Posts Tagged ‘Real Food Has Curves’

My friends Mark and Bruce at Real Food Has Curves create some truly delicious recipes.

In the past I’ve blogged about their Paris-Brest ring, baked numerous batches of their figgy rolls, and eaten copious quantities of their caramelized leek tabbouleh.  Mark’s recent Apricot Rhubarb Crisp inspired me to make a version using the frozen berries we’d bought in Marrickville recently.

The great thing about this recipe is its simplicity – the topping comes together with a stir (because it uses nut oil instead of butter), and the fruit is simply chopped and combined.  It’s so easy, in fact, that I’ve made it twice in the past week – once to try it out, and then a second time as a dinner party dessert.

My version is sweeter than Mark’s, and uses hazelnuts instead of pecans in the topping.  I was excited to discover blanched roasted hazelnuts at Southern Cross Supplies – in the past I’ve avoided buying hazelnuts because I couldn’t be bothered skinning them.  I know it’s not a difficult process, but it  makes such a mess!


  • 60g plain (AP) flour
  • 45g rolled oats
  • 70g brown sugar
  • 60g chopped blanched hazelnuts
  • 60g hazelnut oil
  • 30ml maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch fine sea salt

Note: I used my scales to weigh out the ingredients, but Mark also has cup measures listed in his post.

1. Combine all the topping ingredients in a large bowl and stir until evenly moistened.  Preheat oven to 175C with fan.

2. Fill a large roasting pan (I used my new Emile Henry dish) with an assortment of chopped fruits and berries – I used some of our new season rhubarb, about 500g of frozen berries, four peeled and chopped Bilpin Pink Lady apples, and some frozen cherries that I found in the freezer.

3. Sprinkle a tablespoon of cornflour over the fruit and sweeten with some plain or vanilla sugar, then stir gently to combine.

4. With your hands, crumble the topping over the fruit. It won’t cover the fruit completely, which is fine, because the topping is quite rich and needs a fair bit of fruit to balance it out.

5. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is, as the name suggests, crisp.

We accompanied ours with microwave custard, and the batch served six adults, with leftovers.

PS. I forgot to mention that this is a great do-ahead dessert.  I baked the one below mid-afternoon, and then left it on the bench until evening.  It only required a few minutes in the oven to reheat!

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It’s Saturday morning, and I’ve been waiting all week to try this recipe by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of The Ultimate Cookbook.

Here it is – although if you’d prefer sensible, easy to follow instructions rather than my crib notes, just stop by their blog, Real Food Has Curves.  I only used two tomatoes instead of four – the original recipe specified eight cherry toms, but I didn’t have any on hand.

The end result is a deliciously textured, flavoursome salad which will keep well in the fridge for several days.

One thing – I was speaking to my friend Dan from Tutus and Ladybeetles today, and she mentioned that she uses couscous in her tabbouleh rather than bulgur (or as it’s known here, burghul).  According to Wiki, the two cereals are actually quite similar, although bulgur is lower in GI and therefore probably a bit better for you.  But if you’re having trouble finding it, couscous would probably make an acceptable substitute (sorry, Bruce!).

Today’s lunch is tabbouleh with roasted chicken breast and  Pete’s marinated feta.  Simple and perfect!

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My friends Mark and Bruce at Real Food Has Curves have been creating again – this time it’s these fabulous fig cookies.  They’re ludicrously delicious and great fun to make.

Here is my take on their recipe – I had to adjust a few things to account for the lack of certain ingredients here, and I’ve also converted them to metric  measurements.  For more details and photos, please check out the original post here.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

. . . . .

Filling (make this the day before):

  • 450g dried Persian or Turkish figs (I used a mix of mostly Persian figs and a few glace figs leftover from Christmas)
  • 225g raisins
  • 165g light brown sugar
  • 85ml lemon juice
  • 85ml water
  • 45ml brandy
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. If the figs are very hard and dry (like mine were), soak them briefly in boiling water, then drain well. Pulse all the dried fruit together in a large food processor until the mixture gathers together and forms a ball of fruit mince.

2. Turn this into a heavy based pan and add the remaining ingredients. Stir  constantly over a medium heat until the mixture bubbles, the liquid evaporates and the filling cooks down to a paste-like consistency.  Scrape the filling into a bowl and allow to cool, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge overnight.


  • 225g plain flour
  • 225g bread or bakers flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 55g light brown sugar
  • 150g white sugar
  • 3 large (59g) eggs, at room temperature

1. Take the eggs out of the fridge and leave them on the bench before you start. Also take the filling out of the fridge as well. Preheat the oven to 200C (I used 190C with fan) and line a large baking sheet with parchment.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt.

3.  With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  The mix needs a really good beating at this point, so let the machine go at full speed for several minutes.

4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating each one until fully incorporated before adding the next.

5. Turn the mixer off and add all the flour at once.  Turn the mixer onto low and mix until just combined – do not overbeat at this stage or the cookies will be tough.


1. Gather the dough into a ball and divide it into three parts.  Between two sheets of parchment, roll out a third of the dough into a rectangle approximately 30cm x 13cm.  Carefully lift off the top sheet of parchment.

2.  Spread a third of the filling over the centre of the dough, spreading it out carefully to within 2cm of the edge.  Now using the parchment paper, fold the top of the dough over the filling, then fold the bottom over to seal the dough into a long tube. Seal the ends of the tube and carefully turn the log onto the lined tray, seam side down.  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.  Make sure you leave some room between the logs, as they’ll expand a bit during baking.

3. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, until light golden brown.  Allow the rolls to cool on the tray for 15 minutes, then on a wire rack for a further couple of hours . Once the rolls are completely cold, they’re much easier to slice without cracking.

4. Using a long, thin knife, slice the cooled rolls into 2cm pieces.  Now find some neighbours to share them with!

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Mark and Bruce at Real Food Has Curves (what an irresistible name!) wrote a three-post recipe for Paris-Brest, a French pastry traditionally made to celebrate and nourish athletes at the end of the long Paris to Brest bike race.  Created in 1891, the wheel-shaped ring of choux pastry is filled with crème pralinée and sweetened whipped cream.

I had to walk to the shops twice to buy necessary ingredients – not quite the 1200km between Paris and Brest – but I figured that justified me eating a generous slice nonetheless.

The guys have written the best instructions I’ve come across yet for choux pastry, and I’m confident that it’s something I’ll be baking regularly from now on.  I won’t repost their recipe here, but will instead refer you directly to their first post: Paris-Brest, Part 1.

I followed their instructions to the letter to make the nougatine and choux pastry, but substituted my own recipe for crème pâtissière (forgive me, Bruce!), which is made in the microwave in just a few minutes.

The nougatine, also known as almond praline, was remarkably simple to create  from icing sugar mixture and flaked almonds.  Yet another useful addition to my dessert répertoire! Here’s a photo of it before it was pulverised and added to the pastry cream…

Some assembly photos :

Choux pastry ring cut open for filling…

Crème pralinée, made by folding the crumbled nougatine through the pastry cream, was spread over the base, then topped with sweetened whipped cream, piped in a swirly pattern…

Here’s the  finished pastry, dusted with icing sugar…

I let this set up in the fridge for a couple of hours before attempting to cut it, as the cream was quite soft. It sliced beautifully after that.

Now, time to ring the neighbours and share the love around!

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