Quandong Pie – from Outback Australia

Mainly found in the Outback, the Quandong tree- also known as a “native peach” tree- has never been seen by many Australians. This tree yields a delicious red fruit that has twice the amount of Vitamin C of an orange. Aborigines have been eating the fruit and using it for medicinal purposes for many years. I had often heard of people making Quandong Pie but I didn’t know where I could get the fruit from.

Imagine my delight when I made a recent trip to Arkaroola in South Australia’s Outback and found a large Quandong tree growing outside my hotel room! Quandong pie- here I come! I picked several bags full of the fruit, ready to make several pies on my return to Adelaide. If you can’t find fresh quandong fruit, you could also use the dried version, which is sometimes sold in stores or online.

Arkaroola is a large wilderness sanctuary measuring 240 square miles, located 430 miles north of Adelaide. It takes at least 12 hours to drive there, with the last three hours driving over a bumpy, unpaved road. Besides seeing the beautiful scenery of this area, making those Quandong pies would definitely make this trip worthwhile!

Quandong Tree

Quandong fruit that I picked for my pies

Before sharing the recipe for my Quandong Pie, I would like to share some of the pictures of my trip to the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary- if you visit here one day, you’ll see lots of kangaroos, emus and wild goats, as well as beautiful geologic formations:

Quandong fruit can taste a bit tart, so I added several apples to the pie mixture- perfect combination! Rather than making one large pie, I made four smaller tarts, each one topped with a brown sugar crumb.

Start by making a pastry to cover the bottom of your pie or tart pans:

Finish by filling the pie or tart pans with the quandong and apple mixture and top with a crumb:

Quandong Pie
Serves 4
A delicious pie made from Australia's 'native peach'- the Quandong
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 shortcrust pastry for the base
  2. 2 cups Quandong fruit- fresh or dried
  3. 2 apples
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 2 cups water
  6. 1/4 cup corn flour or arrow root for thickening
For the crumb topping
  1. 1 cup white flour
  2. 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  3. 3 tbsps brown sugar
  4. 2 tbsp white sugar
Instructions
  1. Make the shortcrust pastry to form the base of a traditional 9 inch pie pan, or to make 3 smaller tarts (5 inches in diameter). Roll out the pastry and line the pie or tart pans with the pastry and set aside.
  2. Remove the seeds from the fresh quandong fruit and chop coarsely. Peel and de-seed the apples and chop coarsely. Add the fruit to a large saucepan, add the sugar and water and cook over medium heat until the fruit softens (10-15 minutes). Toward the end of the cooking, combine the cornflour or arrow root with a little water to make a paste, then stir this into the fruit to thicken.
To make the crumb topping
  1. Combine the flour and cold butter, rub together with the palm of your hands to form a coarse mixture. Add the brown sugar and white sugar to finish the crumble.
  2. Add the fruit mixture to the prepared pastry, sprinkle the crumb on top and bake for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is cooked through.
Notes
  1. If you are using dried quandong fruit, you will need to re-hydrate the fruit according to the instructions on the package.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Duck Breast Salad with Bacon and Poached Quail Eggs

After presenting my last post on How to Poach Quail Eggs, several people have asked when I was going to post my recipe for Duck Breast Salad with Bacon and Quail Eggs. Well, here it is! Duck breasts and bacon go well together and if you add quail eggs to the salad, things are even more delicious!
Most people boil quail eggs, but as I said in my last post, I believe poached quail eggs are even more tasty because they have that soft unctuous yolk.The main components of this salad are the duck breasts, bacon and quail eggs and you can use whatever salad dressing you like. I have included my video below on how to cook perfect duck breasts so that the meat is pink and tender. Digital editing has been an entirely new experience for me so it took me many hours to put this together. Hopefully, the next video I do will go faster and will turn out better. Let me know what you think!                                                                           

Music credits:  Autumn Day by Kevin MacCleod

Duck Breast Salad with Bacon and Quail Eggs
Serves 2
A duck breast salad adorned with yummy bacon and lovely quail eggs
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 duck breasts
  2. 3 pieces bacon
  3. 8-12 quail eggs
  4. Salad greens to serve two (mixture of lettuce, arugula, spinach, etc)
  5. Several leaves of basil (regular or Thai basil)
  6. 1 carrot, sliced thinly into julienne
  7. 1 tomato, diced
  8. 1 spring onion
  9. 1-2 radishes, sliced thinly
  10. Salad dressing (Ranch or other creamy dressing)
Cook the duck breasts (see video for instructions)
  1. Trim off any excess skin around the rim of the duck breasts. Score the skin-side of the breasts, making cuts 1/4 inch apart. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a skillet to high heat and add a small amount of oil. Place each breast skin-side facing down on the skillet, reduce heat slightly and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the skin turns golden. Flip each breast over and cook the other side for about 3-4 minutes. Remove the breasts from the pan, place on a cutting board and make a small incision on the flesh side of the breast.
  3. Wrap each breast in foil and bake for about 7-8 minutes at 350 F (180 C) until the breast meat turns pink inside. If the meat is still red inside, then continue to bake for another few minutes. Remove from oven and let the breasts rest for about 15 minutes (still wrapped in the foil).
Prepare the quail eggs
  1. Refer to previous post for instructions on how to poach quail eggs. Crack 8-12 quail eggs and combine them altogether in a bowl. Bring a small pan of water to a boil and add 1/4 cup vinegar. Use a whisk to create a 'whirlpool' in the middle of the pan and add the bowl of quail eggs all at once to the pan of swirling water. Cover the pan with a lid, remove from the heat and wait for 2.5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool. Use scissors to trim the eggs into a regular shape, transfer the eggs to another bowl and let soak in a little olive oil and salt/pepper until ready to use the eggs.
To assemble the salad
  1. Slice the cooled duck breasts into thin pieces. Cook the bacon pieces in the microwave or stove top for several minutes and then cut into pieces. In a large bowl, combine the salad greens, duck pieces, bacon, quail eggs, carrots, tomatoes, spring onions and radishes (feel free to add any of your other favorite vegetables to the salad). Dress with your favorite salad dressing (I used Ranch dressing).
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

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How to Poach Quail Eggs

If you’re like me, maybe you thought that quail eggs were too fiddly to work with. I used to scoff at those tiny quail eggs when shopping at the store, instead heading toward my tried and trusted hen’s eggs.But no more! After learning a salad recipe in Spain that used quail eggs, I have become a real fan! They are great when used in salads and because of their compact size, they can add a real flavorful ‘pop’ to any dish. They also make unique appetizers- combine them with a spread on top of a cracker and you’ll be the talk of the town (maybe)!

But should you boil quail eggs or poach them? Everyone has their own preferences but I prefer to poach them in order to get that soft, slightly runny center in the egg. Also, my technique for poaching quail eggs avoids the hassle of having to peel each egg after you boil them.

Here is an example of using quail eggs in a salad: Duck Breast Salad with Bacon and Quail Eggs:

I’ll be posting this recipe shortly, but in the meantime, here is the technique for poaching quail eggs (it’s really not that hard)!

First, lightly tap the center of each quail egg several times with a small knife until the shell softens or a small hole appears. Then use the tip of a pair of scissors to enlarge the hole (just a little).

Use your thumbs to pull apart each half of the egg then drop all the eggs together into one bowl- crack as many eggs as you wish. One of my eggs broke but that doesn’t matter, you can still use it.

Next, add water and 1/4 cup vinegar together into a small saucepan and bring to a rapid boil. After the water comes to a boil, whisk the center of the pan vigorously in a circular motion until a ‘whirlpool’ forms. Then, add the eggs all at once into the center of the pan, remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Wait for 2  to 2.5 minutes and then remove the lid. The eggs will now look like a jumbled mess, but DON’T WORRY!

Next, use a slotted spoon to transfer the ‘egg mass’ to a container with ice/water. This will stop the eggs from cooking and the eggs will now start to firm up into individual shapes.

Now remove one egg at a time using a small spoon and use scissors to trim each egg into a nice oval shape. When you have finished trimming the eggs, place them into a small bowl and cover with olive oil and a splash of vinegar- add salt and pepper. Let the eggs soak until ready to use them in your dish.

In the meantime, stay tuned for my next recipe for Duck Breast Salad with Bacon and Quail Eggs. Thank you for stopping by!

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French Byron Potatoes with Grilled Salmon Steaks

Lately I’ve been posting recipes from all over the world: Spanish, Mexican, Moroccan, etc. I thought it is time to get back to some French cooking, which is my specialty! Thumbing though some recipes I learned at the Paris Cordon Bleu school, I came across a recipe for Byron Potatoes (Pommes de terre Byron). These are mashed or puréed potatoes that are made with butter and cream and topped with cheese, usually Gruyère or Parmesan. How French can that be! They can be presented as individual potato cakes or served in a casserole dish. In any case, they make a perfect side dish, but what better way to serve them than as an accompaniment to Grilled Salmon Steaks with Lemon Butter Sauce! (see below)

The Byron Potatoes recipe that I learned at Le Cordon Bleu was more ‘fancied up’, including piping the pureed potatoes onto a baking sheet, however you can skip the piping and just shape the potato cakes with your hands.

So, here is the process for making the delicious French Byron Potatoes:

First, the potatoes are boiled and then passed through a food mill to make them nice and fluffy:

Byron (6 of 6) (1 of 1)

Butter and two egg yolks are then worked into the warm potatoes, then piped into small circles on a baking sheet. A well is made into the center of each potato cake using the back of a spoon, then a creamy white sauce is spooned into the center. Finally, grated cheese is added on top and the cakes are then baked to a golden brown.

Bake the Byron Potatoes until golden and top with some chopped chives:

Byron (4 of 4) (1 of 1)

I served my Byron Potatoes with Grilled Salmon Steaks with Lemon Butter Sauce, but they can be served with just about any type of food: fish, lamb, salads, the sky is the limit!

What are Salmon Steaks (salmon cutlets)?

Salmon steaks are derived by cutting the salmon cross-wise across the bone rather than lengthwise. By including the bone in the cooking of the fish, you get a slightly more juicy flavor and the salmon steak certainly has an interesting shape. You can remove the center bone of the fish prior to serving which makes it easier to eat. However, you could also use thick salmon slices (fillets) rather than the steaks, if desired.

In any case, bon appétit!  (Also, I’d love it if you would subscribe to my blog or ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page)!

Byron

French Byron Potatoes with Grilled Salmon Steaks
Serves 4
Succulent Salmon Steaks surrounded by creamy French potatoes
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Byron Potatoes
  1. 500 g large potatoes
  2. 50 g butter
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. Salt
For the White Sauce
  1. 15 g butter
  2. 15 g flour
  3. 50 ml cream
  4. 150 ml milk
  5. Salt/white pepper
  6. Nutmeg
  7. 50 g Gruyère or Parmesan cheese
  8. Chives chopped
Salmon Steaks
  1. 4 salmon steaks (cutlets) or thick salmon slices
  2. Olive or vegetable oil for grilling
  3. Salt/pepper
For the Lemon Butter Sauce
  1. 30 ml water
  2. Juice of ½ lemon
  3. salt and pinch cayenne pepper
  4. 100 g butter, cut into cold cubes
  5. Chopped chives
For the Byron Potatoes
  1. First make the White Sauce; melt the 15 g butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the flour to make a thick paste. Gradually stir in the cream and milk over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Add the salt, white pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes into rough chunks. Add the potatoes to cold water and bring to the boil; add salt to water after water comes to a boil; cook until the potatoes are cooked through. Strain water until potatoes are dry. Press the potatoes through a food mill then work the butter through the warm potatoes using a rubber spatula. Now add the two egg yolks and continue to mix with the spatula. Season with salt and white pepper.
  3. Place the potato mixture into a pastry bag using a nozzle with a round opening and pipe the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking tray; pipe into concentric circles about 3 inches wide. Dip a metal spoon into warm water and use the back of the spoon to make a small well into the middle of each potato circle. Fill each well with a spoon-full of the white sauce and then top with a little grated cheese. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes turn golden. Garnish with a little chopped chives.
For the Grilled Salmon Steaks
  1. Brush both sides of each Salmon steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or Barbeque grill until medium hot and brush with oil. Lay each steak diagonally across the grill to create a diagonal pattern for presentation. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes then brush each steak with a little of the lemon butter sauce, wrap in foil and bake in the oven for a further 4-5 minutes until the fish is cooked through. The fish will be done when the flesh has turned a light pink inside.
For the Lemon Butter Sauce
  1. Combine the water and lemon juice in a small saucepan; heat for several minutes until the mixture reduces a little. Gradually add the cold butter cubes; whisk over medium-low heat until the mixture gradually thickens. Be careful not to add too much heat or the butter may split. Continue adding the butter until the mixture thickens then add the salt, cayenne pepper and chopped chives.
  2. To plate, remove the center bone from each piece of salmon. Place the salmon steak on top of a bed of cooked spinach, spoon some of the lemon butter sauce around the side of the salmon and add a few pieces of the Byron potatoes on the side.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Seafood Paella

I recently learned how to make a classic Spanish dish while I was in Madrid: Paella Valenciana which includes flavored rice with rabbit and chicken pieces. However, I am not much of a fan of rabbit meat, so I decided to incorporate the rice with seafood and a little meat instead, creating a dish known as Paella Mixta.

For my seafood, I have used whole king prawns, mussels, calamari and scallops, but you could use other types of seafood as well. The key to making a good paella is to flavor the rice well so it doesn’t taste too bland. Besides using the standard chopped tomatoes, pimentón (smoked paprika) and saffron, I have also incorporated roasted red capsicum and its juices in my recipe. Also, by turning the heat up high during the last few minutes allows a nice crust to form on the bottom of the paella pan, known as a socarrat. Everyone scrambles to eat this crunchy layer at the bottom of the dish- yum!

You’ll need a flat paella pan for this recipe and to get the best results, use a short grain rice such as bomba, which you can find in specialty stores. I used a smaller 11 inch paella pan for my recipe, but if you use the larger 18 inch pan, you’ll need to almost double the recipe.

Oddly enough, when I presented my Paella Valenciana dish to the chef at the Madrid Cordon Bleu School, he said that my “rice was overcooked.” Of course, he hardly tasted it and when I got home and ate my paella for dinner, I found the wonderful crunchy socarrat at the bottom of my dish. Little did he know …..

Seafood Paella
Serves 4
A classic Spanish dish: rice flavored with Spanish paprika, saffron, tomatoes and white wine.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 red capsicum, roasted and sliced in strips
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 2 garlic cloves, diced
  4. 1 Spanish chorizo, thinly sliced
  5. 1 tsp Pimentón Dulce or Sweet Paprika
  6. 3 tomatoes, skins removed, de-seeded and chopped
  7. 2 tbsp tomato paste
  8. 100 ml white wine
  9. pinch of saffron soaked in 1/4cup hot water
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 2 cups chicken stock or water
  12. 1 cup ‘Bomba’ rice or other short grain rice
For the seafood
  1. 4-6 King Prawns (or shrimp) whole, uncooked
  2. Calamari rings
  3. 6-8 scallops
  4. 6-8 mussels
For the garnish
  1. Chopped flat leaf parsley
  2. Lemon wedges
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the broiler oven to 200 C (400 F). Place the red capsicum on the top shelf of the oven and bake until the skin blackens (about 10-15 minutes). Alternatively, place the pepper directly over a gas burner and scorch until the skin blackens- careful not to over-burn the skin. After the skin blackens, place the red pepper in foil, cover with a bit of salt and olive oil and cook in the oven for about 10-15 minutes (180 C or 350 F). Let cool for several minutes. Remove the blackened skin, pulp and seeds and then slice the capsicum into thin strips. Retain the juices from the foil wrap.
  2. Slice the chorizo into thin rounds. Using the paella pan, heat the chorizo on the stovetop in a little oil until juices form; remove the chorizo from the pan. Using the same juices from the chorizo, heat the garlic and onion until they are translucent. Add the chorizo back to the pan along with the sweet paprika (Pimentón Dulce), chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine and juices from the roasted red pepper. Soak the saffron pieces in 1/4 cup hot water for 5 minutes then add to the paella pan with the other ingredients. Stir for at least 15 minutes until all the flavors have infused, add salt as required.
  3. Add two cups of water or chicken stock to the mixture and bring to a soft boil. Add the rice, stir the mixture and then reduce the heat to a simmer. When the rice is about ¾ cooked (almost absorbed by the water), add the calamari rings and king prawns and press them lightly into the rice mixture. Cover with foil or a lid and let them cook for several minutes until the prawns turn pink. Now add the mussels and scallops, cover and heat until the mussel shells open. During the last several minutes of cooking, turn the heat up to medium high, allowing a thin crust to form on the bottom of the rice mixture.
  4. Remove the paella from the heat, add several lemon slices to the dish and sprinkle with finely diced parsley and a few splashes of olive oil.
Notes
  1. You can substitute chicken thigh pieces for the chorizo, if desired.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

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Fabada Asturiana- Spanish White Bean Stew

Hello everyone! I haven’t posted any recipes or the past 6 weeks because I have been very busy attending a 4-week intensive course in Spanish cuisine at the Madrid Cordon Bleu School. Every day we had a 3-hour demonstration class followed by a 3-hour practical class. It was quite tiring: here is a picture of me on the first day of class when I was rested and ‘raring to go.’ Four weeks later, I didn’t feel quite so rested!

                                          that’s me on the right

After doing this course, I am definitely not an expert in Spanish cuisine, but I can say that the Spanish do use a lot of olive oil and smoked paprika (pimenton) in their cooking. They also use a lot of cured meats such as chorizo and Iberian ham.

One traditional dish from the Asturias region of northwest Spain is called Fabada Asturiana. This stew uses fabes (white beans) combined with smoked pork sausages from Asturias (chorizo asturiana), and blood sausages from the region (morcilla asturiana). The addition of the pancetta gives this dish a hearty smoked flavor- perfect especially for the cooler weather. (While I was in Madrid, the temperature reached an average of 90 F every day, however I still liked eating this dish)!

The fabes are large white kidney beans from Asturias that are creamy and tender- however you could also use cannellini or Great Northern beans as a substitute. I had never tried morcilla or blood sausages before but these had a light texture that I really liked. These sausages need to be added at the very end of the cooking, otherwise they tend to break up and ‘disappear’ in the stew. If you don’t have access to the morcilla, you could substitute another type of sausage of your choice.

And don’t worry about soaking the white beans overnight and cooking them for two hours ahead of time! I used the quick-soak method, where you bring the beans briefly to a boil and let soak for only 1-hour- this will save you a lot of time!

Blood sausage from Asturias (morcilla asturiana), Smoked sauage from Asturias (chorizo asturiana) and pancetta

So, if you want to experience a taste of Spain (without having to travel to the country) try making this smoky bean stew, Fabada Asturiana!

Fabada Asturiana (Spanish White Bean Stew)
Serves 6
A smoky Spanish stew from the region of Asturianas
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb dried white beans (fabes, cannellini or Great Northern beans)
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. ½ lb pancetta or speck bacon, cut into ½ inch strips
  5. 2 'chorizos asturianas' (or other Spanish chorizo)
  6. 2 ‘morcillas asturianas’ (blood sausages)
  7. 12 cups water (or enough water to cover the beans and other ingredients)
  8. 3-4 threads of saffron
  9. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse the dried beans. Fill a large saucepan or Dutch oven with water and bring to a boil; add the beans and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and cover the pan with a lid- let the beans soak for one hour. Strain the beans and set aside. In a large pot or Dutch oven, ‘sweat’ the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until they are translucent. Cut the pancetta into thin strips and the chorizos into ¼ inch slices and add to the pot and cook for about one minute. Add the soaked beans to the pan and enough water to cover the ingredients; add a few threads of saffron and salt to taste. Cook for at least 1 hour on a medium-low heat until all flavors have infused together.
  2. While the ingredients are cooking, cut the morcilla (blood) sausages into thin slices and bake in a pre-heated oven at 320 F (160 C) for 10 minutes. Add them to the stew during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. Serve warm in individual bowls.
Notes
  1. You could substitute the morcilla blood sausage with any other sausage of your choice. Also, if you do not have access to 'chorizo asturiana', you could substitute a general Spanish chorizo for this.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Chocolate and Vanilla Spiral Cookies

In a few hours, I’ll be flying to Madrid to study Spanish cuisine for five weeks at the Cordon Bleu School. I’m not looking forward to the 22 hour flight but I am excited to learn more about Spanish cooking. At this stage in my life, there will probably not be many more chances to attend culinary school, so NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT! Do you ever feel that way- that now is the time to grasp that opportunity before it disappears?

So please stay tuned: I hope to post some authentic Spanish recipes on my blog soon! At least I’m sure I will be able to come up with a delicious, authentic paella.

Before launching into the darkness with that long flight to Madrid, I wanted to post one more recipe: Vanilla and Chocolate Spiral Cookies. I’ve adapted the recipe from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion which has hundreds of cookie recipes ranging from simple Oatmeal Cookies to Key Lime Bars in Coconut Crust. It would probably take me a whole year to bake all of the recipes in this great cookbook.

My recipe for the Vanilla and Chocolate Spiral Cookies is basically a shortbread recipe, which means it has lots of butter in it. And it’s doubly good because you combine a vanilla flavored dough with a chocolate flavored one- ending in a spiral (pinwheel) shape.

So let’s get started:

First, you make separate vanilla and chocolate dough:

Then roll-out each dough into a rectangle measuring about 9 x 12 inches:

Brush the vanilla dough with egg white. Then place the chocolate layer on top of the vanilla layer and roll into a tight log. Place in freezer until firm and then cut the dough into 1/4 inch slices:

Bake for about 12-14 minutes:

 

Chocolate and Vanilla Spiral Cookies
Yields 24
Chocolate and Vanilla Cookies blended together into perfection
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Vanilla Cookie Dough
  1. 1/2 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar
  2. 2 Tbsp. caster sugar
  3. 2 Tbsp almond meal
  4. 3/4 cup (6 ounces) salted butter (softened)
  5. 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Chocolate Cookie Dough
  1. 1/2 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar
  2. 2 Tbsp. caster sugar
  3. 3/4 cup (6 ounces) salted butter (softened)
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
For the egg wash
  1. 1 egg white + splash of water
To make the Vanilla Dough
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the softened butter, icing sugar, caster sugar and vanilla flavoring until smooth. Gradually add the almond meal and flour until a cohesive ball is formed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured sur face and form into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the Chocolate Dough
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the softened butter, icing sugar, caster sugar and vanilla flavoring until smooth. Gradually add cocoa and flour until a cohesive ball is formed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and form into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the Pinwheel Cookie shapes
  1. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on your work surface and roll out the vanilla dough into a rectangle shape about 9 x 12 inches. Set aside. Repeat with the chocolate dough, rolling it into a slightly smaller rectangle shape.
  2. Brush some egg wash onto the vanilla rectangle and then place the chocolate rectangle on top.
  3. Starting with the long edge, gently roll the stacked dough into a tight log with no gaps. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and place in the freezer until firm (about 1 hour).
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Remove the log from the freezer, remove the plastic wrap and slice the log into ¼ inch slices (let the dough thaw a bit first if it is too hard to slice). Transfer the cookies onto parchment-covered baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes or until they feel firm. Let cool a few minutes before serving.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Julia Child’s Chocolate Soufflé

Since my blog is called G’day Soufflé, I thought it was about time that I actually posted a soufflé recipe. And what better chef to consult for my recipe than the master Julia Child?

In her show The French Chef, Julia explains that a soufflé traditionally uses a thick white sauce combined with flavorings such as cheese, fish or chocolate. For my recipe, I’ve selected a chocolate soufflé, since I love the combination of chocolate with the airy quality of the soufflé. Julia was so excited about cooking a soufflé that she threw her arms up into the air, anticipating the “hundreds of air bubbles” that puff up the soufflé into a wondrous mass.

Julia also cautions us about the basics of making a soufflé: make sure the egg whites are at room temperature before you whip them so they ‘mount’ into nice high peaks. Also, although she starts out by whipping the egg whites by hand in a traditional French copper bowl, she quickly becomes exhausted and switches to the more ergonomic method of using electric beaters. I’m with you on that one, Julia!

Julia becomes so exhausted hand-beating the egg whites in the copper bowl that she slumps over and decides to switch to the electric beaters

The Method

For her Chocolate Soufflé (Soufflé au Chocolat), Julia starts by creating an aluminum ‘collar’ around the straight-sided mold to help contain the soufflé as it rises over the rim. (Be sure and tape or pin the foil securely since my ‘collar’ fell off during the cooking). If you are using smaller ramekins, then this step is not necessary.

Souffle (2 of 2) (1 of 1)

You then make a creamy Béchamel sauce, whip in the egg yolks and then the melted chocolate mixture.

Next comes the egg whites which should be whipped into a velvety sheen and according to Julia, should increase seven-fold in volume.

The egg whites are then gently folded into the chocolate mixture and then baked in the oven. Watch in amazement as your soufflé puffs up over the top! If you don’t want to use a larger soufflé dish, you could also use smaller ramekins.

Chocolate Soufflé
Serves 6
A decadent chocolate dessert with a light touch: Julia Child's 'Soufflé au Chocolat'
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 2-quart straight-sided souffle’ dish or 5-6 smaller ramekins
  2. ½ Tbsp softened butter
  3. 7 ounces of semi-sweet or sweet chocolate
  4. 1/3 cup strong liquid coffee
  5. 3 Tbsp butter
  6. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  7. 1 cup milk
  8. 4 egg yolks
  9. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  10. 6 egg whites (3/4 cup)
  11. Pinch salt
  12. ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  13. ½ cup sugar
  14. Powdered sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 F ( 220 C). Butter the inside of the soufflé dish or 5-6 smaller ramekins. If using the larger soufflé dish, surround the outside of the dish with a double layer of aluminium foil or parchment paper so that a 3-inch collar stands above the rim of the dish. (If using smaller ramekins, this step is not necessary).
  2. Melt the coffee and chocolate together in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water; set aside. In a separate saucepan, combine the flour and butter; whisk over medium heat until the mixture becomes a paste. Gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture thickens. Let cool for several minutes.
  3. One by one, whisk the egg yolks into the hot sauce, then add the melted chocolate sauce, and finally the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar together until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form and the whites become shiny.
  4. Gradually fold the chocolate mixture into the egg white mixture, folding from the outside of the bowl into the center. Pour the mixture into the prepared molds, filling to just below the rim. Place the mold on the bottom part of the oven and lower the temperature to 375 F (190 C). Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the soufflé has risen and a skewer placed into the center comes out clean. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. If using a fan-forced oven, reduce the recommended temperature by 20 degrees (i.e. 425 F should be lowered to 405 F, etc).
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Duck Breast with Plum and Tamarind Sauce

Hi there! I haven’t posted for awhile since I’ve been finishing up a course in American Politics at my local university. (You could definitely call me a ‘perpetual student’ since I have been attending university courses off and on since 1967)!

To celebrate the end of my classes, I decided to make ‘Duck Breast with Plum and Tamarind Sauce.’ A tamarind tree bears tropical fruit grown in bean-like pods and is frequently used in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. It also has certain reported medicinal benefits, like lowering blood sugar and preventing heart disease. I like cooking with tamarind because it has a nice sweet and sour taste and you can build further flavors around it using cinnamon and star anise, etc.

To make this dish, I used tamarind paste, which you can buy in Asian supermarkets. It only takes about 15 minutes to make the sauce and a further 12-15 minutes to cook the duck breast.

This dish is similar to my recipe for Duck à l’orange, except with an Asian rather than a French twist!

 

Duck Breasts with Plum and Tamarind Sauce
Serves 2
Tender duck breasts served with a 'sweet and sour' plum and tamarind sauce
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
27 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
27 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp sugar
  2. ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  3. ½ cup + 2 tbsps. water
  4. 2 plums, peeled and de-seeded (fresh or canned plums are OK to use)
  5. 1 tsp tamarind sauce
  6. 1 star anise
  7. 1 cinnamon stick
  8. 2 cloves
  9. 1 tbsp fish sauce
  10. 2 Duck Breasts, uncooked
Instructions
  1. Over medium heat, whisk the sugar and red wine vinegar together for several minutes until the sugar dissolves and the liquid turns a dark brown color; add the water to the mixture. Peel and de-seed the plums and slice into 3-4 pieces. Add these to the cooking liquid along with the tamarind sauce, star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves and fish sauce. Simmer for at least 10 minutes until the plums soften and the flavors blend together. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until well-blended. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve; taste and adjust seasoning accordingly (if the sauce is too tart, add a little more sugar).
To cook the duck breasts
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Using a sharp knife, score the skin side of the duck breasts, using a criss-cross pattern. Season both sides of the duck with salt and pepper. Place a fry pan on stove top over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil. Beginning with the skin side, cook each side of the duck breast for 3-4 minutes; the flesh side should be a golden brown color. Wrap each duck breast in foil and cook in the oven for a further 4-5 minutes. The duck will be ready when the meat is a light pink color. If the meat is still red inside, then cook for another few minutes. Remove from oven and let the duck rest for at least 10 minutes in the foil (the meat will continue to cook a little when it rests).
  2. Slice the duck breast in long horizontal pieces. To serve, re-heat the sauce, spoon the sauce onto a plate or shallow bowl, then arrange the duck pieces on top of the sauce. To decorate, try adding a star anise piece to the plate or a piece of basil or parsley.
Notes
  1. Tip: Before wrapping the duck breasts in foil and placing them in the oven, I make a small incision with a paring knife into the flesh side of the duck breast. This makes it easier to check if the duck is pink inside and therefore ready to be removed from the oven.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/
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Cream of Cauliflower Soup (Crème Dubarry)

 

Hello, everyone! Someone recently gave me a HUGE head of cauliflower and I couldn’t think of anything to make with it- until a hint of scandal entered my brain from a recipe we learned at the Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris:Crème Dubarry (or Cream of Cauliflower Soup). You might ask, “How could a scandal be attached to a simple Cauliflower soup?”

It turns out that Madame du Barry of France had many lovers and eventually became the mistress of King Louis XV. Decked out in jewels and fancy clothes, she led a pampered life until she was finally forced to leave Versailles upon the King’s death. Eventually she became a victim of the Reign of Terror and was beheaded in 1793.

Madame du Barry

But not to worry. Madame du Barry’s spirit lives on through this soup named after her: Crème Dubarry, or Cream of Cauliflower Soup. It’s a pretty easy recipe and I’ve added a little Gruyere cheese to give the soup more body: I’m sure Madame du Barry wouldn’t mind!

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Cream of Cauliflower Soup (Crème Dubarry)
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
A creamy Cauliflower Soup named in honor of Louis XV mistress!
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 300 g (11 oz) cauliflower
  • 120 g (4 oz) leeks, white part
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 5 cups chicken stock or water
  • Salt/white pepper to taste
  • ½ cup thickened cream
  • ¼ cup gruyère or parmesan cheese, grated
  • Garnish:
  • ¼ cup small cauliflower florets
  • ¼ cup small broccoli florets
  • Chives, diced
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chopped shallot, leeks and cauliflower; sauté for several minutes until the vegetables soften a little. Add the flour and stir. Add the chicken stock and cook for about 15 minutes until the cauliflower softens and is fully cooked through. Add salt and white pepper to taste.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for several minutes until smooth. Transfer mixture back to the saucepan, add the cream and cheese and stir until thickened. Add more salt and pepper if required.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil and add the cauliflower and broccoli florets. Cook for several minutes, then remove. To serve, add soup to bowl, place several cauliflower and broccoli florets in the center of the bowl and sprinkle with some chopped chives.

 

 

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