Saturday, 21 June 2014

Wholewheat Olive Bread

A wonderful bread from a wonderful friend.
It might be difficult to squeeze a consistent recipe for this bread out of Luisa. If you've ever watched this girl cook, it's rare to see measuring cups or spoons or even a recipe. She's all about free pouring and getting her hands in there (as you can see by her beetroot fingers above). We'll see what recipe she gives me today.

I've mentioned before that Luisa has been living with us for the last 2 or so months, but on Sunday she's off and away to start her rental life in Melbourne. Last night she put on a 3 course menu for my household as a thank you gift. The gift of food-The best kind of gift!

The table was set with a menu, all rolled up and tied with a ribbon. The courses were as follows:

Homemade Olive Bread with Roasted Vegetables
French Onion Cake on Italian Rocket Salad
Dessert Creation

I'll post the bread recipe as a teaser and some photos of the rest of the meal. You'll have to find Luisa for the rest!

The Bread 
450g wholewheat Flour
50g buckwheat Flour
1 1/2 cup pitted olives
3 tsp dried yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup sparkling water
2 tbs oil + extra for brushing the dough.
1 tsp salt
1 tbs dried mixed herbs or fresh rosemary

Whisk the yeast and warm water until combined.
Combine the flours, olives and herbs in a bowl, add the olive oil, yeast water and salt.
Gradually add the sparkling water and mix until a dough forms. Knead until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.
Leave the dough in a bowl covered with cling wrap or a damp tea towel. Place in a warm spot for at least 2 hours (the longer the better.)
Preheat oven 200 degrees.
Once the dough is ready form it into whichever shape your heart so desires ie: bread stick or loaf, brush with olive oil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
For an extra crunchy crust, turn the oven on grill for the last 10 minutes.

I'm going to miss having Luisa's culinary skills around. Waking up to her breakfast surprises and spending evenings together plotting what to make for dinner. Chopping and tasting and salting. Sometimes we bounced off each other in the kitchen, other times we were very territorial. Either way the kitchen will be a quieter place without her here!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Middle Eastern Barley and Brown Lentil Salad

 I've been trying to keep a balance between sweet and savoury recipes on the blog to give you a bit of variety. It's so easy to post desserts because they always look so pretty for the camera and it always seems to be more of an experiment to make otherwise sugary, floury, buttery recipes a bit healthier.

Today I'm giving you the 'B Salad'- Brown lentil, Barley and Broccoli (plus a few other letters of the alphabet chucked in there.) This salad has a bit of a Middle Eastern feel to it with the dried fruit, pomegranate molasses and spices.
This salad acts as a whole meal in itself. It covers all bases- a protein, something crunchy, something sweet, something sour and something green! 

The Ingredients:
*this is really a 'do-it-how-you-like' kind of salad. Find what you have in the fridge and pantry and go wild. If you cover the bases i mentioned before, you'll probably nail it*

1 cup cooked barley, cooled
1 400g tin brown lentils or 1 cup fresh green or brown lentils- boiled and cooled
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sumac
2 tsp ground cumin
1 bunch parsley finely chopped
1 bunch mint finely chopped
1/4 cup sultanas or currants
 Half a broccoli- florets cut small and blanched
7-8 sugar snap peas cut small
1 big handful baby spinach leaves salt and pepper to taste
juice of one big, juicy lemon
big drizzle pomegranate molasses
good drizzle olive oil  (good applies to the drizzle and the oil)
1/4 cup pumpkin and sesame seeds toasted

 Bring 1 cup of barley in about 2 cups of water to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until soft, but firm. You still want the barley to hold a nice texture in the salad. Drain any excess water and rinse under cold water to cool. Do the same with your lentils if using fresh.
Combine the barley and lentils in a large bowl with the spices, herbs and sultanas.
Place the brocoli in boiling water for about 30 seconds and transfer in to ice water to stop the cooking process. Add broccoli to the salad with sugar snap peas and spinach.
Add lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.
Give the salad a good drizzle of pomegranate molasses and toss well.
Sprinkle with toasted seeds and serve!

Halfway through enjoying my salad I forgot that i wanted to add soft goats cheese. If you're keen. Try this salad with some goats cheese or feta!


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Apple and Berry Quinoa Crumble

This morning I arrived home from Darwin. Sunny, warm, dry, blue-skied Darwin. Our convenient 2am flight landed us in chilly old Melbourne at 6.45am. After 2 weeks camping our way around Kakadu, Katherine and Litchfield, going to bed when the sun did and waking up when it rose- we were struggling to drag ourselves to the airport at such an ungodly hour.

Feeling tired and sorry for myself today in my cold hometown of Melbourne, I'm posting this crumble recipe that Luisa and I made when we were feeling just as sorry for ourselves when our original flight to Darwin got cancelled and we had to stay in Melbourne for the first 2 days of winter before we could get on another flight. We needed something warm and wintery to brighten those blues.

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup oats
1 handful pumpkin seeds
1 handful sunflower seeds
1 handful shredded coconut
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 small pinch of salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 apple sliced
1-2 cups frozen berries
1 vanilla pod
3-5 cloves 
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees. 

Stew the apple in some water with the cloves and cinnamon. When it starts to soften, scrape the vanilla pod into the mix and let the pod stew too. Add the berries. Stew until you reach the consistency you prefer. Remember to remove the cloves and vanilla pod before cooking.

To make the crumble topping, combine cooked quinoa, oats, seeds, coconut, spices and salt. Rub in the coconut oil to the rest of the mixture with fingertips.

Grease a baking dish and pour in stewed fruit mixture (don't forget the cloves and vanilla!)  Sprinkle crumble mixture on top and bake in oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Serve with yoghurt, cream or coyo!

*The only sugar in the recipe comes from the stewed fruit. We found that the apple gave the crumble plenty of sweetness and we didn't feel as though we had to add any other sugars. If you're a bit more of a sweet tooth, try some chopped dates in the crumble mixture. It will sweeten it and give it a stickier texture when cooked.* 

Happy winter everyone.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Choc Beetroot Cake

Friday was my mum's birthday. She's a bit of a fan of the colour red. She buys red shoes, red scarves, her chausseur pots and pans are red, the coffee machine is red and the splash back in the kitchen is even red.

For her birthday she received a red design fountain pen and a burgundy leather document folio. A beetroot cake seemed to be a fitting addition to the RED theme.

These are my pictures, but please see the recipe HERE from Green Kitchen Stories, a beautiful blog that i perve at all the time!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Baked Eggs in Leftover Tofu Bean Stew

So, a volcano erupted in Indonesia on Friday and as a result, our long-awaited flight to Darwin got cancelled. BOO! We now have to wait until tomorrow night to fly.

Might as well eat brunch...

A good friend of mine Luisa has been living with us for the last 2 months and, like me, the kitchen is her haven too. It's always such a pleasure to come home to all the delicious dinners and treats she makes and to share our recipes with each other.
 The other night she made a yummy tofu, bean stew which i will share with you now.

Tofu Bean Stew
Plenty of oil to cook in (coconut oil, olive oil etc)
250 g Firm Tofu, mashed
2 Cans Red Kidney Beans
1 Can Corn/ Fresh corn kernels
1 Eggplant diced small
5 Mushrooms sliced
1 Red Onion
1-2 Cans diced tomatoes/passata or 10 fresh tomatoes (or a combination of both!)
2 Cloves Garlic
Chili according to taste
Salt and Pepper
Smoked Paprika
1 tbs Sliced Jalapenos

Heat the oil in a pan and fry off the onion, garlic and tofu. Add the corn, eggplant, mushrooms and fresh tomatoes (if you have them). Add the spices and salt and pepper and fry until all the vegetables are coated.
Add the tin tomatoes, kidney beans and jalapenos. Allow to cook for 15 minutes so all of the flavours are incorporated.
Taste and add more seasoning if required.

Serve by itself or with, rice or yummy bread.

We had some leftovers and trust me, this tastes even better when it's 2 days old. After a few wines on Friday night, a decent brunch was in order for Saturday morning.

Baked Eggs
Eggs (as many as you need)
Leftover tofu bean stew. Any other leftover tomato based sauces will do as well.

Heat the stew/sauce on the stove until just boiling. Pour in to an oven proof dish and crack the eggs on top.
Place in the oven on grill until your eggs begin to firm up. Keep an eye on them as they often look like they're not cooked when they are! The grill will dry out the eggs pretty quickly. Usually they take about 10-15 minutes to cook.

Serve on toast with fresh parsley or basil. We also enjoyed ours with some soft goats cheese and sauteed kale.