If only I'd known how easy gravlax is to make I'd have made it years ago. It was only when @frombecca at Inside Cuisine posted the gravlax recipe from the salt book I discovered how simple it was. I cured a little salmon for two days and.....voila....... my own gravlax.
Gravlax, meaning buried salmon in Swedish, originates in the middle ages. The fish was lightly salted and then buried beneath bark as way of preserving the fish for winter.
I served my gravlax in mini sandwiches with pre dinner drinks. It is the perfect treat for your Mum this Mother's Day. These sandwiches could also be made with smoked salmon. But honestly, you really should make your own gravlax.
SANDWICHES FOR YOUR MUM
Bread, white and wholemeal
Gravlax or smoked salmon
softened cream cheese
finely chopped dill
Flatten bread slices with a rolling pin.
Slice gravlax and cut into shapes with pastry cutters.
Spread bread slices with softened cream cheese, then cut into shapes with pastry cutters.
Place gravlax slice between two shapes.
Roll edges in mayonnaise and dip into finely chopped dill.
I began 2010 with a heap of good luck. On the day we came back from my winning weekend at Mapleton I opened my inbox to an email to say I had won a degustation meal for two at Absynthe restaurant. We chose to lunch there last Friday and here are a few photos of the wonderful meal.
Golden Egg,Cucumber Gelee, Soft Green Olive and Vanilla Crouton
Tomato Confit in Vanilla Oil, Eggplant Ice-Cream
Beetroot Raviolo, Goats Cheese and Lightly Cured Ocean Trout
Pan-Fried Barramundi, Saffron Potatoes and Lobster Bisque
Roasted Lamb Loin,Turnip Puree and Foie Gras
Fig and Parmesan Millefeuille, Roquette Pesto This was the only course we didn't really enjoy. As far as flavours go, they went well together. The texture of the cold Parmesan Millefeuille wasn't to our liking.
Yoghurt Bubble, Liquid Chocolate, Pineapple Sorbet. A wonderful combination of textures and flavours.
Absynthe is on the ground floor of the Q1 building. After lunch we went to the observation deck on the 77th floor for coffee
I bought this Jose Saramago book 3 months ago and I've read twenty pages. By the time I've checked my email,Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn half my morning is gone. Where do I find the time to read a book?
Already it's 9.30AM and I'm still in my pj's. I've interacted with several people via email, read posts and articles various people have tweeted, and Skyped with a friend.
I'm reclaiming my day.
I'm far too addicted to Twitter to give it up. ....and I love Facebook. I love I can keep in touch with my family and friends. I love playing Scrabble online with my sister. I love to interact with my nieces and nephews and follow the travels of the children of my friends. I love when friends share their photos of their lives...I can be there when I'm not there.
...but I've decided to draw a line. I'm un friending on Facebook. If I un friend you, to use the famous break up line " it's not you it's me". For now I'm only friending people I have a personal connection with.
I'm un friending because I feel social media has taken over my life. Here are 8 reasons to un friend.
Several weeks ago somebody posted a basic rolled oat muffin recipe. I have no idea who it was. If you've seen it around, let me know so I can give them credit for the original recipe.
I've made several batches using different additions. They are currently my favourite baking to take to friends, especially a friend undergoing chemo at the moment.
Every where I look, foodbloggers are cooking with rhubarb in the northern hemisphere. When I saw rhubarb at the shops yesterday it's not surprising I suddenly craved rhubarb.
I sprinkle my rhubarb with raw sugar and bake.
Bake at 180C for 15 minutes for a delicious caramelised treat. I was using this in muffins but it is delicious with yogurt or sprinkled with crumble topping and a pouring of cream.
RHUBARB OAT MUFFINS WITH WALNUT TOPING
1 cup milk
1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 large egg at room temperature
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup baked rhubarb
30 grams butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
40 grams chopped walnuts.
Rub butter into flour and sugar and add chopped walnuts. ( I was lazy and threw the whole lot into a food processor and the walnuts were chopped too fine).
Combine milk, oats and vinegar in a large bowl and let stand one hour.
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.
Crack the egg into the oat and milk mixture, add brown sugar and mix to combine. Stir in melted butter.
Sift remaining ingredients into the bowl (flour,salt,baking powder, baking soda, and spices). Gently fold into batter, taking care not to over mix.
Gently stir through 1 cup of the cooked rhubarb into the mixture.
Spoon into muffin cases I used 1/2 cup measurement and ended up with 10 muffins.
Sprinkle topping over.
Bake in oven until tops are browned and muffin springs back when touched. The cooking time will depend on the size of the muffins. Mine were quite large and took 20 minutes. Smaller muffins could take as little as 10 - 12 minutes.
A riff on the classic French Tomato Tart, these could be made using any shape. I was inspired to turn them into hearts after watching Alice in Wonderland. They would be perfect for Valentine's Day.
Puff pastry (I used commercially bought puff pastry).
Tomatoes, cut into thick slices and then into heart shapes with the smaller cutter.
Line an oven tray with baking paper.
To make the pastry cases you will need two different sized pastry cutters of the same shape. For each tart, cut out two of the larger shapes. Using the smaller cutter cut a heart from the centre of one large heart. Brush a little water on outer edges of bottom shape and place cut out on top. I found I needed to work quickly getting the cutout onto the bottom heart. My apartment gets a lot of sun and I have problems with pastry these days, which I never had in the cooler New Zealand climate. With a fork, prick the inner base a couple of times.
Spread inside with a little Dijon mustard.
Place a slice of tomato in the centre and place in oven until risen and nicely browned. I baked mine at 200C for 8 minutes. You could add a little crumbled goats or feta cheese over the cooked tart before serving.
Lightly risen and the perfect snack .
I also baked the little heart pastry cut out pieces which can be used as a garnish on soups or desserts. Actually you could make a dessert this way by using jam or fruit in the centre. After it is cooked add a dollop of cream and top with a mini heart.
Somewhere in Sydney, someone is enjoying MY Lindt Fleur de Sel Chocolate. Somewhere between the cinema and Trissalicious' building I lost my Lindt goodie bag. I had it when I left the cinema (I loved Alice In Wonderland in 3D by the way) but I didn't have it when I got into Trissa's car. Peter jumped out and checked the roof of the car, we stopped and checked the lifts. But nope, no chocolate.
Now it's not like I didn't have enough chocolate. I had plenty of Lindt bunnies, big and small, eggs...big and small.........and some filled with peanut butter. My boys fell in love with Reece's Pieces on a visit to the US when they were little kids, Those Lindt peanut butter eggs were gone before you could say Happy Easter.
I had plans for that Fleur de Sel. Plans that involved lemon, tequila and chocolate. Yes, I planned on soaking lemon slices in tequila, candying them in sugar and dipping them in the Fleur de Sel chocolate.
Instead I woke up in my Sydney hotel room in a cold sweat when it occured to me I'd put my goodie bag down in the foyer of the building where Trissa worked, as we headed to the car park. I wanted to re organise my other bags so I didn't drop my dark chocolate egg engraved by Thomas.
Oh no, what if the security guard comes across it .....and thinks it's a bomb........ and they evacuate the building....... and blow up my bag of chocolate. I think not. I suspect he saw the bag, smelt the chocolate and thought all his Easters had come at once. I bet he took it home to his partner........ and got lucky. This Fleur de Sel Chocolate is that good.
With no Fleur de Sel I figured I could use the bar of Lindt Ginger chocolate in my cupboard. So I drank the Tequila, then candied the lemons and dipped them in the Ginger Chocolate.