Tuesday, 2 September 2014

In My Kitchen - September 2014

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

Italian Chestnut Honey:

I'm a honey collector. My pantry runneth over with jars of the golden nectar. From Blue Gum to Iron Bark, Greek Thyme to Orange Blossom, you name it, I've got it. But this Italian chestnut honey has been a fixture on our breakfast table over winter. Our toast and porridge have been anointed with the stuff on a regular basis. There's nothing like a piece of hot buttered sourdough toast dripping with chestnut honey stuffed into your pie-hole on a cold, dark morning... with coffee.

Blood Oranges:

Another regular at breakfast is blood orange juice made from the fruit from our tree. The tree is in all its glory at the moment, with months of fruit to come. Juiced, eaten fresh or made into a Blood Orange and Ricotta Tart (recipe to come), they are without doubt, the prize of our winter garden. We're spoilt. That's all that needs to be said.

Japanese Tea:

I've been doing some serious research for our up-coming trip to Japan. Yesterday I made this Okonomiyaki with Sea Scallops and Homemade Otafuku Sauce and I've been drinking copious amounts of Japanese tea, hoping to have my tea-legs by the time we arrive.

Jamie's Comfort Food:

Husband took me shopping and bought me Jamie's new book... without me dropping hints, batting my eyelids or anything. How I love him.

Pumpernickel Bagels:

In My Kitchen, right this very moment are these dark, heady-scented, yeasted delights. Pass the cream cheese. (Stay tuned for the recipe for Pumpernickel Bagels tomorrow.)

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

Monday, 1 September 2014

Okonomiyaki with Sea Scallops and Homemade Otafuku Sauce

I'm heading to Japan in a couple of weeks so I thought I'd better brush up on my Japanese.

Thanks to Seafood Industry Victoria, AB Hunter Fishing and LEFCOL (Lakes Entrance Fishermen's Cooperative Limited) for providing the sea scallops for this post.

Okonomiyaki with Sea Scallops and Homemade Otafuku Sauce
adapted from SBS
Makes 4

For the Batter:
300g (2 cups) plain flour
75g (1/2 cup) potato starch
1/2 teaspoon powdered dashi stock
2 eggs
375ml (1 1/2 cups) cold water

For the Filling:
500g finely shredded wombok
4 tablespoons Japanese pickled ginger
12 sea scallops, cut into small dice

For the Otafuku Sauce:
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water to make a cornflour slurry

For the Toppings:
Japanese Mayonnaise
Finely chopped spring onions
Finely shredded Japanese picked ginger

Make the Batter:
Put the flour, potato starch and dashi powder into a large bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the centre, add the egg and dribble in a few tablespoons of water. Whisk the eggs and water, incorporating some of the flour mixture from the sides. Gradually add all of the water, whisking in more and more flour mixture from the edges until you have a lump-free batter. Set aside in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Make the Otafuku Sauce:
Put the Worcestershire sauce, honey and ketchup into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and add the cornflour slurry. Whisk until thickened and smooth then remove from the heat and stir in the ginger. Set aside to cool.

Make the Okonomiyaki:
Lay out four medium bowls. Divide the cabbage, diced sea scallop meat and shredded ginger among them. Ladle in the batter evenly over the vegetables and scallops. There will be about 1 cup of batter for each bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium heat. (I used a cast iron skillet). Cooking one pancake at a time, spoon the mixture from the bowls into the pan and spread the pancake out to a 15cm circle. Fry on the first side for 6 - 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip the pancake. Use the tip a knife to poke holes in the top of the pancake to allow steam to escape and cook for a further 5 minutes on the second side, or until cooked through. Continue cooking the rest of the pancakes.

Slide the cooked pancakes onto a large plates, paint liberally with the Otafuku sauce, drizzle generously with Japanese mayonnaise and top with finely sliced spring onion and shredded Japanese ginger.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Parker House Rolls

Parker House Rolls. Is that like Cider House Rules?

Parker House Rolls
adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 24

1 1/2 cups milk
115g unsalted butter, cut into small dice  plus extra fro brushing
1/2 cup caster sugar
7g (1 sachet) dried yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 cups "00" flour

Line a large baking tray with baking paper and set aside.

Put the milk into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Remove it from the heat and add the butter and sugar. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, put the eggs, yeast, salt, the milk mixture and 3 cups of the flour. With the mixer on low, mix to combine. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until a smooth dough forms. Mix on low for about 5 minutes more.

Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled  bowl and over with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly. Press the dough out with your hands until you have a large rectangle about 1 cm thick. Cut the dough in half length ways and then cut crosswise into 24 portions.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Take a portion of the dough and fold the two ends in toward each other, overlapping them. Turn them over so that they are seam-side down on the prepared baking tray. They should be a snug fit. Cover again and let them to rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. They should be puffy and almost joined up.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the tops with melted butter while still hot and serve.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Giant Salted Chocolate and Peanut Cookies

When you hear the words "Giant" and "Cookies" in the same sentence, you know it's going to be a good day.

Giant Salted Chocolate and Peanut Cookies
slightly adapted from Karen Martini's Everyday
Makes 12 enormous cookies

300g rolled oats
150g unsalted butter, softened
100g peanut butter
125g caster sugar
125g brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder
125g plain flour
250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
185 salted, roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Set aside.

Put the rolled oats into a food processor and blitz to a fine powder. Set aside.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugars together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, spices, vanilla, salt ans maple syrup. Beat to incorporate. Add the baking powder, flour and oats and mix until just combined. Fold in he chocolate and the nuts.

Roll the mixture into 12 even balls and place them on the prepared trays. Press to flatten a little. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until slightly puffed and golden, swap the trays and rotate them halfway through baking. Cool the cookies on the tray until they are firm enough to transfer to a wire rack.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Barbecue Beef, Bean and Bacon Bake

This post was brought to you by the letter "B".

Barbecue Beef, Bean and Bacon Bake
slightly adapted from Foodie with Family
Serves 4 - 6

For the Barbecue Sauce:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard powder
Dash of liquid smoke (or use 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Hot sauce to taste

For the Bake:
250g bacon
500g ground beef
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 x 400g can borlotti beans, drained
1 x 400g can butter beans, drained
1 x 400g can black beans, drained

Make the Barbecue Sauce:
Put all the sauce ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until combined and bring to a boil. Cook for a further minutes and then set aside.

Make the Bake:
Preheat the oven to 160C.

Put the bacon and onion into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add it to a large, deep, oven-proof frying pan. Cook on medium heat. The fat from the bacon should start to render out so you shouldn't need any oil, but if your bacon is lean, then you could add a drop of olive oil to the pan. Cook for about 5 - 7 minutes until the bacon is a little golden and the onion has softened a little. Add the beef and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as needed. Add all of the beans and the barbecue sauce and 1/3 cup water to the pan. Give it a good stir. Put the whole pan into the oven and bake for about an hour until hot and bubbly.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Black Sesame Seed Carrot Cake

When I want cake, I just have to bake one and share it. Aren't you glad I'm me?

Black Sesame Seed Carrot Cake
slightly adapted from bon appétit

1 1/2 cup plain flour (I used cake flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup milk (or almond milk to keep it vegan)
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
225g finely grated carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 180C. Spray a 23cm x 13cm loaf pan with cooking oil spray and line it with baking paper or a loaf pan liner.

Put the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a mixing bowl and whisk to combine and break up any lumps.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the caster sugar, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, milk, ginger and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, then add the carrots and fold them through. Do not over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the pan before removing and slicing.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Cheeseburger Bread

I thought this would be a great snack for the kids... until I couldn't stop eating it.

Cheeseburger Bread
slightly adapted from Eat Cake for Dinner
Makes 1 small loaf

1 French Bread loaf (I made my own. Recipe here.)
Olive oil
500g lean ground beef
4 sping onions, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Slice the bread in half horizontally. Scoop out the centre of the loaf so that you have two hollowed out halves. Tear the middle pieces of bread into small pieces and place into a bowl. Set aside.

Place the two halves of bread onto a baking tray. Set aside.

Put a little olive oil into a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the spring onions and garlic for a few minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the beef. Brown the meat and then add the soup, milk, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the beef mixture to the bowl containing the pieces of bread and stir to combine.

Spoon the filling into the cavity of one half of the bread. Top with grated cheese and then place the top half of the bread on top. Press down firmly and bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before slicing.