Cookware Accessories – Silicone Brush

On reading through the posts I realized that we have lots of review and articles about cookware, recipes etc but nothing about the accessories that make a cook’s life easy.

I have a lot of gadgets that help with the preparation and cooking of food so in future there will be reviews about these smaller items with links on where to find them on the net.

One of the items I find invaluable when cooking a roast in my turbo oven, is a silicone basting brush.  Because of its flat shape, I can easily slip the brush down the side of the oven to the juices in the bottom.

I have had a variety of different types over the years but they always seemed to end up melting.

Well I have had no problems at all with  silicone brushes. They come in a variety of colors, sizes and handle shapes but and they are relatively inexpensive. There are generally 3 rows of non-shedding bristles and depending on the brand yo buy they are heat resistant up to 500°.  Althought the Le Creuset set of basting brushes shown are heat resistant up to 800°.

Apart from basting meat you can use these brushes as a pastry brush for pies and breads. And they are dishwasher safe

The Foodie Princess – Blog of the Week

The Foodie PrincessThis weeks blog of the week is
‘The Foodie Princess’

Now this blog has some great recipes and one I particulary like is the Mediterranean Style Tuna Patties.

There are a number of really nice recipes combined with some chit chat – some personal some food and wine related. So why not head over and check out this blog.

Prosciutto, Zucchini & Ricotta Tart Recipe

ricotta-zuchinni-tart.jpgI recently brought the October copy of Woolworths ‘Australian Good Taste’ magazine. Now I am one of those people who buy cooking books and magazines and rarely use them. However the recipe on the cover drew my eye and off I went and purchased the ingredients.

Well today Paula and I made the Prosciutto, Zucchini and Ricotta tart for lunch. It is quick to make taking about 10 minutes to prepare (this includes the cooling time for the zucchini) and 40 minutes to cook.

The following recipe is adapted from the original because I could not find the right dip. 

Prosciutto, Zucchini & Ricotta Tart
Serves 6


2 sheets (25 cm x 25cm – approx 10″) frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, just thawed.
3 large zucchini with the ends trimmed and sliced very thinly
3 tbs Baby Spinach with Cashew and Parmesan Chunky Dip, we used spinach and cashew with feta dip.
250gms (approx 9 ounces) fresh ricotta
3 prosciutto slices, halved lengthways. We used 5 slices and feel they should be cut into smaller portions.
5 mini roma tomatoes, halved. Couldn’t get the mini type but they would be preferable to the larger tomatoes.
50gms (1.8 ounces) feta, crumbled
Chopped parsley leaves to serve.

Preheat oven to 220° C (425°F).

pastry-base-3.JPGLine a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Place 1 pastry sheet on the prepared tray.
Place a second sheet on top of the first sheet to make a stack.

Using a small sharp knife make a 2cm-thick border around the edge of the pastry. Do not cut all the way through.

Cover with another sheet of non-stick baking paper and place another baking tray on top.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp on the base.

In the meantime, cook the zucchini in a steamer basket over a saucepan of simmering zucchini.jpgwater for 3-4 minutes or until tender. We used the George Forman steamer for this process.

Transfer the zucchini to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside to cool slightly.

Combine the zucchini and the dip in a medium bowl. Coat the zucchini as well as you can without breaking it up.

Keeping within the border, spread the riccotta evenly over the pastry base.

Arrange the zucchini mixture , prosciutto and tomato over the ricotta.

proscutto.jpgCrumble the feta over the top.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C ( 350°F). Bake for 10 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. We found that we needed to do this for about 18 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley  and serve with a side salad.

This recipe has approximately 15 gms (0.5 ozs)protein, 21 gms (0.74 ozs) fat (8.5gms (0.29 ozs)of saturated fat), 31 gms (1.09 ozs) carb, 3.5gms (0.12oz)dietary fibre, 1610kj (385 Cals).

This tart  proved to be a hit and is very filling.

Mauviel Copper Tarte Tatin – Tart Tatin

This elegant Mauviel Cuprinox Tart Tatin is made in France, and is specially designed for luscious apple desserts. Mind you there is nothing stopping you from using other fruits to make an upside down fruit tart.

The pan is available in two sizes  – One measuring 9.5″ across and the other 11.2-inches in diameter.

The story goes that the upside down apple tart or Tarte Tatin was first served in the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France in 1889.

The tarte was the result of an accident when one of the Tatin sisters, being overworked forgot about the apples cooking in the butter and sugar. When she realized that the apples were burning she attempted to save the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples and placing the pan in the oven.  When the dish was turned out the dessert was presented with the apples on top of the pastry.

The hotel guests liked the dessert and it became a standard feature of the menu.

The restaurateur Louis Vaudable tasted the dish when he was traveling through Sologne and was so impressed he included the dessert on the menu of his restaurant, Maxim’s in Paris.

So that is apparently how an ordinary apple pie became a new delicious creation in its own right.

And now you can create your own delightful tarte tatin in the Mauviel tarte tatin pan. This pan is made from copper which is the best material for conducting heat and it. Copper is 2 times more conductive than aluminum and 10 times more conductive that stainless steel, making it the best material for cooking with.  It’s ability to heat up evenly and quickly as well as cool down quickly gives you complete control and gives you excellent cooking results plus, it caramelizes sugar perfectly and evenly over a low heat.

The pan has a traditional tin wash interior which makes it easy to clean and non-reactive with food.

There are a pair of small copper handles so that you can easily lift and carry the pan around. To keep this pan looking lovely, hand washing is recommended.

Mauviel have a limited lifetime warranty on their copper cookware.

So there you have it, the perfect pan for the perfect dessert.  There are a number of variation on the Tarte Tatin recipe available and I found one in this delightful book  Caramel: Recipes for Deliciously Gooey Desserts which also includes a whole range of scrumptious desserts.

Copper Cookware – Durability and Good Looks

One of the best metals for cooking is copper. And why is this? Well copper is the best conductor of heat and because its uniform conductivity surrounds your food with heat, it also cooks faster. This conductivity makes copper responsive to almost all your cooking requirements.

Keep in mind that copper has ten times the heat conductivity of stainless steel and glass and double that of aluminum. So you may find this a bit disconcerting until you become used to how quickly your copper cookware heats up.

Copper only requires a low to moderate heat to obtain the best results.
With a little care your copper cookware will last a lifetime, in fact many lifetimes.
As with all good things, there is one disadvantage and that is that copper is reactive to acidic foods. This is why copper cookware is generally lined with another metal such as tin. This also means that your pots can be refurbished if needed.

Copper cookware that is lined with stainless and nickel linings are very durable but this also makes them somewhat expensive. So for general use the less expensive tin lined cookware is fine but as it melts at approx mauviel-zabaglione-pan450 degrees F, it is better to use copper lined with stainless for frying and sauté pans. This will ensure that your pots aren’t damaged by overheating.

For your recipes such as Zabaglione which use egg whites you will find that unlined copper such as the Mauviel Specialty  Zabaglione  pan – UNLINED works best.

Unlined copper is also best used if you are making candy as it can withstand high heat and doesn’t react with the ingredients.