Saturday, August 11, 2007

Increase your happiness

No, this is not more spam promising happiness through drugs that claim to increase the size of any part of your (or anyone else's) anatomy. I have always known that cheese makes me happy so I am not surprised to find others who also believe this to be true. Now you can enjoy this phenomena and be more likely to find happiness than the general population. The solution is as simple as eating cheese, a magical cheese: Le Chevrot.

A spectacular natural rind cheese made in the Poitou region of the Loire valley, it's densely structured paste is a multitude of subtle nuances yet still remarkably robust. The flavour of ths cheese languishes beautifully on the palate even in it's youth (as the one pictured above). As this living and breathing cheese ages, the aroma and taste profile becomes more pronounced. Though firm, it may also begin to 'droop' a bit, looking like the exterior rind is slowly falling off. Regardless of whatever stage you prefer, Chevrot sings with Sancerre or my favourite, Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

heeft meer lust?

This South African wunder wijn is amazing stuff. Chokka with concentrated flavours, the first alert is the deep, rich plum colour in the glass. Along with the black berry fruit character and dark chocolate, there are some vaguely floral dried herbal/spice notes on the nose.

And the palate! It is one seductive mouthful and positively more-ish.

I've only one bottle of the 96 remaining, but they still had some at Wineseeker a few weeks back. I've heard that the 2000 is pretty flash too.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Torta di Mele

Ok, not everything in season is green. The tiny local apples I used for this cake were a lovely tree-ripened red.

The owner of the property from where these apples were obtained (legally), has no idea of the variety or the age of the trees from which they came. And that is ok. We know one thing: they are tasty, sweet and still refreshinglyappleytart.

The recipe ingredients were scrawled on a bit of paper (recalled from memory) from a co-workers cookbook collection. I think the method might have called for separating the eggs and some other fuss, so the method has been adapted.

Torta di mele

  • About 1 1/2 pounds of sliced apples (this is alot and I've had good results with this weight prior to trimming)
  • 1 lemon, rind grated and juiced

  • 3 xlarge or 4 large eggs (depending on size)

  • 150g or scant 3/4 cup sugar

  • 150g plain unbleached flour

  • 5mL baking powder (generous teaspoon)

  • pinch of salt

  • 100g butter, melted and cooled
Get to work coring, peeling and slicing the apples. Depending on the type of apple you choose, slicing can be done to preference. I like them sliced quite thin to max out the apple distribution.

Place the slices in a bowl with the lemon juice, this keeps them from getting too brown.

Premix dry ingredients and set aside.

Melt butter in saucepan and set aside to cool, do not brown.

Prepare 23 cm (preferably) springform pan by lining the bottom and sides with parchment. I grease it a little and only use the tiniest amount of grease to get the parchment to stick to the pan as well.

Preheat oven to 180C on regular bake setting.

Beat the sugar and eggs in a bowl with the lemon rind. While I have used a whisk, the electric mixer is a lifesaver as this should be mixed pale, thick and creamy, it can take awhile.

Gentle from here on in! Sift half the dry ingredients over the egg mixture and fold in. Pouring the melted butter slowly from the side of the mixing bowl, folding carefully and finishing with the remaining flour. With most of this incorporated, add the apples and all the juice. Complete folding (mixture will be thick and lumpy, but mixed) and gently guide batter into prepared pan.

It takes about 45 minutes for a skewer to come clear from the center of the cake in my gas oven. Keep and eye on it after about 30 minutes.

Cool in the pan for a few minutes then turn out on plate and place right side up on cooling rack.

Served still warm maybe with heavy cream, pouring custard, a sprinkle of sugar or sugared lemon rind, I like this light sponge full of moist apples with it's slight lemony zip.. Shh, for breakfast.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Easy being green

Everything I love about fuss-free cooking and simplicity is currently available in an abundance of green. And it doesn't get any easier than grilled marinated zucchini.

A zesty lemon and herb marinade made with a favourite olive oil make these wee cucuzze taste out of this world. They are a perfect side dish for anything else you care to throw on the grill or a great addition to a roast vegetable salad.