Weather in all of it’s extremes is often to be marvelled at… admired… but unfortunately not always enjoyed. The soaring heat that our part of Australia has been experiencing recently has been reason enough to stock the freezer with copious quantities of icy-poles, to serve up antipasto platters for dinner and to lunch on a variety of cooling salads.
We enjoyed this salad with dinner the other night, while catching up with a dear friend who we hadn’t seen in a while and it was so refreshing that I decided to make it again for lunch today. It is adapted from a recipe in Nigella Lawson’s book ‘Forever Summer’.
Watermelon Feta and Olive Salad | Gather and Graze
I’ve bemoaned the fact once before (here) on ‘Gather and Graze’ that my Anglo-German heritage is lacking in at least one or two colourful, Mediterranean ancestors. But no more my friends! After tasting these little cakes, I’m embracing my inner German girl today and sharing with you a fabulous recipe; amended and updated from one that my Mum passed on to me a few years ago. The addition of grated apple and Butterscotch Schnapps gives not only the perfect flavour, but also extra moisture and tenderness to these delicious afternoon tea treats. Genießen Sie!
2 Tablespoons Butterscotch Schnapps (optional, but oh so worth it!)
265g/1¾ Cups Self-Raising Flour
¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
Pinch of Sea Salt
2 Apples (Peeled, Cored and Grated coarsely)
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with cupcake papers.
Into a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, egg, milk and Schnapps and stir well with a wooden spoon. Sift in the dry ingredients and fold them in lightly. Add the grated apple and once again fold lightly, until incorporated.
Spoon the batter carefully into the prepared tins and add a layer of Streusel Topping – instructions to follow below, after the photos…
Streusel Topping Ingredients
75g/½ Cup Plain Flour
½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
80g/½ Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
45g/3 Tablespoons (Cold) Unsalted Butter
Sift the flour and cinnamon into a small bowl, then stir in the sugar to combine. Dice the butter into small cubes and then rub into the flour mixture, until resembling course bread-crumbs.
Sprinkle a good layer of Streusel over the tops of the cakes and then bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle.
Enjoy with a good cup of tea or coffee… or there’s always that leftover Butterscotch Schnapps! 😉
There are certain fruits and vegetables that I adore seeing on display at the Farmer’s Markets, but I never quite know what I’d make with them if I gathered them up and brought them home. Things like persimmons, pomegranates, quinces, globe artichokes and kale all fall into this enticing, yet somewhat untried and untested category. Invariably I find myself wandering the stalls until I reach produce that I’m comfortable with, produce that speaks to me immediately with recipe ideas. The berries, the stone fruit, the citrus, the root vegetables, the salad greens. In fact, come to think of it, there’s actually quite a lot that I don’t walk past… I guess it just feels that way sometimes.
With this innate feeling that I’m missing out on experiencing these seasonal treats, the plan is to gradually overcome this little shortcoming by delving into these delights that others know and understand already. I feel very lucky in the fact that many of the food bloggers I follow, either come from or live in parts of the world where the use of these ingredients is nothing unusual, so a wonderful selection of recipes and knowledge is there to be discovered.
For me, rhubarb falls on the fringe of this category. We used to (quite happily) eat bowlfuls of stewed rhubarb, with a dash of milk, cream or ice-cream stirred through, for dessert when I was growing up. It’s just unfortunately something that I don’t tend to cook for my own family. Time to turn that around!
I used a delicious shortcrust pastry recipe from a British/Dutch blog named ‘My Foodtopia’ – please see here for the link to the pastry recipe. It made enough pastry for not only the rhubarb tart, but for a dozen gorgeous little Strawberry Jam Tartlets as well (which were baked in a muffin tin) – photoattached here.
I found it best to make the pastry first, press it into the tart tin and then allow it to rest/chill in the refrigerator while the filling is being made.
Ingredients for the filling:
450g Rhubarb (chopped)
220g/1 Cup Raw Sugar
125ml/½ Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Paste or Extract (or the seeds from 1 Vanilla Pod)
100g Raspberries (Fresh or defrosted from Frozen)
Place the rhubarb, sugar, juice and vanilla into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then allow to boil for about 10 – 15 minutes (stirring occasionally) until it becomes a jam-like consistency. Remove from the heat, stir in the raspberries and allow to cool completely.
Once cool, spoon the mixture into the prepared tart case and top with pastry lattice. Brush the pastry with a little egg wash (1 egg beaten with a teaspoon of milk or water).
Place into the oven, pre-heated to 180°C and bake for approximately 40 – 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Allow to cool completely, before serving with whipped cream and/or ice-cream.
Filling recipe inspired by, but adapted from a Gourmet Traveller recipe.
It’s a beautiful thing to make use of fresh, raw ingredients straight from the garden or farmer’s market. Most often to eat exactly as nature intended… though many a Saturday during the warmer months of the year, I find myself returning from the markets with a basket and bag overflowing with produce – my enthusiasm getting the better of me.
That’s where preserves come in. The following is a simple recipe, though one that produces a delicious jam, packed full of flavour, with just the right amount of tartness from the lemon juice to cut through the syrupy sweetness.
It was a fabulous breakfast this morning of strawberry jam slathered croissants.
Place the strawberries, lemon juice, rose essence (if using) and water into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes, until the fruit has softened completely.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring to the boil and allow to bubble away for another 10 minutes or so, until thickened. Keep a very good eye on the pot and stir regularly to avoid any burning on the base.
For jam to reach setting point it should be about 105°C (220°F) – test with a thermometer if you have one. Otherwise, have a small plate standing by in the freezer, to which you can scoop a little jam to test – put the plate back in the freezer for a minute or two – if it is ready it will gel together nicely, as jam usually does.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes (removing any foam from the top) before scooping into warm, sterilised jars. Seal immediately and allow to cool completely.
To sterilise the jars and lids – wash in warm, soapy water, then rinse well and place on a tray in an oven pre-heated to 130°C for about 20 minutes. Or you can boil them in a large saucepan for 15 minutes.
Be sure to place hot preserves directly into hot jars and cold preserves into cold jars.
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! 😉
How lovely to have a dish named after you. What an honour! The Victoria Sponge… Pavlova… Sacher Torte… Peach Melba… Tarte Tatin… Pizza Margherita… Beef Wellington… Beef Stroganoff… Beef Carpaccio… to name but a few – all created to pay homage to a deserving individual or otherwise named to provide lasting fame for the genius who concocted the special dish.
On a cold winter’s night, is there anything better than indulging in a hot pudding for dessert! My thanks go to Elizabeth – whether she be Queen, grandmother, daughter, friend or other fine, charismatic woman for inspiring or creating this delicious, heart-warming dessert! Another little find from within the ‘Green and Gold Cookery Book’. Such a deep sense of pleasure, drumming up recipes from the past, so that they don’t slip away into oblivion.
Elizabeth Apple Pudding | From the 'Green and Gold Cookery Book'
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 5-6 cup-capacity deep baking dish with butter and sprinkle a little sugar over the base.
Slice the apples into quarters and then slice each quarter into three. Line the base of the baking dish with the apple slices.
Into a large mixing bowl, place the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Whisk to remove any lumps. Add the milk, egg and melted butter and continue whisking until smooth and completely incorporated. Gently pour the thick batter over the top of the apples.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top springs back when gently pressed in the centre. Before serving, invert the pudding onto a plate, so that the apples are on top. Sprinkle lightly with a little extra cinnamon if you wish…
Serve hot, slathered with your choice of cream, custard or ice-cream.
Keep an eye on the pudding as it bakes – if the top looks like it is browning too quickly, cover loosely with a sheet of aluminium foil.
The recipe calls for quite a lot of sugar, though the finished pudding certainly wasn’t over the top in sweetness. Next time I’ll experiment with reducing the quantity to see how it fares…
It’s no great secret that my palate leans somewhat guiltily to the sweet side rather than the savoury. Another one of those genetic things, I think… Now, I don’t take sugar with my tea or sprinkle it on my morning cereal and I’m not at all tempted by the rows of chocolate bars in the supermarket, but when it comes to desserts… a perfectly baked cheesecake, a citrus tart, a silken pannacotta or sweet treats, like macarons or freshly-baked crostoli, I tend to go weak at the knees. Continue reading →