Sago pudding with mango and lime

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.

Frog's eggs with coconut, palm sugar syrup, mango and lime. Giddyup #everyfuckingnight
Frog’s eggs with coconut, palm sugar syrup, mango and lime. Giddyup #everyfuckingnight

Tapioca pudding with mango and lime
 
The perfect summer dessert served with fresh tropical fruit
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sago
  • 200 ml coconut cream
  • 200 g palm sugar
  • 400 ml water
  • Mango, cut into slices or cubes
  • Lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and stir in the tapioca
  2. Cook for 15 minutes or until the beads are basically see-through, stirring regularly (this is important as they are pesky little things that like sticking to the bottom of the saucepan)
  3. Strain in a fine-holed sieve and rinse well under cold water (you'll still lose some but don't fret)
  4. Place in a bowl and stir through half the coconut cream and half the palm sugar syrup (see below)
  5. Chill for an hour or more
  6. To make the palm sugar syrup combine the palm sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil
  7. Simmer until it is thick and syrupy
  8. To serve, spoon into a bowl, top with fruit, drizzle over some of the remaining coconut cream and sugar syrup and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime.
  9. For complete show-pony status you can initially pour them into moulds and then turn out when serving, fancy like.

 

Black sticky rice dessert

Two of my favourite desserts are tapioca (sago) served with a palm sugar syrup and coconut cream or this, black sticky rice served with mango, a squeeze of lime and coconut cream.

You will need to start it the day before to allow the rice to soak, but apart from that nuisance it comes together easily.

Black sticky rice w/mango and coconut cream. Special #everyfuckingnight today.
Black sticky rice w/mango and coconut cream. Special #everyfuckingnight today.

I double this because there is a chronic fear in this house we might run out of food. It makes a fair amount but it means there’s some left for the next day.

Black sticky rice
 
Earthy sweet black glutinous rice topped with coconut cream and mango
Author:
Ingredients
  • 200 g black glutinous rice
  • 1 ltr water
  • 150 g palm sugar, shaved
  • coconut cream
  • mango
Instructions
  1. Soak the rice over night
  2. The next day drain the rice then combine with the water and bring to the boil
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, covered over a low heat
  4. Stir in the palm sugar
  5. Simmer, covered, until nearly all the liquid is absorbed
  6. Serve with coconut cream and mango

 

Onward!

Blueberry Crumble Slice

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.

This is @smittenkitchen's blueberry crumble slice.
This is @smittenkitchen’s blueberry crumble slice.

Blueberry Crumble Slice
 
Blueberries encased in a shortbread biscuity base and top
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 225 g butter
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tsp cornflour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 20x30cm pan
  2. Using a pastry cutter (or your fingers) blend the sugar, baking powder, plain flour, lemon zest with the butter
  3. Then add the egg
  4. Mix the juice, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl then toss through the blueberries
  5. Press half the dough into the baking tin
  6. Top with the blueberries
  7. Scatter over the remaining dough
  8. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, until the top is nice and golden and the blueberries are bubbling.

 

onward!

Lemon Delicious

Lemon delicious
the lightest feathery sponge on top, tart bubbling sauce below

This is something I have eaten since I was a small child and is also one of the  first recipes I ever learnt. But look, the recipe is a family one, the amounts are not standard metric measurements and the method is, to me, somewhat odd. Each time I make it it’s a little different – more sauce, less sauce, very tart, not so much – but I like that.

The tablespoon I use is a big old antique number, the lemon juice amount is totally dependent on how juicy the lemons are and so on. Regardless of it all, this is my comfort food.

Lemon delicious
this makes the world a better place

 

My Nan’s Lemon Delicious

  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 large heaped tbsp SR flour
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 200C and grease a smallish baking dish*
  2. In a bowl mix the butter with the sugar, it won’t come together like a standard ‘cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy’ but will be more like  a ‘sand’
  3. Add the flour
  4. Mix the egg yolks with the milk and add to the dry mixture and then add the lemon juice
  5. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks
  6. Add a third (or so) of the egg whites to the mixture, folding through until incorporated then fold through the rest of the egg whites
  7. Pour into the baking dish and bake at 200 for 10 minutes
  8. Turn the oven down to 180C and bake for a further 35-40 minutes – keep an eye on it so the top doesn’t scorch. I sometimes turn the oven down to 150C for the last 10 or so minutes

* It is a lovely thing to do in individual bowls/ramekins – obviously adjust cooking times.

Lemon delicious
ready for the oven

 

lemon delicious
with cream, or ice cream, or custard, or all three quite frankly.

 

Nigella Lawson feast from Feast: sage and onion chicken and sausages, chocohotpots, peas and lettuce, potato gratin

Monday night saw me make the most kick-arse dinner for some months. It was all from Nigella Lawson’s Feast cookbook, something I am somewhat obsessed with, so bear with me…

This is what it all looked like come dinner time:
Sage and onion roasted chicken and sausages

Nigella Lawson, Feast
I saw her make this and was intrigued. Intrigued enough to cook it, and MY GOODNESS was it seriously delicious.

  • 2kg chicken, cut into 10 pieces (or 10 drumsticks or thigh pieces or whatever you choose)
  • 12 chipolata sausages (she suggests anything from a traditional English sausage, to Italian or Chorizo)
  • 1 large onion, cut into eighths
  • 1 lemon, juiced and rind cut into eighths
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons English mustard
  • cracked pepper
  1. Put all the marinade ingredients in a large snap-lock bag (this is a great Nigella tip as it cuts down on washing up and lets your really mush the marinade into the meat)
  2. add the chicken and really mush the marinade and chicken together. Depending on when you do this, either refrigerate or leave at room temperature (I made it on a cold wet day and left it at room temperature for about an hour and a half)
  3. preheat oven to 220C
  4. pour the whole lot into a baking dish and tuck the sausages in around the chicken pieces
  5. sprinkle over the fresh sage
  6. bake for 1hr 15mins, turning everything occasionally so it all browns evenly.

Potato gratin

Nigella Lawson, Feast

I had been craving this for weeks and this seemed like the perfect occasion to satisfy it. The recipe was essentially the same as the potato dauphinois that I’ve been making for years, but it features this fancy thing with an onion. Mind you, on eating, it tasted no different, so I leave the decision on the value of the extra effort to you…

  • 2kg potatoes
  • 500ml milk
  • 500ml double cream
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 cloves, one stuck into each half of the onion
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3-4 bay leaves (although it was too wet for me to bother going out to the garden to get these)
  • good pinch of sea salt (Nigella says 1 tablespoon, I say woo down nelly on the salt)
  1. Preheat oven to 220C
  2. Bring the milk and cream to the boil with the onion, nutmeg and bay leaves, turn off the heat, put a lid on and let the onion infuse the milk.
  3. Peel the potatoes and slice 1cm thick – I use a mandolin for this as it turns a painful, time consuming job into something relatively painless.
  4. Put the potatoes into the milk mixture and bring it back to the boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart.
  6. Grease a large baking dish (about 30x37cm) and as you transfer the potatoes remove the onion and cloves and the bay leaves.
  7. Pour over the milk mixture and then bake for about 15 minutes or until its all golden and bubbling.
  8. Seriously one of my most favourite dishes of all time.

 

Peas with lettuce

Nigella Lawson, Feast

I have never ever been one for the cooked lettuce concept, but this, this has changed my world.

  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 45g butter
  • 1 baby cos lettuce, finely shredded
  • 250g frozen baby peas
  • 125ml chicken stock
  1. Cook the onion in the butter until soft, then add the lettuce and cook until it has wilted.
  2. Add the peas and stock and cook over a robust simmer until the stock has reduced slightly and everything is tender.

(Nigella – on the episode she cooks this on – says to cook for 20 minutes or so but I think 10 is ample)

For dessert I did my Chocolate Sludge, but it was weird and didn’t go sludgy at all. I think it’s because it was cooked and we didn’t eat it for a while, so the sauce component sort of got absorbed into the cakey top.

As there was enough of everything to feed the whole family again on Tuesday night, I made a new dessert – Nigella’s Chocohotopots.

 

Chocohotopots (makes 4)
Nigella Lawson, Feast

  • 125g butter
  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and grease 4 small ramekins (I used 1 cup size and you fill them about half way)
  2. melt the butter and chocolate together and let cool slightly
  3. in a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar, then fold in the flour
  4. pour in the melted choc butter mix and fold together
  5. spoon the gooey mixture into the ramekins
  6. cook for 20 minutes – the tops go all cracked and lovely and inside is just this gooey goodness.

I mean how easy is that? And can I just say, they are a.m.a.z.i.n.g. – and that’s from someone who really doesn’t do chocolate.

(Note: the recipe in the book adds 100g white choc chips, which you fold through at the end, but this just sent them over the edge. Chef and I agreed they would be divine with some raspberries folded through them.)

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