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All recipes taken from What Katie Ate ~ Recipes and other bits and bobs.

Katie’s panzanella
Serves 2 as a light meal or 4 as a side My love of balsamic vinegar is well-known amongst my friends, and I was once dared to drink a (reasonable-sized) glass of the stuff in one go (for the record, I didn’t do it, but mainly because it was a cheap supermarket variety!). Jokes aside, I really do adore a wonderful aged balsamic, and whenever I am lucky enough to venture to Italy, I always lug home armfuls of it. I am the type to pour it with abandon over all the foods I love, including bread, cheese, tomatoes and capers (so I guess you could call this salad one of my all-time favourite meals). If you don’t have a gas stove, you can achieve a similar result by charring the capsicums on the barbecue or in a preheated 200˚C fan-forced oven for about 1 hour (coating them in a little olive oil first). 8 roma (plum) tomatoes, halved lengthways Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Olive oil, for cooking 1 small–medium day-old sourdough loaf, torn into bite-sized pieces 3 red capsicums (peppers) 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 220 g fresh buffalo mozzarella, roughly torn 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed 1 bunch basil, leaves picked Balsamic vinegar dressing 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Preheat the oven to 130˚C fan-forced. Place the tomato halves on a baking tray, season lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little olive oil. Transfer to the oven and roast for 2 hours or until very soft and slightly caramelised. After 1½ hours, spread the pieces of bread out on a separate baking tray, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and add them to the oven with the tomatoes for the last 30 minutes of cooking time, until they are light golden-brown and crispy. Transfer the bread to a large bowl, and leave the tomatoes to cool. Meanwhile, using tongs, hold the capsicums over a naked gas flame on your stovetop, rotating occasionally, until the skins are charred all over. Place the capsicums in a large bowl, cover with plastic film and set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the charred skin. Cut away the core and white inner membrane and discard the seeds, then cut the flesh into thin strips. Place in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, massaging the oil into the flesh, and set aside. To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the roasted bread chunks and toss to coat well, then remove the bread with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving platter, reserving the dressing.

Add the roasted tomato halves, capsicum strips (drained of oil), mozzarella, capers and basil to the platter. Drizzle over the dressing, toss to combine well, then season with salt and pepper before serving.

Mocha chocolate mousse with Irish whiskey
Serves 6–8 One of my mum’s best desserts was her chocolate mousse – it was out of this world, and I’ll never forget it. It was rich, luscious, thick, smooth and almost chewy in parts, and I can taste it as I am writing. I’ve tried many times to recreate Mum’s mousse, and this recipe comes closest. Here I’ve added a good glug of Irish whiskey – use the best quality you can get. I also find that instant coffee works better than stronger espresso. Serve this chilled and topped with freshly whipped cream, and I guarantee everyone will come back for more. 170 g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces 170 g unsalted butter 3 tablespoons good-quality instant coffee granules, mixed with 2 tablespoons hot water 4 free-range eggs, separated 2/3 cup (150 g) caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey (or dark rum) Pinch fine salt Whipped cream, to serve Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to a gentle simmer and melt the chocolate, butter and coffee in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan without touching the water, stirring occasionally. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat and set aside. Keep the saucepan of water simmering away. Place a few handfuls of ice in a large bowl and half-fill with water. Set aside nearby. Sit a heatproof bowl that will fit into the bowl of ice over the saucepan of simmering water and add the four egg yolks, caster sugar, whiskey (or rum) and 1 tablespoon cold water. Using a balloon whisk or hand-held electric beaters, whisk for about 3 minutes until the mixture thickens, becomes paler and has a similar consistency to that of runny mayonnaise. Remove the bowl from the heat and place it in the bowl of iced water. Continue to whisk for a further few minutes until the mixture thickens and cools slightly, being careful that no water accidently gets into the mixture. Add the chocolate mixture to the beaten eggs and stir to combine. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until just stiff and frothy. Add the extra tablespoon of caster sugar and beat again until just glossy. Using a large mixing spoon, add one spoonful of egg whites to the chocolate mix and fold it in gently. Gradually fold in the remaining egg whites, taking care not to over-mix. Transfer the mousse to a jug, then pour into individual serving jars or glasses. Place in the fridge and chill for 3–4 hours before serving. Serve topped with a thick layer of whipped cream.

Raspberry friands
Makes 18 I featured these little cakes on the blog a year or two ago, and I’ve never received so many compliments from my girlfriends (who claim they can’t cook!). They love making them for all sorts of occasions, including baby showers, hen nights and engagement parties. Raspberries pair so well with almonds, but chopped peaches, pears, plums or cherries would work just as well.

10 free-range egg whites 300 g unsalted butter, melted 175 g almond meal 370 g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting 2/3 cup (100 g) plain flour, sifted 2 x 125 g punnets raspberries, plus extra for serving Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan-forced. Lightly grease eighteen holes of two silicone friand moulds or non-stick friand pans. Whisk the egg whites for a few seconds just to lightly combine; you don’t need to whip them into peaks or anything like that. Add the butter, almond meal, icing sugar and flour and beat lightly to combine well. Pour into the prepared moulds or pans, filling each hole two-thirds full. Place two or three raspberries on top of each friand and bake for 25–30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Dust the friands with icing sugar and serve warm, with extra fresh raspberries if you like.

Red cabbage and fennel salad with tarragon and lemon yoghurt
Serves 4 as a side This salad not only looks fantastic, but it’s also jam-packed full of fresh flavours and textures, all brought together with a smooth, zingy yoghurt dressing. It pairs very well with grilled snapper or sardines for dinner, or seared scallops for a light starter. 1 cup (120 g) pecans 4 blood oranges 1 large bulb fennel ¼ red cabbage, cored, leaves very finely sliced 200 g soft goat’s cheese Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Tarragon and lemon yoghurt Small handful tarragon leaves, finely chopped Juice of 1 lemon 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Handful fresh mint leaves, finely chopped 1/3 cup (95 g) greek-style yoghurt Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan-forced. Spread the pecans out on a baking tray and roast for 7–10 minutes, then roughly chop and set aside. To make the yoghurt dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and chill in the fridge until needed. Cut the top and bottom from each orange. Place on a chopping board and, working from top to bottom, use a small, sharp knife to cut away all the skin and pith. Take the fruit in your hand and, holding it over

a large serving bowl to catch the juices, carefully cut each inner segment away from the membrane, letting the segments fall into the bowl – they should be free of any white pith or pips. Add the fennel, cabbage and pecans to the bowl and toss to combine. Crumble over the goat’s cheese, then drizzle over the yoghurt dressing, season and serve.

Mum’s chocolate meringues
Makes 12 I grew up on pavlovas and meringues – Mum was brilliant at making them. In fact, even though I live in Australia, home of the pav (apologies to all those Kiwis out there, but I have to say that as I’m married to an Aussie), I still think my mum’s were the best. You have to be mindful of the weather conditions when you make meringues: don’t attempt to make them if it’s really humid and hot, as they’ll probably flop. Also, once whipped, try not to let the egg whites sit around for too long – the key with meringues is to work fast and get them into the oven straight away. 1 teaspoon cream of tartar 1 teaspoon cornflour 1 tablespoon espresso coffee powder 1 tablespoon dutch-process cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting 100 g good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped ½ lemon 6 free-range egg whites, at room temperature 300 g caster sugar 1 teaspoon white vinegar Whipped cream, to serve Preheat the oven to 140˚C fan-forced and line two baking trays with baking paper. Place the cream of tartar, cornflour, coffee powder, cocoa powder and chocolate into a small bowl, stir to combine and set aside. Wipe the inside of the bowl of an electric mixer with the cut-side of the lemon to remove any traces of oil. Add the egg whites and beat on medium speed until soft and frothy and just starting to hold soft peaks. Turn up the speed to medium–high and gradually add the caster sugar, beating just until the mixture turns thick and super-glossy and holds stiff peaks. Add the dry ingredients and the vinegar, then gently fold together using a large metal spoon (don’t overwork the mixture – five or six folds should do it). Take dessertspoonfuls of the mixture and drop onto the prepared trays. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until the bases of the meringues are firm, then turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven to cool (use a wooden spoon handle to keep the oven door ajar, if you wish). Serve dusted with cocoa, with freshly whipped cream alongside.