Monthly Archives: August 2016

Sweet ricotta fritters

Ricotta is one of my favourite dairy products – not just because it is delicious but because it is so versatile. You’ll find lots of my recipes here contain it, both sweet and savoury.  These gorgeous little fritters are courtesy of Tobie Puttock.  However he uses sultanas, which I have skipped, and I added a little brandy instead.  I used a mini ice cream scoop to make them consistent and easy to dispense, otherwise use a tablespoon measure.  Resist the urge to make them bigger as they won’t cook in the middle.   If you don’t overcrowd the pan, they actually flip themselves over when they puff up, pretty nifty.  Serve these delightful little treats warm.

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400g fresh ricotta
3 eggs
5 tablespoons of caster sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon Brandy
200g plain flour
2 cups of oil for frying
Icing sugar for dustin

Making them
Drain the ricotta and place it in a bowl with the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and brandy and beat until combined. Then add the lemon zest, bicarbonate of soda, and flour and stir well until all combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and the scoop dollops of the dough and carefully drop them into the oil. Cook until they are a nice golden brown, turning as needed, and drain on paper towels. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

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Lune Croissanterie, Fitzroy

A friend at work had been reading up on Lune, where croissants are created in a perfectly temperature controlled glass cube by a former aerospace engineer. The New York Times recently boldly claimed they may be among the world’s best – I had visions of a Jean Claude or a Jacques in Paris somewhere reading this article and proclaiming “Quel horreur! Mais non!”.

I was in Melbourne for work and was meeting someone nearby, so wandered over to check out the queue situation, which I’d read was generally monstrous. Walking in, there is the immediate smell of buttery goodness.  See the light pattern on the ceiling? Its a throwback to the Millennium Falcon.   Star Wars fans have gotta be good people.  The pattern is replicated on their cool takeaway boxes, which by the way, are $4 if you don’t buy six or more items.

Through dumb luck, there were only a dozen or so people in front of me, and three people serving, but within ten minutes, it looked like this….I wonder what it is like on a weekend. (That bloke in the blue looks like he may hurt someone if what he wants sells out before his turn. Relax, bro).

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I’m not actually a big croissant eater, I may have two or three a year, and if anything they are of the almond variety, but the Marito is rather partial to them, so here I was. The menu is short and sweet (no pun intended, and there are a couple of savoury items), focussing on what they are good at rather than making a multitude of things, and they are on display at the counter allowing for easy choice.

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Within a few minutes I had four in hand – a traditional, an almond, a coconut pandan and a pain au chocolat. I whisked them back to Sydney for tasting.

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The verdict? Flaky, buttery, light and the right hint of sweetness.  The Marito, who was more appropriately qualified to opine, rated it.  One of the boys, who is rather an expert in pain au chocolats (he consumed at least one daily in various bakeries around Paris, deprived child), said his PAC was “really really good” (he’ll be a food critic yet, Durack had better watch out).

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But then I tried the almond croissant.  Oh, hello.  How many different words are there for awesome?  World’s best  – just maybe.

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Lune Croissanterie, 119 Rose St, Fitzroy

Lune Croissanterie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Today’s cake – Japanese cheesecake

Well known Japanese cheesecake chain, Uncle Tetsu, recently opened in Sydney.  The Blogeratti were out in force – they came, they saw, they ‘grammed….and it seemed overall they did not like it much…..too subtle, too eggy, not sweet enough a lot of them said.  Frankly I quite like the idea of a dessert that is subtle and not too sweet and I would probably enjoy it, but I still wasn’t going to traipse down George Street and line up for a couple of hours for it, especially in Winter.  So I thought I’d make my own.

Do a bit of searching and the recipe that comes up time and time again on different blogs and websites is a link back to Diana’s desserts, or slightly altered versions credited to that recipe.  But I noted the “too eggy” comments and instead tried Rachel Khoo’s version, which has four eggs instead of six for about the same quantity of sugar.

Like a New York cheesecake, it is cooked in a water bath, but it is a much lighter, softer cake, and I liked it.  But I did get cracks in the top.  I think my error was not letting the cream cheese get to room temperature, I just took it out of the fridge and used it; next time I may also try it without the oven fan. It would be lovely served with some berries.

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280g cream cheese at room temperature, cubed
100ml full cream milk
35g cornflour
35g plain flour
4 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
Zest of 1 lemon
120g caster sugar
Icing sugar, for dusting

Making it
Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan forced. Line the base of a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides.  Wrap a large piece of foil under the base and up the sides of the tin. Repeat this 3 times

Place the cream cheese in a bowl. Heat the milk to boiling point and pour over the cream cheese. Beat with electric whisk (or by hand) until smooth. Add the cornflour and flour, followed by the egg yolks and zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then add the cream of tartar and then the caster sugar, bit by bit. Fold the whites into the cream cheese mixture. Pour into the cake tin, give it a good tap,  and place in a deep baking tray. Pour cold water into the tray until it reaches half way up the sides of the tin and bake for 60-70 minutes, until golden and puffy on top.

Cool in tin then remove and dust with icing sugar to serve

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In My Kitchen, August 2016

Roll on, Spring! I am willing it to come along faster by daringly planting some herbs last weekend.  Meanwhile, indoors in the kitchen…..

I picked up some kitchen goodies on our recent trip to Hawaii, where we escaped the cold for a couple of weeks.  We had the black salt a couple of times with fish at restaurants, so I thought I’d bring some home, along with the ubiquitous Hawaiian chocolate covered macadamias.  The mango wine isn’t actually Hawaiian, but I was curious; I’m going to save it for Summer.

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In my kitchen are these KitchenAid utensils.  When the Marito bought a stand mixer for me a few Christmases ago, it came with a bonus pack of utensils.  Countless use and runs through the dishwasher, they have proved to be very durable.  I saw these for $4 each (they are $15-$20 each here, though who would pay that for a spatula is beyond me) and happily bought them home.

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I also got this drawer knife holder, which I prefer to a knife block.

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And this julienne peeler, its ideal for a few of the pasta dishes with zucchini that are regularly made in the Napoli household.

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In my kitchen are some baked eggs, a Sunday breakfast for the Marito and I, with a mini loaf of bread fresh from the oven.  The boys prefer baguettes so I usually make those for them, and have missed making loaves.  I thought my starter, La Figlia, wouldn’t like the two weeks of neglect while we were overseas, and dried some as a back up, but it was actually fine and the bread tastes better than it did before.

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The pantry was a bit bare when we got back so it was off to the Italian deli to stock up on staples and a few other things.  I spy some savoiardi and mascarpone – there is a tiramisu in the works.  I bought a dozen or so packets of pasta; the boys appetites are just enormous at the moment and they won’t last long.  I used to be able to do a 500g packet for the four of us, but that doesn’t cut it anymore.  The boys are thinner than beanpoles, it’s a mystery to all where their staggering quantity of food consumption goes.

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In my kitchen are these new “Anylock” clips, which as the name implies, clip onto any packet for sealing.  They come in a few different sizes, and are ideal for the boys cereal.

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But the big news of the Napoli household is that we got our first egg from our chooks! Lily, Jimmie and Bockan (don’t ask, the boys named them, and I don’t even know how to spell the last one) became part of the household six or so weeks ago, and were finally “old enough” to start laying.  We were all pretty excited….simple things in life as the saying goes. There’s now an egg every day, but once the warm weather starts its likely we will get three a day, one from each chook, which will be awesome.

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The boys saw a website that sells chicken leashes, and want to get some so we can take them for a walk around our suburb – wouldn’t that be entertaining for the neighbourhood!  We bought the girls at Enfield Produce, which is a really great store, the boys did not want to leave.

What’s happening in your kitchen? Take a peak at kitchens around the world in other August IMK posts!