Hazelnut meringue stack with hazelnut praline cream

Singular Hazelnut meringue stack

Market ingredient: Australian Gourmet Hazelnuts, from Mudgee
Difficulty: Not hard, just takes time
Deliciousness: Sweet with a hint of bitterness
Did The Beard’s friend Jim like it? The praline was a bit bitter for his liking

It’s been over a month since I’ve blogged about something I’ve cooked. Pretty lame, I know. Apologies. No excuse other than the fact that I’ve been lazy. So lazy in that I’d actually cooked this particular dish 3 weeks ago and it has taken me this long to write it up. What I actually really liked about this particular recipe is that is was part of an impromptu dinner party The Beard and I had one Saturday night with AOB & Jim. For no reason at all other than we just felt like it. Now the Hazelnut Guy at Eveleigh is pretty new. Seems to swap in and out with the Macadamia Nut Guy. Selling these goodies roasted or raw, ground or whole, they were really delicious. Much like the Macadamias I’ve used before, there’s something to be said for fresh nuts that haven’t been sitting in a supermarket for months on end. These are so much more flavoursome.

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Macadamia and coconut tart

Macadamia and coconut tart

Market ingredient: Macadamia nuts from Hand ‘N’ Hoe
Difficulty: One you’ll whip out all the time
Deliciousness: You have to love macadamias
Did The Beard like it? He was expecting something sweeter

I have a very nostalgic feeling towards the macadamia. Growing up, my grandparents had a huge macadamia tree in their backyard that we would climb, run around and forage for the fruit. The excitement that would build as the tree would begin to drop the nuts. If we could climb to reach them, we would; otherwise we’d just wait for them to fall to us. I have fond memories of long afternoons, piles of macadamias in front of us, one by one peeling back the fuzzy green outer shell and using all the strength our little child biceps could muster to crack through the tough, hard brown inner shell. Hammers, nutcrackers, bricks; anything was used. It was one of the most satisfying moments when the shell would split open to reveal the beautiful, fresh macadamia nut. Every time I see macams, they make me smile.

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Fig & chocolate tart

Fig & chocolate tart 3

Market ingredient: FIGS!
Difficulty: I’d underestimated the difficulty of pastry
Deliciousness: Intensity in ten cities.
Did The Beard like it? He ate two pieces and promptly fell into a food coma

So, I’ve discovered this week that I may not be destined to be a pastry chef. Considering myself pretty good at cooking most things, this afternoon I conducted an epic dessert battle and I am actually humble enough to say that I may have come off second best. There was much swearing and gnashing of teeth as I rolled the pastry, tore it, dropped it, squashed it into a tart case, got it stuck to the baking paper after a feeble attempt at blind baking. Short crust pastry, 1; Steph 0.

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