Recipe #44 – Egg custard

Apologies for the lack of a picture with this recipe. I had some left over rhubarab and the rapsberries that had been steeped in white wine vinegar (from the old fashioned vinegar recipe) which it seemed a waste to, well, waste. So I made a vinegary raspberry and rhubarb crumble with custard. Now I have made crumble before but my daughter made her own custard and so the emphasis on this recipe was the custard. And I have to say that, while not perfect (the custard was a bit grainy I thought), it tasted pretty darn good.

The verdict from the guest punters last night who were over to bid farewell to my son who is going on a two year stint overseas was that they wouldn’t wait for him to come back before eating the custard (and the crumble presumably) again. That sounds like a positive rating to me.

Recipe #43 – old fashioned raspberry vinegar

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This, by necessity, is the first part of what is going to have to be a two part post. The reasons is that this recipe has not yet been tasted and is being stored in a cool dark place for an un-determined period of time before we all get to savour the delights of old fashioned raspberry vinegar. 

So to the cooking! This recipe could not be easier (so I am sort of hoping that it tastes fantastic). Another trip to the market led to the purchase of more cheap but delicious raspberries and so another recipe from the berry chapter of the book. 

More to come sweet followers, more to come…

Recipe #42 – sauerkraut with juniper berries and sparkling wine

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It was party night at our house last night and my son’s desire to have pork ribs and BBQ  sausages (in the middle of winter mind you) meant that it was a great opportunity to cook Stephanie’s sauerkraut recipe (on page 156 in my edition of the book). Note that means that you buy the sauerkraut and add things to it – not make it from scratch which suited me fine.

Now, the most important thing to know about this recipe is that unless you are having about 50 people over, you probably don’t need to make as much as the recipe says (unless of course your guests really REALLY love their sauerkraut I suppose) but this was not the case with most of the 20 somethings that congregated at our house last night. In those circumstances, the best thing to do would be to buy a half decent bottle of the old methode champenoise, divide the recipe in half and enjoy a sneaky glass or two of the champers that is left over while doing the cooking.

This is not to say that this dish was not delicious. I liked it and so did a whole bunch of other people at the party. It is also easy to make and if you have to cook for crowds then this is probably the perfect accompaniment to porky goodness. We will certainly be having left over sauerkraut with some left over pork sausages for dinner tonight.

Overall ratings from the punters were hard to come by last night but I would say this dish should receive a  “make it again” rating particularly  when you next have a pork laden BBQ feast for 50+ people (or if you have fewer guests, just plan on drinking a half bottle of sparkling wine in the afternoon).

Recipe #41 – macadamia fish curry

photo (11)Tonight’s dinner was the very white macadamia fish curry. Everthing in this is pretty close to white – onions, fish, garlic, coconut milk. Its only the small amount of belacan and chilli paste that provides any colour to this dish. I added coriander as a final touch to at least add some green.

It even tasted sort of white – you know, it was OK, not great, not bad. It was a “I would eat it again if it was made by someone else” sort of meal. Maybe its because I like my curry with a bit more spice and heat in them. Maybe its because this was just a little bland or, you know – white!


Recipe #40 – Parsnip curry soup

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Tonight’s main meal was a vegetarian delight – parsnip curry soup. A pretty thick puree of parsnip and, well, curry. This soup used my favourite curry ingredient – curry leaves which grow like weeds in our backyard. So much so, I had to stop the landscapers pulling them out.

Anyway back to the soup de jour. This was another quick, easy and tasty recipe that you could make after work. Smelled delicious and tasted just as good.  It was one of those dishes though that you a left wanting something more – and more something that is not soup. (A takeaway chicken burger would have done me tonight if I could have convinced someone to get it for me). In the end, I ended just having a cup of tea and now 3 hours later, have found myself not hungry at all. The lesson here children is, don’t go and get chicken burgers and ruin a perfectly good vegetarian meal – you will probably feel better for it.

Anyway, to ratings. I did not receive any formal ratings from the punters tonight but I would give this dish an “eat this again” rating. Possibly as an entree to a nice formal dinner party.

Recipe #39 – crab cakes

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Question: What do you do with the left over picked crab meat when you went crazy and bought way too much for the Vietnamese Crab Soup?

Answer: Cook the Crab Cake Recipe on the next page of course.

This approach is even better when the two recipes share a lot of the same ingredients – crab, coriander, spring onions – OK then just three of the same ingredients but it meant that I had all three in the fridge calling out to be used. And no tapioca flour in this, so no need to worry about making great glumps of gooey glue!

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These were very easy to make – mix everything together in a bowl, roll them in breadcrumbs and fry them. I made them last night and left them in the fridge so they firmed up a bit making them easier to cook this morning with a little olive oil. An unconventional breakfast (for us at least) but still very tasty and filling. We had them with a little of the mayonnaise (as suggested by Stephanie) that was left over from the weekend.

A meal of left-overs that everyone would be happy to have again. Certainly I would I would be.

Rating: A solid “Make it again”.

Maybe for a spring time lunch paired with a nice salad to balance out the richness of the crab and mayonnaise.

Recipe #38 – vietnamese mang cua soup

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This soup seemed much more like chinese soup I have had in chinese restaurants than the noodlely (not sure that is a word?) goodness  that I enjoyed several times in Vietnam. No matter though because it was still very very delicious – not to mention fast, easy and, I am going to say  nutritious even though I have no evidence of that. Just the thing for a cold winter evening after a long day at work looking at a computer.

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There were several things about this soup that were new to me. Using tapioca flour to thicken the soup and give it that gelatinous feel that some chinese soups have. This I must have got wrong a little as there were great glumps of very unappetising looking tapioca glue that continued to exist even after I whisked it to within an inch of its death. In the end, I simply strained the tapioca through a sieve and left the sieve, complete with gooey, gluey tapioca lumps in the sink in readiness for my son and his dish-washing tomorrow. (I am pretty sure I will be gone for work before he realises!)

Now the impact of reducing the amount tapioca in the soup, I presume, was to make it less gelatinous. There was still some of that going on but maybe next time I will try harder with the tapioca flour and see how much of a difference it made.

The second thing that I had never done before was pour beaten egg into the soup while stirring with a fork which results in a soup full of little egg strands which were definitely the way it should have been (I hope anyway).

In the end, it all came down to the taste, which was delicious and this soup was voted to the much coveted “Definitely make again” slot by the punters at dinner tonight.



Recipe #37 – quail with dried figs and olives

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Tonight’s dinner was quail with dried figs and olives. This meal had two firsts for me – 1. I had never cooked quail before and 2. I had never eaten quail before -Two firsts – one dish!

As suggested in the book, this dish was served with boiled potatoes on a large platter of salad leaves drizzled with olive oil and then topped with what were quite large quail really and the reduced sauce comprising red wine, onions, figs and olives. Was it good. Well the punters had mixed feelings about this dish. As one of the punters at dinner said – “if I ordered this in a restaurant, I would be well pleased – but I woudn’t order it again”. Perhaps it was because the quail was a reasonably expensive choice of protein that made this dish need to reach a much higher standard than would be expected of, say, a chicken dish.

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Having said that, I quite liked eating quail. I have to admit that I did not realise (before tonight) that quail is a very different meat to chicken. I don’t know why I thought it would taste like a small chicken.  I mean, it sort of looks like a small chicken – but then again, a turkey (once its dead at least) sort of looks like a big chicken and the two taste nothing alike. I will definitely try quail again – if only because there are more quail recipes in the book. I just need to find a slightly cheaper source of supply!

Recipe #36 – date and walnut biscuits

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Date and walnut biscuits were on the agenda this afternoon. These little drop cookies, full of dates and a few walnuts provide a lovely little bit of sweetness to that afternoon cup of peppermint tea or maybe a small bit of sweet, sweet closure after the evening meal.

I quite like these – not too sweet but so tasty. They will definitely be on the future cookie roster at our house I think.  And because the recipe makes about 30 biscuits and my sweet tooth daughter has gone on an overseas jaunt for 5 weeks, I get to share a few of the extras with work colleagues tomorrow morning.