Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Power Porridge

Want some get up and go?  Want to take on the world?  Want to tick-off those jobs on the to-do list? Want to power through your day... or at least until brownietime lunchtime?  Make yourself some of this smooth, comforting, nutrient-packed porridge and start your day with a bang.  My bang amounted to reading the paper for an hour or so on my sun-filled porch and drinking coffee... but I definitely could have mopped the floors then gone to the gym if I'd wanted to.

NOTE: This makes enough Porridge Mix for about 10 servings.  Make a batch and you'll be able to eat power porridge all week.  Who knows what amazing things you'll achieve after a week of this stuff!

Power Porridge
Serves 1

For the Porridge Mix:
Makes about 10 servings
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raw buckwheat
1/2 cup flax seeds

For the Power Porridge:
1/4 cup porridge mix
1/3 cup milk (low fat or almond, soy, oat whatever milk you like), plus extra for serving
1/3 cup water
1 banana, cut in half (one half for porridge, one sliced for topping)
2 mejool dates, pitted (one for porridge, one chopped for topping)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Maple syrup, to taste
Chopped toasted natural almonds, for sprinkling

Make the Porridge Mix:
Put the oats, buckwheat and flax seeds in a food processor and blitz until they are a fine powder.  Or use a coffee grinder like I do.  Store in an airtight container.

Make the Power Porridge:
Put the porridge mix, milk, water, half the banana, one of the dates and cinnamon into a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until it's smooth, hot and starts to thicken. Pour into a serving bowl and top with sliced banana, chopped date, chopped almonds.  Drizzle with maple syrup and milk to taste.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Cookie Cutter Sourdough Rolls

Lovely rolls for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.  I thought they looked fun and elegant until one of my family members mentioned that they looked a bit like bosoms and now that's all I can see.

NOTE: Start this recipe a day ahead.

Cookie Cutter Sourdough Rolls
slightly adapted from here
Makes 8

150g active sourdough starter
250g cold filtered water
500g baker's flour
10g fine sea salt
Fine semolina, for dusting

The Evening Before:
In a large bowl, mix the starter with the water with your hands.  Add the flour and salt and mix until the mixture comes together into a shaggy mess.  Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for 30 minutes.

Knead the dough briefly in the bowl until it comes together into a smooth ball, then cover it again with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight.

The Next Day:
Line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle the baking paper generously with semolina.

Lightly dust your work surface with the semolina and dump the dough onto it.  Fold the dough a few times, then divide it into 8 even portions.  Roll each portion into a ball and place them on the prepared baking tray.

Sprinkle the top of each ball with more semolina.  Dust a medium cookie cutter and a small cookie cutter with semolina and place them on top of a ball and push down with the palm of your hand, all the way through to the tray, cutting through the dough completely.  Continue to cut each ball, dusting the cutters well between each.  Cover the rolls with a clean cloth and set aside in a warm spot to become puffy (about 1 1/2 - 2 hours), depending on the heat of your kitchen.

Preheat the oven to 240C (fan-forced).

When the rolls are plump and puffed, mist the tops with a little water and put the tray in the oven, immediately reducing the temperature to 220C (fan-forced).  Bake for 20 minutes, turn the tray around and reduce the oven temperature to 175C (fan-forced) and continue to bake for a further 15 - 20 minutes, until golden and crusty.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

In My Kitchen - October 2015

Here's what's happening in my kitchen at the moment...


If you're a regular reader of my blog, then I've probably bored you to tears already with my harping on about all the citrus fruit I've got at the moment.  If not, you'll most likely have tears of boredom in your eyes by the end of this post.  Yes, I grow a lot of citrus.  St. Clement's has nothing on me.

Blood Orange Juice:

Like I said, I've got citrus, citrus everywhere. On every flat surface and in every basket, bowl and box.  Bored yet?

Jersey Cream:

Jersey Cream from a local farm.  I see scones in my near future... probably orange scones topped with Orange and Vanilla Bean Marmalade and a big dollop of this lush cream.  (The irony that the bottle of cream has an orange lid is not lost on me.)  Or it could easily adorn a thick slice of my Lemon, Coconut, Sour Cream Cake (Lemons for a break from the oranges... just to mix things up a bit.)

"00" Flour:

I have bags and bags of this fine grade Italian flour in my larder.  Can't live without the stuff.

Ravida Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

According to the website this "award winning house blend recognized as “one of the best olive oils in the world” is an elegant, perfectly balanced oil with aromas of medium ripe tomato, freshly mown hay and lemon blossom."  See, just can't get way from citrus.

The Snacking Dead:

I've had this book for a while, but we recently started watching a new season of The Walking Dead so the cookbook has made an appearance in my kitchen again.  With recipes like Angel of Death Brown Sugar Bacon Bites, Cat Head Biscuits with Sawmill Gravy, Gory Red Grinders and Guac and Load Guacamole, how could I resist?  There are times when a girl just needs a parody in a cookbook (and a break from BLOOD oranges... sorry).  

Old Glass Jug:

This was my Mother In Law's jug.  She never used it, it was always stuck in a cupboard somewhere.  I inherited it and now I fill it with juice (blood orange, what else?) every chance I get.  And when I do, I think of her.

Okay, you can wake up now.

So, that's my kitchen for now.

Pop on over and check out the links to bloggers’ kitchens around the world at In My Kitchen on
Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Lemon, Coconut, Sour Cream Cake

I'm still trying to get control over my citrus situation.

NOTE: I have also made a gluten free version of this cake subbing out the self raising flour and plain flour for 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (*recipe below) and 2 teaspoons baking powder.

Lemon, Coconut, Sour Cream Cake
slightly adapted from supermarket flyer

For the Cake:
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
2 eggs
300g sour cream
150g (1 cup) self raising flour
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
40g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
60ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice
1 teaspoon coconut extract

For the Icing:
160g (1 cup) icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

*For the Gluten Free Flour Blend:
2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cups white rice flour
1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
1 1/3 cups cornflour
1/2 potato flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Mix the Gluten Free Flour Blend:
Sift all the ingredients for the Gluten Free Flour Blend in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. This will make more than you need for this recipe, but you can store the remaining flour blend in an airtight container ready to use in your next gluten free recipe.

Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 23 cm x 13 cm (9 inch x 5 inch) loaf pan and line it with baking paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes, Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stop the mixer and add the sour cream, stirring with a spatula. Stir in the flour and coconut. Add the lemon rind, lemon juice and coconut extract and stir until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60 - 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cover with a piece of foil if the top starts to brown too much. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cover the top of the cake with a sheet of foil while it cools (this will keep the top of the cake nice and soft). Once completely cool, spread with icing.

Make the Icing:
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add enough lemon juice to achieve a spreadable consistency. 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Orange and Vanilla Bean Marmalade

I have lots and lots of citrus trees, which means I have lots and lots of citrus fruit.  I use citrus everyday, but we can only eat so much and by the time we are finished the mature fruit, we have baby fruit coming.  I give lots of fruit away and have found lots of ways to preserve the fruit and making marmalade is an obvious choice. My marmalade adventures have been pretty successful to date, but I knew they could be better.  Little did I know up until now that the secret to the BEST marmalade is overnight "brining".  I know, who'd have thought? Soaking the skins in a salty solution makes perfect sense.  It pulls out the bitterness and tenderises at the same time.  Genius.  I'm going to be slapping this marmalade on everything from my toast to my muffins from this day forth.

Orange and Vanilla Bean Marmalade
adapted from here
Makes 5 - 6 cups

12 medium oranges (I used a mix of Navel Oranges and Blood Oranges)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt (I used Pink Himalaya Salt)
2 vanilla beans, split length ways and seeds scraped (You'll be using both the bean and the seeds)
Caster sugar, *half the weight of the contents of the orange mixture (explained below)
Juice half a lemon

Wash your oranges and cut the tops and bottoms off just until you get to the flesh.  Cut in half from top to bottom and cut a V to remove the white membrane out of the centre.  Discard the membrane and slice the oranges into half moons as thick or as thin as you like, removing and discarding any pips.  I like very thin skins in my marmalade so I made like a human mandolin and sliced those suckers super fine.

Put all your sliced oranges into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, add the split vanilla pod and scraped beans and cover with enough cold water to just cover.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, pop a small plate into the freezer for testing your marmalade for setting point.

Weigh the contents of the bowl and pour it into a large, wide pan.  Weigh out half the amount of sugar (*eg. if your orange mixture weighs 1kg, you'll need 500g sugar).

Place the pan with the orange mixture over a high heat and bring to boil.  Add the sugar and keep at a lively bubble for about 30 minutes.  The mixture should start to darken and thicken slightly.

To set test for setting point, take the plate out of the freezer, remove the marmalade from the heat and spoon a dollop of it onto the cold plate and wait for about a minute. Push your finger through the marmalade. It has reached setting point when it wrinkles slightly. If it doesn't crinkle when you push your finger through it, return it to the heat and cook for a further few minutes and test again.

Once setting point has been reached, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Remove the vanilla pods and reserve.  Leave to sit for 10 minutes before spooning the marmalade into sterilised jars.  Leaving it to rest will allow the fruit to settle evenly.   Cut the reserved vanilla pods into 5 or 6 pieces.  Place a piece of vanilla bean into each jar and seal with lids.  Marmalade can be eaten straight away slathered onto anything buttered and not nailed down or stored in a cool place for up to 3 months.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Gluten Free Millet and Date (and some sneaky choc-chip) Muffins

Up your breakfast game with some millet muffins. Serve them warm from the oven and feel like a breakfast Goddess/God.  I really wanted to keep these fully wholesome and opted for deliciously unctuous mejool dates for the adults, but resorted to baking half using some some dark chocolate chips for the kids.  I'll do anything to get some millet and flaxseeds into them.  That's right, I'm a pushover.

Gluten Free Millet and Date (and some sneaky choc-chip) Muffins
slightly adapted from here
makes 12

2 cups gluten free flour blend (recipe here)
1/2 cup millet meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
Big pinch fine sea salt
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1/3 cup ground flaxseeds 
2/3 cup buttermilk (or almond milk if you want to keep it vegan)
2/3 cup coconut syrup (or maple syrup)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup mejool dates, chopped (some halved for topping) OR (1/2 cup of mejool dates and 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips if you're like me and have kids who refuse to eat dates)

Preheat the oven to 200C.  Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.

Put the flour, millet, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and flaxseeds in a bowl and whisk to combine and break up any lumps.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the syrup, buttermilk and olive oil.  Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to combine.

If you are just making the fully wholesome date muffins, then add the chopped dates to the batter and stir to combine.  If you are making 6 date muffins and 6 chocolate chi muffins, split the batter in half by pour half the batter into a separate bowl.  Add the chopped dates to one bowl and the chocolate chips to the other bowl.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, top with date halves, or chocolate chips for the choc-chip muffins, and bake for 18 - 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.  These muffins are delicious served unadulterated, but I served them with my homemade Orange and Vanilla Bean Marmalade.  

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Tiramisu Cupcakes

I've been away for a few days sitting on the beach, drinking coffee and eating cupcakes.  What else would I do but come home and sit in my garden, drink coffee and eat cupcakes?  I'm consistent, at least.

Tiramisu Cupcakes
Makes 12

For the Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cup plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
120g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Cocoa powder, for dusting

For the Coffee Syrup:
1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur

For the Mascarpone Cream:
1 cup mascarpone
1 cup thickened cream
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted

Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 180C.  Line a 12-hole cupcake pan with paper liners.  Set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and whisk them together.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and vanilla together.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes on medium-high speed.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Reduce the speed to low and, with the mixer running, add one third of the dry ingredients and mix briefly.  Add half of the buttermilk mixture.  Add another third of the dry ingredients, followed by the second half of buttermilk mixture.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Fill the liners 2/3 full with the batter and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Coffee Syrup:
Put all the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Boil until the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.

Make the Mascarpone Cream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the thickened cream until firm peaks form.

In a separate bowl, use a wooden spoon or spatula to beat the mascarpone with the icing sugar.  Do not over beat as mascarpone can become grainy if over mixed.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Brush each cupcake generously with the coffee syrup using a large brush.  Spoon a floppy dollop of mascarpone cream onto each cupcake.  Sprinkle with cocoa powder.