Lemon Myrtle Tart with Wattleseed

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Citrus sweets are THE BEST. Originally this was going to be a lemon meringue pie, to try and force a kind of childhood nostalgia. But by the end of the night I could not be fucked making meringue. You could do that, or just serve this with some cream or ice cream to balance out the citrus flavour. Still pretty good by itself. 

I like getting the whole roasted wattleseed and crushing them myself, because the smell and flavour is insane, but you can buy pre-ground instead. You can also buy lemon myrtle syrup a lot of places, I just make my own because Veronica gave me the leaves when we were at Witjuti Grub Nursery. 

You need to start the lemon curd at least a few hours before serving - preferably overnight. 

For the lemon curd bit

4 lemons, juice and rind only. Take the rind off with a fine grater. 
4 egg yolks
65 gms cornflour
175 gms caster sugar

Lemon Myrtle Syrup

6 dried lemon myrtle leaves
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup water

For the crust bit

200gms plain flour
100gms caster sugar
125gm cold unsated butter
2 tablespoons ground roasted wattleseed

Put the lemon juice and rind in a bowl over the saucepan of simmering  water. Combine the cornflour and about 1/4 of a cup of water together in a separate bowl (add more water if it goes weird) and then mix that into the lemon mixture.

Add 1 cup of boiling water and whisk quickly until it thickens up. Remove from heat and add egg yolks, sugar and butter, constantly whisking the mixture quickly. Refrigerate for an hour or so. 

Add the ingredients for the lemon myrtle syrup into a saucepan and cook on a medium heat until the sugar had dissolved. Leave to simmer on a low heat, tasting every now and then until it has the kind of lemon myrtle flavour you want, Stir quickly through the lemon curd, then put it back in the fridge.

If you've got a food processor, you can make the crust by processing all the ingredients together until they become a kind of loose dough. If not, you can grate the butter with a cheese grater into the flour and sugar and then mix it together with your hands/a fork. I like when there's still some buttery bits but that's not 'good pastry'. You just want it to all be sticking together.

Refrigerate the dough for about an hour, then either roll it out, or just press it into a tart tray. I've given up trying to make pastry that you can actually take out of the tray, so I always just commit to my tarts being messy and ugly to eat. If you know how to make proper shortcrust pastry then for the love of god do that. 

Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes, or until it's golden brown. Then taking the baking paper off and bake for another 5 minutes. Leave to cool, then spoon the lemon curd into the pastry base. Sprinkle with ground wattleseed. And flowers if you're a huge wanker. 

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

 

 

Davidson Plum Sauce Chicken

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Davidson Plums fresh are too sour to eat - but this sourness seemed to me like a perfect fit for a kind of sweet, sticky Chinese sauce cause it could hold up to the strong spices. The flavour comes through strongly in this recipe - they taste nothing like actual plums. The type we used are Queensland Davidson plums, or Ooray.

Obviously you can use regular plums in this if you like (and a bit less sugar), or just Davidson plums (Veronica very kindly gave us some frozen plum pine when we visited so I used them too. You can order frozen Davidson Plums from Dreamtime Kullilla Art in Redcliffe if you're in Brisbane, from Taste Australia Bushfood Shop and from plenty of other bushfood suppliers on the internet.

It’s best to make this a couple of days before you’re serving it – it gets better with time.  

Ingredients

Plum Sauce


1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
¾ cup brown sugar
2 cups Davidson plums (defrosted)
1 cup plum pine (defrosted)
1 tablespoon crushed fresh ginger
1 onion, very thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
White pepper
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped

Basting mixture

1 cup honey
1 cup olive oil

Stuffing

1 cup brown rice
1 sweet potato cut into small (1cm) squares
½ cup roughly chopped saltbush
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
Zest of a lemon

1 whole chicken

Fry garlic, fresh ginger and onion in a splash of vegetable oil (olive oil is fine it’s just better if it doesn’t have much flavor) until soft, then add cayenne pepper, cloves, five spice and ground ginger until the spices have cooked (around 2-3 mins).

Add the Davidson plums and native riberries, and bring to a simmer. Then add the sugar and vinegar and one cup of water. Taste the mixture regularly – you may need to add more sugar if the mixture is too bitter/acidic.

Play around with the flavours – you want it to be fairly sweet and spiced but still pretty tangy. Simmer the sauce until it’s thick and shiny. Put into a jar or Tupperware container and store at room temperature for at least a day, then you can put it in the fridge.  

For the stuffing, cook the rice, then fry the sweet potato in some olive oil for about 10-15 mins or until it’s cooked through. Add the ginger and saltbush and cook until ginger is starting to brown. Add the zest, then take off the heat and add to the cooked rice, with a splash more olive oil and some salt and pepper.

If you’re roasting a whole chicken, take it out of the plastic and pat it down with some paper towel (including inside apparently, yucky!), then leave it to dry out in the fridge for about a day (I didn’t do this because I started too late – that’s just what the internet says to get a really crispy skin).

Then baste the chicken with a 1 to 1 mixture of honey and olive oil, and some chopped saltbush. Fill with the stuffing and cook at 180 degrees for one hour, basting with more honey and oil mixture every twenty minutes. 5 minutes before you take the chicken out, baste it with a light covering of the Davidson Plum sauce. After it's cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes, then check if it’s cooked. It should be, but if you’re a bit iffy pop it back in the oven for covered in foil for 15 minutes. The sauce and basting should stop it from drying out, so better to be a bit over cooked than serve raw chicken. Serve with the sauce.

 

 

 

'Fruit Toast' Crackers & Labne with honey, fig and pine nuts

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Making labne is very easy (there's one ingredient and it's greek yoghurt) and way cheaper than buying it - but you'll have to start the day before you want to serve it cause it takes at least 12 hours to hang and get less watery.

These crackers are similar to the ones I made for the cheese board dinner, but I added fruit and cinnamon to give them a kind of 'fruit toast' vibe. Fruit toast is one of my favourite childhood breakfasts, but there's no way I would have been able to make it. 

Makes a couple of bowls of crackers and like HEAPS of labne.

Labne Ingredients:
500g Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/ cup finely chopped dried figs
1 tablespoon of tahini
Honey

Put a sieve on top of a saucepan (so it's not touching the bottom). Line the sieve with a chux, 'cheese cloth' or other kind of clean fabric. Put the yoghurt in the sieve and leave to 'hang' for at least 12 hours, so most the liquid gets sieved out. 

Mix the chopped fig with the tahini, then stir it through the labne. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top, and drizzle with honey before serving. 

Cracker ingredients: 

250g Plain flour

150g linseeds
175g Sesame seeds
150g sunflour seeds

1/2 cup dried figs, finely chopped
Handful of dates, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
500ml cold water
1 tablespoon of sugar


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix together all the ingredients except the sugar. It should be the consistency of wet cement, so add more flour or water if the ingredients aren't holding together properly. 

Line a large oven tray with baking paper. With a spatula, spread the mixture out on the paper as thin as you can (you may need to do a couple of batches if you have too much mixture). Don't worry if you get a few holes, you're going to  break them up into rough crackers anyway. Sprinkle sugar evenly over the dough. 

Bake for about 20 minutes, then turn the big sheet of cracker over, peel off the baking paper, and bake on the other side for about 10-15 minutes, until it's completely dry and crispy. Leave to cool on a cooling rack. 

Break up into roughly-cracker shaped bits, and serve with the labne. 
 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Fruit Salad with ginger & lime syrup

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

I feel a bit silly writing out a recipe for this cause it's just a fruit salad - but I didn't fully know how to make a syrup until recently, so maybe this will be useful.

I think this syrup would be delicious over a stone fruit salad - peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries. However even though it was STONE FRUIT SEASON when I made this my supermarket didn't have any except for a couple of plums. So I panicked and bought the weird assortment of fruits you see in this picture. 

Makes about a cup of syrup

Syrup ingredients: 
1 cup sugar
Half a cup of water
1 lime, zest cut off.
Thumb sized piece of ginger,
half thinly sliced, half crushed. 

Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan on high until boiling. Reduce the heat and add the ginger and lime zest and a couple of thin slices of lime. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until it's a dark syrup-y consistency. 

Take out the whole slices of ginger if you don't want too-strong a ginger flavour. Leave to cool, then pour over your fruit salad. If the syrup gets too solid when it cools down, add a bit more boiling water and stir vigorously until it is liquid enough to pour. 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Apricot, vanilla and thyme Preserve, baked ricotta, sweet breadrolls

MaddyFoob_8Nov_BySavannahvanderNiet-60.jpg

**If you're making the baked ricotta you have to start it 3-4 days in advance!**

This was a simple, not-to-sweet dessert after a pretty heavy, cheesy meal - I had seconds, then lay on the ground for a while. The combination of the soft buns, creamy ricotta and tart preserve was, and I hate to praise myself, QUITE GOOD. How sweet the preserve is will depend on how soft your apricots are. It was early in the season when I made this and the ones I bought were pretty hard, so my preserve was slightly sour, which I like.  You might want to balance it out with a bit more sugar though if you like a sweeter dessert. 

I'm not going to add a recipe for the buns, because I got it straight out of a book called Honey & Co. The Baking Book. I've (...for now...) given up trying to make up my own baking recipes - This year I've made one too many rock-hard sponges for my delicate ego to take. If you have a good scone/sweet bread roll recipe you should use that, otherwise you can Google one, or just buy the Honey & Co. book cause it rules.

Serves 10-12

BAKED RICOTTA

INGREDIENTS

1kg Ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
Honey
Cinnamon
Crushed nuts

About 3-4 days before your dinner, you have to hang the ricotta up to drain it. Line a strainer/colander with some cheese cloth or clean chux (or pretty much any clean material - I used a cheap cotton shirt I'd never worn) and tip the ricotta in. Put the strainer in a big bowl or pot in the fridge to catch the water.

After a few days, tip your ricotta gently out onto an oven rack covered with baking paper. Rub it gently with a bit of melted butter, then bake for 10-20 minutes, until it's golden brown on top. Drizzle a heap of honey over the top, then sprinkle cinnamon (you could use other spices too, like cloves and cardamom - my tum was just pretty full by this time and I wanted to keep it simple) and crushed nuts over the top. 

PRESERVED APRICOTS

INGREDIENTS


10 apricots, halved
A few sprigs of thyme
A few strips of lemon pee
l (use a potato peeler)
Juice of one lemon
350g brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla (I use this 'vanilla bean extract' stuff that's like $8 a bottle but pretty good (actual vanilla beans are like $5 each, but if you wanna use them go nuts) - vanilla essence would probably do too though).

Lay the halved apricots out on a tray, scatter the thyme, lemon peel, and vanilla over the top. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top, then sprinkle with the sugar, covering all the apricots. 

Cook for 5 minutes at 190 degrees, then turn the oven down to 170 degrees for 15 minutes. Take them out of the oven - by now a syrup should have formed at the bottom of the tray. Using a spoon, pour this syrup over the apricots, basting them.

Put them back in the oven at 140 degrees for another 10-15 minutes until they're completely soft and jammy. Spoon into jars and cover with syrup to keep for a few weeks - or just put it in a bowl in the fridge if you're using the preserve in the next couple of days.

Pistachio Trifle with Pomegranate Jelly and Rosewater Custard

Lately I’ve been really obsessed with this cookbook called Honey & Co. The Baking Book, from an incredible-looking Middle Eastern restaurant in London. I’ve actually baked things from it that turned out ok - a certified miracle. I don’t know if the right way to show my appreciation was to butcher their trifle recipe (they used quince, almonds and vanilla in their way more refined version), and I fucked up the sponge pretty bad on mine, but this was pretty delicious still.

INGREDIENTS

POMEGRANATE JELLY
14 Leaves of gelatine (there are plenty of vegetarian setting agents you can use, but I haven’t used them before and didn’t want to risk it, even though, yes, gelatine is really gross).
450ml water
800ml pomegranate juice (if pomegranates are in season, get a few fresh ones too and throw some of the jewels through the jelly and then on top of the trifle cause that would be very nice)

ROSEWATER CUSTARD
900mls milk
200g caster sugar
9 egg yolks
2 teaspoons rosewater
75g plain flour

PISTACHIO SPONGE
6 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup ground pistachios
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

TOPPINGS
200g Mixed crushed nuts
3 punnets of strawberries, cut in half (or use whatever fruit is in season – when I made this strawbs were like $2 a punnet)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Make the jelly first cause it’ll take at least a few hours to set – overnight it probably best.

For the jelly, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until they become soft. Meanwhile, heat the water and pomegranate juice in a large saucepan, until almost boiling (don’t let it boil). Turn off the heat and add the gelatine, stiring until the gelatine leaves are all desolved. Pour the mixture into whatever container you’re going to set it in – if you’re just cooking for a few people, individual glasses look better. I poured mine into two big glass bowls. Throw in some halved strawberries to set in the jelly. Put in fridge.

Mix the egg yolks and flour together in a large bowl. Heat up the milk and caster sugar until it’s just bubbling, then add it slowly to the egg and flour mixture, stirring quickly and continuously. Put it back in a saucepan on the heat, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken up. Add the rosewater, then keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Do you know a good sponge recipe? If so, make that and substitute half a cup of the flour for a cup of ground pistachios. Also send it to me, cause this one I adapted from one on the Coles website and it wasn’t so hot.

Beat eggs hard until they’re fluffy and aerated. Add the sugar slowly, continuing to beat the mixture constantly. Sift the flower and baking powder into the eggs, and mix lightly to combine (you don’t want to get rid of all the air). Add the ground pistachios, and pour the mix into a baking tray, bake for about 20 minutes, until it’s springy to touch and if you put a knife in it comes out clean.

When you’re ready to serve, take your jelly out of the fridge, and top with broken up pieces of sponge. Cover that with custard, then scatter the strawberries and crushed nuts over the top.