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Yoghurt Scones

I made these scones entirely because I needed a conduit for my new kiwi fruit jam. Scones remind me of little old ladies and tea pots and women who wear petticoats and pantyhose. I got this recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini, a blog I adore from a woman who is not only a much better cook than I but who also gets to enjoy all the foodie pleasurs of living in France. I am pretty sure that she is too cool to wear petticoats and pantyhose and that these delicious yoghurt scones are too cool to serve to little old ladies with teapots.

Scone dough

Ingredients

1 2/3 cups of plain flour
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 table spoon of chilled butter
½ cup of plain yoghurt
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Recipe

Makes around eight scones.

You pretty much have to eat these as soon as they’re out of the oven. Warm scones are delicious, even with just butter where as cold scones are dry and gross.
1.    Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lay down baking paper on shallow baking tray.
2.    Combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut up the butter into little bits the butter and mix it into the dry ingredients with a fork until there’s no more butter lumps.
3.    Mix in the yoghurt, milk, and vanilla extract until the dough forms a crumbly ball. After a little while you may find it easier to use your hands but handle it lightly or the scones will be like rocks.
4.    Pat the dough into a flat circle about an inch thick. Tear off portions and gently shape into circles placing them on the baking paper with space around them to expand (about 8). Bake for 15 minutes, until the top of the scones is set and lightly golden.

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Easy Peasy Kiwi Fruit Jam

I don’t like jam. At least this is what I’ve been tellling myself up until today when I had what would have been my sixth spoonful of jam. Seems I was wrong. When I told a friend that I planned on making jam they put an image in my head of me standing for a prolonged period of time over a stove stirring and stirring until I wanted to jam the jam recipe up someone’s behind and be done with the whole thing. Not this recipe. Seems it is a day for contradictions and discovery and what nicer thing to dicover than a love of a really easy to make jam!

Ingredients

About 8 kiwi fruits, peeled and chopped
1 red delicious apple, peeled, cored and chopped
Juice from two limes
1 cup caster sugar

Recipe

The recipe I had I changed a bit because a) I think it assumed I had some prior knowledge of jam which I really didn’t, and b) I think that the people who write recipes involving microwaves don’t expect that the people making them have really small inexpensive microwaves where the term “high” may mean something completely different.
1.    Combine the kiwi, apple and lime juice in a small microwave safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high from 3 minutes. Remove cover and stir in sugar.
2.    Microwave uncovered on high for three minutes but stopping to stir at every minute. This is to get the sugar to dissolve through.
3.    Microwave in 5 minute intervals uncovered until the jam is “set”. This took me about 20 minutes. To test if the jam is set put a teaspoon of it in the freezer on a saucer for 2 minutes (just to get it to room temperature faster). If when you run your finger through it stays separated it is set! Keeping popping it in the microwave for a minute or two if it hasn’t set yet.
4.    Spoon the hot jam into sterilised jars, and secure lids. Sit the jar upsidedown for 5 minutes then turn right side up and let cool. Should keep for three months in the fridge.

A friend of mine is house-sitting at the moment and I went over there to check it out. Its one of those houses that is not only full of just lovely things but it has magazines full of other houses which are full of lovely things. Now I love these magazines so I was quite happy to plonk myself down on the couch, pen and paper in hand, and thumb through the pages writing down any recipes I came across and liked the look of. That’s where I found this apparenly fool-proof “make your own bread from scratch” recipe.

Making bread is one of those activities that seems a little bit magic to me an certainly the process of making this bread was like being behind the scenes at a magic act. The yeast going foamy and lumpy inside the warm water was my first act of magic. And, although I was a little unsure whether when I waited during the first rise it would actually, as the recipe suggested, “double in size”, as if by magic it did.

The first rise

The trouble started on the second rise. I decided, as the recipe suggested, to make 12 rolls. And while I waited patiently to watch the magic repeat itself – it kind of didn’t. Well they certainly got bigger and yes, doubled in size but they went more out than up. So in the end I was left with a little bit too dense bread. I wonder what caused this? Did I handle it too heavily after the first rise? Did the cling wrap weight it down too much? Should I have put them in little moulders of some sort? Whatever the case, an amateur is expected to make many mistakes, so here’s one. Still I’m enjoying these slightly too heavy rolls simply becuase I made them.

The second rise

I was about to put the recipe up and then thought better of it. What’s the point of keeping a recipe which doesn’t work for you? (Though I’m sure for better cooks, it does in fact work!)

Delish Relish

Corn is apparently taking over the world. And its using us in its dastardly plans. At least that’s what Michael Pollan is saying and he has a point.

We unnecessarily (I don’t include economic or industrial necessity in this definition) consume vast quantities of corn without even knowing it. Us and the animals we eat ( I have to admit here that prior to my foodie enlightenment when I saw that a chicken was “corn-fed” I thought, “hey isn’t that nice, that chicken gets to eat corn!” – oops).

So rather than take my corn in the form of Coke (yes, lots of corn in the form of high fructose corn syrup in there apparently) I thought I’d just eat corn as close to the knobbly little yellow pearls that grown hidden away in little cocoons as I could. So here is the tomato and corn relish. And its better than Coke.

Three bowls, all delicious

Ingredients

2 spring onions, chopped
Half Spanish onion, chopped
½ tablespoon wholegrain mustard
Two large vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
¼ teaspoon chilli salt (made with celery)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 table spoon caster sugar
Kernels from 2 cobs of corn
Salt to taste

Recipe

Now I like to do this like a scientist, preparing everything first and then dealing with it because with my poor timing if I don’t have everything ready to go the second it needs to go in I’m likely to set something on fire. Though this always means a lot of dishes. So…
1.    Prepare three bowls. In the first, put all the chopped onion and the mustard. In the second, put all the chopped tomato, the white wine vinegar, the sugar and the chilli salt. In the third put the corn kernels (off the cob NOT from a can). Now you can begin.
2.    Heat oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add everything in the onion bowl and stir until tender (about 3 minutes) then add everything in the tomato bowl, keep stirring.
3.    Once it is think and not too sloppy  (about 5 minutes) add the corn and cook until its soft and tasty (about 3 minutes).
4.    Put into a sterilised jar. I think it would be perfect with cheese and crackers or in a sandwich.

There is some debate as to who “owns” this recipe. I was making this last year and knowing that something was missing (but too lazy to correct it). After a trip home my father put his finger on it when he decided to add the roasted tomatoes and use Persian fetta (so much smoother than the average Greek fetta) as a dressing. I’ll give him credit for that. For this attempt I used a variety of different small tomatoes, mainly kumatoes (the ones that look brown). They all have a little bit of a different taste to them which makes the salad better for savouring.

I have now more than once had this salad the next day cold (both times at the beach) and it was still delicious. I love dinner’s that become’s tomorrow’ lunches and this recipe remains firmly at the top of my list for that reason.

Colourful tomatoes make a meal brighter

Ingredients

1 butternut pumpkin, chopped into 1 inch cubes
600 grams of little (assorted colours best) tomatoes halved
500 grams canned chickpeas, rinsed
Olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
Persian fetta

Straight from the oven

Recipe

1.    Preheat over to 180°C fan forced
2.    Drizzle over olive oil and roast butternut pumpkin until tender (approx. 35 minutes)
3.    Drizzle over olive oil and sprinkle chopped basil on tomatoes and roast in same oven until tender (approx 15 minutes)
4.    Combine roasted tomatoes, roasted pumpkin and chickpeas in salad bowl.
5.    Mash up Persian fetta with a fork until smooth (may need to add olive oil).
6.    Mix fetta in to other ingredients. Eat up!

Sweet and creamy

Serves two. 30 minutes to make. Vegetarian.

I have been wanting to put an egg on top of something that isn’t breakfast for while now. I haven’t been game to try it in a soup yet, I worry that the yolk floating around will put me off. When I saw this recipe in one of my new favourite food blogs – Smitten Kitchen, my mouth watered for days before finally getting the ingredients for it. See, what I was waiting for were the perfect eggs. I am happy to say I found them in the form of WildYards Farm Eggs from NSW and am happy to know that rather than being immobile, tortured, antibiotic fed, caged hen eggs my egg’s layers were grass eaters, rotated on different pastures (which is good for the soil and for sustainability), have never come into contact with fertiliser or antibiotics and, if I am to believe the very homey packet, they never even saw a cage! Brilliant.

Happy Hen Eggs

Ingredients

Two happy hen eggs
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 leek, sliced thinly (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt to taste

Chop chop chop

Recipe

  1. Heat peanut oil in large frying pan on medium heat adding garlic and ginger. Fry until golden brown and crispy. Set aside, add salt to taste.
  2. Immediately after removing garlic and ginger reduce heat and add sliced leek. Stir for about 10 minutes or until really tender (but not brown).
  3. Add cooked rice heating through. The longer you cook it the more crispy it gets so its really up to you. Remove fried rice and leek and place on two plates.
  4. Immediately add two happy hen eggs to fry, cooking until whites are cooked through but yolk is still runny.
  5. Position fried egg on top of fried rice, sprinkle with garlic and ginger mix, and drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil over top. Enjoy!

    It may not be pretty but it is delicious

Serves two. 1 hour to make. Vegan.

I love the way that cannellini beans look, the kidney bean’s virginal cousin, much less meaty and overpowering. I also happen to think that roasted pumpkin is one of THE best salad ingredients ever. But what makes this salad is the dressing. Sweet and fresh, I didn’t expect that lemony flavour to go well with the hearty pumpkin, but I was wrong! One of the greatest joys of being an amateur cook is that the way that a recipe tastes often surprises you. Beware though, this salad leaves a lingering tang on the taste buds well after you’ve finished eating it…

Cannellini beans - look at them glow!

Ingredients

1 can (400g) cannellini beans drained and washed.
Half a butternut pumpkin cut into 3cm cubes
100g baby roquette
1 cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves
1 small handful of sunflower seeds

Lemony Dressing:

Juice from one medium lemon
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon finely chopped eschallots
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil

My very favourite fishy salad utensils

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius (fan forced). Place pumpkin in a single layer on tray lined with baking paper. Roast for about 30 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, make sweet lemon dressing (combine and stir).
  3. Combine cannellini beans, pumpkin, baby roquette, and coriander in bowl.  Drizzle sweet lemon dressing on top and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Ready to serve!

Ready to serve