Thursday, 21 May 2015

Ombre Potato and Cheese Torte

We were talking about a child character in Wonder Woman who dreamt of man walking on the moon and how man had not yet landed there.  Sylvia asked, "But had woman been on the moon?"  Out of the mouths of babes!  I had put on Wonder Woman for Sylvia and her friend on the morning after their sleepover.  It seemed a good balance after they had watched some Barbie movie.  After all every little girl will grow up to find they are expected to be Wonder Woman who can do it all, not just a pretty Barbie doll.

Which is not to say that pretty things don't have their place.  I had bought some purple potatoes at CERES and beetroot powder at my health food store.  It inspired a vision of a multi coloured layered potato torte.  And great excitement at the possibility.  I am not sure it is technically 'ombre' because I don't know if purple and pink are similar enough but hopefully it is close enough for jazz.

Despite searching online, the only suitable recipe I could find was a Potato and Cheese Torte from my pre-online handwritten notebook.  It is a simple matter of mashing potato with cheese and egg and baking it in a cake tin.  I regret that when I took down the recipe years ago I didn't note the source. 

There are many variations on the idea.  I changed my torte quite a bit from the recipe.  I didn't use chives because they didn't suit the colour.  I used some leftover cheese sauce and yoghurt instead of cream.  I looked for gruyere in the supermarket but it was not to be found.  I bought a goat cheese with truffle oil only to find it had anchovies in it.  Finally I used swiss cheese between the layers.  And in the future I have dreams of veganising it and making this with green layers of kale puree and perhaps a spinach puree.  The recipe also suggested crisping up the top layer of potatoes but I didn't do this.

I made the torte on Sunday night.  It was really soft when it came out of the oven and I had visions of it collapsing into mush as I tried to cut it.  So I left it overnight to firm up.  The next day I was nauseous and couldn't face eating the rich torte.  I was determined to get a decent photo in daylight hours so I took a few photos and then collapsed into bed.  After all, it was unlikely I would make this torte again in a hurry.

It has been on of those weeks.  As well as nausea, I have had a sore back and a terrible headache.  The car has been in service, we have had Numeracy Night at school, I have run around after a costume for Sylvia for her book week parade, we have had to buy new school shoes and birthday presents.  And there is still swimming, walk to school day and a teddy bears picnic before the school week finishes.
  
So I was very glad to have this torte to keep us going in the evenings.  On Tuesday evening I made the side dish I had planned for Sunday: Brussels sprouts with walnuts and cranberries.  I hope to make it again and take more notice of the recipe before I share it.  I also roasted some pumpkin.  It made a really lovely meal. 

I would highly recommend this torte for a festive or fancy meal.  It serves heaps of people and would be great on a buffet as it slices up well if you make it far enough ahead to let it set.  However the torte is too rich to recommend eating by itself.  It needs some colourful vegies or salads on the side and would be great with a gravy or sauce.  We just had a chutney with it.

I am very pleased with how this torte turned out.  It looked pretty and tasted delicious.  Even without coloured layers, this is a great torte to impress your family and friends.  And it will make you feel like Wonder Woman.  Though I am not sure that I ever saw her cook!

I am sending this potato and cheese torte to:

More mashed potato recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Potato boston bun
Mashed potato chocolate cake  
Mashed vegetables with promite
Oaxaca tacos (with potato and cheese)
Potato bread
Potato, cauliflower and kale pesto mash 
Potato parsley stars
Potato Scones
Shepherd’s Pie with Pesto
Walnut and rice nutroast with mashed potato crust 

Ombre Potato and Cheese Torte
Serves 8-12

1kg white potatoes, peeled and diced
500g purple potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
100g butter
1/3 cup cheese sauce (or cream)
3-4 tbsp plain yoghurt, divided
2-4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 eggs, divided
1 tsp beetroot powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
chopped chives, optional
100g jarlsberg or gruyere cheese, grated
1-2 extra potatoes
breadcrumbs and butter for lining tin*

Crumb topping:
50g butter, diced
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp breadcrumbs*

Place white potatoes in a medium saucepan and purple potatoes in a small saucepan.  Fill each saucepan with cold water just up to the potatoes and add a clove of garlic and pinch of salt.  Bring to the boil and simmer until tender.  It should take about 15 minutes from when you start heating the potatoes and water.

While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 180 C (I baked mine at 200 C to amend for my slow oven).  Grease a round 22cm springform cake tin with a generous amount of butter.  Line base with baking paper and grease paper well.  Put a spoonful or two of fine dried breadcrumbs into the tin and tap them around until the base and sides of the tin is covered.  Discard any loose breadcrumbs that don't cling to the butter.

Drain each saucepan and return to a low heat and cook until all water has evaporated from the saucepan.  Add two thirds of the butter, cheese sauce, yoghurt, parmesan, and eggs to the medium saucepan of white potatoes.  Start with less of the yoghurt and parmesan.  Mash potatoes and season (I used some chilli salt and wild garlic salt).  Use a metal spoon to stir well and get some air into the mashed potato.  Check and adjust seasonings and add more yoghurt if it is too stiff - if should be creamy enough to stir.  Repeat with purple potatoes and the remaining ingredients (again starting with less yoghurt and parmesan and adding more if required).  Trasnfer half the white mash into a bowl and mix in beetroot powder and smoked paprika.  After mashing, stir in chopped chives, if using.

Peel and finely slice one of the extra potatoes.  Cover with water in a microwave proof bowl and microwave for about 2 minutes or until bendy but not cooked through.  Arrange the potato slices on the base of the prepared tin.

Carefully spoon blobs of white mash onto the potato slices.  Smooth the mash with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle with half the grated jarlsberg cheese.  Repeat carefully spooning and smoothing the pink layer.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Repeat the spooning and smoothing with the purple layer.  Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan for the crumb topping and sprinkle over the purple layer.  Dot with butter.

Bake torte for 50 to 60 minutes or until the crumb topping is golden brown.  Cool in the tin.  Turn out onto a serving plate, ideally one that can go in the oven.  Reheat to serve or you could serve at room temperature.  Lasts 4 to 5 days in the fridge.

NOTE: to make it gluten free, use gluten free breadcrumbs.

On the Stereo:
A Letter Home: Neil Young

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Froothie Optiumum 9400 Blender: review and recipes

In September last year, I bought myself a new high speed blender.  A Froothie Optimum 9400 blender.  It was a major kitchen purchase and I wanted to write about it once I had used it for some time.  I paid for it myself and love having it, but it has both good and bad points.  I will write about these here for those who might be considering buying a new blender or just interested to know how I am using it.

I was keen to buy a high speed blender after burning out the little blender attachment of my hand held blender.  I wanted a blender that would make creamy sauces out of nuts, blend up kale into a smoothie and make smooth nut butters.  After all, I have made some pretty lumpy sauces, grassy smoothies and poor attempts at nut butter in the past.

I have found the blender great for velvety smoothies and sauces.  I have had a little more trouble with nut butters and dips which require more scraping down.  One of my first nut butter attempts resulted in me overheating the motor. and having a greasy little knob of cashew butter (which tasted really good but was more cashew candy than cashew butter).  I thought I had ruined my nice new blender.  Once it cooled it was ok.  I checked the instruction booklet and found I should be blending nut butter at a higher speed.  A quick internet search also told me it is easier to blend roasted nuts into nut butter than raw nuts.

Since then I have made quite a few lovely nut butters (with the tamper).  I have learnt with the blender generally that I need enough ingredients that the blades don't whizz around with nothing to hit.  The thicker the mixture the more likely it is that I need to scrape down the mixture a few times.  If there is enough in the blender, using the tamper to push down ingredients is a great help.  I love that I can make cashew sauces without having to soak the cashews though sometimes I need to add a little water to compensate.

Above is a selection of some recipes I have made with the blender:  From Left to Right here are the links to the recipes (I am particularly excited at how easy it is to make a vegan cheese spread and the Finnish pate):

Top: Cashew cheese stuffed dates,   Super smoothie with berries,   Chocolate lime avocado mousse
Middle: Buffalo hummus,   Kale cheesecake surprise choc mint cupcakes,   Finnish green bean paté
Bottom: Balsamic garden salad with cashew cheese,   Avocado hummus,   Tropical orange and carrot smoothie

Other recipes using my blender:
Basil pesto
Cheesy cauliflower and rice soup
Chickpea and carrot patties with Cashew cream
Chocolate cashew butter 
Green smoothie
Hurry up pumpkin alfredo pasta sauce 
Kale scones
Vegan haggis (NB it was tricky to get all the ingredients chopped evenly but worked)
Vegan mayonnaise
Vegan peach cheesecake
Vegan salmon pate  

I have made lots of recipes I would not have been so confident attempting without a more powerful blender, though I also still make lots of smoothies that I could easily make with my hand held blender.  Above is a creamy Vegveeta cheeze sauce that I made to bake on a pizza with kale and tomato sauce.  Below is a chickpea and kale sandwich spread that, while a little chunky, was far more blended that my previous blenders would have done.

There are some aspects of the blender that I am not so keen on.  There are three controls: an on/off button, a 1-10 dial, a pulse button.  It seems counter-intuitive to have to push the on button up rather than down to start it and quite frankly that button seems redundant.  I don't understand why the instructions say to always start the blender with the dial on low but you also need to hit the on button.  I also don't find the lid easy to take on and off and end up popping it rather than screwing it.

One of my other problems is a double edged sword.  The bottom of the blender, unlike other blenders I have used, does not screw off for washing.  I guess this is for sealing and because the blade is very sharp.  The instructions say to put in water and a drop of detergent and blend.  It is fine for a smoothie but when I make a nut butter I find it is best to soak or needs a lot of blending to clean it.  Even with all the blending there are times I find to properly wipe out the blender.  Especially when it is wet and I want it straight away for dry ingredients but have to wait for it to dry.  On the up side, cleaning the blender this way means it is easy to clean quickly after I use it. 

My biggest problem is that I am not confident enough in the blender being completely clean.  This is a big issue for allergies.  I would love to make home made peanut butter but am worried there will be traces left that will get into Sylvia's food and set off her allergy.

Overall I am delighted with my purchase.  It has given me an ability to make foods I couldn't previous and more confidence with recipes.  If I need a nut butter for recipes I can make my own.  I can also put a greater mix of fruit and vegetables in my smoothies (though not pomegranate arils).  I have ground nuts, oats and dried chickpea into flour in the blender.  And I love being able to make such smooth sauces and nut butters.  I use my blender a lot, if not daily.  Thanks to Jac of Tinned Tomatoes for her recommendation.  I would definitely recommend the Froothie Optimum 9400 blender if you are looking to purchase a new blender.

To see what others are doing with their Froothie blenders, check out these recipes:

Basil and cucumber gazpacho – Amuse your Bouche
Beet and chia raspberry jam – Veggie Desserts
Carrot ketchup – Allotment 2 Kitchen
Cauliflower coconut and lime soup – Coconut and Berries
Green passion smoothie – Food to Glow
Roasted beetroot and raw cacao nib cupcakes – Elizabeth's Kitchen
Spicy red falafel – Tinned Tomatoes 
More vegetarian recipes at Froothie website

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Kale cheesecake surprise choc mint cupcakes for a vegan bakesale


I didn't sleep well on the eve of ANZAC Day.  I went to bed early in preparation to rise at 4am for the Dawn Service but the two little girls in the bed did not want to sleep.  My mind wandered to kale.  Kale and cake competitions.  I had decided that kale cake would be creative enough for the bake off at CERES held by Animal Liberation Victoria as part of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale.  But as I lay there mythoughts wandered to hidden fillings in chocolate cupcakes and what if it was green and cheesecake.  Now that would be a challenge.

The 4am rise on the Saturday meant I was too tired to make the cupcakes in the afternoon.  They had to wait until the next day, the morning of the competition.  No matter.  At least they would be fresh.  Unfortunately it left no room for mistakes or missing ingredients.

Unfortunately it wasn't until morning that I discovered I had very little cocoa or vegan chocolate in the house.  Fortunately I bake a lot of chocolate cakes.  I was able to improvise with cacao nibs.  I wanted to finely grind them in my good blender but as it was still wet from making the cheesecake mixture, they were roughly ground.  The slight texture of the nibs actually worked well in the cupcakes.  

You might think me a bit crazy to attempt vegan cupcakes with a kale cheesecake filling on the morning of a cake baking competition when I had never made them before. Yet it wasn't quite a crazy as it seems.

I was drawing on experiences of adding kale to scones to make them green, of making vegan cheesecake, of baking vegan chocolate cupcakes and of hiding something in cupcakes.  These previous baking adventures all contributed to my planning.  While I make a lot of new recipes, they often build on previous experiences.

The icing had me stumped.  I had mulled over whether to add green food colouring the previous evening.  Then I realised the solution was staring at me in the face.  I had plenty of leftover cheesecake mixture which gave both brilliant colour and a great creamy texture to the frosting.

I was happy that the frosting held its shape.  As you can see above, I am a novice at frosting and had to try and try again.  I didn't have quiet enough frosting so I had to keep reusing the frosting I had piped onto the dodgy cakes to try again with the unfrosted cakes.  And though the swirls look so pretty, I prefer only a small amount of frosting on my cupcakes so if I wasn't making these for a competition, I would just spread the frosting on with a knife.

By the time we had dropped Sylvia off for a play date and was heading into CERES with my cakes on a plate in the cake carrier, I was feeling like I had done a pretty good job.  I had tasted the cakes and congratulated myself.  I had only put four cupcakes on the plate because I had been told by the CWA lady at the last cake competition I entered that I shouldn't crowd the plate.  And besides, I didn't have many frosted cupcakes that looked presentable.

I lined up to register my entry and looked around at the competition with a sinking heart.  This amazing farmyard cake was actually a winner.  However there were heaps of entries of varying quality, some very beautiful, some very colourful, some very quirky and some just looked delicious.

I wanted to take more photos but the organisers were keeping punters out of the area until the cake sale began.  It was a rainy overcast day and not at all suited to taking photos, especially when under a marquee.  So if you want some really good photos of the cakes and the day I suggest you head over to the post by Veganopoulous.

I would have liked to have lingered and admire the cakes.  As well as those for the competition, there were heaps donated to help raise money.  I really wanted some of the slices above but I just am not keen on queuing for ages for food.

By the time the cake sale opened at  12 there was already a huge queue.  We wandered off to watch a sausage making demonstration.  After that we found that there was even a queue at the sausage sizzle.  We didn't have to wait too long to buy ourselves sausages.  It was a treat to have really well cooked vegetarian sausages and a choice of three different flavours.  I had the tomato one which was great.

Rather than join the huge queue for the cakes we wondered over to the CERES marketplace where there were a few stalls selling vegan foods.   I really loved the pretty display of cakes by Vohn's Kitchen.  We had a coconut layer cake which was nice but I was disappointed that it didn't have dessicated coconut through it.  When I was growing up 'coconut' always meant dessicated coconut.  These days coconut can mean so many things.

We sat and ate it in the courtyard by the market.  It was really quiet after the busy cake sale area.  We sat with a couple who had come to the bake sale but decided to have lunch in the marketplace.  Apparently the lentil pie was really good.  We also tasted the Damona cheeses (it seemed to taste a lot of coconut oil, which is not so much my thing though I know others love the cheeses) and some yummy Smooth as Fruit sorbets.

I was curious to see the competition at the bake sale.  A slice of cake or one cupcake from each offering was set out for each entrant and the rest of the cakes were then sold to raise money for Animal Liberation.  I was pleased that I got an entry in even though the competition was tough.

I had watched Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death the previous night in which the judge in a food competition was poisoned.  Fortunately, I found that people really friendly at this event. 

It was great to see a few familiar faces.  I spent some time chatting with Faye from Veganopoulous while she queued for cakes and while we chatting the line hardly moved. It made me even more sure that while I would have been eager to buy some cakes, I was not prepared to queue for them.

By the time we had arranged to pick up Sylvia from her friend's place, I was ready to leave, even though we missed the judging.  Kerin had been interested in the cupcakes and I remembered I had a couple of spare cupcakes in the car in case of an accident.  So we took them into her house and cut them up to share.

Sylvia had taken a dislike to the cupcakes because of the kale.  E had decided he didn't like them because he is not keen on mint.  So I was pleased to share them with Kerin and family because they were most appreciative.  Kerin even declared that she would have chosen me as the winner.  Awww...

I am sending these cupcakes to Shaheen at A2K for the Eat Your Greens event, to Casa Costella for Bake of the Week, to A Mummy Too for Recipe of the Week and Jibber Jabber for Love Cake (Colour me Pretty).


I am also sending these cupcakes to Kimmy for Healthy Vegan Fridays 48 at Rock My Vegan Socks.

More kale recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Kale cake (v)
Kale, cheese and mole quesadillas (v)
Kale scones (v)
Potato and kale enchiladas (gf, v)
Tahini lime rice with kale and cashews (gf, v)
'Teriyaki' tofu with brown rice and kale (gf, v) 
Tomato and kale soup with pistachios (gf, v)

Kale cheesecake surprise choc mint cupcakes
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
With inspiration from Green Gourmet Giraffe, The Savvy Vegan and Vegan Baking
Makes 12 cupcakes

Mint-kale cheesecake:
50g kale
1 cup cashews
1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp peppermint essence
1/8 tsp salt

Cupcakes:
1 cup soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup plain white flour
2 tbsp plain wholemeal flour
2 tbsp cocoa*
40g grated dark chocolate*
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup rice bran oil (or neutral oil)
1/4 cup roughly ground cacao nibs*

Cheesecake frosting*:
butter or margarine (1/4 o 1/2 cup)
icing sugar (1-3 cups)
leftover mint-kale cheesecake mixture
peppermint essence (1 tsp)

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.

Make the cheesecake filling:  Place kale in cold water in a saucepan.  Bring to the boil and then rinse under cold water and press water out in a colander or sieve.  Place with remaining ingredients in blender.  Blend until smooth.

Make cupcakes: Mix milk and vinegar and set aside.  Mix flours, cocoa, grated chocolate, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt .  Mix sugar and oil with the milk mixture.  Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix.  Mix in cacao nibs. 

Spoon about a heaped tablespoon of mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup.  Now spoon a heaped teaspoon of cheesecake mixture on top of the chocolate mixture and then cover with another spoonful or two of the chocolate mixture until you have distributed all the chocolate mixture evenly among the muffin cups.  Set aside any remaining cheesecake mixture.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until cupcakes feel spongy to touch (rather than gooey).  The cheesecake filling does not need to be baked through so it is a bit easier to make sure the outside cake mixture is baked.  Cool on a wire rack.

Make cheesecake frosting:  Mix together enough butter and icing sugar to make a creamy icing.  Then mix in remaining cheesecake mixture and some extra peppermint essence.  This made enough icing to pipe swirly frosting on most cupcakes but might be too much if you just want to spread it on with a knife.

NOTES: *I didn't have enough cocoa powder so instead of 1/3 cup cocoa, I used 2 tbsp cocoa, 40g dark chocolate and 1/4 cup ground cacao nibs.  The cacao nibs weren't quite as well ground as I have hoped but it worked.  I didn't measure out ingredients for the frosting so I have given approximate amounts.

On the Stereo:
Shadows in the Night: Bob Dylan

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Steam Junkies and Sinch street art

I have ridden my bike past Steam Junkies often.  It is at the bottom of a new block of flats beside the Upfield bike path and train line.  A few weeks back I stopped in for lunch.  It was, as a friend had suggested, well worth a visit.  It is relatively new, having opened about a year ago.

The menu had lots of eggy breakfast dishes and some tempting burgers such as chickpea and feta burger or or sesame encrusted haloumi cheese burger.  I had plenty of choice but I was intrigued by the salad.

I chose the wild rice salad with pickled beetroot, Dutch carrots, raw shredded kale, goat cheese and truffle oil.  It was magnificently dark and brooding.  I loved the interesting mixture of soft sweet juicy vegetables, chewy wild rice and creamy goat cheese.  So satisfying.  If I wanted to quibble I would have preferred the baby carrots to be cooked a little more.  However it was so good that it made me wish I ate such salads more regularly.  (Though I don't have any desire to eat kale salads at McDonalds.)

It was very pleasant to sit with my meal and watch the trains and bikes fly by.  If you like looking at street art, there is plenty to look at outside after you finish you meal and leave (with or without a vegan cake which are on offer at the counter).  Here are my photos of some of the art around the apartment block.  I have been told that it is a tribute to a street artist called Sinch who died while train surfing.







And finally a picture of Ganesha by the corner of Florence Street and Breese Street:


Steam Junkies
1/7-9 Florence Street
Brunswick VIC 3056
03 9973 4309
https://www.facebook.com/steamjunkies

Steam Junkies on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Apple rose tarts, a woven paper box and random moments

"Was it a something you found online?" asked E as we drove to my parents house, ridiculously late.  "It was on Pinterest,"  I admitted.  I had got caught up in weaving a paper box or basket to carry the bits and pieces of food presents I had bought my mum.  The irony was not lost on me that I was late for the Mothers Day lunch because I was spending too much time on her present.  And we forgot to take the card I had made.  It was all a bit of a shambles.

I am very susceptible to a Pinterest idea.  It makes me wonder about life before Pinterest, before online life.  We had a book or two of craft ideas at home, a library of books for borrowing, tv shows, friends' ideas and our own imagination.  Yes, there was plenty of inspiration then.  Yet Pinterest makes it seem so much easier.  In the case of the woven paper box, it was far more challenging than it looked.

Another Pinterest idea that took my fancy long ago was the idea of making apple rose tarts.  Sadly, many Pinterest ideas fall by the wayside.  So I was pleased to see it again on Not Quite Nigella and have an added motive to make them because she chose them for her monthly Cook With Me where she asks readers to make a recipe she has chosen.

I promised Sylvia that we would make them on Saturday afternoon.  That was the time had also earmarked to make a cake and the woven paper box.  Only life wasn't so straightforward.  I was tired and under the weather after a busy week.  Meetings, a bullying workshop, making greeting cards, gift shopping, a poorly child, coffee with friends, the first wobbly tooth falling out.  Sylvia was asking challenging questions like how are babies made, did Jesus really die on the cross and where does the tooth fairy get her money. So instead of creating food and gifts on Saturday afternoon, I did the only thing I could do.  Slept.

When I woke, feeling a little groggy, I managed to make these apple rose tarts.  Unlike the box that was a challenge to my sanity, these tarts were surprisingly easy, considering how impressive they look.  We had one each after dinner (leftover stew, thank goodness)!  They were delicious.  I suspect they particularly appealed to E because there was not a lot of fruit in all the pastry yumminess. 

The next day when I packaged up the hamper of goodie for my mum, I included the last of the apple rose tarts.  My mum loves roses so it seemed appropriate.  The hamper also comprised damson plum jam, Gewurzhaus spice mixes, salted almond chocolate, a salted caramel, fancy savoury nuts, and some limes off our tree.  The woven paper box I had made was too flimsy to hold it properly so I wrapped it in cellophane.

We finally arrived at my parents' house in Geelong for a late lunch.  Mum had made a magnificent moussaka and a cauliflower salad.  She has a new oven and had made her best pavlova for a long time in it.  I took down some hedgehog and mum also made jelly slice.

I also was showered with gifts for Mothers Day.  Sylvia had been making gifts at school and also had a chance to buy me some gifts at the Mothers Day stall at the school.  Parents make craft for the stall and sell it to the kids at very reasonable prices.  E also bought me a book (All the Bright Places) that I am looking forward to reading.  And on Saturday morning Sylvia and E made me pancakes with minimal help from me.

Finally I wanted to share a few recent random moments the made me smile:
  • My mobile phone is now paid off and I am out of the contract.  Yay!  I have discovered that I am using far less downloads than my plan covered.  Which means I have been able to reduce the amount I pay monthly by less than a half!
  • A rolled up newspaper appeared on our doorstep last week.  It was from January 2015.  Goodness knows where it was found or who found it.  I have put the choice bits on the pile for me to read.  Yesterday I stopped for lunch and pulled out an old newspaper magazine to read and found it was from 2013!
  • We went to see E play with his ukelele group at a pub and took along a friend of Sylvia's.  When there was a break I was talking with the little girls about the watering can on the stage.  Sylvia's friend amused me when she said it was there to water the microphones to make them grow.
I am sending these cute tarts:

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Street Art in Melbourne #1 Croft Alley
Two year ago: About my oven (or why the nose is mightier than the timer
Three years ago: FFF Zucchini slice - a childhood favourite
Four years ago: CC Crunchy Salad, Tofu Nuggets and Sylvia
Five years ago: Mothering Oat and Cranberry Biscuits
Six years ago: Mothering, Stew and Bread
Seven years ago: Meandering Musings on Split Pea Soup
Eight years ago: Cardamom and Chocolate Comforts

Apple Rose Tarts
From Not Quite Nigella and Cooking with Manuela
Makes 6

1-2 red apples*
1-3 tbsp lemon juice*
1 sheet puff pastry*
2-3 tbsp quince jelly (or other jam)*
Icing sugar, to serve

Grease 6 regular muffin holes in a tin.  Preheat oven to 190 C.

Halve and core apples.  I did this with a paring knife but had to be careful not to cut too deeply.  NQN used a melon baller.  Slice by hand as thinly as possible (or use a mandolin) and place in a bowl of water with lemon juice in it.  

Microwave the apples (or cook on the stovetop) until just cooked enough to bend but not soft.  About 3 to 5 minutes in the microwave should be enough.

Roll out the thawed sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to measure about 30cm long.  It doesn't need to be any wider.  Cut the pastry into 6 short strips.  Brush with quince jelly or jam.  Arrange apples along the pastry strip with round edge of apple above the edge of the pastry.  Fold the pastry over and make sure apple slices are tucked into side pastry.  Roll up the pastry to form a rose formation of apples and place pastry side down in a muffin hole.  Repeat with 5 other strips.

Bake tarts for 30 to 40 minutes until pastry is cooked (check pastry in the middle is cooked as well as outside).  Serve dusted with icing sugar.  They were great warm but also fine the next day.

NOTES:  I had a lot of apple slices over but am not sure I would have quite had enough if I had only used 1 apple.  I used a Pink Lady and a Red Gala and much preferred the slices of Pink Lady.  I didn't measure the lemon juice - just gave a good squeeze of half a lemon, and I didn't measure the jam either.  To make these vegan, you need to buy vegan puff pastry.

On the Stereo:
Inside Llewelyn Davis soundtrack: Various Artists