shopshoot - quintessential duckeggblue

28 Mar 2012

Last month I visited the Sydney suburb of Balmain, home to the eclectic shop quintessential duckeggblue.

The shop is housed in a classic Sydney terrace house complete with ornate iron work and decorative tiles. So what's inside? A little bit of everything.

There are gorgeous lights, old chidren's toys, French tolix chairs, apothecary jars, club chairs. I could go on and on.

I found quintessential duckeggblue last year after I came back from my trip to Europe. I found some Hovis bread tins at Pedlars in London but didn't have the room in my backpack to take one home with me. When I did a search I found quintessential duckeggblue stocked them as well.

I also spied some familiar items like the Debra Bowness wallpaper and paper sculptures by Jo Neville of Paper Couture. Paper Couture was one of my first ever shopshoots, the Darlinghurst shop now sadly closed.

I loved the old club chairs and the gorgeous old display cabinets.

I arrived at the shop just as it was opening, so I had free rein before customers began arriving.

I think this wall contained my favourite display - tolix chairs and letterpress letters.

This customer obviously agreed with me.

Next time I need riding boots, I'll know where to go.

I see the store has changed it's display a little since my visit, so next time I'm in Balmain I'll be sure to drop by. Many thanks to the lovely Leah for putting up with me.

See you all next week,



lemon cheesecake and poppyseed tartlets

26 Mar 2012

I've had this Ottolenghi recipe from the Guardian stored in my 'to bake' file for quite some time. My workmates all love cheesecake so I was sure they'd love these little tarts.

I'm not going to lie - making these tarts was a pretty fiddly affair. Originally I thought about making this as a single cheesecake but I don't have a small springform tin. I did change the recipe a little as I only had large eggs in my fridge. I used 1 large egg and an additional egg white. I mixed the yolk into the cream cheese mixture then I beat the 2 egg whites until stiff then folded them into the cheesecake mixture.

I had a little bit of filling left over so I baked it in a paper cupcake liner and it was delicious. Tangy, light and fluffy. Unfortunately these little tarts were too rich for me but they went down really, really  well with my workmates, in fact they waxed lyrical over them.

So my crush with Yotam Ottolenghi continues. Expect some more of his recipes in the coming weeks.

See you all again on Wednesday with a shopshoot,


potato gnocchi

21 Mar 2012

When I was growing up I use to cook potato gnocchi all the time. My family isn't Italian but we all loved Italian food and somehow an Italian cookbook made it's way to our home. No-one ever complained but my potato gnocchi were like bullets!

A year or two ago I found a Tobie Puttock recipe in Delicious magazine for potato gnocchi. I photocopied it, took it home, made the recipe and found the gnocchi of my dreams. The gnocchi were soft and light and so much better than my gnocchi of old. Sorry Mum and Dad. I haven't been able to find that recipe but here's one from Donna Hay that's very close.

I've tried pairing the gnocchi with a few sauces but my favourite remains a beef ragu. The one I make is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe from 'Happy Days with the Naked Chef' but just use your favourite recipe.

I have a batch in the freezer that I've yet to use. I think I'll just throw the gnocchi into the boiling water straight from the freezer - I just have to make another batch of ragu.

I found a recipe for gnocchi in Gourmet Traveller magazine that used pepato cheese grated over the gnocchi, so I gave it a try for the first time.

The cheese is really spicy but I liked it, so I'll try using it next time with my gnocchi.

Just 2 more days of the working week to go before the weekend. See you all again next week,


salted almond meringues

19 Mar 2012

Last year my oven stopped working just as I was about to go overseas. I managed to get someone to fix it before I left, but the thermostat hasn't worked properly since then. If I try to turn the oven down below 160ºC, the gas goes out.

I love making meringues and pavlovas because they taste good but also because they're both low in fat. Unfortunately you need to bake meringues at a really low temperature, so I haven't made a batch in months. When I was back home last month I decided to try out this recipe for salted almond meringues from the Ottolenghi blog using my parents fancy fan forced oven.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Salted Almond Meringues - makes 6 medium size meringues
50 grams whole skinned almonds
¼ tsp Malden sea salt
½ tbsp water
170 grams caster sugar
3 free-range egg whites (about 90 grams)
½ tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp cornflour
A few drops of essential orange oil or almond essence
1 tsp flaked almonds

Heat the oven to 180ºC. Scatter the whole almonds inside a small ovenproof dish, sprinkle over the salt and water and roast for 10 minutes, or until light-brown. Remove from the oven, chop the almonds coarsely and leave to cool down.

Line a separate baking sheet with greaseproof paper and spread over the sugar. Put in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until the edges of the sugar just begin to dissolve. As soon as the sugar is hot enough, start whisking the egg whites in a free-standing mixer. Once they begin to froth, carefully pour the hot sugar into the working mixer and keep on whisking on high speed for up to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is firm and glossy. 
Fold in the chopped almonds, vinegar, cornflour and almond essence.

Reduce the oven temperature to 140ºCSecure the parchment paper to your baking sheet by placing a little bit of meringue at each corner of the tray. Use two tablespoons to scoop out and shape the meringues onto the tray, making six similar, swirly balls. Sprinkle a few flaked almonds on top of each meringue.

Place the meringues in the oven for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 120ºC and cook for another 50 minutes. When ready, the meringues should be nice and dry underneath and still a little soft in the centre.

I don't like the taste of almond essence so I used vanilla instead and I decided to make smaller meringues, so the recipe produced 12. I'm still not used to my parents oven so the meringues came out a little more golden than I would have liked and cooked right through.

So how were they? Well if I told you that I ate 11 of the 12 meringues by myself, would that answer the question? Pre heating the sugar gave it a caramel taste which I found delicious. When I get a new oven I'll be making these again.

I hope you had nice weekends. I visited my travel agent to start making plans for a work trip I'll be taking in September/October. I'll be in Montreal for a few days, followed by a week in Quebec City and close to a week in New York. The New York part of the trip is my holiday and as it's been a long time since my last visit to New York, I can't wait. If you have any suggestions for places to see, where to eat and shops to visit I'd love to hear them.

See you all again on Wednesday,



zucchini and mint soup

14 Mar 2012

My kitchen is very light on gadgets and when I was home in Brisbane my parents gave me a stick blender. I wanted to try it out so I was really pleased when I found this recipe for zucchini and mint soup in last month's Australian Gourmet Traveller.

I had to pick up some mint and zucchini but I already had the other ingredients in the cupboard or the fridge.

It's a very simple but tasty recipe that I whipped up after work one night and served with my favourite toasted turkish bread.

I've always liked soup especially when the weather is cold, so now that I have a stick blender I'm almost looking forward to winter.

Here's the recipe for you -
Zucchini and Mint Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small red chilli, finely chopped, plus extra thinly sliced to serve
1 kg small zucchini (about 10), diced
700 ml hot chicken stock
½ cup (loosely packed) mint

To serve

Greek-style yoghurt, lemon wedges and grilled flatbread
Extra-virgin olive oil

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chilli and stir occasionally until tender (5-6 minutes). Add zucchini and stir occasionally until bright green (4-5 minutes), add hot stock, increase heat to high and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to medium, simmer until zucchini is just tender (4-5 minutes), process with a hand-held blender until smooth and season to taste.
Divide soup among bowls, top with mint, yoghurt and chilli, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve hot with lemon wedges and grilled flatbread.

See you all again next week,


plum coffee cake

12 Mar 2012

I've been dying to adapt this rhubarb coffee cake recipe from Canadian Living for ages. Originally I was going to make a strawberry and rhubarb coffee cake but with plums still in season I decided to make another plum cake.

I made a few changes to the recipe. I used walnuts for the streusel topping and decided to top the cake with plums rather than add them to the mixture. I didn't use all the buttermilk because I didn't want the plums to sink to the bottom of the cake like they usually do. I guess I used about 150 mls of buttermilk.

The plums I had in the house were pretty big so I used 4 large plums sliced into eighths to top the 23 cm (9 inch) square cake. As the plums cooked they became quite jammy.

I decided to cut a piece of cake to photograph before taking the cake into work. In the end it was a good plan because the cake disappeared before I had a chance to snaffle a slice of my own.

Plums are nowhere near as tart as rhubarb so I've got a sneaking suspicion that I'd be able to cut the sugar content in the cake by quite a bit should there be a next time.

Did you all have good weekends? I went to dinner with a friend and attended a preview performance of Sydney Dance Company's new production 2 One Another. A few late nights and I've been hopeless ever since. I'm such a nana.

See you all again on Wednesday,


lamb kofta with tomato and cucumber salsa

7 Mar 2012

I've been making this recipe for lamb kofta with tomato and cucumber salsa from Good Taste magazine for years. It's so quick and easy to put together when I come home from work and I've simplified the recipe even further by using marinated lamb steaks instead of making lamb kofta.

I tracked down the original recipe and decided it was time to try making kofta again. These days lamb mince is readily available at my local supermarket, making the kofta even quicker to prepare. 

The tomato, cucumber and mint salsa is just so colourful. To make it even more zesty, I use lime juice instead of lemon juice when making the salsa.

I always have a couple of turkish bread rolls in the freezer and they go perfectly with the kofta and trimmings. I often use prepared hummus or baba ganoush when I make this, but this time I topped the kofta with some tatziki and mixed salad leaves. I had this sandwich for my Sunday lunch and it was absolutely delicious.

I've got a busy few days ahead so I'll see you all again next week.

Bye for now,


chocolate fudge cookies

5 Mar 2012

I'm always looking for low fat options so when I found this recipe for chocolate fudge cookies, I couldn't wait to try it out. I had all the ingredients in my cupboard apart from the sour cherries, which I found at my local whole foods store.

I made the cookie dough and put half the dough into the freezer and baked the rest. The cookies were very tasty and I did eat the one in the photo with a glass of milk. I found the sour cherries I'd bought weren't sour at all, in fact they were really sweet.

I wondered how the cookies would taste if I added some toasted pecans and a teaspoon of espresso powder just to cut through the sweetness. The next day, I was back in the kitchen to try again.

The cookies take no time to put together and in 14 minutes they were out of the oven cooling on a wire rack.

I took both batches of cookies into work and didn't mention that the cookies were low in fat. When I took the cookie tin home, one of the girls had scrawled 'Thank-you. Yummy' onto the label so my test audience gave them their seal of approval.

Here's the recipe for you.
Cocoa Fudge Cookies
(from Cooking Light, recipe by Alice Medrich)
1 cup Plain flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
7 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried tart cherries (or mini chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 180°/350°F. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in cocoa powder and sugars. Stir in yogurt and vanilla extract. Add flour and mix until just combined. Stir in cherries or mini-chocolate chips, if using.

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Press down slightly to flatten; cookies do not spread a lot.

Bake for 9-12 minutes or until set and slightly firm at the edges. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 2 dozen.

As I still have half the sour cherry dough in the freezer, I'll bake the rest of them this week to put in my cookie jar.

I hope you all had good weekends. See you all again on Wednesday,

© DELICIOUS BITES • Theme by Maira G.