Stromboli- a Fantastic Picnic Loaf

Stromboli1

This one has been sitting and waiting to be blogged.  I don’t know why it took me so long because I really wanted to share this recipe with you as it’s a family favourite. You will never have a boring sandwich for your picnics ever again!

This was the first time I’ve made a stromboli.  I’ve made similar loaves but this one was far the best one I’ve made and eaten.  We took it out on one of our family days and it was a hit with the family.  It’s basically a sandwich and filling baked all in one.  You can choose what ever filling you and your family wants.  I made one with two different fillings.  One side for me and hubby with roasted peppers, pastrami, salami, and mozzarella cheese while I filled the other half with ham and cheddar cheese for the kids.   A two in one!!

Stromboli2

The recipe below is slight variation from Jo Wheatly, the winner of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off.

Recipe:

  • 340g strong white flour (bread flour), plus extra for kneading
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml warm water
  • 4 springs of rosemary

fillings:

  • 1 jar of basil and parmesan tapenade
  • 1 small jar of roasted peppers in olive oil
  • 100g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 150g mozzarella cheese
  1. Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
  2. Add 2tbs of olive oil from the roasted peppers and add 200 ml of the water.  Mix until you have a soft dough.
  3. Knead with hands for 10 mins or mixer with a dough hook  for 6 mins.
  4. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, place in a large oiled bowl .  Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 1 minute to knock back and then roll into a 40cm x 20cm rectangle.
  6. Spread the tapenade then scatter the fillings evenly over the dough.
  7. Fold the shorter ends of the rectangle over and roll the dough into a tight Swiss roll spiral.
  8. Carefully transfer to a baking tray with the seam on the bottom.
  9. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove again for another 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  10. Preheat over to 220degC (200degC fanforced)
  11. Brush with a little olive oil and push the rosemary springs onto the top.
  12. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 mins until golden brown, then turn down the temperature to 200degC (180degC fanforced) for another 10 minutes
  13. Cool and then cut into thick slices to serve.

Stromboli3

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

 

Sydney Holiday in Pictures

During Easter this year, we (Hubby, myself and the 2 munchkins) spent a few days in Sydney. Hubby and I have driven to Sydney many times before but this was the first time we took the 9hour drive with two small children.

We left home Thursday evening and arrived in Sydney on Good Friday. The kids were very good during the road trip and slept most of the way there.

The trip was mostly about eating and children-related activities.

As soon as we checked into our motel, we unpacked the car and headed out again. We had lunch at the famous Bourke street Bakery in Surrey Hills.
We had: chorizo pizza (top left), roast beef, chilli and coriander jam sandwich (top right), pork and leek sausage roll (middle left) and a honey roasted ham, cheddar, onion pickle, parsley mayo and rocket sandwich (bottom).
We also had the chocolate tart. Soooo good!
Next, it was onto to Gelato Messina for dessert. The highlight was the mini me ice cream dessert (bottom right)
As if that wasn’t enough, we headed off to Chinatown for the Friday night market. I couldn’t really eat much as we were so full already.

Next day (Saturday) we headed to Westfield Sydney as I have heard yummy things about the food court there. However, we were there too early for any of the cafes or stores to be opened so we wondered downstairs and I found this delicious grilled beef salad. It was a great find.

We then went to the aquarium where the children enjoyed and learnt about the different fish and sea creatures.
Before heading back to the motel for a much needed rest, we drove up to Manly for the essential visit to Zumbos. I bought his macarons. One of each, of course. In Zumbos these are called Zumbarons! Also got one of the infamous V8 cake and the citrus cake.
For dinner that night, we went to Chef’s Gallery. I found out about this place through instagram where I saw many wonderful photos of their food.
We had: Top: shredded peking duck roti.
Bottom left to right: wok fried rice and shredded pork and lettuce. Mini pork fillet burger. Boneless pork ribs topped with pork floss, corn cereal and roasted garlic. Handmade noodles with BBQ pork and soy sauce.

This was the reason why we went to Chef’s Gallery. This dessert is so popular that you have to pre-order when you make your booking. It is their signature “piggy face” sesame bun with marshmallow bunnies set in an edible garden served with berry and mango ice creams. Not only delcious but also very cute.

Every Saturday night, darling harbour holds spectacular fireworks. Darling harbour looks so pretty at night.

Sunday was another busy day for the family. We spent most of the day at Taronga zoo where we arrived by ferry.

My favourite animal at the zoo.

Lunch was Pad Thai at The Rocks.

Deanna and I shared a corn on the cob at The Rocks weekend market.

We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday in Sydney even though it was a short stay. Thank you Sydney for your hospitality. Hope to see you again very soon.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

My Christmas 2011 in pictures: 3 days of eating

My three days of eating was full of not only food but was full of family, love and laughter.  

 

The past few months have been a really busy time. Christmas, this time has been dedicated to spending quality time with the family. Time goes so fast and I don’t want to miss any part of it. Working 7 days a week at the shop can make that a little difficult but I’ve learnt to make time for not only with my husband and children but also with my mum and dad. 

 

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas, just like me.
 

My Christmas celebrations started a month before. I held my annual Christmas Cocktail party for family. You can see the post here

 

I started my Christmas baking two weeks before the big day. I wanted the house to be filled with the smell of Christmas.  I found a recipe for cute mini chocolate pudding cookies. You can get the recipe here. With the left over cookie dough I made black and white cookies and tea cup cookies. 

I made mini gingerbread houses for the family to decorate. I think the children did a better job than I did.  

Christmas Eve
 

Noche Buena was held at my parent’s house. Dad worked hard on the barbequed lamb, pork and pork tocino (sweetened cured pork) and all was beautiful and delicious. Mum also had roasted chicken maryland and cooked up an amazing paella. Sis in law and I made salads to complete the feast. 

For dessert, my cousin brough along a box of sweet mangoes. Sis in law made a delicious chocolate and honey cashew bombe wtih mocha sauce. 

My contribution was a Christmas Wreath pavlova. I got the idea from Donna Hay’s Magazine, Christmas issue however, I decorated mine with fruit with Christmassy colours. 

Christmas Day
 

After the children opened their Christmas stocking presents, we started the day off with waffles with crispy bacon and maple syrup. Hubby made a buck’s fizz for me to drink while I cooked up breaky. 

The chidren then opened up their main presents. Santa was very kind to them this year. To see some of their presents, you can go to Deanna’s blog post here.
 

For our Christmas lunch, we had goose. I used Jamie Oliver’s recipe. So easy and so tasty. Our sides consisted of roast potatoes cooked in beef dripping, cauliflower cheese, corn cobs, pigs in a blanket, mashed swede and carrot and brussel sprouts with bacon. Needless to say, we were completely full after our lunch. 

For dessert, we had choc-honeycombe ice-cream pudding. A quick and easy cake, I adapted from super food ideas Magazine, December issue. Hubby also had my Christmas cake which I started 2 months ago. It’s the usual recipe I use, which you can get here, but I added chocolate chips to this one just to change it up a bit. 

For late supper, we had my home made country pate with Cheddar cheese and crustini. I made the pate about 4 days before. I try to make this every Christmas so it’s sort of a Christmas tradition in my house now. 

 

Boxing Day 

 

Boxing day is traditionally spent at my mother in law’s. As we don’t get to see her on Christmas day, the Moore families head over to her house to celebrate a late Christmas. She put on a lovely spread of roast turkey and ham, assorted roasted vegetables. As usual, we go home with full bellies. 

For dessert we had a mango cheesecake and a pavlova. Yum. 

As you can see my Christmas was fabulously filled with delicious food and fantastic company. 

 
 

I hope yours was the same. 

 
 

Happy New Year! 

 
 

Bon Appetite, 

Cherrie

Cooking the books: Momofuku

So, this round of Cooking The Books lunch was Momofuku. The usual group of food bloggers turned up to lunch at the Cooking Space with their dishes in tow. In some case, their dish came in several bags.

Momofuku is the brain child of David Chang, a much celebrated , Michelin Starred Chef.  He has many restaurants and cafes branding the Momofuku name in New York.  Penny chose this book as it was definitely a challenge to cook from. Very different to the one we chose last time. I’m glad this book was chosen as it stretched my culinary skills, though I wasn’t completely happy at the time of cooking.  It was kinda stressful, actually.

Shellie and I teamed up to tackle two desserts. The Fried apple pie and Cereal milk. As we were the only ones providing dessert for the lunch, the pressure was on. Both desserts were about 4 pages each and included ingredients both Shellie and I have never heard of.  Thanks to twitter and google, we manage to get all the ingredients together and we accomplished what we thought was nearly impossible.

We needed  to be organised. Shellie started some components of the dish almost a week before hand and I made the apple pie filling a couple days before. The day before the lunch, Shellie came over and we tackled most of the components so we didn’t have to do much on the day.

 Even Deanna helped out by crunching the corn flakes.

On the day of the feast, everyone brought along their dishes and it all looked and tasted fantastic. Some recipes in the book were complicated while others were easier but consisted of a lot of ingredients.  I think even though some people had some initial problems with their dish of chose, we were all generally happy with how all the dishes turned out.

Take a look at what everyone cooked for the lunch.

Agnes made the infamous Momofuku pork buns

Kat made Marinated hanger steak Ssam witth red kimchi puree and ginger and spring onion sauce

Kat also made brussel sprouts with kimchi and bacon

April made Pork sausage, lemongrass Ssam, grilled with daikon, carrot, herbs and fish sauce vinaigrette

I-Hua and Aaron made roasted rice cakes and pork belly Ssam with mustard seed sauce

I-Hua and Aaron also made Momofuku Ramen

Penny made brick chicken

Thanh made Pan roasted Dry-Aged Rib-eye

After meat filled lunch, we managed to squeeze a little dessert in.

Penny also made blueberry and cream cookies

Cereal Milk with Avocado puree, Chocolate-Hazelnut thing

and Caramelized Cornflakes

Shellie and I decided to serve the cereal milk first as it only need to be assembled and plated. There were mixed reactions to this dish as there were a lot of components and some people didn’t like all of it.  I think the avocado threw some people off and didn’t know if it actually goes with the rest of the dish. Personally, I didn’t mind the cereal milk and the crunchy cornflakes.

Fried Apple Pie with Cinnamon Dust, Miso Butterscotch

and Soured Cream Ice Cream

For our apple pie, we had to deep fry the frozen apple pies. I was really nervous about it as there were holes in the pastry and the thought of deep frying was terrifying.  In the end, it turn out well though I think we may have put too much filling as it was bursting out of the pastry.  The taste was fantastic.  I think I will try this again without all the other components.

As usual, we all  ate too much.  I think we chant that after every lunch we have but why have a feast if we don’t eat till our belly’s burst?

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Stars and Moon Bento Cuteness

Oh Dear….  what have I got myself into? Another blogging challenge.  Well, if anything, it stretches my creativeness and and pushes my culinary skills. This time it’s all about bentos. Basically, a bento is a a packed lunch for taking away.

This challenge came about with twitter conversations with Jenni, Tracey, The Daily Spud, Elizabeth and Yuri.  We then brought it Sheri, our resident bento expert.  We aptly hash-tagged our bento related tweets #bentocuteness.  However, as the deadline drew near, new hash tags were being born like #halfassbento and #procrastibento.  For the roundup, please visit Yuri’s blog.

I had it all planned. I wanted to make Deanna’s lunch for Kindergrten (pre-school).  And as usual, I ran of time.  I did make it and photograph it and Deanna did end up taking it to Kinder for her lunch. However, I ran out of time to post it as the deadline was the weekend it was Deanna’s 5th birthday.  But that’s another post.

I’ve never made a bento before so I had to do a little research.  There are so many beautiful bento boxes out there.

Here’s my version.  It’s called “Stars and Moons”

For the sandwiches, I used an empanada press, which I actually have never used to make empanadas but saw it one day, when I was cleaning the back of the cupboard.  Of course, the sandwich can be filled with whatever filling you like.  Deanna likes ham and cheese, so that’s what I put in it.  For a healthy lunch, I included sliced apples and mandarins.  I also like to add a vegetable so  I added carrots which I cut out into stars using a cookie cutter. I also added some cheese triangles.

It may not be the cutest bento box, but it was yummy and healthy.  The best part was that Deanna was excited to bring it to kinder and eat it for lunch because it was something different.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Cooking the books: Nigella Lawson. Kitchen

>

Well, another round of  “cooking the books” lunch and it was a stomach-aching success.  While at our last lunch, it was decided that we will cook from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen cookbook this time round.  This time we were able to have it at www.cookingspace.com.au

Food Bloggers make the best companions for such feasts as everyone brings enough great food to induce a food coma to last days. 
Agnes from Off the Spork blog made Beer-braised pork knuckles with caraway, garlic, apples and potatoes
Agnes chopping up the pork knuckles.  Everyone jumped in for the crispy skin
Potatoes that were cooked with the pork knuckles from Agnes

Kat from Urban Cook’s Journal Blog brought along Mexican Lasagne

Kat also made avocado salsa to go with the mexican lasagne
Thanh from I eat therefor I am  blog made Spanish chicken with chorizo and potatoes.
Notice the eaten piece tucked up at the top?  Thanh couldn’t wait!
Shellie from Iron Chef Shellie blog made meatballs and Rocket and lemon cous cous.
Shellie is Meatball Queen

Celeste from Travelling in my Mary Janes blog made Chorizo and chickpea soup.

Celeste also brought along buglar wheat

Kat (and Josh) from Spatula, Spoon and Saturday blog made pigs in a blanket.  Kat also made Risotto Bolognese.
For some reason, I don’t seem to have a photo for :(

I made African chicken.
We were all so full from lunch but we managed to fit in dessert…just.  After all, we cannot have a blogger lunch without dessert. 
Thanh also made Venetian Carrot cake with rum cream

Emma from Cake Mistress Blog made Torta al Giandula

Celeste made Key Lime Pie

Agnes made Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Shellie made Lemon Meringue Fool.  No doubt, Deanna’s favourite on the day
I-Hua from Ms I-Hua Blog made Macadamia chocolate fudge
I made Coffee Toffee Meringues

African Chicken Recipe: (serves 4)
80ml Worcestershire sauce
4 tbs tomato sauce
2 tsp English mustard powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbs apricot jam
1 onion, finely chopped
8 chicken drumsticks (I used 1kg of wings and separated the wingettes and drumettes)
1 tbs of garlic oil.  (I used olive oil and 1 clove of garlic, smashed)

1.  Preheat the oven to 200degC.
2.  Marinate the chicken in the Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, mustard powder, ground ginger, apricot jam and the chopped onion.  Leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.
3.  Pour the olive oil and garlic into an ovenproof dish and arrange the chicken in the dish snugly.   Pour over any remaining marinade.
4.  Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting once or twice, until the chicken is cooked through.

Coffee Toffee Meringues. (makes 8-10)
for the meringues:
200g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 tsp instant espresso powder
pinch of cream of tartar
4 egg whites

for the toffee sauce
15 g butter
75g golden syrup
25g light brown sugar
60ml cream

600ml double cream

1.  To make the meringues, preheat the oven to 140degC.
2.  Combine the caster sugar and the light brown sugar, the coffee powder and cream of tartar in a bowl and set aside.
3.  Whisk the egg whites till soft peaks and have started to form.  Begin to add the sugar mix 1 tablespoon at a time while whisking until the mixture is glossy and thick.
4.  Line a baking sheet with baking paper and spoon out dollops of the meringue (I used 1/4 cup).  Spike or fluff the tops to give texture.
5.  Put in the oven for about 45 minutes.  Take out of the oven but do not remove them form the baking paper.
6.  To make the toffee sauce: melt the butter, golden syrup and light brown sugar in a pan over a low heat, swirling gently occasionally.  Bring to the boil and let bubble for 2 minutes.
7.  Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the 60ml cream.  Pour into a small jug to get cold.
8.  To serve,  dollop some of the double cream on top of the meringues and drizzle the toffee sauce over it.

Deanna, the fairy had a great time eating and chatting with friends :)

Deanna with her favourite dessert ( photo taken by Agnes)
We are already organising our next one, this time will be a Momofuku Fest.  Can’t wait!

Bon Appetite,
Cherrie

Macarons and Food Bloggers

>

Looks can be deceiving. 

Nowadays, blog events and meetups all start over a conversation on twitter.  This is how our macaron session  was conjured up.  A few of us were tweeting our fear of THE Macaron.  I had made them before but they have never come up perfect.  This is when we decided that we will form a Macaron Support Group and have a mac tweetup session where we will, together make the perfect macaron.  The Mac support group consisted of myself, Thanh, Liz, I-Hua, Penny, Agnes and Kat

Hopes were high, that day.  We all turned up with positive attitudes, determined to make the elusive perfect macron and to be able to bring home some edible ones to our partners and families.

Before getting into it tho, we fed our tummies.  We all brought a dish each and we were all full after lunch.


Kat brought Sping rolls


Thanh made lamb chops


Liz made chicken wings
I-Hua also made chicken wings


Agnes brought along lamb Biryani

Penny made beef empandas


For dessert, Agnes made custard tarts

and Liz brought along pineapple tarts.

I also brought along my daughter.  She loves to bake and she even made new friends.  **cough. Agnes. cough**  

Below are a few photos of us getting busy in the kitchen.













As you can see from the above photo, we didn’t get the results we were hoping for.  After many speculations, we had a few reasons on why they didn’t turn out.  We didn’t mix the egg whites to the right consistency or we added too much of the liquid flavourings which made the mixture too wet or we didn’t know the oven well enough that we couldn’t control the temperature.  So, all or none of these could be the reason and we were disappointed but truth be told, in the end, we enjoyed ourselves and there was probably more laughter and joking around than cooking and baking. 

Having this failure hang over my head, I didn’t wan’t to be defeated.  The next day I decided to make more macarons but at home and with an oven I was familiar with.



I made coconut macaron shells.  One filled with pandan (top pic – filled with pandan buttercream) and the other, I called monte carlo. (bottom pic – filled with vanilla butter cream and triple berry jam).  They turned out better than the day before but as with my previous attempts, they are still not perfect.  So, I forecast more attempts in my future. 

Recipe :
Coconut Macaron shell:
4 large egg whites
120g ground almonds
220g icing sugar
40g fine caster sugar
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
2 tsp coconut essence

To make the shells
1.  Preheat oven to 150degC.  Finely grind the dessicated coconut, almonds and icing sugar in a blender or food processor.  Sieve the mixture over a baking tin lined with baking papar and cook for 5-7 minutes.  Let cool.

2.  In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites till soft peaks using an electric mixer.  When it starts to stiffen, gradually add the caster sugar, beating constantly.  Add the coconut essence.  Mix to combine.  Sieve the almond-sugar mixture over the egg white and fold carefully.

3.  Fill a piping bag using a round piping nozzle.  Pipe out 4.5cm circles onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Let it stand for about 30minutes or until a crust forms on the surface.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Let the shells cool, then remove using a small palette knife.

For the butter cream, I used 1 cup of unsalted butter and 1/2 cup of icing sugar.  Mix to combine.  For the pandan one, add a few drops of the pandan essence and for the vanilla one, add the seeds from a vanilla bean (or 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste)

When the shells cool, spread the filling over half of the shells, then top them with the remaining shells.  Chill for 1 hour before serving.





Macarons

Bon Appetite,
Cherrie