Dulche de Leche – Jumping on the bandwagon, again

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In Australia we are somewhat shielded from the joys of latin culture. Sydney doesn’t have an expansive ‘Latin American’ town (oh, though I wish it did) and there is much media about the woeful quality of Mexican food here. We are just too far away.

So, yay for the internet, I get to read and learn about taco’s, plantains and dulche de leche.

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Caramel Slice was a big part of my more junior cooking education. I hated the grainy cloyingly sweet caramel and milk chocolate combinations that my contemporaries fawned over. I wanted thick, golden condensed milk caramel paired with dark chocolate. Mum would never let me boil the can for fear of explosion, so my caramel slice caramel was a mix of condensed milk, butter and brown sugar and was cooked on the stovetop til luscious and excruciatingly painfully hot – but that is another story.

I had seen and read the Dulche de Leche trend sweeping the internet and didn’t pay much attention until I realised just what it was – and how easy it is to make. I used the David Lebovitz oven technique and cooked mine a little less – see my pie pan (is from the 1970’s and) is brown glass, so it was difficult to see the exact shade – but it was wonderful nonetheless.

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But, I couldn’t eat this entire jar with a spoon (oh, though it was appealing), I decided to jump on the internet trend even more, and make some brownies.

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I changed the recipe though – mostly due to my depleted pantry, and came out with rich dark brownie, punctuated by unctuously smooth and at times chewy sweet sweet caramel.¬† The almonds seem a little over the top, next time¬† I will leave it to the dark chocolate and sweet caramel to speak for themselves. Continue reading »

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Faheem Fast Food – Bright Lights, Pakistani food.

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Faheem Fast Food, bright lights, squished in tables, ‘Australia’s funniest home videos’ on the teevee. All of these things draw immediate attention, but one thing overshadows all these detractions/distractions. The Tandoor In The Window grabs and holds me.

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The real life tandoor, blackened and sizzling churns out crispy, chewy and awesome naan breads, tandoori chicken charred around the edges, but tender and juicy in the centre. The smoky, earthy flavour that this style of cooking imparts is difficult, if not impossible to replicate and is difficult to find in my neighbourhood.

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The joy and beauty of this late night Pakistani curry joint is not in the curries, which aren’t mindblowingly good or even good value, but in the dishes cooked in the tandoor. The naan and chicken are so good, that we keep returning, despite the average curry and the stringent ‘no alcohol’ rule (FFF is 100% halal).

Next time, I will order the Garlic Chicken, or Lemon Chicken – but both will be from the Tandoor.

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Faheem Fast Food
196 Enmore Road, Enmore.

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Friends and Korean BBQ – what more could a girl want?

Life is a bit like a race, at the moment. One self imposed, but a race nonetheless.

Weeks ago, months even (in this race time seems to blend together, merge and twist into one time which is not in the past but still, strangely not in the now), a bunch of us ex-students decided dinner was the way to go. Indonesian was followed by Korean, then later Polish and Lebanese – a way to get together with friends after the being forced together ends.

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I organised the Korean BBQ, after a visit to Sydney Madang I was yearning to try BBQ there with a big group. Bookings policy and hipness forced us away to BBQ City, which turned out to be tasty, cheap and fun (which could be due in part to the unorthodox ‘point and guess’ method we used to order drinks.
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Plum Liqueur, a successful guess.

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Last week my Chinese teacher told us that if you have eaten together then you are good friends. So I have no restaurant review, or recipe today, just an idea of a dinner shared with friends and a reminder to myself that the food doesn’t always have to be wonderful, sometimes its the company that matters more.

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Pear, chocolate and almond fabulous crumble.

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Oh, I must tell you about this divine crumble.

Take a few ripe beurre bosc pears, peel, core and cube. Divide into two ramekins, shake to settle. Break in some dark dark chocolate, top with a few sliced dried apricots (not the cheap, grainy turkish kind, the chewy, tangy and flavoursome halves are better), and some chopped almonds.

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Make your crumble topping with lots of butter, brown sugar, plain flour and almond meal. Pile on top. Cook long and slow, until the pear has softened and the crumble crisped and a wonderful aroma that immortalises comfort starts to waft from the kitchen.

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Eat slowly, taking cake to get creamy chocolate, tangy apricot, crispy sweet almondy crumble and meltingly soft pear all in the one mouthful.

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Baby Chocolate Cakes

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My kitchen is cramped, no, more than that it is ugly. Ugly to use, and ugly to look at. Hooray for the joys of renting, but I guess it is the luck of the draw (and the dollar) the lovely Miss P is also renting, but she has a beautiful kitchen, so when she asked for some cooking help I jumped at the chance.

It wasn’t cooking instruction in general that she asked for, no, Miss P. wanted to know how to make those delicious little cakes I had made for my birthday. Yes, I admit it, I made my own birthday cake. But not just any cake, these almost flourless, rich, crispy on the edges and melting in the middle little cakes with a depth of chocolate and a lingering hint of chilli.

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As well as having a lovely kitchen, a great oven (fan forced! Back in the ugly kitchen the oven is from the dark ages, just and element on the the ground shoved into a badly sealed box), there were the wonderful little silicon moulds, oh how I would love some of these!

The preparation was relaxed, the conversation interesting, and the end product better than I have ever made on my own. Thank you Miss P!

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