My memories of Rocky Road are from when I was a child and my parents took us kids for an outing to the city. Walking down Swanston Street, I was always wide eyed when we’d walk past a Darrell Lea store. The shop assistant would be standing at the doorway wearing a colourful smock with a big bow. Equally as colourful were the display of confections inside the store some of my favorites being their liquorice, peanut brittle, scorched almonds, honeycomb, orange chocolate bars and the cleverly named Rocklea Road.
I recently made some Rocky Road of my own and it was such a hit I knew I had to include it on the blog. This version uses freshly made turkish delight you find in middle eastern stores, the one dredged in icing sugar. Mine was rosewater flavoured from Oasis Bakery, North Road, Murrumbeena. If you haven’t been to Oasis Bakery before and live in Melbourne, I highly recommend a trip there, they have every ingredient from around the world under the sun. They bake a large selection of pastries, think haloumi, spinach and cheese etc and they have a fabulous looking cafe where you can grab a coffee and indulge in some Middle Eastern, Lebanese food. It’s always busy especially on the weekends.
The other ingredients are chocolate, marshmallows and peanuts, you can use salted or unsalted peanuts depending on whether you want that little hit of salt. Salted peanuts would go well with a dark chocolate rocky road. I used Woolworths Select milk chocolate to keep the cost down but you can use any chocolate you like, milk, dark or a combination of the two.
I hope you enjoy this bit of indulgence, it’d make a great foodie gift for when you want to give a teacher, colleague or friend a little something at Christmas time, it’s so moreish they won’t be able to stop at one piece, I can guarantee it.
500g milk chocolate, chopped, 400g large pink and white marshmallows, 250g turkish delight chopped into small dice, 125g peanuts
Line a square 15cm tin with baking paper.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on the stove top, make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
Mix the other ingredients together in a large bowl, pour the melted chocolate on top and mix together. Place the mixture into the prepared tin and press down gently. Set for three hours in the fridge, then cut into squares.
Recipe adapted from Pete Evans My Kitchen Casual Home Cooking Cookbook.
I have two cousin’s that like me turn 50 this year, mine was in April, you may recall I visited New York and posted about it here and here. Carol’s was in September and Isabell in October. I didn’t have a chance to catch up with Carol in September, so today we went for lunch at one of the coolest new cafes in Melbourne opened by the team from Top Paddock called Kettle Black. It’s located at 50 Albert Road, South Melbourne underneath a luxury apartment development that’s built around a beautiful white victorian terrace. The feel of Kettle Black is relaxed with an immaculate, minimalist interior featuring pea green chairs, white walls, striking flowers and plants. We sat outdoors outside the terrace, it was a delightful spot on a sunny spring day.
We both chose the King Island Crayfish Roll from the menu, a soft bun with delicate, sweet crayfish sitting on a bed of mayonnaise topped with mini spinach leaves. For sweets we shared a doughboys lime and toasted coconut doughnut and a chocolate and passionfruit tart washed down with earl grey tea presented in a small matt black teapot.
A wonderful lunch with friendly, professional staff and delectable food focusing on Victorian/Australian produce I can’t wait until we can go there to celebrate our 51sts!
Following on from my Kellogg’s Special K Nourish post on Monday, I have an interview with Karen Martini, Chef and judge on TV show My Kitchen Rules who has partnered with Special K on their latest breakfast cereal. She’s created six home cooked recipes inspired by some of the individual ingredients in Special K Nourish. On Monday I included two of these recipes and today wanted to share another one for Pink Lady Waldorf Salad with Chicken and Toasted Walnuts. A healthy salad adults and children will love.
I’m always interested in how Chef’s create and develop recipes and where they shop. Read on to find out how Karen approaches it and what inspires her.
1. What’s your process for developing recipes?
My process is really about developing an idea. I gain inspiration from a number of sources:
– Visiting markets and providores in order to follow seasonal produce.
– Keeping up with reading blogs, books and magazines provides an endless amount of direction and inspiration.
– Keeping up to date with fellow chefs and eating at their restaurants where I can.
– Travel and holidays give one exposure to tastes and ideas that seem (funnily enough) foreign to me!
– Meeting friends and hearing about their likes and dislikes always gives insightful advice.
– Reinventing a classic, adding my own interpretation on a standard dish.
2. What advice would you give to anyone who’d like to start developing their own recipes?
Experimenting! Making mistakes and then amending the recipe keeps your mind working and thinking through a recipe. I suggest cooking a recipe from scratch that you haven’t tried before, then once consuming it you should try it a second time; altering aspects to suit your preference.
3. Where’s your favourite place to shop for healthy food ingredients?
I always try to shop locally, be it farmers markets, fresh food markets or providores. Having access to seasonal produce and knowledge keeps you in the know and eating what is meant to be eaten at any certain time.
4. What ingredients would you recommend readers always have to hand in their fridge/pantry?
I have a staple pantry of:
A variety of rices; arborio, basmati, brown.
Grains & pulses; quinoa, freekah and lentils.
Good quality nuts; almonds, Brazil nuts, pepitas.
Chilli pastes and sauces.
Canned tomatoes, chickpeas.
And a quality selection of herbs and spices; smoked paprika, cinnamon, cumin just to name a few.
By having a strong base of stored ingredients; it leaves you able to buy fresh ingredients to change up your meals.
5. What’s your families favourite weeknight meal?
Surprisingly enough, it is spaghetti bolognese. My girls request it at least once a fortnight. Sometimes it gets transformed into lasagne also. Although if I had it my way we’d be eating baked fish with a fresh salad!
Thank you so much Karen for your insights into how you approach creating recipes, where you shop, what inspires you and taking the time for my interview. I’m sure it will inspire my readers and myself to buy seasonal produce and experiment in the kitchen creating our own recipes and flavour combinations. In the meantime here’s another one of Karen’s recipes she created for Kellogg’s Special K Nourish. Thank you again Karen.
Photographs provided by Liquid Ideas
Pink Lady Waldorf Salad with Chicken and Toasted Walnuts
With the sweetness from the pink lady apples and a delightful crunch from the toasted walnuts, this salad makes for a gorgeous refreshing meal that’s perfect for warmer weather. The new Special K Nourish Blackcurrant, Apple & Pepita has inspired this recipe.
2 cooked chicken breast, shredded (see my post on a foolproof way to poach chicken breasts), 4 medium stalks of celery, 1/2 cm dice with the yellow coloured leaves torn to go into the salad, 1 witlof, trimmed leaves left whole, 2 pink lady apples, julienned into matchstick thickeness with the skin on, 1 handful dried apples chopped over 1/2cm size, 24 walnuts, 2 spring onions finely sliced, 4 sprigs parsley coarsely chopped, 1/4 lemon, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsp plain yoghurt, 1 medium firm iceberg lettuce, olive oil, salt & pepper.
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Spread the walnuts on a tray and bake for 15 minutes. Toss the warm nuts in a little olive oil and season; shop half of the walnuts while leaving the other half whole.
2. Trim 3cm from the bottom of the iceberg lettuce to remove the core and trim the edges of the leaves so that they are even. Soak the whole lettuce cut side down into a bowl of iced water.
3. Mix together the mayonnaise and plain yoghurt for the dressing and season.
4. Combine witlof, celery and celery leaves, spring onion, pink lady apple, dried apple and parsley with the mayo/yoghurt dressing. Add the shredded chicken and squeeze lemon over the mixture. Stir to combine.
5. Remove the lettuce from the iced water and drain on a cloth.
6. To serve, separate the leaves carefully and fill with a couple of tablespoons of the mixture. Scatter the seasoned toasted walnuts over the lettuce cups generously.