Simple beauty

 

 

 

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I finished my last exam for my degree ever last friday and in true form, I woke up saturday awfully ill. As soon as I finish exam my body enters classic “post-exam exhaustion”. It is as if all semester it has been in combat with virus’s and flus to fight off any ill health then as soon as the examiner announce “pens down” it relaxes and succumbs to every bug alive.

Soba Noodles

I suppose I did not help myself leaving a maximum of  thirty minutes between ‘pens down’ and finishing a cocktail, but completing exams calls for celebration.

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So, waking up on saturday I felt ill from a hangover but also struggling to talk with laryngitis, a cough, cold and fever I decided the only thing that would cure me would be soup and tea.

Soba Noodles

I decided to make chicken wonton noodle soup. In prepraration I pulled out my soba noodles and was shocked by their pure simplicity. Each noodle was so perfect and delicate, very opposite to how I felt. Their design was my first step to recovery… they also were a delicious addition to my soup. yum

Enjoy.

Soba Noodles

Soba Noodles

 

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Better than Bourke Street Bakery Pork & Fennel Sausage roll… and my very own creation; Beef,sage and portobello mushroom

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So the last two days have been full of cooking… After sneaking a pork and fennel sausage roll in during my errands yesterday it ignited a craving to make my own sausage rolls that I can have on demand. They are such perfect entertainment food; bite sized, savoury and pastry (my little soft spot). As I live mostly by myself making food that can be frozen and baked on demand is ideal. You’ve probably noted that in most my posts I note when to stash half the batter away in the freezer for later.

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I love being able to do this because not only do you get the satisfaction of having homemade food but you also get that “fresh out of the oven” feeling. Double winning.

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So this week after making two amazing success; cheesecake brownies and oatmeal cookies, I also made spectacular sausage rolls and two varieties; Pork & Fennel and Beef, sage and portabello mushroom.

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I adapted both recipes to suit my tastes and I modestly admit, I think my recipe is better than Bourke Streets famous sausage roll and my very own beef creation is pretty damn good to.

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Notes: Three sheets of puff pastry is required for both sets of sausage rolls. Only one batch of egg wash is needed for both sets of rolls…

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(L-R: Pork and fennel… Beef, sage and mushroom)

For Beef, sage and portabello mushroom

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 10 sage leaves, chopped
  • 550 grams lean beef mince
  • 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • sesame seeds to top
  • puff pastry (1.5 sheets)
  • 1 egg + 1.4 cup milk for egg wash (this is plenty for both batches of s.rolls)
    (could use milk or just egg)

Method:

  1. Melt butter in the saucepan.
  2. Add the garlic and sage leaves and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the portobello mushrooms and onion and cook on low for 5 minutes, until onions are browned.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Remove puff pastry from freeze and allow it to defrost to room temperature
  6. Put beef in large mixing bowl, add the cooled vegetables, salt & pepper and breadcrumbs. Incorporate ingredients together with your hands
  7. Using your hands mould the mince into tubes about 4cm x 3cm and place down each side of pastry. Roll sausage rolls enclosing all the meet
  8. Cut into preferred size,  I mixed my for both snack and meal servings. Now either; wrap in plastic from puff pastry and store in freeze OR cook for now.
  9. Preheat oven to 180C and line tray with parchment paper
  10. baste rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds (or poppy or even just pepper)
    (top the fennel sausage rolls with more fennel seeds)
  11. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and moist.
  12. serve with greens and organic tomato sauce… or just plain

 

For Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tablespoons fennel seeds, chopped (plus some to decorate)
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 2 thyme sprigs, about 1 – 1.5 teaspoons of leaves
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bulb of medium sized fennel, finely chopped
  • 500 grams lean minced pork
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (or black)
  • puff pastry (1.5 sheets)
  • egg wash from above

Method:

  1. Heat the butter in a saucepan.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the fennel and thyme and stir until aromatic.
  4. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and brown.
  5. Add the carrots and cook for 20 minutes, until mushy.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  7. Put the pork mince in a large mixing bowl, add the cooled vegetable mixture. Incorporate the spices, salt, breadcrumbs and pepper together with your hands
  8. For construction and baking go to step 8 above.

 

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did … and will.

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Next time I think I will add a little cheese to the beef rolls, maybe parmesan

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(yum, all gone…)

x m

Pork and Fennel Sausage rolls adapted from http://chillimarmalade.com/2012/12/10/bourke-street-bakery-sydney-pork-and-fennel-sausage-rolls-recipe/

 

 

 

 

 

 

My very own oatmeal cookies… soft, tasty, fruity amazingness

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I love coffee and every time I end up at Sanoma Bakery or a little boutique deli the cookie jars are tempting me with sweet (and savoury) morsels. More often than not I manage to make my order and turn away before I give in a my sweet tooth. This in not an issue of not indulging or not wanting rather I do not have $4.50 to spend on a snack that I know I can make myself.

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When I buy something from a bakery, or go out to dinner I always order something that I could not make myself, or would never have the patients for. Cookies, brownies, sausage rolls I can make so this morning (raining still), I decided to make my very own fruity, nutty, spiced oatmeal cookies.

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I based my recipe from williams-sonoma oatmeal cookies but the date, walnut simplicity was not exactly what I wanted so I tweaked it and I definitely my combinations trump them. My unique additions of wholemeal flour combined with dried apricots, figs, and dates, swirled with a tang of coconut and nuts really boosts these cookies into a realm of their own. I had to share them because you have to try them…IMG_0267

(first batch was slightly over done…)

Luckily for me the recipe makes a LOT of cookies; plenty for now, some for later and some frozen to bake on demand. I also like this recipe also cause it uses two eggs. Easy to divide the entire recipe in half when I do not need such a high quantity.

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Hope you enjoy these as much as I do… I think I might go get another one now and watch another mad men.

Cookies:

  • 2.5 cups flour (1.25 cups wholemeal, 1.25 cups plain)
  • 1.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 250 grams butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbs. dark molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped apricots
  • 1/2 cup chopped cranberries, dates and/or figs
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup coconut

Method:

  1. Preheat an oven to 180°C. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the both sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is no longer gritty. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrap the sides if necessary. Beat in the molasses and vanilla. (this is my favourite part when the colour changes from yellow to a dark caramel)
  4. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed or stir with a wooden spoon just until blended. Beat or stir in the oats, dried fruits coconut and walnuts just until evenly distributed.
  5. Roll two tablespoons into little cylinders then squish ends to make circular round cookies. Distribute on prepared pans about 3 centimetres apart
    (Freeze any cookies you want for baking-later now)
  6. Bake the cookies until the edges are golden, 8 to 10 minutes
  7. Sprinkle the cookies with coarse sugar while they are still warm. Let the cookies cool on the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then transfer them to the racks and let cool completely

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

 

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adapted from http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/oatmeal-date-and-walnut-spice-cookies.html

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Cheesecake Brownies.

Awoke at 2am to the smashing of rain on the metal awning outside my window. Normally this sound is peaceful, pure and beautiful but the aggressive pounding of rain removed all serenity, especially since it was sleeping time. I could not sleep for two hours, I just lay there listening to the torrent run down the alley of my house. I soon came to piece with the rain, you can not fight so I just enjoyed it.

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6am came with another down pour so I thought I would start my day.

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My day was full of errands with wet feet. Fortunately I managed to cheer myself up with the taste testing at the Bondi Junction Organic Food Markets and a lamb and harissa sausage roll at the Central Baking depot. The Central Baking Depot is amazing, it is, or bakes from Bourke Street Bakery cookbook so stopping for only a coffee and a snack was the ultimate self control. The chalkboard temps you with beef brisket or poached chicken sandwiches, the oven plate with sausage rolls and quiches then the pastries… fruit danishes, carrot walnut cake, tahini cinnamon scrolls, devils chocolate cake, poppyseed scrolls, raspberry brownies…

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Inspired I went back to the organic markets and bought ingredients to make pork and fennel sausage rolls and to satisfy my love of chocolate and cream. I was going to make cheesecake brownies too.

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It was a good idea in hindsight but battling with an umbrella, puddles, rain, newly purchased kettle and arm loads of shopping made the walk home a challenge. Fortunately the end result was worth it.

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There is nothing like sitting down with a steaming hot fennel tea, warm homemade brownie and a couple of episodes of mad men. You may ask about what happened to making pork and sausage rolls… I will tomorrow, I was way too excited to make these brownies. Naughty me.

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I definitely would recommend this brownie when you want something a little out of character, still indulgent but a lot of awesome.

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Enjoy as I did (and will for the next few days)..For the brown85 grams butter, cut into cube

For the chocolate brownie:

115 grams quality milk chocolate
130 grams sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature **
70 grams plain flour
1 heaped tablespoon quality cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
80 grams chocolate chips

For cheesecake swirl:

200g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
75 grams sugar
1/8 teaspoon of vanilla

Method:

1. Line 9 inch pan (or 8″ for thicker brownie) with foil and cover ALL sides. Grease lightly with spray or butter
2. Preheat oven to 180C
3. In medium mixing bowl, melt butter and chocolate together until butter has melted (I used bain-marie method because I was using a metal bowl but microwave would work too)
4. Once smooth remove from heat and beat in sugar (130g), then add the eggs
5. Mix in flour, cocoa, salt and vanilla then add the chocolate chips.

6. Spead evening in prepared pan
7. For cheesecake, in a clean bowl beat together the cream cheese, yolk and sugar (75g) then add vanilla and mix until smooth
8. Dollop cheese mixture across the top of the brownie mixture. Then with a dull knife swirl in the white and brown.
9. Bake in oven for 30 – 40 minutes until the centre of the pan feels just set.

Cool in pan, then lift out foil and cut into perfect little squares. 

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Storage: keep in an airtight container OR freeze

I love freezing some, some for now and some for another rainy day.. 

Thankyou david Lebovitz


** Having the eggs at room temperature means they are less viscous than cold redrigerated eggs. This makes them easier to beat into batters more easily. This can affect the height and texture of your cake. Although when asking to seperate eggs, using cold refridgerated eggs is best

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Central Baking Depot:

http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/restaurants/venues/5748/central-baking-depot-bondi-junction

For original recipe:

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/10/cheesecake-brownies/

 

Frenchy Toast with ease

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Breakfast is my favourite meal and the most important. Like getting out on the right side of the bed, the day is started with a satisfying breakfast.

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Autumn has arrived in Sydney. The trees are still green and the days warm but the nights are cool and the mornings dark. The blankets that have been patiently been waiting in the cupboard all summer have been cleaned and have moved to the end of my bed for those chilly breezes.

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This morning I woke early at 6am from the toerrential rain pattering on the tin awning outside of my window. Usually I would not mind, but it is dark. The days of 6am walks to watch the sunrise have gone. Procrastination lasted long enough for me to watch the last of the movie I couldn’t stay awake for last night (partly because it was such a terrible movie). 

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Then the stomach rumbles and its time for breakfast. As I have said before breakfast is the most important and my favourite meal of the day. My latest obsession is the warm moist, sweet (or savoury) deliciousness of french toast. For a week it is the only way to welcome in the day. 

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As I brew my strong coffee I start making my easy-breezy frenchy-toast

Serves 1

You need:

1 egg

+ 1/4 cup cream

+ bread

+butter 

+ optional nutmeg or cinnamon / S&P and chives

+ toppings; maple syrup, ham + berries

Whilst toasting bread whisk together the egg and cream. Heat teaspoon of butter on warm hot plate. Once bread has toasted roll in egg-cream mix until covered. Then place on preheated buttery pan. Cook on warm till golden brown, turn and cook other side. When you turn over add the ham to the side of the pan to crisp and warm. Once ham is cooked and both sides of toast are golden and delicious remove from heat. Plate toast and top with berries, generous amount of syrup, yoghurt, more butter and ham. Enjoy.

Sometimes I mix it up and add some cinnamon or nutmeg to mix or like this morning I added generous salt and pepper with fresh chives. 

enjoy.

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