Saturday, March 30, 2024

Weekend Cooking: Figolli

Recently my friend and I attended a cooking class run by the Maltese Community Council of Victoria. The class was to make a traditional Easter treat called Figolli which consists of a layer of marzipan sandwiched between pastry and cut into various shapes. In our case we made rabbit shaped figolli.

We started with all of our pre-measured ingredients

We were then shown how to make the pastry. The recipe we were given includes the instructions on how to make it using a mixer but for this occasion we made it using the time honoured technique of using our fingers to mix the flour and butter until it became like breadcrumbs and then adding in the extra ingredients to form a dough

From there, we rolled out our pastry and cut out the rabbit shape. One handy tip we were given was to cut the dough into halves, and then cutting out the shape. When re-rolling, take a bit of the second half of dough so that it helps keep it more pliable.

We then made the almond filling using a mixture of ground almonds, caster sugar, egg whites and almond essence

The figolli is formed with a layer of pastry, the almond paste, another layer of pastry and milk wash.

And then off to cook in the professional kitchen ovens

Cooked but pre decoration

Once the creation was baked it is time to ice. We used the biggest batch of royal icing I have ever seen as a base, and then we coloured small amounts of icing and used various decorations that we were supplied to decorate. You can also use melted chocolate to decorate

Given that I had never even tasted figolli, let alone kneam w what they tasted like, I tried to stay pretty close to the shapes and decoration that was suggested. Other people in the group obviously have more experience and so there were a variety of other shapes and decorations being used.

The class was held in a a cooking school kitchen, so there were proper commercial ovens, all the equipment you could possibly need, stainless steel benches!

It was very cool and a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Oh, and it tasted delicious!!

Weekly meals

Saturday - Out for dinner

Sunday -Thursdae

Monday - Magic Chicken Fried Rice

Tuesday - Beef and Bsparoccoli Noodles

Wednesday - Chicken Parma, mash

Thursday - 

Friday -

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday: Book to Screen


Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme is Movies/TV Shows That Would Have Made Amazing Books (Submitted by Sabrina @ Notes From a Paper Plane Nomad) but I am going to do the most recent examples of where I have seen a movie or TV series based on a book or read a book associated with a series, or a couple of can't wait for the TV series.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas - I have recently watched two French movies based on the books. They were really good adaptations

One Day by David Nicholls - I started watching this series a few weeks ago. I need to get back to it.

Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn - I am looking forward to season 3 coming out soon very soon

Masters of the Air by Donald Miller - We just finished watching this series last week.

Lessons in Chemistry - I read the book late last year and then watched the TV series

No 1 Ladies Detective Agency - I am very close to finishing my current audio book which is book no. 10000 in the series of the same name. I watched the TV adaptation many years ago and very much enjoyed it!

All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr- We watched this TV series recently.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles - I have read another of Amor Towles books, but not this one yet, but I will be watching this!

Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa - The movie is just called Sweet Bean 

Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams - This is a bit of a curve ball because whilst I did watch this it was a play rather than on a screen!

Monday, March 25, 2024

This week

I'm reading

Last week I wasn't 100% sure which book I was going to read next, but I ended up deciding to start The Chocolate Factory by Mary-Lou Stephens. I am about 30% through and I am enjoying it! It is all about the creation of the chocolate factory in Hobart in Tasmania.

I only have about 20 minutes left to go in my current audiobook which is The Woman Who Walks in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith. Now I need to choose which book to start next. We are going for a bit of a drive over the weekend, so I also need to find a book that we can listen to in the car on the way up!

I'm watching

Last year we watched Amanda and Alan's Italian Job where they bought a decrepit house in Sicily and renovated it. They then sold it and gave the profits to a charity. They are back to do it all again, this time in Tuscany!  It's a lot of fun!

We were meant to go and see another French movie last night, but I buggered up when buying them and bought the tickets for Saturday night instead of Sunday night. We were nicely settled in when someone turned up and said you are in our seats! Whoops! So instead we got a coffee and then headed home. I really wanted to see this movie as well!


We went to see the musical version of Groundhog Day on Saturday! It was so good! I could watch it over and over and over again!!  (See what I did there??)

I also stretched myself a little bit this weekend by making hot cross buns. My brave husband is eating them, and they taste good, but they are a bit dense. I will try to make them again next year and hopefully they will be a bit softer next year!!

I did have a bit of a panic day yesterday. For some reason I got signed out of my Microsoft account and so I suddenly couldn't access any of my spreadsheets. Now one of these is my list of books that I have read going back to 2004, so I was a bit devastated at the idea of having lost it! Luckily I eventually worked out that I had to log in with a different account and nothing was lost, but phew! I was panicking a bit!

Posts from the last week

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Autumn TBR
Weekend Cooking/Cooking the Books: Relish by Lucy Knisley

I've linked this post to It's Monday, what are you reading? as hosted by Book Date

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Weekend Cooking/Cook the Books: Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

It's not often that I reread a book, with notable exceptions, but when this book was announced as the current selection for Cook the Books I was more than happy to revisit. I mean, last time I reviewed this book I used words like charming and delightful more than once!

When it came to creating this post, I thought that I had some thoughts to share but it turns out that the things I wanted to highlight were things that I highlighted last time, so I am going to re-share the majority of the review, and then add something new at the end.

This foodie memoir is a delight. Whilst there is still a hint of the precocious Lucy that we met in French Milk, it is much less of an obstacle to enjoyment, or at least it was for me. I think it also helps that rather than focusing on just one place (albeit Paris) for a very short period of only five weeks, this is an exploration of  a life long obsession with good food.

Knisley makes no apologies for the fact that she was introduced to really good food from a young age. Her mother is a chef and her father a foodie from way back and she spent her childhood years in the kitchens of restaurants. She remembers other kids bringing cupcakes to school for their birthdays but her mother would turn up with a blow torch to give the creme brulee a perfect crunchy top.

Lucy lived in New York with her parents until they divorced and Lucy and her mother moved to rural upstate New York - quite the shock to city girl Lucy. It wasn't long before Lucy's mother was involved in food again through farmers markets, catering companies and more, and therefore so was Lucy!

As well as talking about more exotic food and adventures, the author tells of her parents mortification at the fact that she still enjoys junk food like Maccas (McDonalds just in case you didn't get the Aussie vernacular), batches of chocolate chip cookies instead of anything more gourmet, of her shock at finding bits of marshmallows in breakfast cereals (I must confess I find this a bit shocking still!) and more.

We follow Lucy from New York to the country, to Japan, France and Mexico (which was a really fun story), to Chicago and then full circle back to New York. The one thing that stays constant is Lucy's love of good food, of being willing to try new foods, and of trying to recreate those foods. I loved the chapter where Lucy tried to recapture the elusive taste of a croissant that she bought in Venice to the point of being obsessed!

The thing that pleased me most as I was reading was how much it made me smile. In nearly every chapter there was some little quirky addition to the drawing or some tale that just made me happy to read. In one of the chapters, the author talks about going to Japan to visit friend and at the end of that chapter she gives a pictorial demonstration of how to make sushi rolls. In a very small corner, there are three pictures - one of a sushi mat furled, then unfurled and then worn as a hat. They are all tiny pictures, but it is the kind of detail that makes it worth the time to look at all the images closely!

As another example, there is a chapter about why Lucy Knisley doesn't feel guilty about eating foie gras. Let's just say it involves an incident with very aggressive geese. There were echoes of this story in my own family. My sister has a terrible fear of birds which has evolved over the years after being chased up a tree in our backyard by chooks, and then on another occasion being attacked by a black swan!
Now, I was somewhat determined to not cook something sweet to share with this review, but ... that's what ended up happening. I had asked my husband what he wanted to bake one weekend recently, and he said cookies. I had a new cookie recipe to try! So it was meant to be. 

Last time I reviewed this book I shared an image of the recipe for Carbonara. Today, I thought I would share an image related to Cookies, and then I would share what cookies would appear on this page if it was my story. Fair disclosure. I cannot draw to save myself so I am using photos instead. 

I've made....

Fudgy chocolate cookies from Nagi Maeheshi and Sugar Cookies

Melting Moments (Granny's recipe) and Chocolate and Pistachio Sable from Around the Table by Julia Busitil Nishimura

Ricciarelli from The Italian Pantry by Theo Randall and Giant Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you like the sound of any of these?

Finally, in case you are now in the mood for cookies, here is Lucy Knisley's recipe for her Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I now have two more of Lucy Knisley's books out from the library. I am looking forward to reading them soon!

Weekly meals

Saturday -  
Sunday -  Smash Burgers
Monday - Pork Chops, mash and beans
Tuesday - Spicy Pork and Beans Stirfry
Wednesday - Mexican Chicken and Rice
Thursday - Beef Stroganoff
Friday - Takeaway

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Autumn TBR



Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme is Books on my Spring 2024 TBR. As I am in Australia, this means I am looking at Books on my Autumn 2024 TBR

So these first 4 books are upcoming new releases that I will be reading for blog tours.

Summer at the Santorini Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin - I have read a number of Rebecca Raisin's books set in various locations. I am looking forward to visiting Greece.

Making Memories at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash - Looking forward to returning to Driftwood Bay.


A Single Act of Kindness by Samantha Tonge - A new Samantha Tonge book. Yay!!

The French Cookery School by Caroline James - A cooking school in France. I'm in!

The remainder are books that I have on my TBR for a variety of reasons:

The Chocolate Factory by Mary-Lou Stephenson - I just started reading this yesterday!

Something New by Lucy Knisley - I borrowed 3 of Knisley's books at the same time!

The Other Bridget by Rachael Johns - One of the few paper books I have bought recently

At the Stroke of Midnight by Jenni Keer - I just finished reading another Jenni Keer

The Shakespeare Sisters by Juliet Greenwood - I am hoping to read the second book on the Shakespeare Sisters series.

The Air Raid Book Club by Annie Lyons - I have heard many good things about this book!

Have you got any of these books on your TBR list?


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