Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Getting fat and supporting Borders at the same time. A how to guide...

On Sunday I treated myself to five new cookbooks:
  • She's leaving home- Monica Trapaga
  • At home and in the mood- Luke Mangan
  • Seasons- Donna Hay
  • Kitchen Garden Companion- Stephanie Alexander
  • Masterchef cookbook

A few of these had been on my wishlist for months so now that I have them it's a total overload of goodness.

Last night I set out to make dinner, dessert and accompanying drink all from 'At home and in the mood' but got sidetracked with the most scrumptious Chocolate Truffle puddings in the dessert section.

I think the major selling point was the Ferrero Rocher pushed into the centre of each pudding. Once cooked, these come out more like a souffle and are so light and fluffy it's like you're not eating anything at all. Which leads me to my next point...

When I say 'getting fat' I don't mean getting fat off the recommended serving size. I mean making oh, I don't know, TWELVE of said puddings from Luke Mangan's book and then eating all of them in a space of 12 hours.

The thing is, they're just too good NOT to eat. If any of you have been lucky enough (as I have on many occasions) to try the Toffee Souffle at Luke's Sydney restaurant, Glass, you will have an understanding of how good these are. These truffle puddings are fairly similar in taste, but obviously being a home cook and not a chef they're not up to the same standard...it's definitely something I will work on.

The drinks section of the book features a number of teas including Cranberry, Cinnamon and Pomegranate but I made the Ginger and lemongrass tea last night.
It is perfectly refreshing for a hot summer night watching Lleyton Hewitt get the shit smashed out of him by Roger Federer. But if you wish, you may also drink it on other occasions.

I'm a huge fan of ginger so I loved it, but if you're not too big on the kind of flavours Lemon grass and ginger provide, then perhaps serve with fresh lime juice/lime cordial or even a bit teaspoon of dissolved sugar (1tsp per glass). I found this worked well for a different, lighter taste.

My next mission is to attempt a modification of the BEST. MEAL. I'VE. EVER. TASTED.

13th August 2009. Tokyo, Japan. Me, alone in Salt (another Luke Mangan venture) eating Poached and pan fried beef on Celeriac puree with pickled orange. I wanted to order another one, but it's kind of socially unacceptable to order 2 main meals and I didn't want to look like a pig in front of myself, so I didn't. Lifelong regret.

But now, on page 187 of At home and in the mood there lies the recipe for Fillet of Wagyu, Parsnip Puree & Pickled Radish salad. Almost the same, yes?

I will let you all know how it goes if I don't die from happiness.

In the meantime I knocked up an Australia day feast of Barbecued Moroccan beef and cous cous from At home and in the mood and Lemon asparagus pasta from She's leaving home.

What's the Aussie day link? Well, the Lemon pasta turned out to be a delightfully green and gold patriotic dish (The green from the asparagus and parsley and the gold from the buttery, creamy onions and potato). I served it on some naff kangaroo-shaped pasta for a truly Aussie meal.

The Moroccan beef was Australianised due to the fact it was barbecued. 'Nuff said.

Some pics of the meal below:

The pasta looked the complete opposite of how it tasted. ie- it looked really gross. You work out the rest.

The beef was incredible. No seriously. I actually clapped when I finished eating. I just felt like I deserved a round of applause. I was missing a few ingredients from the cous cous (red onion and chilli) but I think I liked it with just the dates, dried apricots, almonds and coriander.

The sweetness of the dried fruit worked so well against the spiced marinade the beef had been soaking in all day. Such a perfect summer dish and huge results given the minimal output and preparation time.

So who else owns these books? Any favourite dishes so far? Any that you would recommend me to try immediately? Do you enjoy Monica Trapaga's Beatles reference?


  1. The pasta actually looks pretty good. I really love cooking as well but has to stop recently. WHY? Because my bf and I are gaining too much weight. 10kg in a year! Before meeting me, he survived on instant microwavable pasta.

    Hopefully we will become more active physically and then perhaps, I can return to making more goodies.

  2. I find I go through phases like that, too.
    Especially with baking.
    I always feel guilty baking a cake or two just so I have something tasty to eat.
    I end up polishing it off, feeling guilty and then not making another one for months!
    All about moderation I think...it's just trying to find the balance :D

  3. yummmm! dude, you need to have a dinner party! i want to try all your yummies! wish i had the energy to cook. i tried making tacos last night and after i chopped up all the tomatos and lettuce and stuff, i opened the packet and the tortiella's were moudly. eww. it is a nice metaphor for my talents in the kitchen.

  4. Hey there
    I loved that you made all of the puddings, and at them all in the space of 12 hours. Hooray!
    Great to read your blog. I am also a food lover.

  5. yummo!! I am addicted to cookbooks but haven't had a look at those ones yet. Definately will check them out next time i'm in Borders hanging out in the cooking section (thats where I always am!)


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