Watermelon with Gin

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I can’t vouch for the rest of the country, but if you’re in Melbourne or Sydney you could be fooled into thinking it’s still summer. Hopefully if you’re in the northern hemisphere there is a hint of warmer weather coming too. This recipe is perfect balmy evening dessert and it’s darn simple.

Gin is most definitely my poison of choice, and it’s difficult to go past a juicy watermelon so I was excited to make this. I made the recipe a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to post it. However I must admit that over the weekend I may have slightly over indulged on my poison of choice (I’m looking at you Ella), so writing this is making me feel just a touch queasy. . .

You will need:

  • 1 small watermelon
  • 1 cup gin
  • Mint leaves (I used basil)

Do this:

Cut the watermelon in half, remove the seeds and scoop out balls of the firm flesh with a melon-baller (or cut into cubes).

Place in a bowl, pour the gin over, cover and leave to marinate for several hours in the fridge. (I really like the thought of something marinating in gin!)

At serving time, drain the watermelon well, arrange the balls in chilled glasses, and decorate with fresh mint leaves.

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Enjoy!

Kath & Kate x

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Hair

No, not angel hair pasta, nor hair of the dog. This blog is not about food. It’s about hair, or rather, losing it.

Most of us take our hair for granted, with our problems confined to “should I wash it today or could I get another day out of it?” A luxury really, to have the choice of whether to wash your hair or not.

Full or partial hair loss can occur as the result of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or conditions such as alopecia. What does it feel like to lose some, or all of your hair?

“Horrible. I hated the fact that I always had to have a hat on when I went out in public. Radiotherapy meant that big clumps would fall out, that was horrible. So was having to have parts of it shaved for surgery. It takes so long to grow back, and you know, it doesn’t grow back the same. I loved my hair. Losing it is like losing a part of your previous self.”

I am incredibly lucky to have a full head of healthy hair. Hair that has never been dyed. I have been growing it for the last 18 months, ready for the chop. Yesterday was the day. My lovely hairdresser cut off 30cm of my hair. We tied it at both ends, put it in a sandwich bag to be donated to make wigs. My hair has made me very happy. I really hope it makes someone else happy too, and it was such a small thing to do.

It is more difficult these days to donate your hair. But the charity Variety still accept hair donations.

http://www.variety.org.au/

PicMonkey Collage hair

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Tuna Slice

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My Aunt Cathy is a great baker. She makes the most wonderful scones and cakes! So when my Dad’s family get together she’s got the sweets nailed. For our latest afternoon tea I had an urge to bake and was looking for something savoury when I stumbled across this gem, a lovely little hand written recipe that you’d miss if you blinked. Gosh this is delicious. Tuna, cheese, rice and my old friend Keen’s curry powder. How could it not be? This made a lovely snack, but would also make a great dinner with a salad or veg on the side.

You will need:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 large onion sliced and chopped (I left this out)
  • 50g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 425g can tuna (in brine)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon mustard

Do this:

  1. Oil a 20x30cm pan. Boil rice. Fry onion in butter.
  2. Combine rice, half of the onion, one egg, curry powder and 1/3 cheese. Mix well and press into pan.
  3. Strain tuna and preserve brine. Sprinkle tuna over the rice and top with remaining cheese and onion.
  4. Combine brine, milk, mustard and parsley with three eggs. Mix well and pour over tuna.
  5. Bake uncovered in moderate oven for about 50 minutes. Stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

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What’s your favourite savoury slice?

Love Kath and Kate xx

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Ginger Slice

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This is one of Nana’s little handwritten recipes. Her writing is beautiful, but sometimes hard to read. This is the type of recipe that turns up so often in Nana’s notes. With incredibly simple instructions. So straight forward that they challenge your baking skills (a problem, as mine often leave a lot to be desired). There is assumed knowledge. You should have done this kind of thing a million times before, so why waste paper right?

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This recipe is incredibly quick, simple and uses items that are already in your cupboard. You WILL think that you have screwed this up, but if I did things properly, you won’t have. Don’t stress.

You will need: (I think; note 1 oz = 28g)

  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 7 oz plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking power

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (I’m guessing here)
  • 2 teaspoons golden syrup

Do this:

Rub butter into flour, sugar, ginger and baking powder until crumbly. Press into tin and bake in moderate oven (about 180 degrees celcius) for about 20 minutes.

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For the topping: put all ingredients in saucepan until butter is melted and spread while warm and cut into squares.

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That. Is. It.

I kept mine in the fridge and I would recommend the same. I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is one that I really enjoyed. Perfect for just a taste.

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Love Kath and Kate xx

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Passionfruit Crunchies

 

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Passionfruit Crunchies. This is a bit of a misnomer. This came from a newspaper cut out pasted into one of Nana’s books. I had imagined something well…crunchy. And yet these are not remotely crunchy. Instead, they are melt in your mouth, light, fluffy and tangy goodness. More like a yo-yo or melting moment – or, exactly like a yo-yo or melting moment. At least that’s how mine turned out! These disappeared from the cake stand very quickly!

You will need:

  • 90g sifted icing sugar
  • 185g butter
  • 4 passionfruit
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup cornflour

Filling

  • 90g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • passionfruit pulp to mix

Do this

  1. Cream butter and icing sugar, add passionfruit.
  2. Sift flour, cornflour and salt together twice, gradually add to mixture; blend well.
  3. Drop in small quantities from a teaspoon on to greased trays. (My mixture was quite thick, so I rolled teaspoonfuls into balls and then squashed them slightly when I put them onto the trays).
  4. Bake in moderate oven for 15 minutes. Leave on tray to allow the biscuits to cool.
  5. Join together with passionfruit filling made by creaming together the butter, icing sugar and some passionfruit filling.

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Love Kath and Kate x

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Passionfruit Mallow Pie

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This deliciously retro dessert includes a frightening number of my most commonly avoided baking tasks – I’m still amazed that I even attempted it. It included the following:

  1. Pastry – Temperamental. Fiddly. Precision required. Avoid at all costs.
  2. Anything gelatine related – Yuck. Ew. Shudder. The texture alone. Easy to ruin. Avoid at all costs.
  3. Multi-layered cooking – Planning required. Reading ahead required. Multiple opportunities for disaster. Avoid at all costs.

And yet, the passionfruit sitting on my kitchen bench were begging to be made into this. I had also acquired a very fancy rolling pin some time ago that I had not yet used (so great is my fear of pastry). The rolling pin is adjustable depending on how thick you want your dough (see below). So I put my game face on.

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You will need: (note. 1 oz = approx. 28g)

 Pastry: 2 oz. self-raising flour, 2 oz. plain flour, 1 oz. custard powder, pinch salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 3 oz. butter (or substitute), 2 tablespoons milk or water.

 Filling: 2 oz. butter, 1/2 cup sugar, pulp 2 or 3 passionfruit, 2 dessertspoons cornflour, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 egg-yolk.

Marshmallow: 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup castor sugar, 1 teaspoon gelatine, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 egg-white, extra passionfruit pulp (about 3).

Do this:

Pastry: Sift dry ingredients into basin, rub in butter; mix to firm dough with milk or water.  Kneed lightly on floured board, roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Line in a 9 inch pie dish, trim, and pinch edges. Prick pastry with fork (oops). Bake in hot oven (about 200 c) for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow to cool, prepare filling.

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Filling: Place in saucepan the butter, sugar, water and cornflour (which has been combined with lemon juice). Stir over low heat until mixture boils. (Mine boiled pretty darn quickly because I think I forgot the water . . . oops). Add passionfruit pulp, continue stirring, simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add beaten egg yolk. Cool slightly. Dollop onto and spread into pastry case. Meanwhile, prepare marshmallow topping.

Topping: Dissolve gelatine in hot water. Allow to cool. Add lemon juice. Beat egg-white with beaters stiffly. Gradually add dissolved gelatine, then sugar, beating continually until thick. Pile on top of filling in pastry case. Trickle extra passionfruit pulp on top. Allow to chill in the fridge.

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Verdict?

This dessert was delicious. The passionfruit and lemon gave it a nice tangy and the ever so subtle saltiness of the pastry meant that it wasn’t overly sweet. It also wasn’t too heavy. Not only that but it turned out pretty darn well. It’s given me the confidence to try pastry and layered cooking again.

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But I’m interested to know. What are you scared of when it comes to cooking?

Love Kath and Kate xx

 

 

 

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Baked Apricots

Well hello there 2016. I’m just emerging from a paradise of good food, good wine, good travel and really great company. The extended festive season was incredibly festive this time around and it’s sad to see it end.

Over the Christmas break we went over to Tasmania. My first and most definitely not my last time there. When we returned the apricot tree in Mum’s backyard was bursting with beautiful ripe fruit. The apricots were perfect to eat fresh when they still had a tinge of green to them, but I also couldn’t wait to cook with them.

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It takes 4 adults to encourage birds from out of the netting!

Looking to Nana’s books I found countless apricot recipes. However most wanted apricot nectar or dried apricots. While Nana had apricot trees in her orchard, availability was limited to season and the harvest from those trees. We take for granted now that we have much greater access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and are no longer reliant on tinned or preserved produce. And in saying that, we have also largely lost touch of seasonality of fruits and vegetables, with shops stocking produce from around the world all year. It really is a great thing to be able to go to your garden and pick a fresh apricot off the tree. So while I did not want a single fruit to go to waste, I also wanted to make sure these apricots were made into something simple and delicious. Like Nana would have wanted.

Baked Apricots

You will need:
– 1kg (2lb) ripe apricots
– 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (or regular sugar if you prefer; see recipe below)
– 1/2 cup water
– Brandy or Cointreau (although I actually used sherry which worked well)

Do this:

Arrange apricots in an ovenproof dish (I halved mine before doing this and removed their stone). Sprinkle with vanilla sugar, water and brandy/liqueur. If the apricots are under ripe add a little extra water. Bake at 150c (300F) for approximately 1 hour. I served ours with some creamy vanilla yogurt and a crisp tuile, although they would be delicious with custard or ice cream.

For the Vanilla Sugar:

Cut a vanilla bean into short sections and bury in a cup of castor sugar in a screw top jar. Leave for a week or two, by which time the vanilla flavour will have permeated the sugar. An alternative to this is to warm castor sugar in a covered dish with a split and cut vanilla bean in gentle oven for 20 minutes.

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This is an incredibly simple dish and one that is great when you have people around. I prepared mine before guests arrived and then simply popped it into the oven just before we started eating dinner. The apricots were a wonderful end to a meal. They were fresh, tasty and not too heavy. Most importantly they got the tick of approval from my old man.

Love Kath and Kate x

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