This is a great school holiday dinner! Especially before we head out to watch a game of rugby.
The boys had sliced leg ham in their sandwich and the grown ups had prosciutto.
I was a bit sceptical about the bechamel sauce, I’m not a fan of it.
However this time I could see that it added a creaminess to the sandwich that I really liked.
The recipe in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen requires you to place cheese on top of the grilled sandwich and then grill it a second time in the oven.
I just couldn’t add any more cheese!
I used Emmenthal cheese for the adults and Jarlsberg for the kids.
It was simple, delicious and very satisfying.
I also made the vinaigrette and tossed it through some radicchio and baby cos leaves.
The sandwich was salty from the cheese and prosciutto and the vinaigrette provided a sour kick from the vinegar and mustard.
I needed something to cut through all the salty sour flavours.
I added a tablespoon of brown sugar to the vinaigrette recipe and this really did the trick for us.
Even my little guy ate all the greens 🙂
I am looking forward to reading what everyone else in the Cook The Book Fridays group thought of this week’s recipe!
I was pretty much raised on Tzatziki.
My mum made it ALL the time.
She still makes it.
And I love it!
So I was pretty excited to see it was this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe!
After a day of netball… (that’s my daughter on the right!)
Soccer… (My son is the one chasing the ball on the right!)
And more soccer… (and a change in the weather!)
It was comforting to finish the day with a simple meal.
We paired Dorie’s Tzatziki with lamb cutlets and some grilled pita chips.
Everyone was happy!
We really, really liked Dorie’s tzatziki!
And by accident I stumbled upon a recipe by David Lebovitz for tzatziki that seems pretty similar if you want to try it for yourself… just substitute the olive oil for lemon.
The Savarin, a yeasted bread cake saturated in sweet syrup, pear eau-de vie (brandy), filled with whipped cream and topped with your choice of berries.
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia recipe.
And I think it would have been simple if I didn’t leave it till the very last minute.
Which also happened to be the weekend I was having 5 of my son’s friends sleep over for his birthday.
Six 13-year old boys.
They are loud, they squeal, they argue, they burp, they fart, they tell each other they stink, call each other names, wrestle each other to the ground, jump on each other, laugh at inappropriate jokes and can’t seem to keep their arms and legs to themselves. And did I mention they are loud?
I made the cake before heading out to dinner and a few games of laser skirmish.
I took many, many photos.
My husband took many, many photos.
13 year old boys move.
Nearly all the photos turned our blurry.
Someone, if not everyone, was moving at any given time. Below are the best out of the lot, and as you can see they aren’t that great!
My 6 year old son was happy to get his dad all to himself and play a game of pool while the big boys laser battled (and came out arguing over who was the best shot and argued again as the scores came up on the screen).
Teased, poked and paid out on each other through dinner.
Argued over who was the best at PS3. Who was going to sleep where. And what movie to watch.
(And that last pic is of me hugging my son as he’s trying to squirm away).
The next morning they woke us all up at the crack of dawn with more laughter and arguments.
The early start however meant I could make the syrup and soak the cake before starting on pancakes for breakfast.
When they all went home, bleary eyed and tired (me and them), I filled the the middle of the cake with whipped cream and topped it off with fresh berries. The recipe calls for the berries to be mixed in raspberry puree however I prefer my berries fresh.
I sat down to a quiet and freshly cleaned house, drizzled the cake with pear eau-de-vie…
And savoured each and every bite!
(My husband wants me to mention he did most of the cleaning while I finished making the cake 🙂 !).
I love baba cakes, so I thought this was wonderful.
I preferred it with the pear eau-de-vie.
I’m not a fan of alcohol in cakes so I was surprised when I splashed more and more brandy on top of my cake. I thought it was the taste of pears that kept me going back for more, my husband thought it was just me trying to blot out the past 24 hours! (Truth is I loved every minute of the craziness!)
I have always wanted to be persistent and consistent.
I hear they are qualities that lead to great and wonderful things…
What can I say?
I had good intentions…
Unfortunately my paved road lead me straight to the Game of Thrones.
Week after week I would check the French Fridays with Dorie recipe schedule and set my intention to participate.
Some weeks I simply noted the chosen recipe before returning to my books.
Other weeks I went as far as buying the ingredients for the week’s recipe.
There were a few weeks I made the recipe and then plain forgot to photograph it.
And before I knew it, the weeks turned into months.
Here I am, two months after my last post, thinking about how much fun I had making this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe and wondering why I had put off participating for so long?!
Yes. I had to turn my back on a bunch of 13 year old boys running in out of the rain as they waged a full scale Nerf gun battle in my house, shooting anything that moved. But the grass, mud and odd bullet to the head was worth it!
I am confident I would never have made Asparagus Soup if I wasn’t part of this group.
I might have told myself “one day”… but I know I wouldn’t have.
I would have missed out on cooking and sharing a delicious meal with my family.
And also the sense of satisfaction and achievement that comes along with each recipe completed.
It’s coming into winter here in Australia, so we ate the soup warm with a dollop of creme fraiche.
Yes. The kids pulled faces when they sat down to dinner and one confidently declared they were sure they weren’t going to like it!
However they all tried it and they all changed their minds after tasting it!
It has been a long, long, while since I last posted.
I have missed everything that goes along with producing a new post.
The planning, the cooking, the photos and then putting it all together in some sort of presentable way!
At some point, I think I decided that since it had been so long since I had done anything, I needed to do something really great to make up for it. That didn’t work out so well for me… so I did more of nothing!
This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was ‘Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin’.
I found this dish… I don’t know… plain?
The meat itself was delicious.
Moist and tender.
However I think this was due to the beautiful cut of meat I used.
My older son started high school and they were off to camp in the second week. The day he returned from camp, was my little boy’s first day at school!
I made the pork that night to celebrate and I served it with Dorie’s Potato Gratin which they love!
We scraped the oranges off the pork and enjoyed it alongside the gratin.
With all the start of new year craziness, I made last week’s recipe, the brown sugar squash and brussels sprouts en papilotte, however I did not get around to posting it!
(That happens more than I like to admit!)
Again, I have to say the recipe, was nice, but nothing special.
I’m glad I tried both of the recipes above.
I’ve noticed if I tell my guys at home it’s a FFwD recipe, they just nod their heads and give it a go, no complaints, even if they don’t like it!
I love how being part of this group has become a family affair!
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was the perfect recipe to kick-start 2013
(after a month of posting nothing!)
I had good intentions…
But we all know where they lead you when there’s no actions to back them up!
December was chaotic.
In addition to the usual holiday madness, I had my older son finishing his last year of primary school.
After 7 years together (in Australia, kids start primary school when they are about 5 and complete a year of kindergarten followed by Years 1-6) my 12-yr-old son has now finished Year 6 and is off to high school where he will do Years 7-12!
School ended December 19th, however those last few weeks were in full party mode.
Surfing lessons, golf, tennis, camps, craft days, graduation ceremonies, concerts, dances and dinners were all arranged by the school.
My son and husband at his Year 6 graduation dinner/dance…
Then there were all the after school activities that the kids took to arranging for themselves on Skype and Instagram!
While the primary school was focused on sending their Year 6 kids off with a bunch of great memories, their respective high schools had their own orientation days and activities designed to welcome their new Year 7’s for 2013!
And all this was just with one child!
My younger son is starting primary school in 2013 so he had a series of orientation days of his own to attend and my daughter is undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh program which meant the last couple of weeks of school were spent getting organised for a kayaking/camping trip.
Visions of myself baking Buche de Noels, Gingerbread houses, Christmas themed cookies, cakes and cupcakes went out of the window.
This year, it felt like Christmas was eclipsed by… life.
I didn’t even try to fight it.
I just went with it.
The kids return to school January 30th and we usually go away for a couple of weeks at some point over this 6-week break, however this year we decided to stay in Sydney.
And days like the one in the pics below, reminded me of what an awesome place we live in!
My son went to his friend’s 5th birthday, kayaking around Manly harbour…
The kids headed out with their parents…
Then returned to cool down with a swim and a picnic lunch.
Today was a crazy 43 degrees celsius in Sydney.
But yesterday was the perfect pizza making day!
And so we kick start 2013 baking with Dorie and Julia!
We all love olives and goat’s cheese in our family, so this recipe was enjoyed by everyone.
I have been wanting to make this for a while and I love the mix of the sweet onions with the salty olives and cheese. I thought it was perfect!
I was excited about making these biscuits.
I fried the onions.
Sifted the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
Creamed the butter into the dry ingredients with my finger tips…
And then my 14 year old daughter and her friends asked if I could show them how to use the curling iron to curl their hair for the Taylor Swift concert they were going to.
I was happy to demonstrate.
Last time we went to a wedding I decided to teach myself to curl my own hair by watching a You Tube video!
(It is amazing what’s on there! I also learned how to apply eye make up like the girls from the Hills (?!) and many ways to wear a scarf!)
What can I say? Some things just aren’t “my thing” and I was in awe of what you could learn on You Tube!
I shared my excitement with my wonderful family, and they laughed at me!
Ha! Who’s laughing now!
The curls came out perfect (thank goodness!)
And I returned to my dough.
Not a minute went by before I heard “Muuuuummmmm!”
This was backed by shouts of “We don’t know what we’re doing! We need your help!”
Four heads and a can of hairspray later I returned to my dough.
My head reeling from the hairspray fumes I finished the biscuits!
But I guess sitting there for an hour didn’t do them any favours!
My biscuits came out flat as pancakes!!!
(Oh! And while I was off curling hair, my husband ate the ham I bought to fill the biscuits!)
Despite the lack of height and filling, I thought this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe tasted simple but nice.
I can’t wait to see how what the rest of the group thought
(and also to see how these should have looked!
This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was Roasted Rhubarb.
It really doesn’t get easier than this.
Chop up half a kilo of rhubarb and sprinkle half a cup of sugar and the rind of half an orange over it.
Cover with foil and bake at 200 degrees celsius for 15 minutes.
Uncover and bake for a further 5 mins until the syrup bubbles.
That’s it. Simple.
Dorie suggests trying it as soon as possible and adding honey if too sour.
I figured the sweetness of the vanilla rice pudding would work well with the sourness of the rhubarb as it was.
Vanilla Rice Pudding
1 cup Aborio Rice
1 litre milk
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 Vanilla bean, split and only use scraped out seeds
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until rice is tender.
The Vanilla Rice Pudding was absolutely delicious.
It went really well with the tartness of the roasted rhubarb.
Best of all, I was able to share the evening with my parents. The last time my dad was over for dinner was September 2010. November 18th he had a stroke and a heart attack that he was not expected to survive. Over four months in hospital and lots and lots of rehab later, he is finally back home. It was great hearing his stories of how they make rice pudding in Serbia. He had fond memories of it topped with cream and meringue. Sounded great but figured it best to give it a skip unless I wanted him back in hospital with another stroke!
That’s what I love about food. It brings us together and creates happy times and great memories.