Another Winery and More Cooking!

Simple food and Super Cake!

Well, my Mr. Handsome and I have been together for 5 years and to celebrate I went on a day trip to visit more wineries with my girlie friends!

Strange anniversary celebration I hear you say! Not so strange in my house I say! Mr. Handsome benefits from what I bring home from these day trips and our own private celebration kicks off from there.

I bought this enamel pot because I loved it so much and you buy these things when you head out to the country!

I bought this enamel pot because I loved it so much and you buy these things when you head out to the country!

Wine and great goat’s cheese followed up by a visit to the best bakery in town for the best bread I have ever had and a jar of home made decadent salted caramel sauce from the best cake shop in the world. Add to this some great organic local produce – red capsicum, eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms…and I nearly forgot to mention that a shipment of olive oil (from my dad’s olive groves) just came in from Greece and, I ask you, what’s not to love about celebrating being with me for 5 years!!!

I chargrilled those vegetables and poured some of that awesome olive oil over the top and added lots of finely sliced garlic. Covered it with foil and let it sit for a couple of hours – sliced up the best bread in the world and dunked it into some olive oil and piled the veg and totally tasty goat’s cheese onto that bread and ate like wild animals!

Drank lots of wine too!

I also baked a cake – baking does not come naturally to me – I have to measure and be careful but I have been teaching myself over the last year and have been mostly successful. This cake has to be the best cake I have ever made! Rich, dark and moist (no, don’t go there!!!) filled with that awesome salted caramel and topped with chocolate ganache. It was to die for and really, if I keep eating it, it will surely kill me!

I took the photo while it was all still really gooey but I did smooth out the ganache and it set beautifully. I had some with coffee for breakfast this morning! Cake for breakfast is the biz!

The recipe I am posting is for the cake and I have included the salted caramel in case you wanted to make it yourself.

Ingredients

  • 115g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g plain chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 150ml milk
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes

For the caramel

  • 450g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 115g salted butter
  • 125ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche

For the chocolate ganache

  • 225g plain chocolate (70-80% cocoa solids)
  • 250ml double cream

Method

First, make the caramel. Pour 100ml water into a large saucepan. Add the sugar and golden syrup, gently cook until melted, then turn up the heat a bit and cook until the caramel is a dark goldenbrown colour. Swirl the pan occasionally to prevent sticking but do not stir. Turn off the heat and carefully whisk in the butter, double cream and crème fraîche – it will bubble up quite high. Whisk until smooth, then leave to cool until slightly set. You can make this up to 3 days in advance and chill in the fridge – just gently reheat until soft enough to spread before assembling the cake.

Now make the cake. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease a 23cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Melt the chocolate, butter and milk in a large pan over a low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, then beat in the sugar and vanilla. Cool slightly. Beat the egg yolks and buttermilk together, then mix this into the chocolate mixture, followed by the flour and baking powder. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir a third of the egg whites into the cake mix, then gently fold in the rest along with the sea salt. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-50 mins until firm to touch. Leave to cool for 20 mins, then remove from the tin and finish cooling on a wire rack.

For the ganache, heat the chocolate and cream together over a low heat until the chocolate has melted. Pour into a bowl to cool.

To assemble, slice the cooled cake in half horizontally. Sandwich together with some of your caramel – you may not need it all, but be generous in order to balance the bittersweet ganache topping. Spread the ganache over the top of the cake…die happy!

Love this type of food!

Love this type of food!

Gooey and decadent!

Gooey and decadent!

Ganache set perfectly - cake awesome with coffee!

Ganache set perfectly – cake awesome with coffee!

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The Long and Short of Kebabs

Slow Roasted Forequater Lamb for Kebabs

Kebabs are considered a type of fast food but that’s only if you want to eat shit and almost die as http://foodisthebestshitever.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/the-late-night-lamb-sandwich-consumed-one-afternoon-at-bay-kebabs/ found out after a ‘fast food’ kebab. After this post I was supposed to make kebabs for dinner that night – but I didn’t – so I made them today. This will definitely not satisfy the people who are busting for a kebab at 2am after a night on the piss but those people are probably not reading this anyway…so who cares right?

The ONLY way to make a kebab, and by that I really do mean THE ONLY WAY to make a kebab is to slow roast the lamb with whatever herbs and spices you like – 5 to 6 hours should just about do it. There is nothing fast about this food apart from when it’s done and you’re stuffing it in your gob! The other thing to remember is to make your own dressing – be it a yoghurt or tahini based thing – just make it yourself with the best ingredients you can afford. I’m being serious here, don’t buy crap, don’t support shitty supermarket brands – get the fuck out there and buy decent produce/ingredients from decent places – it really isn’t that much more expensive and your food will taste fucking sensational!

What’s with the swearing? Not really sure. I think it’s a combination of being totally relaxed now that I’m on holidays and don’t have to be a teacher and being a little more than fed up with crappy produce being sold to hard working people who deserve better – but then again the more of you who support these fucked up supermarkets the more shit we will be sold – SO STOP DOING IT!!!

I can’t even look at store bought tzatziki  (never ever touch this crap) and while we’re on the subject – there’s no such thing as ‘low fat tzatziki’ or ‘skinny tzatziki’ – are you friggin’ kidding me!…eat it the way it was supposed to be eaten – full fat Greek yogurt – it’s actually good for you!

On with the show people. Here’s what I did:

Slow Roasted Forequater Lamb

Ingredients

  • 2 forequarter lamb racks
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 handful each of fresh oregano and rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of  crushed peppercorns
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon and zest
  • good slug of olive oil
The herbs

The herbs

Method

Take all the herbs and spices and pound them into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Add lemon juice, zest and olive oil and mix to combine. Add additional salt to taste.

Awesome ingredients

Awesome ingredients

Cover the lamb in the marinade and place in the fridge for a few hours. Remove the lamb from the fridge and preheat the oven to 150C for half an hour.

Slathering the meat

Slathering the meat

Cover the lamb in foil. Place lamb on a tray, reduce oven to 120C and cook slowly for around 5 hours . Have a nap – I did!

Remove the lamb and rest for approx 15 mins (the lamb, not you…you already rested while the lamb was cooking remember)

Yummo!

Yummo!

Succulent and full of awesomeness!

Succulent and full of awesomeness!

Flat Bread

Ingredients

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
100g butter
375ml milk
¼ cup olive oil

Method

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.  Heat the butter and milk in a jug until the butter is just melted.  Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the milk and butter in, gradually bringing the flour in from the sides.  When the flour is all incorporated, you should have a soft dough.  Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes on a floured surface, until is stretchy.  If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.

Wrap the dough in Glad wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for half an hour or so.  Divide the dough into 8 piece and roll out on a floured surface as thinly as you can.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a frypan over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, place one piece of flatbread in the base.  It will immediately start to bubble up.  When the edges are starting to look golden and the bread is becoming less floury looking around the edges, flip the bread over.  Cook for a further 40 seconds to a minute and remove to a piece of paper towel.

Make your own flat bread - they're really simple and delish

Make your own flat bread – they’re really simple and delish

Tzatziki

Ingredients

  • 3 – 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 cup greek yogurt, strained
  • 2 – 4 lebanese cucumbers ( I peel the skin off then use the peeler and continue peeling the cucumber until I get to the seeds – you end up with long ribbons of peeled cucumber then I chop the ribbons into smaller pieces and squeeze the life outta them)

Method

Scoop yoghurt into a large bowl and add salt, pepper, vinegar and chopped garlic. Mix slowly to combine.

Beautiful cucumber ribbons

Beautiful cucumber ribbons

Loads of garlic - never skimp on the garlic!

Loads of garlic – never skimp on the garlic!

Add the strained and chopped cucumber and mix once again. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, stopping and mixing slowly then adding more olive oil and mixing once again.

Once combined scoop into a serving bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Finished product with a drizzle of olive oil.

Finished product with a drizzle of olive oil.

Serve your mouth watering sliced up slow cooked lamb on your home made flat bread with a tomato/onion salad topped with tzatziki  and never again complain about shitty take away kebabs.

Salty and tangy tomato and onion salad.

Salty and tangy tomato and onion salad.

Eat it in your face and die happy!

Eat it in your face and die happy!

A Summer Wish

Greek Salad

Yep I was right! I have caught a cold and am bed bound today. Annoying because I don’t like being bed bound and as it’s Saturday it has killed off my plans for some much needed retail therapy.

I don’t usually complain about the weather and colds don’t normally stop me from doing what I want to do but in this case there are no headache tablets left in the house or cough mixture as everyone has been sick so the medicine cabinet is almost empty. Lots of cups of herbal tea for me.

My partner left for work early this morning and my daughter stayed at her friend’s house last night so they could go to their part time jobs together so it’s just me, the dog and the cat all day. Sounds great…but my head aches and my throat is sore and I don’t want to keep getting out of bed to make another cuppa!

After all the wonderful food I serve up to my family and the fact that I look after them when they are sick, you would think that they would stay home and bring me my tea when I called for it and make me some soup for lunch and set up my doona on the couch and bring me my magazines and laptop etc…and make me toast with honey and…and…and…and no wonder they went to work!

What does this have to do with Greek Salad?…Not much really!!! Apart from the fact that the other night we were talking about going to Greece next year for a holiday and as it’s summer over there now and my facebook is full of posts from my relatives partying on Greek Islands and eating Greek Salads, I felt the need to make a Greek inspired meal.

So,  grilled lamb chops with olive bread and dip served with individual bowls of Greek Salad. I serve mine without olives (not a big fan), I serve my daughter’s without feta cheese (she hates it) but my handsome man gets the lot (he loves it all).

Do I need to provide a recipe for this? The bbq lamb chops had already been marinated in olive oil, oregano and crushed garlic before they were put in the freezer so they were so tasty and tender. The olive oil I use is from my dad’s olive trees in Greece that my cousin looks after and he sends dad a barrel of the stuff each year. Of course we are lucky enough to share in this as we all get bottles of this amazing olive oil, slightly peppery in taste…I just love it!  The oregano I use is always dried..my mum grows it and dries it and gives me heaps of it. Oregano is the only herb, I believe, that tastes better when it’s dried. The olive bread is from a bakery (funny I eat olive bread but don’t really like olives) but I will bake one myself one of these days.

A touch of Greece in our house on a very, very cold night!