Monday, January 30, 2017

Garlic Thyme Chicken with Cauliflower Cous Cous

I have long been a fan of Eleanor Ozich's blog, Petite Kitchen.  Eleanor is based in New Zealand and has gorgeous photography to accompany lovely recipes, which incorporate wholefoods.

I recently found her latest cookbook, My Family Table, on sale at Dymocks.  It was marked down from $40 to $10, when paired with my Booklovers bonus.  This was one book that I had to have!

The first recipe that I made from Eleanor's book was Garlic Thyme Chicken with Cauliflower Cous Cous (which is also online here).  I made this dish primarily because I had a three quarter full carton of cream that I needed to use up.  I grew up in the era that demonised fat, so I generally shy away from cream in anything but desserts.  However, I decided to chance it with this dish (heck, you know I love sugar, so whether my calories come from fat or sugar, makes no difference).

This was a really delicious dish.  The chicken is cooked in chicken stock, garlic, onion and thyme before being mixed with the cream (I subbed the wine for water as I wasn't wasting good wine to drink), so it is full of flavour. 

The major revelation for me was the cauliflower cous cous.  I have obviously tried the cauliflower rice thing, and while it is OK, it was not really my bag.  However, Eleanor's cauliflower cous cous is delicious.  I was sceptical, as it is just blitzed up cauliflower soaked in hot water and with lemon juice and olive oil added (I didn't have any parsley), but it is good - the flavour surpasses any cauliflower rice that I have tried.  It is also surprisingly filling.  The only drawback is the smell while making it - that raw cauliflower smell, like wet dog, is very, very strong - oh, and the blitzing of the cauliflower is also reasonably messy.  I would say it was worth it though and I'd make it again.

I urge you to follow Eleanor's gorgeous blog, and if you run across one of her books, snap it up.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

That Banana Cake from Fika and Hygge

I recently acquired a copy of Fika and Hygge - Comforting Cakes and Bakes from Scandinavia by Bronte Aurell.  After flicking through its pages in a bookshop, I couldn't resist the gorgeous baking recipes with a twist and added this book to my vast collection.

The first recipe that I decided to make was That Banana Cake, primarily because my freezer is full of frozen bananas, one or two of which always fall out at me every time I open the freezer.  The owners of Scandikitchen in London serve this cake in their cafĂ©, where it is a favourite. 

The dense banana cake is topped with a whipped cream cheese frosting - and it tastes as good as it sounds.  The cake is moist and the frosting adds more flavour and moistness plus some crunch with the nuts on top.  I used walnuts instead of pecans - I am sure they worked just as well.

You can find the recipe for this cake in the book, or online here.  I recommend buying the book - it has some wonderful recipes that are a little different to what you'll find elsewhere. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Michelle Bridges' Date Loaf

Today I bring you another Michelle Bridges' recipe from Food for Life.  This time, it is a date loaf.  You know from my previous experience with Michelle's sweet recipes that they generally taste "healthy" - that is, your local bakery won't be selling them any time soon.

So it was with this Date Loaf.  You can find the recipe online here. Yes, the date loaf does contain maple syrup and medjool dates.  However, when combined with the wholemeal flour and just the teeniest amount of coconut oil, the finished loaf is a rather dry affair.

When Michelle advises to serve this date loaf warm, I'd agree with her - it is a bit like cardboard served cold.  I also recommend taking up her suggestion of serving it with nut butter to give it some extra flavour and moisture.

This date loaf isn't terrible, but it isn't something I'll be racing to make again.  In the meantime, I have put the rest of it in the freezer for me to eat as a snack, as I don't think my colleagues would really appreciate this one.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Wagon Wheel Slice for Australia Day

You may sing of the Shamrock, the Thistle, and Rose,
Or the three in a bunch if you will;
But I know of a country that gathered all those,
And I love the great land where the Waratah grows,
And the Wattle-bough blooms on the hill.

From Waratah and Wattle by Henry Lawson

Today is Australia Day, when Australians have a day dedicated to celebrating everything that is wonderful about Australia and being Australian.  It is our equivalent of the 4th of July.

I have enjoyed a very relaxing day, in which I found the time to make Wagon Wheel Slice.  You can find the recipe here.  A Wagon Wheel is an Aussie snack biscuit, a little like a Moon Pie but much nicer.  It is a round biscuit, sandwiched together with raspberry jam and marshmallow, and covered with chocolate.  I haven't bought on in years because the last time I tried one, it disappointed me.  While not bad, it was not as good as I remembered as it being as a child.  Sometimes, I think things should be left in their place in time and not disturbed.

However, this Wagon Wheel Slice is something different - it is really delicious, as homemade versions tend to be when compared with their commercial counterparts.  I made the recipe as stated, but instead of raspberry jam, I used rosella and Davidson plum jam - I mean, how Aussie is that?  (Rosella flowers and Davidson plums are bush tucker.)

I liked this version of Wagon Wheel Slice better than the wholefoods version I made last year - this version may not win any prizes for nutritional value, but it tastes superb.

To coincide with Australia Day, the patissiers around town have been going all out to make their own versions of well known and loved Aussie treats.  I decided that it was my national duty to try some of them, so here goes:

Adriano Zumbo had various flavours of lamington rolls, a fancy pav and a fairy bread cream bun, but I went for his Lamington Bombe ($9) - a crispy pastry shell filled with custard and freeze dried raspberries, then coated in chocolate icing, chocolate bits and coconut: 

I also tried Doughnut Time's "It's Always a Gaytime" Doughnut ($6), in honour of the Golden Gaytime icecream.  It is a doughnut filled with honeycomb flavoured custard, with chocolate icing and biscuit crumbs on top:

The custard tasted slightly artificial, but it wasn't bad.  They also had Iced Vo Vo, Milky Bar ("Meet Me At the Bar") and Lamington ("The Straya") flavoured doughnuts for Australia Day.

Last but not least, I went for a non-traditional offering from Burch & Purchese - a patriotic green and gold number comprising salted oat and ginger crumble, passionfruit curd, coconut tapioca, mint and passionfruit jellies, coconut mousse sprayed with white chocolate velvet, passionfruit marshmallow disc and a white mint chocolate wafer in the shape of a kangaroo:

Burch & Purchese also had their own version of a lamington dessert and many, many more:

I hope you have enjoyed my patriotic dessert journey - I know I did.  (For the record, I shared the bombe and the doughnut with a friend.)

Happy Australia Day!!

EwE - Tortellini-Spinach Soup - Soup's On

For Eating with Ellie this week, Margaret chose the theme of Soup's On.  I decided to make Tortellini-Spinach Soup from So Easy.

This soup is very easy to make, as it uses pre-packaged tortellini.  The recipe calls for spinach and cheese tortellini; I could only find roasted vegetable and cheese tortellini, so that is what I used.

This soup is very, very tasty. It is also reasonably quick to make, and filling.  It is a dish I'd make again.

To see what the others made this week, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TWD - Honey-Yogurt Mousse

The second Tuesday with Dorie Baking Chez Moi recipe for this month is Honey-Yogurt Mousse.  This is a dessert, made by whipping cream and combining it with labne (strained yoghurt) and honey.  It is simple to make but takes time because you need to strain the yoghurt, then you need time for the mousse to set.

This mousse is very sweet - slightly too sweet for me.  The berries on top really help to cut through the sweetness.  I would make this again, but would cut down on the honey.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought about it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Chilli and Lime Noodle Stir Fry with Chicken

Just before Christmas, I bought myself a 2017 calendar by Red Tractor Designs.  Red Tractor make gorgeous teatowels with Australiana and other designs, and this calendar is an Australiana calendar.  What I love about it is that for each month, the calendar not only features a picture and a quote, but also a little blurb about the significance of that picture to Australia, and a recipe for the month.

Here is January's image, about our rural firies working to contain bushfires:

January's recipe is for a chilli and lime noodle salad.  I adored the sound of the ingredients, but not the fact that most of them were served raw.  What I did is to take those ingredients and covert the recipe from a salad to a stir fry.  And what a delicious stir fry it was - Asian flavours abound in this healthy tasty dish.

To make it my way, you will need:

120g dried vermicelli noodles
2 bunches bok choy, thinly sliced
2 fresh long red chillis, deseeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup torn Thai basil leaves 
2 deveined kaffir lime leaves, shredded
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
zest and juice of one lime
1 barbecue chicken, shredded
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Soak the noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes, stir to separate the strands, drain, refresh under cold water, drain again.  Place into a bowl and snip into shorter lengths.

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a frypan.   Warm the chicken in the oil, then add the chillis to the pan and cook for around two minutes. add the bok choy, kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil, sauces and lime zest and juice, and stir fry until cooked through.  Add to the noodles in the bowl, and stir to combine well.  Sprinkle the stir fry with sesame seeds before serving.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Phillippa's Raspberry Coconut Teacake

Since it appeared on Postcards, I have longed to make Phillippa's Raspberry Coconut Teacake. I own a copy of Phillippa's Home Baking, the book in which the recipe is also featured, so I can't explain why it took me almost a year to get around to making it.

This cake, as Phillippa mentions, is unusual as it does not contain any butter or eggs.  I also could not resist the fact that this cake is naturally  pink (my favourite colour for cakes!) and is chock full of raspberries.

The icing is quite unusual as it contains the juice of five raspberries.  I began to think that the raspberries I was sieving would never yield juice, but in the end, they did, to give the cake icing its glorious pink colour:

This cake is quite sweet, so it may not be to everyone's tastes, but I enjoyed it - it was definitely worth the wait to make this delightful cake.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

EwE - Aromatic Beef Stew with Butternut Squash - It's Cold Outside, Let's Warm It Up

Okay, campers, rise and shine and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there today!
DJ, Groundhog Day

This week, Kayte's chosen theme for Eating with Ellie is It's Cold Outside, Let's Warm It Up.  I live in the opposite hemisphere to Kayte, so it's actually quite warm (and on some days, it's downright hot) outside.  However, as I love cold weather food (though not the cold weather), I was happy to make  something that I would like to make in the winter this week.

I chose Ellie's Aromatic Beef Stew with Butternut Squash  from So Easy. I adore stew on a cold winter's day, and this is a good one - beef, chilli, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, onion, butternut pumpkin.  I left the parsley off the top because all of my homegrown parsley has either withered in the heat or gone to seed, leaving me with nothing to work with.  The stew sits atop a bed of wholemeal couscous.

This is a terrific meal - the smell while it is cooking is amazing, and it is just the ticket to warm you up n the inside.

To see what the others made this week, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TWD DC - World Peace Cookies and Breakfast Biscotti

This week sees another twofer from  Dorie's Cookies for Tuesdays with Dorie.  First up is World Peace Cookies - chocolate cookies with chocolate chunks.  I have made these before for the original Tuesdays with Dorie group, not once, but twice.  When I think of all the water that has gone under the bridge since either of those times, I am gob-smacked. 

However, I can say that practice makes perfect with these cookies - I think my latest attempt has produced the best looking batch yet, and they are certainly just as delicious.  Who can resist a chocolate cookie with chocolate chunks?  I ate three of them this time all by myself.

Our next cookie this month is Breakfast Biscotti.  At first, I was not enthused about making these - my main experiences with biscotti are of the store-bought variety, which always seem rather dry and unpalatable.  However, these  biscotti are not like that at all.  They are chunkier than the store-bought variety, and much moister.  I used muesli with dried fruit which I did not pick out (although the recipe said I should), and sultanas instead of cranberries, both influenced by what I had in the house.  And I loved these cookies. So delicious and fruity and nutty, and not at all dry.  A winner in my books.

To see some more Dorie's Cookies baking experiences for this month, visit the LYL section of the TWD website. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Peach Oat Crumble

While I was staying with my mother over Christmas, I made a Peach Oat Crumble from this recipe.

The inspiration to make this came from the abundance of stone fruit in the house that was going to be wasted if I didn't intervene.  The main problem is that over Christmas, we have so much food that the good stuff like fruit is cast aside for puddings, pies and roasts.

This crumble, which I made with nectarines and peaches, saved the fruit.  The crumbs mixed through the fruit are all the sweetness that it needs, and the crumb on top adds a textural change from the soft, juicy fruit beneath. It was just perfect served warm with icecream.

My very fussy brother actually ate this crumble, which is a testament to how good it is.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

EwE - Eggs in Baskets with Smoked Turkey and Asparagus Topping - Barnyard Fun

Peggy chose Barnyard Fun as this week's theme for Eating with Ellie.

I made Eggs in Baskets with Smoked Turkey and Asparagus Topping from So Easy.  My barnyard components were turkey and eggs.  This entails cutting a hole in a piece of toast, cracking in an egg, frying it up and topping it with asparagus and smoked turkey.

This was delicious, especially when the egg yolk burst to form a sauce.

To see what the others made this week, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

TWD - Granola Cake

For my first Tuesday with Dorie recipe this month, I made the Granola Cake.  Dorie describes it as a snack cake, and I think that is a good description.  It reminds me of a big muesli bar or Anzac slice, as it contains granola (muesli).

Dorie said beware of using granola with hard chunks of dried fruit, but as that is all I had, I used it, and I think it turned out fine.  I found this cake to be surprisingly moist, despite the thickness of the batter.  I read Dorie's instruction to "jiggle the pan" to settle the batter, and thought "huh?"  That batter was not budging without some persuasion with a spatula.

This cake would be great for school or work lunch boxes, as it packs a satisfying chewiness and is not at all fussy.  However, as Dorie suggests, you can always jazz it up by putting a slice on a plate with a scoop of icecream!

To see what the others made this week and what they thought, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Las Tapas, St Kilda

Just before Christmas, a group of us met up for Christmas cheer at Las Tapas, a tapas bar in St Kilda.

Las Tapas is on the cosy side, so it is definitely important to book, especially if you have a large group.  However, the staff were very friendly and accommodated our  large group.

We went on a Sunday night, when paella is available as well as tapas.  However, we went with the tapas menu so that we could share.

We started off with some warm marinated olives, because who can go past good olives as a starter, right?

Our next dish was the heirloom tomatoes in olive oil:

Next up were some scallops:

followed by salt and pepper squid:

For something a little different, there was a tuna carpaccio:

There was pork belly and beef:

and garlic and chilli prawns:

and finally, there was chorizo:

We were all very full, as you can imagine.

Las Tapas is fully licensed, so you can enjoy a drink or two with your meal.

Las Tapas was a fun casual dining experience with great food.  I'd definitely go back.

Las Tapas
100 Chapel St
St Kilda VIC 3183

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Vegetable Quiche

Just before I came home for Christmas, I had a few ingredients left in the fridge that I needed to use up or throw out.  Among these were a half-used pot of cream and 5 egg yolks.  The other trick was that I needed to make it a vegetable quiche, as I had no filling ingredients other than frozen vegetables.

Out of this, a Vegetable Quiche was born.  I searched online for quiche made with egg yolks and cream, and combined a few of those to end up with the eventual recipe.

The crust is the Master Savory Pastry from Tart Love, a book that I had owned for a few years but never used.

I also grew my own gorgeous edible flowers from seed.  I knew that they would have wilted before I returned from holidays, so I frivolously used them to decorate the top of my quiche.  Better to enjoy the flowers than lose them, right?

To make this quiche, you will need:


2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons salt
250g unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3 tablespoons ice water

Put all of the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse until combined.  Add the butter and pulse until pea-sized crumbs form.  Add just enough of the ice water to bring the pastry together.

Place the pastry onto a well-floured bench and roll out between two sheets of baking paper to 1/4 inch thick.

Place pastry into a greased 9" tart pan, and press up against the edges.  Freeze for 1/2 hour.

Remove the crust from the freezer and blind bake in an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees Celsius.  Remove the rice/pie weights, brush the crust with an egg yolk mixed with a dash of water, then return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the crust is golden and fully baked. 


100ml pouring cream
150ml milk
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
1 cup cooked frozen vegetables

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Beat the egg yolks, milk and cream together.  Put the cheese into the base of the pie shell, and pile the cooked vegetables on top.  Pour the egg mixture over the top, and place the  quiche into the oven for 60 minutes or until the quiche is set and golden brown on top.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

EwE - Vanilla Spice Oatmeal - New Year Celebration

Happy New Year!! Everyone celebrates the New Year in different ways, and for this week's Eating with Ellie theme, New Year Celebration, I am celebrating the New Year with a healthy start to the day - Vanilla Spice Porridge.  You can find the recipe online here.

Ellie's oatmeal is cooked the usual way with water and salt, with raisins, nutmeg, brown sugar, cinnamon, milk and toasted nuts (in my case, cashews) added.

It was a hearty, filling breakfast and a great way to start the day.

To see how the others celebrated the New Year with Ellie, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.