Tag: Easter

Neapolitan Easter Bread

Looking for something different to make this Easter?  This Neapolitan Easter Bread  aka Casatiello Napoletano could be just the thing!  Who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread?  And when that bread is stuffed with salami, bacon, cheese eggs and olives it becomes even more irresistible!  

Neapolitan Easter Bread1

Meantime though, who can believe it’s already Easter?  Where has this year gone?  March is always super busy for me at work and this year has been no exception.  I’ve been working into the early hours of the morning some days!  So, despite my best intentions of blogging MORE this year, it has actually turned into less. It’s also been hard to settle into a routine; with my step father’s passing earlier in the year I am living part of the week at my mum’s house and part of the week at home so my usual routines have had to change.  It has been a hard time in many respects but also has been great spending more time with mum from catching a movie to a manicure to painting classes and most importantly cooking and eating together. 

Neapolitan Easter Bread4

However, March madness is over at work, it all should be smooth sailing from here, right?   Maybe not…I have a crazy May coming up but that is filled with travels and fun rather than work.  Can’t wait.    However, let’s get back to the bread!  I used the Food 52 recipe for Neapolitan Easter Bread except I swapped out the ham for salami. Another difference between this recipe and more traditional versions is that chopped hard boiled eggs are included in the filling whereas traditional versions have them whole on the top of the loaf:

Traditional Neapolitan Easter Bread

I thought having the  eggs on top like that would make it quite difficult to eat!  And believe me, you will want to eat this, it is soooo good!

Neapolitan Easter BreadAnd the good news is that, if you don’t eat it all at once, it keeps really well. I’ve had it in my fridge for nearly a week now and it is still great when you place it under the grill to toast. 

The bread dough was easy to make and  turned out perfectly. 

 

Neapolitan Easter Bread2Then it was simply to put on the filing, roll it up and pop it in the oven. 

The Neapolitan Easter Bread is lovely warm just as it comes!  Food 52 suggest pesto or chimichurri as n accompaniment.  Warm with butter is superb!  Warm with a little bit of guac is also pretty damn special.!!!!

We ALL wanted a slice of it!

Neapolitan Easter Bread3Speaking of Easter, how cute is this little vintage bunny vase of my mum’s?

Bunny VaseHave a wonderful Easter everyone.  I hope the bunny brings you all the chocolate (Or Neapolitan Easter Bread) you wish for! 

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Retro Easter Part 3: The Eggs-travaganza

I solemnly promise that will be my only egg pun for this whole post.

But really, what is Easter about if it’s not about eggs? 

What? 

Well, yeah, ok sure  it’s about Jesus….but eggs are important too. 

This year I made my own chocolate eggs.

Home Made Easter Eggs
Home Made Easter Eggs

And ok, so Adriano Zumbo is not shaking in his shoes just yet but I get some points for trying right?  Can’t this be like Little League and I get a medal just for turning up?

For those of you who don’t know Adriano Zumbo, he is a mad-scientist genius baker (kind of like an Australian Heston Blumenthal but with more macaroons and  fewer snails).  He makes things like this gorgeous V8 cake.

 Zumbo3Think it looks simple?

Think again.

Because when you cut this baby open you get this:

 Layers in the V8Yeah…uh huh and OMG wow!!!

Maybe I’ll try to make that next Easter never.

For anyone brave enough to try, you can get  the recipe by clicking the link below:

Zumbo’s V8 Cake

 And send me photos.  And a piece.

However, ’nuff about  Zumbo, back to my eggs.  They weren’t just any plain old chocolate eggs.  Uh uh.  No way.  

They also had a peanut butter fudge filling:

 Peanut Butter Fudge Filling

 And in true retro style the peanut butter fudge mix has a secret ingredient.

Mashed potato.

Yes, I did just say mashed potato.

And it works surprisingly well.  You can’t taste it but it gives the peanut butter a firmer texture.  Actually the texture is very similar to that of my one of my all time favourite decadent little treats – a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  And when I say “a” Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, I of course mean a four twin pack.  

I even had to check that there wasn’t mashed potato in a Reese’s PBC.  There isn’t but there are two things that don’t actually have names, just initials. And you have to love a list that contains non-fat milk and milk fat right next to each other.  So, that would be milk right?

You can check the full list out here.

I’m not going to come over all Michael Pollan about this (guess who finally finished reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma?) but you know what?  I’m really not sure about eating the stuff that is just initials.  However, whilst we’re on the subject of Mr Pollan, here is what he has to say about TBHQ, one of the ingredients in my possibly formerly beloved peanut butter cups:

But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.

Hmm…compared to lighter fluid, the mashed potato suddenly seems a bit more attractive does it not? And yes ok, you would probably have to eat your own weight in them to get that gram of TBHQ but it was enough to make me walk away from the rack of peanut butter cups today.  Damn you Pollan.

Peanut Butter Fudge Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs with a "secret" ingredient
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 small potato, peeled and cubed
  2. 1 cup peanut butter - I used super crunchy.
  3. 1/2 cup condensed milk
  4. 1 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
  5. 180 gram block of dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. Melt 2/3 of the chocolate in a bowl over hot water and coat the moulds with the melted chocolate. You may need to do this more than once to get the desired thickness of chocolate shell.
  2. Place the chopped potato into a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until tender.
  3. Drain and mash.
  4. Add your condensed milk, just as you would add regular milk to normal mashed potatoes.
  5. Allow this mixture to cool.
  6. Mix in your peanut butter and confectioner's sugar. It should form a fairly thick paste.
  7. Add more condensed milk or confectioner's sugar if required.
  8. Spoon this mixture into the chocolate lined moulds.
  9. Melt the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate. Use this to seal the mixture into the moulds.
  10. Chill until the chocolate hardens then press your eggs out of the moulds.
Notes
  1. You will also need Easter Egg Moulds. I bought mine from a craft shop for around $4.
Adapted from A Bite From The Past
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

 Ox Eye Eggs

In my last post I assumed that everyone would know what Egg in a Hole was. I then further confused the issue by using the name we call these things in my family which is an Ox-Eye egg.

I actually managed to trace back the source of why we call it that. It comes from this book which I inherited from my…hmmm…I’m not sure of our exact relationship…maybe my second cousin? A great cousin? My nana’s sister’s daughter.

My Learn To Cook Book
My Learn To Cook Book

This was possibly my first cook book and the ox-eye eggs have become a family favourite. I will return to this book in due course because the illustrations are awesome but here is the recipe for the original ox-eye eggs:

OxEye Eggs

I prefer to do mine in a frying pan than in the oven as I think it gives you a little more control over your preferred degree of yolk runniness but the choice is yours!

And look at this for an amazing breakfast – seriously, if I’d thrown some cheese on this plate all my five favourite food groups would have been covered – eggs, bacon, avocado, and bread!

Ox Eye Eggs, Bacon and Loaded Guacamole
Ox Eye Eggs, Bacon and Loaded Guacamole

Loading up that toasted circle with a piece of bacon, some guac and some semi-runny yolk?  Probably about as close to heaven as I’m going to get!!!

The Perfect Bite!
The Perfect Bite!

 And that’s Easter 2014 done!

Next time, a double whammy, a retro treat from Salads from All Seasons and a Daring Kitchen Challenge.  I’m 3 months behind on my Daring Kitchen stuff and I’m really nervous about all of them – for very different reasons –  again which we will get to in due course. 

February’s challenge was Salad Dressing – and if you’re thinking that should be fairly impossible to fuck up, well, you haven’t seen the recipe I’m planning on using.

Hint – it too has a secret ingredient, which incidentally has been mentioned in this post. And it’s not mashed potato.  If only.  

I’m loving my extended Easter break.  Hope your week is fabulous whatever you are doing!

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Retro Easter Part 2: Easter Lily Sandwiches

Let’s start with a caveat.

I am perfectly aware that these sandwiches do not resemble Easter Lilies and would, based on their look, be far more appropriately called Calla Lily Sandwiches.  But it’s Easter ok?

And take a look at them.  How pretty are they?  Perfect for an afternoon tea with the girls….

Easter Lily Sandwiches2
Easter Lily sandwiches

And they taste pretty damn good too!!!

There are a few recipes for these lily sandwiches floating about the interwebs. However, most of them use green onions for the stem.  I actually made it that way the first time but was disappointed in the taste.

Chomping on that big stalk made the sandwich way too oniony – I’m pretty sure no one else wants to bite into a huge chunk of onion like that either.  Or suffer the onion breath afterwards. But to use them as decoration only and take them out when it came to eating the sandwich seemed like a waste.  My first thought was to replace the onions with beans but when I went to buy the beans, I was waylaid by some gorgeous baby asparagus spears.

Easter Lily Sandwiches Ingredients
Easter Lily Sandwiches Ingredients

And my version of the Lily Sandwich was born.

If you can only get thicker asparagus you could cut the spears in half down their length.  If asparagus is not available, use beans or celery matchsticks – all of which I think would be preferable to the onion!

Oh and a tip for the frugal.  When you cut the circles out of the bread, don’t throw the rest of the bread out.  Save them to use for what my family call Ox-Eye eggs but is, I believe more commonly called,  Egg in A Hole the next morning!  Any asparagus left over can also be dipped into a runny yolk for a breakfast made in heaven!!!

Leftovers

Oh and if you don’t happen to have a rolling-pin handy, a bottle of your favourite sauv blanc works equally as well.

Impromptu Rolling PinAnd would also be the perfect accompaniment to these sandwiches at your Easter afternoon tea!

Easter Lily Sandwiches3
Easter Lily Sandwiches3.

Easter Lily Sandwiches
Pretty asparagus sandwiches, perfect for a Spring afternoon tea!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 bunch of asparagus
  2. Slices of white bread, as many as you have asparagus spears
  3. 1 tub of cream cheese or a herb and garlic flavoured cream cheese like a Boursin
  4. 2 tbsp fresh chopped chives (omit if using a flavoured cheese)
  5. 1 clove of garlic, crushed (omit if using a flavoured cheese)
  6. 1/2 cup pistachios finely chopped
  7. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  8. Carrots cut into matchsticks, the same number of matchsticks as asparagus spears
  9. Salt & Pepper to Taste
  10. Instructions
Instructions
  1. Tail the asparagus and steam until just tender.
  2. Mix the cream cheese, paprika, nuts, salt and pepper and herbs in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  3. Using a cookie cutter, cutter cut out rounds from bread.
  4. Then with a rolling pin, roll each round so it’s about 1/8 inch thick.
  5. Spread about a teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture over each bread circle.
  6. Place the carrot stick so it peeps out of the top, and the asparagus spear so it pokes out of the bottom. Fold the bread over to seal.
  7. Voila! You have a lily sandwich.
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
One more Easter Treat to go…stay tuned!

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Retro Easter Part 1 – Cocktail: When Doves Cry

I got a mention on a Christian website the other day. And no, they weren’t damning me to hell for my potty mouth and occasional smutty innuendo.  Far from it.  They actually described this as:

 “the cutest Australian retro site”

And just in case you think I’m fibbing, you can link here.

And shame on you!!!  As if I’m going to lie about the Christians!!!   Let’s just say I’m taking Pascal’s wager on that one. If nothing else.

And…

YES!!!!

I believe for only the second time ever that Philosophy major I undertook at university has come in handy.  I knew all that time and money would be worth it someday.

And consider yourselves lucky I’m not doing a Paleo blog – otherwise the references  to Plato and his cave would be coming thick and fast.

BOOM! – That would be three.

Happy Easter
Happy Easter

But given it is Easter, how about a quote from the modern-day philosopher Bill Hicks:

“A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he ever wants to see a fucking cross? It’s like going up to Jackie Onassis wearing a rifle pendant.”

And farewell to the readers I picked up from the Christian website, it was nice knowing you.

So let’s talk about how I celebrated Easter….

First there were cocktails.  Then sandwiches. Then home made Easter Eggs.

Not one of them normal….because what would be the fun in that?

We’ll get to the others in due course but today is all about the cocktail.

Remember back in February when I did the post with the Parfait Amour?  At the time, I said:

If I was to make this again,  I would add some zing, maybe with some lime juice and also maybe a kick of a flavoursome gin like Hendricks – I think the floral notes in the Hendricks would combine well with the floral notes in the Parfait Amour.”

Well guess what I found?

Simply Divine Ingredients

A cocktail recipe called the Simply Divine which uses Parfair Armour, Gin and Citrus.  And it is AWESOME!!!!  So, so tasty…sweet and tangy and floral and delicious….except for one thing….

JuiceSimply DivineThe citrus mix was a very pretty peachy colour.

The Parfait Amour and gin was purple.

So the result should have been a pretty pinky purple as per the original recipe.

That didn’t happen.

If you were looking for some sexed up paintchart name for the colour this went, you’d probably call it Dove Wing Grey.  Technically, I think the weird browny purple grey colour it turned is called puce.  Unofficially, it prompted the so-called-beloved to ask if I was drinking bong-water.  After I explained that I had no idea of what he spoke of,  we decided that  this is not so much Dove Wing Grey but that this is what it looks like when doves cry.

When Doves Cry

As long as you don’t mind drinking something that looks like the water you washed your socks in, this is a super drink – the citrus and gin really do cut through the sweetness of the Parfait Armour to create a drink that has a really nice balance and is very refreshing.

Simply Divine3

And because I changed the ingredients slightly from the recipe and nothing that colour can be truly called Simply Divine, ladies and gentlemen meet the:

WHEN DOVES CRY

Ingredients

  • 30ml gin – I used Hendricks
  • 30ml Parfait Amour
  • 1 red or pink grapefruit, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tangerine, juiced

Instructions

  • Fill a glass with ice
  • Add the gin and Parfait Amour
  • Top with the mixed citrus juice
  • Stir.
  • Wince at the colour.
  • Enjoy!

You can mix up the citrus too – lime would be great, as would orange!!!!

I’m going to try to redeem myself in the next post which will feature some of the cutest sandwiches you ever did see.

Oh and I’m now on instagram. You can follow  my feed by clicking on the icon at the top o’ the page.

Hope you had a fabulous Easter!!!!

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Retro Food For Modern Times – Let’s See How Far We’ve Come – 1971 vs 2013

I have spoken previously about my abhorrence of food made to look like animals. It’s one of the reasons why Easter isn’t my favourite holiday.

Chocolate?  Good.

Chocolate posing as rabbits and chickens? Not so much.

Not to mention the Easter Bilbies…

Easter Bilbies

I have nothing against bilbies, I think they’re kind of sweet when they are found in nature where they belong.  Where they do not belong is in my Easter Basket.

However, given the time of year and the predilection for animal shaped food items I thought I would have a quick look at two recipes, one from the Party Cookbook (1971), the other from a modern book to see how our tastes have changed.

Let’s start with the 1971 recipe for White Mice in Jelly.

White Mice in Jelly 001

I didn’t make this because

a) It’s food made to look like rodents, and

b) I’m not fond of pears.  I find them largely tasteless and a little gritty.

But imagine these sans lettuce leaf and cheese and drowned in a vat of Lucozade and you get the general idea of the White Mice in Jelly.

,

1971 verdict – I guess they’re kind of cute.  If you like eating facsimile vermin and gritty fruit, knock yourself out.

Moving to 2013, I found the following recipe in Luke Nguyen‘s Greater Mekong Cookbook. I assumed his Chargrilled Coconut Mice would be an Asian version of the above, maybe made from a tropical fruit dipped in coconut.  A cutesy way to end the book, like the puppy story at the end of the news.

Then I actually read the recipe and..oh….oh…OH!  For the love of hopscotching Jesus…no!

Chargrilled Coconut Mice 001

Don’t get me wrong Luke,  I like you.  I think you are charming television host and a great chef.  I follow you on social media.  But seriously?   REAL FUCKING MICE? Have you lost your mind?

I didn’t make this one either because

a) It’s food made of rodents and

b) Telling me to not freak out and use quail doesn’t work.  The word mice has already been mentioned. Several times.  I don’t give a crap if they are naturally clean I’m not throwing a few mice on the barbie!

2013 Verdict – Is this really what we’ve come to?  We’ve had the foams and the bacon ice-cream and the molecular gastronomy, we’re now eating vermin? Bring back 1971!

Just in case the recipe wasn’t bad enough you can watch Luke cooking the mice here:

http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipe/15919/Chargrilled_coconut_mouse_or_quail

Gross.

So…in deference to the ethos of 1971, bring out the bilbies and hand me the rabbits;  this Easter I’m eating vermin.  But only of the chocolate variety!

Chocolate Bunny red ribbon

Happy Easter everyone!

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