Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pilgrim biscuits

250 g unsalted butter
4 tbsp clear organic honey
2 eggs
100 - 200g organic macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
400g spelt flour

Beat the soft butter with a wooden spoon in a bowl. Add 2 tbsp honey while beating.
Use a whisk to beat in the eggs one at a time, alternating with the remaining honey.
When smooth, resume beating with the wooden spoon. Mix in half the flour gradually while beating, then the chopped macadamia nuts.
Add as much of the remaining flour to create a sticky mass (maybe all of it).
Cool in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Using 2 tablespoons. place heaped spoonfuls of the mixture on a buttered baking tray. They will spread out while baking. You can make them round or oblong according to the shape of your spoonfuls.
Bake for 25 minutes at 190°c on the second shelf from the bottom of the oven.
These soft biscuits are best served cut into slices. The biscuits are reminiscent of the twice baked almond biscotti from Tuscany. Also known as biscuits of Prato. As we would like to keep it local they are made from regional ingredients.

Pilgrimage, because the Way of St. James in Europe seems walkable and relative car-free. On the French section these nibbles would come in handy out of the backpack.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Garfish: a blog review

We were not present at the food bloggers’ night, but as we are the food blog nearest to Garfish and we do go there quite often, we will take this opportunity to review it.

Garfish is one of our preferred restaurants in Manly. There is always a good choice of fish and a range of interesting side dishes to go with it according to your taste. This is excellent flexibility. The chefs are very serious and visible and there is no question about the right of customers to send back food if they are not satisfied and have it corrected. But usually this is not necessary.

The staff are usually very pleasant. Occasionally we have experienced inadequately trained staff.
The main obstacle at Garfish is the traffic. It is better in winter or on a rainy day because the windows are closed. When it is fine, with the windows open, the car fumes can be very unpleasant, especially when they are jammed up at the lights as they usually are in Manly on a weekend at lunchtime. Motor bikes and vintage cars are the worst.
The second structural problem is the smoking area at the entrance. Again the windows are usually open when it is fine and the smoke fills the entire eating area. If you complain about the smoke the staff ask the smokers to stop, but complaining somehow spoils the ambience (am I the management?). In the interests of customers and staff if would be advisable to prevent smoke drift

It could also be informative to display information about fish and food on the plasma display panel instead of videocapture 'boat parking on the harbour'. Some customers would like to know where the fish/seafood is sourced from, aquaculture, place of origin etc.

UPDATE 14082011
After many disappointing meals we do not go there anymore...

Image: The roofed smoking area of Garfish, view of Wentworth St, Manly

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Red Cabbage and Beetroot Stew

Half a medium size red cabbage
A bunch of beetroot
3 small onions
3 bay leaves
Some agave syrup

Some Feta (Goat)
2 Tsp wholemeal flour
Olive oil

Steam and peel the beets. Cut onions in wedges, fry in oil. Dice the cabbage finely. Fry, then add a little bit of boiling water. Add the bay, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Chop the beet in to large pieces, add a few drops of agave syrup, cover and simmer till all is heated.

Mix the flour and Marjoram on a large plate. Cut up the feta in 1 cm high wedges. Press them into the flour mixture a couple of times till it sticks. Oil a backing dish, place wedges gently on it and cook for 20 min at 200 °C or until the feta is golden and crisp.Serve with steamed potatoes, yogurt with a bit of chives and a green salad.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sugar Banana Cake

We were fortunate to be able to harvest these bananas from a tree in the garden whilst in the Dorrigo/ Bellingen region. The recipe will work with any bananas of course. You can use more bananas mashed up and vary the amount of macadamia nuts. There is a fine balance between underbaking and leaving a soft uncooked centre and overbaking leaving the cake too brown.

300g organic macadamias
10 fat ripe sugar bananas (more if small)
some lemon juice
6 tbsp honey
4 eggs separated
140g unsalted butter
half a vanilla pod
some grated lemon rind
about 150g flour
4 tsp baking powder (no aluminium or phosphate, quantity depends on the type of baking powder, do not use too much)

Peel 4 bananas, cut them up and sprinkle with lemon juice. Set aside.
Beat the butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it is soft. Beat in alternately the egg yolks and 5 tbsp honey. Beat well into a soft mixture.
Mash the remaining 6 bananas. Beat them into the mixture one at a time.
Cut the vanilla pod along one side and scrape the inside into the mixture. Grate a little lemon rind into it.
Grate the macadamias finely. Beat them into the mixture gradually.
Add the flour a tablespoon at a time while beating. Alternately add the baking powder so it mixes in evenly. Only use enough flour so that the mixture is thick but still falls slowly - “heavily” - from the spoon (maybe only 3-4 tbsps). Beat well.Whip the egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining honey and continue beating until stiff.
Lift the egg whites under the mixture.
Preheat the oven to 190°. Butter a baking ring (spring form) and dust it with a little flour.
Add 2/3 of the mixture to the form and spread it evenly to cover the whole bottom. Place the banana pieces on top and press in a little. Cover with the remaining mixture.
Bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for 35 minutes. If it starts to get too brown cover it with paper after 25 minutes. It should be golden. Test with a thin knife that it is cooked. The knife should come out clean. If it is not clean, return covered to the oven for another 10 minutes and test again.
Remove from form and cool.
Store in a linen cloth.

Sugar banana almond cake

Monday, August 30, 2010

Macadamia-Lime Marzipan Macaroons with Honey

No eggs, no flour, no dairy, no sugar.

This recipe is quite simple to make and takes little time. You can vary the amount of honey and lime to taste. Use a local honey. Tallow wood is good in Australia, Linden in Europe.

500 g organic macadamia nuts, raw
8 tbsp honey, e.g. tallow wood, or linden, lime flowers
3-4 limes

Grate nuts finely with a hand grater. Add honey and mix in. Add enough of the lime juice to make a paste. It should hold all the gratings together. The paste is quite sticky.
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Oil 2 baking trays (use macadamia oil or butter).
Use 2 spoons to form the paste into almost oval shaped pieces and place them on the baking dishes.
Bake for 12 minutes on the second shelf from the bottom until slightly golden. Turn off oven. Leave in open oven for another 10 minutes.
Remove from baking trays onto plates.
These macaroons are quite moist because of the lime juice. Store on a plate wrapped in a linen cloth to prevent them becoming soggy.
An alternative presentation is to spread the paste onto the baking trays and cut it into rectangles when it is baked.

Serve with herbal tea, such as Lemon-scented verbena, Lime flowers , Lemon Myrtle, (Backhousia citriodora) or any other drink you fancy
Alterations for the southern hemisphere could be to use Australian limes, such as Citrus glauca, C. australasica or C. australis

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lemon slices

This is a new recipe for lemon slices which we developed while living next to a few well-endowed lemon trees. The slices are very juicy and the filling is very thick. It is an alternative to the lemon slices recipe previously published, but more time consuming.

300 g light wholemeal flour
2 tbsp honey
1 egg
140 g butter

500 g almonds
5 tbsp honey
4 juicy lemons

7 tbsp icing sugar

Add honey then egg in the middle of the flour in a bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon into a paste and then into the flour. Add butter in flakes. Knead to a pastry. If it is sticky add more flour. If it is too dry, add more butter. Cool for 15 minutes covered with a linen cloth (tea towel).
Blanch almonds. Grate finely with a hand grater.
Grate the lemon peel into the almond meal. Add the juice of 3.5 lemons. Add the honey. Mix to a sticky paste.Sieve the icing sugar. Add lemon juice slowly until it is a thick liquid while mixing with a spoon. If there is too much lemon juice add the rest to the almond paste.
Preheat the oven at 190°c. Butter two baking trays.
Roll out half of the pastry on a linen tea towel. Turn it over from time to time and use the tea towel to fold over and straighten the the edges. Roll out a thin pastry, rectangular if your baking tray is rectangular. When it is as thin as possible, turn it again and cut into the pastry along the middle so two identical rectangles are mirrored by the cut.
Spread half of the almond paste on one side evenly, right to the edges. Use the tea towel to lift to other side onto the first so it fits exactly. Use the flat edge of a knife to press the almond paste inside the pastry, straightening the edges.
Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes on the second shelf from the bottom.
Remove from the oven and paint with half of the icing while hot. Allow to cool.
Repeat with the other half of the pastry and the rest of the almond paste.
When cool, or before serving, cut off edges for private use. Cut into slices about 2 x 6 cm for public presentation.Store on a plate wrapped in a fine linen cloth. Linen is highly absorbent so the biscuits will remain dry. Do not put in a tin or under a bowl or they will go soggy quickly. Use fine linen to prevent linen fibre getting on the biscuits.

Macadamia Lemon Slices without icing

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chilli Hot Bean Soup

"A world in which many worlds are possible."
Zapatista slogan, via Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Commonwealth, 2009

Chilli hot bean soup or
Bishops Crown Red (Barbados) capsicum soup with Pintos/ Barlottis - another Meso-american inspired mash-up from the garden.

500 g Pintos/or Barlotti beans
Olive oil, organic
3 medium onions, chopped
6+ large cloves Russian Garlic (Allium Ampeloprasum) sliced or minced
500 g ripe Tomatoes, peeled, diced
350 g Bishops Crown Red peppers / any red Capsicum
4 fresh red hot chillies (know your variety!)
400 g Carrots
2 Zucchinis
500 ml hot vegetable stock/ water
Some Herbs: Bay leaves, Marjoram, Rosemary, Parsley
Ground black pepper

Soak beans overnight. Boil with 3 bay leaves and some pepper corns.

Cut onion finely and sauté in a large pot. Add chopped carrots, fry. Add the diced tomatoes and some herbs. Cover and simmer for a short time.

Cut and seed capsicums and chillies, cut into thin strips. Keep a bit of the capsicum aside. Toss in most of the garlic. Add to vegetable pot. Pour in as much stock so that all vegetables are covered.

When the beans are cooked, remove bay leaves and pour contents into the other pot. Add the finely cubed zucchinis. Simmer, add more stock if required. Shortly before serving, add the remaining garlic, capsicum and chopped parsley for of a dash of colour.

Serve with corn bread, a crisp green salad and a good conversation about inspiring books. Black Sapote for a cooling dessert.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Asparagus with Parmesan

1 kg of Asparagus ( Asparagus officinalis )
Some Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Some good Olive Oil
Some Parseley

Wash the asparagus
Snap off the woody bits at the bottom
Peel with asparagus peeler
Keep peel and bottom bits for a vegetable stock (in fridge)
Boil water in steamer and add vegetables
Simmer at low heat for 15 minutes
Shave Parmesan finely

Arrange asparagus on warm platter. Dribble some of the olive oil on them.
Sprinkle with the Parmesan flakes. Add some chopped parseley around the edge of plate.

Serve with fresh potatoes or any other dish.

Should you have picked some wild green asparagus (Ornithogalum pyrenaicum), steam for a shorter time or serve raw.