Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Orange Creams

I love books, and I love cookbooks, and our house is overflowing with piles of them on every surface.  Does this stop me buying more?  No, of course not.  Don't you just love that Japanese term tsundoku, meaning having piles of (unread) books everywhere?  I really like to say it with a Japanese accent, and a huge groan as though I have just been disembowelled with my Samurai sword. 

I have made a new book purchase recently - Recipes from an Edwardian Country House by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (yes the mum of Hugh, the curly-headed TV chef).  I have only had a quick breeze through it so far, but I have seen some interesting recipes in there awaiting my attention.  I found this recipe which is actually for peppermint creams, but as Mr P. told me he doesn't like peppermint (huh?! another mystery dislike without the memo) I have turned them into orange creams instead.

Makes about 2 dozen


450g. pure icing sugar 
1 egg white
50 mls double cream
orange extract or oil to taste - I used 2.5 tsp of extract
10 drops of pink and 6 drops of yellow natural food colouring - as per the instructions on the packet (I used Queens Natural Extracts for food colouring) 
1/4-1/2 cup extra icing sugar to roll out the paste
150g. dark bitter chocolate
handful of cacao nibs or finely diced citrus peel


Throw the icing sugar, egg white and cream into a food processor (or place in a medium bowl and beat with a wooden spoon)
Blitz till it comes together into a paste
Add the orange extract and the colouring and blitz again
You may wish to add more (or less) orange extract and more colouring - (Jane says to add the extract "until it tastes right")
Dust your work surface with the extra icing sugar
Spoon the paste out onto it and roll it out - I didn't measure it but I have a feeling I may have gone up to 1/2 cup extra as the paste was very moist and sticky (I did pick a rainy day to do this)
Keep throwing on the icing sugar till you have a firm(er) paste
Roll or pat it out to 1/2 cm thickness
Cut out shapes or rounds
Place on wire racks and dry for at least 12 hours (depending on the amount of moisture in the air)

I was afraid they would fall through the wires, so I placed them on baking paper for about 6 hours till they had dried out a fair bit.  Then I took off the baking paper and put them back on the racks to finish drying overnight.  The next day I melted some dark chocolate and spread it over the tops of the creams.  I also sprinkled on some cacao nibs for a bit of decoration and crunch.

Jane's method does not include the food processor - it is an Edwardian country house after all:) -  but I figured it would be worth a try.  It certainly was easy, though I suspect it may have made the paste a bit damper than with a wooden spoon, or maybe not!  Jane does not use food colouring either so her creams would be white. But I like the look of my pinky/orangey beauties.


blitzed to a smooth, orangey paste

scoop into a bowl to test for colour and flavour (mysteriously the paste turned pinker as it dried)  

pour the paste onto the sugar-dusted work surface  

throw on more icing sugar if needed  

dust the rim of a small bowl or cutter to cut out the shapes

all cut out and ready for overnight drying!

next day - time to coat the creams in chocolate 

melt the chocolate in the microwave for about 60 seconds (yes I put cream in it - big mistake!) 

spread the melted chocolate (sans cream) over the tops of the nubbly little darlings   

sprinkle on the cacao nibs (or diced citrus peel)  

ready to eat!

Yes they are very sweet so you will only want to eat a small one at a time.  I suggest putting them in the fridge for an hour or 2 to firm up before eating.  And yes I had meant to actually dip them into melted chocolate, but I added a tiny amount of cream when I melted it and it went grainy.  My mistake!  So next time, I will melt just the chocolate and dip them into it with a fork.  Hey chocolate is chocolate, so that can't be bad.  And these are still good, says Mr P:)  

(you can see that Doodling book from Mr P. was a useful gift)

Sunday, 26 July 2015

My Sunday Photo 26 July 2015

at the dinosaur discovery exhibition at the Queensland Museum  

I believe this is a "Nessie" - a plesiosaurus.  My sister, nephew and I had a great day at South Bank this week, just the 3 of us.  We went up on the Wheel (a belated birthday gift), then wandered up to the Museum to check out the dinosaurs. Thankfully we were there after the school hordes had left so had peace and time to wander around at our leisure.  Gotta love a dinosaur!


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Polish Cabbage - Kapusta

Yes the Polish theme goes on!  This is one of our favourite winter meals.  It is very hearty and full of flavour.  We always eat it with lashings of creamy mashed potato, but you could have it as a side-dish with a meaty main.  I think it would go quite well with lamb or pork (neither of which we eat, but you may).  Surprisingly, this is NOT from Sugared Orange, the Polish recipe book I have been happily working through of late.

I first saw a version of this made on TV years ago.  Remember Gabriel Gate?  He of the outrageous French accent, who currently shows off French cuisine during the Tour de France each year.  His guest one morning was Anna Volska the Polish-Australian actress, who made Polish cabbage on screen.  Now I am sure I have forgotten a lot of what she did, and over time have adjusted it to our liking, so you probably can't say it is very Polish but it is warming and delicious, and that is what you need on a cold winter's night.  So grab yourself some cabbage and get going!


2 tbs olive oil
2 onions (I used red but pick your fave kind)
2 cloves of garlic
1 small red chilli (optional)
250g. rindless bacon, chopped roughly
2 red apples, chopped into large chunks
1 mini drum head cabbage - about 700g. (but use sugarloaf or any kind you fancy)
600g. sauerkraut
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp dill paste
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup pure apple juice
2 tsp raspberry vinegar
2-3 dashes of Tamari or soy sauce


Heat the olive oil in a large pan
Chop the onions and throw them in
Saute for a few minutes
Throw in the chopped garlic and chilli
Stir and keep an eye on them for a few minutes
In goes the bacon - and stir!
When the veggies and bacon look softened and tender, the apples go in
Shred the cabbage finely, and chuck into the pan
Stir the mixture well and cook down for about 10 minutes
Add the sauerkraut, caraway and dill
Pour in the wine and apple juice
Then the vinegar and tamari
Stir it well and simmer for about an hour and a half - give it a stir every 10 mins or so

I sometimes add juniper berries or mountain pepper berries if I have them to hand, or a bit of chicken stock or Worcestershire sauce to boost the flavour.  You can add more apples or cabbage or herbs; whatever takes your fancy.  (I made this late in the afternoon when the sun was going down.  Please excuse the shadows and wonky camera-work).


stirring in the bacon with the onions, garlic and chilli - see my gorgeous new spoon! 

shredding the cabbage

throwing in the cabbage   

starting to cook down  

the end result - with heaps of mash!  

okay so it looks more like a brussels sprout!
 but this is my cabbage doodle

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A - Z Guidebook - Bluff, New Zealand

Bluff, New Zealand

Bluff is the southern-most point of New Zealand, and home to Bluff oysters, which some claim as the best in the world. Sadly we didn't get to taste any when we were there as it was the wrong time of year.   Ah well, next time.  We had a fabulous holiday in New Zealand a few years ago with the extended family.  We spent Christmas Day in Dunedin, where it was 16C while at home when we rang them, it was nearly 40C!  We tried to buy prawns on Christmas Eve as we do here, and were disappointed to find that the only fish market around was closed!  Clearly, customs are different in other countries:)

Mr P. and I drove off further south by ourselves, to Invercargill.  We were freezing our little Queensland buns off, while the locals told us it was a lovely balmy day at 14C, and were swanning around in tee-shirts.  We then headed down to Bluff, to the famous signpost at Stirling Point which shows you how far you are from anywhere!  How I would have loved to hop on a ferry or into a light plane to head further south to Stewart Island.  I have to see those rare penguins one day!

I am joining in with Fiona from Tiffin Bite-Sized Food Adventures and other bloggers to share a travel photo and its story. This month, the letter B is our beacon to go by.  Check out the other photos and stories in the link, and have fun reading about fabulous places.

TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -

Sunday, 19 July 2015

My Sunday Photo 19 July 2015

my auntie on the left and my mum on the right

My mum would have been 77 this week.  She died at 46 of  breast cancer.  I am now older than she was when she died and I often think how lucky I am to be here at this age.  I feel I have much more to do in life, so it makes me sad that she was a youngster really when she died, and didn't have the chance to take on the world once her kids had left home. Let's hope the Buddhists are right, and she is somewhere wonderful being a bee or a bear or a Baroness!


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Orange Ice Cream - Lody Pomaranczowe

I told you I was enjoying that lovely book by Beata Zatorska!  Here is another delicious recipe from Sugared Orange.  I know it seems crazy to make ice cream in the coldest week that Brisbane has had in years, but what the heck!  Live dangerously I say.  I grew up in country Victoria where it is damn cold for about 9 months of the year, and it never stopped us eating ice cream as kids.  And this ice cream is good for you, oh yes it is. Full of orange juice and zest; what could be healthier?  I did have a slight hiccup when I made this as what I thought was a small jar of sugared orange peel (just like the book title) in fact turned out to be a rather bitter powder with a slight orange tang.  I pushed through and adapted with what I had, and it tastes pretty darn orangey and delicious anyway.


4 oranges (3 of my 4 turned out to be blood oranges!)
200g. sifted pure icing sugar
6 drops orange oil or extract
pinch of sea salt
8 pieces of sugared orange peel (you can buy this in good delis)
600 mls thickened cream
1 tbs cacao nibs (optional)
1/4 tsp orange extract if desired, to boost the oranginess!


Zest the oranges and then juice them (I got about 300 mls of juice)
Place the zest and juice into a medium bowl and add the icing sugar
Stir very well till the sugar is dissolved
Add the orange extract and the salt and stir in
Finely dice the orange peel
Whisk the cream till thick and has firm peaks
Fold in the orange peel, plus the zest and juice
It will appear very wet so you will have to keep stirring the juice in till it has become well incorporated into the cream
Add the cacao nibs and the extra orange oil/extract if you feel the need for a stronger orangey taste
Fold these in well
Spoon/pour into a 2 litre container with a lid, or use 2 x 1L as I did
Freeze for at least 4 hours

So, I had no sugared orange peel!  Eek, what to do?  I grabbed 30g. dried cranberries, stirred in 2 tsp icing sugar, 1/4 tsp orange extract and 1 tsp of the ground orange peel from the (deceptive) jar:)  This went into the whipped cream in place of the peel.  So far, so good. It tasted really fine when I poured it into the containers, and here's hoping it tastes good when it is frozen!


juicing the (blood) oranges  

zest and juice ready to go!  

pouring in the juice 

stirring the juice into the sugar 

grabbing the whisk and giving it a good stir    

stirring my cranberry mixture 

whipping the cream till thick and with firm peaks   

cranberry mix and juice mixture going into the cream  

folding in the cacao nibs 

foldng the juice in very well indeed:)  

all ready for the freezer  

my ice cream container doodle:))

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Commercial Boutique Hotel Tenterfield NSW - Review

"Time is a traveller, Tenterfield Saddler"...I bet you were singing those words if you are an Aussie. Peter Allen's classic tribute to the saddler (his grandfather) still rings in my head, as it would for lots of us who grew up with that song.  You can still visit the saddler's shop in Tenterfield, country New South Wales if you feel so inclined.   We didn't do that, but we did drop in at The Commercial Boutique Hotel which has been lovingly restored by a former Brisbane couple.  They now offer boutique accommodation and a warm pub with a fireplace, and tasty food.

Mr P. and I were on our annual pilgrimage to Stanthorpe and Tenterfield in search of some cold weather.  This we got in plenty as an Antarctic low was heading our way!  We had brought plenty of woollens so were rugged up like mummies in triple layers and double scarves.  Mr P. is very good with building fires so our little cottage was warm and toasty of an evening.  Let's not mention the multiple electric heaters we brought with us just in case the fire wasn't adequate for our needs.  We even managed to trip the circuit-breaker once 3 heaters, the TV and 2 laptops were switched on:)

We headed to Tenterfield for lunch the next day.  It was a lovely sunny but freezing day so the pub with the fireplace was calling.  Mr P. and I were both recovering from nasty colds, but I still felt the need for a nice glass of wine.  Mr P. being the responsible driver he is, and not much of a drinker, chose a soft drink.

lovely decor and a warm fireplace  

cold crisp glass of Rose - I know! strange for a cold day but it was delicious $8 

ginger beer $3.50 

Mr P. decided to go with the special of the day - home made fettucine with smoked chicken and mushroom, while I had salt and pepper squid.  Oh and of course we had fries:)  I asked for aioli rather than the tomato sauce they usually came with, which was no problem.  Hubby said his pasta was really delicious but perhaps just a tad too much pasta and not enough sauce.  He would have liked a wee bit more sauciness with the chicken and mushroom topping.  My squid was well-cooked; the coating was spicy and very tasty. I really enjoyed it!  Fries - well what can you say about fries?  They are always a fave with me, and we enjoyed these delicious morsels.  And the warmed plates were a lovely touch on a cold day.  (Thank goodness, no trendy wooden boards used as plates.)

salt and pepper squid $16   

fettucine with smoked chicken and mushrooms $25.50    

fries with aioli $6.50  

The hotel also has a tapas menu and has live music events.  There are 8 luxury rooms for accommodation; one with disabled access - and there is also the possibility of bringing your dog!  We had a nice chat with the lady owner, who told us that the hotel was now happily staffed by family.   We had a really pleasant time, and just wished we had thought to stay overnight but our cottage in Stanthorpe was calling.  Back we went via Wallangarra and the old railway station for a cup of hot chocolate. Then home to light the fire, rug up and drink champagne.  Well, good old Grant Burge sparkling anyway.

Mr P. holding up the wall

historical horse trough outside the hotel   

the lovely curvy Art Deco exterior of the hotel   

(Just a bit of a heads up; they no longer serve breakfast as it wasn't viable, the nice lady owner informed us).

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