Friday, October 14, 2011

Sticky Fingers Dessert! A Happy Accident!

Sometimes you do something in the kitchen without thinking about it and you end up with something miraculous. Usually this doesn't happen, but this happened to be one of those times when it did! So I'll share it with you, no worries.

Side note: I AM the Iron Chef of leftovers, as you'll soon see.

A few days ago I made my Award Winning* Beer Batter Waffles. I made enough so that there'd be some for lunch the next day.

I had forgotten that BIL would be out the next day and that MIL doesn't usually eat large lunches. I had some batter LeftOver! No dramas though, this is the point where I cook it all up in the waffle iron, chuck the finished ones in the freezer, then use em in the toaster for brekkie for the week.

This time though, I needed the large mixing bowl the batter was in to make The Dish that crowned me Iron Chef of Leftovers and I had already put the waffle iron away.

I casually reached into the cupboard and pulled out the first thing I found that would hold waffle batter. It happened to be a 9 inch diameter glass pie dish! No worries, poured in the batter, rinsed the bowl and proceeded to make The Dish.

Later on I puzzled over the fact that the waffle batter was in a pie dish. Hmmmm, I hadn't buttered the dish, no crust, and there wasn't too much --about 1.5 cm or just over 1/2 inch.

"I wonder how it'll bake like this," I thought. Next thing I knew I had chucked it into a cold oven, turned the heat to 180 C (350F) and went on to other tasks... completely forgetting to set a timer.



45 minutes go by and I notice a nice odor emanating from the cooker! Ah, memory is jogged!

As I took the waffle pie out of the oven I notice it had (quite predictably) foofed up whilst baking. I left it in the dish, set it on a cutting board, and continued with whatever it was I was doing.

In 10 minutes it had fallen back down to level. "Hmmmmm, maybe if I dust it with icing sugar they might actually eat it," I thought.







When it came time for dishing it up for dessert, it was very easy to cut, had a cheesecake-like texture, and had formed it's own bottom and top "crust"! See, here's proof:

When Wifey-Poo saw it she said it'd be perfect with some maple syrup and cream on top! Ummmm, yes dear, that's exactly what I had in mind.**

So the beer batter waffle pie (which had been previously dusted with icing sugar) was cut into thin wedges and then had maple syrup and fresh cream drizzled over it.

Sticky Fingers Dessert was born!

Yes, it tasted even better than it looks!

*dave is lying his *ss off, but they are darned good tucka!

**quick thinking on my part mates!

Stay tuned to this channel as next time dave learns how to boil water!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fried Parsnip Slices

Ah yes, the humble and venerable parsnip!


This veggie has been known and eaten since antiquity. The ancient Romans considered the ones from what is now Germany but was then called Germanica to be the best. They were also a staple diet of the poor in the Middle Ages --that means prit-near everyone in Europe back then ate 'em! Parsnips were also used as a side dish to salted cod or smoked herrings as they complimented the strong fish flavours nicely.

They fell out of fancy as the ole humble spud from the New World gradually replaced them. Even to this day there are many that hate parsnips, probably from ingrained thinking over the last few hundred years.

There's one Aussie TV chef/personality who caused quite a stir (Ha! "A stir" get it?) a couple of years ago when he went on a bit of a rant against parsnips as they are starting to come into fashion down here in Oz. Says he wouldn't even feed 'em to a pig!

Believe or not Ripley, but until recently I'd never had a parsnip nor even knew what they looked like! I got a few kilos of them at a ridiculously low price a coupla months ago and asked via twitter what I should do with them.

Quite a lot of great suggestions I did receive. Curry was one of the suggestions but I didn't want to make that first as I wanted something that let the parsnip flavour speak for itself. So I went with the by far #1 suggestion of parsnip chips (fries)!

I even baked one batch and deep fried another to find out the taste difference. Not surprisingly, the deep fried ones tasted better. Well, at least to us! I made the baked ones the first day and we all thought they were tasty, even BIL who is a very fussy eater and doesn't eat many veggies. But the deep fried ones the next day were waaaaay better! The whole platter of them disappeared in under a minute.

Not that I was timing it though, too busy eating!

The key to baking or frying the parsnips is to slice them lengthwise making sure all slices have the same thickness. Otherwise thin strips will be burnt before the thick strips are done. After peeling the parnsips I contemplated how to do this.

"Duh," my brain said, "use a cheese slicer you moron!"

Wouldn't you know it worked great? Yes, my brain can be smart at times. Here's proof (of the procedure working, not my brain being smart)

To bake them, toss the strips in olive oil, lightly salt them, and put them in a hot oven till they're crispy. They come out lookin', smellin' and tastin' good!

For even better ones: deep fry them thar strips! Use the same temperature of oil as you would for fries, no worries. I recommend rice bran oil as it has a very high smoke point of 495 F and the fried food comes out light and crisp.

The strips fry up very quickly so keep a close eye on them else you'll end up with burnt strips of crud. So don't go tweeting while deep frying!

Here's what the first round out of the wok (my deep fryer) looked like:

Just a quick sprinkle with salt and then EAT THEM!