Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Own Private Bake Off

Seeing the ad for The Great Australian Bake Off - Tart Week, reminded me that I hadn't posted the recipe for the tarts I made for my audition.
We had to present 2 bakes a sweet and a savoury. For the savoury I made an olive and parmesan cast iron bread., possibly too simple but my sweet was bigger than Ben Hur.  
Being inspired by Minny's chocolate pie from The Help (without the secret ingredient) I went all out and made a trio of tarts.
  • White chocolate crème patisserie with a hint of Campari on top of a rhubarb compote adorned with rhubarb leather.
  • Blood orange milk chocolate ganache, in a choc chip tart garnished with a blood orange petite macaron
  • Dark chocolate mud tart
I may have confused the brief and given them the Olympics of chocolate tarts, gold, silver and bronze.
My only regret about the whole process, isn't not being selected but that I didn't take a picture!!
It was back in the my early days of blogging when a simple task like slicing an apple didn't involve a fully staged photo shoot. 
I had never heard of the show before my audition but quickly became obsessed with watching the British version and then trying the various technical challenges. If you haven't seen any of the numerous international versions of the show I can't recommend it highly enough, but be warned you will catch the baking bug bad!!

8 plait loaf from Great British
Bake Off 
Kale and bacon Danish
Olive and parmesan cast iron bread  

 Blueberry bakewell tart

 Italian pork pie with quail egg
 Chicken, bacon and apricot pie
Eyeful cookie
When the new oven arrived I will post the recipes for the other tarts but luckily I had photographed a batch of the dark chocolate tarts.
Dark chocolate mud tart
  • 125g unsalted butter diced
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg (my girls are doing whoppers these days)
  • 250g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa
  • 300ml cream
  • 200g dark chocolate (75%-85% is my choice)
  • 20g butter
  • Whipped cream to garnish
To make the tart
  • I do this all in the food processor as it is quick and is less handling of the pastry
  • Cream the sugar and butter on high for about 30 seconds
  • Add the egg and mix through another 30 seconds
  • Add flour and cocoa and mix till it comes together in a ball about 1 minute
  • Let rest covered in plastic wrap for 1 hour in the fridge
  • Grease 6 7.5cm tart tin (or one big one)
  • Roll pastry on lightly floured board to 1cm thick
  • Line the tart tins with pastry
  • Prick base with a fork and line with baking paper
  • Blind bake in a 180°C oven for 35-40 minutes
  • Let cool in the tin for 15
  • Remove from tin and cool completely on a wire rack
To make the mud
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and put in a mixing bowl
  • Add butter to chocolate
  • Gently heat the cream in a saucepan till just below the boil
  • Add cream to chocolate and stir till melted and smooth
  • Let cool for a 10 minutes
  • Fill the tart cases, wiggle to avoid air bubbles
  • Let cool completely
  • Garnish with some whipped cream
  • Find a quiet space with a coffee away from the world and enjoy intense chocolate heaven 


Monday, July 29, 2013

Soupy Stars: Mixed onion soup with goats cheese toasts

Being in the middle of cold and flu season in Melbourne it is good to keep the immune system boosted. Knock wood I have avoided a bout of Man Flu with a regime of preventative medicine, I mean eating.
The smell of onions and garlic frying in butter is just one of the joys of being alive.
Mixed Onion Soup
  • 1kg of mixed onions (red and brown)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic 
  • 60g butter
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 120ml red wine
  • About 2.5 litres of beef or vegetable stock
  • 4-5 sprigs of thyme
  • Peel onions and slice finely (I used the food processer, no more tears)
  • Peel garlic and slice finely
  • Heat butter and oil on medium in a heavy base pot
  • Add onions and cook for about 10-15 minutes till softened, I don't brown them too heavily but it's up to you
  • Add brown sugar, red wine and stir through
  • Add the stock, it should cover the onions very generously as it will reduce
  • Simmer on medium for about 40-45 minutes
  • Serve with soft goats cheese spread on toasted baguette, glittered with thyme leaves (oh that sounds classy)
  • Onion tip, if you store them in the fridge you are less likely to cry as the juice/vapours spray less when chilled.
  • Also it's good to ensure the onions have softened before adding the liquid as boiling raw onion doesn't give the same smooth texture

Everything is better with butter and a splash of oil!

The toast can be served on the side to avoid the risk of soggy bread!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Operation Work Lunch: Polka dot chickpea salad

It's time to reignite the war on terrible food with Operation Work Lunch ready for deployment.

I revisited the café where the war began and I truly have no idea how it is possible but I think it is even worse than before.

Looking at the dry brown shrivelled objects that were labelled "warm healthy salad" I almost shed a tear for the wasted potential of these poor brutalized vegetables.

While being at such a stage of hunger it would justify eating your frozen rugby teammates I did however order a ham and cheese toasted sandwich.

Not to be overly dramatic......

I would never have thought it possible to get a toasted sandwich wrong but by the time the coffee was made the sandwich was not only flattened not to less than an inch of it's life but was so squished that it could have slid under a door.

So that's it! Never again!

The key to the success of this mission is preparation, make your lunch the night before so that in the morning you only need enough time to stumble to the kitchen to pour yourself a cup of ambition.
Who doesn't love a bit of Dolly Parton?


Polka dot chickpea salad
  • 400g chick peas
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 red sweet chilli or capsicum roughly chopped
  • 1 large zucchini rough chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin seeds 
  • Black sesame seeds ( just a many as you like)
  • Olive oil
  • In a mixing bowl add the chickpeas, onion, lime juice, sweet chilli
  • In a fry pan on high add a good splash of olive oil (this will also be the dressing)
  • Add the zucchini, ground cumin and cook till tender.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool for about 15 mins
  • Add zucchini to mixing bowl
  • Add black sesame seeds in and mix through
Note on chickpeas, you can use canned or do the whole soaking over night and boiling method either works great.
Now that lunch is so much healthier, tasty and a hell of a lot cheaper!
We will win the war!!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Forget soggy bread......Let them eat cake!

The thought of soggy bread makes me physically sick.

It may be the trauma of all day school holiday excursions that involved lunching on  tomato sandwiches fished out of my grandmother's handbag. (Not the cream of chicken soup grandmother, those days were more of a fine dining expedition.)

It's the slimly layer of gum like paste between the bread and the filling that is the real nauseator.

Whenever I would see an amazing looking summer pudding I would just think of the soggy bread but that Maria Antoinette was really onto something, forget the bread, let them eat cake.

With that minor ingredient change from the original recipe summer pudding is my go to dessert, especially if I have to take a dessert to a party.

The best thing is with the range of frozen berries available it is a summer, spring, winter and fall dessert, all you gotta do is call......into the shops and grab a box.

Summer Pudding
  • 1 kg frozen mixed berries
  • Juice of 3 small limes
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups sugar (depending on how tart you like it)
  • 2 sponge cakes
  • Icing sugar to dust
  • Dried rose petals to garnish (optional but they smell pretty)
  • Thick cream to serve
  • Place berries and lime juice in a large saucepan and heat on medium
  • When the berries have thawed add the sugar
  • Heat for about 10-15 minutes till the berries have softened and the sugar has dissolved
  • Take off the heat.
  • Spray a cake tin with oil (spring form or removable base)
  • Slice cakes into approx. 1cm thick slices
  • It doesn't really matter if it is round or square cake it will all mould together.
  • Trim most of the crust from the cake as this can stop the colour soaking into the cake
  • Line the cake tin with cake
  • Put the cake tin onto a plate and add the berries and juice
  • Add a layer of cake on top of the berries to enclose
  • Press gently to even out the berries and start the spread of juice
  • Cover with plastic wrap and add a weight such as a plate and a can
  • Refrigerate over night
  • Flip upside down onto a serving plate and unmould the pudding
  • Serve dusted with icing sugar, roses and cream
  • The colour of this pudding is so beautiful it just makes me happy.
Note: I wouldn't use fresh berries unless you have them growing, frozen are a much better budget option and perfect for this. Also some lime zest can be added for extra zing.

 I bought the sponge this time.
 Ahhhh that colour, and the cream helps cut the tartness

Sunday, July 7, 2013

There is something in them waters

Day 7 of Dry July, so that's no alcohol or soft drink and so far all is well.

No diva outbursts, no fetal position crying wrapped in a doona but I have been watching Celebrity Rehab so I'm sure I could pull it off if I had too.

The only time there's been any risk of soft drink passing my lips was Friday night when we ordered home delivered pizza, not artisan but the rough processed dirty kind. 
The perfect partner to a bad movie with a bottle of soft drink to cut through all that grease but no I stood strong.
Water in all it's many variations has become my new best tasty friend. These are more like experiments than recipes but it's exciting to see what a bottle of water on a window sill can achieve.
Most of the variations spring from the idea of ice tea but there are also a couple that are fruit based.
My favourite of the moment is plan lemon, so refreshing I may be off the soft drink for longer than just July.
Flavoured Waters:
  • 1 bottle of cold water (approx. 720ml thanks to the old passata jars)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 lemon wedges, or
  • 2 rooibos teas and 3 slices of orange/lemon, or
  • 1 peppermint teabag and a sprig of mint, or
  • 1 earl grey teabag and a lemon wedge, or
  • 10 blueberries, or
  • A pinch of oolong tea and a lemon wedge 
  • Add sugar to bottle of water
  • Mix slightly, does not need to be dissolved
  • Add flavouring of your choice
  • Sit on a window sill for a couple of hours
  • Refrigerate to chill
  • Strain before drinking (Although blokes seem to have a thing about drinking straight from the bottle, genetics I guess, with these I'm a bottle drinker)  


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

1st Birthday competition

After the thrill of the 100th post I almost forget that about this blogs birthday.
30/6/12 saw the first post on Don't Boil the Sauce and oh how we have eaten since then.

While I was writing the last post about food and comedy, I was also playing a  Big Girls Blouse quiz on twitter and tweeted that everyone should watch this series.
SO, as no birthday is complete without presents 2 lucky saucers will win Big Girls Blouse on DVD.

There are 2 DVDs to be won and 2 ways to win!!
  1. Follow or like on either Facebook or Twitter and answer this question in the comments section below. (the buttons to the right will assist you to follow/like)
Played by Jane Turner who does Lynne Postlethwaite "work" with?


     2. Exclusive Dry July draw, simply make a donation to Team Don't Boil The Sauce here to be in the running to win while assisting people living with cancer.

Retweets receive bonus entries

  • There will be only 2 winners both selected at random, 1 from the comments round and 1 from Dry July donors round.
  • Competition is open world wild as DVD are region 0
  • Cover art may vary from pictured (that's my well loved copy)
  • Entries close 31/7/13 with winners announced 1/8/13

Soupy Stars - oh great I love dahl darl soup

"It's my sense of humour that stops me going insane" Magda Szubanski's character Lynne Postlethwaite really did know what she was talking about.

The Kitchen is one place you really do need a sense of humour mainly so that when you are wrestling a 20kg Turducken that won't fit into the pan at 2am Christmas morning, you can laugh and find a bigger pan rather than collapsing to the floor crying.

That has always been my philosophy to cooking, as long as you don't waste food and nobody dies, just have fun with it.

Thinking about the origins of this recipe made me think about just how much foodie comedy is around. From cooking show parodies such as Posh Nosh or the politically incorrect Audrey Gordon to Jamie Oliver talking dirty on YouTube (I'm sorry to be so immature)

Catherine Tate's food critics Janice and Ray inspired a dinner party menu which included a "cheese sandwich with grapes", "soup made from dried shit..ake mushrooms" and yep I even made curry from a goat..."from a goat" and this in Melbourne. The best part was watching the unsuspecting guests as each course come and they realised it all seemed a bit familiar, till one guest exclaimed " YOU dirty bastard!"

Coralee and Ross from Big Girls Blouse (the best comedy series ever) are the inspiration for this soup. I was at uni studying opera when the series aired and this skit rang so true as we were all about boob tubes and lycra, and that was just the blokes!

Being at uni we all had our turn at vegetarianism, more economics than ethics so dinner was often dahl and a group of theatrical peeps are certainly not foreign to Darl!
It felt like it was written for just us.

Poor AB has often been heard sighing "Ahhh, show people!"

Oh great I love dahl darl soup
  • 375g red lentils (1 packet)
  • 4-5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, diced/chopped
  • 2 shallots (or just 4 onions) diced/chopped
  • 1 thumb of ginger, grated
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 long red chili, finely sliced
  • 2 large zucchini, roughly diced
  • 2 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1.5-2 litres stock (vegetable or your choice)
  • Chopped coriander and chilli to garnish

  • Rinse lentils well in cold water till water runs clear.
  • When chopping the vegetables you want them to be on the smaller side as this soup isn't going to be blended.
  • In a large pot on medium heat add the oil
  • Add the onions, shallots, ginger, chilli, garlic
  • Let the onions soften for about 2-3 minutes
  • Add the zucchini and stir through
  • Add the garam masala and coat the vegetables
  • Add the stock covering the vegetables
  • Add the lentils and reduce heat to low
  • Cook for about 25 minutes till lentils are tender and melting into the soup, at the ten minute mark stir the soup to make sure the lentils don't catch
  • You may been to add some more water or stock
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and chilli that can be stirred through the soup
  • Optional non vegan addition is a fried egg purely for the yolk porn