Easter eating

Easter represents a much-needed break for many. A shack up the river or over on Yorkes. Camping in the Flinders. Rugged up beach walks.

If you’re not one of the lucky, it’s an opportunity for stress-free entertaining, casual but tasty eating making the best of the autumn produce around.

I’m starting to think about Easter menus and dishes.

What would be on your shopping list?

Leg of lamb? Whole chicken. Seafood for Good Friday?

Rhubarb and new stone fruits such as plumbs? Oranges?

These Nigel Slater Easter recipes, while designed with the northern hemisphere’s Spring season in mind, got me thinking.

I think they’re transferable – sort of trans-seasonal – as they’re not too summery yet.

I’ve also discovered this young American chef, Amy Thielen; her cooking show and book are called Heartland Table. I like the sound of this recipe, Greens with Spiced Butter and Ricotta (although I think I might short-cut with good shop bought ricotta).

I usually make Honey and Orange Madeleines with chocolate sauce (thanks to chef Karen Martini) at some stage over the Easter weekend. Do you have favourites or traditions for your Easter cooking? Please share.

This weekend, I’m road-testing a new recipe for Easter – a plumb and almond tart made with polenta pastry. If it works, I’ll share it.

Honey and Orange Madeleines with chocolate sauce. Source: goodfood.com.au

Love's like a butterfly ......

J'adore butterflies. Live ones fluttering in the garden; dead ones pinned behind glass; metal ones - one of my favourite necklaces is a silver butterfly from Witchery, that I've had for years.

No surprise then I've a tad obsessed with this new season collection video from the house of Valentino. It might also have something to do with the soundtrack - Artie Shaw's Stardust. He was a legendary US clarinetist and big band leader. You'd know his recording of Cole Porter's Begin the Beguine. I'm partial to big band music from the 1930s-40s - Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller is a fave. Going to listen to Stardust all day.

Watch the video here - I'll have the olive satchel, please.

Valentino butterfly shoulder bag

Valentino shoulder/satchel bag SS2015

 

 

In the soup

Two kinds of gazpacho courtesy The New York Times

Two kinds of gazpacho courtesy The New York Times

I love soup – making it and eating it. 

Almost all soups especially veggies (except pumpkin – cos it repeats on me unfortunately) but chicken, prawn and duck too.

Spicy, creamy or clear – really there’s never a wrong time to eat a soup.

So while we’re feeling chilly here in Adelaide, they’re feeling the heat in New York, which is why the New York Times Magazine has featured a food spread on cold soups. All variations on gazpacho

They’re so pretty to look at and sound so delicious. 

The best gazpacho I’ve eaten was for lunch in Madrid, the summer of ’89. The restaurant was not far from our hostal, the waiters wore traditional white and long aprons. It was bright red and served with crunchy fresh bread.

I plan to give all of these a go this coming summer. Check out the recipes here.

Left to right: Avocado and Pea; Cucumber, Grape & Hazelnut; and Kale and Olive.

Left to right: Avocado and Pea; Cucumber, Grape & Hazelnut; and Kale and Olive.

Left to right: Romesco Style; Grilled Gazpacho; and Tomato, Radish & Tortilla.

Left to right: Romesco Style; Grilled Gazpacho; and Tomato, Radish & Tortilla.


25 shades of yellow

J'adore jaune.  

I've been sitting on this post for a while but given there's a hint of sun and more to come, it seemed appropriate.

Friends and family would probably say my favourite colours are pink and red, when actually they're yellow followed closely by a colour with the official trademark name Tiffany Blue. It's close to a robin egg's colour and is a produced by Pantone exclusively for Tiffany the jewellery company. Shades of aqua and turquoise come close and they just happen to go well with yellow.

My love of yellow starts with my front door - which is a lemony shade of yellow. I am more attracted to citrus shades of yellow rather than the golden variety. As one of my favourite bloggers Mark D. Sikes wrote in June: "Nothing say hello like yellow! sunny, fresh, warm  and chic! Instantly lifts, instantly brightens, instantly welcomes! lemon yellow, golden yellow, mustard yellow- whatever shade, hello yellow!"

For some time I've been collecting images on yellow to create a picture gallery and have just seen street style photographer Bill Cunningham's latest video on the New York Times.

Bill who has a canny knack for noticing street trends on Manhatten streets, has picked up on the popularity of yellow as an autumn hue especially among those lucky enough to attend the latest Spring Summer '14 collections showing in New York Fashion Week. 

Watch Bill's vid and enjoy my gallery. Splash out on a bit of yellow this weekend.

Bill Cunningham of the NY Times says "joyous sunflower colours were a favourite of many women during Fashion Week, on shoes and print dresses"  

Bill Cunningham of the NY Times says "joyous sunflower colours were a favourite of many women during Fashion Week, on shoes and print dresses"
 

Apples and customised doppelgängers

Apple. A fruit. A record label. A computer used by graphic designers.

Remember the first time you saw, let alone touched an Apple product?

Do you remember why Apple computers are called Macs? As in Macintosh?

green_apple_logo.jpg

Cousin Sarah is a graphic designer and we shared a house for more than a decade from 1992. She used an Apple at work.

So did the graphic designers at Messenger, where I worked. We had PCs, they had Macs. Graphic artists or designers were the only people I knew who worked on an Apple/Macintosh product.

In the late ‘90s, Sarah brought her own Apple into our home – a turquoise iMac. I remember looking at it as if it was alien. But soooo pretty.

Now I’m sitting here writing this on my MacBook Pro; I’m on my third iPad and iPhone. I look at iTunes and the App store more often than my washing basket.

For a while I was mostly buying books iBooks (and Kindle) until I discovered Diesel and Booktopia.

In 2013, Adelaide finally joined every other reasonably sized city and got it’s own Apple store. An early 21st century mark of maturity.

Apple founder the late Steve Jobs is the subject of a new Hollywood biopic, and is portrayed by Aston Kutcher. I’m no orphan when it came to being surprised by the casting.

Aston Kutcher as Steve Jobs. 

Aston Kutcher as Steve Jobs. 

One of my favourite websites, Into the Gloss, sums it up really well. The trailer is enticing. And Kutcher looks the goods.

I must admit I’m also looking forward to seeing Naomi Watts portray Princess Diana and Nicole Kidman do Princess Grace.  

Check out Into the Gloss’ top 37 biopic players in this slideshow and Aston's trailer here. And the Diana trailer here.

How many of these films have you seen?

 

Naomi Watts as Diana.

Naomi Watts as Diana.

Meat-free Monday: Sesame pastry cases with onion and pumpkin

This recipe is from nutritionist Janella Purcell, when she was on the LifestyleFood show, Good Chef, Bad Chef, with (MasterChef Australia's) Gary Mehigan in 2009. Monsieur D made them and they became a favourite – they could be an appetiser, entrée or main if served with a salad.

Sesame pastry cases with onion and pumpkin (pictured borrowed from muppyat.blogspot.com)

Sesame pastry cases with onion and pumpkin (pictured borrowed from muppyat.blogspot.com)

Ingredients


2 1/2 cups spelt flour
 (wholemeal will do)



1 cup toasted sesame seeds


1 cup sesame oil
 (we used only half a cup because it made the pastry less oily)



1 1/2 cups boiling water




2 tbls tamari
 (for pastry cases)

1 onion, finley sliced




500ml vegetable stock


1 tbls ginger juice


1 tsp tamari
 (for onions)



1 cup japanese (nap) pumpkin, cubed and steamed
 (any pumpkin will do)

1 packet of silken tofu




2 tbls shiro miso paste
 (optional)

1 tsp umeboshi or white wine vinegar

Method

For the cases, combine the dry ingredients and blend the wet ingredients separately. Mix together slowly then knead for a couple of minutes. It should be quite oily and elastic. Let pastry sit for 30 minutes under a dry cloth. Roll out pastry to 1cm thick, (you may need a little flour on the bench) then using a biscuit cutter fit into individual non stick muffin cases. Our recipe says to take at 180C for 10 minutes, our oven is fan-forced (I noticed she also suggests 200C for 15 minutes). The cases will harden once they cool.

Meanwhile, prepare your filling – put the onions in a pot with the stock, ginger juice and tamari. Bring to the boil then drop to a simmer until the liquid is evaporated. Meanwhile, blend your pumpkin together with the tofu and vinegar.

To assemble, put a little miso paste on the bottom of each case *** this is optional, I suggest trying out the miso, we left it out after the first time these were made because it was just too salty for our tastes. Fill the cases half way up with the onion mixture. Finally dollop each case with some of the pumpkin puree.

For presentation, you could sprinkle a few toasted sesame seeds on the top, or a few chopped herbs, such as coriander for colour.

Voila. Enjoy.

Going PUBLIC

It’s not really the done thing to write about Restaurant B when you’re supposed to be spruiking Restaurant A but hey, it’s my blog and I’ll wine if I want to. 

PUBLIC café/bar/restaurant opened in Waymouth St, Adelaide, in November 2012. I first ate at Public in July 2011. How is that so, you wonder? 

Public happens to be one of New York City’s best restaurants, awarded a Michelin Star last year. It was a memorable first of five nights of dining in New York on that trip and chosen by my sister Christine, who was living in Toronto at the time.

Memorable, not just for my first New York martini and the brilliant food of chef Brad Farmerie, but because after 28 hours of flying all the way from Adelaide, I opened the drink list to find they had Coopers Pale Ale and about four wines from South Australia, whites and reds, being poured. Even more were available by the bottle including Penfold's Grange. A recent check of the list online showed the SA presence hasn’t changed; you’ll find Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling 2008; Turkey Flat Grenache Shiraz, Barossa 2012; Tir Na N’Og, Grenache, 2008 McLaren Vale. If you want to check the other local wines on the list view it here.

So I recently returned to Public, this time Adelaide’s PUBLIC (their capitals not mine). A daytime café and a restaurant in Franklin St, it’s opened for dinner on Friday’s only.

The talented and now award-winning PUBLIC head chef Stewart Wesson. All photos: Russell Millard  

The talented and now award-winning PUBLIC head chef Stewart Wesson. All photos: Russell Millard

 

A group of PUBLIC’s friends and media were invited along to taste some of the dishes that head chef Stewart Wesson has devised for the restaurant and bar’s new “Freestyle Friday”.

It's worth noting at this point that a few nights later Wesson was named Restaurant Chef of the Year at the SA Restaurant & Catering Awards. Congratulations. 

House Cured Salmon on tapioca crackers

House Cured Salmon on tapioca crackers

Coffin Bay Oysters

Coffin Bay Oysters

Nobody could get enough on this night of his Potato Langos – fingers of Hungarian fried potato bread used to scoop up a refreshing dill and cheese dip. The House Cured Salmon, served with cubed cucumber and avocado on puffed tapioca crackers was a dainty mixture of soft and crunchy; the lemony dressed Coffin Bay oysters were so fresh and good that my companion Roxy dropped her default reaction to decline oysters and declared the one she had delicious. The fourth taster was rectangles of thin wagyu beef wrapped in pickled daikon. A new match for me and a great combination.

 

 

Wesson told us the “food blew me away” on his recent trip to Europe, to compete in the San Pellegrino Cooking Cup.“It’s all about sharing (over there) and that’s what I wanted to bring to (PUBLIC’S) Friday night food”. One meal in Copenhagen lasted six hours.

He said the overseas experience had taught him South Australians have access to amazing produce and that diners appreciated the interaction with the kitchen staff in establishments with open cooking areas.

PUBLIC owner Danielle Elia said Wesson had returned “bursting with ideas” for Friday nights and the philosophy that “good food deserves to be shared” which had set the tone for the new menu which consists of tasting plates, small and large.

Wesson has been joined in the kitchen by Melody Herbert, who recently worked alongside Peter Gilmore at Quay, in Sydney. Expect to see some decadent desserts at PUBLIC in future.

To find out more about PUBLIC, Freestyle Fridays and its menu, visit here.

 ***All the wonderful photographs accompanying this post are by the talented Russell Millard, a friend and former colleague. You can reach Rusty at his website here.