28 August 2010

Fresh Lemon Ice Cream

This fruity, zingy creation evokes those hot, summery days by the pool or down at the beach and crisp waffle cones towering with giant scoops of refreshing gelato-style ice cream! It isn't cloyingly sweet- in fact, there is a good tangy hit on the palate when it starts to melt in your mouth.
The beauty of this ice cream is that it has just 3 ingredients, and does not require an ice-cream machine or any of that crystal-breaking-up/churning malarkey. PERFECT.

I share this with you because it really is a recipe that everyone should have. Credits to Shona Crawford Poole's Iced Delights. I made twice the recipe and ended up with approximately 2 Litres of lemony lusciousness!

Fresh Lemon Ice Cream

3 juicy lemons, preferably unwaxed
420ml double cream
170g icing sugar


Grate the zest from 2 of the lemons. Squeeze the juice of all three and pour into a bowl with the zest and the sugar, stir to combine and leave for 30 minutes, if you can, to let the flavour deepen.
Whip the cream with 3 tablespoons of iced water until it holds stiff peaks, then whisk in the sweetened lemon juice. Turn into a container and freeze. No stirring, mixing or anything else needed.
Put it in the fridge about half an hour before serving.

Lemon & Ricotta Fritters

These golden, puffy clouds of ricotta scented with zest are quite addictive. Served with the Fresh Lemon Ice-Cream, they would be included in my list of things I'd eat for my last meal on earth!
(Who doesn't love a good doughnut??)

Here is the recipe-dead simple and so impressive.

Serves 8

4 eggs
zest and juice of half a lemon (I used the zest of the whole fruit)
500g fresh ricotta
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
4 cups vegetable oil
caster sugar for dusting

Place salt, flour and baking powder in a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar to combine well. Add the ricotta, lemon juice and zest and vanilla. Mix well. Fold in the dry ingredients and let stand for 5 minutes before frying.

Heat the oil in a small-medium sized saucepan till hot. Using an ice cream scoop or small ladle, gently drop little scoops of the batter into the oil and fry till golden. Drain on absorbent paper. Toss in some caster sugar when they have cooled a little.

Note: Watch the heat of the oil if you are not using a deep fryer. My first few cooked too quickly and burnt within seconds.

Lemon Pistachio Nougat

The original recipe comes from the December 2002 edition of "Gourmet Traveller" magazine, and was actually for a clementine and almond nougat. I just substituted the almonds for pistachios, and the clementines for Cedro* and own-made candied lemons.

What you will need, more than anything else is a stand mixer with a good motor, or a strong arm! The egg white/syrup mixture has to be whipped till quite thick and by the time you add your dry ingredients, it becomes rather stiff. My kitchenaid only just managed it. The other thing is to have your ingredients all measured and ready to go, because the mixture starts to harden quite quickly so you don't want to be caught out trying to chop your candied lemons etc at the end.

* Cedro is the Italian term for the candied fruit of a citron tree. It has a deep, musky citrus flavour.

27 August 2010

Norwest Snapper Wrapped in Proscuitto

Proscuitto wrapped, Roasted Fillet of Norwest Snapper with Lemon, Herb and Garlic Butter served with a warm salad of Balsamic Roasted Vegetables and Fresh Greens

This recipe that inspired me was for Monkfish, however it isn't a common fish in Australia so I went for the freshest available on the day that was oven roast well.The piece of fish was around 1kg and was cut in half by the fishmonger so as to sandwich together, it served 6.


60g Butter, softened, extra for dotting
1 Tbspn chopped chives
1 Tbspn chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tspn finely grated lemon zest
1-2 Tbspns of Capers finely chopped
1 Garlic clove minced

1kg of Norwest Snapper, skin removed, cut into two fillets
8 slices proscuitto
2 lemons quartered

Mix all the butter ingredients together. Lay each slice of proscuitto on a work surface so that they overlap slightly looking like scales. Place one fish fillet on the laid out proscuitto, and spread the fillet with the butter mixture. Lay the other fillet on top so that the thinner part is laying on the thicker part of the other fillet giving you an even thickness.
Wrap the proscuitto around the fish and tie with a piece of kitchen string about 2.5cm apart. Place in a baking tray and dot with a few small bits of butter. This can now be refrigerated until you are ready to cook.

Wrapped Fish before baking

Squeeze two lemon quarters over the fish, bake in a preheated oven at 200C (Gas Mark 6) for 25-30 mins.

I quickly fried some caperberries in olive oil so they went crispy as a garnish. Caperberries are capers still attached to their stalks, so they look pretty! I just got them from the local supermarket.


Okay, I know its not September yet but we're only a week off! This month's theme of LEMONS was a ripper. The fruit is abundant and currently at its absolute best, heralding the start of Spring and all things fresh, light and sunny!

We started off the night with a fresh and fruity cocktail of freshly squeezed lemon juice and gin (I wasn't paying much attention to the specific ingredients - I just remember it was scrumptious and really whet the appetite!)

Starters was a sophisticated and elegant dish of Lemon & Spinach soup served with creamy and salty feta, a seared scallop and king prawn finished with snipped chives and a heavenly lemon oil! *sigh*

Our Main course came in the form of a succulent, fresh-out-of-the-sea fillet of Norwest Snapper, smeared on the inside with a paste of butter, garlic, lemon zest and fresh parsley. The whole fillet was wrapped in prosciutto (or was it pancetta?) and roasted. The filling melted in the cooking process and rendered out a sweet, buttery puddle of sauce - I had to hold myself back from licking the plate of every drop! Crispy fried caperberries finished it off perfectly. They were crunchy, salty and extremely moreish. A robust, warm salad of balsamic roasted vegetables (sweet potato, potato, betroot and greens) was a deliciously earthy accompaniment.

Dessert is undoubtedly my favourite course to prepare, and with lemons I was presented with a mind-boggling number of options. What that distilled into, was the idea of three 'tastes' of lemon. (well, actually I just couldn't choose!) These were:

1. Lemon Pistachio Nougat

I'd never made nougat before so I tested the recipe-something I don't usually get the time to do. Armed with my brand new candy thermometer I set about making the syrup for the nougat. I'll save you the details but suffice to say I panicked a bit when the sugar syrup had to bubble its way to 150 degrees which is the 'hard crack' stage, but it just refused to do so. I made a judgment call and pulled it off the heat at 125 degrees and whipped it through the egg white mixture. The end result was the nougat would not set and I was left with a giant puddle of stickiness. Still delicious though, but after some extensive research I made a few adjustments and managed to figure it out. Hmm, I didn't really spare you the details but perhaps that bit of info will give you some sort of heads-up should you attempt it. Oh, and you also need a stand mixer with a good motor, as the mixture gets very thick and difficult to blend once you pour in the syrup and dry ingredients.

2. Lemon & Ricotta Fritters

Well, they were sophisticated doughnuts really. Made with fresh ricotta, eggs, lemon zest and juice and a bit of flour, they puffed out into billowy, crispy-on-the-edges but moist-and-creamy-on-the-inside clouds when fried, and were finished with a dusting of caster sugar.

3. Fresh Lemon Ice Cream

I credit Nigella Lawson for this one, it has just three ingredients and is a no churn/crystal breaking-up recipe. It is a recipe EVERYONE should have. The best thing about it, is that it uses up almost as much juice as it does the zest. It had a good twang of that citrusy, mouth-puckering tartness and provided a sharp, cold contrast to the sweet and hot fritters.

In all? Seriously.Good.Food.

Well done Ladies! Who'd have thought the humble lemon could inspire such a feast?

17 August 2010

Blancmange#2 - with fresh citrus

Blancmange # 1 with Strawberries and Wild Iranian Figs

Almond Crusted Lamb

Almond & Tofu Tart

The garnish of mizuna leaves and cherry tomatoes make it quite Christmassy!

Galliano Champagne Cocktails

The Galliano Champagne cocktails rimmed with almond and sugar 'dust'! We're a bunch of classy dames-we expect no less!


The Almond - arguably one of the most versatile nuts around, was the star in this month's cook-up, and I think our cooks did it justice with their dishes.
First up was a heady aperitif mixing Galliano with champagne served in flutes rimmed with a fine dust of sugar and almonds. Can you taste it? I still can - delicious! We nibbled at a selection of smoked almonds, spiced almonds and almonds that had been salted and left in a fine kernel much like that of a pistachio, a perfect teaser really.

Our starter was a fine Almond and Tofu Tart drizzled with a deep emerald emulsion of basil oil that really lifted the nuttiness factor a good few notches - it was unctuous and the pastry was beautifully short and crisp. It was pretty substantial, and paired with a good leafy salad would make a great lunch dish too.

Our newest member, CookV put her thinking cap on and created (via some pretty thorough trials) a dish of boned leg of lamb, which had been stuffed with a mixture of ricotta, peppadews, spinach and various spices before encrusting the entire thing with crushed almonds and roasting it to perfection. Succulent and tender medallions were served atop a fresh and vivid herb pilaf. The ricotta provided plenty of moisture while the peppadews added a bright flecks of crimson and extra sweetness to the dish. Served alongside was a clean, piquant salad of green beans, feta and pinenuts.

While I would have gladly had more, I had to make sure there was enough room in my maxi dress to hide the blancmange made TWO ways, for dessert!
CookEl, thanks to some experimenting with different recipes couldn't quite decide which was she liked it best, so luckily for us she let US decide! One was made just with almond milk and was perhaps the more delicate of the two, with a fair bit more wobble and therefore closer to a true blancmange. It was served with poached strawberries and wild Iranian figs (thank you, CookEl for your laborious efforts tracking this elusive ingredient down!) The other blancmange was made with the addition of buttermilk. In taste it was not not unlike a pannacotta, which I love anyway so it was win/win either way! It was served with a fresh citrus segments that cut through the rich creaminess perfectly.

Special mention must also go to CookN, whom, only having returned from a holiday just two days previous, found some time amidst all the unpacking and washing to whip up some fabulous, home made almond facial scrubs! I've posted some pictures so you can get an idea of the feast we polished off effortlessly!

Do you have any suggestions for themes the Cooking Club could try out? Let us know and we will see what we can do and report back. :-) September holds something different for us so watch this space to find out what the CC cooks get up to next month!