Author Archives: Ritsy

An Ezard inspired mothers day (with a little help from Bill Granger!)

Professional!

Perhaps I shouldn’t have joked about how long it might take me to blog about our mothers day lunch in an earlier post, it’s somewhat embarrassing that it’s nearly fathers day!

Mothers day lunch is a tricky proposition in our house as my mum’s partner is somewhat of a fussy eater, thankfully though I have a mum that eats everything! After about a week of consulting our various cook books, we finally settled on a menu of steamed scallop tortellini, roast chicken and a five-spiced creme brulee. Aside from the fussy eating factor, we also wanted a menu that required little effort on the big day.

Entree – Steamed scallop tortellini w/ verjuice and citrus better sauce, crispy leek and herb salad

Our ‘lots a lemons’ finally lives up to it’s name

After nearly 5 years our dwarf meyer lemon (commonly known as a ‘lots a lemons’) has finally fruited!

We were beginning to think it would never happen… we’ve had a couple of set backs with our little tree.

The first was nearly 3 years ago when the fledgling plant suffered a major attack of the dreaded citrus gall wasp. It was so bad that my mum told me to throw the plant out! I figured I had nothing to lose so decided not to take mum’s advice & tried to save it…After I cut out all the infected branches that I could we were still left with one major deformity quite near the base of the tiny trunk. I’d heard from someone that if you slit the lump with a knife & coated it in a flour & water paste it could help – amazingly it actually worked – I saved a plant!!!

…one a penny, two a penny…

The finished product

As I sit down (finally) to write about hot cross buns I begin to reflect on the fact it’s taken me nearly two months to write about my baking experience…. it sure does highlight the fact that I’m the worlds greatest procrastinator – but enough about me!

We didn’t have any plans for the Easter long weekend this year so I decided I was going to make my Good Friday count and bake my own (sultana free!) apple cinnamon hot cross buns – yum 🙂

My recipe came from the April issue of Gourmet Traveller and was quite easy to follow – my only complaint was that when measuring out the ingredients first you ended up in a bit of a pickle as you progressed through the recipe because the whole portion measured out wasn’t necessarily required for that part of the dish! Why not make it simple & mention this at the start?!  (Shhh – no it’s not up to me to read ahead & measure accordingly from the start!!)

Melbourne Food & Wine Festivities

With the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival over I thought it timely to review our experiences of festival 2010.

This year we didn’t actually go to many events – I’m not sure whether it was just a case of bad timing or whether the programme was all a bit meh?

So let’s begin with the positive –  Five Course Cocktail Degustation at Der Raum $70 p.p

It’s no secret that the folk at Der Raum know how to make a damn fine drink and it’s probably also no secret that they know how to organise an event – but this was a new discovery to us!

We were pleasantly surprised to enter the venue where we were promptly shown to our 2 seater bench far removed from anybody else (score!). The menu was explained to us and waters were poured. It wasn’t long before the last guests had arrived and first course was served.

Not So Ad Hoc At Home….

With the odd cooler day gracing Melbourne we felt it an appropriate time to get our soup on and what better way to start the soup season with a “simple, satisfying” chicken soup with dumplings from Tomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home.

A relatively new book to our collection we’d only made one other dish – the most delicious rubbed & braised pork spareribs. Aside from the long cooking time this was a very simple and straightforward meal to prepare so I thought to myself  ‘well… if Mr. Keller says that this chicken soup is simple then let’s do it’… how wrong I was!

Admittedly we had planned to make the soup over the weekend but like all good plans something came up & the soup got relegated to a Tuesday night dinner.  Knowing there was a fair bit of prep involved I got stuck in to cutting the carrots, leek, onions & celery the minute I walked in the door. Donny & I worked on separate areas – he looked after the choux pastry and chive dumplings & cooking the chicken while I looked after the vegetables & stock…

Saturday Night Festivities

A beautiful balmy Saturday night with no other plans meant only one thing for us… a bbq dinner in our courtyard 🙂

Donny was craving meat so he found an awesome looking recipe for grilled beef with a spicy dipping sauce from Neil Perry’s book Balance and Harmony (a purchase inspired after a memorable dinner at Spice Temple last year). Now that the protein was sorted I set out to balance Donny’s desire for meat with some kind of vegetables… I suggested we serve some of the pickled cabbage we’d made a while ago (also from the balance & harmony book) and the cucumber relish from David Thompson’s Modern Thai Food, as we’d been served this as an accompaniment to the much-loved egg net rolls at a recent visit to Longrain and it was quite yummy!

Cats and rhubarb don’t mix

Having decided that growing tomatoes is too water intensive for the low yield of fruit we achieved last year, I thought I might try my hand at rhubarb this year.

In September we went to Bunnings and purchased a rhubarb crown for a couple of dollars and within a week of planting we had our first new shoot. Success!

I was pretty chuffed at the growth, but the plant seemed to be in the path of Peaches & her favourite sleeping spot so any new growth kept on getting snapped off 🙁

I decided to invest in a plant guard but I fear it’s too late as there hasn’t been any sign of life for over a month.

I’ve done a bit of reading & hope that perhaps the crown is laying dormant in the hotter weather & will spring back to life in the cooler months.

Monday night cooking

Tonight we made Tiger Beer, Chilli Jam and Coconut Mussels from Teage Ezard’s book Lotus: Asian Flavours.

We had some left over chilli jam from last week when we made a super delicious Tom Kha, from the Longrain book Modern Thai Food so preparation for this dish was at a minimum (perfect Monday night cooking!)

The recipe suggested that if you were having trouble sourcing garlic shoots asparagus would be a suitable replacement… We were sceptical about this, but as our local green grocer didn’t have any garlic shoots we had no other choice.

Luckily for us the asparagus complimented the mussels perfectly – I knew everything would be ok once I started smelling the amazing aromas from the wok when Donny put the garlic and asparagus in!

Starting Out

After suffering through another Christmas day coffee hunt, the temptation of the sales was too much and we are now the proud owners of a coffee machine!

The last two weeks have been a real learning curve… Who would have thought making that perfect cup would be so technical?! First you have to get the grind setting right, then the tamp pressure, not to mention milk quality… ahhhhh!!!!

We purchased the coffee machine a week before our grinder and not wanting to delay the home coffee experience any longer, we bought a bag of ground Chompy from St Ali. The ground size wasn’t correct for our machine and while the coffee was ok, it was by no means as good as what we sampled in store.

Did you make a reservation?

I’ve been talking about starting my own food blog for a very long time…. so what is it that finally made me start???

…The overwhelming feeling of rejection & betrayal at being denied a table at our all time favourite Saturday afternoon lunch spots, thanks to a yum cha special in this weeks edition of the Epicure.

Suffering a serious case of Mondayitis, the outlook for the rest of the week was instantly improved when I received an email which simply said “you me david’s saturday”.

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