Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Transcontiental Chocolate Biscotti for Chocolate lovers

Don't forget to bake your Stollen!

*Awoooga** Awoooga* *whooot whhhhooot* *Warning* *Warning* *

Do you love chocolate? Do you love chocolate as much as me?
Well then this is the post for you, settle down and then prepare to get baking ASAP afterwards!

Well Farmgirl and I have been at it again, baking things across continents, making each other laugh over silly (fun) emails, and generally having a great time. The only thing we miss is actually being able to do it together. *sigh* That is why, I managed to con her biscotti recipe from her before you :P neerrrr and bake it now so that we could *bake togther tm* again!

If you have come across from FG's site then I am sure you know this already, and have been laughing at me as I know she is going to make me look like a goose. "NO SUGAR!". Um, yeah, I kinda got myself into alittle bit of trouble from out baking queen/mistress/school teacher... OOPS! REMEMBER to ensure you have ALL the ingrediants before you start to melt 1 1/2 blocks of lindt 85% cocoa and 125 gms of butter.... hehehe. But then, necessity is the mother of invention and I no, we might have even managed to improve the biscotti! (yeah right.... I am watching out for FG's ear flick OUCH!) LOL

But seriously, my lovely Auntie is not feeling well, so I figure that a chocolate overload might just help to cheer her up!

And I figure this could be a good time to share my patented Hot Cocoa recipe, this is not like alot of other hot chocolate recipes, it is very simple and only requires 1 KEY ingrediant. The BEST Dutch Process cocoa that you can get you chocolatey little mits on. The Cocoa powder I use it Van Houten, which has a lovely smell and tastes fabulous. I have tried using Droste but that was truely horrible. No, really it was.

Here in Australia, hot chocolate cravings can hit at any time. But, you don't always want a decadent, fattening drink. Something smooth and chocolatey is often just what is required to quickly kill those chocolate cravings, esp when the temperatures are in the 30's. In Australia hot chocolate drinks are generally very artificial and full of artificial sweetners, definatly not my cup of hot cocoa. This recipe makes an easy, substitute that is much better for you!

Clare's Patented Hot Cocoa
2 tsps Van Houten Dutch Process Cocoa (use other dutch process at your risk! AND NEVER DROSTE!)
1 tsp sugar ( or more to taste)
1 pinch of cinnamon
Boiling Water
Milk to taste or some whipped cream ;)

Put cocoa, sugar and cinnamon into a cup, mix and continue to mix whilst you add the boiling water, the cocoa should dissolve perfectly. Add a splash of milk. DONE!

NOTE: If you live in Sydney the White Lotus Asian grocery store in Kingsford has Van Houten Cocoa powder for $2.95 a box, Which is CHEAP!

Chocolate Lover's Biscotti
Melt together:
125 gms of Dark Chocolate - I used 85% lindt
125gms of butter
Beat until lightened:
2 eggs
1 cup of dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
chocolate mixture
Then add:
2 to 2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder - I used Van houten, but please use the best you can
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Divide dough into two logs: 3-1/2"x9"
Brush with beaten egg white
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool partly or all the way if you have time. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn slices over and bake 20 minutes.
Very easy to cut because no nuts or fruit in the way. But you could add them if you like. Crunchy but not break your teeth crunchy. Not authentic Italian biscotti. Great for dunking in coffee or Clare's patented Hot Cocoa!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas in the City

I decided that it is time for me to really start to get into the "Christmas Spirit". So I thought that if I shared my images of Sydney at Christmas it would be a great place to start!

Actually I am quite impressed with the Christmas flags that the City of Sydney has come up with this year, they are christmasy yet with Australian themes, and alot of the flagshave been translated into other languages.

So this is a picture of Town Hall on George St in the CBD

This is looking North from just up the road from Town Hall, with the QVB (Queen Victoria Building) in the Left Hand Side and Galleris Victoria on the right

This is looking south from the same location

This is a close-up of the flags outside Town Hall and shows the multi lingual signs

These Flags are in Kingsford and the flags are different as this is know the city of Randwick (still in Sydney though!) This is the home of UNSW and cheap Indonesian Cuisine!

I hope you like my effort to get into the Christmas Spirit, I know a few more good shots I am going to include.

Monday, December 12, 2005

My Birthday Fun!

Don't forget to bake your Stollen!

As you know it was birthday on the weekend, and I promised some photos!!!
I had sooooooooooo soooooooooo much fun, and I would like to thank everyone for their lovely birthday wishes!

So I woke up, and Casey gave me a digital camera!!!! A nikon Coolpix 4600 which is tiny (130gms) and is perfect for super sneaky food photo ops ;) Plus I think the photos are really good too for a budget camera and the controls are super simple.

Because it was my birthday I had complete control MUAH HAHAHHAHA over what we did and what I got to take photos of. Well what I wanted to do was to go to Paddington Markets, so we decided to go have breakfast on Oxford St. We ended up at Cafe Brioso which is right next Paddington Markets seemed as it seemed like a likely suspect for a breakfast location, especially since they roast their own coffee on the premises. ;)

Well this is my coffee, looks good? Well it was not too bad at all, it definately wasn't stale. I had a double flat white mmmm coffee.

Sitting next to us in the cafe was a french couple, they were having the croissants for breakfast and they smelt sooo good. So I was inspired to have the same, they were pretty good, except they toasted them on the inside, what's up with that? Isn't the good part of a croissant that the inside is so.... croissanty?

Casey had a ham and cheese croissant and he liked it

This is the cafe, it is in a good location and was lovely to sit at on a nice summers day, especially when it is your birthday!

This is Paddington Markets, they are a nice location, and focus more on handmade goods like jewellery and clothes

They also have food. Just like this incredibly yummy homemade lace espresso icecream sandwhich! Which is made by Pat and Stick's Homemade Icecream co. If you are looking for something special I definately recommend them! YUM!

We then went on to Chinatown and Casey bought me a scratchie, look how lucky I was! But the next two were both Losers so I can't be that lucky.

By now I was getting alittle peckish and we decided to go to Saint Honore cakeshop, which is on Sussex street.

Look at a selection of the fabulous breads that you can get. They are incredibly cheap and good!

We shared a chicken and mushroom bun and a BBQ pork bun, the cost a whole.... $1.80 for the two of them!!!

here is the inside of the BBQ porkbun, see all the meat. YUM!

After this we went down to the beach and had a swim. The water is very warm in Sydney at the moment, 21C so get down there!

So are you glad I have a new camera so that I can take photos ANYWHERE? Cause I sure am, and I have lots more phtographs to come!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas Biscuit Recipes!!!!

Well, I FINALLY got the biscuit recipes from my mum! YAY MUM.

I will post my bday pics tomorrow :)

Don't forget to get baking gear ready and make your stollen!

Shortbread Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
3 tblespoons icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tblespoon brandy
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1tspoon baking powder

whole cloves
2cups icing sugar

1 Melt butter until sediment is golden brown. (do not burn)
2 Pour oiled butter into mixing bowl, leaving sediment in pan.
3 When butter has solidified add 1st quantity of icing sugar & beat until
light & fluffy.
4 Add egg yolk & brandy & beat well.
5 Stir in almonds.
6 Sift flour & baking powder & mix lightly into butter mixture.
7 Break off pieces (walnut size) & shape into balls or crescents & insert a
clove into centre if desired.
8 Place on ungreased oven tray & bake in a moderate oven for 15-20mins until
lightly coloured.
9 Cool for 10mins.
10 Sift icing sugar onto waxed paper & lift warm cookies onto this.
11 Sift more icing sugar over cookies.
12 Seal & store 2 days to improve flavour..
Note melting & browning butter in initial step may be omitted, but it gives
great flavour.

Greek Sesame Cookies
1 cup butter
1&1/2 cups castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs
5 cups plain flour
3 tsp bakiing powder
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup sesame seeds &/or other flavourings/decorations such as whole
almonds 1/2 almonds, glace cherries coloured sugars etc

Cream butter & sugar with vanilla.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating in well.
Sift dry ingredients & stir into creamed mixture to form a soft dough.
If mixture to sticky then chill in fridge for a while.
Mould into desired shapes, for sesame coookies shape pieces of dough into
pencil shapes then roll in sesame seeds & form into rings or coils .Roll &
use cookie cutters & decorate or form into balls, flatten with a fork and
place a nut on top.
Bake on greased baking trays in a moderate oven for 15-20mins until golden
place a nut on top.
Bake on greased baking trays in a moderate oven for 15-20mis until golden

Saturday, December 10, 2005

WCB 27

Cat food bloggers unite every weekend and share photos of your gorgeous kitties with us!

If you would like to be included, just leave me a comment with your permalink! and add a "weekend cat blogging" tag to your post!

If you would like to participate in WDB 13 (Weekend Dog Blogging) please go visit the lovely Sweetnicks and send her an email!

If you would like yo participate in WHB 10 (Weekend Herb Blogging) please Visit the lovely Kalyn

Do you know what today is? IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!
So I have been slacking off and having lots of fun all over the city! But why does this concern you and wcb? Well Kiri was my bday present last yeat ( but we didn't pick him up for much longer) and for this birthday I got a new camera! A little tiny, baby digital camera, just perfect for taking photos of things on the go, when the hand cannon (our name for our other dig camera isn't appropriate). Casey chose the camera and it is a Nikon coolpix 4600, I love it!

Whilst playing around with my camera and Kiri this afternoon, I took some very cute pictures with the sports shots mode.

I love this one!

Don't forget to get baking gear ready and make your stollen!
OR forget to go visit Stephanie and pay your respects

Check out the Queen of the day, Le Chat at Heather's Space
Check out Miss Jazz, as she demands to be writted about at Slowly she turned
Check out Nala giving her version of how she enjoys a bathroom at Les Carnets de sbmarie
Check out Aggie, being a wuss in the cold (how unlike a cat LOL) at Kayaksoup
Play find the kitty amongst all the kitties at a cat in the Kitchen
Check out the 2 new kittens, Raffles and Mooncake at Gastronomy Dominence *cute Kitten alert*
Check out all the kitties all together at Tigers and Strawberries
Check out Miss Kitty, as she becomes increasingly frustrated with her 2 captors and decides to take over and become Angry Cat Blog! Muah hahahahahhh
Check out Houdini and the daisies at Middle-Fork
Check out the cats and the dogs hanging out oh so sophisticatedly in B&W at Modern Girls Kitchen
Check out Tilly the tortiseshell persian, who is very sweet and likes to fit into small boxes at Flavours
Check out Lyle getting all comfy in front of the fire at Basic Juice
Check out Widget and Max tuckered out poor Peanut Butter and Purple Onions
Check out Stella playing peekaboo at The Poor Cracklins
Check out Callie and Sugar playing footsies (:) ) at Sweetnicks

Friday, December 09, 2005

Sad Tidings

Remeber the cute little black and white kitty that has been growing up before our eyes in Stephanies WCB posts? Who could forget the introduction, Alex bringing his mum the kitty, the peace talks or the kitty in a trash can.
Last weekend Stephanie and I both blogged about Macrooms 'illness' and then his recovery. Whilst Macroom impoved, it was not enough. Very sadly little Macroom passed away in Stephanies arms at aproximately 3:20 am this morning. Macrooms illness was believed to be a blood parasite.
If I thoughStepanie, Alex and Matt need good wishes before, I was wrong. They need them now.

Macroom was a brave, kind, smoochy kitty, who was loved by people all over the world, what more could alittle kitty ask for?

I know I am going to miss the little guy, and I offer my deepest condolences to you all. *Huge Hug*


Zucchini Blossom Frittata

Is this zucchini frittata not something to tempt you? Perhaps, even to weep over it's loss or your lack of? Since, I and not you :P have tasted it, I will answer for you. Yes it bloody well is! When I was at my parents house to make biscuits, before I came home, I mangaed to steal (LOL) a bunch of male zucchini flowers and 2 female zucchini flowers. These beautiful flowers are delicious, but there taste is hard to desecribe, succlent and melting is proably the best desciptor I can think of. Whilst trying to imagine the best use of these beauties my thoughts flittered between: Zucchini flower fritters and stuffed steamed flowers, but I declared both of these options too fussy for my lunch. Instead I decided it would be a choice between a salad and a frittata, as soon as frittata escpaped into my concious thoughts I knew there was no better use, and I was right. This frittata is frightfully beautiful, extravagent yet incredibly simple. It makes a decadent lunch for one, a hors ordevour, an entree (starter for the americans) for a party... whatever you want. Pair her with a salad and some soudough bread and you have a dinner to be proud of.

To make this baby you need a tablesppon of butter, a bunch of zucchini flowers, preferably atleast a female or two (they have baby zucchinis attached),clove of garlic, a couple of eggs, a good lug of milk, a splash of cream, a few slices of fetta or chevre and some salt and pepper (herbs to garnish as well. Slice the flowers in half. Thinly sliver the baby zucchinis, thinly slice the garlic, beat the eggs, milk, cream and salt and pepper together, dice the fetta. Melt the butter and saute the zucchinis and garlic, when they are soften pour over the egg mix and lay the flowers and fetta on top. Turn the heat on to low and leave with a lid on for a few minutes, check every minute or so, she is ready when the top is just set. Plate up with a scattering of fresh herbs and enjoy every morsel. Serves 1 to 2 .

See, I told you she is easy to make.

Don't forget to get baking gear ready and make your stollen!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas Biscuits! and a Stollen MEME

Ok, before I get into the Christmas goodness I have to say something. IT WAS 42 deg C here today! Gee that is hot, damm hot, smoking hot! But, it did mean that it was perfect beach weather. It also means that Iam so glad we chose to spend all day yesterday in the kitchen rather than today.

As part of our family christmas tradition we always get together to make the same biscuits from a greek cookbook. Sesamebiscuts and almond shortbreads. They are both great, but the short breads WOW!

This shows a 'plate' of biscuits, normaly we make christmas trees and decorate them. But my mum lost my cutter! grrr oh well

Here is another view, oh we also like them to look 'handmade' LOL. In otherwords... my mum likes to'pump' them out and gets narky whenItryand take my time heheheh :)

This is the shortbread, they need to sit in the icing sugar for 2 days prior to eating, after which they just melt in your mouth!

This shows the kitchen table, do you think we prepared enough plates? After this we wrapped them in cellophane and tied them up all pretty! I did manage toconvince her to make a whole extrabatchthough ... just so we would have enough :)

I forgot to copy out the recipes, but if you would like them let me know and I will make her email them to me. (the are both really yummy and keep teally well)

There was one other Christmas job we do, we make our own cake, the recipe varies but this year I managed to talk everyone into having fresh stollen! We normaly have stollen but it is just bought and not homemade :) NOT THIS YEAR! It was suprisingly easy to make, but it does take a few hours and we ended up with2 'logs' about 50cm long. It was so hard to not cut into them and try a slice, but I know it will make the whole experience much more rewarding when we eat them on xmas day! The other important thing is that stollen like traditional "english" xmas cake improves with some aging, so even if you forgot to prepare your mincemeat in august (heheh) you will still be able to have homemade aged 'cake'! I have a traditional german yeasted recipe. I would love to have a round up and tasting of stollens. So if you follow the recipe and post about it let me know and I will do a round up. (RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)

Here are some bonus photos:

This isKiri's duck :)

This is theview of th beach from the front of my parents place *sigh*

This is my mum's wild rocket patch :)

Weinacht Stollen

Here is a link to a conversion site (thanks fg)

400gms Sultanas and Currants
200gms slivered almonds
100gms candied citron (or lemon peel)
100 gms fresh yeast
500gms butter (you can substitute in 100gms of lard)
1 kilo flour
150 gms sugar
pinch of Cardomon powder
12 tablespoons Rum
1/4 litre of Milk (250 mls)
zest of 1 lemon
2 packets of vanilla sugar
powdered sugar
parchment paper

Soak Sultanas, currants and the zest of 1 lemon in the 12 tablespoons of rum, preferably overnight.

In a large bowl put the flour and then make a well in the centre with your fist. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the fresh yeast and 1/8 litre of milk which has been warmed to luke warm (125 mls). Sprinkle alittle of the flour of the top. Leave to rise for atleast 1/2 hour til the mixture is risen and fluffy. Add 350 gms of butter (or 250 gms and 100 gms of lard), 1/4 litre milk warmed to luke warm, almonds, cardomon, candied citron. Knead the mix together until the mix leaves the side of the bowl. Leave to rest for at least 1/2 hour. Roll the mix out thinly ( if you want to make a few 'stollen' then divide the dough up into 2 or 3 and roll them out individualy. Evenly spread the soaked sultans, currants and lemon zest of the dough. Roll up into a log. Leave to rest for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 250 C ( I also heated my baking stones up too which are 2 large terracotta stones which cost $5 each). Shape the stollen and ensure the seam is on the bottom. When the oven has preheated place them in the oven (either on to preheated stones or butter and floured baking trays). Reduce heat to 175 - 200C and bake for 50 mins until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Melt the rest of the butter, when the loaves are still hot from the oven, brush the outsides with butter until they don't want to absorb any more. Sprinkle the vanilla sugar and icing sugar over the top then drizzle the rest of the butter on the top. Leave the stollen to cool. When cold sift more icing sugar over the top. Wrap well in parchment paper and place in a cool dark spot til christmas. Remeber to photograph the process, blog about it and then email me!

If you have any questions please email me or leave a comment. They are really not hard to make and *hopefully* will taste fantastic!

If you have any queries over the measurements or temperature please ask!

As a guide
1 pound is approximately 500gms
250C is as hot as the oven goes (close anyway)
1 tablespoon is 15 mls
600 mls is a pint

Monday, December 05, 2005

Pancakes are for brekkie

I thought I should share some photos of our weekend in the 'gong (Wollongong)

Seeing as this is a food blog I think I should share the food first? I am right aren't I? LOL
So here is is PANCAKES. We weren't supposed to have pancakes, we were supposed to have waffles. I mean I have never even had a fresh waffle before and Casey forgot my waffle iron, I mean my brand spankin' new waffle iron. But, that whole story is too long for now and I will share it later. So as a peace inducing gesture to placate me and my father, my mother made us pancakes. Pancakes with sauted peaches, maple syrup and crispy pancetta, and if you are Casey cultured butter. All I can say is WOW. I know that it is traditional to have sauted bannans with this, but I now say that is for chumps. Peaches are way better!

Not everyone is happy when we visit. Say hello to Jubei, or as my mum calls him boy-boy *shudder*. I mean, from legendary ronin to boy-boy?

This is Jubei voicing his very vocal displeasure at Kiri's presence. Yep, Jubei doesn't like him at all. I think it has something to do with the way Kiri runs at him everytime he sees him, and he is a wuss, perhaps boy-boy isn't that bad a name after all.

So you know me, I can't take enough pictures of flowers, I heart flowers. So here are a couple from my mums garden. This is a Lilly pilly, it produces large red fruit which are edible, not unbeleivale but ok. We are going to attempt jam as I think that might be good.

This is one of mum's new grafted grevillias from Western Australia, they have all the good grevillias.

Here is a my dad's "pet" Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, he is very cheeky. He even lets my dad touch him. He is cute used to mum and dad's cat's as they don't pay any attention to the cockatoos at all.

Kiri on the other hand is a completley differnet puddy cat. He would LOVE a cocky, that is until he actually got one! LOL ( not that he is ever going to get that close)

There it is, I hope you enjoyed it. I will try to remember and take a photo of the view and the beach next time ;)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

WCB 26

Weekend Cat Blogging, number 26: Cat food bloggers unite every weekend and share photos of your gorgeous kitties with us! If you would like to be included, just leave me a comment with your permalink!
If you would like to participate in WDB 12 (Weekend Dog Blogging) please go visit the lovely Sweetnicks and send her an email! If you would like yo participate in WHB 9 (Weekend Herb Blogging) please Visit the lovely Kalyn

Well, I am trying to post this from my parents horribly inept internet connection. Wish they would hurry up and get broadband already. Their modem is only a 33.6 kbs ... So for now this post will be sans photo.

** Update****

hehheheh I told you he has fun here! This was first thing this morning, he decided a swim in the fish pond was in order ;)

Kiri started his drive down with a trip to the car in his cat carrier, no more weeks in hospital for me thanks! I definately learnt that lesson LOL. He had a great trip down though, sitting on my knee watching the scenery fly by, he definately gets a kick out of it. Although he would have appreciated a stop off in Brighton le sands for a huge flock of seagulls, he wanted them soooo bad!

Kiri loves this house, he spends all his time running no prancing up and down the halls, and strutting off his stuff, since this place is so much bigger. Then he rolls artound and around on the persian rug, which is much softer than the industrial grade carpet in our dining room. Then there is the best bit, the birds. Sulphur crested cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets, King Parots, bulbuls, wattle birds, indian mynors, various doves, he loves them all. He will sit still in the window for hours, hardly moving except for swishes of his tail and mmmeeerrroooowww, which to me translates as I WANT IWANTIT NOW! too cute! But you can't forget the grass, he walks around the garden, pausing momentarily to sample the wide variety of grass, he definately ius a grass conisour. Then he spies the indian runner duck and all the chickens my parents next door neighour has, he crouches down next to the fence and will watch them. The duck is not the smartest bird, once he came right up to the wire fence, that is when Kiri struck and grabbed him around the neck SQWARK!!!! then the duck was gone and Kiri had to realise that the duck would never be his, he does wish though.

Ok now it is time for me to stop gloating about my own incredibly cute kitty, and pause for one of our WCB regulars, Macroom. Macroom the new darling of Stephanie and Alex's life, not to sure about the pups but I think they are coming around. I would like to share a message from Stephanie with you ( I hope this is ok!)

Hi Clare!I hope you and the boys are doing well...I just wanted to let you know Macroom may be absent from this week's WCB. We're taking him to the vet tomorrow, and I have no idea what condition any of us will be in this weekend.We thought it was just a hairball, but throughout the week, he's been declining. Shallow breathing/wheezing, little to no appetite (to the point where he's barely drinking water), and just general lethargy/apathy. I'm more than a little freaked, so wish us well tomorrow!-- Stephanie

*** UPDATE********

HI Clare!Thanks so much for mentioning Macroom.We just got back from the vet, and unfortunately, things do not look good. They've ruled out leukemia, but based on his (seemingly) deteriorating condition, she's not hopeful of a happy outcome.He's jaundiced, anemic, lethargic...and breathing poorly. He's been given something to pump up his blood, and I get to administer two different pills to him twice a day. But if he isn't showing improvement by Monday, we go back for chest and stomach x-rays. And the vet was honest with me, saying there's a really good chance he's just not going to recover. Of course, I'm devastated. And there's little I can do to help him! That's what's most frustrating, I think.Please continue to send good thoughts our way; the little guy really needs them

*** UPDATE****
To find out how the cute little Macroom is progressing visit Stephanies update post! Get well little guy

So I hope you will all gather together, visit Stepahanie and Macroom and let her know that we hope that Macroom will be ok. Kiri and I are thinking of you. xxxxxx

So on to the Puss cats
Check out Beowoulf and Domino as they take a relaxed attitude to life at The Countess
Check out New Cats new look for the winter at Farmgirl Fare
Check out Edith and Glinda getting ready for another cat show, at anne's food
Check out rima's bathtub antics, at Les carnets de sbmarie
Check out Aggie totally killing a fake mouse, at KyakSoup
Check out Caramel riding around on the shoulder, at Heather's Space
Check out Gabriel, you don't want to mess with her, trust me; at Middle-Fork
Check out Boo's Mummy having a nap on the stove top, at masak-masak
Check out Fridolin, looking very content and relaxed. Photo posted by the lovely Rosa, of Rosa's Yummy Yums
Check out Bella and Tasha enjoying the sunshine and warm weather at A few of my favourite things
Check out Kittaya, looking handsome as always at Mahanandi
Check out Opium, wow she looks like a goddess! at Cel's Home page
Check out Max and Noosh dreaming at passionate nonchalance
Check out Miss Kitty She is starting to look festive already! at Culinary in the Desert
Check out Stella smelling the beautiful flowers (Happy Birthday Katie!) at The poor Cracklins
Check out Nelson and Sugar, acting up with all the pups at Sweetnicks
Check out River's very cute new friend over at Kitchenmage

Apple and Nectarine Tart

Have I ever told you how much my boy likes pie, especially apple pie? I am not too sure. But I decided to make him a nice big pie too help show him how much I appreciated his kindness whilst I was sick. But, I decided that I was going to make the pie differently from my usual method and try to restrict the refined sugars. I know that to many of you that sounds completly sacriligeous, it doesn't have to though. There are many things that I like full fat/ and hard core full of sugar and butter and goodness, I don't think this means that everything has to be eaten this way. If everything we eat is laden with sugar and butter then it becomes too pedastrian and no longer special. By no means does this mean that this tart was not special, it was, but in a different way than I was expecting. The tart was bursting with the flavours of spring, apples and nectarines with their juicy sweet/tart flavour. Instead of tasing like sugar and cinnamon, the tart tasted like it's namesakes apples and nectartines, what a nice suprise. The recipe for this tart comes from my friend Aine Mc Ateers book "Recipes to Nurture", I have a feeling that this recipe is going to go onto regualr rotation here at Chez Eatstuff.

Apple and Nectarine Tart
(adaptaed from Recipe to Nurture by Aine Mc Ateer)

1 quantity of basic pastry

1 1/2 cups of apple or peach juice or water ( I used fresh squeezed orange juice and water)
2 red apples, cored and sliced ( they don't need to be peeled)
6 peaches ( I used nectarines) stoned and sliced
pinch of sea salt
1 TBSP of kudzu or arrowroot ( I used arrowroot)
2 TBSP slivered almonds ( I just sliced whole almonds)
1 TBSP Maple syrup ( I used apple juice concentrate)

Prepare pastry

In a saucepan bring 1 cup of the water or juice to the boil, add the apple slices and simmer for 5 mins. Add the peach and salt and simmer for 5 more mins. Remove from heat. Dissolve the arrowroot in remaing 1/2 cup of liquid. Add to the fruit mix and stir gently.

Preheat oven to 190C

Grease a tart tin, and roll 1/2 of pastry out, and line tin. Fill with fruit and then roll out the remaining half of the pastry. Either make a lattice (like me) or a top shell for the pie. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 mins. Toss Almonds in syrup and spread on top of the pastry, bake for another 15 mins or until pastry it golden and crunchy.