Thursday, May 26, 2016

EwE - BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Traditional Coleslaw - Indy 500 Lunchbox

It's Indy 500 weekend this coming weekend.  On Sunday, Indiana hosts its 100th Indy 500 race meeting.  Kayte, our resident cook from Indianapolis, has suggested this week's Eating with Ellie theme, Indy 500 - What's in Your Lunchbox?

I turned to my new Ellie book, So Easy, for my lunchbox pick.  I made BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Traditional Coleslaw.   Sandwiches are a logical lunchbox choice, and the coleslaw easily packs into single serve plastic dishes for one, or a large dish for sharing on paper plates. 

The BBQ chicken was a revelation - take one run of the mill supermarket rotisserie (BBQ) chicken, shred it and warm it up in a homemade BBQ sauce packed with tomato passata, spices and molasses.  (I skipped the liquid smoke - I wasn't shelling out for an expensive one use item.)  Pack the chicken into a wholemeal bread roll topped with a lettuce leaf, and lo, you have one tasty sandwich.  I can vouch for the fact that the filling is also great on a wrap.

The coleslaw involves just using store bought coleslaw mix and dressing it with a homemade dressing comprising chiefly of yoghurt and mayo.

I really enjoyed this dish, and proved that it is lunch worthy by taking it in to work for lunch myself a few days.

To see what the others have in their Indy 500 lunchboxes, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.

And today, my blog turns 9.  I can't believe it's been 9 years - blogging has become such a part  of my life that I don't remember what it was like pre-blog.  I started blogging with no plan other than, "I like reading what other people write, and I can do this too!"  To all my friends in the blogosphere, thanks for enriching my life - I have enjoyed sharing your adventures and sharing mine with you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

TWD - Betty's Chocoholic Cake

The second recipe this month for Tuesday with Dorie is a glorious chocolate cake - Betty's Chocoholic Cake, to be exact.  The original recipe is three layers of dense chocolate cake, containing 400g chocolate, 400g butter and 6 eggs.  I halved the recipe and made two layers instead.  I made mine with a commercial gluten free flour mix so that I could share a slice with a gluten-intolerant friend.

This cake is densely rich and chocolatey - a chocolate lover would happily substitute a bar of chocolate for a slice of this cake.

I only used half of the ganache, only having half the cake.  I figured that a cake such of this did not require even more chocolate.  Accordingly, instead of decorating it with white chocolate curls, as suggested by Dorie, I decorated it with hundreds and thousands:

The hundreds and thousands give the cake a festive look but do not take away from the gorgeous dark chocolate flavour of the cake.

This cake tastes as good as it looks - discipline is involved not to keep eating it. 

To see what the other bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Gables High Tea, East Malvern

Last Sunday, Tim and I went to The Gables at East Malvern for High Tea.  The Gables is a gorgeous old house at East Malvern (close to Caulfield Station) that has been impeccably maintained.  It is called The Gables for an obvious reason:

The approach to the building is via a sweeping driveway:

Crowd control is achieved by locking the doors until the time for tea has arrived.  On arrival, we were shown to our table in this gorgeous bright dining room, complete with a chandelier: 

Very soon after being seated, our waitress poured us each a glass of delicious bubbly - real French champagne:

Here is the high tea menu - it makes me hungry just reading it:

And here is the tea tray itself, with Tim smiling in the background: 

My favourites were the chicken and chives sandwich and the fruit scone with jam and cream.

There is of course tea.  You select your own tea (I chose English Breakfast) from the tea menu, and it appears in a zippy little two cup tea plunger.  The cups and saucers are of a smart Maxwell & Williams floral design.

If you can fit anything else in after polishing off your tea tray (and after two scones, I struggled), there is a generous dessert buffet:

I selected these little beauties  - a raspberry eclair (not the greatest), a bounty tart (very nice) and a vanilla slice (superb!):

We overheard some ladies saying that they were not going to cook that night - I assume so that they could go to town on the dessert buffet.  I couldn't manage anything else and was having something of a sugar high, so that was it for me.

Overall, the food was delicious and our waitress was lovely.  

To walk off some of our tea, we walked back to my place, which was surprisingly close (we had come by train).

It was a lovely way to spend a balmy autumn day.

The Gables
15 Finch St
Malvern East VIC 3145
Phone: (03) 9563 6108

Friday, May 20, 2016

Honey-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Sesame and Hummus

Finding interesting recipes for side dishes is a never ending quest for me.  Sure, I can make boiled rice and vegetables in my sleep, and they do the job, but it is great to  be able to mix it up a bit from time to time.

Enter Karen Martini's recipe for Honey-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Sesame and Hummus from p108 of the June edition of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. If you hate brussels sprouts, you probably aren't even reading this post.  However, if you don't mind them, and want an interesting way to cook them, then Karen Martini's recipe might be for you.  It features Brussels sprouts that are pan fried, tossed with honey and toasted sesame seeds, and served on a bed of hummus.  Love it!

To make these brussels sprouts, you will need:

3 tbspns olive oil
500g brussels sprouts
6 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper
1/4 cup honey
2 tbspns toasted sesame seeds
300g hummus

Heat 2 tbspns of the oil in a large, deep, lidded frying pan.  Add the brussels sprouts, 3 sprigs of thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.  Pour 120ml water into the pan, put the lid on the frypan, and reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 5 minutes or until the sprouts are cooked through and the water has evaporated. 

Remove the lid from the pan and increase the heat to high.  Add the honey and the remaining tbspn of oil to the pan, cook the sprouts in the honey for 2 minutes, stirring all the while to coat the sprouts, then add half of the sesame seeds and stir through again.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, spread the hummus on a plate and pile the sprouts on top of it, and sprinkle with the remaining thyme and sesame seeds.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

EwE - Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Pasta - Plate of Pasta

This week's Eating with Ellie theme is Plate of Pasta, chosen by Margaret.  This is a fairly broad theme, and Ellie has plenty of pasta recipes, so it was an easy one to find a dish to make.

I chose Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Pasta from Weeknight Wonders.  It has the kind of flavours that I really like and as always with Ellie, was quick and simple to make.  The use of wholegrain pasta ups the healthiness factor of this dish.  I'd make it again.

To see what the other Ellie cooks made, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Quick Sticks Ginger Beef from The Good Life

I am always on the lookout for healthy, tasty recipes, so I have been enjoying cooking a few recipes from The Good Life by Sally Obermeder and Maha Koraiem.  The recipes use lots of herbs and spices to add flavour to the dishes, and may of the dishes are things that I would like to eat.

One of the recipes that caught my eye was the Quick Sticks Ginger Beef on p140.  Yes, it is another stir-fry recipe, but it uses ingredients that are slightly different to what I would normally use and which taste absolutely great together.  Best of all, it comes within the Lean and Fast classifications of recipes in the book (327 calories per serve).

To make this dish, you will need:

1 tbspn olive oil
1 sliced Spanish onion
1 sliced red capsicum
200g trimmed green beans
200g bok choy leaves
3 sliced garlic cloves
5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
500g thinly sliced skirt steak
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek

Mix the sherry, soy sauce and sambal oelek together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat half of the olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add the onion and capsicum and stir fry until the vegetables soften.  Add the beans to the pan and cook for two minutes, then add the bok choy and cook for another two minutes.  Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan, then when hot, add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add the beef and stir fry until just browned.  Add the vegetables back to the pan with the sauce and cook until heated through.  Top with the sesame seeds.

I served my stir fry with boiled brown rice to soak up the sauce and add a bit of a carbohydrate kick.

Serves 4.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Marilyn Monroe Exhibition plus the Epicurean Delicatessen, Bendigo


A couple of weekends ago, my friend Sandra and I went to Bendigo by train to see the Marilyn Monroe Exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery.  This exhibition features artefacts, photos, film clips, clothing and objects belonging to, or worn by Marilyn, including more than 20 original film costumes.  There is a further Australian connection in that the "nude" sequined dress from Some Like It Hot designed by Orry-Kelly is one of the costumes on display.  Look for the cheeky heart on the left rear, which you can see in the movie if you look for it.

We started with lunch at The Epicurean Delicatessen:

The Epicurean makes gorgeous fresh pastas and salads every day, and I have wanted to eat there for ages.  I had the lasagne with green bean salad ($19.90):

while Sandra had the spaghetti with salmon and the green bean salad ($16.90): 

We then walked up the hill towards the Art Gallery, stopping off at the 8 metre tall Forever Marilyn statue in Rosslyn Park for some cheesy shots on the way.  I had already seen Forever Marilyn when she was displayed in Palm Springs, way back in 2012.

At the Art Gallery, we were greeted by this large Marilyn cutout from How to Marry A Millionaire:

We then made our way through the exhibition over the space of two and a half hours, including a 15 minute talk about Marilyn's life and career by a member of the gallery staff.

Afterwards, we went to The Wine Bank on View nearby for a glass of rose and a slice of pear frangipane tart:

Fortuitously, The Astor Theatre in Melbourne was screening Some Like It Hot the next day:

The Astor is a grand old art deco theatre which is a spectacle in itself, and a fitting place to watch a Marilyn movie:

I have to say I had never previously seen any of Marilyn's movies, so I enjoyed seeing Some Like It Hot fresh on the tail of seeing the Marilyn exhibition (and yes, I looked out for the heart on the Orry-Kelly dress, which you can see when Marilyn's character, Sugar Kane, first boards the yacht with Joe):

If you happen to be in Victoria, it is well worth making the trip to Bendigo to see the Marilyn exhibition and perhaps enjoying the antique stores and eateries in Bendigo.

Bendigo Art Gallery
42 View Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
Ph: (03) 5434 6088

The Epicurean Delicatessen
79 Mitchell Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
Phone: (03) 5443 2699

The Wine Bank on View
45 View St
Bendigo VIC 3550
Phone: (03) 5444 4655

The Astor Theatre
1 Chapel St & Dandenong Rd
Windsor VIC 3182
Phone: (03) 9510 1414