Thursday, August 17, 2017

Avocado and Blueberry Pancakes

I am a sucker for pancakes, but I don't get to make them very often.  They take a little longer than porridge, and are a little bit fussier, so pancakes tend to get relegated to relaxed weekend breakfasts.

I recently found a recipe for Avocado and Blueberry Pancakes on Well Nourished.  You can find the recipe here.

These pancakes did not take any longer than other pancakes to make and have lots of ingredients that are nutritionally good for you.  The avocado flavour is quite prevalent, so if avocado is not your thing, these pancakes are not for you.  However, if you like avocado and you like blueberries, a serve of these pancakes with maple syrup drizzled on top is just the ticket for a delicious, nutritious breakfast.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

TWD - Crash-O-Cookies

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Crash-O-Cookies.  These cookies are named after Dorie's family friend, Crash, who paints guitars.  They are basically oatmeal cookies with raisins chocolate added.  The recipe is online here

I used sultanas (golden raisins) and instead of chopped milk chocolate, I used a mixture of white and dark chocolate chips, because that is what I had in the house.  I am pretty sure you could mix these up with your favourite dried fruit and chocolate.

The verdict? These cookies are delicious - chewy and comforting.  I understand why Crash likes them.

To see what everyone else thought of these cookies, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Emily Dickinson's Coconut Cake

With the advent of the movie A Quiet Passion, Emily Dickinson has come to the fore of public consciousness.  I had never previously heard of Emily and her poetry (it wasn't part of our English curriculum), so I am grateful for the movie making me aware of Emily and her work.

I was really excited to discover that Emily was a passionate baker.  Hooray!  A kindred spirit.  There are a number of her baking recipes floating around online.  The recipe for black cake contains 19 eggs and feeds 60!

I decided to make Emily's more modest coconut cake.  You can find the recipe online here.

What a lovely cake this is, and so easy to make.  The outside bakes up to be crunchy and firm, while the inside is fluffy and soft.  You could dress the cake up with a glaze if you have a sweet tooth, but I thought the cake was lovely just as it was.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

TWD - Profiteroles, Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Profiteroles, Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce.  I didn't make the icecream from scratch, but I did make the pastry cream, profiteroles and hot chocolate sauce.

I have long been a fan of profiteroles, so making these was a no-brainer.  In this weather, icecream and hot chocolate sauce were not what the doctor ordered, but I went ahead and made the hot chocolate sauce to pour over the profiteroles and some store bought icecream,

I was pleased that my profiteroles did not deflate after being removed from the oven, as that has happened to me so many times it is not funny.  I tried all the tricks I have learned, and this time, everything came together for some puffy profiteroles that stayed puffy.

The combination of the profiteroles, the icecream and the chocolate sauce was rich but delicious.

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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Date and Ginger Scones

When I saw Lorraine's Incredibly Soft Date and Ginger Scones, I knew I had to make them.  I love dates and I love ginger, so what could be better than both of them together.

I didn't use the maple glaze, as I thought the scones were lovely without it.  Mine aren't as golden as Lorraine's because I have a very strange oven that has the heat emanating from the bottom only, so you are likely to burn the bottom of things before they'd get golden on top.

These scones were delicious, nonetheless. I especially enjoyed the one I ate warm with melting butter on top.

If you like scones and are a fan of dates and ginger, I highly recommend these lovely scones. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

TWD - Anytime Tarragon-Apricot Cookies

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Anytime Tarragon-Apricot Cookies - except in my case, they are Anytime Rosemary-Apricot Cookies.  Fresh tarragon is not that easy to find, and when Mardi said she'd used rosemary, I decided to do the same.  I too grow rosemary and can get it for free, and save money and boot leather on searching for fresh tarragon.

These cookies are not particularly sweet, with most of the sweetness coming from the dried apricots in the cookies.  The rosemary gave the cookies a wonderful aroma. 

I enjoyed these cookies - not my favourite, but good all the same.

To see what everyone else thought of this week's cookies, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Strawberry and Pistachio Galette

When I went to the supermarket this week, I found some beautiful plump, red strawberries on sale.  It immediately reminded me of a recipe for a strawberry and pistachio galette that I had seen in The New York Times earlier in the week.

Fortuitously, I already had pistachios in my stash, so making this galette was a no brainer once I saw the strawberries.

And isn't the finished product a beauty:

The outside was crunchy even absent the extra pistachios, and the inside was a dream mix of contrasting textures and flavours. I skipped the extra strawberries and icing sugar on top as I was taking it to work. Although some people were unsure what it was (I heard "breakfast pizza" mentioned), it was snapped up at morning tea time - a good sign.

If you have some nice strawberries about, I can highly recommend making this galette.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

TWD - Martine's Gateau de Savoie

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Gateau de Savoie.  This cake is claimed by both the French and the Italians, and was invented when a count asked his pastry chef to make him a cake to marvel at.

What is marvellous about this cake is that the only rising agent is eggs.  There are six eggs in this large Bundt cake, and the yolks and whites are whipped separately to give volume and lightness to this sponge cake.

I decided to fill the middle of my cake with berry jam, as it was a transportable way to add the same flavour that would be added to the cake if served at home.  It is a fabulous cake - crunchy on the outside because of the sugar that is used to coat the pan, and light and airy on the inside.  I confess to having more than one slice.

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Spanish Chicken

There are some fab recipes in the June 2017 edition of the Coles magazine, and I sought inspiration from it for dinners.

The first recipe I tried is Spanish Chicken, on p27.  It is a bright, colourful dish which is a breeze to make because it is all cooked in the oven - once the ingredients are prepped, it looks after itself.

I also added some pumpkin to the dish, as I already had it and I needed to use it up.

To make this version of Spanish Chicken, you will need:

4 chicken thigh cutlets (I used the more readily available drumsticks)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
500g baby potatoes, halved
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 capsicum, deseeded and coarsely chopped
1 zucchini, halved lengthways and sliced diagonally
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
1/2 cup chicken stock

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Combine the chicken, paprika and oregano in a large bowl.  Heat a large frying pan and cook the chicken for 2 minutes each side or until golden brown.  Transfer the chicken to an oiled baking dish. 

Add the potato to the frying pan and cook for 5 minutes or until golden.

Arrange the potatoes, onion, capsicum, zucchini and olives around the chicken in the baking dish, and pour over the stock.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bake the chicken in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Green Grass Scones

July's Red Tractor calendar recipe is Green Grass Scones.  Here is the quote of the month, this time from C S Lewis: 

I was a bit dubious when I read the recipe for these scones.  They are savoury scones with cheddar and feta cheeses, rocket (arugula) and cayenne pepper.  However, when I tasted one of these scones fresh out of the oven, slathered with butter, I was sold.  They are delish, and I love the kick from the cayenne.

To make these scones, you will need:

4 cups self-raising flour
(or just add baking powder to plain flour as per the tin)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 large handfuls rocket (arugula), roughly chopped
2 cups grated tasty cheese
2-3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
300ml cream
300ml soda water

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius, and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the rocket and cheeses.

Combine the cream and soda water in a jug.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into the well. Mix with a knife until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly, then shape into a rough rectangle about 4cm thick.   

Cut the dough into 20 square pieces, place on the baking tray, brush the tops with a little milk, and bake until puffed and golden (around 15-20 minutes).

To serve, split open the scones and slather with butter. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

TWD - Coffee Malteds

The second Dorie's Cookies selection for this month is Dorie's Coffee Malteds.  As the name suggests, these chewy, fat cookies are flavoured with coffee and malt powder.

These cookies are very simple to make and come out round and uniform.  They are well behaved all round, and taste very good.

To see what the other cookie bakers thought of these cookies, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Salmon Curry

I try, but fail, to include enough fish in my diet.  I like to cook in advance for the week, and many fish dishes do not accommodate this.

However, I recently found a recipe for Healthy Salmon and Vegetable Curry on Well Nourished that allowed me to cook in advance and freeze. 

This lovely curry, the recipe for which is here, has lots of good things - vegetables, oily fish and spices and herbs that support the digestive system or have anti-inflammatory qualities.  Fantastic!

This curry was delicious.  The thing of course that made it expensive was the salmon, but I am think thinking that canned salmon  could be used as a substitute to reduce the cost.

It is winter here now, so I enjoyed this spicy, warming curry to comfort me on the inside.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

TWD - Lavender Galettes

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Lavender Galettes.  These are curious cookies that are somewhat like tuiles, and have a similar use ofbeing able to be eaten with icecream. 

These galettes are rolled very thin, so thin that they are each rolled on their own individual piece of baking paper, with jagged edges, and bake up crispy.

I didn't have lavender, so I used crushed candied violets instead - they're floral, they're purple and hence seemed to fit the bill.

I was surprised at how much I liked these cookies.  I made a half batch and ate three (two with icecream), and gifted the rest to friends.

To see what everyone else thought of these, visit the LYL section  of the TWD website.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hairy Dieters' Chicken Provencal

I recently added another Hairy Dieters' recipe to my repertoire, this time their Chicken Provencal from The Hairy Dieters Eat For Life.   Chicken Provencal is a classic, and while mine didn't turn out with a sauce as thick as theirs, it was delicious. Even better, according to the book, it only has 282 calories per serve.

To make this version of Chicken Provencal, you will need:

12 chicken thigh fillets (I bought half as many as I had super-sized fillets) 
2 teaspoons oil
2 thinly sliced onions
2 crushed cloves garlic
400g canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon white sugar
300ml chicken stock
2 teaspoons dried herbs de Provence
100ml red wine
1 capsicum cut into 3cm chunks
2 zucchinis cut into 2cm slices
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon cold water
salt and pepper

Trim all the visible fat off the chicken and cut each thigh in half.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil and fry the chicken in batches until lightly coloured.  Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, stock, herbs and wine, and stir well.

Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the zucchini and capsicum and bring back to a simmer.  Cover the pan loosely with a lid and simmer gently for another 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Mix the cornflour and water together in a small bowl, then stir into the chicken mixture and simmer until the sauce has thickened.

Serve the chicken provencal served over rice (or in my case, bulgur wheat).

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Winter Roast at The Gables, Malvern East

Wow look at you now
Flowers in the window
It's such a lovely day
And I'm glad you feel the same
Cause to stand up, out in the crowd
You are one in a million
And I love you so
Lets watch the flowers grow

Flowers in the Window, Travis

A couple of weeks ago, Tim and I went to The Gables in Malvern East for their Winter Roast.  For $65/head, you receive a glass of wine or beer, a three course roast menu, and pot coffee or tea.

We were seated in the front room with a wonderful blazing fire to keep us warm on a rather chilly Melbourne day:

Here is the menu:

The starter was celeriac and hazelnut soup:

The soup was lovely - not too much celeriac, which can be quite salty and strong in taste, and the hazelnut was definitely ascertainable.  The soup was rib-stickingly thick, and was served with your choice of a bread roll or bread.

Next up came the roast, served smorgasboard style.  You could choose between roast lamb or beef, sliced to order, with Yorkshire pudding and red wine gravy.  You helped yourself to vegetables, including roast potato, pumpkin, kohlrabi and baby carrots, and broccoli and beans with almonds.  There was also a vegetarian gnocchi available as a side, featuring zucchini, peas, gorgonzola and herbs: 

The least exciting course was the dessert (I know! coming from me).  There was apple pie, trifle, chocolate mousse and cheese.  Tim had the apple pie, which was more an apple frangipane tart than a regular apple pie.  I went for the trifle, which was good without being spectacular, and the chocolate mousse sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries, which seemed a little bit overset:

This is one of the beautiful tiles surrounding the fireplace:

And here is the lovely plaster cornice:

Last but not least, this is one of the stained glass windows viewed from the inside:

Tim and I walked back from The Gables. Tim remarked that there were flowers in the window of one of the houses we passed, which instantly reminded me of the Travis song, Flowers in the Window, which is one of my favourites.  I was also excited to learn recently that Flowers in the Window was co-written with Paul McCartney! Always good to know about The Beatles connection. 

15 Finch St
Malvern East VIC 3145

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pumpkin Bulgur Wheat Cake

Who doesn't love a slice of cake with their morning cuppa, and even better if it is a little off the beaten track.

Last weekend, I made Dan Lepard's Pumpkin Bulgur Wheat Cake - you can find the recipe here

This cake is so good to eat, not unlike carrot cake in flavour.  However, it contains grated pumpkin and bulgur wheat.  Dan says the latter makes the cake chewy, a little like ground almonds.  There are also walnuts in the cake to give it added texture.

Whatever way you put it, this cake is delicious.  If you like carrot cake, then I recommend giving this cake a try.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

TWD - Classic Jammers

This week's Tuesday with Dorie (Dorie's Cookies) recipe is Classic Jammers.  These cookies were apparently dreamed up by Dorie, literally, while she was in bed one night.

Classic Jammers comprise a sable base, topped with half a teaspoon of jam (in my case, three berry jam from Bramble Patch in Glen Aplin, Queensland, given to me by my friend Kerry), and surrounded by streusel.  These cookies are a little fussy to make because there are two separate recipes and three steps to form the cookies, with chilling in between.  I made a half batch and got 24 cookies.

These cookies are delicious, but the extra steps and fussing with cutters and muffin tins means that they won't be on regular rotation here.

To see what the others thought of these cookies, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Happy 4th of July to all of my US readers!!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Cake - Melbourne Cake Club - Sensational Song Cakes

This month's Melbourne Cake Club theme is Song Cakes.  The Cake Club met on a cold night at Lady Grange in St Kilda to exchange cakes inspired by our favourite songs.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album by The Beatles, so I decided to make a cake inspired by the title song.  The drum skin for Sgt Pepper is iconic, and being round, is the perfect shape for a cake.

I tossed up about making a cake containing pepper as the base cake, but figured that might not turn out well, so instead, I focussed on the psychedelia that went with the Sgt Pepper era, and made a psychedelic zebra cake from this recipe from The Cake Mistress:

The challenge then was how to recreate something at least resembling the graphic art on the Sgt Pepper drum skin.  Originally, I thought about getting an edible icing transfer, but I have used one of those in the past and couldn't get it off the backing paper, so I skipped that. 

My next thought was to use all fondant, so I bought rolled fondant in all of the Sgt Pepper colours.  I hit a snag when I went to actually decorate the cake, as I found that my letter cutters were too big to cut out all of the wording in fondant.  Also, the multiple layers of colours would have made the icing too bulky if everything was made of fondant, so on the go, I opted for a mixture of fondant and edible markers to produce the design:

It's not perfect, but in the end, I think it turned out pretty well. It was definitely a learning on the go experience, and I had to make a few of the pieces more than once.  A trick that I picked up from Whimiscal Cakehouse class that I  used in decorating this cake was that if you smudge colour onto white icing, you can dab it off with a little milk on a cotton ball or bud.  (The blue rings smudged a little as I was placing them, but the milk dab did the trick to remove the unwanted colour bleed.)

And here's a peek inside the cake:

At Lady Grange, in keeping with The Beatles vibe, I ordered a Penny Lane cocktail (vodka, coconut, peach, watermelon):

(Incidentally, Penny Lane was recorded at the same time as Sgt Pepper, but was released as a double A side with Strawberry Fields instead of making it onto the album.)

Club members had a terrific time seeing what everyone else had made, and we all had very different inspiration.

Abi made an Over the Rainbow cake, complete with lemon drops spelling out melting "Troubles", and a bluebird over a rainbow layer cake sandwiched with vanilla buttercream and lemon curd:

Sue made a gluten free, fudgy mocha Count Down cake, with the Count Down logo emblazoned in cachous on top of the cake:

Alex made banana, mango and macadamia muffins, inspired by the tropical sound of Mr President's Coco Jumbo:

Dalya sings You Are My Sunshine to her daughter, so she made a delicious lemon and almond sunshine cake:

Last but not least, Karen made a cake inspired by The Bangles' Eternal Flame, being banana and raspberry cake with orange icing to mimick the colour of flames and decorated with modelling chocolate:

So there you have it - our sensational song cakes!

If you would like to join us in August, our theme is Magic Cakes - the details are here.

1 Fitzroy St
St Kilda VIC 3182

Friday, June 30, 2017

Hairy Dieters' Easy Chicken Tray Bake

From my recent posts, you can tell that I have been giving The Hairy Dieters Eat For Life a work out.  There are just so many tasty, tempting recipes in this book, with the added advantage that they are easy on the hips.

Another recent dish that I made from this book was the Easy Chicken Tray Bake.   You can also find the recipe online here. This dish basically cooks itself - chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, red onion, capsicum, zucchini, tomatoes and cheese, tossed into a baking dish and baked until cooked.  Dinner is served!

This is such a colourful dish, and has plenty of veggies to help you get your 5 a day.  Yet another winner from the Hairy Dieters.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

EwE - Kitchen Sink Cookies - Beach Party Snacks

Peggy chose the theme of Beach Party Snacks for this week's Eating with Ellie.  When I think of a beach party, I think of portable food, so that was the inspiration for my recipe choice.

I chose Ellie's Kitchen Sink Cookies, as they are portable and packed with good things to give you energy for a beach party.  They contain apple sauce, dried cherries, dried apricots, walnuts, oatmeal and chocolate.

These cookies are not particularly sweet, but they are quite satisfying, and certainly deserve their "everything but the kitchen sink" moniker. 

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.

This is our last theme for a while to give everyone a chance to regroup.  If you are interested in joining us, leave a message for us in the comments section of the Eating with Ellie  website, or contact Kayte, Margaret, Peggy  or me directly.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TWD - Les Whoopies

Blogging is terrific for broadening your experiences.  Until I began reading blogs, I had never heard of the US treat known as Whoopie pies, but became fascinated with them because of their pretty cool name.  The origin of Whoopie pies is disputed, but are thought to have been the creation of the Pennsylvanian  Amish community.  They are also the state pie of Maine.  A Whoopie pie comprises two cake-like cookies which are sandwiched together with a sweet filling of some kind. 

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Les Whoopies, and it is the first time that I have made Whoopie pies.  There is a café down the road from me that sells great Whoopie pies, so I have tried them before.

I didn't bother getting a Whoopie pie pan - having known about Whoopie pies for around 10 years and never having made them before, I don't think I can justify a Whoopie pie pan.  It is not necessary to have a special pan to make them, and while it would have made  my Whoopie pies slightly more regular in shape, I was quite happy with my results without it.

These Whoopie pies are light, fluffy and chocolatey, and the peanut butter flavoured filling is a perfect match for the chocolate.  I would happily make these again.

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

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hairy Dieters' Beef Stroganoff

I like hearty dishes in cold weather, and the Hairy Dieters' Beef Stroganoff surely hit the spot.  The Hairy Dieters have taken an old favourite and made it calorie friendly, for example, by subbing cream with half fat crème fraiche.

You can find the recipe posted online here, but I highly recommend the book that it comes from, The Hairy Dieters Eat For Life.  What's not to love - beef, mushrooms, onions and of course, sauce!

I served my beef strog with boiled wholegrain rice to soak up all the lovely sauce.  Definitely a winner!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Garden State Hotel, Flinders Lane, Melbourne

In the US, New Jersey is the Garden State, but in Australia, Victoria was previously known as "The Garden State".  (Now I think Victoria is "On the Move".)

In Flinders Lane, there is a hotel named the Garden State Hotel.  One Sunday for lunch, before seeing Viceroy's House at Kino, Tim and I wandered into the Garden State Hotel's Public Bar for lunch: 

Above our table, I loved this print quoting Rumer Godden, author of The Greengage Summer (which I have read and became aware of through the lovely Jane Asher, who starred in a movie adaptation of the book as a child, and who once dated Paul McCartney - hence there is a Beatles connection!):  

They have quite an extensive "Beer Garden" menu.  On the day, Tim ordered the market fish with Kipfler potatoes, caper and peppercorn dressing ($21):

Tim said that this meal was delicious.  I especially liked that the fish was served with potatoes instead of fries, making it slightly unusual and more healthy.

I ordered the Borrowdale pork schnitzel with brussels sprouts and mustard ($22): 

I was initially rather surprised to see the brussels sprouts shredded and covering the top of the schnitzel, but I think that the idea was to make them into a sauce with the mustard.  I enjoyed it, although in the end it was probably a little large for me to handle (not a bad issue).

The atmosphere at Garden State was relaxed and casual, the staff were friendly, and at this Sunday lunchtime, it wasn't overcrowded or noisy. 

We enjoyed our spontaneous lunch at Garden State and would go back again.

Garden State Hotel
101 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Ph: 03 8396 5777