Monday, September 5, 2011

Rocky Road: Take 1

So, I have a confession to make. I have a bit of an obsession with Rocky Road at the moment. The thing is, it is not an obsession about making Rocky Road (found a great recipe for that at Christmas thanks to Better Homes and Gardens) but more a distinct desire to make a dessert which is a bit of a play on Rocky Road and therefore, what constitutes the most delicious or perhaps the most well known Rocky Road.

My favourite version of Rocky Road has rosewater Turkish delight, roasted almonds and vanilla marshmallows coated in white chocolate (or dark for that matter) and topped with a crisp layer of roasted almond brittle. It is really, really sweet so just a little is more than enough. It's also not overly traditional. I do like the version that a colleague used to make with Allen's raspberries, macadamias and marshmallows as well. It is certainly not as decadent as the Lindt variety sold at some delicatessans. Then there is Darrell Lea 'Rocklea Road' - despite the toasted coconutty goodness of thisversion, the remainder of that particular product disappoints me.

So what on earth am I wafflling on with this all for? Well I really, really want to know what goes in a traditional Rocky Road... What do you put in your Rocky Road or what is in your favourite type to eat?

So far my thoughts are running to a rich, dutch cocoa chocolate steamed pudding, with rosewater marshmallow, raspberry sorbet and roasted almond brittle and perhaps some vanilla creme anglaise. At the same time though, I could see Nigella Lawson's chocolate raspberry pudding cake with rosewater macaroons, toasted coconut and almond icecream with praline dust working well also. What I can say doesn't work well though is placing marshmallows in a chocolate steamed pudding mix and microwaving it in the special microwave pudding steamer - they swell up, pop and then dissolve and don't do anything much at all! Back to the drawing board - no quick dessert fix there!

So now that I've let you all in on my slight Rocky Road obsession, I shall have to write another post sometime soon with my next take on 'Rocky Road Pudding' and what I can find out about the traditional recipe.

I would love to hear what you put into your Rocky Road!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hot potato, hot potato!

The painters have been here this week and this has meant that I have had to get up extra early on my holidays. I've tried to use this to my advantage, scheduling in some quality cooking time.

As the painters departed yesterday morning, I started on my third Hash Brown trial. Three trials- I don't think it has ever taken me this long to find a recipe that was just right and could be created and consumed by a group of inexperienced early adolescents in a time limit of 60mins - oh and would be palettable to their at times, inexperienced taste buds.

The first trial was actually for a recipe titled 'Hash Browns' and involved chopping cooked and peeled potatoes finely and mixing these with parsley and finely chopped onions. You then had to put these into egg rings to cook in a heated non-stick frying pan. What was the result - a crumbled mess with some brown bits and plenty of raw onion. As much as I love the triple tested cookbooks of a certain famous Australian magazine - this recipe was disasterous.

There is no photo - no one should ever have to see a kitchen disaster!

The second trial was for a recipe called 'Potato Cakes' from the same cookbook as the 'Hash Browns'. Now, considering the disasterous result of the first recipe trial, I commenced this one with trepidation. I shouldn't have been worried. The combination of crispy fried bacon and finely chopped shallots mixed with creamy mashed potato and sour cream was excellent. Even rolling the cakes in flour wasn't too bad. The batch fried in the pan had a beautiful crisp exterior and a creamy soft interior and were delicious - although I wonder if using crumbs next time would be even nicer.  The batch I sprayed with oil and oven baked on baking paper were not so nice though - they ended up with a chewy rather than crispy crust. So why after a great result in the pan, would I not use this recipe for my students - time! Even with the modern technology of the microwave, getting this recipe prepared, cooked and consumed as part of a group breakfast excercise would be near impossible for them.

The photo - well I enjoyed them so much I forgot to take one!

So, trial number three. How did this one come about? Well, I was flipping through my potato cookbook (yes, I love potatoes enough to have a whole, dedicated potato cookbook) looking the Rosti recipe (which was to be the third trial) and stumbled across one titled potato pancakes and I thought - why not! It's similar to the Rosti  recipe, but it includes some additional ingredients which will introduce some more flavours. So, I set to work - grating potato and onion in the food processer is really easy (and I think the boys will find this fun). Then all that was required was to put the potato and onion onto some chux cloth and squeeze it out (great workout for the forearms there). This then went into the bowl and I added a little flour, a generous spoonful of sour cream, a lightly beaten egg and mixed it all together with a wooden spoon and the mix was done. The original recipe required the egg to be seperated and the white beaten to stiff peaks before folding into the potato mixture, but for my charges, that wasn't going to happen quickly, so I opted to change this to the basic method mentioned above. Then all that was required was to drop generous spoonfuls of the mixture into a heated frypan with enough hot vegetable oil and butter to cover the base. What was the result you ask? Beautiful, golden, 'hash browns' that were soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. Any problems - yes! They were so delicious that I forgot to take a photo, therefore I will have to *force* myself  to make another batch to capture a photo to include in this blog post.

I have put the recipe below, just in case you want to give it a go. I used Dutch Cream potatoes, but I think it would work with good old Sebago's too.

Hash Browns
450g potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 onion finely chopped / grated
1 tbs chives, chopped (optional)
2 tbs sour cream
1 tbs plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten (you may need another if the mixture is not binding together well after mixing)
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil and butter for frying
  1. Grate potato and onion using a food processor (if you have one), otherwise grate the potato using a grater and finely chop the onion.
  2. Place grated ingredients onto a large clean piece of chux, gather up the ends and squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible.
  3. Remove grated ingredients from chux and place in a mixing bowl with chives, sour cream, plain flour and lightly beaten egg, salt and pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
  4. Heat enough oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan to cover the base.
  5. Drop large tablespoonfuls of mixture into the pan and press down with an egg lifter.
  6. Cook for 1 1/2 - 2mins on each side or until golden.
Makes about 10

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Am having lots of issues trying to comment on peoples blogs at the moment - my OpenID credentials are apparently not verified! Not sure what the deal is with this. SO frustrating.

On another note - I have not managed more than one post on my blog and am hoping to rectify my lack of presence as soon as I can. Looks like I might have to do some more sewing!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A stop at the shops...

The first term of school has well and truly started and I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful group of ten gorgeous girls who love to sew, yet again this year. So instead of the usual Year 10 task of sewing a skirt using a commercial pattern I gave the girls the option to make Amy Butler and Melly and Me bags (with zippers). I wasn't sure what their response to this would be, despite how much I love the work of both of these design houses, perhaps the skirts would really be what they wanted to make. However the response was so overwhelmingly positive for the bags, that even though we really don't get to start on the practical part of this project for another five weeks, the girls wanted to go shopping this weekend! In fact, I even saw one of the girls in at the shop when I visited today, despite me telling them to wait a little bit so I could provide them with some more advice in due course.

So, what do you do when you have a class full of girls so excited about sewing their choice of five different bag patterns, that they almost can't sit still? You warn the local sewing shop and then you go and purchase the patterns that you don't own yet and you get the most delicious fabric you can find in a hurry whilst your there, and you get busy planning to sew.

As such, I spent a delightful afternoon at
Sewco, one of my favourite sewing shops, selecting fabric and linings with the assistance of their wonderful staff.

For my version of Melly and Me's
'Sleepover' overnight bag I will be using some of the gorgeous fabrics in the Gypsy Bandanna range (a great excuse to use fabric that I have been eying off since I saw samples online).

Sleepover - Melly and Me!

Gypsy Bandanna with the coordinating green lining.

Gypsy Bandanna fabric.

One of the main feature fabric motifs up close.
The main feature fabric - yummy!

For my collection of Melly and Me's 'Raspberry Ripple' bags I will be making a black and white version with some coloured accents for the original sized bag.

Raspberry Ripple - Melly and Me!

Fabrics for the outside - black and white with a splash of colour.

The fabrics with the coordinating blue lining.

For the medium bag (one of my adaptations at the request of my students) I will be using a selection of black and white patterned fabrics.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3
 For the large size bag (double the original size) I am going to use some of the gorgeous aqua rose, yellow and white polka dot and multi-stripe fabric coordinates that I have seen over at Two Little Fairies Fabrics. The only dilemma is whether to have pink on pink spots or yellow and white spots between the aqua roses! Also, the fabric has to to be ordered still!


 So now, the best thing that I can do is get moving and get sewing!