Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Mushroom, Caramelised Onion and Goats Cheese Tartlets

Good Morning All!
Posts may start to become scarce over the next few weeks because I'm headin' back up to the hills for work again. It's been nice to bypass a lot of winter work and enjoy some down time in the warmth of my own kitchen, pottering away at my own pace. There's been a lot of room for creativity over the last few months, but now it's back to reality. The kitchen where i live on site at work is small with minimal bench space and and an old, electric stove stop. I'll also have a lot less time for cooking, but I'm going to see what i can do!

Today i thought I'd leave the sweets for some cute little lunch-time (or dinner time, or anytime) Mushroom, Caramelised Onion and Goats Cheese Tartlets. They're a perfect meal size and it means there's no fighting over who got the bigger piece of pie because everyone gets a tartlet to themselves!


Spelt Shortcrust Pastry
makes 4 x 12cm tartlets or 1 small tart
1 cup Wholemeal Spelt Flour
50g Salted Butter
5-6 Tbs. Ice Water

1. In a food processor combine the flour and butter. Slowly add the water until the dough starts to form a ball. Careful not to add too much because the dough will become sticky and hard to work with.
Cover and put in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Caramelised Onions
3 Onions
3-4 Sprigs Thyme
1 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar

2. In a heavy based pan and add the onions and thyme. Cover and leave on a very low heat stirring occasionally. If the onions become too wet take off the lid. I tend to take the lid on and off during the process. The onions will take about 40 minutes to caramelise. Half way through stir through the balsamic.

The Mushrooms
500g Mushrooms
1 Garlic Clove
Salt and Pepper to taste

3. In a frying pan, heat some oil and add 1 clove of crushed garlic. add the mushrooms and fry until soft.
The Filler and Topper
1 Egg beaten
Splash of Milk
1 Small Handful Chopped Parsley
Small Handful Pine Nuts
30 g Goats Cheese

4. Combine eggs, milk and parsley in a a bowl.

Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees.
Grease your tart form/s. Roll out pastry dough thinly on a floured bench.
Cut out 4 circles about 15cm wide and line each form with pastry.
Add some mushrooms to each tartlet, then onions. Divide your egg filler in to 4 and pour over each tartlet.
Sprinkle each tartlet with Pine nuts and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
When the pies are done, crumble the goats cheese over the warm tartlets.

Serve warm

Monday, 21 July 2014

Dark Chocolate Coated Cinnamon Oat Biscuits

Last weekend, i stumbled across an ANZAC biscuit recipe from Wholehearted Eats and got inspired to bake again... I'm a bit obsessed with my mate oven at the moment.
The recipe seemed really straightforward, just like an ANZAC recipe should be and although alternative ingredients have been used to substitute white flour, butter and refined sugar, the traditional wonderful-ness of the good ol' ANZAC hasn't been altered. I must give credit to Wholehearted Eats' blog and her beautiful recipes and photos.

I've decided to step away from the whole ANZAC theme though and call these Oat Biscuits. I don't want to offend anyone with the non-traditional-ness of my recipe, plus i added cinnamon and chocolate for winter warmth... don't think that was readily available during war times...

I prepared these biscuits in my room. I wish i got a photo of me on the floor of my bedroom, stirring and measuring and rolling out biscuits. There's oats all over my carpet! I got home from doing some groceries and was in a bit of a rush to get out again for an afternoon tea I'd planned with my aunties, but when i got home, the cleaner was there. I was trying to tiptoe around her, but cooking in the kitchen wasn't going to work out so i gathered everything and proceeded to put the ingredients together in my bedroom. Not baking the biscuits wasn't an option either- I'd be thinking about them all day! The cleaner was probably wondering where in the world i pulled a tray of biscuits from when I came back in the kitchen to put them in the oven.... I gave her a taste of the finished product though so any qualms she might've had with me must now surely be settled.

Cinnamon Oat Biscuits
Makes 10
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Spelt Flour
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Dessicated Coconut
1 tsp. Cinnamon 
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp. Raw Sugar
1 Tbsp. Rice Malt Syrup or Maple Syrup

4 Tbsp. Coconut Oil (or butter, both room temperature)
1/2 tsp. Bicarb soda

 2 Tbsp. Boiling Water

30g 75-85% chocolate, chopped and melted

In a bowl combine oats, spelt flour, coconut, cinnamon, salt and sugar.
In a separate bowl combine the syrup, bicarb soda and boiling water. 
With your hands mix the syrup mixture and coconut oil into the dry ingredients until combined. Roll into small balls and flatten gently, but not too much!
Bake in the oven on 180 degrees for around 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Leave to cool. The biscuits will be quite soft when you take them out of the oven. Don't be deceived- they firm up once they start to cool. Beware you don't over cook them!
In the microwave or over a double boiler, melt the chocolate.
When the biscuits are cool enough drop a spoon of the melted chocolate on to the top of each biscuit.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins with Lemony Drizzle

 Last market morning we met up with Luisa for our weekly shop. In her little bike basket she brought us a bag of lemons from her tree at her new place! Once again- no better present than a food present. Apparently she also grows mandarins and limes... I might have to go over and pilfer some citrus.

On Tuesday night I went for a long overdue visit to my grandparents for dinner. I can't seem to turn up anywhere empty handed so their invite was a good excuse to cook some more and blog some more. Plus, the lemons needed to be used! I've been day dreaming about lemon and poppy seed muffins for a while now. A bit of zing on a cold day! I also had a bag of poppy seeds and some gluten free flour in the cupboard that had been sitting around for quite some time - convenient.
I wouldn't usually use bought gluten free flour, but I've been testing out different variations of a muffin recipe that i always follow and it was in the cupboard so  i used it. I didn't want to use buckwheat or spelt, because they're too brown for this recipe. Normal flour obviously does the job, but if you are adverse to wheat, you could try coconut flour, oat or rice flour. Or a combination.

The Lemon Drizzle was a nice addition to the muffins too. It gave them an extra bit of lemon zing and moisture.

Grandpa told me he liked treats and grandma politely said the muffins were nice. Luisa came to dinner too and gave the thumbs up- so surveys proved success! Mum's honest approval sealed the deal. So, who wants a Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin?

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Makes about 10 muffins
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup poppy seeds
1 egg
1/2 cup lemon juice
rind of 1 lemon
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg and add other wet ingredients.
Combine all ingredients together and fill a muffin tin. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

Lemon Drizzle
4 tbs coconut oil
rind and juice of 2 lemons
2 tbs maple syrup

In a pot melt the coconut oil. Add maple syrup, rind and lemon juice and simmer until the mixture reduces to a thicker syrup. If the coconut oil in the syrup solidifies before you serve it, warm it again on the stove or in the microwave.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Roasted Beetroot Dip with Chickpea Flour Flat Bread (Socca)

Such a beautiful sunny day today. I'm doing an assignment on weather at the moment where i have to compare the forecast with what actually happens with the weather. Don't think the forecast had this sunshine on the cards. It's lovely!
I've been getting a few things done this week while i've got some time off work. I got the worm farm up and running today finally.
During an afternoon walk in the park today in the sun i was pondering my next recipe-One that was not soup, salad or baked goods and one that could use up the back up of market veggies we have in the fridge.

Beetroot dip and Chickpea flour flat bread came in to mind. I started to potter away in the kitchen, but decided to check quantities for the flat bread when i came across this word 'Socca'. It turns out that chickpea flour flatbread or 'Socca' is actually a thing! I'd never heard of it before. I promptly did some research and from what i've read  the origin of Socca is disputed, but it seems it's a traditional dish from  Nice in France. ALSO it seems that this flat bread is traditionally baked in the oven, then grilled and chopped roughly. So instead of pan frying my flat bread as i usually would. I've tried this whole oven Socca thing!

Roasted Beetroot Dip 
4 beetroots
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped dill
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Remove the stems from the beetroot and cut in to quarters. In a baking tray drizzle the beetroots and garlic with olive oil and sea salt and roast for about 40 minutes. Or until soft. You may have to remove the garlic before the beetroots are done as it cooks faster and might burn.
Once the beetroots are cooked, blitz them  in a food processor with the garlic and lemon juice. Once combined, stir through the yoghurt and chopped dill and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chickpea Flour Flat Bread (Socca)
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
1 1/2 tbs olive oil plus more for the pan
1/2 tsp salt

*i've kept the recipe fairly plain because i'm serving it with the beetroot dip which has quite an intense flavour, but in other circumstances i would add things like cumin seeds or powder, paprika, fresh herbs or garlic.*

Whisk all ingredients together and let the mixture stand for at least half an hour. The longer the better.
Coat a heavy based frying pan with olive oil and place in the oven to warm.
Once the oil and pan are warm, pour in the mixture and place under the grill until the top starts to brown. Depending on the size of your pan, you may want to cook the mixture in 2 batches so you get a thinner, crispier crepe. Mine was quite thick.  Cut in to pieces and serve with whatever you want!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Parsnip, Fennel & Leek Soup

It's soup season and i can't get this song out of my head.

Soup, soup
A tasty soup, soup
A spicy carrot and coriander
(Chilli chowder)
Crouton, crouton
Crunchy friends in a liquid broth
I am gazpacho
I am a summer soup
Miso, miso
Fighting in the dojo
Miso, miso
Oriental prince in the land of soup

If you don't know what i'm talking about you should watch more Mighty Boosh:

This is souper easy to make (haha get it?...) and doesn't really take much looking after. Chop, cook, boil, blitz, eat!

Butter or olive oil for frying
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 parsnip
1 fennel bulb
3 potatoes
half bunch celery
1 leek
1/3 bottle dry white wine
1 veggie stock cube or just salt and pepper to taste
natural yoghurt or cream for garnish
chives, dill and parsley for garnish

Chop all of your veggies up roughly. Fry onion and garlic until transparent and add in veggies in no particular order.
Pour in white wine, add stock cube and cover the rest with boiling water.
Allow to boil and then cover and simmer until the veggies are soft. About 20-30 minutes.
Blitz with a stick mixer or blend in food processor until smooth consistency.
Add salt and pepper to taste. (You can add yoghurt or cream while you're blitzing for a rounder flavour.)
Garnish with yoghurt/cream and chopped dill, chives and parsley and cracked pepper.

I ate mine with some caraway rye sourdough and loottts of butter!

Enjoy and stay warm!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Chocolate, Banana & Almond Muffins

 Mmmmm... Chawwwwcklate! I was kind of looking forward to the crappy weather that was forecast for today so that i could justify a day inside baking. It turned out perfectly. I went out for coffee in the morning, the sky was blue and the sun shone on us through the window of the cafe. It felt like an early Spring day. By the time i got home, the cold front had hit. The sky had turned grey and the wind and rain had picked up. Yes! I turned on the oven.

Despite a constant craving for chocolate in winter, I've felt inspired to make these muffins since Green Kitchen Stories' posted their banana, almond and chocolate cake recipe. Their photos define 'Food Porn' and their recipes are always so creative. I've changed up the recipe a bit with a few  different ingredients and i've adapted the quantities to a standard muffin recipe that i always use! It never fails me. Sorry for the second chocolate recipe in a row. I'm sure you won't mind too much!

Standard Muffin Recipe
Makes 10-12 muffins
1.5 cups flour of choice
1/2 cup sugar or sweetener of choice
1.5 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk of choice
3/4 cup oil of choice
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients and add any other dry extras such as spices, chocolate bits, nuts, raisins.
In a separate bowl, beat egg and add other wet ingredients. Add any other wet extras such as mashed bananas, grated fruit, vanilla essence, syrups etc.
Combine all ingredients and fill a muffin tin.

Bake on 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Banana & Almond Muffins Recipe
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
80g chopped 70% couverture chocolate
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1 ripe banana
3/4 cup soy milk
1/2 cup coconut oil (i used less than the original recipe because of the banana)
1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup (again i used less sweetener because of the banana and chopped chocolate)

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
In a separate bowl beat the egg and mash the banana. Add the milk, oil and maple syrup and beat to combine.
Combine all ingredients and fill a muffin tin.
Bake on 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

The photos make the muffins look a bit dry, but they were actually super moist and the chopped couverture bits melted the whole way through. Eat them warm with a cuppa! The perfect afternoon tea on a grey day.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Choc-Peanut Butter Thick Shake

 When Cal says he feels like dessert i get excited to make something! It's not often he wants sweets.

Tonight he was after a thick shake....
Hmm, you say. Mikaela + thick shake does not equate. Yep. I did the maths too and came up with something i could 'disguise' as a thickshake and feel alright about drinking it too!

Oh my it was gooooood!

1-2 frozen bananas
1-2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 big handful ice
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
1/2 tablespoon good quality unsweetened peanut butter (if you're allergic to nuts try tahini)
1 1/2 cups soy milk or milk of choice

Blend everything until smooth and icy!
Need i make this post any longer?

Turmeric Scrambled Eggs

I needed a bit of a flavour sensation for my breakfast the other morning.
A few years ago i did an incredible Indian cooking workshop in Sydney with a woman called Madhu Arora. The workshop ran over 2 days- the first day dedicated to North Indan cuisine and the second day to South Indian.

I just found my diary entries from when i was there. Madhu has left a lasting impression on me. 

 The cooking today was so nourishing and satisfying. It was as if you could taste every single element of the dishes. Words can't explain how satisfied i am and how worthwhile my day was.
Madhu Arora is someone i will remember for a very long time....
I came to Normanhurst with the expectation to learn about and cook authentic Indian food, but i have left with so much more than i could have imagined. I feel as if i have learned more about myself at this workshop weekend than i have about cooking.

Anyway! This recipe is not at all about what i cooked on that weekend, but it was Madhu who first taught me to really appreciate spices and how they differ in the north to the south and what they can do for you. Turmeric in particular is one that stood out to me, hence it's appearance in my Asian style eggs. Not only does turmeric have a fantastic colour and taste amazing, it's also supposedly a fantastic anti-inflammatory, anti oxidant and antiseptic. Gargle some turmeric and salt in warm water for a sore throat. I'm no Ayurveda expert, but from what i've read, turmeric is super versatile. I reckon it's pretty cool!

Ingredients for Turmeric Scrambled Eggs
*If you don't eat eggs, try subsituting the eggs for firm tofu. Mash it up with a fork and voila, it's virtually the same dish!*

Coconut oil for frying
2 eggs beaten
dash of milk
1 red chilli chopped small
dash soy sauce or tamari
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 small garlic clove
half tomato diced
2 mushrooms cut small
1 spring onion cut small
2 tsp turmeric powder
handful baby spinach leaves
fresh coriander
juice of half a lime or lemon

Beat the eggs in a bowl with a dash of milk of your choice add chopped coriander and spinach leaves.

Heat the oil in a pan and add soy sauce, chili, garlic and ginger. Add the mushrooms, tomato and spring onion. Fry until mushrooms soften and add the turmeric.

Add the egg mixture and stir until the eggs are cooked. Serve with a squeeze of lime/lemon juice and enjoy!

If you're interested in Indian cooking workshops I would highly recommend Madhu!