A tale of two best friends on opposite sides of the world and their quest to cook everything from
Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cook's Companion'

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday, and the day before the beginning of Lent on the Roman Catholic calendar. Mum always used to make us crepes for Shrove Tuesday when I lived with her, and it’s something I really haven’t kept up for the past couple of years – more laziness on my part, I suppose. This year however, I decided to make crepes for breakfast. Honestly, I don’t really like pancakes all that much, I find them far too dense and quite bland. I do love crepe
s though. Mum always had the Bessemer crepe maker, and I have fond memories of helping her cook stacks of crepes to make her delicious pancake lasagne.

Last night, I mixed the batter, and t
hen refrigerated it overnight. This made it easier in the morning to cook them up. Texture-wise, the batter was still fine, I just gave it a quick whisk before I cooked them. The batter made about 10 or so crepes, but who can count when you’re demolishing them as fast as you can cook them? The mixture is about the same consistency as Mum’s recipe, but I don’t think Mum puts butter in hers. The butter in the batter meant that the non-stick pan definitely didn’t need any butter on it. I also found that they were quite easy to flip, which was fun at 6:45am!

I like to eat my crepes with a squeeze of lemon and a sp
rinkling of sugar, which is exactly what we did this morning. It was a pleasant way to start the working day. This year, hubby and I have decided to ditch the soft drinks for Lent. Let’s see how we go for the next six weeks. Bring on Easter, I say!
Crepes – Master Recipe (Printable Recipe)
adapted from Stephanie's Crepes, pg 42

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Passionfruit and Coconut Sponge Fingers

sponge fingers

A friend recently mentioned to me that she had tried to make some lamingtons and had a great deal of trouble making the sponge. She said it turned out ‘like an omelette with sugar on top’, which did not sound very appealing. I had never tried to make a sponge before and with a glut off eggs in the fridge, I thought it was a perfect chance to give one a go.

I found that the sponge worked out very well, and while it did smell a little ‘eggy’ cooking in the oven, it did not thankfully, taste like and omelette when cooked. With the idea of lamingtons planted firmly in my head, I thought that would be a great way to use the sponge. I failed to remember that I had given away all my cocoa, so the sponge instead became coconut and passionfruit sponge fingers. I used up some passionfruit curd lurking in the fridge and made a simple coconut icing for the top with desiccated coconut, icing sugar and water.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Middle-Eastern Baked Fish With Garlic & Coriander, Carrot Salad and Lentil & Coriander Salad.

On the menu at the MacPerri house tonight was a Middle-Eastern feast. Fortunately, none of it took terribly long to cook, as the in-laws were coming over for a coffee after dinner. I raced to the shops after work, brought home some fish and other fresh ingredients for dinner, and whipped up dinner within the hour. Considering that until about lunchtime today, I had no idea what I was going to cook, but I was happy with my choices today. We had to reset the server at work today, so in the downtime I quickly flipped through Stephanie and found the fish dish I wanted to cook. Once that was sorted, I thought it would be nice to have salad with it, considering the hot, sticky, humid Melbourne weather we've endured this week. I didn't feel like anything too heavy, so I settled on the warm carrot salad and a lentil salad. Fortunately, hubby has grown to love legumes, so there are no complaints from him when it comes to eating these days.

The Middle-Eastern Carrot salad (side margin of p224) was easy to prepare, and I got to use one of my favourite kitchen gadgets - the mortar and pestle. All I did was roast a handful of cumin seeds, and then crushed them with some garlic and a good quality salt. I then added some extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. In the meantime, I sliced the carrots and cooked them in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Then I drained the carrots, tossed them into the dressing, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste and threw in a handful of chopped coriander. The recipe also called for roasted pepitas on top, but I just used raw ones. I enjoy the flavour of those anyway, so I thought I didn't want to burn them and run the risk of them turning rancid!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Crab balls and Asian Salad with Soy and Tamarind dressing

crab balls

I initially thought that we wouldn't start this blog until I was already on the other side of the world, but once I set it up I was itching to get going.

While we still don't have our flights booked or visas approved, we think dday is in about one month! With this in mind, I have been happily emptying the pantry and trying to use up our stockpile of ingredients. Tucked away in the pantry I found 3 cans of crabmeat. I'm not sure that this is the kind of crab that Stephanie had in mind, but I was willing to give it a go. The original recipe makes 4 crab cakes coated in the breadcrumbs, but I had a bit of trouble shaping the mixture into patties so crab balls it became.

The meal itself was light and refreshing for a hot summer night, but substantial enough to fill me up. The crab balls were golden and crunchy, with a slightly bitter taste to the crumb from the butter. They had a strong crab flavour, which I think was more to do with the canned crab than anything else. The salad was fresh and crunchy and contrasted nicely with the softness of the crab balls.

Crab Balls (Printable Recipe)
adapted from Stephanie's Crab Cakes, pg 360
Makes 16 balls, enough for 2 for a light, summer dinner