Archive | March, 2012

Homemade sourdough!

29 Mar

The king and queen went to Tasmania in February, and had a great time. They brought us back some presents, the best of which was some Organic Sourdough Wheat Starter from here.

It came as a dehydrated starter mix to which I had to add water, and leave it to ferment for 12-24 hours until there were signs of fermentation such as “strong aromas, growth and/or bubbles”. Eww!! But luckily these things did happen! I had to ‘feed’ (all the terms when talking about sourdough are so creepy!) it once before I could use it to make bread. This involved taking 50 grams of the original starter and adding 200 grams of flour and water, and leaving to ferment again.

Starter pre-fermentation 

So once that long process of getting the starter ready is done, I can start the bread-making process! This starts with adding 1 kg of flour to 600ml water (at 15-20 degrees celcius) and 400g of the starter. This is left to sit for 20-60 minutes.

After this you add 21g of salt and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Leave in a warm place (20-26 degrees celcius) to rise until the dough has risen to 1.5 times its size.

At this point, you pour the dough out onto the bench, fold it several times (without getting rid of all the gases) and make the bread into loaf sizes, and shape them into balls. I made 2 loaves from this amount.

The dough balls are left to sit for 20 minutes, then the balls are gently flattened, and the dough folded to make the top more narrow than the bottom. The dough is then rolled top to bottom to create a cylinder/oblong-y shape. These pieces are then meant to be placed in floured bannetons but I sadly didn’t have any of these, so I just used oiled loaf tins. The loaves are then left to double in size.

Finally, the top of the loaves are cut with a sharp knife, and cooked in a 240 degree oven for 45 minutes, gradually turning down the temperature to 180 degrees. The recipe that came with the starter also recommended steam at the start of the bake, which is achieved by pouring boiling water straight into a pre-heated baking pan in the oven!

And ta-da! Bread!

It was so delish!! We ate it with fancy butter from Meander Valley in Tasmania, and sometime there just is nothing better than bread and butter!

I’ve made the sourdough twice now, and its been a success both times (yay!). The first time I just used white flour, and the bread was perfect – nice soft crumb, dense but with a crunchy outside, slightly sour but not overwhelming taste. The second time I used half white, half spelt flour (also from tasmania!). Although the texture was nice with the spelt, the taste was a little too strong for me, and the bread a little too dense. I’ll have to keep experimenting!

Till next time,

Alice

Advertisements

A Good Food Weekend

19 Mar

Here are some wonderful things I did this weekend:

We bought a new cookbook – Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking. Everything in it looks amazing – and super easy but delicious! Perfect for mid-week cooking. I’m especially excited to make the sweetcorn chicken soup and the home-style fried eggs with oyster sauce and chilli.

The Queen made snapper pies for dinner – they were divine! She found the recipe here, but apparently it is the real recipe for the famous snapper pie at the Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay! She added mashed potato on top instead of pastry – Oh they were so good – belle, the beast, the king, queen and I ate them for a delicious Sunday night dinner.

We went to yum cha and accidentally had the most delicious salt and pepper lobster. From a distance we thought it was crab and only realised once we had it, and our ticket was stamped, and it was all too late  that we had in fact ordered lobster! It was delicious, of course. Super fresh and a great way to eat lobster – it was chopped up so the flesh could be pulled straight out of the shell, and the super thin, crispy salt and pepper batter was perfect with it! And luckily the King was paying 🙂

I went out to celebrate my friend Cinderella’s birthday and had a lovely night but may have had a few two many vodka, lime sodas. When we arrived home we had the most perfect midnight snack after a night out – these frozen Costco dumplings!

I went to Princess Jasmine’s house for dinner and she made a delicious feast of dukkah-marinated lamb, haloumi, rocket salad and broccoli with preserved lemons, yum! My other good friend Snow White brought some caramel popcorn she had made, but she had gone one extra amazing step further and made it salted caramel popcorn. Oh my god it was good. But so addictive – I was overcome with the need to consume a lot of it very quickly and so forgot to take a photo, but it looked just like the picture below. Must get the recipe!

Hope you had a wonderful and food-filled weekend too,

Alice

Fish Tacos

18 Mar

I travelled in the states for 6 months last year, and although we ate our fair share of crappy american food (mac’n’cheese, hot dogs, burger, so many fries) we also ate some really amazing food. I was particularly impressed by the mexican food – it was a like  a completely different breed from the mexican I had eaten in Sydney. In particular we had some amazing mexican at this place called ‘Taco Loco’ in Laguna Beach, California – we did a detour and decided to go to Laguna Beach purely because we’d read about the blackened shrimp tacos at this place.

And they were worth it! That’s them at the back of this photo, with calamari nachos at the front. Lookin at this photo makes me want to eat them now! Yum! Its hard to pin down what was so particularly great about these but tastily seasoned fish, delicious fresh salsa, slightly spicy sauce and (probably most importantly) proper corn tortillas were definately important parts.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago in the paper: Neil Perry has a recipe for an amazing looking mexican feast, and gives the name of the place where he gets his authentic mexican ingredients – hooray the chance to make those amazing tacos again!

http://www.fireworksfoods.com.au/

Its a sydney based company that both imports things from mexico, and makes some products itself. We ordered some spicy chipotle sauce ($2.95 for 145g jar), and some white, yellow and blue corn tortillas ($2.95 for 10 x 15cm taco-sized tortillas), and they were delivered right to our door!

And so of course we made fish tacos! Slightly different from the californian ones – I did a bit of research online and was inspired by the recipe here (http://www.averagebetty.com/recipes/grilled-fish-tacos-recipe/).

The recipe is a little vague. I’d like to pretend its because I’m cool like Jamie Oliver and can describe ingredients as handfuls, smidges, ‘a bit’ of this – but really its because I didn’t write down what I did and can’t really remember now, sorry! But really if you do what you think and try everything I’m sure you’ll get it tasting delicious! And add heaps of lime juice! The recipes for about 3-4 people but if you want to make it for more people allow about 200g fish and 3 tortillas per person and just make heaps of the other bits!

Till next time,

Alice

Recipe – Fish Tacos

Ingredients

  • About 500g white fish (we used freshly caught blachfish that our fisherman friend John very kindly dropped over to us, but any white-fish like bream or flat head would be fine)
  • Cumin powder
  • Ground coriander seeds
  • Iceberg lettuce (or anything similar – we used a chinese cabbage last week cos we had it!)
  • A packet of 10 corn tortillas
  • 3 tomatoes
  • A red onion
  • A big ripe avocado
  • A handful of coriander
  • 3 limes
  • About 1/4 cup of chipotle sauce
  • About 1/4 cup of sour cream

Recipe

1. Rub the fish with a little cumin and ground coriander seeds (and any other spices you feel like!), and leave to marinade for about half an hour

2. Finely chop the red onion, chop the tomatoes, avocado and coriander, and mix together. Add the juice of 2 limes, some salt and pepper and check the taste.

3. Slice/chop/tear the lettuce

4. Mix the chipotle sauce with the sour cream and the juice of a lime. Feel free to add more chipotle sauce if you want it spicier!

5. Cook the fish for a few minutes a side on the BBQ, then re-heat the tortillas for a minute or 2.

6. Put everything on the table and serve! I recommend grabbing a tortilla, adding a big spoon of sauce, a couple of pieces of fish, a few pieces of lettuce and a big scoop of salsa.

7. Enjoy!

Alice in Food-er-land!

15 Mar

Lucky I didn’t choose that as my blog name huh?

So, once upon a time there was a girl who’s name was Alice in Wonderland. She lived in the land of Australia, in the town of Leichhardt. She studied science, loved disney and most of all she loved shopping for, cooking and especially eating food! She had 3 beautiful cats, the loveliest dog in the whole realm and lived at home with her parents the King and Queen, and her sister Belle. She had her very own Prince Charming, who luckily also loved food!

So thats my disney story so far, hopefully there’s more of it to come, and I can share it with you in this blog! Basically this blog will be about all of my food adventures – things I cook, eat, buy and enjoy. I’m thinking now that I’ll try to keep it an adventure (or a quest if we want to disney-fy it) and try a new restaurant and a new recipe every week and try to write about it here. And there might be some other stuff too!

So to get started Belle and I visited ‘Meet Fresh: A Taste of Traditional Taiwanese dessert’ in Chinatown (13 Goulburn St, next to Mamak).

http://meetfresh.net/

We had no idea what we were doing when we ordered – all of the menu items sounded delicious but we had no idea what they actually were! Belle ended up leaning across the counter and pointing at what one of the ladies working there was making, and saying “We’ll have that!”. Turns out it was Taro Balls Dessert 6. Of course!

It was a big bowl of shaved ice with pearls (just like you would get in bubble tea), noodle jellies (little squishy jelly noodle worms), jelly cake (quite firm jelly), and the taro balls (back left of the picture above), covered in a delicious syrup we think was a brown sugar syrup. It was delicious!!

The taro balls were definitely the highlight – they were a mix of orange and purple colours (perhaps the orange were sweet potato?), and had the texture of perfect gnocchi, and a quite subtle not too sweet but very tasty taste! So good! The bowl was quite large so seemed good value at $5.50, and it was the perfect refreshing dessert – with all the cool ice, and not too sweet toppings! Although Prince Charming would have hated it – he won’t eat anything with slug texture, and there was plenty of slug texture going on in this dish!

Belle suggested this video sums it up perfectly, ‘Slimy, yet satisfying!’

Next time we’ll have to try the pearls tofu pudding, or the signature herbal jelly! And they’re open till at least midnight every night – perhaps a midnight snack visit right now…

Love Alice