Saturday, 1 August 2015

In My Kitchen - August 2015

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

The First Egg from our New Pullets:

We got some new point-of-lay pullets (20 week old hens) to add to our collection of older, already laying girls. One of the little babies laid their first egg. First eggs are always small and nearly always full of egg white with no yolk. It will take her a few goes to get it right. Cute though, huh?

Egg Cups:

 ... And where there's eggs, there's egg cups. I've had these egg cups for ages, but they have been getting quite a run of late. In a house of mostly males, there's no prizes for guessing which colour is mine.

My Karen Martini Collection:

I get "stuck on" certain cookbooks. I'm going through my Karen Martini period at the moment.

Striped Yellow Jug:

I spied this jug in a local vintage/retro shop and knew I just had to have it. It's a perfect addition to my tea tray, so a totally justified purchase, yes?

Organic Coconut Syrup:

This syrup has been drizzled on my porridge all week, along with sliced bananas and chopped toasted macadamias. Worth getting out of bed for on a winters morning.

Duke of Delhi Milk Chocolate:

I'm not usually a milk chocolate girl, I prefer dark chocolate, but I couldn't resist the flavours (and packaging). Needless to say, I didn't have any trouble demolishing half a block with my afternoon chai latte. You just never know what treasures you're going to find in Aldi.

Anyway, 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

Friday, 31 July 2015

Seeded Rye Bread


When I bake a loaf that is so full of good things, I feel totally justified in eating 1 kilo of cheese with it... and 2 glasses of wine.

Seeded Rye Bread
slightly adapted from here

70g farro
70g pearl barley
75g sunflower seeds
75g flax seeds
500ml cold water
250g wholemeal rye flour
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon malt extract
 Sunflower oil, for greasing

Soak the Seeds:
The night before you want to bake your loaf, put the farro, barley, sunflower seeds and flax seed into a bowl and add 300ml of water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to soak at room temperature overnight.

Make the Sponge:
In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the yeast and the remaining 200ml water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to soak at room temperature overnight.

Make and Bake your Loaf:
The next day, mix the seeds along with the soaking liquid with the sponge. Add the salt, honey and malt extract. Knead for 5 minutes. This makes a very wet dough (a bit like thick cake batter).

Grease a 23 cm x 13 cm loaf pan with the sunflower oil and pour in the batter and smooth the surface. Let it rest in a warm spot for 2 -3 hours, until the dough has risen to the rim of the tin.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. This is a dense, heavy loaf and won't rise much during baking. To test for doneness, turn the loaf out of the tin, if the base and sides are moist, return the loaf to the oven without the tin and bake for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. It needs to be completely cool, otherwise it will crumble rather then slice. The wait will be worth it.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Sourdough Coffee Scrolls



Sitting down to a breakfast of coffee with coffee is my idea of perfection. Add a bright winters morning, a clear schedule, thick, fluffy socks and a good book and that spells pure bliss for me. I'm pretty easy to please really.

NOTE: These delicious scrolls are a variation of my Overnight Sourdough Buttermilk Cinnamon Cardamom Rolls. I thought it might be a bit cheeky of me to re-hash the recipe and serve it up to you again, but they were too good not to share... seriously.

Sourdough Coffee Scrolls
Makes 8

For the Dough:
115g lard, cubed
2 1/2 - 3 cups baker's flour
1/2 cup active sourdough starter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the Filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 heaped tablespoon instant coffee granules
90g unsalted butter, very soft

For the Coffee Icing:
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water
15g unsalted butter, softened

Make the Dough:
The night before you want to eat your coffee scrolls, put the lard and flour into a large mixing bowl. Rub the lard into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the rest of the dough ingredients and squelch the mixture with your hands until it comes together. It will be quite sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight (at least 8 hours), until doubled in size.

The next morning, preheat your oven to 180C.

Make the Filling:
Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. It should be a spreadable consistency. Set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface and knead briefly, adding a little more flour to make into a manageable dough if needed. Roll it into a 5mm thick rectangle. Spread the filling to the edges then using one of the long edges, roll the dough into a tight log. Cut the dough onto eight even portions and place them, cut side up, into a 27cm cast iron skillet or heavy baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 45 minutes - 1 hour to get puffy. Bake in your preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until the tops are golden. Leave to cool in the pan.

Make the Coffee Icing:
Put all the icing ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth, adding a little more water to achieve a spreadable consistency is necessary.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Stuffed Cabbage

When you grow prize winning cabbages (well, they're not technically prize winning because we haven't entered them into any competitions and they haven't won any prizes, but if we did, they would), you make stuffed cabbage. Then you stuff your stuffed cabbage into your stuffed cabbage loving face.

Stuffed Cabbage
adapted from here
Serves 4

For the Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
500g minced beef
50g mortadella, blitzed in a small food processor until finely chopped
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup panko
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

For the Cabbage:
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 head of white cabbage, to give you 12 large leaves (you can patch any small or torn leaves with smaller leaves)
1 tablespoon flour, for dusting

For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 fresh bay leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine
1 x 400g can crushed tomatoes
250ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter

Make the Filling:
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes until soft but not brown. Scrape into a large mixing boil and set aside to cool.

Once the onion has cooled, add the beef, mortadella, egg, milk, panko and salt and mix thoroughly until well combined. Set aside in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Prepare the Cabbage:
Cut the core out of the bottom of the cabbage. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the salt and submerge the whole head of cabbage in to it. Boil for 5 minutes, until the leaves start to soften and separate. Lift the cabbage out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge it into ice water to stop the cooking process. Separate the leaves (they should come apart easily), and lay them on kitchen paper and pat dry. Remove the thick stem from the centre of each leaf with a sharp knife. Set aside.

Sprinkle a baking sheet with some flour. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop 12 mounds of the filling onto the tray and sprinkle the tops with the remaining flour. The mounds should have a light dusting of flour all over. Set aside.

With the stem end of a cabbage leaf facing you, place a mound of filling into the centre of the leaf and roll it up, tucking the sides of the leaf in as you go. Roll it up tightly and secure the end with a toothpick. Repeat for the remaining leaves and filling.

Make the Sauce:
Put the oil into a large Dutch oven and heat on medium. Add the bay leaves and crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, crushed tomatoes and salt and bring to boil. Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down into the sauce. Make sure they fit snuggly and are in one layer. Add the chicken stock. Cut a circle of foil the same diameter as the pot and place it directly down on top of the rolls and sauce. Place the lid on the pot and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Serve with mashed potatoes/spaetzle/bread... or your favourite carbohydrate. It's the only way to go.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Tart




My eldest son has been on alpine camp in the high country this week. He's been trekking, cross-country skiing, snow boarding, cooking in the open air, setting up tents, learning about survival in cold temperatures (and probably not getting enough sleep, not bathing and not changing his clothes... but I don't want to think about that). Every time he returns from camp, I make him something chocolaty (his favourite) to come home to. It's a kind of Pavlov Dog's Response, but in reverse.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Tart
adapted from here

For the Pastry:
125g unsalted butter, softened
50g caster sugar
pinch of fine sea salt
125g plain flour
80g hazelnut meal
1 egg
For the Salted Caramel:
115g caster sugar
125ml water
250ml cream
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
50g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes

For the Chocolate Fudge Filling:
100g dark chocolate, chopped
75g unsalted butter
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
50g caster sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Make the Pastry:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the salt, flour and hazelnut meal and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the egg and mix until just incorporated. It will be a sticky dough, not unlike cookie dough. Spoon it out onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap it up tightly. Chill in the refrigerator for at least on hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Slide a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

Take the pastry out of the refrigerator and crumble it into a 23 cm (9 in) loose-bottomed tart pan. Press the crumble into the sides and base of the pan, making sure there are no holes or cracks. Trim off any excess pastry.

Line the pastry with baking paper, pour in some baking weights and bake for 20 minutes on the heated baking sheet. Remove the weights and paper and return the tart to the baking sheet in the oven to cake for a further 5 - 10 minutes, or until cooked through and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Make the Salted Caramel:
Put the sugar and water into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Swirl the pan until the sugar dissolves then stop swirling and leave to boil for about 5 - 6 minutes until it is a deep golden colour. Do not stir. Remove from the heat, add the cream (it will splutter) and salt, stir and return to the heat to cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the butter, one cube at a time.

Pour the salted caramel into the cooked tart base. Set aside.

Make the Chocolate Fudge Filling:
Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Don't let the pan touch the water. Stir until melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg, egg yolk and sugar until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and using a large metal spoon, carefully fold the cocoa powder and melted chocolate mixture.

Pour the filling into the tart on top of the salted caramel. Put the tart pan back on the baking sheet and bake for a further 20 - 25 minutes, until the top has formed a crust. Remove from the oven, and transfer the tart pan to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely in the pan before slicing.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Ricotta Gnocchi Gratin with Parsley Butter



It was just my youngest son and I for dinner tonight, the rest of the family had other commitments. Just as well too, because what should have served 4, barely served two. He just kept going back to the dish to get another spoonful, and another spoonful... and dipping bread into the buttery sauce. Note to self: Growth spurts = no leftovers.

Ricotta Gnocchi Gratin with Parsley Butter
slightly adapted from here
Serves 4 normal people (or 1 growing boy)

For the Parsley Butter:
100g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

For the Gnocchi:
450g ricotta (drained)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
40g Parmesan, finely grated
1/2 cup plain flour

Make the Parsley Butter:
Put the salt, parsley, garlic and pepper into a small food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add it to the softened butter and beat it with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Spoon it into a piece of baking paper, roll it into a cylinder and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Make the Gnocchi:
Put the ricotta into a large bowl and mash it with a fork. Add the eggs, nutmeg and half of the Parmesan. Stir with the fork until well combined. Set aside.

Sprinkle a baking tray with a little of the flour and set aside. Put the remaining flour onto a plate.

Scoop teaspoons of the ricotta mixture into the flour on the plate. Flick the flour over them to coat, pick them out of the flour with your fingers and jiggle them in your palm to shake off the excess flour. Put them onto the baking tray. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Take the parsley butter out of the refrigerator and cut it into small dice. Put half into a baking dish. Set aside.

Bring a large, wide pan of salted water to the boil. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes, until they float to the surface. Use a slotted spoon to lift them out of the water and put them into the baking dish of parsley butter.  Dot the remaining butter over the gnocchi and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes, until bubbling. Finish them off under  hot grill (broiler) until they are golden brown on top.

Serve with a green salad or a mound of steamed green beans.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Gluten Free Apricot Jam Muffins



Muffins are for breakfast when:
You've been eating porridge for breakfast all week.
You've been doing at least an hour of training each day.
You've been watching le tour de France until 1.45am and then getting up at 6.30am to get the kids off to school for the last 2 weeks.
You've kept your laundry baskets down to not-over-flowing even when everyone is playing sport every night of the week.
You've been swamped with work and still find the energy and time to make muffins for breakfast.
NOTE: The Gluten Free Flour Blend will make more than you need for this recipe. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature for when you want to make gluten free treats.

Gluten Free Apricot Jam Muffins
slightly adapted from here
Makes 12

*For the Gluten Free Flour Blend:
430g brown rice flour
430g oat flour
230g potato flour
90g cornmeal (polenta)

For the Muffins:
210ml sunflower oil
175g caster sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
Zest of 4 lemons
120ml lemon juice
210ml sour cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
220g gluten free flour blend (*recipe above)
25g almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
12 tablespoons apricot jam

Make the Gluten Free Flour Blend:
Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Spoon it into an airtight container. Store it at room temperature. You can use it in place of wheat flour to make gluten free goodies.

Make the Muffins:
Place an oven rack toward the top of your oven and preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.

Whisk the oil, sugar, slat, lemon zest, lemon juice, sour cream, honey and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until combined. Whisk in the eggs.

Add the flour blend, almond meal and baking powder and whisk until combined. The batter will be wet and runny. Pour the batter into a large jug to make it easier to distribute among the paper liners. Pour the batter evenly into the liners, filling them almost to the top.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until almost done.

Remove from the oven and, working quickly, use a small spoon to scoop out the centre of each muffin. Spoon a tablespoon of jam into each hole and put them back into the oven to bake for a further 5 - 6 minutes, until the jam has set and the muffins are browning at the edges and spring back to the touch.

Remove to a wire rack to cool before serving.