Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Slice

Posted by: melonqueen

August 9th, 2012 >> Sweets, Tupperware

So apparently it takes a sick day for me to find the time to sit down and update this blog! I will admit, I have had quite a bit happening the last couple of months. Work has been busy and I am excited to say that I started TAFE a few weeks ago and am now studying my Certificate III in Patisserie! That leaves me with one day a week free and I tell you, it’s taking some major adjusting.

Luckily though, I was able to find the time to make some delicious cookies and cream cheesecake slices on Sunday. I also try and fit being a Tupperware demonstrator in with everything else, and when I saw our T-Bar set was on special this month, I figured I’d find something more exciting to use it for than just homemade muesli bars! I always thought it would be great to make a slice of some sort in, and the first one to come to mind is a Kraft recipe that I’ve been using for a while – Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Slice. So be warned, this is in no way a fructose friendly recipe! I have also adapted quantities and “Tupperised” it so it is prepped using mainly Tupperware equipment.

Cookies and Cream Slice

Ingredients
1 1/2 packets of Oreos
50g butter
250g Philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup thickened cream
1 1/2 tsp powdered gelatine dissolved in 1/8 cup boiled water
100g white chocolate

To start off, crush 1 packet of Oreos into a fine crumb using the Smooth Chopper with the blade attachment. These crumbs will be part of your base

Melt the butter in the Tupperwave 1L Jug (I did it for about 60s on medium, but it will depend on your microwave). Add the butter to the crumbs and mix in the Smoother Chopper (only takes a couple of pulls before it’s mixed)





Spoon the mixture between the 4 cavities in the T-Bar tray and use the plunger to firmly press it down. Place the cover on top and put in the fridge for about 30mins



Soften the Philadelphia in the Tupperwave Jug (I only did it for about 30s)

Using the paddle attachment, beat together the Philadelphia, sugar and vanilla in the Smooth Chopper until smooth



Melt the chocolate in the microwave (took around 90s at 50%) in the Tupperwave Jug. While that’s in the microwave, mix the gelatine into the boiling water





Add the cream cheese mixture to the white chocolate in the jug and pour in the gelatine. Mix together using the TupperChef spatula.

Roughly chop half a packet or Oreos using the blades of the Smooth Chopper and then stir through the cream cheese mixture



Pour the mixture into each of the cavities. This does make more than you need to fill them, so I poured some into a takeaway container as a bit of an extra snack. But if you have some smaller containers like the Snack Cups, you can make little individual cheesecake cups.



Cover the tray and pop it back into the fridge. These will take at least an hour to set. After, to help remove them from the trays, I used a butter knife which I ran around the edges, then used it to lever to slice out. They can then be stored in the T-Bar Keeper. I also cut them down further because I thought that a whole slice would be a bit too much! I quartered each one.





Hope you enjoy and it can inspire you to think outside the square with the T-Bar set! It’s so much more than a muesli bar maker!

Much love,
Melonqueen

Sprout Cooking

Posted by: melonqueen

May 20th, 2012 >> Classes, Out and About

As I write this post, I am coming down off a massive high. Yesterday was my 25th birthday and I spent a wonderful afternoon with good people and good food, then the night at the NKOTBSB concert. As I child of the 90′s, how could I give up the chance to see the Backstreet Boys and New Kids On The Block in one show?! I’ve been singing their songs all day today! I’ll share a couple of pics at the end of the food from the party :)

Anyway – Enough babbling! I promised a post on my adventures with Sprout Cooking and here it is! A little background – Sprout is an amazing cooking school in Adelaide run by Callum Hann (runner-up MasterChef 2010) and Themis Chryssidis, an Accredited Practising Dietitian. Sprout’s classes tend to have an educational aspect to them – From gluten free, to vegetarian, to women’s health and superfoods, you’re likely to walk away from one of the classes having learnt not just about cooking, but about theory about whatever the topic of the class in.

On Monday May 7, I was lucky enough to attend the Gluten Free class held at the Adelaide Central Markets kitchen. Walking in to the room, it is a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. They keep the classes small, so on arrival, I sat at the table and met a couple of my fellow classmates and we all had a bit of a chat with Callum and Themis.

When the class commenced, we sat around a table where Callum showed us the prep for the first recipe we’d be making – Cranberry, Pistachio and Orange cookies. These would form part of the dessert, but we’ll get to that later. While talking us through the preparation of the cookies, the guys spoke about the ingredients they were using, touching on topics like gluten free flours and xanthan gum.

We then paired up (most people were there in pairs, but luckily, there was another single like me and we paired up to cook) and prepped our biscuits:

While our cookies were baking, we gathered around once again to watch the next dish we would be making – Fish tacos (or in my case, corn tacos). Callum taught us a brilliant way of preparing salsa, one which I will be using! He called it Chopping Board salsa, and it essentially is preparing the whole lot on the chopping board and sort of mixing and chopping the ingredients together to get the flavours coming out a lot better than just if you chopped it and mixed it in a bowl. And I have to admit – It works! I have never had a more flavoursome salsa!

Back at our cooking stations, my partner began preparing the salsa while I prepped the fished for her, and Callum dropped by to show me how to prepare the corn. I have his book The Starter Kitchen (Murdoch Publishing, RRP $24.99) and have been wanting to try the Dude Food corn for a while, so I was happy when the method he taught me for the corn was the same from his book. Heating the corn in the frypan while still in the husks will steam the corn on the inside, and you can use this method on the BBQ as well! Once cooked, the kernels were cut from the cob and the mixed with a bit of parmesan, lime juice and salt and pepper. We used gluten free soft tacos, and I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of the soft taco. I find that hard tacos just crumble and make a bigger mess, these are easier to keep the food in one place – In my mouth!



Once we all had made our tacos, we sat down to eat. A matching wine was offered (which I politely refused, I hate still being on my P’s sometimes! And yes, wine isn’t the best choice on a Low FODMAP diet either), and Themis took the time to have a good discussion on Coeliac Disease, Gluten Intolerance and gluten free eating. I really think this is one of the big advantages of doing a class with Sprout, is that you have an APD there that you can discuss any dietary concerns you might have.

Once the food had settled and the discussion died down, we learnt how to make our next dish – Chicken Tagine (or in my case, Paneer Tagine) with Quinoa. My dish was slightly different than everyone else’s since I was cooking a fructose friendly vegetarian dish, and that’s the other great thing about these classes. If you have dietary requirements, they will easily accommodate you and have a good understanding of what people with intolerances can and can’t eat. The tagine was cooked in a pot with lots of spices. It was aromatic and very easy to make. The quinoa was boiled up and mixed with slivered almonds and parsley and was the perfect accompaniment to the tagine. Quinoa of course is emerging as a popular grain, now readily available in health food aisles in supermarkets. I eat it quite regularly, it has become like a couscous replacement for me. This was good though, because I really don’t have too many quinoa recipes under my belt, or any tagines, so I will be looking forward to making this one again!



So now we get back to the dessert. We made ice cream sandwiches using the cranberry, pistachio and orange biscuits, topped them off with pomegranate and pomegranate molasses and orange segments. These were delicious! The biscuits were soft enough that you could get the spoon through them and get ice cream, biscuit, pomegranate all in one hit. Yum!


This was Callum’s example:


And this is my go:

While we sat down to eat dessert (once again with a bit of wine!), the discussion turned to good Gluten Free restaurants in Adelaide, which ended up with us compiling a list which was later emailed to us. I contributed by naming two restaurants here in Melbourne in case anyone ever travelled over here :) Once things had wound down, we were handed goodie bags and left with out leftovers (and seeing as I was driving back to Melbourne the next day, they came in very handy, especially the biscuits!!)

All up, this was an amazing cooking class. Not only did I learn new skills, but I learnt a lot about gluten free eating. While I’m not gluten free, but rather wheat free because of the Low FODMAP diet, it’s still an extremely valuable class to have done. Sprout announce their classes seasonally, and their new season has just gone up on their website, including a fabulous sounding Market to Plate class where they take you down into the Adelaide Central Markets to get the ingredients before going back up and cooking! Jealous of anyone who gets to do that one, I would love to do it! Maybe next season they’ll do it again and I can hop across to Adelaide for it ;) The classes are reasonably priced too, with all Winter classes coming in at $90 + GST. I would 100% recommend Sprout to anyone. The guys are absolutely lovely, ready to help in any way and will answer any question you might have. I would do another class with them in a second.

Thanks Callum and Themis for a fantastic evening!

Visit Sprout Cooking’s website or follow them on Twitter or Facebook

Follow Callum on Twitter or visit his website

Follow Themis on Twitter

And if you’d like to see the photo’s from the birthday buffet yesterday, check out the set on my Flickr

Much love,
Melonqueen

Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop

Posted by: melonqueen

May 6th, 2012 >> Out and About

Maggie Beer has got to be one of my favourite Australian chefs. She cooks the most amazing food with a beautiful rustic flair, and her persona is so lovely and warm that it makes me feel like I just want a big nanna hug from her before sitting down to a meal. So when trying to decide on things to do during my trip to Adelaide, it seemed quite logical to decide on heading to Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop.

It will take around an hour to drive from Adelaide to the Farm Shop, which is in Nuriootpa in SA’s renowned Barossa Valley. It’s a fairly easy drive up the Northern Expressway/Sturt Highway and goes by fairly quickly. When you first pull in to the car park, you can be forgiven for thinking the building isn’t much to look at…

But then you walk in to this:


The staff in the store are very welcoming and happy to help in any way they can. I started off by sitting down to something to eat. While there is a great all day picnic far menu, it’s not really fructose friendly. However, there were some cakes on display and there just happened to be one left of their gluten free selection – Bitter Orange and Almond. They plated it up, dusted it with icing sugar, offered me some cream to go with it (which I politely refused) and I took it over to a table by the window and enjoyed every mouthful while looking out at the beautiful lake just outside

So after having something to eat, I decided I needed to walk off the cake. There are two paths that will take you around the farm. I started with the Nature Walk where you can take in breathtaking views of the lake, vineyard and part of the olive grove:




When you come to the end of the Nature Walk, you come to the crossroads of it and the Farm Walk

Along the Farm Walk you will discover more of the olive grove, the quinces, geese, pheasants and turkeys:





Once done with the walk, I wandered back in to the store to do some shopping. All of Maggie’s products are there, from quince paste to ice cream. And there are tastings of nearly everything! I’m sure if you tried a bit of everything, you would almost have a full meal. There is also wine tasting for their branded wines and fresh fruit (apples, pears and quince) for sale, picked straight from the farm. Plus all Maggie’s cookbooks are there and they are signed! I picked up a copy of her latest, Cooking with Verjuice without realising that they were signed and got a lovely surprise when the girl at the register checked it for me :)


There are also daily cooking demos at 2pm. Unfortunately due to roadworks, I was slightly delayed in getting to the Farm Shop, so I just missed out on the demo! However if you can get there for one, do it as I hear they’re quite good! The demo kitchen is gorgeous, just like a country kitchen and I’m sure many of you would recognise it as the set of The Cook and The Chef:



So I did end up with quite a haul! Verjuice, wine, vinegar, dukkah, pastes, cookbook, jam, apples, plus more… It was VERY easy to spend money in there, so be warned! I was very proud of my haul though:

And of course on your way out, watch out for peacocks! They like to hang out in the car park ;)

I can not say a bad word about this place. Even the bathrooms are gorgeous:

But seriously, if you are serious about good, honest Australian food, then Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop is worth the visit. While it is true that most of her products can be found in some supermarkets and gourmet food stores, there’s nothing like getting it from the source and seeing the stories about what goes into the products. It connects you and you just know you’re buying something that really has been made with love. It’s just amazing food in a beautiful setting. Most visitors to Adelaide will make the trip out to the Barossa, so do yourself the favour and make this one of your stops. It even has wine, hence why I didn’t end up at a winery!

To find out more, visit www.maggiebeer.com.au

Tomorrow night I will be doing my Gluten Free cooking class with Sprout, can’t wait!

Much love,
Melonqueen

Adelaide, Adelaide, Adelaide!

Posted by: melonqueen

May 1st, 2012 >> Notes From Melonqueen

So once again, I find myself in my beautiful hometown of Adelaide. To some (and even myself a lot of the time), Adelaide can seem like a slow, sometimes boring, city. But once you dive under the surface, you can find a great food culture. While I’m here, I’ll be attending a cooking class with Sprout, run by dietician Themis Chryssidis and MasterChef 2010 runner up Callum Hann. Keep an eye out for my blog post on that, especially if you’re interested in Gluten Free cooking, as it’s a GF class! I’ve also warned them about my fructose malabsorption, so should be reporting back with some great Low FODMAP tips :) I’ll also spend a day in the Barossa, first heading to Maggie Beer‘s farm where I hope to pick up some verjuice and her Cooking with Verjuice book and then maybe make my way to a winery (hoping Penfolds, why not head straight for the best?). No, I can’t really drink wine anymore, but hey, maybe I can pick up something nice for Mother’s Day?!

Also, keep your eye out for upcoming posts on recipes I have tested on my slight hiatus – Gluten Free Vegan Banana Caramel Cupcakes (made them over Easter, was loved by even the most carnivorous of my family) and Chocolate and Pear Tart. Also just picked up a great Tupperware Jel Ring (RRP $30.45) so I am just working out which retro jelly recipe I want to make in it first!

So for now, I’m heading off to the city, but exciting things are coming up :)

Much love,
Melonqueen

A Small Note

Posted by: melonqueen

March 28th, 2012 >> Notes From Melonqueen

Hi all!

I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks, but don’t fear, I haven’t neglected or forgotten the blog. I am not home until after Easter, so I’m using this time to research rather than cook! So please bear with me while I’m away and I will be back after Easter with some great new treats to share!

Much love,
MQ

Chocolate Fudge

Posted by: melonqueen

March 12th, 2012 >> Sweets

Betty Crocker. For most Australians, the name Betty Crocker can be associated with packet cake mixes and cans of pre-made frosting in the supermarket. Not many would be aware of the rich history of helping generations of American women not only develop their cooking, but also develop their hostess and housekeeping skills. Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook was first released in 1950 and would have been a fantastic manual for the 50′s housewife. Everything from family nutrition and meal planning through to correct table service is covered in the book. Of course there have been revisions throughout the years, but in 1998, a reprint of the original 1950 version was released with all recipes and pages exactly as they were in the original. I picked up a copy from Book Depository for a good price (Click Here).

Being a sweet tooth, I decided the first recipe I would try would be the Chocolate Fudge. Can you imagine being a kid in the 50′s and coming home from school or playing with your friends only to have your mum greet you with a big glass of cold milk and a couple of pieces of melt-in-your-mouth fresh homemade chocolate fudge? Mmmm! The recipe is exactly as printed in the book except for the substitution of golden syrup for corn syrup.

Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients
2/3 cup milk
1 to 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I used 1.5oz of Coles Finest 70% Dark Belgian Chocolate)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp golden or corn syrup
Dash of salt (quite literally just put a pinch in)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Roughly chop the chocolate (I did unfortunately leave the chocolate in the heat and it got a little heat affected, hence why the colour seems a little off! But it tastes great still)

Place the milk and chocolate in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth

Add the sugar, corn syrup and salt. Keep over the heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches 236F, or what is called the Soft Ball stage. Most good candy thermometers should have this marked. Apparently if a bit is dropped in cold water, it should form a soft ball (I didn’t try this because I trust my thermometer!)

Once the mixture reaches the temperature, remove from heat and add the butter. Do not stir the butter in, but rather let it melt in to the mixture. Leave until lukewarm

When the mixture is luke warm, add the vanilla and beat until the mixture is thick and no longer glossy

I lined a square container with baking paper, but you can butter a slice tin and pour your mixture in to that. The only reason I didn’t is because I don’t own a slice tin (I borrowed the one I used for the lemon meringue slice!). Pour the mixture in and place in the fridge to set. I left it overnight.

Once the fudge is set, remove from the container and baking paper

Using a hot knife (dip the knife into boiled water and wipe dry) for ease, slice the fudge into pieces (size is up to you!)

Plate up and serve!

All I can say is… YUMMMMMM! This fudge is delicious! It just melts in your mouth. It’s soft eating and I can imagine just having a glass of milk while eating it. Go Betty, no wonder you’re still in business!!

Much love,
Melonqueen

Chicken Liver Pâté

Posted by: melonqueen

March 12th, 2012 >> Meat, Spreads

So it has been a couple of weeks since the last post, but I have had a couple of cake decorating jobs, meaning my time has been taken up with those instead of my kitchen experiments! Just a quick squiz at what’s been keeping me busy, then on to today’s blog post:


Now on to the pâté! Pâté has been around for hundreds of years, and can vary in the types of meats used to make it. I chose chicken liver because it made me think of the earlier half of the twentieth century when there was no wastage to a chicken. Look through cookbooks of the era and you will find recipes for all types of offal, tripe and giblets. The pâté also reminds me of a certain type of sophistication, being a food served at dinner parties and suppers. Of course now you can pick some up at the supermarket, but when I was able to get my hands on some livers, I took them and the opportunity to give it a crack.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from The AWW Cooking School (ACP Publishing, RRP $74.95). The original recipe called for 1kg of chicken livers, but I know I didn’t have that many, and I wanted to put my own spin on it (even though I wouldn’t be tasting as I went along, I just hoped for the best!), so I adjusted and came up with a recipe I was happy with.

Chicken Liver Pâté

Ingredients
500g chicken livers (the fresher the better)
Ghee (check method for exact quantities you’ll need along the way, I just started with a full tub and added as I went along)
3 rashers of shortcut bacon
1/2 brown onion
1/8 cup brandy
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Start by removing any sinew and bits of tissue from the livers. Some of it you can just pull off, but you will need to get in there with the knife and cut some of the bits off. Trim it well, you don’t want any tough or stringy pieces left behind.

Measure out 50g of ghee and then melt gently in a large frypan

Once melted, add the livers and brown the livers until they are just cooked. Be careful not to overcook them! Remove them from the heat and set aside.

Remove the fat and rind from the bacon and chop roughly. Chop the half onion roughly

Melt another tablespoon of ghee in the same frypan used to cook the livers then add the bacon and onion, cooking until the onion is beginning to soften. Add the brandy and bring to boil for a minute or two

Place the livers, bacon mixture, cream, thyme, nutmeg and 2 more tablespoons of ghee into a blender and blend until smooth. (Looks so appetising before it’s blended, doesn’t it?!)


Spread the pâté into your chosen serving bowls (I split mine between two because I had different people I wanted to share with)

Melt 3 tablespoons of ghee and pour over the top of the pâté. You may want more or less of the ghee, depending on what depth your serving bowl is and personal taste.

Refrigerate for a minimum of three hours, but overnight is probably best to make sure it sets correctly. Serve with some water crackers and soft cheese like brie

The feedback I had on the pâté was very positive! The housemate said she wouldn’t have minded a little bit of salt added to the mix. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t agree and thought it was fine the way it was. They both agreed that there was no obvious offal taste like you get with some commercial pâtés and my mother even went so far to say it was the best pâté she had ever eaten (but all mothers say that, don’t they?!). Regardless, it was quite easy to make, if a little gross at times when handling the livers, but hey, not a bad effort for a veggie I say!

Much love,
Melonqueen

Purple Burger, Fries and Milkshake

Posted by: melonqueen

February 28th, 2012 >> Dinner, Drinks, Sweets, Vegetarian

Whether you want to call it a drive-in, or a diner, or possibly even a malt shop, this establishment was one of the central points of the young adult of the 1950′s. A place to hang with your friends, grab a milkshake, listen to a jukebox, or perhaps even run in to this guy:

What better food to eat than a burger and fries washed down with a frosty milkshake?! Well that was exactly my feeling tonight. I had a whole heap of food that had to be used, and inspiration had struck me earlier in the week. See, on Sunday my mother had sent me home with some of her vegies she wasn’t going to use, which included a purple carrot and an eggplant. Brilliant, I’d been planning on a making a burger, and eggplant is one of my favourite ways to make a vegetarian burger. Then on Monday, I was handed a bag of purple potatoes. Even better! I now had three different purple vegetables, why not just continue the theme and create a purple meal?! Of course not everything could be purple, but I could damn well try!

Purple Burger

Ingredients
1 eggplant
2 radicchio leaves
1 purple carrot
1 tablespoon Kalamata Olive Dip
1 slice swiss cheese
1 burger roll (I used Livwell Gluten Free Rolls)
Batter mix (I used Vitarium Gluten Free Batter Mix)

Start off by peeling the carrot. I had never used purple carrot before tonight and I was quite amused by the way it looked when I cut it in half. be warned though, the colour does leak a bit and can stain your hands.

Once the carrot has been peeled, use the peeler to grate long, thin strips of carrot. You can just grate it normally, but I find there’s less mess this way and the pieces aren’t falling everywhere while you try to eat the burger.

Wash your radicchio (if you don’t need a full head, you can usually pick out a couple of leaves from gourmet lettuce mixes in the supermarket) and pat dry with some paper towel. Cut open the bun and arrange leaves, ripping if need be

Cut a slice of eggplant. It’s up to you how you slice it, but I prefer to get mine from the centre of the eggplant, so it’s not too wide, and probably about half a centimetre thick. Prepare batter mix as per instructions. You can of course also dip your eggplant in flour followed by egg. Seeing as I haven’t always had success with doing that in gluten free recipes, I thought I’d give the batter mix ago. Didn’t seem too bad, but it probably would have been better if I had dipped the eggplant into crumbs after the batter for a bit more texture.

Heat oil in a frypan. I used vegetable, but canola would be perfectly fine to use as well. Allow the eggplant to fry for a minute or two or until slightly brown on each side.

Place eggplant on top of radicchio leaves, top with the purple carrot strips, slice of swiss cheese (I prefer Jarlsberg) and the olive dip. Serve with the Purple Fries and Purple Milkshake

Purple Fries

Ingredients
2 purple potatoes (they do exist!)
Oil for frying (I used vegetable)

Cut potatoes into desired chip size

Heat a saucepan with plenty of oil for frying. Drop chips into oil and fry for a couple of minutes

Remove from oil and place on paper towel to drain. Allow to cool for around 10 minutes, then heat the oil up again and fry for a further couple of minutes. I find that double frying creates a better crunch on the chip. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

Purple Milkshake

Ingredients
1/2 cup blueberries
3 scoops So Good Vanilla Bliss soy ice cream
3/4 cup So Good Rice Milk

Place all ingredients in a tall plastic container

Using a stick mixer, blend all the ingredients together

Pour into a milkshake glass and garnish with an extra scoop of ice cream. I also chose to use a paper straw for the more authentic look.

Serve it all up together, turn up the jukebox and pop on a neck scarf and poodle skirt and enjoy your night at the diner!

The only change I would really make with this would be the addition of breadcrumbs after dipping the eggplant in the batter. I just feel there was a little something lacking in the texture of the “patty”. Apart from that, it was an extremely enjoyable meal, and I discovered that purple potatoes do indeed fry up well to make tasty chips!

Enjoy!

Much love,
Melonqueen

Corned Beef with Parsley Sauce

Posted by: melonqueen

February 25th, 2012 >> Dinner, Meat

Those who know me know that I am a vegetarian. I have been for around 10 years now and I have no desire to eat meat again ever in my life. I became vegetarian for ethical reasons – My way of thinking is that if I wouldn’t eat a human, why would I eat an animal that has lived and breathed, just like me? Of course, that’s just my opinion and people eating meat really doesn’t bother me. In fact, my whole career, I have been around meat in some way or another, and I’m at a point where I spent my whole day once a week cooking it at work! While I may be morally opposed to putting it in my body, it’s not up to me to deny other people their meat, so when I was basically handed a silverside roast at work on Friday, I took it and decided I would cook my lovely housemate and her boyfriend a lovely hearty meal for Saturday night.

Corned beef, or silverside, was of course a staple of the 1950′s family diet. A popular meat of the times, usually served with the basic vegetables (meat and three veg), with leftovers used in sandwiches the next day. White sauces are popular with this type of meat, and I have gone with a parsley sauce with this meal.

My guiding recipe came from The Australian Women’s Weekly – The Retro Cookbook (ACP Publishing, RRP $49.95). A recent acquisition of mine and has been a major inspiration! Can’t wait to try more recipes from this great book.

Corned Beef

Ingredients
1 silverside (mine was about 1.2kg)
2 bay leaves
6 whole black peppercorns
1 large brown onion, quartered
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon brown malt vinegar

A silverside does take a while to cook. The rule of thumb that I usually go by is 40mins per 500g. I learnt this off the back of pack from supermarket bought meat, and it seems to work! Put the silverside in a large pot with the bay leaves, peppercorns, onion, carrot and malt vinegar. Traditionally, corned beef is usually cooked with brown sugar as well, but as my housemate is following a low-carb diet, I removed this aspect of the recipe

Add water until the meat is completely covered, cover the pot then bring to boil on the stove top. Turn down to a simmer and allow to cook for required amount of time (I let mine go for 1hr 40min).

Once the meat is cooked, let it sit in the pot in the water and prepare the vegetables and sauce. I chose to serve mine with dutch carrots, green beans and baby potatoes. Peel the dutch carrots and trim the ends so there’s still a bit of green left on top. I think it creates a lovely visual effect on the plate.

Trim the ends off the green beans, and then steam the beans and carrots together. You can boil these, but I prefer to steam my vegetables. I use my Tupperware Microsteamer, which allows me to perfectly steam my vegetables in the microwave. A very handy bit of kitchen equipment (Tupperware Microsteamer available for $134.90. Click here for information). I steamed them for 23 minutes.

Boil the baby potatoes for the same amount of time as the steamed vegetables

While the vegetables are cooking, the parsley sauce can be prepared. Heat 30g of butter in a saucepan and then mix together with 1/4 cup plain flour (I only realised after I’d made and eaten the sauce that I perhaps should have used cornflour so it was wheat free!). Then slowly add 2 1/2 cups of milk and stir.

Once boiled and thickened, add 1/2 cup of grated tasty cheese, 1/2 cup of chopped continental parsley and a tablespoon of dijon mustard and stir until all combined

The silverside should by now be looking like this:

Remove from the water

Now comes time to slice the silverside. As I learnt from one of the meat experts at work on Friday, there is a right way and a wrong way to slice silverside. You will want to work out which way the grain of the meat goes. You will want to cut through the grain and not along it. It can actually create a different eating experience if you cut the meat wrong. Cutting along the grain instead of through it can result in the meat being tough to eat.

Once cut, place the meat on the plate with the vegetables, then pour the sauce over the meat.

I thought the sauce was lovely, and I was told by the two that ate it that the meat was delicious and well cooked. I had the vegetables with the sauce and it was quite nice on it’s own!

Bon appetit!

Much love,
Melonqueen

Lemon Meringue Slice

Posted by: melonqueen

February 22nd, 2012 >> Baking, Sweets

I love citrus flavours. I think there’s no food more refreshing than lemon. A squeeze of it just adds a beautiful burst of flavour to almost any dish.

In the early half of the 20th century, tea rooms were a fashionable place to meet. Ladies would go, sip tea, gossip and enjoy fine food, be it savoury or sweet. Being that I enjoy a bit of a sweet with my tea, I decided to use that along with my love of citrus to create my first blog post. It had to be something small, like a slice that could be eaten delicately with a spoon. But it had to be indulgent too. What better than a lemon meringue slice?!

The following recipe is not my own, but one I came across on Taste.Com.Au I took a gluten free Lemon Meringue Pie recipe and adjusted it into a slice (not hard, just a different shaped tin is used!) and changed the method slightly (eg. I used a mixer instead of processor) Click here to visit the original Lemon Meringue Pie recipe

Lemon Meringue Slice

Ingredients
1 cup (150g) rice flour
1/2 cup (75g) gluten-free cornflour
1/2 cup (60g) almond meal
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
160g chilled Nuttelex/non-dairy spread, chopped
2 tbs iced water

Lemon filling
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1/2 cup (75g) gluten-free cornflour
1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
1 1/4 cups (310ml) water
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
3 egg yolks
60g Nuttelex/non-dairy spread

Meringue topping
3 eggwhites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar

Preheat oven to 200C.

To make the pastry, place the rice flour, cornflour, almond meal, xanthan gum, sugar and Nuttelex spread in the bowl of a mixer with the dough hook attached (or alternatively, place in a food processor)

Mix until the ingredients come together and resemble fine bread crumbs

Add the ice water while the mixer is still going. Start with 1 tablespoon and then judge if you will need the second. The original recipe called for 2-3 and I found 3 was way too much. I ended up having to add more cornflour to the mix because it was simply too wet. When the pastry is ready, turn it out onto a clean surface, give it a quick knead and then wrap and place in the fridge for about half an hour.

While the dough is resting in the fridge, you can go ahead and make the curd layer for the slice. Add the cornflour, sugar, water and lemon juice into a saucepan and mix together until smooth. I prefer to use fresh lemon juice, I find the flavour is a lot better than what you get from a bottle. If you do use fresh, firmly roll the lemon on the benchtop before cutting, this will help release the juices

Place saucepan on a medium-high heat and stir until the mixture thickens. I liken the consistency to that of Vaseline. Take the saucepan off the heat and mix through the lemon rind, egg yolks and Nuttlex until all combined.

While the curd cools, take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper

Grease your slice tin in your preferred way (I use butter/margarine) and place your pastry along the bottom of the tin. I would recommend when you cut it down to leave a little going up the sides. The pastry will shrink, and of course I forgot this and ended up with a base smaller than the tin!

Place baking paper over the top and fill with baking beans (or if you don’t own any, uncooked rice or dried beans/chickpeas) and place in the oven to bake for 10mins

When then 10mins is up, remove the paper and the beans and place bake in the oven for another 15mins. Allow to cool. During this time, you can make your meringue. Whip up the egg whites until the soft peaks form, then gradually add the cream of tartar and sugar.

Once the base is cooled, layer first with the lemon curd, then with the meringue. The meringue can be piped on if you wish, but I opted just to smear it on

Bring the temperature of the oven down to 180 and place in until the meringue has browned to your liking. I put mine in for around 5 minutes, but I also use conventional, not fan forced, so yours might need to be in a different time. Once it is done, pull put and allow to cool. Then slice it up and serve!


Notes on Flavour – You can tell when you bite into the pastry that it is made using rice flour, so people won’t be easily fooled and will pick that it’s a gluten free product. However, all in all, it’s a delicious recipe. The curd is perfectly balanced and the meringue is lovely and sweet. I would definitely make it again, however I would be tempted to play with the pastry recipe a little so that it didn’t have that strong rice flour taste.

Sit back and enjoy with a lovely pot of tea! I enjoyed mine with a Moroccan Mint Green Tea :)

Much love,
Melonqueen