Thursday, June 30, 2011


Recently on Twitter a photo of the Sri-Lankan dessert Watalappan was posted by Flying Fish. It looked delicious and different to desserts I normally make so I did a search to find so many variations of the steamed custard. I confirmed with Peter Kuruvita from Flying Fish that you need kithul treacle. This I was able to find at our local spice shop imported from Sri-Lanka.

Firstly I whisked 4 eggs very well. I then added 200ml of the kithul treacle, 200ml of thick coconut cream, 1/4 cup well smashed cardamon pods and 1/2 tsp vanilla paste. I whisked well before straining into a dish for steaming. It took about 1/2 hour to be set. 
For the top I put some kithul treacle in a pan until caramelising and then mixed in cashews until well coated. I put the cashews on some grease proof paper to set.

We tried the Watalappan while still warm and it was really lovely, the texture was so silky soft and it was quite sweet. 
The next night we had some cold and it was even more delicious. The flavours had developed and the sweetness toned down. My cashews still had a lovely crunch since they were coated in the treacle toffee. I'm assuming that it is meant to be eaten cold the next day! 
I really loved it and will have to cook a Sri-Lankan themed meal one night with this as dessert.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Talisman No. 13 Pizza

When we travel to visit my family we head west from Sydney to the country side. We like to plan our trip so we can stop at our favourite little cafe on the way located at Little Hartley just after you come down from the Blue Mountains. The Talisman Gallery features some amazing metal work and a cafe with a wood fired oven. 

When the weather is clear you can look across at the cliffs of the mountains
We always order the number 13 pizza and a nicoise salad, the latter being for my 3 year old daughter who for some reason does not love pizza. 

Well we have not made it out there for a while and so I decided to make my own. The base sauce is tomato based so I cooked some onion, garlic and a tin of tomatoes down and pureed. I rolled my pizza dough nice and thin.

The toppings are sweet potato (I baked one whole until very soft), eggplant (I baked some slices), capsicum (I roasted in the oven), artichoke (I used marinated from a jar) and bocconcini. Sadly I don't have a wood fired pizza oven so i just placed it on a hot pizza stone to cook in a hot oven.

This photo of our garlic pizza my daughter took!
It was quite yummy but not as good as the original. The main problem being the pizza wasn't cooked in a pizza oven! But I suspect they use eggplant that is marinated and their pizza also has mozzarella which would work nicely. Actually I am relieved that ours wasn't as good because I know where I can go for the best. I really enjoy stopping in and eating excellent food, drinking nice coffee and soaking up the atmosphere.

This is a photo I once took when eating the original.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Baked Falafel with Tzatziki and Flatbread

Once again I have cooked a recipe from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice, you could say Reeni and I like the same foods. She is always winning me over with her fab recipes and presentation.

Problem is that when I looked at her gorgeous falafel so crusty and golden (do check them out) it didn't occur to me they were fried! I try to avoid frying foods, partially because hot oil scares me and partially because I am trying to be reasonably healthy. 
So I decided to bake them with no oil at all, and you know what, they were delicious. Maybe not so golden but they were crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.

To make the falafel you puree soaked chickpeas with onion, coriander (or parsley), cumin, coriander, garlic, a little flour, cayenne pepper, salt and lemon juice. Shape them into balls and place on a lined baking tray. I baked at 180C for 15 minutes then turned over and baked for another 15 minutes.

I served them with Tzatziki (drained yoghurt and cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, salt), some crispy lettuce and freshly cooked flatbreads.  The flatbreads worked perfectly and were really delicious.

I really enjoyed this meal last night. The falafels were so tasty and had the crumbly texture that requires the tzatziki to bring it all together. This one will definitely be cooked again.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cabbage Dumplings in Chicken Broth

Yet again I have turned to my little Christine Manfield recipe book, Fire A world of Flavour. I am thinking I should buy the full version as I have loved so many of the recipes just from my little sample version.
This recipe for cabbage dumplings served in a chicken broth was no exception.

The broth is made using a chicken stock you have already prepared. You then add chicken pieces, star anise, pepper, orange zest, ginger, galangal and green onion. It is simmered away for a couple of hours. Towards the end you add some carrot juice and then finally season with fish sauce and lime juice.

The cabbage parcels are made by filling your blanched cabbage leaves with a mix of cooked chicken, wood ear fungus, ginger, carrot, coriander, mint and spring onion that is seasoned with fish sauce and lime juice. 

They are then simmered in water for a couple of minutes before transferring to your serving bowl along with bean sprouts, chilli, peanuts and coriander. The steaming soup is then ladled over the top.

The little parcels were incredibly delicious, so much flavour and texture. They complimented the broth perfectly and the crispy bean spouts and peanuts added so much.
 All of Christine's dishes have been so fresh and healthy tasting, as well as packed full of flavour.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peruvian Lamb and Coriander Stew with Beans

I love to try new things and I am especially excited when that involves seeking out new places to discover unique ingredients. So when this Peruvian dish Seco de cordero con frejoles was suggested over at the fantastic blog of Lateral Eating I just had to try it. 

Firstly we had a trip to Fairfield to the little shop Tierras Latinas that specialises in south american ingredients. It was a fantastic store jammed full of interesting looking items and buzzing with spanish, and although we like to think we know a little spanish they did speak perfect english. We bought a bottle of chicha de jora, a fermented maize beverage and some aji amarillo, ground yellow pepper.

It is quite a simple dish to prepare. The lamb is marinated for eight hours in the chicha and dark ale.  The base of the stew is red onion, garlic and aji amirillo. Grated pumpkin and chopped tomatoes are added, and  the coriander is blended with some of the marinated ingredients. In goes the drained meat with a little stock and then simmer covered until tender. At the end, season to taste and add some peas (I forgot).
For the bean dish simply fry some red onion, aji amarillo and garlic over low heat for about ten minutes before adding the beans  and seasoning to heat through (I used tinned Borlotti beans).

What a delicious dish! Its hard to explain the flavour as I have never eaten anything with the same taste. It was surprisingly light and had a very gentle sweetness. The beans were amazing and went so well with the stew.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spicy Lemon Quail and Stuffed Capsicums

Quail is something I have never eaten let alone cooked but when I saw this recipe for Spicy Lemon Quail from OneBiteMore I immediately wanted to try it. In fact I immediately added it to my menu for the next week but alas I was unable to find quail. But then I finally spotted some Game Farm Quails in Coles. 

The first stage of this recipe involves removing the quails neck, cutting the quail down the back bone, removing some of the leftover offal from the inside and flattening it out. I really wasn't keen but sadly my hubby did not come home in time so I had to do the deed. Actually it really wasn't that bad and I would have no worries doing it again.

The quail is then marinated for an hour in a mix of smoked paprika, brown sugar, lemon and lime zest, lime juice, pepper, oil and salt.

You then lay them on a tray and bake for 20 minutes then switch to grill and crisp the skin for about 5 minutes. This worked perfectly with lovely caramelisation of the skin.

The capsicums are stuffed with a gorgeous mix of quinoa, freekah, cumin and sultanas that is pre-cooked on the stove. Then bake to perfection.

As suggested I also made a basil oil to serve. I prepared this the same as Christine Manfield's recipe for parsley oil. Blanch the basil, refresh in ice water, then blend with some of the blanching water, salt and oil. You then strain this through mesh. It works perfectly resulting in a vibrant delicious sauce.

What a delicious and spectacular dish, yet really quite simple to prepare. The quail was so tasty, that marinade was amazing and the caramelised skin was the best. I love the capsicums, that was my type of filling. It also complimented the quail really well. We will definitely be tackling more quail recipes in the future.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baked Chicken Fingers

This is a recipe I spotted ages ago on the wonderful Sweet Pea's Kitchen. I thought my daughter would love it (and would give her a break from all the weird stuff I feed her!). Well love it she did, we all did. 

The chicken is seasoned, coated in flour then dipped in a mix of egg white, garlic, herbs and mustard then coated in slightly browned panko crumbs. I think the best tip was then to bake the chicken on an oiled wire rack positioned on a tray. We made a honey and dijon mustard dipping sauce using sour cream to eat with our chicken.

The chicken is moist and tender inside the tasty crispy crust. And with the dipping sauce was just perfect. We will be having this again!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Food, Food and more Food!

I thought I would do another of my catch up posts with photos of some of the delicious dishes I've been cooking. SO here we go....

Zucchini and Cream Cheese Pancakes inspired by ScandiFoodie

Donna Hay chocolate cake but I used milk chocolate and coconut flour

Upside down cake with toffee rhubarb (a Coles recipe)

Delicieux Mini Chocolate Pear Pies 

Yummy Banana Bread, the recipe from Green Cilantro

Raisin Bread using this recipe (but without the bread maker!)

Corn with Chipotle Salt and Lime Mayo, and chipotle sweet potato fries (Inspired by all the reviews of The Dip)

Scallops with Black Pudding and Celeriac Apple Puree
Pandan and Cardamon Coconut Rice Pudding, recipe from The Intolerant Chef

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Butter and Mapled Pecans, recipe from Raspberri Cupcakes

Nigella's Buttermilk Chicken Drumstick and Coleslaw, recipe from CatsLoveCooking

Milo Cupcakes, recipe from Raspberri Cupcakes

Christine Manfield's Fish with Gremolata, Risotto and Parsley Oil.
This was dinner last night and was incredible.
Another recipe from A World Of Flavour.