Curry Puffs and Canberra Connections

It was a Canberra infused week-end: SB dropped by to visit with an armful of daphne branches, an instant reminder of Canberra winter gardens. It has laced the apartment all week-end with a wonderful scent.

Then the Walkers arrived on Saturday to stay,  and last night C, R and T came over for a laksa dinner.

Curry laksa with Canberra friends….

Lots of laughs and conversation: T brought fresh strawberries which she hulled and tossed with Cointreau, C baked a gorgeous carrot and almond meal cake-extra yummy delicious. We looked over photos of the new house which R has been pivotal in helping us get ready. So excited, Izzy. We will be moving in three days!

Apart from shopping for all my laksa ingredients at the Chinese grocery store in Maroubra, the Ws stirred the pot, chatted and poured and cleaned and washed all through the early part of the evening. Such good friends.

While Little C struggled with mountains of French home work, The Walker family directed her to a Flight of the Concords segment, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzZ3EYzjzuE French style: that gave your sister a laugh! Now I have that crazy song stuck in my head!

I quickly made curry puffs while we were all lounging around and chatting, and Salsa Queen took the photos. Here is the recipe. Nice for you to see how it is done, picture by picture. I made potato and pea ones this time, but you know I sometimes do them with curried ground beef which is also good to eat. Let me know if you want the recipe for that filling.

Curry puffs ready to bake.

Izzy, you can freeze these babies in plastic bags, and then lay them out on a tray to bake when you need them. Such a good thing to prep waay in advance. I have kept curry puffs in the freezer for three weeks, no probs. As you know, they are always welcome as a snack, but in Santa Monica, I did go through a stage of making them slightly bigger in size, and serving them with a crisp salad for dinner. Chilli sauce, or yogurt and mint chutney on the side. If you have exams or long days of essays coming up, this is a wonderful snack to have in store. ( Especially now that you have a decent size freezer with our Eildon Road fridge transported over to Grouse!)

I was soooo happy to have photos of  the meals you’ve cooked recently, including chicken soup while you were sick, and amazing looking cupcakes with a difference (thanks for that recipe!!).

Curry Puffs

  • 5 to 6 medium sized potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup peeled and diced sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cummin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh finger, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped

Method:

  1. Fry the ginger and garlic in hot oil, and as they change colour to golden, add the fennel and cumin seeds.
  2. Add the turmeric, sweet potato and potato cubes, and stir till the spices have well coated everything.
  3. Add a cupful of water and turn down the heat.
  4. Cook the potato mix until soft, about 20 minutes or so. Stir occasionally.
  5. Season to your liking: salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the peas and cook for another few minutes until the mixture is dry.
  7. Leave to cool completely, in fact, best refrigerated before you make the puffs.

This mix also good in a wrap or with steamed hot rice!

To make the puffs:

  • 1 packet of Pampas puff pastry sheets (six per packet).
  • 2 tablespoons flour mixed with a little warm water to form a thin paste.
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  1. Remove puff pastry from the freezer and lay each sheet out to thaw separately. If you leave them in a pile, there is a danger they might stick together.
  2. When the pastry sheet is pliable, use a sharp knife and cut each sheet into six pieces: cut into half from end to end. Then divide into three sections in the opposite direction:

Divide pastry sheet into six pieces

3. Holding a piece of pastry in the palm of your hand, place a small spoonful of cold potato mixture into one half of the pastry.

4. Dampen the edges of the pastry with the flour and water mixture.

5. Fold the pastry over, and press down firmly. You can make a decorative edge with a fork.

6. Arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and cook in a hot oven ( about 190 degrees celsius) until it starts to turn golden. This will be in about 15 to 20 minutes.

7. At this point, pull out the tray from the oven, and dab each puff with a splash of milk ( a scrunched up paper towel dipped in milk will work fine if you don’t have a pastry brush). This will give your puffs a lovely shiny finish.

8. Cook for a last five minutes, for the milk glaze to set.

So darling,  a few more steps than usual for what I like to cook (speedy is my game!), but worthwhile in terms of having something stored in the freezer to pull out when you have the munchies. Here’s a tip: cook the mixture one day, and make the puffs on another! Keep sending me pictures of what you are cooking! xoxo

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Last Supper: Claudia Eats Quiche!

You and I begged Little C this evening as we cruised up and down the aisles at the local market: WHAT would you like to eat before you first day of school back in Australia?? Understandably, your little sis was a bit out of it, and it was a while before she was able to focus, and settle on…..quiche!

Out of the oven!

There is nothing quite like the smell of a quiche baking in the oven. Wafting through the house this evening was an eggy, cheesy fragrance and we three girls inhlaed eagerly as we went about our chores, waiting for it to be done.  Dad had texted to say he’d be on his way home soon.

All the quiche needed was a nice salad to go with it, and viola, we would be ready to eat.  The nice thing about a quiche, Izzy, is that once you assemble it and pop it in the oven, there is no more to do but enjoy the wonderful fragrances wafting through the house. You are left with time to prepare a salad, paint your nails, read that article or go for a walk.  Of course the other nice thing is that a slice of left over cold quiche is quite yummy too…..

For someone with a busy life like you, I wouldn’t even bother with making the pastry for the base. Just buy a good pie crust when you shop for your ingredients, and your prep for dinner is e-a-s-y!!  Pampas make good pastry in Australia, but whatever is at hand is great- just go for a savoury, short crust pastry.

Your easy way out: buy a ready made crust!

We’ve been making quiches at home from inception, but through the years, we’ve found ways to make it  less rich. Of course a compromise on flavour would never fly so our ‘lite’ version is still wonderfully tasty. Enjoy your pie.

Ingredients to fill two eight inch pie crusts:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk or skim milk
  • 3/4 cup low fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • salt and pepper to taste (about one teaspoon each)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • a pinch of nutmeg and paprika
  • two short crust pastry savoury pie shells
Filling ideas for your quiche:
  • minced and sauteed onion + bacon mix, spinach, and pine nuts
  • drained and flaked tin of pink salmon, semi dried tomato, fresh sprigs of dill
  • cooked cubes of potato, slices of avocado and capers
  • asparagus spears, grilled and roughly chopped prociutto and fresh basil leaves
Method:
  1. Turn on the oven to 185 degrees celcius or 365 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk the eggs, milk and yogurt together until well combined- gently, but not for too long.
  3. Add the flour, oil and seasoning, and whisk further.
  4. Follow the instructions on the packet of your pie shells, and bake for approximately ten mintues.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool.
  6. Now arrange your filling in the bottom of your pie shells, and then scatter over with parmesan cheese.
  7. Gently pour equal amounts of egg mixture into the pie crusts.
  8. Return to the oven and bake for 30 to 40 mintues or until the pie appears golden but not brown on top, and a sharp knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean.
  9. Serve warm with a crisp salad, and in our case last night, also with some irresistable Kitchen by Mike’s bread.
Earlier in the day, we had picked up our cousins, and they introduced us to an amazing treat nearby: Gelato Messina. The sun beamed down on us five girls, as we tucked into our insanely delicious cold treats. As you know, Izzy I am not a huge fan of ice cream, but I think I might have been fully converted standing on the pavement in Darlinghurst. Thank you, Cousins C and S – that was an amazing revelation!

What to chose!

I think Little C is well fortified for her first day at school. Good luck, brave girl: I hope it is a good day. Your dad,  Izzy, and I are thinking of you. xoxo