Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Australia Day!

Wishing you all a happy and safe Australia Day! I hope you are all celebrating with friends and/or family and enjoying the day.

I have fond memories of an Australia Day that I spent in Leicester, England. I went to work in my Aussie flag t-shirt, and took an Aussie flag to hang on the wall behind me. I then had to explain to every customer that I served that day what it was all about! The night ended with my flatmate (also Aussie) and myself drinking a couple of VB's that he had found and sharing a packet of Twisties! It was a brilliant day! So no matter how you are celebrating today, I hope it is full of fun and laughter.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Do you like chilli?

These are the chillies that hang above the bench in my parents' kitchen. Every single one of them was grown in the backyard, but as they can't eat them as quickly as they grow, they are sewn onto a string and hung in the kitchen to dry. Don't they look awesome?!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

She's My Cherry Pie

"Tastes so good makes a grown man cry..."

Summer means a few things to me... hot hot weather, bugs, sunburn, jealousy that everyone else got holidays and fresh stone fruit. Cherries are something my family associates with Christmas particularly.
December was the last Grower's Market for the year. Greeting me when I walked in was this delicious pile of cherries. How could I resist? And with a simply enormous box for only $10, I snapped some up before they sold out.

When I got them home, BF asked if I could make cherry pie. I have never made one before, so set about searching for a recipe. Sadly, almost every recipe I found called for canned cherries, so I decided to make it up myself!

I have never made a lattice top pie, so you will notice that the two individual pies look rather different as I was experimenting! The pies were lovely, however, there was not much of a saucey consistency to the filling. Next time, I would prefer a more liquidy filling... do you have a recipe that you love? If anyone has a recipe they have used for a cherry pie with FRESH cherries (please no can fillings!), can you please post a link in the comments? I would love to see it!
Thin lattice (I like this one better)
I used this pastry base, and lined two individual pie tins with pastry. Pop the rest back in the fridge whilst you bake the bases.

Whilst the dough is in the fridge, remove the pits from 1 cup of cherries, and mix in a bowl with 2 tsp castor sugar, a good shake of cinnamon, and a splash of lemon juice. Leave to marinate whilst you bake the tart shells.
Thick lattice
Just before filling the cases, mix a small pinch cornflour through the cherries. Fill the cases with cherry mix, then use strips of pastry to form a lattice, pushing the edges onto the base.

Cook in oven at 180C for about 20 minutes and enjoy!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Peanut Butter M&Ms!

I am going through a bit of a peanut butter phase at the moment. Lashings of crunchy peanut butter and honey on my toast to start the day. Brilliant chocolate peanut butter fudge that I couldn't help but keep most to myself. And then I found these...
So so good! The usual candy shell, but in the centre of the chocolate was peanut butter! My new favourite M&Ms!
Since finding these, I have found lots of other peanut butter goodies - Reece's Pieces, Peanut Butter Cups, even white chocolate Peanut Butter Cups! But alas, still no sign of peanut butter chips in Sydney. The search continues...

By popular demand *well, friend FFichiban!* here are places in Sydney that sell these yummy morsels.

The British Lolly Shop

Sugar Hit

Both are good stores, but Sugar Hit is 3 times the size and sells every US food imaginable... except peanut butter chips :(

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas Celebrations Continue...

So after all the excitement of the Sydney Chicken Christmas Dinner, how does one continue celebrating? Easy! Head down to our hometown of Melbourne, for not one, not two, but THREE more Christmas dinners! Phew!
Me with no idea of how to cut a lobster!
First up was Christmas Day lunch. It was a delicious cold spread, consisting of lobster, prawns with avocado cream, ham, pork, tomatoes topped with pesto and bocconcini, cucumber topped with crab, fresh crusty bread, Christmas cake, pudding, fresh berries, custard and cream. Wow - I am full again just thinking about it! We spent lunch time relaxing with BF's family (those that were still in the country!) and drinking a lot of wine!
Table setting at Mum and Dad's
Then came Christmas Day dinner! We set off to my parents' house, where the three courses are always eaten at a relaxed pace, as they know we are all already stuffed from lunch!
Starter, light and refreshing
Entree was a simple, yet delicious salad of mixed leaves, pinenuts, cherry tomatoes, proscuitto and goats' fetta. The leaves and tomatoes were fresh from the garden that afternoon!
Dad preparing the bbq
Main was roast lamb, marinated with garlic and rosemary, and cooked on the barbeque.
Mmm... rare meat!
Dad was in charge of mains, so his side was potato, green beans, cherry tomatoes, olives and anchovies, roasted in the oven - yum!
Main by Dad
We followed this with dessert of more pudding and custard! And Christmas night always ends still sitting at the dinner table 5 hours after we started eating, drinking wine and laughing the night away.
Pudding with custard - my favourite!
The third Christmas meal was with the extended family - and was a HUGE buffet of roast pork, ham, Lebanese sausages, marinated chicken, whole snapper with tahini, four different salads, roast potatoes, mango salsa, apple sauce... the list goes on and on. The best part of this day was meeting my new cousin Belle, born just a few weeks before Christmas!
Our trip home was packed with fun, food, family and friends. Along with the above, there were BBQ's, yum cha, cricket... it goes on! I'm glad to see that all of you had a great time this Christmas, and hope that the new year brings you all health and happiness!