Thursday, November 27, 2008

Beef Burger

Time crept up on me today and left me in a hurry to make something for dinner before everyone went home.

Once again I am making another burger recipe as I want to try each one before the start of summer. It also worked well as it took next to no time to make, and was wolfed down in less than half that time.
olive oil, for brushing
4 burger buns
250g eye fillet
1tbs cracked black pepper
4 dill pickles, sliced
garlic aioli
4 slices prosciutto
200g cheddar cheese slices
Preheat oven to 180C. Heat nonstick pan over high heat. Brush meat with oil and season with pepper. Cook for 1min each side, transfer to baking tray and bake for 15mins for medium rare.
Brush buns with oil, top bottom halves with cheese slices and grill for 2mins until golden.
Place prosciutto on tray and grill for 1minute until crispy.
Thinly slice the beef. Spread buns with aioli and top with beef, prosciutto and pickles. Serves 4.

ease: 5/5.
Easiest burger I have made so far.
prep time: 3mins to sear meat and prep everything else.
cooking time:20mins. 15mins to cook meat in the oven and 5mins to do buns and prosciutto.
total: 23mins. Pretty quick - only around 10mins hands on cooking.

taste: 4/5. All 3 boys loved this - just meat and cheese, who knew they'd love it. I served it with some rocket in a raspberry balsamic reduction. I did not include the pickle as the boys hate pickles in their burgers.

would I make it again: Yes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tandoori lab with rice salad

Blimey - within two minutes of being outside I had sweat coming out of every pore; I know I have been complaining about the wintry weather but at least give me an 'in-between day' instead of jumping from A straight to Z.

I was a little frustrated too as I would have put the hot weather to good use (drying laundry on the line) it also made me rethink dinner plans. I don't like to be at the stove on hot days so I wanted something I could leave or/and that cooks in minutes.

ease: 4.5/5.
prep time:
30mins. You need to marinate the lamb for 30mins - in that time I chopped up all the ingredients for the rice and put the rice on the stove as it needs more time than the meat to cook.
cooking time:
10mins to cook lamb chops.
total: 40mins.
About 10mins at the stove.

4/5. Boys loved the lamb, didn't like the rice that much (it also came out a little gluggy :( my fault).

would I make it again:
Yes for the lamb.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Snickers Macarons

Ah, at last, a ray of sunshine to burn through the gray denseness and chilling winds. There is simply nothing that can raise your spirits and inject energy into your body like dazzling sunshine; pure love I say.

Whilst my morning involved Chai and biscuits during a catch up with my Mama, my early afternoon was spent curled up on the couch, hood over my head and sleeves pulled down past my fingers, watching Masterchef, followed by Celebrity Masterchef. And then it happened, it was as if the room had been lit by a million fairy lights. Glorious sunshine streamed through my window; so off came the hooded sweatshirt, and on came my pale pink apron.

I opened my fridge and found 3 eggwhites left over from a previous recipe. Perfecto! What a great excuse to try my hand at some more macarons. Immediately I searched Tartlette's website for a macaron recipe and decided on the devilishly delicious Snickers macarons.

Although I had all the ingredients on hand, I still have not bought a proper piping kit - so once again I will have to try my best to make even circles by hand - here's hoping.

ease: 1.5/5. Once again these are not easy, and this recipe has a lot of extra cooking for the filling. There is also a lot of washing involved.
prep time: 1hour 20mins. It takes around 20mins to make and pipe the macarons onto the baking paper. Whilst they are hardening for an 1 hour you make the chocolate ganache, salted caramel sauce and peanut butter marshmallow fudge.
cooking time: 24mins - I cooked three trays for 8mins each.
total: 1hour 44mins.

taste: 3/5. I like the caramel sauce and nougat but I had problems with everything- my chocolate seemed to seize up so maybe the cream was too hot. My caramel sauce turned gluggy upon cooling and was not very sauce-like. I also found I had to reheat the nougat as it became much too sticky to even use, like viral chewing gum. My macarons on the otherhand, came out gorgeously! Yes, they have tiny frilly feet, and I forgot to push down the little bumps on top before letting them dry, but apart from that I am fairly happy. Will make them a little bigger next time (hopefully with my piping bag).

would I make it again: No. Not this recipe as the filling was too time consuming, but will definitely make some macarons again if I have left over eggwhites.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Apple Pancakes

If someone told me it was Winter I would believe them. Rain, hail and icy winds keep me indoors; what better way to make use of time than to make some yummy pancakes.

ease: 5/5.
prep time:
8mins - grating the apple takes the longest.
cooking time:
6mins to cook 6 small pancakes.
total: 14mins.

4/5. I only added 1 granny smith so I couldn't really taste the apple, but the boys liked it -will remember to add 2 apples next time.

would I make it again:


Friday, November 21, 2008

Mango Banana Lassi

After receiving a bearating over the price I paid for a mango, my partner came shopping with me and chose a cheaper alternative which he thought would taste the same as the more expensive ones; well, he was wrong. The mango was quite firm and bland - despite being in the fruitbowl for almost 1 week. As it only had a mere hint of sweetness and lacked that refreshing juicyness of a good mango, I thought the best way to use it would be to blend it.

I accidentally bought a tub of Greek yoghurt (already had one in the back of the fridge) so I thought I'd play around and make a smoothie/lassi.

1 mango, diced
1 banana, roughly chopped
1 small kiwifruit
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1tbs honey
1 tray of ice cubes

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Both of the boys liked this, although next time I would use passionfruit rather than kiwi. It wasn't very sweet, but it also wasn't super tart either. Makes 4 250ml glasses (our glasses are quite large and hold over 500ml).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chicken chorizo burger

Tonight I needed a quick dinner as my partner and I had tickets for Quantum of Solace (didn't like it as much as Casino Royale). As I have a slew of burger recipes, I thought I'd try another.

ease: 4/5. You have to do a few batches of cooking.
prep time: 15mins to prep everything.
cooking time: 10mins to cook chicken and chorizo.
total: 25mins.

taste: 3/5. Not bad, boys hated the chicken and chorizo combo, said it confused them.

would I make it again: No.

Squashed ginger biscuits

Spare time: very rare, extremely difficult to find. I luckily happened to stumble upon a small piece today and used it to bake cookies of course.

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 8mins to make batter and place on tray.
cooking time: 8mins - watch carefully as mine were even a little overdone.
total: 16mins.

taste: 3.5/5. The flavour was nice, but they were a little dry.

would I make it again: No. The texture didn't appeal to me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tomato Basil Cream Pasta

After trying the vegan muffins, which were fantastic, I thought I would give this recipe a try.

4/5. You make your own sauce.
prep time: 10mins to make sauce.
cooking time:
5mins - I use angel hair pasta which cooks in 3mins.
total: 15mins.

3/5. I doubled this recipe, so I used two cans of chopped tomatoes. I made the HUGE mistake of forgetting to add salt or even some red wine to the sauce, so to say it came out bland is an understatement. I also didn't have enough fresh basil to double the recipe so I substituted 2tsp dry basil. This may have tasted nicer if I had actually seasoned it.

would I make it again:
No. Would just use a jar of sauce to make tomato pasta.

Oregano Lamb with Greek Salad

Ryan and I tried a new style of shopping on Sunday. We decided we wanted to have the shopping done in 20mins max. To do this we split up the shopping list - I gave him all the fruit, veg, bread and meats (all in the same aisle) whilst I would get everything else (I'm faster as I do the food shop and know where everything is). Not surprisingly I finished first, but we were all done in under 20mins. In fact, we were home in that time.

This new method of ours seemed great, until I went to cook the lamb for dinner and realised that instead of Lamb Loin Chops, my dyslexic and lazy reader-of-a-fiance, bought Pork loin chops. As I did not think oregano or a Greek salad would go well with pork, I had to make a mad dash to the supermarket before everyone came for dinner. Luckily the dinner itself is super fast to make.

4 lamb loin chops (I used 8 lamb cutlets)
1/2 cup fresh oregano
1tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
Greek salad (tomatoes, feta, cucumber, olives and red onion)

Mix lemon, oregano, olive oil and garlic in a bowl. Add lamb chops and toss to coat. Cook lamb chops in pan until cooked to your liking (6mins for medium). Serve with a Greek Salad.

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 15mins to make marinade and to make Greek salad.
cooking time: 6mins for lamb cutlets.
total: 15mins. Make salad while lamb is cooking.

taste: 3.5/5. The boys thought the lamb was fine, Ryan didn't like the Greek salad much. I used 1/4 cup fresh oregano and 2tbs dried oregano.

would I make it again: No - they like other lamb seasonings better.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Walnut Crumb Banana Muffins

It's been a while since I last posted and for good reason; I have actually been quite busy.

It was my birthday on the 11th, and along with a slew of gorgeous gifts was a delicious box of xocaltyl chocolates - how divine do they look. My favourite was the violet followed closely by the rose (I love flower chocolates). The day was made even better by the discovery of a lone red flower in my garden; a christmas joy (I have no idea what the name of the flower is but that's what I am calling it.)During the week we were also lucky enough to be invited by Stefano Canturi to preview his collection made for the epic Baz Lurhman film, Australia. There were some seriously gorgeous pieces, a few were snapped up by some of the guests; lucky women.

On Sunday we went to lunch at Bistro Guillaume at Crown Casino with family - during the rest of the day I managed to squeeze in some time to make a batch of Vegan muffins.
\Doggie was eyeing them off all day.

ease: 4/5.
prep time: 18mins to make batter and coat walnuts.
cooking time:

taste: 4.5/5. The walnut topping was crunchy, sweet and salty - really lovely, but I used half magerine and half butter. I also had to add 3tbs of milk to the batter as it was dry and dough-like. So my muffins weren't true vegan.

would I make it again:


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chicken fajitas

Boy was it suffocating out today; I had to clothe the house in darkness to keep the sunshine from making it unbearably hot.

As I could do nothing more than lounge with a magazine to keep from building up a sweat, I almost decided to order a pizza as I did not think I could stand being in a hot kitchen. But then I reconsidered, as I needed to cook the chicken breasts that were nearing non-edibility, so I chose something with minimal stove time.

ease: 4/5.
prep time:
15mins to make salsa and marinate chicken.
cooking time:
8mins to cook chicken and toast burrito wraps
total: 23mins.

3.5/5. Not bad, they felt like they were missing something, which was most probably shredded tasty cheese. It could also have been because I did not add avocado or onion (because the avocado was black inside and my onion was a little mouldy - damn hot weather). I also didn't particularly feel that the smoked paprika was appropriate.

would I make it again: No, I've made tastier chicken fajitas than this.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Red capsicum, chickpea & parsley salad

To celebrate summer-ly weather I wanted something light and fresh to go with my BBQ'd lamb; raw red capsicum is one of my favourite vegetables to eat in warm weather.

ease: 5/5.
prep time:
5mins to chop ingredients.
cooking time:
1min to make dressing.

taste: 4/5. No one liked the sesame oil and felt it overpowered the other ingredients. I used two red capsicums and 400g tin of chickpeas. I also threw a handful of flaked almonds in.

would I make it again: Yes - I will however substitute olive oil for the sesame oil.


bbq lamb cutlets with cumin and smoked paprika salt

It's days like these I wish I had a BBQ...must put one on my Xmas list :).

ease: 5/5.
prep time:
3mins to make salt mix and melt butter.
cooking time:
6mins to cook lamb.
total: 9mins.

taste: 4.5/5. Ryan really loved this. Dad finally told me it had taste (he finds my lamb a little bland sometimes). I cooked 12 cutlets but kept the salt mix the same - next time I would use a little less as my brother found them a little over spiced.

would I make it again:
Yes. Dinner ready in 9mins, can't get any better than that.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Jam Crumb Cake

Summer really is just around the corner; 4 days of hot temperatures with plenty of sunshine, just what my transparent skin needs.

Tonight my partner and I are lucky enough to have dinner cooked for us by my dad. For the boys he is making Five Spice Duck with Hoisin sauce. For me he has some Pumpkin Soup OR Mushroom Thyme Soup (I made this soup a while ago, simply divine). As he was making dinner I thought I'd whip up something quick to bring for dessert. After I put it in the oven I called to let him know, after which he informed me that he had actually made a Tiramisu for dessert. 'No problem', I proclaimed, 'we'll just have to have a slice of both!' I think I'll have to wear my elasticated pants tonight...

ease: 4/5.
prep time: 15mins to make batter and crumb topping.
cooking time: 25mins
total: 45mins.

taste: 2/5. Extremely bland. Definitely needed more jam as you can barely taste it. Quite dry as well.

would I make it again: No.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pork & Pineapple Burger

Summery weather calls for summer fruits and easy to eat food - burgers seemed to fit the bill.

2 granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 cup whole egg mayonnaise
1 1/2tbs white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
300g pork fillet, trimmed and halved
olive oil, for brushing
150g pineapple, peeled and thinly sliced
4 burger buns, halved
BBQ sauce and rocket leaves, to serve

Preheat oven to 200C. Combined the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss apples through mayonnaise. Set aside.
Brush pork with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Fry Pork for 2mins each side and then place on baking tray and roast for 10mins or until cooked through. Cover and set aside. Brush pineapple slices with oil and fry until browned. Brush the buns with oil and fry until browned. Slice the pork. Spread the bun halves with BBQ sauce and top with pineapple, pork, apple mixture and rocket leaves. Serves 4.

ease: 3.5/5. You need to grill a few things and also have to roast the pork as well.
prep time: 15mins to brown pork and get other ingredients cooked and ready.
cooking time: 12mins to cook pork in oven.
total: 27mins.

taste: 4.5/5. Boys liked it - dad said it would have been nicer if the pork had more seasoning.

would I make it again: Yes. It's a little fiddly but everyone liked it.

Mango & Strawberry Chiller

Absolutely gorgeous weather today; although I did spend most of my morning starting the Christmas shopping, after two hours I have a total of two presents bought - excellent use of time.

My tummy was a little sore today after polishing up two glasses last night and one today, so I thought a good dose of fruit was in order.

250ml apricot nectar
1 mango
6 strawberries
6 ice cubes

Blend all 4 ingredients together.

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 4mins to cut up mangoes and wash strawberries
cooking time: 2mins to blend ingredients
total: 6mins.

taste: 4/5. Really fresh, sweet and tangy. The strawberries add a tang that helps to cut through the sweetness of the nectar and mangoes.

would I make it again: No - mangoes tend to be pricey so I prefer to eat them, not drink them.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Creme Au Nutella

Image is Helen's from Tartlette - I forgot to take photos of mine before we polished them all off.

Ah Nutella, my Achilles heel.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, Nutella was my best friend. I would spend at least one hour a day with Nutella and my teaspoon whilst I watched a movie, most often Chocolat (one of my favourites). At first we took the relationship slow, and as time went on I introduced a tablespoon, and then a wooden spoon, and the a whole measuring cup. It was not long before I was eating half of the largest tub of Nutella I could get each day.

Combined with my love of other sugary foods, and my aversion to exercise, I soon packed on the kilos and it wasn't long before my parents, between arguments, actually noticed I had gone up two sizes in two months; no small feat by any means. After that, Nutella was told to never come back to our house. It was hard at first, but slowly, I got used to its absence.

Years went by; I grew up, moved out of my parents house, and made a home with my fiance and our dog. In the beginning, at my fiance's request, I bought Nutella, but it wasn't long until the tablespoons were coming out, so I stopped buying it. And as with me the first time, although initially distraught, my fiance soon forgot about it.

It has been over two years since I last bought Nutella, for the simple reason I could not trust myself around it. And then I stumbled upon this recipe; but as I am now engaged and getting married in 3 months, my relationship with Nutella will be that of friendship, occasional visits, but no sleepovers.

ease: 4/5. There is whipping and stove top work involved.
prep time:
14mins. 10mins to melt chocolate into cream whilst beating the eggs and sugar. And then 5mins to thicken on the stove.
cooking time:
2hours to refrigerate and whip cream.
2hours 14mins - only about 17mins hands on time though.

4.5/5. These are SUPER rich. Small servings are best as they are so chocolatey that water is definitely needed every couple of spoonfuls. It is velvety smooth with a deep chocolate taste. I also put a spoonful of Nutella down the bottom like Helen from Tartlette did.
would I make it again:
Yes. Nicer than other mousse recipes I have tried.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tomato, feta & basil quiche

The trees are shaking their leaves angrily whilst the rain drums down onto the concrete. Weather like this makes me want to also makes me hungrier.

I was going to make a classic salad of feta, cherry tomatoes and basil, but it felt too summery for today's weather, I needed something warm and cheesy. So I turned my salad into a quiche. As I was not planning on making this today I made a few errors, like forgetting to put the cheese on the bottom, so I put it on the top. I also did not bother to bake for as long as directed - I halved each baking time and used 4 single tart pans.

Before this home I never really had a garden with flowers. So far through two seasons there has been an abundance of flowers and I have taken an abundance of pictures. I don't know the names of most them (due to my genetic lack of a green thumb). Once I get a better camera I will probably take some better pictures, but for now they will have to suffice.

3.5/5. You have to bake twice.
prep time:
30mins to blind bake and make filling.
cooking time:
20mins. My four little tarts were cooked in this time.
total: 50mins.

3.5/5. Not bad, the fresh ingredients on the top make the dish. I also sprinkled some balsamic on it as it was a little dry.

would I make it again: No.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken, Haloumi and Preserved Lemon Skewers

Busy, busy, busy...but I did take some time out to make sure I had an early dinner outside on the deck in the radiant sunshine.

ease: 4.5/5.
prep time:
40mins - 10mins to make marinade and 30mins to leave chicken in fridge.
cooking time: 10mins. I did not use skewers and just cooked everything in a non stick fry pan.

taste: 3.5/5. I didn't have any preserved lemons so I just used 1 tbs lemon rind instead. I also used 3 chicken breasts and 2tbs of tube oregano. I used 360g of haloumi instead of 450g. We all wrapped the chicken in the pita and ate it like a souvlaki.

would I make it again:
Yes. It was tasty and easy and liked by everyone.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chicken souvlaki with spiced pita bread

On a whim (and because Ryan wanted McDonalds) we strolled into our local TAB and placed some bets. Two bets on the long shots, one on a favourite, and two on horses who's names we liked. My favourite name was C'est La Guerre - which luckily for me placed 3rd, winning us our initial investment plus more. Exciting stuff.

ease: 4/5.
prep time:
10mins to make marinade and brush pita with oil.
cooking time:
15mins. I cooked chicken in a non stick pan.

3/5. I made the novice mistake of not reading the recipe before hand. For some strange reason I did not have any baby spinach (something I always have) and I did not have garlic dip, which was very needed as the chicken became dry upon cooking.

would I make it again:


Strawberries with vanilla bean creme fraiche

It's Melbourne Cup Day!

The sun has even managed to make an appearance, although we opted to stay home and play with our dog - water fights and all. I took some time to snap some of our lovely roses, with tiny crystal dew drops.
Playing around in the garden made us a little peckish so I tried to find some ingredients left over from other recipes and struck gold with half a tub of creme fraiche.

ease: 5/5. prep time: 3mins to wash and slice strawberries.
cooking time:
2mins to mix up creme fraiche whilst strawberries macerate.
5mins - perfect for a midday snack.

3.5/5. I'm not sure what it is, but I much prefer strawberries on their own. I used 180g creme fraiche, 1 tsp vanilla bean paste and 2tbs icing sugar - I did not add Frangelico. I also used just 1 punnet of strawberries. The creme fraiche was lovely, but I feel it overpowers the strawberries.

would I make it again:


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gorgonzola & caramelised onion penne

Light showers and thunderstorms whilst curling up on the couch with my fiance and the Sex & The City movie. Before we knew it the sun was tucked into bed and it was past our normal dinner time.

With my stomach growling I wanted to knock something up in a jiff; I had some left over blue cheese which I wanted to use, so I found a pasta dish.

ease: 5/5. Make sure you don't burn the onions.
prep time:
20mins. I sliced two onions which took 20mins to caramelise, in that time I cooked the pasta and made the cheese sauce.
cooking time:
2mins to toss sauce through pasta.

3.5/5. Without the onions it is a little bland. I even added another 1/4cup of mersey valley cheese, and it still wasn't very cheesy.

would I make it again: No.
Not tasty enough.


Porridge with banana-pecan topping

Sunday morning, how soon you have come :(. I feel as though my Saturday was fleeting and my Sunday has abruptly announced itself.

Sleeping until 10:27am I put on one of my nicer bras and strolled barefoot into the kitchen to stir up some breakfast.

ease: 5/5. Hardest part is boiling the porridge.
prep time: 2mins to get oats on and prep other ingredients.
cooking time:
5mins. I didn't leave the porrdige to sit as it was already thick.
total: 7mins.

taste: 4/5. I didn't toast the pecans so they were a little soft and sweet, would toast them next time. The texture contrasts are lovely, although it does get a little sweet and some water is necessary to continue eating.

would I make it again:
Yes. It was a nice change to my usual porridge topping.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Strawberry frangipane tartlets

Ah, cup day weekend. When Melbourne gives it citizen's a holiday to gamble at the races. Or in my case, to stay home and cook to my heart's content.

To start off the weekend, Ryan & I invited his parents down for an early al fresco dinner. I didn't want to spend much time cooking so I tried to find easy, simple dishes that could either be prepped ahead of time or cooked in minutes. As I wanted to serve 3 courses, I whipped out my trusty, often turned-to friend, Donna Hay's Instant Entertaining.

I normally don't cook many things twice and tend to cook recipes I haven't road tested when entertaining, this time around however I decided on two recipes that I have cooked before which were successful, and one I had not.

For starters I made a Parmesan Wafer Salad:
150g goats cheese
80g rocket
2 red apples, thinly sliced
1 cup parmesan, grated
1 1/2tbs balsamic
1tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C.
Place 8 x 1 1/2tbs of shredded Parmesan in circles on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10mins or until crispy. Whisk balsamic, oil and salt and pepper together. Slice apples and toss in balsamic with rocket. Place rocket on plate and layer apples with goats cheese. Place Parmesan wafer on top. Serves 4.

ease: 5/5. Just make sure you don't burn the Parmesan wafers.
prep time: 7mins to prep everything except parmesan.
cooking time:
10mins to make parmesan disks.
total: 10mins - you can prep everything while parmesan melts.

4/5. Great starter with classic flavour combinations. Clean and light.

would I make it again: Yes, this is the third time I have made this.

For main - Aioli, rocket & steak sandwich:
8 x 100g sirloin of fillet steak (I used 4 eye fillets)
80g rocket
4 slices ciabatta or thick wood fired bread, toasted
salt and pepper
olive oil, for frying
lemon aioli (I used Neil Perry's aioli to cut down on time)
3/4 whole egg mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2tbs lemon juice

To make lemon aioli, combine mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice.
Season steak with salt and pepper. Fry steak in oil until cooked to your liking. To serve place bread on plates and top with steaks, lemon aioli and rocket. Serves 4.

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 3mins to toast bread and get ingredients ready.
cooking time:
5mins for steak for medium plus some resting time.
total: 8mins. Put steak on first and get everything ready while it cooks.

taste: 5/5. I used bio dynamic eye fillet - the steak really makes this dish. I cook mine to medium so it's tender. would I make it again: Yes. Made this one twice.

For dessert: Strawberry Frangipane Tart:
ease: 2/5. Takes hours to chill.
prep time:
6.5hours. I only chilled my dough for a total of 1.5hours, so my prep time was 2hours.
cooking time:
6.5hours. If you chill the dough as long as I did it will only take 2hours & 15mins.

taste: 3.5/5. The strawberries make this tart, without them it would be dry and boring.

would I make it again: No. Too much time for such a mediocre tart. Thank God for the tasty strawberries.


Cracked Pepper, Mint And Strawberry Macaron

Itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider out....

Even with the numerous sprinkles of rain, the 25 cobwebs along the railings on our patio are still there, very much intact. I wonder if they are all the work of one ambitious spider trying to be a property developer, or whether we have a village complex outside full of spiders of all shapes and sizes? Spiders are definitely the insect of this property. I have noticed during all of my house there would be a majority of one insect over others at each house. So far I do prefer spiders to ants or cockroaches or silverfish...just not when they go creeping into our bedroom or clothes.

Today my partner and I spent some time looking up the true origins of nursery rhymes, Three Blind Mice was one of the most interesting, as was Ring a Rosie, which I already knew the origin of. After we satiated our curiosity I went to check on my ripening strawberries; I have never grown strawberries before and had heard they are difficult to grow. Seeing my little ruby jewels grow plumper makes me all the more happy.

So in honor of my soon-to-be-plucked strawberries, I scrolled through one of my favourite blogs, Tartlette, and found a recipe that would use up my few store bought small strawberries. I have never made macarons before, so I am not expecting them to turn out well. It doesn't help that I noticed, after making a batch, that I do not have one piping tip that is just an open hole, if I get one circular shape I shall be happy :). Special thanks go out to my gorgeous fiance Ryan, who helped to shape the macarons on the baking paper.

ease: 1.5/5. So many ways to screw up and have not-so-perfect macarons.
prep time: 1 hour 10mins. 10mins to make mixture, then you have to let it sit for 1hour.
cooking time: 10mins per tray. I had three trays worth so it took 30mins to make 30sides.
total: 1hour 20mins. Additional 10mins per tray. I set up everything I needed to make the filling while they were resting, then made it while they were cooking.

taste: 3/5. My macarons were not a great success, as I was expecting. Maybe if I had a piping bag they would have come out a little neater. There were some decent frilly feet and they weren't grainy as I sifted my almond meal and sugar twice. I was dissappointed in the filling though as mine turned out quite runny. I forgot to add the pepper and mint to the shell so I added it to the filling instead. Didn't really like the taste combo that much, but hard to tell becuase it didn't turn out perfectly.

would I make it again: Yes/No. I will definitely try macarons again once I get a proper tip, but I will try a different flavour next time.