thanks for coming out and shooing the rain away. It feels like forever since I’ve seen you! can you hang around all Autumn?
hurry up and come home…
dear lemon zest,
I’m going to give you a miss for a while, because you didn’t go so well in my salad and you’ve been repeating on me all morning and I don’t feel so good…
I hope your new hip is awesome & that Gracie is taking good care of you. also, please don’t give your old hip to Nate to chew..that’s truly disgusting.
dear people who steal borrow my recycling bin,
please stop it. it’s driving me freaking insane! then I have to “borrow” someone else’s for the week. and I bet that makes them crazy too.
thanks for being my person. and thanks for giving me sage advice even when I think I don’t need it. and thanks for buying me those two little rugs in Perth which are half the price of what I’d pay here in Sydney!
thanks for being an awesome hairdresser. my hair looks 100% better now, which makes me feel better! see you in 6 weeks!
dear Prince William and Princess Catherine,
along with the other 2 billion people around the world I watched your beautiful wedding on TV. It was so touching it brought a tear or two to my eye…I wish you the very best and hope you have a beautiful life together!
I had been looking forward to the Jacksons coming over for dinner at our new place for weeks! I spent a good portion of what should have been working hours thinking about what I’d make; tossing up back and forth between Italian and French (my two favourite cuisines). I decided on French because Jay bought me a crème brûlée set for Christmas (a cool kitchen blow torch and four Gordon Ramsey dishes) and I hadn’t ever attempted making one myself (although I eat it at any restaurant I visit!). I should have gone with Italian.
Entree: Cauliflower soup with crispy bacon, porcini mushrooms & bread crumbs Main: chicken braised with white wine, cream & thyme served with green beans and roast herbed potatoes Dessert: crème brûlée with icecream
Monday was a public holiday, so I got up early and while watching the ANZAC remembrance on TV, I started making the crème brûlée. I made 6 in total (2 for testing) and they were progressing perfectly (cream custard mix was divine and the cooking and cooling went well) and the test brûlées tasted amazing! It was only when dinner came around and the blow torch broke down and I had to cook them under the grill that it all fell apart. I burnt them, then scraped off the burnt top, re-chilled them and grilled the them again but the custard had warmed too much and although they tasted nice, they became a warm custard pudding with toffee tops…..
Crème Brûlée – recipe by Donna Hay
1 ltr single pouring cream
8 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, sliced length ways and seeds scraped
1/2 cup caster sugar
extra caster sugar for the top (2 tsp per brûlée)
I love warm soup on a cold day. Its rained every year on memory over Easter and this year was the same. Actually, it’s still raining now!
I didn’t follow a recipe for this Cauliflower soup, but here are the ingredients:
Cauliflower Soup with crispy bacon, croutons & porcini
1 head of cauliflower, stems removed & cut into florets
1 large brown onion, diced
1 litre of chicken stock
1 cup of water
1 cup single pouring cream
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms; rehydrated
4 slices lean bacon, diced
2 slices bread (sour dough preferred), finely diced or blitzed in the food processor
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs olive oil
salt & pepper
*tip: you’ll require a big saucepan for this
Cook onion over medium heat til translucent (careful not to brown), add in garlic and cook for a 30 seconds (or until fragrant). Add the cauliflower, stock and water and simmer for 20 mins (or until cauliflower is tender).
Meanwhile, over medium heat fry off bacon for a few minutes then add in bread and porcini and fry til crispy (about 3-5 mins). Take off heat and put to the side til ready for serving.
Pour soup into a blender or use a handheld blender with a heat attachment to blitz directly in the pot. Add in cream, season to taste. Serve in a bowl garnished with bacon mixture!
This soup was tasty and turned out well, unlike my main & dessert….
Chicken braised with white wine, cream & thyme served with green beans and roast herbed potatoes
Chicken recipe from Delicious Magazine
4 large chicken marylands, bone attached, trimmed of excess fat & skin
2 tbs olive oil
2 carrots, cut into 4cm lengths, quartered
8 eschalots, halved
1/2 small bunch thyme
2 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup pure thin cream
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tsp plain flour
10g unsalted butter, softened
12 baby chat potatoes, par-boiled
2tbs olive oil
500g green beans
For the chicken; place in large deep frypan over medium heat. Add olive oil and fry chicken skin-side down til golden brown (3-4 mins). Turn over and continue for 2 mins. Remove and stand on paper towel to soak up excess oil. Carefully pour off fat from pan, clean with paper towel. Return chicken to the pan with carrot, eschalot, thyme, garlic and wine. Place over high heat and bring to the boil, then reduce to low heat, cover and braise for 30 mins. This can also be cooked in a 180°C oven. After 30 mins, add cream, cayenne pepper and season with salt & pepper. Continue to cook for 15-20 mins until chicken is succulent and falling off the bone. Remove chicken & veggies with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
Combine flour & butter in a small bowl to form a paste (called a rue) then whisk into sauce. Simmer for 1-2 mins to cook out the flour taste. Serve over chicken & veggies.
This would have all worked out well if I didn’t add in a purple carrot….I just wasn’t thinking!
For the roast potatoes and green beans, take the par-boiled potatoes and crush with your thumb*, toss in a bowl with olive oil and mixed herbs. Bake in a 200° oven for 20-30 mins til crispy & golden. (*you smash with your thumb to create more edges for crispiness. A Jamie Oliver tip!)
5 mins before serving, add green beans to salted boiling water for 2 minutes.
So as you can see, purple chicken and warm custard = disaster! At least Ian and Janine didn’t seem overly phased. After they left Jay gave me a big cuddle and reassured me it all tasted nice. It just didn’t look that good!
I knew I should have gone with Italian….but at least the wine was good!
My husband doesn’t like prawn dishes (though he’ll eat them pink, boiled & briny the way you buy them from the shop), so getting him to eat something ‘prawny’ is notoriously difficult.
Last week during a work lunch with my engineers I had a really delicious prawn linguine. I immediately wrote down the ingredients (from what I could see/taste) to emulate at home.
I made it for dinner on Easter Sunday and imagine my delight when Jay said he loved it!
Here is my sun-dried tomato, prawn and rocket linguine:
Ingredients (serves 2)
16 green (uncooked) prawns; peeled & deveined
2 small eschallots (French onions); finely diced
2-3 cloves of garlic; grated
1 long birds-eye chilli; deseeded to taste & finely chopped
handful of sun-dried tomatoes in oil; drained & sliced
handful of flat leaf parsley; roughly chopped
2 handfuls of baby rocket
2 tbs olive oil
2-3 tbs sun-dried tomato pesto
2 servings of linguine (fresh pasta is best, but dried is fine); cooked til al dente
third-cup grated Parmesan cheese
seasoning (salt & pepper)
wedge of lemon to serve
In a large saucepan, boil water, add pinch of salt then add linguine and simmer til al dente (follow packet instructions but usually 8-10 mins).
In a large fry pan, heat olive oil over medium heat then add eschallots, garlic and chilli and cook til onion is translucent (3-5 mins). Add in prawns and cook stirring occasionally til slightly pink (again 3-5 mins). Add in sun-dried tomatoes and parsley then turn off the heat.
Drain linguine (once done) and add into the prawn mixture. Stir through sun-tomato pesto and rocket leaves. Season to taste.
Divide among serving bowls, sprinkle over Parmesan and serve with wedge of lemon.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen; I’m only a third of the way through but so far it’s a beautiful story of loss, adventure and love…
Nicki Minaj‘s album Pink Friday. She’s so totally cool! I love ‘Moment 4 Life’ and ‘Your Love’ whose music video is like an Ang Lee epic fight to the death! So brilliantly artistic!
this mousaka recipe I saw on Curtis Stone’s Take Home Chef that I’m going to try out (I even got the most beautiful deep shiny purple eggplant from the side-of-the-road stall yesterday on my way home from Mum’s!)
Doing this long (Easter & ANZAC) weekend:
sleepover at my friend Tam’s with her two little girls, chasing Harley down the beach while he’s running after horses, getting my nails done, walking down Glebe Point Rd with no-one in sight, watching a James Bond marathon on Fox Classics, eating Lebanese food (yum!), lavishing my husband with praise for being the best fix-it-man ever!, dropping Mum to the airport, cooking a French dinner party for Jay, Ian & Janine, paying tribute to those who gave their life for our freedom, dropping Jay to the airport & baking.