Archive for September, 2010

caramelised garlic tart

a la ottolenghi. i did make this twice. the first time it worked. but i cant speak for the taste because a sadist drilled holes in my teeth and stuck a needle into my gums and made the quotidien task of yawning a production for days to come. to say nothing of chewing. dentistry, as far as i am concerned is the single greatest scam since shop bought puff pastry. which brings me to my next p.o.c – puff pastry. it worked fine the first time. but then the next time it didnt. in a subsequent discussion with my life coach about where it all went wrong, the conclusion was reached that it was the pastry, as much as my cavalier attitude which caused the disaster. i pressed the pastry into the dish – and thought ‘thats funny, it doesnt seem to really be sticking to the sides’. this was closely followed by my next thought ‘oh well, it’ll be fine’. fine it was not. but i remedied it by trimming (hacking) the edges and marching inexorably on. and its really something this tart. i mean you’d hope so wouldnt you – consisting almost entirely of cheese and caramelised garlic. not for the faint hearted – but for those whose arteries can take it, i suggest you try this.


1 sheet puff pastry (all butter)

3 heads of garlic – cloves peeled

220ml water

1tsp balsamic vinegar

1tbsp olive oil

3/4tbsp sugar

1tsp rosemary chopped

1tsp thyme chopped

1/2tsp salt

120g soft goats cheese

120g hard goats cheese

100ml double cream

100ml creme fraiche

2 eggs

salt and pepper

preheat the oven to 180 degrees. roll out your pastry. insert into tart tin. (make sure its properly in) and blind back for 20 minutes. remove baking beans and bake for another 5-10 minutes. set aside.

then make caramelised garlic. put the garlic cloves into a saucepan and cover with lots of water. blanch for 3 minutes. then drain well. dry the saucepan and then return the cloves to the pan with the olive oil. fry on high heat for 2 minutes. add the balsamic vinegar and water and bring to the boil, then let this simmer gently for 10 minutes. then add the sugar, rosemary, thyme and salt. continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated and they garlic is coated in a dark caramel like syrup. set this aside.

break both goats cheeses into the pastry case. then spoon the garlic and syrup over the top.

in a bowl whisk together the eggs, cream and creme fraiche. pour this over the tart filling – making sure you can still see the garlic on the surface.

reduce oven to 160 degrees and bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden and deliciously brown.


vanilla risotto with roasted pears

disaster from hell. was rescued by an innovative mind. but not enough for me to feel anything but defeated. but mainly cranky. and now i got 4 roasty pears and nothing to do with them. so if you know of anything into which roasted pears could go, please contact my team at pears-r-us. thanking you in advance for your contributions. p.s. heres a closer look, because i cant hide behind photoshop for the rest of my life. i will own my failings. and sometimes, they me.

vanilla roasted pears

well its been a long time…and ive almost nearly forgotten what to do. i think generally it goes photo, bemoan something or someone, photo, recipe – self-congratulatory sentences peppered throughout. probably need a new formula. these are just pears. in an oven. butter. vanilla. sugar. i cant see how anything bad could possibly happen. any idiot can roast a pear but i will say this things: 1. they are good. 2. not any idiot can roast a pear because i looked up a recipe that called for too much sugar and so point 1 was in fact a lie and they were not good, they were sickeningly sweet. 3. im an ideas man and so i dont give to you recipes that are difficult – i just think of them for you so you dont have to sit around wondering what to bake. and i do it for free. out of love. love of all things baked. but mainly love of the validation you give in return. 4. these are step one in a two-tiered recipe and will be used tomorrow in my next trick. so here is an adapted recipe because the one i used was dishonest and shameful.


4 pears halved and cored

1-2 vanilla beans depending on you extravagance

1 tbsp sugar – or just a sprinkling. not a quarter of a cup – you’d have to be off your tree to use that much. or an overweight american.

squeeze of lemon juice

2tbsp water

2tbsp butter

preheat oven to 190degrees. scrape vanilla bean and mix it into the sugar. lay pears down onto baking tray cut side up. drizzle over lemon juice. dot with butter. sprinkle with vanilla sugar. put vanilla beans in and around and pour the water into the tray.

put into the oven for 30 minutes. take them out. turn them over. baste with the juices. put them back for another 30 minutes

looks kind of ugly. as an image. but knowing what you all know about pears, butter, vanilla and an hour in the oven im sure you’ll take my word that it is so far from ugly and as close to perfection as a girl can get.

nother post coming soon. using these very same pears. stay with me. and smoo, i thank you for the occasional nudge. cant think of the right hey dad joke and so im posting this off into the ether, feeling just a little bit defeated.

i hate….apple & rhubarb cobbler

cobblers are bad. and no one told me. no one bothered to tell me. and for some years now i have yearned to construct and consume the cobbler. because my brain was washed. and i thought that what id be getting is some kind of fruity-crumbly-buttery-cakey melange. but no sir. i will tell you this now – because no one ever told me and if i dont say it you will never know. the cakey looking thing on top of a cobbler is, in essence, a scone. and i do not like scones. not even with jam. i like them in theory of course. who doesnt. but when cake comes to scone – i dont like them. they taste like damper. and my increasingly sweet teeth dont care for it. it didnt achieve any kind of oneness with the fruit, and it seemed to be a stand alone scone, ruinously atop some perfectly good fruit. why, i asked myself, why would anyone want a cobbler? i suppose, the answer is, people like scones. and fruit. and the two together. so i post this for those of you who have a penchant for floury, undersweetened, overrated, (ill grant you fluffy) scone-like biscuit cakes. and i done some more tilt-shifting so i guess there’s something here for everyone.

ingredients (for 4-6 ramekins…you wouldnt want much more. me, i wanted less)

3 apples chopped/cubed

rhubarb cut into cm bits – or same size as the apple

tbsp sugar

for the dough:

1 1/2 cups flour

pinch salt

1 1/2tbsp sugar

2 1/4tsp baking powder

3/4 cup cream

6tbsp unsalted butter

first combine fruit with the sugar and stir to combine. i gave it a massive hit of vanilla. up to you really. put into respective baking dish(es?).

preheat the oven to 190 degrees. then make the dough. put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and with fingertips mix in the butter until it looks like coarse bread crumbs. then add the cream and mix until all its just wet. spoon lumps of the dough onto the fruit.

oven for 30-40 minutes. depending on an infinite number of things.

Guest Post – Stipple Effect talks Coffee

Stipple’s been grumbling lately, with just a hint of aggression. Quite frankly it had me worrying. So, taking a cue from our nation’s capital, I’ve offered him a more cooperative relationship. Herewith, my sacrifice in the search to stifle stipple:

Well, it is with no mere hint of trepidation that I make the transition from a humble reader to a contributing one on this fine ol’ bloggy. In fact, it is without any trepidation at all. And that’s not simply because of an excess of self-confidence, no. It’s because Mr. Tulk has got me all fired up. And it’s not the coffee, nor is it those cheeky toasted sandwiches, it may be the muffins, to all three of which we will soon come. But what it most certainly does have me fired up over is a little, deeply grating practice. It’s the old ‘whats ya name mate?’ trick. It began, I’m quite certain, with the vile temptress known as Bo*st Juice. It’s a ploy, a con and a sham. The business and customer engage in the most phony of phony performances. Both sides know it’s a crock and yet we all go in for it. How many dare to give the name “Maffington Basset-Stoke III?” Much though I’d love to, I’m never quite able. No, even I, in all my blinding awareness of late capitalism’s ability to reify the very search for authentic human relations beyond the sign of exchange value, fall prey to this horrid horrid lie.

And yet, and yet…

Tulk does demand your name. They demand it with all the faux-cheeriness of Tim Shaw. But I go back. And back. And back. So, the crux of this missive is not so much review as it is resolution to this problem. The name-game doesn’t seem to send me nor the rest of my horde of faultlessly trendy, oh-so-knowing, inner-urban elites back to our tastefully-but-minimally-decorated hovels to dig holes in the floor with the long nails we’ve grown because thats what Juan our flamenco-guitar teacher says we’ll need if “jou ever chwant to play coma a tocaores.” But why?

There are three reasons I can thus far detect, each compelling. And a smattering of incidentals, collateral benefits if you will.

1. We must to begin with the coffee: I’m no tilt-shifter, the best I can do is steal inter-web pictures. Take a goosey-gander at these here eye-stuffers.

A cappuccino de la Tulka – I prefer a jugacino, but what can you do?


One o’ dem latte’s with something what I don’t know next to it. Me constitution never took to milk, until I downed a Tulkist latte.

What I can’t show you lot is their espresso.  Oh, hang about, I just found…

Black gold

They aint quick, but they is good. Really good though. The espresso is quite wonderful when its average. When the temperature is just perfect and the best of their baristas are on deck, its so chocolatey and thick and, I hate to talk this way, but there is one hell of a berry note. They milk a coffee to a t*. I have always been of the opinion that milk is really a kind of coffee travesty. They convinced me otherwise. Of course, seven seeds’ll bang you out a top lattee, and the blogger who usually sits where I’m sitting is herself a dab hand. But at Tulk, you get some sort of one-ness of coffee and milk. Its terrific. But mainly its about those espressi. And it isn’t the hands alone, of course. They have one very very handsome La Marzocco machine. Those Bambi brothers knew what they were up in Florence all those years ago.

Not the one at Tulk, but the same thing - just elsewheres

The colour of Tulk’s is nicer. I’m quite sure its the FB/70. I’m not the kind of cafe investigator to ask, or to pop around and stick my head under the hood. Though I’d like to. Its a very pretty thing. So the coffee is right. It is, in fact, shit hot. Which segues nicely into

2. The women and men on their feet making it happen:  The boots on the ground. The grunt.  I have it on reliable authority that the boys and girls of RMIT have a league-table of attractiveness for the staff here. But there aint a bad looker in the joint. Its not relevant, it doesn’t make the coffee better, but I thought you might all like to know. There are some pictures if one searches one’s local interweb looking-motor, though I won’t put them up because that’d be kind of creepy. But it does relate to the problem of the name game. And the do seem to overcome it, somehow. They remember people. I’ve seen the 8am-9am rush, I’d estimate 50-60% of coffees are guessed by the staff. That’s impressive recall and that many regulars coming that regularly can only be good. I don’t know if the staff all come from other establishments, but they look pretty assured carrying four lattes and the best of ’em seem able to balance a breakfast on their heads all the while. I don’t care much for these sorts of details, but its impressive when you see it.

3. The thing these pretty-young-things carry, other than great coffee, is food: Tulk have a range of baguettes, which have nice things inside. Tuna is particularly good. There are cheaper places to buy a sandwich, but I think this is as affordable as you’ll find with such nice bits in. Look.

This is a chicken one. Nice too.

Then, there are the toasties. Now, I’m a sucker for a toasty. Always have been. A man I know toasties bananas and ice-cream. Thats too far, but he owned the house I grew up in so the information gives some context to the depth of my toasty love. Tulk have two that now hold special places in my heart: a standard but well-executed salami fella and a big hunk of a toasty known as the meatball & sugo. Its this

There aren’t words

They make other nice foods too. People who know about such things swear this is a very good soup. And they’re right. (The blog I stole the picture from claim the soup is overly filling. That position is wrong. I will admit to knowing not much about things beyond coffee but since when are lentils intended to anything other than fill one’s belly?)

Chicken and lentil soup.

So the foods good, the staff (more than) inoffensive and above all the coffee is too good. Oh, I have neglected a detail. A very important one. Its the muffins. Boy, do they bake a good muffin. Some days there is banana in them so don’t bother, but more or less every other variety they offer is flawless. The tops are crunchy as all-get-out and the innards are moist, sweet and berry-tastic. And as the fatb community know only too well, berries are central.

So, I still resent being asked for my name but there’s nice folk working hard, tasty food to eat and (if I’ve not be sufficiently clear) EFFIN’ TOPS COFFEE. I’ll hand over the portion of my soul that is twinned to my first name for that. I am both willing and able to fly the flag for Mr. Tulk. I like it.

Until next time I’m given the good opportunity to participate in such a substantial manner, I bid you adieu. See you in the comments field.

Stip. E.

*There are, I have noted, a plenum of grammatic pedants roaming the pastures of fatb. To you, all of you, I say this clause functions. Milk may be neither quite a proper gerund nor is it, I realise, a supine or non-finite verbal formation, but I knows what I likes. And likes ‘milk a coffee.’ Ha!