Monday, January 24, 2011

Tumble down.

I'm sorry blog, I've been neglecting you. It's not you, honest, but I've found someone else - or rather, something else - and it's taking away all my spare time!
I didn't mean too, I promise, but this new thing has something that I really like to do: look at nice pictures of things.

They call it, tumblr, and it seems like everyone is doing it these days.

But I promise, when I get back from holidays this week, I'll cook lots of nice things for you and post lots of nice pictures and I'll be super talkative.

But until then, if you like to look at nice pictures of pretty things, you can head over to my tumblr, where I've been hanging out a lot lately.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's pasta.

I don't have much to say about this. I mean, what else is there to say than this is pasta? It's an easy, tasty, weekday pasta dish that uses whatever you've got in the house. You could make it more saucy if you like, or leave it as it is.
I made this for a quick lunch for me and my lovely friend Alex, and then the next day, I ate it again. And I think it was even better cold, as a sort-of pasta salad.
But do whatever floats your boat, really.


Pasta with mushroom, tomato and olives. 

Serves 2-3

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, chopped
a big handful of olives
4/5 button mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, diced
half a red capsicum, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
a big handful of fresh parsley, diced
200g dried spaghetti
parmesan cheese, for grating.

Fry the onion, garlic and mushrooms in some olive oil until onion is soft and mushrooms are getting brown.
Add the tomatoes, olives and capsicum, and simmer for 5-7 mins.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of boiling, salted water until al dente.
When the pasta is done, stir a knob of butter through it.
Add the parsley to the tomatoes.
Mix the sauce through the pasta and top with parmesan and cracked pepper.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Something Tasty.

I guess it's been pretty quiet around here lately. But I've been doing things, ok? Not anything important, just things. And if we're being honest (and really, why wouldn't we be?), I miss posting when I'm not here. But I usually get all my kitchen inspiration on my days off, and since Christmas, I haven't had any days off. I've been doing things all the time (gosh, that makes me sound so popular!). Even though I've still been looking at recipes - and obviously I've still been making dinner for us everyday so that we don't get too thin - I just haven't had that real surge of inspiration to do any serious cooking.

So that's it. That's my story.

Except it isn't the end of the story, because today I had my first proper day off. And I decided to treat myself by making Something Tasty. Today's Something Tasty comes courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen, and is, by all accounts, a fitting title.
So here you have it: Cheesecake Brownies. They are sweet, but not too sweet; they are fancy, but not too fancy; and also, they're easy. So treat yourself. Think of it as a present from me to you. Don't worry, you can thank me later... (p.s. Forgive my bad photo, I ate all the brownies before I could take another photo. That's how good they are)

Cheesecake Brownie Recipe.
From Smitten Kitchen

When the recipe calls for the cream cheese to be "well softened" please try to do this, or your brownies will look sludgy (and delicious) like mine did. They'll still taste good, but you won't have a nice clean cheesecake layer, you'll just have chunks of cheesecakey bits throughout.

4 ounces unsalted butter, chopped
3 ounces dark chocolate (I used chips)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup plain flour

8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175C.
Line and grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler until just melted.
Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until combined.
Whisk in flour until just combined and pour into pan.

Whisk together cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth.
Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a butter knife.

Bake about 35 mins.

I think these brownies were better cold than they were warm, but you better try both, just to check.

[This song has nothing to do with brownies, but I saw Amanda Palmer play this song the other day at a festival, and she's amazing, and I do live in Tasmania, so it's totally relevant.]

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Salted Caramels.


Happy New Year!

I've been away for the past few weeks, so this is my first post since Christmas! I'm glad to be back.
How was your New Year's eve? Brent and I went to the Falls Festival in Marion Bay with some of our friends, and it looked a bit like this:
brent kirby ursula arie
And then Brent and I went on a trip to his shack up north for a week and it looked a bit like this:
So, I've had a very relaxed holiday and it's about time I finish posting my Christmas recipes (how slack that I didn't do it before).

(And in these really hard times we are facing, I think it's good to be able to be thankful for the holidays you can take. I wouldn't be surprised if the people of Queensland wish they were on holiday somewhere else at the moment.)

I made these salted caramels to give as gifts to my large family for Christmas, and they were pretty tasty. I had a bit of trouble with them though. The first recipe I used didn't work so well, and I ended up with a too salty mess of sweet, softly sticky caramels, which isn't really what I wanted. I don't think the instructions on the recipe were very instructive, if you know what I mean. I wanted chewy, not too hard-not  too soft caramels, that would travel well, and this recipe from Everybody Likes Sandwiches was perfect.
After one disaster, I finally got it right.

So I think you should face your candy fears and try this recipe. It's not that hard, promise! And it's totally rewarding. You'll definitely feel like Susie Housewife after making these.

Salted Caramels.
From Everybody Likes Sandwiches.

1 cup thin cream
5 tbs butter, diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup glucose syrup
1/4 cup water

Lightly grease some baking paper and line a square 23×23cm dish.
In a small saucepan, bring cream, butter, and salt to a boil. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, boil water, glucose and sugar, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Boil mixture (don’t stir!) until a deep caramel colour is reached, about 150C (300F). It the caramel isn't quite dark enough, you can cook it higher than this temperature.
Very slowly pour in cream mix (it will bubble up), stirring frequently over a rapid boil until caramel reaches around 120C (250F) on thermometer, about 10 minutes.
Pour into baking dish and cool for at least 2 hours. Cut into pieces and wrap in waxed paper.