Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I don't really like Winter. I wish I could hibernate like a bear and stay under the covers. But I think if I could wake up to this magic every day, I think I could - only just - get through the day. Can you BELIEVE how stunning this place is?
Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island has won bucket loads of awards since it opened last year. It's truly magical - and waaaay out of my price range. But oh, how a girl can dream! Every tiny little detail has been thought of - right through from the reception lounge to the outdoor dining terraces - the artwork to the mud wraps - the eco-friendliness to the uninterrupted views. STUNNING. And as a proud as punch South Aussie, I'm always thrilled to see local produce used with such glamour and decadence. Bit like Sunday night dinner at my place (ha!).
So now, I just have to save my pennies . . . or keep dreaming.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Yes, I'm still obsessed with Masterchef. Have found myself rushing home from work to a) turn off the slow cooker (an ah-mazing aroma hit me this arvo when I walked through the front door - beef and red wine, yum!) and b) get settled in my jarmies before 7pm. I've had lots of things on after work lately, so have had to catch up on recipes via the Masterchef website. And it's fabulous!
Mum is hosting a Jingle Bells in June dinner party at her place this weekend (thank goodness there's no Boxing Day cricket on the next day, so Dad has no excuse not to help clean up!) and she was searching for an easy, warming winter dessert. Think classy affair - not something with red and blue tinsel and some tacky mistletoe by the front door! We're talking ivory crockery with gold edging and crystal champagne glasses. So ice cream sundaes are out!
We've all attempted sticky dates before, but this one takes decadence to a new level. OMG. Thank you Masterchef! Best caramel sauce I've EVER had - and even better the next day when you're scooping it out of the pan with your fingers. And yes, invest in the dariole moulds - we experimented with muffin tins and they just didn't have the same impact. Too dense or something.
180g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1¼ cups (310ml) water
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
60g butter, softened chopped
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds
1 cup (220g) brown sugar
1 cup (250ml) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180˚C (160˚C fan-forced). Lightly grease eight (½ cup capacity) metal dariole moulds.
- Place dates and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Remove from the heat. Add bicarbonate of soda, stir until dates start to break down, set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
- Beat butter and sugar in a bowl using a hand beater, gradually add eggs one at a time, beat until light and fluffy.
- Add date mixture, stir to combine. Carefully fold through sifted flour, divide mixture evenly between the eight moulds, until 2/3 full.
- Place moulds in a baking tray, carefully pour water in tray until it comes up 1/3 of the side of the moulds. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until golden and skewer comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, for the almond praline, combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan over medium heat and cook caramel without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Scatter almonds onto a baking paper-lined oven tray, pour over caramel and cool until set. Break praline into pieces.
- For the butterscotch sauce, combine butter, sugar, cream and vanilla in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring sauce to the boil, reduce heat and cook for 5-6 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.
- To serve, invert the hot pudding onto a serving plate, top with butterscotch sauce and shards of praline.
And big sigh of relief for all those time-poor hostesses with the mostest out there - these freeze a treat xo
Monday, June 15, 2009
Bree and I hit the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Markets last weekend. Love. We did about four laps of the place, stopping at a different stall each time, falling for some delightfully fresh and colourful addition to our baskets with every slow step. Such a gorgeous start to a Sunday.
I walked away with a very heavy bag of goodies - lemon curd tart for my mum, all sorts of goodies for my retro crockpot creations, bunches of fresh herbs, the Sunday Mail and some candied balsamic. Candied balsamic? YUM!
Walking down one of the aisles, we had to push for some room at the oh so popular Passionate Foodie stand. What was all the fuss about, we wondered? Then we spotted the samples of salt and pepper squid and turkish bread with a sweet, sticky balsamic. That explained the hysteria! Bree then realised the guy behind the desk was Adam, the caterer from her gorgeous wedding at Glen Ewin Estate. GORGEOUS food, this guy CAN cook! And now he's set up a little gourmet food business - The Passionate Foodie. Yum, check it out! Awesome presents for interstate guests or the Mums who have everything.
And that candied balsamic? Heavenly!
I'll do a blog soon on my favourite breakfast haunts around town (and across the border), but thought I'd just give you a sneak peak into one of my new little discoveries.
Wild Thyme is organic market cross cafe cross escape from the outside world. Just walking through the doors is an uplifting experience and you automatically feel like you're breathing in pure air or something!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
- . Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
- Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
The Polkadot Pantry proudly passes the One Lovely Blog award on to:
The first ever blog I discovered. Love love love Kimberlee's stylish take on the world. And now she's ventured into retail, love it.
White and Wander
Such a lovely way to stay in touch with an interstate friend - what style she has!
A Summer Picnic Wedding
This is truly beautiful, an absolute delight to escape to every day. I've got my whole wedding sorted thanks to Gabrielle - just insert groom!
Just can't get enough of Gabrielle!
Shona Henderson Photography
Local gal with fabulous vision
Green Wedding Shoes
So pretty. Full stop. But enough with the weddings, Kate!
Cannelle et Vanille
Oh, if only my blog could look this pretty! One of my favourite food haunts
The Wednesday Chef
Such a classy food blog, I love
Vintage chic at its best
American style to die for!
All the best
Read this for the first time tonight. Stunning.
The House that A-M Built
Wow, this woman just oozes style - can you believe someone actually lives in something this stunning? It's like something out of a picture book.
What is James wearing?
I love this! Another brand new blog I've just stumbled across - your mind boggles with what he'll come up with next and where he'll be photographed.
Coco's Tea Party
Wow, I should go randomly searching for new blogs more often - this is GOLD! I LOVE this blog. Check it out.
Gotta love a foodie blog
Okay, so I cheated a bit and included some blogs that are not so 'newly discovered'. But I just love them and check them every day. Do forgive me!
Will be back with some inspiring pieces throughout the week xo
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
3. I love trendy takes on old time favourites
4. Our caterer at work does these and lightly fries them before serving. Heavenly
Before the big wedding, we've got the big engagement for Michelle and Pete and I've been dobbed in to help out with the food. Very exciting, we have a gorgeous theme to work with and I'm lucky to have the creativity of my fellow bridesmaids to inspire me - I just hope I live up to the standards!
- Salt and pepper crusted baby baked potatoes - dont' these just look adorable? Bite size explosions of winter warmth. And the blokes will love them - grown up versions of potato wedges with sour cream.
- Lamb and mint meat pies - these could be perfect . . . if I could make them earlier and freeze them for simple reheating. Always love a funky take on an old favourite.
- Basil and feta red-hots - just the name has me hooked! I love those little bake at home rolls, and these would be a hit with the boys.
- Asparagus and prosciutto bundles - these look great on a big white platter and are good either hot or cold.
- Tandoori chicken curry cups - love these, they not only look good but they're easy to plate up and taste amazing. I have been warned though (thanks Kristabel!) that they can get soggy very quickly, so would be all hands on deck to get these babies out stat!
- Spinach and feta quiches - always a winner and a vegie option that's not too 'out there' for the meat eaters amongst us.
- Turkey salad pancakes - an interesting spin on peking duck pancakes. I'm obessed with the duck variety (hello Luv-A-Duck!) so these could be a cheaper option? Would be awesome to have a DIY pancake bar set up so people could make their own - would save so much time!
- Fig and prosciutto crostini - something about figs has me completely captivated lately. This could easily be modified to go onto blinis with goats cheese spread, or mini bagels even. Yum!
Most people count down the days, hours and minutes til big events - like birthdays, weddings and first dates with cute boys. Me? I count down the seconds til trying a new recipe!
This long weekend (thank you for having a birthday, Queenie!) I'm trying out my new crockpot -sorry, make that my mum's old crockpot circa late 1970s. It's hilarious - it's bright orange with kind of a browny/olive ceramic inner that you can't remove from the outer shell. I'm guessing it's going to make cleaning a nightmare, but my housemate's away for the weekend, so it doesn't matter how much mess I make.
Lots of my friends have been gushing about their slow-cookers lately (albeit the funky stainless posh types) and when I mentioned it to Mum she was more than happy to make room in her kitchen and gladly hand over her ancient pot to me. Who knows if the wiring still works or whether I'll short circuit my power board - I'll guess we'll have to wait and see!
Any suggestions for crockpot recipes? They can't be too hard, can they?!?
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Okay, so I promised the meatball recipe to end all meatball recipes a few weeks back and I'm not one to go against my word.
This is Anyd Bunn's (from Vogue Entertaining & Travel April/May 2009) take on the Italian classic that I discovered while I had the sniffles a couple of weeks back. I'm still dreaming of the ah-mazing flavour and ultra smooth textures - and the best bit is, they freeze up a treat!
60g butter, chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tspn each chilli flakes, ground cumin and ground nutmeg
1/4 tspn ground clove
1 kg veal mince (I used lamb and it was fine)
1 Tbspn sea salt flakes
1/3 cup firmly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup firmly packed flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to serve
150ml pouring cream (I know, how decadent!)
3 x 55g eggs, lightly beaten
150g (1 1/2 cups) dried breadcrumbs
50g finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
375g dried tagliatelle (I used angel hair and loved this lighter take on pasta)
2 Tbspn olive oil
60 g butter, chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
5 (about 500g) roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
200ml tomato passata
1/4 tspn chilli flakes
- For sauce, heat oil and butter in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 10 minutes until softened.
- Add all tomaotoes, passata and chilli and cook over low-medium heat for one hour or until thickened.
- For meatballs, heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until soft. Stir in spices, transfer to large bowl and cool.
- Add mince to onion mixture with salt, herbs, cream, eggs, breadcrumbs and parmesan. Using hands, mix well to combine. Shape into balls (I made mine cocktail size) and place on a plastic wrap-lined tray. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until chilled and firm.
- Preheat oven to 200C. Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat, add half the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally for 5 mins or until evenly browned. Drain on paper towel, then repeat with remaining meatballs.
- Place meatballs in a large ovenproof dish, pour over tomato sauce and cover with foil. Bake for 30 mins or until cooked through.
- 1o mins before meatballs are ready, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente, then drain.
- To serve, scatter pasta with extra parsley, chop with meatballs and sauce, and sprinkle over extra parmesan.