Archive for May, 2009

Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce & Almond Praline

Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce & Almond Praline

Serves 8


180g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1¼ cups (310ml) water
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
60g butter, softened chopped
2 eggs
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour

Almond praline
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds

Butterscotch sauce
50g butter
1 cup (220g) brown sugar
1 cup (250ml) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 180˚C (160˚C fan-forced). Lightly grease eight (½ cup capacity) metal dariole moulds.

2. Place dates and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Remove from the heat. Add bicarbonate of soda, stir until dates start to break down, set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.

3. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl using a hand beater, gradually add eggs one at a time, beat until light and fluffy.

4. Add date mixture, stir to combine. Carefully fold through sifted flour, divide mixture evenly between the eight moulds, until 2/3 full.

5. Place moulds in a baking tray, carefully pour water in tray until it comes up 1/3 of the side of the moulds. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until golden and skewer comes out clean.

6. Meanwhile, for the almond praline, combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan over medium heat and cook caramel without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Scatter almonds onto a baking paper-lined oven tray, pour over caramel and cool until set. Break praline into pieces.

7. For the butterscotch sauce, combine butter, sugar, cream and vanilla in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring sauce to the boil, reduce heat and cook for 5-6 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.

8. To serve, invert the hot pudding onto a serving plate, top with butterscotch sauce and shards of praline.

Recipe Courtesy of Masterchef on Ten

As cooked by Shane.

Other recipes can be found at:

Channel 4 – Food

LifeStyle Food


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Ricotta Tortellini

Ricotta Tortellini

Ricotta Tortellini with Current and Pine Nut Sauce

Ricotta Tortellini with Current and Pine Nut Sauce

Serves 2 (or 4 as an entree)

300g Ricotta
Half a beaten egg – reserve the other half for the egg wash to seal tortellini
Zest of 1 lemon
2 sprigs of lemon thyme
Sea salt

Strain ricotta in a sieve over a bowl in the fridge covered in cling wrap.
Combine ricotta, lemon zest, lemon thyme leaves, sea salt & half an egg in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.  Taste.

1 egg (room temperature)
100g flour
Olive Oil

Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a moist crumb.
Knead until well formed then cover in cling wrap and rest for 30-60 minutes.

Handful of eshallots finely sliced
Sprig of thyme
Balsamic Vinegar – Giuseppe Giusti silver label
Olive Oil
Approx 1/2 cup currants (rehydrated in water)
Approx 1/2 cup pine nuts

Pecorino or Parmesan

Make the tortellini
Roll out pasta to desired thickness.
Cut out circles and place filling onto each circle. Use only an amount of filling which will allow you to fold and seal the tortellini in half.
Brush top half of the inside edge of the pasta sheet with egg wash, then form totellini by folding over and sealing. Then using thumb, lightly dent the middle of the pasta along the straight side and folding tips togther, seal with egg wash to form a tortellini.
Place tortellini on lightly floured plate.

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and then let simmer.

Make the sauce
Caramelise shallots in a non stick frying pan with oil, thyme, garlic and salt.  Start by cooking the onions “Blond” then gently turn up the heat as they cook until caramelised – careful not to burn.
Add balsamic vinegar and let it reduce a little. Ensure the mixture isn’t too dry.
Add drained currants and then finish with the pine nuts.

Remove excess flour from bottom of tortellini and place in salted boiling water and cook for approximately 3 minutes.  Remove when they have floated to the surface.

Plate tortellini and spoon over sauce.  Finish with finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan.

Thanks to my Cooking Partner in Crime and his dexterous fingers for making the tortellini!

My interpretation of the recipe as seen on MasterChef Australia on Ten

Useful Websites:
How to Make Tortellini by Guy Grossi

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Chargrilled stuffed squid with green bean, olive and tomato salad

Chargrilled stuffed squid with green bean, olive and tomato salad

2 whole squid
2 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 eshallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh ciabatta or sourdough breadcrumbs
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind, plus 1 tbs juice
1-2 tbs coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra oil to drizzle
100g green beans, blanched and refreshed in cold water
1 vine-ripened tomato, blanched, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 tbs sherry vinegar
150g marinated kalamata olives, bruised and pitted

1. To clean whole squid pull the tentacles firmly to separate head from tube (try not to break the ink sac, as the ink stains), cut below the eyes and discard head and guts, push beak (mouth) out from between the tentacles, discard beak. Remove quill (see-through plastic-like feather inside hood). Wash inside well to remove any remaining gut. Cut tentacles into 1.5cm lengths. *

2. Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan, cook anchovy, garlic and ecshallots until soft. Add tentacles and cook until opaque and just cooked. Season to taste.

3. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, beans, olives, ½ tablespoon oil and vinegar in a bowl, season to taste.

4. Combine tentacle mixture in a bowl with lemon, parsley and breadcrumbs.

5. Spoon tentacle mixture into the squid hoods, leaving 1cm at the top to secure with a toothpick, drizzle with a little extra oil. Heat grillpan, cook squid, turning until golden and squid is just cooked through. Slice squid.

6. Divide salad among plates and top with squid, spoon over any remaining dressing to serve.

* Skin also needs to be removed from the Squid
Substituted kalamata olives with ligurian olives (sweeter and nuttier)
Used light sourdough baguette from Bourke St Bakery for the breadcrumbs.

Recipe Courtesy of Masterchef Australia on Ten

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Home made Chicken & Noodle Soup with Asian Greens

Home made Chicken and Noodle soup with asian greens.

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Poached egg with bacon, croutons and tomato tea

Poached egg with bacon, croutons and tomato tea


Tomato Tea
Vine ripen tomatoes and stems
Garlic (thick slice)
Wedge of red onion
Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco (alternatively use chilli)

Ripe tomatoes
2 Eggs
Thyme (2 sprigs)
Slice of lemon peel (without pith)
Garlic (thick slice)
Baby Celery leaves

To make the Tomato Tea:
Quarter tomatoes, removing the cores (which are bitter) and place into a food processor along with red onion, handful of basil leaves, garlic, splash of Worcestershire sauce, couple drops of Tabasco (or chilli) and salt. Puree in the blender.

Lay some muslin cloth over a bowl and place reserved tomato stalks (flavourer) on cloth and add tomato puree, straining the mixture until almost a clear liquid is left.

Finely dice (or slice) bacon and set aside.

Cut rectangle, thick chip sized croutons from bread.

Blanch tomatoes, then core and remove seeds and cut tomatoes into matchsticks.  Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt flakes.

In a non-stick pan, add a little olive oil and fry bacon with lemon peel and garlic until bacon is crisp.  Add a sprig of thyme towards the end of cooking the bacon (herbs should be added at the end of cooking rather than at the start so the aroma isn’t cooked out). Set bacon aside and keep warm.

Using the same frying pan, add more oil and fry croutons with another sprig of thyme.  When croutons are crisp and golden brown, drain, set aside and keep warm.

Bring a saucepan of water to the simmer.

Poach two eggs.
(Eggs can be poached using cling wrap method – cut a piece of cling wrap, rub with a little olive oil and place cling wrap over a small brulee bowl. Break an egg into the cling wrap. Then gather up the cling wrap, expel the air, twist the top of the plastic, knot it then push the knot down tightly towards the egg. This method produces a smooth and well presented egg.)

Place the cling wrapped eggs in the simmering water (just enough to cover the eggs) and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes.

Remove eggs from the saucepan and cut the plastic knot off and carefully peeled off the wrap, revealing the poached egg.

Assemble the poached egg salad in a pasta bowl, stacking the tomato matchsticks and croutons, then carefully place the poached egg on top and then pour in the tomato tea around the stack.

Sprinkle fried diced bacon over the dish and garnish with baby celery leaves.

My interpretation of the recipe as seen on MasterChef Australia on Ten

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Orange and Almond Cake

Orange and Almond Cake

Orange and Almond Cake

2 Australian oranges (eg. Valencia)
6 eggs
250g caster sugar
250g almond meal
1tsp baking powder
Extra caster sugar for dusting before baking
Icing sugar

Wash oranges and place unpeeled in a pot of boiling water for 2 hours. Drain the water and allow the oranges to cool. This can be done ahead of time.

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Break 6 eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add caster sugar and using a hand mixer beat until pale and thick. Bowl must be large enough to later add the orange/almond mixture.

Break up the oranges and blend together in the food processor to a smooth consistency. Add the orange puree to the egg mix. Add the almond meal and baking powder and blend all the ingredients together to form the cake mix.

Grease a 20 cm spring form baking pan with butter and dust with caster sugar or line the inside of the tin with baking paper to prevent sticking and over browning.

Pour batter into the pan and sprinkle caster sugar on top and bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the top is golden brown.

Remove cake from oven and let cool before removing from the tin.

Dust with icing sugar to serve.


* Cooked oranges and the cake mix tasted bitter but after the caked was cooked it was sweet.  Some bakers suggest removing the stems as these are bitter.
* This can be made a day ahead of time.  Flavours are better the next day onwards.
* Keeps for up to 3 days.  Cake can be portioned and frozen.

Recipe courtesy of Food Safari

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Fig, Radicchio & Pancetta Risotto

  • Carnaroli Italian rice
  • Radicchio
  • Pancetta (we used a nice smoky speck instead this time)
  • Figs
  • Home made chicken stock
  • Parmesan
  • White wine
  • Garlic, butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley

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