Archive for August, 2010

sundays

August 29, 2010

Dear Sunday,

This is just a little note to let you know that I love you.

I love someone else cooking me breakfast (this morning: waffles with fresh strawberries) and making me delicious coffee.

I really love having time to bake a little treat (this afternoon: banana, choc chip and orange muffins devoured with lashings of french butter).

I also love spending time doing things at the cafe (today: covering the windows with paper so we can now conduct secret business).

The only thing that I don’t love about you, dear Sunday, is that because of you, I know what tomorrow holds (i.e Monday).

’til next week,

fat chops

x

about a bird

August 27, 2010

I heard that canaries usually live for around 10 years. So, when I found our wee brown & gold canary, Broon, lying stiff on the bottom of the cage the other day, I was quite shocked (she hadn’t even celebrated her third birthday). There were a few tears shed, followed by an intimate burial between the cherry blossom trees. I was instructed by the real bird lover in the house that a new bird had to be purchased pronto.

May I proudly introduce the newest yet-to-be-named* member to the SS aviary:

*suggestions welcome for a name for this reckless, black-and-white headed, yellow-bodied canary.

In keeping with the birdy week I’ve had, I decided that tonight’s dinner had better be chicken pie. The pie will be enjoyed in memory of the late Broon.

I’m sure that everyone has a chicken pie recipe that their mum/dad/aunty/neighbour used to make, and is the best recipe around. I’m not claiming that this pie is the fanciest going, but it sure ticks all the boxes: creamy, chickeny, hint of veg and flaky puff pastry.

Start by using the chicken pieces of your choice (about 750g) – leftover roast chook, thigh or breast. If your meat is uncooked, throw it in a bowl with some plain flour, cayenne pepper and salt and toss around until it’s lightly coated. Brown the chicken in a saucepan with a bit (or a lot) of butter and a splash of oil. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, saute a finely chopped onion, 2 sliced cloves garlic, 1/2 a medium fennel sliced thinly, and a carrot chopped in 1cm bits until golden (about 10 minutes). Return chook to pan with a handful of fresh/frozen peas, 200ml chicken stock (homemade is best) and 1/2 cup cream or creme fraiche. Stir, then simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce has slightly thickened. Season to taste (and add some finely chopped fresh herbs if you wish)..(and even a bit of finely grated lemon rind).

When the chicken mixture has cooled down, pour into a pie dish, or, like i did, line some texas muffin tins with puff pastry and then spoon in the mixture. Cut out a pastry top for your dish or muffin tins and seal with the tines of a fork or your fingers. Give a quick brush with some egg wash and decorate if you feel that way inclined (I think pastry polka dots would look very sweet). Bake in a 200C oven for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.


I ate mine from the tin (tut tut), but may I suggest you serve it with a leafy green salad and a big glass of white wine.

Make sure that when you eat your pie, you spare a thought for wee Broon. RIP.

seedy

August 25, 2010

Have you eaten a guava before? For most of us, I think the closest encounter we’ve had with this strange fruit is in liquid form, blended with apples and sold as juice.

As a small, podgy child, I enjoyed many cans of tinned guava with scoops of vanilla icecream. My mum always added guavas to fruit salads. Until today, I had never seen this sweet fruit in any greengrocers nor supermarkets. So, naturally, when I saw some looking lonely on the greengrocer’s shelf, I decided I had to take them home with me.

Like quince, guava are an odd-looking fruit. There’s nothing polished about them. However, unlike quince, they don’t need to be cooked for hours in order to be enjoyed. The guava in the picture were simply peeled, quartered and poached in some sugar syrup laced with cinnamon, cloves and lemon peel for about 10 minutes.

Guava may be rather seedy on the inside, but pop a couple of poached pieces in a bowl with some creamy yogurt, and you’ll quickly forgive them for their sins.

Feeling adventurous? Have a bit of spare time? Maybe you should try this recipe, as printed in this month’s Gourmet Traveller:

http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/quays-guava-snow-egg.htm

’til next time,

fat chops xx

white lies + upside-down cakes

August 24, 2010

Dear reader,

I said that I would share my favourite fruit recipe with you. Only problem is: I lied. I don’t have one favourite; I have hundreds. So, here is one of my first favourites…pineapple upside-down cake ain’t the prettiest treat to look at, but trust me, when butter meets brown sugar meets fruit meets fluffy cake, you know you’re on to a good thing.

I used about 1/2 a medium pineapple for this recipe – you can easily substitute the same weight of your favourite fruit (great way to use up fruit that is looking past its best).

Love, fat chops xx

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

adapted from American Gourmet Feb 2000

1/2 medium pineapple, cored, sliced about 1/2 cm thick

50g butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

125g butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

1/2 cup pineapple juice (you can use milk, if you prefer)

1. Melt butter and brown sugar in saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.

2. Place pineapple rings/slices/pieces in a greased 23-cm round cake tin and pour over caramel. Heat oven to 180C.

3. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add half the dry ingredients, beat to combine, then add the juice and beat to combine. Add remaining dry ingredients, beating until just combined.

5. Spoon batter over pineapple topping. Pop in oven for about 45 minutes or until the cake is nicely browned and a skewer comes out clean when tested.

6. Leave to cool in tin for about 10 minutes, then invert on to serving plate.

7. This cake is delicious served warm, straight from the oven, with a generous dollop of cream or creme fraiche. May I suggest adding a splash of dark rum to the cream…..pineapple+caramel+cream+rum…nom nom nom nom.

p.s not a sin to eat this for breakfast. Just wash it down with a glass of milk…that a balanced diet, right?

procras-tea-nating

August 24, 2010

Dear tea,

As a child, we spent many a morning together. I used to drink you very milky, with the addition of about 4 oversized tablespoons of sugar. Not surprisingly, when I discovered coffee (p.s is ‘Nescafe’ still considered a coffee?), I quickly discarded our friendship and moved on to the more caffeinated option.

I will admit to you now, tea, that I really don’t like you in your green form. That earthy, dusty flavour in my mouth does not appeal. I do, however, love you in an iced version. I don’t usually stand for artificial flavours, but there’s something eerily delicious about peachy iced tea.

Anyways, the point of my letter to you is to actually let you know that I have been converted.

First stage of conversion: purchase of a very beautiful tea pot in Stockholm.

Second stage of conversion: my dear friend, Zilla, introducing me to Sydney Breakfast Tea by T2.

A blend of English Breakfast + Earl Grey…very yummy enjoyed black with a slice of lemon, or traditional with a splash of milk. I find I have outgrown my need for sugar in tea.

Love, fat chops xx

rubber stamps and summer delights

August 24, 2010

Dear Council,

I have decided that while you take your sweet time deciding when to give me a building licence, I will start a blog to talk about all things food. I am not going to sit by the window, looking out at the grey sky, waiting for your rubber stamp. Instead, fat chops is getting in the kitchen and cooking up a storm.

Mr Councillor, do you know that Mrs. S is going to change the face of your suburb? Beautiful ‘Crema’ coffee, freshly-baked cakes and other sugary delights, as well as yummy breakfast and lunch fare?

I do hope to see you and your mates lining up at the door when we open.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – –

Today I am thinking about pineapples. Sure, summer is only sort-of on our doorstep, but I still managed to find a sweet ‘n’ juicy pineapple at the markets on Saturday. I have great expectations for this golden fruit.

What is your favourite fruity recipe? You show me yours, I show you mine.

Love, fat chops xx

p.s the big pineapple photo was kindly borrowed from tripadvisor.com.au