Saturday, April 25, 2009

anzac biscuits

i always like to make anzac biscuits on anzac day. this is what we do.

there are lots of recipes out there for anzac biscuits and most are quite similar and contain the essential ingredients. this is my favourite recipe for them. mind you, when i make them, quantities sometimes vary, especially with the golden syrup. i usually eyeball that because it's messy to measure (i know you can warm the syrup or oil your measuring utensil of choice and all that, but these are homemade biscuits and it's good to have inconsistency with homemade. that's what makes it special), and invariably put in too much, but that's all right - the biscuits still turn out fine.

1 1 /4 rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup brown sugar
125 grams butter
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

preheat the oven to 150 degrees celcius.

line a baking tray with baking paper.

combine the butter, water and golden syrup in a medium saucepan. place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts. remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda.

combine the oats, flour, coconut and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well.

pour the oat mixture into the saucepan and stir to combine.

roll the mixture into walnut sized balls and place on the lined baking tray about 5 centimetres apart.

press the balls down slightly with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.

bake the biscuits for about 20 minutes or until done to your liking. if you like them chewy, try 18 minutes. if you like them crunchy, try 22 minutes.

sit down and enjoy these biscuits with a glass of milk or put a scoop of your favourite icecream between two biscuits and have yourself a anzac ice cream sandwich.....if you are someone with patience, put the wrapped ice cream sandwich in the freezer for a while and let the biscuits soften - i love them this way, but hey, if you're a crunchy person, you do your thing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

lemon posset

lemon posset is something i've bookmarked for a long time. i've actually bookmarked many things for a long time, but this is something that got lucky (at least i hope so). it is simplicity itself. you only need three ingredients: lemons, cream and sugar. there is no baking involved and minimal cooking time.
make this when lemons are in season - that goes without saying. also, make this for those who like lemon desserts - that, also, goes without saying.
i like making small servings and find little espresso coffee cups and chinese teacups a perfect size - just enough to get a lemon hit and crave a little more.

300 mls cream
1/2 cup sugar
100mls lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

place the cream and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil and allow to bubble gently for 3 minutes. stir to disslove the sugar.
remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and stir to mix thoroughly.
pour into your receptacle of choice - i manage between 6 and 8 small serves with the espresso cups.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

pots of chocolate creamy stuff

i had sal over tonight on a spur of the moment thing. we had spent a good part of the day together, but i felt since she has such small windows of opportunity to hang with me, we should do dins as well.
in the meantime, because blutsie and golden one had taken wiggy, sly and acka dacks to the easter show, i had to collect engine from day care. i didn't factor anything in, except that i thought it would be nice to have sal over.
so i get myself to day care and one of the carers yacks to me for ages, and i'm thinking, "please let me take engine....i don't know why, but i have to take him". i still hadn't registered that i would have to make dinner (i was tired, but i knew i had to get home to do something).
eventually, i'm home and wondering what to do. i thought we could have a nibbly thing and settled on my old faithful - brazilian cheese puffs. sal wasn't in the mood for seafood (we have just finished easter), so my original plan of having prawns was not a good one, so i started thinking along the lines of got some veal steaks and cubes. that was somewhat of a mistake - the veal cubes weren't uniformly tender - some bits were nice, and some bits were chewy....
hopefully, i redeemed myself with dessert....

3/4 cup cream
pinch salt
200 grams dark chocolate, chopped
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons liqueur

put the cream and salt in a small saucepan (don't try this in anything anything bigger because this makes a small quantity....a small quantity which is very, very rich).
bring to the boil, and add the chocolate.
stir until the chocolate melts. do this over low heat.
beat the eggs with the liqueur and add them to the hot chocolate mixture.
remove from the stove and use a blending wand (i use my bamix) to combine the mixture.
pour into 8 or 9 espresso coffee cups. make sure the servings are small - this is rich.
cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

an alternative to the coffee cups is to pour the mixture into chinese soup spoons - with this confection, less is definitely more.

Monday, April 13, 2009

sydney royal easter show 2009

we did the easter show yesterday, and i had a great time. this time, it was miss c and i who did the show together - miss k opted out.
when miss c and miss k were younger, we always started at the food dome to see the agricultural displays, art work and cake decorating. i always worried about the agricultural displays being a dying art and insisted that my children look at them and try to appreciate the amount of work, dedication and imagination that went into each one. and what do you know? i let miss c call the shots and that's where we went. i'm glad the displays are still going strong; i do wonder how they do the judging.
of particular interest this visit was the cake decorating. i was on a mission this time because i knew someone who had put in entries. a cyber friend had put in 5 entries, 3 of which i was able to find. it's amazing what a difference it makes when there is a connection with someone you know, whether in cyberspace or in real life. while looking for nicole's entries, i also stumbled upon an entry put in by one hana rawlingson. that name rang a bell. i rang blutsie to ask if she went to school with hana.
"yes, why?"
"i found a cake she decorated"
both blutsie and i have long left school, but i believe hana was at school with blutsie since transition. i don't know why i remember things like that, but just do. what's more, i don't think i ever met hana. this is something from decades ago....
miss c also had an agenda. she wanted to find the abbotsleigh cow. we have gone to the show every year except last year, and to date, miss c has never seen the abbotsleigh cow. this year was no exception. we found the frensham cows, which were really beautiful. their hides (is that what they're called? i mean the skin thing with the hair/fur on it....stop laughing now, i can't help it if i don't know; enlighten me if you must) were black and so well tended that they looked velvety. we also found the knox cows, but didn't spend time looking too closely (miss c didn't want me to embarrass her in front of people she may know now or in the future). she did, however, ask the knox cow people if they knew anything of the abbotsleigh cows....."they haven't turned up yet"..... so much for that.
moving on from there, we saw the horses and chicken, sheep and goats, then the alpacas and llamas. alpacas and llamas look so placid and nice....we then stumbled to the alpaca fashion parade. the clothes were interesting, as were the models. the models looked like beautiful everyday people, and that was nice. there was one male model, jason, and he looked like he got roped in - he was a good sport. i hope i don't offend the models, but i suspect they may have been the alpaca farmers' children or similar, and that's what i found nice about it.
also, we did go to the rm williams stable and there was a guy there who really looked like frodo baggins. i muttered this to miss c, who agreed. later, when miss c stepped aside, she saw frodo chatting to me.
"did you tell him he looks like frodo?"
"no, i figured he gets that all the time, so i restrained myself. no, he was just telling me about all the rm williams' stores around australia...."
we made a special visit to the graze at 6pm to watch lizzie's son in his band, kit marlowe. they were very good. the lead singer was excellent - great voice; with a voice like his, he doesn't need to have his hair do the singing (hint, hint). the musicians were great and showed skill and technique. i hope they continue to do well.
after kit marlowe, we moved quickly to the main arena - it was full when we got there, but were lucky to secure two seats.
saw the story of bluey, which was lost on me - was there a story?
then there was extreme motor X, which is something i find really good; does nothing for me on television, but i do enjoy it live.
the fireworks finale was very good. on a smaller scale than what we normally see (we have seen the new year's eve fireworks from both sides of the harbour for so many years, i can't even count). this time it incorporated a laser light display with music.

we had the cheese toasties from coon - $1, which i thought very good value.
2 dozen oysters from de costi's - 1 dozen pacific and 1 dozen rock
1 cheese on a stick, but no corn dogs
3 large lemonades
1 meat pie from someone who won all these prizes....sorry, but i forget the name; the pie was good, very good
and, of course, bits of samples, here and there

we didn't make it into the showbag hall, nor did we get anywhere near the rides. there was so much to see....i wouldn't mind going again to see the things i missed, if i could spare the time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

polenta with gorgonzola

this recipe is from bon app├ętit, february 2000, and is a recipe they sourced from union square cafe, new york, NY for a reader.
and it is exactly nine years ago that i first made this dish. the weather was cooling down and this was beckoning. because the cornmeal is cooked in milk and cream, rather than the traditional water or stock, the resulting polenta is refined and smooth. and rich. then the gorgonzola takes it to another level, as do the walnuts.
gorgonzola is so good grilled - find any excuse to try it - i'm sure even a vegetarian friend would be happy to help out (this recipe uses cream and milk instead of stock, remember? so all's good unless they're vegan), and a carnivore friend probably wouldn't even notice there wasn't any meat because this is so satisfying. and this is so simple, so there's no need to get yourself to new york to try it - go to new york for some other reason.

yield: 6 first-course or 6 side-dish servings

4 cups milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup polenta (coarse yellow cornmeal)*

1 1/2 cups crumbled gorgonzola cheese (about 6 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, lightly toasted walnuts

bring milk and whipping cream to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. gradually whisk polenta into milk mixture in slow steady stream. Reduce heat to medium-low. cook polenta until creamy and tender, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. season to taste with salt and pepper.
preheat broiler. transfer cooked polenta to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. sprinkle gorgonzola cheese over polenta. broil until cheese melts. sprinkle with chopped toasted walnuts and serve immediately.
*polenta (coarse yellow cornmeal) is available at italian markets, natural foods stores and some supermarkets. if unavailable, substitute 1 cup regular yellow cornmeal, and cook mixture for about 12 minutes rather than 20 minutes.