Throwback Thursday: Sausage & Apple Pie from Art of the Pie

So because Pi Day was on a Wednesday, I somehow got it in my head that I’d posted about the two pies I made for dinner and dessert when all I’d done was add a picture of my slices for What I Ate Wednesday! Whoops.

Our dinner pie was from Food52 Cookbook Club’s first book Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott. I was immediately intrigued by this as it is a savory pie with fruit in it and it has a cheddar cheese crust. I definitely had to make it!

The cheddar cheese crust was simple to throw together. Since I had to grate the cheese which I always use a food processor for, I ended up making the dough straight in there rather than by hand. Flour, salt, cheddar, butter and ice water thrown in together and once it starts to come together I turned it out onto a floured bit of plastic wrap and split it in two pieces and formed it into a disc and refrigerated it until I was ready to make the pie.

Then I made the filling. First I made up a batch of Kenji Alt-Lopez’s maple sage breakfast sausage which I posted about here. Then I cooked a big tin of pie apple with salt, apple juice, brown sugar, thyme, rosemary and allspice for about 5 minutes and then drained the juices and put the apple mixture in with the sausage. Then I reduced the juice to 1 cup in a saucepan and stirred that through the apple-sausage mixture.

Then it was just a matter of rolling out the dough, putting the filling in, rolling out the lid and crimping them together. Egg wash on and bake for 40 minutes, with two more egg washes at 10 and 20 minutes.

This was so good – we were all so glad to have tried it. And given how interestingly different the pie sounded, I was shocked to find not even a sliver in the pie plate when I came back into the kitchen. I can’t wait to cook more from this book!

Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Sticky Toffee Waffles

Aaron’s favourite dessert is sticky date pudding. My favourite dinner is breakfast Put those hands together and this is what you get! I was looking for an appropriate dessert to go along with our bacon and egg casserole a few weeks back and was flicking through the plethora of cookbooks on my bench and when I came across this and saw how it didn’t look very complicated, I knew we had to try it.

Food52 Cookbook Club is going through Deb Perelman’s book Smitten Kitchen Every Day this month and for some reason, I seem to be drawn to more of her sweet items than her savoury meals, although I do endeavour to try at least one savoury item.

The first thing you need to do to make these waffles is soak the dried dates in boiling water for 30 minutes. While that’s happening you make the toffee sauce which is a basic recipe that has butter, cream, brown sugar and vanilla which is cooked out on the stove to make an ooey gooey toffee sauce. Then you process the dates and water with some butter, and eggs and then the dry ingredients and process just until the mixture comes together. Then it’s just a matter of cooking the waffles in the waffle maker as you normally would and plate them up.

These were very, very tasty, and if I had any criticism it would be that they weren’t very crispy on the outside. Deb puts hers in the oven to keep them warm until they’re all made and that may have the effect of crisping them up, but I actually think chucking them in the toaster might do a better job. Or just make them as pancakes. This batter looks like it would make great pancakes, and Deb has some of the best pancake recipes we’ve ever had on her website – our 6 year old who hates anything that resembles normal food, absolutely loves her zucchini bread pancakes.

Regardless of the crispiness, we will definitely make these again because the taste was amazing (and like I said – Aaron’s favourite dessert is sticky date pudding, so we already know we’re on a winner with these).

Throwback Thursday: Toasted Brioche with Boozy Mushrooms from Simple

Throwback to April 2017, when the Food52 Cookbook Club was going through Diana Henry’s book Simple. “Effortless food, big flavours” promised on the cover, and wouldn’t you know she delivers! I’d been wanting to try this fancified mushrooms on toast for a while, but given we have a big family and young kids, it’s not all that conducive as a midweek meal, even though I can imagine that when the kids are no longer at home, this is the sort of cooking we’ll do all the time. But one of the big boys is away on camp at the moment, so it seemed much more doable, even though I still had to double the recipe!

The brioche that the mushrooms are sitting on top of is my first attempt at making brioche (I will blog about this next week) and while I used the wrong size pan so it isn’t as tall as I’d like, it was still absolutely delicious and worked perfectly for this dish.

The mushrooms themselves are a 500g packet of sliced button mushrooms and 30g of dried shiitakes that have soaked in boiling water while the fresh mushrooms were cooked in a frypan. Then you add the rehydrated mushrooms in their liquid, cook it off, then add some dry sherry and salt and pepper, and then finish with cream. I seriously didn’t even need a chopping board and knife to make this dish!

I had to go to a workshop at my daughter’s school just as I’d finished cooking dinner, so quickly took a couple bites and saved the rest for after. It wasn’t long after I left that Aaron was texting me “OMG this is so BEAUTIFUL!!!” and he isn’t wrong. This dish is fabulous and I will definitely be making this again!

I do have a few more recipes from this book on my radar to try so I’m sure you’ll be seeing more TBT posts about them in the future.

My Paris Kitchen: Chicken Pot Parmentier

I seem to be on a My Paris Kitchen kick lately.  I think it’s got to do with my need for food that is ultra comforting and packed with flavour. Regardless, this dish is exactly that! I’ve been making this chicken potato pie quite regularly since last July when Food52 Cookbook Club was going through David Lebovitz’s book, but I have shifted things around a little so as to multitask so I can get it in the oven quicker.

The first thing I do is preheat the oven and cube the potatoes and get them in a stockpot of salted water and bring it to a boil. While that’s ticking away, I chop up celery, carrots and onions and simmer them in vegetable stock for 15 minutes.

Once that’s done, you make a roux by melting butter and whisking in flour, then slowly incorporate the stock from the cooked vegetables. Once that’s thickened to a smooth sauce, add the vegetables, some garlic and white wine.

Take it off the heat and add some BBQ chicken meat, frozen peas, tarragon, parsley, salt and pepper. Put this mixture into a casserole dish and your potatoes are now probably ready to be drained and mashed with  some butter, egg yolks, cream (we use milk) nutmeg, salt and pepper. Fork this over the top of the chicken and vegetable mixture and bake for about 30 minutes before digging into  the yummy goodness!

My Paris Kitchen: Parisian Gnocchi

Today was definitely a manic Monday! Disaster after disaster, and I was rethinking dinner because I didn’t think we had time to try anything new tonight, but then I thought about the comfort food I was craving and the bottle of wine that needed to be finished and I reverted back to our original plan. And boy oh boy was it worth it!

David Lebovitz continues to impress me with his amazing cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. Seriously there hasn’t been a bad recipe thus far and we’ve made quite a few of them. And every one is worth repeating. I’d never heard of gnocchi made without potato, and when I saw it was made with choux pastry I just thought it sounded so weird! But after I read all the rave reviews on Facebook and after thinking about dumplings sitting in a cheesy bechamel sauce, I knew that this was definitely something worth trying.

So to make the choux pastry you need to melt some butter with salt and water and then as soon as it’s melted stir in some flour until it becomes a smooth dough ball. Put the dough ball in your stand mixer and stir in some eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Then you stir in some dry mustard. Using an ice cream scoop you drop in scoops of dough in boiled salted water and poach the gnocchi for 2 minutes before placing them in a baking dish with parmesan and a melty Swiss cheese and bechamel sauce that you’ve seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper. Bake it for 30 minutes and watch the magic happen!

The one criticism I have of David’s recipes has been that he doesn’t really give cues for multitasking. I’d read through the recipe and so had worked out to have the boiling water ready and was working on the bechamel at the same time as I made the choux pastry. I also started preheating the oven at the very beginning and not as I was putting the dish together. It took us about an hour from start to finish, but I reckon if you’d done the recipe step by step it would’ve probably taken twice as long!

David suggests pairing this with a green salad, but we took it one step further and used leftover vegetables from last week and made another chopped salad. It was truly a match made in heaven – the vinegar dressing and the bitter radicchio and the peppery rocket went perfectly with the rich, cheesy deliciousness that was this gnocchi. What a way to end a hectic day!

Throwback Thursday: Clementine and Almond Syrup Cake from Jerusalem

I’m now up to 4 – I own 4 out of the 5 Ottolenghi books that the Food52 Cookbook Club included in their June 2017 selections from his repertoire. I talked a bit about that month in this post.

The following is a major cake fail. I burnt this cake to a crisp. No joke. I salvaged it, but it was bad. So I was a bit fancy with the camera angles so you can’t see what a patchwork job it was. I sawed off the top and carefully cut away the sides before brushing the syrup on. Sigh. I’m still not sure where I went wrong with the oven temperature.

I needed a gluten free cake. I’ve dabbled a bit in gluten free baking and I thought that given that a large portion of this cake batter was almond meal, it would probably work with substituting the plain flour for gluten free flour 1:1. It worked a treat! I just had my oven too hot. But anyway…

The Clementine and Almond Syrup cake from Jerusalem is to die for.  The recipe is online, so I implore you to try it! To have had such a massive issue with the baking and to have still ended up with a superbly moist cake is a testament to how beautiful this recipe is. Clementines aren’t in season in Australia at the moment, but I have a fruit drawer full of oranges that need to be used so I just went with that. I used Grand Marnier in the chocolate icing instead of straight Cognac. No big change, but a change nonetheless.

We ended up cancelling our plans so this cake never made it past the test kitchen. We’ve rescheduled for next week though so I’m keen to make it again to see if it’s just as good if I don’t burn it. Aaron called it one of the nicest cakes I’ve made and that is really saying something. I can’t wait for our gluten free friend to try it!

Food52 Genius Recipes: “Use a Spoon” Chopped Salad

We were invited to a BBQ over the weekend and they asked us to bring a salad – for months now I’ve been wanting to try the chopped salad from Food52 Genius Recipes (the book the Cookbook Club went through in December) and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. So off I went in search of all the ingredients and once I found them (it took me 3 different shops thanks to the scarcity at the moment of Savoy cabbage and radicchio) I set Aaron to the task of constructing this gorgeous and colorful salad.

It’s made by quick pickling some vegetables (celery and carrots and red capsicum), then once they’re ready, draining them and combining them with the remaining vegetables (cucumber, radicchio, rocket and cabbage) and apple and making a sauce from some of the leftover vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Then you finish the salad with goat cheese and toasted slivered almonds.

I’m usually opposed to eating radicchio but in this salad the bitter notes balance so well with the other flavours that I actually liked it. Aaron similarly is not a huge fan of rocket but enjoyed it in this salad. It was the perfect salad for the summer night bbq and we will definitely make this again. The only warning I feel is necessary: the vinegar smell wafts through the whole house during the pickling stage. It actually made me worry that the whole salad was just going to taste like vinegar. But it didn’t and the smell passes. And now to devour the leftovers!

Marmalade Meatballs from Dinner: Changing the Game

One of the things that I’ve absolutely loved about being a part of Food52’s online cooking clubs is discovering recipes that we would never have found otherwise that have become a family favourite.

Take the marmalade meatball recipe from Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game that we found when the Cookbook Club was going through her book last August. We make a double recipe of these meatballs quite regularly and they are devoured by everyone in our house. And at first glance, the meal does not sound all that normal.

The recipe itself is fairly straight forward: beef mince mixed with breadcrumbs (we use wholemeal breadcrumbs made from leftover bread ends rather than panko), green onions, egg, garlic, ginger, allspice, salt and pepper…and anchovies…we don’t buy anchovies regularly so haven’t bothered to put them in yet, but we do eat them on pizza or in caesar salad so we aren’t opposed to them, it’s just a convenience thing. Ball them and cook them then pour over a glaze made from orange marmalade, cider vinegar, soy sauce and red chile flakes that literally takes 2 minutes to make. And the flavours just sing together.

We like to serve them with mashed potato as suggested by Clark alongside some sort of green vegetable, usually peas and green beans. We seriously have this at least once a fortnight and afterwards we’ll say we should make it more often still. I think one of these days I’ll have to branch out and try some of her other meatball recipes – there are at least 3 others!

Made in India: Vegetarian Curries and Naan

Tonight we feasted! And I really do mean feasted. It’s been a while since I’ve had my hands on Made in India, I checked it out from our local library in October when Cookbook Club was working through it, but haven’t been able to get it back out since. Now that it’s finally come back around to me at the library, it seemed appropriate that I do a bit of cooking from it, and what better way to start than a vegetarian curry feast.

What we made:

Junjaro – this is a kidney bean curry and when I saw how simple it was to make it seemed like a no brainer, especially since my daughter loves chilli con carne, especially because of the kidney beans. But of course she wouldn’t try it…she’s contrary like that…but the rest of us really enjoyed it. You fry an onion with some cumin seed and a cinnamon stick, and some garlic, ginger, chilli and spices, tomato paste, the kidney beans (I used cans) and some water and let it get saucy.

Inda nu shaak – this is a coconut milk egg curry and it was the most complex of the 3 curries we made because we had to hard boil eggs. Yeah, it was really that hard. You fry off some onions, add garlic, tamarind paste and some spices, dilute it with coconut milk and water (I used a 400 mL tin of lite coconut milk rather than 300 mL of coconut milk and 100 mL water) and add the eggs when they’re boiled and peeled and sliced. The sauce in this one was lovely and sweet and was so nice to soak up with a piece of naan or a spoonful of rice.

Chana Masala – chickpea and tomato curry. Similarly you fry off onions, add garlic, ginger and chilli, this time a can of tomatoes and tomato paste, the spices and then the chickpeas (again from cans). This was probably my least favourite of the 3 curries, but I think that’s because it wasn’t very saucy.

Aunty Harsha’s Naan – the naan, oh my goodness, the naan. So when I got home from picking the kids up from school, I mixed the dough which is a basic bread dough in terms of ingredients, but with yogurt and milk in it, and then after it was kneaded I put it in a covered oiled container to rise until doubled. Then we just split it into 12 portions, flattened it with our hands and used our flat electric grill to cook them. I was so shocked that it actually worked and was distinctly naan bread. Aaron asked if we’re planning to make naan everyday when he found out that the prep time before cooking was only about 5 minutes.

We served everything with plain basmati rice and still have plenty of leftovers for Aaron to take to work for lunch over the next few days. I’m so glad we powered through to make this meal, because to be honest today was an exhausting one, but when you look at everything we made, the hands on time was really not that long at all. This book continues to impress me and next time I think I’d really like to try some meat curries and some of the chutneys…oh and did you know there are some really interesting sounding desserts in there, too?!!

Throwback Thursday: Ham, Pear & Blue Cheese Quiche from My Paris Kitchen

Throwback to July 2017 when Food52 Cookbook Club was going through David Lebovitz’s book, My Paris Kitchen. It was such a pleasure to cook through this book and every recipe I try has been mind blowingly delicious. I checked it out from the library again recently (although I do own the Kindle version) and couldn’t believe I had not thought to look there for apricot recipes, including a recipe that uses the apricot pits that littered our house and backyard for over a month. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to try that next summer! I think this may be one of those books that you pick up and find something new each time you read it.

But today I’m going to share with you one of our favourites, that I could eat any day of the week – David Lebovitz’s ham, pear and blue cheese quiche. I’m only a recent convert to blue cheese so have been quite keen to try any recipe that features it. The flavour combination in this quiche really intrigued me and it is such a happy feeling when you try something that you are curious but skeptical of and it turns out brilliant. That is this quiche for me.

The pastry is a combination of cornmeal and flour with butter and egg. It’s mixed in a mixer then formed into a disc and refrigerated. When I rolled it out the first time it fell apart and so in future attempts I always just shape it into the tart pan with my fingers and then refrigerate it, no rolling needed.

The filling is pretty much as the title of the recipe suggests along with the basics of a quiche – eggs, cream, blue cheese and cream cheese, some cooked shallots (lately I’ve taken to just throwing in a cup of fried shallots because I bought too many at the Asian grocer and have no other use for them), seasoning, herbs, chopped ham and pear.  Bake it for about an hour until it’s set and eat up! (One thing I need to remember but always seem to forget is that the quiche seems to brown on top really quickly and so never looks as nice as the picture in the book – I think it should probably be covered with foil until the last few minutes of cooking to prevent that.)

I usually choose nights to make this based on what leftovers we have in the fridge. My younger two aren’t too keen on this dish but us older 4 love it so we easily eat the whole thing between us. Is it weird if I want to make this two nights in a row?!!