Category: Pastry

The Dishiest Dish – Pizza Rustica Con Bietola

“Hey mambo, mambo Italiano hey, hey mambo mambo Italiano
Go go go you mixed up Siciliano
All you Calabrese do the mambo like-a crazy”

This week’s dishiest dish has us going to Abruzzo for a Pizza Rustica con Bietola. AKA a savoury tart with chard . But Pizza Rustican con Bietola sounds so much more Italian and glamorous doesn’t it?   And it will have you dancing the mambo because it is super tasty!
 
Savoury Tart With Chard 
 The recipe comes from Made in Italy by Silvia Colloca which was my choice when we did Italian in the Tasty Reads book club a few months ago. 
Before I looked inside this book I had my hater face on.  As if some B grade actress was going to have any cooking chops – and bear in mind the Claudia Roden book was one of the other selections. This was going to have to be pretty damn impressive to rival that!
Then I started flicking through and ye-es there were several pictures of Silvia looking both incredibly beautiful and impossibly thin. But it was also filled with what looked like some fabulous recipes and things that were not run of the mill.  And everything I have made to date has been delicious.
 
This has included:
 
  • Calimari with Tomatoes and Wine
  • Woodsman’s Chicken
  • Herb Frittata with Goat’s Curd
  • Noodles with Zucchini Blossoms and Saffron Sauce
  • No Knead Spelt Pizza with Soppressata and Potatoes
  • Pasta Strips with Slow Cooked Goat Sauce

So, this is proving a pretty solid choice.  Yay me!  Well, really yay Silvia!  But you know, I write a blog and it doesn’t get much more totally self obsessed than that so I guess yay me is valid. 

 Six Week Challenges – Update

I am still  on my 6 weeks of no alcohol although I did take last weekend off!  Saturday night we were having lobster – OH. MY. WORD.  So good!!!!  And there was no way on God’s green earth that I was not having a glass of sparkling with that!  And Sunday we went out for a Valentine’s Day dinner to our favourite local Greek restaurant.  And again – it would have been churlish not to have a glass of vino!  But on the whole it is going well . I haven’t really missed it.  I also haven’t felt many of the supposed benefits – weight loss, sleeping better, greater productivity etc. 

LobsterI have been struggling with the daily meditation.  I don’t think I have found the perfect time to do it.  In the mornings I am usually too rushed and if i try to do it at night I fall asleep.  Two places it did feel “right” were one day I did it as soon as I got home from work so it was a bit of a chance to decompress.  The other was one morning when I had parked m car at the station, i just stayed in it and did my ten minutes there. 

My new one, started February 15th is a flexibility challenge.  Every day  I will do a short workout designed to improve my flexibility.  I am using the program from Fitivity.  I have only done a couple  so far and they have been fine but a bit boring.  I’m sure they will get more challenging as I progress! 

I have been thinking of more that I can do over the next few weeks /months:

  • No processed food
  • No sugar
  • Yoga everyday
  • No Candy crush
  • Journalling everyday

Are all on the list.

Reading

Room – Emma Donoghue

I have had this book on my To Be Read shelf for YEARS.  And finally now I have taken the plunge and have started it – simply because I want to have read it before I see the film.  I am probably 2/3 of the way through and I think it is very well written.  There are certain parts that I have found quite confronting and other parts that have annoyed me but once I start reading it I find it difficult to put down.  I am still having some problems with starting picking it up and starting it each day though…..

Room - Emma Donoghue

 

The Apologist – Jay Rayner

This is my current audiobook.  Marc Bassett is a merciless restaurant critic.  One day a chef commits suicide by roasting himself in his bread oven,  leaving Bassett’s review taped to the outside.  And so begins his career as the apologist. 

I am not very far along with this but I am enjoying it so far.

Watching

My Kitchen Rules

I can’t help myself. I am utterly addicted to this.  And the commentary on Flawless Vision.

Listening

I Know What You’ll Read This Summer Podcast.

I have only listened to one episode of this but they hated Girl on The Train almost as much as I did so it’s definitely worth another listen.

Room 101

From time to time I’ve decided to list a few pet peeves on here.  Things that I would like to see banished to Room 101.  Starting with:

Gluten Free Everything

When you label your bread, cakes and cookies gluten free you are doing a good service for those people who cannot tolerate gluten.  When you label products that would never have contained gluten in  a pink fit “Gluten Free” you are indulging in a cynical marketing ploy.  STOP IT.  I swear I saw water labelled gluten free recently.  It made me want to break things.

Quinoa

Has no one else noticed how bad this smells as it is cooking.  I made some the other day and the smell of it made me gag.  I”m never cooking it again.  

Tart With Chard

Cooked.com

I took out an annual subscription for cooked.com.  This, for those of you who may not have heard of it is kind of like a netflix for cookbooks.  Does anyone else have one of these?  Do you find it useful?  how long have you had it.  Does it help you to choose which cookbooks to buy or do you not buy them anymore?  I have not actually cooked anything from the site yet.  I guess I’d better start!  Stay tuned!

Kitchen Nightmares

I had one kitchen nightmare this week.  I was all set to make Vitello Tonnato for bookclub only it was a new style “healthy” VT.  So, instead of that gorgeous tuna mayonnaise, my tonnato was made out of tofu, anchovies and parmesan cheese.  And it was rank!  I have never been one to complain about the smell of parmesan cheese.  I remember even in primary school when people would say “Yuck, it smells like sick”, I always thought they were nuts.  This abomination of a tonnato not only smelt like but tasted like vomit.  It was so bad I couldn’t even give it to the dogs. 

Now though, I am craving a proper  old school Italiano Vitello Tonnato.  It’s a shame Silvia’s book does not have a recipe.  However, The A-Z of Cooking does.  There will be 1970’s Vitello Tonnato on here very soon.  I just have to allow the memory of the horror that was that tofu tonnato to subside a little! 

Pizza Rustica con Bietola

What Silvia’s book does have is this recipe for Pizza Rustica con Bietola.  I am obsessed by those words.  I keep repeating them in an increasingly bad Italian accent!  If you would also like to become obsessed with this lovely tart here is the recipe:

Pizza Rustica con Bietola - Silvia Colloca

This week I am looking forward to cooking…nothing. Because I have been really busy and not done a single bit of menu planning.  However, we have a new Tasty Reads book so I might crack this open and give something a whirl:

The Great Australian Cookbook

Oh and this is is my new favourite you-tube.  I have watched it about a million times since I found it. 

What was the best thing you’ve made this week?  What are you looking forward to cooking?  Have you read anything interesting? I would love to hear from you!

Have a wonderful week!

Happy cooking.

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Dishiest Dish – Apricot and Rhubarb Frangipane Tarts

It’s been a while since we have had a dishiest dish – I thought it was timely that we had  look at some I had cooked successfully!  I made these Apricot and Rhubarb Frangipane Tarts over the break.  They were pretty easy to make and tasted delicious!

Rhubarb and Apricot Frangipane TartsAnd who says you can’t play with your food?  These are perfect for a little game of tic-tac-toe!

Or you can give them to people you like as little kisses and hugs.  Valentine’s day’s a-coming.  Why give someone flowers when you can give them some delicious almondy fruity deliciousness?

Who doesn’t love

  • Crisp buttery pastry – no soggy bottoms here!
  • A lovely sweet almond filling
  • The apricots and rhubarb, both of which have a natural tanginess help to make the tarts not too cloying or heavy. 
  • An amaretto and apricot glaze

Never mind saying it with flowers.  Proclaim your love with pastry!

Rhubarb and Apricot Frangipane Tarts2

My Six Week Challenges

This year, instead of setting a series of resolutions, I was inspired by my friend Ali to try a series of smaller challenges over the course of the year.  I started mid-January with 6 weeks of no alcohol.  The start of February sees me trying to build a meditation practice!  I am aiming for 42 days straight of meditation.  I haven’t figured out what I will pick up in mid-Feb but that’s half the fun – deciding what to do next!  Hopefully some things I will stick with and some things I may do another six weeks later in the year! 

Reading

I have been on a reading binge –  I have had a real spurt of books I have  enjoyed.

Disclaimer by Renée Knight

Imagine if you started reading a book that had mysteriously appeared in your house only to find out the book was about you.  Specifically about you and an incident from your past which you have kept hidden from everyone – and the only other person who knew about it is a long time dead….

I would give this one a 7/10.  The plot required a hefty suspension of belief on a couple of major points but all up, a fast paced enjoyable read.

All These Perfect Strangers – Aiofe Clifford

I loved this.  But I am a big fan of the mystery set in academia.  The Secret History is one of my favorite books and there are some similar themes here.  This is not released until March – I was given a free copy for review but it is certainly one I can heartily recommend. 

Funnily enough, the book in Disclaimer was called The Perfect Stranger.  It was a really weird but totally cool coincidence!

9/10

The Grown Up – Gillian Flynn

This short story (it’s just over 6O pages on my Kindle) has more twists and turns than a spiral staircase.  I loved it.  And you can read it from start to finish in about an hour!

9/10

 

Luckiest Girl Alive – Jessica Knoll

Another outsider goes to posh school – mayhem ensues book.  I did tell you I had a thing for them.  Do not read this if you are one of those (annoying) people who has to like the main character in a book.  Tifani/Ani in Luckiest Girl Alive is awful!  She’s shallow and self obsessed, snarky and mean.  I am about three quarters of the way through this and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I hope the end is not a let down.

 

I just noticed three out of the four of them mention Gone Girl. And have black, white and yellow covers. I’m sensing a zeitgeist. 

Watching

Come Dine With Me

I started watching old episodes of the British Come Dine with Me on the telly over the break and am now utterly obsessed with it.  I soon exhausted all the episodes available and am now mainlining episodes on You Tube.

The  best part is the narrator.  He is hilarious.

Oh and there was a series of episodes with my girl-crush Sabrina Ghayour of Persiana fame.

 

Pointless

Another British show. This is like a reverse Family Feud where people try to guess the least popular answers to a question, the goal being trying to get an answer that whilst correct, no one in the studio audience chose.  It would be a fairly run of the mill quiz show if not for the hosts – host and co host who are just delightful.  Charming, witty.  Smart.  I could watch the two of them banter all day!

The XFiles

So excited about this.  We were a week behind the States so are only two episodes in.  And it’s been great.  Even though I have been watching the classic episodes, when I heard that theme music and saw that they had kept the old intro I got almost a little teary….

Other Stuff

Nigella

And speaking of getting a little teary, I went to see Nigella Lawson in conversation.  She was brilliant.  There a not many people for whom I would stand in line for and hour and a half just to get a book signed by she was worth every minute.

NigellaNigella2Now, how about a recipe for these babies?

Frangipane Tarts3

 

This week I am looking forward to cooking:

  • Chicken, Feta and Zucchini Meatballs from my latest Tasty Reads Choice, Life in Balance by Donna Hay.  We have our meeting in a few weeks and I feel I have not done this book justice.  Time to get cracking!
  • A Biscotten Torte from the A-Z of Cooking
  • Tomato, Peach, Proscuitto and Mozzarella Salad.  I am the only person in my family who likes fruit mixed in with salads that are not fruit salads.  Does that make me weird?  Or them?

Time to share.  What are you enjoying reading / watching / doing?

What was the best thing you cooked this week?

Whats top of your list to cook next?

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The Margaret Fulton Cookbook 10 – Quiche Lorraine

A quiche is an open-faced tart with a savoury custard filling.  It was originally made with bread dough but short pastry has been substituted in modern recipes. 

The pastry should be rolled as thinly as possible…there should be a lot of creamy filling on very little pastry.

– Margaret Fulton

Both of these look pretty good.  But I am very fond of a quiche so more is pretty much more for me!!!  But I totally understand why most people would prefer the understated elegance of the modern photo

Quiche Lorraine
Quiche Lorraine

 Here’s the recipe!

Quiche Lorraine recipeHope your week is fabulous.

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Rocking The Casbah – The Food Of Morocco

The selection for March and April over  at The Cookbook Guru was The Food Of Morocco by Paula Wolfert which really fits in with my explorations into Middle Eastern Food via Persiana and MENA.

 First, the book is ENORMOUS!!!! If you dropped this on your foot, you would be in serious danger of breaking a toe.  Or two. It was really quite difficult to choose the recipes to try, there were so many and so many that sounded delicious.

Second, it is beautiful – not just the recipes, the photography, the writing, everything about it is lovely. I would love to have this in my own collection as it is so well curated and contains so much of interest but sadly, it is quite expensive so, at the moment is just on the wishlist!

I have been sick for nearly a week now so I have left my run here a little late.  Thankfully the anti-biotics have started to kick in and hopefully I can get this post out whilst it is still April somewhere in the world.

I have made four things from this book and whilst I would have loved to have a post for each, for the sake of brevity, I’m putting them all together so I can get something out before Christmas!!!  I have also not included any recipes as that would have taken even more time but, if you like the look of anything let me know and I can send ’em through!

THE FOOD OF MOROCCO // BRIK WITH TUNA, CAPERS AND EGGS

I was not familiar with the brik, (pronounced breek) which is a Moroccan snack consisting of a very thin pastry called warqa wrapped around various fillings, one of which is this delicious but to me, uncommon, combination of tuna and egg. 

Not surprisingly there was no warqa pastry at the local supermarket and because I was running so late on this, I could not shop for it so I used the much more readily available filo pastry for my briks.  You can apparently also use spring roll wrappers, or if really brave, make your own warqa pastry.

So first up you saute up some onions, then add your tuna, capers, parsley and some parmesan cheese.  And yup, this mix just on it’s own tastes AMAZING. I’m surprised there was any left to make the briks. Personally, I blame the hosts of reality tv cooking shows for constantly telling people to taste their food during cooking!

Then you make place the tuna mix on the pastry but make a little hole to hold the eggs.  I don’t think it matters if it spills over a little like mine did.

Tuna Brik
Tuna Brik

Then you quickly seal this up and drop it into some hot oil to fry up – the idea being you want your pastry crispy and your egg still a little bit runny.

So, did I cook the perfect runny egg brik?

Sadly, no.  My egg was cooked through. 🙁

This was not all bad though, it certainly made it easier to take the remainder for lunch the next day.  And OMG, so tasty.  I’ll definitely be trying this again and trying to nail that runny egg.

Tuna Brik
Tuna Brik

 THE FOOD OF MOROCCO //POTATO TAGINE WITH OLIVES AND HARISSA

This tasted as good as it looks.  And one for my vegan friends!!!  The colours are so beautiful and the flavours blend together beautifully!

Potato Tagine With Olives and Harissa
Potato Tagine With Olives and Harissa

 THE FOOD OF MOROCCO // THE BIRD THAT FLEW AWAY

This a lovely chickpea dish with a delightful name.  Paula Wolfert explains that is it a “plat de pauvre” (a dish for the poor) that is made when you can’t afford to buy a chicken.  It’s so good I think I would eat it regardless of whether I had a chicken or not!

The Bird That Flew Away2
The Bird That Flew Away2

 THE FOOD OF MOROCCO INSPIRED // ARTICHOKE SALAD WITH ORANGE, LEAFY GREENS AND DATES.

A Spanish restaurant I am very fond of does a salad with oranges, artichokes and dates which is To. Die. For.  In order to recreate it’s flavour, I used Paula Wolfert’s Orange, Leafy Green and Date Salad and added artichokes and some lemon and olive oil in the dressing.  I think it worked really well and I loved the hint of orange flower water.  It was not exactly my restaurant salad but it was pretty close. And look at how pretty it is! 

Artichoke, Orange, Leafy Green and Date Salad
Artichoke, Orange, Leafy Green and Date Salad

 This was an amazing book and I am so glad that The Cookbook Guru drew it to my attention.  The next few months we will be cooking from a book by a true legend of Australian Cooking, Margaret Fulton.  I can’t wait.  And I promise to be a bit more timely!

Have a great week!

 

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