Saturday, 10 April 2010

What happened at Easter

Plenty! Of course we had the Folk Festival, with our regular visitors A,J & C. Eight year old C was very taken with the kittens, and so we need another photo of them. (Any excuse, eh?) Here they are being uncharacteristically quiet and well-behaved. Archie on the left, Zeppo on the right.

Anyway, this means our annual dinner, and lots of fast food at the folkie. The festival food is actually remarkably good - plenty of fresh veggie options and good ethnic eating. With some junk if you want it, but why would you? The satay chicken and fritter people were my favourite this year. They had chicken breast (or tofu) skewers with thick peanut sauce, served on jasmine rice with a fresh beansprout salad; or zucchini, fetta & corn fritters with sourcream and smoky tomato relish - bacon optional. Spaghetti Junction is another favourite - I do love seeing the fresh spaghetti come spiralling out of the pasta machine. They do a very good vegetarian puttanesca - no anchovies, but with almonds - and their creamy walnut sauce is rather fine, too.

We had our dinner on Friday night, to which HH brought her terrific pot roast chickens in vermouth, with potatoes. I provided entrees, veggies and dessert. All was very successful. The chicken went on to make a few sandwiches and some rather excellent stock which I'm planning to use tonight in a risotto.

For entrees, I went modern and did goat cheese and caramelised onion tartlets set on a salad of rocket and balsamic dressed beetroot. I made up the recipe as I went along, and then I found that it's such a common idea that mine is pretty much the same as the one that's first up when you google. Delia Smith's, in this case. Though I used a plain shortcrust and no thyme, and I made half of them with blue cheese. The goat cheese was a very mild one that I picked up at Choku Bai Jo; the beetroot also from them, home baked then tossed with balsamic glaze.

For veggies, I did yellow pattypan squash roasted with olive oil and herbs (rosemary and bay from the garden). I also steamed some green beans, and tossed through a bit of butter and toasted slivered almonds to make them a bit more special.

And for dessert I wanted to make Key Lime Pie, but I don't know if you can even get key limes of lime juice in Australia. I used plain old Tahitian limes. I followed an Epicurious recipe, noting some suggestions from the comments. If you have a smaller pie plate than specified, the basic recipe could work. But if you have a deeper 25cm spring form pan, then double the filling quantity is definitely the way to go. It would look pretty pathetic at half the depth. I also added the zest of the limes, and used an entire pack of granita biscuits, and did not bother baking the crumb crust. The picture's not the best, but it's an idea. This is quite delicious, and I served shop bought icecream on the side - Maggie Beer's orange and lemon curd, and Serendipity blood orange sorbet.

I remembered near the last minute that pregnant people aren't supposed to eat uncooked eggs, and the pie does contain egg that is probably not heated enough. So I thought of an alternative, and made some poached pears for P. This was a very lucky, as it's a great favourite of hers. Here's the recipe I made up - very easy!

Recipe: Caramel Cider Pears
4 firm pears
375ml cider
4 tblsp dark brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Peel the pears, leaving them whole. Do not remove the stalk, but do cut off any fibre-y bits at the base.
Put the pears in a saucepan, with the cider, sugar and cinnamon.
Poach gently for 1 1/2 hours, turning regularly to get even coverage.
Leave the saucepan lid on for the first hour, then remove lid to reduce sauce.

Serve these warm with some Maggie Beer burnt fig, honeycomb and caramel icecream if you can!

Notes: I used corella pears, and a stubby of strongbow dry that someone had left behind at a party sometime - we're not cider drinkers. And also, on the night, I included a somewhat old golden delicious apple, which completely fell to bits and made the sauce a bit thicker and more apple-y.

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