Total Pageviews

Thursday, March 22, 2012

berry timbale with passionfruit coulis

This is lovely fresh dessert, easy to make with an impressive result. The following recipe makes 6 x 125ml (half cup) capacity dariole moulds. I use Queen's (chocolate) Writing Fudge to seal in the coulis. You could, if you are proficient at making a paper piping bag, with a very fine nozzle, melt down a small chocolate bar instead. Cold plates are essential for serving.


125g fresh raspberries
250g fresh blueberries

Orange Jelly ingredients:

300ml orange juice (strained) - zest reserved to candy
100ml clear apple juice
6 gelatin leaves or 1 tablespoon edible gelatin powder slacked in 100ml water (sets 400ml liquid, including the 100ml used to slacken)
20ml Grand Marnier liquor
50g sugar


Soften the gelatin leaves in cold water and squeeze out excess or slacken powder in water as above.

Place everything in a small saucepan except the Grand Marnier, boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, add Grand Marnier and set aside to cool.

Fill the Dariole moulds to the top with layers of berries and pour over the jelly. Place in fridge until set, cover with cling film, setting time is several hours or overnight if preferred.

Passionfruit Coulis:

4 medium size passionfruit
1 orange, juiced (zest reserved to candy)
40g icing sugar
25ml water (extra may be needed later for thinning purposes)


Boil for 2-3 minutes and strain. Add a drop more water if the coulis is too thick. Set aside in a squeezy bottle or small jug

Candid Orange Zest:

Blanch zested peel in boiling water from cold water starts and refresh in cold water. Repeat three times. This takes away the bitterness while softening the zest at the same time.

Method &Ingredients:

Place zest in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon sugar, 30ml water, 1 tablespoon liquid glucose. Cook for 3 minutes until transparent. Strain and set aside.

Note: the zested peel of a lime could be added for colour

To Serve:

Draw a nice design of your choice with the writing fudge, fill in the centre with the coulis. Upturn the dariole moulds (briefly run the bottom of each one under a very hot tap to release). Place the candid peel on top of the moulds and dust a little sieved icing sugar.

Note: the peel is not visible in the photograph, sorry!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

figs with goat's cheese & prosciutto

'As fresh as a sailor home from the sea' was an advertising slogan for fresh eggs at a local garage where we grew up. Even as a youngster I wondered just how fresh a sailor might be having been at sea for any length of time!

Despite my suspicions of freshness those words still ring in my head and they certainly did and do conjure up a salty sea breeze, wind in my hair, sand between my toes and the wild, rugged, beautiful, remote coastline that we call home. So, the slogan worked!

Today's post is nothing to do with eggs instead it's all about figs especially if consumed straight from the tree; when they certainly are 'as fresh as a sailor home from the sea'.

Figs are divine, delectable and delicious and a lovely way to serve them is to simply make two incisions across the top, squeeze them just a little to plump up the flesh, place a spoonful of fresh goats cheese into each cavity, wrap a slice of prosciutto around the bottom of each one, drizzle a little honey and lime juice over the top, and finally a grinding or two of cracked black pepper finishes the dish. Serve immediately.

Some ingredients are just meant to be together and the above is no exception. First, we eat with our eyes, then there's the moment of taste when the brain tells us this is a marriage made in heaven!

Monday, March 5, 2012

words on wine!

Anyone living in Australia will soon tell you that we are experiencing the wettest summer in living memory and anyone who grows grapes in Australia (like we do) will soon tell you what this wet summer has meant to their harvest. For us, personally, we lost them all.

Grape farming like any other farming has its challenges but despite the frustration of this year's non harvest we have had many great years and produced many great wines. No matter the weather we all still love to grow, harvest, produce and drink great wine and for the cooks amongst us it plays an integral and important role in the craft we all love so much.

So, on a positive note I thought you might like to read a few words on the topic of wine from the cookery writer, Anne Willan - published in 1989.

The photographs were taken at our own harvest last year at Broke Road Vineyard.

Wine can mellow to a remarkable richness when it is simmered in sauces, braises and stews. To avoid a raw taste, it must always be thoroughly reduced during cooking, red wine by half and white wine by even more. First, the alcohol evaporates, then the wine concentrates so the finished dish is rich and mellow. This evaporation may be an integral part of the cooking process, as in the long cooking of a casserole or the simmering of a brown sauce. At other times the wine is reduced on its own, as when red wine is used to deglaze pan juices for a steak.

The quality of the wine used will be reflected in the result. It would not, however, make sense to sacrifice rare or expensive wine in the cooking pan. One quality which will not survive cooking is the sparkle of champagne or similar wines, although a little of the sparkle may survive in uncooked dishes such as champagne sorbet.

The role of fortified wines is different to the above. They are typically added at the end of a cooking process, and the alcohol in them, which will not have been boiled off, remains potent. In fact their use may be a case of 'wine in cooked dishes' rather than 'wine in cookery'. A spoonful of sherry added to a soup just before it is served is not subjected to cooking, although it certainly has its effect on the soup. The Italian fortified wine Marsala is sometimes the best choice for deglazing pan juices.

Wines are also added as an ingredient to marinades. The effect of the wine is then produced before cooking but the effect of the cooking on this use of wine together with the other marinade elements is not significant to the finished dish”.

My own most used use of wine in cookery is for deglazing the pan, usually with a fortified wine or verjuice, green grapes harvested just before veraison (the stage at which the colour turns, generally two months before harvest) - this wine is especially good for chicken or fish. I also love to make herb and wine infusions for lamb, chicken, veal, rabbit, beef and pork – they provide multiple uses as poaching liquids, stocks, marinades and sauces.  The list of recipes and methods for the use of wine in cookery is endless as is the subject. Meanwhile, ENJOY!