Bits & Bobs
A property has been found and bought. We’re very lucky it didn’t take very long, but in between endless Saturday walks to stickybeak at houses and working at Urban Food Market and my 9 to 5 job I haven’t had much time for cooking. But I have been doing little bits at home and eating out at a few places.
How could I not mention La Casa! My best twitter buddy and all round awesome person, Carmel Ruggeri and her husband Smiley and her brother Tony, have finally opened the doors to their family restaurant. Located in the inner west, it’s a fantastic room, with mouth-wateringly good food. Try Mamma’s polpetti, the woodfired pizza and the rabbit..oh, and don’t forget the cannoli!
Carmel’s good mate Jared Ingersoll also opened up the Cotton Duck the same week as La Casa in new foodie hotspot, Holt st, in Surry Hills. It’s a gorgeous quirky looking place, with a really interesting menu, featuring pumpkin pie for dessert and “Green stuff”…
Coast at Cockle Bay has transformed their amazing terrace facing the water into a most fabulous bar…lot’s of lounges and small tables for two dot the large space, making it a great spot to hit for some lush after work drinks on a Friday afternoon. Coming into the warmer weather I think this spot is really going to be very popular. Follow their twitter account to find out about regular wine tastings (look out for the #spitbucket hashtag). These babies were my favourite morsel we ate, scallops with mushroom butter. So good.
I have been cooking up a few morsels here and there, but nothing major..
At a recent barbecue I was tasked with bringing along dessert. A request had been made for a tart I had made once before using Carême chocolate pastry, crème pâstissière and fresh strawberries. A super simple, easy and popular dessert; you could change it up with whatever fruit is in season, and it’s not too sweet, rich or heavy..
After making the filling for the tart I had some egg whites left over. Not being a macaron maker, I thought the simplest thing to do was make something meringuey. But I didn’t just want to do the standard old pavlova. My mate Mel then sent me a link to a Delia recipe, a chocolate hazelnut meringue roulade. Now, not wanting to go the whole hog late of an evening, I used the basic recipe to whip up some tasty treats. Lucky I had recently bought some hazelnuts! I made individual meringues dusted with Valrhona cocoa. Yum!
Carrot and cranberry muffins
Another treat to whip up that’s kind of healthy, these carrot and cranberry muffins were originally made with the intention of using up some carrots, little did I know how yum they would be. So yum, even my boyfriend ate them. They’re low fat, and chock full of goodness.
Recipe adapted from Taste.com.au
- 2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 carrots, peeled, grated
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a 12-hole 1/2-cup capacity muffin pan.
- Combine flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in walnut and carrot. Make a well in the centre.
- Combine milk, egg and oil in a jug. Pour into well. Stir with a metal spoon until mixture is just combined.
- Spoon batter into muffin holes until two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack. EAT
Lamb, Rosemary and Chilli Ragu
My favourite winter recipe this year! This recipe was on the cover of .Delicious magazine earlier this year by Andy Bunn of Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh. Such a simple dish but AMAZING flavours. You need a good heavy oven proof pot with a lid for this one..
- 1.5 kgs lamb shoulder, diced
- 3x 750ml bottles of tomato passata
- a couple of anchovies
- parmesan rinds (optional)
- 120g piece of pancetta (optional)
- 1-1.5 teaspoons chilli flakes
- 1 bunch of rosemary
- pasta of your choice
- Pre-heat oven to 150°
- Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper
- Brown in batches over high heat
- Once browned, throw it all back in and mix through passata, topping up with water, and bring to the boil.
- Then add anchovies, parmesan rind (don’t worry you’ll fish it out at the end!), chilli and picked rosemary,
- Return to the boil, cut a circle out of baking paper to fit the inside of the pot.
- Take it off the boil, cover with with baking paper, pop the lid back on and pop in the oven for 2.5 hours.
- Check it periodically to ensure it doesn’t get to dry.
- Once you’re happy with it, pick out your parmesan rind and serve.
I’ve made this ragu many times since. It’s perfect for slow cook Sundays, and requires virtually no work, especially if you get your butcher to dice the meat for you. It’s also great to freeze.