We are hurtling officially towards summer down here (ie tomorrow) and to be frank I am not pleased. I do not do hot weather and even moreso, humidity. I was truly born in the wrong country although Tasmania would probably do quite nicely. Beautiful countryside, lower temps, less humidity and a great food culture. Let’s sit with that for a moment shall we?
The only redeeming feature for me in these hotter months, apart from washing drying on the line in an hour rather than a day, is the food. Stone fruits, mangos, papaya, crisp Asian salads loaded with lime, mint, coriander and chilli and cooking outside.
Actually Sydney’s climate means I could/should use the BBQ year round but I always tend to forget it’s there once the heater is in action. The main reason I like cooking outside is I don’t have to clean down the cooktop. Yes, I am that lazy.
This dessert is fairly and squarely placed in my summer repertoire and all the boys love it. Along with the black sticky rice it sits in relatively high rotation, topped with mango or other summer fruits, drizzled with a palm sugar syrup, extra coconut cream and lime to give it zing.
Some people call it sago, some call it tapioca, we call it frogs eggs. There are myriad recipes for its use but this is my go-to.
So I finally recently bought Smitten Kitchen‘s cookbook which is as good as I had hoped. I have followed her blog for as long as I can remember and have never ever had a recipe of hers fail. In the cookbook is a version of this using cranberries for the festive season.
This slice is divine, plain and simple. A basic shortbread base that is also scattered over the top of the blueberries. I’ve made this with apple and rhubarb (that I’d stewed previously) and blackberries and every time it turns out a treat.
School’s back today. We’re on the homestretch to Christmas people. We’re in for a scorching couple of days which somehow seems appropriate.
But let’s take a moment to talk about lunchboxes. There are parts of the world where you don’t need to pack your kids a lunch. CAN YOU IMAGINE!? I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns.
The worst part is trying to not become pray to food brand marketing but once you say no to the snack packs, back off to the muesli bars and no way jose to anything with sugar you’re basically sending your kids to school with twigs and bark.
I know more virtuous people than I who make up batches of things on the weekend, freeze them then pop them in lunchboxes but whenever I’ve done that the kids never eat it. WHAT IS WITH THAT?
Anyway, I made this Smitten Kitchen recipe the other day and three of the four of them ate them. Into high rotation they go!
A divine mocha mousse sandwiched between two meringue discs.
Ok, something fancy for a change.
It’s been so invigorating having my cooking mojo back but let’s face it, cooking dinners tends to focus on the functional in this house and I just had a hankering to make something requiring a bit of technical skill and that was a little bit fancy.
I was rearranging my cookbook bookshelf and the June July copy of Donna Hay fell out with this on the cover. I basically had to make it immediately. I swapped out the white chocolate for milk because it was all I had and the mousse probably didn’t set as well as it should have because I didn’t have enough whipped cream. I also used almond meal instead of hazelnut meal because it was what i had in the cupboard. But guess what, it was BLOODY DELICIOUS.
It’s not technically challenging, but there are steps and waiting/cooling times so go in with that knowledge.
A pecan shortbread recipe which just dissolves on your tongue.
Let it be known the pecan is the king of nuts. I won’t hear any battle cries from cashews or pistachios, the pecan has it. This recipe is based on an almond kilfi recipe but I had pecans and needed them in my guts in a baked form.
I do this all in the food processor which I view as a good thing because I’ll often avoid the processor if it’s for just one step of a recipe because it’s a bastard to wash up. See also: lazy.
Don’t over mix it, just until it all comes together. And don’t make them too big – this recipe should make 60, yes SIXTY, little crescents. Basically work with a little ball of dough about as big as your thumb to the first knuckle. If you make them too big they clag in your mouth rather than just dissolving on your tongue.
Delightful little shortbreads that just dissolve on your tongue
350g (2⅓ cups) plain flour
1 tblsp caster sugar
1 cup (or so) icing sugar
Preheat oven to 160C and have two baking trays ready to go
Blitz the pecans in a food processor
Add all the other ingredients except the icing sugar and blitz until it all comes together
Roll little half-thumb sized balls of dough into a little log then press in the middle to make into a crescent. Don't be precious about this, mine always end up looking more like little logs than crescents
Place on baking trays, they don't spread so you can put them quite close to each other
Bake for 30-40 minutes until they're light brown
When cool roll in the icing sugar (to be honest I never measure the icing sugar)
Store in a container and pour over a bit more icing sugar.