Throwback Thursday: Rolled pavlova with peaches & blackberries from Sweet

Throwback to December 2017, when Food52 Baking Club was going through Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh…so many beautiful desserts and so little time. I managed to make the yoyos and the gingerbread tiles, but figured I’d have to wait til after the silly season was over to return to the book. Well, with Australia Day being tomorrow I thought it was only fitting that I make a pavlova and this book has more than one to choose from!

I’ve never made a rolled pavlova before, but the recipe was really straight forward (see online version here), it’s just egg whites whipped with caster sugar and then 2 teaspoons each vanilla, white wine vinegar and cornflour. Spread it out on a sheet pan, mine was bigger than the recommended size and filled it to the brim and bake for 35 minutes. Even with the bigger pan mine started to overflow, but didn’t quite make it to spill in the oven, so all was well.

Spread over whipped cream, fruit and almonds and roll it up, then place the rest of the cream along the top with remaining fruit and almonds and enjoy! Hopefully you can’t tell from the picture what a mess it was, spilling out everywhere, but it was yum all the same.

I wished I’d had baking paper, but we ran out earlier this week and I haven’t made it to the shops for more so I lined my pan with foil instead. I think this caused the meringue to be a little wet on the bottom, but like I said just before, it was still yum!

Since I haven’t perfected the roll I think I will give this recipe another go at a later stage to see if I can do better. It was a real crowd pleaser and I reckon if it looked better it would have had a much bigger wow factor.

Throwback Thursday: 3 Easy Recipes from The Food Lab

Throwback to November 2017, when the Food52 Cookbook Club was tackling J Kenji Lopez-Alt’s epic first cookbook, The Food Lab. We absolutely loved this book, so much so that we perpetually have it on reserve at the library on both our library cards and whenever it’s our turn to have it checked out, we welcome it home with a little hug.

Several recipes from The Food Lab were highlights on our Thanksgiving table (including the broccoli cauliflower casserole, the green bean casserole, the cranberry sauce and I’m sure there were more) but we’ve also made several others (eg pasta alla Norma, eggs florentine, biscuits and gravy) and the list just keeps growing.

The recipes in his book vary between simple and complex and we love the science sections where he explains a different ingredient or technique in depth. Here I’m going to tell you about 3 of our favorite simple recipes…

The Fry Sauce: My gosh is it good. And dead simple. Seriously, you chuck stuff in a bowl and stir it together. The first time we made it we used the dill pickle juice, but decided we wanted the texture relish offers so ever since we replace it 1:1. On burger night we usually buy frozen chips that we cook in the oven, and it has now become our standard condiment that we serve with them.

Similarly, the garlic croutons: Kenji says to use a good quality bread loaf, but one night I needed a salad and all I had was lettuce, store bought dressings and cheeses in the fridge so I thought if I had croutons we could make a caesar style salad. The only bread I had left was frozen wholemeal bread ends that I normally use for breadcrumbs (or often end up as my breakfast or lunch, cos you know, I’m a mom and that’s how I roll) so I cut them up and tossed them through a mixture of oil and garlic and a few other seasonings and baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes and voila! They were so addictive I kept coming back hours after dinner had finished and ate every last one. So good!

Lastly, his maple sage breakfast sausage. This recipe has changed my world. No seriously. Australia knows nothing of American style breakfast sausage and they are the poorer for it. And I have for ages been lamenting not having Jimmy Deans here. We have this delicious breakfast casserole recipe that I usually make at Christmas and special occasions and I’ve explored a few alternatives in the past but never been too convinced until I tried using this. And if you just buy pork mince like I did and omit the bacon, it is seriously no more than mixing the ingredients by hand in a bowl and leaving it in the fridge to marinate before frying it off in a pan. Dead set it is the bomb. We’ve used this in his biscuits and sausage gravy recipe and once when we had leftover mince we turned it into sausage and biscuit breakfast sandwiches (again something we don’t get here in Australia) and I feel instantly transported to America when I’m feeling a bit homesick even after almost 19 years.

There you have it, three reasons to get your hands on The Food Lab, or at the very least, follow J Kenji Lopez-Alt’s The Food Lab column on Serious Eats.

Throwback Thursday: Cinnamon Rolls from Bravetart

Throwback to November 2017 when Food52 Baking Club tackled the new Bravetart book by Stella Parks and the recipe that caught my eye upon flicking through the book – cinnamon rolls! Or rather, recipesince if you count all the variations there are 8 varieties of cinnamon rolls you can make from the one base recipe. Now of course, I wasn’t going to do this back to back over the course of a month, the waistline is not that forgiving, but I’ve set myself the challenge to make every variety over the next 12 months for birthdays and certain holidays.

The base recipe is pretty simple for a cinnamon roll recipe – you combine some basic dry ingredients in your mixer bowl then melt some butter and stir through yogurt and milk to bring it down to a lower temperature (I’m guessing so you don’t kill the yeast) and then add it to the mixer bowl and knead until well combined and elastic (about 20 minutes). Then you put it in a well greased covered container and let it rise until doubled (about 90 minutes) before rolling out and filling with whatever filling you’ve chosen to make and then turning it into scrolls. What I love most about this recipe is that at this point you can refrigerate them and pull them out while the oven preheats the next morning so you can have fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast. The icing is easy as well, and Stella recommends you put it in a zip lock bag and cut the corner and squeeze the icing out all over the cinnamon rolls straight out of the oven.

These cinnamon rolls are sooooo light and fluffy and really aren’t as labor intensive as you might think. For my son’s 12th birthday I made the apple cinnamon variety (which can be seen in photo directly above and below) which replaces butter for the cream cheese in the icing and adds some apple to the filling. He loves apple anything and he was more than impressed with these!

Below are my two previous attempts from last year: the pumpkin variety for Thanksgiving breakfast…

…and my first attempt at the start of November, the basic cinnamon roll recipe to see if the endeavor would be worthwhile.

Stay tuned for the other 5 variations over the coming months. =)

Throwback Thursday: Cauliflower Cake from Plenty More

Throwback to June 2017 when Food52’s Cookbook Club took on Yotam Ottolenghi’s plethora of beautiful cookbooks, and everyone was making this intriguing looking Cauliflower Cake from Plenty More…not only did I do the same at the time, but I’ve made it probably 6 times since then because it is just that good!

The recipe can be found online here so I won’t go into any detail about the ingredients or method, but I’ll share how I have tweaked it slightly to make it a bit quicker and easier to throw together as a midweek meal.

Firstly, the cauliflower…

…I do not buy a fresh whole cauliflower, but instead a frozen 500g bag and I cook it in salted water in the microwave for 4 minutes before straining. This happens while I cook the onion (except for the reserved onion rings) with dried rosemary in a nonstick frypan.

My next change is that I add a grated pizza cheese blend instead of freshly grated parmesan to the egg/flour/onion/herb & spice mixture.

My last change is that I use spray oil to grease my casserole dish before sprinkling the seeds into it and rolling them around until they stick.

Then I simply pour the rest of the ingredients into the dish and place the reserved onion on top before baking.

It is such a delightful meal with a side salad and some fresh bread and it gets gobbled up every time without fail. Definitely worth returning to!