Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pomegranate Sesame Chicken

I recently found myself with some tricky leftover ingredients to use up - half a pomegranate and half a bottle of pomegranate juice.  Yup - not necessarily everyday items in my kitchen.  To make sure I did not waste these reasonably pricey ingredients, I went searching for things I could make with them - and I landed on this Pomegranate Chicken recipe.  

How delicious does the original look? It looks much better than mine because it appears ever so much stickier, with the chicken liberally coated with an ooey, gooey pomegranate and soy sauce.  My dish did not end up with anywhere near as much sauce; that said, I still enjoyed this recipe, which is a little off the beaten track, and which achieved my aim of using up a good percentage of my leftover pomegranate ingredients.

The sauce is a savoury-sweet combination; the pomegranate seeds add tartness and crunch; the sesame seeds add flavour and texture; and the broccoli adds the much-needed vegetables. I didn't have mushrooms, so I left them out, and I added some yellow capsicum.  I also didn't bother with the ginger rice pilaf and just used boiled brown rice instead.  However, this was still a tasty dish, and I would try it again if I ever ended up with the same unusual combination of ingredients.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Return to Heide Museum of Modern Art and Cafe Vue

A couple of weekends back, Tim and I visited the Heide Museum of Modern Art at Bulleen in Victoria.  This museum is unusual as, while it is firmly in the middle of suburbia (just peer over the front fence at the traffic on the main road), it feels like it is in the country.  Heide is situated on a sprawling piece of land that was once owned by John and Sunday Reed, a bohemian couple who were strong supporters of local artists.  The art museum itself is spread over three buildings (all of them at some stage were lived in by the Reeds and their guests), and there are also sculptures scattered around the grounds, like this corrugated iron cow that Tim is cosying up to:

I find it hard to believe, but it has been 5 1/2 years since Tim and I last visited Heide.  This time, the key exhibitions included Dancing Umbrellas - An Exhibition of Movement and Light, Artists at Leisure - Photographs by Albert Tucker and The Angry Penguins, showcasing some of the activities of the Reeds during their time at Heide.   There are a number of famous paintings on display in the latter exhibition, including some of Albert Tucker's darker works that I remember from art class in Grade 8 at school. 

We completed our visit to Heide with late lunch at Cafe Vue, the only onsite cafe.  It is very busy, so we had to put our name on the list and wait for around 10 minutes before getting a table, even though it was nearly 2 in the afternoon.

It being a warm day, I started with a glass of Pinot Gris, and Tim had a Coopers beer;

For lunch, it was burgers all the way - Tim had the Wagyu beef burger with bacon ($19), with tomato sauce provided:

while I ordered the barramundi burger with caper mayo and fries ($20) off the specials board:

Both burgers were served on a brioche bun.  My burger definitely needed the mayo, as it would otherwise have been a little dry, but the flavours were good, especially the chives mixed through the barramundi in the burger.

I took a photo of Tim with his meal as a "time stamp" against our first visit to Heide - doesn't he look pleased with his meal:

I can't resist sharing with you some photos of the custom painted tiles above the stove in Sunday Reed's kitchen in Heide I (the original farm house):

Sunday Reed loved cats, and owned many of them, with a purpose-built cattery at the front of the farm house.  These tiles were painted for her by Margaret Perceval, wife of John Perceval and sister of Arthur Boyd, who were both artists that benefitted from the patronage of the Reeds.  I was pleased to find some magnets on the gift shop at Heide that featured some of these tiles, so I took them home as a momento of my visit to Heide.

Heide Museum of Modern Art
7 Templestowe Rd
Bulleen, Victoria 3105

Friday, April 29, 2016

Chocolate and Pear Frangipane Tart

I have rather mixed feelings about autumn. On the one hand, days are shorter and darker and colder, heralding the rapid approach of my most dreaded season, winter.  On the other hand, the trees turn out in their most glamorous and brightly hued foliage (a last hurrah before dropping their clothes for the winter?), the days are never too hot and the excellent autumn fruits are in season.

Tim recently handed me a recipe he found in the local paper that celebrates one of the best of those autumn fruits, the pear.  The recipe was for a Chocolate and Pear Frangipane Tart, with the pears poached in red wine before being fanned out across a bed of chocolate frangipane and bedecked with reduced red wine sauce:

You can find the same recipe online here.

What did I love about this recipe?  I loved the smooth, not overly sweet taste of the chocolate frangipane against the cool, soft depth of the poached pears.  I also loved the gorgeous red wine reduction sauce on top - this is one occasion where I'd say don't skip the sauce, at least if you love red wine or dessert wines.

What didn't I love?  The pastry was ultra difficult to work with - even after chilling for the requisite period, it quickly turned sticky and just would not come off the baking paper I was rolling it on.  In the end, I scraped it off the paper in blobs and just mooshed it into the tart pan.

I served my tart not only with the red wine sauce, but with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, which helped to make it all a little moister and slide down the throat - brilliant.

This tart, although a little fiddly to make because of the number of elements, is quite delicious and well worth the effort if you have the time. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

EwE - What's on the Side - Zucchini, Spinach and Corn Saute

Our last theme for Eating with Ellie in April is What's On the Side?, chosen by Margaret.  Ellie described her Zucchini, Spinach and Corn Saute as one of her favourite sides at a particular Mexican restaurant.  She suggested pairing it with her Chicken Enchiladas.  The combination sounded faultless, so I went with that combination.

This side is super easy to make - I used tinned corn kernels (although you can use fresh), bagged baby spinach and zucchinis paired with onion and garlic, sautéed in the pan.  It is super quick to prepare and super tasty.

To see what the others made for this week's Ellie theme, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

TWD - Jammer Galette

When I was a kid, my mother used to make a wonderful jam and coconut slice.  It was very simple to make, with the base just being pushed into the pan, jam being smeared on top, and an egg white and coconut topping being spooned carefully over the top to cover the jam.  It was then baked to golden perfection and sliced into squares for enjoying with a cup of Milo or put into school lunch boxes. You can find the recipe for that slice here.

Fast forward to the present, and this week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe, Jammer Galette, was like a more sophisticated sort of jam slice.  It comprises a pastry base made with a reasonably easy to work with dough, topped with a significant amount of jam, then instead of being topped with coconut snow, it is topped with a buttery streusel.

I used mixed berry jam for the middle (just because I had it), and when serving the galette, I took up Dorie's suggestion to top it with a little icecream (in my case, raspberry ripple, replicating the jam filling of the galette).

The Jammer Galette  was absolutely delicious served just warm as a Sunday night dessert.  It gets a resounding thumbs up from me - a buttery, jammy sensation with a hint of nostalgia.

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

Monday, April 25, 2016


Today is ANZAC Day in Australia.  To find out more about ANZAC Day, check out this link.

ANZAC biscuits are common in Australia all year round, not just on ANZAC Day.  Legend has it that loved ones sent the ANZAC soldiers ANZAC biscuits during World War I because they kept well.

This year, to commemorate ANZAC Day, I decided to make ANZAC slice instead of ANZAC biscuits.  The concept is simply to take the basic elements of ANZAC biscuits (rolled oats, golden syrup, coconut) and put them into slice (bar) form.

The recipe that I used for my ANZAC slice is available online here.  There are also lots of other similar recipes for this slice.

If you have never smelt ANZAC biscuits or ANZAC slice baking before, then you are in for a treat if you make this.  It has a sweet yet earthy smell, and the golden syrup and brown sugar give the slice a caramel flavour.

The advantage in making ANZAC slice as opposed to ANZAC biscuits is that there is less fuss in making the slice - you simply push the mixture into the prepared tin and cut it into pieces after baking, as opposed to having to roll individual balls for biscuits, and you eliminate the issue of the biscuits spreading into one another.

To all Australians and New Zealanders, I hope that you are enjoying ANZAC Day.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Chez Dre and Bibelot, South Melbourne

A couple of weeks ago, Tim and I went on a South Melbourne adventure.  We started with lunch at Chez Dre,  a fabulous café and bakery tucked into a laneway in South Melbourne.  The menu is described as "French-inspired", and offers all day breakfast dishes as well as a lunch menu.

Chez Dre is very popular - we had to put our name on the wait list and sit on a bench outside, but we waited less than 10 minutes for a table.

Once inside at a cosy corner table, I ordered one of the all day breakfast dishes, Stracciatella di Bufala ($17.50).  This dish comprised two poached eggs sitting atop a bed of roast pumpkin and pepitas on sour dough toast, with beetroot chips and pea shoots.  It was absolutely delish and very filling. 

After lunch, we went for a walk around the streets of South Melbourne and Albert Park Lake:

We spied a very lush wedding party at a lakeside venue with gorgeous white roses on display.  The guests were all seated in the sunny enclosed area outside the venue, and the groom's party was standing at the front, no doubt waiting for the bride's big entrance.

Once we had walked off some of our lunch, we went for coffee and dessert at Chez Dre's sister dessert boutique, Bibelot (meaning a small object of desire).

We came late in the day (around 3pm), so many of the desserts were already gone.  However, we were very happy with our choice of the Peanut Caramel Tart ($9.50), which we shared:

This gorgeous little dome has a chocolate sable base filled with chocolate ganache, then topped with peanut caramel and caramel crème:

It tasted as amazing as it looks.  It was like a fancy Snickers bar. 

Bibelot also serves chocolates and icecream, with a range of jams and other products on sale.

We enjoyed our afternoon in South Melbourne and hope to return soon.

Chez Dre and Bibelot
285-287 Coventry St
South Melbourne VIC 3205