Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happyberry pie

Gimme a savoury recipe, and as long as it's not 25 pages long, I can probably make it tasty. But sweet, cakey things? I fail. Regularly. This year I've made flop after flop... cakes really aren't my thing. So I ditched the notion of getting just one damn cake right... and made a pie. Oh hello joyous moment! It was simply frankielicious. It's a twist on one of Jamie Oliver's desserts from his brilliant book Jamie's America. Here's my version of his AppleBerry Pie:

First, make your pastry dough. In a food processor, pulse 500g plain flour, 100g icing sugar, pinch of sea salt, 250g unsalted butter, 2 large eggs and a splash of milk. Take it out of processor when it starts to come together but don't work it too much, just until it forms a nice dough. Sprinkle with a little flour, wrap it in clingy wrap and throw it into the fridge for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile, put 10 peeled, cored and sliced granny smith apples into a large pot with zest and juice of one orange, splash of water and five tbsps caster sugar. Simmer for ten minutes, transfer to bowl to cool, add 400g berries (fresh or frozen), 2 tbsps caster sugar and 1 tbsp flour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove your pastry from the fridge and let it come to room temp. Dust your work surface with flour and, using a floured rolling pin, roll two-thirds of the dough out into a circle until it’s about 0.5cm thick, dusting with flour as you go. Line a shallow 26-28cm pie dish with the pastry, pushing into the sides. Strain fruit and add to pie. Roll out the rest of the pastry and pop on top. Trim the edges and crimp them together with your fingers. Brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg, sprinkle with raw sugar and cinnamon, and slash a small cross in the top of the pastry.

Place the pie on the bottom of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Serve with a hefty dollop of custard, ice-cream or cream. LOVE!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sambo heaven

Just had the yummiest lunch! Sometimes the best food is just simple, good-quality stuff. Take a fresh loaf of Sonoma sourdough, toast it (not the whole thing but go with it if that's what you need), butter and mustard it, then layer with home-grown rocket, manchego cheese and heirloom tomatoes. Drizzle with evo and seasoning, and munch away. Happy days peeps.

It was obviously a lucky sambo, because as I was making a mess I discovered the Martha Stewart show. How have I not know it's on at lunch time? Bring on maternity leave, Martha and I have a lot to catch up on...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nesting girl

I've been ignoring you fans, readers, amigos. And I'm sorry. Things have been busy, it's a good thing I love my job! When I'm not working I'm prancing around the nursery and eBay, sourcing, nesting, preparing for this little bubba. I've got a month of work left before I relax into mumma mode, then I have a whole month (if wee one's on time) of movies, books, milkshakes and serendipity. Ahhhhh...

I'll try and be here more in the next two months, I've got some great recipes to share. Have a brill weekend and see you next week for frankie fun xxx

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crack the code

There I was yesterday arvo, happy as anything, curled up on the couch with a magazine and a plate of snacks. Once I'd devoured my cheese, rye bickies, pickles and olives, I started to feel a bit edgy. I couldn't sit still, my mouth was dry and I found myself in one helluva bad mood. I couldn't concentrate on the mag in hand so I turned the TV on and distracted myself with those curious Desperate Housewives. Later, when making dinner, I snuck a peek at the olive jar... sure enough, there it was, loud and clear... 621.

I just learned last week that Twisties have MSG/621 in their ingredients, for real, but Always Fresh green olives stuffed with anchovies? Really? WHY? No wonder my lips were numb and my headache was a tingly, horrid mess. Yuck.

Monosodium glutamate is a chemical additive, otherwise known as a flavour enhancer, that doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. Scientists and food authorities (in all their wisdom) might be approving its use all over the world as they claim there's no solid link with ill health, but I'm not convinced. No way.

MSG side effects include
rashes, itching, burning, numbness, chest tightness, heart palpitations, heart arrhythmia, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, sleep disturbance, seizures, brain cell and damage, allergies, asthma attacks, headaches, migrains and possibly brain tumours.

So keep your eyes out peepsies, and not just for 621. Definitely avoid anything in the 600s, but preferably stay away from all numbers, flavours, colouring and preservatives. If you don't know what it is, someone made it up. If someone made it up, they probably messed with nature. Do not want.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Zesty festival

There are some dishes which simply cannot live up to their potential without a good fix of lemon zest. Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and chilli would be dull without it, as would pea soup, risottos, roast chicken, seafood, frittatas, potato salad and many types of cakes and muffins. Lemons are easy, readily available and delicious, plus they're crazy good for you. In a big way...

* Antioxidants protect our DNA from cancer-causing damage, and citrus fruits contain high concentrations of flavonoid antioxidants as well as a number of other potent antioxidant compounds. One of these - lycopene, found in large quantities in citrus fruits - has been shown to protect against prostate and other cancers.

* The antioxidant naringenin not only helps prevent DNA damage, but also enhances DNA repair thereby reducing the chances of cancer development.

* The phytochemicals in citrus are at their most potent in the skin/zest. Nobilitin, in particular, does amazing work to kill cancer cells directly as well as indirectly, by interfering with the cell cycles involved in certain types of cancer. It has also been shown to be effective in preventing the onset of cancers of the colon, breast and some leukaemias.

Just make sure you wash your lemons well before you cut or zest them, especially if they're not organic, many dangerous pesticides are found on the skin of conventional citrus fruits. Need proof? Read this.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Friends with benefits

I've been on two walkies today with my dog. To me, that's a sign of a happy, stress-free day. When I'm with Scout I smile just because she makes me smile, I don't worry about things because I'm too busy looking for a stick or laughing at her antics and I am approached by a lot more strangers just wanting to give her a scratch and tell me how cute she is. I know.

The BBC reported
a couple of years back on how healthy it is to own a dog. They spoke to psychologist Dr Deborah Wells from Queen's University, Belfast, who said that dog owners often had lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Yays! She has reviewed dozens of research papers which looked at the health benefits of pet ownership and saw that dog owners suffered fewer minor ailments and serious medical problems than the general population. Plus, dogs may aid recovery from serious illnesses such as heart attacks.

Dr Wells said "The ownership of a dog can also lead to increases in physical activity and facilitate the development of social contacts, which may enhance both physiological and psychological human health in a more indirect manner."

A beautiful creature that makes you smile and play and gets you out into grassy fields and fresh air? That's my girl...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nectar of the queens

I love honey. You could take away all the other sugars in the world, but leave me just honey and I'd be happy. I have it on toast, in tea, with yoghurt and fruit, in smoothies and every which way in desserts. My local grocer had zero organic produce when we moved here four years ago, but now it's stepping up with a few and I was bowled over to find a huge jar of Eco Organic Honey. It is so delicious I can't keep my paws away. But why organic? Haven't I harped on enough about organic? Never. Listen here peeps, there's a lot less happening in a jar of conventional honey than this one in my pantry.

Firstly, you'll only get the goodness of honey - mainly its anti-bacterial properties - from raw honey. 'Pure' honey isn't the same, nor is '100%' honey or 'Australian' honey. They're just good marketing ploys. Raw is key, and when it's organic, you can be assured it hasn't been chemically treated or over-heated, two steps that take away most of the flavour and health properties. This particular organic honey of mine is from the Aussie bush and tastes so full of flavour, you only need a little.

For more info go to WHFoods... very interesting foodie site.