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Eat, drink and be merry! - Champions Challenge

Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry! Whatever your traditions, where ever you are celebrating the end of another year, we’d love to see and hear about the most memorable food you have come cross over the year (including over Christmas). Perhaps it was on a trip away, or something you’ve made yourself - either way, please share it with us below. Photos (and recipes) are welcome.

The Challenge
Post a recipe, or even just describe, some amazing, original and out-of-the-ordinary dishes you have come across this year.

The Reward
Receive the Food Champions Award badge for your profile. Top posters will be offered a chance to become a Food Champion and work with CHOICE on important food issues.

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Here are 2 of my favourites.

Fred123Total recall

Jul '18

I had planned to cook another Duck Madras curry in our pressure cooker this week, but after reminiscing about the Chicken Tikka I ate in Hong Kong some years ago, I decided to put the duck on the backburner and do the Chicken Tikka instead.
I bought a tray of 6 bone-in skin-on chicken cutlets from the Supa IGA which weighted just under 1.2 Kg and 2 packets of Taste of India Tikka Masala sauce from the butcher. After browning the cutlets, I added the sauce and spices and once the pressure cooker had reached high pressure, I cooked it for 20 minutes.
It may not have been quite as good as the meal in Hong Kong but it was completely satisfactory to me. I had it for dinner the past 2 nights and plan to eat the remaining 2 cutlets tonight.
Rather than have rice as the accompaniment, I also cooked my favourite Cous Cous dish with toasted pine nuts, cooked finely diced onions and chopped spring onions blended through the Cous Cous.
The chicken cutlets, the 2 packets of sauce, the Cous Cous, and the other ingredients cost around $20 total for 3 delicious meals.

And of course, something to wash it down with.

Fred123Total recall

Jul '18

Each day around 5:00 PM, I really enjoy an icy cold Corona with a wedge of lime pushed into it.
At our previous residence I planted a Tahitian Lime which grew around 4 metres high and was loaded with fruit but many were almost as large as an orange.
When we bought our present home in 2015, I bought some planters and fruit trees to grow in them around the swimming pool, one of which is a Key Lime which is also known as the Bartender’s Lime in the US.
It is now around 1 metre high and 1 metre in diameter. After it only produced a few limes in the first 2 years, I have picked a bag full so far this year with the last 4 fruits still ripening and the tree is already covered in flowers.
The fruit is yellow when ripe and are around 2 to 4 cm in diameter, perfect sizes to fit a Corona bottle and the tree does not have any thorns. When I cut the first wedge from one with a razor sharp utility knife, there is always a pool of juice on the sink. I can actually bite the flesh without the usual bitter taste of Tahitian Limes or lemons.
Key limes are grown from seed although the base of our tree appears as though it was grafted. I bought it from Bunnings.
So for all those Corona drinkers who enjoy a wedge of lime with their beer, this is a great way to get nice small limes without paying a fortune for them.

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This is my take on an old favourite: trifle. It uses local ingredients and is not difficult although a little time consuming. It assumes that you can make creme patisserie and chocolate ganache. If you can’t there are plenty of recipes available. Some hints: don’t make the cream pat too sweet, do use good dark chocolate in the ganache, the bitterness is important for balance

Christmas Trifle
This is very rich so save it for special occasions. This version is not really for children.

Historically people have made trifle to use up stale cake. You can do that but it is better if the cake is fresh. This makes a large bowl that will give 12-16 servings depending on serving size. You can increase or decrease the quantities in proportion and have no effect on the result.

Choose a flat serving bowl that is the right size for the quantity – glass is good if you have it. If you have glass dessert bowls for individual serves these make a nice presentation. You will also save time and mess when you come to serve but filling and chilling them can be tedious.
The trifle will keep a day (or more) if refrigerated so you can make it in the morning of a dinner party or even the night before.

Ingredients
• Two sponge cakes. You can make your own if you want to but unfilled sponges from a cake shop or supermarket will do quite well.
• A generous half cup of sherry and half a cup of orange-based liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau.
• Two cups of Crème Patisserie, not too thick.
• Two large mangos peeled and sliced, if small use more. You can substitute other fresh soft fruit in season. Good ripe peaches or nectarines are suitable but not as reliable as mangoes in flavour unless you grow your own.
• One cup dark chocolate ganache.
• One small container (300ml) of fresh cream (35% milk fat). Thickened cream with the same fat content is fine. Add a dessertspoon of sugar and teaspoon of vanilla essence and whip to soft peaks.
• One punnet of fresh berries de-stemmed, if large halved. Use strawberries, blueberries or whatever you prefer.

Method
With a sharp knife cut the cake into about 4cm squares and place them in the bowl in one layer. It doesn’t matter if you push them in closely but don’t squish them to crumbs. Sprinkle the alcohol all over, cover and refrigerate while doing the next steps.
Prepare the fruit. Make the cream pat allowing it to cool a little but not get cold. Make the ganache keeping it warm too. Whip the cream.
Spoon the warm cream pat all over the cake and push it down between the cracks, smooth out the top. Lay the mango slices evenly over the crème pat layer. Spread the ganache over the mango layer. Spread the cream on top. Garnish liberally with berries. Cover and refrigerate until serving, at least two hours.
Give each serving a vertical slice so that they get some of all the layers.

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A rich cream cake which is my fav for the festive season:

Cut a large sponge cake in slices and
soak into Alkermes liqueur ( for non-alcohol substitute a fruit juice, preferably of a red colour).

In an oval dish start layering sponge slices and thick custard cream, finishing with sponge slices.

Cover all of the cake in fresh whipped
cream and garnish with red cherries on top and with paper holly leaves around the base of the dish.

Can be soaked in strong black coffee and the custard can be coffee flavoured.
Or add cocoa to the custard mix.
Or almond flavoured.
Just let your imagination go, only it’s
a good idea to keep the outside white, red and green, for that Christmas look.

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Something new and surprising was tried achacha for the first time. In Brisbane we saw them and bought them from the Asian market at Inala.

We like trying different foods and was pleasantly surprised by its taste and versatility. They also have a very long shelf life.

Supply within Australia is limited so if one sees them, it is worth trying or buying while they are available.

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One of these!

The recipe starts with a return ticket to Tokyo.

Intense matcha ice cream, bitter rich chocolaty coffee and a creamy rice mousse below.

A little easier to get to in FNQ, and with a whole lot more choice made from locally grown tropical fruit.

There is no point in picking just one. You need to try them all before you can say your choice is an unbiased fair trial. :yum::yum::yum:

Sorry no pics to hand, we were too busy pigging out, oops, taste testing.

@BrendanMays, you need to make this an annual topic. Any excuse.

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Tikka Masla by Gordon Ramsay …

works like a charm

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With luck my farmer hasn’t lost his crop. Planning on making harissa chicken and capsicum relish.

Will have to double the quantity this year as last years jars are almost all gone…

Both dishes are time consuming but end result is amazing

Remove the seed and core from a 1kg capsicums. Place under a hot grill until the skin blackens. Peel the skin off the capsicum, then chop the flesh.

Add this to a pot with a 2 onion, 500g of tomatoes, peeled/chopped & seeded.few cloves of garlic. 100g brown sugar fresh ginger and 250ml vinegar. Bring to the boil and cook for 30 minutes, or until a chutney-like consistency is reached.

Pour into sterilised bottles and seal .If processed in water bath then keeps for 2 years.

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