Category Archives: Pastry

Beef, Rosemary and Red Wine Pie

Beef, Rosemary and Red Wine Pie with Rough Puff Pastry | Gather and Graze

It’s doubtful that I’ll ever reach the stage where creating gels, foams or other Heston-esque kitchen creations becomes part of my everyday cooking repertoire… however now and then, there are days when I’m up for the challenge of preparing or cooking something that might have seemed a little daunting before. De-boning quail for Sandra’s Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes is a prime example… and then making my first ever Rough Puff Pastry to encase this delicious Beef, Rosemary and Red Wine Pie, on this past weekend is another. Continue reading

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Leek and Fresh Herb Tart / Quiche

Leek and Fresh Herb Tart / Quiche | Recipe | Gather and Graze

Ideally you shouldn’t be reading this post for yet another month. You see… my excessively organised mind had quite liked the idea of my 100th Post (yes, that’s THIS one! 🙂 ) being posted on Gather and Graze’s 2nd Blogiversary (the 12th April). But here we are… well ahead of schedule… so I guess we’ll just have to celebrate twice! Continue reading

Nectarine Tart for Summer

Nutty Nectarine Tart | gatherandgraze.com

Late spring and early summer have been so very hot here in Canberra, that it bears not thinking about what crazy weather we’ll have to endure through the months of January and February when temperatures usually reach their peak… One great benefit of this warmer weather though is that cherries, peaches and nectarines are now to be found in abundance at our local Saturday morning markets. The 2 kilos of gorgeously plump cherries that we bought have miraculously disappeared already and we’re now making short work of the nectarines which needed a day or two extra to fully ripen. An overflowing fruit bowl is something I love most about this time of year… 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. Continue reading

French Chocolate Eclairs (Éclairs au Chocolat)

Chocolate Eclairs | gatherandgraze.com

For almost a year, I indulged in French patisserie like there was going to be no tomorrow. Picture… my 20 year old self… living far from home and family… working in a high school (lycée) in the South of France… feeling homesick at times… often frustrated by the antics of my puberty-stricken students… but thankfully, more often than not, delighting in the company that I kept, along with the food, wine and lifestyle of my beautiful adopted country. I really must confess that I must have been in complete denial that so many ‘tartes aux framboises’, ‘croques-monsieurs’, ‘poulet-frites’ and ‘ficelles’ slathered with Nutella could possibly cause a transformation of my general body shape. Oh dear… the wine and beer as well! My wage while working as an English ‘Assistante’ was certainly not a grand one, so I hate to now think how much of it I invested in the local patisserie/boulangerie and inevitably in that burgeoning waist-line.

Alas, the days of over-indulging in the richest of French food are over. Moderation is most certainly the key my friends! So despite my story of weight-gain through patisserie, I ask you to ignore all that I’ve said above and please join me in partaking of this absolutely delicious afternoon treat… just be sure not to eat them all in one sitting! Eclairs are fun and easy (yes… EASY!) to make. Give them a go!

French Chocolate Eclairs (Éclairs au Chocolat) | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: About 10-12 Eclairs
  • Print

  • ½ Quantity Choux Pastry (Recipe Here)
  • 300ml/1¼ Cups Heavy Cream
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 115g/½ Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
  • 125ml/½ Cup Water
  • 60g/⅓ Cup (70% Cocoa) Dark Chocolate (Chopped)
  • 30g/2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Chopped)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking/parchment paper.

Prepare the Choux pastry dough as per the recipe for Profitéroles (in the link above), but instead of piping round puffs onto the baking trays, pipe long sausage shapes instead.

Choux Pastry for Chocolate Eclairs | gatherandgraze.com

Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisp all over. As soon as they are out of the oven, move them onto a cooling rack and place a little slit in the side of each one to allow any steam to escape from the middle. Allow to cool completely.

Choux Pastry for Chocolate Eclairs | Gather and Graze

Whip the cream and vanilla extract to medium peaks, then set aside in the fridge until the chocolate glaze is ready to go.

Whipped Cream for Chocolate Eclairs | gatherandgraze.com

To make the chocolate glaze, combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved completely. Bring to a boil and allow to boil rapidly for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool down a little, before adding in the chocolate and butter. Stir again until completely melted and combined. As it cools a little more it will start to thicken.

Using a piping bag, pipe the whipped cream into the middle of the eclairs through the same slit that was cut to allow any steam out.

Now spoon over the still slightly warm chocolate glaze. Place back on the cooling rack and allow the glaze to set for a minutes, before serving.

Chocolate Eclairs | gatherandgraze.com

  • The method for making the chocolate glaze was adapted from that of a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe.

French Apple Frangipane Tart

French Apple Frangipane Tart | Gather and Graze

It has been said that ‘the apple does not fall far from the tree’. My love of baking (and of course eating) cakes, biscuits, desserts and sweets is shared equally by my mother. When I baked this particular dessert a couple of days ago it made me think of her. I know for sure that she would enjoy it… this classic French tart, with perhaps a spoonful of double cream on the side. Continue reading

Profiteroles (Fit for a Fiesta!)

Profiteroles | Gather and Graze

As some of you may well know, I’m a little on the quiet side. On occasions I require varying degrees of gentle coercion to prise me from the house, to be social. I always have a fabulous time when I get there, but given the choice I would almost certainly opt for a calming cup of tea and a good book.

My friend Angie, over at The Novice Gardener must have sensed this when she sent out the invitations to come along to ‘Fiesta Friday’ (an online party!) which she holds each week with inimitable style. Her somewhat subtle reminders to join in have recently been playing on my mind… so here I am, ready (with bells on!) for my first Fiesta Friday!

Funnily enough though, due to the time-zone difference between Australia and the USA, it looks like I might be partying on my own for about 16 hours, until midnight ticks over in America! Hmmm, perhaps I’ll make myself a cuppa and sit down with a good book while I wait. 😉

My sweet offering for Fiesta Friday is a rather indulgent French dessert, that needs little by way of introduction. Classic Profiteroles! The recipe I use and adore comes from the cookbook of a stunning French restaurant in New York City called Balthazar. A few years ago a friend and I had breakfast there while on a girl’s weekend in NYC and I’ve been dreaming of going back for dinner ever since!

Wishing you all a fun Fiesta Friday, a Happy Valentine’s Day and a very relaxing weekend!

Profitéroles | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: 40 Choux Puffs
  • Print

  • 125ml/½ Cup Whole Milk
  • 125ml/½ Cup Water
  • 130g/½ Cup Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 150g/1 Cup Plain Flour (sifted)
  • 5 Large Free-Range Eggs

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, water, butter and salt until it just comes to the boil. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it all comes together into a dough. Continue to stir over medium heat for about 3 minutes (being careful that nothing starts burning on the base of the saucepan).

Place the hot dough into an electric mixer and mix at low speed for a few minutes to allow the dough to cool down a little. Then one at a time, add the eggs, mixing on medium speed between each addition to ensure they’ve been incorporated well. After the last egg goes in, mix for about 4 more minutes until a smooth dough forms.

Use either a piping bag, or a soup spoon to form small puffs on the baking trays. Each should be approximately 5 cm in diameter.

Place the trays into the oven and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. If you are placing 2 trays in at once, remember to swap them around at the halfway mark.

Allow the choux puffs to cool on a wire rack.

When you are ready to serve, slice each profiterole in half with a serrated knife (like a hamburger bun), place a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream on each base and place the tops back on. Drizzle with chocolate sauce (recipe to be found here…), decorate with berries/fruit if you wish and serve without delay.

Profiteroles | Gather and Graze

Cooking Notes:

  • If you make the choux pastry without an electric mixer, be sure to allow the hot dough from the saucepan to cool down enough in a mixing bowl before you begin to beat in the eggs. This will avoid a nasty case of scrambled egg choux puffs…
  • The choux puffs can be made in advance and kept for a day or two in an airtight container. Re-crisp them a little before serving, in a 180°C oven for approx 5 minutes.
  • I’ve decided to try freezing a batch to see how they fare… I’ll let you know in the next week or two if they still taste great.

* Recipe from “Balthazar” cookbook

Chicken & Vegetable Sausage Rolls

Chicken and Vegetable Sausage Rolls, Gather and Graze

The school which my children attend has a wonderful canteen that offers an extensive array of healthy and delicious lunch options. Though a couple of days ago when I stopped by to chat with the lovely lady who runs the canteen, she mentioned that there were 3 items on their menu that she would love to see removed, due to them being overly processed and shipped in, packed frozen in boxes ready for re-heating.

She asked whether I might help by coming up with a couple of home-made replacements that we could get the kids to sample over the next two weeks, with a view to adding them permanently to the menu when school goes back next year.

So this week, I’ve started playing around with a recipe for home-made Chicken Sausage Rolls, packed with a flavoursome range of veggies, to keep those dear little bodies and minds as healthy as possible. My fingers are crossed that the kids will all give them the thumbs up when we pass around some samples at lunchtime next week!  I’ll be sure to let you know if they are a success… or if it’s back to the drawing board.

Chicken & Vegetable Sausage Rolls | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: Makes about 48 small Sausage Rolls
  • Print

  • 1 Brown Onion
  • 1-2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • 750g Free-Range Chicken Mince
  • 70g/¾ Cup Dried Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Free-Range Egg (lightly beaten)
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Mixed Herbs
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 4 Sheets of Puff Pastry
  • Egg Wash (1 Free-Range Egg beaten together with 1 Tablespoon Milk)
  • Sesame Seeds (optional)

In a food processor (or by hand), very finely chop the onion, garlic, carrot and leek.  Place into a large mixing bowl with the chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, herbs and seasonings and mix until well combined. Separate mixture into roughly 6 portions.

Cut each sheet of puff pastry in half and using hands, form a long sausage of mixture lengthways down the middle of each piece of pastry. Roll the pastry around the sausage mixture and use a little egg wash to help seal the seam. Cut each roll into about 6 smaller rolls and then place them (seam-side down) on baking trays lined with baking paper/parchment. Allow the un-cooked sausage rolls to rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

At this stage, pre-heat your oven to 200°C.

Just before placing in the oven, cut a couple of slits in the top of each roll (to avoid filling bursting from each end) and brush with a little egg wash. Bake at 200ºC for the first 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 180°C for a further 15 minutes, or until golden brown and fully cooked through.

Chicken and Vegetable Sausage Rolls, Gather and Graze

Cooking Notes:

  • The onion, garlic and leek can be gently fried in a little olive oil and then cooled before adding to the rest of the ingredients. I find that this isn’t necessary if all vegetables are very finely chopped – a simple task with a food processor.
  • A variety of other vegetables could be added to this recipe – I’ll be trying some grated zucchini/courgette next time in lieu of the leek.
  • If the mixture feels too sticky, add another tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs.

Fennel Seed Tartlet Shells

Fennel Seed Shortcrust Tartlet Shells, Gather and Graze

Good things come in small packages! These days, I find myself so incredibly partial to Tapas, finger food, hors d’oeuvres and the like. Both sweet and savoury… as long as it’s bite-size and can be nibbled on intermittently while sipping on a glass of wine or champagne. A relaxing, happy way of eating. Summery and festive, with Christmas and holidays on the horizon!

A savoury, spice-infused shortcrust pastry recipe that can be topped, so easily, with all manner of deliciousness.

Fennel Seed Tartlet Shells | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: Makes about 36 Tartlets
  • Print

  • 150g/1 Cup Plain Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds (bashed up a little using a mortar and pestle)
  • ¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 80g Cold Unsalted Butter (cut into small cubes)
  • 1 Free-Range Egg Yolk (beaten together with 2 Tablespoons Iced Water)

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, fennel seeds and sea salt. Add the butter and pulse a few more times until it becomes the texture of course breadcrumbs. Now pour in the egg yolk/water mixture and pulse until the pastry just comes together in a ball. Refrigerate the pastry (wrapped up in cling wrap) for about 30 minutes.

Roll the pastry out onto a board dusted with flour, to a thickness of about 3mm. Using a round cookie cutter (approx 5 cm in diameter), cut discs of pastry and press them into mini-muffin trays. Chill the prepared trays in the freezer for 10 minutes, before baking.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. Allow the shells to cool in the muffin trays for a few minutes, before carefully removing to a cooling rack.

The tartlet shells are now ready for you to dress up with your chosen fillings – the options are endless, however I’ve listed a few possibilities at the end of this post.

The photo above, shows some shells filled with Goat’s Curd and topped with some roasted red peppers/capsicum, fresh thyme leaves, a drizzle of E.V olive oil and a little grinding of pepper and salt.

Fennel Seed Shortcrust Tartlet Shells, Gather and Graze

Notes on Cooking

  • If the filling you intend to place in the tartlets requires baking as well, par-bake the shells for only about 12 minutes, before adding the filling and then return to the oven until cooked.
  • Consider using other herbs and spices to bring a little life to your pastry – cumin seeds, caraway seeds, thyme leaves, rosemary and lavender are a few to try.

Ideas for Fillings

  • Creme Fraiche, topped with thin strips of smoked salmon and a caper or two.
  • Boursin Cheese, topped with a roasted cherry tomato and some torn fresh basil.
  • Goat’s Curd, topped with some chopped (pitted) kalamata olives, fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • (Persian) Feta Cheese with caramelised onion and fresh oregano or thyme leaves.
  • Taramasalata, topped with a little salmon roe.

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart, Gather and Graze

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!

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart | Gather and Graze

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) – photo attached 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).

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart

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.

Rhubarb Raspberry Tart, Gather and Graze

  • Filling recipe inspired by, but adapted from a Gourmet Traveller recipe.

Gougères | Cheese Puffs

Gougeres Cheese Puffs Gather and Graze

For years I avoided any recipe that involved the making of choux pastry.  It always seemed like it had ‘catastrophe’ written all over it.  Eclairs and profiteroles were to be enjoyed fresh from authentic French patisseries… Continue reading