Lime Yoghurt Cake with Rosewater and Pistachios

IMG_5344We were so impressed with this cake that we decided to include it on our blog even though we hadn’t originally intended to. Ian baked this to take to work for a morning tea, and it was not only easy to make but such a pretty cake that it was almost a shame to eat it. The Middle Eastern flavours of pistachio, rosewater and lime are a great combination, and the yoghurt keeps the cake moist. We had some leftover ground pistachios from making our Madeleines a few weeks ago, but if you’d rather use almond meal that would work just as well. The cake was a hit at work, by the way!

This recipe is adapted from one by Rachel Allen

Ingredients:

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 75g ground pistachios or almonds
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g honey
  • 250ml natural yoghurt
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 40g chopped pistachios
  • rose petals, to decorate

For the syrup:

  • 150ml water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1-2 tsp rosewater

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4, and grease a 22cm round springform cake tin.
  2. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the ground pistachios or almonds and caster sugar, and mix together.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, honey, yoghurt, sunflower oil and lime zest.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and gradually pour in the wet ingredients, mixing together with a whisk until just combined.
  5. Add a few of the chopped pistachios to the mix, if you wish, or retain all of them for decorating.
  6. Pour the cake mixture into the greased tin and bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer stuck into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the tin. Turn out onto a wire rack.
  8. While the cake is cooling, make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a small pan and bring to the boil. Once the syrup has reduced by half, about 5 minutes, add the lime juice and boil for another 2 minutes. Set aside, and once it has cooled, add rosewater to taste.
  9. Using a skewer, make holes all over the top of the cake, then spoon the syrup across the cake. Scatter the pistachios across the top, and then leave to sit for an hour.
  10. Decorate with rose petals just before serving.

Spinach crepes with goat’s curd and zucchini and pea salad.

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This week’s recipe would be a great dish for a lazy weekend brunch, or an easy midweek dinner. We have adapted these crepes from a recipe by Donna Hay, whose food is always easy but delicious, and who is a master of food styling. We love the freshness of the zucchini and pea salad, contrasted with the creaminess of the goat’s curd and the acidity of the lemon juice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, shredded
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 200g goat’s curd
  • lemon slices, to serve

spinach crepes:

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups (500ml) almond milk
  • 3 cups (75g) baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. To make the spinach crepes, place the flour, eggs, milk, spinach, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Using a hand-held stick blender, blend until smooth. Heat some of the oil in a non-stick frying pan over high heat, then add 80ml of the mixture, swirling to coat the base of the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until just set. Remove from the pan and set aside, keeping warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter.
  2. Place the zucchini, peas, watercress, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to combine.
  3. Divide the crepes between plates and top with the goat’s curd, salad and lemon slices. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to serve.

Octopus and Stir-fried kale with black olive and golden raisin salsa.

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Two of our main reasons for starting this blog were to find ways to challenge ourselves, and to cook with ingredients we haven’t used before. This week’s recipe certainly achieved those two goals! We were both a little scared of cooking octopus, but it turned out to be not very difficult and the results were delicious. This would be a great dinner party dish as you can do almost all of the work in advance and leave the octopus to marinate in the fridge overnight. This recipe is adapted from Ottolenghi and Scully’s Nopi cookbook, and like all of Ottolenghi’s recipes, the flavours of each component is perfect. We’ve never found kale particularly tasty, but this stir-fried kale is delicious and would work well as a side dish to any of your favourite mains. If the octopus challenge is too much for you, the salsa and kale would also work well with some fried fish fillets.

We took Ottolenghi’s advice and bought a frozen octopus, which we de-frosted before cooking. This helps to tenderise the meat and prevent it becoming chewy. If you buy a fresh octopus you could tenderise it by bashing it with a rolling pin, or by blanching the tentacles a few times in boiling water. We watched some helpful youtube videos on preparing the octopus (we recommend the videos from Sydney Fish Market for any kind of seafood preparation), as we were unsure if ours had been prepared or not. In the end all we had to do was cut out the eyes and we were ready to start cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large frozen octopus, with head and tentacles (about 1.5kg)
  • 1 small celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 1 small fennel, trimmed and stalk removed, roughly chopped. Reserve the fronds for garnishing.
  • 1 small leek, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 500ml white wine
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp harissa
  • ½ tsp rose water
  • 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt

Salsa:

  • 50g golden raisins
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced (110g)
  • 100g pitted kalamata olives, finely sliced into circles
  • 1 ½ Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 10g mint leaves

Kale:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 10g unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 300g kale, stalks removed and discarded, roughly chopped
  • 80ml vegetable stock
  • 80ml white wine

Method:

  1. If you need to clean the octopus, cut the head from the body just below the eyes and discard the head. Remove the beak from the top of the tentacles by turning the tentacles inside out and pushing the beak through. Peel and discard any excess skin, leaving the tentacles intact and still held together at the top.
  2. Put the celery, fennel, leeks, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, coriander seeds, white wine and 1 teaspoon of salt into a large deep pot. Add 1.2 litres of water, bring to the boil, then reduce to a medium low heat. Using a pair of tongs, plunge the whole octopus into the hot water for about 5 seconds. Lift out, then repeat this process twice more. You will see the tentacles beginning to curl up with each plunge. This will also prevent the skin from peeling during cooking. Return the octopus to the water and submerge completely. Cover with a cartouche (a round of baking paper the same size as the pot) and cover with a large plate to ensure the octopus remains submerged. Simmer over a medium heat for 40 to 50 minutes, until the octopus is cooked through. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the octopus, you will know it is cooked when the flesh is tender but retains a little bite.oct2
  3. Remove the octopus from the pot. Set it aside to cool and then transfer to the fridge for an hour or so, until chilled. You should now have about 650g of cooked octopus. Discard the stock and vegetables.
  4. Slice the octopus, leaving the tentacles untouched and cutting into the body to make 2cm thick slices. Place the octopus in a bowl with the olive oil, harissa and rose water. Stir to coat everything well, then refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  5. To make the salsa: place the raisins in a saucepan with 80ml of water. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and set aside for 1 hour. Drain any remaining liquid and place the raisins in a bowl with the rest of the salsa ingredients, except the mint. Add a grind of black pepper, mix well and set aside until ready to serve.
  6. To cook the kale: add the olive oil and butter to a frypan and place on a medium high heat. Once hot, add the garlic and cook until just brown, stirring constantly. Add the kale and keep stirring while you add the stock and wine. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and some black pepper to taste. Cooke for 3-4 minutes, until the kale has wilted. Drain the kale, shaking it in a colander to dry. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  7. Just before serving, place a griddle or frying pan over a high heat. Toss the octopus in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the griddle is smoking hot, add the octopus and grill for 1-2 minutes, turning it over halfway through. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan by working in batches if necessary. Once the octopus is charred and warmed through, transfer to a bowl and toss immediately in the lemon juice.
  8. Shred the mint and stir it through the salsa.
  9. To plate: place some of the kale in a small circle on each plate. Add two small circles of the salsa to each plate. Gently place a piece of octopus over each of the little piles of kale and salsa you have created. Garnish with the reserved fennel fronds and some halved Kalamata olives (optional).

Banana Napoleon with Coconut Snow and Banana Caramel

FullSizeRenderThis week’s recipe is a challenge for all of you who are scared of fancy looking desserts with multiple components! With Pat’s background in making pastry, this is easy for him but Ian was a little daunted by this recipe. A Napoleon or Mille-feuille is a layered French dessert consisting of alternating layers of puff pastry and pastry cream. We have adapted a recipe by Antonio Bachour, from his book Bachour. His version substitutes filo pastry (so store bought is fine!) brushed with caramel, topped with coconut snow. What’s not to love? Be brave and give it a try, you’ll be surprised how easy it is and you’ll impress everyone with how pretty it looks.

The coconut snow uses tapioca maltodextrin as a binding agent, which can be hard to find. We found some at a specialty store in Sydney, but you could also buy it online if you have trouble finding it.

This recipe yields 12 serves.

Banana Pastry Cream

  • 7g gelatin sheet
  • 2 cups full-cream milk
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 55g corn flour
  • 100g egg yolks
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 55g unsalted butter

Soak gelatin in cold water until softened (this process is called blooming), then squeeze out excess water and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine milk and sugar and bring to the boil. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and corn flour. Slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg mixture, a little at first then in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Have an ice bath prepared to set the bowl over if the mixture looks like it’s beginning to split. Once the egg and milk mixtures are combined, return to the saucepan and set over a medium-high heat until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl set over the ice bath. Add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Add the butter and banana and stir until the butter has melted. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a least an hour, or until set.

Caramel Sauce

  • 114g thickened cream
  • 90g caster sugar

Bring the cream just to the boil in a saucepan, then remove from the heat. Add the sugar to another saucepan with a splash of water, mixing so the sugar is moist. Cook the sugar slowly over a medium heat until it becomes a light amber colour, shaking or stirring the pan every now and then. Once the caramel has reached the colour you like, slowly add the cream in small batches. Be careful as it will splatter and could burn you. Once all the cream is incorporated, cook for another minute, stirring. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Filo Pastry Sheets

  • 8 sheets of filo pastry dough
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup Caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place a sheet of filo on the tray, brush with butter and drizzle with caramel sauce. Repeat this process with six more sheets of filo pastry, then add a final sheet of filo and brush with the butter. Trim the edges of the filo with a paring knife if necessary, and cut into 2 by 4 inch rectangles. Cover with baking paper and top with another baking tray, then bake for around 12 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Set aside and once the pastry is cool, remove from the tray and store in an airtight container.

Coconut Snow

  • 40g tapioca maltodextrin
  • 60g coconut oil
  • 15g icing sugar

Add all ingredients to a food processor and combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula occasionally. Set aside.

Banana Caramel Sauce

  • ½ cup thickened cream
  • 95g caster sugar
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced

Make the caramel in the same way you made the Caramel Sauce earlier. Once you have combined the sugar and cream, stir in the banana. Using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Alternatively you could transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Assembly

Brush some of the banana caramel sauce across a plate and top with one rectangle of the prepared filo pastry. Put the Banana Pastry Cream in a piping bag and cut a 1.5cm opening. Pipe the cream onto the filo pastry in two rows of small dollops, and top with a layer of filo pastry. Repeat the process to form a second layer, and top with a final piece of filo pastry. Dust the top layer with Coconut Snow and garnish with edible flowers or micro herbs to serve.

Soba noodles with sesame tofu and crunchy cabbage.

 

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This week our recipe is an easy midweek dinner for two, but it’s still packed full of flavour! We adapted this recipe from the wonderful book A Modern Way To Eat by Anna Jones, which is full of great vegetarian recipes. You won’t miss the meat here, as there is so much interest in the textures and flavours of each component in this dish. We particularly like the quick pickled cabbage which also works well as a side dish for other meals. Best of all, this meal will be on the table in under 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 200g soba noodles
  • ¼ small red cabbage, finely shredded
  • sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • olive oil
  • 200g tofu (smoked tofu if you can find it), cut into 1cm strips
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 6 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • handful of toasted sesame seeds
  • small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil, then add the broccolini. Cook just for a few minutes, until the broccolini is no longer raw but retains its crispness and colour.
  2. Remove the broccolini with a slotted spoon, keeping the water on the heat. Set aside the broccolini and add the noodles to the pan. Cook according to the packet instructions, or until the noodles are soft with a little bit of bite. Drain, then refresh the noodles in cold water.
  3. Place the cabbage in a mixing bowl with a large pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Mix well with your hands, scrunching the cabbage firmly. Set aside.
  4. Set a non-stick frypan over a medium-high heat and add a splash of oil. Add the tofu and brown it evenly all over. Toss in the sesame seeds and stir to coat, then take the tofu out and set aside.
  5. Return the frypan to the heat with another splash of oil. Add the spring onions and cook until softened. Add the remaining tablespoon of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, the sesame oil, soy sauce and lemon juice. Stir and allow to reduce until the mixture becomes a thick, sweet sauce.
  6. Add the drained noodles to the frypan and toss to coat them with the sauce.
  7. Divide the noodles between two bowls, and top each bowl with half the tofu and broccolini, a handful of cabbage, some of the chopped coriander and a scattering of toasted sesame seeds.

Saffron, orange and honey madeleines

 

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Continuing with our French theme, we decided to make madeleines for the first time. We were given a copy of Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Sweet for Christmas, and decided to try their untraditional version. Madeleines are a very light and fluffy little French cake, baked in a scallop mould. In the traditional version, they are best eaten while still warm as they will become stale quickly. Ottolenghi and Goh’s version uses a food processor rather than hand beating so will last for a few hours after baking (if you can resist from eating them all at once!)

Adapted from a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.

Ingredients:

  • 90g unsalted butter, plus 20g extra butter, melted, for brushing
  • 2 tsp honey, plus an extra 3 Tbsp, for glazing
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads
  • 2 large eggs
  • 75g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean extract with seeds
  • finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • 90g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 20g pistachio kernels, finely blitzed

Method:

  1. Place the butter, honey and saffron threads in a saucepan over low heat. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and set aside until the mixture has reached room temperature.
  2. Place the eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange zest in a food processor and mix until combined. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, then add to the egg mixture. Pulse a few times to mix, then add the cooled butter mixture. Process once more to combine, then pour the mixture into a bowl. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200° Grease the moulds with melted butter and sprinkle with flour (you can skip this step if using a silicone or non-stick tray). Tap to coat all the moulds and then shake off any excess flour.20180110_134015
  4. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of batter into each mould, so the mixture rises halfway up each mould. If you only have one tray, place the remaining batter in the fridge while you bake the first batch. You will need to wash, dry and re-grease the tray before baking your second batch.
  5. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until the madeleines are browning around the edges and spring back when lightly pressed on the top. Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool for a minute before releasing the cakes from their moulds. You may need to use a knife or spatula around the edges of the cakes if not using a silicone or non-stick tray. Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Melt the 3 tablespoons of honey in a saucepan or microwave. One madeleine at a time, brush the honey onto the shell-shaped side of the cake, then roll the base of the madeleine in the blitzed pistachios so that you have a 1cm strip of pistachio at the base of each cake. Serve on a platter with some scattered pistachios and saffron (optional).

Boeuf Bourguignon

20180110_190602To start our journey, we wanted to cook some classic French cuisine, and decided to begin with possibly the most famous dish of all, Boeuf Bourguignon. We have adapted this recipe from the classic book Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisetta Bertholle and Simone Beck.

In keeping with our goal of using local produce, we have used wine sourced from our favourite winery, Tamburlaine. Their organic wine is produced in the Orange region, not far from Sydney. The recipe in Child/Bertholle/Beck suggests using a full-bodied, young red wine, and we thought that the full-bodied flavor of Tamburlaine’s 2016 Reserve Malbec would work well in this dish.

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Ingredients:

  • 180g speck (or bacon)
  • 35ml olive oil
  • 1.5kg stewing beef, cut into 5cm cubes (we used Rump Cap)
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 medium brown onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.5 Tbsp plain flour
  • 650ml Red Wine (see note above)
  • 2 to 3 cups Beef Stock
  • 15g tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

For the onions:

  • 20 small white onions (pickling onions), peeled and trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 100ml Red Wine
  • Bouquet garni (4 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme tied in cheesecloth)

For the mushrooms:

  • 500g button mushrooms, quartered.
  • 1.5 Tbsp butter
  • 3 tsp olive oil

To serve (optional):

  • Roasted dutch carrots, trimmed to retain 1cm of stalk.
  • Roasted baby potatoes, served with butter and parsley.
  • green beans, blanched.

 

Method:

  1. Remove the rind from the bacon and cut into lardons roughly 3.5cm x 0.5cm x 0.5cm20180110_130015
  2. Simmer the rind and the bacon for 10 minutes in 1.8 liters of water, then drain and dry.
  3. Dry the beef with paper towel (this will help it brown properly)
  4. Preheat oven to 230°C
  5. Using a cast-iron casserole (ours is 22cm x 28cm, 10cm deep), heat the oil over moderate heat and sauté the bacon until lightly brown. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  6. Heat the casserole until the fat is almost smoking, then sauté the beef in batches so as not to crowd the pan, until all the beef is browned on all sides. Remove the beef as each batch is browned and set aside with the bacon.
  7. In the same pan and fat, sauté the vegetables.
  8. Drain the fat and return the bacon and beef to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the flour over the ingredients, and toss to combine.
  9. Set the uncovered casserole in the preheated oven for 4 minutes, then remove and stir. Return to the oven and cook for another 4 minutes. This cooks the flour and gives the beef a crusty coat.
  10. Remove the casserole and reduce heat to 160°C
  11. Add 650ml of red wine and enough beef stock to just cover the beef, then add tomato paste ,garlic, herbs and the bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop, then cover and set in the oven. Cook for 2.5 to 3 hours, making sure the liquid simmers very slowly. The meat is done when it can be pierced easily with a fork.
  12. While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. For the onions, bring the butter and oil to a bubble in a small pan, then sauté the onions over a medium heat, stirring so that the onions will brown evenly. Be careful to keep the onions intact.20180110_160326
  13. Add 100ml of red wine, the bouquet garni and season to taste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 40 to 50 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are tender with an intact shape. Remove the bouquet garni and set aside.
  14. For the mushrooms, add the butter and oil to a pan over high heat. After the butter has foamed and begun to subside, add the mushrooms and stir for 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms have browned lightly, remove from the heat and set aside.
  15. When the beef is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Add the cooked onions and mushrooms to the casserole.
  16. Skim fat off the sauce, and simmer lightly. You should have a sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thick, add some extra stock, and if too thin, continue to reduce the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.
  17. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, carefully stirring occasionally to cover the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

To serve:

  1. Slice the onions in half, and take apart the layers of onion.
  2. Place three pieces of beef on each plate, top with several mushrooms and a good ladle full of sauce.
  3. Scatter over a few slices of onion and roasted dutch carrots (optional).
  4. Serve with roasted baby potatoes and blanched green beans on the side (optional).

Welcome to Recipe Road

Welcome to our blog, Recipe Road. We are Pat and Ian, two food lovers from Sydney, Australia. We dream of opening our own restaurant one day, and are beginning a journey of exploring cuisines, improving our cooking and food presentation skills, finding local produce, and visiting restaurants with the goal of discovering what food is “us”. Pat trained as a bartender and then as a pastry chef in his native Philippines. He is now working in a commercial kitchen in Sydney and dreaming of creating his own style of food. Ian is a professional musician and enthusiastic home cook. He has a passion for food and words, which he hopes to combine in this project.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be exploring various cuisines, beginning with French and Japanese; mastering some dishes from restaurants and chefs we are inspired by including Nopi, Attica and Alinea. We’ll also be visiting local restaurants and travelling to discover food around Australia and internationally. Along the way we hope to meet some local producers and begin building connections with people in the food industry and other passionate foodies.

We hope to inspire other amateur cooks and foodies to follow our journey, learn more about local produce and restaurants and perhaps even build a community of like-minded food lovers. Feel free to contact us if you have tried any of our recipes, want to give us some tips about local restaurants or produce, or just to say hello!