Wednesday, 30 November 2011

My favourite fast food.

There are some days where I want to potter about the kitchen for hours, just relaxing and getting into everything, cooking and baking and all that delicious nonsense.

.. Aaaaand then there's day I cook because people are over, and we need to be fed. This usually happens after our grocery shopping, which takes places in the afternoon.
When we get home around 5, 6 o'clock, I know that I want food, as soon as possible, as easily as possible. And this is when I love having good convenience products at my disposal.

I know I've spoken about Henry Langdon's products before, mainly their delicious cocoa, but their salt rubs make dinner as simple as:
  1. Get meat, chicken or fish
  2. Apply spice or salt rub
  3. Shallow fry until cooked, serve with salad or steamed veggies.

Seriously. This is my current rushdown cooking, and my favourite combination so far has been the coriander, kaffir lime and chilli salt rub on fresh flake fillets, fried, with a tangy green salad with mixed beans and balsamic dressing.
The coriander doesn't overwhelm anything, like it does in the fresh form, and the lime and chilli are perfect in the warming weather, a real slap to the palate.

This post isn't sponsered by Henry Langdon, but I wouldn't say no if it was. Their products are fantastic and full of exotic flavours.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Moving along.. Super-easy chocolate truffles.

The last week or two have been a time of relaxation and rebuilding, for me. I've been thinking a lot (which hurts), trying to exercise even more, and sorting out things with people and myself.

Soooo, of course, along the way, I need sustenance. And at this point and time, it is chocolate I want. And not in any sort of practical amount, I want full-on chocolate. I want chocolate with chocolate, with more chocolate.

.. Yes, I know,  kind of counter-acts the whole 'exercise and health' thing. BUT. I have been good. I haven't started wallowing in cocoa and deliciousness. I have been (somewhat) restaining myself.

That being said, I made some chocolate truffles a while ago, and while I have made them before, these ones came out the best. Getting the ratio of chocolate and cream has been my issue in the past, and due to different recipes (and my sieve-memory), things haven't always gone.. Quite right. Chocolate seizing is not pretty, or tasty.

For an easy chocolate fix, for munchies or for a gift for someone, make chocolate truffles yourself. All you need is 4 ingredients, and some time for them to set.

Dark chocolate truffles   -   makes roughly 20

375g packet dark chocolate chips (70% cacao is tastiest)
180ml thickened cream
1 tbsp port, or other liquor like it
Cocoa for dusting (if you have to use hot chocolate in place of cocoa, make sure is it good quality)

  1.  Place the cream and chocolate in a large stainless steel bowl. Have another bowl or glass dish ready
  2. Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Fill it only about a third of the way
  3. Take the pot off the heat. When the water has stopped boiling, then place the stainless steel bowl on top of the pot. Do not let the water touch the bowl directly
  4. Stir the chocolate and cream together occasionally with a spatula, unti melted together. Add the port and stir in until completely combined
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the glass dish. Allow to cool to room temperature, then plac ein the fridge to set, for about an hour or two
  6. When the mixture is firm enough to touch and not stick, pour a good amount of cocoa powder onto a plate or chopping board
  7. Roll teaspoonfuls of the chocolate mixture into balls in your hands, then roll them in the cocoa powder. If your hands start to heat up too much, wet them with a small amount of water in between
  8. Store them in the fridge. Give as gifts, or eat with any excuse
This recipe works with milk chocolate as well, as well as variations of cocoa. My favourite combo was dark chocolate, with port, rolled in chilli cocoa powder. 
The important part is the ratio: any amount of chocolate, half the amount of cream.

 And pardon the typos, so tired. Bluh.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

October madness.

.. So. October was a crazy month. Not just for me, it seems, but for everyone I know. Full of ups and downs, it is a month I half want to forget, and half want to celebrate.

The downsides are typical, but were painful for me. Same as before, looking for work stressed me out to the point of a breakdown (followed by lovely heartburn, ugh), and I had to reconsider my future and life, and my choices.
My girlfriend has been stressed to her eyeballs, finishing her advanced diploma of fashion. I've tried to be supportive, as well as realistic, and frankly, I can't decide who is going to be more relieved when the course is over.

I tend to worry about my friends a lot, some of whom are going through the same fun of looking for work, which I can really sympathise with. Then there's health problems, not just mine, but some members of my family as well.

But that's the downsides. Getting those off my chest and talking about these things with people has been one of the better aspects of this ugly October.

Now, the best parts of the month:
  • Two friends and I went to see Blind Guardian in concert. It was, in a word, amazing. They played one of each of our favourite songs, and the gig left us all with sore necks from headbanging, as well as sore throats for the next few days.
  • I had some catering work to do! The lovely Katie from 'Sew, Cook, Laugh' gave me the pleasure (and the excuse) to bake up a storm, once for some gluten-free sweets for her brother's wedding, the second time to do the desserts for her hubby's birthday.
  • I've had some lovely products to work with. Katie has been supplying me with duck eggs (and chicken, but the duck eggs are the best), which make the most amazing baked goods I've been practicing (tee hee) my steak-cooking skillz with gorgeous meat from LaManna Direct in Essendon, and I've been raving about Henry Langdon's awesome spices and cocoa so much I think I'm going to explode.
  • Even though it was techincally September, I got to bake for my sister's birthday, and made a silly-but-delicious gluten free, dairy free chocolate cake, which was one of the tastiest gluten-free things I've made. Dense and moist, with rich creamy chocolate frosting, I was really proud of it.
  • I've been indulging my nerdy side and playing more videogames, and loving it. Replaying BioShock (1 and 2) has been providing me with plenty of fun suspense and brick-shitting moments.
    RockBand has been great for getting out energy and getting a bit of exercise, and I've been hanging out with a good mate and learning to play fighting games again. I might even be enterting a small local tourny next time it is on! Fun stuff~
Also, I have applied to study patisserie next year! I can't wait to start. 

Things are looking up now. I'm taking time out from looking for work, and focusing on my health and my own pleasure. I needed a wake up call, and I got it, so now I'm looking forward to what I want to do in future.

Now, pictures from the aforementioned fun. Onward, toward 2012~

Some of the catering I did. The desserts for the birthday, including choc cheesecake, profiteroles, trifles, and the best lemon cake (thanks Mum <3).
Also,gluten free jam tarts from the wedding. I was so proud of these! Om nom.


A beautiful but GIANT duck egg.


A porterhouse steak from LaManna, cooking in my favourite pan. Mmm, griddle marks.

One of Katie's chicken eggs. I like making them stand up. Hee.

My sister's gluten free, dairy free birthday cake! This was fun to make, and delicious to boot.
Tee hee.