Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Nuts that really deliver...

Since becoming responsible for little beings, I've become quite a stickler for reading food labels.
This has consequently led to me to cull things from our pantry – I'm not obsessive about it but there were just certain products I deemed unnecessary for my little lads to be ingesting when I could make a healthier version at home.
Breakfast is widely regarded as the favourite meal of the day in the Everyday Baker household and muesli topped with natural yoghurt and fresh fruit is always a winner.
I used to buy a top brand of natural muesli, until one day I noticed preservatives and additives in the ingredient list.
I couldn't understand why this was necessary, so I decided we would make our own muesli.
This is when I stumbled on 2brothersfoods.com – a local WA company run by brothers Brett and Ryan Ling.
What I found was an extensive array of wholefood products at really reasonable prices, with minimal postage and very fast delivery. Literally, my first order arrived the day after I placed it.
It’s opened up a whole new world and I would encourage anyone who lives in the country to give it a try, especially for those ingredients you probably struggle to find at your local shops.
I buy bulk rolled oats, almond meal, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, flours and other products that tickle my fancy, not only for making our own muesli but in everyday baking - a handful of pepita seeds thrown into a simple salad are a seriously easy way to add some texture and extra flavour.
So making small steps to a healthy change also led me to this recipe for muesli bars, which I picked up from Louise FitzRoy’s From Paddock to Plate website and just adjust according to what I have on hand.
The lads love them just as much as the shop-bought variety and if I pop them into a little brown paper bag, they know no different...

Honey Muesli Bars

¼ cup oil
½ cup honey
¼ cup peanut butter
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup sesame seeds
1 cup whole almonds, toasted
½ cup sultanas or other dried fruit
½ cup wheat germ, toasted

Melt oil, honey and peanut butter in a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring. Turn down heat to low and simmer until you get a nice caramel colour.
Stir in remaining ingredients, adjusting amounts so the mix is moist but not too wet that it won’t set.
Press into a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate until set before cutting into bars.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Rustic tart

We have some seriously great neighbours in our street, some of whom we’re also lucky enough to call friends.
It’s one of those streets I thought no longer existed in the city - where kids from different houses play together, people stop and chat as they’re walking down the road and in our case, a quick exchange of text messages results in a much needed cup of coffee, chat and play for the littlies.
Sounds a little like an ad for cheap instant coffee doesn’t it? Perhaps... but we drink better coffee.
It’s also handy when a neighbour finds themselves with an excess of something, like an abundant fruiting lemon tree in their front yard they don’t mind us pilfering from (I asked the first time, I figure that yes carries right through the season).
Recently, our lovely neighbours/friends found themselves with a load of strawberries and dropped off two big containers full to us.
That led to me making this scrumptious rustic tart, which originally comes from wholefood cooking queen Jude Blereau.
You can make it with any fruit and in my opinion the wholemeal flour in the pastry adds an amazing texture.
It’s a perfect spring dessert, especially served warm with a dollop of cream or natural Greek yoghurt.

Jude’s Rustic Tart

2 cups wholemeal flour
1 1/2 tablespoons raw castor sugar
180g unsalted butter
6 - 11 tablespoons ice cold water 

1-1.3kg of fruit (I used a combination of strawberries and apples)
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or flour (I omitted this as my fruit wasn’t especially juicy due to the combo I used)

Preheat your oven to 200C.
Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour and sugar until it is incorporated into the flour, but still quite chunky. If using a food processor, pulse one or two times.
Don’t be tempted to add the water to the food processor as it is too easy to overwork the pastry.

Using a bread and butter knife, begin to mix the cold water into the flour and butter. Add a small amount of water, begin to cut and mix it in with the knife. As you continue to add the water, little bit by little bit, you are cutting the wet bits into the dry bits, cutting, mixing and stirring.
Only as much water as you need and once all the mix looks moist, bring it together into a ball but DO NOT knead or play with it.
Flatten the ball, wrap in cling film and chill long enough to take the softness of the butter - about 20 mins.
Roll out pastry in between baking paper to approx 30 - 35cm diameter circle. Between rolling, sprinkle the pastry and paper with a little flour - this will enable you to easily fold the edges later on. Place on a tray lined with baking paper.
Prepare your fruit by cutting and placing in a bowl, tossing gently with the maple syrup and cornstarch.

Arrange prepared fruit in an attractive pattern, or simply pile it into the middle and gently spread to leave a border (enough to fold edges).
Fold pastry border over fruit, peeling it from the paper underneath as you go.
Sprinkle with a little extra golden castor sugar if desired and bake in a hot oven for about 15 mins, before reducing temperature to moderate for about 35 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden, and juices are bubbling.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

What's for dinner?

A quick spinach and feta filo pie, courtesy of Jamie Oliver and perfect for a stinking hot Sunday night dinner. Served with a simple rocket, cherry tomato and cucumber salad splashed with some olive oil and white vinegar.
That is all. Enjoy! 

Spinach and Feta Filo Pie

100g walnuts (Jamie uses pinenuts but I despise them)
5 eggs
300 feta cheese
50g cheddar, grated 
oregano (I used fresh as we have an abundance in the garden)
1 lemon
1 tablespoon butter
400g baby spinach
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 packet filo pastry 
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. 
Toast the walnuts, either in a frying pan or in the oven, until golden. 

In a bowl, crack the eggs and whisk lightly before crumbling in the feta, grated cheddar, oregano (about 1 tablespoon), zest of your lemon and a swig of olive oil. 
Chop your walnuts and add them to the egg mix, mixing well. 
In the frying pan, melt some butter with olive oil and add the garlic and half the spinach. When it starts to wilt, add the rest.
When the spinach is wilted and dense, add to the egg mixture with the nutmeg and mix well. 

Take your filo pastry out. Rip off a decent sized piece of baking paper (about 50cm long) and scrunch it up before wetting it under the tap. Shake off excess water and smooth paper out, drizzling some olive oil over the top. 
Arrange four sheets of the filo pastry in a large rectangle over the baking paper, overlapping the edges. Brush some olive oil over the top, before giving a good sprinkle of sea salt, pepper and paprika. 
Repeat until you have three layers. Carefully place the pastry (with baking paper) over a 26cm diameter frying pan and push the edges down. Pour in your egg mixture and fold over the edges to close the top.
Put the pan on medium heat to get the bottom started, giving it a few minutes until it starts to crispen up. Then place in the over for about 20 minutes or until golden and crispy.
Transfer to a chopping board and allow to cool slightly before cutting.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Slice that really satisfies

WHILE I may bag fad diets on occasion, when I’m trawling through recipes I don’t discriminate – if something catches my eye I’ll give it a whirl but I do like to put my own stamp on it.
In this case, many elements of the below recipe originally came from raw recipes but I chose to tweak both ingredients and cooking style as I felt it enhanced the flavour.
Sorry paleo preachers and raw food followers, I’m probably your worst nightmare taking your recipes, mixing them up and making them all ‘conventional’ but feel free to take my recipes and manipulate as you see fit.
That’s the beauty of baking, you can be as creative as you like or a stickler for the rules if you prefer.
This recipe tastes like a certain popular chocolate bar and like that chocolate bar, this slice really satisfies.
It’s a healthy take on caramel slice I guess, with a peanut kick.
It has no granulated sugar, meaning you can eat as much as you like! Okay perhaps not, but if you are trying to be healthier, I would suggest making sure you buy pure maple syrup (not maple flavoured syrup) a natural peanut butter (I use the Mayver’s brand) and a good brand of dark chocolate.
If it’s too difficult to track those down and you’re not too fussed, substitute the maple syrup for golden syrup and whichever peanut butter you can get, but the tahini in the caramel is quite a unique flavour and it shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Do give this one a try though, in whatever way you like, it’s sure to satisfy some hungry bellies and they’ll never know it’s better for them.

Satisfying Peanut Slice

2 cups almond meal
2 tablespoons oil (I used sunflower)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup butter
½ cup maple or golden syrup

150-200g dark chocolate

Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a square slice tin with baking paper.
For the base, mix all ingredients together and squish into the tin, smoothing with the bottom of a spoon.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Allow to cool.
For the caramel, place all ingredients in a saucepan until melted and mixed well. Pour on top of base and refrigerate until set.
Melt chocolate and pour over caramel, refrigerate until set.
Carve and EAT!

Friday, 17 October 2014

What's for dinner?

So I've decided I'm going to do a bit of a 'series' if you will, which will basically involve me sharing with you what's on the dinner table at the Everyday Baker household.
Don't worry, I'll only share the interesting ones - I love cooking but even we have nights that call for dippy eggs and toast soldiers. Dare I say it, they're usually the biggest hit with the little lads.

I'll kick off the series with our delicious dinner from last night, which was just for the adults as we don't eat dinner at 5:30pm and our tastebuds are a little more adventurous. I don't always cook separate meals for the little lads, it just depends how organised I am and what's on hand.
Anyway, this is a great meal for a warm evening - perfect when you don't feel like anything too heavy. Enjoy!

Moroccan Chicken Salad

500g chicken thighs 
1 tin chickpeas
1 eggplant
1 lemon
Handful of cherry tomatoes
1 capsicum 
baby spinach leaves
natural Greek yoghurt, to serve

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 
Lay chicken on a tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle with paprika and cumin, adding a drizzle of olive oil. 
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through.

Drain and wash chickpeas, place in a frying pan with a glug of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of paprika and 2 teaspoons of cumin. Cook over high heat until aromatic and sizzling.
Give a good squeeze of lemon juice over the chickpeas and allow to cool.

To prepare your eggplant, place it straight on the gas cooker and turn often - it will give you an awesome smokey flavour but keep a keen eye on it. When it's done it will be soft and sizzling.
Place in a bowl of cold water and peel the skin off. Wash and pat dry before roughly chopping. 

In a salad bowl, throw in your baby spinach, chopped capsicum, sliced cherry tomatoes and chickpeas. If there is a lot of residue in the pan from the chickpeas, pop the eggplant in there and toss to coat, before adding to the salad. 
When the chicken is done, shred or slice it thinly and place it on top of the salad. 
Serve with a nice dollop of Greek yoghurt.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Macadamia and Chocolate Slice

I really do find that simple recipes are often the best and tastiest.
Perhaps that’s why some of my favourite cookbooks are the classics, like the Women’s Weekly and CWA collections – they make the most of everyday ingredients.
While we’re on it, it really is amazing the number of recipes you can create from a can of condensed milk.
Did anyone else used to drink that sweet nectar straight from the can when they were younger? No? Just me? Come on, don’t lie...
If you’ve managed to get past that stage, then you may enjoy this simple but scrumptious recipe which uses condensed milk but also has a beautiful, nutty crunch.
It’s deliciously moorish, as I discovered by being absent for one afternoon session tea at the farm recently after baking it – it didn’t last until morning tea the next day but by all reports it was a hit.
I guess that’s why it’s important to have ‘chef’s treats’ while you’re cooking, so you don’t miss out all together!

Macadamia and Chocolate Slice

125g butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup almond meal
½ cup wholemeal self-raising flour
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup white chocolate, chopped (more if you like)
¾ cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
395g can condensed milk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a slice tin with baking paper.
Beat butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in almond meal and flour and spread into slice tin.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.
Sprinkle apricots, chocolate and nuts over base and drizzle condensed milk over the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool in tin before cutting into squares to serve.

*Please note, licking the lid of a condensed milk can has been known to cause injury*

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Salted caramel and vanilla baked cheesecake

A SPECIAL occasion calls for celebratory baking and it’s no secret that there is many a sweet tooth residing in The Everyday Baker household.
This particular occasion was Mr Everyday Baker’s birthday and given his choice of birthday cakes, he left it up to the three-year-old who chose a construction chocolate cake complete with a dump truck unloading chocolate ‘boulders’.
I intervened and narrowed the choices down to two and a decision was made, Mr Everyday Baker, who used to not care for sweet things at all (until along came me!), was to have a Salted Caramel and Vanilla Baked Cheesecake.
This recipe was based on a cracker by Donna Hay, who in my humble opinion is a goddess when it comes to creating sweet things.
I just gave it a few tweaks based on our tastes and what was in the fridge, probably more of the latter.
It does take a while so I started it the day before, but it tasted amazing and I think it softened the blow of getting older for a certain birthday boy.
However I fear that construction cake will not be forgotten anytime soon, so stay tuned on that one...

Salted Caramel and Vanilla Baked Cheesecake

500g biscuits (I used Scotch Fingers)
½ cup almond meal
150g butter, melted
250g ricotta
500g cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 cup cream
1 cup mascarpone
1 tablespoon icing sugar
Fruit for decorating (I used strawberries)

1 cup cream
60g butter, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon (or so) sea salt flakes

Make caramel sauce first, by combining all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until sugar is melted. Up the heat until it thickens, around five minutes should do it. Allow to cool before adding sea salt flakes.
Blitz biscuits and almond meal until finely crumbed. Add melted butter and process until combined.
Push into a 22cm springform tin lined with baking paper, until firmly pressed into the base and sides. Place in fridge for at least an hour.
In a mixer, whisk ricotta and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat until well combined before adding eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
Add maple syrup and half of the vanilla paste until well combined.
Pour into tin evenly, before placing the tin into a baking tray and filling that tray with boiling water until tray is filled about halfway. I put it in the oven first and then added the hot water.
Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for an hour and a half until firm, then allow to cool in tin before placing in fridge for a good few hours.
For the topping, whip cream, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form and spoon on top of cheesecake.

Serve with chopped fruit and drizzled caramel, adding some extra sea salt flakes if desired.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Apple and Raspberry Bread

I don't always feel like rambling. Sometimes I just want to share a recipe... this is one of those times.
I'm not sure where the original recipe came from, but this is just a yummy, moist and relatively healthy recipe that I really enjoy and so do my lads. 
In fact, I'm eating a piece right now smothered with butter (optional but everything is better with butter) with a cup of tea. Bliss.

Apple and Raspberry Bread

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2-3 red apples, grated
1 cup raspberries (I used frozen)
A few walnuts, for sprinkling on top

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a loaf tin.
Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and add sugar, whisking together to loosen any sugar lumps. 
In a jug, whisk eggs, oil and vanilla until combined. Add to dry ingredients with grated apple and mix until combined - it is quite a dry, thick mixture but just make sure it's well combined.
Gently fold in raspberries. 
Spoon into loaf tin and push walnuts into the top. Bake for 1 hour or so and allow to cool before attempting to slice. 
Serve with butter if you're awesome like me. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Gingernutty goodness

So it seems everyone has one of those whizz-bang Thermomixes these days! After visiting a good friend of mine recently and seeing her Thermomix in action, I can see why they are so popular - I would be lying if I said I wasn't impressed. Having said that, I still don't actually want one for myself. I can see that they are fantastic if you don't already have a cupboard full of appliances and I would feel like I was cheating on my beloved Kitchenaid mixer if I strayed...
Anyway, my friend shared some amazing recipes with me and this is one of them. She described these biscuits as "old school-style gingernuts that our mums used to make". Couldn't agree more LD. 
My only dilemma was that I had to convert the recipe from Thermomix (15 seconds on speed 6 and all that jazz) to conventional and didn't have all the ingredients on hand...so it is somewhat different from the original, but still delicious! 
Even the lads enjoyed them, which actually surprised me given they are quite a spicy biscuit. Oh well, just another thing I have to share... but they are a nice, firm biscuit which means less crumbs! A big win for the Everyday Baker floors.

Gingernut Biscuits 

150g butter
90g brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
2-3 teaspoons of ground nutmeg (I wasn't very accurate when measuring, so let's say 'to taste' just to be sure!)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons ground ginger
zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarb
350g plain flour (I used wholemeal)

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two trays with baking paper.
Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer until light and creamy, before adding maple syrup and egg. Mix until well combined.
Add flour and spices, zest, bicarb, salt and vanilla and mix until it comes together as a dough.
Roll tablespoons of dough onto tray and squish slightly, placing about 5cm apart.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and slightly cracked on top.
Allow to cool before chowing down. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Muffins for the cool kids...

Anyone fancy eating like a caveman?
That’s what one of the latest food fads, paleo, will have you doing.
While we’re at it, if I see another recipe brandishing #cleaneating or #rawfood come across my computer screen I may just scream.
Personally, I like my dairy from cows, my sugar from cane and my flour from grain.
You can keep your nut milks and butters, chocolate substitutes and “natural” sweeteners.
Don’t take that as a swipe at the nut family, because I love nuts and use them a lot in my cooking.
In fact I often use almond meal if I run out of flour, or if I feel like adding that deliciously nutty and mealy texture to a cake, biscuit or slice.
This was one of those occasions – these almond blueberry muffins are gorgeously moist and moorish, yet so simple to make.
You can make your own almond meal by blitzing up some almonds in a processor until you get that mealy consistency.
I guess you could call these muffins gluten free and if you replace the milk with water they would also be dairy free, which is great for those out there that actually suffer from gluten or dairy intolerance (and not just jump-on-board-the-fad-bandwagon syndrome).
Otherwise, just call them muffins and enjoy them. #yum

Almond Blueberry Muffins

2 cups almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup milk
¼ cup olive oil
3 eggs
1 cup blueberries

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a muffin tin with cases (I usually get 8-10 muffins from this mix).
Combine almond meal, baking powder and sugar, whisking to disperse any lumps.
In a jug, whisk together milk, olive oil and eggs before folding into the dry mix until combined.
Fold through berries and spoon mix into prepared tin.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Silky and sweet

AS visitors to my blog will know or as its name might suggest, I don’t usually cook too lavishly but rather I bake good food on an everyday basis to feed myself and the lads in my life.
But sometimes, just sometimes, I do like to get a little bit fancy in the kitchen – provided it’s easy enough and doesn’t take six hours to prepare.
This recipe is a “wait until the little lads are in bed this one is too good for them” kind of deal.
Yes, I regularly hide food from my children.
I strongly believe there are certain things they don’t need to know about yet, like the joys of this magnificent chocolate tart. Because I fear like their mother, they are yet to master the art of self control.
This tart is definitely for sharing with big people because trust me, you will want to show this sucker off. It’s silky, chocolately goodness hugged by pastry. What’s not to love?!

Silky Chocolate Tart

150 g softened butter
100 g caster sugar
225 g plain flour
50 g almond meal
1 egg yolk
Juice of ½ lemon
½tsp vanilla bean paste

200ml full fat milk
250ml cream (I use Bannister Downs)
30g caster sugar
250g dark chocolate – at least 70 per cent solids
2 large eggs

Mix butter and sugar together in a mixer or food processor, add flour and almond meal and mix to combine. Add egg yolk, lemon juice, vanilla and a tablespoon or so of iced water, mixing until the dough comes together. Shape into a disc and wrap in cling wrap, before putting in the fridge to rest for an hour.
Evenly roll out pastry between two sheets of baking paper and gently place into a fluted tart tin (about 24cm). Ensure you have a good fit in your tin before trimming the edges (push, pull and adjust as needed).
Blind bake at 180C for 12 minutes, before taking out the baking paper and whatever you’ve used to weigh it down, before baking for a further 8 minutes or until golden.

For the filling, combine milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan and whisk gently while slowly bringing to the boil. Take off the heat and add chocolate, whisking until smooth before adding the eggs.
The easiest way to pour the filling into the tart case is by placing your case into the oven on a tray and then carefully pouring the filling into the case.
Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes, it should still have a slight wobble to it but will set as it cools.

Serve with a nice blob of cream and enjoy!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A win for the veggie smugglers!

The big lad has a general aversion to anything with obvious vegetables and if he had it his way, would just eat pasta and the occasional sausage for dinner. I'm still winning with the little lad, he just likes food in general - any way he can get it. Although that appetite can sometimes extend past the kitchen into the garden, but I figure some extra veggies will counteract all the rocks and dirt he eats... right?
Anyway, this recipe is a serious brag - I jammed some mashed carrot, spinach, onion, bacon and fetta into some pastry, told the big lad they were "cheesy bacon wraps" and he demolished them. I'll admit, I did tell him, "no, no, that's not carrot, it's just orange cheese..." but he ate it so where's the harm?

Apologies for the dodgy amounts given in the ingredients list, but I kind of just threw it together without paying much attention. The beauty of things like this is, you can just use whatever you have in the fridge and adjust it accordingly!

Veggie Smuggler Parcels (aka cheesy bacon wraps)

1-2 carrots or the equivalent amount of pumpkin
1/2 onion
2 rashers bacon
1 handful baby spinach, chopped roughly
A good chunk of soft feta cheese
1 1/2 - 2 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds (not essential)

Peel and chop veggies and boil in a saucepan of water, until soft. Mash, adding some salt and pepper to taste.
Cook onion and bacon until soft and golden, before adding spinach until wilted. 
Mix the onion and bacon in with the mashed veggies, before crumbling in the feta and mixing well. 
Cut your pastry into triangles (I just cut one sheet diagonally each way to create four triangles) and place some mix in the centre, towards one corner - so you have enough room to fold the pastry without the mix going everywhere. 
Before folding the pastry, brush the edges with egg so it holds. Then fold and press down to seal. Brush the top with egg.
With any remaining pastry, cut shapes and stick them on the top of the pastry - trust me, doing this is a winner. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if you have some handy!
Bake at 190 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Comfort food

WINTER has kicked in and with it brings some delicious, hearty, belly-warming comfort food.
What better way to end a meal on a chilly evening than with an old-school style dessert, which feels like a big hug from your mum or grandmother?
I may be getting a little nostalgic, but to me that’s what comfort food is all about.
So, I decided to treat my little lads (and big lad) to a trip down my memory lane and throw together a gorgeous apple, pear and mixed berry crumble.
This recipe does digress from the traditional versions here, but it still very much comes under the “comfort food” classification.
Plus it was a great incentive for the lads to eat everything on their plates, even the green stuff.
The best thing about recipes like these is that you can adapt them according to whatever you have in the fruit bowl or pantry – make it your own but I do encourage you to stick with the almonds or some sort of nuts, it really makes it.

Apple, Pear and Mixed Berry Crumble

1 large apple
2 pears
¾ cup – 1 cup of mixed frozen berries
2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces
¾ cup self raising flour
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 180C.
Stew apple and pears until soft. Place into an oven-proof dish (or individual ramekins) and mix through berries.
To make the crumble, rub the butter into the flour, coconut and sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the fruit and top with the almonds.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with custard, ice cream or both.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The patties...

Well now, let's hope no-one was hanging out for the next instalment of the burgers I was banging on about because quite frankly you would have starved! Sorry about that folks, but I'm totally using the I'm a wife/have children/busy life card to excuse the delay.
Anyway, onwards and upwards! 

As I mentioned in the previous post, these burgers were inspired by SBS Feast magazine and these patties in particular are a take on the Dominican Republic's "Chimi Burger" recipe. 
Yum. Yum. Yum.

500g minced beef
1tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten

Half a punnet of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2tsp Dijon mustard
2tsp red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
pinch of sugar

Combine all ingredients, leaving the egg until last. Using damp hands, mix well and shape into patties. Refrigerate until ready to cook/eat.
To make sauce, heat tomatoes and garlic in a dash of olive oil in a small saucepan before adding the remaining ingredients.Cook until combined and heated through. Allow to cool slightly.

Put your burger together however you please! We added tomato, cheddar cheese and some fresh lettuce leaves... and plenty of the sauce - that is the hero.

And the chips?
Well, I simply wash and chop some potatoes (I like Ruby Lou) and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Place in the fridge for ten minutes or so to dry out, coat with olive oil and sea salt and pop into a hot oven (190-200 degrees Celsius) until golden and crispy. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Burger night

So Friday night has become unofficial burger night in our house. We all chip in (and by "we all" I mean, Mr Everyday Baker and I - the lads' just demolish the end result) to create a spectacular home made feast. And it really is home made, from the chips right through to the burger bun and I promise it's not as much work as it sounds (especially when you have a helper).
So this recipe was inspired by my new favourite food magazine, SBS Feast and it's latest burger-fuelled edition. It is, however, responsible for my subsequent hankering for burgers but hey, it resulted in a family cook-up rather than a trip to the drive-through so that's got to be a good thing.

First things first, the buns...
Burger Buns
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
3 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix all ingredients in the Kitchenaid using a dough hook until combined and you have a nice smooth dough (or use your hands, whatever). Cover dough and let it rise for an hour or so, until it's almost doubled in size.
Deflate the dough (give a quick punch) and divide into eight pieces, or however many pieces depending on how big you like your buns. Shape into round balls and flatten with your palm. 
Place on tray lined with baking paper and cover, leaving to rise for about an hour.
Brush with some butter and bake @ 190 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes or until golden. Brush with more butter and leave to cool. 

Next stop... the patties

Friday, 2 May 2014

The naughty muffins

So you've probably already read about the Pretty Darn Good Muffins that I shared earlier, which are great and pretty healthy too. Let's face it though, sometimes you just feel like eating something a little naughty. That's when this muffin recipe comes into play, it's like the healthy muffins' naughty cousin and they taste aaahhhh-mazing.
The original recipe uses a lot of vegetable oil, which freaks me out a little. Vegetable oil is creepy - mainly because it gives no indication on the bottle from which vegetables the oil is derived. It's an artificial product apparently, along the same lines of margarine (the devil in my opinion). So in my version, I use half butter, half sunflower oil. In future I plan to try olive oil (thinking it may be a bit strong in flavour) or full butter.

These puppies are a real treat (for bigs and littles), so enjoy!

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins (the naughty kind)

440g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
250g caster sugar
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
200g white chocolate, roughly chopped 
200g fresh or frozen raspberries

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a muffin tin with paper cases.
Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add sugar and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and add oil, milk and beaten eggs. Mix gently until just combined and fold in chocolate and most of the raspberries.
Spoon mixture into tins and garnish with remaining berries. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

What the heck is a flapjack?

That's what I asked myself when I stumbled on this recipe. 
I thought they were pancakes. Banana and coconut pancakes had me sold anyway, so I wasn't too disappointed to discover we would be having flapjacks for morning tea rather than breakfast. Turns out flapjacks can refer to pancakes, but also a chewy, oaty slice or biscuit. A bit like a muesli bar I guess.
These banana and coconut flapjacks are courtesy of the talented Peggy from Cake Crumbs and Beach Sand , who seems to share my love of old school recipes using those crazy ingredients people tend to shy away from these days - you know the ones, butter, sugar, eggs, flour...

Anyway, this recipe rocks. The lads both devoured it (seriously, I had to cut them off and pretend it was all gone). I have a feeling it will become a regular recipe, though I omitted the cinnamon and I might change the name to avoid any further confusion... 

Banana and Coconut Slice (Okay, flapjacks)

80g brown sugar
150g butter
3 tablespoons golden syrup
250g rolled oats
2 ripe (black in my case) bananas, mashed
50g shredded coconut (I used desiccated)

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 20cm slice tin with baking paper. 
Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan. Once melted, add oats, bananas and coconut and mix well.
Press mixture into tin and press down with the back of a spoon until level.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Cookie cutter love


Plus this...

Equals this...

And two very excited lads. I do love a good novelty cookie cutter.