Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Breakfast Cake

Sometimes you just want a simple something that is quick and easy. Today is one of those days. I am home alone. I like to be home alone. I don't have any sound on I like the house to be quiet. I did some washing, relaxed with the latest Anne Bishop. It's an anthology of Black Jewels stories. So about 1 pm I figured I really needed something to eat. Yes I hadn't had breakfast and here it was past lunch. I have found when I am home I often don't feel like eating, I am not sure why this. When I am at work I have to concentrate on not eating or I would eat all day.
So on my way to having some cheese and biscuits and an apple I spotted some bacon I bought a couple of days ago. Better eat that I thought. I did toy with the idea of a Bacon Lettuce and tomato sandwich, No lettuce.
Bacon and Eggs, definite possibility. Thats when I remembered a concoction I came up with last year. At that time I was on my way to making omelettes for my self and The Husband when I realized that I only had 4 eggs.
That resulted in "The BreakFast Cake"
The original breakfast cake is a cross between an omelette and a pancake.

Equipment required
frypan - 1 person uses a 15 cm pan for 2 a 30 cm pan
cutting board


Serves 1 person (for 2 people double all the quantities)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup self raising flour (or 1/2 cup plain flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 rashers of bacon - rinds off and sliced up into strips
1 tablespoon of chopped green herbs of your own choice. I used parsley and oregano. I also use chives sometimes but I was too lazy to walk down to the garden and get some.
1 tomato - diced
1/4 cup grated cheese.
You can add whatever else you like in an omelette.


Beat the eggs, milk and flour together until smooth.
Fry the bacon in the oil until cooked and crispy.
Sprinkle over the tomato and herbs.
Pour the batter over the bacon etc and cook over medium heat until it has bubble all over like a pancake.
Turn off the heat and sprinkle over the cheese and put the whole thing in its pan under a medium heat griller and leave there until the cheese is browned and the top of the cake is cooked.
Eat it straight away with some salad or homemade tomato chutney

The result is an easy tasty all in one meal. Enjoy.

Please send me a photo if you make this and remember if you use my recipes or content I think it is good manners to link back to my blog. I have noticed that someone did use one of my techniques and didn't bother to link back to me. They, who shall remain nameless, has a very popular blog and many followers. I know I do not have many followers and my blog is not as widely read however good manners is still good manners and copyright is still copyright. I do not mind if soemone uses my recipes for private use, or passes them on to others for private use. Any other use is not permitted. One day I might write that cook book and I don't want others using my recipes for their cookbooks.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Little Bite of Heaven

In life there are defining moments, those ‘light bulb coming on’ times. For a food lover, you put something in your mouth and you have to stop, close your eyes and just be in the moment with that little piece of heaven that just hit your taste buds.
There are two types of people in the world. Those who eat to live and those, who are lucky enough, to live to eat.

There are so many people who through desire or circumstance eat whatever comes to hand just too keep their body ticking over. They are the ‘eat to live’ people. Nutrition and to some extent taste are not really an issue. They are often fussy eaters who will drop into the local chainstore junk food shop for a sugar/fat/chemical additive laden meal. They will either ignore their poor health or just complain about it and do nothing to change their lot. They will eat a slice of that horrible plasticised cheese on white bread spread with margarine teamed with a cup of cheap instant coffee or generic brand soft drink, chase it down with a cigarette and count themselves well feed.

As one of the other group, those who “Live to Eat” I think “WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM!!!!”

So why am I pondering this today. The introduction may not inspire the reader to wonder what has brought about this pondering. The recipe for this month’s Daring Kitchen Bakers Challenge is the answer. I had one of those defining moments when I put this wonderful bread in my mouth. I knew in my heart and stomach this was going to be wonderful, just the recipe had me salivating. I mixed the dough and then had to wait for it to rise. I wanted it to be ready. I didn’t want to wait. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake. Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!

For their versions of the challenge Jamie’s All-American versions featured cinnamon, chopped pecans and chocolate and Ria’s Indian-inspired version had saffron added to the sweet yeast bread dough and garam masala and cashews flavoring the filling.

Preparation time:
For the dough:
10 - 15 minutes preparation of the dough
8 – 10 minutes kneading
45 – 60 minutes first rise
10 – 15 minutes to prepare meringue, roll out, fill and shape dough
an additional 45 – 60 minutes for second rising.
Baking time: approximately 30 minutes
Equipment required:
Measuring cups for dry ingredients
Measuring cup for liquid
Measuring spoons
Cutting board and sharp knife for chopping nuts & chocolate if using
2 large mixing bowls
1 small mixing bowl
1 medium mixing bowl for beating egg whites, preferably plastic or metal
1 medium saucepan
Electric mixer or stand mixer
Wooden spoon
Rolling pin
Clean kitchen scissors or sharp knife
Plastic wrap & clean kitchen towel
Parchment paper
2 medium-sized baking trays (or 1 large if your oven is large enough)
Cooling racks
Serving platter
Vegetable oil to grease bowl
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
2 cups (300 g) flour
2 tablespoons (27 g) sugar
½ teaspoon (2 g) salt
2 teaspoons / 4 g) active dried yeast
1/3 cup (90 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (30 ml) water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
¼ cup (70 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg at room temperature

For the meringue: 2 large egg white at room temperature, ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon vanilla ½ cup (120 g) sugar
1 cup dried apricots diced
½ cup apricot jam
½ cup (50 g) chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate

Prepare the dough:
I used my mix master with the dough hook to make the dough. In the bowl, combine ½ of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and the rest of the flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
Process the dough until it is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic.
By using the mixer I don’t have to add anymore flour. If you don’t have a mixer then hold back some of the flour to put on your board for kneading.
Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use and how warm the room is.
Prepare your filling. Chop the apricots, nuts and chocolate.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue: In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:
Line a baking/cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread the jam and then the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle the filling of choice evenly over the meringue. I used cinnamon, apricots, almonds and chocolate.

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.

After the roll has risen Use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Cover the coffee cake with plastic wrap and allow it to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush the tops of the coffee cake with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheet onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cake from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cake off onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool.
Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.
The one I made I spread with apricot jam before I put on the meringue, chocolate, nuts and cinnamon. It was amazing, perhaps the nicest bread I have ever eaten in my life.
We ate all of it. It was best on the day I made it but it was still delicious the next day. By the third day it had started to dry out a bit so I made bread and butter custard with the last of it.

Bread and Butter Custard.
3 eggs
1 cup milk
300ml pure cream
¼ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 5cm-deep, 28cm baking dish.
Whisk eggs, milk, cream, caster sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl.
Arrange half the sliced bread in rows in prepared dish.
Pour egg mixture over bread. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and just set. Serve.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Name of my blog

I have a little dilemma, and I would love to hear what you think. Should I change the name of this blog. Originally I called it Peta Eats because this blog is about what I eat and my name is Peta.
The other PETA is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I am all for the Ethical and humane treatment of animals even though, and don't tell PETA this, I am not a vegitarian and they definitely are. Lots of the members are vegans and that is way to hard for me to consider. I know of what I speak. I am trained in Special Diet Cookery.
Now back to the topic as you may be wondering what am I blathering on about.
I did a little experiment by googling my blog name and the first thing that comes up is PETA, I do get a mention on the first page just above a eye catching link to Peta eats babies....No I don't, well actually depending on what sort of animal it is I do. Eggs, etc you get the picture.
So should I distance myself from the reputable (If sometimes a little over the top) work of PETA or just stick with it and not worry.
I have to wonder am I obsessing over something not worth obsessing over.
I also wonder if I should have put more thought into the name of my blog... oh and of course those age old questions that every blogger ponders from time to time...
"Is any one actually reading this as the comments I get are few and far between" and do I let it worry me. Well actually I would love to have a huge audience that hang on my every word but that isn't going to happen any time soon so in the interests of my own mental health I don't worry about it.
If you are reading this then let me know should I change the name of my blog.
The other question I sometimes ponder is "why do I write in my blog when I am really tired and should be in bed?"

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts from the French Culinary Institute,

I am so excited I have had this book on my wish list at The Book Depository the French Culinary Institute has teamed up with Judith Choate to produce a must have text. the description with the book says it all "An indispensable addition to any serious home baker's library, "The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts" covers the many skills an aspiring pastry chef must master. Based on the internationally lauded curriculum developed by master patissier Jacques Torres for New York's French Culinary Institute, the book presents chapters on every classic category of confection: tarts, cream puffs, puff pastry, creams and custards, breads and pastries, cakes and petits fours. Its each chapter begins with an overview of the required techniques, followed by dozens of recipes - many the original creations of distinguished FCI graduates. Distilling ten years of trial and error in teaching students, "The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts" is a comprehensive reference with hundreds of colour photographs, a wealth of insider tips and highly detailed information on tools and ingredients - quite simply the most valuable baking book you can own."
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts won 2010 Best Book for Cooking from a Professional Point of View by the James Beard Foundation and 2010 Cookbook Award by International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).”
Judith Coate is an American Cooking Celebrity and French Culinary Institute is one of the top American cooking schools so that speaks for itself.
and it is on special from the Book Depository so yay.
The Book Depository is an English website. Prices include postage and they mail the books individually so they come really quickly.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Haus - Hahndorf South Australia

We had dinner out on Thursday, so I thought I'd give you my unsolicited and unpaid for opinion. We had been to the Hospital to see our new grandson. On our way home we went to our favorite restaurant.
"The Haus" is one of Hahndorfs newer restaurants. The owners gutted the building that, for a long time, was Muggletons and built a beautiful bar/cafe/restaurant.
Decor is what I call modern/simple/upmarket, there is a openfire look gas fire, comfortable seating indoor and out, interesting painted stencils on the brick walls and lots of timber. Importantly it is not noisy, you can have a conversation with your table mates and not feel like you are part of the other tables. There are a couple of indoor seating areas including high tables and chairs around the wall which is our favoured place to sit and an outdoor area for those who like to polute their fresh air with a cigarette. Parking is plentiful out the back and we have always found a parking spot there or close by on the street.

The menu is described as Modern Country. There are in fact 4 menus, breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. You can get food there from breakfast to their 'late night grazing plate' or a variety of pizzas any time of the day.

They have a cake display case that could use a bit more oompf in my humble opinion. There are desserts on the specials menu and while I can speak with the voice of experience on how much work it is too have a restaurant, I still think the cake display case is fairly typical of cake offerings everywhere and could be made a bit more individual and exciting perhaps through a daily or weekly special cake or pastry. Still saying that I can always find something in there that tempts my taste buds.

We started with the Haus Garlic Pizza bread always excellent with its crisp base, very nice balance of garlic and cheese and dusting of salt.
For our mains The Husband and I pertook of the Salmon special.

Dukkah crusted Atlantic Salmon served with spinach and oven roasted baby tomatoes with a pesto dressing and a cheek of lime that was perfect with the salmon.

We teamed that with a bowl of Haus fries and Aioli. I had a glass of Vertigo Reisling. For dessert we shared a generous piece of Fresh Fruit Sponge. I had an excellent latte with it and The Husband stuck with his usual water.

We usually go out for lunch and then have eggs on toast for tea so although this was our 4th visit to the Haus it was our first dinner. Every meal we have had there has been excellent and this one was no exception.
So my opinion
Food 9/10
Service 8/10
Coffee 10/10
Menu and specials well if you can't find something on there you like then you must be on a really strict diet, vegans, vegitarians and gluten frees all catered for. You can get a grazing plate all day but there is no vegetarian option on that and, as I said, the cake display could use some work but not much and that is just the opinion of someone who likes a lot of variety. But overall I would still give it a 8/10.
Wine/Drinks list - The coffee is excellent, the decaf actually tastes like coffee not weak and washy as I've had elsewhere. There are 80 wines on the list and a good variety of style, taste and price. I'd like to see a few more offered by the glass in the sweeter end of the wine spectrum and The Husband who only drinks water would like to see an Australian still and sparkling water along with the Italian ones on the menu but that is purely personal opinion and those available are excellent.
The Haus has a variety of special nights and live entertainment on Sundays, they have gone out of their way to cater for locals along with tourists and in my opinion have succeeded on that front. We do not hesitate to recommend them to others and will continue to do that.
The Haus has not paid or asked for my opinion. We are members of their HausMates club which is open to anyone.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clafouti - Fig and Ginger

I am in desperate need of some comfort food. My new grandson, Aaron, had trouble breathing last night. Luckily he was still in the NeoNatal nursery at Flinders Hospital. He was five weeks early and only 5 pounds. He's off the ventilator now but it was a huge worry for a while.

He has been doing really well but last night things went haywire. The doctors say he will be fine, they aren't sure what caused the problem so he may not be going home this weekend like planned. To top that off I have the flu and although I really want to go to the hospital I don't want to give Aaron or any one else my bugs so I am staying home.

Therefore I am really in dire need of comfort food. I had some figs that I bought at the Farmers Market on the weekend and they need to be used. I decided to team them with my long term love of Baked Custard in any form.
Creme Caramels, Pannacotta, Bread and Butter Pudding, Custard Tarts and of course Clafouti.
Clafouti is a baked custard type of dessert, traditionally it is made with cherries. You can substitute nearly any fruit for the cherries. My standard recipe is always successful with whatever fruit I have on hand and a complimentary spice. Figs and ginger, apples and cinnamon, plums and cloves you get the idea.

1 cup milk
1/3 cup of full fat cream
3 tablespoons plain flour
3 tablespoons caster sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Beat all these ingredients together.

For my fig and ginger version I cut 6 figs in half and put them in a buttered baking dish and added 1 teaspoon dried ginger into the egg/milk mixture.

Pour this over the figs.

Put into a 160° C oven bake for 60 minutes or until it sets, start to check it after 40 minutes.

The clafouti is done when a metal knife inserted off center comes out clean or if you'd like another way to test it, hold the edge of the dish with a cloth and give a gentle shake. If the center couple of centimeters wobble just a bit you can remove it from the oven. The very center still may not be quite done, but the heat retained in the mixture will continue to cook it after removal from the oven.

Making a baked custard, either a clafouti or any other, can go wrong. Overcooking or heating it too quickly before the mixture starts to thicken can mean that you have a watery result even when you have added the starch.
Flour helps to stabilise egg proteins but you still need to take some care. If you are cooking a custard on the stove top adding the starch will help to ensure it doesn't curdle.
Baked custard mixtures are different, even with the flour added they can overcook and you end up with the watery bits.
The best way to avoid that is too cook it in a bain-marie. Simply put a bigger baking dish in the oven and put your dish of uncooked custard in it. Then pour hot tap water around the custard dish until it is 1/2 to 2/3's of the way up the dish. This is a simple safegaurd that you don't really need to do with a clafouti unless you are worried and you can do it anyway. A clafouti will sometimes have a little moisture around the fruit, that comes from the fruit rather than the egg.

As to why this happens Harold McGee says the different proteins in the albumen of eggs coagulate at temperatures ranging from 141.8° to 183.2°F (61° to 84°C); just a few degrees difference in cooking temperature will greatly affect just how much the egg white solidifies. While Ovotransferrin begins to set at 140°F/60C, it only comprises 12% of egg white. The major protein of egg white, ovalbumin, makes up 54% of the white and doesn't coagulate until the temperature reaches 80 °C. The yolk begins to thicken around 65 °C and sets around 70 °C.
The yolk proteins begin to thicken at 65 °C and set at 70 °C. Further heating to around 80-90 °C produces the crumbly texture typical of hard boiled eggs. (McGee, Science of Cooking, pp 85).
Egg White Components:

Egg white contains approximately 40 different proteins. Below is a list of major proteins found in egg white by percentage, along with their natural functions.

Ovalbumin 54% Nourishment; blocks digestive enzymes--Begins to set at 180°F/80C
Ovotransferrin 12% Binds iron -- Begins to set at 140°F/60C
Ovomucoid 11% Blocks digestive enzymes
Globulins 8% Plugs defects in membranes, shell
Lysozyme 3.5% Enzyme that digests bacterial cell walls
Ovomucin 1.5% Thickens egg white; inhibits viruses
Avidin .06% Binds vitamin (biotin)
Others 10% Bind vitamins, block digestive enzymes.

Egg Yolk Components:
The two major yolk proteins are lipovitellin (LV) and phosvitin (PV) --(HDL). Lipovitellin is one of the two lipoproteins contained in hen's egg yolk and comprises about one sixth of the yolk solid.

Egg Yolk Composition:
Egg yolk is a complex mixture composed of granule and a water soluble fraction, plasma. Each fraction contains a lipoprotein as the main constituent. Granules contain mainly 70% high density lipoprotein (HDL), 16% phosvitin and 12% low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Plasma is composed of 85% LDL and 15% livetin.
Proteins (16.4%):
Water (48-50%)
Lipids (32 to 34%)
plasma : livetin & LDL (protein content ) triglycerol (66%) phospholipid (28%) including lecithin (has remarkable emulsifying ability) cholesterol (3%, or 250 mg)
granular fraction: phosvitin (16%, carrier of Fe), lipovitellins (70%) & LDL (12%) Note: The color of yolk depends on the presence of carotenoids. xanthophylls not carotene (Lutein and zeaxanthin)

Protein molecules are made up of many strands. In raw egg the protein strands are bound little bundles. The bundles are separate from each other and light passes between them, that's why raw egg whites are transparent.
Coagulation: When eggs are heated, the protein in the white and yolk starts to coagulate. This means that the liquid egg becomes firmer. As heating continues the egg eventually becomes solid.
Eggs coagulate at (as measured with an Instant Read Thermometer):
Whites: 70 degrees C 140 degrees F
Yolks: 75 degrees C 150 degrees F

When heated the proteins being to unwind and unstick from one another. As they do so, the bonds begin to wave around and the loose protein strands run into each other and stick to each other. Then they mass together into something like a spider web. This web is doesn't have the spaces that let light pass through and that is is why cooked eggs whites are white. The web also traps moisture, which is why eggs cooked to just the right point are moist and tender.

If you keep cooking the eggs too long, though, the protein strands dissolve and let the liquid out. That’s why if you over cook a custard (which is thickened with eggs) the custard gives off liquid.

So all you have to do is keep a close watch on your custard until you know how your oven works and cook the custard until just set and not overcooked.
Take care not to have the oven to hot. 180 degrees is to hot. In a fan forced oven lower the temperature by another 10 degrees.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I am really enjoying being a member of The Daring Kitchen even though I have a lot of professional and home experience in the cooking department sometimes it is just too hard too come up with new ideas so having someone give them to me is really great.

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenged us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

Recipe Source: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by my Spanish teacher Mayra. Vegan Papas Rellenas recipe adapted from the Vegan Good Eats blog (, written by Joel Luks. The Salsa Criolla recipe also comes from Joel’s blog.

Papas Rellenas, Kathlyn referred to them as 'essentially a clever way to use up leftover potatoes. The filling is usually made with beef, but I’ve got an alternative recipe that should work for both vegetarians and vegans'. they are so much more, in our house there are no leftover potatoes unless they are planned leftovers. so I jumped into these pretty damn quick let me tell you.
I didn't make the ceviche, I don't mind this type of seafood but The Husband is not a fan so I didn't do it yet. There were a few variations done by members where they cooked the seafood first and that is certainly on the cards for the future.

I did however make three variations of the Papas Rellenas. All I can say is "WOW". they were so good. Stuffed Fried potato croquettes is the closest thing to these but these were so much better. I am putting these on the top of the favorite comfort food pile let me tell you.
So let me present to you Papas Rellenas

Time taken/needed
Papas rellenas – total time, 5+ hours - There is a lot of cooling/setting time in there.
Boiling and cooling potatoes: 2 hours
Preparing filling: 1 hour (can be done as potatoes cool)
Preparing dough: 30 minutes
Shaping and filling papas: 30 minutes
Chilling in the refrigerator to set the crumbs: 30 - 60 minutes
Frying papas: 20-30 minutes (depending on how many batches)

Equipment Required
For the Papas Rellenas
Potato ricer (recommended) or a potato masher
Pan capable of holding 2” (50 mm) of oil for frying the Papas (small dutch oven is ideal)
Frying pan for cooking filling(s)
Medium mixing bowl
Three smaller bowls or pie pans
Measuring cups and spoons
Pot for boiling potatoes

Papas Rellenas (de carne):
Makes 6
For the dough:
2¼ lb (1 kg) russet or a good mashing potato (Theres a table here to give you some information)
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
½ lb (250 grams) finely chopped mushrooms or fine mince steak
6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) sultanas, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then chopped
1 finely diced capsicum (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less)
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
½ cup tomato chutney
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) cornflake or bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought. I used the cornflake crumbs, mainly because I had them in the pantry.
Rice Bran Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

For the dough:
1. Boil unpeeled potatoes whole until tender when stuck with a fork. Let potatoes cool.
2. When potatoes are cooled, peel them and either mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
3. Add cornstarch, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While potatoes are cooling, make filling:
1. Caramelize onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook.
3. Add the cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
4. Add the mushrooms or meat and cook until soft.
5. Add the sultanas.
6. Deglaze the pan with white wine and chutney.
7. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Finishing the dough and forming the papas:
9. Use three small bowls (or other shallow containers) to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, combine the egg replacer and water. Put bread crumbs in the third
10. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.
11. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat will all dough (you should have 6 papas)
12. Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C).

13. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg replacer, then roll in bread crumbs, then repeat the egg and bread crumbs

14. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to get both sides.

15. Drain on a cooling rack over paper towel, this stops them going soggy and keep them warm in a low oven 200°F (95°C) (gas mark ¼) if frying in batches

For my second version I used some lentil burgers I had frozen earlier in the year. This is the best Lentil Burger Recipe ever. I got it years ago from my sister in law and it is a staple in our house. Even our carnivore friends love it.

Lentil Burger Recipe.
500g/1 pound Green-Brown Lentils (this is a type of lentil it doesn't mean green or brown. If you can't get these use a mixture of green and brown lentils)
1 kilogram/2pounds Potato (ponitac,pink eye or sebagoes work best)– peeled, cut into large chunks
375 grams/12 ounces Crunchy Peanut Butter
500 grams/1 pound Onion – Peeled and finely diced
60 mls/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Crushed garlic
1 teaspoon Powdered cumin
½ bunch Fresh coriander – washed and finely chopped
2 Eggs – beaten or for the vegans if the mixture is not holding together add 1/2 cup plain wheat, cornflour or tapioca flour. Mix until it does hold together.
Chilli - optional To taste

Put potatoes into a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil.
When the water boils add the lentils and cook until the potatoes are soft enough to mash. Drain off excess water.
While the potatoes and lentils are boiling fry onion, cumin and chilli until the onion is cooked.
Add to drained and mashed potato/lentil mix with coriander.
Mix well and allow to cool.
Add egg and mix well.
Form into patties. Freezes well. Can be panfried or reheated in oven. Also good cooked in a loaf tin in 180° C oven and then sliced.
* If just using brown lentils add ½ cup plain flour with eggs.

I used these the same way I did the mash potato dough.

For the third variation I used the mashed potato dough and stuffed them with creme fraiche sprinkled with dried dill and wrapped in smoked salmon.

We had them as is, with a dollop of creme fraiche and lemon. They were so delicous.
I do love The Daring Kitchen. If you want to see more I keep telling you if you haven't already joined then you'll just have to go and do so.

Monday, March 14, 2011

More Food Photography Links

Here are a few more food photography links
Jenn Cuisine this one is in my favorite blogs list
Food bloggers Unite
FoodGawker this is a recipe site with lots of amazing food photos
Learn Food Photography

I've got a lot to learn. Every year I try to either learn more about a current interest or take on a new one. I haven't got room in my house and I have too many 'works in Progress' to take on another interest. So I am going to learn more about photography.
I had a hunt through my photos to find one I liked and here it is.

I used this photo for a post on Poaching. A Challenge with Daring Kitchen.

I remember I took a dozen photos before I got close to one I liked. I took this on the kitchen table in good light, it was December and well to be truthful I got lucky. Now that I am reading up on the subject I can see why I like the photo. The light is good, the plate colour complements the food and I took out the busy tablecloth that was in the background.
I can't work out how to take good close ups with my current camera. I am really looking forward to getting that new one. I have a friend who knows someone who may be able to get me one wholesale. Yay for saving some money. With the new camera in hand I am going to have some lessons and take a lot more photos.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Food Photography

I am toying with the idea of a new camera. I found one at one of the camera shops in Adelaide that ticks all the boxes. Image stability, lots of settings, good brand. It is a Panasonic DMC FZ100 with a 24 zoom and 14 megapixels. It does cost about the same as my first car $700 but hey I spent more than that on my last car and I want to take better photos.
I have been reading a lot on photography and I am going to go and do a couple of classes to improve my skills.
Until then I am still using my Fujifilm 5500. It takes good photos but I am ready to move on to something a little better.
Yesterday I went to the farmers market and got some lovely salad greens, a very nice honey mustard dressing and ripe peaches. Just the thing for a salad with a bit of cheese thrown on.
I decided to try out a bit of a photography experiment regarding backgrounds. Here are the results.

I've had a look at a lot of food photography blogs, here's a few. If you google food photography blogs you get a lot more.
Food Pixels , La Tartine Gourmand, Lara Ferroni and a really great one is FoodPortfolio.

I also love landscape photographs, here's a photo of the view from my window, I took it about ten minutes ago. This morning it was sunny and now look at it.

My overall favorite photography and food blog at the moment is Eat Real Butter you'll appreciate why I am sure if you go and have a little look.