Friday, November 16, 2012

{Christmas Food to share}

For our November meeting we shared delicious Christmas food.

Shara's Cranberry and Walnut Brie Wheel
serves many, you can half the recipe and use a smaller brie wheel
1 cup                    port
1 cup (220g)        caster sugar
2 cups (240g)      frozen cranberries (dried cranberries will work if frozen are not available)
2 tsp                     cornflour
300g                     soft goat's cheese
150g                      gorgonzola dolce
1 large (3kg)       wheel of ripe brie
2 cups (200g)      walnuts, toasted and chopped
Watercress and toasted baguette, to serve

Place port, sugar and 1 cup water in a pan over low heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Increase the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until syrupy. Add berries and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring, until they start to burst. Mix the cornflour with 2 tbs cold water to make a smooth paste. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until thickened. Cool. (This cranberry sauce can be made up to 4 days ahead and kept refrigerated.)

Whiz goat's cheese and gorgonzola in a food processor until smooth.

Split the brie through the centre into 2 rounds. Place the bottom half on a platter. Spread with half the cheese mixture, sprinkle with half the walnuts and pour over half the cranberry sauce. Top with the remaining brie, cheese mixture, nuts and sauce, then garnish with watercress and serve with toasted baguette. Alternatively, cut small wedges and serve on plates with a green salad

Shara's Chocolate Caramel Crackers

Alison’s Corn Cakes
makes about 15 cake. Recipe from Gourmet Traveller December 2000
1 cob corn, husks and silks removed
¼ tsp sweet paprika
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
2 eggs, lightly whipped
50g plain flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt & pepper
½ cup light sour cream
2 tbsp purchased chilli jam
100g crisp fried proscuitto, coarsley broken
2 tbsp chopped chives  

Remove kernels from corn and combine with paprika, green onion, coriander and eggs in a bowl and mix well. Add flour and stir until just combined, then season to taste. Heat oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and cook scant tablespoons of corn cake batter over medium heat until cakes are golden brown on both sides.
Top corn cakes with light sour cream, chilli jam and proscuitto. Serve sprinkled with chopped chives.

Goat’s cheese and onion marmalade on croutons
Recipe from Gourmet Traveller October 1999
5 cm square bread croutons
¼ cup olive oil
3 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
250 g goats cheese         

Brush bread croutons with melted butter and toast in the oven until crisp.
Heat oil in a saucepan, add onion and cook, covered, over low heat for about 20 minutes until very soft.  Stir in brown sugar and vinegar and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, then season to taste.  Spread goat’s feta over croutons and top with onion marmalade.

Skye's Fig and Walnut Paste

Skye's Watermelon and Feta Salad

Monday, August 20, 2012


It's hard to believe, but orangeFEAST has been going for over 3 months already!  Friday night saw our 4th gathering.  It was a casual affair of pizza, pizza, and more pizza.  We all had a go at making different types of pizzas, and we ate lots.  And lots.  And lots!  
Looking forward to next month where we will try our hand at something a little more complicated.  More details to follow...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lemon Almonds

I made these almonds to nibble on before we cooked dinner. They were really delicious and appealed equally to grown ups and my 2 year old. I took the advice of the reviewers and turned the oven down, used more lemon juice than stated and a bit less salt also. They keep well in a sealed container. Vogue Lemon Almond Recipe

Saturday, August 4, 2012


We didn't get to sample it at our last FEAST, but here is the recipe for lemonade.  It is really easy, and is great in summer especially.  Add cold water, or to make it extra yum, add sparkling mineral water.


6 lemons
1.5 cups white sugar

Place the sugar and 1.5 cups of water in a small saucepan.  Finely grate the zest of two of the lemons and add this to the saucepan.  Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly.  Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved.

Squeeze the juice of all 6 of the lemons and add to the saucepan.  Allow to cool.

Strain the mixture into a bottle.  Seal and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Dilute as required.

Makes 3 cups concentrated syrup.

[From 'The Perfect Cookbook' by David Herbert]


Friday, August 3, 2012


Our next meeting will be on Friday the 17th of August at Marianne's.  We will be making (and eating!) pizza.  

{Lemons} Sticky Lemon Shortcake

A delicious recipe from Christina for lemon shortcake. This can be served like slice or baked in a round tin it makes a great dessert, a simple lemon tart! We enjoyed cream with ours.

Sticky Lemon Shortcake
serves 8
275 g butter, softened
90g icing sugar
350 plain flour
300g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 lemons, rind and juice
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line a 22cm round springform or a 20 cm square pan with baking paper.

Cream the butter and icing sugar in a food processor. Sprinkle the flour over and process until the mixture starts to form a ball. Press into the pan. If the mixture is too sticky, keep your fingers dusted with flour.

Bake for 10-15 minutes then remove from the oven. While the base is cooling make the topping.

Place the sugar in a food processor and pour in the eggs. Process for 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour and baking powder over and add the lemon rind and juice. Mix quickly in the processor.

Pour over the base. Return to the oven and bake for a further 30 - 35 minutes or until golden in colour and firm to the touch.

Cool in the pan. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cooking with Lemons

Our third meeting was about all things lemon. With a record turnout, after much chatting, nibbling and sipping, we split into two groups and cooked up a zesty two course feast! Many hands made light work and we sat down to a delicious lemony pasta, a favourite recipe supplied by Katy, followed by Lemon Delicious, a self saucing pudding which is an old favourite of mine.

We had a fun mix of women who had no trouble chatting well into the night about things food related and otherwise. Hopefully some of them will drop by and share their favourite lemon recipes with us here. It was great to have Emily from Fuss Free Cooking join us for the first time, check out her blog and her yummy recipe for Lemon, leek and feta quiches which she made for us.

Orriechetta with Lemon Zest, Basil and Chilli Garlic Masala
from David Bitton - A French-inspired cafe cookbook
serves 4
This is a classic Italian pasta dish that combines the summery tastes of lemon and basil. The addition of chilli garlic masala is perfect with the tomatoes and basil. This is an easy to prepare dish for those times you don't really feel like cooking.
750g orriechetta dried pasta
125 g butter
1 tbsp chilli and garlic, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
200g cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
8 basil leaves, finely sliced
Sea salt and white pepper, to season

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add a couple of teaspoons of salt. Add the pasta and stir to prevent them from sticking together. Boil according to packet instructions. Drain well, if not ready to use immediately stir through a dash of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together and set aside.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. When it is foaming, tip in the cooked pasta and stir to coat with the butter. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Taste for seasoning and serve in pasta bowls.

Lemon Delicious
serves 6, but keeps well overnight and heats up nicely the next day if you only have 2.
When the pudding is cooked you will have a delicate cake on top and tangy lemon sauce underneath. Serve hot, with cream or custard.

45 g butter
¾ C caster sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
3-4 eggs, separated
3 tbsp plain flour
1 C milk
¼ C lemon juice
pinch salt

Cream the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add lemon rind and egg yolks and beat well. Sprinkle sifted flour on top and stir in with milk and lemon juice. Beat eggwhites in with salt and a bit of the sugar until stiff peaks form and fold lightly into pudding mixture.
Spoon into a greased 6-cup ovenproof dish and place in a roasting tin containing enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake in a pre-heated moderately hot oven 160C for 1 hour until cake topping is cooked when tested with a fine skewer. (A fine skewer, because if you test it with a knife, it will probably deflate like a souffle.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

{Pasta} Duck Ragu

Another favourite pasta sauce, perfect for your homemade pasta. The recipe comes from a fantastic little pasta restaurant in Surry Hills, Sydney called Il Baretto.

Duck Ragu
serves 4
This makes a meaty sauce in a rich gravy. To make it go a bit further or for a more traditional tomatoy sauce add a tin of tomatoes.

1 duck, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 stick celery
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp plain flour
3-4 L water
salt and pepper
800 g tin tomatoes (optional)
150g baby spinach

fresh pappardelle

Preheat the oven to 230C. Place salted duck in a reoasting pan and bake for 45 minutes. Turn the oven down to 190C and bake for another 60 minutes. Allow duck to cool, then take the meat off the bones. Save the juices from the pan and the bones, discard the skin. Chop the duck meat into small pieces.

Place the juices in a saucepan. Add carrot, onion and celery. Saute, then add bones, tomato paste and flour. Saute for 10 minutes. Cover with water and cook, uncovered for 2 hours on low heat until stock is reduced. If its too thick add more water. Season to taste. When sauce is reduced to a creamy consistency, strain throu a sieve, pressing down to get out all the liquid. Place the sauce and duck meat in the pan and gently heat.

Fold duck and baby spinach through cooked pasta until the spinach is just wilted.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

{Pasta} Beef Ragout Recipe

This ragout is best made at least a day before serving and served with a thick pasta such as pappardelle. This recipe is adapted from one originally found in Sunday Life magazine many years ago!

Beef Ragout
500g beef shoulder or similar cut
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 sticks celery, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 bay leaf

Red wine sauce
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 cup red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
400g can diced tomatoes
1 cup beef stock

To serve
pappardelle or other pasta of your choice
flat leaf parsley

Place beef, garlic, celery, carrot and bay leaf in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover saucepan with a lid. Check pan every 10 minutes or so and add more water if required (the meat needs to be submerged in liquid). Cook for 1-2 hours or until meat is meltingly tender. Remove from heat and allow meat to cool in cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, for the red wine sauce, place olive oil in saucepan over a gentle heat. Cook garlic, onion and celery for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add red wine and, once it has evaporated, stir in tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock and cook for 15 minutes to develop rich flavours and achieve a thicker consistency. Once the meat has cooled, tear into shreds. Add shredded beef and vegetables from broth to the red wine sauce (I use a slotted spoon for this task). Adjust seasoning as necessary.

Toss the ragout with pasta and finish with finely chopped flat leaf parsley and parmesan.


Our next gathering will be Friday the 27th of July.  Check back here for more details very soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

{Pasta} Pasta dough recipe

Here is the fresh pasta recipe we used. You can mix the dough by hand or using a food processor, I have given both methods below. We used the dough to make fettucine, ravioli and tortellini.

Fresh Pasta
generously serves 4

4 large eggs
440g flour (white wings works well, you don't need 00 flour)

Place 400g flour in a pile on a clean bench and make a well in the centre, set 40g aside. Crack eggs into the well. Use a fork to mix the eggs and gradually add in the flour until a dough forms. Knead the dough by hand adding extra flour as needed.

Alternatively combine 400g flour and eggs in a food processor and pulse until a dough forms.

Cover dough and rest for 30 minutes.

Divide dough into 3-4 equal pieces and roll each out using a pasta machine, keeping the remaining pieces covered. Start on the thickest setting, if you didn't knead the dough by hand then pass it through at least 6 times, folding the ends into the middle to keep a neat rectangular shape. Once dough is smooth, continue to pass through the pasta machine, adjusting to a thinner setting each time.

Place sheets on a floured bench and cover with a dry teatowel until needed.

Use the attachment to the pasta machine to cut into fettucine etc or use the whole sheets to make ravioli, tortellini, lasagna etc...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pasta, pasta and still more pasta!

The roads were wet, the air was cold, but the atmosphere was very warm and welcoming as we prepared to cook and eat at the second instalment of FEAST! The theme for the evening was pasta.  After some chatting and nibbles, the pasta making began.
From this... this!

We decided to make three different types of pasta - tortellini, ravioli and fettuccine.  The tortellini was filled with a pork and veal filling, the ravioli with baby spinach and ricotta, and the fettuccine was served with a lovely beef ragout.

Pork and veal (and garlic and pecorino and parsley and and and...)tortellini

Many hands make light work
Well, so much chatting and eating, and not a lot of discussing the next FEAST. So, keep your ears open, you will be sure to hear something soon!  I will post the pasta filling recipes shortly.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Looking forward to the next installment of FEAST

A great name that was devised after some very uninspired suggestions - well done to the creative forces behind FEAST! Very much looking forward to the next installment and learning about pasta making.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

{Nibbles} Olive oil crackers

This is the recipe we cooked together at our first meeting. We had fun rolling out the dough together using a pasta machine, this is definitely a job that is easier with more hands! These crackers are like those expensive long thin crispbreads that they sell in gourmet food shops and the seedy version reminds me of lavosh. They are great with dips or cheese.
Olive Oil Crackers
makes 6 long crackers
300 g plain flour (you can substitute half fine semolina flour for a more rustic texture)
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3 tbsp olive oil
120 ml (1/2 C) water
Olive oil and salt flakes+
Seed version
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
Rosemary version
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chopped rosemary needles
Combine all ingredients, except extra olive oil and salt flakes, in a large bowl and mix to combine with a spoon or using the dough hook on your mixer. Knead the dough with the dough hook or on a clean work surface by hand until it becomes a smooth ball. Add a touch more water if the dough feels too dry to come together, but the consistency you are shooting for is smooth, not at all sticky or tacky. Too wet a dough will make the biscuits too brittle.
Divide the dough into 6 pieces of (roughly) equal size, and cover with a kitchen towel.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and prepare two large baking trays lined with baking paper .
Take one piece of dough (keep the others covered to prevent them from drying out) and flatten it into an oval disk between the palms of your hands. Set a pasta roller on the widest setting, and slip the disk of dough in the roller to thin it out. Fold the strip of dough in half so the two short sides meet, and slip the dough into the roller again, fold in first. Repeat 3 or 4 times until the dough feels supple; you are essentially kneading the dough in the process. If it gets sticky at any point, dust it with a little flour. Switch the pasta roller to the narrower setting and roll the dough through once to thin it out. Repeat with the subsequent settings until you reach the thinnest setting, and get a thin, long rectangularish sheet of dough. Place it on one of the prepared baking trays. If you don’t have a pasta maker, use your rolling pin to roll as thin as possible.
Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt flakes.
Bake for 7 to 10 minutes until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack, and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
The crackers will keep for a few weeks in an airtight container.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Our first meeting - Nibbles Night

Our first meeting of orangeFEAST, which was then unnamed, was lots of fun.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I suppose that when a group of people get together who like doing the same thing, the conversation will just flow!  And that it certainly did!  Shara organised for us to cook olive oil crackers.  These are shown in front of the green pea and lime dip in the photo above.  The crackers were rolled through a pasta machine to make them lovely and thin.  In short, we did lots of eating, drinking and chatting.  And hopefully we will do the same each month.

A quote I came across recently sums it up: 

"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”

Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'