Tuesday, October 28, 2008

brief thoughts

I am on a quest.
Perfect apple teacake. It is such an art!

The old-fashioned apple cake, I reckon, is not often done really well. When it is, it is impossible to beat.

The best I have had was in a quaint little cafe in the far-out hills.. Kallista Tea Rooms, I think. It was still warm when I saw and pounced (What's that cake there?) and we had had a delicious lunch with fairly poor service.. debating whether or not to bother getting cake/coffee afterwards, and SO glad am I; we'd decided not to when I saw this ugly beauty. The cake was collapsing on itself, sinking in the middle as it sat, and the piece we had fell apart, melting in our mouths. More apple than gooey cake, it was lazily punctuated with sultanas, so sweet, just the right amount, and oh... had disappeared.
When we got the bill, they gave us the cake on the house, wisely recommending we remember them not for the poor service we'd had that day (my aunt, a regular, said it was unusual) but for the cake. Worked on me!

My attempts so far have been well received but I will not rest until I find the One.

I was too lazy to take photos, but I made Lucy's Apple and Olive Oil cake from Nourish Me - that was good, I'll make it again.
And this Jewish one from Smitten Kitchen. Nice, but I want it moister.

On we go. I made banana cake today because the spotty bananas were there. Thankyou, Andrew McConnell, genius man.

Anybody got a worthwhile apple teacake? I'm wondering if it's going to take some walnut meal and/or yoghurt...

The List
Clotilde's Gateau de Mamy from Chocolate and Zucchini
Women's Weekly - will have something

To be cont...!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

ricotta, leftovers, and other fun things

Hey reader. It's been a while between posts, I know, on a not-very-frequently updated blog. And I have been exceptionally busy lately, leaving not much time for eating, let alone cooking and going to exciting food places!

But I did get very excited the other day, about ricotta. It is just the best stuff and I can't seem to get enough of it, especially after I had some incredible simple spinach and ricotta agnolotti done just perfectly with the right tomato sauce at Vegie Bar a month or two ago. Spinach and ricotta. Ricotta in cakes. On top of turkish bread with avocado and lemon scented oil at Kanteen on the Yarra (technically that was cottage cheese, but oh so good).
Fetta has made an appearance too; lucky enough to have a day at home the other day, after my family had had roast lamb without me the night before... I got to make this Donna Hay-modelled salad I've been eyeing off over at Kitchen Wench. Roasted sweet potato and tomato, almonds, leaves, marinated fetta, and the dressing features that apple cider vinegar I've been meaning to get around to using. Thanks, Ellie!

Tonight I have finally dragged myself all the way upstairs to get my camera and cord and then all the way back down again to import photos. It was worth it, too.

Anyway. The other day after a long hot bike ride in the sun, a friend and I went to this amazing fruit shop where we got some amazing yoghurt and in their amazing fridge there was some Mamma Lucia ricotta! I got two tubs because I've been wanting to make a cassata out of Good Weekend a few.. months ago, and wasn't sure how much it needed.
There hasn't been enough time to put into the making of the caking and the filling and all, so this I made instead when I saw that the use by date was soon:
Ricotta, honey, rosemary and pine nut tart.
SOOOO much better the next day. delicious baked cheesecake goodness. I think I am becoming a cheesecake person. Hmm, no, more that I have discovered baked cheesecake. (If you have a good recipe for white/dark chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate crust, by the way, let me know. I tasted one - evilly good - in the Blue Mountains and am on the hunt.)

Also recently, lemon yoghurt cake, (no photos yet, alas and alack) thankyou very much Brigitte Hafner, legend I love to read in the paper. Saw the recipe flicking through a Spring recipe book in a bookshop in the Blue Mountains. Semolina, lemon, yoghurt, almonds, syrup, you were meant for me and I was meant for you, so I tracked you down on the internet. Poetry if ever there was!

Rehearsals, shows, assignments, cars, trains, lessons, sandwiches, pianos, books, makeup, bike rides, phone queues, and my diary, used so much that the cover has fallen off. That is my life at the moment. And occasional blog lurking.
Hope your life is fun, even if it too is ridiculously busy at this mental time of year. Send me a comment or a post!