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Thursday, September 23, 2010

'Wet Paint'

Yesterday was our third wedding anniversary, so of course I thought we best go out for dinner.  We wanted to be somewhere near the beach, so with a bit of research I found this fabulous little restaurant in Bronte called 'Wet Paint'. 

When we got there we were the only ones there...but by the time we left the place was packed.  Beautiful ambiance and the food was delicious.  I started out with a raspberry mojito, one of my favorite cocktails!  Pete had a goats cheese souffle with salmon, basil and dill, for entree and I had sesame crusted prawn cutlets served over a Waldorf salad.  Delish!

And then the mains, I could not refrain from ordering their signature dish which is a 'Louisiana stuffed chicken seared breast, stuffed with cornbread, sundried tomatoes and cashews, served with a lemon butter sauce!  It was delicious,  I might have to give this recipe a try myself!  Pete on the other hand ordered the Fillet Steak with Bearnaise prosciutto wrapped eye fillet steak served with roasted field mushroom and bearnaise sauce.  We were very satisfied.

We went ahead and ordered desert, but must say I was not as impressed with the desserts, I also think I was too full to be eating anymore!  Overall it was a really good find and I would definitely recommend this lovely spot.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday Night's Nosh

Fridays are a little trickier...but somehow it all came together and tablenosh last night was fabulous (well at least I enjoyed it).  The day started with a very early morning trip to the Sydney Markets, only to find out they were not really set up for the public until 9am (I got there at 6:45am)!  In the process of avoiding being hit by a forklift and try to find my way around vegetable chaos, I met a lovely guy who informed me I needed to come back at 9, he must have seen the look on my face and offered to shout me a coffee.  So, we sat down over a coffee and chatted about the world and all its troubles (it was pretty funny considering he was wearing one of those shirts that says 'sh** happens').  After my coffee with Bob, I hopped back in the car drove home through the Paramatta Road traffic and got to work on some baking.

Take Two...I headed back to the markets at about 10:30am.  Whew, they were up and running and I was able to find everything I needed other than limes (clearly they are not in season at the moment), as I found them at Franklin's for 19.99/kg!  I pulled back into the driveway about 11:45am, unloaded the groceries and went to get my key and realized 'Oh NO I am locked out'!!! Seriously what a day already.  Fortunately I was able to go pick up a key from the real-estate office.

Things calmed down after that and my friend Chelsea came by to help me do some prep-work and be my taste tester.  The only other close disaster I had was almost chopping off the end of my middle finger!!  This is what happens if you take your eye off the knife in the midst of panic, whew I never realized how protective our fingernails are, thankfully it was just a small cut.  I put on a band-aid and kept going.

Okay so tablenosh...what a fun group of people!  Being an extravert definitely makes it hard sometimes to remain in the kitchen when the lounge room is lighting up with laughter, it was fabulous.  The smoke alarm added some extra laughs for the group (as I kept setting it off), I thought this just added to the 'in-home' experience.  A special thanks to my assistant for the evening, Julie Bosma, she was an excellent help!

The guests were welcomed with a pre-dinner cocktail, a Leila original that I called a 'strawberry splash'.  Basically a scoop of lemon sorbet, malibu rum, lemonade and a dollop of strawberry granita...refreshing and yummy!  The starters for the evening were broccoli and cauliflower fritters with a cheesy dip and grilled haloumi. 

The main for the evening was Grilled Swordfish on a bed of rocket & cous cous salad, topped with a mango salsa and fresh coriander pesto.  I am just bummed I did not actually get a bite myself!! (guess I will have to make it for Pete and I sometime)

The dessert trio got a delightful response, Chocolate Mousse Spoons, Mini Berry Rhubarb Crumble and the Petite Citrus Cake with Passionfruit Custard and Lemon Cream.  I think the guests were well pleased, I definitely gonna have to make the crumble again.  Strawberries are in season at the moment, so it was primarily fresh strawberries and rhubarb stewed with brown sugar and I threw in a few raspberries for flavor.  As for the crumble topping, the trick was using ginger cookies and crushing them into the usual topping. 

After dinner we all retired to the lounge room to finish things off over iced baileys, dessert wine and coffee.

What can I say, I am delighted to have had another evening of good fun and good food in my only reget and utter embarrassment for the evening was, I forgot to put napkins on the TABLE - I went to go crawl into bed and there sat all my neatly pressed and folded napkins!!! oops - at least the food wasn't too messy!  

On another note, I am excited to say I have my first tablenosh 'private function' booking!  And as for the next Nosh Night open to the public, it will be on Saturday, October 2.  I am already taking bookings, so don't me now to get your spot!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

citrus cake with passion fruit custard & lemon cream

This is sweetness indeed.  My latest dessert experiment and test-run for friday.  Citrus cake with passionfruit custard and lemon cream.  I served it to my mother-in-law as her birthday cake, the verdict was very positive.  I think it's a winner and will be part of the dessert trio for Friday.  The cake is a fabulous recipe that I snagged from someone else's blog it is the second time I have made it, the batter alone is so tasty I wanted to eat the whole bowl (probably a good thing I didn't)!  Here is the cake recipe:

The custard is also delicious!!!! For those who are interested here is the recipe: (you can also make this plain vanilla and use a vanilla bean instead of passionfruit or use other flavors you like)

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup cream (lightly whipped)
2-3 tablespoons passion fruit

Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat and heat just until boiling point.  Add vanilla and remove from heat.
Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until thick.  Add the cornflour and hot milk and stir until smooth.
Return the mixture to a clean saucepan over medium hear and stir constantly with wooden spoon (or whisk) until thickened (can take up to 15 min).
Bring the custard to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove for heat and add butter stirring to combine.  Put mixture into fridge to cool covered.
Once the mixture is cool fold through the whipped cream and passion fruit - use more passion fruit if needed for a stronger flavor.
I have also added mascarpone cheese to this recipe and served it with berries...delicious!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Experimenting feels like it has taken me days to get back with the program and in the kitchen!  Alas, I finally feel like I got up to some good experimentation yesterday and think I have a good idea as to what I will make for tablenosh this Friday.
I went to the markets on Saturday morning, which as usual I thoroughly enjoyed...I probably could have stayed for hours but my cart was so full I could barely see over the top of it and could barely push it!  Anyhow while I was there I went ahead and bought some swordfish (total bargain) and thought I would experiment with it for dinner.  We ended up having a few friends come over for dinner so I threw a few ideas together and came up with something that needs a bit of work but was pretty good.
Grilled swordfish over cous cous salad, with roasted red peppers, avacado and fresh pesto...I just need to find out if all my guests for Friday are okay with fish.  And in the meantime get inspired with some exciting dessert ideas...I am thinking it is time for another dessert trio.