A tale of two best friends on opposite sides of the world and their quest to cook everything from
Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cook's Companion'

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcome Back Lidia / Wintery Pumpkin Soup

Hi Everyone, it's been such a long time since I've posted on this blog. Apologies all round. Finally, we are in the new house and unpacked, and the renovations are about to commence. My poor Stephanie book has hardly been touched, but it does take pride of place in my bookshelf with all my other cookbooks. Still using it regularly as a reference, but we have hardly had an opportunity to cook too much in the past month. Fortunately, I still had a recipe or two saved up my sleeve for when I had the time to post them.

This Pumpkin Soup recipe inspired me a bit. I love pumpkin soup ordinarily, but I have always liked spicy food, so the combination of the Asian flavours and spice, along with the creaminess of the pumpkin soup base and the coconut milk, well, I was in heaven. I have always found that adding spice to a soup intensifies the heat tenfold, I'm not sure why, but soups always taste extra spicy.

I made a few tweaks to the recipe (of course) but this was mainly because I wanted a lower in fat version, without compromising on taste too much. The main difference is that I chose to use good old Carnation Light and Creamy Coconut Milk instead of coconut milk. It's only about 3% fat, and it adds the delicious hint of coconut without the heaviness of regular coconut milk. For a weeknight dinner, it's important to keep the fat content reasonably low, otherwise I would be the size of a house!

Allan & Michele's Asian Inspired Pumpkin Soup (Printable Recipe)
adapted from Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion, pg 800

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Strawberries on my mind

Choco Hazelnut dip

Before coming to the UK, I thought the only fruit and veg you could get here were potatoes, carrots, apples and pears. Boy was I wrong! The selection of fruit and veg is fantastic, even at the supermarkets and there is a great range of organic prduce too!


Summer is in full swing, and luckily for me, so is strawberry season! The selection of varieties available is fantastic and I have not yet been disappointed. I can walk in to some supermarkets and smell them from the door. We have been eating kilos and kilos of them and I'm sure the baby will be quite the strawberry fan too, given the amount of them I have been eating. They seem to come a lot smaller here than back in Melbourne, which I like as they're super sweet and picture perfect. This is a quick fruit dip that I whipped up to enjoy with some strawberries on a picnic.

Chocolate Hazelnut Dip for Fruit
makes about 2/3 cup

1/3 cup Nutella
100g fromage frais

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Apple and Blueberry Muffins

Apple and Blueberry Muffins

Lately, the blueberries have been in abundance and nice and cheap, so I thought I'd make some muffins for snack time. I like muffins that aren't too sweet...that's what cupcakes are for. That way, you can have them for breakfast or afternoon tea without feeling like you've indulged too much. I only managed to get 11 muffins out of the recipe, but I think my cupcake cases are bigger than the average.

Apple and Blueberry Muffins (Printable Recipe)
adapted from Stephanie's Basic Muffins, pg 40
makes 12

240g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 tbsp honey
1 apple
125g blueberries
raw sugar, optional

Friday, June 4, 2010

Picnic Time

Bacon and Onion Quiche

The weather has warmed up a bit lately, so one afternoon I decided we should embrace the British way, and while we didn't sunbake in our underwear in a public place, which is apparently not at all weird, we went on a picnic in the local park. I went to the shops and picked up a picnic rug and other supplies and then went home to make our dinner. Being pregnant can make picnic food a little tricky, so I settled on a quiche which was still warm from the oven when we sat down on the new rug to devour it. We had the quiche with potato salad, green salad and some fresh fruit for dessert. This recipe is only very loosely based on a recipe from Stephanie, as I wasn't really sure where to start, but the ingredients are quite different.

Bacon and Onion Quiche (Printable Recipe)
adapted from Stephanie's Quiche Lorraine, pg 114
Serves 6

2 medium onions
olive oil
6 thick rashers bacon
375g puff pastry, thawed ready to use
6 eggs
2 tbsp milk

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

en Français

Laduree macarons

The blog has been very quiet for the past few weeks, and with good reason. Lidia has moved house so aside from the fact that all her cooking gear has been packed in boxes, she also has no internet. I have been travelling a bit, which has meant I have not been doing my blog homework. Hubby went back to Melbourne for 2 weeks on business and while he was gone, I went up to visit the family. Last weekend we went to Paris, which had been booked for a while. We met up with hubby's cousin and her husband on their honeymoon. It was an action packed weekend with a lot of tourist attractions squeezed in, but we made time for more culinary escapades. I managed to get to a few cookware shops and bought a madeleine tin. They're such iconic little French cakes that I loved the thought of having a 'French' tin. I also bought a book on molecular gastronomy and while it's in French, so I can't read it, the pictures are enough, although I think I'll give some translation a go one day.