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My Top Ten Recipes for 2015


Over the course of this past year, I wrote a new post on average six times per month. I tested a lot of recipes, and you know how it is, some are a big let down while others just make your heart skip a pleasurable beat.

I thought I’d share my ten favourite new recipes for 2015. Each has been chosen purely for eating pleasure although some also have used techniques in their making that have elevated the dish to the sublime. Those recipes have taught me be some unforgettable lessons and made me a better cook.

  1. Amarena Cherry Stuffed Amaretti from foodblogger, Stefan Gourmet
  2. Kylie Kwong’s Crispy Roast Pork Belly
  3. My Prawn salad with avocado and wasabi cream,
  4. Gelato Messina dairy free chocolate sorbet
  5. Saffron Rice pudding with slow roasted plums, Greg Malouf’s rice, my plums
  6. Slow roasted lamb shoulder with browned almonds from Paula Wolfert
  7. Pumpkin bacon and parmesan risotto cake, all my own
  8. Ossi du mordere, my interpretation from Carol Field’s The Italian Baker
  9. Sticky Black Rice with Ginger Syrup adapted from by an old uncredited magazine clipping
  10. Alice Medrich’s gluten free choc chip cookies

I struggled with Paula Wolfert’s book The Food of Morocco when it came up at the Cookbook Guru. Every single recipe included an ingredient that is excluded from my diet, onions, garlic, dried fruit and wheat. In the spirit of participaton I adapted Wolfert’s Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Browned Almonds. Slow roasting lamb shoulder was not new to me, but chilling the meat the reheating it bathed in the roasting juices was. I serve lamb shoulder Wolfert’s way now.

There is nothing worse than being confronted with a piece of flabby fatty pork belly, especially when you know that when it’s been handled with skill, roasted pork belly is sweet and unctious and the crispy crunchy crackling, the perfect counterpoint to the fall apart meat. Kylie Kwong’s clear and precise instructions resulted in the very best pork belly I have ever cooked or eaten.

I have lactose intolerance which makes it pretty tricky to enjoy ice cream, at least it was until Gelato Messina came into my life. I was sad to leave the gelateria in Richmond, but happy to have a copy of the eponymous cookbook. All the recipes including the dairy free gelato and fruit sorbets look quite technical until you start using them, then you realize it’s not time but temperature that’s important when making frozen treats. I can’t praise this book or the dairy free chocolate gelato enough, mmmmm.

In the throes of packing to move house, the cookbook guru was cooking from Carol Field’s Italian Baker. Keen to use what I had to hand I made a total mash up of her recipe for Ossi du Mordere which freakishly made the most delicious sweet morsels of chocolate hazelnut meringue. Too good to be true.

I was amazed by these gluten free choc chip cookies from Alice Medrich’s ground breaking “Flavor Flours,” a recipe book devoted to baking without wheat. Until I made this recipe, my experience making sweet cookies without wheat flour had been disappointing. It wasn’t a lack of flavour but an unpleasant and unpalatable powdery texture that frustrated me. I believe that in a blind taste test, even the most dedicated wheat eater would not pick these cookies as gluten free.


This time last year I was deep in the exploration of Japanese food. While experimenting with hand formed sushi and fancy garnishes I had a light bulb moment which resulted in this delicious salad canape. My Prawn Salad with Avocado and Wasabi Cream will be making a guest appearance at Christmas this year.

Twenty plus years ago I made a risotto cake from Claudia Roden’s “The Food of Italy.” I immediately saw the concept as having huge potential. During the summer months I make risotto cake at least once a month. My pumpkin, bacon and parmesan risotto cake is set to become a week night favourite.

Of all the gluten free sweet treats I made in 2015, the Amarena cherry stuffed amaretti was my favourite, and also probably the most extravagant. If you love almonds, if you love cherries and if you love the marriage of both those flavours then you’ll be a fan too, but be warned they are seriously addictive.  I’ve chosen them as my personal treat for Christmas.

Rice pudding is at the top of my comfort food list, but I had never ever had rice pudding this good. Greg Malouf’s Saffron Rice Pudding from his book Saha reset my rice pudding benchmark. Teaming the sweet rice pudding with slow roasted blood plums was sublime, I can’t wait until late summer for the plums to be in season.

I keep a plastic page filled with recipes clipped from magazines and newspapers. It’s frightening how long I’ve kept some of them. An inspiring and delicious breakfast menu at a local cafe prompted me to use one such recipe as inspiration for Sticky Black Rice porridge. It was the candied fresh ginger in syrup which elevated the dish to the sublime. Add a sliced banana and OMG.

 

 

 

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

20 comments on “My Top Ten Recipes for 2015

  1. Chez @ Chez Moi
    April 25, 2016

    Hi Sandra, thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday. It’s lovely to find another blogger based in Brisbane, and such a prolific writer as well! I look forward to reading your future posts and trying some of your wonderful recipes. All the very best, Chez

    Like

  2. Karen
    January 5, 2016

    Wishing you all the best in this new year. I’m looking forward to more of your terrific recipes that inspire us all.

    Like

  3. ChgoJohn
    January 5, 2016

    What a fantastic list of dishes, Sandra! I’m amazed that each fits your particular dietary needs and think that it should be handed to anyone recently diagnosed with food allergies or issues of any kind. Life will go on without milk or onions. Garlic? Just shoot me now. 🙂
    Have a wonderful New Year!

    Like

  4. Michelle
    January 2, 2016

    What a delicious year you had. Happy 2016!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 2, 2016

      Happy 2016 Michelle and Steve, hope it full of delicious fresh produce and inspiring ideas

      Like

  5. Lisa @ cheergerm
    January 1, 2016

    Happy New Year Sandra, you continue to inspire me.

    Like

  6. Eha
    January 1, 2016

    Happy New Year Sandra to you and yours – thank you so much for al your posts in spite of that monumental move not so long ago. Only realized now your ‘hesitance’ re Paula Wolfert stemmed from food intolerances . . .not being able to have onions and garlic would make my food life very difficult. Since I have never had a sweet tooth I must admit the lamb shoulder to being one of my favourite recipes from your list also . . .

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 2, 2016

      I don’t miss onion at all, garlic is another issue, but I have learned that there are many ways to add flavour, my diet is far from bland. Happy 2016

      Like

  7. Claudia Anderson
    January 1, 2016

    Wishing you a marvelous New Year, full of new recipes, new friends, and old traditions!

    Like

  8. Sabiscuit
    December 31, 2015

    I’m so hungry right now, Sandra. You’ve worked very hard to create delicious recipes for us. Thank you and best wishes for the new year. xo

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 2, 2016

      Having 2016 to you too. Cooking is my creative outlet, at least your beautiful writing leaves no mess to clean up

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sabiscuit
        January 2, 2016

        Thank you so much. Trust me, it is a mess to make. Lots of coding. But I get your point. You will be happy to know that I love washing dishes and wiping down a kitchen. Being a bit freaky has its upsides. xo

        Liked by 1 person

  9. ardysez
    December 31, 2015

    Wow, some real gems in this collection Sandra, and beautiful photos. I hardly know which one to try first! I think the risotto cake might be first though. Very best wishes to you for 2016!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ladyredspecs
      January 2, 2016

      Thanks Ardys, the risotto cake is a ripper idea, good for a few meal

      Like

  10. Francesca
    December 31, 2015

    I’m looking at all these lovely dishes and remember the first time they appeared. which one will I pounce on? Anything with chocolate is out- it seems to upset me enormously, sad but true. The pork is off limits too. So I might settle for the risotto cake ( without the bacon but pop in some salty thing as a substitute), followed by that saffron rice pudding with plums. I’ll wait for the latter as the blood plums are still green but it won’t be long.
    Thanks for all your cooking inspiration throughout the year Sandra.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ladyredspecs
      January 2, 2016

      It was interesting to look back, I hadn’t twigged at the amount of chocolate stuff I’d made. I’m not a great fan, but my other half loves the stuff so it was all for him. One week of peace and solitude before the Melbourne family arrive….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Francesca
        January 2, 2016

        Haha, well it will be back to cooking for the troops again- enjoy the peace.

        Like

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