Saturday, 26 October 2013

Favourite Recipes: Crostata di marmellata

Crostata di marmellata is a delicious jam-filled pastry. 

"Oh my, how I love crostata di marmellata. I have been known to eat it for breakfast!" says Tanya Bartolini. This glorious sweet treat is just divine with a good coffee or tea. 

Tanya recalls, "I have very fond memories of eating this at my Zia Angela’s place in Italy. Homemade pastry filled with homemade fig jam: so perfect that it looked as if it had come straight from a professional kitchen".

Tanya has shared her simple version with us - "Yes, it involves pastry making but you can buy the jam from supermarkets."

"Thank you Italy for introducing me to such a wonderful pastry delight!"





Ingredients:

Serves 8

  • 2½ cups 00 flour (a type of Italian flour)
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup raspberry jam 

Method:

1. Sift flour, sugar and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add softened butter and eggs. Using two butter knives and a cutting action, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. (It is better to use knives as hands release to much heat into the dough.) Continue blending with a cutting action until your mixture resembles coarse meal or large breadcrumbs.

2. Tip the dough mixture onto a floured work surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, flatten slightly and then wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

3. Preheat a fan-forced oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

4. Roll the dough on a floured work surface, forming a rough rectangle about 1cm thick.

5. Keep some of the dough aside to create the lattice work decoration on the top of the crostata. 

6. Using your fingers, pinch the sides of the dough to create an edge. This will hold the jam in place. Cover the dough’s base with jam.

7. With the extra dough, roll out flat (about 1cm thick) and cut strips. Place the strips, one at a time, to create a lattice work effect on top of the crostata.

8. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, until the pastry is a lovely golden brown colour. Allow to cool.

About Tanya Bartolini: Although Tanya Bartolini spent 14 years in accounting and finance, true satisfaction was always found in the kitchen. It wasn’t until the birth of her first son in 2012 that she realised what had seemed important before was no longer a priority and with that, Tanya decided to embrace her passion for food and family. In doing this, she has explored her family’s rich Italian history and written a book that shares her family’s precious recipes. Through her book, Blending The Cultures, featuring hearty recipes that blend the Italian and Australian way of living and eating, she hopes to encourage others to create memorable moments for themselves by cooking and sharing meals together. Tanya has also established a website – The Kitchen Bench – as a forum for everyday cooks just like herself to share wholesome, simple and healthy cooking.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Hot Days, Cool Gifts

Super Summer Gifts

Celebrate summer with these great gift ideas...

You've turned your heating down (or off). Your flannelette sheets and electric blanket have now been replaced with crisp cotton sheets. You can hang your washing on the line and be confident it will dry on the same day. These are some solid signs that summer isn't far away.

If you're looking for some gift inspiration for an upcoming birthday, or (dare we say it) if you're starting your Christmas shopping early, why not grab a gift that makes the most of the warm weather and the great outdoors?

Here are ten of our favourite summer gifts, but you can check out more ideas here...

Plus, we're offering a $10 discount on all orders placed this week. To redeem your discount, simply enter Coupon Code SUMMER in the Coupon Code field when you place your order. 

This offer is valid until 5pm Sunday 27/10/2013 and can't be used in conjunction with other offers, or redeemed for cash. But please feel free to forward this offer onto your family and friends:)

1. Bicycle Leather Wine Rack $49.95

A unique gift for cycling enthusiasts. Also available in black



2. BrewSmith Beer Making Kit, Summer Citrus Blonde Ale $69.95

As the name suggests, this refreshing flavour is perfect for summer. Check out the other flavours available here...


3. Sunny Life 4 Person Picnic Basket $169.95
This stylish picnic basket takes picnicking to the next level with 4 x melamine plates, plastic stemmed glasses, melamine handled knives, folks, spoons, and a wooden handled corkscrew/bottle opener. Make the most of the sunny summer days by getting outside and enjoying them!

4. Nuance Wine Finer II: The 4-in-1 Wine Aerator $39.95

If you're planning on taking a bottle of red or white wine on your picnic, make it taste even better by aerating it with this handy pocket-sized decanter. 

5. Thermometer, outdoor tube $34.95

Keep track of the summer outdoor temp with this handy outdoor thermometer. 
6. Grow Bags (pair) $29.95 
Renters and apartment-dwellers - now there's no excuse not to start your own garden with these simple but effective Grow Bags. Simply pop your soil into the Grow Bag, then add your plants and you're good to go. Grow Bags are great because they're smaller to move and store than pots. 
These beautiful traditional-style Secateurs have been crafted in the UK from Ash wood and feature a durable stainless steel blade.

9. MAN LAW Stainless Steel BBQ Tool Set $59.95

If you're after a high-quality, long-lasting BBQ tool set, then look no further. The unique diamond plate handle design (that looks like a tyre tread) is also an attractive feature.

10. Troika Smart Guide Compass $44.95

Lovers of the great outdoors will adore this beautiful compass - it also comes with its own black nylon protective case.
Keep up to date with what’s happening at Mr Gift by visiting our Blog or the New Products page on our website.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Favourite Recipes: Crumbed Chicken

"Nonna Ida makes the best crumbed chicken and it wasn't until recently that I discovered the exact reason why. My son absolutely loves this dish," says Tanya Bartolini. Read on for Nonna's secret ingredient...



What's Nonna Ida's secret ingredient for the best crumbed chicken?


Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 2 large chicken breasts (preferably free range)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup Scotch whisky
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 cups dried breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon powdered chicken stock
  • extra virgin olive oil


Method:
1. Thinly slice the chicken breasts (about 3-4 pieces per breast). Use a meat tenderiser to lightly hammer each piece thin.

2. Marinate the chicken: place in a bowl with eggs, scotch and garlic whisked together. Place the marinating chicken in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

3. Place breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and chicken stock in a bowl and combine. Remove a piece of chicken from the egg mixture and place in the breadcrumbs, thoroughly coating the chicken. Transfer to a plate and continue until all pieces of chicken are crumbed.

4. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once the pan comes to temperature (breadcrumbs will bubble when dropped in), place chicken pieces in the pan. Cook on one side until golden brown, then turn and repeat. Once cooked, transfer chicken to a plate covered in paper towel. Repeat until all pieces of chicken are cooked.

This dish is best served warm and golden and crunchy. 

About Tanya Bartolini: Although Tanya Bartolini spent 14 years in accounting and finance, true satisfaction was always found in the kitchen. It wasn’t until the birth of her first son in 2012 that she realised what had seemed important before was no longer a priority and with that, Tanya decided to embrace her passion for food and family. In doing this, she has explored her family’s rich Italian history and written a book that shares her family’s precious recipes. Through her book, Blending The Cultures, featuring hearty recipes that blend the Italian and Australian way of living and eating, she hopes to encourage others to create memorable moments for themselves by cooking and sharing meals together. Tanya has also established a website – The Kitchen Bench – as a forum for everyday cooks just like herself to share wholesome, simple and healthy cooking.