How to cook Canadian buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup

buttermilk-pancakes

I’m up to my third recipe for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge and this time I’m cooking Canadian buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup.

For some background research I found a couple of videos on youtube of making pancakes. The most humorous one is probably How to make British Pancakes (slightly different recipe) by danisnotonfire. I’m not sure Delia would approve!

There is an original video of retro style Pancake Batter from Delia Smith’s Cookery Course,  BBC. Delia uses electric beaters.

I decided not to use lard, so instead I used butter and I regretted that decision, because I burnt it badly. So then I switched to olive oil and that worked just fine. I mixed together in a large bowl plain flour, baking powder, buttermilk, cold water and three eggs.

I wasn’t game enough to toss my pancakes, as previously mentioned I’ve recently cleaned the kitchen top to bottom. And cleaning pancakes off the floor isn’t my idea of fun. It pays to do the washing up before you start cooking because both the flip and tablespoon were dirty. How annoying.

Instead of tablespoons of mixture I used 2 dessertspoons, so I ended up with about 12 pancakes. Actually they were more the size of pikelets – never mind it didn’t matter. The middle batch turned out the best – with nice round edges and good colour.

The pancakes were yummy with real Maple syrup, but not so filling. I was hungry a couple of hours later.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook - Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chilli

delia-spaghetti-olive-oil

The second recipe I cooked for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge was Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chilli. Now if you look closely at the photo you may think that’s a lot of chilli, but actually since I’m allergic (well, intolerant) to chilli I used capsicum instead.

I’ve cooked pasta plenty of times before but I read Delia’s instructions and followed them as closely as I could. One thing I have stopped doing is salting the water, as we doesn’t like much salt in our diet. But in this instance I did and didn’t really notice any difference. I made enough pasta for one for lunch today. I got garlic all over my fingers, but I don’t mind the smell.

I was tempted to test the pasta by seeing if it would stick to the wall when it was al dente, but I’ve recently cleaned the tiles above the stove top so I gave it a miss. I don’t want to clean them again so soon! Anyhow, Delia says the “only real way to tell is to taste it.”

So that I only had one pan to clean up I slightly deviated from Delia’s instructions. I cooked the pasta first and then made the sauce in the same saucepan, while the pasta drained in the sink.

I love Delia’s instructions on how to eat spaghetti and other long pasta. I pretty much do what she suggests, but the olive oil dripped down my chin! Sometimes I like to use a fork to twirl the pasta around on the bottom of a spoon. I think it’s authentic, but perhaps that’s a myth.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook - Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook goats’ cheese, onion and potato bread

goat-cheese-bread

So the first recipe I cooked for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge was goats’ cheese, onion and potato bread with thyme.

I had to preheat my oven to 20 degrees higher than the recipe, because our oven always lets us down and needs adjusting. The red potato I choose was a little too large for the recipe at 250g, so I didn’t use all of it. We had no thyme so I used oregano instead.

I had a heap of trouble with our scales. They only work when you take the battery out of them and then that seems to kick start it, otherwise you can press the on button repeatedly and nothing happens. I had to test my maths skills when I weighted the flour in a bowl.

We didn’t have any self-raising flour, so I added 2 teaspoons of baking powder to add a raising agent to plain flour. I don’t think my grater is very sharp, as the potato kept getting stuck half way when I was grating it. I mixed together the ingredients as per the instructions and the flour stuck to the potato. I wish I had cut the cheese into smaller chunks. I also left out the mustard because we didn’t have any.

My palette knife is over 30 centremetres long, so I stirred the mixture with a teaspoon. I used it for measuring something and was trying to save on washing up! Why I tasted the batter I’m not sure, but it was quite salty. I don’t know whether Matt will like it, because he doesn’t add salt to his food. I used a paella dish for cooking the bread with some baking paper, but I forgot to grease it. I’m usually not very good at following instructions in recipes – I like to get creative and make changes.

Fifty minutes later I had a small loaf which didn’t rise much. The potato bread was yummy with a good crust, although I think I’d prefer the red onion version over spring onion. Matt said “you wouldn’t know there was potato in it” and it “was very nice, a bit like damper.”

Delia’s Complete How to Cook - Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

Learning how to cook with Delia Smith

delia-smith-retro

I’ve always wanted to be a good cook so I’ve decided I am going to work my way through Delia Smith’s Complete How to Cook. The book was originally published as three separate volumes with an accompanying TV series. It was released as one complete book in 2009 to celebrate 40 years of writing recipes.

Delia has sold an impressive 21 million cookbooks worldwide, producing more than 20 recipe collections and spent over 30 years on our screens. Delia has a way of explaining complex instructions that make you understand what she means, which is perfect for beginner cooks like myself.

delia-smith-now-then

Photo: BBC

“Delia’s genius is to understand what Middle England wants to eat at any given time, and then nudge it just very slightly forward in a way that seems fresh and exciting rather than strange and intimidating” says Clarissa Dickson Wright in “A History of English Food”.

She continues “Delia’s other great skill is in being straightforward and comforting….. What’s more her recipes work – hence the 1980s joke along the lines of “I danced with a man who danced with a girl who had failed with a Delia Smith recipe”.”

Mary Berry says Delia’s “recipes were inspirational, effective and always worked.”

Delia’s Complete How to Cook was voted as the best recipe book ever published (The Daily Telegraph/www.OnePoll.com). The book has over 700 pages, 350 recipes and step-by-step photography. There are 25 less recipes than in the originals (Delia’s How to Cook One – 137 recipes; Delia’s How to Cook Two – 120 recipes and Delia’s How to Cook Three – 118 recipes). 

I’m going to pace myself and try to complete a couple of recipes each week, so it will probably take me a few years to complete! I’m looking forward to trying lots of new recipes and new techniques with the ultimate aim of finally learning how to cook.

Delia's Complete How to Cook: Both a Guide for Beginners and a Tried and Tested Recipe Collection for Life

Delia’s Complete How to Cook - Fishpond.com.au (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

The top 49 essential cookbooks as voted for on Food52.com

maggies-xmas-cover

Here’s a list of the top 49 essential cookbooks as voted for on Food52.com are as follows in order of most votes:

70 – How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
62 – Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
41 – Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
49 – Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
37 – Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
37 – Silver Palate Cookbook by Rosso & Lukins
37 – The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
37 – Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
32 – Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
31 – Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten
29 – The Way to Cook by Julia Child
26 – The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
25 – The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl
23 – Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
23 – Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Going
23 – The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham
23 – Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
21 – Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
21 – The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
20 – The Flavor Bible by Page and Dornenburg
20 – Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
19 – The Italian Baker – Carol Field
19 – Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan
18 – Complete Asian Cookbook – Charmaine Solomon
18 – All About Braising by Molly Stevens
17 – Twelve, A Tuscan Cookbook – Tessa Kiros
17 – New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne
17 – Delia Smiths’s Christmas – Delia Smith
17 – Apples for Jam – Tessa Kiros
17 – America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
16 – Seafood Cookbook – Pierre Franey & Bryan Miller
16 – Saved by Soup – Judith Barrett
16 – Regional Foods of Northern Italy – Marlena de Blasi
16 – Jamie’s 30-minute Meals – Jaime Oliver
16 – Flour by Joanne Chang
16 – Bistro Cooking by Patrica Wells
16 – A Passion for Piedmont – Matt Kramer
15 – Betty Crocker Cookbook- Betty Crocker
14 – Silver Spoon
13 – Tender by Nigel Slater
13 – New Best Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated
13 – Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook, Alice Waters
12 – Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Kasper and Swift
12 – Ratio by Michael Ruhlman
12 – The New Basics Cookbook by Rosso and Lukins
12 – Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart
12 – Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
12 – The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

What is on your list of essential cookbooks?

Three ciders at the Fluid Festival

Despite the drizzly rain, we decided to spend our Saturday at the Pig and Whistle’s Fluid Festival. I tried three new exciting ciders.

fluid-festival-willie-smiths

Willie Smiths Organic apple cider is made from 100% organic apples grown on the farm at Grove in the Huon Valley, Tasmania. It is Australian’s first certified organic Cidery. It had a nice cloudy and pronounced apple taste. I liked it!

fluid-festival-dcider

Next I tried the dcider in it’s distinctive pink labeling. The company is barely a year old and is already winning fans. It’s made with no added sugar and not from concentrate. It has a clean apple taste and is not overly sweet.

fluid-festival-batlow

Batlow Premium Cider is the all round good guy of ciders, with 3 and half freshly crushed batlow apples in each bottle and no added sugar. It was very drinkable and refreshing.

Overall three great new ciders to add to my favourites list.

Review: Meatcart

meatcart-meat

Meatcart is an online butcher (www.meatcart.com.au) with their production facility located in Eagle Farm, Brisbane.  The meat is grass-fed all the way through and this provides more a leaner cut and less marbling. Meatcart offers high quality beef, pork, chicken, lamb and seafood which you can order from the convenience of your home.

We decided to try Meatcart and see if there was any difference. We ordered 500g each of pork loin chops, lamb loin chops and organic beef rump steak. The meat was precut into handy portion sizes. For example the 500g of beef steak has 2 to 3 slices of steak, whereas the 1kg option has 4 to 6 slices. Meatcart even have a range for those who are looking after their weight, called CorrectWeight, where the meat is pre-portioned and trimmed of fat.

meatcart-yellow-bag

The meat arrived on Wednesday just after 3pm in the afternoon and was icy cool when I opened the bag to put the meat in the fridge. It was packed in an insulated cooler bag, with two large plastic packets of ice cubes. The bag has been fully tested to keep your meat chilled for a minimum of 8 hours.

meatcart-pork

The first night we had the pork chops with vegetables. The pork comes from the Darling Downs and it’s nice to know it is 100% Sow Stall Free.

The second night we ate our delicious organic rump steaks with potato chips. They were Certified Organic, which means the animals have been raise with no exposure to artificial elements such as hormones, growth promoters, pesticides, residues, or chemical fertilisers.

On the third night we tried the lamb chops with steamed vegetables. The lamb chops are from New South Wales and Victoria and are 100% grass fed. All three cuts of meat were delicious, but the lamb was my favourite.

Meatcart delivers to all areas of Brisbane 2 business days after your order is placed. There is a flat rate delivery fee of $7.15 including GST per delivery.

Thank you to Meatcart for providing us with a sample pack to trial their meat. 

Sponsored Post: Review of Eat Now

eat-now-home

Eating well on a budget is always one of the hardest parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true if your current lifestyle leaves you very little room to prepare healthy meals at home. Getting the recommended fruits and vegetables, for example, and having them prepared in a healthy manner is not an easy feat. As a health conscious, single entrepreneur, in the early throes of building a successful business, this is often my reality. I decided to do some online research into already prepared delivery meal options and I stumbled across EatNow‘s services. EatNow as the slogan suggests, is as easy as search, order, eat. It is the most convenient way to plan dinner that I have found. It doesn’t surprise me that EatNow is Australia’s number one online store of its kind.

how-it-works

Instead of going out to find the food, EatNow brings the food to you. I used EatNow for the first time by logging onto their website from my laptop. Living in the suburbs, I thought there would not be many options suited to my needs that would offer delivery. Boy, was I wrong. Once I typed in my postcode, I was provided a list of the closest options to peruse thanks to the vast database. I felt like the luckiest bloke in the world at that point. I carefully looked through the options given and noticed that each item was complete with the names of restaurants, addresses, customer reviews, menus, payment options, deals and much more.

The restaurants listed catered to just about every palette and special dietary need you can even imagine. In fact, you can not only search by postcode, but also by cuisine or special need such as vegetarian or gluten free. Finally, I decided that I would try a medium spicy vegetarian dish of marinated mushrooms roasted in tandoor, with a mixed salad and chutney from a new Indian restaurant only a few blocks away. The checkout process was seamless and I was able to choose from a myriad of payment options — including credit/debit cards, cash and even Paypal. I opted for the latter. The service was fast. Within 20 minutes of placing my order, I was having a delicious dinner.

After that initial experience, I realised that EatNow also has a mobile app that allows you to place online orders on the go. Although I was fine with placing my orders via my computer right before leaving work in the evenings, it was nice to know that this flexible option was available. I also discovered that the EatNow service is great for throwing small dinner parties and other such gatherings. It is simply a matter of deciding on the menu and then placing the necessary orders to coincide with the start of your party.

Often, when using a digital interface, security or lack thereof can be a cause for concern. However, with EatNow services, there is an SMS confirmation that follows each order. This serves as your receipt should the need arise and increases security.

Overall, a quick and easy way to organise dinner(or lunch) when in a rush, and made my life much easier.

How to match wine and cheese?

maleny-cheese

The idea of matching cheese and wine and accompaniments is to provide a complementary balance of flavours and textures. To simplify the process, cheeses are classified into eight cheese varieties. Certain cheeses have characteristics which match certain wine types, but mostly it can be trial and error to experiment and find out which are your own preferences.

Cheese Varieties Styles Accompaniments Wine Matching
Fresh Unripened Cheese Cottage cheese, Creamed cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta, mascarpone, neufchatel, quark, ricotta and stracchino Olive bread, olives, anchovies, fresh herbs, capers, prosciutto, semi-dried tomatoes, olive oil, roasted capsicum, fresh berries, basil and olive oil, slow-roasted onions Sparkling, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc, Pinor Noir, Grenache or cool climate Shiraz, Dessert wines
White Mould Cheese Camembert, Brie, Double Brie and Triple Cream Brie baguette, almond bread, water crackers, quince paste, fresh or frozen grapes, figs and poached pear Chardonnay or Semillon, Sparkling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or warm climate Shiraz
Blue Cheese Blue Brie, Gorgnozola Style Blue, Danish Style Blue Drizzle of wild honey, warm waxy potatoes, peaches, sweet potato, smoked meats, pickles, gherkins or dried fruit Dessert wines, Fortified wines, Riesling or Gewurztraminer
Washed Rind Cheese Semi-soft washed rind, wine washed rind and reblochon toasted raisin bread, pears, bitter greens, apple puree, sultanas, hazelnuts, fruit bread and rye bread Dessert wine, Fortified wine, Pinor Noir, Grenache or cool climate Shiraz, Sparkling red, Beer
Stretched Curd Cheese Mozzarella, Pizza Cheese, Bocconcini and Haloumi Olive bread, olives, anchovies, fresh herbs, capers, prosciutto, semi-dried tomatoes, olive oil, roasted capsicum, fresh berries, basil and olive oil, slow-roasted onions Sparkling, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc, Pinor Noir, Grenach or cool climate Shiraz
Eye Cheese Swiss style, Emmenthal, Gruyere, Tilsit, Raclette, Gouda and Edam warm waxy potatoes, peaches, sweet potato, smoked meats, pickles, gherkins or dried fruit Chardonnay or Semillon, Pinot Noir, Grenache or cool climate Shiraz, Dessert wine, Fortified wine
Cheddar and Cheddar Styles Cheddar, Cheshire, Club Cheese, Colby Muscatels, chutney, sourdough bread, oatmeal or wheatmeal biscuits, green tomato chutney, celery, green apples, quince paste, fig jam and fruit cake Chardonnay or Semillon, Cabernet Saurvignon, Merlot, or warm climate Shiraz, Dessert wine, Fortified wine
Hard Cheese Parmesan, Pepato, Pecorino and Romano apples, chutney, pears, rocket, tomatoes, grapes, walnuts, olives, ham, prosciutto, nashi Chardonnay or Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or warm climate Shiraz, Fortified wine, Sparkling wine

What’s your favourite accompaniment to cheese?