Friday, May 22, 2015

Apple Sponge Pudding

Apple Sponge Pudding

Brr, it's cold. Pudding time. I've been making this apple sponge pudding, on and off, for the last year or so. It's so good! Basically it is just a layer of cooked apples, covered in a light sponge batter. It's warm and comforting, but not stodgy or heavy. Super delicious! The original recipe is from Jamie Oliver's website, but I've tweaked the recipe to satisfy the apple-loving contingent in my household. I reduced the quantities of cake batter to make a very thin layer, barely covering the apples. Boom. "Best dessert you've ever made".

It's quite quick to make, especially if you have an electric hand-held whisk, but if you were feeling energetic then all you'd need is a normal whisk and some arm power!

Ready for the oven


Apple Sponge Pudding

Apple Sponge Pudding

As I mentioned above, I have made this pudding a number of times, and if you want a thicker layer of cake, simply double the quantities of the sponge-layer ingredients. When I make it with the double-quantity of sponge mixture, it turns out thick and fluffy, as per the below picture.

Apple Sponge Pudding - double sponge

Whether made in double or single quantities, I like it best served hot out of the oven, drenched in hot vanilla custard. Gah! Perfect cold-weather treat!


Apple Sponge Pudding
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver

For the apple layer:
3 apples
25 grams caster sugar
1 tablespoon water
For the sponge layer:
25 grams caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
30 grams self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice

To make the apple layer:
Peel, core and chop the apples into approx 1-cm chunks. Place in a small saucepan with caster sugar and water. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened. Set aside.
To make the sponge layer:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter a baking dish. (I used a 18 x 24 cm oblong baking dish). Place the caster sugar and egg in a small mixing bowl, and whisk with an electric mixer until thick, aerated, and pale in colour. Gently whisk in the vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and mixed spice, and fold in gently until combined. Place the apples in the pie dish, and top with the eggy batter. Use a spatula to spread it out to the corners.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sponge topping is golden brown and cooked through.
Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Serve plain, or with vanilla custard or ice-cream.
Serves 3-4

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Featured Dish: Rumbled eggs with pancetta & truffle pecorino on griddled Dr. Marty’s crumpets, Stables of Como

My first "Featured Dish" in over a year!

Rumbled eggs with pancetta & truffle pecorino on griddled Dr. Marty’s crumpets, $17.00, Stables of Como

Rumbled eggs with pancetta & truffle pecorino on griddled Dr. Marty's crumpets

This brunch dish from Stables of Como is one of the best things I've eaten all year. These pictures are from a brunch we had quite a few months ago, and the menu does seem to change quite regularly, but luckily the rumbled eggs have stayed.

Grilled crumpets are topped with creamy creamy eggs and a generous sprinkling of truffled pecorino - the truffle flavour is present, but not overpowering. Crisp batons of pancetta and chives complete the dish. It is generous and indulgent, but also well balanced. So delicious!!

Rumbled eggs with pancetta & truffle pecorino on griddled Dr. Marty's crumpets

EDIT: After reading Lorraine's comment below, I just had to Google - apparently "rumbled eggs" is a 19th century term for scrambled eggs, and are made by cooking beaten eggs, cream or milk, butter and a little water, either in a saucepan or in a double boiler.

Stables of Como
Lechlade Ave
Como House & Garden
Cnr Williams Road
South Yarra VIC 3141
Ph: (03) 9827 6886
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pine Mushrooms on Toast

Pine mushrooms on toast, mini latte

Recently, we've really gotten into visiting markets on the weekend. We've been checking out different farmers markets (Boroondara and Carlton have been good so far), and have half a dozen different ones on the list to try. Yesterday we visited my old stomping ground, Prahran Market, to buy ingredients for Sunday lunch and make my mandatory stop at Market Lane Coffee. I had a shopping list (free range rack of pork, roasting potatoes, herbs, gifts for friends from the specialty shops), and wanted to avoid impulse purchases, but couldn't resist when I saw the beautiful display at Damien Pike's mushroom stand. Look at those pine mushrooms! So pretty!

Damien Pike's Mushroom Stand

Now, I've never been one of those people who can float through a market, selecting whatever looks the nicest that day and then whip up an amazing meal on the fly. (Don't you hate those people? So smug, so very smug. Hehe.) So I asked the stall owner for advice on the pine mushrooms - he said just to slice them up, sauté them in butter with garlic, a little cream and some herbs. Bang!

I picked two of the most perfect ones, paid for them, and carefully carried the precious cargo home in its little paper bag. As you can see in the above photo, they're $50 a kilo, and those two mushrooms cost $5 in total - super precious! I've noticed that some of the other stalls in the market sometimes also sell similar speciality mushrooms - pines, slippery jacks etc. - and are usually slightly cheaper, but they never seem to look as nice, with bruises or broken bits.

Pine mushrooms!

The next morning, (i.e. this morning) I followed Damien's advice, and made these garlicky, buttery mushrooms for my breakfast. I've written up the recipe, with weights and measurements, at the bottom of this page... because I just know that next year I'll wander past his stall again, and think "Ooh! I love pine mushrooms! Now, how do I cook those?" Now I'll have the recipe on my blog. Yay! Future Sarah, you are welcome.

Breakfast ingredients

I melted a generous amount of butter in a pan with a little clove of garlic, then tumbled in the sliced mushrooms. Damien said they were saffron milk cap mushrooms, and they turned a really vibrant orange colour.

Pine mushrooms

Once the mushrooms cooked down, I fished out the garlic clove and discarded it, generously seasoned the mushrooms with salt and pepper, and added a splash of cream, a squeeze of lemon, and the chopped herbs. Boom!

I tumbled them onto some toast, and served them with a mini latte. Perfect breakfast!

Pine mushrooms on toast, mini latte

Funnily enough, while I was eating this, I thought it must be similar to the "sole with chanterelles" from How to Eat, so I just had to go searching through my old How to Eat Project and see what that dish was like. Turns out I actually used pine mushrooms that time, rather than the hard-to-find chanterelles, and it looked super similar to this breakfast! (I also see we bought over a dozen pine mushrooms that time, from Damien Pike's stall too - must have cost a bomb! Incidentally, thanks Mum and Dad for sponsoring Sarah Discovers How to Eat.)

So, with that in mind, even though I had these mushrooms on toast, I think you could enjoy them in any number of ways. Cut into finer pieces, and with a bit more cream (or white wine, as in Nigella's sole recipe), I think it would make a great sauce for chicken or fish, or even pasta. Made in huge quantities (maybe bulk it up with some button mushrooms to be less extravagant) with sour cream, and served with rice, it could be like a mushroom stroganoff. Or, of course, just eat them as per the recipe below. Because they were freakin delicious! Enjoy.

Pine Mushrooms on Toast
A recipe by Sarah Cooks

25 grams butter
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 large pine mushrooms
1 tablespoon cream
A squeeze of lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 tablespoon chopped chives
Salt and pepper
2 pieces toast of your choice

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan with the (whole) garlic clove.
Brush the dirt off the pine mushrooms and thickly slice. Add the mushroom slices to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have cooked down and released their delicious mushroomy juices. Remove the garlic clove and discard.
Add the cream and stir to combine, followed by the lemon juice, parsley and chives.
Season generously with salt and pepper, and pile onto the toast to serve.
Serves 1 lucky person