Desperado – Summer Smoked Fishcakes and Tomato Salsa

Every year for three months between February and Easter, a large tribe of my extended family descend on the Mornington Peninsula, near Melbourne, for our annual beach campathon. The weather is reliably pleasant, the immediate seaside location is sensational, the commuting distance back to Melbourne is short, and, most importantly, all of the tribe are keen on good food. The topic is never far away from our thoughts. What will we all make next weekend? Will we have a curry night?  Who wants some Mie Goreng for breakfast?  Where can we buy some decent fish on the peninsula? I need some sauerkraut  to go with my Kransky?  Whose turn to do the salt and pepper calamari?  On and on it goes. The wok is always out, we have two well set up kitchens, a BBQ, a large old retro fridge, and every kitchen gadget you can think of. Everything AND the kitchen sink.  All that sea air makes every one very hungry.

But travelling to and fro between two kitchens can make meal planning a little tricky. Returning last Monday, I was about to throw in the towel and considered a pub meal out. ( a desperate solution given that I live in a Culinary Black Hole)  Then I found a simple little recipe in a favourite book which I knew would only take 20 minutes to throw together. Nick Nairn saved the day.

Hot Smoked Salmon Fishcakes with Tomato Salsa   for two mains, or 4 starters.

  • 300 grams mashed potato ( I used Dutch Creams )
  • 150 grams hot smoked salmon in a piece, flaked
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • juice of a lemon
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • seasoned flour for coating
  • butter for frying

For the Salsa

  • 6 small  tomatoes, heirloom or vine ripened, cut into eighths
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped or sliced
  • 1 garlic , finley choopped
  • 1 – 2 fresh chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons EV olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • coriander roughly chopped- optional)
  1. To make the salsa, mix all ingredients and set aside.
  2. Mash the potato with a little butter, then add spring onions, flaked salmon, and squeeze the lemon juice into the mix. Fold together till of a suitable consistency and season.
  3. Shape the mixture into four fishcakes . Dip each side into seasoned flour.
  4. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the fish cakes for 3- 4 minutes each side until a golden colour . Keep warm.

To serve, Place a dollop of salsa on each plate and place a fishcake in the centre (or two for two mains) . Use the spare dressing to drizzle around the plate.

I have adapted this from Nick Nairn’s Top 100 Salmon Recipes. ( 2002) by altering the ratio of potato to smoked salmon. Scottish comfort food goes Asian – perfect.

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Charmaine Solomon’s Corn Fritters- Pergedel Jagung

I have recently renewed my passion for Indonesian cooking after returning from a two week journey through West Java and Sumatra where I spent the whole time eating! Travelling with Barnadi, a native speaker and chef, made it  so much easier to access all sorts of fabulous street food, particularly in the cool highlands of Puncak, and the quiet town of Cipanas, as well as tasty Sundanese banquets on the way. During my five-day cooking class with Barnadi, chef  and proprietor of the once famous Djakarta restaurant in Melbourne, I learnt a great deal. His recipes were gleaned from his mother as he grew up in Jakarta. I intend to explore these recipes in my blog over the next month.

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Corn fritters are a favourite street treat, often eaten as an afternoon snack or as part of an Indonesian banquet. I tried many versions of this popular snack, including Barnardi’s, throughout Indonesia and I haven’t made them for years. Today’s version comes from the classic book by Charmaine Solomon,The Complete Asian Cookbook, as part of the  Leah’s The Cookbook Guru. Each month a cookbook is chosen and participants may join by cooking and blogging one item from that book.  This has been a chance to re-live my trip to Indonesia, and re- acquaint myself with my old cooking mentor from way back, Charmaine Solomon, as well as being forced to follow a recipe ( with a few minor adjustments)

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Pergedel Jagung. ( corn fritters)

  • 376 g fresh corn kernels, cut from cobs with a sharp knife, ( I used three cobs)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon laos powder, optional
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 medium red onion ( or better, some red shallots)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 stalk of celery ( I omitted this it doesn’t appear as an ingredient in the Javanese versions I tasted)
  • 1/2 cup of water ( see notes below)
  • 1 teaspoon of belachan/ terasi/shrimp paste
  • squeeze of lemon juice ( I used lime )
  • vegetable oil for frying.

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Method

  1. Place ( or sift) the flour, ground rice, baking powder, salt and spices into a bowl.
  2. Quarter the onion and cut into very fine slices. Crush the garlic or finely chop.
  3. Mix together the water, beaten egg, terasi, and lemon juice and add to the flour mixture.
  4. Stir in the corn, garlic and onion.
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok. The recipe says to 12mm ( 1/2 inch) I made it deeper. When oil is hot, test with the end of a chopstick to see bubbles, drop mixture by tablespoons into the oil. They should flatten out to around 7.5 cms ( 3 inches) in diameter. Fry until golden, turn, fry the other side and drain well on paper towels on a wire rack. This keeps the fritters crisp.ImageImage

My notes.

  • Don’t crowd the pan. I cook 3- 4 at a time so that they remain crispy and therefore oil free.
  • I omitted the laos powder as I tend to use fresh galangal in Indonesian cooking.
  • I always toast the terasi/belachan over a gas flame first.
  • The cumin was an odd ingredient: it made the fritters taste more Indian.
  • The quantity of water changed from the 1992 version I own ( and happily acquired from Savers second-hand) and the 2011 edition which I borrowed from the library. The newer edition suggests 1 cup of water, which made the batter far too wet. I would suggest sticking to the original quantity of 1/2 cup, then add more water if the mix seems too stiff after the corn is added.
  • I only added a pinch of chilli, as this is a popular snack for children. Instead, serve it with a hot chilli sambal goreng or a glug of Kecap Extra Pedas.

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Really tasty with beer. Beer Bintang in Indonesia. Fifty Lashes or Coopers in Australia.  I have added a few pics throughout the post from my Indonesia trip, highlighting Barnardi’s corn fritters, which he serves with a sharp pickle and a variety of other dishes. ImageImage

In My Kitchen – February 7, 2014, an Anniversary Story.

In My Kitchen, I dream, plan, write, contemplate and meditate as well as chop, weigh, cook, time, taste and decorate. Friends and family come and go, drink wine, tea or coffee, laugh and gossip. Little ones open the pantry door to inspect the contents. Older ones with longer legs climb up on chairs to lift the lids of secret tins at higher levels. One of our many computers resides in the kitchen; it is a source of vital information during the summer months. We constantly monitor the weather, temperature, humidity and wind speed as well as checking the CFA site ( Country Fire authority).  We listen to ABC radio, our national broadcaster and independent icon, which relays up to date reports of fire and emergency warnings. We are vigilant and at times very uneasy. We self evacuate often. It hasn’t rained for weeks. The land is bleached and too dry. Beauty comes at a price.

As February 7 approaches, the 5th anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfire in Victoria, my mind wanders back to my beautiful pre- fire kitchen and the things that were there and the life we enjoyed in it. To be truthful, I think about my old kitchen quite often: it doesn’t need an anniversary to take me back. I can see the long jarrah wood benches, the green and cream Mexican tiles, the moon rising in the East window, the overloaded antique Australian pine dresser, the kookaburra paintings on the walls. I admire the apple green Fowler ware bowls on the shelves and the Italian plates collected from trips to Italy. There is a marble island bench for pastry and breads and a walk in pantry. In the centre of this large room stands a huge antique farmhouse table of kauri pine with black wood turned legs, antique kangaroo chairs, spindle backed chairs still retaining their original paint, and a quaint kangaroo high chair painted red. There is music and dancing, Nanna’s disco, laughter, cooking and food. This beautiful kitchen, as well as the house itself, was destroyed by the bushfire in 2009.

As the anniversary draws near, I reflect on two important perceptions:

  • the overwhelming generosity of Australian people during times of national disaster, and in this case, the Black Saturday bushfire of 2009, and
  • The ephemeral nature of material objects and the importance of non attachment.

I look around my current kitchen and am reminded of the generosity of the Australian people who donated goods, some new, some second-hand, money, and labour to those who lost everything in that massive fire storm.  In the first year following the fire, a year of temporary accommodation in converted sheds and house minding, we would visit Bushfire Relief and Support centres, to acquire the basics to begin life again. At first our needs were simple- underwear, second-hand clothing, towels and sheets, toiletries.  With each week, new needs arose- tools, spades, wheelbarrows, buckets to assist in the clean up of our blocks.  Then came the non perishable food items such as canned foods and pasta, the pots and pans, cutlery, crockery and so on. Some of these support centres were small and very personal. One centre in particular, the Hurstbridge support centre, run by the energetic Helen Legg and her team of tireless volunteers, became a special club- a place to chat with others, to share a laugh, a coffee, a weekly breakfast. If anything fabulous was donated to that centre, Helen held a raffle. Sometimes odd donations would arrive, for example a crate load of incontinence pads. Helen and co liked to  parade around wearing these napkins as hats.

Another bushfire relief centre was the size of a warehouse. It was a big day out going to Clayton, as it took three hours to view the massive aisles of donations. Most of the items, except food and toilet rolls, (!) were second-hand. It was a treasure trove. In terms of the kitchen, I found a classic old Kenwood mixer, some wonderful little entrée plates once used in first class on Qantas flights, and numerous pots and pans. There were second-hand towels, still with plenty of life left in them, sheets, and toys.  Lost amongst the boxes, I found a little gift wrapped parcel, containing a hand towel, some soap and some pegs. Attached was a neat hand written note. “I hope this will come in handy. Best wishes”. This was typical of all those who donated. It was given so freely and anonymously. Big and small, all was appreciated. I received a wonderful  white platter from a friend of the mother of my son-in-law. I use it all the time. A friend of my niece passed on a colourful purple bowl, made by Leon Saper of St Andrews market, now deceased, knowing that I would have owned some ( she was right).  My niece sent a new copy of The Cooks Companion, by Stephanie Alexander, but made sure it was the original orange one! it is  inscribed, ” Zia, Spring will come again. Louise”. Family members were exceedingly generous with money and donations. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, the Country Women’s Association, The RSCPA – on and on it goes.  People who remark on our Resilience may not know that we owe this to the Australian people.

The second perception, the ephemeral nature of objects and non attachment, was dramatically reinforced during that life changing event. Let’s visit my Kitchen of five years ago.  To be precise, this visit occurs from February 11th as we were prevented from returning to our destroyed homes for some days as the police and army searched for the dead- although some photographers made it their business to jump the control lines and to this day I still feel ambivalent about this.  Some photographers saw beauty in the charred remains of the bush.  We only saw terror. A small digression!

We enter the smashed and gnarled house: nothing appears to have survived. We discover a small terracotta plaque hanging on the crumbling wall above the wine cellar.  It is Balinese and depicts a scene from the Ramayana. I attempt to lift it from the wall. It disintegrates into invisible dust. It doesn’t crack, crumble or break- it simply vanishes. It survived on that wall for three or so days until a human hand touched it.

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My cook books had a dedicated bookcase – they are transformed into a snow white blanket. The ashen pages can still be discerned.  The following day, a strong wind removes any evidence of their existence.

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Green depression glass is welded and re -sculpted by fire. Antique Chinese Buddhas lose their heads and ears. A dishwasher sags, there are still items left inside.  The Ilve stove, still young, is a burnt out shell. Plates are smashed and cutlery blackened.  A sink lands on the ground. Pottery enjoys its time in the new kiln, but smashes under the weight of falling walls.

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The photos of My Old Kitchen below are aired today – I haven’t looked at them for a long time. Value what you have but don’t be attached to objects. We have a lend of them for a while, then they vanish as we all must.

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I would like to thank all the Australians who donate during times of disaster. This fundamental goodwill and generosity makes me proud to be Australian. And lastly, thanks to Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, the amazing host of this monthly expose of In My Kitchen. Please visit her site to see other inspiring February kitchens.

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Cauliflower Indian/Chinese- Gobi Manchurian via Kerala

I have been trying to be healthy. No cheese, less wine, no chocolates and none of those other things either, but it’s getting boring. Looking at the big cauliflower lurking in my fridge, I considered another salad or a lean stir fry, but my body yearned for something more satisfying, something fried!  Time to attempt my first Gobi Manchurian.

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I first came across this Indian – Chinese dish in Fort Cochin, Kerala, India in 2012. Once discovered, we ate it every second night at Casa Linda.*

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On returning to Melbourne, we sourced some very tasty versions in Sydney Rd, Brunswick.*  Gobi Manchurian is a spicy Indian cauliflower dish incorporating Chinese elements in the sauce.  Serve it with fat white rice, such as Sunrice medium grain rice. I noticed that Keralans don’t use Basmati  and I have come to appreciate medium grain rice again. Oh, to return to Kerala,  God’s own country.

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The recipe is a version from Saveur, but I have altered it slightly.  This makes a piggy amount for two, or serve with another dish, for example dhal, for four.

Ingredients.

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2- 5 cm. pieces peeled fresh ginger (1 cut into thin rounds, 1 julienned)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  •  salt
  • 1/3 cup cornflour/ cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup  plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp.red chilli powder
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp. plus 1.5 tbsp. soy sauce
  • Peanut or canola oil for frying
  • 1 small onion,finely chopped
  • 2-3 chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup tomato sauce/ketchup
  • 1 tsp.or more sesame oil
  • 1 scallions, thinly sliced
  • coriander leaves

Method

1. Purée garlic, the ginger slices, and a little water in a blender; set aside. Boil cauliflower in a pot of salted water until tender, 6–7 minutes; drain.

2. Whisk together cornstarch, flour, chilli powder, 1⁄4 tsp. salt, and a little pepper in a bowl. Stir in half the garlic paste, 1 tsp. soy sauce, and 1/3 ( approx) cup water to make a batter.

3. Pour oil into a large deep wok to a depth of 3cms; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, dip cauliflower in batter; fry until golden, turning, 5–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.

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4. Drain all but about 3 tbsp. of the oil. Add onion; cook for 3–4 minutes. Add chilli and remaining garlic paste; cook until paste is lightly browned, 1-2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, remaining soy sauce, sesame oil, and a little water. Boil; lower heat to low; simmer until thick, 1–2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; toss cauliflower in sauce to reheat.

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5. Garnish with remaining ginger, scallions, and coriander. Serve with white rice and yoghurt or raita.

*Casa Linda, Dispensary Road, Fort Cochin, India

*Bilal, 860 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Australia 3056

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Ode to Garlic and a Simple Bruschetta

There are hundreds of Italian proverbs dealing with garlic. Some deal with the puzzo or stench of garlic: others sing its praises. My favourite is  L’aglio è il farmacista del contadino –Garlic is the peasant’s pharmacist.

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The benefits of garlic:

  • Throughout history in the Middle East, East Asia and Nepal, garlic has been used to treat bronchitis, high blood pressure,TB, liver disorders,  rheumatism, diabetes and fevers.
  • According to many studies, garlic is widely used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, including hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease,  and blood pressure.
  • garlic is said to lower levels of osteoarthritis in women. Image

The list of health benefits goes on and on. I add garlic to nearly every savoury dish I cook, but raw garlic has greater health properties. Add raw garlic to guacamole, babaganouge, humous, salsa verde, aioli, garlic butter, salad dressings. Slice it raw onto pizza, fish, tomatoes. Or make some bruschetta.Image

To celebrate this season’s garlic crop, dried and carefully plaited by Alessandra, I am making some simple bruschetta, using the best sourdough bread from St Andrews Bakery and a premium Cobram extra virgin olive oil. Slice the bread thickly, brush with Extra Virgin olive oil, and grill in a ridged pan, pressing down to get nice charred marks. Remove, rub with lots of galic, and add more oil.

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“Non piangere” – disse l’aglio alla cipolla. “Non fiatare” – rispose la cipolla.

“Don’t cry” said the garlic to the onion. “Don’t breathe” replied the onion.Image

If everyone ate garlic, no one would detect the smell on others. However , chewing parsley leaves or eating yoghurt will neutralise the smell.

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Are you a garlic devotee?

 

Almond and Honey Spice Cake for La Befana

The Epiphany, January 6th, is celebrated in many places throughout the world in various ways. It signifies the Three Wise Mens’ visit to the infant Jesus. In Italy, the focus is on La Befana, a benevolent old witch, who delivers gifts to children. Traditionally, the gifts consisted of toys, caramelle and fruit or carbone, a lump of coal and some garlic if they had been naughty.

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Legend has it that Befana was approached by the Three Wise Men a few days before the birth of the Jesus. ( I only own two!)  They asked her for directions as they had seen his star in the sky, but she did not know the way. She provided them with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village. The magi invited her to join them on the journey to find the baby Jesus, but she declined, stating she was too busy with her housework and sweeping.  Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to find the three wise men and Jesus. That night she was unable to find them, so to this day, La Befana flies around on her broom, searching for the little baby and visits children with gifts on the evening of January 5th.

Australians don’t celebrate the Epiphany but there is something very appealing about the idea of a crazy witch riding around on her broomstick looking for Jesus. I can relate to this figure. Tonight we will eat an Almond and Honey Spice Cake because we have been good, and something very garlicky because we have been naughty too. The recipe lives in my tried and true handwritten recipe book.

The cake

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 75g castor sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 180g almond meal
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk.

The Spiced Syrup

  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

The Orange Honey Cream

  • 3/4 cup thickened whipped cream
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 Tablespoons finely grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 180c ( 160c fan forced). Grease a 20 centimetre deep round cake tin, line base and sides. Beat the butter, sugar, honey and spices in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Fold in the almond meal, semolina, baking powder, and milk. Spread mixture into the pan and bake for around 40 minutes. Stand cake for 5 minutes, leaving in pan.

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To Make the syrup. Stir ingredients in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Boil uncovered for 5 minutes to thicken syrup. Pour over hot cake. Cool cake to room temperature.Image

Place the cake onto a serving plate. Decorate with the remaining spice ingredients. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Serve with orange cream (Beat the ingredients together and serve at room temperature.)

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The cute little poem is known by all Italians.

La Befana vien di notte                   The Befana comes at night
Con le scarpe tutte rotte                  With her shoes all tattered and torn
Col vestito alla romana                    She comes dressed in the Roman way
Viva, Viva La Befana!                       Long Life to the Befana

Per Alberto, Quest’anno, soltanto carbone.

In My Kitchen. January 2014

Happy New Year. It’s time to reflect, to plan and to clear out the old and unwanted from our kitchens and our minds!  I remember reading an interview with Germaine Greer years ago, where she described her favourite New Year’s Eve activity. She laundered and pressed all her fine white Italian linen. I have also begun this task. Image

Grazie Mille, many thanks, to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the monthly In My Kitchen. It’s a chance to have a peep into the many kitchens around the world and get inspiration from the small detail of  every day life.

In My Kitchen are the last of the peaches from our tree. Nothing compares with the taste of a warm, fully ripe peach freshly plucked.Image

These two little woven containers prove so handy in summer. I purchased them in Bali this year. They prove invaluable in summer for carting the cutlery outdoors.

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I cannot resist buying Panforte each Christmas, and I usually receive a couple as gifts also. They bring back memories of Siena, and Monteriggione nearby, where I was a student many years ago.

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These little terracotta bowls were purchased at the Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick. They sit on my bench, still unused, reminding me of tapas and summer plan for ‘al fresco’ dining.Image

This little pink grater comes from Chiang Mai in Thailand, purchased for 20 Bhat- less than $1.00.  So handy for summer salads.Image

And finally the Zucchini Plague has begun. My favourite zucchini recipes are re-appearing, some are being rehashed and updated and will appear in the next few posts.Image

Eating Tiramisu with a Long Spoon- and No Cricket

Some people look horrified when I tell them how much I hate cricket.  It is as boring as watching paint peeling off the wall. The cricket invades many Australian households in the days following Boxing Day. It is the sound of summer, of endless holidays and heat. For me, it is the excuse to dig out my boxed set of Blackbooks, the English TV series starring those three outlandish characters, Bernard, Manny and Fran. I identify closely with them all, and often greet people with quotes from one episode or another. Only my friend Ally P totally understands this obsession.

In one episode, Manny, referring to himself, says “He’ll be watching the test match in bed eating tiramisu with a long spoon.” I’ll just have the Tiramisu thankyou,and the rest of you can keep the test match, the Ashes and all of those other bits of crickety tedium.

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This is a recipe adapted from the SBS recipe site. I have added more soaking liquid as the original used insufficient for the volume of bsicuits and marscapone. The recipe can be halved.  I usually make it for Christmas Eve,then get to eat leftovers, with a very long spoon, on Boxing Day. As the dish is a “pick me up”, it relies on the strength of the coffee and the alcohol.

Ingredients

  • 6  eggs, separated
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 500g mascarpone
  • 2 cups freshly made hot, strong, espresso coffee
  • 100 mls of Tia Maria or Brandy/Frangelico/Marsala
  • 400 g packet pavesini biscuits or savoiardi biscuits (The skinny ones are better)
  • good quality dark chocolate, grated, or sifted Dutch Cocoa.

Instructions

  • Beat the egg yolks and the sugar for at least 15 minutes, or until thick and white. Add the mascarpone and beat until just combined but smooth.
  • Beat the eggwhites until thick and stiff, then gently fold into the mascarpone mixture.
  • Combine the coffee and liqueur in a bowl. Quickly dip the biscuits into hot liquid, and lay them in the chosen serving dish or dishes.
  • Add a layer of the mascarpone mixture, then more soaked biscuits, and so on until all is used.  Refrigerate for at least 2–3 hours, or overnight.  Before serving, top with a generous dusting or Dutch cocoa and/or grated dark chocolate.ImageImage
  • The success of a good Tiramisu depends on the strength of the coffee and alcohol and the generous soaking of the biscuits.

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  • The dessert keeps well, covered for a few days.
  • A multi layered version is tastier than a low layered one

 And save some to eat with a long spoon while hiding from the cricket.

Buon Natale – Merry Christmas 2013

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A warm and sunny day awaits us.  No cloud, no wind. No threat of tropical downpours, arctic winds or heatwaves, all of which are possible in Melbourne on Christmas Day.Image

Preparations are in progress for the feast. I am so pleased the venue for the family gathering rotates and will be held at my sister’s house this year.  Best wishes to all, but especially to the those who cook for the day!Image

The Mother of all Christmas Trees

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

The hunt is on to find a pine tree to chop down for Christmas. Pine trees ( Pinus Radiata) are considered weeds in Australia: they invade bush areas and starve indigenous vegetation of moisture, nutrients and light. They also increase soil acidity and spread easily. Unlike our other invasive weed, the blackberry, pine trees are difficult to remove when large. We recently spent $4,000 removing an ancient specimen from our land. It was the mother of all Christmas trees.Image

Each Christmas we search for a sensible looking pine tree in the bush. This annual ritual has become a family joke. Mr Tranquillo and sons head off into the bush with axes while I hum the tune I’m a lumberjack and I’m Ok , a memorable tune and one worth glancing at when needing youtube procrastination time.

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It’s always the same old story. They return grinning sheepishly, dragging a ridiculously large specimen, while I run around like some mad strega on steroids, dodging the branches that invade the whole living room, threatening to buy a Kmart plastic tree or go without if another dainty one is not found.

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This year I am accompanying the lads. Where’s my checked flannelette shirt?Image