Sunday, January 29, 2012

Welcoming the Year of the Dragon

I really love the Chinese Lunar New Year. It always seemed to make much more sense to me to measure the passing of time by the actual moon's cycles than just deciding that it starts on 1 January as in the Gregorian or Christian calendar. I guess my Pagan sensibilities have a bit of a problem with the calendar being manipulated back in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, in an attempt to quash the existing Pagan festivals. Although the western world still sticks to the Gregorian calendar, lots of us still mark the passage of time in the old ways - which also means that it is measured according the cycles of nature and the moon. For that reason, the Chinese New Year (like the Pagan one) does not fall on a fixed date each year.

In 2012, the Chinese New Year commences on 23 January and celebrations wind up around the 9 February. I have great memories of my Chinese neighbours setting off highly illegal (but very loud and festive) fireworks in my street in Marrickville when I lived there a couple of years ago. The celebratory vibe on the street was palpable and the Asian food markets were bustling with people buying food for New Year feasts. This year is the Year of the Water Dragon - a year believed to be ripe with power, flow and transformation. It is believed that it is very much a sink or swim year, where those who embrace the dragon's power and come from a solid spiritual place will thrive - and those who's beliefs and ways of living lack substance and who cannot ride the wave of dragon energy can get swamped by it. So let's get to it and ride that wave folks!

On Friday night we entertained a house full of friends to celebrate the Chinese New Year and whip up some positive, Dragon energy fuelled camraderie. I decided on a menu that was a combination of finger foods to start with, followed by a buffet of dishes served with hot steamed rice. We started off with delicious pork and sesame balls, served with plum sauce, then moved on to handmade prawn and scallop dumplings and then lovely crunchy chicken, vermicelli and black fungus rolls. The finger food went down a treat and kept everyone happy until the buffet meal.

Pork & Sesame Balls
with Plum Sauce

Prawn & Scallop Dumplings
with Soy and Sesame Oil

Chicken, Vermicelli and Black Fungus Rolls
with Chilli Lime Dipping Sauce

The buffet comprised of a fresh watercress, BBQ duck and pomelo salad (for those of you who aren't familiar with pomelo, it is a huge grapefruit like fruit, often used in South East Asia) The salad is packed with flavour, but also light and tangy - perfect for Summer.

Watercress, BBQ Duck and Pomelo Salad

Next came twice cooked pork belly, which I started 2 days before, cooking it in a highly aromatic master stock, with star anise, ginger, rice wine, cinnamon, garlic, sweet onions, peppercorns, soy, Five spice, garlic and chilli. After poaching the pork, it is left to dry out a little. The skin is then scored all over, and the meat is then cooked over the coals, then rested before serving with gai lan (Chinese greens) The resulting pork is super succulent and full of the exotic aromatics.

Twice Cooked Pork Belly
with Gai Lan

I added a simple seafood dish - prawns, fish and scallops that were coated in spiced rice flour and fried, then served with chilli and coriander. It is a very simple dish that allows the very fresh seafood to shine through.

Fried Spiced Seafood

There was a stir fried chicken and dried shitake mushroom dish, served with crisp snake beans and fresh bean sprouts. There were lots of comments on how meaty and delicious the mushrooms were - the flavour is just beautiful, and a lot stronger than using fresh ones. The dried mushrooms are soaked in water overnight before cutting off the stalks and using them.

Chicken & Shitake Mushrooms
with Bean Shoots

I hadn't planned to serve dessert, but Andrew suggested we head to the Chinese pastry shop and buy some sweet custard tarts to offer at the end of the meal. I thought it was a great idea, but when we got to the shop, there were only 5 or 6 left. We needed 25! Our friendly Chinese baker sweetly suggested that he would bake a batch just for us that we could pick up in an hour. Perfect. The tarts were divine and a big hit with our guests. Alas, no pictures - we were too busy devouring them all to photograph them!

Our Chinese New Year celebration was a lot of fun, and we certainly kicked off The Year of the Dragon with good vibes and much feasting. Happy Year of the Dragon everyone - ride that Water Dragon Wave! Gung Hay Fat Choy!!!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Review - The Duke Bistro

What do you get when you cross two passionate young gun chefs, a landmark inner city hotel, a dining room with a late night, saloon type vibe and a menu with an irreverent, creative bent? You get The Duke Bistro in Darlinghurst -  and a meal that will have your tastebuds doing a backflip and your dining companions discussing when you can come back for more, before you have even finished the dessert. Chefs Thomas Lim (ex Tetsuya's) and Mitch Orr (ex Sepia and the 2010 Young Chef of the Year) have been in residence upstairs at the Flinders Hotel for over a year now and last week I finally got around to paying them a visit.

Walking into The Flinders called to mind the years that I lived just around the corner in the early 90's. I spent many an hour in the bar downstairs, dancing, partying, getting up to no good with the rest of the neighbourhood and staying way after any sensible person should have gone home! It was frequently daylight when you would stumble out onto the footpath looking a whole lot less glamourous than when you stepped in! Now, here I was a decade later, heading up the narrow stairs to enjoy a very grown up and sedate weeknight dinner with friends. Funnily enough, one of my dining companions on the night was my partner in crime back in the Flinders party days - yes, I'm looking at you Mark. My how things have changed!

I was very relieved to discover that The Duke has not succumed to the trend of - let's completely gut an old building and fill it with stainless steel, pale hardwood, uncomfortable chairs and skinny jean wearing hipster waiters, as far as the eye can see. When you enter the dining room, you are met with an inviting, intimate and not at all up itself space that makes you want to settle in for the long haul. I loved the dark green walls and the saloon like sensibility of the place. The wait staff were fantastic - welcoming, efficient and extremely knowlegable about the menu.

The Menu

We started with a cocktail from the short and sharp cocktail menu - mixed and served with real attention to detail (lovely burnt orange rind rimmed glasses, created at the table by our waiter). Enjoying our aperitif, there was much discussion amongst the six of us about which dishes we were going to choose. All of dishes on the menu are designed for sharing and we settled on 12 choices, enlisting the help of our waiter to make sure we had a nice cross section of what was on offer. The menu boasts a great range of interesting choices, including plenty for the vegetarians.

The Duke Dining Room

One of the things that had drawn me to The Duke was the search something different in a city where so much of what is on offer dining wise is same, same, same. So many menus seem to be clones of each other, and I was delighted with the creativity of the flavour combinations that we were treated to. This the kind of food I like, the way I like to eat it.

Water Spinach, Potato, Taleggio/ Spanner Crab Gravy with Butter Buns/ Fried Chicken Wings with Charred Scallions and Hot Sauce 

We all agreed that there wasn't a dud dish amongst our selections - some were more complicated than others, some were simplicity itself, but the one thing they all had in common was top notch ingredients and great presentation.

Pork Jowl and Apple Pancakes / Bonito, Lardo, Pumpkin, Coffee

Stand out dishes for me on the night were the Spanner Crab Gravy with Butter Buns - A spanner crab reduction with a beautiful flavour you could hardly believe, served with Asian style butter buns to soak up all the sauce. The Fregola, Corn and Cornbread was to die for - the cornbread as light and airy as an Angel Food Cake and a whole lot tastier! The nightly special - Pork Jowl Pancakes, served with caramelised apple and curry mayonnaise was fantastic. Great textures, the succulent pig cheek cooked to perfection.

Fregola, Corn and Cornbread

For me though, the dish of the night was the Bonito, Lardo, Pumpkin and Coffee combination. Bonito fish cooked rare, served with a rich, velvety pumpkin puree, crispy pork and a touch of earthy ground coffee that took the dish from voluptuous and satisfying to Va Va Voom!!!!! Five shiny gold starts for that one.

Peas, Ammato and Melon

Specialties of house are the very moreish crispy fried chicken wings (which manage to be super crisp on the outside but succulent on the inside) served with lip smacking scallions and your own bottle of hot sauce - and the steamed radishes in dashi butter, served with freshly baked sourdough rolls to soak up all the delicious flavoured butter. Delicious.

Blade Cap of Beef  with Green Olive and Lemon

Radish with Dashi Butter

Char Siu Pork Neck, Gai Lan, Black Sesame and Garlic Shoot

Rainbow Trout and Grapes

For dessert, the six of us shared a plate of the descriptively named Milk,Milk,Milk - which is in fact a selection of Meringue, Caramelised Milk Skin, Dulce de Leche and Panna Cotta. Oh Mama! A riot of texture and taste that had us clutching our spoons as our eyes rolled back in our heads. What a way to end what was an exceptional meal.

Milk, Milk, Milk
(Meringue, Caramelised Milk Skin, Dulce de Leche, Panna Cotta)

We had a fantastic experience at The Duke, and we will definitely be returning soon (I want more of that Bonito dish!!) but this quirky bistro is certainly not going to appeal to everyone. You only have to look at the various reviews online to see that people either adore it - or despise it - with nothing much in between. If you aren't into the sharing dishes thing, are seeking the unchallenging or the familiar, or rate a meal on how huge the serving is, then this place is not for you. A common criticism I read was small serving size - but I think these people miss the point.  The idea of the entree sized sharing plates are to have a taste of a variety of dishes - it is never meant to be a whole meal. Anyone expecting otherwise will be undoubtedly disappointed. For me, The Duke is a breath of fresh air in the Sydney restaurant scene.

The bill for the six of us came to about $70 each, which included cocktails and wine. Given the quality of the menu and the high standard of the experience, it was value for money as far as I'm concerned. These guys have really got it right - I'm only kicking myself that I took so long to venture up those stairs to that green dining room! If you live in Sydney, I suggest that you pay them a visit. Immediately.

You will find The Duke Bistro upstairs at The Flinders Hotel -  63 Flinders Street Darlinghurst/Surry Hills. They are open from Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm until late. For reservations phone 9332 3180. Check out their website for latest menus, photos and their blog


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rocking Mexican Vego

For today's post, I thought I would share a meal that we enjoyed a few days ago as part of our "No Meat Mondays". I was in the mood for something Mexican, so I created these vegetarian quesadillas with lovely caramelised pumpkin. They were really delicious and satisfied my craving for Mexican as well as the no meat brief. Although the pumpkin takes a while to roast, you could also cook it the day before when you have time, or for a shortcut, steam or boil it (although it will not have that wonderful caramelised flavour that baking will give you)

The quesadillas were very filling, especially when served alongside a big bowl of salsa (tomatoes, red peppers, cucumber, garlic, olive oil, fresh parsley and coriander, chilli and a squeeze of lemon) and a simple homemade guacamole. These would make a great vegetarian party dish - just cut the quesadillas into smaller pieces so they are easier to handle as finger food. Quesadillas lend themselves to so many different fillings, and lots of cheese combinations. The name quesadilla is actually derived from the Spanish word queso - meaning cheese.

Give these delicious vegetarian beauties a whirl. They are easy to do and taste fabulous. I will definitely be adding these to my rotation of vegetarian dishes! Grap some tortillas and get your Mexican on!

Pumpkin Quesadillas
served with salsa and guacamole

You will need: 8 pieces of bread “wraps” or tortillas, 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, ½ cup pitted, chopped black olives, about 500g uncooked pumpkin,1 red onion, 1 bunch fresh coriander, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, salt and pepper, olive oil, lemon slices to serve.

Method: Peel and chop the pumpkin into pieces about 4cm square. Slice the onion into chunky pieces. Combine the onion and pumpkin with a drizzle of olive oil, paprika and a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 220C. Cook the pumpkin for about 40 minutes – or until soft. I actually like to overcook it a bit, as the caramelised edges give the pumpkin extra flavour.

Combine the two cheeses well and then roughly chop the coriander.

Lay four of the wraps/tortillas flat and sprinkle half of the cheese over the bases. Now divide the pumpkin mixture amongst the wraps, squashing and spreading out the pumpkin with a spoon, so it is evenly distributed.

Sprinkle over the coriander and olives, then the rest of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and then add the remaining wraps/tortillas to the top, to make a sandwich.

Heat a frypan and oil it lightly. Cook your quesadillas on both sides until crisp on the outside and the cheese has melted. Be careful when turning them over so that they do not fall apart. You can keep the completed ones warm in the oven as you cook the rest if you like.

Cut the quesadilla’s into four and serve with lemon slices,salsa, guacamole or just a salad.

Serves 4 people


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Magnificent Mango

Nothing says Summer like mangoes and today's recipe uses this gorgeous fruit,  that is in season right now. Mangoes aren't only delicious as a sweet treat or dessert - they are also great in salads, served with white meat or seafood and in salsas or sauces. Enjoy them in as many different ways as you can while they are cheap and plentiful.

Mangoes are native to India and account for approximately half of all tropical fruits produced worldwide. In India, the tree and it's fruit plays a sacred role. It is a traditionally a symbol of love and some believe that the Mango tree has the power to grant wishes. The trees can also live a very long time, with some specimens still bearing fruit after 300 years. Pretty damned impressive !

In Hinduism, the perfectly ripe mango is often held by the elephant god, Lord Ganesha (remover of obstacles and patron of prosperity) as a symbol of attainment and potential perfection. Mango blossoms are also used in the worship of the Goddess Saraswati who rules knowledge, music, arts, science and technology. All this, and they taste superb too!

Today's recipe is very easy and is the ideal Summer after work dinner. You can throw it together really fast and the result is a healthy, summery and delicious meal. Feel free to play around with the salad ingredients and use whatever you have around. Throwing in some toasted almonds or sunflower seeds would add a lovely nutty crunch to the salad if you fancy it.

Chicken and Mango Salad

You will need: 6 chicken tenderloins, 1 ripe sliced mango (I prefer them a touch under-ripe, but choose whatever suits you), ½ red onion finely sliced, 1 baby Cos lettuce (or assorted salad leaves of your choice) , ½ Lebanese cucumber - deseeded and sliced, ½ cup finely julienned red pepper/capsicum. Olive oil for greasing the pan or grill.

For the marinade: 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon minced or finely chopped chilli (more if you like it fiery!), 1 clove minced garlic, Rind of 1 lime.

For the dressing: Juice of 1 lime, 2 teaspoons fish sauce, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste

Method: Whisk together the marinade ingredients and combine well with the chicken. Marinate for at least an hour (overnight is great if you have time)

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Cook the chicken in a hot, greased pan/grill until cooked through. Brush with any remaining marinade as you go. Doing this on the BBQ would also work really well. When the chicken is cooked, allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, assemble all of your salad ingredients on individual plates or a large platter. Slice the chicken into smaller pieces and add to the salad. Drizzle over some of the dressing just before serving.

Serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are!


Monday, January 9, 2012

No Meat Mondays

They say the longest journey starts with the smallest step and this year our household is looking to reduce the amount of meat we consume. Our motivation is threefold, we are hoping this will have benefits health wise, fiscally and environmentally. Now let me say right here that we are both definitely carnivores, so at this stage throwing away the notion of eating meat all together is still a way off. Our intention is to still enjoy good quality, sustainable, ethically raised meat, but to go for quality, not quantity, sourcing from small suppliers and avoiding the supermarket style, styrofoam packed mass product where you really have no idea how or where the animal was raised.

In the meantime, we will be exploring a lot more vegetarian meal options as we make the transition to being occasional meat (and fish) eaters. So, I decided to kick off with the advent of "No Meat Mondays" in our house. Every Monday, we will refrain from eating meat and enjoy a cornucopia of fruit and vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts. I will be sharing some of the vegetarian offerings here for you to try and will be experimenting along the way.  I'm sure that my vego mates will be glad that there will be a lot more on offer for them here at Gourmet Goddess, as I try to redress the balance a little.

So, to today's recipe - a warm roasted vegetable and barley salad. Vegetarian or not, you will love the gorgeous flavours in this dish, chock full of veges and the lovely nutty taste of barley. Add a pile of fresh herbs and a tangy dressing and you have a flavoursome and satisfying vegetarian dinner dish. I love barley and decided that I didn't just want to save it for soup in winter. It works really well in this salad. I actually cooked the barley the day before so that assembling Monday night dinner would be quicker and easier. I cooked double the amount and have frozen the rest for when I want to make this again - which I will, it was delicious!

Feel free to use whatever veges take your fancy, although I recommend that you include pumpkin and onion  - they added a delicious richness to the salad that it would be a shame to miss out on. Next time I also plan to throw in some blanched beans and maybe some toasted almonds. Experiement with whatever you have around. No meat Mondays ahoy!!!

Warm Roasted Vegetable & Barley Salad

You will need: 1 cup dry pearl barley, 1 red onion chopped roughly, 1/2 cup roughly chopped continental parsley, 1/2 cup roughly chopped coriander, 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint, about 6 cups vegetables chopped into pieces around 4cm square (I used a selection of pumpkin,zucchini, mushroom and red pepper), olive oil, salt and pepper.

For the dressing: 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 clove garlic crushed or pureed, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper to taste.

Method: Rinse the barley well under cold water. Strain and then boil in a pot of unsalted water until tender. Rinse and drain well and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Combine all of the vegetables (not the herbs) and the onion in a bowl with a generous splash of olive oil and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix well until all of the vegetables are coated.

Put the veges on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook until they are soft and tender. Mine took around 40 minutes. Turn them occasionally during the cooking process. When done, remove from the oven and allow them to cool a little for about 10 minutes.

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients (or do what I do and make it in a jar, that way you just have to give it a good shake and you are in business) Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Gently combine the barley, vegetables and herbs with the dressing. Try not to smash up the soft vegetables too much - you want some nice chunks in there.

Serve with some extra fresh herbs on the top.

Serves 4-6 people.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day Lunch

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to 2012 here in the Gourmet Goddess kitchen! It is hard to believe that it is well over two and a half years since I first tentitively put my first post out there, with the intention of just posting recipes and reviews for friends to read. Since that first day, I have been blown away by the response to Gourmet Goddess and how many people from all over the world are now reading it on a regular basis. Thank you all for inspiring me to continue to share my love for creating new dishes, revisiting old ones and exploring the wonderful world of culinary adventures.

To kick off the new year, I decided to create a New Year's Day lunch that included a few ideas that I have had buzzing around my head during this holiday season. The main course and the dessert were dishes that I had decided on before the actual day of the lunch, however the starter just kind of popped into my head as I was doing the prep work for the dessert and noticed that I had a pack of Haloumi cheese in the fridge when I opened it to get the cream out! Inspiration struck and I used other ingredients I had on hand as well as herbs from my garden to make this delicious vegetarian starter. I was so happy with the result, I will be adding it to the permanent Gourmet Goddess repetoire.

The first course used a pack of Haloumi cheese, a handful of pine nuts, some roma tomatoes, black olives, a cucumber and freshly cut herbs. I cut the tomatoes into quarters, seasoned them and roasted them slowly in the oven for about an hour, then let them cool. I combined the cooled tomatoes with a handful of chopped balck olives, diced de-seeded lebanese cucumber, a handful of flat leaf parsley and a handful of mint. I then seasoned it all with salt and pepper, drizzled over a little olive oil and a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice.

Just before serving I pan fried the Haloumi in a touch of olive oil and then layered the ingredients on a serving plate (in this case one of my favourite green dishes from the wonderful Dinosaur Designs - a wedding gift from the lovely Matthew) I topped the lot with a few pine nuts, which I had toasted in a dry pan until they were golden - this gave them a particularly nutty taste and aroma. The result was a very simple but really delicious Summer starter that would be great as a side dish but also a wonderful vegetarian main course. I will definitely be making this again!

Haloumi and slow roasted tomato salad
with mint and pinenuts

For the main course, I decided on a rack of lamb, with a bit of a twist on the popular herb crust technique. I thought a combination of hazelnuts and lemon was worth trying, so I mixed together some fresh breadcrumbs with lemon rind, garlic, fresh parsley, hazelnut meal (I made this by blending roasted whole hazelnuts in the food processor) salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

To prepare the lamb, I seared it first in a pan, then covered the bones with foil to prevent them charring during cooking. I then brushed a generous amount of Dijon mustard over the skin. I carefully pressed the crust mixture on to the top of the lamb rack (I used an 8 cutlet or "point" rack) and then cooked it on the Weber over coals, with the lid on for about 30 minutes. After removing it from the heat, I covered it loosely in foil and rested the meat for 20 minutes before removing the foil and carving it. We enjoyed our lamb with sauteed asparagus and creamy potato mash that was tarted up with liberal amounts of butter and Tetsuya's Truffle Salt (drool!)

Hazelnut and Lemon Crusted Lamb
with truffle mash and sauteed asparagus

The result was a delicious, quite decadent dish, with that lovely hazelnut crunch and the refreshing tang of the lemon for that bit of zing. This variation on the classic herb crusted lamb was a hit with my fellow diners, who relished every bite and resorted to grabbing the bones and gnawing every last bit of succulent meat off them! Like the starter, this dish is very simple but is something you would happily serve at a dinner party.

Tetsuya's Truffle Salt

If you want to purchase some of Tetsuya's Truffle Salt (of course you do!! It's fabulous!) you will find it at David Jones' Food Hall, good gourmet stores or from Tetsuya via his website.  This salt is perfect for sprinkling on soft poached eggs, grilled vegetables or for use in sauces. If you do buy some, be sure to keep it in an airtight container, unless you want everything in your whole pantry to smell like truffles! It is sold in 100g jars and keeps for a couple of years.

When I was in Perth just before Christmas, my mother served me her gorgeous old fashioned trifle one night. I haven't eaten this since I was a kid and it was just delicious. Just one bite was a total nostalgia trip and I wondered why we don't really see trifles much any more. Who could resist that luscious combo of sponge, jelly, fruit, custard and cream? I decided I would make one when I returned home, but got to thinking about a new way to serve trifle, that would work as a dinner party dish. Taking advantage of lovely seasonal fruit, and tweaking the flavours, I came up with my own version of trifle. My trifle is based on the old school dessert, Peach Melba. I always loved the pairing of peaches, raspberries and cream and used this as inspiration for my trifle, which is served in individual portions. You can of course just make a large one if you aren't keen on having to assemble one person serves.

Peach Melba Trifle
with Rose Cream

Although there are quite a few elements to this dessert, it can all be done ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you are ready to serve, so don't be put off by all of the steps involved. So, how did I do it?

The night before, I made up a good old fashioned batch of raspberry jelly and left it to set overnight. A few hours before my guests arrived, I then created the components for the various layers. I had everything ready to go and then just assembled the trifles, covering them with clingfilm and chilling for a couple of hours.

Layer 1 - Sponge. Did I make a sponge? Nope. I cut 10 Italian Savioardi sponge biscuits into small chunks and drizzled over some strawberry liqueur to moisten them slightly. You could use rasbperry or peach liqueur if you wanted to.

Layer 2 - Peaches. I took four ripe peaches, blanched them in boiling water for 10 minutes and removed the skins. Then I sliced them into pieces.

Layer 3 - Custard. In a bowl, I whisked together half a cup of sugar, 3 egg yolks and a  tablespoon of cornflour until smooth and creamy. In a pan, I heated 2 cups of full cream milk with half a vanilla pod (I scraped the seeds out and mixed them all through for maximum vanilla deliciousness) When the milk was almost at the boil, I poured in a small amount of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking all the time. I kept doing this until half of the milk was mixed in. Then I poured the whole lot back into the saucepan and whisked well, before putting on a medium to low heat and whisking until thickened. I let the custard cool before using it.

Layer 4 - Raspberries. I mixed together 2 cups of raspberries with a splash of the strawberry liqueur and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. There were no decent raspberries at the shop, so I used frozen ones, which worked a treat.

Layer 5 - Jelly. I diced the raspberry jelly I made the night before into small pieces.

Layer 6 - Rose Cream. I beat a carton of thickened cream with half a teaspoon of rosewater and a dessert spoon of caster sugar, until thick.

Topping - Grated white chocolate (optional)

Be sure to have everthing ready before you start assembling your trifle and make sure that your custard has cooled down - it can be warm, but not hot. This dessert is really worth the effort - the combination of the peaches and raspberries with the sponge, fragrant vanilla custard and rose scented cream is to die for.

So, that was our first meal of 2012. Hope that you all come back and visit Gourmet Goddess during the year to share in new recipes, reviews and culinary adventures. I have ideas brewing already, so stay tuned!