On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

Not looking forward to the power bill

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Our last power bill arrived on Friday. It’s the highest bill we’ve ever had. And it’s not yet Winter.

But did that stop me from using the oven this week?  No.

I’ve got so much to share. It’s almost frightening all the things that have happened this weekend I want to jot down and share on my blog.

Thank goodness this time next week we’ll be in Melbourne and I’ll have a week of shopping, relaxing, and catching up on my posts.

But in the meantime here’s a preview of what I’ve got tucked away ready to give a blow by blow account of.

Let’s start at the very beginning. That would be Friday. This is a progression of the weekend from start to finish.

Friday

I first made Lemon Curd because I wanted to have the lemon curd with soft whipped cream on the waffles I was making.

So following the curd came making the waffle recipe which used yeast and had an overnight rest.

We had waffles for breakfast both Saturday and today.

Start to finish - Waffles

This morning I more of less had dessert rather than breakfast. I used the caramel sauce I made a few weekends ago with chopped up banana. Oh my goodness. What a terrific way to start off the day!

But we’re not yet finished with Friday.

If there was one thing I really wanted to put to bed this weekend it was finding out if I could make an Angry Bird fondant topper. But to begin with I needed to make the cake balls. I used a 9” strawberry cake layer I had in the freezer with some left over strawberry frosting and I was good to get rolling.

Cake balls

Alastair at work, one of our Account Managers, was kind enough to buy me some liquid egg whites which he’d seen on one of his many trips to Wellington. What he’s doing in the supermarket I’m unsure of, I must ask. Anyway the egg whites were best by 1 June and we’re away so there’ll be no baking being done for a week. What intrigued me was the note on the back of the packet saying “not suitable for whipping”. So I had to experiment, right?

Liquid Egg Meringues

These actually might have been great had I not burnt them. I gave the best to my sister with a bottle of cream and some frozen berries and suggested she crumble them up and serve it for pudding.

Ok, Friday done and dusted.

Saturday

Other than the waffles for breakfast, that was it until mid afternoon. I was off to Mercato, meeting mum there, to learn about tempering chocolate, making ganache and understanding all sorts of things about chocolate. I had a thoroughly good time, learnt a ton of new information, sampled everything that was made (and there was a lot!) and handed around (cocoa nibs, and all sorts of Valrhona goodies). I then proceeded to buy a bunch of stuff in preparation for home made pizzas for Sunday.

I had a late start arriving home after 3pm but got onto a Lemon Meringue Tart. I got the recipe from a French blog, but the lemon cream is the same I have previously made. Both the dough and the lemon cream needed to be made a day ahead.

Stages of a Lemon Meringue Tart

And tonight I made Italian Meringue. I’ve never made it before. And I learnt heaps.

Made Saturday, and completed Sunday. I started the day with more or less dessert, and ended the day the same way.

I’m not yet done with Saturday, because I decided to get cracking and try to make an Angry Bird character.

The first Angry Bird I made wasn’t particularly “angry” looking. So with a bit of feedback from Facebook I re-made the red bird on Sunday. Oops, I just realised I deleted all the photos I took of it because it wasn’t right.

Here’s a few photos I took on my phone.

Red bird, first attempt

To round out the evening I made yet another batch of meringues. This was using rehydrated egg albumen. I was almost certain it wouldn’t work and secretly glad that I would be able to just wash the bowl and sit down. But oh no. It actually worked. Not wanting to over cook the meringues this time I turned the temperature down and checked the meringues every 10 minutes from 40 minutes on. And guess what, they seemed dry at around 80 minutes and this morning when I touched them, they’re tacky. Geez.

Egg Albumen Meringues

Sunday

Well there was a repeat of Waffles. They were so light and crisp.

Then it was onto rolling the dough for the tart, letting it sit in the fridge for 3 hour before baking, then filling it an hour before adding the meringue. And as I mentioned, making an Italian meringue. It’s the type of meringue you make for a Bombe Alaska. It’s cooked when the boiling liquid syrup is slowly added to the egg whites. But it’s not all that attractive stark white. And without a little butane torch I popped it under the grill for to brown.

During the morning I made 2 other characters from Angry Birds and repeated the red bird. I reckon I proved I can make these, well at least these 3 characters.

Angry Bird characters

I made a quick lunch using puff pasty filled with a nice Cranberry chutney, shaved ham and Cheshire cheese. It’s a recipe I used before and have blogged about in the past. Really simple, quick and easy and full of flavour and texture.

Following lunch I made a quick batch of Mr Fussy’s Vanilla cookies. He almost begged me not to make cupcakes. He’s over them. And I don’t blame him at all. So am I, but I didn’t have any last week, and only 1 the week before. It’s been left to Mr Fussy to eat them ALL. But he loves his Vanilla cookies and they’re a breeze to make.

So along with the cookies I made the pizza dough. This is a recipe I’ve made several times now and love. This time I used Wholewheat flour as the original recipe calls for but in the past I’ve used Semolina flour instead.

V Cookies and Pizza Dough

Then I had just enough time to prep pumpkin and kumara for roasting, along with another clove of garlic and get all the meat and other veggies cut ready for making pizzas. There’s quite a lot of work to do all that.

I found a little bit of time to tend to my worm farm, fold laundry and trim some trees before getting properly stuck into making dinner, and that meringue.

So I owe anyone here reading a few detailed posts about all of this, and for me too. I refer back to my own recipes when I want to remake something.

 

It’s been a very adventurous weekend, I’m exhausted but I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thank goodness there’s just one week of work before a holiday. At this pace I’m going to wear myself (and the oven) out.

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