Blood plums from Marrickville markets

Coat plums in sugar and leave covered overnight along with a muslin bag with some of the plum kernels in it.

I used Stephanie Alexander’s ratio of fruit to sugar. She uses 2kg plums, 1.25kg white sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Cut up plums, and set seeds to the side. Whack 10 of the seeds to crack them and place the kernels inside in a muslin bag. Place fruit and sugar in a large saucepan with a lid and leave overnight. The next day bring to the boil and skim froth. Add lemon juice and simmer for 30 minutes or until a teaspoon of jam sets on a cold saucer you’ve had sitting in the freezer. Remove jam from heat. Put muslin bag in a strainer over saucepan of jam and press with a large spoon to extract liquid. Ladle into hot, sterilised jars and seal.

N.B. The key to success is to use fresh fruit from the market, mostly ripe for good flavour and some still quite firm and tart. The under-ripe fruit has higher pectin levels which is what gives the jam its setting-ability. The kernels also add a lovely almond background flavour.
 
 

I have become obsessed with this cake, after testing it for the CWA challenge at work. It is a delicious and moist cake with the refreshing flavour of passionfruit to lighten it up. I have made a few changes to make it my own as the original had a tendency to crack. I bake mine at a lower temperature for longer which helps it not to crack as much, it still cracks a little, but settles back to almost flat with just a gentle dome. I’ve also cut the raising agent by replacing some of the self raising flour with plain flour.

Passionfruit Cake

(adapted from a CWA recipe)

Cake

250g butter, softened
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
3 eggs (room temperature), separated
200g self raising flour
100g plain flour
180ml (3/4 cup) buttermilk
1/4 cup passionfruit pulp

Passionfruit icing

1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon full cream milk
1 to 1 ┬Ż tablespoons sieved passion fruit pulp

  1. Pre heat oven to 160C conventional. Grease a 20cm aluminium round cake pan with softened butter, line the base with a round of greased baking paper. Dust base and sides lightly with flour and firmly tap out any excess flour.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with a scraper paddle until light and fluffy, this can take 5-8 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time until combined.
  3. Add passionfruit pulp to buttermilk, combine sifted flours in a bowl. On low speed, add buttermilk and flour alternately to mixer bowl until just combined.
  4. Beat egg whites with a whisk until soft peaks form. Fold into cake mixture with a large kitchen spoon or spatula in two batches.
  5. Spread mixture into prepared pan, level the top and tap firmly on the bench. Bake in oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 or until cooked in the centre and golden on top. Stand for 5-10 minutes before turning onto a clean tea towel on a baking tray. Remove baking paper from base of cake if it has come out of the tin. Leave upside down to cool for 10 minutes if you want a flattish top. To invert, place a serving plate or baking tray on the cake and use the baking tray to support the cake. Hold together and carefully flip so the serving plate is on the bottom.
  6. For passionfruit icing, stir icing sugar, milk and enough passion fruit pulp to form a thick icing. Keep bowl of icing covered with cling wrap until ready to use so it doesn’t form a skin.
  7. Once cake has cooled, ice top with passionfruit icing. You can ice while warm but the icing will run down the sides of the cake.

N.B.
If you don’t have buttermilk you can replace it with 140ml full cream milk mixed with 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
This cake is really good straight out of the oven, and it looks quite pretty when the icing runs down the sides ­čÖé
 


This roast lamb shoulder was so delicious and easy.
Buy a deboned lamb shoulder, open it out and spread the inside with chopped capers, dijon, anchovies, lemon, olive oil, garlic and parsley, roll it up, tie with string. Roast at 230C for 30 minutes until golden and crispy then reduce heat to┬á160C for┬á30 minutes per kilo. Rest for at least 15-20 minutes. Recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage Meat book.

We had a stunning eggplant and pomegranate salad (recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi) which went perfectly with the lamb.
Place eggplant over bbq or gas flame until charred, drain over colander, scrape flesh and mix with tahini, lemon, garlic, pomegranate molasses, parsley and a little water. Top with fresh pomegranate seeds.

My favourite comfort food – rabbit and pasta. The ragu is from Stephanie Alexander, it’s her ‘hare pasta sauce’ but made with rabbit.

The pasta is saffron linguine from Marrickville markets. Parsley, thyme and bay from the garden. The wine to deglaze the pan and relax the chef is a McLeish Estate cabernet sauvignon/merlot.


I went to an ethical foie gras dinner a few years ago when a colleague of mine couldn’t go. Edouard de Souza’s ethical foie gras was delicious, although it seemed to me to be a completely different product, more meaty and livery, and less buttery.
Anyway, listen to what Dan has to say, I think you’ll enjoy it.

I just love love love this quarterly mag, issue 3 has just been released here in Oz. I buy mine from Magnation, Newtown. I was reading the article by Anthony Bourdain last night on foodie movies and there was a random one he mentioned that I love called La Grande Bouffe that I thought no one else had watched, at least no one I know! I now have a few more ‘must buys’ on my JB Hifi shopping list…
This morning I read the article by Peter Meehan called ‘The art of toilet cleanliness according to Joe Beef’ about what it’s really like being a chef. I laughed pretty hard. It reminded me of plenty of chefs I know, and some of the stories they’ve entertained me with along the way. I love my job, and magazines like this that celebrate our industry and the real inside goings-on. Reading Lucky Peach is therapy, good for the soul.

I’ve just tested a recipe for macarons. They worked perfectly first time, so need to share…
The recipe is from Ottolenghi. If you want a fabulous in depth discussion on macaron making… visit this page: http://bravetart.com/blog/MacaronMyths
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Pipe the mixture onto baking trays and allow to ‘skin’ or set for 15 minutes to half an hour.
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Bake at 160-170C fan forced for about 12 minutes until golden and the macarons release from the tray when lifted with a palette knife. Allow to cool completely before moving.
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Fill with peanut and salted dulce de leche (caramel) filling and sandwich macarons together. Allow to set for a few hours.
Munch!

Mike_small
85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery
Kitchen by Mike is┬ámy newest food haunt and I love it. I’ve been taking everyone I can possibly grab as well, so have now been for weekday breakfast and lunch, weekend brunch, but not dinner.
The food: There’s no menu, just go up to the food counter and see what’s on.┬áThere’s always good bread, and I mean open crumb, moist, crusty sourdough with pepe saya butter. Usually a few interesting salads and some grilled or roast vegetables. A simple pizza with a delicious crust and quiche or tart, pastries and a cake or two for dessert. Everything is served room temperature and they just keep replenishing the food during service. It reminds me of Ottolenghi in London. Lunch is reasonable and normally works out to about $15 per person, depending on what you get.
The plate above has a globe artichoke, a luxury I learnt to appreciate from my stepmother. You peel off the layers one by one, dip them into the homemade mayonnaise and scrape the flesh between your teeth. When you finally get to the heart you discard the furry choke and eat the tender heart and stalk. Also on the plate, a lentil and brussels sprouts salad, a deeply caramelised roast pumpkin wedge with spiced yoghurt. I’ve also tried a wonderful mushroom soup, roast chicken, margherita pizza and coleslaw.
For breakfast I’ve had a bacon buttie and toast with jam, my friends have had the sourdough pancakes with lemon curd, the Boston baked beans with poached eggs and the bircher muesli, all of which are good. There is a limited menu for weekday breakfast; toasted muesli and yoghurt, Bircher, toast with jam and porridge. ┬áThe weekend breakfast is where they have the most options.
The space: is a canteen in a warehouse space, so as it’s getting chillier, bring something warm to wear. A colleague who came here first told me to leave time to walk around the homewares section before you eat, so that you’re not so distracted by the pretty things and end up ignoring your dinner date.
The coffee: is fantastic. I’m surrounded by Campos and Allpress, Sonoma and Bourke St Bakery all of whom do good coffee so this is stiff competition people! They also have smoothies, fresh juice, iced tea and homemade lemonade that come in cute glass bottles with barber striped paper straws. If you just want coffee and a pastry don’t line up in the big line, just go to the coffee counter and save yourself some time.

Roses
Candied lemon peel roses
Golden dream small
Lemon and almond syrup cake with white chocolate buttercream
There was such a delicious feast at Iain and Jules’ engagement party that we didn’t get through all of the cake, what a shame, we had to divvy the rest up to scoff at home.
Jules, I need recipes for the adobo pork and chicken, and the vermicelli noodles, yum!
This recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s amazing book, ‘Rose’s Heavenly Cakes’. I picked up so many great tips from her perfectly tested and detailed recipes. Everyone loved the lemon peel roses. One small person was heard asking ‘can you eat them?’. Cute. Of course you could, but mine were a little on the firm side. Next time I would try to take a little less white pith with them as I peeled them as I think they were a little stiff.

rosemary jungle
Rosemary potatoes… We pulled up a rosemary plant as we accidentally planted the spreading ‘ground cover’ variety and not the nice upright straight-branched one, so it’s rosemary on everything this week.