Cut out some circles of pastry and put them on an upended mini muffin tin, place a second mini muffin tin on top, bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool then fill the pastry cases with a large spoonful of mascarpone, top with a little jam or jelly and eat.
This is the story of Bernard Loiseau, the three star chef who took his own life in February 2003. He finished the lunch service at his restaurant in Saulieu, folded his apron and went home and shot himself.
It is more than just the story of Bernard Loiseau though. For anyone with an interest in food this is an insight into the world of haute cuisine. The ambition to succeed, the dedication required to reach the top and once there, the pressure to remain.
Toward the end of the book I found myself wishing I'd known Bernard. I think I would have liked him.
This book will make you think about how you treat people. Bloggers writing restaurant reviews should all read this book.
Looks pretty doesn't it? This is the meal I enjoyed at Mecca café, a casual eating space within the Esplanade Hotel in Devonport. Devonport is a 10 minute boat ride across the harbour from Downtown Auckland. A tourist venue with the dirtiest ferry terminal I've seen in a long time.
These are the Greek Dolma from the lunch menu . Dolma can be stuffed with either rice or meat. The menu said rice but mine was stuffed with couscous and they were quite nice. Nice but not fantastic, and I would order the dish again.
My complaint though is with the service. We were about to be seated at a table under the speaker when I suggested we would prefer something a little quieter. We were shown to another area in the restaurant and the waitress's outstretched arm indicated we could choose our own table. I'm happy 'cos I love to choose where I sit!
Not a good sign when you need to signal the waitress you are ready to order. Our meal was delivered quickly enough but our empty plates were left on the table, as were other tables. We had other plans elsewhere for dessert and coffee so called the waitress over and asked for our check. At this point she asked how the meal was so we made our small comment about the oil in the dressing on Bryan's salad tasting rancid. Despite the staff insisting it was the sumac in the dressing I know it was rancid. I have cooked with sumac so I know the taste of sumac.
It was Labour weekend and the staff may have been annoyed at having to work on a holiday weekend. If you take a job as a restaurant worker that is the life. You don't choose the music you want to hear and turn up the volume without considering the age of the diners in the restaurant. You don't stand around morosely, looking like you'd rather be elsewhere. You don't act like you are doing me a favour by serving me. Because I won't be back.
Photo 1 - just out of the oven. Photo 2 - about 7 minutes later and beginning to fall. Photo 3 - ready to eat. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
This months Is My Blog Burning was a perfect opportunity to make a classic souffle. I consulted Julie Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking. This is the first recipe I have cooked from this book after I picked it up for $1 at a secondhand book stall at the markets.
According to Julia the proportions of the soufflé remain the same whether you use cheese, fish or any other flavouring.
For a 6 cup mould they are: Velouté sauce - 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons flour, 1 cup liquid Egg yolks beaten into sauce - 4 Flavouring - 3/4 cup (3 ozs) Stiffly beaten egg whites - 5
Bake at 375 (190) degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. Don't open the oven door in the first 20 minutes.
Julia has 6 pages of instructions on how to make a soufflé which makes cooking a soufflé a simple exercise. I gathered together all the ingredients, prepared the mould, separated the eggs, weighed and measured butter, flour and cheese and went for it. The soufflé was baked in a gas fan oven at 190 degrees and after 25 minutes was ready to serve.
Thanks to this months IMBB host Kitchen Chick . Pop over there to check out the round up.
It's Sugar High Friday again and this months host Lovescool has chosen dark chocolate as the ingredient. Furthermore, Kelli and Andrew have suggested we look past our usual chocolate brownies and cake recipes to come up with something truly different.
My recent lessons in making gyoza had me thinking how could I turn pork gyoza into a dessert. And that was how this dish came about.
Chocolate and Walnut Gyoza with Strawberry Balsamic Dipping Sauce
Dipping Sauce 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 punnet strawberries
Mix vinegar and brown sugar and stir until almost dissolved. Add sliced strawberries and set aside for at least an hour. Later Drain strawberries (and eat if you want to). Put sugar balsamic mixture in pot on top of stove and boil until it becomes syrupy.
Gyoza 1 packet Dumpling pastry Equal quantities of chopped walnuts and dark chocolate buttons
Mix walnuts and chocolate and soften in a bowl over hot water. Do not melt. The mixture needs to only soften a little and melt together to make working with it easier. It should be the consistency of mince.
Place a spoonful of mix onto a round of dough, wet edge of one half of dough, fold in half and pinch edges together in pleats.
In a fry pan over moderate heat add a few drops of walnut oil, add gyoza to pan and fry until bases are brown. Tip in a 1/4 cup of water and cover fry pan with a lid. Gyoza are ready when the water has evaporated.
I know I promised this weeks ago but when I was ready to launch it Emily announced her In The Pink event. Such a worthy event deserved our support so I delayed Donna Day until November. Donna's Self Frosting Cupcakes started life here and travelledaroundtheworldofblogs . Now you can all join in. You have a month to get organised (make sure you have a jar of Nutella in the cupboard) and on the weekend of 19th November make your self frosting cupcakes , post a picture and send the link to me at pinotgrisATgmailDOTcom
If you don't know who Donna Hay is . Read Nic's eloquent description of Australian Donna. The recipe comes from Donna Hay's Modern Classics 2. Original recipe as per the book
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 160C/325F. Place 175g/6oz very soft butter,
3/4 cup caster sugar, 3 eggs, 1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour and 2
tsp baking powder in a bowl and mix, using electric beaters, until
smooth. Line 12 muffin tins with paper cases. Spoon in the mixture and
swirl 1 1/2 tsp peanut butter through each cake. Bake for 20 minutes.
The original recipe uses Peanut butter but Nutella seems to be the topping of choice. Check out Nic's recipe as she rewrote the original altering the amount of butter and giving a more detailed set of instructions.
AND there is a prize for the best looking muffins. The issue in the photo above is my own personal copy of the very first Donna Hay magazine. If your muffins are the prettiest the launch issue is yours. You also get the opportunity to choose the recipe and host the next Hay Hay it's Donna Day .
Hay Hay Its Donna Day is open to all food and wine bloggers.
submitted for HHDD must be made specifically for this event, although
photos may be submitted to Does My Blog Look Good In This.
The host will select, make and post the original Donna Hay
recipe without any changes. Participants may make the same recipe as
is, or put their own spin on the recipe by altering the ingredients
whilst remaining with the theme. Entrants should include a link to the
host in their post.
Entries can be made at any time once the event has been
announced but must be posted and emailed to the host by the closing
Bibliocook's post Pumpkin Harvest reminded me of the pumpkin fruit cake recipe in my folder of collected recipes from various magazines. I have no idea where this came from but it would have been in the eighties when I first made it.
Pumpkin Fruit Cake Ingredients 125 grams butter 2/3 cup caster sugar 1 tablespoon Golden Syrup 2 eggs Grated rind 1 orange 1 cup cooked and drained mashed pumpkin 1 cup self raising flour 1 cup plain flour pinch bicarb soda 375 grams dried fruit. Method Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, then golden syrup, orange rind. Stir in Pumpkin Fold through sifted flours, bicarb soda and fruit. Bake in a moderate oven 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours.
The baking time will depend on the tin used. For this I used a lamington tin as I wanted a slab cake. Baked at 180 degrees in a fan oven it was ready in 40 minutes.
Any mix of dried fruit can be used. Because I don't like a lot of currants I used 200 grams raisins and 175g mixed fruit. The pumpkin was steamed and then mashed. Steam pumpkin with skin on and remove before mashing.
This cake doesn't keep well so cut leftovers into serving size pieces and freeze for another day.
Ryoko returned home to Tokyo last weekend. My final cooking lesson from Ryoko was making pork dumplings. You may think getting those pleats in the dough is difficult. Actually once you know how it is really easy.
On Ryoko's last evening in Auckland we made pork dumplings, drank champagne and watched "Lost in Translation" on TV.
Hosting overseas students is a great way to learn about other cultures. Ryoko came to New Zealand to learn about our culture and we benefit by learning a little about hers.
We learnt about sake and green tea - when Ryoko's Mum sent us a parcel of Japanese specialties.
We enjoyed more Japanese specialties and Californian wine -when a parcel arrived from Ryoko's sister in California.
Here are a couple more photos taken during Ryoko's stay. Check out Ryoko's blog . Now she is back in Japan she will be posting again soon. Yesterday I received a lovely email from her friend Miki in Tokyo who also has a blog . It's in Japanese so I don't understand a word, or should that be character, of it. There are pics of some tempting looking food and some gorgeous handbags. I think the handbags are made by Miki.
Today is Breast Cancer Awareness day in New Zealand. Also in Canada where Emily at La Dolce Vita has created todays blog challenge "In the Pink" . Emily has asked us all to make pink food to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Day.
Cancer can strike anyone. It doesn't discriminate in any way. Money, good looks, fame or even a university degree will not protect you from cancer. Luckily many cancers are survivable. The trick is to catch them early enough before they spread. Then with the help of modern drugs and dedicated doctors you can overcome cancer.
This is why we have awareness days. They are there to remind us to be aware of the signs and symptons of cancer. Here and here are two organisations in New Zealand where you can get information about breast cancer.
I hope my pink cupcakes will remind you to check your breasts today.
Visit Emily at La Dolce Vita in a few days to see more pink food.
Akarua Wines are from Bannockburn in Central Otago. Which also happens to be the home of my favourite New Zealand Pinot Noir. This particular bottle of Akarua was a gift from South American friends who visited us earlier this year. Their schedule only allowed time for one vineyard visit while driving through the South Island. I suggested they call at Akarua where they could lunch at the Lazy Dog restaurant and taste some wines at the cellar door. They arrived just before midday to discover it was closed due to it being a public holiday. Through the cellar door window they could see movement inside and knocked on the door. A woman came to the door and informed them the restaurant would open at 1.00pm. They asked if they could wander through the vines while waiting. The woman happened to be the viticulturist and was about to drive through the vineyard doing whatever viticulturists do on a public holiday. She offered to give them their own personal tour of the vineyard.
For my friends, it was the highlight of their week in the South Island. And to show their appreciation of my suggestion I was the lucky recipient of three bottles of wine presented in wooden boxes.
Akarua Pinot Noir 2003 Details: From the Winemaker Eyes: Polished rubies. Legs: So long you can still see them above the second A. Nose: Cherries and violets. Mouth: Elegant and lingering. Buy: NZ$40 . World distributors page. Verdict: I wish I'd left it in the cellar for another couple of years.
Rudolph Chelminski discusses the cooking of eggs in his book The Perfectionist. Bernard Loiseau believed the egg should not touch the heat of the pan. He cooked the egg on a buttered saucer over a pan of boiling water. He even went as far as separating the white from the egg and putting them together after they were cooked.
Could this make a difference to the taste of the egg? Believe me when I say it does. The method is a little time consuming and obviously not for those in a hurry in the mornings.
I lined an espresso cup and saucer with Gladwrap. The eggs were separated with the white on the saucer which went into the pan first. When the egg white started to turn opaque I then added the the yolk in the cup. I placed a paper towel over the top of the saucepan and partially covered the pan with the saucepan lid. A few minutes later the white had set and the yolk had that cooked look. They were then put back together on the plate. I salted the white first as Mme Saint-Ange says to salt the white only so as not to leave spots on the yolk.