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 greatÂ 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.Â There are myriad recipes for its use but this is my go-to.
Tapioca pudding with mango and lime
The perfect summer dessert served with fresh tropical fruit
- 2 cups sago
- 200 ml coconut cream
- 200 g palm sugar
- 400 ml water
- Mango, cut into slices or cubes
- Lime wedges
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and stir in the tapioca
- 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)
- Strain in a fine-holed sieve and rinse well under cold water (you'll still lose some but don't fret)
- Place in a bowl and stir through half the coconut cream and half the palm sugar syrup (see below)
- Chill for an hour or more
- To make the palm sugar syrup combine the palm sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil
- Simmer until it is thick and syrupy
- 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.
- For complete show-pony status you can initially pour them into moulds and then turn out when serving, fancy like.
finallyÂ recently bought Smitten Kitchen‘s cookbookÂ 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.
Blueberry Crumble Slice
Blueberries encased in a shortbread biscuity base and top
- 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
- Preheat oven to 180C and line a 20x30cm pan
- Using a pastry cutter (or your fingers) blend the sugar, baking powder, plain flour, lemon zest with the butter
- Then add the egg
- Mix the juice, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl then toss through the blueberries
- Press half the dough into the baking tin
- Top with the blueberries
- Scatter over the remaining dough
- Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, until the top is nice and golden and the blueberries are bubbling.
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 ofÂ them ate them. Into high rotation they go!
Go well my friends, Term 4 awaits!
Wholemeal apple and cinnamon muffins
Fantastic muffins full of apple and cinnamon
- 1 cup wholemeal flour
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 115g butter
- ½ cup caster sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
- ¼ cup brown sugar - extra, for topping
- Preheat oven to 220C and line a 12 cup muffin tray
- Mix all the dry ingredients together
- Cream the butter and the sugar
- Add the egg
- Add the buttermilk - it will probably curdle so don't fret
- Fold in the dry ingredients and then the apple until it's all just combined (it's a chunky batter)
- Put big heaping spoonfuls into the twelve muffin cups
- Sprinkle the extra brown sugar over the top
- Bake for 10 minutes then turn the heat down to 200C for a further 10 minutes
- Cool in the tin for 5 minutes or so and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
OK, so thisÂ household is having a complete rejuvenated love affair with Jamie Oliver, the likes it has not seen since his Naked Chef days. I think it was seeing his hard slog in the US and how it knocked the wind out of his sails a bit that did it. It was cemented with his 20 Minute Meal iPhone app. Man I love that. Then there was his Christmas series which was just so quirky and lovely. And now, well now there is his 30 minute meal series (I’m gagging for the book because yeah, I really need another cookbook) and the whole household, well, me and Felix, are hooked.
The other night he made this awesome looking number involving salmon fillets, prawns and asparagus. Salmon fillets normally make me gag but I was all YUM about that. And then, THEN he made a quick banoffee pie.
Cue Felix badgering me for the last two days to go to the shops to buy the ingredients. And can I tell you – if you do use a store-bought pie crust, which we totally broke my religion and did, then this comes together in an absolute snap.
The filling is delightful – far less tooth-achingly sweet than pure pie-caramel and not over-powering in the banana department. An absolute winner.
Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meal Banoffee Pie
- 1 store bought pie crust
- 2 bananas
- 100ml milk
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 300ml cream
- 1 tbsp camp coffee
- 2 bananas, extra
- 100g block of dark chocolate
- Blitz the two bananas with the milk until well combined and smooth
- In a pan over high heat melt the caster sugar. Don’t stir it, just gently tilt as it melts to a dark caramel colour
- Add the banana milk mixture to the toffee, stirring until the toffee melts back into the bananas
- Pour into the pie case and freeze for 20 minutes (we didn’t need it to be within 30 minutes so just put it in the fridge)
- Whip the cream and then fold through the camp coffee essence so it leaves pretty swirls in the cream
- Slice the bananas and arrange over the pie filling, then spoon the cream over the top
- Place the chocolate bar on the benchtop, smooth side up. Scrape a sharp chef’s knife on a 45 degree angle across the chocolate towards you, making chocolate curls. Arrange over the top of the cream.