Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Birthday...

cherry and white chocolate butter cakes© by Haalo

...to Paalo.

I hope these little cherry and white chocolate butter cakes will bring a bit of birthday cheer to your day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Not-a-Tiramisu

not-a-tiramisu© by Haalo


In deference to purists, I'll put it right at the start, this isn't a traditional Tiramisù. Its relationship to Tiramisù is that it is a layered dessert made with coffee soaked cake and mascarpone.

not-a-tiramisu© by Haalo


The cake used was a weekend leftover - it was this chocolate and hazelnut cake I've written about in the past. To make a little bit go a lot further, I sliced it thinly and then soaked it in cooled blend of espresso and Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur).

Rather than go for the egg/mascarpone blend of the traditional I took a much simpler route. A 50/50 mix of cream and mascarpone, lightly whipped with vanilla bean paste to give it an attractive speckled appearance.

They both end the same way - left in the fridge to chill and set and then sprinkled with cocoa powder.

not-a-tiramisu© by Haalo

With its blend of chocolate, hazelnuts, coffee, mascarpone and cream, regardless of its pedigree, it is utterly delicious.

An earlier example of Tiramisù vandalism shamelessly made in Florence, can also be found here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sweet Potato Falafel

The falafel odyssey continues as I incorporate as many vegetables as possible into these delightfully delicious spheres of goodness. This has also been an opportunity to experiment with baking rather than frying as I know there are many people that are a bit unsure about frying.

In reading I've noted that some of the complaints with baking is that they don't crisp up as much as they would if they were fried. Unfortunately, I think you do need to use a certain amount of oil to get that affect but the good thing is that most of the oil will be left behind on the baking tray.

These particular falafel have been rolled in a mix of regular breadcrumbs, panko and sesame seeds - seeds sesame contain a fair amount of oil and in using them the theory is that baking will release their natural oil and help to crisp the falafel. Similarly, panko was used as it innately gives you an extra crispy texture to any crumbed item.

sweet potato falafel© by haalo

Sweet Potato Falafel

250 grams grated sweet potato
400 gram can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 red onion, roughly chopped
10 sage leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
breadcrumbs
panko
sesame seeds


Steam the grated sweet potato for 2 minutes to just soften it slightly. I have taken this step as a precaution to ensure that the potato will be cooked - especially if are frying these rather than baking.

Place the onion, sage leaves, paprika, cumin and baking powder into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas and sweet potato and process again until finely chopped.

Put the mixture into a bowl and add in a lightly whisked egg - stir to amalgamate before adding just enough breadcrumbs to create a malleable mix.

Take small amounts of the mix and roll into balls or for a quicker and more even result, use a small ice cream scoop to form the falafel.

Roll each ball into a mixture of breadcrumbs, panko and sesame seeds - I roughly used equal quantities of breadcrumb and panko and added enough sesame seeds to speckle the mixture. You could if you wanted, roll them completely in just the sesame seeds.

sweet potato falafel© by Haalo


Store the falafel on kitchen towel lined containers in the fridge if you don't intend cooking them straight away.

Take a baking tray and line it with baking paper or silicon sheet. Drizzle oil on the paper and spread it roughly over the paper. Add the balls and roll them around to moisten.

Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for at least 30 minutes - check after 10 minutes and give them a shake to turn them over. Check again at 20 minutes and rearrange if necessary. Continue checking every 10 minutes until they golden. You will notice that oil will be released as they cook so once they are done, place them on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.

sweet potato falafel© by Haalo


Here they are sitting on their perfect partner - tabbouleh. They did have a good crisp shell around a moist interior.

There's one thing I did not do - I didn't actually fry these so I could make a direct comparison - I'll leave that as an excuse to make another batch!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shimeji and Pasta Soup

Katie from Thyme for Cooking is this week's host of Presto Pasta Night and I've found another different looking pasta with a brilliant name - Seme di Melone

Seme di Melone© by Haalo


So what does the name mean? It's obvious when you look at the pasta - it means Melon Seeds. A pasta such as this one calls out to be added to soup.

Using a flavoursome chicken stock as a base, I'll be adding onion, peas and these wonderful fresh shimeji mushrooms

shimeji mushrooms© by Haalo


A simple soup but one to nourish the soul.

Shimeji and Pasta Soup©


Shimeji and Pasta Soup

1 red onion, diced
150 grams shimeji mushrooms
½ cup peas, frozen or fresh
¼ cup Seme di Melone
chicken stock
salt and ground white pepper

Place a little oil in a pan and when heated, add the onion - cook over a medium-low heat until the onion has started to soften.

Add the shimeji and stir - toss occasionally to ensure an even colouring. When the mushrooms have wilted and started to release their aroma, add the peas.

Cook for a minute then add the pasta - toss again to ensure the seeds are coated in the pan juices before pouring over with hot chicken stock.

Simmer for about 5 minutes and then remove from the heat. Place a lid on the pan and allow the pasta to finish cooking in the residual heat. I find that this way the pasta swells and absorbs all the flavours without becoming mushy.

Taste, season with salt and pepper and return to the heat to bring it back up to temperature.

Shimeji and Pasta Soup© by haalo

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blog Party #36

Blog Party, the brainchild of Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness turns 3 and this month we are in charge - it's a Bloggers Choice theme.

As always, the idea is that you make at least one bite and one beverage and I've chosen to make the following:

lemon madeleine© by haalo italian coffee© by haalo



Just follow the links to find details of each.

Lemon Madeleine

Madeleines are probably one of the most loved bite sized treats you can find. How could you not fall under the spell of their pretty scalloped shape and their light as air texture encased in a slightly crisp shell.

It has been years since I've made them so it is high time for a revisit - inspired by the bounty of Meyer lemons, Lemon Madeleines are on the menu today for Blog Party.

lemon madeleine©


Lemon Madeleines
[Makes about 60 mini madeleines]

90 grams butter, melted and cooled
1 lemon, zested
2 eggs
75 grams caster sugar
20 grams soft brown sugar
90 grams plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
icing sugar, to dust

Add the lemon zest to the melted butter and allow to infuse until the butter has cooled.

Place the eggs and sugars into a processor and process until combined. Add the sifted flour and baking powder - process briefly to combine. With the motor running, add the cooled butter/lemon zest mixture.

Stop as soon as the mixture has amalgamated and pour out into a bowl - allow the batter to rest, for at least an hour or even overnight, in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Butter and flour the Madeleine moulds.

Spoon batter to two-thirds fill each mould and bake 8-10 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Let them cool slightly in the tray before dislodging them.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, pattern side up.

Dust with icing sugar before serving.

lemon madeleine© by haalo


You'll be glad the batter makes so many because it's impossible to stop at just one!

Cocktail: Italian Coffee

For Blog Party I've made Italian Coffee - it may seem to be a tautology but never fear, there is logic behind it. I starting thinking about Irish Coffee and decided I'd quite like to add Frangelico instead the usual whiskey. Since Irish Coffee gets its name from using an Irish Whiskey, if I used Frangelico which is an Italian Liqueur, I really had no choice but call it Italian Coffee!

Italian coffee© by haalo


Italian Coffee

1 tablespoon Frangelico
espresso coffee, warm
fresh cream, whipped

  • Add the Frangelico to a glass and then pour over with espresso - leave a good inch gap to the rim of the glass. Stir to combine.
  • Carefully pipe cream on top of the liquid - you'll notice that the liquid will rise while the cream will stay floating near the surface. If you can't be bothered piping, just dollop whipped cream onto the mixture.
  • Serve at once.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Strawberry Fool

Marta from An Italian in the US hosts an event called Fresh Produce of the Month and this month she choose strawberry for the theme.


strawberry© by haalo


Usually I avoid fresh strawberries in winter but I must admit that I am just loving the flavour of the winter berries coming out from Queensland - I am even tempted to say they are better than summer berries.

The recipe I've made is the ultimate in simplicity - a Strawberry Fool. In a traditional recipe for a Fool, you'll find that it is a mix of whipped cream and pureed fruit but to make it a little lighter, I've incorporated some ultra-thick plain yoghurt to mix. This way you can have twice as much and not feel guilty!

Strawberry Fool© by haalo


Strawberry Fool

150 grams strawberries, cut into even pieces
icing sugar
½ cup cream
½ cup thick Greek-style yoghurt

Place the cut strawberries into a bowl and sprinkle over with a teaspoon of icing sugar - stir well and allow this to macerate, covered in the fridge until ready to use. The icing sugar helps to release the strawberry juice. Once the strawberries have softened, mash them or blend them to form a purée.

Beat the cream until thick then add the yoghurt and beat again to amalgamate. Add in the strawberry purée and stir well until mixed through.

Pour into glasses and return to the fridge to set.

strawberry fool© by haalo

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tabbouleh

Holler is back hosting No Croutons Required and has asked us to feature herbs in either a soup or salad.

The timing couldn't be more perfect as the salad I have in mind is a ideal accompaniment to these falafel.

The herbs I'll be using are

parsley© by haalo

Parsley

and
mint© by haalo

Mint

and along with Burghul, tomatoes and an aromatic lemon dressing they will form Tabbouleh.

81DSC_4800.jpg


Tabbouleh

20 grams parsley, leaves only
20 grams mint, leaves only
¼ cup fine Burghul
4 cherry tomatoes
4 yellow cherry tomatoes
Dressing:
juice of half a small lemon
¼ teaspoon allspice powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil

Prepare Burghul:

There are various grades of Burghul and this salad uses fine burghul

fine burghul© by haalo


which is about the size of sugar crystals. Rinse the burghul and then place it in a bowl with enough hot water to cover it. Place a lid over the bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes or until the water has been fully absorbed. Fully the burghul and then spread it out on paper towels to help remove all excess water. It's important that the burghul is left as dry as possible.

Make dressing:

This dressing is based on one by Greg Malouf and found in his book Arabesque. Rather than just using a simple lemon/oil base this incorporates allspice and cinnamon which brings those smoky-sweet aromatic notes into the dressing.

Place the ground allspice and cinnamon into a bowl and add the lemon juice along with a grinding of salt and pepper - stir until the spices have almost dissolved and then begin to whisk in the olive oil until a thick emulsion has formed. It's important to taste and adjust to suit.

The dressing is best made ahead of time to allow the flavours to develop - there will more than likely be more dressing then you'll need for this salad.

Prepare the salad:

Finely chop the parsley and mint leaves - this is best done by hand and not a food processor. With a processor there is the risk of forming a paste.

Cut the tomatoes in half, squeeze out the seeds and then cut into a small dice.

Place the burghul in a bowl with the chopped parsley, mint and tomatoes. Stir and then drizzle in the dressing a spoonful at a time until the grains are well moistened.

Spoon out onto a serving bowl to serve.

Tabbouleh with falafel© by Haalo


Add falafel and pita bread and you've got a complete meal.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mushrooms al Cartoccio

Weekend Herb Blogging is hosted by Archana from Archana's Kitchen and this week I'll be taking a closer look at mushrooms.

The first is a King Oyster Mushroom

king pine mushroom©


a distinctive mushroom, it is generally characterised by a tan coloured cap over a tall, bulbous stem. The cap does vary in size, stem thickness bears no influence upon it - indeed you can have a small cap over a thick stem, examples of which can be seen here.

There's virtually no waste with this mushroom as the stem is highly edible. I particularly like to use this mushroom because when cut lengthways you get an extremely elegant mushroom silhouette - ideally, to best show off the shape you would look for dishes in which you could drape the mushroom slice - decorate the top of savoury tart, a pizza even a frittata.

The next mushroom is Shimeji

shimeji©  by Haalo

Shimeji grow in clumps as you can see and to prepare you simply cut them from the hard base.

shimeji© by Haalo


These are highly aromatic and it is advised that you don't eat these raw as the taste can be a little unpleasant.

shimeji© by Haalo


The dish I'm making today has been inspired by one we recently had at a local restaurant called Cafe Latte. It had a much more appealing name of Fungi di Bosco al Cartoccio which translates to forest mushroom cooked in parchment.

The premise is very simple - you lay out a sheet of baking paper, brush it with a little oil and then begin layering slices of mushroom, interspersed with garlic slivers and herbs, a dash of wine, some butter, salt and pepper. Once the parcel is wrapped, it is then baked in the oven - all the flavours remain trapped within the parcel, the butter and mushroom juices amalgamate with the herbs to form the most intoxicating broth. It's served at the table unopened, the diner being treated to a most wonderful treat of the senses.


mushrooms al cartoccio©

Mushrooms "al Cartoccio"
[Makes 2 parcels]

2 king pine mushrooms, sliced lengthways
large handful Shimeji mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
fresh thyme sprigs
butter
salt and freshly ground pepper
lemon-infused olive oil
dash of white wine, optional



Take 2 large pieces of baking paper and set each into a bowl. I find this helps to define the shape of the cartoccio so I can better gauge the placement of the mushrooms.

Brush the base with olive oil - I've used lemon-infused olive oil to get it a little tang as I won't be using wine.

Sprinkle over with a few slivers of garlic and fresh thyme leaves -

fresh thyme© by Haalo


I'm using thyme because it has a great affinity to mushrooms, a wonderful aroma and is quite robust.

Place a few slices of King Oyster, a sprinkle of salt, followed by the Shimeji and a little more thyme and garlic. Add a tiny knob of butter and then repeat the layers. Finish off with the King Oysters, a little more butter, thyme leaves, salt and a good grinding of pepper. I also gave it a quick drizzle of the lemon infused olive oil.

ready for the oven


Bring the ends of the paper together to form a tight parcel, twisting to ensure a good seal. As I don't want the paper to colour for presentation sakes, I then wrap these parcels in aluminium foil. This is extra protection to ensure all the flavours remained trapped in the parcel but it also stops the paper from colouring.

Place the parcels on a baking tray and cook in a preheated 180°C oven for about 30-40 minutes - the time does depend on the size of your parcel and the volume of mushrooms.

cooked cartoccio©


If you were serving this for a dinner party remove it from the aluminium foil and place the unopened parcel on plates - it is now ready to serve.

mushrooms al cartoccio© by haalo


This first peek inside - it's a real pity you can't photograph the aroma. All the flavours of the mushrooms, thyme and garlic have been captured and distilled into the juices that pool at the base of the parcel.

It's essential to serve this with good crusty bread so you don't waste of drop of that goodness.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Zucchini Falafel

These carrot falafels have been on my mind of late and finally I've acted upon my urges. Substituting zucchini for the carrot and adding fresh coriander has given them a new lease of life. Some fafalel can be a bit dry but these have the perfect combination of a crunchy exterior surrounding a wonderfully moist interior.

zucchini falafel©


Zucchini Falafel

200 grams grated zucchini
400 gram can chickpeas, drained
1 red onion, chopped roughly
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
handful coriander leaves
breadcrumbs

Place the onion, paprika, cumin and baking powder in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add in the zucchini and chickpeas and pulse again to begin to break up the mixture. Finally add the coriander leaves and pulse just enough to finely chop them.

Place the mixture into a bowl, add a lightly whisked egg and stir it through. As the mix will be soft add just enough breadcrumbs to create a malleable mix.

zucchini falafel mixture©

Take small amounts of the mix and roll into balls or for a quicker and more even result, use a small ice cream scoop to form the falafel.

Roll each ball in breadcrumbs (I used a mix of panko and regular breadcrumbs) and set them aside.

You can store these in the fridge on paper towels if you aren't cooking them straight away.

To cook, either shallow or deep fry until golden and heated through. Drain on paper towels and eat when hot.

81DSC_4224.jpg

An ideal fingerfood served as they are but add pita bread and tabouli and you've got yourself a delicious meal.

81DSC_4218.jpg

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lemon Pasta Pudding

Presto Pasta Night is on the road again and this time Gay from A Scientist in the Kitchen is our host.

This week I have a dried pasta called Rosmarino


Rosmarino©


It is called Rosmarino because it resembles rosemary (rosmarino in Italian) leaves. Usually pasta such as this would be used in soups but I thought I might try something a little different. Taking a cue from rice pudding I've made a lemon infused sweet pasta pudding.


Lemon Pasta Pudding©


Lemon Pasta Pudding

½ cup Rosmarino pasta
2 cups hot milk, approximate
meyer lemon marmalade
caster sugar

Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat and when the butter has melted add the pasta. Stir well to ensure the pasta is well coated.

Add a little of the hot milk and stir well - once the milk has been absorbed by the pasta, add some more. Much like the principles behind a risotto only add more milk to the pan once it has been fully absorbed.

When about half the milk has been added, stir through a little lemon marmalade, taste and then adjust for sweetness by adding caster sugar.

It's important to keep stirring to ensure even cooking.

The pudding is done once the pasta has softened and the mixture is thick and creamy.


Lemon Pasta Pudding©


This is best served hot.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Paper Chef #31 - Warm Swordfish Salad

It has been ages since I last took part in Paper Chef and when I spotted the list of ingredients over at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get involved again.

The ingredients are fresh oregano, walnuts, chickpeas (or chickpea flour) and fish steak and for me they immediately brought up images of the Mediterranean. It would be a given that I'd use the fresh oregano to make Salmoriglio - a sauce that finds its perfect match with swordfish.


swordfish steak©



Monday, July 07, 2008

Happy Birthday to

the best thing since sliced bread...

sliced bread©


Sliced Bread!

It is on this day, eighty years ago in Chillicothe, Missouri that the first machine sliced loaf of bread was sold. Much of the lustre has disappeared in the years since and some might claim that the wrapper offers more nutritional value than the bread itself but we should never forget the historical importance of what is truely, the staff of life.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Brioche and Blueberry Pudding

Jeanne from Cook Sister! has selected the theme of berried treasure for this edition of "Waiter, There's Something in my..." and in the middle of winter all I can say is, thank goodness for frozen berries.

I've decided to use blueberries and incorporate them into that traditional winter dessert of bread and butter pudding. Rather than use a normal bread, I've gone for a more luxurious version and have used my favourite brioche loaf, the Briont

briont©

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Apple Pancakes

Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook is hosting an event Pancakes on Parade in which she asks us to share our appreciation for the Pancake and its many variants.

The recipe I'm making today is one my mother would make - simple but delicious, it is based on an basic pancake batter to which very fine slices of apple have been added. The slices need to be thin as the only cooking the apple will get is when the pancake is cooked. There is enough residual heat to just soften the slice and encase it in the pillowy batter. As there's no sugar in the batter, use a sweeter type of apple like a Golden Delicious for the best result.


apple pancakes©


Friday, July 04, 2008

My Meyer Marmalade

Pam from Sidewalk Shoes is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I have a bumper crop of Meyer Lemons




meyer lemons©

These Meyer lemons are straight off my mother's tree and I am astounded by not just how many lemons we are getting this year but by the size - consider this next photo

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

It's been a while since I've baked a tea loaf and more often than not, when I'm after something quick, tasty and a little bit different, I turn to Liz Franklin and her book Quick Breads.

I've never made a poppy seed cake before so this is the perfect opportunity to change that situation - the cake couldn't be easier , there's only 5 ingredients!


lemon poppy seed loaf©


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Say Cheese

It's the start of the new financial year and for this blog, this post just happens to be number 700. It's a figure that I find hard to fathom and one I never, ever imagined I could reach when I first started.

But none of these things are actually the point of this post.

For the first time ever, I'm announcing a blog event and it involves one of my favourite products - cheese.

saycheese-banner.jpg

For this event, I'm not asking you to cook anything - just post about and photograph your favourite cheese - while it can't be one you make yourself it can certainly be from the smallest or most obscure dairy you can find. Be it Blue, Washed Rind, Cheddar, Feta, Ricotta, Goat, Cow or Yak's milk, you are more than welcome to post about it. Having said that, please no Cheese whiz or similar "plastic cheese"... yes I'm looking at you Kraft Singles.

You'll have all of July to find, photograph and post about your favourite cheese and every entry will be in the draw to win this utterly priceless (it's not for sale) and rare copy (it's the only copy) of my very own photo book


Say Cheese - book ©

Say Cheese is a little book I put together from photos taken at Slow Cheese and from the cheese postings on this site - if you love Cheese than I hope you enjoy this book.

Every entry has an equal chance of winning - all names will go into some kind of receptacle and Paalo will do the honours and pull out the winner.

Say Cheese - inside book


To recap the details:

Post about your favourite cheese by July 31st
and send an email with Say Cheese in the subject line to:

mail-1.png

Please include:
  • Your name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • the Cheese Name with Country of Origin
  • attach a photo - 250px wide
  • and please include a link to this announcement post to help me keep track of posts.
You are also more than welcome to use the Say Cheese banner if you desire.

The recap, or would it be more like a cheese board, will appear at the beginning of August and the winner announced.
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