Monday, 18 March 2019

DIY Pomegranate Molasses AKA Pomegranate Syrup

So just what did Adam and Eve eat in the Garden of Eden?  Some say apples; some say tomatoes; some say - yep, you guessed it! - pomegranates.  I even read that some people think it was bananas.  That made me laugh - a lot:-)  Bananas ain't even a fruit, baby.  A banana is a herb, and the banana 'tree' is in fact a great big doozy of a herb.  Yep, you heard it here.  (Tho' I did read the actual banana itself is sometimes called a berry, just to confuse you further.)  

The juice is readily available from the supermarket, but I had to weigh up whether I used wild and organic from Georgia (as in the former Soviet republic), or one that was made up of 70% Aussie fruit, or from concentrates ...  You get the picture.  I recommend using a local brand with as much 'real' juice as possible.  If you were really keen, you could buy fresh poms. and de-seed them and turn them into juice yourself.  Nope, I'm not that nuts either :-)  And it would cost you an absolute fortune!   



a tangy and delicious condiment


(Recipe - with a couple of small adjustments - from Simply Recipes website.)



Makes about one cup:



ingredients:


1 Litre of 100% pomegranate juice

1/2 cup (110g.) of sugar - white or caster

2 tbs of lime or lemon juice

4-6 tsp (20-30 mLs) of extra lime or lemon juice at the end of cooking (optional)


Method:


Tip the pomegranate juice into a large, non-reactive (for instance, stainless steel) pan, along with the sugar and lime juice

Give it a stir and bring to the boil on medium-high heat

Once boiling, turn it down to a simmer - i.e. bubbling happily and gently along, but not too crazily, and simmer away for about an hour

Check it and stir every ten minutes or so

Keep an eye on it, folks!  Especially towards the end of the hour, when it will suddenly go mad and bubble up like a crazy person and maybe go too thick - nah, I didn't do that ...  Phew, that was close!

You will know it is ready when it looks syrupy, and will happily coat the back of your wooden spoon.  Another way (and I did this just to be sure it was ready) is to pour the hot syrup into a measuring jug; if you have about a cup to a cup and a quarter (approx.), you're done:-)  

If you wish, you can add the extra lime or lemon juice at this point to refresh the syrup

Allow it to cool for about 5 minutes, then pour it into a sterilised and still warm bottle - see notes below

Keeps in the fridge for weeks!

Use in salad dressings, for marinades and so on;  anywhere you need a tangy punch (Will I say it? - yes I will - a punch for your food, not you.)



Notes:


I used bottled juice, but make sure it is 100% juice

I used one lime, but it was big and juicy - you may need two

If you do take it too far, and the syrup is very, very thick, later you can microwave the bottle which will allow you (hopefully) to pour some out when you need it

To sterilise the bottle/jar: wash in hot, soapy water, then rinse under hot tap water.  Put it into the oven @ 150C for 15 minutes

If you do want to make your own juice to start off, you will need about 8 apparently - and as they cost about $6 for one at the moment, you would be looking at a hefty price for this molasses!




gather the ingredients



simmer away for an hour (please excuse the steamy photo)



run your finger over the back of the spoon (yes, the saucepan is empty)


Be careful doing this, 'cos it will be hot.  If the syrup stays separated on the back of the spoon, it is done!





just over a cup of syrup



bottled and ready for the fridge



thick and syrupy and oh so tangy


Longtime readers may remember me talking about the 'banana police' here in sunny Queensland.  At our previous house, we had several banana plants in the backyard, full of fruit, huge cockroaches, massive spiders and bats ... yep, good times.  Apparently way back then in the dark ages, there were banana inspectors driving around the 'burbs checking that there were no more than three banana plants in your yard.  That is all relaxed now, and as of July 2016, you can have as many as you like, provided they come from an accredited nursery.  I guess 'bunchy top', that nasty banana disease, has been eradicated.  Oh the things you learn when researching food.  And I suppose they didn't have 'bunchy top' in the Garden of Eden :-) 




    pomegranate artwork by Sherry's Pickings


Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Reese Witherspoon's Cheese Wafers

Reese?  Isn't that a boy's name?  Or a name for peanut butter and chocolate?  Clearly they do things differently in the Deep South:=)  I picked up this book 'cos it has a pretty pink cover, and a photo of Ms. Witherspoon all dressed up in pink lace.  And surprisingly, I found it a pleasant read with some interesting Southern recipes.  But don't turn the pages expecting deep, philosophical thoughts, or much of an insight into her life.  This is a cute and pretty book, with some nice photos and some home(l)y recipes.  You can while away a bit of time, thinking pretty pink thoughts while you read.




apparently they like wicker (and wallpaper) in the Deep South:=)



delicious crunchy cheesy biscuits/wafers/crackers

Recipe ever-so-slightly adapted by Sherry's Pickings:


Makes about 32 biscuits:


Ingredients:


3 cups (360g.) of sharp cheddar cheese or a mix of cheddar and Parmesan, freshly grated

1.5 cups (180g.) of plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted

113g. (4 oz.) of butter, softened (not melted), and cut into chunks

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp of sea salt flakes

1/8 to 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp of mountain pepperberry or spice of your choice (optional)

1 tsp of lightly dried parsley or herb of your choice (optional)

pecan halves for decoration


Method:


Throw everything except the pecans into a food processor

Pulse until the ingredients start to combine and form into a dough - but don't go crazy here.  Just pulse till well mixed  

If you don't have a food processor, just place the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and combine well till it forms a soft dough

Tip the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and press together into a ball

Roll it out till it's about 6 mm (1/4 inch) thick 

Use a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds and gently push a pecan half into the top of each one

Place them about 1 cm. (1/2 in) apart on 2 lined baking trays and bake at 200C/400F for 10-15 minutes or till lightly golden - you will most likely have some dough left over, so keep rolling and cutting and baking!  I made 3 trays of biscuits 

Allow to cool on wire racks

Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days



Notes:


I used one cup of parmesan cheese and 2 cups of extra strong cheddar cheese

No need to sift the flour if you're throwing everything in the food processor

My biscuit cutter is about 63 mm (2.5 inches); Reese says to cut 2 inch rounds

Reese says this makes about 4 dozen wafers, but mine made 32!

FYI:  Still delicious after 3 days :-) 




ingredients gathered



chuck into the food processor (or mixing bowl) 



tip the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface



roll out the dough till about 6mm thick 



cut into rounds and bake at 200C for 10-15 mins. 



cool on a wire rack



golden and cheesy and crunchy



Reese's recipe in the book

There were a few errors in this recipe: for instance, in step 3, it says to place the rounds an inch apart, then step 4 repeats the info, but says to place them half an inch apart!  She uses a mixing bowl for the dough, but I think the food processor is so much quicker and easier here.  I did like that the book seems to have been written by Ms. Witherspoon for the most part (except for about half the recipes, where she does clearly state that they are her friend's recipes).  So my advice is to do what I did - borrow this from your local library, and only buy it if you are a huge Reese Witherspoon fan.



   cheesy artwork by Sherry's Pickings

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Tempest Seafood Restaurant And Teppanyaki - Review

Dear friends of ours have recently moved into a lovely, top storey seaside apartment with fabulous 250 degree views of the mountains and Moreton Bay.  They are loving the downsized space with no maintenance.  There are lots of restaurants and cafés literally underneath their building, and they are really loving being able to walk down to breakfast or lunch.  


Just before Christmas, we joined them for lunch at the nearby Tempest seafood restaurant, a short drive away.  We were seated by the friendly waitress out on the deck, with wonderful views of the boats at the marina.  I started with a glass of Prosecco ($11), which sadly was a bit flat. I guess I should have asked for a replacement, but I drank it anyway. Lord N had an Asahi beer ($8.50), while Mr P. and Lady J went for a lemon squash ($4.50) as they were both driving. 



Lord N modelling with his beer ($8.50)

Lord N enjoyed a refreshing Japanese beer with his humongous plate of fish and chips:-)



sashimi-grade tuna ($34)


We ate these meals: for moi, lightly-seared slices of tuna with watermelon, cucumber, mint, miso aioli and ponzu dressing ($34). I loved this! It was so delicious; tangy and fresh and light. Perfect for a hot summer’s day.  I just wish there had been a wee bit more of it!  I think it was more like an entrée size, but hey, that's just me. 




linguini with mushrooms, olives and so on ($26)

Hubby chose the mushroom linguini ($26), being a huge pasta fan. The pasta was al dente, which he found a bit too chewy for his tastes. He thought the meal itself was a bit small for his appetite, and he would have loved a bigger portion. He also said it needed more mushrooms. But he liked the extra flavours of capsicum, olives, onion, spinach, parmesan and pesto. 




fish and chips $23


Lord N went for the fish and chips (either Dory or flathead) with salad ($23,) and a sesame dressing. He was very happy with this large and crunchily golden dish. There were three or four generous portions of fish, along with the chips. I was quite envious as my meal, gorgeous though it was, didn’t really fill the gaps. I kinda wish I’d had some chips too.




bug and prawn linguini $35


Lady J chose the bug and prawn linguini, with tomatoes and peas ($35). This dish looked beautiful, and very tempting to those of us who love seafood. There was a large piece of bug on top, and several large prawns. This was a tasty winner with Lady J. 




caramel apple pie parfait $14

Did I forget to mention dessert? The photo perhaps doesn't do it justice.  I really savoured this caramel apple pie parfait ($14) – layers of caramelised apples, Chantilly cream, cookie crumbs, butterscotch sauce and salted caramel ice cream. Oh yum! Deliciously salty-sweet, creamy fabulousness. 




bourbon sticky date pudding $16

Lady J had the bourbon sticky date pudding ($16) with a toffee sauce, bourbon cream and vanilla ice cream. She adored this over-the-top bowl of warm, sticky, bourbon-y pudding. 


All in all, we had a lovely lunch with fabulous food (with just a few minor niggles). We had great views and a really wonderful waitress who was friendly and helpful. We would all very happily go there again.  In fact, our friends have been there again:-)  



The produce is locally caught and/or grown. The menu is seasonal, and designed for their local customers. The fish is hand-picked every day by the head chef. Oh, and don’t forget the teppanyaki room, which holds 33 people. There is a beer garden, and a function space too. The restaurant juts out over the water, and you can dine while watching the boats in the marina. A really nice place to while away a Sunday afternoon.


The Pickings' Verdict: 8.5/10 - great food/good service/fab views and fairly good value

(All meals were independently paid for.)



looking out to the marina



Ph: 07 3203 5744
Bird O' Passage Pde.,
Scarborough Boat Harbour 4020



Tempest Seafood Restaurant and Teppanyaki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Raspberry Ice Cream - The 5-Minute Method

I adore berries, pretty much any kind - blue, black, straw, rasp, or mul, you name it:=)  And a super quick and easy dessert like this one has to be a real winner in our seemingly time-poor days.  I got the basic idea from Matt Preston, the Masterchef judge cum food critic cum cookbook author.  And I just happened to see a few minutes of a cooking show with Miguel Maestre (tv chef) recently. 

He was at a tropical resort, where he made an iced treat with frozen mango and mascarpone.  Even though I have been a Queensland gal for many a year, I just can't do the mango thing.  But I adore raspberries, so they became the hero of my icy, sweet treat.  They bring to mind the gorgeous and tiny wild berries we used to pick on our walks in Britain, back in the days when a ten-mile hike in the pouring rain up hills and down stony creek beds meant nothing to our young feet.  I think we're lucky to do a two kilometre walk these days:-)




gloriously pink



Recipe adapted by Sherry's Pickings:

Serves 4-6:


ingredients:


500g. (17½ oz.) of frozen raspberries

200-250g. (7-8 oz.) of mascarpone

60g. (6 tbs) of icing/powdered sugar

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1-2 tbs (20-40mLs) of vodka or gin (optional)

125g. (4 oz.) of fresh raspberries for serving


Method:


Tip the frozen fruit into a large food processor

Give it a whizz for a minute or two to break down the fruit

Add the mascarpone, icing sugar, vanilla and alcohol (if using) into the bowl and whizz again - you'll think it's never coming together but keep whizzing, then stop and scrape it down a few times.  At this point, keep pulsing and scraping down till smooth

It may take up to five minutes to become completely smooth and fabulous but fear not! - it will do so

Serve immediately, with fresh berries

Best if eaten immediately, but can be put into the freezer for a day or two if you have leftovers

Make sure you take it out of the freezer for ten minutes or so before eating



Notes:


Frankly, buying half a kilo of fresh raspberries then freezing them would be wasteful and very expensive, so I strongly suggest buying the best-quality frozen ones you can!

Use all the mascarpone if you want a really creamy dessert



Keep pulsing and scraping the mixture down, and pulse some more to get a smooth mixture

Add more icing sugar if you like it sweeter




ingredients gathered



whizz those berries!



whizzed!



ready to eat



pink and tangy



freeze leftovers for a couple of days



  raspberry artwork by Sherry's Pickings

Friday, 1 March 2019

In My Kitchen - March 2019

Yay it's March and Autumn, at last!  I think this summer has been one of the hottest on record, but Winter here we come.  I tend to hang around the house without clothes in Summer.  Fortunately this year I haven't been caught out by people at the front door.  Though I have been quite a few times by the neighbour who likes to climb up his ladder and paint his house or clean his gutters.

I boldly throw open the shutters, boobs bared, to find him dangling from his rooftop, paintbrush in hand.  He splutters and turns away, while I slam the shutters ... well - shut.  Mr P. is so used to this habit of mine, that he always asks if I'm decent before bringing anyone in.  Quite often I'm not - decent that is.  Sorry, my thoughts are meandering here.  Let's get on with In My Kitchen. 



a look into my pantry

I love my pantry with its casement window, but I keep saying to Mr P. that I want a butler's pantry too in our next house!  One is definitely not enough for a blogger, don't you think?  Otherwise I want a cabin with a kitchen, out in the backyard ...


So here in my Kitchen:



guess! :-)

These are local products, grown chemical-free on a farm not that far from Brisbane.  You can see that anything 'caper' is a hit in our household.  I have tried to buy Australian capers regularly but it seems there are not that many farmers growing them here, sadly.  So when I can get them, I happily stock up.  



another ceramic mug

You know I'm a bit obsessed with ceramics, and here we have a gorgeous new mug from a potter down in Northern New South Wales who calls her business 'Sit Still Lauren'.  It has an indentation for your thumb so you can hold it easily.  When Mr P. saw it, he said it was faulty and I should send it back.  Silly Mr P.!



salt and scissors

My cousin gave me the salt, which comes from a farm in Victoria (where she lives).  The owners are a young couple who grow the garlic and turn it into gourmet salts.  Salt - another of my food obsessions:-)  I thought I'd join the trend, and get me some of these herb scissors.  I tried them on parsley (not so successful), but I'm hoping other herbs will do better.  



cute cup and saucer

I bought this at the National Gallery of Victoria, when we were in Melbourne recently.  They were having an M. C. Escher exhibition; this cup and saucer is in his style, apparently.



another gift from my Melbourne cousin

This classic dry gin is made in Victoria by the Original Spirit Co., which was set up by two young men a few years ago.  The gin is made with the usual suspects like juniper berries and coriander seeds, but includes seven (secret) native Australian ingredients too. 



another cookbook

One of our nieces gave me this delightful copy of a pseudo old-fashioned cookbook, filled with granny's recipes (not my granny but somebody's).  It is a really sweet book, full of handwritten recipes and notes.  Can't wait to try the wonderfully old-fashioned dishes.

Please feel free to join in this month, everyone.  Looking forward once again to hosting your fabulous IMK posts.  Cheers, Sherry.


Here's how to join in the fun:

1. Adding via the link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page,   under Add your IMK link

2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it to the linky list below   (with your email address, please)

3. Email me: sherrym1au@gmail.com, with your link or any  queries about the link
 process  



   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   




                      

Sherrys Pickings


Sunday, 24 February 2019

Brooks & Stain - Restaurant Review

Brooks & Stain? - Bumbling detectives?  Laundry powder?  Nope, a new(ish) kitchen/bar in the local village of Wilston.  The owners Bis and Steve have returned to their old haunts to start up a new restaurant, just a few doors away from their previous incarnation.  Hubby and I headed down for lunch recently to check it out.  

And this is what we had:  vanilla milkshake for him; iced coffee for moi, along with crispy fried squid (me), and a bean and beetroot burger for him.



iced coffee $6; vanilla milkshake $6


Our thoughts?:  our drinks just weren't cold enough.  Mr P. and I find this is a common issue with Brissie cafés.  I'm not sure why, but it seems that the milk is never cold enough.  My coffee had good, strong flavours but was verging on unpleasantly warm.  I had to ask for ice cubes!  The vanilla milkshake was similarly afflicted. :-(  But yay for the bamboo straw rather than plastic.      



crispy fried squid $22


I enjoyed the squid, which came with two sauces (aioli being one of them) and a rocket salad.  The fried green olives were a lovely, sharp contrast in amongst the tender squid.  The baby rocket gave the dish a bit of texture and freshness.  Tried and true dish maybe, but it went down very well with me.



bean and beetroot burger $17.50 

Mr P. once again went down the vego route, as he often does.  The fries were thin and crispy, the bun was not sweet (yay) and the pattie was hearty and beany.  He said he loved this dish; it had lots of relish, and lots of flavour, so he was a big fan.  He remembered it with fondness, even as I asked him to remind me of its qualities. 



looking out from the patio/deck


On a recent Friday night on the spur of the moment, we visited again for dinner.  We sat outside on the patio/deck thingy, and lo and behold, our good mates turned up by sheer serendipity.  (Other friends strolled by with their dog and children.)  So we and our friends with the ravenous teenage man-child sat together for a chinwag and some good food.  Mr P. and I had already ordered, and were downing our drinks of Five Geese Rosé for me, and a lemon, lime and bitters for him.



Five Geese Rosé $8.50

Not so sure about the wine tumbler, folks:-)  It just ends up looking a bit ... sparse, don't you think?  Even though it is the regulation 100 mLs (maybe 150 mLs?).  A pleasant rosé though.  



lemon lime and bitters $4


Mr P.'s drink came out a bit anaemic, but Bis the owner quickly rectified this by getting the waiter/drinks guy to fix it up with extra - well, everything.  You can have this based on soda or lemonade.



mushroom risotto $24


The fellas both chose this mushroom risotto, which also had prosciutto and crispy pancetta.  It was fabulous - creamy and flavoursome and delicious.  And the crispy pancetta on top was a great accompaniment, adding texture and more flavour.  It is sometimes a dangerous move to choose risotto (or cook it in a Masterchef competition) but this was another winner. 



confit duck leg with fried cauliflower $28

I love duck!  The sherry vinegar jus added interest, the cauli was delicious (and tangy), the pear was a soft counter-point, and the duck was well cooked with a crispy skin.  Restaurants sometimes charge what seems like a huge amount for duck, but this was good value.  The confit duck dish on the current menu is without the cauli, but with ratatouille and enoki mushrooms, just so you know.




truffle and parmesan fries $12

Does anything need to be said about these wonders?  Yum to thin, crispy fries with shaved parmesan and truffle oil.  Anyway, these were delicious and moreish, but I'm sure you guessed that.



chicken pork and pistachio terrine $16


This came with hunks of thick, toasted Turkish bread, and tomato jam.  Our friend wasn't very hungry so she ordered the terrine from the starters menu.  She found it a moist and well-flavoured dish, with a good relish and soft bread with a good texture.  (Excuse the night-time shadows, please.)



fish and chips $32 

Mmm, is this a bit expensive for a plate of fish and chips?  I'm not sure, to be honest.  Yep, I know there's a small Asian salad with it, but ...  Anyway, the teenage lad (of great appetite) enjoyed his fresh and moist local fish, and the crispy fries with aioli.



Asian salad accompaniment



looking into the clean, white space 


I love the clean, white, open space inside the restaurant.  It is pleasant to sit inside, or outside on the patio which overlooks the bustling village.  Mr P. and I enjoyed our lunch and dinner here.  Indeed, we are about to head here again for dinner as I write this (another Friday night).



potato rosti with eggplant and beetroot $28


Delicious!  Perfectly grilled eggplant, fresh, zingy salad and the best rosti ever.



slow-cooked beef cheeks $32

I just had to finish by showing you what we had for dinner last night (last Friday by the time you read this).  Oh my word!  Hubby and I were in heaven.  We shared the beef cheeks and the potato rosti.  As I said to Mr P., this is the best rosti I've ever had!  And as for the beef cheeks - these were melt-in-your-mouth, tender, delicious ... I'm drooling here.  The rosti was a delight, and so clearly not just out of a packet in the freezer.  The chargrilled eggplant, and the roasted beetroot were just the right texture, and full of flavour.  The salad was fresh and zingy.  Well, you get the idea, folks.  In fact, I bumped up my rating from 8/10 to 9/10.


The Picking's Verdict: 9/10 -  great food; nice space; attentive service; good value - and did I say great food?:-) .  And it has table service at lunchtime, which is hard to find these days.  So why Brooks & Stain?  Check out the address below:=)  


They're open Tues to Sun 7am to 3pm, and for dinner Fri and Sat from 3pm till late.

  
Ph: 07 3356 2179
102 Kedron Brook Rd., cnr Stain St., Wilston 4051


(All meals were paid for by me and Mr P.)



Brooks & Stain Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato