Monday, May 17, 2010

Good times collective #1

Perhaps the winter days are getting shorter, but time has certainly flown by. It's been a big couple of weeks, with Mother's Day, birthdays, weddings and more lunches than imaginable. Even my casual non-skinny jeans are getting tight. It's got to be a good time in life when friends and family and food take over - and clothing retail sales are more plentiful these days, anyway.

Sago, lychee and coconut dessert/drink

After some seriously swoon-worthy sago dessert in weeks prior, I'd been motivated to do something similat at home. With inspiration from the restaurant and about five different recipes, and armed with sago, coconut milk and lychees; I fought a brave but ultimately losing round one.

Having added too much water to the coconut milk and tinned lychee syrup, the sago mixture was nowhere near as thick as I had intended. Some nearby clever thinking turned it into a dessert drink with a sugar syrup which sunk attractively to the bottom of the ice-filled glass.

Oysters from buffet dinner on Majestic Cruises

There's only one way to do a seafood buffet. Especially one with endless fresh, tasty and creamy Sydney rock oysters. Plate upon plate of oysters. There might be the odd impatient eater behind you in a queue while you select and pile oysters one by one onto your plate - but it's probably because they're eager to do the same thing.

Mediocre salads and warm foods need not apply for a position on my plate, but a dessert table is always welcome. In particular a dessert table that features cheese and crackers, and fantastic whole cakes of pavlova. I may look stuffed to the gills. And I probably am.

Aunt's classic sponge

I've never really attempted to make sponge, but if and when I do, I know where to go for a classic recipe. I hear murmurs of beating eggs only by hand and other secrets being traded - but on this occasion was too busy drooling to take note of the cooking tips.

Jam filling in the sponge

There are only two allowable fillings in the classic sponge: strawberry jam and fresh whipped cream. And maybe topped of with some chocolate shavings. Noone can resist the classic sponge. It's impossibly fluffy and light, but distinctly eggy and subtly sweet. And aunt always tends to use the heart shaped tin - it must be love.

Home made cheeseboard

Love love my cheeses and even better at home without hefty price tags. This still life was constructed spontaneously with toasted grain bread in place of crackers, fresh red grapes in place of muscatels, the remnants of a wheel of brie and a pate loaf, pickled onions, gherkins and a pile of meticulously picked mizuna leaves. Such the luxury of being at home. Indeed, this was actually dinner for two alongside a glass or two of shiraz.

Black forest trifle at Curzon Hall, Marsfield

I can't say I'm a huge fan of most in-house catering; where sometimes appearance, speed or consistency take priority over quality. It's understandable, especially at functions of large numbers, so I should really learn to keep my expectations in check. I suppose it doesn't help that they have menus written up like fine dining establishments.

This tray of black forest trifles certainly has the appearance impact and looks inviting, but seems to promise more than it gives. A slightly sour cherry compote, unspectacular vanilla cream and cake are topped off with a light and airy chocolate mousse, cream, chocolate shapes and shavings, and a maraschino cherry. In this case, I think less could have been much more. You could have given me a ramekin of chocolate mousse and I would have been that much happier.

Fresh made fettucine

My pasta machine hasn't been feeling the love of late; and it creaks and whinges at me to let me know. The rollers must need oiling and it's all too easy to do it next time. I'm sure it will punish me for that at some point, but in the meantime lovely ribbons of fettucine are still coming off the rollers into some boiling salted water and into a simple tomato and basil sauce. Next time, it'll be an oil treatment and lasagne sheets. Next time.


chocolatesuze said...

aw i like your dinners! cheese makes me so very happy :D

Mark @ Cafe Campana said...

Some really good looking food. I love sago dessert. The little pearls of goodness great and kinda fun.

Betty @ The Hungry Girl said...

Love your at-home cheese platter. And also the heart sponge looks so lovely and fluffy!

Tina said...

Hi suze - People tell me that eating cheese before sleep gives you crazy dreams; though I'm yet to experience that yet.

Ji Mark - Sago are fun, aren't they?

Hi Betty - I'm lucky to be surrounded by great home cooks and all :)

Betty said...

mm ive always wanted a pasta machine! love your home made cheese platter :O)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe I like the logic Tina-jeans are getting tight but the sales are on so we can just buy new ones! :P

Tina said...

Hi Betty - It's loads of fun and rewarding! Get someone else to clean it though ;)

Hi Lorraine - Doesn't that just make perfect sense? :)


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