This is the kind of ‘a little something’ that I needed on a cold and wintery Sydney day recently.. pure comfort food. And I did indeed need a bit of comfort. I was exhausted after doing the shoot for my new book (out next year), and staying with my good friend (and fellow Whole and Natural Foods Chef) Holly Davis, who helped me, the word we used was ‘shattered’. We were completely shattered, and requiring said comfort food (plus, it was cold). It also seems that rice pudding is back in (mind you it has never really gone away in our house) – I noticed it has made an appearance in this months Delicious magazine, so it seems, we are on trend :) I actually don’t use a recipe, just throw it all in and judge from look, but the all important thing in making a rice pudding is getting the consistency right (not too runny, not too thick) so I’m giving you a recipe. It’s originally from this book (I’ve tweaked it a little) … a truly brilliant book that mum has had for years, it’s well worn and stained, and truly, has all the Australian classics – it’s well worth tracking down.
But whilst carrying on about how exhausted we were, it was a wonderful time. I call it the ‘seeing the view from the mountain’ time. That time, when you’ve worked so hard (over years and years), taken the enormous risks that you take, putting it all out there – and you finally get the chance to see the beauty of it all. To see this book, that in the beginning (and for quite some time over the past year) I couldn’t see at all where it was leading me, but I kept on following a jungle path – finally I got to see that it was beautiful, and that the whole was so much more than the sum of it’s parts. That takes one talented photographer (Cath Muscat) and stylist (Michelle Noriento), and of course a publishing team who are there for you (Murdoch Books). BUT, it also takes a friend. I’ve had a lot of lessons about what makes a true friendship this year – easy for some to talk the talk, but not walk the walk. Thank goodness, that I count Holly as a true friend. Thank goodness she knows how to make a cup of tea because we really needed it. The photo below is a screen shot of the teapot from Cath’s instagram account. It also took another hand in the kitchen, and we were loved sharing more time with Trudie Fenwick – a graduate from the 2013 Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program. We also had the opportunity to catch up with another graduate (2010) Belinda Pooley (Wholefood Canteen), another true friend and we got to meet her gorgeous new bub.
A shoot goes like this: you organise what you are going to shoot (we had 40 shots of food + chapter openers + incidentals+ pictures of me) – in 5 days. You organise the shopping list (that was Holly’s job, and no mean feat). You watch in awe as box after box of props are unloaded. You cook your ass off, because that’s a lot of shots you are doing each day. I also keep an eye on the shot so it represents me. No blue plates I say, no twine around everything I say – and in the end, there was blue, and a bit of twine, but I loved it. Loved it to bits. I love who I see this book becoming, I love that whilst I couldn’t see always what it wanted to be, my spirit did and kept me on the path. I think you will like it too. That’s Michelle s hands down there, getting the shot into shape, and below it, is the gorgeous Smeg fridge we used for a shot. Look at the colour – Panna Cotta – it says it all. I literally can’t wait for my new home and cooking studio to be built (that’s another story), but already I have my Smeg oven sorted. I’ll tell you more about that at a later date.
Before I leave and get to the recipe, I will be putting together a class program next week for August, September, October and November for Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. It will post on the website, FB and newsletter. I’d so love to meet you and I hope you can come along. In the meantime, try this out this winter weekend… serve it with any baked or stewed fruit as desired. Eat it for morning tea, snack or afternoon tea or dessert… it doesn’t matter :)
As you can see, I like a bit of scone with my butter, and it seems that many of you do too, if the facebook post is anything to go by :) I’m making this post quick and short, so I can get this up in time, just in case any one would like to make these for Mothers Day morning tea.
I’ve been making these just recently to have something in the freezer to quickly take out and heat, for morning tea. Autumn has bought some very cold mornings recently, and my house is even colder, so when I’m sitting at my desk (editing the new book), a warm cup of tea and scone is just what the doctor ordered. I love scones, any flavour just about (so long as it’s not chocolate or too weird), and think pumpkin and date is in the top 5. And, there’s no reason you can’t chop up a lot of glace ginger and put that in also.
So whether you are making these for a Mothers Day treat, or just a warm something on a busy working day, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I’ll be making a batch at Mum’s tomorrow for her freezer, so she too has some treat goodness for a cold morning on hand…. x Jude
TWAS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS
I very nearly put a photo of my stunningly messy kitchen here, but thought better of it – way too embarrassing. This last week has been full on – shopping, catching up with my sister who is visiting from Switzerland, cooking (finally got that Christmas cake in the oven), lunch with neighbours, cricket yesterday evening, not to mention a bit of recipe testing thrown into the mix. That’s our Christmas tree up there – we had a dream run this year. Cool day (thank you, thank you), found it in seconds and they even came and cut it down for us. I made Christmas muffins for us to take in case hunger struck – cherry and blackberry. I go prepared – I think I’ve given up trying to find an edible muffin in Perth. Morning tea in Fremantle last week was the straw that broke the camels back – here we are in summer, bountiful fruit all around and what were the muffins (at least they were made by the cafe) – apple, but even then, none left. Starving, I settled for the Curried Corn – a curious combination I thought – and so it proved true – inedible. You can find the recipe for the muffins here, just use what fruit or nut appeals, and I made mine with spelt.
I know there are lots of photo’s here, but I just couldn’t resist some of them – jewels of colour all around me, bountiful nature. This is a photo collage of sorts, of whats been happening in my kitchen. We will get to the recipe for today …..
The recipe for the trifle? A more sophisticated version than this, as I made the agar strawberry jelly – for agar jelly see here (I cooked 500gm fresh strawberries with 1 cup water, strained to get 2 cups strawberry juice, sugar to taste, 1 1/4 teaspoons agar powder). And, lots of Chambourd.
Right, which brings us to today, and the recipe. Diamond (on my facebook page) asked if I was posting any treats. Hmmm, I thought, yes I should. And I’ve settled on Marshmallow. When I was in Melbourne this year, dining at one of my favourite places PM24, we were served a strawberry marshmallow – oh, insanely good – slightly tart, soft – heaven. This is my first attempt at that – it’s not quite there, but it’s a work in progress. This doesn’t quite capture what I was after – lots of colour, fresh, slightly tart strawberry flavour, wild pink colour, but it’s good. I’m in the mood for marshmallow – it’s a light treat, and fun for the kids (once made). I based the recipe on the Miette version, but used more wholesome sweetening – the Billingtons Golden Castor Sugar (less refined) and a Brown Rice Syrup (in Australia I use the Spiral brand) rather than Light Corn Syrup – the brown rice syrup works fabulously. Oh, fresh strawberry puree and high quality gelatine, from healthy animals. As another thought, you could try using some of the dehydrated berry powder – available from Burch and Purchase (in Melbourne, lucky you if you live in Melbourne!!) both to add to the marshmallow and add to the coating mixture.
Thank you all for sharing this year with me – I have met some amazing people – like you. One of the clear messages that came out of meeting you all was that many of you feel isolated, as you try to provide real, sustainable and good food for yourself and your family. Though this path is gaining momentum, it can seem lonely at times. But know there are many of you, all across the world – each caring enough to keep on this path and how important this is. The other issue was that of time – our 2011 /12 lives are becoming quite crazy – Christmas can certainly be even busier. I hope you find some time to breathe and sigh, and that joy and peace can find a space in your home.
STRAWBERRY MARSHMALLOW – gluten free
There are a couple of critical points here – firstly, I found I needed a fairly large pot for the sugar mixture – too small and it will boil over. Secondly, remember this is boiling syrup – be very careful it does not spill – it will burn badly, especially as it is so sticky. Keep the kids away until the marshmallow is set. I’ve used a very fiddly snowflake – some of those edges look a bit wonky !! Once set the mix is very pliable though, and great for kids. it will be much easier with a simpler shape such as a star. You will also need a candy thermometer.
fresh, ripe strawberries, green leaves removed
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing/powdered sugar ( I used the Billingtons Golden Icing Sugar)
2 tablespoons (20ml tablespoon) gelatine
80 ml strawberry puree
100 ml water
335gm golden castor sugar
100 ml brown rice syrup
3 large egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
Blend enough ripe strawberries that when put through a sieve (discard the seeds) to give you 80 ml
Sieve the cornstarch and icing sugar into a bowl and mix together. Lightly oil ( I used macadamia, but a similar light tasting oil is fine) a 20 x 30cm cake tin and dust it with a small amount of the cornstarch and icing sugar mixture. Set aside.
Add the strawberry puree to a small bowl and stir in the gelatine. Leave to soften.
In a good size saucepan combine the castor sugar, water and brown rice syrup. Do not stir now, or anytime during the process. Place on a low – medium heat, and when it looks like the sugar is beginning to melt, you can increase the heat a little. If you see little crystals of sugar around the edge of the pot, use a pastry brush dipped in waster to wash them back into the mixture. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan – you want it to reach 119c.
Fit your stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Add the egg whites and cream of tartar, and when the sugar mixture reaches 110c, begin to whisk slowly. When the it reaches 119c, the egg whites should be nicely whipped, though sometimes this last stage 110 – 119 can take some time. Immediately remove the syrup from the heat and whisk in the strawberry mixture, whisking until no lumps remain.
Carefully drizzle the sugar syrup into the egg whites – low to medium speed. If you were using the dehydrated berry powder, I would add that also. When all of the syrup has been added, add the vanilla paste, extract and salt, and increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture has cooled to room temperature and is thick. Don’t get a shock when the mixture looks like it has deflated when you’ve added all the syrup, and be prepared for the whipping after this to take a considerable amount of time – easily 10 minutes if not more. It should look like this….
Using a spatula, pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover and place in fridge to set for at least 12 hours. Using a lightly oiled knife (or dust the knife in the coating mix) cut the marshmallows as desired, or lightly oil a cookie cutter (or dredge it well in the coating mix). The mix is quite pliable and will pull out of the cutter easily. Dust the cut edges with the cornstarch and sugar mixture. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Afternoon Tea
- Chef Training
- Core Recipes
- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free
- Grass Fed Meat
- Late Summer
- Making a Book
- Meals from my Garden
- Quick Dinner
- Ramble and Roam
- Seasonal Cooking
- Soaked Grains
- Sustainable Fish
- Wedding Cake
- Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training
- Wholefood Kitchen