Sunday, July 27

A foodie's must do in New York City: Chelsea Market

New York in summer is such a different experience to the winter.  It's almost a different city and and not in a bad or a good way, just different, every season brings it's charms but this city changes dramatically.

Something I never did last trip was to take the Subway.  With 5 people it isn't as cost effective but on your own or with just a few of you 2.25 for each ride on the MTA (Metro) is quite reasonable and it doesn't matter how long your trip is.We got off at 14th Street Station and took a short walk to Chelsea Market

Just a tip, hang onto the something on the subway, especially when it first jolts out of your stop.  You will go flying otherwise, and because the subway is so old, the tracks aren't strictly even so you go up and down side to side much more than the more modern trains of today.  But I found the trip pleasant and quick.

Chelsea Market, which has been refurbished from a former biscuit company is where they film a lot of the Food Network Shows like Iron Chef America and Rachel Ray and the bottom floor houses a glorious food market which is infamous here in New York.

Inside, it's set up as a long arcade with a few offshoots.  It's allllll about food my friends so it's an absolute must do.  There's places to eat, cakes, snacks, kitchenware and bookshops.  Completely fabulous!

My favourite shop was Elenis which had cupcakes and the most adorable decorated cookies.  Just unbelievable really.

I particularly liked their 'Color me' series where they had blank cookies of all sorts and sizes and they had food colouring pens (like textas) for you to decorate them.  I bought some of the pens - 4 for $7.95.

And this cute messenger bag is $7.95.

Of course you have to check out New York's pride bakery - Amy's bread I got quite a bit of baking inspiration there.

Another little shop I liked was the doughnuttery.  It has tiny doughnuts - $6 for $6 and cheaper the more you buy.  You can get different flavours -

 Some of these are so crazy but I'm sure they're delicious!

You'll be very surprised to know I didn't buy any cookbooks!  But I will say I was very tempted!  Have you been to Chelsea Markets?  Could you recommend anything/offer any more tips?  If you haven't, would you put it on your list?

Thursday, July 17

No bake chocolate splodge slice

This is a chocoholic slice.  If you are a chocoholic or you are catering for chocoholics - read on.  I made a double batch that makes easily 20 pieces so if you are catering for a crowd, you may like to do that too.  If not just keep to the ingredients listed here. 

It's very simple to put together - and you can mix it up a bit - I used Reeses pieces and hob-nobs but use choc-ripple biscuits or choc wheatens and M&Ms or smarties or whatever you like :)  Colour-co-ordinating it to party colours, or your special cause or whatever!  Be creative!

150grams hob-nobs (or biscuits of your choice)
145grams butter
145 grams of 50% dark chocolate
150ml condensed milk
100g milk chocolate
150g reeses pieces (or smarties/m&ms of your choice)

Line a loaf pan with baking paper ensuring it reaches all sides.

In a bowl, break up your hobnobs/biscuits.

Add half your Reese's pieces.

In a jug or microwave proof bowl add butter and chocolate and heat on 50% for 1 minute, remove and stir and then repeat for another minute.  If not completely melted keep microwaving in bursts of 20 seconds on 50% power. Stir well between each burst.


Add your condensed milk and stir well.

Add to the biscut mix.

Pour into your tin and then put in the fridge for 20 minutes until it sets.

Repeat the process with melting the milk chocolate, 50% power for 1 minute, then stir and repeat until melted.  Pour over the top of the chilled slice.

Now add the other half of your Reese's pieces to the top, or get a special assistant to help ;)

Be as creative or random as you like.

Chill for another 20 minutes.

Slice with a hot knife into slices and store individually in strips of baking paper.

These would be fabulous with icecream I think!  

Tuesday, July 15

Cosy baked potato and prosciutto soup and my sister and my cookbook addiction story...

Every year for my birthday I can expect at least one cookbook.  If no one buys me one, inevitably, I receive money with which I buy one.   One of my sisters and I are the bakers of our family and regularly buy each other cookbooks - and many times over the years we've found a cookbook we'd really like to buy ourselves. We tell each other how close we came to keeping it for ourselves, and then promise to buy it for the other one for their next birthday or Christmas. This is what happened this year when my sister bought this book for me!  That makes one less present I have to search for this year - hoorah!
And I can see why she loves it  - It's called '3 sisters bake' the title is enough to draw both of us in - we are 2 of three sisters (our other sister isn't really a baker but she's a very good cook!) and both of us have three daughters.   So apart from the title, there's some fabulous recipes in there which this one is adapted from.

The original recipe calls for bacon, but I only had short-cut bacon which wouldn't have done the job as it does need that crispy-rind/rendered fat taste and I also substituted leek for onion to balance out the strength of the prosciutto

The real difference between this and most potato soups is that there's no cream but it has a creamy consistency - the taste is distinct also because the potatoes are baked and not boiled, it's a deeper flavour and that's also what helps give that creamy consistency..

1 kg potatoes
3 tb olive oil
Sea salt
3 inches of leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp white pepper
2 litres milk
6 rashers streaky bacon or prosciutto

Preheat oven to 200 degrees

Place potatoes on tray and prick a few times with a fork (will help the steam escape whilst they cook) and then sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt

Bake for one hour, but 20 minutes before the end, place your prosciutto into a baking dish and place in the oven for that last 20 minutes.

Then bring them all out to cool Whilst you get started on the other bits..

 Like heating oil in your large pot, add leeks and garlic and cook until soft.  then add your milk and turn down to a simmer...

Cut your potatoes in half and peel the skins off.  If you leave the skins on you'll get a gritty soup and no one likes that!

Chop up half your prosciutto and add it to the pot with the white pepper.  Then add your potatoes.

Pop the lid on and leave to simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Then either put it through a food process or use a stick blender to mix it through.

Simmer until you're ready the serve!

 Serve with the other half of your prosciutto sprinkled on top

Whilst I was eating this I realised the perfect accompaniment would be my sweet onion Turkish bread, you could whip that up in the time it takes to make this too!

Sunday, July 13

Happy Bastille Day with Double-decker Croque Madames

These are little pieces of heaven and I must thank the French wholeheartedly for inventing the croque Madame (or Monsieur - if you want to omit the egg).  It's the perfect thing for a cold day and takes about 30-40 minutes to make from start to table and are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can make one or six (or more!) it doesn't really add a lot of time to the overall timeline.   You can pick up every ingredient at a deli - and if you're like me you could spend a good hour just looking at the fabulous things in the deli.

When we were in Paris in January you can imagine, after a long day of walking these were just the ticket and my Olivia has asked me a few times for the 'Fancy cheese toasties we had in France'.  I like using unsliced bread and have the toast nice and thick, but you can use regular bread too.

Give them a try because it's cold or because it's Bastille Day today or just because you damned-well-feel-like it!

Ingredients: (makes 6)
1 loaf rye sour dough bread (or any uncut loaf you like)
Bechamel sauce - I made mine in the thermomix but use this recipe if you don't have one
100g gruyere cheese, grated (you can find this in supermarkets or delicatessens) - it's about 1.5 cups grated
60g parmesan cheese (1/2 cup grated)
100g leg ham
4 tb dijon mustard
50g butter
2 tsp olive oil
6 eggs

Make your bechamel and then add 1 cup of your gruyere and all your parmesan and mix well

When melted though, set aside.

Put your oven on grill.

Cut your bread in thick slices - I cut mine about an inch thick.

Put 1/2 of your bread on a baking tray and grill on one side until golden brown.  Butter it.

Then turn it over to have the uncooked side up and .add your mustard

On top of your mustard add ham and couple of spoonfuls of your bechamel, then sprinkle with little more gruyere. (about 1/2 what you have left), Then give it a good pepper.

Put your other bread on top and then grill again, take it out then pour the rest of your bechamel on top.   Try to stop salivating.

Lastly sprinkle the last of your gruyere and pop under the grill again.

Whilst that's grilling add your butter and oil and heat up on your frypan until sizzling.  Add your eggs and fry them sunny side up.

Keep an eye on your griller, you should take them out when they are starting to gold-up on top.

Get a egg flip and transfer on to your plate, and top with egg.. devour!

Can you believe she ate all of this!?  I was kind of hoping she would leave me some leftovers!.. Que sera sera!


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