Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cinnamon Candied Nuts

These toasty cinnamon-scented candied walnuts, cashews and pecans make a great home-made gift for the holidays. They are super easy, just combine the ingredients and bake! They are great as ice cream toppers or even sprinkled over salad with some beautiful blue cheese, pear and rocket.

Makes 1 kg

500 g Whole Walnuts
250 g Raw Cashews
250 g Pecan Nuts
3 Egg Whites
300g Sugar
4 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Salt


Combine the nuts in a bowl.
Whisk egg whites until frothy. Add the egg whites to the nuts and coat well.
Add the sugar and cinnamon and toss to coat.
Spread loosely onto lined baking trays and bake for 10 minutes, turning once until dark golden brown and dry.
Sprinkle over salt and toss to combine.
Cool completely before packing into jars.
See notes for additional information.


These keep well for a month, place a small tea bag of rice tied with decorative ribbon in the middle to remove any moisture. This stops them from sticking together. If making ahead, shake the jars every week or so before gifting to ensure they stay separate. Store in a cool dark and dry place if possible. When baking they will brown around the edges first, try to move these bits toward the center of the tray when you turn them. Discard any that have become black. Most importantly, keep a close eye on them because once they start to brown they go dark very quickly! Top with christmas fabric squares and tie with ribbon.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Manmaruya, Campsie

Who would have believed that Campsie, home of Sydney's largest conglomeration of dollar stores and stinky old dudes, would have this hidden gem. I was there around lunch time and BOOM, the waft of fried chicken hit my nostrils so naturally i had no choice but to venture in. I ordered a Karaage Chicken Ramen with extra cha shu (Japanese roast pork) an extra hanjuku no tamago (poached egg) and some extra negi (spring onions). And yes they understood my broken Japanese. For those who don't know, Ramen is all about the extra toppingu. I'm sure I could have had menma (bamboo shoots) Niniku (grated garlic) and Baata (butter) if I had asked for it. In Japan there are more bizarre toppings than I choose to mention here today. Lets just say they involved underpants.

Manmaruya is run by some handsome Japanese boys that definately know a thing or two about Tonkotsu. (pork bone broth) It was light, flavoursome and not overly salty. The thick gooeyness of the Gumshara broth or fatty and salty soup from Ryo's Noodle go to show that every Ramen shop soup should have its own character. I didn't poke around the open kitchens this time to find a huge pot with simmering pork bones, but I will be sure to next time to confirm whether it is the real deal. In any case, it tasted pretty good. The noodles were a little on the soggy side for me- I like them to still be in rigor mortis and very very al dente. They also had a large range of the usual washoku, sushi, bento and the like. If you are in the area and are looking for a cheap and tasty feed, Manmaruyu has my stamp of approval.

193 Beamish St
Campsie NSW 2194
Phone (02) 9789 5759

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ghostie Cake & Hallowe'en

Halloween this year was truly scary on a number of levels, the costumes, the trickery, the over-50's bobbing for donuts competition. There was more skin jiggling there than at Bada Bing on a friday night. But by far the most freaky for me was rolling out some fondant to make this ghostie cake. I saw the design originally in a women's weekly cake for kids mag/book and decided that since I own a bombe mold to make good use of it. Turns out it was super duper easy, all except for keeping the blue icing UNDER the fondant and not smeared all over the virginal white exterior. Was quite pleased with the shonky but recognizable ghostie result. Also some old pics from the spooktacular feast that was halloween.

Miss Ghostie

Ghostie's yummy icing blob filling (all vanilla)

Sundried Tomato Pinwheels with Coriander Leaves AKA Pumpkins

Pre-school Stylie Mac n Cheese Swamp Monsters for the kiddies

Almond Shortbread Witches Fingers n Toes

The tomato pinwheels had a filling made of semi-dried tomatoes, cream cheese and some spices processed in a blender and spread onto sundried tomato wraps. They were wrapped over night and sliced into rounds an hour before serving. Quite fiddly but really tasty. The witches fingers were courtesy of George Calombaris' recipe for greek Kourambithes cookies, but because it was a rainy day I ended up adding more flour to the sticky and soft dough.


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