Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pasteis de Nata (Custard Tarts)

TOCC strikes again, in the form of a custard tart. Better known as a Portuguese tart, these delicious, mouth watering delights originated in 1837 (many thanks to Louise for the accurate date) and according to SMH, to eat one in Lisbon is a must do in one's life time. The first time my lips ever touched on of these golden, sweet tarts was in Macau. I was holidaying with my two sisters (Lien & Khoan) and it was then that I experienced my first holiday romance. I fell in love instantly with the texture and the flavour of this eggy sweet. I have always been a fan off the Chinese Egg Tart, but the crispy shell on the Portuguese tarts seemed somewhat more exotic (& less oily).
A quick search on Google resulted in many recipes for the Portuguese tarts. I selected one that appeared to be relatively easy and with minimal steps http://www.recipezaar.com/66148
I have a confession - I cheated! A quick glance at the clock showed it was 10:00pm and to be honest I was not up for rolling pastry, waiting the 1 hour for it to chill etc...so I used pre-made low fat puff pastry. I blind baked the shells for about 8 minute or so and the results were good. When making the filling I swapped the 'heavy cream' for low fat thickened cream. I also used a mini muffin tin as opposed to a larger one as I wanted to make WW friendly sized bites.

I believe the results speak for themselves, and they were delicious (better than the cold, stale ones you might get at a cafe). When eaten warm with a strong coffee, I fell in love all over again!

The verdict - a must try for all. Easy to make and done within time it would take for me to drive to my favourite cafe and find a parking spot.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pear, almond and chocolate tart

What a better way to kick off the show than with a freebie?
On the Easter weekend that had just passed (08') I went to Goulbourn to visit my parents, and in their lounge room was a recent copy of the Coles "Tempting ideas for Autumn" catalogue. A foray into Coles at Epping ensured I too had my own free copy, and it is with this I present my first experiment PEAR, ALMOND & CHOCOLATE TART
If you can't get into a Coles, please find a copy of the recipe at http://autumn.coles.com.au/recipes-and-food/sweet-and-spice.aspxpice.aspx

At first glance, this recipe looks easier enough to follow. I am disappointed that it will be made with a pre-cooked tart shell but as I made this on a Monday night (yes, a school aka take away night), I won't complain.
A snoop into my pantry/fridge did reveal that it is kind of bare, but I did have a few stapes on hand such as butter, icing sugar, almond meal (I normally would not stock this, but had some left over from an attempt at a flourless chocolate cake), eggs and plain flour. I did purchase some pears, chocolate, and pre-cooked tart shell.

A further review of the recipe revealed that it is badly composed. A novice cook, I believe would have no clue as to what a 'moderate oven' would be nor would they know how to poach the pears in the 'sugar syrup' when no instructions were given. However, many years under the guidance of a good Food Tech teacher (thanks Mrs Mathews) ensured that I handled the task competently

..so wha-la...

With every great experiment there must be a conculsion and even though I did not find the meaning of life (# 42 - "The hitch hikers guide to the galaxy") with the Tart, it was nice but not memorable. I'm a harsh critic, even with my own cooking.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The whos and whys

The idea of this blog came to me when I saw my sister Lien blog away about her knitting, life etc. I too, previously wrote a blog about life's little mysteries which has since been abandoned. I needed a new topic, one that I enjoy writing about and one that did not sound like a Seinfield rip off. What am I passionate about? FOOD my stomach growled, and the rest they say is history.

I have read some amazing blogs about people going to eat out, and I, like most people love reading realistic reviews on how crap the service really was. Due to my impending trip to Europe,I unfortunately cannot afford the lifestyle of a food critic, so second best would be the lifestyle of a chef (or cook)...Jamie Oliver and Nigela Lawson eat your heart out!

How many times have you looked at a lifestyle magazine or recipe book and wondered how realistic the pictures are? I mean, are the plates of food in the magazine the equivalent of an airbrushed (hair sprayed, lacquered - you get the idea) model. On the other hand, how many times have you made something so fantastic and mouth watering you think it should grace the pages of Gourmet Traveller?

I am making it my mission to find out for the foodies out there, and so I welcome you to Reality Bites Foodie.

I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I will enjoy writing and cooking for it.

Lucille aka The One Chopstick Cook