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!
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.
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:
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!
And 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.
Then 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!
Speaking of Easter, how cute is this little vintage bunny vase of my mum’s?
Have a wonderful Easter everyone. I hope the bunny brings you all the chocolate (Or Neapolitan Easter Bread) you wish for!
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?
Well, yeah, ok sure it’s about Jesus….but eggs are important too.
This year I made my own chocolate 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.
Think it looks simple?
Because when you cut this baby open you get this:
Yeah…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:
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:
And in true retro style the peanut butter fudge mix has a secret ingredient.
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?
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.
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.
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:
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!
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!!!
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!
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….
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.
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!!!
Oh and if you don’t happen to have a rolling-pin handy, a bottle of your favourite sauv blanc works equally as well.
And would also be the perfect accompaniment to these sandwiches at your Easter afternoon tea!
Easter Lily Sandwiches
Pretty asparagus sandwiches, perfect for a Spring afternoon tea!
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….
The 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.
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.
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
30ml gin – I used Hendricks
30ml Parfait Amour
1 red or pink grapefruit, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tangerine, juiced
Fill a glass with ice
Add the gin and Parfait Amour
Top with the mixed citrus juice
Wince at the colour.
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.
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 posing as rabbits and chickens? Not so much.
Not to mention the 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.
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!
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: