Archive for the 'Failures and redemptions' Category

Let’s get ready to rum baba!

Rum baba, aka baba au rhum, is a sticky-sweet dessert made from a yeast-based cake soaked in, you guessed it, rum – after first being soused in a simple sugar syrup.

* Jump to the Rum baba recipe

We first tried rum baba in Montreal at a restaurant called L’Express when we were Crash Testing our way across Canada. After that we tracked it down in a few other restaurants in different parts of the world, but none of them were quite the same as that first baba, so we decided that one day we’d have to try making it ourselves. Continue reading ‘Let’s get ready to rum baba!’

Pavlova recipe from the end of the oeuf


* Go to the Pavlova recipe

We’ve moved back to Australia and thought the first effort in our dowdy but spacious new kitchen should be pavlova. This is an Australian, New Zealand and, oddly, Norwegian dessert favourite that we prepare using a simple recipe that has a few special touches.

A pavlova is basically a giant meringue, but rather than being crunchy or chewy right through it’s meant to be crisp on the outside, with a soft and fluffy interior. A while back I was making ile flottante and encountered what Lenny and I have dubbed the ‘warm method’ of heating the egg whites before beating. We reckon it makes the pavlova mixture more stable and less likely to collapse when shaping and baking, and the inside more marshmallowy when you come to devour it. Continue reading ‘Pavlova recipe from the end of the oeuf’

Pad thai with two tries

Windows video (small)
mp4 video (small)

We reckon you can’t love Thai food without loving pad thai – the country’s national dish. Your average Thai cook can probably whip this up with a few swishes of the wok and flips of the, umm, wok flipper. But for us at home there are two pitfalls that are easy to, errm, fall into. As you’ll find out in this episode.

First thing is those rice noodles (and don’t ever get taken for a ride in a restaurant – unless these particular noodles are under your nose, you’re not eating pad thai). You usually buy the dried variety in a packet. They need to be soaked in warm water before going into the wok. But soaked for how long? You’ve just come to a trap for young players. Continue reading ‘Pad thai with two tries’

Loaf to admit failure


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mp4 video

You can’t beat waking up to the smell of fresh-baked bread. But how to get it without the rising, the knocking down, the second rise, and then the EARLY rise on your own part to stick the dough in the oven?

Yes yes, I’ve heard of bread machines. They seem a great idea, but aren’t they a little soulless? Load everything in the evening and it’s done in the morning – the washing machine school of cookery. Surely the tactile experience – getting your hands messy – is part of the satisfying process of baking your own bread.

From what I’ve seen, people tend to buy bread machines as a fad item, then shelve them to gather dust or ship them off to the charity store within a few months. So I’m not sure they are worth the investment. Continue reading ‘Loaf to admit failure’

Rice pudding with pineapple confusion

My mum would often make rice pudding when I was a kid. Though I loved the pudding, I would scrape off the skin with my spoon and plop it on mum’s plate, who made an ostentatious show of eating it while I curled up my nose in distaste.

Lenny was making risotto a while back and couldn’t find arborio rice, so bought some “Italian pudding rice” instead at a corner store. I insisted, though, that it wouldn’t work, and went out an ultimately successful mission to find the right kind for risotto. That left us with this packet of pudding rice, which Lenny has finally put to use.

In our modest cookery library she found a recipe for “nursery rice pudding” and went to work, also grilling some pineapple for a topping. Continue reading ‘Rice pudding with pineapple confusion’

Tandoori chicken on a barbecue

All right you purists. I know what you’re going to say. “You can’t cook tandoori without a tandoor!”

Yes, well, who has a huge earthenware oven in their kitchen, I ask you? The closest most of can get to tandoori at home is applying the curry paste or powder to meat of some description and cooking the results over a grill.

This is another of our “lost” episodes. I had genuinely forgotten about it, and found the raw video while rabbiting through our archive for holiday footage. Continue reading ‘Tandoori chicken on a barbecue’

A chicken crashes and burns

Click here to view the videoWe saw a moose! Two or three, in fact, right here in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia. One with a great set of antlers that any hunter would have been delighted to bag. Luckily they’re protected in this park.

A few weeks into our road trip we developed a superb roast chicken recipe using a pistachio and plum stuffing of our own invention. When Lenny’s brother Cam flew in from London (UK) to join us for a few days, it seemed the perfect welcoming dinner.

Click here to VIEW THE VIDEO

Well, as you know, things don’t always turn out as planned on Crash Test Kitchen. Our portable barbecue ran out of gas, and that should have served as a warning. Continue reading ‘A chicken crashes and burns’

Sponge blob square pan

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QuickTime video

We started out with the best intentions: whip up a layered sponge cake to celebrate our friend Paul’s 30th birthday.

He’s back in Australia, we’re here in Canada, but we’d just eat it on his behalf we reckoned.

Get Crash Test Kitchen in iTunes.

Well, that was the plan. You see, it seems there must be a secret to making sponge cake – and we’re not in on it. Continue reading ‘Sponge blob square pan’