Category Archives: Citrus

Lime, Coconut and Macadamia Macaroons

Lime Coconut Macadamia Macaroons | Recipe | Gather and Graze

The Primary School my youngest son attends has recently released a cookbook. It’s a beautiful compilation of family favourites from our school community, packed full of stunning food photographs taken by a talented local photographer. One of the recipes in this book (contributed by our Principal, no less…) jolted my memory of a biscuit/cookie that I used to make quite frequently many years ago, when we lived in New Zealand.

I’ve adapted her recipe here, almost beyond recognition, to try to re-create the fragrant, mostly healthful macaroon from my past. It comes extremely close to being just how I remember it. Continue reading

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Halloumi, Orange and Bitter Leaf Salad

Halloumi, Orange and Bitter Leaf Salad | Gather and Graze

Now that winter is behind us and summer on the way, it’s time for salads to take their rightful place on the dinner table once again. Relinquishing all that hearty, comfort food and embracing a much lighter fare is something my body is already thanking me for. Continue reading

When life gives you Lemons… Four Recipes with Lemons

Four Recipes with Meyer Lemons | Gather and Graze

I mean that literally, not proverbially… life is actually pretty good around here, however it’s well and truly time that I got creative with some recipes for the glut of Meyer Lemons that my 3 little potted trees have produced this year. Since fully ripening, they’ve been waiting patiently in the fridge for the past couple of weeks, until I could find the time to make something wonderful with them. Not just one thing wonderful, but four different delights that can be created in next to no time. Continue reading

Seafood Filo Bonbons with Lemon Cream Sauce

Seafood Filo Bonbons with Lemon Cream Sauce | Gather and Graze

Some dishes remain etched in our minds… often linked to fond memories of the people who we ate them with or the places where we sat to savour and indulge in them. We may not cook them all the time… in fact years may trickle by before we find them on the table once again. In some ways comparable to beautiful, strong friendships that are created over the years. The ones that not only survive, despite the distance and life keeping us busy, but grow stronger… with no need of daily text messages or phone calls every week. The absolute joy of seeing these friends, after months or even years is like waking up on Christmas morning!

Seafood Filo Bonbons were something my mother used to make on occasions for grown-up Dinner Parties with their friends. They were usually served as an entrée/starter before the main meal came out. In the days where the table was beautifully laden with tablecloths, fine china and crystal glasses. Cutlery set out like soldiers either side of the plates… “always work from the outside in!”, my mother taught us well. I was but a child then… but would peep through the dining room door to look in wonder at the beautifully dressed ladies and the feast that they were all partaking in. There was such an element of excitement on Dinner Party nights… the sights and sounds and smells all tucked away, to this day (somewhat hazily, yet sweet) in my mind.

Over the years, we’ve had dinners of our own with friends… not quite the fancy, elegant dinner parties of the 70’s, but the more relaxed and casual versions of the 90’s and 00’s. Seafood Bonbons have made the occasional appearance with some of our dear friends too… and always to much delight and appreciation! On my table this week they featured as a main dish, with two bonbons per person instead of one. I hope you’ll enjoy them as well.

Seafood Filo Bonbons with Lemon Cream Sauce | Gather and Graze

For the Seafood Filo Bonbons:

  • 500ml/4 Cups Water
  • 300g Raw Prawn/Shrimp Meat (chopped in halves)
  • 300g Raw Scallops (chopped in halves)
  • 16 (Long) Chives
  • 1 Heaped Tablespoon Cream
  • 1 Clove of Garlic (Crushed)
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 16 Sheets of Filo Pastry (I use Antoniou brand, which are 28cm x 40cm)
  • 75g/5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Melted)

For the Lemon Cream Sauce:

  • 2 Free-Range Egg Yolks
  • 80ml/⅓ Cup Cream
  • 80ml/⅓ Cup Reserved Stock (from poaching the seafood)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 30g Unsalted Butter (Softened and Diced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chives (Chopped)
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Place the water into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the prawns and scallops, cook for 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon to a mixing bowl to cool down a little. If there is any excess water that has transferred to the bowl with the seafood, be sure to drain it out. Now add the chives to the saucepan and cook for 3 seconds, remove and also set aside for the moment. Reserve 80mls (⅓ Cup) of the cooking water/stock and set aside for making the sauce later on.

When the prawns and scallops have cooled a little, add the 1 tablespoon of cream, the crushed garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Seafood Filo Bonbons with Lemon Cream Sauce | Gather and Graze

Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC and line 2 large baking trays with parchment/baking paper.

Lay out one sheet of filo pastry on a clean board or bench top (with a short end closest to you) and using a pastry brush, brush on a light layer of melted butter. Place another sheet of filo on top and once again brush the top lightly with butter. Across the end closest to you, scoop an eighth of the seafood mixture to form a log shape, leaving a section on either side bare. If confused, please see my attempt at a diagram below…

Seafood Filo Bonbons with Lemon Cream Sauce | gatherandgraze.com

Now lift the edge of the filo pastry closest to you and fold it over the mixture. Continue then to roll the pastry right up to the other end. Pinch in the sides to make a bonbon shape and tie the softened chives around either end (as per the photo below). Continue making the other 7 bonbons in the same manner and place on the prepared baking trays. Brush the tops with a little more melted butter.

Seafood Filo Bonbons with Lemon Cream Sauce | Gather and Graze

Slide the trays into the pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

While the bonbons are baking in the oven, prepare the Lemon Cream Sauce so that it’s ready to serve as soon as the bonbons come out of the oven… In a small saucepan, combine the egg yolks, cream, reserved stock and lemon juice. Place over a gentle heat. Warm the mixture, though do not allow it to boil. Gradually add in the butter, piece by piece and stir until the sauce has thickened to a nice consistency. Add in the chopped chives and season well with salt and pepper.

Serve without delay! Place two filo bonbons per person onto a plate with some sauce carefully spooned around them. A fresh green salad (in summer) or some lightly steamed greens (in winter) would be the perfect sides to accompany this dish.

Seafood Filo Bonbons with Lemon Cream Sauce | Gather and Graze

* Very slightly adapted from a recipe in the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Dinner Party Cookbook No. 2’

Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar and Blood Orange à la Ottolenghi/Tamimi

Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za'atar and Blood Orange à la Ottolenghi/Tamini

The partnership between Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi is one that I find truly inspirational. They both seem to have an intuition for creating beautifully balanced food, that delivers in not only flavour and texture, but visually as well. The fact that their friendship is stronger than politics (one being of Palestinian background and the other Israeli) is also something to be celebrated and admired. Continue reading

Lemon White Chocolate Cookies

Lemon White Chocolate Cookies | Gather and Graze

For those who I’ve managed to catch (just in the nick of time!) with their hand reaching out… hovering in guilty indecision… I ask you very kindly to leave that packet of cookies/biscuits on the supermarket shelf… step away from the cookie aisle… and gather up the ingredients listed below instead.  Continue reading

Two great uses for Cumquats / Kumquats

Two Great Recipes Using Cumquats / Kumquats | Gather and Graze

With 78 vibrant little cumquats/kumquats growing on my tree this year, I must admit to being a touch proud – my bounty is surprisingly up by 77 from last season! She is of the petite, potted variety, that until now has done little more than grow leaves and look rather sickly. This is my fault of course, for not always tending to her needs… water is usually helpful… as is a place to bask in the sun…

With one swift bite (and lots of extraordinarily fast chewing), I ruled out the idea of eating these beauties in their natural state and finally made some decisions of what to do with them. To follow are the two recipes I selected… The first is for preserving cumquats, so that during the winter months I’ll be able to chop up preserved peel for giving a boost of flavour to hearty casseroles and tagines. The second is for a really simple (microwaveable!) Cumquat Curd, that from all reports works out smoother and more delicious than any stove-top version. I’m such a big fan of lemon curd, so this seemed like the obvious choice.

I’ve also placed some excess puree from making the curd into a zip-lock bag and frozen it to use another day. Perhaps there’ll even be enough to make some little Cumquat Tarts… tart they will surely be!

Cumquats | Gather and Graze

Preserved Cumquats

(With many thanks to Darya of ‘Tortore’ for her tips and recipe!)

  • 450g Cumquats/Kumquats
  • 280g Sea Salt
  • Juice of 6 Lemons
  • Aromatics (optional) – herbs, spices, bay leaves… (I used some star anise in mine)

Sterilise the jars/lids you plan to use. I boiled mine in a large pot filled with water for 10 minutes.

Wash and remove the stems from all cumquats. Using a sharp knife, cut down the middle of each, but be sure not to slice all the way through.

Place a teaspoonful of sea salt in the base of each jar, and then begin stuffing a large pinch of salt into each cumquat and layer them into the jars. Sprinkle some salt between each layer (along with any aromatics you might be using) and then a final sprinkle over the top. Fill each jar with lemon juice to about 2cm from the top and seal with the lids.

Store the preserved cumquats for 48 hours at room temperature (turning the jars upside down every now and then). After 2 days place the jar(s) in the refrigerator and continue to turn upside down every day for at least 10 more days, before using.

Preserved Cumquats | Preserved Kumquats | Gather and Graze

Note: When ready to use, rinse off any excess salt and use in the same way as you would a preserved lemon.

Cumquat Curd

(Adapted from Celia’s recipe for Lemon Curd, from ‘Fig Jam and Lime Cordial)

  • 50g/3½ Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 150g/⅔ Cup Caster Sugar
  • 125ml/½ Cup Lemon Juice
  • 3 Free-Range Eggs
  • 2 Free-Range Egg Yolks
  • ⅔ Cup Cumquat Puree (see notes below)

Sterilise the jars/lids you plan to use. I boiled mine in a large pot filled with water for 10 minutes.

Place the butter, sugar and lemon juice into a large pyrex bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir well to ensure that the sugar has dissolved completely. Allow to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks until the whites and yolks are completely blended.

Pour the eggs through a sieve into the butter mixture, whisking all the while as you do. Then stir in the cumquat puree and place back in the microwave.

Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then give it a good stir. Back on high for another 30 seconds and stir again. Now microwave for 1 minute, then remove and whisk really well until you have a smooth curd-like texture. If you find it’s still too thin, place it back in the microwave for another 20-30 seconds and whisk again.

Pour into sterilised jars and keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.

Cumquat Curd | Gather and Graze

 Cooking Notes

  • Pureed Cumquats – Wash the cumquats, then slice each one in half and remove any seeds. Place fruit into a blender or food processor and whizz until pureed. This can then be easily portioned into zip-lock bags and frozen until required.

Oh those Starbucks Memories…

Iced Lemon Pound Cake | Gather and Graze

Rituals allow us to feel somewhat secure in this crazy world of ours. I’m sure that many of you will agree that the simple act of preparing a cup of tea or coffee and taking the time to sit down and truly enjoy it, can be therapy for the soul. If brewed just right and sipped in either pure solitude or alongside a dear friend it can be more rejuvenating than any available medicine on Earth.

When we moved to live in the USA a few years ago, my world felt a little more shaken than usual. Quite normal I guess when you uproot a family from one country to another. Though after finding a home and settling our boys into school, there was still something playing on my mind… something we’d failed to establish… even after months of desperate searching. Great coffee just didn’t seem to exist in the city where we lived! In my opinion, the making of coffee is an art form – it takes skill, dedication and consistency. Freshly roasted and ground beans, along with a trained and passionate barista at the helm is non-negotiable. Dodgy brown liquid spurted into a cardboard cup just doesn’t quite cut it.

After a while I stopped looking for great coffee and began to drink Starbucks… like millions of other people. It became something of a ritual in it’s own right… and my almost daily Tall Caffe Latte soon became paired with a slice of their Iced Lemon Pound Cake. Over the time we were there, the coffee remained predictably average, but the cake became increasingly addictive. To this day I still crave the taste of their Pound Cake.

Recently I’ve been playing around with a few recipes, trying to replicate the flavour as best I can.  So here is my version… a copycat of Starbuck’s Iced Lemon Pound Cake, which is super easy to make. This certainly isn’t the only thing I miss about the USA, but in the realm of food, funnily enough this ranks quite highly… along with chocolate-coated gummy bears! Eeeek… did I really just admit to that?

This week I’m taking my cake to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, in the hope that she’ll open the door and welcome me back in. I realise that my ribbing of American coffee and Starbucks may work against me, though the bouncers on the door gorgeous hosts this week are friends of mine, so I just might be in luck! 😉

Copycat Iced Lemon Pound Cake | Gather and Graze

  • 3 Free-Range Eggs
  • 60ml/¼ Cup Lemon Juice (Meyer Lemon if possible)
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract
  • 60g/¼ Cup Unsalted Butter (Melted)
  • 80ml/ 1/3 Cup Sunflower (or Vegetable) Oil
  • 220g/1 Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
  • 225g/1½ Cups Plain Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line the base and sides of a medium loaf pan with parchment paper.

Place all wet ingredients, along with the sugar into a food processor and blend until combined. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend briefly until you have a smooth batter.

Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes. You may wish to place a sheet of foil loosely over the top during the final 5-10 minutes if the top is starting to brown too quickly.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Once the cake has cooled completely, drizzle with a citrusy glaze, made by mixing together the following ingredients.

  • 80g/⅔ Cup Pure Icing Sugar (Sifted)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Milk

Enjoy with a freshly brewed cup of tea or coffee!

PS. The USA in fact does have some really wonderful coffee. In our travels we were excited to come across the likes of Ninth Street Espresso in NYC, Stumptown in Portland and Seattle, Intelligentsia in Chicago and Dolcezza in Washington DC… to name a few. Their beautifully extracted coffees were much appreciated and will be remembered for many years to come!

Coffee from Ninth Street Espresso | Photo from ‘You Only Live Once’ website

No Bake Lemon and Coconut Slice

Lemon and Coconut No-bake Slice | Recipe | Gather and Graze

When life gets a little busy and you need a fast, easy pick-me-up to accompany a morning or afternoon cuppa, this Lemon and Coconut Slice is the perfect solution! It’s zingy, light and just that little bit moreish. What can be more simple than a no-bake slice? Let’s leave the Tim Tams on the shelf this weekend and make a little home-made zesty goodness instead.

Variations of this recipe can be found on numerous Australian and New Zealand websites (and perhaps even further afield). Slices containing condensed milk and crushed biscuits have been very popular in this part of the world over the years and thankfully they still taste as wonderful as they used to!

Once again I’m linking up this week with my friend Angie at The Novice Gardener for Fiesta Friday. Last weekend the party went off… the food was mouth-watering, the company was electric and for the first time in my life I was labelled as ‘rowdy and raucous’ (along with another gorgeous Australian girl, from the blog Saucy Gander)! Woohoo, it must have been a good party! Or perhaps I just indulged in one too many cocktails? I do remember the very stylish Johnny showing up in his magenta onesie… or is that the alcohol talking too? 😉

I’m hoping Angie will let me back in again this week… I promise to be on my best behaviour!

Lemon and Coconut No-Bake Slice | Gather and Graze

  • 250g Packet of Marie Biscuits (or Plain Sweet Biscuits)
  • 85g (1 Cup) Desiccated Coconut
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • 395g Can of Condensed Milk
  • 80g (1/3 Cup) Unsalted Butter (diced)

For the icing:

  • 240g (2 Cups) Pure Icing (Powdered) Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 15g (1 Tablespoon) Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • Shredded Coconut (for sprinkling over the top)

Crush the biscuits using a food processor (or alternatively place them in a ziploc bag and bash them with a rolling pin) until you have a reasonably fine crumb. Transfer the crushed biscuits to a large bowl and mix together with the desiccated coconut and lemon zest.

Lemon and Coconut No-Bake Slice | Gather and Graze

Into a small saucepan, place the condensed milk and butter. Stir over gentle heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is well combined.

Lemon and Coconut No-Bake Slice | Recipe | Gather and Graze

Add the butter/condensed milk mixture to the dry ingredients, along with 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.

Press the mixture nice and evenly into a slice tin (I like to line the tin first with cling wrap, for easy removal).

Lemon and Coconut No-Bake Slice | Recipe | Gather and Graze

For the lemon icing, sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl, along with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and the softened butter and beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spread the icing over the top of the base and sprinkle with some shredded coconut. Refrigerate for approximately an hour until the icing has set.

Remove from the tin and slice into squares.

* Store the Lemon and Coconut Slice refrigerated in an airtight container for 4-5 days (if it lasts that long!)

Lemon and Coconut No-Bake Slice | Recipe | Gather and Graze

Smoked Trout and Almond Linguine

Smoked Trout and Almond Linguine, Gather and Graze

With the slightly warmer weather enticing us to sit outside through to the early evening, it’s time again to bring out the nibbly platters. A little cheese, a few olives, some cured meats… all the things that go perfectly with a chilled glass of white or rosé! My current favourite is to include a fillet of smoked trout or salmon on the platter, from the ‘Eden Smokehouse’ (their beautiful smoked seafood products are available, I believe, throughout most of NSW and the ACT in Australia). Though I’m sure that in your part of the world, there will be something of a similar nature that will work just as well.

The other evening, I discovered that smoked trout also goes brilliantly tossed through with some pasta, and a few other simple ingredients. A quick, stylish dish, that requires minimal time cooking (something that will be much appreciated as it warms up even further throughout the summer months). The toasted almonds added at the very end, add a wonderful taste and texture to the dish, so be sure to have some on hand.

Smoke Trout and Almond Linguine | Gather and Graze

  • 400g Linguine (or other long pasta)
  • 15g/1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (finely sliced)
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Wholegrain Mustard
  • 250ml/1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • 200g Fillet of Smoked Trout (or Salmon)
  • Handful of Chopped Italian Parsley (and/or Chives)
  • Large Handful of (Toasted) Slivered Almonds

Place a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

While you’re waiting for the water to come to the boil, place the cream, lemon zest and mustard into a small mixing bowl. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper, stir to combine and then set aside for the moment.

Flake the smoked trout and also set aside.

When the pasta water has come to the boil, stir in some sea salt and add the pasta, cooking until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, place a frypan over low/medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and when the butter has stopped foaming, add the garlic and fry gently for a couple of minutes. Now stir in the cream mixture and allow to simmer gently for about 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the lemon juice and the flaked smoked trout and continue to cook for another minute or two, until the trout is warmed through. Check for seasoning and adjust with sea salt, pepper or lemon juice if required.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the sauce, stirring gently to coat each strand.

Place into bowls or a serving dish and top with the fresh, chopped herbs and toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

Perfect with a glass of white wine and a loaf of crusty Italian bread on the side.

Smoked Trout and Almond Linguine, Gather and Graze

Easy Weekend Orange Cake

Orange Cake Gather and Graze

A quick little recipe post for my lovely Mum, who I think was worrying that I was worrying too much about the health issues of the world this week. An effortless yoghurt and orange cake to welcome the weekend and to wish you all much happiness (and hopefully a little sunshine to enjoy) over the next few days. Solving the obesity epidemic can wait ’til next week! 😉

Easy Weekend Orange Cake | Gather and Graze

  •  250g/1 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 220g/1 Cup Raw Sugar
  • Zest of 1-2 Oranges
  • 3 Free-Range Eggs
  • 300g/2 Cups Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 180g/ 2/3 Cup Greek Yoghurt
  • 80ml/ 1/3 Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • Icing Sugar (for dusting over the top)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 22cm round cake tin.

Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until combined.

In a measuring jug, mix together the yoghurt and orange juice.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 lots to the butter mixture, alternating with the yoghurt/juice. Mix each addition through gently, until completely combined.

Scoop the mixture into the cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes, before turning out of the tin. When cool, dust with icing sugar or decorate as you wish.

Orange Cake Gather and Graze

Cooking Notes:

  • Please note that this cake is best eaten on the same day it is baked. For some reason it becomes somewhat denser the day after it is cooked and even more so by the second day.
  • The raw sugar will also give a slightly denser crumb to the cake – feel free to use caster sugar if you prefer a slightly lighter texture.
  • Take care to watch the cake in the final 10 minutes or so of cooking, to make sure the top doesn’t brown too much. Cover loosely with a sheet of foil if you feel that it is.
  • This cake is lovely served with a dollop of Greek Yoghurt on the side.

Candid about Cumquat(s)

Perfect Cumquat | Gather and Graze

For a little while there, it was like having a third child… I gazed upon it, protected it, nurtured it and when it was fully grown and ready, I eased it out gently into the real world. Surely, there has been no other cumquat as well-loved and as well-photographed as this one here. You can more than likely tell that we don’t have many other fruit trees supplying us with nature’s bounty.

So, what did I end up doing with my one little cumquat? After requesting (and gratefully receiving… thanks girls!) advice on my previous post, thumbing through cookbooks and perusing numerous online images and recipes, a decision was finally made. Candied Cumquat was the unanimous consensus. A dear friend of mine mused that dark chocolate would be the perfect base… and as much as I knew that the flavours would work brilliantly together, I was unsure of the visual aspect in placing caramel-coloured candied cumquat atop the darkest of chocolate. I was picturing brown upon brown and felt that the cumquat might get a little lost. Lemon or orange syrup cake had entered my mind, but no amount of searching for attractive images online could confirm that this idea would create the beautiful result I was after. I searched and searched, but was surprisingly nonplussed by all that I came across.

In the end, flavour took priority and I decided on making some ‘Pots de Crème au Chocolat’ with a spot of cream to both highlight the cumquat and cut through the richness of the chocolate. I particularly thought to use a mixture of milk and dark chocolate in the Crèmes, to soften the flavour somewhat for my children’s palates… others may choose to work with purely dark.

I have a little confession to make though my friends… I have come to comprehend why our cumquat tree has hesitated in producing fruit for us before. It’s now really quite clear! Our family… all four of us it seems… DON’T actually like cumquats! Their appearance – yes! – by all means, what could be better than a fruiting ornamental cumquat to sit and admire? The candied cumquat that I made was all too reminiscent of the cloyingly tart marmalades I’ve tasted in the past. I ate it, but regret to say that it wasn’t altogether enjoyable. My youngest child passed his nibbled-at slice of cumquat to me, to finish on his behalf, while the others chewed furiously fast, just to make the taste go away… Thankfully the dessert sitting underneath was there and waiting. Within a moment the decadent taste of chocolate had wiped away the bitter ending to our prized cumquat.

This really wasn’t the outcome I’d hoped to be sharing with you today, but unfortunately it is the simple and honest truth. If we are graced by any more cumquats in the future, I will certainly try to find another way of enjoying them through cooking, in a savoury dish next time… like a tagine perhaps. Or maybe even amongst a salad…

The Pots de Crème au Chocolat that I prepared are adapted slightly from a recipe I found, by The Plantation House Restaurant in Hawaii (which looks an idyllic location!). Being way too generous and enthusiastic in my portion sizes of these, I’ll know now for future reference, that this quantity will provide dessert for six to eight people, instead of a greedy four. They are lusciously creamy in texture, rich in chocolatey goodness and go beautifully with a scoop of chantilly cream on top. An adornment of fruit is still I think required, though depending on what’s in season, perhaps the likes of raspberries (or any berry for that matter), kiwi or banana. A sprinkling of chopped toasted nuts would also be fabulous…

Pots de Creme au Chocolat | Cumquat | Gather and Graze

Pots de Creme au Chocolat (with Candied Cumquat)

For the Pots de Crème:

  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 100g Milk Chocolate
  • 4 Tablespoons Raw Sugar
  • 375mls/1½ Cups Thick/Heavy Cream
  • 4 Free-Range Egg Yolks
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt

Gently melt the two types of chocolate over a double boiler. At the same time, warm up the cream in a saucepan, until it almost comes to a boil (do not let it boil). Add the sugar and heated cream to the chocolate, stirring carefully until smooth. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl, then add a spoonful of the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine (this will hopefully help to avoid having scrambled eggs in the next stage!) Now add the egg yolks, vanilla extract and salt to the chocolate and again stir carefully until silky and smooth. If you feel at all that your mixture is a little lumpy, strain it through a sieve before it cools down.

Allow to cool a little before pouring into your chosen pots/glasses/ramekins. Refrigerate for about 3 hours, before serving with whipped (Chantilly) cream and a slice of candied cumquat.

For the Candied Cumquat: Cumquat | Gather and Graze

  • 2 – 3 Fresh Cumquats (if you happen to have that many…)
  • 125mls/½ Cup Water
  • 110g/½ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Star Anise (optional)

In a small saucepan, stir the water, sugar and star anise (if using) over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil, allow the syrup to simmer for a minute or two. Slice the cumquats thinly and add them to the syrup. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring gently every now and then.

Candied Cumquat | Gather and Graze

Remove cumquat slices (and a little of the syrup) to a bowl to cool down, ready to garnish the Pots de Crèmes…

Pots Creme Chocolat Cumquat Gather and Graze

Zesty Madeleines

Lime Madeleines, Gather and Graze

In it’s ideal state, food should be a feast for all of the senses.  Taste is almost always at the core and rightly so, as it is usually the flavour of things that keeps us coming back for more.  The visual, aromatic and textural side of food serves more to transform what could be just fuel for the body into an actual experience to be savoured.  For me, this sensory awakening often begins way before the food reaches the table. Continue reading