Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Brie, Bacon and Broccolini Tart

1 par-baked 22 cm shortcrust tart shell - frozen pastry will be fine
1 bunch broccolini, cut into cut into 4 segments each( or use 1 head broccoli cut into florets)
220 grams bacon (can use less)
250 grams brie, cut into small wedges
4 eggs
1 cup cream (or milk)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

- prepare the tart shell
- heat a pot of boiling salted water and cook broccolini for 4 minutes (broccoli 3 minutes) then drain well
- dice bacon and place in a cold pan. Gradually heat the pan to allow the fat to run and continue until cooked through but not crisp. Drain well on paper towel.
- to prepare filling, beat the eggs lightly and combine with the cream and the seasoning.
- to assemble the tart, scatter the broccolini segments, bacon, brie wedges evenly over the base of the tart shell.
- pour eggs mixture over the filling. it is easier to add the last of the filling when the tart is in the oven.
bake in a 200C oven until the filling is almost set 20 - 25 minutes
-it will complete its cooking as it sits

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

This recipe formed part of this weeks Coles Supermarket catalogue. According to the recipe it serves 6 but I am inclined to say it serves up to 10 so you may wish to halve the recipe.

2 corn cobs sliced into 4 or 5
1 medium zucchini cut into chunks
1 brown onion cut into thin wedges
250 gram cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 butter nut pumpkin cut into chunks
500gm penne pasta
2 sprigs rosemary
2 cloves garlic not peeled
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoon seeded mustard
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 balsamic or red wine vinegar
( and the cooked garlic cloves)

freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve

- pre-heat oven to 220C (200c fan force)
- combine all ingredients except dressing and Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper in a bowl
- tip onto a large baking paper lined tray and roast for 25 - 30 minutes until vegetables are golden
- cook pasta according to packet directions
- combine dressing ingredients together. Peel garlic, squash on a board and add into the dressing. toss all ingredients together and serve with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake

This recipe is taken from Taste Perfect Home Cooking with David Herbert in The Weekend Australian magazine May 5-6 2007, page 40.

photo on the way

4 tablespoons poppy seeds
3/4 cup milk
juice of 1/2 lemon
250gm unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (250gm) Castor sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs
2 cups (300 gm) plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
lemon syrup - recipe below

- oven 180C
- grease a 25cm kugelhopf, bundt or ring tin
- soak poppy seeds in milk and and lemon juice for 1 hour
- beat butter, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl for 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy
- beat in eggs, one at a time, alternating with a little flour until combined.
- sift together remaining flour and baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, then fold into mixture
- gently stir in milk and poppy seed mixture until smooth and combined
- spoon into prepared tin
-bake 55 - 60 minutes
- allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes then turn out on a cooling rack
- brush hot lemon syrup over top and sides of cake
- leave to cool

Lemon Syrup
- combine juice from 2 lemons add 125gm Castor sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, then simmer gently for 5 minutes

Chicken Korma

Don't you get frustrated when you have been buying an product from your local supermarket for many years where you can walk blindfolded to the exact location and take it from the shelf without looking or thought. Well I used to be able to do so with my favourite korma spice mix but not any more. I have had to make my own spice mix but it is not the same. The family liked it anyway.

photograph on the way

1 onion, diced
2 teaspoon grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 - 10 chicken thighs cut into 3 cm cubes
1 onion sliced
1 can lite coconut milk
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 ground almonds
3 potatoes, peeled, cut into 3 cm cubes
2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
1 1/2 red capsicum diced
1 bunch coriander

- blend ingredients up to vegetable oil
- heat oil and add onion slices and cook on low heat for 5 minutes until soft
- add chicken and cook stirring for about 6 minutes until colour has changed - may need to be done in batches
- return all chicken to the pan
- add blended spice mixture and cook for a minute
- add potato and cook for a couple of minutes
- add apple, capsicum, cinnamon stick, ground almonds, coconut milk and enough water to just cover
- cook until chicken is cooked and potatoes are cooked but still hold their shape
- stir in roughly chopped coriander
- serve with rice

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Spicy Date and Ginger Squares

I am a great fan of ginger flavoured cakes but not crystallized ginger. this recipe is from Australian Gourmet Traveller March 2002 edition I think. It is one of many recipes cut out of magazines waiting their turn to get cooked.

Photo to follow.

170 g (1 cup) chopped dates
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125 g soft butter, chopped
220g (1 cup) Castor sugar
2/3 cup golden syrup
2 eggs
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground allspice ( I used 1/2 cinnamon and 1/2 nutmeg)
300 (2 cups) plain flour
60g soft butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 teaspoons golden syrup
240g (1 1/2 cups) icing sugar mixture, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- combine dates and milk in small bowl and bring just to the boil, ,remove from heat and add bicarbonate of soda and let it stand for 10 minutes
-beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add golden syrup and beat til well combined
-add eggs, one at a time beating well then add spices and half the flour and mix well.
-stir in date mixture and mix until smooth then add remaining flour and mix well
- pour into a 20 x 30 cm lined tin and bake 180C for 30-35 minutes
- stand in tin for 5 minutes and turn onto rack to cool
- beat butter ginger and golden syrup until soft and well combined.
-add icing sugar, 1/4 cup at a time and beat well after each addition, then stir in lemon juice and mix well
-spread over cake
-cut into 5cm squares
-can keep in an airtight container for up to a week
-makes about 24 squares

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Jam Donut Muffins

Perth at the moment is having beautiful weather even though rain would be nice, it is ideal weather to visit Kings Park with friends.

This recipe is from (great to find another West Australian foodie blog)
They are easy to make and delightful mouth size treats.

Photograph on the way

1 2/3 cups self raising flour

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon+ extra 1/2 teaspoon

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup caster sugar + extra 3 tablespoons

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

raspberry jam

2 tablespoon butter

- preheat oven 180C

- lightly grease a mini muffin tray

- sift flour, salt, cinnamon and sugar together in a large bowl

- in separate bowl, mix the oil, egg and milk together

- add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir until just combined

- half fill the muffin tins with batter

- add 1/4 teaspoon jam to each muffin then cover with more batter

- bake for 20 minutes or until risen and golden

- remove from oven


- melt 2 tablespoon butter in a small bowl

- mix together 3 tablespoon caster sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

- while muffins are still hot, dip their tops into the melted butter and then into the sugar and cinnamon mix

- cool on rack

- recipe says it makes 24 ( I made 36 mini muffins)

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

I love muffins that have a cake texture rather than a moist texture. These did not disappoint. They were simply divine. The recipe appeared in The West Australian newspaper in the "ask the chef" section many years ago but I have just got around to making them. The chef was or maybe still is No 44 King Perth Head Pastry Chef Nick Niederberger.

This recipe makes 10 big Texas-style muffins. I halved the recipe and make 9 don't be so greedy size.
700 grams SR flour
half teaspoon baking powder
200 grams soft brown sugar
200 grams white chocolate bits
500 grams raspberries - fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
250 ml maize oil (I used vegetable oil)
300 ml buttermilk ( or milk with a teaspoon lemon juice and stand for 5 minutes to thicken)
4 eggs

- preheat oven 220C
- line muffin tins with paper patty cases
- combine oil, eggs and buttermilk in one bowl
- in another bowl combine SR flour, baking powder, brown sugar and white chocolate bits
- make a well in the dry mix and pour in the wet mix
- gently combine with your hand (I used a plastic spatula) being careful not to over-mix
- gently fold in raspberries
- divide mix between muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes (test with a Skewer)
- leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Cake by Ruby's Patiserre

My Sister turned 50 in April and held a joint celebration with her husband who will turn 50 in a couple of months time. She choose Fraser's Restaurant in King's Park for a buffet breakfast. As a passionate gardener and a lover of unusal plants, views overlooking King's Park and the city was a prefect venue.

Her celebration cake was made by Ruby's Patiserrie. Compliments to the baker. It was divine. Individual chocolate cup cake with pink icing and a chocolate heart on top. The cakes were placed in small takeaway noodle boxes and sealed with a gerbera sticker and given to guests as they departed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

YoYo Biscuits

This recipe is from Thursday January 25, 2007 edition of The West Australian Newspaper. I first made this recipe a week ago for a special birthday morning tea. It was my mother-in-law's 85th birthday. The morning tea was made even more special by her twin brother being with us to celebrate his birthday also. The biscuits were a winner.

250 grams butter, room temperature
1/3 cup icing sugar mixture
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour

60 grams butter, room temperature
1/2 cup pure icing sugar
3 teaspoon passionfruit pulp with or without seeds or freshly squeezed orange juice

- preheat oven to 160C (150C fan force)
- cream butter and sugar until light in colour
- add sifted flours and stir to a stiff dough
- pipe or spoon on to a tray covered with baking paper ( may press slightly with the back of a fork to create lines on top of biscuits)
- bake for 10-12 minutes don't allow to colour too much

Icing method
- beat butter until it is soft and light in colour
- add sifted icing sugar and juice.

- makes 16 joined biscuits
- cool

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wild Hogs - A Movie Review


(John Travolta, Tim Allen, William H Macy, Martin Lawrence)

Hey, what not to love about this movie. Four middle aged guys look to 'prove' they haven't lost it by undertaking a road trip on their motorcycles. Four very funny actors, some genuine laugh out loud scenes, and a movie with its heart in the right spot.

Get out of my way I'm joining the wild hogs!

The Lives of Others - A Movie Review


This movie won the director the Oscar for the best foreign film last year and after seeing it I can understand why.

Set in 1984 in East Germany it follows the plight of a playwright who comes under surveillance by the state secret police - the Stasi. The film showcases a system rotten to the core where to quote George Orwell "all people are equal, but some are more equal than others". Despite the overbearing State prying on its citizens, some people manage to display goodwill to others, even those who are part of the Stasi. And what a great ending to the movie.

I came out of the movie thankful for the freedoms that we all enjoy in our society, and an admiration for those who were able to bring down the Berlin wall and disrobe the rotten communist system. Yes, a movie can sometime get you thinking like that!

To delve more into the Stasi read Anne Funders book ' Stasiland'. I remember reading ,I think in this book, that it was estimated that one in three persons in East Germany was involved in some way with spying on their fellow citizens. There are no 'good old days' in East Germany.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Muesli bars - homemade

When one of your children does not eat cereal or toast for breakfast, but instead prefers leftover green thai curry from last night's dinner, breakfast food can become tricky. Freshly made fruit salad is enjoyed on the weekends but on a school day when there is limited time, a suggestion was me to make muesli bars.
I am still trying out different recipes. Muesli bars although high in fibre tend to have a high fat (butter or oil) and sugar (sugar, honey or golden syrup) content.

This recipe was found on the Internet and the source is Super Foods Ideas - February 205, page 82.

Makes 16 squares

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 pumpkin seeds (pepitas) ( I used chopped dried apricots)
1 cup sultanas ( I used raisins instead)
125 grams butter
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar

- grease and line a 3cm deep, 16cm x 28 cm (base) baking tray with baking paper
- cook oats, coconut wheatgerm, sesame seeds, sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden then transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. stir in sultanas ( raisins and apricots)
- cook butter, honey and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring , for 3-4 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil the reduce heat to low. Simmer without stirring for 7 minutes or until mixture forms a soft ball when a little is dropped into ice-cold water.
- add to dry ingredients and stir until combined
- spoon mixture into pan and press down firmly
- all to cool and then cut into 16 squares
- store in a foil lined airtight container for up to 7 days

Monday, April 2, 2007

Chocolate cinnamon crumble cake

Recipe is found in belinda jeffery's tried-and-true recipes book page 150. I had to make a special cake for a special friend as I forgot to phone her on the day of her birthday. I was given for my birthday a silicone kugelhopf cake mould as a gift and decided to give it a try out. the cake cooked beautifully in the mould and was easily removed from the mould when cooked.Forgot to camera to her home to photograph the cake with the ganache poured over the cake.

1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 plain yoghurt, at room temperature 9 I used low fat yoghurt)
1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups castor sugar
250 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon cool strong coffee or coffee liqueur
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

cinnamon crumble
1/2 cup brown sugar
70 grams toasted pecans
1 tablespoon cocoa powder - preferably Dutch processed
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee granules
90 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped

chocolate ganache icing (optional)
125 grams dark chocolate, in chunks
65 grams unsalted butter
25 mls water

- oven 180C
- butter and flour a large kugelhopf tin
- mix together sour cream and yoghurt then stir in bicarb soda and leave to stand for 15 minutes so the mixture puffs up to about double in size
- while this is happening make the crumble
- put all the crumble ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the chocolate and nuts are coarsely chopped. Put this into a small bowl and set it aside
- now put flour, baking powder and salt in the processor and whiz to combine then tip this into another bowl and set it aside
- next put eggs and sugar in the processor and whiz them for 1 minute then add the butter and process everything for another minute
- stir coffee or liqueur and vanilla into the sour cream mixture then add this to the egg mixture in the processor and blend it all together in a few quick bursts.
-scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the flour mixture until the batter is just combined (if you have a large food processor, you can use it for this step as well)
- spread quarter of the cake batter into the bottom of the prepared tin and smooth out the surface, then sprinkle a third of the crumble mixture over the top and shake the tin gently to even it out
- repeat the layering twice and cover the final layer of crumble with the remaining quarter of the cake batter (this layer will be quite thin)
- bake cake 55-60 minutes, or until a fine skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let it cool in the tin on a rack for 15 minutes then invert onto a cake rake and allow to cool completely
- if making the chocolate icing , make it at this stage and let it cool to a thick pouring consistency then drizzle over cake and leave it to set
- otherwise dust cake lightly with icing sugar
- cake keeps well uniced for up to 3 days in an airtight container
chocolate ganache icing
- put all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat
- stir until the chocolate and butter have melted and are smooth
- allow to cool to a thick pouring consistency, about 20 minutes, before using
- makes about 3/4 cup

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Penne pasta with roast pumpkin, red onion, sage and nutmeg

This recipe featured as a recipe of the day by Sophie Zalokar in The West Australian Newspaper.

This was very simple to prepare and the flavours were delicious. My husband described the pasta dish as "posh pasta"

1/2 large Jarrahdale or Kent pumpkin peeled and cut into large chunks
olive oil
400 gm penne pasta
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion sliced
1/4 cup sage leaves
4 spring onions roughly chopped
1/2 - 1 whole nutmeg, grated ( I used a total of 3/4 teaspoon for my family's taste)
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
grated Parmesan cheese

- preheat oven 240C
- place pumpkin in large baking tray and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat and roast in the oven until caramelised approximately 20-30 minutes
- meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook pasta until al dente
- drain pasta and leave in the colander covered with lid.
- heat the 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in the pasta pot and fry the red onion and sage on high until golden brown.
- add spring onions and continue to cook until wilted
- now toss the pasta through the onion/herb mix together with the roasted pumpkin, half the grated nutmeg and Italian parsley
serve with the remaining grated nutmeg sprinkled over the top and the grated Parmesan on the side

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Almost 'No Stir' Pea and Lemon Risotto

My daughter has an immense dislike of peas and when I mentioned what I was cooking for dinner this evening, the look on her face said it all. We have a deal that she eats the number of peas equal to the number of years old she is and at the moment we are up to 14. This evening she did not count the peas and loved the risotto. The risotto was served with rack of lamb cutlets and cubed roasted butternut pumpkin (a favourite of my daughter)

Recipe from The Weekend Australian Magazine March 3-4 2007 Taste Perfect Home Cooking with David Herbert

1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock- simmering
45 gm butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

- heat 30gm butter in large saucepan
- add onion and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until soft but not changed colour
- add rice and lemon rind and cook for 1 minute stirring to coat rice with butter
- add wine, stir and allow almost to evaporate
- add about 1/2 of the stock to the rice mixture
- stir well and adjust temperature so that the mixture is bubbly away slowly
- check after 5 minutes and add remaining stock and peas, giving it a good stir
- keep an eye on the pan, stir occasionally
- it will take 18 - 25 minutes to cook
- to test if cooked the rice should be soft but retain a little bite.
- remove from heat and add remaining 15 gm butter and Parmesan
- cover and allow to sit in a warm place for 5 minutes before serving
- serves 4

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Walnut Crescents, ANZAC Biscuits-Harmony Day Lunch

Walnut Crescents (Vanilla Kipferl, Kourabiedes, Walnut Shortbreads)

Recipe from Maureen Simpson published in The Women's Weekly magazine

250 gm softened butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200gm walnuts - finely chopped (can use food processor)
2 1/2 cup plain flour

- oven 180C (160C fan force)
- cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
- add walnuts to butter mixture
- add flour to butter mixture and mix to form a dough
- place a dessertspoon of mizture inbetween your palms and roll into a tapered roll and shape into a crescent
- bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until they start to clour. Keep eye on them as they can easily burn
- transfer to a wire rack and while still warm, dust with icing sugar(not icing sugar mixture) then leave to cool
- sprinkle with icing sugar again prior to serving

ANZAC Biscuits

Recipe from Better Homes April 1998. The texture of these biscuits is chewy rather than hard.

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 shredded coconut
125 gm unsalted butter (cannot substitute with margarine)
2 tablespoon golden syrup
1 1/2 teaspoon bi-carbonate soda
2 tablespoon boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- slow oven 150C
- mix together oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl
- melt butter and golden syrup together
- dissolve bi-carbonate soda in the boiling water and then mix into the butter mixture
- add butter mixture to the dry ingredients and the vanilla extract
- place tablespoon of mixture on a paper lined tray leaving 6-7cm to allow for spreading
- cook 13 - 16 minutes

The Good German - A Movie Review


(George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire)

Set in Berlin shortly after the end of the war, with the 1945 Potsdam conference as a backdrop, this is a fairly standard thriller, with the Americans and Russians scrambling to get their hands on the Germans behind the V2 rocket program.

But what earns this movie four stars is the look and feel of the movie. The director, Steven Soderberg, has filmed it as if it was actually filmed in 1945. I have read that he only used film techniques that were available to the filmmaker of 1945 to give the film an authentic look. And he succeeds brilliantly. Think of watching 'Casablanca' and you'll get the idea.

Cate Blanchett is, as usual, very good as the downtrodden Berliner ; she really is a chameleon as an actor. Tobey Maguire is very creepy, and Clooney doesn't have to work too hard in his role. Jack Thompson also stars and is great, but boy has he stacked the weight on!

I love movies that try something different - 'A Scanner Darkly', 'Sin City' - and The Good German, whilst not pushing cinema to new heights, stands out from the current crop of movies on offer.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bread Salad with Mozzarella -Coffee at Tarts Cafe, Northbridge

Saturday morning at Tarts Cafe was crazy. Everyone appeared to be out this morning before the hot weather set in for the day. Going to cafes in the neighbourhood are always full of unexpected surprises of catching up with friends and neighbours. And this morning was no exception.

Aaron the barista is leaving which is disappointing as he makes an excellent soy latte. He is moving to the Lincoln's Cafe still within the neighbourhood. It will be opening within a few weeks. Definitely we give it a go.

Couldn't resist copying out a salad recipe from a magazine. I didn't have any mozzarella but it was still delicious and filling. I try and have a few vegetarian meals a week.

Bread Salad with Mozzarella

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1/3 cup EV olive oil
1 loaf ciabatta (or similar) cut in 2-3cm cubes ( I used Turkish bread still warm from the
500gm stringless beans Istanbul Kitchen)
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoon tiny capers
400gm can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 punnets cherry tomatoes
500gm mozzarella, torn
1/2 bunch basil leaves

preheat oven 190C
combine garlic with pinch of salt to make a paste
add oil and whisk to make garlic oil
place cubed bead in bowl and toss 2 tablespoons of garlic oil
place on lined baking tray lined and bake 10minutes until crisp and golden
cook beans until they loose their "squeak" then drain and refresh under cold water
combine vinegar with pinch of salt and whisk until salt has dissolved
whisk in remaining garlic oil and capers
combine bread, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil in a serving bowl
drizzle dressing over
stand 10 minutes
serves 6 ( serves 4 as a lunch)

Scoop - A Movie Review


(Woody Allen, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman)

First up, I am a Woody Allen fan, so this colour my judgement to an extent on this film. I am predisposed to like any Woody Allen film, especially the ones he also appears in.

Scoop is a lighthearted murder mystery set in London. Scarlett Johansson is Sondra Pransky, a wannabe journalist, on holiday in London. Allen is 'Splendini', an American magician performing in small halls in London. They are both visited by a recently departed famous journalist who tells them of a journalistic scoop - Lord Lyman (Hugh Jackman) is the serial killer known as the Taro Card killer. He pleads with them to follow up the story and bring Lyman to justice.

What follows is an enjoyable comic romp as the intrepid Pransky and the bumbling Splendini set about solving the mystery of who is the Taro Card killer. Is the highly respected Lord Lyman really the killer? And complications arise as Pransky and Lyman fall in love.

Woody Allen is as funny as ever with, as you'd expect some great one liners (in response to Pransky's taunt that he only ever sees the glass half empty, he replies ' no I see the glass half full, but full of poison'). Scarlett Johansson is great as the slightly nerdy Pransky, but Hugh Jackman is rather wooden ( as one reviewer put it and I agree) as Lord Lyman. Why they could not get a British actor to play the suave British aristocrat I'll never know.

All my family (two of whom are not great Allen fans) enjoyed this movie. One and a half hours of fun. Go see it!.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hollywoodland - A Movie Review

Rating ****

(Adrien Brody, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane, Bob Hoskins)

Maybe I was just in the mood for some film noir, maybe it was the atmosphere of watching the movie in Luna's tiny cinema four, maybe it was getting in to see the sneak preview, whatever it was I loved this movie.

Adrien Brody stars as the private eye investigating the suicide of George Reeves (played by Ben Affleck), the man who was the TV series Superman (unfortunately I'm old enough to say I enjoyed that show). Set in late 1950's the movie tells the rather sad story of what happens when an actor becomes typecast. The movie perfectly portrays a seedy underbelly that lays under the glossy surface of LA, similar to the way James Ellroy's books do.

OK so Adrien Brody is the typical PI; a broken marrigae, battle with the bottle etc etc, but he plays the role to perfection. And what a hairstyle! Ben Affleck is great, and Diane Lane fits pefectly into the role of his older lover. Perhaps Bob Hoskins as the studio boss is slightly miscast.

Shades of Chinatown about this movie. Go see it if you like your film noir!

Pizza Night, Friday Night

Finally I have victory. My dough is rising beautifully before my very eyes.
Why the excitement you may ask. The decision to eat out is a difficult decision in our family as no-one can agree. One wants Thai, someone else wants Indian another wants mum to cook. The solution is individual pizzas with your own choice of topping.

Pizza Dough
This recipe is from Margaret Johnson who writes for The West Australian newspaper with a little tweeking from me.

1/2 cup (125 mls) warm water
1 sachet dried yeast
2 tablespoon "00" flour

- combine the above ingredients in a large bowl to make a runny smooth paste
- cover and allow mixture to bubble which can take up to 10 minutes
- add the following ingredients

375 mls warm water
760gm "00" flour
2 tsp salt

- you can use the dough hook attachment of your mixer (or by hand). The consistency should be soft adjust a little sticky.
- turn onto floured surface and knead for approx 5 minutes
- place dough in an clean oiled large bowl and cover with plastic wrap
- leave in a warm place to double in size takes about 1-2 hours
- turn dough out and knead lightly
- cut into 8 portions (this will make 25cm pizza bases)
- knead each portion into a smooth ball and cover and rest for 20 minutes
- roll out the dough into a thin circle


Pizza Bianca - scatter with sea salt and finely chopped fresh rosemary then drizzle generously with EV olive oil. Cook in a preheated oven 230C 7-8 minutes

Spinach and Pine Nuts -300gm baby spinach leaves washed, 2 cloves garlic crushed, 2 tablespoon pine nuts, 1/2 cup pitted black olives, 2 cups grated mozzarella. Place spinach in large frying pan over med-high heat until wilted. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. season with salt and pepper. spread spinach over base followed by pine nuts and olives. Top with mozzarella and bake in 230C oven approx 12 mins. This quantity will make 2 x 30cm pizzas. (recipe from delicious magazine)

Tomato Sauce - 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 clove garlic sliced, 1 pinch chilli flakes, 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano, 800gm whole tinned tomatoes. Heat oil and add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add all remaining ingredients and cook for at least 20 minutes. If there is too much liquid take saucepan lid off. Mash tomatoes and allow to cool. Spread the some sauce on a base and top with grated mozzarella cheese and cook in oven.
This is a family favourite. Simple but delicious. It reminds me of the pizzas the family and I ate in Italy at Forno di Campo de' Fiori. Here you can buy the piece by the metre.

Walnut, Apricot and Fig Torte - morning tea with the sewing mums

Sewing/ beading / knitting was what we used to do when the group met in the begining. That was some 11 years ago when the children were starting school.
We continue to met throughout the year, perhaps not as frequently as we would like due to other committments like part time work.
What hasn't changed amongst the group is the friendship, support , a good chat and endless cups of tea and coffee. There is always room for a slice of cake.
This week's morning tea was special in that many of the daughters attended their graduation ball in the previous week. Some were partnered by our sons. Stories and photographs aplenty.

Walnut, Apricot and Fig Torte (Gluten-free)

Spoted the recipe in a newspaper. The article says it is a famous torte from Sweethearts Cafe in Melbourne. I am told the cafe serves fantastic breakfasts. A question was posed to me Was this cafe an inspiration for Cold Chiesel's song Breakfast At Sweethearts?

9 egg whites
2 1/2 cups castor sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup chopped dried figs
1 1/2 tabspns cornflour
1 teaspn vanilla extract

- grease and line 24 or 25 cm springform tin
- beat egg whites until stiff
- while beating gradually add sugar. Continue to beat 'til it is smooth and sugar has dissolved
- combine walnuts, apricots, and cornflour in a bowl
- fold nut mixture through meringue mixture
-fold through vanilla
- pour into tin and bake 90 minutes at 150C til golden brown and firm to touch then reduce temperature to 120C and bake for a futher 1 hour
- turn off oven and allow cake to cool in the oven
- serve with lots of fresh cream

Sunday, March 11, 2007

About this blog

My birthday was celebrated with friends old and new at Leeuwin, Margaret River. Long lunch was at the Watershed and then onto Leeuwin Winery for the evening concert. My birthday gift to myself was to set up a blog to share my passion for food and the enjoyment of cooking food for others.

To make the site appealing to a wider audience my husband time permitting will add his book and movie reviews. My husband sees a movie a week on a Tuesday night ususally at a Independent cinema in the inner city . You may have seen him. He generally goes with a couple of mates otherwise alone while I do homework supervision with the children. He is also one of those fortunate people who has several novels on the go. Generally the novels are non-fiction. He has submitted book reviews to Good Reading Magazine. There was no financial gain so instead they will now appear on my blog

My philosophy in cooking is anything that can give pleasure to others must be shared and not guarded in secrecy.

One hears too often when asking if you can have the recipe, it is a family secret and cannot be disclosed. If the recipe is given, an ingredient maybe missing or a quantity is incorrect. We must remember that the family secret will die with the keeper of that recipe. Further generations within the family and friends will not have the pleasure of enjoying that recipe.

My children do say the recipe for brussel sprouts can be lost. I don't mind the odd brussel sprout or two with a roast dinner. Brussel sprouts were an affordable vegetable when living in Notting Hill, London in the early eighties. I would happily never to eat tripe again. My childhood memories are having tripe stew/casserole every Saturday night for dinner after having played netball in the rain. One of my sisters cherished every mouthful of tripe with delight.