April 27, 2010

Creamy pasta with salmon and capers

Bowlful of creamy comfort food with a lovely salty twist provided by beautiful soft French capers. This makes going back to work after a long weekend almost bearable.

Creamy pasta with salmon and capers

400 g salmon file, cubed
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
3 big tbs French capers, chopped
1 wedge of preserved lemon, peel only, finely chopped
150 ml heavy cream
2 big handfuls of pasta, cooked al dente
crushed black pepper

Heat some olive oil and butter in a pan, add onion and cook until translucent. Add salmon and cook for a few minutes. Add capers, preserved lemon and cream and cook for a further few minutes. Add cooked pasta and heat through. Season well with crushed black pepper.

April 26, 2010

Must have Mondays - Oiva tableware

All images by Marimekko

I am religious about Scandinavian design. Names like Iittala, Marimekko, Fiskars and Arabia are all up there on my shopping list whenever I go back to Finland. Luckily, these collections are also widely available here in Australia. I love this latest tableware from Marimekko because of it's retro outlook.

Oiva in good company tableware

Oiva in good company tableware

Oiva in good company tableware

Oiva modern classics tea pot

April 23, 2010

Chocolate Orange Marquise

I just love the combination of dark chocolate and orange, like this one I made for Christmas last year. Marquise is a very dense, rich, chocolate dessert and in my opinion orange gives it the extra kick without making it too sweet.

Now I know some marquise recipes do not require any baking, but simply chilling. This one, however, is cooked in bain marie and it could be just that giving it the beautiful moistness without the feeling of eating pure chocolate mousse. Not that there would be anything wrong with that either :-)

Enjoy this with friends because not only is this rich, it is also a recipe for 6-8 people. Recipe from Chocolate Ecstacy.

Chocolate Orange Marquise

200g caster sugar
60ml freshly squeezed orange juice
350g plain dark chocolate (I used a combination of 200g 50% chocolate & 150g 70% chocolate), broken into squares
225g unsalted butter, cubed
5 eggs
finely grated rind of one orange
3 tbs plain flour
icing sugar and orange rind to serve

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a round 23cm tin with a depth of 6 cm.

Place 115 g of the sugar in a sauce pan, add the orange juice and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted, then add the butter, cube by cube until thoroughly melted and evenly mixed.

Whisk the eggs with the remaining sugar until pale and very thick. Add the orange rind and fold in the chocolate mixture lightly and evenly. Sift the flour on top and fold in.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin. Place in a roasting tin and pour hot water in to reach about halfway up the sides of the cake tin.

Bake for 1 hour or until the cake is firm to touch. Remove the tin from bain marie and let cool. Turn the cake onto a plate and decorate with icing sugar and orange rind.

April 20, 2010

Simple noodle stir fry with poached salmon

I have made a similar stir fry before, but this time I experimented with different vegetables and spices and different method of cooking the fish. I do like the poaching method; it is just so stress free and it makes it very easy to control the cooking, especially if you prefer the salmon a bit pink in the middle. Sea salt flakes taste delicious on the fish and in my opinion it doesn't need any other seasoning (part from crushed pepper perhaps) next to the flavoursome noodles.

Simple noodle stir fry with poached salmon (serves two noodle needy people)

1 red onion, thinly sliced
half red chilli, finely sliced (add more if you can palate it, I can't!)
thumb size piece of ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bok choy, sliced
1 telegraph cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thick slices
200 g bean sprouts
3 tbs kecap manis
sesame seeds, to taste
shichimi togarashi
sesame oil, to taste

300-400 g salmon file
sea salt flakes
crushed black pepper

Heat some oil in a frying pan or a wok and add the onion, chilli, ginger and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft. Add bok choy, cucumber and bean sprouts and cook until the vegetables have wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Use fork to loosen the noodles, then rinse well. Add the noodles in the pan and season with kecap manis and sesame oil. Return the vegetables to the pan, add sesame seeds and shichimi togarashi and mix well.

Place the file of salmon in boiling water, cook for a few minutes or until cooked to desired point. Fork into smaller pieces, season with sea salt flakes and crushed pepper and serve with noodles.

April 19, 2010

Must have Mondays - Of Cabbages & Kings

I wasn't going to make this a weekly thing, but since it is Monday and it's my second "Must have"-post, I might as well call it "Must Have Mondays". I come across many cute/funny/wacky/interesting designs, and I would love to share at least some of them with you. How about that cake stand with a pair of legs sticking out?!

All images by Of Cabbages & Kings
Hmm this may not be my usual style but I am loving these!

April 18, 2010

Pea and Rocket Soup

Something healthy after all that indulgence... This recipe is from a book called Bowl Food. I love frozen peas: they are excellent crushed with some butter and onion or in a soup like this one.

Pea and rocket soup

1 tbs olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
700 g frozen peas
100 g rocket leaves
750 ml hot vegetable (or chicken) stock
black pepper
parmesan and rocket leaves to garnish

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the peas and the rocket and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the stock, bring to boil and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Season the soup with black pepper, then process in a food processor or with a stab mixer until almost smooth. Serve with parmesan and rocket leaves.

April 17, 2010

Eastwood Garden Peking Restaurant

After having the opportunity to enjoy the delicious Chinese food at the wedding reception last month I have been increasingly fascinated and intrigued by this wonderful cuisine. I had read about the Eastwood Garden Peking Restaurant which was especially praised for their Peking duck, and so when the opportunity arose to dine in the area, I just had to try it out.

I have to admit I didn't have much to compare with, but my experienced dining companions confirmed the duck really was good. I certainly enjoyed it as I did all other dishes we tried.

Peking Duck served with cucumber, spring onion and deliciously sweet hoi sin sauce.

Rest of the duck was used for San Choy Bow served in crispy lettuce cups

Steamed Minced Pork Dumplings with Chives served with vinegar. Have I mentioned how much I love dumplings?

Pan Fried Bun with Minced Pork was equally tasty

And the Chilli Squid was so nice and salty

My first ever deep fried ice cream - Yuuuu'um!

We ended the night with some drinks at Chocolate Kkmoz

Thank you to our dear friends for the lovely night!

April 13, 2010

Must have - Ingenious Cookie Cutters

Image: Cox & Cox

How cute are these cookie cutters?? I don't bake cookies that often, but these cutters are definitely making me feel very inspired!

April 10, 2010

Delicado Foods, McMahons Point

I really like Spanish food: chorizos, sardines, olives, jamon, paella, all of it, so you can imagine how much I was looking forward to a lunch at Delicado Foods.

I was drooling over the deli looking at all those olives and chorizos

The jamon

The interiors are very colourful and Hispanic

Mediterranean Olives: varieties include arbequina, sevillano, ligurian & others, house marinade

These were possibly the best olives I have ever had (mind you I haven't been to Spain)

Roasted salad of eggplant, semi dried tomato, beetroot, artichoke & baby spinach

Sardine tartlet, braised fennel, olive tapenade, roasted tomato

The pastry was so flaky without being too buttery at all, the sardines were perhaps a bit mellow, but the olive tapenade on top was just delicious

Coffee and check out the spoon (Tamworth Country Music spoon)

April 08, 2010

Last Bits of the South Coast

I have a few more places and pictures to show you before I'm done with the beautiful South Coast of NSW!

On our Jervis Bay day we visited the Coolangatta Estate which is the site of the first European settlement in this region. After some wine and cheese tasting you can take a self-guided tour around the convict-built village and inhale the beauty and the calmness of the place (something that was perhaps lacking in the crowded Nan Tien Temple!) Accommodation is also available if you wish to stay longer.

Wine tasting on offer

Leaving the coast we headed inland towards Kangaroo Valley.

Hampden Bridge is Australia's oldest suspension bridge

Fudge House and Ice Creamery in Kangaroo Valley town has free fudge tasting :-)

Kangaroo Valley still had breath taking views despite the cloud

It was a rainy (and misty) day at Fitzroy Falls...

The award winning Gumnut Patisserie in Bowral sure was a popular spot!

Lamb and rosemary pie from the Gumnut Patisserie... mmm

South Coast definitely has some great scenery and food to offer! Berry was my favourite :-) Can you tell?

April 07, 2010

The Treat Factory, Berry

Have I talked enough about Berry yet? No, I didn't think so... Berry is a real gem and I was really surprised to find so much character in such a small town. Along with great cafes and restaurants, there is also The Treat Factory. Now, I know it sounds like something from a children's book and in fact it's not far from it: just imagine shelves full of jams, marmalades, chocolate coated nuts, handmade chocolates and truffles, fudge and lollies and the list goes on. And it gets better: they have free tasting!

There is a chocolate room...

Jams, marmalades, jellies, butters, chutneys, sauces, mustards, oils...

Chocolate coated nuts and fruits...

Handmade chocolate...

Truffles and fudge...

Old fashioned boiled lollies...

And some treats for us

You gotta love Berry! :-)