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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Cooking with family…poached peaches with rosemary and honey cake

poached peaches with rosemary

I recently had my nephew to stay and on our journey from his home near Bathurst to my residence in Sydney we stopped by at various markets and pick-your-own orchards along the way.

We came away with a large bag of ripe peaches from a small run farm at Bilpin in the Blue Mts, it was wonderful to see that he was just as excited as I was to be picking our own fruit fresh from the farm.

A couple of days later once the fruit had ripened, we made a lovely afternoon treat with the homegrown rosemary from his mother’s garden, honey sourced from a local bee-keeper near my home on the North shore and the delicious peaches.

the benefits of cooking...licking the bowl!

We poached quite a few peaches so had some lovely options for dessert over the next few days, including a simple coconut and vanilla pannacotta which was sublime with the peaches!

coconut pannacotta with vanilla bean and poached peaches




Oysters with Margherita granita

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This one of my favourite summer traditions, fresh shucked oysters purchased from the Sydney Fish Markets served with an icy cold and refreshing granita……. a perfect way to impress my dinner guests, with minimal effort from the cook!

1 cup white sugar

2 limes finely grated,  zest only

3 medium sized freshly squeezed lime juice

2 nips tequila

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt

doz. oysters

Lime wedges and fresh chervil, for serving (optional)

In a medium saucepan, heat cups water and sugar over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute.
Stir in lime zest and juice, tequila, and lemon juice. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Pour mixture into a shallow dish; cool, then cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Freeze until set, 6 hours or overnight.
Using the tines of a fork, scrape mixture until flakes form. Freeze (covered) until ready to serve, place little mounds of granita on each freshly shucked oyster and garnish platter with lime wedges and shell fish with chervil leaves.

oysters

 

 

Homemade Cordial

Homemade cordial come with three big benefits – first, you can make it far tarter than most of the commercial ones; second, it actually tastes like the fruit you’ve made it from; and, finally, you get to see quite how much sugar goes in to making the cordial, which means you’ll be more cautious about how much you use!
This recipe will work with pink grapefruit [pictured below] lemons, madarin or a combination of citrus.
3 cups of strained juice
finely grated zest from 4 fruit
2 kg castor sugar
1 litre water
30g citric acid
30g tartaric acid

Heat the sugar and the water in a large saucepan until the sugar completely dissolves

Add the citric and tartaric acids and stir them to dissolve as well.

Add the citrus juice and the zest to the sugar syrup.Leave to infuse for 1/2hr then strain into a jug

Using a funnel, slowly pour into sterilised bottles.  

Ensure that the glass bottles are hot when you add the hot fruit syrup, as the hot syrup will crack them otherwise. [Wear washing gloves as this will protect your hands and wrists from the hot syrup]

To serve: dilute with 2/3 sparkling water or soda water or perhaps a clear spirit for the grown-ups like Gin or Vodka….whatever takes your fancy!

Pink Grapefruit Cordial

Broadbeans

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Broad beans have the shortest season of all beans.  Broad beans are best when still small, sweet and only just cooked.

Buying
When purchasing broad beans choose young pods with a vibrant colour and a similar size to allow uniform cooking. Discard beans with brown patches, or ones that are floppy and limp. If in doubt, ask to open a pod and look at the beans inside.

Storing
Store in the crisper section of the refrigerator for a day or two. Alternatively pod beans, blanch in boiling water and freeze in plastic bags for later use.

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Pasta with broad beans, lemon and Parmesan…..delicious!

Preparing
If you have very young broad beans, once podded they can be boiled briefly and enjoyed as they are. For most broad beans we recommend double podding.

This means taking the podded beans, cooking them briefly in boiling water and refreshing under cold water. Then remove the pale green skins from the beans. This is easily done by inserting a small knife or thumbnail into the skin and creating a slit. Then push the vivid green bean halves from their skins. Discard the pale green skins.

This is double the work, but it is also double the flavour.

I recommend you take advantage of the short season and enjoy broad beans to the full.

Pizza quattro formaggi, with rocket and balsamic glazed figs

I sampled a perfect brunch for my lazy Sunday today….. a thin pizza base [that I had stored in my freezer] topped with some of my favourite flavours.

Ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese and torn fresh basil leaves topped with baby bocconini cheeses and given blast in a very hot oven. This was then topped with rocket leaves and the ‘piece de resistance’ ….. caramelised figs with a balsamic glaze.

Absolutely divine!! …….. the only improvement I can imagine would have been an addition of Gorgonzola to the cheese selection,  to add a hit of lusty blue to this creation.

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