Saturday, 30 January 2010

agua fresca cítrica - citrus drink

It’s summer, it’s hot and this is the perfect way to cool down.

I love agua frescas and they go especially well with the fragrant spiciness of Mexican and Caribbean food.

Strawberry and tamarind agua frescas are also good, but this time I made a citrus combination from ruby grapefruit, juicy Tahitian limes and navel oranges.

Served with ice, these drinks keep the summer heat at bay. And if you're feeling a little naughty, add a shot of rum or tequila to the mix.

Agua Fresca Cítrica (Mexican Citrus Drink)

Recipe from ‘Mexican’ by Jane Milton. Makes 2 litres.

9 limes
6 oranges
3 grapefruit
3½ cups (900ml) water
2/3 cup (135g) caster sugar
Fruit wedges, to decorate
Ice, to serve


1. Squeeze the juice from the limes, oranges and grapefruit. Pour the mixture into a large jug.

2. Add the water and sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.

3. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving with ice and fruit wedges.

Some fruit pulp may collect when squeezing the juice. This should also be used, once any seeds have been discarded. Will keep for up to 1 week in a covered container in the fridge.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

passionfruit curd

When I was a teenager, we learnt how to make lemon curd in home economics and I loved the tangy, rich results. Ever since, I’ve wanted to make passionfruit curd instead, but for some reason I always put it in the too hard basket.

Well, it turns out it isn’t that hard at all! I made passionfruit curd this evening and it took about 20 minutes to prep the passionfruit pulp and make the curd. Too easy.

The results were thick and sour-sweet, and fragrant with passionfruit pungency.

Passionfruit Curd
Recipe from
Gourmet Traveller December 2008. Makes 1½ cups (375ml).

250ml passionfruit pulp (about 12 large passionfruit)
6 egg yolks
55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
150g salted butter, coarsely chopped, softened


1. Process pulp in a food processor to release pulp from seeds, then strain through a fine strainer to yield 250ml juice.

2. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, add egg yolks, sugar and butter. Whisk to combine.

3. Stir continuously over a saucepan of simmering water until thickened (3-5 minutes).

4. Cover with plastic wrap, set aside to cool, then refrigerate until firm (2-3 hrs).

This curd could be used for a myriad of desserts like:
• Spooned into shortcrust pastry for a heady passionfruit tart
• Swirled through vanilla ice cream for passionfruit ripple
• Stuffed between cake layers for a passionfruit sponge
• Piped into the folds of crepes

This is my first completed Food Challenge for 2010 and my first Weekend Herb Blogging contribution too.

Our WHB host for this week is another Anna, from the blog Anna’s Cool Finds. Visit her blog for the recap.

My WHB ingredient is, of course, the passionfruit. Another amazing contribution to the culinary world from the bounty that is the American continent. The passionfruit is native to Brazil and Argentina, but they grow so well in Australia.

As a kid we had passionfruit vines and when they fruited we were inundated with little purple globes of tangy pulp. I’d go for a swim and on my way inside from the pool I’d break off a few fruit and bring them inside for my mum to cut through the tough shell and expose the brightly coloured pulp. Then I’d gorge.

We’d have so many passionfruit that my parents were always trying to give them away. They were weeds in our garden.

This goes a long way to explaining why I feel slightly put out when I have to pay $1 per fruit at the supermarket. But this week I got them en masse for very little so I decided to make the most of it.

Here are some other recipes putting passionfruits to good use:
Passionfruit Coconut Cupcakes
- Not Quite Nigella
Passionfruit Ice Cream
- Trembom
Passionfruit Ganache Truffles
- Morsels & Musings
Passionfruit Jam
- Cooks Cottage
Passionfruit Marshmallows
- Morsels & Musings
Passionfruit Mousse
- Laylita's Recipes
Passionfruit Pannacotta
- The Scent of Green Bananas
Passionfruit Parfait
- Delicious Days
Passionfruit Slice
- Morsels & Musings
Passionfruit Soufflé
- Cookbook Catchall
Passionfruit Tart
- Treat A Week


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

bacon wrapped ocean trout w tomato reduction

This is my first recipe of the year! And such a lovely one too.

Fish always makes me think of summer, but the addition of smoky bacon and the oven roasting method of cooking make this equally viable in winter.

I made this recipe one evening from the bits and pieces in my fridge and I was just ecstatic at the outcome.

Sometimes the best dinners are those that just ‘happen’ on you.

Bacon Wrapped Ocean Trout w Tomato Reduction

Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 2.


2 ocean trout fillets
2 large bacon rashes
Olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Tomato Reduction:
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar


1. Preheat oven to 200’C.

2. Heat olive oil in frying pan. Fry garlic until soft.

3. Add tomato paste and fry for 1 minute.

4. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar and pepper and gently fry until softened and forming a sauce (about 5-10 minutes). Set aside in serving dish. Keep warm.

5. In a clean pan, fry ocean trout, skin side down to crisp skin. Then flip and cook flesh a little (approximately 2 minutes skin side, 30 seconds - 1 minute flesh side).

6. Wrap bacon rashes around fillets and top with pepper.

7. In a baking dish, cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crispy and fish is cooked through.

Friday, 1 January 2010

2010 food challenges

For 2010, I’m going to be a little more realistic about what I can handle when it comes to the Food Challenges.

In 2009, my life got in the way of cooking and blogging so I didn’t manage to complete as many challenges as I has hoped.

To address that, in 2010 I’ve reduced the challenges from 40-something to only 20 listed under five categories:
1. New Ingredients: using an ingredient I’ve never cooked with before
2. Learn About: focusing on a type of dish, national cuisine or cooking technique.
3. Find Recipes: scouring the world for a decent recipe.
4. Coveted Recipes: cooking a recipe I’ve had for a long time but never managed to make.
5. Invent Recipes: make my own version of something.

I’ve also decided to create a new challenge for myself by listing all delicious meals I’ve eaten elsewhere and trying to recreate them. I’ll create a second post for these, since I don’t want to limit this list to 2010. What I’ll do is continually add to the list as I eat new and wonderful dishes, and link back to the original post when I attempt each dish myself. I plan this to be an ongoing challenge.

For these food memories, click here.

But here are the 2010 Food Challenges . . . .

Cook with new ingredients:
Achacha (tropical fruit) - COMPLETED achacha thirst quencher
Goat - COMPLETE goat cutlets with agrodolce sauce
Lavender - COMPLETE (lavender-honey ice cream)
Rosella Flowers - COMPLETE (rosella flowers in syrup)

Learn about:
Native Australian Ingredients - MADE rosellas in syrup, bought strawberry gum, aniseed myrtle & wattleseed
Ice Cream - MADE lavender-honey plus Passionfruit, Dark Chocolate, Strawberry & Cardamom, Soursop, and Pomegranate Frozen Yoghurt

Find recipes for:
Ma Po Dou Fu (Chinese Pork Mince & Tofu)
Singapore Chilli Crab completed 2011
Passionfruit Curd - COMPLETE
Passionfruit Marshmallows - COMPLETE

Cook coveted recipes:
Lemon Buttermilk Ice Cream
Baby Potatoes w Blood Sausage & Crisp Parsley
Armenian Yoghurt Soup w Dumplings - COMPLETE

Invent recipes for:
Green Papaya/Mango Salad
Musk Ice Cream
Custard Tart - COMPLETE (clove & orange custard tart)

food memories

Sometimes, on our travels or eating out at restaurants, I stumble across dishes that stick in my mind long after the experience has ended. I mull over the flavours and ingredients and wonder how to make it again at home.

This post will now be a new fixture in my blog, where I list amazing dishes that I plan to replicate at home. It won't be an exhaustive list of the most wonderful things I've eaten, but rather the dishes that translate to a home kitchen.

Hopefully I'll be able to reproduce some of them again, or at least get as close as possible.

Food Memories 
Ajo Blanco - MoVida
Almond Stuffed Dates rolled in Jamon w Lemon Salt - Alira
Angel Chips - Manta 
Amaretto Pannacotta - Manta  
Baby Spinach, Egg, Breadcrumbs & White Anchovy Salad - Gigi's
Cherry Crepe Gratin - Fichtekränzi
Chestnut Agnolotti - Rockpool
Chorizo, Artichoke & Lemon Tapa - Ash Street Cellar
Dadar Unti - Casa Luna
Edamame w Chilli - Wagamama
Honeydew Melon Soup w Sago & Basil Seeds - Pier Tasting Room
Horseradish Coleslaw - Fix St James
Lamb, Currant & Almond Sausage Roll - Bourke Street Bakery
Lemon Yoghurt-Custard Borek - Foodarama
Mandarin & Star Anise Jellies - Marque
Passionfruit & Jasmine Ice Tea - The Tea Parlour
Pavlova Martini - Arthouse Hotel
Payaasam (Indian Dessert) - Flying Fish
Polpette - Omerta
Pulled Pork Sliders - Mai Tai Bar
Red Cabbage, Blue Cheese & Walnut Salad - A Tavola
Snapper Sashimi w Truffle Oil & Pork Crumbs - Toko
Spaghettini w Spanner Crab, Chilli & Cherry Tomatoes - Manta
Straw Mushrooms w Coconut - Cochin
Tuna Tartare w Vietnamese Dressing - Pier Tasting Room
Vincisgrassi - Buzo
White Truffle Ice Cream - Tetsuya's
Yoghurt Baked Lamb - The Press Club
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