Thursday, 29 November 2007

feeling like a dungbeetle ear deep in meadow muffins.

Loot from Baldock's, the wrapping mecca:

And from Nanna's
pantry: jackpot!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


Sprouts is gone, but Farina has grown in its place. The new modern Italian restaurant headed by chef (and Womad veteran) Matthew Goodlet looks cheerful if not cheap.

Monday, 19 November 2007

not the one with the green thumb or the tech head around here.

Someone in my house grew this - holy mackerel it's ay-mazing! The cactus itself is about as tall as my shin, and the flower is as large as my palm.

The last cactus I ever grew literally snapped in half - the top half fell off and yet someone else managed to resurrect it.

Unfortunately, you can't appreciate it in all its glory, because my mac refuses to save the re-orientation of any photo, but reverts to whatever the camera took it as. Usually I email my photos to work, re-orient and save them and then email them back again. But today I just can't be bothered.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Because seriously, my little white friend here is cruising for a bruising and, if I don't figure it out, will be more cactus than this picture.

Friday, 16 November 2007

realising her cooking schedule was a wee bit optimistic.

I'm afraid my weekend went horribly awry and the cooking didn't make it past Friday afternoon. In that time I managed to make the Pear and Custard pie from the dentist's magazine, and my first ever pav from the leftover eggwhites.

The pie was merely good, and left me feeling a bit sick, and I guess there's a reason why pear pies are not as famous as apple ones. The dentist and I are not quite even I'm afraid. However, it was worthwhile for two reasons: the pastry was excellent - the first I didn't have to do a patch up job on - and the custard was amazing. These parts of the recipe are worth keeping for other uses.

I randomly made the pav when I found I had 4 leftover eggwhites from the custard, which turns out to be just the right amount for a pav. I was a bit nervous because they're supposed to be a bit pernickety but it turned out freakin' awesome - the best pav I've ever had (although I must admit they're not my favourite dessert). I used the recipe from Stephanie Alexander's big stripey bible, so I should've known it would be perfect. I'm not giving the recipe here, because if you don't have that book a. I'm surprised you're still reading, and b. go and put it on your Christmas list NOW!

Vanilla Pastry
450g plain flour
120g icing sugar, sieved
225g cold butter, coarsely chopped
Seeds of one vanilla bean

Combine all ingredients with a pinch of salt until they resemble breadcrumbs. The recipe recommends a food processor, but not having one, I used my fingertips and handheld beaters. Add 3-4tbspns of cold water, pulse or mix until mixture just comes together. On a floured surface, form a disc, cover with gladwrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

When you're ready to use this, roll it out to 3mm thick and line a buttered pie pan. Fill it with pre-roasted fruit and bake at 180 for 20 minutes or until golden. It will make a fairly large pie with a lid.

Vanilla Custard
450ml regular cream
50ml Poire William or dessert wine
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
4 egg yoks
85g caster sugar

Combine cream, liquor and vanilla in a saucepan and bring just to the boil over meedium heat. Remove from heat, and let it cool for a while. Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar together until pale and then whisk into cream mixture. Return to heat and stir for 4-5 mins until thick enough to coat back of a spoon. If you're being fancy you could strain it here, but I didn't bother and I don't think it was necessary.

I used a random pear liquor we had in the cupboard (which has been decanted so I've no idea what it is). I couldn't taste it specifically in the finished custard (it wasn't alcohol-y or pear-flavoured), but I think it probably did help it taste warm and rich, so I wouldn't skip it.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

collecting recipes and cavities.

This morning I went to the dentist. I came out with a referal to a specialist who is going to charge me $185 for the consultation only, and a photocopy of a recipe for a pear and custart tart. If it works out to be a seriously excellent tart, I will consider myself even. (The specialist, however, had better have some damn good magazines and a strobe photocopier if he decides I need further treatment).

Here are some other recipes I've been meaning to try:

Hoppin' John
Japanese Eggplant with Miso (Nasu Dengaku)
Yuxiang Eggplant (hopefully just like the Post Deng Cafe's)
Quercyan Apple Cake (roll it like a log, then like a snail)
Thai Dessert Soup (vary with jasmine?)
Rhubarb Ginger and Berry Smoothie
The Soup Nazi's Mulligatawny (see also: imitation Big Mac)
Matzah Ball Soup
Easy pasta with sundried tomatoes and canellini beans
Corn Chowder
Veggie Burger Recipes
Orange Blossom Carrot Salad
Salted Butter Caramel Icecream (if this works, vary it by adding a sprig of rosemary?).

These three all come from the same website: if he's exaggerating I'll be cross.
The best way to cook a steak
The best icecream (Caramel chocolate pecan)
The best cookies of your life

Pizza perfection

retry the Sag Paneer
Try to replicate the Borscht from the Russian Piroshki

I'm also thinking about this Christmas tree ornament swap. Do I have time?

Monday, 5 November 2007

a little slack of late.

Everything and nothing is happening at Chez Emily at the moment.

Still, I managed to get to the Lebanese Bakery this weekend, so for your edification, here's yet another badly lit pastry shot.

The baklava-type sweets are still the best. These 'birdnests' (I think) are $1 apiece, just one of many options, and spectacularly good.

The other pastries tasted like what they look like - deep friedness drenched in sugar syrup. Good in theory but not actually very interesting.

By contrast though, the coloured nibbles were quite intriguing. They turned out to be sugar-coated chickpeas(!). Normally when I buy random things from differently-cultured (what is the pc term please?) markets one of two things happens:

1. I love them and eat them all straight away or
2. they languish on the kitchen table until someone else throws them away.

These chickpeas broke with tradition and were a (surprisingly) big hit - the whole gang's been nibbling on them since the weekend, and now they're nearly all gone. Must go back for more, and also check out the new Persian grocer that's opened across the road.