Lemon granita

We have three little green lemons on our dwarf trees. We bought the fruit trees a few months ago, and although a few of them have been flowering – it’s exciting because these are the very first fruit. It will be few more weeks before we can pick them but we’ve been having lots of rain so hopefully they’ll survive.

Lemon granita is a refreshing cool me down perfect for the hot muggy weather we’ve been having lately. You can adjust the amounts of lemon and sugar to suit, but remember that when it’s frozen the flavour will be dulled a little. I love the idea that Italians eat granita in the morning.

½ cup white sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups of water

  1. Add the sugar to a cup of water and stir to dissolve.
  2. Add the rest of the water and lemon juice and stir.
  3. Transfer the mixture to glass or plastic container and place in the freezer.
  4. After about an hour, take the mixture out of the freeze and stir the ice crystals.
  5. Return to the freeze, and take out every hour to stir and break up the crystals.
  6. The final product will be like a slushy. So if you aren’t serving the same day, you may need to take the mixture out of the freeze and break up the crystals for one final time.
  7. Garnish with mint leaves.

Serves 6.

Tea towel from PataPri.

Australian rocky road

This rocky road has Australian touches with macadamias and dried mango. It is traditionally made with melted chocolate, marshmallows and nuts. It’s easy to adapt rocky road – for my mum’s 60th, I left out the nuts, and used her favourite chocolate bars chopped up – one polly waffle and one turkish delight– and melted cooking chocolate to bind it all together. You could use your favourite chocolate bar, small jubes, glazed cherries or even dried cranberries to add some Christmas spirit.

Only add the mint if it’s fresh – at the moment our herbs are the only thing edible in our garden!

This is an easy version to remember – it’s all m’s – macadamias, marshmallows, mango, and mint. Of course you aren’t going to forget the chocolate are you?

200g dark cooking chocolate
50g dried mango
50g macadamia
50g mini marshmallows
sprig of mint (optional)

  1. Melt the chocolate.
  2. Line a tray with aluminum foil.
  3. Dice the dried mango.
  4. Place the macadamia halves in a plastic bag and break up into smaller pieces with the side of a mallet.
  5. If using, chop the mint finely.
  6. Combine the mango, macadamias, marshmallows and mint.
  7. Mix in the melted chocolate and pour over the tray to set in the fridge.
  8. Leave for about 1 hour or till set and then take out of the fridge and break up into bite size pieces.

I’d love to rename this dish “stormy street” in honour of the stormy weather we’ve been having lately. It’s not really ideal as a summer dish when most of the storms hit Brisbane, so eat it now straight from the fridge, otherwise you’ll put chocolate finger prints everywhere!

Chocolate and chestnut cake (Spanish)

Chocolate, chestnut and sherry cake

Cooked for the Spanish entry of the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.

150g dark cooking chocolate
75g unsalted butter
125ml fino sherry, or a dry sherry
6 medium organic eggs, separated
150g castor sugar
½ cup chestnut puree*
70g macadamias
50g self-raising flour, sifted
55g cocoa powder

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (170°C if you have a fan-forced oven). Grease a 24cm spring-form tin with butter, then line with baking paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add the sherry and gently stir until combined. Leave to cool.
  3. Whisk egg yolks with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture, the chestnut puree and macadamias. Stir until well combined.
  4. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and carefully fold into the chocolate with the sifted flour and cocoa powder.
  5. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer in the centre – if it comes out clean, it’s ready. Cool in the tin before turning out.

Serve with whipped cream.

Serves 12.

TIP – Chestnut puree is sold in a tin and can be found in good delis.

Apfelstrudel – Apple strudel (Austrian)

apfelstrudel

Cooked for the Austrian entry in the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.

6 sheets of of filo pastry
3 apples
50g organic butter, plus some for pastry
50g breadcrumbs
100g sugar
handful of raisins
pinch of cinnamon powder

  1. Peel the apples and and cut them thinly. Fry the breadcrumbs in butter. Spread the filo pastry out, and carefully brush some melted butter between each layer. Cover half the dough with the apple slices, add the breadcrumb mixture, sugar, raisins and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll the strudel up very carefully.
  2. Grease a baking pan, and place the strudel on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20 minutes.

Too easy and absolutely delicious!

Serves 6.

Rhubarb and Custard Trifle

rhubarb-trifle

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.

It’s what a crowd of extras will say when they are trying to create a general hubbub on stage. Why rhubarb you might ask? I’ve no idea, but at least it’s easy to remember, and, as it is in season, a perfect complement to this easy vanilla infused custard trifle. 

Rhubarb and Custard Trifle

Adapted from “The River Cottage Year” by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

400g rhubarb
100ml orange juice
4 tablespoons of sugar + 100g sugar
400ml whole milk
vanilla pod
4 large egg yolks
plain sponge cake

  1. Wash, trim and cut into 3cm lengths about 400g rhubarb. Put in a pan with the orange juice and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 5 minutes or until the stalks are tender but still hold their shape. Taste the rhubarb – it should be tart, as the sponge and trifle will sweeten the trifle. But if it is unpalatably sour, add a little more sugar. Strain off about 200ml of the juice. Transfer the remaining rhubarb to a non-metallic dish. Chill both the juice and rhubarb in the fridge.
  2. Make custard. Put the whole milk in a pan with a split vanilla pod and scald until almost boiling. Beat the egg yolks with 100g sugar and whisk in the hot cream. Return the custard to the pan over a very low heat and stir constantly until it thickens, making a glossy coat on the back of the spoon. Remove the vanilla pod, and scrap off the tiny black specks into the mixture. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve into a bowl and chill. When cold it should be spoonably thick rather than pourable.
  3. Take (or make) a simple plain sponge cake. Break it into chunks and press lightly into 4 large wine glasses or dessert dishes. Pour in enough of the chilled rhubarb juice to soak the sponge thoroughly. Then top with a layer of the stewed rhubarb. Now pile in a generous layer of the chilled, thickened custard. Enjoy.

Serves 4.

VARIATION – You could, of course, cheat and buy store-bought custard, but just this once try making it from scratch and you may never turn back. Use only fresh free-range eggs.