Wednesday, 8 February 2023

Lamington Pikelets

Lamingtons are named after Lord Lamington (or his wife Lady Mary), who was the Governor of Queensland 1896-1901.  They are squares of sponge cake, dipped in chocolate and then rolled in coconut.  A staple of every Aussie kid's life:=)  These are a take on that idea - pikelets dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut.  And equally delicious.

I came across this recipe in a Coles supermarket magazine last month.  They suggest using bought jam and chocolate topping, untoasted coconut and bought pikelets.  I took up the suggestion of bought pikelets, but made my own jam and ganache.  It was Australia Day on January 26, so all the Aussie recipes come out, and the ads for Aussie lamb, and everyone has a BBQ and plays cricket, or goes to the beach.  So lamingtons are very appropriate, too.  

Though this year, there were protests and alternative activities due to a heightened realisation that the indigenous peoples of Australia were treated badly from the time of the landing of the First Fleet.  I think we will need to pick a different day to celebrate in future.  (FYI, if anyone is interested, the book Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe gives some fascinating insights into our indigenous history.)


oh my!  So delicious, my friends


Makes 4:

ingredients:

For the ganache:

65 mL/3.6 oz thickened cream

60g./2.3 oz milk or dark chocolate (I used Lindt)

***************************

a packet of 8 pikelets - see Notes

1 cup (80g./2.8 oz) shredded or dessicated coconut, toasted in a small, dry frypan till golden-brown - watch carefully as it burns outrageously at the last minute!

300 mL/10 oz thickened cream, whipped till you have firm peaks

2 Tbs berry jam of your choice - see my quick jam recipe

lots of strawberries!  Well, 150g./5.3 oz - washed, dried, hulled and sliced

1 Flake bar (a crumbly milk chocolate bar)


Quick Jam:

125g./4.4 oz blueberries (or blackberries)

250g./8.8 oz strawberries (or raspberries)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 dashes ground cinnamon (1/8 tsp maybe)

big slurp of gin or berry liqueur (say 1 Tbs) - optional

2 tsp honey


Method for Quick Jam:

Place everything in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and let simmer gently for about 15-20 mins. till thick

Let it cool, spoon into a sterilised jar and whack into the fridge


simmer till thick

quick berry jam


Method:

Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat it till you have tiny, wee bubbles around the edges of the cream

Break (or chop up) the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl, pour over the hot cream, let it sit for a minute, then stir well till you get a beautiful, chocolatey mixture - and pour into a shallow tray

Toast your coconut now if you haven't already done it, and tip into a shallow tray

Whip the 300 mL amount of cream (in a medium bowl) till you have lush, firm peaks, then marble the jam gently thru the cream

Look after your strawberries (as above) if not already done

Drop a pikelet into the ganache (or topping), turn it gently to cover the other side, then into the coconut; roll till covered in coconut

So take a pikelet, place 3-4 strawberry slices on top, slap on some jammy cream, place another pikelet on top of the cream, smother that with cream, top with strawberries and chocolate flakes, and place on a lined tray or a pretty serving platter

Do this for the next three pairs of pikelets, so you end up with 4 delicious, creamy, chocolatey lamington pikelets


Notes:

Make your own pikelets, if you feel so inclined.  I didn't :=)  Oh yes, in case the word 'pikelet' is not familiar - they are (says Google) a slightly denser pancake, similar to an American pancake, and about 7.5 to 10cm/3-4 inches in diameter

You can use 1/2 cup (125 mL/4.2 oz) of a good-quality chocolate topping from a bottle if you can't be bothered making a ganache

I used Lindt milk chocolate, but next time I'll try dark (70%)

I made the quick jam the week before, so I could use up some frozen berries lurking in my freezer.  Otherwise, just use your fave jam out of a jar, my friends


ingredients gathered

ready to roll (I used some untoasted coconut too)

I spooned on the leftover ganache

ready for the crowning pikelet (plate by Del Kathryn Barton)

topped with strawberries, cream and chocolate flakes





c. Sherry M.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

In My Kitchen - February 2023

Okay I'll get the bad news over and done with first.  It's only February 1, and we've been to three funerals already.  I am kinda over this year already!!  Well, I say funerals but really two of them were wakes - which seems to be becoming the norm these days.  The family has a private cremation or burial, and then there's a knees-up to celebrate the life of your loved one.  Not a bad idea.

So I've been doing lots of cooking and baking this month.  I find it very therapeutic!  I managed to make a wonderful chocolate cake for Cookbook Club from Nagi Maehashi's cookbook Dinner.  It was so moist and chocolatey even though it only has cocoa rather than actual chocolate.  And I covered it in lots of sprinkles and pink flamingoes and chocolate shavings - the more the merrier, I say.  (On the blog soon.) 


In My Kitchen:


there was bio-dynamic garlic from Patrice Newell's farm 'Elmswood'

Our Tassie friend Madam P. was up here when the box arrived so she helped me divvy up the garlic bulbs into their respective cloves, for freezing.  It lasts for months!  This is called Purple Glamour Garlic, I believe.

 

a beautiful hand-carved spoon from Mr P.

I seem to have lost the artist's name - oops!  We bought it at a local craft market before Christmas (witness the Grinch cloth).  You all know how much I love a wooden spoon!  (I found the name!  It's by Di Page, and is made from black wattle.)


so gorgeous!  handmade from old blankets by CWA ladies

My cousin KT. sent me these lovely oven mitts, made by country ladies from old, woollen blankets.  I love them!  And they feel so comfy and secure when you use them.  Just like an old blanket :=)

a glorious Christmas gift from Princess Pia - Tenmoku tea cup

gifts from our Tassie friends Madam P. & Mr. W.

I love a tin mug, and spoons! The wee spoons were gifts

3 essentials - sardines, syrup and salt!

salad splash, and a bright orange bowl from Batch Ceramics

and homemade berry jam by moi!

I had some strawberries and blackberries (or was it raspberries?) in the freezer, so I made a quick jam for the lamington pikelets I was planning to make for the blog (post coming in Feb.)


and the curveball - mini-Ned by Christian Newton

Our mate Christian also goes by the name of Chainsaw Newton, as his work involves hacking up pieces of driftwood and salvaged timber into glorious artworks!  This is mini-Ned, carved out of found oregon wood.  Isn't he adorable?


Please join us for In My Kitchen, everybody.  We are a lovely, friendly community of like-minded foodie folks.  You are all welcome, whoever and wherever you are.  But please follow the 'rules', as benign as they are: we are looking for kitchen and kitchen garden items, with one curveball for whatever you like.  So, not really recipes as such, though feel free to stick in an occasional (short) one, but IMK is not so much for recipes, but for fun things happening in your kitchen over the last month.

But before signing off for this post, I am adding a photo of our dear friend Rob, who passed way too quickly, and way too young.  We are deeply saddened at his loss.


our dear friend Rob


Be a part of our friendly IMK community by adding your post too.  Here's how to join us:

Tell us about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg. in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  And a curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related.  

The link is open from the first of the month to midnight on the thirteenth of the month, every month.

Options for adding your post to IMK:

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

2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it manually to the list below OR:

3. Email me: sherrym1au@gmail.com, with your link or any queries about the link process, or if you would like it to be added after the 13th ('cos I'm happy to add it for you later)


use the logo (or not) as you please, my friends

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, 23 January 2023

Chocolate And Sour Cherry Cookies

I am a big fan of dark chocolate, and dried sour cherries, and marzipan so this was a no-brainer choice from The Year of Miracles by Ella Risbridger.  I've read her previous cookbook Midnight Chicken, which is about her partner dying of cancer (and recipes). 

This book starts with: 'This is a story about grief.'  But it is wonderfully uplifting, and full of memories - and food, and wonderful food drawings!  I loved it.  I think it should more rightly be called a memoir with recipes - which is a fave genre for me.  

She also writes novels and children's books (I love children's books), and is just a bit of a marvel, really.  I remember that Marian Keyes also wrote a baking cookbook to write herself out of grief and mental health issues.  All that love going into food is a marvellous restorative to our spirits.  So bake, my friends!  It is a wonderfully soothing thing to do.



so fudgy, so chocolatey, so cherryful ...


Makes 18 cookies: (see Notes)

ingredients:

200g./7 oz butter 

300g./10.5 oz dark soft brown sugar

100g./3.5 oz dark chocolate  (I suggest Lindt)

50g./1.8 oz marzipan  (see Notes)

1 large egg plus an extra yolk

200g./7 oz plain flour

50g./1.8 oz unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

50g./1.8 oz dried sour cherries

smoked sea salt flakes


Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 180C/356F

Melt the butter over a medium-low heat till it starts to foam, and nearly catch on the base (says Ella), turns brown and has a strong smell  - it can take from 5-8 minutes  (see Notes)

Beat the butter and sugar together till well combined - I used electric hand beaters tho' Ella says to use a stand mixer (Ella, I don't have one!)

Chop your chocolate and marzipan into all sorts of crazy chunks - big, small, slivers, whatever you fancy ...

Add your egg and egg yolk into the butter/sugar mixture, and beat some more

In goes the flour, cocoa and bi-carb and yes, you beat well again

Now gently fold in your chocolate, marzipan and sour cherries

Grab a lined baking tray and a dessertspoon, and spoon on no more than 6 cookies at a time onto your tray - Ella is vehement that you put only 6, as they 'must not join up!'

Sprinkle them with sea salt flakes and bake for 9 minutes - she is also adamant and vehement that you bake them for this time, tho' she does suggest giving them one minute more or less on your next batch if they are not to your liking

I baked 2 trays at once, then the remaining ones, as my tiny, wee oven only holds 2 trays at a time

Let them cool on a wire rack, and don't worry that they appear underdone - Ella swears they are okay. and indeed they are!  They firm up a bit as they cool, tho' they are still tender and fudgy and so very delightful to inhale


Notes:

Ella says this recipe makes 24, but I made 18 medium-sized cookies.  Go with my bigger ones, I say :=)  But you do you

I bought dark-chocolate-covered marzipan from the supermarket.  Delicious!

Burnt butter was something new to me!  Maybe I've made it once in my life many moons ago, but I don't remember.  So basically, I had to keep browning it for longer than I expected!  It really foams up, and goes dark brown, just the way it should


ingredients gathered

the butter starts to foam

going brown with brown specks on the bottom of the pan

very golden-browny brown

beating in the sugar and eggs

folding in the chocolate and marzipan after the flour, cocoa and bi-carb

this is one heck of a stiff batter, my friends

ready to eat after baking for 9 mins. at 180C/356F

so fudgy and delicious

eat up!

her fabulous cookbook cum memoir


Sherry M.

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Road Trip To Sydney - And Back Again

Mr P. and I took a week's break to drive to Sydney - and back again (as Bilbo Baggins would say).  It was actually to attend a friend's wake, but it was not a sad thing.  We celebrated her life, and enjoyed meeting up with people we hadn't seen for a long time.  Everyone had similar stories about her - she was always smartly-dressed, a great cook and host, a fun person to be around.  She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her!

Here is a quick photo essay about our trip:


there was sculpture in Stanthorpe (might be by Maggie Brockie)

and deserted buildings in Deepwater

supply ships in Sydney

and wharves in Woolloomooloo

wonders in Warwick

art (by Yayoi Kusama) at Art Gallery NSW

delectable green goodies at Gosford

food at Forster

beachy fun at Forster

splendour at Sawtell

where the river meets the sea at Sawtell

We do love a road trip, and this was no exception.  Luckily, we had good weather, though it did rain (a lot!) in Sydney.  We Queenslanders were a wee bit cold down there :=)  We met up with a friend who lives there, and enjoyed the Art Gallery and Museum.  Gotta suggest you don't go to a museum in school hols. on a wet day in Sydney though - so many babies and children and prams and stressed parents and wet umbrellas and overcrowded lifts, and dangerously damp floors :=)!

Anyways, we loved our trip and loved being able to say goodbye to our dear friend whom we had known nearly our whole adult lives.  Bless you and goodbye, dearest Ailsa!


Monday, 16 January 2023

Apple And Ricotta Frittelle

Gotta admit - I hate frying!  I liked the sound of this recipe, but frying 'em?  Nope, no can do - so I didn't :=)  I baked them, not just once but twice.  First time, they were okay, but second time, they were so much better ('cos I changed the recipe up a wee bit).  This recipe is from Julia Busuttil Nishimura's book Around The Table.  I made them for our online Lambs' Ears Cookbook Club.  

I've never been much of a joiner, but in my old age, it's all I seem to do.  A virtual cookbook club, a real-life cookbook club and a regular book club.  Who is this woman, I ask you? :=)  A busy and happy woman, that's who.

I ramped up all the flavours and the sugar from the original recipe, which came out pretty darn bland and not very sweet the first time I made them.  Maybe when they're fried, you just don't care? :=)  We liked them a lot more the second time.  So ramp up or not, as you wish.  I have basically doubled the sugar and spices and rum.  And of course, fry them in vegetable oil at 170C/340F if you are not a frying-method scaredy cat like me. 


delicious (2nd attempt) and a Hills Hoist (Princess Pia doing the honours)


Serves 12:

ingredients:

3-4 Tbs sultanas

2 Tbs spiced rum or Marsala (Julia says optional but I say not)

1 large Granny Smith apple (a firm, green cooking apple), coarsely grated

zest of 1 large lemon (if you can get a large one; they cost a bomb atm)

200g./7 oz full-fat ricotta

2 large eggs

4 Tbs caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp each of mixed spice, and of cinnamon and of nutmeg - see Notes

1/2-1 tsp mandarin dust (very optional but nice)

200g./7 oz (1.3 cups) self-raising flour

2-3 Tbs brown sugar, and extra cinnamon for dusting pre-bake

icing sugar, for post-bake dusting


Method:

Soak the sultanas in the rum for at least 30 minutes before you cook

Get your burly nephew to grate the apple and zest the lemon :=)

Grab a large mixing bowl, and tip in the ricotta, eggs, sugar, and whisk together till 'fairly smooth', says Julia

Now add the vanilla, spices, mandarin dust (if using), apple, sultanas (with their rum) and lemon zest, and stir in with a wooden spoon

Then in goes the flour, which you will stir in ever so gently till just combined

Grab a couple of tablespoons and put a heaping tablespoon or two into each of your paper-lined muffin holes (my batter made 12 frittelle just beautifully)

Sprinkle over some brown sugar and cinnamon on each (you choose how much)

Bake at 200C/390F for 20-25 minutes till golden, and/or a skewer stuck into their tiny hearts comes out clean

Let cool for a couple of minutes, then dust them with icing sugar

Eat the same day for best results, but okay the next day too


Notes:

I used spiced rum 'cos that's what I had, and I doubled the amount (as I did with the sugar), and also doubled the amount of sultanas and vanilla - I wonder if the fried version is very different?  ' Cos my first (baked) version was very bland when using her amounts

Julia only uses a pinch of cinnamon as her flavouring (that's it!), so I added the mixed spice, nutmeg, and mandarin dust and doubled the rum and sugar.  I also chose to soak the sultanas in the rum, to give it even more flavour (she does mention this in passing as a possibility)


Nephew and his hubby stayed over for a night just before Christmas, so I roped them in to assist with the frittelle.  It's so lovely to have family staying, as it doesn't happen often anymore.  Nephew (a native Queenslander) now lives in Canberra and works in the Public Service.  And the other nieces and nephews live elsewhere, doing their own thing.  So we were very happy to have them!  


ingredients gathered (yes, I used red apples the first time)

apple grated (core went to the crows) 

chuck in the ricotta, eggs, sugar etc

in goes everything else - and stir!

fold the flour thru (gently) till just combined

spoon in the batter, and dust with brown sugar and cinnamon

and done - after baking at 200C/390F for 20-25 mins.

Looks like that peacock is feeling hungry for frittelle :)   
(Nephew doing the honours here)




Sherry M.