Sunday, October 31, 2004

Sarah's Catering Company

I'm very excited. I'm going to be catering for my friend's short film shoot in December. We're going up to Main Ridge for 2 nights - so there's 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners and morning/afternoon teas. Last night I sat down with Alistair (director) and Lexi (make-up) and Daniel (best-boy) and I've set myself a budget of approximately $300. There's 14 of us. This is going to be fun. No alcohol on set, though.

So far we were thinking cereal and toast for breakfast; tea, coffee and biscuits for morning/arvo tea; sausage BBQ for lunch one day, sandwiches the next; and vegie lasagne for dinner one night and vegie pasta the next. Also an apple crumble and a chocolate self-saucing pudding for dessert. Just cos we can.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Duck Salad

I made this duck salad for dinner one night for my family, and it went down really really really well so I thought I'd put the recipe up here. I'm especially proud of it because it's (almost) my own creation. Actually, the idea is kind of adapted from a couple of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson recipes which I make quite often - Jamie Oliver's beef carpacio (sliced rare beef on salad) and two of Nigella Lawson's duck salads. I'm absolutely bonkers for duck. It's expensive, but so so so nice, so it's like an occasional treat. And the spice mix is (unfortunately) not mine at all - it's from George Bilionis, chef at Souk in Chapel Street, and was published in the August 2004 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller. It's meant to go on quail so I thought it might be good with duck. And it was!

The Duck Salad


Spice Mix
2.5 tsp black peppercorns, dry roasted
30 cardamom pods, seeds removed and dry roasted
2.5 tsp fennel seeds, dry roasted
1 tbsp each cumin seeds and coriander seeds, dry roasted
2.5 tbs sweet paprika
1 tbsp each ground cinnamon, ground turmeric and cayenne
2.5 tsp caster sugar
2.5 tsp ground all spice

4 duck breasts, skin on
1 large packet mixed designer leaves
1 red onion
1 orange
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 small red chillies
2 tomatoes

For spice mix, place peppercorns, cardomom and fennel, cumin and coriander seeds in a mortar and pound until finely ground. Sift through a fine sieve and discard husks. Transfer to a jar, add remaining ingredients and 1 tbsp sea salt, seal and shake to combine. This will make about 2/3 cup, which will last for ages.

Sprinkle duck breasts generously with spice mixture, put on an oven tray (not oiled) and place in a 180C oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, slice the red onion and orange finely. Place in a shallow bowl and add salt, pepper, the grated rind of the orange, the finely chopped chillies and oil. Mix around, and leave to steep while the duck cooks.

Wash, and place the designer leaves on a large, wide plate. Slice the tomatoes finely and place on top. Pour the orange and onion mixture over the salad, and toss to combine. Slice the duck breasts thinly on the diagonal, and arrange over the salad. Scrape any juices from the board over the salad.


Mum: This is really nice - you should make this again, and for guests.
Dad & I: The duck breasts are $32 a kilo.
Mum: Maybe not then.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Gooey Chocolate Stack

So, this is my first proper food blog. On Monday I was feeling mega-depressed so I skivved off uni and stayed home to make a cake. I made Nigella Lawson's "Gooey Chocolate Stack", which is from her ace book How to be a Domestic Goddess. (Available at all good retailers - go and buy it if you like baking, cos it's absolutely fantastic).

Domestic Bliss

That's the finished product, above. It looked different from the picture (which is in the background) because I was a bit generous with the custard layering. Anyway. it was very tasty. It's basically three layers of chocolate meringue with chocolate custard in between. The recipe suggests pistachios to go on top, but I used silver cachous because that's what was at the shop and Liam doesn't like nuts.

It was so much fun making it - cooking for comfort as opposed to eating for comfort.

I've always had trouble with making meringue... but a KitchenAid Mixer makes light work of eggwhites!

When you add cocoa to the meringue mixture it smells exactly like a Tim Tam. Yum...

Custard filling - it smelled so good that it was so hard to keep my face out of the pot! I've always been crap at doing custards, so I was quite excited that this one didn't turn into scrambled eggs.

So everyone loved the cake. I ate it with my family and my friend Liam last night. This was a huge deal for me because I've been on a no-carb diet for a while. So I had the most massive sugar high last night and today at uni as well. Kinda freaking out my friends with my hyper-ness. Anyway, we had it with coffee and vanilla ice-cream, which for some strange reason, cut through the sweetness. I also took some to uni today - it was fine in the morning, but by midday it had gone all soggy and weepy so it had to be chucked.

GOOEY... (but still crunchy)... and very tasty.


WHAT IS THAT EXQUISITE PIECE OF DOMESTIC BLISS? (She didn't actually eat any of the cake, I just sent her a photo of it).

Adri: Also thanks for the very delicious "exquisite piece of domestic bliss" (sorry had to steal George's line).

Eden: OMGGGGGGGGGGGGG that looks soo gooddddddddddddddddddd
good enough to eat

I can't remember exactly what Liam, my parents, brother or Paul said... but the response was really positive. Big chocolatey smiles all around. And I liked it too.

So overall the cake is very easy to make, but the only thing you have to remember is that you have to eat it on the day you make it, before it softens and goes gross. I'll definitely be making this again. Yum.