Archive for month: December, 2011

Merry Christmas! Belly Rumbles Christmas Eve Eats & Rambles.

24 Dec
December 24, 2011

My regular readers over the years will know that Christmas Eve is a pretty special time for me.  You could say I celebrate Christmas twice.  Once traditionally, due to my Latvian heritage, on Christmas Eve.  Then again on Christmas Day.

This year has been a bit of a strange one for me.  I have felt a little displaced to be honest.  Mum and Dad have moved up to Sunny Queensland, and it was not on the cards this year to be up there for Christmas Eve.  Plus they decided to go on a cruise.  So we will celebrate together, on their return, on the 29th of December.

Until my Grandmother passed away we celebrated Christmas Eve with relatives.  It was one massive get together, which I loved.  Unfortunately over the years we have all gone our separate ways and celebrate differently.  I will be quite honest, I miss those get togethers.

So this year I was thrown for a major loop.  To speak frankly, it was a case of “what the fuck am I going to do?”.  It was just the three of us, not that there is anything wrong with that, but that isn’t how I have spent Christmas Eve for the past 42 years of my life.

There was one major option that sprang to my mind.  No traditional meal.  Head to the pub and watch a mates band, Spurs for Jesus, at their annual Christmas Eve bash?  Something I have never been able to do in the past.  A new tradition?  Couldn’t do it, as much as I enjoy their music and the antics of Rev K D Twang, just not Christmas Eve to me.

So what do to do , what to do?

As a lot of you would know, we lost an incredible woman this year, my mother in law, Yvonne.   Why not invite my Father in law (FIL) over to have a special meal with us, stay the night and share in tired Christmas morning present giving?  Yes, a plan was born.

As I type this, Mac is watching Ocean’s 13 on the projector while I try to sort out which snore is Sally’s and which is my FIL’s, coming from the lounge.  So all in all it has been a good evening.

How did we chow down for Christmas Eve?  Let me share with you.  Pictures do speak louder than words.

To start we had a good old fashioned prawn cocktail, topped with roe and chives.  Chopped prawns were mixed through a zesty cocktail sauce, with a larger one on the side for pizzazz.  To accompany that we had oysters with gin and lemon dressing, from my oysters three ways recipes.

The main event, was butterflied turkey filled with stuffing of pistachios, cranberries and prosciutto.  I placed a generous amount of  butter which had been mixed with orange zest and thyme under the skin.  Oh wow, so so moist and tasty!

To accompany, potatoes and sweet potatoes, which had been roasted with duck fat.  Yes people, duck fat potatoes! 

Beans with almonds and butter.  Hmm butter and fat seems to be a major theme of this meal.  Oh well, we can diet tomorrow.  Actually we can’t.  Off to my brother and sis in laws for Christmas Day lunch.

Also one of my favourite, and must have, Christmas Eve dishes, red cabbage.

Dessert was a simple affair of freshly baked Portuguese style festive tarts.  Light and flaky puff pastry tart filled custard and a dollop of fruit mince.  Topped with almonds and a dusting of icing sugar.  They were better than I thought they would be, Mac ate three!

Wishing you all a very merry and safe Christmas.  Filled with festive food and the ones you love.

After a massive day it is time for bed.   Just need to put some cookies out for Santa and a Portuguese tart for Rudolph.  I always imagined Rudolph to be a foodie, why, not sure.  With that nose, one would think he would be a wine connoisseur.

Massive hugs, merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Sara xxx

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Mushroom & Prosciutto Canapé

19 Dec
December 19, 2011

Six more sleeps until Saint Nick clambers down your chimney.  Thirteen more sleeps until New Years Eve celebrations.  The silly season is truly in full swing.

Due to attending Christmas parties, entertaining and the New Year approaching, the dial in my brain seems to be stuck on the subject of canapés.  I can’t help it, I have finger food on my mind.

When I was approached by the Australian Mushroom Growers Association to contribute to their Summer Mushrooms promotion I was originally going to develop a salad recipe.  Nope, brain wasn’t satisfied with what I came up with and kept reverting to the idea of a canapé.

What to do?

I wanted something a little different and I wanted it to be a Belly Rumbles original. Read more →

Char Siu Bao Recipe – Daring Cooks’ Challenge

14 Dec
December 14, 2011

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

Sara….. Belly Rumbles…. well hello there, that would be me!

What an honour and privilege to host this month’s Daring Kitchen’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge.   It was also quite nerve wracking with months of recipe testing and trying to make everything perfect. 

A quick explanation for those of you that aren’t familiar with the Daring Kitchen or how the Daring Cooks’ challenges work.  Each month the challenge is hosted by a member of the Daring Cooks’ Group.  The host posts the challenge on a specific date in the members area.  It is kept a secret from the public.  The members participating in the challenge all reveal how they went on a specific date,  through their food blogs, the 14th of the month. 

It is a global community and, to be honest, I was nervous oh what people would think of the challenge.  All feedback was positive, but I can’t wait to read how everyone went.  A big hug and thanks to those who participated this month.  Also a big hug to Lis and Audax for their help. Read more →

Is there chicken in your store bought chicken stock?

12 Dec
December 12, 2011

I tend to keep a nice stash of homemade chicken stock in my freezer.  Sadly like all good things, this at times comes to an end.  With my supply not being refilled until I get the time to make a big pot of stock again.

Feeling quite rotten a few weeks ago and craving soup,  I sent Mac out on a mission.  “Please could you pick up some chicken stock?”, running brands through my fuzzy clogged up head, “umm, could you make it Massel?”

On his return from his mission, Mac lobbed the stock onto the kitchen counter.  “I nearly rang you, do you realise that this is chicken style stock?”.  To which I responded with my best Scooby Doo head tilt impersonation and vacant look.

Chicken style stock?  What on earth is chicken style stock?  I had never noticed the small wording of ‘style’ under the large wording of ‘chicken’ before.  On inspection of the ingredients, there is no chicken in this stock.  Why not just call it vegetable stock with fake chicken flavour?  Oh yes, that probably wouldn’t sell as well.

To be fair on closer inspection, they do state clearly ‘all vegetable’ at the bottom of the pack.  There is also a nice red tick next to the wording ‘no animal content’.  Maybe they should put a big red line through chicken, just for dummies like moi?

I suppose Massel non chicken stock is good news for those vegetarians out there that want something that tastes like it came from a chicken.  Then again I have never quite understood vegetarians that want their non animal food to taste and look Read more →

Spiced Prawn Pappadams Recipe & Philadelphia Winners Announced

07 Dec
December 7, 2011

Aussies love prawns.  Due to a stupid Tourism Australia advertisement featuring Paul Hogan years ago my American readers may think we call them shrimp.  Nope, Aussies throw prawns on the barbie.  We never knew what a shrimp was until that ad was aired.

We love our prawns ever more so when it’s time to celebrate.  I can’t imagine Christmas or even New Years Eve without having some sort of prawn or oyster canapé being circulated.  So it only seems obvious to share this spiced prawn pappadam recipe after sharing my oysters three ways.

Not sure if you have ever noticed the chip style packets of pre-made pappadums which grace the Indian cuisine section of local supermarkets?  They are so handy and I have made great use of them in the past. Read more →

Two Lazy Tarts

05 Dec
December 5, 2011

I think all Sydneysiders will agree, wasn’t last Sunday the wackiest weather day ever!  Sunny morning, then by lunch time the heavens had opened up, and the winds were roaring.

Being a Sunday, my lazy day, and the weather terrible, I wasn’t going anywhere.

Sadly the fridge was pretty sparse, and it was a case of searching through the freezers, and pantry for some miserable weather cooking inspiration.

I also have to admit, I was in a lazy mood and Sex in the City 2 was calling for me from the TV.  Whatever I was going to cook had to be a no fuss recipe.  It also had to contain bacon.  I felt like bacon.

I scored a roll of Carême sour cream shortcrust pastry via my freezer hunt.  You may remember from my passionfruit tart recipe that Carême is a secret weapon of mine.  I also found some craved for bacon, yay for freezers. Read more →

Adriano Zumbo Macaron Day – Zumboron Day

02 Dec
December 2, 2011

Zumboron Day expanded this year and was held at three locations around Sydney, the original Balmain store and the new stores at Manly and The Star (Pyrmont).

This was my first Zumboron Day.  Due to the lines of previous years the plan was to get there early.  Out the window went my sleep in Sunday.  Accompanied by two other like minded friends, and a plus one, I lined up at 9.20am, and eventually left Zumbos with my purchase a couple of minutes shy of 11am.  From what was tweeted by others, the line up at The Star was minimal and was the quicker option.

the long line

On Zumboron Day, Adriano’s usual cakes and creations are moved out of the shops, to make way for a field of macaron.  There was 60 flavours in total to choose from.

The menu was released the day before on Adriano’s website and Facebook page.  This gave me plenty of time to work out what I was going to purchase.

the tiny Balmain store, love the industrial lights

When in the queue menus are handed so you can mark off what you want to purchase.  The only problem with this is, I kept adding to my list, as well as being a total girl and changing my mind while waiting in line.  It’s very hard to choose between 60 flavours.

Phuoc’n Delicious’ appropriate tee for the day

I had already worked out that I wanted to purchase one of each of his more funkier flavours; banh mi burger, margarita pizza, salt & pepper calamari and fried chicken.  Unfortunately there weren’t any margarita pizza or calamari at Balmain.

all macarons were $2.50 each

Tasting Notes

Baklava:  Couldn’t really make out what it was taste wise.

Banh Mi Burger:  Really foul, seriously terrible.  The pate was very off putting.

blackened vanilla

Blackened Vanilla:  Charcoal sesame flavour with vanilla cream, nice.

Bloody Mary:  Creamy middle with a slight tomato taste, hint of tabasco was a nice surprise.

Chestnut & Passionfruit:  Tasted more of chestnut than passionfruit.

Cinnamon Doughnut:  One of my faves!  Tasted like a cinnamon doughnut.

Coffee:  Tasted like coffee, was as to be expected.

Custard Crunch:  Subtle custard flavour with a toffee crunch in the middle.

Finger Bun:  Reminded me of a pink iced, coconut covered, buttered finger bun.  Even had a couple of sultanas in it.  Quite delicious.

Fried Chicken:    Deep fried breadcrumb covered macron.  Strong smell of oil, meringue melted and melded with the herbed chicken flavoured filling.

Gin & Tonic:  Not bad, not bad at all, like a sweet G&T.

Mango Black Pepper:  Slight mango taste, black pepper was sprinkled on the meringue.

Maple Syrup Pancake:  Lovely maple taste, quite distinctive.

pandan & coconut

Pandan & Coconut:  Really couldn’t taste either pandan or coconut, and had a weird after taste.

PB & J: Is just like a peanut and jelly (jam) sandwich, awesome.

ramen

Ramen:  Had a piece of egg yolk in the middle, sweet & savoury taste.  Meh.

redskin

Redskin:  Tasted like a redskin and had a slight chew to it which was awesome.

Rice Pudding:  Didn’t really taste of anything.

salted butter popcorn

Salted Butter Popcorn: Nice subtle salty kick and slight popcorn taste, pretty creamy.

salt & vinegar

Salt & Vinegar:  Wrong, so wrong on so many levels.  Went halves with Josh but in the end the bin  got 3/4 of this one.  Wouldn’t even feed it to Sally.

Strawberry Bubblegum:   Tasted just like strawberry hubba bubba bubblegum, very cool.

toasted marshmallow

Toasted Marshmallow:  Very creamy with a slight marshmallow taste

Vegemite:  Hmmm, actually not too bad, went halves with the dog as nobody else would try it.  Sally loved it.

Unless you were aware of what the flavour was of some of the macarons, I doubt you would of guessed.  Some lacked flavour and were just creamy.  Others packed a punch, with no doubt as to their flavour.

On a sad note I didn’t get all the macarons that I ordered.  Not quite sure what went wrong there.  Certain macarons I ordered three of, for the tribe.  When checking through flavours at home, realised that we were missing two of the rice puddings, I was only given one.  So sadly I paid for 45 macarons but only received 43.

fried chicken macaron

inside the fried chicken

The most unusual macaron of the day had to be the fried chicken.  It looked and smelt like a chicken nugget.  The macron was covered in a thick breadcrumb layer and deep fried.  Due to the deep frying the meringue actually melted to a creamy sugary coating around the quite solid chicken flavoured filling.  Josh and I liked it, the taste and the concept, was fun and different.  Saying that, half is enough for anyone.  Mac thought it was pretty foul (pardon the pun).

My favourite flavours, finger bun, cinnamon donut, maple syrup pancake and strawberry bubblegum.

banh mi burger

Macarons that will never grace my taste buds again, salt & pepper and the banh mi burger.

The macaron with the funniest side effect was the gin & tonic.  For a good hour after, it kept repeating on me and I swear it tasted like I had drank a G&T!

It was worth getting up early on a Sunday morning to trek to Balmain.  Will I go next year?  Not sure about that, will see.  Brunch afterwards with the girls made it a complete and fun morning, so yeah, maybe.

Adriano, if you are reading this, would love to see a maple bacon or Canadian breakfast macaron next year.  That is if you haven’t already created these flavours.

Dear Belly Rumble’s reader, what would be your ultimate flavour?

Also don’t forget my great giveaway which ends next Tuesday!

Sara xxx

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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