February 27, 2015

Roast pumpkin, spinach and cashew nut dip


Ingredients:
30 grams Parmesan cheese
60 grams slightly salted cashew nuts
100 grams roast pumpkin
50 grams baby spinach leaves
1 garlic clove
30 grams olive oil

Method:
1. Place all ingredients in your Thermomix or blender bowl.
2. Blitz in the Thermomix on the turbo setting for one second, three to five times or in your blender till all ingredients have combined and you are left with a chunky looking dip.
3. Place in a serving bowl and enjoy with crackers and/or vegetable sticks.

February 23, 2015

Butter and sage gnudi






Gnudi - pronunced nu-dee, derived from the Italian word nude.

Over the weekend I experienced my first gnudi. Best described as a mix between a gnocchi without the potato or flour and a ravioli without it's shell, this Tuscan dish is sure to impress your guests.

Following a butter and sage gnudi recipe from my Jamie's Comfort Food cook book I mixed ricotta, parmesan cheese, a handful of finely chopped baby spinach, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rolling a teaspoon of mixture at a time into a ball on a tray of semolina I ended up with forty gnudi balls.

As the gnudi was to be served for entree the next night the suggested overnight refridgeration time to allow the semolina to dry the ricotta was perfect, I wouldn't need to do anything else till just before serving.

Fast forward to the next evening, fifteen minutes before entree was to be served I worked quickly crisping and removing twenty sage leaves in a pan of  melted butter, brought a pot of salted water to the boil adding small batches of gnudi for three minutes before placing in the pan of melted butter and cooking for a further three minutes.

To serve I placed five gnudi in a bowl, drizzled a small amount of the butter sauce, added a few drops of lemon juice and topped with parmesan and crispy sage leaves.

So was it a dish worth talking about, you bet it was everyone seemed impressed! Mr FPL gave it a MKR 9 out of 10!

  • The recipe can be found in Jamie's Comfort Food, cook book. I used a little less ricotta and parmesan cheese than recommended and add some chopped baby spinach to add a little colour to the dish.

February 20, 2015

Domayne Relaunch night, Castle Hill










Last night the fizzy pink lemonade household attended Domayne's relaunch night at Castle Hill Homemaker Centre. Having attended the last VIP night we were looking forward to a night of canapes, drinks and shopping. 

Unfortunately arriving a little later than anticipated I missed Deb Bibby ideas on setting a table using textures, hues and silhouettes. I can only hope the table cloth and wooden platter bought throughout the night will work at our next dinner party.

Tying into the theme of entertaining Paul Jurd prepared some easy but stylish looking canapes which require no cooking whatsoever and a delicious duck salad.

His tips on not overcrowding your cheese board and placing a small square of baking paper under your cheese to help preserve your board were quite helpful. I often make the mistake of overcrowding and have never thought to protect the board.

Though it wasn't a night of large purchases it didn't stop me from looking and taking some snaps of some pieces and prints. So reader what do you think of the canvases? Would they suit your home?

February 16, 2015

Mister Gee burger truck, Burwood







This Valentine's Day Mr FPL surprised me with dinner at the Mister Gee burger truck. Whilst it may sound  unromantic to some, after weeks of seeing Mister Gee burgers and fries pop up on my Instagram feed I was quite excited to spend part of the most romantic day of the year sitting on a crate outside a car wash eating burgers and fries.

Not wanting to miss out we left the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, where we had a picnic lunch earlier that afternoon, at five. Arriving around five thirty at the car wash located on 55c Shaftesbury Road, Burwood we spotted the truck. Being one of the first customers to arrive we managed to score a makeshift table and a couple of stools. Quickly the area filled up with young couples and families. By six o'clock there was a line of at least thirty.

On the menu was the Fat boy burger ($10), dirty fries ($5) and the baklava shake ($6), we ordered two of each. The burger was fantastic, the brioche bun crisp on the outside, soft inside with just a hint of sweetness was perfect, the patty was smokey and the cheese perfectly melted. The dirty fries seasoned and topped with diced tomato, cheese and mayo were moreish, the best fries I have ever tried I polished off the entire serve. The baklava shake was yummy, the hit of chunks of baklava a third of my way into it was great!

My tip, make sure you arrive early as they do sell out and try all items on the menu!

February 14, 2015

Valentine cupcakes


Happy Valentines Day! I hope you have a lovely day! If your planning on baking some cupcakes today get into the Valentine mood and dress them up. I used Betty Crocker white frosting and slices of strawberries slightly shaped to resemble a love heart. Have a beautiful day xo

February 11, 2015

Black and white engagement party



Today's post is a little glimpse of a dear friend and her lovely fiance's engagement party. As the title suggests the theme was black and white.

Held in a restaurant the allocated area was beautifully decorated. Without being over the top but keeping the black and white theme in mind, fresh flowers sitting in mason jars sat along the tables. Tea light candles lightly flickered whilst wooden letters and the word engagement sat on the cake and guest book table.

Doubling up as a seat placing each guest received a black bag with a mini chalkboard showing their name. Inside this bag was a large black and white lollypop.

Besides the happy couple the other star of the engagement was the naked cake. Being my first introduction to the naked cake I was taken aback, this cake was hot. Exposing it's layers of sponge and cream there wasn't much left for the eye to undress, I wasn't the only one wanting a piece!

I couldn't help myself and had to include photos of the food which was plentiful. The first course course consisted of garlic and tomato pizza, salt and pepper squid and salad. For main we were given the luxury of choosing one dish from a list of eight. I choose the chargrilled marinated chicken breast which was delicious. For dessert we received a slice of the naked cake. Moist, despite exposure to the air the cake was absolutely delicious, if that wasn't enough food there was also fruit, cannelloni's, tea and coffee, we literally rolled out!

Venue: The Sicilian, Cake: Something Blue Cakes

February 9, 2015

Pork dumplings, Din Tai Fung Westfield Sydney


 
 



  • Pork dumplings (xiao long bao), number 6 on the Top 100 Sydney dishes to die for list, The Sunday Telegraph Dec 14.
Yesterday afternoon I treated myself to these tasty little morsels called xiao long bao, otherwise known as pork dumplings.

Making number six on the list these pork dumplings from Din Tai Fung are a Sydney favourite. It amazing to think what started as a humble stall in Taipei in 1974 has turned into numerous stores around the world, seven of them being in Sydney.

With dinner only a couple hours away I only ordered one serving of four dumplings which cost $5.80.

Omitting any sauce from the first dumpling to appreciate itself, I popped it into my mouth. Being the perfect size it quickly exploded expelling a burst of warm savory juice and a yummy piece of minced pork.

Adding a little soy sauce to the next three made the experience even more enjoyable, my only regret was not ordering another serving.

*The 100 Sydney dishes to die for list was compiled by The Sunday Telegraph food critic Amy Harris and appeared in the Sunday Telegraph on December 28, 2014. My challenge this year is to try as many dishes as I can from the list.

February 6, 2015

Chicken, haloumi and asparagus salad


This salad has to be one of my favourites.  Quick, easy, nutritious and filling it ticks many boxes and makes a regular appearance on my dinner table.

Ingredients:
500g chicken breast
1 bunch asparagus
200g haloumi cheese
100g baby spinach leaves
8 cherry tomatoes
1 avocado
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon seeded mustard

Method:
1. Cut chicken breast into strips and fry in a heated pan with a little olive oil until chicken is cooked and golden on the outside. 
2. Remove from pan and allow to cool in a large bowl.
3. In the same pan add sliced haloumi and asparagus and fry until the haloumi is golden on either side. Remove from pan and add to the large bowl of cooked chicken breast
4. Whilst the cooked ingredients slightly cool add the baby spinach, halved cherry tomatoes and sliced avocado to another large bowl/serving dish.
5. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and seeded mustard to the bowl of cooked ingredients and gently mix till all items have been coated in dressing.
6. Add this mixture to the bowl/serving dish of spinach, tomatoes and avocado and lightly toss till all ingredients resemble a salad good enough to eat!