Watch out folks! There’s a new gal in town and she’s bold, she’s brash and she totally wants to steal your heart!
…well not literally, but looking at these glossy, shiny, jewels of a berry wouldn’t you want to melt into that custard layer and shortcrust too?
I know it’s almost cruel to flaunt this ruby toned tart before those in the Northern Hemisphere, what with the snow, sleet and (luckily) cosy-winter warmer’s coming out of your kitchens!
But alas, it is summer here and to finally be eating these fresh Raspberries for the first time in aaaages, well… You know what they say, if you’ve got it…Flaunt it!
I fully intend to enjoy the next fortnight of sunshine, surf and merriment which (Sydneysiders) sometimes take for granted, coastal living and all. Sure there are deadlines looming and (lots of exciting work ahead,) but it’s sunny outside, my favourite fruits are coming into season and soon I’ll be on holiday.
Of which I’m reminded, it’ll be winter when I’m away overseas…oh….
Best enjoy these jewels whilst I can and a Shortcrust Raspberry Tart
Like this, you might want to see:
Buckwheat, Hazelnut & Jam Tartlets,
Compost Cookies, adapted from Momofuku Milkbar
Choc meringue short stack, with strawberries & cream
Mini worlds and mighty ideas. These last few weeks have been about putting on my old hat aka ‘channelling my inner designer’ and new ventures for the new year. I don’t know about all of you, but whenever December hits it’s like a fast forward through to the next year and old (& new deadlines speed up) before the Christmas break.
There have been a few stolen moments whilst working for this upcoming venture, let’s just call it The Serpent’s Table for now. What I can tell you, is that I’m working with a team of very special people, some chef’s, some home cooks and we’re bringing some new ideas in the form of food & stories to the masses.
…we also had impromptu juggling workshops at work (at which we’ve all discovered I’m no good at) after smashing the front of my iPhone…
I also trekked most of Sydney in an effort to source props for our chef’s and cooks, in case you wondered where half of Chinatown’s crockery stores went too…
There were also my end of year Pastry Tests, & written theory. Now I’m finally on summer break through to next year, which when you’re a mature age student as (I am now,) you come to realise that the end of school isn’t necessarily the end of work though!
…but we can safely say I made it through my first year as a student chef, hurrah!
Did I also mention at the end of the current mayhem, I’ll be heading off on a well deserved jaunt overseas to Hong Kong? I’ll be going ballistic on my Instagram account when I do
Along the way these lovely beetroot came into season, I immediately grabbed a bunch and doused them with water and a generous sprinkling of salt to roast. No fuss, I simply peeled them and ate with a smear of goat’s curd, did I mention I was ravenous for that earthy, succulent, sweetness!
I also snacked! If you remember those Pizzette from some time back, I baked those lovely crispbreads, finished them with parsley, sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. That recipe can be found here, just in case you need a snack too!
There’s also the occasional need for a Monster Sandwich on those super frenzy-filled days, perfect if you don’t actually want to cook *gasp*.
Don’t look so surprised, (it occasionally happens to me too!)
I made new friends with an old favourite, The new Rueben. It has the standard rye, thin strips of lean beef and mustard, but I decided to freshen things up with a freshly pickled cabbage…
It’s for those pickle lovers and those who get themselves into a pickle with time! Ok and for sandwich lovers and lovers of snacks…who am I kidding, it’s for everyone!
Gimme an O for oh so delicious!
Okonomiyaki translates to what you like. there are many delicious variations, some of which can be found here on the wiki
I love these! I love them as snacks, I love them for lunch, late night munching, you get the picture!
When you’re in a frenzy, these little savouries can be whipped up super speedy. All it takes is a few chops, snips of cabbage and some fillings, pan fried with the batter and topped with some tasty things.
Seriously! They don’t call it street food for nothing…
1 cup cabbage, cut up roughly (seasoned lightly with salt,)
1/2 cup Pork mince or beef mince, (or octopus)
Few spring onion stems, chopped
1 cup Plain Flour,
half cup of Milk,
half a cup of water,
Okinomiyaki sauce (or BBQ sauce)
Seaweed flakes and sesame seeds (or Japanese rice topping)
Bonito flakes, (from specialty stores aka Chinatown) omit freely…
**Optional toppings, ** grated cheese, corn, mushrooms whichever you fancy! Remember this is like a DIY, aside from the cabbage and toppings, most things are going to be up for grabs.
In a large mixing bowl, chop the cabbage and (using a pair of kitchen scissors) snip it finer if you like, sprinkle with salt and set aside.
Mix the pork mince (or meat) with the snipped spring onion stems and the egg. Pour the cabbage into the bowl with the pork mince and set aside.
Make up your batter with the flour and half a cup of milk. Add the half cup of water and mix with a wooden spoon. You want it to be thick but (still runny enough to pour) almost like the consistency of glag glue.
Don’t worry about any lumps because you won’t notice them later.
There are two ways to cook okonomiyaki, the first (traditional method) is Teppen style (or on a grill plate,) I’m using my frying pan.
In a large frying pan with a little oil, pan fry (roughly a cup) of the cabbage & pork mixture until its nearly cooked. Separate into halves and using a ladle, pour some of the batter over the top of each mound and continue to cook,
Using a large spatula or egg flipper, turn the pancakes carefully and continue to cook the other side.
Or you can mix everything together in a pancake batter and just fry off like that, the non traditional method:
Both methods work well, make sure you cook each pancake over a steady heat to cook through those pancakes (remember we do have raw meat inside!)
Serve with a selection of sauces, beginning with the Okonomiyaki sauce, then some squiggles of mayonnaise. Layer with the seaweed flakes and lastly finish with the bonito.
The ubiquitous puff, those flakey layers, a crunchy bite that shatters into a 1000 layers. Not forgetting the melted texture of butter on the tongue. So many things to love and yet rarely do we make it from scratch (because let’s face it, it can be a bit of a pain.)
I’m in serious practice mode for my upcoming pastry prac tests and with the silly season approaching (fast) I figure there’s no harm in having a few extra tricks up your sleeve to show off!
For those of you in the cooler months, this is the perfect flakey crust to take that bowl of soup or stew, to the next level.
If you’re heading into the summer like moi then these spring days are your last opportunity before true beach weather hits and you no longer want to see your oven, let alone bake in it!
You might be asking, why so much butter? Well the idea is for the layers of fat to get trapped between the dough, rolling layer upon layer and finally the steam (water from the butter) tries to escape and puffs up beautifully between the dough. This is full puff, it’s not for the faint hearted!
added bonus is that if you do decide to make this from scratch, you can control the butter and (tone it back) so it doesn’t end up oily or greasy like some commercial brands.
This recipe is versatile in that it works for sweet or savouries. There’s some delicious apple rounds, cheese twists and a (simplified version) of the infamous Mille-Feuille. All of this from one sheet of home made puff pastry!
Plus a little vanilla lovin’ in there too….
I promise I’m here to show you that it can be done. With a little patience and time, you’ll have a full sheet of pastry that’s so buttery, so crisp and so delicate it’ll make you cry with joy when you finally sink your teeth into it and you will exclaim… “I made this!!!”
See here for the Puff Pastry Showdown!