Monday, February 13, 2012

Sauteed Cabbage (Secret Recipe Club)

This month in the Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Danielle's blog, Mostly Food and Crafts. I loved loved loved reading through all of these recipes and I was particularly drawn to these mashed potatoes until I realised I don't have the budget for goats cheese (although when I have leftover feta I think I'll give them a go anyway, they look TOO GOOD). In the end, I picked what is maybe the simplest recipe on the blog, sauteed cabbage, and that is just because I've only cooked cabbage one other time and it was spiced so I wanted to challenge myself to cook cabbage and see if I like it. Also because the photo looked amazing and healthy, and the description really sold it to me.

I've just cooked as a snack after work and it tastes amazing. I was a little bit skeptical, and I had a packet of crispy fried noodles on hand just in case I needed to liven things up a bit, but it tasted excellent on its own. I am going to go out on a limb and attribute that in part to the fact that I followed the recipe and seasoned it with salt. For someone as obsessed with hot chips as I am, I don't use salt that much in cooking or to season dishes, but I feel like it gave the cabbage some extra flavour. 

Anyway, make this. Immediately. I'm eating it and its a 37 degree day so you have no excuse for it being too hot (or too cold, but its a warm dish so why wouldn't you?) to make and enjoy this delicious dish. Thanks Danielle! :D


1/2 head cabbage, sliced thinly
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
salt and pepper, to season

1. Melt butter and oil in a pan over medium heat
2. Add the cabbage a couple of handfuls at a time, so it isn't going to burn
3. Wait until it is a little softer but still deliciously crunchy, and serve!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy 2012!


I've been remarkably busy doing what seems to be not much, but it has been a very enjoyable break. Christmas was delightful, I spent Christmas Eve with my big sister at her house, Christmas Day with my family, and Boxing Day with Levi's family (who were kind enough to pick me up from the train halfway, which meant I could still spend the morning with my aunty & co who were over from interstate rather than taking a different train the whole two hours at 9am, so props to them) and then a nice break between Christmas and New Years with Mum and Dad. I even had a friend's 21st on New Years' Eve, which was amazingly fun, I've known her since pre-primary (so about fifteen years!) and I don't see her nearly enough any more.

Oh, and before that we had a big Christmas dinner for our volleyball team, which I fully intended to blog about but I caught a cold during the Christmas Pantomime and ended up sleeping through most of the dinner. After my team had won at charades. And after I had downed an egg nog much faster than anyone else, because the cold meant that I couldn't taste the rum in it.

I was also incredibly spoilt over Christmas, some food-related highlights:

A new kettle. I went from a stovetop kettle to a secondhand kettle and now THIS. 

Also this necklace. I want to wear it everywhere. 

And these books from Levi, which I would thoroughly recommend to absolutely anyone with even a passing interest in cooking. 

I don't think I've mentioned how much I love Heston Blumenthal on my blog, but I think he is amazing and I am very glad Mum made me watch Heston's Feast with her one night (the Willy Wonka episode, which is still one of my favourites) because then it made sense that we had given someone the Fat Duck Cookbook as a birthday present (side note: my 21st is soon. Compleeeetely unrelated side note...). The Flavour Thesaurus is great because I'm never sure what to pair things with so I usually end up following recipes or sticking to safe combinations and now I have an entire reference book to choose food pairings from! :D

I feel like we're pretty caught up now. I hope you had a splendid break too. Your hair looks good today.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Baked Chocolate Custard (Secret Recipe Club)

Its time for another Secret Recipe Club post! This one was ridiculously last minute because of exams, rehearsals and a trip to Sydney for a three day workshop (and then post-workshop coma), but its here! This month I was assigned to Lavender and Lime, run by the lovely Tandy, and I had a really great time sifting through all of the posts, but I kept coming back to this custard. Which was odd considering I don't normally go for sweet things, but it seemed so delicious.

I am not the kind of girl to own ramekins, so I did batches in a smaller ovenproof dish I already own, and it still worked out perfectly! The only problem was that I found it super difficult to photograph well, so I strongly recommend you head to Tandy's blog and check out her amazing photograph! I'm sure the photo was 90% of my motivation to make this. I grated some chocolate on the top but in this weather chocolate doesn't really grate, it melts between your fingers and the grater. It still tastes great though!

Serves 6
Total time commitment: 45 minutes (25 minutes baking)
Recipe from Lavender and Lime

100g dark chocolate
515ml milk
100g sugar
6 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate with 15ml milk. When smooth, add to a saucepan with 500ml milk and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat for a bit.

2. Whisk eggs and sugar together until pale and thick. Gradually add milk, continuing to whisk.

3. Place 6 large ramekins into a bain marie (see this post for help) and bake for 25 minutes.

Check out the other fabulous posts here :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Salt Crusted Burgers and Caramelised Onions

Oh my goodness, guys. I think I totally beat the cheeseburger recipe in terms of Most Delicious Burgers Ever. Also, these were much simpler, which makes it even BETTER. I've been following the blog Stonesoup for a while now, since I decided to learn to make sourdough and found a recipe on Jules' site (for the record, it was incredible, I just never got a good enough photo to post the recipe; if you are interested you can find it here. Also I understand that I have only been posting phone pictures lately which makes that reasoning invalid). The recipes are delightfully simple, and most contain less than 5 ingredients which is so great. The bonus with these burgers is that most of the ingredients I would generally have on hand anyway! Except bread. I've only just started keeping a loaf of bread in the freezer, I don't eat enough to warrant always having a fresh loaf in the house, let alone rolls! (Honestly, though, I live within walking distance of at least three shops so its no big deal to run out and get some, which means this recipe is a-ok with me)

The burgers are really juicy without cooking them in oil, because the salt layer helps the juices to congeal and form a 'crust' on the burger. Is this common knowledge? It should be. I am so impressed with these burgers, you don't even know.

Just a disclaimer on the "quick" tag - the burgers are incredibly quick, the onions not so much - although I came home from work on Tuesday night and had made burgers and 2 onions' worth of caramelised onions in half an hour, so maybe I have unreasonable standards of what quick means. I've split the recipe into the two sections - burgers and onions - in case you're only making one part. Apparently the onions can be kept for about a month in the fridge, but I haven't tried storing them yet.

Serves 4 in a burger bun - if you're serving them without bread I would add a little extra meat per person, the original recipe called for 400g to serve two people
Total time commitment: 10 minutes
Recipe from Stonesoup

400g minced beef

1. Heat a frypan on really high heat for three minutes. Shape the beef into the desired number of patties.

2. Sprinkle a fine layer of salt over the frypan and place the burgers on top. Cook for 4 minutes then flip, sprinkling more salt on the pan. Cook until they are done to your liking.

Makes a lot
Total time commitment: Depends on how much onion you have, but this took me 20-25 minutes and I only waited until a few of the onions had browned.
Recipe from Stonesoup

2 onions, thinly sliced
Balsamic vinegar

1. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add onions and cook, covered, until the onions are dark brown, stirring every 5 minutes or so. As I mentioned in the time commitment spot, I didn't brown all of the onions because I am both hungry and impatient.

2. Add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and cook, uncovered, until the onion is soft. I added vinegar until it looked about the right colour, so do whatever works for you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rosemary and Honey Pecans

I found (and made) this recipe through a delightfully serendipitous turn of events. I was cruising Facebook instead of studying and Papermash linked to Sweet Paul magazine, which I had never heard of. I moseyed on over to have a look and this recipe came up. I had leftover pecans from the salted caramel pecans and was at Levi's house, which meant I had access to fresh rosemary to make it. Also, I was really bored of studying. In my defence, I did have an exam this morning so my brain wasn't functioning very well anyway.

I used a very scant cup of pecans, and ended up with a lot of honey/butter mixture sitting in the bottom of the dish. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious and I ended up drizzling it over the top, but I suspect if I used a full cup of pecans they would get crispier from not sitting in a puddle of delicious. Just a hunch, though, because the salted caramel pecans weren't necessarily crispy.

And did I mention how dishes-friendly this is? The original recipe said to melt the butter in a saucepan and then put it in a bowl with the other ingredients but bro, I have a microwave, I might as well just use one bowl. Next time I'm going to skip the bowl entirely and make it in the ovenproof dish from the get-go. One dish recipes are the GREATEST.

Serves 4, maybe? Are you serving them with cheese? I think thats a good idea. I should have done that.
Total time commitment: 15-20 minutes
Recipe adapted from Kate LeSueur in Sweet Paul magazine

30g butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 cup pecans
2 stems rosemary
2 tbsp honey

1. Preheat oven to 165C. Melt butter in a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix to coat pecans.
2. Put in an ovenproof dish and cook until toasty. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Salted Caramel Pecans (Secret Recipe Club)

It's SRC time again! This month I was assigned to Desi's blog, Steak N Potatoes Kinda Gurl, which I could tell from the title was going to be my kind of blog. Everything looks incredibly delicious, but with Christmas coming up and my intense love of all things salted caramel, I decided to give these salted caramel pecans a try. Levi and I ate these sprinkled over macadamia and honey ice cream and it was essentially the best thing I've ever eaten in the whole world.

Because Desi used pecans in a Christmas recipe (for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets), I assume its not just my family who associates pecans with Christmas. When we used to go camping mid-year, Mum would make really boss pecan pies (which I didn't appreciate at the time), and now she makes mini versions to give people for Christmas (which I do appreciate, and try to eat as many as possible). So there's how my mind worked. Good-o.

Salted caramel sounds fancy but this was ridiculously easy, there's just a lot of waiting and watching time. By a lot, I mean about 10 minutes, so not exceptionally long. Comparatively long to how much effort this recipe takes, you can throw the whole thing together in 15-20 minutes, which is just how I like recipes!

I left the cinnamon out of these because I didn't want it to potentially tarnish my salted caramel experience (and pecans are expensive, so I didn't want to risk being sad and having to make more un-cinnamon ones... although I have some leftovers so I might try them with cinnamon later). If you want to add it, though, the original recipe calls for 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon to be added with the salt. I also didn't measure out the salt, I just added it until it tasted good, but I've included the original measurement in the recipe as a guide.

As always, if you want to keep up to date or have a go yourself, the Secret Recipe Club website is here and it is delightful.

Serves 2 - 4, it depends on how hungry you are!
Total time commitment: 15 - 20 minutes
Adapted from SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl

1 cup unsalted raw pecans
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp water
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine water, pecans and sugar in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. When the sugar begins to liquify, start stirring, and keep stirring until the sugar begins to crystallise.

Bring the heat down to medium-low and continue stirring. When the sugar is getting to the level of brownness that you would like, start coating the pecans with it (I used a wooden spoon). When the pecans are coated, sprinkle salt (and cinnamon, if you're using it) over them and leave to cool on a baking sheet.

Have a look at what everyone else has done here:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spiced (The Kitchen Reader)

It's time for another Kitchen Reader book! This month's was Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials By Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes On in the Kitchen by Dalia Jurgensen, chosen by Libbi of Domestic Wandering.

I wasn't expecting to like this book, because for some reason I thought a memoir would be boring. And yes, some bits I wasn't too interested in the outcome of (relationship stuff? Surprisingly not my thing), but generally it was great. It actually made me want to become a pastry chef, until the rational part of my brain piped in with "No Emily, we've already done that and it wasn't as fun as you expected". Which brings me to the point that I don't think I've ever mentioned on my blog that I started a traineeship with an Italian pastry chef. But I digress!

The whole leaving-my-desk-job-to-pursue-my-dream thing is a bit hackneyed, but I wasn't quite as irritated by it in this book because it's actually real life, not a terrible film storyline. It also seems like nobody ever learns anything in culinary school that is of real value to working in a professional kitchen. Regardless, I really enjoyed the book, and got through it exceptionally quickly, which probably means I was more sucked in to the story than I anticipated. I would recommend this to anyone who is curious about what its like working in a kitchen. In my experience, the chauvinism and dysfunction are a bit hyperbolic in the book, but its definitely a good read.