Archive for month: May, 2010

Daring Bakers’ Challenge, May – Pièce Montée

27 May
May 27, 2010

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.
You may well know pièce montée better as croquembouche.  A towering high pyramid or cone of profiteroles filled with crème patisserie held together by caramel.  It is a gorgeous and dangerous dessert.  Dangerous due to four fingertips and one knuckle being casualties of my efforts.  For the Aussies that saw the croquembouche challenge during last years’ Masterchef, I felt their pain!!!

I decided on creating three smaller pièce montée, one for each of us instead of one large one.  Due to this I didn’t use a cone to create my shape, it was all freehand.  I also baked smaller profiteroles to create my tall looking mini pièce montées. Read more →


Lemon & Rosemary Jumbo Cup Cakes

25 May
May 25, 2010

I have these beautiful lilac coloured flowers all over my rosemary bush at the moment which I have been wanting to take advantage of in a recipe somehow.

The rosemary bush is also in need of a good chop back, so I did.  If you are not aware rosemary freezes really well, and I love having a constant supply.  It is really a herb I cannot live without.  The aroma as you pick it freshly off the bush, how you end up with sticky fingers from the leaves, how soft and delicate the young leaves are, the pretty lilac flowers.

As I wanted to make use of the flowers I thought about cup cakes and using them as a decoration.  So I trolled the internet and stumbled across Patent and the Pantry and her recipe for lemon rosemary olive oil cake.  I have adapted the below recipe form hers. Read more →

Daring Cooks Challenge, May – Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada

18 May
May 18, 2010

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.
This was an awesome challenge that I was really looking forward to.  The whole tribe really enjoys enchiladas and I had never made my own sauce before.  Ended up with more than needed so the remains have been frozen for another day, lets see how it does when defrosted.  Did have visions of making my own tortillas but again time was not my friend.

I decided to not use grilled chicken in my enchilada stacks but the chicken that I used to make my stock for the green chilli sauce.

I really didn’t like the idea of just using grilled chicken or to be honest the poached chicken from my stock by itself, I wanted something with flavour to compliment the chilli sauce, tortillas and cheese.
For my chicken mixture I didn’t follow a recipe but went by my taste buds. I shredded the poached chicken from my stock making, added a tin of diced tomatoes, finely diced onion, garlic, chicken stock, salt, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, fresh coriander to taste.  This was simmered until it was a thick consistency that would sit in the tortilla stack without running out. Read more →

I can’t believe it’s not meat!

16 May
May 16, 2010

A few weeks back I was invited to the launch of a new vegetarian product, Quorn. I must admit I didn’t initially jump at the invitation as I love meat and to be honest I find the vegetarian products out in the market today horrid.
After having a little look around the internet to see what I could find out about Quorn and seeing that is was very popular in the USA and UK I decided to accept the kind invitation to the launch.
Reason one is that I do like to substitute my family’s carnivorous ways with vegetarian meals, I can only do so much with tofu and gluten is a pain in the bum to make. Reason two, a good girl friend of mine Ms Nicky, is what we adoringly call a seagan, no land animal products at all but will eat from the sea.

What is Quorn?
It isn’t soy! Quorn is soy free. The main ingredient of Quorn is a mycoprotein. “What is a mycoprotein?” I hear you ask, it is a nutritious member of the fungi family. A quality vegetarian protein that is naturally low in fat, high in dietary fibre and contains all the essential amino acids found in the protein from meat.
First sample that I tried were the Dippers, basically the Quorn substitute for a chicken nugget. The taste was great and the texture was just like a nugget, quite amazing.
nuggetDippers served with a beetroot relish
Next were the Sausages. Now you cannot compare these babies with a sausage that has been created by, let’s say, Pino of La Dolce Vita, we are not talking that type of sausage. What I can compare this to is a frankfurt, and a not too bad one.
sausage 1Sausages on mini rolls with caramlised onion
sausageLook at that texture, you would never know it wasn’t a meat product.
I really enjoyed the Dipper for texture and taste and the sausages were again really good. They had a nice spicy note to them and the taste was great.
Now to the part of the evening that really excited me. Quorn offer three items which you can substitute for meat. Pieces (chicken substitute), Strips (meat substitute) and Mince (self explanatory). This got my creative mind going 100 to 1!
skewerTandoori style strips
ragu Gnocchi and ragu anyone?
maroccanHow about a delicious Moroccan dish?
Seriously I can’t wait to get my hands on the mince to play with as the texture was amazing, it’s mince! In the two dishes above you would not know that you were eating a vegetarian substitute.
Quorn hits the major two supermarkets on the 1st of June. With a range of prepared meals, Cheese & Spinach Schnitzels, Dippers, Southern Style Burgers, Lasagne and Cottage Pie. As well as Pasties, Sausage Rolls and Sausages.
Then there are the three meat substitutes mentioned above which are cholesterol free and you can use in your own dishes. These are the ones I find most exciting and am really keen to have a play with. Quorn san choy bow anyone?
Sara xxx

Mothers’ Day lunch at Engima aka the riddle of the missing “lobster” {Closed}

10 May
May 10, 2010

Enigma: A restaurant located in the Royal Motor Yacht Club Burraneer Bay.  Enigma: Definition by the Concise Oxford Dictionary – Riddle, puzzling person or thing.

I have been wanting to try this restaurant for so long and was excited when I booked for our tribe for Mothers’ Day. My Mum, Mac and I, junior, Bro and Sis in law and Mac’s parents.

If you are not familiar with the Shire, Burraneer Bay is lovely, situated on the Port Hacking River and the Royal Motor Yacht Club is in an outstanding position right on it, truly lovely.

For Mothers’ Day Enigma offered a three course lunch for $50/head. When you do your homework there are places that offer a cheaper option where you can BYO and also there are places that offer a far more expensive option and fully licensed. This seemed a nice middle of the road licensed option.

EnigmaAs Enigma had fully booked out for lunch they “expanded” the restaurant to fill up the rest of one side of the club. I was advised on booking that as we would be in the “other” section we did not have to adhere to the two seating allocated time slots, we were invited to stay as long as we wanted. Cool!!

Mac, Junior, Mum and I were the first to arrive and seated at our table. Ordered drinks and settled in. The in-laws arrived about 10 minutes after us. As soon as they sat down we were pounced on to order. Fair enough in one way, this is the day to churn through the covers.

So after three approaches by wait staff and eight of us trying to navigate one menu between us, we were ready to order. Yes guys the rule of thumb was one menu for each table, very interesting.

On offer were 3 entrees, 3 mains and chefs selection for dessert. There was a kids meal which offered either chicken schnitzel, calamari & chips or fish & chips for $15.

Amongst the eight of us we ordered everything off the menu, ah the joy and variance of dining in a large group. We asked if we could order a side of chips as an extra and were promptly told “no” we were not allowed to deviate from the set menu. That quite honestly astounded me, we were not asking for something that was not on the menu and this item would of been at cost to us and profit to them. Obviously they cannot cope with a plate/bowl of chips as an extra.

After ordering my meal I attempted to order a bottle of wine with the person taking our orders, to which the response with attitude was “see me I am wearing black, see her over there she is wearing white, you order drinks off people in white”. Thank you for so eloquently advising me of that. Our waitress was a real gem, we were so lucky.

Now just to set the record straight for those who don’t know, in a previous life I have actually spent quite a few years working in the hospitality industry. Front of house in a variety of establishments and behind the bar at pubs and clubs. So yes I will be critical of rude/poor service, attitude and unimpressive food charged at a premium.

There was no bread offered on the menu to start with, their call, but does add a nice touch at little expense to the establishment.

Enigma EnigmaFor entree I opted for the 1/2 dozed Sydney Rock Oysters natural. They were lovely oysters, plump and creamy, served with a basic cocktail sauce and a tired looking lemon wedge.  Junior went for the grilled haloumi cheese. Some were a little on the overcooked side and quite tough some were lovely and tender, served in a circle of thick balsamic sauce with some semi dried tomatoes, red capsicum and an anorexic asparagus spear.

EnigmaMac had the smoked salmon. A couple of slices of smoked salmon draped over a ball of tired looking lettuce which had started to brown. Topped with a ring of red onion and crème fraiche. Again circled with the thick balsamic sauce.

I had seen the mains being served to other tables and had spied the barramundi which sadly look dry and extremely over cooked, so I decided against that option. I don’t like lamb so that choice was off the menu for me, I opted for the half lobster mornay (crayfish). I am not a great lobster lover, but figured after 1/2 a dozen natural oysters I may be able to deal with the richness of the” “lobster”.

Where's the lobster?Oh boy oh boy oh boy. This is where the word enigma comes in to play. Let’s solve the riddle of where the rest of my “lobster” went? You can clearly see from the below photo that there are three bite size pieces floating in a sea of runny white sauce. There was one last tiny piece hiding up near the head. I checked with the other four “lobster” eaters at the table and they too also only received 4 bite sized pieces. What did the chef do with the rest of the flesh? Saving it in the kitchen for a rainy day?

As you can see from the below extremely disappointing. The so called mornay sauce was not a mornay sauce, it was a very runny béchamel sauce they left out the main ingredient to differentiate it from a béchamel, the cheese. My salad was okay, a bit on the tired side, I was starving so ate it. Mum left hers as it was just a little too tired.

EnigmaMac chose the slow spit roasted lamb. Simple, lamb was tender and okay, but greasy. Served with some oven roasted potatoes and tzatziki.

Mum in law had the wild barramundi fillets. I was so happy to see that she didn’t receive the over cooked fish I had seen served up at the table next to us. It was accompanied with salad and resting on mash potato, she was very happy with her meal.

Now for the Chef’s selection for dessert, cool what delights would await us….
Ohhh…. a vanilla or chocolate cannoli, wow, yeah, let’s knock ourselves out here!!

Overall I was extremely disappointed with Enigma. What we were offered for $50/head was a very cheap and easy meal with not much thought put in to it. They definitely have made an incredible profit from people going out to celebrate Mothers’ Day. I felt extremely ripped off by the experience to be quite honest. Unexciting over priced food and extremely poor service by the Enigma wait staff.

The club’s drink servers seemed a lot more relaxed and were very pleasant.

To add to the disappointment there seemed to also be a bistro somewhere in the establishment. We were watching people out on the deck enjoying what looked like really delicious fish and chips. I was so envious!

I won’t be returning to Enigma, but I think I will return to check out the bistro and enjoy a meal out by the water.

Sara xxx

Royal Motor Yacht Club Port Hacking, 228 Woolooware Road, Burraneer Bay

Enigma at The Royal Motor Yacht Club on Urbanspoon

Daring Bakers’ Challenge – Pudding

06 May
May 6, 2010

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

Yep well, I am a girl who loves challenges and this was one hell of a challenge. One EPIC fail on try one and then a semi success for the second try.
Even though this was a suet challenge, we were given the option to use lard, vegetable equivalent or butter. I didn’t want to use suet so I went for what I felt was the next closest equivalent, lard.

First Try = EPIC Fail

Let’s not beat around the bush here, my first attempt at this challenge was a disgusting disaster. Looked horrible, tasted less horrid but still pretty unappetising.
I felt that doing a sweet pudding was the easy road and therefore I chose to do a savoury one. I am not going to bother sharing the recipe with you for this first attempt but will share what happened.
The idea of the savoury pudding was to make a pastry using flour and in my case lard, roll it out, line a pudding bowl, fill it with the savoury filling of choice. Then you roll out more dough for the lid to be placed on top. Seal around the edges, cover with foil, and steam it for around 4 hours. In the end you should have this great pudding you can turn out on to a plate and cut up to serve.
Now welcome to my world. Read more →