in a few weeks when I post a recipe for pigeon & plums or my archives of kangaroo & quandong, emu & rosella, venison & blueberries and pork w prunes & apples.

But for now enjoy the duck!

Duck w Cherries
Recipe from Gourmet Traveller (August 2006). Serves 4.
1 tablespoon butter
1.8kg duck, quartered
125ml light-bodied red wine
500g cherries
1½ teaspoons cornflour
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt butter in a large casserole over medium heat.
2. Add duck and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until browned.
3. Add wine and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour
5. Drain excess fat from pan and add cherries, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
6. Combine cornflour in 1 tablespoon of water and mix until smooth.
7. Remove duck and cherries from pot then bring juice to a boil over a medium heat
8. Add cornflour mixture, whisking continuously for 1 minute or until thickened. Strain.
9. Divide duck and cherries among serving plates then spoon sauce over.
Note: frozen cherries can be used, but should be added 5 minutes before the end of cooking.

The area of Turkey, today called Giresun, was once known to the ancient Greeks as Kerasous and is the origin of most European words for cherry.

Greeks and Romans imported cherries from this area of Anatolia and called the fruits κέρασος (Greek) then cerasum (Latin) and eventually cereza (Spanish), cerise (French), kirsche (German) and cherry (English).

There are two main types of cherries: wild cherries (prunus avium) and sour cherries (prunus cerasus). Although they originate in the same place, they don’t cross-pollinate.

Cherry trees have silver-grey bark, long slender leaves and, in spring, beautiful pink and white blossoms. The Japanese have made an art out of cherry blossom enjoyment (hanami).

The peak fruit season depends on your location and those in the northern hemisphere enjoy them around June and July whereas in Australia they are best from November to January.

Cherry anthocyanins (red pigment) are potent antioxidants and they are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin E and dietary fibre. They are also being researched for their suspected benefits in combating the progression of cancer, chronic inflammatory conditions, neurological diseases, ageing, cardiovascular disease and allergic conditions (for instance asthma, hay fever, eczema and hives).

Our Weekend Herb Blogging host this week is the lovely Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once. If you haven’t visited this blog before, please spend some time reading over Haalo’s recipes: it’s one of my all time favourite blogs out there.

M&M's cherry recipes:
Cherrylicious (cocktail)
Meggyleves (Hungarian sour cherry soup)
Schwarzwälderkirschtorte (German black forest cake)

Other cherry recipes from the blogosphere:
Beef Short Ribs w Cherry Balsamic Sauce - Mrs Glaze's Pommes d'Amour
Black Cherry Iced Tea - Appetite for China
Blue Cheese & Dried Cherry Meatloaf - A Year of Slow Cooking
Cherry Champagne Jellies - Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once
Cherry Hazelnut Loaf Cake - Chocolate & Zucchini
Cherry Jam - David Lebovitz
Cherry Mallow Salad - Eat Me Daily
Cherry Marzipan Tart - Nami Nami
Lamb Chops in Cherry & Port Sauce - Closet Cooking
Macaroon Cherry Tart - 101 Cookbooks
Persian Cherry Pilaf - Tigers & Strawberries
Sour Cherry Almond Frozen Yogurt - Always Order Dessert
Sour Cherry Barbecue Sauce - Habeas Brûlée
Sweet Cherry Pie - Smitten Kitchen
Venison w Cherry Mostarda & Chanterelles - Cook Eat Fret
Warm Cherry Port Sauce - Je Mange la Ville
Zucchini w Sour Cherry Couscous - Fig & Cherry

From the M&M archives:
2008 –
Ecuadorian tuna & yuca soup
2007 –
garlic scape pesto
2006 –
mangosteen sorbet


Saturday, 5 September 2009

apple, walnut & blue cheese flaugnarde

This breakfast is a perfect treat for weekend brunch. It’s rich yet light. The apples are refreshing, the sage pungent and the walnuts add delicious texture. As I said, it’s perfect.

I can happily sing the praises of this recipe without arrogance since I pinched it from London Foodie in NY.

Our London Foodie (also Anna!) has her recipe listed under clafoutis, which was the name I was calling it too until I discovered that a clafoutis contains only cherries and that using any other fruit makes the dish a flaugnarde. You learn something every day!

So I made the flaugnarde for Jonas one weekend and it reignited my cooking passion.

I’ve been very uninspired lately. It’s almost as if by indulging myself with all the marvellous flavours and ingredients of the world I have become over-stimulated. Flavour-fatigue?

My lack of response to amazing recipes and food is quite interesting and I’m starting to understand how very rich people become blasé about their unlimited stockpiles of money. The excitement wears off after a while.

But this flaugnarde recipe piqued my interest again.

I got back into the kitchen, recently making David Lebovtiz’s chocolate ice cream, Maggie Beer’s vincotto & chocolate pavlova and Nigella Lawson’s broccoli & stilton soup. All excellent and all cleverly making use of leftovers from other recipes.

Now that the joy of cooking and eating is returning, I need to reinvigorate the blogging part. I have more than 100 back-logged recipes to post but zero energy to write them up. Some of you may have noticed my blog stuck on a palm heart recipe for the past 2 weeks? Perhaps my laziness means I don’t have any readers left!

Well, I’m endeavouring to do better again. Can’t promise anything because that’s likely to jinx me, but let’s hope this show is back on the road!

Now back to the flaugnarde, you could make it for brunch or even lunch with a nice glass of pinot gris and a lightly dressed baby spinach or mâche salad.

Apple, Walnut & Blue Cheese Flaugnarde

Recipe by
London Foodie in NY. Serves 4.



3 eggs
250ml (1 cup) buttermilk or whole milk
75g butter, melted
85g (2/3 cup) plain flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
50g crumbled blue cheese
Butter, for greasing
30g chopped walnuts
1 large tart apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon chopped sage
1 tablespoon butter


1. Heat the oven to 200’C/400F/Gas 6. Grease a 9 inch square or round baking tin using extra butter and place in the heated oven with any leftover butter.

2. Mix together the eggs, buttermilk (or milk), melted butter, flour, sugar, salt and blue cheese until well combined.

3. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium-high heat until it begins to turn brown.

4. Add the apples, sugar, salt and sage then toss in the pan about 2-3 minutes, until the apples begin to soften slightly.

5. Remove the hot pan from the oven, quickly pour in just less than half the batter, scatter over the apples evenly then top with the remaining batter.

6. Scatter over the walnuts and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the edges have pulled away from the side of the pan and it’s golden all over.

7. Serve warm with a salad.

I've already written a post on sage and all it's benefits, so forgive me for not repeating it all again here. If you want to see a whole list of sage recipes, go visit that old post which includes my own rendition of Jamie Oliver's Scallops w Lentils, Pancetta & Sage.

I didn’t realise that Chris from Mele Cotte was our WHB host when I picked this apple recipe (mele cotte is Italian for baked apples).

It’s been a while since I visited Mele Cotte and lots has changed. For instance, Chris has a great job cooking up a storm but I can’t quite tell if it’s a hotel or a school or what! Visiting her blog was like catching up with an old friend and realising so much has changed and you’re totally out of the loop. Better stay in touch more often!

From the M&M archies:
2008 - Vietnamese lemongrass beef noodles
2007 - trahanas (Greek feta & pasta soup)
2006 - tangelo caprioska

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