Mug lovin’

I have many vices.

I’ve come home from dinner with friends on one too many occasions feeling quite ill. Not because there was something wrong with the food, quite the opposite. I come home sick because I ate ALL THE THINGS. That little voice that tells you that you’ve had enough to eat? I don’t have one.

1474423_554444547964558_764736652_n

 

Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue if I was into salads. I’m not though; my poison is dessert. Panna cotta, mousse, ice cream or gelato, cake or tarts; there’s nothing I don’t love.

So what do you do when you’ve got an insatiable cake craving at 9pm? Sure, you could make a whole cake, but there’s very little chance I wouldn’t eat the whole cake. Plus, there’s no telling my cravings that they have to be patient, because making a whole cake takes an hour.

Enter Mug Cake. Your prayers have been answered; single serve cake in a commercial break!

There are a million recipes for mug cake on the internet, however this one is my favourite. It doesn’t taste eggy, and the consistency is pretty excellent. This recipe serves one, so you can double it where necessary, should you need to share (or just be really hungry. I won’t judge you). Success!

 

2 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

From I am a food blog

1 egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp chocolate chips
Small splash of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, icing sugar (optional)

Combine the egg, oil and milk together in your mug. Stir in the dry ingredients until well combined. Add the vanilla and chocolate chips, and give a quick stir.

20140323-082535.jpg

Place the mug on a plate as it’s likely to rise a lot, and may spill over – easy cleaning! Whack in the microwave for 2 minutes.

20140323-082541.jpg

Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then serve with a dusting of icing sugar, or like me, with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

20140323-082559.jpg

Better than IKEA

For very brief, fleeting moments this week, it actually felt like Autumn. As a firm lover of blankets, pajamas and generally looking like an Eskimo, you can bet your ass I was excited.

It’s a widely accepted truth that everyone loves IKEA. Even if you hate it, there’s a perverse pleasure of being there, hating everything and everyone and coming out with 14 bags of Diam (which, by the way, is like crack). I, for one, love IKEA, and am the kind of person that can’t go unsupervised. Mostly because I need someone to remind me that I don’t need coat hangers/toys/500 picture frames and a whole new book shelving unit.

Of course, IKEA is also famous for it’s food court. It’s the cheapest feed in the world, why wouldn’t you eat your body weight in meatballs and mousse while you’re there? You’re going to need all the energy you can get when you’re at home and 4 hours into the most confusing bed assembly in the universe. The problem is, you can’t really go there for a meatball fix, lest you come home with a shelving unit, the temptation is far too great.

So here we have it, folks. The recipe that’s going to make your life just that much better. It’s perfect winter comfort food, and it’s also pretty damn easy.
20140323-082323.jpg

Better Than IKEA Meatballs

Adapted from The Londoner and Jamie Oliver

a handful of mixed fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley or chives
300g minced pork
300g minced beef
1 large egg
100ml milk
75g dried breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon ground allspice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
1tbsp mustard
1-2tbsp Worcester sauce
1tsp honey
300ml double cream
Salt n pepper

Roughly chop the fresh herbs. Set aside a pinch for garnish, and then place the rest in a large, deep mixing bowl, big enough for you go get your hands in to. Add the mince, egg, milk, bread crumbs and all spice. Season with salt and pepper, then mix and scrunch together with your hands until thoroughly combined. Roll the mixture into meatballs, place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for an hour to firm up.

20140323-082150.jpg

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the pan and brown all over, about 10 -15 minutes. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a plate and set aside.

20140323-082205.jpg

Add the flour to the remaining oil in the pan and stir until it makes a smooth paste. Add the stock and simmer, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (you want this, they are delicious). Leave to simmer and thicken for a couple of minutes, then add the Worcester Sauce, honey and mustard. Give a good stir, then add the cream. Stir again, then add the meatballs to the pan, and turn to coat. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.

20140323-082235.jpg

Serve meatballs and sauce over your favourite carb – this is amazing with pasta, mashed potatoes, couscous or polenta. Sprinkle with reserved herbs.

20140323-082244.jpg

If you’re a little on the lazy side, or pushed for time, you can use your favourite flavoured sausages – just remove the meat from their casings, and roll into balls. The flavouring is already in the meat, so you’re good to go!

Taste Perth

I don’t love your standard food and wine festivals.

You know, the ones where people pay their $30 to get in, then go to town on the wine samples, completely forgetting the food section (eating is cheating, duh), then spend the rest of the day running into your ankles with prams. Why can’t you be charged with drink driving while operating a pram?

I had kind of sworn off food and wine shows simply because I couldn’t be bothered navigating the many drunken hoards. When I was invited to the Taste of Perth launch, I figured it was worth a look but had mentally already written it off.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to wholeheartedly admit that I was wrong. Taste of Perth is not your standard food and wine show.

20140311-212227.jpg

First of all, it’s not a full day free-for-all. You book yourself in for either a lunch or a dinner sitting. From there, you pick from tasting menus, including mini versions of signature dishes from Perth’s leading restaurants, including Silks, Bistro Guillaume, Lalla Rookh and Greenhouse.

Bistro Guillaume's to-die-for lamb

Bistro Guillaume’s to-die-for lamb

The dishes cost between 6-12 crowns. What are crowns? Crowns are the currency of Taste of Perth. You load up a card with crowns (1 crown = 1 dollar), and then use the card to pay for whatever you eat or drink on the day.

Offerings from El Publico

Offerings from El Publico

Essentially, it’s kind of like a little DIY degustation, down on the river at Langley Park. What’s not to love about that? There are also a heap of producers to meet, classes to take and general cool things happening.

The ‘Taste’ food festival has been running around the world for over 10 years, in 18 cities. In Australia, it’s held in Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart, with this year landing in Perth for the first time. If you need any further signs about Perth’s standing in the food world, this is it!

Lalla Rookh's panna cotta vera, aka my idea of heaven

Lalla Rookh’s panna cotta vera, aka my idea of heaven

What you need to know:
Date: 2-4 May
Buy tickets from: Here, with more info here
Website for further details: tasteofperth.com.au and your various social media here, here and here

20140311-212143.jpg

Those summer nights

There are some days where it’s pure torture to drag yourself into the kitchen. Even food bloggers aren’t immune to this.

Maybe it’s 38* outside.
Maybe you’ve had to do a lot of cooking lately.
Maybe you’re just too damn tired, and flopping on the couch with a season of Vikings and a bottle of wine is a much better idea.
Maybe it’s all of these things on the same day (last Monday, if you wanted to know).

These are all perfectly legit reasons to eat from the instant/delivered section of the food pyramid. BUT, if you stay with me, I can present to you a dinner that takes less time and effort to cook than it takes for Chinese to appear on your doorstep, with the added bonus of being good for you. I promise.

Lamb Skewers with Mint Pea and Feta Salad

From Good Food

500g lamb rump
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
Sea salt and black pepper
300g frozen peas
1 bag mixed lettuce greens
1/3 cup torn mint leaves, chopped
1/3 cup parsley leaves, chopped
150g marinated Persian feta
Flatbread, to serve

Dice the lamb into bite size chunks. Toss together in a bowl with oregano, olive oil and salt and pepper, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours. Soak wooden skewers in cold water, if you’re using them, to prevent them from burning.

20140304-071023.jpg

When you’re ready to eat, cook the peas in a pot of boiling water until tender (5 minutes, or whatever the packet instructions say). Drain, and refresh in cold water. Add the peas, herbs, greens and feta together and toss to combine.

Heat a bbq or frying pan. Thread the lamb onto the skewers evenly. Grill the skewers for a couple of minutes each side, or until cooked to your liking.

20140304-071003.jpg

Serve lamb with salad and flatbread.

20140304-071039.jpg

I used the flatbread to make everything into little wraps, because everything tastes better in a wrap. Duh.

Love and other drugs

Here’s the thing. I absolutely understand why people aren’t into Valentine’s Day. I do. There’s pressure and expectation, and everything is expensive and I hate roses.

Going out for dinner is insane. I saw an ad for a restaurant in the city that was charging $90 a head, with a shared set entree and dessert, a main course. Not even a glass of wine. I’m sorry, you’re going to charge me $90 and I don’t even get to choose my own dessert?! Bollocks to that.

If I’m honest though, I’m a complete and utter hopeless romantic. I like the idea of celebrating love. Yes, you should do it every day, but we don’t. Life kind of gets in the way of that. So it’s nice to have a day where you go to the special effort of taking care of your loved one.

For those of you who remain footloose and fancy free, fear not. There’s Galentine’s Day. An invention of my spirit animal, Leslie Knope, you can celebrate the most important person in your life (being you, duh) with breakfast food, which, let’s be honest, is the best kind of food. Except for this cake, of course.

You can get all aphrodisiac like on V-Day, of course. But cut to the chase, no one hates chocolate, and everyone loves cake. This, I believe, is the ultimate chocolate cake. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it is incredible.

Chocolate truffle cake with chestnut cream and ganache

From Delicious Magazine

2 cups (500ml) milk
250g unsalted butter, chopped
300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
300ml thickened cream
3 eggs
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
1 3/4 cups (385g) caster sugar
2 3/4 cups (410g) plain flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder

Chestnut cream
50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
300g unsweetened chestnut puree
75g softened unsalted butter, chopped
1 1/3 cups (200g) pure icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line two cake tins.

In a saucepan over medium low heat, stir together the milk, 225g butter, 200g chocolate and 125ml cream, until the chocolate melts and is combines. Leave to cool.

Beat together the eggs, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl with electric beaters until the mixture is thick and pale.

IMG_9366

Mix in the chocolate mixture, then add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

IMG_9367

Evenly divide the batter between cake tins and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then on a wire rack.

To make the chestnut cream, melt 50g of chocolate gently in the microwave or in a pan over simmering water. Remover from the heat and leave to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, beat the chestnut cream until creamy, the add the butter and icing sugar, and beat again until light and fluffy. Fold in the melted chocolate.

To make the ganache, place the 175ml of cream in a saucepan over low heat. Bring it to an almost-boil, then pour over the last 100g chocolate, and leave to melt. Add the last 25g of butter, stirring until combined and glossy. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, so it thickens a little bit.

Spread the chestnut cream over one of the cakes, leaving a little border to allow for smooshing. Place the second cake on top, then pour the ganache over the top, allowing it to artfully run down the sides. It’s rustic. go with it.

IMG_9372

IMG_9377

P.S. Chestnut puree can be found at Fresh Provisions, some IGAs, and the David Jones food court in the CBD (which is where I bought mine – admittedly, it was sweetened, but still awesome).