“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Talk About The Passion

Hi folks, I was out in my garden today and noticed that I had a lot of passion fruits growing on the vine that every year envelops part of our hedge. Laura had requested I give the hedge a trim and I am holding off until all the flowers are gone, because they are beautiful.

It struck me that I have never eaten a passion fruit whole. I've only ever had either the juice or the flavour of it in something such as a pie or ice cream. I would not know how to go about eating one or preparing one. So let's find out together shall we?

Firstly, it seems there are lots of different varieties, as shown in this excellent article from YouGrowGirl.com.
Here are what mine look like right now...

How to eat whole?

This guy knows.


Here's a gorgeous one from Nigel Slater.

Passion Fruit Cheesecake


for the crumb base
120 grams butter
400 grams ginger biscuits

for the filling
250 grams mascarpone cheese
75 grams icing sugar
1 vanilla pod
400 ml creme fraîche
300 ml double cream
4 passionfruit (ripe and wrinkled)


Melt the butter in a small pan.
Crush the biscuits to fine crumbs and stir them into the melted butter. Tip them into a 22cm loose bottomed cake tin and smooth them flat. Refrigerate for an hour or so until firm. You can speed the process up by putting them in the freezer if you wish.
Put the mascarpone and icing sugar in the bowl of a food mixer and beat smooth.
Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod and stir them into the mascarpone along with the creme fraîche.
Whip the cream until it will stand in soft folds, then stir it gently into the mascarpone mixture.
Scrape the mixture into the cake tin and cover with cling film. Leave to chill for a good hour.

To serve, remove the cake from the tin, cut the passion fruits in half and squeeze the seeds and juice over the cheesecake.

Here'a good one for passionfruit flummery. I've told you about flummery before, back in 2010.

Passionfruit Flummery


1 tablespoon gelatine
1 cup  water
2 tablespoons plain flour
0.75 cup  sugar
0.50 cup  orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 passion fruit
2 egg white
1 cup  whipped  cream
Use imperial measurements


Sprinkle the gelatine over a 1/4 cup of the water, dissolve over hot water.
Blend the flour with a little of the remaining water and combine in a pan with remaining water and sugar.
Stir over heat until the mixture boils and thickens and remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Stir in the dissolved gelatine. orenage and lemon juice and mix well.
Pour the mixture into a large mixer bowl and beat on low speed until just beginning to thicken and then beat on medium speed until the mixture is thick and very foamy.
Stir in the passionfruit pulp and fold in firmly beaten egg whites.
Pour mixture into serving dish or individual dishes and refrigerate until set.
Serve with piped cream if desired.

But what about its uses in main dishes and starters?

Here's a goodie from dear old Martha Stewart.

Salmon with Warm Passion-Fruit Vinaigrette


4 fresh passion fruits
 Four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
 Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons minced shallot (1 large)
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups mixed greens, such as mesclun and purslane


Halve each passion fruit, scrape flesh into a strainer, and push through with a rubber spatula to yield 3 tablespoons juice. Set aside.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add salmon and cook about 4 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate; cover with foil.

Return skillet to low heat; add 1/2 tablespoon butter and shallots; cook, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add reserved juice, mustard, honey, vinegar, and wine. Raise heat to high; cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; swirl in remaining butter.

Divide greens and sauteed spring vegetables among plates; place salmon on top and drizzle sauce over salmon.

Martha Stewart Living, June 1996

And finally here's a starter from Atul Kochhar.

Squid salad with passion fruit dressing


200ml/7¼fl oz milk
150g/5½oz rice flour
500g/1lb 1½oz squid bodies, cleaned and sliced into rings
sunflower oil, for deep frying
100ml/5¼fl oz passion fruit purée
1 tsp caster sugar
70ml/2½fl oz light olive oil
4 handfuls mixed leaf salad
1 passion fruit, pulp and seeds scooped out with a spoon, to serve

Preparation method

Pour the milk into a bowl. Sprinkle the rice flour onto a plate. Dip the squid rings first into the milk and shake off any excess. Dredge the squid rings in the rice flour until completely coated.
Heat the oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Add the floured squid rings to the hot oil in batches and fry for two minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm.
Repeat the process with the remaining squid rings.
For the dressing, in a bowl, mix together the passion fruit purée, sugar and light olive oil. Pour a little of the salad dressing over the salad leaves and mix to coat the leaves.
To serve, divide the passion fruit salad equally among four serving plates. Place the squid rings on top. Garnish with the passion fruit pulp and seeds.

Well, I guess I'll have to give one of these a go when I harvest those fruits. Watch this space.

Kooshti sante!

Monday, September 9, 2013

An Onion By Any Other Name

These are scallions (also known as green onions, spring onions, salad onions, table onions, green shallots, onion sticks, long onions, baby onions, precious onions, yard onions, gibbons, or syboes).

They are the edible plants of various Allium species, all of which are "onion-like", having hollow green leaves and lacking a fully developed root bulb.

The words scallion and shallot are related and can be traced back to the Greek askolonion as described by the Greek writer Theophrastus. This name, in turn, seems to originate from the name of the town of Ashkelon. The shallots themselves apparently came from farther east of Europe.

Harvested for their taste, they are milder than most onions. They may be cooked or used raw as a part of salads, salsas, or Asian recipes. Diced scallions are used in soup, noodle and seafood dishes, as well as sandwiches, curries or as part of a stir fry. In many Eastern sauces, the bottom half-centimetre (quarter-inch) of scallion roots is commonly removed before use.

In Mexico and the Southwest United States, cebollitas are scallions that are sprinkled with salt and grilled whole. Topped with lime juice, they typically serve as a traditional accompaniment to asado dishes.

In Catalan cuisine, calçot is a variety of green onion traditionally eaten in a calçotada (plural: calçotades). A popular gastronomic event of the same name is held between the end of winter and early spring, where calçots are grilled, dipped in salvitxada or romesco sauce, and consumed in massive quantities.

In Vietnam, Welsh onion is important to prepare dưa hành (fermented onions) which is served for Tết, the Vietnamese New Year. A kind of sauce, mỡ hành (Welsh onion fried in oil), is used in dishes such as cơm tấm, bánh ít, cà tím nướng, and others. Welsh onion is the main ingredient in the dish cháo hành, which is a rice porridge dish to treat the common cold.

In southern Philippines, it is ground in a mortar along with some ginger and chili pepper to make a native condiment called wet palapa, which can be used to spice up dishes, or topped in fried or sun dried food. It could also be used to make the dry version of palapa, which is stir fried fresh coconut shavings and wet palapa.

During the Passover meal (Seder), Persian Jews lightly and playfully strike family members with scallions when the Hebrew word dayenu is read.

Recipe, you say?


Potato, spring onion, dill & cheese frittata


2 tbsp olive oil
400g leftover cooked new potatoes, sliced
4 eggs, beaten
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 bunch dill, roughly chopped
25g cheddar, grated


In a small non-stick frying pan, heat oil over a medium heat. Add potatoes, then fry until beginning to crisp, about 8 mins. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, spring onions, dill and some seasoning. Heat the grill.
Tip the eggs into frying pan, mix quickly, lower the heat, then sprinkle over cheese. After about 8 mins, once the top side has almost set, pop under the grill for 2-3 mins or until firm and golden. Slide out of the pan. Eat straight away with mayo or ketchup or cool quickly and chill.

Now... Name This Food!

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Churchill Tavern, Ramsgate

We recently went up to Ramsgate to visit with Kylie and baby Clark. There's a two-minute walk from her place to the Churchill Tavern.

It's a really nice pub with a good selection of beers,

 a great menu,

 and £5 lunch specials which are indeed not to be sniffed at. When I looked at the list of beer prices I was gobsmacked. There were easily 6 bitters on the list, none of which was over £3/pint, and one in particular was this fine pint of Greene King IPA which was a mere £1.90.

To those international readers among you, let me just put that in perspective for you. I work at a members-only club where the beer prices are cheaper than most pubs locally, and we charge £2.94 for all bitters. So to see a beer for a whole £1.04 cheaper was stunning. I hadn't actually planned on having a beer but at that price it'd be churlish not to.

So we looked at the lunch menu which had some baked potatoes, sandwiches and other meals for just £5. So here's what we all had.

Kylie's baked potato with beans.

Laura's tuna doorstep sandwich.

My ham egg & chips.

Sis's ham sandwich.

No skimping on size or filling. 
So with the ladies all drinking Coke and my £1.90 pint, we'd all stuffed ourselves silly for just under £7 each.

The pub was beautifully appointed, too.

Here's a flier for the pub. If you are in the Ramsgate area I thoroughly recommend it.

P.S. This is on tap too, by the way.

My verdict: 5 yums out of 5!

Kooshti sante!


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