Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Going Abroad!

I am off tomorrow morning, bound for New York City to eat, drink and be merry! 

I will be in touch!

Until next time...

Kitty xx

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sunday Breakfast - Pancakes

I love pancakes, but they can be one of those 'hit and miss' recipes for me.  I think the Gods have to be smiling on me, or the planets need to be aligned for them to be 'just right'.  Whenever I make them, I know I will end up with either a light, fluffy pancake or a thick, dense, cakey one.  I guess I need more practice.

No matter what I end up making, they still taste good.  What I like is that pancakes can be made in next to no time - while in your pajamas!  Sunday is a great day for pancakes because I always have time for breakfast (I am so naughty during the week - I never eat breakfast!).  So I like to make them special and treat myself by serving them will all sorts of good things...

Pancakes - My simple (evolving) recipe
1 cup plain flour
pinch salt
1tbs sugar
1tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 egg

Put dry ingredients into a bowl.  Add milk and egg and whisk to combine and break up the lumps.  The batter should be about the consistency of pouring cream (or just a tad thicker).  Let the batter sit for 30 mins (or even overnight in the fridge if possible).

Grease a non-stick frypan with a little butter (I like to wipe it with paper towel to remove any excess that may burn in the pan) and have your pan moderately hot.  Ladle in about 1/4 cup of batter and swirl your pan to spread it out to your desired size/shape/thickness.  Watch the surface of your pancake, when the bubbles rise to the surface of the batter, it is ready to flip.  Cook on the flip side for about a minute.  (You will get a feel for how long they need to cook for).

I love my pancakes with fruit, so here are two of my favourite sweet additions. 

Berry Compote
This is so simple.  Take a few berries - here I have used strawberries, frozen raspberries and frozen blueberries and put into a bowl. 

Sprinkle over 1 tbs of sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract.  Place bowl in microwave and cook for 1-2 minutes.  The berries will collapse and release their juices and the sugar sweetens the syrup.  The longer you cook the syrup the more it will reduce and the pectin in the fruit will help create a 'jam' like consistency. 

Caramel-Maple Bananas
Heat a non-stick frypan and add 1 tbs of butter.  Add 1 sliced banana and cook until the banana takes on a little colour and softens slightly.  Add 1 tbs of Maple Syrup.  The syrup will mix with the butter to caramelise and to give the bananas a lovely glaze.

Either of the above accompaniments go equally well with French Toast or Waffles.  Or even on top of ice-cream...

Enjoy and Happy Sunday!

Until next time...

Kitty xx

Friday, September 10, 2010

Love a Lemon Pound Cake

I miss my local Starbucks.  I miss the custom frappes I used to order and I miss the cakes.  Whenever I am in New York, I have to have cake from Starbucks.  I am quite partial to the gingerbread, but my stand out favourite would have to be the Lemon Pound Cake. 

What to do when you are not in New York and have a yearning for Lemon Pound Cake?  Do what I do - find a recipe!

I had to do a little trawling of the Internet to find a recipe for Lemon Pound Cake that used lemon juice, rather than lemon essence (Yuk!).  I am pretty sure I have found a recipe that is so bang on, that whenever I taste it I am taken back to my Starbucks on Lexington and 78th...

My friend Louie invited me out for lunch today so I baked this cake to take out for afternoon tea.  When I made the glaze, I made a slight variation by scraping half a vanilla pod into the mix to cut the sharpness of the lemon and to add a yummy vanilla seed speckle to the top of the cake.   

I always love eating this cake the next day as I feel that it tends to get even more moist over time. 

Lucky for me, Lou gave me some cake to take home so I will enjoy an extra slice tomorrow with my morning tea.

By the way, this recipe makes delicious lemon cupcakes that are sublime with lemon and cream cheese frosting... 

Until next time...

Kitty xx

Mushrooms/Fungi/Funghi etc

I love mushrooms.  Especially sauteed in butter and garlic with a little chopped parsley, heaped high on a piece of toasted cibatta.  Yum!  Now that's breakfast!  There are so many varieties of mushrooms and fungi - so many I don't even think I will even try to name them.  One variety I have just become newly acquainted with and can't get enough of are Porcini mushrooms.  (Yes I know I bagged the hype previously - I stand corrected!)

I was lucky enough to be able to 'trade' some dried porcini's for a bag of risoni, with an Italian lady from where I work.  I ended up with 20g which roughly equates to about $4 worth, so I have been using them sparingly and with great love and care.  The flavour from these mushrooms is just incredible.  They have given new life to a once bland mushroom risotto, my veal ragu is alive with flavour and my bolognese sauce now has a little extra 'sumpin' sumpin''.

I am going to be so sad when I run out.  I need to find out Anna's source... I need more of the 'good stuff'! 

By the way, if anyone has some black or white truffle that they wish to trade for fresh pasta let me know.  I am dying to believe the hype.

In the meantime, I urge you to go and try some of the many different varieties of mushrooms available.  You will discover new flavours and textures and I guarantee you will find it really hard to go back to just buying button mushrooms again.

Mixed Mushroom Ragu

300-500g of mixed mushrooms (enoki, oyster, portobello and button for example)
a good knob of butter
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, sliced finely
salt and pepper to taste
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese

Clean any residual dirt off the mushroom caps by brushing them lightly.  Do not wash!  Cut larger mushrooms into smaller chunks or slice.  Quarter button mushrooms and cut the ends off the stems of the enoki.  Heat butter in a frypan and add thyme and garlic.  Add your mushrooms (hold back the more delicate oyster and enoki as they cook very quickly) and be sure they get a good coating of butter.  They will collapse very quickly.  Turn down the heat and add the oyster and enoki mushrooms.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve on toasted cibatta or with pasta with a good drizzle of olive oil and grated parmesan.

Until next time...

Kitty xx