Monthly Archives

January 2013

A Sydney Visit

January 31, 2013

Did you all enjoy a nice long weekend? Mine was filled with a little chance and surprise, some wandering in the rain and an excessive degree of lazing and grazing. You see, I went on a little trip, myself. A trip to Sydney.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband, Ben, is currently working in Sydney for three months. Originally I was rather stubborn (who, me?) in proclaiming I would not visit, preferring to save my pennies for the USA leg of our upcoming adventure. That all changed when I found terribly cheap airfares – return for $89, how could I possibly say no? I couldn’t. And so I allowed myself to have a wonderfully long weekend in Sydney with my husband, the rain, my book and a happy, peaceful mind.

Let me share some Sydney snaps with you…

I had a few hours to while away after arriving Thursday afternoon, and so I headed to Klink. Here I spent a lovely couple of hours sipping on a latte and munching on one of my homemade cookies, unabashedly breaking into the stash I made for the boys and my brother (who drove me to the airport).
These cappuccino cookies are all sugar, all butter, all indulgent, all true cookie goodness. I got the cookie buzz good that afternoon and tore through quite a few pages of my book.
Early evening the boys helped me to surprise Ben at dinner. His sweet astonishment was heartwarming, as was his I-miss-you-so-much-we’ve-only-been-apart-for-two-weeks-not-even-that-long-get-a-grip-seriously embrace. Magic.

…..

The next day, while the boys were at work, I walked to Alexandria for breakfast at The Grounds of Alexandria. I have long heard about this “Grounds” place, having seen many instagram pictures of deliciousness from local ladies and gents, and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Plus, “The Grounds” sounded like the perfect place to spend a few lazy hours after a keen morning walk.
After recuperating with a truly scrumptious meal of mixed mushrooms with fried egg and lemon myrtle butter over sourdough, as well as two lattes, I left to mosey some more, crunching leaves and appreciating the breeze as I walked on this very warm day.
Later on I visited The Book Kitchen for a spot of tea. The mint, lavender and fennel blend took my fancy, and so I sat and sipped while reading Whole Larder Love, a book which I wholly adore.
I then decided that Messina Gelato would be the perfect lunch, and devoured a lovely cone with peach melba and chocolate fondant.

…..

Saturday morning, Australia Day, we rolled out of bed, sore from a night of dancing and patrón – not in that order – and headed to Everleigh Farmers Market. A market breakfast was in order.

The smell of farm-fresh eggs and bacon sleeping on the grill, smushed (truly, there is no other word to describe this assembly) between a soft white roll with a generous spread of relish is like. no. other. An egg and bacon roll, plus an apple, carrot and ginger juice was just the ticket on this morning.
Ben enjoyed his organic lemonade, ’twas zingy and refreshing. His steak sandwich was scrumptious also.

The rest of the day was spent lazing on the couch sipping restorative tea. And cookies, more cookies. I had also made and brought up these bites for the boys, a healthy cookie to balance all that sugar and butter. This time I added a keen amount of espresso powder and cinnamon to the mix. I am, quite clearly, addicted.

Roast lamb for dinner was a delicious obligation on Australia Day.

Cheese, crackers, olives and roasted mushrooms with goats cheese and prosciutto to start. Smoked cheddar…that’s all I need to say. I also made some raspberry vanilla lemonade which we proceeded to sip for the next few days.

Then we all tucked into slow-roasted lamb shoulder with Jamie Oliver’s perfect roast potatoes, roasted carrots and green beans.

Cookie ice-cream sandwiches for dessert. Cookies. Everywhere.

…..

Sunday morning prompted another visit to The Grounds, where Ben and I shared trout with cucumber and egg, and ham hock with peas, preserved lemon and parmesan. It was perfection, so very wonderful and wholesome. As a side note, I need the kitchen at The Grounds, all of it. It’s huge and white and open and glorious.

Lazing back to Paddington, Ben and I spent a rainy day watching Harry Potter and eating Sonoma Bakery goodies for lunch (love this place). Rainy Sundays are for lazing, movies, bakeries and little more.

…..

Monday morning I was on my own again, and so I spent another lazy morning at a cafe. We’re sensing a theme here, aren’t we? Lazing and grazing…Absolutely.

On this morning I visited Bill’s for a green juice and brown rice porridge with sweet miso, mango and coconut yoghurt. I’d woken up with a cold and this meal was perfection – wholly nourishing. Followed by a latte and more reading, naturally.

Later on I met two gorgeous ladies, Hannah and Laura, for a gelato date. This drizzly, mild day in January did not cry for chilled midday scoops, nevertheless we fought against instinct and indulged anyway. Persuasion wasn’t really necessary though, was it, ladies? I so appreciate you two for coming to meet me in the rain. On this occasion I chose salted coconut with mango and my beloved pistachio, not before trying a few tastes of other superb flavours, of course.

After our date, I walked home in the rain (Laura I should have grabbed that lift!!), got completely saturated, abruptly bought a pair of boots from Country Road, went home, showered and read in bed wearing said boots. It was snug and indulgent and awesome.

Ben came home soon after and we hung out, spending our last night together in Sydney just being together, lazing and grazing.

Heidi xo

Sydney Notes from a Melbourne Girl.

Be sure, I am absolutely not in the loop with Sydney eats. On this visit I frequented some places more than once and found a few new gems. I shall now list my favourites (including those I discovered during a visit last September). These are a tiny portion of what Sydney has to offer and are no doubt solely the popular, tourist spots. Recommendations for future visits are very welcome in the comments.

Sonoma Bakery (I’m still dreaming of that morning bun I didn’t get to try…)
Bourke St Bakery
The Grounds of Alexandria
The Book Kitchen
Bill’s (though I prefer the food at The Grounds. Bill’s is nice and bright, though rather pricey and touristy).
Reuben Hills I’ve also been told I should have tried this spot, darn it. I trust this friend and his food brain, so surely it’s delicious here.
Klink
Chiswick
Sean’s Panaroma
Bentley Bar – I have not visited, myself, but my good friend recommended this place and she is exceptional in taste and general fabulousness.
Messina Gelato

Bircher Muesli Pancake for One

January 28, 2013
There are few things I adore more in this world than sharing breakfast with loved ones on the weekend. Meeting friends at a cafe, staying home and making eggs with my love or morning croissant runs at my parents’ home, it’s all happiness and hugs to me. This practice is good for my soul, it sets me up right for the day. It’s my thing.
Sometimes, however, I eat breakfast by myself on the weekend. Alone. Just me and my peaceful morning mind. And it’s nice.
On these sometimes solo days I still fancy a special meal. After all, it’s not as though my stomach is aware I am without a dining companion. So…pancakes for one? Yes. Bircher muesli pancake for one? Oh, please, yes.
These days, I find myself having breakfast for one more often than not, as the husband has ventured to Sydney for his business. It’s all very exciting and his days are full of learning and growth. Mine, evidently, are full of pancakes. This distance is only for three months, so I cannot complain too much (and right now I’m fitting in a sneaky Sydney visit for the long weekend). Plus, it means I am back in Red Hill with mum and dad, a place that is truly good for my soul. And then after this Sydney business, we’re off to San Francisco for a few months to continue Ben’s work. When did all this happen? I don’t know, really, it’s a bit of a blur. It’s all very new… pinch me. And pass me a pancake.
Pancakes in morning light. One of life’s true joys.

Bircher Muesli Pancake for One

Makes one giant pancake

Ingredients

A generous 1/2 cup Apple, grated (I used ~1/2 a medium pink lady and the cup was packed high)
2 tablespoons Rolled Oats
2/3 tablespoon Sultanas
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 tablespoons Greek Yoghurt (I used Roaming Cow Dairies Greek Style Reduced Fat Yoghurt – it’s such a good yoghurt)
1/4 cup Wholemeal Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
A pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
1 Egg, whisked
Butter to grease your pan
Greek Yoghurt and Maple Syrup to serve

Method

1. Put your grated apple in a mixing bowl with the oats, sultanas, cinnamon and yoghurt. Stir to combine then place in the fridge, covered, for 20 minutes.
2. While the wet mixture is in the fridge, sift the flour into a mixing bowl (adding back to the bowl any leftover flakes) then sift in the baking soda. Add the salt and brown sugar, then stir to combine.
3. After 20 minutes, add the refrigerated apple yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients along with the whisked egg. Gently fold the ingredients, ensuring all the flour is mixed through (be careful to not over-mix).
4. Heat a large non-stick pan over low-medium heat and grease with a little butter. Test to see if the pan is hot by flicking water onto the pan (if it dances on the pan, it’s hot). Ladle the batter onto your hot pan, spreading the mixture out to form one large pancake. Cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown, then carefully yet confidently use a spatula to flip your giant pancake and cook for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown (turning down the heat if required). Flip the pancake one last time and cook for a final minute on the original side if required.
3. Serve your pancake with a big dollop of Greek yoghurt and a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

 

Heidi xo

Cardamom Snacking Cake

January 24, 2013

*pssst*

Come closer.

I have something I want to share with you.

It’s my new favourite cake. A cardamom snacking cake. I implore you to say that out loud right now. “Cardamom snacking cake”. Isn’t is delicious?

Cardamom. It’s a dearly beloved spice of mine.

 

This cake, to me, is flawless. And while others in our household enjoyed their slice, none shared my truly fervent fondness. I cannot quite explain how this love story came about, or what makes it extra special. Dare I say I adore this cake more than my well-loved citrus and almond beauties? I suppose I do indeed.

What I do know, is that my adoration grew with each day, with each slice that crept onto my afternoon plate. My head tells me that it is something to do with the eager use of creme fraiche, which is God’s milk in my eyes. My hedonistic heart agrees. Scatterings of zest and pistachio freckles only enhance it’s beauty. Freckles and speckles are darling and delicious.

Really, I am inept at describing such a sudden, encompassing love as this. I try, yes, but no words quite do it justice. You may feel the same way as I do about this cake, you may find it rather ordinary. All I know is that I am faithfully and entirely in love.

And I just wanted you to know.

Heidi xo

Recipe Notes

* Recipe link: Cardamom Snacking Cake – by A Sweet Spoonful, adapted from The River Cottage.
* I used a mortar and pestle and did grind my own cardamom from the lovely green pods. The intense flavour is worth this extra effort.
* Mum’s oven cooked this beauty in 33 minutes. We checked it at 30minutes & left it in for an additional few. The recipe calls for 50 minutes or until golden and the top springs back. A skewer inserted into the middle certainly came out clean, so be sure to watch your cake if your oven is particularly efficient. I’m afraid that overcooking this cake will lessen any love.
* Next time I might try a touch of meyer lemon zest alongside the orange. And I did add a pinch more zest and pistachio than the recipe called for.
* I did not top our cake with icing sugar, as the recipe suggested, as I found it sweet enough already. It is truly perfect as it is. Greek yoghurt is a lovely addition, though.
* This cake is just as beautiful the day after it has been made. Slice by slice.

Cooking with The Duchess

January 21, 2013

So, we’re in Palermo. We’ve explored markets, dodged rampant cars and devoured seafood, now it’s time for something more hands-on. A cooking class sounds perfect.

Ben and I had agreed on wanting to do a cooking class somewhere on our honeymoon. Initially we thought France, but after a bit of research we found ‘A Day Cooking with The Duchess‘ in Palermo and couldn’t resist.

 

This class is run by Nicoletta, the Duchess of Palma, in her stunning palace (with rooms to rent). Nicolette is supremely knowledgable and very down to earth. In her extremely hands-on class, you learn to cook authentic Sicilian cuisine in her beautiful kitchen alongside her lovely guidance and encouragement. Your day begins with a market trip and ends over a celebratory feast with all our creations. I cannot rave about this class enough. Thank you to our dear friends, the divine Welsh family, who, as their Wedding gift, afforded us this experience. We will never forget it. In fact, we’ve already made the Swordfish for loved ones on Christmas Eve!


…..

Early morning we met Nicoletta and the four other group members at her palace, before heading out to Capo market
 


Here we met vendors and shopped for local produce, learning about our purchases as we went. Nicolette stressed the importance of a good, honest relationship with your vendor. I was just in awe of the magnificent, fresh and cheap produce.

 

 

When visiting Capo market, be sure to stop by the Chiese Dell’Immacolata Concezione al Capo. It’s a hidden gem and is just spectacular.
Back at the palace we got to work! Instructed by Nicoletta, we made our way through each dish. We were all assigned jobs and worked together on our culinary creations – everything from washing and chopping, to peeling and stirring, even picking herbs fresh from the garden. It was endless fun.

 

Time simply flew by! And after all our hard work, we moved into the dining room to enjoy our meal with some well earned vino.
Sun-dried tomato, pistachio and basil on toasted bread. I am now in love with this fast and inspiring combination.
Peppered pecorino and capers.
Eggplant croquettes. Truly, some of the most scrumptious bites I’ve had. Roasting the eggplant to perfection encouraged such deliciousness.
Pasta with fresh tomato basil sauce. Like a heavenly garden blend, this was pure light and love.
Swordfish involtini and potato caper salad. With a herbed, pinenut, craisin, zesty, breadcrumb, anchovy filling, these fish rolls were beyond. As was this gutsy and welcoming potato salad, with generous use of red wine vinegar. These two dishes to me are just perfection. A perfect plate, a perfect meal. Perfection.
A drop of Marsala, very Sicilian.
And then we have this beauty, decorated with nuts and chocolate and jasmine kisses. An almond set custard of sorts, which no doubt has a terribly distinct name that I am forgetting (forgive me, our recipe notes are currently in storage). Either way it was pure divinity.
Thank you, Nicoletta for your encouragement and instruction, and to your husband alsofor your warm hospitality and company. I cannot wait to come back to Palermo and stay in your rooms, and delight in some more cooking adventures together.

And to you, lovelies, thank you for letting me share our honeymoon travels with you. This post concludes our somewhat epic trip. Thank you to all of our loved ones who sent us on this incredible, dearly cherished journey as our Wedding gift. We are so very lucky and shall be forever grateful. It was a dream trip and I’ve had an absolute ball recounting these tales and sharing our adventures. And I’ve only shed a few tears of longing in the process…

I guess I’ll just have to start plan our next trip.

Heidi xo

Palermo

January 18, 2013

Palermo is truly a special city. It’s ancient, well loved, proud and gritty. It’s often chaotic and always unapologetic. It’s got sass.
Ben and I have visited Palermo a few times, and each visit we feel more comfortable and less intimidated, and so our exploration expands. This time we entered into new territory in the form of a cooking class, which was unbelievably brilliant. But that’s for the next post. For now, I’m going to blast you with pictures of this passionate city, this city that gets under your skin and never lets you forget. I’ll never forget, Palermo.

Ballaro Market, our favourite. Local love, right here.

In 2009 we tasted divine ricotta with arrabiata topping. Oh man, it was good. It’s been on our mind ever since… And so, on our honeymoon, Ben and I made a beeline for this delight, hoping our beloved store would be there still. Of course it was. With an even greater array on offer this visit, we chose a breadcrumb, onion, anchovy mixture and a tomato oregano topping. I must admit the marmalade and pistachio caught my eye…

Ricotta and figs were breakfast. Damn….it was good.

Ok, let’s explore a little before lunch. Look out for cars…

Salad, Sea Urchin and Swordfish at Trattoria Da Salvo. This was one of our most beloved meals of our entire trip. Getting stuck into fresh, grilled seafood and mopping up the juices of the platter and lovely fresh tomato salad with bread was truly one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve had in my life, I’m not going to lie.

Evening eats at Kursaal Kalhesawere really delicious. The nut-crusted swordfish was classy and comforting at the same time.
Watermelon gelato, what is more spectacular, truly?
Ciao, Palermo. Your true beauty shines through your tarnished exterior more and more with each visit. And, quite frankly, you take my breath away.

 

Heidi xo

Palermo Notes

Length of stay:

1 night. We were already familiar with Palermo from previous visits and so one sufficed. I would recommend at least two nights for first timers, and more if you want to just hang out and live like a local for a few days.

Accommodation:

Ambasciatori Hotel – we stayed in this hotel’s cheaper apartment rental, and still used their rooftop bar, which afforded stunning views of the city. I favour this location, certainly for first timers, and the staff were very helpful. Next time I’d absolutely stay with our cooking class hostess, Nicoletta, in her rooms Butera 28.

Where we ate:

Kursaal Kalhesa, gelato at Bar Touring and Lucchese Gelateria and seafood platters (love) at Trattoria Da Salvo.

Highlights

: the cooking class with Nicoletta, seafood platters on our last day in Sicily, buying season 1 of The Simpsons and watching it in bed late at night with bellies full of gelato, wandering the Teatro Massimo (I recommend a tour) and exploring the markets – Ballaro and Capo

Sweet Scopello

January 15, 2013
Scopello was a truly wonderful way to spend the near end of our five week honeymoon. Three days in this haven allowed for hours in the sea, snorkelling and lazing on inflatable couches in one of the most astonishingly picturesque swimming spots.

Trooping down the cliff to the famous Tonnara di Scopello, the popular place to swim in Scopello. Arrive early for a prime spot, as it gets crowded in Summer. And hot, real hot.

Lunch in Scopello is always and forever Pane Cunzato – rustic tomato, sheeps cheese and anchovy sandwiches. Toasted, lovingly seasoned and downright delicious.

Can I possibly articulate how special this sandwich was? Truly? Humble ingredients elevated by local brilliance and accomplished assembly. Generous with the oil, yes. It was perfection. While eating this pane cunzato I could want for nothing more in life.

Back to it…

Some early evening mini-golf fun.

I look like I know what I’m doing. Most of my balls ended up in the pond. Plop. Womp Womp.

Hole in one. Three of them. In a row. I’m sure that’s worthy of some fancy animal name. Birdie? Emu? Pheasant? Wait, no.

Scopello at dusk.
Dinner at La Trattoria. Quite nice plates but certainly not our favourite in Sicily. They do make for a bit of tasty eye candy, though.
…..
Early morning, Ben and I hiked along the Zingaro Nature Reserve, which was completely uplifting, both visually and spiritually. I so love to hike in nature.
Here we found a secluded little swimming spot and dove right in.
Sinking our bare feet into the hot, smooth pebbles after a long hike…bathing in the sun-speckled, silky water…appreciating every ripple, as little fish affectionately kissed our toes…This swim was one of my most beloved experiences. Ever. It was grounding and entirely invigorating.
Time for one final pane cunzato before we trooped off to Palermo, our last stop in Sicily.
Oh, Scopello…it was a true task, leaving you.

Scopello Notes

Length of stay:

2 nights. Scopello is a very small town, so there isn’t a lot to do there besides swim and eat. The national park is lovely, however, and is worth a day exploring the tracks & coves. I would have loved an additional night to relax in this truly beautiful spot.

Accommodation:

Hotel Torre Bennistra – really lovely accommodation in a stunning location. Rooms here are phenomenally affordable and the breakfast included boiled eggs – again, this always makes me happy.Where we ate: Pane Cunzato (always and forever), Relais Angimbe and La Trattoria.

Highlights:

attempting mini golf, spending hours in and out of the water reading Jo Nesbo, that bottle of wine at dinner leading to raucous conversation and giggles, all the Pane Cunzato in the world, hiking in the Zingaro Nature Reserve and that heavenly swim in the secluded little swimming cove…

Heidi xo

Sun, Sand, Spaghetti and Swordfish

January 12, 2013

Travelling on from Trapani, Ben and I explored the North-West coast of Sicily, starting in San Vito Lo Capo , then onto Clatafimi and Scopello…Oh, Scopello. I’ll rave about that cove a little later on. For now, let’s head to the beach.

San Vito Lo Capo boasted the clearest beaches with the whitest sand. The two hours we spent lazing on a beach bed under an umbrella was truly spectacular indulgence.

As were the plates of pasta we ate for lunch…

…and the scoops of gelato we had after all that sun and sand. Pistachio salted nut perfection. The owner of this store could not understand why we would want to leave Melbourne, home of the Australian Open, and travel to San Vito Lo Capo. Oh, dear man, you have no idea how lucky you are to live in this coastal paradise. And so close to other gems such as Scopello and Palermo. Melbourne is truly wonderful, but seriously…it’s Sicily.

Gelato in hand, we drove on to Scopello, a stunning teeny tiny seaside town. We planned to spend two nights here, swimming by day and eating by night. More on Scopello in my next post…
Our first dinner was nearby in Calatafimi. Do you recall our friends who sent us to Ortigia and also Ferla? Well, as part of our Wedding present, these gorgeous friends bought us dinner at their family’s hotel, Relais Angimbe, in Calatafimi (where their family is from).
Driving around, exploring Calatafimi for a short while before dinner…
This dinner was a definite treat, we had the most wonderful evening and enjoyed a truly beautiful meal at Relais Angimbe.

The setting was gorgeous and calm, and the Sicilian-style swordfish oh so dreamy.

And I cannot stop thinking about the divine, simple, subtle spaghetti with zucchini.

Thank you, Rosa and Michael. We adored our meal, and our special little visit to Calatafimi.

Next, I’ll take you around Scopello, one of our most favourite Sicilian destinations. I can hardly wait.

Heidi xo

Trapani

January 9, 2013

After Enna, Ben and I continued our Sicilian adventure and headed way way West, to the coastal town of Trapani.

This place is pure beach town fun, and Ben and I were absolutely up to the task. There was a musical festival in town, which added to the party atmosphere. Trapani was buzzing with feisty and friendly faces alike. I have to say that Trapani is a little…hmmm, let’s say ‘seaside beach resort, sometimes cheap sometimes dirty’. But many parts are just lovely and charming, so it balances out. Ben and I ended up having a lot of fun in Trapani.

We arrived in the evening, so after checking in we headed to the hotel rooftop for a drink or three. Right on the water. It was rocking.
After a few too many tipples we decided to change our plans for an evening dining out, to pizza and a take-home gelato pack in bed whilst watching the Olympic opening ceremony. It was completely awesome. Ben and I visited the famed Calvino Pizzeria for our takeaway bites. These pizzas were really yummy with their thicker crust and generous toppings.
Breakfast at the hotel before heading out for a day at the beach. Boiled eggs, yoghurt and fruit is an excellent hotel breakfast in my eyes. And coffee, of course.
Visiting a local market on the way…
Lunch was from Panificio Oddo Rosalia (open since 1958!), where we snagged takeaway packs of pasta bake and couscous salad.
We ate this deliciousness on our beach beds, in between swimming and reading. Sandy perfection.
Evening granita from the famed Colicchia Francesco after a day in the sun was supremely refreshing. We shared coffee and pistachio/almond.
The pistachio/almond blend was truly divine, like an uplifting, iced, frangipane glass of heaven. It was one of the most delicious concoctions I have ever tasted. Ever.
Another tipple on the hotel roof. Love this face.
And then dinner at Al Vicoletto, a beautiful little restaurant founded by two young friends. We had seafood pasta and Sicilian-style swordfish (with tomato and capers). This food was really very scrumptious, one of the top plates of my beloved spaghetti alle vongole that we devoured on our trip. With a crisp glass of white wine, I was terribly pleased.
So Trapani was really just beach, seafood and campari. What’s not to love?
Another great thing about Trapani is how close it is to the Egadi Islands. One day we caught a ferry and spent the entire day riding our bikes around Favignana, from swimming spot to swimming spot. See this post for more details. It was one of our most favourite days of our entire trip.

Yeah, Trapani is pretty great. It feels like salt in my hair, sun-kissed cheeks and pistachio almond granita. It feels good.
Heidi xo

Trapani Notes

Length of stay:

3 nights – I think 2 would suffice, unless you wanted to see more of the Egadi Islands. You might also like to stay overnight on one of the Islands if you’re into snorkelling. Favignana reminded me of a grungier, less populated Greek Island.

Accommodation:

La Gancia. We snagged a great online deal, this hotel was really fantastic – awesome waterfront location, very friendly staff and a lovely breakfast. They also had a gym and sweating it out a couple of mornings was really nice.

Where we ate:

Calvino Pizzeria, Panificio Oddo Rosalia, Colicchia Francesco (granita goodness!), Al Vicoletto.

Highlights:

walking, walking, walking to the beach then finding we needed cash to rent a beach bed. This led us on an expedition to find an atm, which led us to randomly stumble upon Panificio Oddo Rosalia and delicious lunchtime eats! There was pasta bake at the end of the tunnel. Also, our Olympic opening ceremony pizza party.

Enna

January 6, 2013
Our visit to Enna was brief, simply a short stop on our trip across Sicily. Nevertheless, our Enna memories will always sit happily in my heart. Ben and I spent our one afternoon and evening in Enna wandering the sleepy Summer town in the centre of Sicily…

First, we parked our car, wedged ever so graciously between little cars and ancient churches, and then checked into our accommodation. Bianko and Bianko, our bed and breakfast, was one of our most favourite beds of the trip, it was truly adorable and offered the most deletable, soft almond cookies. I highly recommend staying here.
We then walked down the road to Baglio Balata, where we devoured plates of creamy ragu pasta and salad for lunch.
Afterwards we ignored the heat and explored the castle, before climbing to the highest point in Enna…
Sitting in the square with soda, we watched the evening float in.
And then dove into steaks for supper at Antica Hostaria, sharing pasta with cream, bacon and pistachios, as well as grilled vegetables (radicchio love – Ben is obsessed), a mixed grill and the most divine steak with pesto butter sauce. Heaven.
…..
The next morning we were up bright and early, off for more adventuring. A brief visit, yes, but well worth the hill climb. I will forever fondly remember that pesto butter steak and those almond cookies…and that blessed feeling, like we were standing on top of the world.
Heidi xo

Enna Notes

Length of stay:

1 night – a great amount of time, I feel. Enna is a fairly small town (although bigger than many in Sicily), and we enjoyed our brief visit.

Accommodation:

Bianko and Bianko– practically perfect in every way.

Where we ate:

Baglio Balata (fabulous!) and Antica Hostaria

Highlights:

feeling like it was just the two of us in this ancient, elevated, beautiful town. And that steak…

Rich Chocolate No-Bake Healthy Pie

January 3, 2013

Ok, so here’s the chocolate version of my Dreamy, Chilled BananaNut Pie. Oh man, is this rich. This chocolate pie tastes completely indulgent but is actually quite healthy when considering all things pie.

It’s all about tofu and chocolate, their powers combined. This creates a divine, ganache-type filling that satisfies every chocolatey craving you could possibly have. It’s intense. Intensely fabulous. Oh boy.


I made this rich chocolate no-bake pie for friends the other week, fooling one into enjoying tofu. I quite think his girlfriend was pleased about this, rationalising more tofu meals in the future. I can appreciate the hesitation about tofu in dessert, really I can. But know that Ben, who can be a little cautious when it comes to foreign ingredients in classic dishes, is mad for this pie. It’s all ganache goodness. So there you go, I think we can say that tofu and chocolate is a thing. An intense, luscious, wonderful thing. Everyone should be doing it.

Why not start with this Rich Chocolate No-Bake Healthy Pie?

Rich Chocolate No-Bake Healthy Pie

 

Nut Crust Ingredients

5 fresh Medjool Dates
1 1/2 cups Cashews (unsalted)
3/4 Peanuts (unsalted)
1/2 cup Walnuts
1/3 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Unrefined Coconut Oil (in its liquid state)
2 teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup
 
Filling Ingredients
350g Dark Cooking Chocolate (70% cocoa)
400g Soft/Silken Tofu
4.5 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
2 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
 

Method

1. Remove the pits of the dates and then add to a food processor with the nuts. Blend until finely chopped. Add the salt, liquid coconut oil and maple syrup then pulse until combined. Pour into a 28cm springform cake tin and press firmly with your hands. Place in the freezer while you work on your pie filling.
2. Rinse your food processor to remove any remaining nuts. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the food processor along with the tofu, cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more syrup for a sweeter filling and/or more cocoa powder for a richer filling.
3. Pour the filling into the pie crust and smooth the surface with a spatula. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until set (~1.5hrs).
4. To serve, remove the springform case and cut slices of pie. Top with berries and creme fraiche.
This pie is best eaten the day it is made, but will keep well in the fridge, covered, for up to five days (the crust will get soggy if kept any longer)
Heidi xo