Thursday, 19 January 2017

Easy Passionfruit Tart

Hello Dear Reader,

Once a month, at work, we have a combined morning tea where all the Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, Social Workers, Admin Officers and Allied Health Assistants (my job title) come together to celebrate birthdays, new staff members or staff members leaving. I try to make something new every time and we always have a fantastic smorgasbord of food that would feed an army. We are a great team and going to work is a joy (most days) Sharing great food with lovely people is a bonus and something we all look forward to.

This month, I wanted to use some of the passionfruit pulp I had frozen in my freezer and, yet again, the recipe was from a torn out page from the weekend magazine you get free with the Sunday Mail. The magazine is called "Stellar" and I just love it. They cover a broad range of subjects and the two journalists writing I look forward to reading most are Rory Gibson and Francis Whiting who always make be either laugh out loud or cry buckets. In the food department there is always a recipe by Donna Hay (however in the fine print the recipes and styling are always by other people, weird!) This recipe is from a Hayley Dodd, so thanks Hayley for a fantastic recipe that everyone loved.

One word of warning though, do not attempt this pastry in hot or humid weather, which is exactly what we have going on at the moment. I had the air conditioning on as I knew with the amount of butter that is in the pastry would be very hard to handle. Do wait until the pastry is super cold to start rolling it out, other wise there will be tears in the kitchen. Work quickly, using a light hand or again, there maybe tears. I had to re-roll the pastry twice with a lengthy spell for the pastry in the freezer to make it less fall apart-y. But in the end, it was divine.

For the Pastry

Ingredients for sweet short pastry, clockwise from top right-
225 grams plain flour, 1 tablespoon iced water, 1 egg yolk, 125 grams cold butter, 80 grams icing sugar
To the bowl of the Thermomix (or any food processor) add the flour, icing sugar and butter 
And blitz for 10 seconds, scrap down and blitz again for 10 seconds
Adding a drop at a time, add in the iced water until it is just coming together, it should look lumpy and a bit dry. You will not need all of the water
Pat into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap, put into the fridge for 1 hour to rest and get really cold
For the Filling
Ingredients for filling, clockwise from top right
2 tablespoon lemon or lime juice, 3 egg yolks + 2 whole eggs, 1/2 cup castor sugar, 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup passionfruit pulp
Add all ingredients to a bowl
And whisk well
Put a sieve over a large bowl 
Pour filling into the sieve
Reserving the seeds
Now return seeds to filling mixture

To Assemble
Once rested and cold, roll pastry out to about 4mm thick
Line a 25 cm, greased, loose bottomed tart tin with pastry
Trim and prick the pastry with a fork
Line pastry with baking paper and fill with blind baking beans
Bake in a 180 C oven for 15 minutes, remove paper and blind baking beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Turn oven down to 140 C. Pour filling into ready tart shell and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until just set
Divine short crust pastry with a tangy, gorgeous, custard-y filling. Summer on a plate

Do you have a secret to making and baking hard to handle short crust pastry?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Hello Dear Reader,

Oh boy, it's so hot! It has been reaching into the mid 30's here which, I guess, to some of Australia is not so hot, but we are really feeling it here. Redcliffe is always a few degrees cooler, living by the sea, and there is usually a bit of a breeze but the air has been so thick, with the humidity sitting around 80%. Because it has been so hot I have had the air conditioning running over the weekend while we were all home, I won't run it if only one person is home, cooling a home with one person in it makes no sense. We have an open plan home which makes it expensive to heat and cool, yet another lesson we have learnt for next time we build.

Because of the heat I have been making meals that don't actually require me to stand at the stove and cook. Lovely Hubby did a BBQ, I made some prawn rice paper rolls and I also made a pasta dish where the veggies were roasted in the oven and then made into a very quick sauce to mix through the pasta. My oven is self cleaning, which is a fabulous feature and because of the really thick glass door there is no heat emitted from the oven, so your kitchen doesn't get hotter! Sweet. No sense in adding fuel to the fire!

So this is what we have been up to on the food front:

What we bought
Shopping from Coles, Woolworths and ALDI, the meat didn't make it into the photo, there was mince and meat for a BBQ from the butcher

What we spent



Nothlings Quality Meats-$53.33


What we ate
Wednesday-Tempura Whiting, steamed basmati rice and broccolini with oyster sauce

Thursday-Easy Asian Beef with steamed basmati rice and a combination of broccolini and pak choy with oyster sauce

Friday-Stir fried prawns with ginger, spring onion, snow peas and  bean shoots and steamed basmati rice

Saturday-BBQ steak with mustard cream sauce and a big tossed salad

Sunday-Prawn and Mango Salsa Rice Paper Rolls

Monday-Roasted Veggie Pasta

Tuesday-Baked Beans on a Baked Potato with spring onions, grated cheese and sour cream. Simple, filling and delicious

How are you coping in the extreme weather at the moment? What do you cook for dinner in the heat?

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Sweet Potato, Spinach and Red Lentil Curry

Hello Dear Reader,

Sorry this is posted so late in the day, I am a little unwell today and have had a big sleep this morning and into the afternoon, sometimes you just have to listen to your body. Now, on with todays post.

In an effort to reduce the amount of meat we have been eating ( to save money), I will be making one meat free meal a week. I have never eaten a lot of meat myself and would gladly go meat free altogether, however lovely hubby and son are definitely carnivores, but they will venture into vegetarian territory, if it is tasty and filling. This is a recipe I stumbled upon when reading "Tastes" weekly menu's ideas, for inspiration. The ingredients and method are simple and it can be on the table in thirty minutes. I did wonder about serving it with rice so it would be more filling, but the boys said it was just perfect the way it was. Sweet!

Ingredients for Sweet Potato, Spinach and Red Lentil Curry, clockwise from top right-
1 1/2 teaspoons each Cumin and Turmeric, 400 grams Sweet P
otato, peeled and cubed, 4 spring onions, chopped, a large thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane,   chillies to taste, I used four small chillies which really aren't that hot, chopped finely, 3 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane, 1 small brown onion, chopped finely, a handful of basil leaves, finely chopped, 250 grams red lentils, 80 grams of small spinach leaves and 600 mls of vegetable stock (I use Massel stock cubes) 
Rinse lentils well and set aside until needed
Chop onion and chilli finely and grated garlic and ginger on a microplane
Sauté onion on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes
Add ginger, garlic and chilli and sauté for another minute 
Now add the turmeric and cumin 
And cook gently until fragrant
Add the cubed sweet potato and coat in the onion/spice mix
Now add the stock and rinsed and drained lentils
Give everything a good stir, bring it to a gentle boil, pop a lid on, turn heat down to low and let simmer away for 20 minutes until lentils are soft and tender and the potato is just holding its shape
Finely chop the basil and spring onions
And sprinkle over the top and stir in
Now add the spinach leaves, mix in and let wilt for 1 minute
Serve with natural yoghurt, chutney and papadums

Simple, nutritious and filling, everything you could wish for in a meat free dish.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Easy Banana Bread, Take 2

Hello Dear Reader,

A while ago I ended up with a glut of very ripe bananas, even after using some in the spectacular Banoffee pies, I still had four, good size Cavendish Bananas, looking at me from the fruit bowl. Only one thing for it, another Banana bread. I found this recipe over at "The Prudent Homemaker"a while ago and have adapted it slightly to match the ingredients I had in the house. I always have walnuts in the house (for my homemade Muesli) and always have a good supply of honey, so this banana bread was as good as made. It's another mix and bake recipe, using a couple of bowls and a spoon or spatula, so it doesn't create a lot of mess either, Sweet!

Ingredients for Easy Banana Bread, Take 2, clockwise form top right-
3 Tablespoon oil (I use rice bran oil for everything) 1/3 cup honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups of mashed banana, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda, 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence and 2 cup plain flour
Preheat oven to 175 C, grease and line a loaf pan, the one I used is 9" x 4 ". While the oven is preheating pop the walnuts on a lined tray and put them in the oven to lightly toast for about 5 minutes, take out and let cool
In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, honey, vanilla and salt
Add in mashed banana and mix well
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and bicarb
The add the walnuts and mix into the flour mixture
Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture
And mix well
Turn into prepared tin and bake in a preheated oven at 175C for 35 to 40 minutes. Every oven is different though, so start checking at 35 minutes.
Beautiful, as is or toasted with butter

What do you do with excess fruit at your place?