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Homemade pumpkin risotto

Pumpkin risotto with shaved parmesan and balsamic vinegar using the cuisine companion

There are things that I absolutely love eating, but can be a pain in the neck to cook. I’m not one to stir and wait in from of the stove. I’m more of the set and forget person! Risotto requires patience, and can easily be ruined. It was one of my favourite dish to cook when I was a student, and a good friend recently reminded me of the insane amount of butter I put in. I cooked this dish so many times that I can’t remember this occurence, but apparently, I told her that this was for flavour. Rest assured, though Butter is still one of my best friends, I’ve discovered olive oil and the recipe below doesn’t use butter at all. The creaminess of this pumpkin risotto is given by the pumpkin soup (Ok, the pumpkin soup had a bit of cream, just for luck).

isigny 10.009 beurre demi sel

I love butter, butter’s my best friend :)

Pumpkin is one of my favourite vegetables, and I’ve only discovered how versatile it is very recently. Tefal has an awesome pumpkin soup  recipe in its Cuisine Companion Book. I ended up making a little more than 2 L of it, which is a lot considering that Monsieur has the stomach of a little bird (a single bowl of soup is enough for him, so we tend to avoid all you can eat places). Having been to Dario Milano’s restaurant in Roseberry for a photography lesson, I remembered this awesome pumpkin risotto Dario’s chef had made. It was luscious, delicious, creamy and so good.

Pumpkin Risotto with caramelized balsamic vinegar

Recipe for pumpkin risotto with caramelised balsamic vinegar (for 2 people) inspired by Dario Milano’s restaurant: Milano Torino

Ingredients:

  • 150 g arborio rice
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 50 ml Olive oil
  • 50ml White Wine
  • 600 ml pumpkin soup with 1 tbsp chicken stock powder
  • 40g parmesan cheese
  • a dash of caramelised balsamic vinegar

Step 1: peel the shallot (or onion) and clove, cut the shallot in 4 quarters and place  the ultra blade knife. Mix for 15 seconds at speed 11.

Step 2: replace the ultra blade knife with the mixer, add the olive oil and launch the P1 slow cook program for 7 minutes without the stopper

Step 3: When the timer shows 4 mins remaining, add the rice. When there’s 1 min remaining, add the wine, and at the end of the program add the pumpkin soup with 1 tbsp of chicken stock powder. Launch the P3 slow cook program at 95°C for 20 mins without the stopper.

Homemade pumpkin risotto

Step 4: At the end of cooking, top with the caramelized balsamic vinegar and shaved parmesan. Serve immediately!

Mademoiselle was gifted a cuisine companion thanks to Tefal. Opinions remain our own.

Luxe_feature

Luxe’s new menu by Chef Chui Lee Luk in Woollahra

Luxe is a Sydney-based artisan café and wholesale bakery. Monsieur and I have previously visited Luxe for brunch (read previous blog here) and because we’re very fond of this particular area (favourite butcher’s there). Monsieur and I were invited to the launch of the new menu by Chef Chui Lee Luk (former owner chef at Claude’s).

Luxe2_ChefChui

We were treated to prosecco and wonderful canapés: The pinky-size parmesan doughnuts with parmesan sauce were fluffy and light, and felt like biting into a parmigiano cloud with the shiitake mozzarella crostini, my personal favourite.
Luxe3_Octopus

The grilled octopus in XO sauce was magnificent, so tender I devoured it way too quickly. Chef Chui explains that she’s focusing on delivering healthy comfort food, and has endeavoured to decrease the amount of butter used. The addition of bacon in her XO sauce is a nice east meet west twist.Luxe1_Owner Jono

The last Luxe venture opened by Jonathan Harvey – Owner and founder of the Luxe chain – is in Singapore, where Chef Chui was born.

Luxe4_broccolini

Chef Chui is now focusing on healthier cooking. Blending her fine dining style with her asian heritage as well as Luxe’s relaxed vibe, the menu is all about balance.

Luxe6_fish

There’s definitely the comfort factor thanks to the exquisitely tender roasted Barramundi in ginger buttery sauce, but this dish is the only dish with butter. Being French, it was Monsieur and I’s favourite.
Luxe2_ChefChui

The healthy factor is brought by the crunchy broccolini with hazelnuts as well as a coleslaw, a classic dish at Luxe. Luxe8_Duck

The other dish that we loved was the balsamic glazed duck served with Brussel sprout. Think of it as  a cross between Chinese roast duck and French duck confit as the duck was extremely tender.Luxe9_applepeartart

To finish off our meal, we had a pear and apple tart, with a golden caramelised top and cream to pour on top.

Monsieur and Mademoiselle dined as guests of Luxe.
Click to add a blog post for Luxe Woollahra on Zomato

Bastille tart - cocarde cockade

Bastille Day tart recipe with the Tefal Cuisine Companion

I lived in London for some years before moving Down Under. Whist in the UK, I always wondered why this country was still a Constitutional monarchy, not that I disliked paying taxes to the Queen (mh…) I just couldn’t help but wonder, especially each Bastille Day, what would have happened to the UK had they had a revolution!

Bastille Day isn’t called “Jour de la Bastille” in France. French would just say “14 Juillet” or “Fête Nationale”. Whilst celebrating at the French consulate in Chicago years ago, I was told that Americans began calling our French national day “Bastille Day” to draw a distinction between their National Day and ours… “Fourth of July” and “Fourteenth of July” sound quite close!

Bastille tart - cuisine companion

To celebrate our Bastille Day, I made a cocarde tart using my Cuisine Companion. The French Cockade is blue in the centre, then white and red on the outside. I also made an RAF cockade (blue outside, red in the centre) as I love blueberries. Upon realising that the St George’s Cross of the union flag could be confused with the Iron Cross used on German aircrafts, the British RAF followed the lead of the French and made their own cockade with blue, white and red, albeit reversed.

Tarte Cocarde for Bastille Day: An original recipe by Olivia G. made with the Cuisine Companion. (Yields four 12cm tart shells)

Ingredients for the tart shells:

  • 150 g flour
  • 80 g butter (room temperature)
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (keep the egg whites for the filling)

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar (I use 15ml Tbsp)
  • 125 g mascarpone
  • 1 tbsp amaretto (optional)
  • fruits: blueberries, raspberries and strawberries

Bastille Tart - Making tart shells

  1. Pre heat your oven to 180°C. In the Cuisine companion fitted with the kneading crushing blade, put the flour, icing sugar, butter and mix at speed 8 for 1 minute. The texture will be very crumbly. Put the 2 egg yolks and mix at speed 6 for 1 minute. A dough should form. Empty the bowl, cover the dough with cling and put in the fridge for 30 minutes (or the freezer for 10 minutes if you hate waiting!)
  2. Cut the dough in 4 and roll each quarter between 2 baking sheets. Lay the circles in the tins and press gently to extend the pastry up to the side of the tins. Use pie weighs or lentils/rice and cook for 10 minutes with the weights, and 10 more without the weights. Leave the shells to cool.Bastille Tart - Cooling tart shells
  3. Remove the kneading crushing blade, and rinse the Cuisine Companion bowl. Dry it and fit it with the whisk. put the 2 egg whites, and mix at speed 7 for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the mascarpone with 1 tbsp amaretto. When there’s 1 minute left, start to pour in the icing sugar 1 tbsp at a time (every 15 seconds).  Put half of the amaretto+mascarpone mixture in and mix at speed 2 for 1 minute. When there’s 30 second left, put the remaining half.
  4. Put the filling in the tart shells and place the fruits so they form a cockade.

Bastille tart - cockade

Et voilà! you’ve got your cocarde Bastille Day tarts! The Cocarde was initially green, green being the colour for hope. When the insurgents realised that green was the king’s brother’s colour, the cocarde was blue and red. There are many legends surrounding the cocarde’s creation, and though to date, no official law defines the colour of our French cocarde, women could be sentenced to jail for not wearing it back in 1793.

So tell me dear reader, how will you celebrate Bastille Day?

Bastille tart - cocarde cockade

Mademoiselle was gifted a free Cuisine Companion thanks to Tefal. Opinions are our own.

 

Paon Cuisine - Sate Siap

Where to stay in Legian and the best day I had in Indonesia!

PullmanLegian2

Picture courtesy of Pullman Legian

Five things to do in Legian:

1/ Surf the waves

Legian is great for surfers, with pretty massive waves. We wondered why so many Australians took their surfboards with them and upon seeing the waves in Legian, we got why! If you cannot be bothered to carry yours, don’t worry, you can rent it anywhere on the beach

2/ Drink a Bintang whilst watching the sunset

Or you can choose a noon alcoholic fresh coconut juice! It’s relaxing, cheap (a Bintang cost us 25000 IDR, roughly AUD 2.5) and watching the sunset is romantic :-)

3/ Fly a Kite

The kites in Bali are pretty sophisticated. You can even get a 3D pirate’s ship!

4/ Walk along the beach

5/ Organise a day trip to commute to other locations: We changed hotel to Nusa Dua, and commuting from Legian/Kuta was easier.

Sunset in Legian

Day trip in Ubud

Monsieur and I took our first cooking course together in Hanoi, 3 years ago. Thanks to TripAdvisor’s recommendations, we booked a cooking course with Paon Cooking, and though it implied an early pick up at our hotel (7:30am pick up to be at the Ubud Markets at 8:45am due to dense traffic) it was definitely worth it. We paid IDR350,000 per person for the cooking course as well as IDR 400,000 to have a driver pick us up at our hotel at 7:30am and drop us off afterwards. We made it to Ubud Market a bit later than most (most guests were based in Ubud, where pick-up is free). As we wanted to go to the Sacred Monkey Forest at Ubud Sanctuary, we paid an extra IDR 50,000 to our driver and got back home about an hour later at around 4:30pm.

Paon Cooking Class

Paon Cooking offers two sessions: Morning (with the visit of Ubud’s Market) and Afternoon. Both are priced at IDR350,000 (roughly AUD35). Included in this price is a tour of the Ubud Markets where you get to discover the local fruits, vegetables and spices. The first sale of the day is considered the luckiest, so if you can get there at 4 am and you’re the first customer, it is likely that you can get yourself a good bargain :-)

Ubud Market

(I know, I don’t look my happiest, but I got car sickness! After sampling a mangosteen and a banana, I was back to normal!)

Ubud Market Snake fruit

On our way to Puspa’s home (where Paon cooking courses are held) we stopped near the rice terraces. Indonesian grow various types of rices: white, sticky rice, red and black. Black is the least common of all as it is used for sweet desserts. Rice is a staple in Indonesians’ diet, but despite using fertiliser and being able to harvest the rice 4 times a year (as opposed to twice a year before), Indonesia still has to rely on imports to meet the local demand.

Ubud - Rice terraces

When we made it to Puspa and Wayan’s lovely home, Wayan (Puspa’s husband) welcomed us with an icy lemon drink and explained us everything about Balinese houses. You’re allowed to have only one temple per family, and when a woman becomes a bride, she has to follow her husband’s family and move in with her in-laws.

Paon Cuisine - Wayan

Wayan played the a Balinese Bamboo xylophone whilst Puppa explained us what ingredients we would be cooking with.

Paon Cuisine - Base Gede Ingredients

Before we started cooking, Puppa enquired about food allergies and dietary requirements. One vegetarian had her Base Gede without the shrimp paste and her chicken dishes were substituted with tofu. For once, Monsieur’s allergies weren’t relevant!

Paon Cuisine - Puspa grinding ingredients

Above: The lovely Puspa grinding peanuts garlic and chilli. Don’t be scared about the hotness of a dish, as seeds from chilli beans were removed so I found it to be mild!

“Hah Hah Hah, that’s not a knife pestle and mortar!”

Paon Cuisine - now that's a pestle and mortar

“THAT’s a pestle and mortar!”

Paon Cuisine - mixing tuna and spices

We chopped, grind, stirred, mix and stirred; got to sample long snake beans. For the first time, we sampled tempeh (fermented soybeans) and it was love at first taste! Paon Cuisine - Tempeh

We went to Paon Cooking the second day after we got to Bali, and the food was outstanding. Pupsa promised this would be the best food we would have in Bali, and she was right. No other restaurants we went to matched the goodness of her recipes. My only regret now that we’re back home is that we should have gone back… It was that good!Paon Cuisine - Sate SiapOther than the tempeh being one of our favourite dish, we loved the Sate Lilit Ayam (Minced chicken grilled on bamboo sticks).

Paon Cuisine - Sate lilit ayam

And because a great meal always ends with something sweet, another dish Monsieur is keen to prepare once we’re back home is kolak pisang: boiled banana in palm sugar syrup.

Paon Cuisine - Dessert

This is the only dish we didn’t get to prepare! Though super easy to make, it was the tastiest indonesian dessert we had.

We highly recommend Paon Cooking Class. It was the best day we had in Indonesia!

Sacred Monkey Forest at Ubud Sanctuary

Ubud - Monkey

Our driver, who is also a “taksi” driver, agreed to wait for another 1 hour with us at the Sacred Monkey Forest (though the visit took us 45 minutes). This was something we were looking forward to, though my poor Monsieur was scratched by a cheeky monkey (Monsieur had bananas with him). Entry to the Monkey Forest is 30000 IDR per person (as of June 9th, 2015). Beware, monkeys can be quite aggressive you have bananas!

So tell me dear reader, have you ever tried tempeh and been pleasantly surprised? And if you’ve been to Bali, what other activities would you recommend?

This post is based on visits independently paid for.