The Langham: Christmas in July pudding making workshop

Pudding making class at the Langham

Disclosure: I attended this event courtesy of The Langham and Media Moguls.

So it’s July, and you know what that means, don’t you? Time to think about Christmas! Okay, perhaps it’s not quite time to plan for Christmas, but it will be right about the corner before you know it. Isn’t that a scary thought?

Last week I headed to the Langham with several other food bloggers and food media for a Christmas in July event. I was particularly excited by the fact that we would be having a Christmas pudding making session.

After a series of canapés and glasses of bubbles (I didn’t take pictures of the canapés, but check out some of the other bloggers linked below for details), we put on aprons and chefs’ hats and headed down to the pastry kitchen. Being a food geek, I was very excited at taking the big elevator down and checking out the commercial kitchen. Oooh. It was so shiny! And clean! And bright! And shiny! Plus you should have seen the massive commercial mixer – ahhh. It was almost as tall as me – which is not saying much, to tell you the truth. I wish I had thought to take a photo of it! (more…)

Lemon delicious puddings

Lemon delicious

Cookbook Challenge: Week 36
Theme: Comfort Food
Recipe: Lemon delicious puddings
From: AWW Bake

The theme for this week’s Cookbook Challenge is “comfort food”. After a rather busy week, this weekend has been incredibly lazy so something comforting and puddingish sounded good to me.

I have rather a lot of lemons (due to Maria giving me 5kgs from her tree) and I’ve been doing my best to cook and bake my way through them. So for this week’s theme, I decided to make lemon delicious in an effort to use up more lemons. If you don’t know what lemon delicious, it’s a classic – a baked pudding that ends up with two layers: a light sponge on top of a tangy sauce. (more…)

Campari House: a toast to Campari House roasts

As part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival June roast dinner series, the Boys and I headed to Campari House with Maria and Daz, where we were treated to five grazing courses accompanied by five wines.

Campari House

When we arrived, all the glasses had been lined up on the table, and we were advised that all the wines would be poured at once. This was so we could taste each one with the different courses and make our own mind up about the wine and food matching. Which was a great idea, with the only problem being that it was a school night… and the wine pours were VERY generous and our glasses were topped up whenever they were nearing empty.

The five wines were:

Blue Pyrenees NV Brut, Blue Pyrenees Savignon Blanc 2009, Sticks Chardonnay 2009, Red Claw Pinot Noir 2008, and Campbells Bobbie Burns Shiraz 2008.

I’m not hugely knowledgeable about wines so I won’t talk about them – except to say that the more I drank, the more I enjoyed them. Isn’t that always the way? Hah. (more…)

Andalusian spiced oxtail casserole & Catalan lemon tart

Spanish lunch

Hola! Welcome, welcome! Come in, take a seat, and get comfy. I would feed you all if I could, but unfortunately because technology hasn’t quite progressed to that point, you’ll just have to read all about the following lunch, and wish you had been there!

The theme for Week 35’s Cookbook Challenge is Spanish, and last Sunday a few bloggers came over for a Spanish themed potluck lunch. At first I really struggled with the Spanish theme and wasn’t sure what to make. I don’t own any Spanish cookbooks, and couldn’t find anything in any of my other cookbooks that wasn’t paella. I didn’t want to make paella, and interesting no one else made it either – we really needed Kat to come and cook it for us!

After a whinge on twitter, I received some good suggestions from @gastromaniac, which helped me decide on one dish – salted wrinkled potatoes with mojo verde. The following day, I went to the library and while I couldn’t find any Spanish cookbooks, I borrowed Saffron and Sunshine which contained assorted recipes from around the Mediterranean. When I flicked through it, I realised it was a goldmine and I came away with four additional recipes I wanted to make. So um, that would be five recipes altogether. Uh oh. I did consider culling my number of recipes but I really wanted to make them all.

So I did! (more…)

The Langham: Chocolate High Tea at the Aria Bar

Disclosure: I attended the Chocolate High Tea courtesy of The Langham and Nuffnang.

Last month I was invited to a food and fashion bloggers’ chocolate morning tea at the Langham, organised by Nuffnang. I don’t normally stuff myself with cakes and chocolates for breakfast – but you know what they say about not turning down an opportunity.

Chocolate High Tea at the Langham

When I arrived, I walked past this table and thought, “Ooooooh is that for us?” And what do you know – it was! We were introduced to the German pastry chef, Chef Markus Bohm, who talked us through the various treats on offer. All of the items used a different type of single origin chocolate (apart from the Lindt and Callebaut) with the cocoas from places like Yucatan, Costa Rica and Madagascar. We’ll take a closer look in a moment.


Cookbook Challenge: Week 34, Soup

Recipe: Spicy tomato soup with chorizo
From: Soups

This week’s Cookbook Challenge theme is “soup”. Last winter I made a lot of soup – pretty much every Sunday for a couple of months – see the Soup Sunday posts. This winter, I’ve barely cooked any soup, most likely because I’m busy cooking up the various themes for the Cookbook Challenge. So I’m glad that soup is one of the themes – it’s like revisiting an old friend!

Spicy tomato soup with chorizo

Yesterday (when I made this soup), I spent a lot of time cooking for next week’s theme – Spanish. Rather a lot, actually – you’ll see what I mean next week! I didn’t have much time left over to do a complicated soup, so I pulled out the Soups cookbook and flicked through it. I decided on this soup because I had left over chorizo (from my Spanish dishes) and because it looked pretty straight forward.

Well, I say it was straight forward, but the recipe has a weird way of cooking the chorizo – they are simmered in water until all the water evaporates and then they are fried in the fat that is left over. Honestly, if I was to do it again, I would just fry the chorizo in a pan and then throw it into a pot with the rest of the ingredients. Seriously, why go to all that kerfuffle? It’s soup! And a rather good soup too, if you like tomato based soups, and you like it spicy. Plus if you need some warming up, it’ll certainly help as it has a decent heat to it.

Stay tuned for a mammoth Cookbook Challenge post for the Spanish theme next week. We ate… boy did we eat! And see previous Cookbook Challenge posts here.

Spicy tomato soup with chorizo

Spicy tomato soup with chorizo

From Soups

500g chorizo sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, halved and sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1-2 small red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
1.5 litres chicken stock
800g tinned chopped tomatoes

Fill a large frying pan with about 3cm of cold water. Add the chorizo sausages and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and let the water reduce, turning the sausages occasionally, until all the water evaporates. Allow the sausages to cook in any fat left in the pan for several minutes, or until they are lightly browned. Allow to cool and cut into bite sized pieces.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are soft. Stir in the cumin and paprika, chilli, chicken stock, and tomato. Bring to the boil and add the chorizo. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Check the seasoning – adding salt and pepper to taste – and serve.

Cookbook Challenge: Week 33, Seafood

Sardine tagra

Recipe: Sardine Tagra
From: Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes

Occasionally I’ve made things for this blog that seemed like a good idea at the time. And then afterwards, I’ve thought, “What on EARTH was I thinking??” See recent examples: hand pulled noodles, xiao long bao, ladybird cupcakes, to name just a few. I suspect this recipe will join those entries. Why? Well, tell me – have you ever butterflied sardines before?