The triple cooked TURKISH TORTE

Everyone has their favourite things to cook. The recipes that just work and you can do with your eyes shut. The no-fails you can rely on at the last minute.  So when I was reading this month’s Delicious magazine and came across a photo of a beautifully decorated chocolate cake, I would never have thought that this recipe would become one of those on repeat. Primarily due to the ingredient list which are not your stock standard pantry staples with chocolate halva and pomegranate seeds on the list. But when the reaction after the first go and serving it up was silence, then seconds and even some people requesting thirds and no leftovers; all I could do was smile.

It was the beautiful photo that sealed the deal although it also initially met my other criteria in needing to be gluten-free. Sourcing the ingredients list sent me on a goose chase around Sydney finding chocolate halva at Russkis deli in Bondi and edible rose petals at Herbies in Rozelle and with Mr ELG and BIT sent out for a morning walk, the oven preheated to 170 degrees, the mix was surprisingly easy to whip up and bang together. With a Kitchenaid this recipe is a one-bowl wonder – love that!

As it baked in the oven I admit that I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out….too dry, too sweet, not sweet enough?! And after it emerged out of the oven, it definitely did not look like its photo just yet. More like a Cinderella waiting for the fairy godmother to swing on by to wave some magic. But with the magic of chocolate sauce, freshly torn mint leaves, scattered edible rose petals and pomegranate seeds; this TURKISH TORTE was the belle of the ball.

I cooked the Turkish Torte for Christmas and dressed it with cherries and Pariya Pashmak green pistachio fairy floss as well to give it an extra festive kick. And as I go to cook this recipe the third time this month (this time it’s a birthday cake), I am smiling again as I remember driving home with Mr ELG after eating the cake for the first time. We were chatting as you do, breaking down the night with our in-the-car analysis and when I asked what he thought of dessert, one word came out of his mouth. Humdinger! ” Humdinger!” I cried?!! “Yes, humdinger” he repeated, “the best ever chocolate cake”. It was my turn to smile and think I love you Mr ELG!

Advertisements
Published in: on December 30, 2011 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

The letter F

I am seeing the letter F a lot these days and sounding it out as I go through the alphabet with my son. F is for fish. F is for flamingo. F is for fox. F is for frog. F is for Felix (BIT). And this morning F is for French toast, frangelico and fairy floss.

I love my French toast buttery, crisp on the outside and gooey and eggy on the inside. I usually use brioche but today I used leftover pannettone. I also had leftover fairy floss in the fridge; green pistachio fairy floss. It has a fine texture with a delicate nutty flavour and looks like it should be decoration for a fairy wonderland instead of an ingredient.

The result was Mr ELG saying it was the best ever French toast so I will share this magnificent recipe with you just in case you also have these leftovers in your pantry post silly season:

Frangelico French toast with fairy floss

Ingredients:

8 eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 cup pure cream

Juice of one orange

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground nutmeg

60ml Frangelico

Zest of one lemon

8 slices of thickly cut panettone

100g Pariya Pashmak pistachio fairy floss

50g butter

Raspberry sauce, strawberries and maple syrup to serve

Whisk all ingredients together and dunk slices in custard mixture until bread is soaked through. Heat 20g butter in pan and cook slices until golden brown each side. Keep cooked French toast warm in oven until ready to serve.

Plate up two slices each, sprinkle with raspberry , strawberries and maple syrup. Finish with fairy floss scattered over the top and serve immediately. Serve with crispy bacon if desired!

Serves 4

Enjoy licking the plate!!

Published in: on December 29, 2011 at 4:42 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

I love Aussie Bill!!!

My Dad aka Aussie Bill is amazing! With no stomach at all due to stomach cancer several years ago, Dad still adores food; eating it and cooking it and it is because of him that I inherited my love of food and adoration of the finer things in life. Dad lives in China and the minute he gets off the plane from Hong Kong, he heads straight for the nearest shop that sells pies as meat pies are one of his weaknesses. Food is always on Dad’s mind. Whether it is first thing in the morning or a midnight snack, I know he is always thinking about what to eat next! For much of his life Dad was in the catering business refining his culinary skills and defining the art of being a Chinese chef. For much of my childhood I used to think Dad was a magician as he could whip up meals in seconds.

In Sydney for Christmas, Dad loves eating homemade Christmas cake and custard. He loves his ham, nibbles on cheese, gorges on succulent turkey and has lashings of gravy.

And tonight the magician and his magic returned. Despite the piles of leftovers in the fridge from yesterday’s festive feast, he always knows what the family favorites are and what makes my sisters and I smile. Chinese food, the real stuff. The home cooked food that you can’t order in a restaurant yet takes minutes to make. I’ve seen him do this magic show plenty of times and tonight’s show did not disappoint. There was fresh ingredient fanfare. There was the cloak and dagger surprises and of course there was the staple rabbit out of the hat moment when dinner was ready in a flash leaving us all oohing and ahhing in amazement. Tonight Dad weaved his magic with prawns, pork mince, egg, barbecue pork, shallots, bean sprouts, snapper, sweet corn and chicken soup and duck. I left the table tonight thankful I was wearing elastic around the waist and even in more adoration of the magic of my Dad.

Published in: on December 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

The 24 year old Italian

It’s no secret that I love to eat Italian food. So when it was my turn to pick a Sydney restaurant to celebrate an early Christmas and mark the end of a brilliant year with friends, I drew up a shortlist of ten restaurants of which quite a few were Italian. The criteria was simple…..bloody great food required! From a bit of simple research, reading this and that – this is what I came up with:

1. Sepia

2. La Scala

3. The Devonshire

4. Almond Bar

5. Il Perugino

6. A Tavola

7. Assiette

8. Duke Bistro

9. Sake 

10. Buzo

I questioned do I try somewhere new that has had rave reviews or do I book somewhere tried and true. After some discussion with Mr ELG, I went with the latter.

Numero cinque; Il Perugino

I first went to Il Perugino 11 years ago. Memories of that night are bloody great food, no menus with the waiter telling you what is being served instead and lots of people talking, chatting and simply enjoying their food. Over the years I have been back numerous times and the memory never changes; just the people at my table and the food of course, as the seasons change. Situated on Avenue Road in Mosman, Sydney next door to the drycleaners, Il Perugino has been in the same place for 24 years, run by passionate people who describe the menu to you like poetry. Last night as I was listening to the menu (they did introduce postcard menus a couple of years back but go through the detail all the same), I was salivating from one course to the next and the food wasn’t even in front of me yet. At the next table, a man was devouring a steaming bowl of fresh seafood while his friend had ordered the lamb shank and I watched the meat just melt away from the bone. With Antipasti on the way, this menu had too many choices; a lovely position to be in rather than no inspiration at all.

Teasing the tastebuds, the Antipasti was laid in front of us and did not fail to excite. Button mushrooms, artichoke hearts, mussels, fritters and eggplant swooped in seconds.

Next up for me were the duck, sage and burnt butter crepes. Mr ELG ordered the salmon carpaccio. One word; delicious. Actually two words; magnificently delicious!

As a main, Mr ELG and I ordered the same dish (very rare) and again, from the kitchens of Il Perugino came a marvelous flavour from such simple ingredients; pappardelle, zucchini, garlic, olive oil, parsley and vongole.

We couldn’t not eat dessert and the four of us with no hesitation each ordered a sweetie with the promise to share. The tiramisu was tantalising, the limoncello cheesecake with baked rhubarb and blood orange gelato was so refreshing, the warm apple and walnut cake was comforting and the passion-fruit creme brulee made it hard to share!

As I looked around the room last night on the Tuesday before Christmas, all the tables were full and there were babies, children, young and old enjoying the moorish moments. Il Perugino is a local to be loved and in fact, numero uno in my mind.

Il Perugino @ 171 Avenue Road, Mosman Sydney 2088

the kindle, the key and Paris in a different light

I recently completed The Travel List Challenge and out of the 100 places to go before you die, I discovered I’ve already been to 27 of them. Ok, I thought – over a quarter of the way there in my 31 years of life.

A while ago now, Mr ELG and I did the Great Ocean Road in Victoria and after the memorable turns and twists of the road, we ended up at Port Fairy for the night in this gorgeous stay called Oscar’s. Bushes of lavender greeted us along the path to reception and I vividly remember the dark paneled flooring leading out to the verandah where we took breakfast the next morning which overlooked the inlet with all of its boats bobbing up and down. Over eggs and OJ, I recall having a conversation with a fellow traveler about how I could definitely come back here again to which he replied “Oh no, there are too many places to see in the world to visit them twice.”

Years later and with my new gadget in hand ~ the kindle; I am completely immersed in the book Sarah’s Key. Set mainly in Paris covering two time periods, I read about the streets of the Marais and the secrets of all the buildings. I read about Sarah and her horrific struggles during 1942 and grow fond of the character, Julia who is living a completely different life in 2004. Reading about Paris, I think of the many times I have been to the city and will continue to go back. Not using the traveler’s ethos, I have been to Paris 4 or 5 times and it was only last month that we were back there again taking BIT there for the first time. We rented out an apartment in the heart of the Marais on Rue Rambuteau giving the stroller a good run for its money as its wheels ran over and over the uneven cobblestone ground on a daily basis. Mr ELG and I love to explore the city’s arrondissements and get lost and found again and again.
Yet it was reading my new book, back home in Sydney that from afar I was seeing the city of lights in a completely different shade. Gone was the excitement and fondness I feel when I think of Paris and instead I felt sick to my stomach whilst reading a fiction piece that referenced a real-life event that took place in Paris in July, 1942. In all of my education, I had never heard or learnt of the events known as the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup and when I asked Mr ELG if he knew about it, he said it rang a bell but he could offer no further detail. Admittedly, I have never been a WWII history buff but in the way this book was describing the numbers of people taken by the French on both 16 and 17 of July, 1942 I was in disbelief and felt ashamed of my ignorance that I had no knowledge of this topic and had to learn about it from Wikipedia instead. I finished the book in a weekend and now 10 days later, it is still on my mind. And I know that when I next go to Paris and walk through the streets of the Marais, I will stop to think about the 13, 152 people taken those mornings and feel grateful to have no such worries in life as those people did during those crazy years in our history.

 

 

Published in: on December 19, 2011 at 2:49 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: