Month: September 2014

Dining experience review: Forage Marrickville an Inner West delight

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Upon arrival I was bombarded with the smell of ground coffee and sweet yeast. Our hostess greeted us with a warm welcome.

The hostess diligently explained the menu to us. Forage had numerous choices on the breakfast menu.  My dining partner selected the big breakfast, eggs scrambled. I selected the Mexican. The hostess politely warned me ‘it’s hot’.

First arrived my cup of perfectly crafted Grinders organic coffee, Forage set a bench mark of excellence in its coffee, very smooth no acidic tones a rich full taste with a nutty slightly cocoa aftertaste.

Grinders organic coffee

Our breakfast plates arrived, both of generous portions. The Mexican had pulled pork, salsa, guacamole, eggs and tortillas. My hostess was right, my dish came with high visibility of chillies in the salsa, guacamole and eggs made me a little cautious as to how hot this Mexican plate would be.

Mexican plate
My taste buds went into an instant flurry of excitement, it was hot, spicy, smooth and with hint of sweetness from the pork it was the most perfect match of flavours on a breakfast plate.
For those who love a little spice, the mixture of chili’s in the dish offered different graduations and onsets of heat.

The big breakfast

Forage is an excellent Inner West café. The Mexican is worth a try for the brave, definitely not for the faint hearted.

Forage 181 Marrickville Rd Marrickville NSW 2204

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Cherry Strudel with chocolate berry ganache

Smooth sweetened ricotta studded with cherries, wrapped up in light and flaky filo pastry, coated in a chocolate cherry sauce each mouthful of this dessert is an exquisite pleasure.

Ingredients

1 375gram can cherries in syrup

300grams ricotta cheese

4tb caster sugar

3 sheets filo pastry

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp lemon zest

2Tb white chocolate melts

¼ tsp cinnamon

50grams butter melted

Sauce

Cherry sugar syrup (from canned cherries)

150ml cream

100grams chocolate melts

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, spray with oil spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest, mix well. Add half cherries and stir until combine.
  3. Lay a piece pastry horizontal on a clean bench, brush with melted butter, lay another piece of pastry on top, continue with remaining layers of pastry.
  4. Form the ricotta mixture into a log. Place on the filo pastry 2cm from the top and 2cm from each side at the end horizontally furthest away from you, press white chocolate melts into the mixture. Fold the pastry towards you and either side across the centre, brush pastry with butter and roll towards you.
  5. Place onto baking sheet, brush with butter, bake for 15-18minutes until pastry is golden brown.
  6. Make the sauce while the strudel is cooking. Place the liquid from the can into a small saucepan, place on a medium heat and allow to simmer and to reduce slightly. Add cream cook for 2minutes; add chocolate keep on cooktop until melted add remaining cherries and take off the heat.
  7. Allow strudel to cook for a few minutes before serving. Serve strudel with lashings of sauce and ice cream if you dare.

 

 

 

Ricotta pesto Tart

Ricotta pesto tart

This delicious tart has the velvety smoothness of ricotta cheese, with the crunch of the nuts in the basil pesto, as you cut through the smooth layer of ricotta and pesto you crack the layers of light, fluffy and crunchy puff pastry. Each mouthful has a fabulous combination of flavours and textures, the sharpness of the basil cuts through the creaminess of the ricotta.

Adding a little steam to the cooking process creates, light, fluffy and golden pastry.

Ricotta pesto tart

Serves 4

1 piece puff pastry

4Tb basil pesto

12 Tb ricotta cheese

8 cherry tomatoes

1 shallot

Salt and pepper

Side salad to serve (if desired)

  1. Preheat combination steam oven to 180oC, quarter steam and heat /25% humidity.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and spray with oil spray.Cut tomatoes into quarters, finely chop shallots.
  3. Cut Pastry into 4 even squares, place onto bake sheet. Place 1Tb basil pesto in the centre of each square, spread out leaving a 1cm edge, sprinkle with shallots. Place 3Tb ricotta cheese on each square and spread out leaving a 1cm edge. Scatter cherry tomatoes on top of each tart, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake in preheated combination steam oven for 15minutes.
  5. Serve with a side salad if desired.

Baklava Fingers

Baklava Fingers

This sumptuous desert of sweetened walnuts encased in light and flaky filo pastry, soaked in a sweet honey syrup, is a great companion with a cup of tea.

Baklava served with Persian Fairy Floss500g walnuts

2T soft brown sugar

1Tb honey

1tsp ground cinnamon

1Tb lemon zest

20g butter, melted

10 sheets filo pastry

50g butter, melted

Syrup

1 cup sugar

2 T honey

Method

To serve:

pink Persian fairy floss

  1. Pre heat oven to 180c, line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, honey, lemon zest and butter into small bowl of a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped (if you do not have a food processor chop the walnuts as finely as possible with a knife).
  3. Remove one sheet of filo and cover the rest to prevent drying out. Place the sheet of filo onto workbench and brush with melted butter, place another sheet of pastry on top.
  4. Cut sheet into 2 strips for large fingers or 2 strips for smaller fingers.
  5. Divide mixture into 10, and shape into a log, it should be 2/3 of the length of the pastry. Place a log of mixture in the centre of the pastry.
  6. Fold edges over the nut mixture, brush length of pastry with butter roll.
  7. Brush top with a little more butter and dust cinnamon over, place onto lined tray and repeat with remaining mixture.
  8. To make the syrup, combine the sugar, honey and ½ cup water in a small saucepan. Stir for one minute, allow to reach a boil then reduce temperature to a simmer, simmer for 5 minutes. Pour syrup over baklava fingers.
  9. Serve fingers individually with Persian fairy floss.


baklava fingers before cooking

 

Baklava before being baked

baklava fresh out of the ovenBaklava fresh out of the oven

Baklava served with Persian Fairy Floss

Baklava served with pink Persian Fairy Floss

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads around the world

Today is Father’s Day, to spoil my dad I have been cooking up a storm.

After my trip to the fish markets I made a beautiful Paella, Baklava to go with tea and a chocolate mousse cake for dessert.

All recipes will be posted this week!

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Steamed salmon on a bed of peas

This dish is a super healthy and nutritious meal. Salmon is full of protein and health fats and peas are carbohydrate rich and full of fibre.  Peas have a slight sweetness which compliments salmon.

Steamed salmon on a bed of peas

Per person

120gram salmon

2/4 cup (100grams) peas, frozen are fine

2 sage leaves or 1 sprig dill

1 pinch lemon pepper seasoning

2 small lemon wedges

 

  1. Pre heat combination steam oven/steam oven to full steam 100C.
  2. Sprinkle salmon with lemon pepper seasoning, sprinkle peas with salt and pepper.
  3. Place peas into a small oven proof dish, place salmon on top, place your choice of herb on top of salmon.
  4. Steam for 8minutes, for a medium cooked salmon.
  5. Serve salmon on a bed of peas with a lemon wedge

 

Another great steam oven recipe on the way !

This gorgeous chicken and chickpea curry is made in one dish.
Recipe will be posted later in the week!

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