Sunday morning ANZACs.

Om Nom ANZACs.jpg

I doubt there is a single Aussie kid who hasn’t baked or eaten these at one point or another…they’re the quintessential antipodean biscuit.  So bloody easy to make, I remember these were one of the first things I ever cooked in Home Ec class, back in the day (are those classes even around anymore??) – and many, many times since.

These ANZACs have a bit of a twist – partly because of preference, and partly because of what I did (or didn’t) have in the pantry at the time.  That’s the great thing about these biscuits – they can take a bit of tweaking and still taste delicious.  If you can tolerate gluten free oats, these are good for those with gluten issues (just swap out the flour for a GF variety) and vegans can use a vegetable based margarine in place of the butter, to make them completely free of animal products.

But please…don’t EVER call them cookies.  To an Aussie, that’s just sacrilege…they were, are, and will always remain, BIKKIES 🙂

Continue reading “Sunday morning ANZACs.”

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Weekend bread.

Bread Sliced

Whenever my niece is home for the holidays, I try to get some quality time in by scheduling a sleep over with her.  This usually consists of pizza, movies, playing games, colouring in and in the morning, a special breakfast.

I saw this recipe in this month’s delicious magazine, and knew it was going to be perfect for this weekend treat – as regular readers will know, I try to steer clear of gluten and especially bread…mostly because I love it so much!  And as you can see from the picture above…what’s not to love?

Given that i’ve been baking pretty well constantly since I had to stand on a chair to reach the kitchen table, it’s somewhat baffling that my experience with bread making is practically nil.  I think I thought if I ever started, i’d never stop…and after baking this little beauty, you can believe my interest has been well and truly piqued.

Super easy to make, this Twisted ANZAC Loaf has a lovely brioche-like texture…I don’t know whether this was sheer luck on my part, or the flour I used – fine Italian “OO” flour, which is apparently the same as strong flour, or bread and pizza flour.  Anyway – i’d highly recommend getting this type rather than just resorting to your standard shelf variety, because the texture was just magnificent.

As for the gluten free variety…please stay tuned!

Twisted ANZAC Bread

Adapted ever so slightly from delicious magazine, April 2016

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp dried yeast
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) milk, warmed
  • 1 1/2 tbs caster sugar
  • 3 cups (450g) bread & pizza flour (strong or “OO” flour)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150g unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • Finely grated zest of an orange
  • 100g macadamias, toasted, chopped
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup instant oats
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (90g) golden syrup, plus extra to drizzle

Method

  1. Place yeast, milk and 1 tsp caster sugar in a bowl and whisk with a fork to combine.  Set aside for 5 mins or until frothy.
  2. Place the flour, yolks, yeast mixture, 125g melted butter, 1 tsp salt and remaining sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Knead on medium low speed for 10 minutes, or until smooth (alternatively, knewad by hand on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic).
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and set aside for 1-1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
  4. Go back to bed for a cup of tea and a snooze… 😉
  5. Preheat the oven to 180C.  Combine orange zest and remaining 25g melted butter in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine macadamias, oats, mixed spice and cinnamon.
  6. Lightly flour a large pice of baking paper and place on a work surface.  Knock back dough and roll out on the floured paper to a 25cm x 45cm rectangle.
  7. Brush butter mixture over the dough, leaving a 1cm border.  Scatter over 3/4 of the macadamia mixture, and then drizzle with the golden syrup.
  8. Working from the long edge, roll the dough into a log, pressing down to seal.  Cut dough lenghtwise to create two logs with a large exposed edge.
  9. Turn the halves cut-side out to expose the macadamia mixture, then twist the two logs together and pinch ends to seal.
  10. Using the baking paper, transfer the loaf to a baking sheet.  Scatter with remaining macadamia mixture.  Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 170C and bake for a further 35-40 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
  11. Serve bread in slices, and drizzled with extra golden syrup.

Notes

  • I used the second lowest setting on my Kitchen Aid to knead the dough, and even though it seemed very slow, it worked perfectly.
  • About the instruction to roll out the dough on the baking paper…if you can figure out a way to stop that paper sliding all over your work surface as you attempt to roll out the dough, please let me know because it defeated me.  I tried putting it onto a cutting board, a tea towel, and a regular kitchen counter (my work surface is stainless steel) and all I ended up doing was chasing that lump of dough around the kitchen.  Eventually I gave up and rolled it out on the work surface the traditional way, and just transferred it to the baking tray (lined with paper) after twisting the two halves together (but before sprinkling with the remaining macadamia mix).
  • I didn’t have any golden syrup, so I used a combination of honey and date molasses..this is why it looks so dark in the pic above.  It was a very tasty substitute!
  • Because my oven is so crap, it took me much longer to cook (nearly an hour), and I actually sliced the whole thing down the middle and separated it, to cook for the last 10 minutes.  I was paranoid about it being doughy, but I needn’t have been – the texture was just right all the way through.

Cauliflower for days.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad 4

Cauliflower seems to be having a moment in the sun lately.  When I was growing up, it was much dreaded on any dinner plate…having been boiled to within an inch of its life, tasteless and with an awful texture.  Now, however, we’re starting to see just what a magic little powerhouse it really is – versatile, tasty, practically fat free and packed with vitamins C and B-6. How could you say no?

Cauliflower is showing up in everything from the ever-trusty cauliflower cheese (comfort food heaven) to being finely ‘riced’ and used as a carb-friendly substitute to grains, being steamed and shaped into pizza bases, or being roasted whole with spices as a hearty vegetarian main course.  It holds other stronger flavours brilliantly, and it lends itself to so many interpretations – so it’s unsurprising that the humble cauli has become vegetable of the hour 🙂

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Mint slice cupcakes.

 

Choc Mint Cupcakes 2

You know how it is sometimes…you see something on telly and you get an idea in your head and suddenly a craving hits that simply will not go away until you satisfy it.  So it was with these cupcakes!  I can’t even remember now what got me started, but one day I just got the taste of these in my head, and I became consumed with the idea of replicating my favourite mint slice biscuits into a cupcake version.  I can guarantee you, these don’t disappoint 🙂

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Farro way.

Farro Salad 2

Gluten isn’t always kind to me, but I can sometimes tolerate it well in far less refined forms – such as farro, a beautiful chewy pearled grain of wheat, that you can cook in a similar way to brown rice.  It makes a hearty addition to soups and stews, can be used instead of rice in risotto, and it lends a really satisfying texture and flavour profile to grain salads.  Farro is also high in protein, complex fibre and calcium, so if you can tolerate grains, this is a good one to go for!

I loosely adapted this recipe from one by Yottam Ottolenghi (probably a very close second to HFW in my list of food heroes), using ingredients I had to hand at the time.  Not only was this a delicious salad, it kept really well for about 4-5 days in the fridge – so a great one for preparing ahead of time for work lunches.  I added a bit of hot smoked salmon, soft goats cheese and some red veined sorrel from the garden to mine…and it was so delicous, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Farro & Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients

  • 250g farro
  • 1 cup of stock (I used chicken but you could also use vegetable stock)
  • 5 spring onions, chopped (white parts only, use the deep green tops for my warm potato salad!)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 60mls extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbs sherry vinegar
  • 2/3 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds, lightly toasted
  • Small handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Seeds of one pomegranate
  • Salt & fresh black pepper

Method

  1. Rinse the farro in cold water, then place in a medium saucepan with the stock and another cup of cold water. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for about 10 minutes – at about the 7 minute mark, give it a little taste test, you still want it semi-firm and chewy, not mushy.
  2. Drain the farro and transfer to a mixing bowl.  While it is still hot, add the spring onion, red onion, olive oil, vinegar, allspice and cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.  Sitr, then leave to cool completely.
  3. Once cool, add the parsely, almonds and pomegranate seeds and mix.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, and serve.

We all scream for ice cream.

Ice Cream

It has been a funny old summer here in Melbourne…nothing new about that I suppose!  We’ve swung between ridiculous heat and very mild weather – hovering around 20C on some days, which feels freezing at this time of year.  But on those days the heat really starts ramping up, my thoughts naturally start turning to creating sweet and frosty treats.

I am a bit of a sucker for ice cream…I think it really is my great weakness when it comes to sweets.  I could eat it all day long!  I can tolerate dairy in small amounts, so if I grab some gelato from the divine place literally around the corner from my house, i’m generally fine.  However, if I have a tub in the fridge and my willpower fails me, I end up feeling quite unwell as a result of the dairy overload.

That’s why it’s great to have a few fabulous and easy dairy free ice cream recipes up your sleeve…this one is so simple to make and tastes incredible.  It gets its beautiful green colour from avocado – and I promise you that you can’t even taste it.  It does however lend a lovely rich creaminess to this treat, along with adding plenty of healthy fats, and vitamins C and B6, as well as magnesium.  Which practically makes this ice cream a health food!

I used an ice cream maker for this recipe (best investment I ever made) but you can definitely make this without one – i’ll pop those instructions in the notes section below.

Dairy Free Avocado & Lime Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 can of full cream coconut milk, refrigerated
  • Flesh of 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup of pure maple syrup or agave
  • 1/4 cup water

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and churn until your machine lets you know its ready.
  3. You can either serve this immediately – it will have a soft-serve like texture – or freeze it for a firmer texture.  I served mine with toasted shredded coconut and cacao nibs – so delicious 🙂

Notes

  • If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can pour this into a container (a loaf tin is good because the cold will conduct quicker than through porcelain or glass) and freeze until you see ice crystals start to form around the edges.  Once that happens, take it out and give it a good stir, then pop it back into the freezer until completely hard (or to whatever your desired consistency is).
  • Before juicing my limes, I always get the zest off as this is too good to waste!  This can be frozen in a small snaplock bag, or a container with a tight lid, for later use – such as in my Best Fruit Salad in the World 🙂

 

Never enough banana bread.

BB Slice

Oh happy days!  And i’m not just talking about this delicious banana bread, though that is reason enough to be happy, that’s for sure…no, i’m talking about my brand new internet connection, which is finally allowing me to work at better than dial up speeds for the first time in nearly three years!  I haven’t been able to post all week because of this, so I have a big backlog of lovely recipes for you…and I can finally post them without my connection dropping out every minute.  Good times.

So, banana bread – this is the second version I promised you guys a while ago.  The first version I posted is a bit more rustic – this second version is a bit more cakey and slightly more cafe-like, I guess…but like the first one, it too is bloody delicious.  This recipe makes a generous loaf – I usually slice it up and put it in the freezer, separating each piece with some greaseproof or baking paper, so you can grab a bit as needed.  Great for a little weekend treat 🙂

Continue reading “Never enough banana bread.”