Tuesday 29 March 2016

5 Minute Ice Cream - The Matt Preston Way

I mentioned this recipe recently on my In My Kitchen post.  I thought I had blogged about it before but it seems not.  I use this recipe often when we have guests and need a really quick and lovely dessert.  And the fun thing is, your guests can watch in awe as you whip up this oh so pretty ice cream in just a few minutes. Or if you want to give them the hands-on experience, let them make it!


500g. frozen strawberries (I sometimes use raspberries; you could also use banana or blueberries - or your choice!)

50g. caster sugar

1 egg white

juice of half a lemon


Tip the frozen fruit into a food processor and start blitzing

Throw in the sugar and keep on blitzing

In goes the egg white 

Pour in the lemon juice

Now patiently let it whizz away; it may take several minutes depending on the strength of your processor to become smooth and fluffy and looking just like ice cream!

I sometimes stir in chopped white chocolate once it has turned into ice cream.  You can stir in chopped dark chocolate to a raspberry version, or a cherry version.  You can ring in the changes as you like.

Eat at once.  You can put leftovers (huh? leftovers?) in the freezer for a day or 2, but it is best eaten when made


Be patient; you may think it will never happen but it does come together

Add another egg white if it really seems like it won't come together after a few minutes

Buy frozen sliced strawberries if possible; this makes it a little easier on the processor

Slice up and freeze strawberries - flat in freezer bags - when they are cheap so you have some ready to go 

I pre-prepared my strawbs and froze them for later use 

I slice and freeze bananas too! 

spoon out into a mixing bowl if you want to add choc chips etc.   

oh so delicious and light strawberry ice cream 

(This recipe comes from Matt's book - Fast, Fresh and Unbelievably Delicious.) 

my strawberry foodle

Thursday 24 March 2016

Velvet Pudding

Velvet Pudding sounds a bit luscious, doesn't it?  I found this recipe in a cookbook called The Golden Wattle Cookery Book, first published in 1926.  You have to love these recipes, folks.  For instance this pudding uses vanilla essence and jam - no amounts given.  There are 3 different times this recipe uses sugar, but only the first one is listed in the ingredients.  You have to be on your toes with this book, and hope for the best :=)

There are minimal instructions given.  You make a meringue for the top of the pudding and are told to brown slightly - no method or timing or directions of any kind.  Fear not, I have worked out how to "brown slightly" for you.  Mr P. suggested I buy one of those chef's blowtorches, and give it a good going over.  Maybe next time.


2 eggs, separated

1 tbs caster sugar for the egg yolks

1.5 tbs cornflour

2 tsp vanilla extract/paste

1/2 tsp rosewater

1/2 tsp orange blossom water

a few strands of saffron (optional)

4 tbs raspberry jam - or your fave kind

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tbs caster sugar for the egg whites

2.5 cups milk (568 mls)

pinch of salt

extra sugar for the top - 2 tbs


Separate the eggs; put yolks into one bowl and whites in another

Beat the yolks with 1 tbs sugar till creamy and smooth - this will take 3-4 minutes

Stir in the cornflour and a few tablespoons of the milk

Heat the rest of the milk (till small bubbles appear around the edges)

Pour the egg mixture into the hot milk whisking all the while

Bring it to a boil and boil for 3 minutes - keep whisking!

Add the vanilla, rose and orange waters and saffron if using

Whisk them in, cool for a few minutes then pour into a buttered pie dish

Once the mixture is cool and set, spoon over the jam

Beat the egg whites and salt till stiff peaks form

Add the 2 tbs sugar gradually to the whites while you beat

Now fold in the lemon juice

Pile the meringue on top of the pudding

Sprinkle with the extra sugar 

Place in a 190C oven for around 8 minutes till the meringue is slightly browned

Serve warm


yolks and sugar beaten till creamy     

whisk the egg mixture into the warmed milk and keep whisking while it boils   

pour into a buttered pie dish and let it cool       

fold the lemon juice into the beaten egg whites, salt and sugar    

spoon or dab the jam over the cooled custard   

on goes the meringue  

sprinkle on the caster sugar - I used raw caster sugar   

ready to eat


I suggest making the custard earlier in the day as it will need time to cool and set.  I ended up putting mine in the fridge for 3-4 hours

The original recipe had no other flavourings than the vanilla, but I felt it really needed something else to get away from that baby milk taste.  You could use other things like cinnamon or nutmeg, or whatever you fancy.  Perhaps even a bit of cocoa powder to really up the ante.

Confession time:  my custard didn't set completely so I had to dollop the jam on rather than spread it over the custard.  I should have listened to the voice in my head (yep I have 'em) which said that measurements pre-metric were different to current ones. Sooo this means that a cup is NOT 250 mls (which I used), but 2.5 cups works out to a pint measurement of 568 mls.  I told you that you have to be on your toes with this book :=)

my book doodle  

Friday 18 March 2016

Raspberry Jam - Quick, Easy And Delicious

I came across a recipe for an old-fashioned pudding in a cookbook originally published in 1926.  One of the ingredients is jam or jelly, no quantities given.  You had to know what you were doing in those far off days:=)  It would have been easy to use the bought jam we had in the fridge (I had forgotten about it actually), but I felt it would be a lovely thing to make my own.  So I did.  

I found a quick and easy recipe in a book by Annabel Langbein, one of my fave TV cooks.  I have had mixed success with jams; one of my interesting attempts was to make jaboticaba and strawberry jam.  Not realising how much pectin was in the dark skin of this Brazilian fruit, my jam became like toffee and needed a jackhammer to get it out of the jar.  Sadly I had no jackhammer, so it eventually went the way of the dinosaur.

you can just see my Polish kitchen angel on the shelf 

No problems with Annabel's jam though.  It turned out wonderfully well if I do say so myself.  Mr P. had a lick of the spoon and said it was the best raspberry jam he had ever eaten.  High praise indeed. 


500g. raspberries, fresh or frozen

500g. sugar - I used caster

1 tsp butter


Place the fruit and sugar into a wide, deep saucepan 

Bring to the boil while stirring - this took 15 minutes, probably 'cos I used frozen fruit

Add the butter

Now boil fast and furiously for 8-10 minutes 

Spoon into warm, sterilised jars - this made about 600mls of jam


Test the jam by placing a small amount on a cold saucer; if a skin forms, you know it is ready

Sterilise the jars by washing in hot, soapy water then rinsing and sticking in a low oven - about 130C for 20 minutes

Make sure the jars are still warm when you put the jam in; you don't want them to crack

just 3 ingredients   

stir till it boils  

once boiled, throw in the knob of butter   

boil madly for 8-10 minutes      

testing on a cold plate to see if ready 

ladle the jam into a Pyrex jug, then it's easy to pour into the jars     

such pretty, glossy jam   

I can't wait to try it in my pudding!  Which I will post next week, so hold onto your horses till then.

my jammy foodle

Wednesday 16 March 2016

A - Z Guidebook: J for Jill (and me at Tintern Abbey)

a younger me and a younger Jill   

This is me and my friend Jill at Tintern Abbey in Wales, in our somewhat younger days. Crumbs if I could just be that thin again:=)  I guess it helped that we were walking over hill and down dale on 10 mile walks in the British countryside.  Come rain, hail or shine, as the saying goes.  We were doing the backpacking thing with our fellas (now husbands) all over Europe and Britain.      

Tintern Abbey is a glorious ruin in the Wye Valley, originally founded by monks in the year 1131.  It has inspired artists like Turner and poets like Wordsworth.  Apparently British children have been reciting his poem ever since.  Tintern Village has their own website (enterprising), which you can peruse and get a few more images of the Abbey.

(Oh, the walls are not blue by the way.  For some reason, the scanner turned them into a lovely azure shade).

I am joining in again with Fiona from Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures on her regular travel link-up.  This month's letter is J. Yep I know, I am reaching a bit here using my mate Jill for my J but Fiona does say to be lateral if you need to be :=)  Join in too with your travel adventures.

TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -

Monday 14 March 2016

Mushroom Pappardelle - The Nigel Slater Way

It's a grey and showery day today in ol' Brisbane Town so a good day to stay in the kitchen and cook.  I have whizzed up Nigella's chocolate pots, and we are going to put together a quick pasta dish for dinner later.   Yes I know, it's topsy turvy land when I am volunteering to make and eat a pasta dish.  But Mr P. adores pasta, so I will give him a culinary thrill tonight. :=)

I was flicking through some of my cookbooks the other day, and came across another Nigel Slater book - The Kitchen Diaries. This is the first of his Diaries, where he looks into ingredients and recipes over a calendar year.  Very useful if you are after seasonal dishes.  So I flipped to September to get some ideas for Autumn/Fall, which of course we Antipodeans are in the midst of right now.  

Nigel's year in food 

I found this simple mushroom pasta dish.  Mushrooms are on our shelves all year round of course, but this ever-so-slightly cooler weather is perfect for a dinner like this.  And it makes the hubby really happy.  Turns out it is delicious, too.  Even for me, the ambivalent pasta eater.   

Serves 2


400g. of mushrooms, thinly sliced - I used 200g. Swiss Browns and 200g. button mushrooms

butter 75g.

2 tbs olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 French shallot, finely chopped

1/2 tsp lightly dried chilli flakes

250-300g. pappardelle

a huge handful of parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

a dash or 2 of ground nutmeg (optional)

40g. of parmesan grated

a small handful of walnuts


Tip the mushrooms into a frying pan with the butter and olive oil

Fry gently till the mushrooms start to go tender

Stir in the garlic and shallot, and cook for a few minutes more  

Throw in the chilli flakes, stir and put aside 

Put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil

Pour the pappardelle into the boiling water 

Cook for 8 to 10 minutes till al dente (or however you like it)

Drain the pasta and fork it into the mushroom mixture

Add the parsley, salt and pepper, nutmeg if using, and the parmesan

Stir everything together gently

Scatter the walnuts on top

gather your ingredients      

slice and throw into your frypan 

throw in the butter and olive oil  

Mr P. stirring the mushies  

into the boiling water goes the pasta         

pasta slips into the mushies 

Mr P. stirs everything together   

throw on your nuts!  

Okay I confess; Mr P. made this!  I just threw the pasta into the water and chucked on the nuts at the end.  Well, he is the pasta and rice maker in the Pickings household. And I have to confess I jazzed up Nigel's recipe too.  I added the chilli and walnuts.  Oh and the French shallot and the nutmeg.  Mr P. and I both thought the walnuts were essential to give some texture to the slippery, slidy, savoury dish.    

As I have said before, you can read Nigel's prose like a novel.  Here is a quote about this dish: definitely not "a fashionable chef's twee plateful of contorted food drizzled with a ring of jus".  He says this is robust, loud-flavoured and awkward, but restores your faith in the pleasures of plain, simple eating.  Yay Nigel!

my pasta foodle

Friday 11 March 2016

Corvina Restaurant Canberra - Review

Some of you may know that our niece has moved to Canberra recently, but I may not have mentioned before that our nephew also resides there.  So on our recent trip, it was wonderful to catch up with him on a couple of nights too.  We are all pretty keen on our tucker in this family, so we headed out to dinner at a local Italian restaurant on the Saturday night.  I say local but it felt like the depths of the 'burbs, which I think it was. 

The nephew led us to Corvina, an Italian restaurant which serves a lot of the usual suspects: Italian style salads, pasta, risottos, and main meals with an Italian hue.  They also make pizza, which doesn't show on the main restaurant menu so perhaps it is only takeaway?  We started with bread and olive oil and balsamic for dipping.  They even threw on a little sachet of butter if you were so inclined.

$6 for 6 slices  

The bread was okay, without a huge amount of flavour or texture to it. I had hoped for something zingy and chewy like a pane di casa or sour dough.  Sadly it did not have a dense crumb, and as you can see, it was a bit holey.  Nevertheless, it was good value.

olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping   

arancini $15    

Hubby and I shared some arancini as we had had a big lunch already.  These were filled with veal ragu and had a blanket of napoletana sauce. They were pleasant and filling, if somewhat bland.  We both would have liked a bit more flavour and spice in them.  But they were house made which always adds a few extra points in my estimation.  

frutti di mare $25   

The BIL and I both indulged in the seafood linguine.  The pasta had a decent quantity of mussels, calamari, prawns and vongole atop it. The lemon and white wine sauce was a nice change from the (too) tomato-ey sauce you often get in Italian restaurants. But I would happily have had the garlic and chilli upped to a spicy level on this dish.   And perhaps a wee bit of cream would have melded the dish together.  I think you get my drift here; the food was well-presented and tasty but I kept wishing for more robust flavours.

veal involtini $29.50  

The veal which was filled with ham, bocconcini and pesto came with mashed potato, seasonal vegetables and a creamy mushroom sauce.  The niece enjoyed this dish; she said she had been looking forward to an Italian meal for weeks so she wolfed this down with no complaints.  (Better than Mess food).  The veal was tender and went well with the creamy sauce.

Pollo Al Cognac $28.50  

The nephew loved his main of chicken in cognac.  This was similar to the veal dish with the same veggies, mushrooms, and mash. He loved the tender chicken and the flavoursome sauce.  His plate nearly got licked clean. :=)   

Hubby is a huge fan of pasta and he chose gnocchi pesto with chicken.  This was a winner with him.  He adores gnocchi, and being house made gave it extra kudos.  His only tiny quibble was that the gnocchi could have been just a little fluffier.  He said it was a teensy bit hard for him.  Other than that, he said there was enough sauce and the chicken was well-cooked.  

gnocchi pesto w/- chicken $23.50   

The SIL had spaghetti cacciatore from the specials' list.  The sauce had shredded chicken, olives, and tomato as you would expect.  I believe this spaghetti was house made too.  SIL was sad that she couldn't quite finish off this substantial dish even though she was enjoying its tomato-enhanced sauce.

spaghetti cacciatore $24    

The restaurant is licensed; the service friendly and prompt; the food well-presented and tasty. It was a little bit strange for us as it was still full daylight when we got there.  Coming from Queensland we are not used to long twilights.  Once the sun had gone down, the ambience was just that bit more enticing.  All in all, you certainly get value for money here and will have yourselves a very pleasant evening.  Our bottle of wine was $20 which is a bargain in anyone's estimation.  Canberra is lucky to have such a family friendly and welcoming restaurant in its suburbs.

      Corvina Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday 7 March 2016

In My Kitchen March 2016

Yep this year is flying by and yep I cannot believe it is March and yep Easter is knocking on our doors already...What happened to February?  I think I blinked and it was gone. We had a flying (ha ha) trip to Canberra, where we ran around like March hares and ate ourselves silly.  I managed to pick up a few goodies down there. (And hi to Rose and Joseph - Canberra travel bloggers).  It was fab meeting up with you again.

We took a drive in our hired car, and headed out for a look-see.  In my kitchen is some olive oil that I bought at the Yass Info Centre, which is staffed by lovely ladies.  We also found a chocolatier in the depths of the countryside, where we had a most delicious iced chocolate.  Worth a visit if you are ever near Murrumbateman.

I love a robust oil, don't you?    

We drove past some black-faced sheep or were they goats?  I have read that there is a type of sheep that looks like a goat, or it could be the other way round.  I asked Mr P., who said they were sheep, and on probing further, he thought I was talking about the normal, white faced sheep that even I the agricultural virgin knew to be sheep!  

rich and chocolate-y and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts.  Did I mention the fab chocolates we ate in one gulp?   

In my kitchen is 5 minute strawberry icecream the Matt Preston way - light, fluffy and so good for you.  Not a drop of egg yolks or cream in it.  We invited our neighbour Princess Pia over to try it, and she sat there agog at such amazingness, and deliciousness. Then she ate 2 bowlsful, and why not? :=) 

just fruit, an egg white and a wee bit of sugar and lemon juice   

I bought this at the National Library of Australia shop.  What a bargain!  They have so many interesting books there that you just don't see in other shops.  Mr P. had to restrain me from whipping out the credit card, and reminded me of baggage limits.  This book was a hefty 1.6 kgs alone.   

I can hear his mellifluous voice as I read the lovely prose

We spent our Saturday morning at a parade seeing our niece inducted into the RAAF, and the evening Last Post ceremony at the War Memorial left us in tears.  It is a very emotional place.  While there I bought a lovely poppy teacup and saucer.  And yes of course coffee does taste better in it.  

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow"   (poet John McCrae May 1915)    

This poem brings me to tears too.  Well, it doesn't take much to be honest.  My granddad was at Gallipoli and terribly wounded; he never really recovered.  And hubby's great great-uncle was in the Light Horse and lost a leg.  So, not in my kitchen but in my thoughts very much at the moment due to our lovely niece going into the military.

Lieut. Mick Shanahan - 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Join in with Maureen from Orgasmic Chef and a heap of global bloggers displaying their wares - well, in a good way - not like the Naked Chef, not that he is naked.