Month: June 2016

Political Partini

Well, the Brits have Brexited; here in Australia we go to the polls this weekend (Lord only knows why – every time we actually elect a Prime Minister internal party political infighting deposes them and puts someone else in the top job!) I’m sure my friends in the U.S. are sick to the back teeth with Trump and Hilary and there’s still a long way to go on that one….

Political Partini

Most of these campaigns are being run on scare tactics and fear mongering  so why not kill the bad vibes with a super tasty cocktail.  I’m in…how about you? 

And oh boy do I have an absolutely beauty for you!  The Political Partini!  It’s not only delicious but punny which means I love it even more!!!!  And what’s not to love?  It’s pear infused vodka, traditionally Grey Goose La Poire but I made my own, Amaretto which I absolutely adore, simple syrup and lemon juice. So, it’s filled with fruit and nuts kind of healthy…in a boozy sort of way!

Polical Partini2This is so, so good.  I only wish I had made more pear-infused vodka so I could make it my election night tipple! Do people in other countries have election night parties?  It’s kind of a thing here.  My parents used to always have / or go to one.  If I had not just started a new job I may have thought more about it and organised something for the weekend but that’s totally not happening…maybe I’ll tag along to my parents’ party….oh Lord really?  Is this what my life has come to?

Well, here’s an ode to something I most likely will not be this Saturday from one of my favourite singers Dan Kelly.  It does contain some of the naughty words  so, if you are at work or there are kiddies about, you might want to delay playing it. 

The Political Partini was created for the US 2008 election campaign but is delicious enough to celebrate or commiserate any election wins or losses.  Or indeed anything.

OMG…it’s so good!!!!  And that’s coming from someone who is not overly fond of pears. 

Political Partini3

Politcal Partini: The Recipe

Political Partini
A super delicious cocktail made from pear infused vodka, amaretto and lemon - how could it be bad?
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For the pear infused vodka
  1. 1 pear
  2. 250 ml vodka
For the cocktail
  1. 2 parts pear infused vodka
  2. ¼ parts Amaretto
  3. ¼ parts simple syrup
  4. ½ part lemon juice
  5. Pear slice for garnish
For the pear infused vodka
  1. Wash and chop up the pear.
  2. Place in mason jar.
  3. Cover with vodka. Close the jar and keep in a dark place for a week or so, shaking daily.
  4. Before use, strain through cheesecloth to remove all the pear particles.
For the Cocktail
  1. Place all ingredients, except the pear slice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake, baby, shake until the outside of the shaker is frosted.
  3. Strain into martini glass and garnish with a pear slice.
Adapted from Gayot.com
Adapted from Gayot.com
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Have a great week!

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This Goose is Loose – Goose in Spring Cocktail

Happy hump day people of the internet!

This goose is loose! 

For the next five days, I am a lady of leisure!  And what better way to celebrate than with a cocktail (or two)!  And this Goose in Spring Cocktail fits the bill perfectly!

Goose In Spring 1After three years, I am leaving the amazing team at Protiviti in Melbourne for pastures new.  It was so hard to say goodbye; I have made so many friends there and worked for three amazing bosses.  But new challenges beckoned and I am moving on. 

But not until  Monday.

Goose In Spring 2

So, in the meantime, while I am unofficially unemployed, I am as free as this little bird.

Goose In Spring3If being free means:

  • Cleaning out my pantry
  • Clearing out my wardrobe
  • Clearing out my bookshelves
  • Putting my car in for a service
  • A visit to the dentist
  • A visit to the hairdresser
  • Catching up with a girlfriend for lunch
  • A visit to the beauty salon for a mani & pedi
  • Getting the broken strap on my favourite handbag fixed
  • Trying to cook as many recipes from Persiana as possible
  • Vintage Shopping with my mum
  • Writing at least three blog posts to schedule for when I am on holiday next month
  • Writing that novel I’ve been thinking about for years
  • Scaling Everest

Yep, totally absolutely free!

Goose Is Loose 5The Goose in Spring cocktail was the winner of the May 2012 Vodka Cocktail Contest, where it was created by Elijah Venanzi.

Goose In Spring
A delicious fruity and floral cocktail. Perfect for Spring!
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Ingredients
  1. 4 raspberries
  2. 45ml lavender-infused Grey Goose Vodka
  3. 30ml ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  4. 30ml fresh lime juice
  5. Lime peel for garnish
For the Lavender Infused Vodka
  1. Add two sprigs of lavender to Vodka and allow it to infuse for 6 days, then double strain to remove all of the herb.
For The Cocktail
  1. Muddle the raspberries in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add the lavender vodka, the St Germain and the Lime Juice
  3. Shake well over ice.
Adapted from Elijah Venanzi
Adapted from Elijah Venanzi
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
The Goose In Spring combines all the delicious floral flavours I love – lavender and elderflower with some fruity deliciousness from raspberries and lime!  The original recipe used lemon instead of lime but I didn’t have any – and you know, when life doesn’t give you lemons, a girl’s gotta improvise!  My lavender vodka was also VERY lavendery so I needed to adjust the other ingredients around it.  The original ratios are per the link in the recipe.

Have a lovely week!  I’ll be thinking of you while I’m doing all that nothing!

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Potted Cheese – Delicious Food, Impossible Ingredients

Hey there people of the internet! 

Take a look at this super delicious snack plate.  Good at any time – but my favourite? A snack plate, a sunny Sunday afternoon,sitting on my balcony with  a good book and a cheeky glass of wine =  heaven!

Potted Cheese 7

The star of this particular snack plate is some potted cheese.  .  

Which sadly relies on two ingredients that may as well be unicorn’s tears and dragon’s blood for the times they have ever been available in this kitchen.  Just one of them is nigh on a miracle and as for both, you had better go outside and look up because that moon out there will be bluer than Tobias Funke! 

So what are these two magical, nigh on mythical substances?

  • Leftover cheese
  • Leftover wine

Whoever has them?  No one I want as a friend!

My cheeses were the remnants….actually it even pains me to say that.  The cheeses were items from a cheese platter (probably the previous weeks snacking plate) that I had  just not got around to eating yet. And I cheated and opened a bottle of wine to make this.

Potted CheeseI used a goat’s cheese, a blue cheese, a pecorino pepato and some cheddar.  You can use any cheese you have. 

First up, place all your bits of cheese into a food processor and whiz it up!  Then add in your flavourings – I added port, a splash of red wine, Worchestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and then, because it was a little dry after the first whiz through, a little more port and a bit of cream.  My recipe is based on a classic one by Jane Grigson but you can play with the flavourings to suit your palate and your mix of cheese.

Potted Cheese2

Once you have whizzed it all up , pop it into a pot:

Potted Cheese3

The next step is optional but traditionally the pot was then sealed with a layer of clarified butter:

Potted Cheese 4Why Potted Cheese?

The idea behind potted cheese is simple.  Back in the day when refrigeration was not as it is today, cheese was far more perishable than now. Potting your ends of cheese prolonged it’s life – I’m guessing the booze helped to preserve it whilst the clarified butter seal stopped bacteria getting in. 

Nowadays, it is done more because it tastes delicious than for the preserving factor.

Potted Cheese 8

What Can You Do With Potted Cheese?

OMG, so much.  Have it on crackers with a glass of wine! Quick, easy, delicious.  

Potted Cheese 9

Replace regular cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich!  Here is my salami, potted cheese, red onion and tomato version. With a pickle to add some sharpness. 

So much oozy goodness!

Potted Cheese 5I haven’t made these next lot but I think potted cheese would be delicious used in the following ways:

  • Replace sour cream in a baked potato.  Or add it to chips and gravy for a take on a poutine. 
  • Saute some bacon or steam some broccoli (or do both), cook up some pasta, top with potted cheese and stir through the bacon or broccoli
  • Fill celery sticks, add a topping of chopped walnuts
  • Replace crackers on a snack plate with slices of apple or pear
  • Heat up a dollop, add some more cream if necesary and use as a mornay  or gratin sauce over anything you want to mornay or gratin
  • Spread it on bread, make up a savory custard and you have a super strata to go!

Potted Cheese
A delicious way to use up leftover cheese and wine! I
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Ingredients
  1. 250g cheese - whatever you have.
  2. 90g softened butter
  3. 2 generous Tablespoons Verdelho Madeira, tawny Port or Amontillado Sherry or wine
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or Tabasco)
  5. ¼ teaspoon mace, (optional)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon dry or prepared mustard
  7. A splash of Worcestershire
  8. Melted clarified butter (optional)
Instructions
  1. Whiz all the ingredients except the clarified butter in a food processor until it forms a thick paste.
  2. Place into small pots.
  3. Top with the clarified butter and place in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop
Notes
  1. I added a splash of cream because my mix was quite dry and I thought adding more wine or port would make it too boozy. (Yes, there is such a thing!).
Adapted from Jane Grigson
Adapted from Jane Grigson
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
So, it’s Sunday and whilst not balcony sitting weather at all, I’ve got the fire going and Hollow City, the second book of  Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children good to go, so excuse me, I have a potted cheese snack plate to prepare!  Dammit! Speaking of YA literature just made me realise  I should have saved this for when The Cursed Child, the new Harry Potter comes out.  I could have filled it with Harry Potter of cheese gags!  Stay tuned for the re-post!

Have a fab week! 

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Adam’s Big Pot and Some Golden Rings of Aussie Deliciousness!

“I hope somewhere in this book there is a dish or two that you choose to serve to your family.  Something that gets asked for again and again, and each time you make it, it becomes a little more your own.  Then one day, years from now, when the people you cooked for have left and live their lives and come back to visit, you make that meal for them again.  And that’s what makes them feel like they’re home”

Adam Liaw, Adam’s Big Pot

Okay.  Now that there’s not a dry eye in the house we’ll talk Tasty Reads. 

 

Golden Rings - Salt & Pepper SquidOur latest theme has been Asian food and I kind of lucked out in that I already owned one of of the book choices, the absolute classic Charmaine Solomon’s Complete Asian Cookbook.  But ‘s that’s not what we’re going to talk about today.  Because, on high recommendation, I bought Adam’s Big Pot.

For those of you who have not heard of him, Adam Liaw was the winner or runner up or something in Master Chef a few years ago.  But you don’t need to know that.  What you do need to know is that apart from his annoying man-bun, Adam Liaw is immensely likeable. 

I on the other hand am not intensely likeable, in fact I am a contrarian at best and part of my reason for choosing this book was to take it down,  It was SO highly recommended I thought there was no way it could live up to the expectations that had been set. 

I stand corrected. 

This book is AWESOME.  

I have not been so excited about a Tasty Reads book since Persiana  – only 17 recipes to go after I totally botched the baklava on the weekend.  But we’re not here to talk about my cooking disasters.

OK, fine, seeing as you insist.  I overcooked the sugar syrup so when I poured it over the pastry it set like toffee so the top of the baklava is tooth breakingly hard and the bottom is, to use some Australian vernacular, as dry as a dead dingo’s donger.  My fault entirely, because after cooking the syrup for the requisite amount of time I thought it looked too watery.  And because having made Baklava precisely…let me see…never before, I considered myself a bit smarter than the recipe.  (Sigh, eyeroll, face palm).

But lets not focus on the bad, let’s talk about why I am excited by this book!

Adam’s Big Pot – Highlights

  • This is a very good primer in Asian food, lots of counties are represented – Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, India.  A great variety without being too daunting.
  • There are lots of super photos
  • Adam’s descriptions of each recipe are great
  • He’s not too prissy – he offers lots of alternatives – eg if you don’t have a master stock handy, use chicken.
  • His tips are great
  • The book is beautifully presented
  • The meals are quick, easy and approachable
  • Cooking from this book is like cooking with an old friend.  He’s just so damn likeable!
  • The food is super delicious.  I have only made one thing I didn’t like (see Dishes Made below).

Adam’s Big Pot – Weaknesses

I feel like I’m being super picky here but you know, just so you know this isn’t paid for by Adam or anything (ha!  I wish!). 

  • If you were utterly unfamiliar with Asian cooking and you wanted to try a lot of the recipes in here you may have to buy a lot of ingredients that you may not use again if you did not love the dish and / or they may make you break out into hives (see below).
  • I think the Bits and Pieces section which is the very first in the book and contains the recipes for the curry pastes, the stocks and all the other base ingredients would have been better placed at the end of the book. 
  • No bread!  No roti, chapati, naan or paratha! I would have LOVED at least one bread recipe in here!

Adam’s Big Pot – What I’ve Cooked

Carrot and Cumber Som Tam. 

So good.  This is Adam’s version of my favourite, green papaya salad.  Lovely, fragrant, spicy, fresh. 

Adam's Big Pot - Som Tam (2)Tuna Takaki Salad.

Just divine!

Adam's Big Pot - Tuna Tataki SaladTuna, Corn And Avocado Salad

This is on high lunch rotation!  I have made it pretty much every week since finding this recipe.  The recipe calls for raw corn, I have used tinned and leftover grilled corn.  All super.

Adam's Big Pot - Tuna SaladChicken and Cashew Nuts

Something in this recipe made me break out into a horrible rash and massive hives.  I suspect it was the dark soy sauce because it was the only thing I have not used before.  This probably says more about the excitability of my skin than a real flaw with the recipe because the fussiest eater in the world was perfectly fine.  He had seconds and took it to work the next day. 

Adam's Big Pot - Chicken & CashewsTandoori Chicken

Starting with homemade tandoori paste!  I was RIDICULOUSLY proud of myself for making this. Who makes their own tandoori paste?  Isn’t that  what supermarkets are for?  But it was so easy to do.  I will never buy it again!  And you know, seeing as I am Ms Allergic to the World, the more things I can control in my diet the better!

Adam's Big Pot - Tandoori PasteAnd then the chicken:

Adam's Big Pot - Tandoori ChickenSalt and Pepper Squid

I love squid.  The Fussiest Eater in the World will, however, not touch it with a ten foot barge pole. So, I quite often make it for one.  Adam’s recipe is so quick to cook, it is a great after work meal for one or many! It’s also why I bought rings instead of tubes – easier to control portions.  Although there do seem to be quite a lot of rings in the pictures…I really like it.

I also had absolutely no idea that Salt and Pepper Squid was not a thing everywhere. 

Adam says

“You could argue that salt and pepper squid is Australia’s national dish.  It’s universally loved and you can buy it in just about any pub, Vietnamese, Thai or Chinese restaurant or Italian café around the country.  On top of that, it’s not commonly found in any other country.  It’s a truly homegrown favourite”

So, here it is rest of the world.  What are you waiting for? Make this tonight.  And thank me later! 

Salt and Pepper Squid

Salt & Pepper Squid
A super quick, easy and delicious dish from Adam's Big Pot.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 litres peanut oil for deep frying
  2. 500g squid tubes, cleaned (or rings)
  3. 3 tbsp rice flour or cornflour (cornstarch)
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  5. 1 bird's eye chilli, thinly sliced
  6. 2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  7. 1 tsp salt flakes
  8. 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  9. Coriander leave, lemon wedges and aioli to serve
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil to 200C in a wok or large saucepan.
  2. Cut down one side of the squid tubes and open them flat. Lightly score the surface in a cross -hatch pattern, cut into bite sized triangles and toss in the flour.
  3. Shake off excess flour an deep fry the squid din batches ffpr about a minute per batch or until just cooked and lightly golden.
  4. Drain well.
  5. Remove the oil, leaving about a tbsp in the wok. Heat the wok over medium heat and add the garlic, chilli and spring onion.
  6. Toss in the wok for about a minute, or until the ingredients are lightly browned.
  7. Add the squid and toss constantly scattering with the salt and pepper.
  8. Remove the squid from the wok, scatter with coriander leaves and serve with lemon wedges and aioli.
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Now that you have seen some of the contents with this book, maybe you can help me to make a decision on what to cook for our book club meeting next week. 

I have some of the tandoori paste left so it would be sensible to make the tandoori chicken again.  And the naan and the rojak I made from the Charmaine book when I made the tandoori chicken were super and the flavours went really well together.

However, with so many other delicious recipes still left to cook, including:

  • Prawn and Grapefruit Salad
  • Tom Yum Fried Rice
  • Kuku Paka which is an African chicken curry
  • Whiting With Nori Butter
  • Tiger Skinned Chicken
  • Baked Thai Fish Cakes
  • Canonigo which is a Filipino desert made from meringue, orange custard and caramel

It’s a pretty hard decision to make. So what do I do?  Go for the tried and tested or branch out with something new?

Oh and seeing as I’m asking questions, do you cook asian at home?  What is your Asian favourite cuisine?  What is your favourite Asian recipe?  You know I’m nosy and love to know your business so please leave comments!

Anyhoo, I’ve loved cooking from this book and I’m awarding it Five Golden Rings of Squiddy Delciousness!

Let’s see if the rest of the Tasty Reads  team agrees!

Have a great week!

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World Gin Day 2016 – Rosé The Riveter

 Happy World Gin Day People of the Internet!

We are continuing the wartime theme from last time with a delightful gin cocktail called Rosé The Riveter. 

Rose The Riveter2

I’m going to just come out and say it.  I love this drink.  Here are five reasons why:

  1. The Name.  I love a pun and this is the best!
  2. The ingredients – gin, pomegranate liqueur, and rosé wine – all super delicious.  This was never going to be not tasty!
  3. It’s named after all round good girl and feminist icon, Rosie the Riveter.
  4. It fits perfectly with my wartime theme from the last post where I made Lemon Potato Pie from 1941
  5. I got to put a victory roll in my hair (worst Victory Roll ever but so much fun to do).

 

Now you might be wondering why  there are two drinks in the pictures. It’s because I made the Rosé The Riveter two ways. 

Rose The Riveter2

The first was with what is normally my favourite gin, Hendricks.  Hendricks is also the gin used in the original recipe.

Rose The Riveter7

The second way, I used my brand new Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin.  This gin is made locally in the Yarra Valley.  Four Pillars make it by steeping their gin in shiraz grapes for 8 weeks.  The gin is a gorgeous red wine colour and tastes super on it’s own or with tonic.

Rose The Riveter1

I loved both of these but it is amazing how two gins can taste (and look) so different.  The Hendricks version was much paler in colour and much lighter in taste too.  The it was lovely and floral, not to sweet.  It would be a perfect summer cocktail.  The Bloody Shiraz Rosé The Riveter was quite different.  It tasted a lot dryer, a lot less floral but more berry, winey.  This, for me is a more wintery cocktail – deeper and darker than the Hendricks version.

And here’s me doing my best Rosie the Riveter impression.  I don’t have a chambray shirt because I don’t live in 1985 so my usual weekend wear of striped t-shirt had to suffice.  Also, I had to steal the bandana from Oscar!   

Rose The Riveter3

And here’s me bending an elbow of a much more preferable kind.

Rose The Riveter4Here’s my boy, very happy to have his bandy back!

Rose The Riveter 10

Rosé The Riveter
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Ingredients
  1. 45g gin - Hendricks is traditional but Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin is superb!
  2. 15g Pama pomegranate liqueur
  3. 7.5 g honey syrup
  4. 90g dry rosé
  5. Lime wheel for garnish
Honey Syrup
  1. Equal parts honey and hot water
For the Honey Syrup
  1. Combine the honey and hot water, stir to mix. Once the honey has melted, chill.
For the Rosé The Riveter
  1. Combine the ingredients and shake with ice.
  2. Strain into a tall glass filled with cracked ice.
  3. Garnish with lime wheel.
Adapted from drinkoftheweek.com
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Happy World Gin Day!

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