Archive for ‘cooking’

27 January 2011

Happy Australia Day – too hot for lemon tarts?

The past few days have been incredibly hot, between 30-40 degrees. In the heat, it’s difficult maintaining the motivation to do anything but lie underneath the fan. Basically, I have been inside my house – I avoid going outside into the sun or even looking outside! I collect my mail in a mad dash from the front porch to the letterbox. It’s not that I’m some kind of mole or vampire, but that the sun seriously looks searing.

Anyway, in trying to do something productive (rather than lying on the couch all day), I made a lemon tart today:

Lemon tart

It’s actually based on the recipe from the lemon meringue tart recipe from last time but this time, I’ve just left off the meringues. I’ve been trying to find the perfect lemon tart recipe which does NOT use cream, and which isn’t too sweet. The actual lemon tart recipe I have has been too floury in the past (uses flour to make the filling set), whilst the lemon meringue tart recipe has had the problem of being 1) too sweet; 2) too liquidy.

Today, I experimented and used these amounts for the lemon curd:

  • 2 lemons (juice and rind) – instead of 3 lemons as in the recipe, because the lemons were quite large
  • 2 egg yolks – instead of 3 egg yolks, because less eggs = more healthy?
  • 1 table spoon of sugar – instead of 150 grams = more healthy?
  • 80 gram margarine
  • 45 gram cornflour – apparently this converts into 1 cup, but I used maybe 1 1/2 tbsp instead.

I just tried the result tonight and:

  • It is too sour – almost to the point of bitterness!
  • The centre is still quite soft – though not liquidy – and perhaps I should have added more cornflour/eggs to make it set

Oh well, it is a trial and error process!

I’ve also started my new square, which you can see here going very slowly. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get it done a lot faster once I start going to work and doing it on the bus/train.

In other random news, I will soon be admitted as a solicitor in the NSW Supreme Court! The ceremony is in February and I’m excited. After 5 years of a Law/Arts degree, I’ll finally have some “qualification” besides such the degree certificates. Although I won’t be practicing as a solicitor this year, it’ll be awesome to be admitted and perhaps I can practice next year.

Next Monday, I’ll be finally starting my first full-time job at the ATO for the tax man.

 

Admission into the Supreme Court NSW

25 January 2011

Not Getting Much Done Whilst Sick – Knitting and Baking

It’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post! I was sick for over a week and still have a cough now. It’s frustrating how when you’re sick, even though crafts don’t require much physical energy, I still couldn’t be bothered to do anything but lie on the couch and watch Veronica Mars and Supernatural.

Last week, I was finally well enough to try a bit of baking. I decided to have a go at making plain scones – I’ve made them in the past, but they didn’t turn out very well at all. They were rock hard and I had to saw through them with a knife to cut them in half! 😦

My favourite place to eat scones in Sydney is the Tara Tea Room in The Rocks, Sydney. Their scones are delicious, freshly baked every few hours, and huge! I usually order the $10 combination, which gives you 2 scones and a drink of your choice. It’s surprisingly filling and a great lunch option!

The scones which I made last Friday aren’t as big or impressive, but here’s a photo of them.

Homemade scones

As you can see, they don’t seem to have risen enough and are more round than cylindrical. The recipe I used was a bit too wet and we ended up using a lot of extra flour. But the great thing was – they turned out super soft! I was dreading the fact that they might turn out as rock-like as my past attempt at scones.

Beyond baking, I’ve also been doing a little bit of knitting for Wrap for Love – but admittedly, it is taking forever! Maybe I’m a really slow knitter – I’m not sure… Here is the first of many squares to come! It measures 27 cm x 27 cm.

I just finished it today, and I also started my 2nd square already, using the same wool colour.

Next week, I’m going to be starting full time work! I can’t believe it’s so soon. But I’m hoping to get a few more crafty things done before and after I start work:

  • Make puff pastry from scratch.
  • Remove the lace from my black tights – I’m using them for dance and the lace is weird.
  • Fix the picnic mat bag.
9 January 2011

Finished Beanie and Lemon Meringue Tart

With many free hours at home, I’ve been watching Lost Season 1 and 2, and knitting at the same time.

So, now my beanie has been finished really quickly (just yesterday).

It’s a bit tight for my liking and I currently can’t wear it over my ears. Hopefully it’ll stretch out a bit with use. Using Lincraft’s Big Wool was interesting. Essentially, the wool is a blend of the colours (see picture) and it varies from very thin strand to big, fluffy strands. This creates a rather “uneven” look, rather than uniform stitches. As you can see in the photo, there’s some really tightly knit parts and some more fluffy, larger stitches.

I’m proud of my beanie though – the first I’ve ever knitted.

I’ve also learnt what stocking stitch and purl mean.

On Thursday, a friend from uni came over and we baked a lemon meringue tart. This was actually my 2nd attempt at this recipe.

In the 1st attempt with another friend, we had made a few mistakes – we whipped the egg whites too early and the meringue deflated, we didn’t add the cornflour to the lemon curd fast enough and ended up with many lumps, we baked the lemon curd instead of refridgerating it, we burnt the meringue top.

In this 2nd attempt, I solved all those above problems, but still encountered others – the lemon curd was runny because it was heated by the grill, the meringue is a bit over burnt.

This recipe seems to require a 3rd attempt and I anticipate we may experiments with:

  • Refridgerating the lemon curd in the tart BEFORE adding the meringue top
  • Using a blow torch to do the meringues rather than the grill – to avoid heating the lemon curd
22 December 2010

Make Your Own Pesto from Scratch

In moving all my DIY etc posts over to this blog, I’m revisiting some of my photos. Today, we’ll be looking at making your own home-made pesto, using this recipe: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/1904/basil+pesto

Ingredients:

1/4 cup pine nuts – into the blender they go!

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21 December 2010

New baking and new plants

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do some baking. Usually, I find a recipe that works and then I make that same recipe for a month. Thus, my month of apple pies, then my month of lemon tarts.

So, rather than doing the same lemon tart again, I decided to try a new recipe: a Chocolate Victoria Sandwich.

I’ve been eager to try a recipe which involves using coffee, because I do like the taste of coffee in cakes (tiramisu!) even though I don’t drink coffee.

Chocolate Victoria Sandwich

Chocolate Victoria Sandwich

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