Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Annabel Langbein 'A Free Range Life'- Dinner for Dad

Very exciting new Annabel Langbein Annual #afreerangelife @annabellangbein

Spicy Corn and Rice

Roast Vege and Chorizo Salad

Another view

The revelation! Chimichurri Skirt Steak

Dinner....also with Blackjack Chicken Nibbles

Harry trying everything...but particularly enjoying the corn and rice and the chicken

Birthday Boy

Dad settling in with his food

Raspberry Ripple Ambrosia

Harry eating the fruits of his labour...he pretty much made this

I was lucky enough to be one of the people selected to be a part of a Free Range Foodie event where we got preview copies of this new annual and get to share photos and experiences of the food. Because I have been on night shift I had to wait to have my first attempt at some of the recipes. Let me tell you....this annual is only going to cost $19.95 and it is well worth it! What I like about it is that it's all geared to the easiness of summer food and summer gatherings, which tend to be more relaxed. I have pretty much all of Annabel Langbein's cookbooks and I think it would be fair to say she is my most favourite cookbook author (I know my friends would agree).What I like about them is the high yield of recipes that actually work! 

My dad had his birthday last week but as I was working, last night was the first time I could get him over for dinner. I chose the whole menu from this annual. As I was going to be home later after school pickup I picked recipes that didn't need too much preparation and cooking. There is nothing worse than over committing to a menu. It leaves you stressed therefore making the whole experience a miserable one. I had to do a small amount of prep the night before but otherwise it was pretty easy to manage.

The revelation of the night was skirt steak! I have a feeling this will go the same way as lamb shanks and end up being over priced. The cost of skirt steak is about $13/kilo making it a cheap option. Not only is it inexpensive but it tastes amazing! Trust me on this one....but most importantly do NOT overcook it and make sure you rest it. Otherwise you will end up with tough meat that is impossible to eat. The book said to cook it for 5 min each side. However my steak was quite thin so I did 2 1/2 min each side. It was pretty rare but the taste was phenomenal. I also marinated it the night before. The sauce (using the marinade whizzed up with some orange juice and extra coriander) just finished it off.

I also made the Blackjack Chicken Nibbles but only added a small amount of chilli. for these you whipped up a BBQ sauce the night before and cooked the nibbles in it before grilling them on the BBQ to give a charred taste. Delicious!!! We had the corn and rice salad (loved this) and the Roast Vege and Chorizo Salad....also very good. 

Harry made the dessert with a bit of help from me however because I only had frozen raspberries ($8 per punnet was waaaay too expensive), I think that even though I defrosted them, they were made it just a bit runny. I also added the nougat but next time I would leave it out. As well as that I didn't make the compote to go on top instead I bought the Dollop Boysenberry and Raspberry Compote which is yum! This was pretty standard I thought but still Ambrosia is still fabulous no matter how simple it is! It did look pretty in the stemless wine glasses though.

All in all the meal was lovely. I can't wait to make more from this up is the Blueberries and Cream Trifle for a 'Xmas' get together on Sunday.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Oma's One and Only Dutch Apple Tart- Chelsea Winter

OMG have I got a ton of stuff to blog about. In fact no doubt I will have forgotten where I got a recipe from it's been so long since I have made it! I'll do my best to remember but I really can't promise anything. Life for our household is pretty full on. With working shifts full-time (and having 6 weekends in a row), my boys being at school and all of that routine, trying to keep on top of housework, varying other commitments and all of Harry's dance stuff there is precious little time for anything else. While I always talk about having people over for dinner or lunch, the reality is that we barely see anyone socially. Time for a change.....she said.....famous last words I think!

Anyway I made this delicious and easy tart/cake for my recently bought Chelsea Winter cookbook. For those NZ Masterchef followers out there, you will know she won it last year. I can't say she was my pick and I can't even remember what converted me to liking her but regardless of what it was she is actually a very good and accessible cook. Her book is well worth it and if you have a Facebook account 'like' the page. You might find yourself a convert like me! This recipe is really yummy and would make a good afternoon tea cake or a simple dessert.

Oma's One and Only Apple Tart (Chelsea Winter 'At My Table')

5-6 medium apples (I used Braeburn and Granny Smith)
1 Tbsp each lemon zest, lemon juice and cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp grd ginger
1 Tbsp sugar
150g butter, slightly softened and cubed
200g sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
220g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 c blueberries
2 Tbsp apricot jam
1 Tbsp boiling water

Preheat oven to 160 C fan bake (or 180 C). Grease a 20cm springform tin with butter and dust with some flour (tip out the excess).

Peel and core the apples and cut into segments (cut into quarters then again 2-3 times). Put into a bowl and add the lemon zest, juice, cinnamon, mixed spice, ginger and the 1 Tbsp sugar. Mix well to combine and coat the apple and set aside.

Cream the butter and second measure of sugar together until thick and pale. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until just combined then mix in the milk. You will have a thick creamy batter.

Spread and thin layer of batter in the base of the tine. Gently place a ring of apple slices very close together all the way around the inside edge of the tin, lightly pressing them down. Put the 'fat' end of the apple towards the outside of the tin.. Repeat with another layer inside each previous ring until the batter is totally covered with apples. Pour over the lemony liquid (I barely had any) over the apple. If there is a lot only put over half. Scatter over the blueberries. Put the remaining batter over the top and spread as best you can do. Repeat with the apple slices.

Bake about 1 hour or until golden, puffy and set in the middle.

Make a glaze with the apricot jam ad boiling water and brush all over the cake.

Do not store in the fridge.