Monday, 14 February 2011

Garlic Jewels, Spuds & Upside-down Cooking

I thought I would show you a couple of things I have successfully (if I may say so, myself) whipped up in the kitchen lately.

Whilst checking out The Hungry Girls Cookbook website, I found this delicious recipe for an Apricot, Almond & Spice cake and as there is an abundance of affordable stone fruit around, I thought I'd give it a whirl.

I'm not normally a baker, but I do love the resurgence of pride in home baking. As it is a culinary art that very much depends on accuracy and recipe following, it just doesn't suit my "what-have-I-got?, let's-just throw-it-together-and-see" style of cooking. Also, I have very warm hands which means that dough and pastry handling are set for flop-dom around me, because they love a chilly environment for success.

I gave it my best shot, but as it is genetically impossible for me to FOLLOW A RECIPE to the tee, I foophed with it a teeny bit. I added some lemon zest and swapped one of the three tablespoons of golden syrup for one of agave syrup. I also used ground cardamon. Getting the kernels out of the husks was hysterical - I have a monster mortar and pestle, but every time I tried to smash one open it would fly out across the room.

When I laid my apricots in the tin, I popped them in the opposite way to the recipe, and was originally upset about this, but I was very happy with the end result.

We have been eating it with some very decadent Gipplsand pure double cream...Mmmmmmm

Amazing how mixing together bits of these ingredients (plus some lemon zest!):

gives you this:

Last week, I popped down to Daylesford Organics to buy some of their scrumptious, flavour-ridden garlic and scored a BOB-bonus.

As they like to let their garlic grow its flower heads, or bulbils, these come still attached to the garlic hands. Although the day I was there, they were starting to drop off, so we popped them all in a paper bag so they didn't end up all over the floor of the you-beaut-ute. The bulbils, in themselves, are teeny, little, purple bursts of intense garlic flavour. I renamed them "Garlic Jewels" because of their precious-ness and their glossy, purple colour. You can see some photos of what they look like still in flower-head form, here.

Here are the ones I brought home.

I bought some free-range chicken maryland pieces and when I got home, went out to the vegie garden and dug up some spuds. I have no idea what variety as they came up unexpectedly!

I scrubbed the potatoes and chopped them up so they were all roughly the same size and threw them in a heavy pot with a small handlful of the garlic jewels, about 15 peeled and squashed garlic cloves, 3 fresh bay leaves, zest of half a lemon, salt, pepper and about a cup of white wine and a cup of chicken stock.

Then I popped a half almond meal, half wholemeal flour mix with salt and pepper in to a plastic bag and chucked the chicken in to coat it. Then I fried off the chook pieces until golden and when they were done I rested them on top of the spuds, popped the lid on and put them in a medium (about 350 f/180 c) oven for about 40 minutes.

And THIS was the result.

It was scrum-diddly-umptious!


  1. And looks soooo pretty! i love gorgeous simple food like that made with quality ingredients.
    And those garlic jewels....mmmmmmm! You know me and garlic LOVE each other!

  2. Hello Frankly Fiesty! Really glad you liked the cake, and blogged about it. Your life in the country tramping around in your gumboots looks fantastic - inspiring! Solar panels, chooks - we're trying to do the same thing at our place, but on a much smaller suburban scale ... Ah, such a long time to wait now for next year's apricots!!


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