Monday, July 05, 2010

raining, pouring...

So, the first official day of school holidays and it's raining. Pouring actually. Luckily my gal and I had plans to stay indoors and bake. Once again I'll be relying on a Frills In The Hills recipe. Liss posted a baguette recipe a few weeks ago that I'm keen to get my dough hook into.

But first, a few things I learned from my meal last night. If you slice a chunk of Coles unsalted butter, put it in a pretty dish and sprinkle it with Maldon Smoked Salt Flakes it will taste utterly divine spread on a crusty baguette - as yummy as $8 French butter! Spring Hill Black Angus is the nicest beef you'll ever taste. I went to the markets yesterday hoping to find some of the Angus Osso Bucco I'd bought the week before, without luck. Then, around the corner I stumbled upon the Spring Hill Beef stand. Now, all around me must have thought I was a lunatic {as did the blokes behind the stall} as I was so excited. See, Spring Hill is the beautiful farmhouse we stayed at with our friends last year, and we're all going again this September - and our friends were coming to dinner last night. Perfect. So I bought a kilo and a half of gravy beef, diced it into huge chunks and cooked it for four hours in a rich sauce of red wine, beef stock, thyme, garlic and bay. It was the most delicious stew ever.

Finally, one of our friends is lactose intolerant so I always offer up a meal as low or free from lactose as possible - with a lactose-free version for him if necessary. Last night I decided to experiment and make a potato dauphinoise - without the cream or cheese. Really. Firstly I caramelised finely diced shallots and garlic with brown sugar, thyme leaves and olive oil. Then I poured over some chicken stock and reduced the sauce by half. I played a layer of thinly sliced, overlapping potatoes in the dish, poured over enough chicken stock to barely cover, then sprinkled with the shallot mix. Another layer was repeated before I topped it off with a sprinkling of panko breadcrumbs. I baked it covered with foil for 30 mins then removed the foil to brown the top.

Oh my. It was delish. We all loved it and agreed it offered all the yumminess of a regular dauphinoise, without the rich creaminess that can be too heavy. Bliss.

This was all followed by Liss's lemon delicious, served with vanilla icecream, and lactose-free french vanilla for T. Washed down with champagne, white wine and a smidge of water.

PS: When we were at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday I gazed awestruck at the Chanel store. I saw these rainboots in red and oh-my-word, how I wished I could justify them. Although, with a cost-per-wear considering how much it rains in this neck of the woods, they'd be down to $1 per wear in a few short years...

PPS: I swear that I'm not doing all these thousands of links to Frills in the Hills in a blatant attempt to win Rachel Allen's bake. It's entirely coincidental. However, if Liss would like to reward my fawning in such a matter...


  1. It all sounds lovely and those gumboots. I know someone who would just adore them!

  2. Yum, yum and then some YUM. I am drooling. Especially that talk of salty butter....I too am SO keen to give those baguettes a go...this weekend will be the one I am sure. Glad you had a great weekend - let's hope the skies clear soon x

  3. Yummo, that all sounds so delicious. I'll be trying out the baguette and dauphinoise techniques pronto. I must say, you are so sophisticated with your menus. You're living the dream life of a gourmand, you know? I'm a woulda coulda shoulda. I leave no time to make fancy dishes but I sort of regret that now!

    Do not buy Chanel gumboots or you will lose me.

  4. mmm, baguette sounds great, what time shall i pop round then?
    enjoy the holidays, hope the rain stops. it's actually quite nice today in melbourne..there is a hint of sunshine around!

  5. Oh, you can cook. I just think you are incredible (as a very average, boring cook) the way you experiment and concoct these amazing meals. *sigh*

  6. Aren't they adorable Melissa!

    Salty butter rocks. My baguettes were delish, but flat. Next time I'll try less water in the mix - they spread sidways rather than up and out Beth.

    Maxabella, the potatoes do rock. And there's no need to worry. I'd have to win millions of dollars to ever buy boots such as those!

    Cathie, the rain has eased up - just gave the garden a good drink which is lovely.

    Thanks Madmother - it is my meditation - I adore cooking so.

  7. Those rain boots sure are purty! And probably a little more expensive than my black-with-white-spots gumboots I purchased at Kmart this year for $15. Ahem.


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