Hello my little munchers! As in food munchers. As in I’m referring to the fact that you all eat food…yay!
Anyways, hello!!! So I think I may have mentioned to some people that I went to Italy over the summer (omg omg omg) and that I did lots of super awesome cool stuff over there. For example, I hiked up some mountains and ate lots of food and I looked at a lot of really pretty looking things. But ALSO I tried something a little bit incredible called sciacchetrà. What is sciacchetrà you ask? Well it’s a dessert wine that’s only made in this tincy tiny part of the world known as the Cinque Terre and guess what, I went there.
The reason it was EXTRA special though is that I got to go into this little cellar type of room with the guy who makes it and he gave us some to try out of his personal stash. Naturally, after someone has been quite so hospitable, you should spend all of your euros on his wine, which is exactly what I did.
So when I came back home, I was looking for the perfect dessert to eat it with, and that’s where this tart comes in. This recipe is based on one that I found on taste.com but I kinda edited it a little so that it reminded me more of the sorts of things I ate while I was overseas. And honestly, I was pretty blown away by it all, it turned out even better than I had hoped. Yay. So please please please cook this because it looks super impressive and it is exactly the type of thing that I think of when I think of Italian desserts and it is just SO SO YUMMY.
Crostata di Ricotta e Marmellata di Amarene
Which basically means Ricotta and Sour Cherry Jam Tart
2 3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind (I have this crazy grater thing and it’s really sharp and it does such a good job and I love it)
1-2 tsp lemon juice (depending on how sweet your jam is, see below)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
180g cold butter, chopped into little chunks
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup good quality cherry jam (I say ‘good quality’ to make me sound fancy, but what I really mean is preferably one that still has chunks of cherry in it)
Ingredients - Filling
500g (approx. 2 cups) fresh ricotta (I got full fat om nom nom)
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Ok guys let’s start by making this amazing pastry. Get the flour, sugar, lemon rind, baking powder and salt a mix it all together in a nice big bowl. Rub and pinch (hope that makes sense) the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it looks all crumbly and yummy.
2. Now whisk the egg, egg yolk and vanilla together in a separate bowl. Add to the flour mixture and kinda cut it through the mixture, as in don’t stir so much as bring it all together by folding one bit over the other. When it’s all combined, bring the dough together and shape it into a nice ball. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for about 30 mins.
3. Ok, while that’s chilling out in the fridge (hahaha chilling, because fridges are cold) let’s do some filling-making-fun-time. Oh yeah. Get your super delicious ricotta (seriously, if you’ve got the good stuff you should taste some at this point. So good right?) in a food processor and make it whiz until smooth. Now put it in a big bowl. With a wooden spoon, beat in the sugar and vanilla until combined and super yummy (taste again omg). Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, until combined. It should just be all yummy and awesome now.
4. Turn your oven on to 180°C. Roll out 2/3 the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm-thick roundness pie-case-shape. Line a 3.5cm-deep, 22cm fluted tart tin, with removable base, with pastry leaving 1 cm extra over the top of the case, then trim the pastry.
5. Now get your yummy cherry jam in a saucepan and heat it up. Keep stirring gently, you’re looking for it to get smoother, but don’t squash your cherries either. Now add your lemon juice (as I said, at your discretion depending on how sweet your jam is). Set aside for 3 minutes to cool slightly. Pour the filling into the pastry case. Spoon the jam evenly over the surface (don’t spread tooooooo much or else you start mixing the jam into the filling and we don’t want that now do we).
6. Roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly floured surface so that it’s about 5mm-thick. Use a ravioli wheel to cut the dough into ten 1.5cm-wide strips (omg this bit is so much fun). Arrange half the strips, at 2cm intervals, across the top of the tart. Repeat, at a 90 degree angle, with remaining strips. LOOK AT HOW AWESOME IT LOOKS!! Fold your 1cm hangovery bit over the edges of your crinkly top pastry. Press all the pastry into each other to seal.
7. Place the tart on a baking tray on a pretty low shelf in your oven and bake for 55 minutes or until golden and yum yum yum. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to keep cooling all the way down. Dust with icing sugar. Cut into wedges (you can decide how big) and serve, preferably with cream and - if you are lucky enough to have some like me - some sciacchetrà.
Just a side note - You may think that it makes more sense to eat this tart straight out of the oven, especially if it’s a cold night and that’s just what you feel like darn it. But honestly, it was so so good at just room temperature and the pastry is going to be trickier to cut and the filling will ooze out a lot if you cut it warm. But hey, it’s your call. You’re the one who made this yummy thing after all, you should choose how to eat it.
So here in Melbourne the sun actually popped out for most of the day which is really quite a rare thing this time of year, but I suppose it reminds us all that we’re going to be coming out of winter soon and before we know it we’ll be wearing shorts and swimming in pools and pretending that we’re Miranda Kerr wearing oversized sunglasses.
Gah, why are you such a babe Miranda Kerr…
Anyways! This means we need to GET HEALTHY PEOPLE! We need to get ourselves out of all the fatty cakes and puddings that we’ve all been eating in our heated houses under layers of blankets and raisin toast so that we can go to the beach and be all like ‘Hey, look at me, I’m damn fine’.
And what’s healthy and unfattening and all kinds of goodness? FRUIT. Check out the strawberries in this dessert! See basically, it’s just so gosh darn healthy because of those tiny slices of strawberry that I can eat A DOUBLE SERVING. Strawberries are a delicious way to be super duper healthy. Studies show that strawberries are unparalleled in their abilities to make you look freakin’ awesome. Yeah that’s right, you know I’m gonna be looking pretty hot in my bikini this summer. Pfft, Miranda Kerr…
Eugh, everyone, I’ve made a mistake. So basically I’ve been going on about how awesome my rating system is, by having such and such a number of “om’s” out of a whole “om nom nom”, and you know, that’s super duper cool and awesome. But basically it has just been pointed out to me that I never actually mention what number a full om nom nom represents. EUGH.
So like, for example, the other day I was saying that Beef Two Minute Noodles were like icky and unhappy and I gave them 4 om’s out of a full om nom nom. But see, you might think that a full om nom nom is equal to 5 om’s. And this would be disasterous. Because then you would go out and buy two minute noodles. And then you would heat them up. And then YOU WOULD EAT THOSE DISGUSTING LITTLE MORSELS ALL BECAUSE OF ME AND THEN I’VE RUINED YOUR DAY AND THEN YOU START SHOUTING ‘CURSE THAT GEORGIA, SHE’S AS BAD AS THAT GUY WHO DID THAT BAD THING THAT ONE TIME’.
And oh crap. I don’t want that.
So yeah, just putting it out there, om nom nom = 10. Yep. Makes it sound pretty boring when I put it like that. So here’s a photo of me being all like ‘Oh well, what’s done is done’:
Today I was in a bit of a pickle. I was rushing out the door and needed something to take into uni for lunch. Thrust in my face was a packet of beef two minute noodles and a thermus (is that how you spell it? I’m getting a nice little wiggly red line under that one…)
Now this was in fact a very kind gesture; navigating oneself through the various food-serving stalls at university is very tricky. Last week I felt rather ill and decided that a sweet corn and chicken soup would do the trick. Instead, I sat with two other rather lovely individuals debating whether it was noodle, cabbage or good ol’ chicken fat floating through my soup.
It was chicken fat. I’m positive.
So today, it really was necessary that I go to uni prepared. Beef two minutes noodles seemed like a great idea. In fact, I’m pretty sure I know a fair few people who live off the stuff. So maybe it was my bad mood from wearing something wayyyy to light for the middle of winter; or maybe it was my heavy concentration on my econometrics lecturer talking about homoskedasticity (glad I threw something in to make me sound smart); or MAYBE I’m just becoming too food snobbish…but I didn’t like them noodles.
THIS WAS REALLY UNEXPECTED. I have such fond memories of two minute noodles!!! I think it probably didn’t help that they had sat in the thermus for like an hour, but they just tasted kinda… powdery or something. I’m trying to think of how to describe it better than that but my mind just keeps thinking about that guy in that Gangnam Style film clip. Hahahahaha, oh he cracks me up….
Guys, 4 om’s out of a whole om nom nom. Yep, still standing by this rating system.
P.S. I hope you enjoyed the happy snaps of me getting frustrated with the thermus. It was fun taking them. Clearly I’m a busy and important person.
So I think it’s about time that I talk about risotto. Let me get all mushy for a second (hahaha, mushy, like risotto…not my risotto though, mine’s not mushy, it’s yummy, but yeah). Risotto is a very special thing for me, I’m not entirely sure why, but I always feel like the gastronomy gods are looking down upon me when I’m cooking it. It always feels like a spiritual experience. Only there’s food involved.
The other great thing about risotto is that it uses wine. So when you cook it, there’s a wonderful ‘one glass for risotto, two glasses for me’ type of thing going on (maybe that’s why I’m having spiritual awakenings while I cook).
Basically, it’s a dish that makes me very happy and that I have cooked many a time. I have tried plenty of different techniques and I am more than aware that what makes a perfect risotto is a widely contentious issue, from nonnas to michelin starred chefs all around the world… But I reckon I do a pretty darn good job.
Risotto con Zucca, Chorizo e Feta
(for all those who didn’t use Google Translate, that’s Risotto with Pumpkin, Chorizo and Feta)
A nice glug of olive oil
3/4 Onion, nicely diced please (don’t worry, you’ll use the whole thing, see below)
3 Cloves of Garlic, chopped up all tiny
1 tsp Dried Sage
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1 cup Risotto Rice, Arborio is good
1 glass of dry white wine (plus however many additional glasses you may require for yourself)
1 litre of vegetable stock
A big handful of grated parmigiano reggiano
A generous Tbsp Butter
1. Get out a frying pan and put it on a medium heat. When hot, add to the pan your glug of oil, followed by the onion and the garlic. Turn the heat down so that it all cooks much slower. We’re looking for the onion and the garlic to go soft, but not brown, taking about 15 minutes. This is called a sofrito.
2. When the vegetables are nicely softened, it’s time to add the herbs. Just mix them through for about a minute, and then add the rice and turn up the heat. You want to fry off the rice just a little so that it’s translucent around the edges and white in the middle. I wouldn’t do this for longer than about a minute.
3. Now quickly add your wine and keep it at the high heat, letting the alcohol burn away. Again, this shouldn’t take too much longer than a minute. Once the wine has evaporated, you can start adding in your stock. Put your first ladle of stock in and turn the heat down to a slow simmer (this is probably a good time to season). Also, now you can start on your pumpkin (please see method below).
4. So here’s the contentious part: some people will like to add the stock and not stir, others will like to stir it a lot. I have tried both, and I’ve had good, but different, results from each method. Not stirring seems to leave a bit more toughness in the middle of the rice, so personally I stir. The way that I think is best is to stir by pressing down into the rice and massaging it to push out the starch.
5. Keep adding stock each time it looks almost all soaked up by the rice until the rice is al dente, or to your liking (you may need to add more liquid, it can be more stock if you have it or boiling water will do just fine).
6. When your rice is cooked, turn off the heat and throw in your parmesan with the butter, stir it through roughly (and reasonably quickly) and then cover the pan with a lid or something and just leave it for about five minutes. THIS IS THE SECRET TO MAKING IT AWESOME PEOPLE. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP. IF YOU DO, THE RISOTTO WILL BE VERY UNHAPPY.
Ingredients for Pumpkin, Chorizo and Feta
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Butter
The other 1/4 of your diced onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp Dried Sage
1/4 Butternut Pumpkin, chopped into 1.5x1.5cm squares (approximately, I’m not a freak with a ruler)
1 Chorizo Sausage, sliced
200g feta, crumbled into chunks
1. Get the oil and the butter and melt it in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the sage and the pumpkin. Coat pumpkin in butter and sage and cook until pumpkin is mostly tender.
2. When the pumpkin is almost cooked, add in the chorizo and cook it all together until the pumpkin and chorizo are cooked through.
3. At the very end, add half of the feta, stir it to melt through. Take half of your pumpkin mixture and stir it through the cooked risotto. Stir the remaining feta through the second half of the pumpkin mixture gently to make sure it stays in nice little chunks. Top each serve with the remaining pumpkin mix. Et voila. Eat your yummy.
Ok, first, I’m gonna have to address that pink tutu-wearing elephant in the room: I haven’t been writing for a while.
I KNOW. I’M SORRY. IT SUCKS. See I was away in the middle of Australia with no internet and getting eaten by crocodiles (I can’t do a food review from their perspective unfortunately, but I’m sure I taste like chicken).
Anywho, I’m back now so yay! And moving right along to the important stuff, I was having a think about prawns. I really like them. I kinda don’t get how their bodies work as living creatures, but as a food item they are down right delicious.
Last night I cooked myself a prawn laksa and I was all like om nom nom, and THEN I saw this picture and I was all like ‘ahhhh prawns following me everywhere!’ And they just look so good…
Problem is, I hear some people don’t like prawns. In fact, I know a few of you nay-sayers (that’s a word, right?) and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed.
You’re missing out guyssssss!!!
They taste like….they just taste like awesome.
And you put them with stuff like garlic aioli or a chilli and tomato linguine and you’re like FAR OUT THIS STUFF IS INCREDIBLE WHAT EVEN ARE YOU??? ACTUALLY I DON’T CARE I JUST WANT TO EAT MORE.
Friends, I would just like to begin this post by saying that I do not usually complain about food, restaurants or the like. In fact, I am usually so pumped up with excitement for food that when I do eat, I gaze helplessly out to the world, begging for an explanation as to how the food is able to be so un-understandably delicious.
So it would be fair to say that it takes a fair push for me to dislike a restaurant. But yesterday, I feel that I was most certainly pushed.
Last night, I ate at Giuseppe, Arnaldo and Sons on Southbank in Melbourne and was pretty super duper excited to be going there, I was beaming and skipping all the way there (or at least internally, it was ridiculously cold). For anyone who is unfamiliar with this restaurant, it’s super funky and serves a really broad range of Italian foods that make you go OMG GIVE ME EVERYTHING ON THE MENU BEFORE I FAINT FROM EXCITEMENT.
But it was only so-so. Major sad face.
The wine, just lovely. The bread, endlessly refilled and very yummy. The space, sooooo cooooooool. Even the cocktail that I had while we waited for a table to be available was pretty darn good. But I still found myself a little disappointed. We ordered arancini, which had great cheesey and spinachy risottoy-ness, but was a little burnt on the outside. Then the pasta that I ate for my main, which had sounded so amazing on the menu - Pappardelle, Hand Cut 6 Hour Veal & Pork Ragu “Bologna Style” - was kinda lacking in sauce and all of my pasta was stuck together.
However, even though the food wasn’t super amazing,at this point I was still pretty happy, I was really having quite a lovely night. Oh and the waiters were in lab coats, that was kinda cool.
BUT THEN IT TOOK 45 MINUTES FOR THE BILL TO COME AND NO-ONE EVEN APOLOGISED AND THE WAITRESS JUST KEPT TELLING US HOW DIFFICULT HER NIGHT WAS AND SERIOUSLY HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO PRINT A BILL, YOU PRINTED US FOUR DIFFERENT BILLS AND THEY WERE ALL WRONG, I COULD HAVE BEEN AT HOME WATCHING MASTERCHEF IF IT HADN’T TAKEN SO LONG EUGHHHHHH.
Yep, seriously, that coloured the whole night. Maybe you think I’m being too cruel? I dunno, I don’t really like to complain, but this had to be said. Hopefully next time I won’t rant so much.
Ok, I know these aren’t food, and actually, I don’t even know what these are. But oh my goodness gracious me they are so cute!!! Whatever they are they look like like little puffballs of snuggles.
Actually all this pastel-ness reminds me of fairy floss for some reason. Fairy floss is a weird name for it really. Is that actually what fairies floss their teeth with? Shouldn’t we be scared for the kinds of dental issues that fairies must be experiencing as a result of their misinformed dental hygiene habits??
Anyway, I’m just gonna put it out there that I don’t particularly like fairy floss. Hope I don’t offend anyone. I mean it’s ok now and again, but it does freak me out a little. So so fluffy….
Good morrow! as you are a food professional, i have a question of dire importance to ask you. In what order do you eat standard m&m's? I myself go with brown-green-yellow-orange-red-blue, but i'm not sure if this is right? Am i losing any flavours with this method? Regards, derplydodah. Ps, i liked the pumpkin ravioli. Looked delicious!
Well this does sound like a very serious question indeed! I feel like I should sit down and create a few graphs demonstrating flavour vs vibrancy of colour and then analyse the results and come up with a table that presents us with the most effective manner for eating m&ms. Unfortunately, I have no need for this as I already have a rather good method for eating m&ms and it is this:
Grab a handful, eyes closed, and shove into mouth. That ought to do it.
Otherwise, eat all the blue ones. Everyone knows they are far better than the rest anyway.