Thursday, August 23, 2012

Au Revoir

Finally, I am on my way. After what seems a never ending amount of deadlines, I'm in the airport lounge, about to jump on the plane and commence my gastronomic assault on Paris. 

But nothing happens without a hitch.... few stressful moments before the flight - missing passports, bag weighing far more than it should etc etc.

This was my Sous Chef Molly seriously unimpressed that she hasn't been invited on the trip taking my bag hostage while I was trying to pack.

Guilt trips aside, my computer decided to take an early break, and this may have been me, earlier today, at the MAC help desk on George St. For a proper mental picture, replace the SJP killer hair, outfit and pearls with dark circles under the eyes, panic, tears and swearing... lots of swearing.

So to the deadlines I didn't meet thanks to my little glitch....

And in theme for my impending research, Julia wonderful Julia. I stumbled across this while reading some of her birthday tributes - she would have been 100 years this month. So Happy Birthday Jules. If only cooking shows were more like this - I think more people would watch them. Hilarious, and real and natural.

Posting may be a little intermittent while I am away but I will do my best.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An Accidentally Marvelous Dessert

I may have tempted fate and pushed my luck with the weather. This is a dessert for the warmer months, or one for right now if, like me, you enjoy eating cold desserts in the cold. Wrapped in a blanket of course. Macaron honeycomb with chocolate granita. Its quite delightful.


To say I devised macaron honeycomb would be a lie. Honestly I happened to be making honeycomb while scoffing down a macaron, and amidst my inability to multitask, I dropped the macaron into the honeycomb. And voila. A happy accident.
I thought for sure it would melt and become a weird almond-tasting puddle in the middle of the honeycomb but the macaron held its shape beautifully.  The best bit is you get this pop of colour, a soft texture and fruity taste in the middle of the crunch – its brilliant. I’ve added it to a chocolate granita here to serve as a dessert and it works best when you use an assortment of brightly coloured and quirky flavoured macarons. It’s actually out of this world with licorice macarons if you can get your hands on them.
145g dark chocolate
200ml milk
120g caster sugar
65g corn syrup
540ml water
50g cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
½ cup honey
60ml (4 tbsp) water
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp bicarbonate soda
12 macarons (various flavours)
For the granita combine the milk, sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and working quickly whisk in the cocoa powder. Add the chocolate and stir continuously until melted. Allow to cool then pour into a container and freeze until required.
For the honeycomb, grease and line an edged baking tray with baking paper. Place the macarons onto the lined tray and set aside.  Combine the sugar, honey, water and golden syrup in a saucepan. Place over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring, for 5-7 minutes or until the syrup reaches crack stage (154°C) on a sugar thermometer. Remove from heat and set aside for bubbles to subside. Add the bicarbonate of soda and quickly stir until combined and the mixture begins to foam. Pour over the macarons on the tray and set aside to cool completely. Break into bite size pieces.
Remove the granita from the freezer and using a fork, scrape the top of the granita to form shards. Scoop the shards into serving bowls, top with pieces of macaron honeycomb and serve.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tomato Tart Tartin plus winner of giveaway

Glazed, slightly sweet and oozing with flavour, this tarte tartin is what most tomatoes want to be when they grow up.

The tarte tartin, no matter its format, is one of those dishes with a charming but dubious heritage. Rumour has it that StĂ©phanie Tatin, a proprietor of a provincial French hotel, left apples for a pie cooking on the stove for too long. Alerted to her error by the smell of burning, the quick-thinking Madame attempted to rescue the situation by covering them with pastry and baking the pie anyway. "After turning out the upside down tart," Wikipedia claims, "she was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert." Party pooper Larousse Gastronomique quells the mystique of this little anecdote with the facts - "the upside-down tart, made with apples or pears, is an ancient specialty of Sologne and is found throughout OrlĂ©anais." I’m sticking with the Madame as I feel my cooking often falls into the category of trying to pass off a mistake as something special.

Slow roasting the Roma tomatoes imparts a sweeter, deeper flavour to the tart and is something I strongly recommend doing. I used puff pastry but really the choice is yours. With Julia Child and Larousse leading the short crust party, pitted against the might of Raymond Blanc and wannabes such as myself in the puff camp, it’s an ever-raging battle – so really whatever is on hand will do.

1kg roma tomatoes, halved
3-4 sprigs thyme plus extra to serve
2tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
3 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tbsp. brown sugar
Persian fetta to serve

Preheat the oven to 125C.
Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and thyme in bowl until well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes, cut side up and in 1 layer for 2 hours.
In a small bowl whisk the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the roasted tomatoes and toss gently to coat.
Turn the oven heat up to 190.
Layer the tomatoes cut side up over the base of 1 large fry pan or alternatively 4 individual crepe pans also works well for individual serves. Spoon over the balsamic syrup. Cut the puff pastry slightly larger than the diameter of the base of the fry pan you use. Gently place the pastry over the tomatoes, tucking in the edges around the circumference of the pan. Cook in the oven for 10 -15 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden.To serve, gently invert the tarte onto a plate. Add a spoonful of Persian fetta, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over a few fresh thyme leaves. Serve hot.

And a congrats to Sophie for winning the prize - lucky you. The Chinese Heritage Cookbook surely is brilliant. Sophie please DM me your details to

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Death by Chocolate in a double chocolate marsbar kind of way....

Double Chocolate Marsbar Biscuits

A girlfriend of mine, who very inconveniently skipped off to Berlin like the creative wonder child that she is, creates possibly the most epic mars bar biscuits in existence. She keeps the recipe written down in the safe house of her mind, making it a little difficult for the rest of us to replicate the magic. So I’ve gone out on a limb and made my own here for the column this week. I’d be lying if I said these biscuits were anything other than a chocolate assault. With a combo of white chocolate, dark chocolate and salt sprinkled mars bar, they are sustaining in a fortify-the-soul kind of way. They are one of those rare food groups that go equally well with a glass of milk as they do a glass of red; and I can attest to both.
If you don’t have corn syrup (I’ve added it here because I like equal parts crunch and chewiness in my biscuit) just replace in equal weight with brown sugar.
This dough can also be frozen for future use. I am in awe of anyone with the kind of discipline to employ this option, if you are one of these people, I think I would rather like to meet you. I think I need proof they/you exist.
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g butter, softened
160g brown sugar
20g corn syrup
150g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
100g white chocolate
100g dark chocolate
2 mars bars, sliced
A generous pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Add the eggs and vanilla to a separate bowl and whisk lightly to combine. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the corn syrup and beat briefly to combine before sifting over the dry ingredients. Stir gently to incorporate then add the chunks of chocolate. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into biscuit shapes and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Gently press a slice of mars bar into the centre of each biscuit and sprinkle over a little salt.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray before consuming en masse.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chipotle Pork Sausage Rolls with Cognac BBQ Sauce

For some reason the good old “rat coffin” has, in many circles, been deemed a bit pedestrian; the foodstuff of bogans wolfed down on suburban street corners, or the carrier of tomato sauce at birthday parties for those under four foot.  But I’d like to advise an amendment. It’s time to move over sandwich. You may be meat between bread but an s.roll is meat lovingly embraced by pastry. Isn’t that just unstoppable?

I decided to take this genius to new heights of tasty for my  Daily Life post this week by combining the wood chipped heathen goodness of cognac with the smoky delights of chipotle; making this version either the perfect warm up with cocktails, or as I prefer it, the main event. Seriously these were inhaled in my household the moment they came out of the oven.

The bbq sauce can be made ahead and stored for a few weeks in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge. Like bacon it seems to make everything taste better.
Slather it on anything and everything from your breakfast eggs to your lunchtime ham sandwich.

Olive oil
1 red onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and pepper to season
500g pork mince
2 dried chipotle chillies, softened in water, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 egg
1 sheet puff pastry

Egg wash
1 egg + 1 tbsp milk lightly whisked together.

Cognac BBQ Sauce
250g plum jam
2 heaped tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup tomato passata
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp cognac
Salt and pepper to season

For the bbq sauce, add all ingredients to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until thickened. Allow to cool.  Place in a sterile screw top jar and store in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 190C.
Place a fry pan over high heat. Add a lug of olive oil and cook the onion and garlic until softened and fragrant. Remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool. Add the mince, chipotle, coriander and egg to the bowl. Using your hands mix the ingredients in the bowl, quite forcefully until completely combined.
Cut the sheet of pastry into six rectangles. Place the pork mince down the length of a piece of pastry and roll the pastry tightly to secure, pressing down the edge of pastry to seal.  Repeat with remaining mixture and pastry.
Place the sausage rolls, sealed side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush over the egg wash then cook in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until brown and crisp, and cooked through. Serve hot with the bbq sauce.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Winner and more giveaways

Yeesh...after many entries and only one winner I felt awful so luckily I have another wee giveaway for you all again today. Part of the prize is a copy of Chinese Heritage Cooking - a collaborative effort between Singaporean food wonders Amy Van and  Christopher Tan. The dishes look (and are) amazing and what I really love is the glossary of ingredients - the photos really help your awareness of the ingredients that go into this fantastic cuisine; which is, I might add, a world away from the msg laden takeaway that unfortunately has left a bad taste in the mouthes of many. Lucky for us, Amy has shared a few of her recipes as has local chef Alvin Tan for a bit of an Asian spectacular. I'll be posting more from Amy's book soon - but if you can't wait - jump onto Amazon to purchase.

Ok so the winner of last week's comp for a copy of Kitchen Coquette, Jim Hearn's High Season and a KC inspired tea towel was picked at random and is Emma/Splash of Vanilla. Congrats, please email your info to me so I can get them out to you.

Missed out but want to try your luck again?
This week we are giving away a copy of Chinese Heritage Cooking, another copy of Kitchen Coquette and a few other surprises.

To win, follow any (or all) of the options below

(1) Like Kitchen Coquette on Facebook and leave a comment on this post to win.If you already like Kitchen Coquette on Facebook, just leave a comment on todays post.

(2) Pin it! Pin your favourite recipe from this blog on pinterest with #kcoquette in the subject line

(3) Leave a comment on this post.

Good luck!