Monday, 31 March 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosted Cake

We had a dinner party at our place yesterday and I wanted to make a cake which looked impressive, but wasn't too difficult to make and not too time consuming. One of the major mistakes I have made in the past when organising dinner parties is not preparing dinner during the day. Because I had to do everything when our guests had already arrived, I had no time to sit down and have a chat. That's the whole idea behind a dinner party, right? Also, dinner was served late, too late. 11pm or sometimes even midnight, resulting in hungry and frustrated (and drunk) guests. 

I won't let that happen again I decided, so I spent all Saturday in the kitchen doing all the prep work. I wanted this cake to be finished before our guests arrived. And I did. Actually, I had to restrain myself from eating a slice during the day. I didn't. I had a slice for breakfast this morning. Because it was Sunday morning. And because I could.

This recipe has been adapted from Pastry Affair


The Cake
-120 grams vegetable oil
- 170 grams creamy peanut butter (the original recipe says 130 grams - however, even with 170 grams of peanut butter the cake wasn't very peanut-buttery)
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 280 grams all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 260 ml milk
- a bit of milk chocolate, for garnish

Chocolate Buttercream
- 170 grams butter, room temperature
- 43 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (or Dutch processed) - and you can use more!
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 375 grams powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk

The recipe
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and properly grease two cake pans (the same size). In a large bowl, mix the oil, peanut butter and sugars. Then add the eggs, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and milk. Make sure you mix everything properly so there are no lumps. 

Transfer the batter to the cake pans and bake for 35 minutes. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean the cakes are done. Cool before frosting. I cut of some of the brown top of both cakes, which was a bit chewy. Also make sure the cakes are flat so you can easily put them on top of each other.

To make the frosting, beat the butter until smooth. Then add the cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Slowly add the powdered sugar and the milk until the frosting has a smooth consistency and there are no lumps. If the mixture is too thick, add some milk. If the mixture is too watery, add some powdered sugar.

Place one cake layer on a cake stand. Although the original recipe did not state this, I added a thick layer of peanut butter on the cake. On top of that, add a layer of the buttercream. Be generous. Then add the second cake layer and do exactly the same. Cover the whole cake with frosting (both the top and the sides). Use a grater to grate the milk chocolate op top of and around the cake. 

The review
Ohmygosh this cake is so good! The cake may look dry but is so moist and peanut buttery and chocolate-ey and smooth. I had a piece. And then I had another piece. And another one. YUM!


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Thursday, 27 March 2014

York Trading & Co, Sydney CBD

Today was such a wet day. Rain, rain and more rain. Which is not very usual for Sydney. However, I'm happy it is slowly getting a bit colder. Bring on winter! (Sydney winter is 20 degrees and sunny, so I should say 'Bring on spring'!)

It was fairly easy to get a table at York Trading & Co. I emailed yesterday to make a booking for today and they still had space. A warm filling dinner is just what I needed after such a rainy and relatively cold (Sydney cold) day. MrBehomeforT was very hungry too. 

York Trading & Co is quite a small bar located on .... surprise surprise... York street in the CBD, a 5 minute walk from Wynyard. The place is not very big and has some tables at the back for diners. Both the bar and the restaurant were quite busy. Because there were quite a few people at the bar it was a bit noisy in the dining area, but not so bad that you could not hear each other. 

The place is dark, romantic and has beautiful paintings on the wall. The tables are decorated with cute little lamps instead of candles, something different. 

Service was excellent and we were in and out of the place in about an hour! Some people may not like this but considering it was a weeknight, we were both hungry and quite keen to go home and relax it actually was a good thing. 

Pretty soon after we ordered we were brought our entree to share.

Saffron Arancini Ham ragu & stracchino cheese (3 for $9)

These aranchini were beautifully crispy on the outside, and gooey on the inside. The rice still had some texture to it (some arancini are very mushy) and the flavour was creamy and a bit tangy but I could not really taste the ham. The crispiness was fantastic though, and I did really enjoy these beautiful rice balls.

Almost immediately after we had finished the arancini the mains were served. 

Parpadelle with duck and mushrooms ($28)

The parpadelle and the duck were cooked really well. The mushrooms had a nice texture and were not completely softened and the pasta was cooked to perfection. The sauce was creamy and had a nice flavour. However, I would not say that this is the best pasta I have ever eaten, but still pretty good. 

Spaghetti and wild boar meats in spicy tomato and herb sauce ($22)

You don't often see wild boar meatballs on the menu. Well, at least not in Sydney. I have to rely on MrBehomeforT's review here, because I don't eat spicy food. Whaaat? Yes, you heard that right. No spicy food for me. Anyway, all I can say is that MrBehomeforT did enjoy his pasta. I asked him how the meatballs were. "Yeah, allright" he said. I asked: "how was the pasta?" "Yeah, good", he said. So I won't be able to provide you with more information about this one, except that it was spicy, apparently.

YT&Co Tiramisu with chocolate caramel, espresso mascarpone and cherry liquor brioche ($15)

If there is tiramisu on the menu I order it. I LOVE tiramisu! This specific tiramisu looked so pretty! It even had little flowers in it. 

The chocolate caramel was sweet and a little salty and made this tiramisu a bit different from other tiramisu's. The espresso mascarpone was light and the coffee flavour was not overpowering. I was not sure about the cherry liquor brioche. It wasn't as moist as I expected. This still was a very nice dessert though.

If you want to have a quick weeknight dinner without the price tag then York Trading & Co is your place to go. 

York Trading & Co
28 York Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9299 3389

York Trading & Co on Urbanspoon


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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Caprese Tomato Soup with Bocconcini, Spinach and Meatballs

Most food blogs I follow are from bloggers in the United States. It's cold there at the moment, so all these hearty, warm and filling dishes pop up on the screen of my ipad. That includes this soup which I have adapted from Yes, more please

In winter, I make soups all the time. Nothing is easier than making a huge pan of soup for lunch, dividing the soup in sandwich bags and freezing them. In the morning when I am getting ready for work I grab a bag and a tupperware container and when I get to work I put the frozen soup in the container and let it defrost slowly. 

The soups I am making always have some sort of protein in it, generally meatballs. It makes lunch a bit more filling so you won't need any carbs like bread or pasta. I don't eat pre-made soups from the supermarket. I was in a rush the other day and quickly grabbed a bag of soup from the supermarket. It wasn't good. Maybe I have become a soup snob? In any event, this soup is fresh, homemade and delicious. 

I made a large quantity of this soup. With the ingredients below you can make 6-8 portions.

3 good quality cans of tomatoes
4 shallots
4 tbs of olive oil
can of sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped and added to taste
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leafs
water - 3,5 tins (the tomatoes were in)
dry thyme to taste
salt and pepper
a bag of spinach
1 egg
minced meat (pork, veal, beef), as much as you like
two handfuls of breadcrumbs
lots and lots of fresh basil
bocconcini, as much as you like
Balsamic vinegar, to taste

The recipe
First, make the meatballs. Put the mince, the egg, the breadcrumbs and heaps of seasoning in a bowl and mix together. Roll small meatballs and put them in a separate bowl.

In a medium soup pot over medium heat, heat some olive oil and cook half of the shallots. Also add the garlic, the chopped sundried tomatoes and the bay leafs. Saute for 4 minutes or so. Then add some basil, dry thyme, salt and pepper and cook for another minute or so.

Add the cans of tomatoes, and add the water. Bring to the boil. Cook for 8 minutes or so. 

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook the other half of the shallots with the spinach for 4 minutes or so. Take the pan with the soup off the stove and puree the soup with a stickblender. Add balsamic, to taste. Put back on the stove and bring back to the boil. Add some more basil, the meatballs and the spinach mixture. Cook for 5 minutes or so or until the meatballs are cooked.

Add the boccincini balls and cook for 3 minutes or until melted. And there you have it, a big pot of soup and potentially your lunch for the rest of the week. Enjoy!


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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Roast Chicken with Maple Macadamia Stuffing

My parents never cooked a whole chicken, or even chicken legs or tights. So until I moved to Australia, I had never cooked a whole chicken. I have to say, now I know what it tastes like, I understand that some people only eat chicken off the bone. Chicken fillets as you buy them in the supermarket are often 'injected' with water so they look bigger. When you start cooking them, all the water comes out and instead of pan frying them you are stewing them. The chicken often gets chewy and you have to drain all the water.

Chicken off the bone or whole chicken also has a lot more flavour than chicken fillets. A lot of people prefer not to eat the skin because the fillet itself is lean and doesn't have as much fat in it as the chicken skin. The skin is so good though! Especially when it is beautifully roasted, and crunchy. 

This roast chicken (original recipe on Taste) is a bit different from your regular roasted chicken. The bacon adds a nice salty flavour to it and goes very well with the sweet maple syrup. The macadamia's add a nice crunch and the vegies are nice and soft and juicy. The colours are beautiful and if you are having guests over but you don't want to spend hours in the kitchen, this chicken is perfect.

- unwaxed kitchen string (not to eat of course)
- a large whole chicken (2kg)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 4 cm pieces
- 8 tbs maple syrup (the original recipe calls for 2tbs, I like a bit more) (4 for the stuffing, and 4 for the chicken)
- 400 g punnet tomato medley
- 200 g punnet grape tomatoes
- 200g fresh green beans, trimmed
- fresh thyme sprigs (some for the filling, and some for the chicken)
- 1 brown onion
- 4 middle bacon rashers (the original recipe calls for 2)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 cups macademia nuts, chopped
- 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, lightly beaten

The recipe
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius (180 if fan forced).

First, make the maple macadamia stuffing. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium to high heat and cook the onion until softened. Add the bacon and the garlic. Stir for 5 minutes or so until the bacon has browned. Add the macadamias and stir for another 1 minute or so. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down slightly before adding the maple syrup (half), the breadcrumbs, the egg and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on a board and spoon the stuffing into the cavity. Secure with a toothpick to make sure that the filling does not fall out. Tie the legs together with the kitchen string. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and transfer to a large roasting pan. Drizzle the chicken with some olive oil and roast for 30 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 180 degrees (or 160 degrees fan forced) and roast the chicken for another 30 minutes.

Add the pumpkin to the pan and drizzle with some oil and 2tbs maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes. Turn the pumpkin now and then. Add the tomatoes to the pan, and add the remaining maple syrup. Roast for 15 minutes. The chicken is done when you insert a skewer and the juices run clear. 

The trick to getting a nice crispy skin is to constantly poor some of the chicken juices over the chicken. Towards the end you can poor a little maple syrup on top of the chicken. If you have some filling left (I had), sprinkle this over the dish. 

Boil the beans in some salted water 2 to 3 minutes or until just tender. Add to the roasting pan during the last 5 minutes. Remove the string from the chicken and serve with the vegetables.

This chicken was absolutely delicious and was so easy to make! It looked very pretty too! I would definitely eat this again!


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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Malted Milk Chocolate Brownies with Maltesers

Maltesers. Those light melt-in-your-mouth crunchy chocolate balls. You eat a whole bag of them without noticing it. Everyone knows maltesers.

However, the same is not true for malted milk. I had no idea what it was when I came to Australia. Is it milk powder? Powdered Milk? Why do you put it in milk then? Or are you supposed to put it in water? I was clueless. 

We have some Milo in the house, and I never liked the smell of it. I didn't like the taste of it either. I still don't. It smells weird, it tastes weird, and I just don't understand the idea behind it. Why would you put it in milk if milk tastes like milk (obviously) and malted milk powder is supposed to taste like milk. Is it?

After doing a bit of research I found out that malted milk consists of a mixture of malted barley, wheatflour and whole milk which is evaporated until it forms a powder. That's where the weird smell comes from. It always makes me think of beer. It smells like beer! Which is probably why Mr BehomeforT likes it so much...

I love to try new things. Often people don't like an ingredient by itself, but when it is combined with other ingredients they don't seem to mind it too much. That was the purpose of this brownie. I love brownies! So I must also love brownies with malted milk and maltesers, right? 

I found this recipe on the website of Raspberri Cupcakes, another Sydney blogger. Her website is amazing! I wish I could bake like that, and take such amazing pictures!! If you are looking for some nice recipes for amazing cakes and other sweets, have a look on her beautiful blog!

- 85g salted butter
- 225g good quality milk chocolate
- 50g sugar
- 1/2 cup malted milk powder
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (I love cinnamon so I used 4 times more than the original recipe called for)
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup maltesers and extra maltesers to crush and sprinkle over the top

The recipe
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. I recently found out that I have used the wrong oven settings for years. I always used the grill when baking. Wrong! So make sure that you use the right settings.

Use a 20x30 cm brownie tin, grease it, put baking paper in it, and then grease the baking paper. You can crunch and wrinkle the baking paper so it will be easier to get in the pan. 

Boil some water in the kettle and put in a pan. Put a bowl on top of this pan and melt the butter and the chocolate until the mixture is smooth. Then add the malted milk powder and the sugar. The mixture will get lumpy, but that is fine.

Remove from the heat and stir in the eggs. Then add the flour. Make sure you keep on stirring and add the flour gradually. Once the batter is smooth and glossy you can put in the maltesers.

Poor the mixture in the brownie tin and sprinkle it with crushed maltesers and some malted milk powder. Bake for 27-30 minutes. Check regularly, because you don't want to overcook them.

Cut the brownies in small pieces and eat them, or bring them to work. I did both. You can store these brownies in a tupperware container for 4 days. 

These brownies were super moist and decadent. It was really easy to eat them and the malted milk powder was not overpowering and added a bit of a twist to it. Do I like malted milk powder now? Not in a hot drink like a glass of milk, but it works really well with these brownies. I hope you will enjoy them just as much as I did. 


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Thursday, 20 March 2014

Delicious, Healthy and Super Easy Watermelon Salad

Watermelon. It is sweet, juicy, crunchy, cold and just fabulous. You can juice it, have it in a fruit salad, or just have it by itself.

This super easy and delicious salad does not require a lot of explanation. Cut a watermelon into pieces and add feta cheese, fresh mint, and some slivered almonds. Mix. Done.

There you have it. A fantastic salad recipe which is low in calories, so easy to make, and really delicious.



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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Taste of Sydney 2014

Rain, rain and more rain. That is what I saw when I looked out of the window on Sunday. Really? Sydney is always hot, too hot if you ask me. And just when I want to go to an outdoors event it starts pouring down rain. The people who were in the St Patrick’s Day Parade weren’t happy either. 

So I waited until the rain stopped before making my way to Centennial Park where the event was held. It took a while. The event had been open during Friday and Saturday evenings but was due to close at 5pm on Sunday. It would be a brief visit to Taste.

And I was hungry. We were hungry. But we walked the wrong way and had to basically walk through centennial park before finding the event. However, it was worth it!

This was my first visit to Taste of Sydney so I did not know what to expect. I had already seen quite a few posts from food bloggers who received VIP access and had the opportunity to make really nice pictures. So don’t expect too much. I’m a beginner! 

Rekorderlig Cider Bar

I LOVE rekorderlig. It’s a Swedish cider, but I have never seen it when I still lived in the Netherlands. I have tried all the flavours, but the apple guava flavour is certainly my favourite.

There were also a few other bars at the event, including a Margarita bar. 

Hay Smoked Chicken Legs with Cured and Smoked Chicken with Corn and Local Garlic Cream from Biota Dining

This was more like a/one chicken leg instead of a few chicken legs. But the one chicken leg which was served in a nice cup was beautiful. The chicken was so crispy on the outside, I reckon you could even hear the crunch when I took a bite. The flavour was quite special as you could taste hay in the chicken meat. I think it’s pretty amazing you can achieve such a nice flavour by smoking the chicken in hay. The sauce was nice and creamy and even a bit tangy. I absolutely loved this dish and Mr BehomeforT had instant food envy. 

Ham and Cheese Croquettes from Biota Dining

This was Mr BehomeforT’s order. The croquettes were lovely and crunchy on the outside, gooey and creamy on the inside. It was not the most amazing ham and cheese croquette I have ever tried, but it was still pretty good.

I booked my Taste of Sydney tickets through Iconpark 

Iconpark allows people to develop a restaurant concept, and 6 of these concepts were showcased at Taste of Sydney. Buying tickets through Iconpark gave you a free Iconpark dish, worth $10. The type of dish depended on the concept you voted for. I voted for ‘Sedgwick Avenue’, not on the basis of their restaurant, but on the food they had on offer. Each concept restaurant was offering one dish only, and Sedgwick Avenue had an interesting combination on offer.

Brooklyn’s Finest De-Boned Free Range Wings with Grilled Watermelon and a Light Blue Cheese Sauce from Sedgwick Avenue @ Iconpark

I loved this combination. So tasty! The sweetness of the watermelon went very well with the saltiness of the blue cheese sauce, which was not too heavy. The chicken had a nice crunch and a lovely flavour. There was just not enough of it! I was surprised to see that Sedgwick Avenue has dropped to a fourth place, however, they are still in the competition. 

Savannah Estate Winery

I like wine. I LOVE wine! One of my favourite things to do is driving to the Hunter Valley and spend the weekend there to eat nice food and taste amazing wines. When we go to the Hunter Valley to taste wine we always end up with a car full of wine. The last time we brought home 42 bottles. And 3 wine memberships. 

We only wanted to taste some wine at Savannah, but the wine was so good that we ended up buying 3 bottles. We bought the Shiraz, the Premium Shiraz and the Chambourcin. Delicious! 

Wagyu Rossini with Shaved Fois Gras, Truffle and Madeira Jus from Chur Burger

I’m not big on burgers, but MrBehomeforT is. And he liked this fancy burger. This was Chur Burger’s icon dish at Taste, and therefore more expensive than their other dishes. Because Mr BehomeforT’s choice was not available anymore, he was offered to purchase the icon dish for half the price. Yes please. Now, I thought this was a pretty good burger. The beef patty was juicy and the madeira sauce gave it an extra dimension. I was missing some vegies though. I know, a burger falls apart easily when you add vegies, but just some beef, cheese and bread is not for me...

Suckling Pig with Smoked Potato Salad and Crushed Apple from 4Fourteen/Fourinhand 

I have been to 4fourteen before and had the most amazing pork dish. It had fantastic juicy pork, a fabulous and different crackling, amazing cabbage, colcannon mash, applesauce and a fantastic reduction. It was so good! This dish was not. I have to be honest. I expected a lot more!! The potato salad was bland, there was no crackling, the crushed apple was just... crushed apple and the pork was flavourless. It tasted like it looks... Sadface... 

Time for a drink at the Gardenbar where we had a nice cocktail. I had the mango and basil smash with mango, lime and vodka and Mr BehomeforT had the spiced apple mule with apple, ginger, honey, honey and ginger vodka and blanc vermouth. Both cocktails were lovely although mine was a bit sweeter. There was a nice area where we could relax for a bit before going to the beer tasting class

Beer tasting class
Taste put on a few wine and beer tasting classes and we were keen to try the beer tasting class. Everyone received a copy of wine magazine and got to taste 4 beers. 

The first beer was the Stone And Wood Pacific Ale. A lovely, light and not overly hoppy beer. I would describe it as a ‘girly beer’ because it was so fruity and easy to drink. 

The second beer was the Bridgeport KingPin from Oregon in the US. This is a triple hop double I beer. I might have said that wrong. I don’t know much about beer but this beer had a lovely deep flavour and the colour was almost caramel like. One of the makers argued that this would go well as a dessert beer. I agree. It was a nice rich beer to drink and it would go well with something made of chocolate.

The third beer was a vintage beer called Devon, made by Stone and Wood. It consist of a combination between malt and hops. The maker said that this would be ‘Coopers on steroids’. I don’t think I ever had coopers but I thought this beer was easy to drink, not overly fruity and not overly bitter. 

The fourth beer was Mr BehomeforT’s favourite. Apparently he ordered it a few times when we were on holidays in Austria. This Austrian beer is called Trumer and comes from a 400 year old brewery outside Salzburg. The way it is made it quite special and this manner is not often used in modern breweries. The top of the beer is skimmed off and then more yeast is added. This gives it a creamy balanced finish. You can imagine that such a production intensive process results in a high price. This is definitely not the cheapest beer, but surely tasty. 

The beer tasting was fun and I really enjoyed it. It was something different and perhaps I will try a cheeky beer here and there more often now.

We completely forgot that we did not have dessert! Because the festival was closing, stands were selling the last of their stock for a good price. We got these beautiful petit fours from Croquembouche Pattisserie. 


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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Caramelised Onion Tart

It's autumn and I love the fact that summer is over!! Here in Australia even autumn can be very hot (for my poor Dutch body) and I am looking forward to the shorter and colder days.

Do you know the phrase: "you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone"? It's true! I'm talking about a proper autumn and winter! Back home in the Netherlands I loathed the cold. Autumn was generally rainy and windy, which is not very nice when you have to go everywhere by bike! Winter wasn't nice either if you had to go outside. Especially when the snow starts melting and becomes black and sloppy and yukkie! I fell off my bike straight into the wet snow more than once.

However, after more than 5 years in Australia, I miss the things that I thought I hated before. The cosyness for which the Dutch have a unique word, 'gezelligheid' is lacking in Australia, although sometimes they try really really hard. 

Imagine a cold night with a cold wind almost cutting through your skin, hurting your nose every time you breathe in, and cold ears, cold fingertips, cold toes, cold.... everything!!! And then imagine a dark pub, very dark, lit with candles, sometimes with a fireplace, almost always with a cat inside to catch the mice. A warm cider, a mulled wine. Warm heart warming food. And icepegs hanging from the roof. For a little while you are warm. You feel protected when you are inside, you feel happy. You are with friends or with your partner, there is food and drink, a nice seat, even a pet, and for a little while you don't have to go anywhere... It is.... gezellig..... 

I miss this so much!! Autumn and winter in Australia cannot compare, at all. Of course not all is bad, there are some positives to autumn and winter here, but it is definitely not like home. 

When the weather gets colder, I try to cook food which is a bit heavier. I'm not much of a beach person anyway and rather spend my time inside than outside, so a few extra calories do not worry me.

When I saw this tart by Jennifer from Delicious Everyday I immediately wanted to make it. It looked delicious and I liked the idea of a wholegrain crust. In the spirit of autumn I tried to make a bit of an autumn background when I took photos. We have some beautiful ikea pillows at home and I thought I'd showcase them in the background. Yes, it may look weird. Don't judge me, I have just started blogging and making pictures so I still have a lot to learn! 

Anyway, the caramelised onion tart. I was looking for something i could quickly reheat for lunch at work. This tart was just the right thing. Bring in a bag of lettuce and some balsamic and your lunch is done! 

Wholemeal shortcrust pastry (suggest normal shortcut pastry)
- 250g wholemeal flour (suggest using normal flour)
- 180 g cold butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbs cold water

- 8 large onions (3 in the original recipe, I made some extra so you can use this on sandwiches etc)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 150 g strong cheddar (grated) – you can replace this with whatever cheese you have in the fridge
- 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
- 150 ml cream
- 50 ml milk
- 3 tsp fresh thyme leaves (I always triple the herbs – so you can triple the amount if you like thyme)

The recipe
The recipe originally says that you start by making the pastry. I would recommend starting with the onions. 

Good caramelised onions take more than an hour to make and do not need any balsamic vinegar or sugar. This version uses the quick version. If you don’t have a lot of time, go for the quick version. The onions will not be as sweet and there will be a lot more than when you make the long version, but the balsamic vinegar and the sugar slightly makes up for this.

To make the short version, chop the onions in a kitchen machine and heat some oil or butter in a pan. Slowly cook the onions for 15 minutes or so before adding the thyme, balsamic and sugar and cooking for another 5 minutes. 

To make the long version, do exactly the same but then keep the onions in for more than an hour on low heat. They will break down, start caramelising, and in the end you will have a handful of caramelised onion goodness. I prefer this version – but I get it, we’re all busy, so the quick version will do.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and start making the pastry. Add the flour and butter in a food processor and keep on mixing until crumbles form. Then add the egg yolk and the water and blend until a ball forms. Put the ball in plastic wrap and in the fridge

Grease a 30 cm loose bottomed tart tin and roll out the pastry. The pastry will easily break and it will be difficult to get it in the tart tin. I always roll it over some aluminium foil and then quickly turn the foil above the tart tin, and slowly remove the pastry from the foil. You will still need to break off some bits and pieces and add some pastry where needed. Refrigerate the tin for 15 minutes.

Put some baking paper in the tin and fill with baking weights. Bake for 10 minutes before removing paper and weights and baking another 10 minutes before slightly golden. Set aside to cool. 

Mix the eggs in a bowl with the egg yolk, the cream, milk and mix with some salt and pepper. Place the onions in the base of the tart and spread out easily. Sprinkle with cheese and then top with the egg mixture and more thyme. Bake for 18 minutes or so until the filling is just set. You can check this by inserting a skewer and if it comes out dry the tart is ready.

Serve with leafy salad and balsamic vinegar.

I may have done something wrong or used the wrong flour, but I did not enjoy the texture of wholegrain in this tart pastry. It almost 'squeeked' when chewing on it and felt a bit like eating paper. I have therefore suggested replacing the wholemeal flour with plain flour, that may ensure that the pastry melts in your mouth. I have made similar tarts before and they worked our really well. It may just have been the type of flour I used. I would also recommend eating a tiny piece. This tart is heavy and very filling. Not a bad thing as it will give you many tart slices to bring to work for lunch. Enjoy!


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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Movida, Surry Hills

I'm excited but also a little nervous, considering this is my first food review. I have always enjoyed writing reviews, generally on urban spoon or trip advisor, but I think it's always better if there are pictures so you can see how something looks like. And, if I read a good review on the Thousands, Timeout Sydney or a review blog like Not Quite Nigella, it really helps me in making my decision whether to go there or not. So I thought, why not? If I had a great dinner I might as well share it with you right?

I knew that it would be difficult to get a table at
 Movida on a Saturday night. No booking and we just rocked up around 7.30. The place was packed. We were welcomed and were told we could put our name on the list and come back in 45 minutes. That worked out well because we could pay a visit to our old local around the corner, the Dove and Olive, which was packed too, not very surprising.

I miss Surry Hills sometimes. When we lived on Bourke Street it was so easy to walk out on a Saturday night and go for some drinks and a nice dinner. Not that Newtown doesn't have nice places to go to, but it seems like Surry Hills has changed a lot the last few months, with new places popping up everywhere.

I think Movida has been in Surry Hills (Holt Street, near central) for a while. I was surprised to find out that it is actually part of a chain. There is another Movida in Melbourne (which is good news for my friends in VIC) and even one at the airport.

When we returned after 45 minutes there was still no table left, not even some places at the bar. I would soon find out why. This place is popular for a reason!

Mr BehomeforT and I ordered some wines which we drank while waiting for our spot at the bar/counter. Mr behomeforT had a Chenin Blanc which was absolutely beautiful. I wish I had written down the name because I would certainly order this another time. I thought I could easily find it back at the online menu, but unfortunately it's not on there. Well, now I know for the next review that I will have to take a picture of the wine menu too. I had a really nice Spanish wine, the 2010 Maranones ‘Picarana’ Albillo Madrid, Spain ($15). This was by far my favourite wine of the evening. It was unlike the Australian or New Zealand wines I normally drink. A lot milder, not overly sweet but definitely fruity, and easy to drink. I thought it was special and wish I had ordered another glass of it.

After 10 minutes or so we were seated at the bar and we had a look at the menu. Wow! So many good things. There were definitely a few items on the menu I would want to try. 

Bar seat

The lovely lady behind the bar recommended we took two 'tapa' and two 'racion'. The tapas were small bites whereas the racion were larger share plates. MrBehomeforT ordered one Rock Oyster ($4.50) for himself. I eat almost everything but I cannot stand oysters. So I was happy not to have an oyster when he did. 

Rock Oyster

It looked pretty though. I asked for his review and he said: "it tastes like the ocean". Fair enough, I'd say. 

Soon after we were brought the 'cigarillo de queso' ($5.50 each) which were two beautiful cigars stuffed with goat's curd and quince. The cigars were crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. They had a beautiful sweet and creamy flavour, which was nicely complimented with a tomato sauce with a bit of a kick, but not too much. I don't like spicy food and too much of a kick would not make me happy. This was really nice.

Cigarillo de queso

Pretty much immediately after this we were brought the 'croqueta de jamon Iberico' ($8.50 for two) which were iberico ham croquettes. They were crunchy and nice and creamy on the inside. The flavour was lovely and there were a few bits of ham in there, which was a nice change to the smooth texture. Unfortunately these were not served with a sauce. I think a little sauce would have been nice, but the croquettes were nice without sauce too. All good. 

Croqueta de jamon Iberico

We ordered some more wine and this time I opted for an Aussie wine, a Pinot Noir. Again, I should have taken a picture as this wine cannot be found on the menu on the website either. This was Mr BehomeforT's favourite, and it would surely have been wise to write it down. MrbehomeforT had the 2012 Oliviere Riviere ‘Rayos Uva’ Tempranillo Gracian, Rioja, Spain, which was 'alright', in his words. I knew he really wanted my wine! I thought it was ok too. I should have ordered another glass of the Spanish wine I had first. Ah well...

We saw that some other guests got some bread, and MrBehomeforT complained to me (a bit too loud) that we did not have any. Well, our bread drought did not last long as we were given some bread within a few minutes after that (thanks for being too loud MrBehomeforT). The bread was (I think) a soda bread served with some olive oil. I never had soda bread before but it is really nice. This one was almost like a sourdough, nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Maybe it was a sourdough, who knows. It was pretty good. 

Bread with olive oil

I love vegies, MrBehomeforT does not. All good, more vegies for me! I ordered the mixed seasonal vegetables with artichoke, purple and orange carrot, tomato, grilled capsicum and spinach (I think it was $15, but not completely sure!) The artichoke was pickled or confit, not sure either. Doesn't matter, because what they did with it made it very nice. I could eat a whole bowl of this and may even consider becoming a vegetarian. I ate the whole plate myself. 

Seasonal vegetables

We also ordered the crispy pork with potatoes and scallops. Big juicy scallops. Again, not on the online menu, but I think it was in the $25 range. I thought the pork was deepfried, because the outside was crunchy and the fat which is normally, how would you describe it, fatty (yes, no shit sherlock) was very nice and chewy, almost cheesy. The potatoes were crispy too which worked really well with the scallops. This was nice, but not my favourite dish.

Crispy pork with potatoes and scallops

My favourite dish was the duck. The beautiful 'pato gf/df' ($24.50). The crispy duck leg was served in Moscatel wine and served with a pickled cabbage. Oh, that pickled cabbage! It was so good! It worked so well with the duck which was crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. The sauce was (as Manu Feidel would say) 'to die for'. Normally I would say there was not enough of it, but there was, because I was so full. I was so full I could not eat a single bite anymore. Which means it was good, really good. 

Pato gf/df

I left Movida really happy (slightly nauseous, I really ate too much). I would definitely eat here again. I give this place a 8.5/10 (because an 8 was just not enough).


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