Sunday, 2 November 2008

Saturday Food Binge

It was a big day yesterday. I went to the market and the supermarket; I cleaned out the fridge; I planted tomatoes; I cooked a lot of things. And I wrote two blog posts. Yes, two. I'm cunningly phrasing this as if I were in the future, and setting it to autopublish on Sunday. Woooh, spooky.

Things I made yesterday:
* roasted rhubarb
* roast tomatoes
* fruit salad
* bacon bits, croutons, poached eggs, caesar-ish salad
* granola
* wattleseed pavlova base

A proper recipe and some general chatty how to stuff follows. Basically everything is either just chopped up and assembled as is, or baked in the oven.

The granola comes from Nigella Lawson's Feast. I've made it several times before. Last time I see was February; this one was more faithful to the recipe, though I still made a couple of substitutions. I swapped golden syrup for the rice malt syrup - some insect got into my rice malt syrup and died, so I had to toss it. And I swapped dark brown sugar for light, and I'm using dried blueberries and craisins instead of the raisins.

Caesar salad: well, there are classic versions, and there are variants. Mine was a variant. It's basically the most unhealthy salad you can imagine. Bacon, egg, anchovy and cheese with croutons and a creamy dressing. Oh, and cos lettuce, just so you can pretend it's a bit healthy. I made a slightly healthier variant by making my own bacon bits and croutons - oven roast rather than fried, and with the fat drained off the bacon. Add a poached egg, and a sprinkle of parmesan, and some anchovies for me but not the Bloke. Finally, I made up a random dressing by lightening some mayo with lime juice.

Roast tomatoes and roast rhubarb are simple things. They just get bunged into an oven and left until they look ready - slow or fast, it doesn't matter as long as you watch carefully. Slow is better if you can. Wash the rhubarb well and slice it up, pop into a pie plate so it's just one layer. Sprinkle over vanilla sugar generously, and roast until soft. Yum. I didn't weigh anything, but sugar really is a matter of taste.

The fruit salad was originally a bad melon. Not off, of course, but I had another flavourless early rockmelon. I thought that chopping it up and mixing it with tinned passionfruit, nata de coco, and a small pineapple would improve things. And it has. Some slivers of glace ginger went in, too. It's turned into a decent dessert, with some icecream. Or breakfast, with yoghurt and granola.

Recipe: Wattleseed Pavlova Base
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup caster sugar
1.5 tablespoons ground wattleseed

Whisk egg whites to a light froth.
Slowly add caster sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.
Add cream of tartar after about half the sugar is in.
Whisk until eggwhite forms stiff peaks.
Fold in wattleseed.
Line a 24cm cake tin with baking paper, and pour in meringue mix.
Use a spatula to scrape out the whisking bowl, and smooth the surface.
Bake at 140 for 1.5 hours, and let cool in oven.

To assemble pavlova, simply layer on whipped cream and strawberries. Don't worry if the top cracks, no-one will know. You could put some wattleseed in the cream, too if you like.

The pavlova is for Tuesday - we're having a Silly Hat Day BBQ, which now seems to be getting a bit out of hand. Salads for 15? Eek! There's some horse race on in Melbourne, too.

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