Cacio e Pepe with Oven-Grilled Broccolini and Asparagus

I could never follow a diet or a philosophy of eating if it does not give you the option, to at least every now and then, have a bowl full of pasta.

And I do mean pasta.

I do not mean noodles, in all of their variety – although I am partial to mung bean noodles. I do not mean spiralised vegetables masquerading as pasta; they have their place, but let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? They are vegetables, not pasta.

Maybe it’s my metabolism; I can eat a bowl of pasta for dinner and not get hungry again soon after. Maybe it’s the comfort that I seem to associate so strongly to pasta. For me, pasta is my ‘chicken soup’, a bowl full of pasta makes everything better, even for a little while.

Cacio e Pepe

 

This is not a new recipe, but it’s been all over the internet lately, which reminded me of just how yummy, how cheesy and how soothing to the soul this pasta dish is.

I wanted something green to cut through the cheese and provide some crunch and a contrasting lemon flavour, but be a purist if you like, and make this with normal spaghetti and omit the greens. Either way, you will thank yourself for both making and consuming this pasta dish. Unless of course you don’t like pepper…

Come and have a bowlful at this week’s Fiesta Friday with Angie, Lindy @ Love in the Kitchen and Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons.

 

Cacio e Pepe with Oven-Grilled Broccolini and Asparagus

Cacio e Pepe with Oven-Grilled Broccolini and Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 375g wholegrain spaghetti
  • 2 bunches broccolini
  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • sea salt
  • ½ a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (scant) tablespoon ground black pepper (plus a little more to finish)
  • 1 ½ cups finely grated pecorino (plus a little more to finish)

Method

  1. Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water as per the packet directions until al dente, making sure to save ½ cup of the cooking water.
  2. In the mean time, preheat the oven grill (or broiler or bbq).
  3. Prep the broccolin and asparagus by trimming all woody and stringy parts. Spread them out evenly on a baking paper-covered sheet pan, drizzle with the oil and season with sea salt.
  4. Grill for to 5 to 7 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the heat, squeeze over the lemon juice and keep warm.
  5. While the spaghetti and greens are cooking, melt the butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the black pepper. Set aside for 3 to 5 minutes, swirling it a few times to allow the pepper to infuse into the butter.
  6. Return the butter to a medium-low heat and add in the reserved cooking water. Bring to a simmer and then add the spaghetti and the pecorino, using tongs to toss the mixture until the cheese melts into the liquid and coats the spaghetti evenly.
  7. Divide the spaghetti amongst four warmed bowls, top with broccolini and asparagus, sprinkle with extra pecorino and pepper, and serve immediately with a crisp, green salad.

 

 

Nigella’s Warm Raspberry and Lemon Cake

 

So… I met Nigella Lawson…

A few months ago while she was on the press junket for her newest cookbook, Simply Nigella.

There’s a reason we all adore her. That impression that you get from reading her recipe intros and notes, that darling woman you see cooking on your TV – that’s all real. That’s her. That special something that makes Nigella sparkle is absolutely genuine, and upon meeting her, I adore her even more. No one – NO ONE – can deal with that amount of people, sign that many books and still be graceful, poised, kind and genuinely happy to greet the next person in a never-ending line that nearly defeated me a number of times.

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Prior to the line of a kind I hope to never be in again, I was fortunate enough to see Nigella be interviewed, where she talked about everything from her life before cooking, to her hate of green capsicums, from her love of David Copperfield to her unique method acting technique of choosing a dish from a restaurant menu.

And she talked about mindfulness, talked about how, yes, it is the buzzword of the moment, but how cooking, for her, for so many, is mindfulness. Yes, we cook because we need to feed ourselves, our families, but for us who have that connection to the kitchen, cooking is so much more. It’s a form of relaxation, of therapy, it’s a way to extend ourselves, to learn, to experiment and be creative. It’s a ways to keep the hands busy and to calm the mind, or to hone it, depending on the mood and the food. It’s achievement and celebration, comfort and indulgence. It’s love, joy, a gift from you to the ones you love to feed, love to watch smile.

Jamie taught me how to cook, Stephanie showed me how to mix and match flavours, but Nigella, Nigella helped me find that passion and happiness of a lovingly prepared meal for one, two or more, of conquering a scary-looking recipe, of the simplicity in cooking if the joy is really truly there.

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So, no matter what you passion is, what that something is that brings you joy – do it, continue doing it, never stop doing it. Don’t let yourself or anyone ever stop you from cooking, painting, writing, dancing, cycling, gardening, hiking, star gazing, daydreaming, making lists, yodelling… if you love it, keep it, nurture it and watch it grow.

I’m going to very quietly sneak myself and Nigella’s warm raspberry and lemon cake in to the latest Fiesta Friday party and pretend like I’ve been here all along… It should be a great party this week with Angie, Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Linda @ La Petite Paniere at the helm.

Warm Raspberry and Lemon Cake

  • Servings: makes 9 slabs or 18 fingers
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Ingredients

  • 150ml light olive oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 75g fine polenta (not instant)
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g frozen raspberries (not thawed)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and lightly grease a 20cm square tin with a dab of olive oil.
  2. Beat the oil with the finely grated lemon zest (you’ll need the juice later), then add the sugar and mix together. This can be done in a freestanding mixer, or by hand with a wooden spoon, or you can blitz all the ingredients, bar the raspberries, in a food processor.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the ground almonds, polenta, bicarb and baking powder and fork together to mix well. Add a spoonful to the oil and sugar mixture, beating all the while, then add 1 egg, followed by about a third of the almond and polenta mixture, and so forth, until all the eggs and the almond and polenta mixture are used up and you have a smooth, sunny, yellow batter.
  4. Whether you’ve mixed the batter with a processor, freestanding mixer, or bowl and wooden spoon, now fold in the frozen raspberries by hand and then spoon and smooth the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 40 minutes, by which time the cake will start to come away from the edges of the tin, be brown on top, and a cake tester will come out clean with all but a few golden crumbs (this is meant to be a damp cake).
  5. The minute the cake is out of the oven, pour or brush the lemon juice on top and leave until warm (rather than fresh-from-the-oven hot) before eating it.

 

Store note: Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days. In hot weather, keep in the fridge.

Freeze note: Leftovers can be frozen, in an airtight container, for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or for 2-3 hours at room temperature.

 

Recipe by Nigella Lawson from Simply Nigella.

 

 

Goat’s Cheese and Rosemary Rolls – My First Culinary Adventure of 2016

Happy New Year everyone!

I’ve spent today getting reacquainted with my baking spirits, which is always a worthwhile activity, even when it is stinking hot. And even when it’s not always appreciated by others.

And it was important that it happen today. You see, I am starting a new tradition. Okay, more like ‘borrowing’ and running with someone else’s tradition.

 

Goat's Cheese and Rosemary Rolls 1

 

As some of you know, I bought Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries III when it first came out – no way was I risking that one on the Christmas list… what if no one bought it for me??? I would be bereft of Nigel…

So I had already read his entry for New Year’s Day, which he called Rising. In it, Nigel talks about how the new year comes to his kitchen quietly, with a pot of soup and freshly baked bread. He writes:

‘I like the notion of yeast rising, of new life in the kitchen on the first day of the New Year. Eccentric, daft even, but to me it just feels right.’

Is that not a glorious notion?

And I think that those with bakers’ souls will feel a certain affinity with this notion…

 

Goat's Cheese and Rosemary Rolls 2

 

Yeast rising in the kitchen on the first day of the new year can become a quite a compelling metaphor for an unbelievable number of different things, for an unbelievable number of different people. So don’t forget to make 2016 the best year you can for yourself.

And you can start by joining the fiesta party! Our hostess with the mostess, Angie @The Novice Gardener, and her lovely co-hosts – Judi @Cooking with Aunt JujuMolly @Frugal HausfrauSteffi @Ginger & Bread and Suzanne @A Pug in the Kitchen – are extending the party over the festive season, so come along and share your first dishes of 2016.

 

Goat’s Cheese and Rosemary Rolls

  • Servings: makes 6 rolls
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Goat's Cheese and Rosemary Rolls 1

 

Ingredients

  • 500g white bread flour
  • 7g sachets instant dried yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 350ml water
  • 3 large sprigs of rosemary (finely chopped)
  • 100g goat’s cheese (cut into small chunks)

Method

  1. Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add almost all the water and mix to a sticky dough.
  2. Continue to mix for a further minute or so – the dough will gradually become less sticky. Add a touch more flour or water until you are left with a dough that is soft and springy, yet slightly sticky to the touch.
  3. Flour a large work surface and gently knead the dough for 10 minutes without treating it aggressively. It should feel soft, smooth, light and springy.
  4. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover it with cling film and leave it to prove for an hour in a warm place.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size, tip it back onto a floured surface. Knead it again for 30 seconds.
  6. Work the rosemary and cheese into the dough so that they are evenly distributed.
  7. Cut the dough into six equal pieces and shape each piece into small rolls.
  8. Lay the rolls on a floured baking tray, leaving a good amount of space between them.
  9. Decorate each roll with a few rosemary needles on top.
  10. Leave to rise in a warm place under a tea towel for 45 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  12. Bake the rolls for 30 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
  13. Great as a burger bun. Fantastic eaten warm and slathered in butter.

 

Recipe by Nigel Slater as found on BBC website.

 

Shortbread Christmas Trees

 

There’s just one more sleep to Christmas, people!

Whether it’s your thing, whether you celebrate it or not, it is the season to be kind, to show appreciation, to hold your family just a little closer, to let go, to celebrate.

It’s also the season for baking!

My chocolate crinkle cookies taste FANTASTIC but no one mentioned that they spread… They do not look pretty…

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But my shortbread Christmas tree came out pretty well, I think. Well, except for having to cover up the wrong colour frosting and making a bit of a mess at the top… After all these years of baking, it’s still hit and miss with biscuits and cookies. Give me bread any day!! No matter, it’ll be a cute little centrepiece for Christmas lunch tomorrow.

To all those celebrating Christmas, have a great day tomorrow. To those not celebrating, have a lovely day and enjoy whatever you have planned.

Now I’m heading off to the biggest party, with my little shortbread Christmas trees in tow… Fiesta Friday #100! And the celebration is going to last over two weeks to give everyone a chance to come and party for a little bit over the festive season. A huge thank you to Angie @The Novice Gardener for everything she does and to her merry helpers; this week they are Judi @Cooking with Aunt Juju, Molly @Frugal Hausfrau, Steffi @Ginger & Bread and Suzanne @A Pug in the Kitchen. They are awesome ladies and know how to throw a party, so bring your treats and come say hi!

 

Shortbread Christmas Trees

  • Servings: Makes 4 trees
  • Print

 

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Equipment

7.5cm/7cm/6cm/5.5cm/4.5cm/2.5cm star-shaped cookie cutters *

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • White frosting pen
  • Cachous or sugar flowers and icing sugar mixture to decorate

Method

  1. Process the butter, sugar, flours and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor, stopping and scraping down sides with a spatula, if needed, until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to combine.
  2. Divide the dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until just firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Line four large baking trays with baking paper.
  4. Roll out 1 portion of dough between two sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Using the 7.5cm star-shaped cutter, cut 8 stars from the dough. Repeat with the 7cm star-shaped cutter, re-rolling and cutting the dough trimmings. Place the stars, 2cm apart, on two of the prepared trays. Bake, one tray at a time, for 10 minutes or until just firm to touch, but not browned. Stand the shortbread stars on trays for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Repeat with remaining dough, cutting 8 x 6cm stars, 8 x 5.5cm stars, 8 x 4.5cm stars and 8 x 2.5cm stars from dough, re-rolling and cutting the dough trimmings. Place on prepared trays, except smallest stars. Bake, one tray at a time, for 10 minutes or until just firm to touch, but not browned, adding smallest stars halfway through cooking. Stand on trays for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Once completely cool, decorate the shortbread stars any way you like using the frosting pen. (Make sure to have enough frosting left to dab in the middle of each cookie, which will act like the glue holding the cookies together.)
  7. Place 4 of the biggest stars onto presentation plates. Place some frosting in the centre of each star and top with another same-sized star, rotating the cookie so that the points sit at a different angle to the fist star. Repeat layering with more frosting and the remaining stars, two of each size per tree, except for the smallest starts, to form four Christmas trees.
  8. Add more frosting to the top of each Christmas tree. Working with one tree at a time, sandwich two 2 small stars together and stand them on top of each tree, pressing gently to secure. Pipe any leftover frosting on the trees in a decorative pattern. Set aside to set and then decorate with cachous or sugar flowers and dust liberally with icing sugar.

 

* If you don’t have or don’t want to have so many different sized star shapes, you can make these trees still work really well by only using three different sized star cookie cutters – they will just be a little shorter.

Recipe from Super Food Ideas.

 

 

Mushroom and Seasonal Cauliflower Gratin

I love this current trend that’s going on where we’re making healthy comfort foods. Where we care about the ingredients, the preparation, the nutrition of the meal, but never forgetting about the taste and that special something that can make certain foods just make you feel, well, comforted. And content.

True, lightening up stodgy foods is not necessarily a recent development, but lately, it seems to be happening for the love of cooking, for the love of an ingredient, not because a particular diet is telling us so.

Mushroom and Cauliflower Gratin

That’s one of the reasons why I so love Rachel Khoo’s recipes. She celebrates each ingredient so exuberantly and you can just tell she has a real passion for creating beautiful new dishes.

There’s a recipe for mushroom and cauliflower gratin in her new book, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook that just screams comfort food; it’s still creamy and luscious, but at the same time herby and full of veggies.

Mushroom and Cauliflower Gratin

It’s not easy selling a cauliflower dish in my household… But I had found some seasonal purple cauliflower at the market and convinced everyone to give it a go… They may not be cauliflower converts, but I’m pretty sure that they would all willingly eat this gratin again, cauliflower and all!

So that’s why I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday #92, this week hosted by all of us, to convert all you cauliflower haters out there.

Mushroom and Seasonal Cauliflower Gratin

  • Servings: serves 4 as a main or 6-8 as a side
  • Print

Mushroom and Cauliflower Gratin

Ingredients

  • 50g salt
  • 1.25 litres room temperature water
  • 800g fresh shiitake mushrooms or a combination including oyster, shiitake and chestnut mushrooms (brushed clean)
  • 3 brown onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 40g butter
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 400g frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 red chilli (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 80ml crème fraiche
  • salt to taste
  • 1 small cauliflower (purple if you can get it)
  • handful dill sprigs (finely chopped)
  • handful mint leaves (finely chopped)
  • ½ lemon (juiced)
  • 100g mature cheddar (grated)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
  2. Place the salt and water in a large deep roasting pan and stir until the salt dissolves. Add the mushrooms to the brine, then place another roasting tray on top so that the mushrooms are fully submerged. Stand for 10 minutes*.
  3. Meanwhile, cut two of the onions into quarters and separate the onion layers into petals. Finely chop the remaining onion and set aside.
  4. Drain the mushrooms well, then pat dry on paper towels. Dry the roasting pan and then return the mushrooms to the pan and toss with the olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes, then stir through the onion petals and roast for another 15 minutes or until the mushrooms and onions are golden.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until soft. Add the wine and simmer until nearly evaporated. Add the spinach and most of the chilli and stir for 6 to 7 minutes or until the spinach has defrosted and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the crème fraiche, season to taste, then pour into a large baking dish about 27 x 20 cm.
  6. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil over high heat. Remove the outer green leaves of the cauliflower but keep the stalk on the cauliflower. Slice the cauliflower from top to bottom into 5 mm-thick ‘steaks’ – you will be left with a few cauliflower florets that don’t stay intact, but you will use it all. Carefully drop all the cauliflower bits (minus the tiny crumbs) into the boiling water and simmer for 1 minute, then drain into a colander.
  7. Preheat the grill to high.  Reserve a few of the herbs for the garnish, then combine the rest with the lemon juice and stir through the mushrooms. Spread the mushroom mixture over the top of the spinach, then sprinkle over any cauliflower crumbs. Place the blanched cauliflower over the top, then sprinkle with the grated cheese. Grill for 5 to 10 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with the remaining chilli and herbs, then serve immediately.

* It’s important not to keep the mushrooms in the brine for longer than 10 minutes as they are like sponges and will absorb too much water if left any longer.

Recipe by Rachel Khoo from Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook.

Sweet Fig and Dark Chocolate Loaf

As some of you know, I’ve been participating in The Kitchn’s Baking School, trying to do the smaller homework assignments each night and then getting my bake on during the weekend.

The homework assignments have led to some mighty tasty baked goods, I must say, including choux pastry, which was turned into mushroom sandwiches; proper, time-consuming puff pastry, which became sweet and crispy allumettes; yeasted dough, which was almost effortlessly transformed into a stollen-like loaf full of dark chocolate, figs and walnuts.

I am not a novice baker, but I have found that the Baking School lessons are laden with information, history, chemical alchemy and tips and tricks that even the most qualified bakers out there would find useful. Although I want to take step back now that we’re coming up to the cake layering and decoration side of things… Still don’t see why I can’t just bake the goodies and leave the decorating to someone else… someone with a lot more patience…

Fig and Chocolate Loaf

A string of events forged a path to this bread. This bread had to be baked. And now.

It started with figs. It occurred to me that we were nearing the end of fig season and I had yet to cook with them. The Baking School lesson for Day 13 was rich yeast breads and sweet breads. I purchased and started reading A Year of Good Eating: The Kitchen Diaries III by Nigel Slater, where, in the very first entry, he evocatively writes about his tradition of baking bread on New Year’s Day. Around the same time, he also published a sweet fig and dark chocolate loaf recipe in his column for The Guardian.

I may not have followed the homework assignment to the letter, but I made the bread that I was meant to make.

Oh and if you make this, do yourself a favour and have a slice while it’s still warm and the chocolate filling is still gooey. Trust me.

It may not be warm any longer because I am so late this week, but I’m bringing the few slices I haven’t eaten to the Fiesta Friday 91 party, joyfully co-hosted this week by Angie @The Novice Gardner, Juju @ cookingwithauntjuju and Indira @ I’ll Cook, You Wash.

Sweet Fig and Dark Chocolate Loaf

Fig and Chocolate Loaf

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 50g butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 7g easy bake yeast
  • 100ml milk (warmed)
  • 25g sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)

For the Filling

  • 6 green cardamoms
  • 3 figs (roughly chopped)
  • 100g dark chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
  • 50g walnut halves
  • 40g golden sultanas
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Glaze

  • 50g butter
  • icing sugar

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a small pan, then leave to cool down. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast then stir in the milk, sugar, salt, cooled butter and the lightly beaten egg. Mix thoroughly – the dough will be soft and rather sticky. Turn out on to a lightly floured board. As you knead, the dough will become less sticky, more like a bread dough. When it is soft, elastic and no longer sticking to the board, transfer to a floured bowl. Set aside in a warm place, covered with a clean tea towel, for a good hour.
  2. For the filling, break the cardamom pods and remove their black seeds. Crush the seeds to a coarse powder using a pestle and mortar or a spice mill. Mix the figs, chocolate, walnut halves, sultanas, cinnamon together.
  3. Dust the work surface with flour and tip your risen dough on to it. Roll out into a rectangle about 24cm x 20cm. Place the longest side towards you and spread the fig filling over the dough, then roll up, swiss-roll style, to form a plump loaf shape. Lift onto a floured baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and return to a warm place to prove for a further hour. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  4. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes until pale gold. Melt the butter for the glaze and brush over the loaf. Cool on a wire rack, then dust generously with icing sugar.

Recipe by Nigel Slater as found on The Guardian’s website.

Apple and Strawberry Crumble with a Chewy Oat Topping

There are just too many distractions around me at the moment. Although, I will admit, that it is kind of my own fault…

I’ve just wrapped up a huge project at work and finally got the 84-page monster off to the printer, I’m participating in The Kitchn’s Baking School, I’m still trying to find the optimum layout for my spices in my new pantry, not to mention the boxes that still need to be unpacked, and, unfortunately, I am watching a lot of TV.

Apple-Strawberry Crumble with Oat Topping

You see, I had to – yes, had to – sign up for pay TV… How else was I going to watch The Great Australian Bake Off?? But access to the food channel brings along with it a whole host of shows that I have suddenly been suckered into watching.

This has made cooking dinner very difficult and taking twice as long as it should…

I am very grateful that these are the worst of my concerns at the moment.

I will admit that I did enjoy a fun evening prepping fruit for a crumble on the coffee table whilst watching some food show.

Apple-Strawberry Crumble with Oat Topping

It that time of year again, that even if you are in a different hemisphere, pumpkin and apple goods are appearing everywhere. Or it could be that they have always been there and I’m just paying more attention to what’s around at the moment.

Whilst at the market hunting for some purple cauliflower, I found some beautiful apple cider-toasted oats, and with strawberries on sale at the next stall, an oat-topped apple and strawberry crumble was a no brainer. It’s seasonal for both my fall-happy friends on the other side of the world and for us here who are experiencing quite a fickle spring.

This worked out quite well seeing as I’m co-hosting Fiesta Friday #90 this week with Angie @The Novice Gardener and Lindy @Love in the Kitchen. Can you believe we’ve had 90 awesome fiestas? Ten to go before what I’m sure will be a huge extravaganza! So join in and share your recipes with us this week and stick around to chat with some lovely people.

Apple and Strawberry Crumble

Apple-Strawberry Crumble with Oat Topping

The amount of fruit needed for a crumble all depends on the size of the baking dish you are using. Just keep cutting fruit until the baking dish is three-quarters full, which will allow room for the crumble topping. If you fill it right to the top, bake it with an empty baking sheet underneath to catch any juices that might bubble over. The amount of fruit I used filled a 33cm x 25cm oval baking dish.

Ingredients

  • 6 apples (peeled and chopped into small, even pieces)
  • 1 punnet of strawberries (cleaned, topped and chopped into quarters)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar (or a bit more depending on taste or the sweetness of your fruit)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (divided)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 60g all-purpose flour
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • Around 4 grates of a nutmeg seed, or to taste
  • 70g butter (melted)
  • Vanilla ice cream (to serve, optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Toss the chopped apples and strawberries together with the lemon juice and pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle with the sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and then stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in the melted butter and stir to combine. If the mixture is to dry and not clumping, add a little water to help bring the oats together into a soft clumps.
  4. Top the chopped fruit with oat crumble topping, gently spreading the mixture around as much as possible.
  5. Place the baking dish into the oven and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, or until the oat crumble topping is golden brown – it goes from golden to brown very quickly so keep an eye on it in the last few minutes.
  6. Allow to stand for at least 5 minutes, 10 minutes is better, before serving, with or without ice cream and a teaspoon of sticky juice from the bottom of the baking dish.

Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

I have a list. Well, I have many lists, but in particular, I have a list for which recipes to post and when.

All bloggers have a list like that, right??

Well, the problem I find is that I cook way, way, WAY more than I post. Now because of this, my precious list is in constant flux. Seasonal dishes have to move down the list, waiting for their time to come around again because I just didn’t get to them.

And for that, I blame the Internet.

There are just too many recipes out there to try, and when you throw in all the cookbooks, magazines and trying to recreate meals you’ve had at restraints, it becomes a hell of a feat to create the weekly menu. We’ve spoken about this before.
Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

That’s exactly what happened this week. I was supposed to post a yummy, go-to lentil salad that actually makes lentils look pretty, but Yotam struck again with his weekly column in The Guardian and I just had to try this red rice salad with grilled corn and other goodies. And then, once I had tried it, I had to post it. Immediately.

It. Was. That. Good.
Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

This red rice salad is nothing short of amazing. It is perfectly balanced in both flavour and texture, and is great both warm for dinner and cold the next day for lunch – if you are lucky enough to have leftovers. And the dressing… Just yum.

I’m sharing this salad with the happy revellers at Fiesta Friday #89 and this week’s co-hosts, Angie @The Novice Gardener, Mila @Milk and Bun and Kaila @GF Life 24/7. There will be extra dressing for all who link up to the party!

Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

  • Servings: serves 4 to 6
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Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

Ingredients

  • 150g Camargue red rice
  • 1 large red onion (peeled, quartered and the individual layers separated)
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • Salt
  • 2 corn cobs (peeled if in husks, trimmed and cleaned)
  • 6-7 spring onions (trimmed)
  • 150g edamame beans (blanched for 30 seconds and drained)
  • 80g snow peas (cut diagonally)
  • 2 medium avocados (peeled and stoned just before serving, then cut into 2cm dice)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted, to serve)
  • 15g coriander leaves (optional)
  • 1 lime (cut into wedges, to serve)

For the dressing

  • 1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon flaked chilli
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 3 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sesame oil

Method

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with plenty of water and place on a high heat. Once boiling, add the rice and cook for 25 minutes, until soft but still retaining a bite. Drain, refresh under cold water, set aside in a colander to dry, then transfer to a large bowl.
  2. While the rice is cooking, use a freestanding or hand-blender to blitz all the dressing ingredients with a quarter teaspoon of salt until smooth and thick, then set aside.
  3. Put a ridged griddle pan on a high heat and ventilate your kitchen. In a medium bowl, mix the onion with the oil and a quarter teaspoon of salt. When the pan starts to smoke, add the onion and cook for four minutes, turning over every 30 seconds, until the individual leaves are soft and charred all over, then transfer to the rice bowl.
  4. Lay the corn cobs on the griddle and cook for six minutes, turning them every minute or so, until charred on all sides. Remove from the heat and, once cool enough to handle, hold each cob upright on a board and use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels in clumps. Add these to the rice bowl.
  5. Lay the spring onions in the griddle and cook for six minutes, turning them over often, until charred and smoky all over. Remove from the heat, chop into 5cm-long pieces and add to the bowl.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, add the snow peas and avocados to the bowl, pour over the dressing and toss Serve in individual portions, sprinkling each with sesame seeds and picked coriander, if you like, with a lime wedge on the side.

Note: Yotam tosses the salad very gently; preferring to not have the ingredients completely evenly distributed. Apparently I need to work on this… Otherwise, toss the whole thing into one mixed salad and serve.

Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian.

Salt Choc Chip Cookies

Don’t get me wrong, I eat my fair share of chocolate. Probably even more than my fair share of chocolate. But if there’s a choice between something sweet and something savoury, I’ll choose the savoury option 99 per cent of the time.

I’ll always choose chips (crisps) over biscuits. Yes, I’ll even choose them over cookies.

I blame the salt.

But these cookies, these delightfully chewy cookies are equally sweet, chocolaty and salty. And when they’re fresh out of the oven, so soft that they’re curving over and the choc chips are still gooey, well, something magical happens when you take you first bite.

Salt Choc Chip Cookies

We had a public holiday today for a sporting event… think what you will about that… and seeing as though we are really not sports-orientated people, a group of us decided to do the least sporty thing we could thing of… have a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon.

There was even a runsheet organised for the day and what kind of snacks were and were not acceptable. These cookies were listed. Twice.

They are that good.

The first time I made them we gorged on them. And I still had enough cookies to take to work the next day so that we wouldn’t eat them all. And everyone who tried them came up to me with wide eyes, making noises you generally don’t want to hear at the office…

Yep, they’re that good.

Even though these cookies don’t taste overly sweet, they do have a fair bit of sugar in them. This is why you should share, you know, cookie style – two for you, one for someone else; two for you, one for someone else… Which is why I am being so very generous and kind by bringing these to the Fiesta Friday #88 party, this week co-hosted by Angie @The Novice GardenerJulie @ Hostess At Heart and Liz @ Spades, spatulas, & spoons

Salt Choc Chip Cookies

  • Servings: makes around 30 cookies
  • Print

Salt Choc Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 430g plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoons bi-carb soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 240g unsalted butter (at room temperature and chopped into small cubes)
  • 230g brown sugar
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ a vanilla bean (seeds scraped*) or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 150g dark chocolate chips
  • Approximately 2 teaspoons Maldon sea salt flakes**

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan-forced) or 190°C (conventional). Line two large cookie sheets with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, bi-carb soda and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugars until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beating after each addition, then add the vanilla.
  4. Mix in the flour, followed by the choc chips.
  5. Roll small tablespoon amounts of the dough into balls and place on the trays, leaving room for the cookies to spread. Press down on the dough lightly and then sprinkle some Maldon sea salt on the top of each cookie.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are lightly golden.

* Don’t throw out the scraped vanilla bean – place it in some sugar to make vanilla sugar.

** Make sure to use sea salt, Maldon or not, but not table salt

Recipe by Camilla Clark.

Strawberry and White Chocolate Scones

It’s finally starting to warm up. The trees have mostly blossomed and the view from the balcony is very country-esque.

But it seems like our new home is a bit of an icebox and I’m still walking around in a scarf.

Perfect conditions for baking, if you ask me!

Strawberry and White Chocolate Scones
And rustic, old-fashioned scones seemed to perfectly suit the mood of the day. The scone gods are apparently still smiling down at me, so this strawberry and white chocolate version rose perfectly, coloured beautifully and tasted fantastic. Jam and cream is not necessary at all, but if you happen to have some, go forth and slather.

I’m a little late to the party, but that’s okay, Angie @The Novice Gardener is flying solo this week and I can quietly sneak into the Fiesta Friday #87 party, deposit the scones and smile sweetly like I was there the whole time. Don’t forget to come back on Tuesday to have a look at all the great recipes and vote for your favourites.

Strawberry and White Chocolate Scones

  • Servings: makes 12 scone wedges
  • Print

Strawberry and White Chocolate Scones

Ingredients

  • 525g self-raising flour
  • 150g white chocolate (cut into 5mm pieces)
  • 250ml chilled carbonated lemonade
  • 250ml pouring cream
  • 150g strawberries (cut into 5mm pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Grease two oven trays and line them with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the chocolate.
  3. Combine the lemonade and pouring cram in jug and then pour evenly over the flour mixture.
  4. Using a knife, cut the liquid through the flour mixture until it starts to clump.
  5. Add the strawberries and continue to combine until the mixture comes together in a dough. Do not overwork the mixture or the dough will be tough.
  6. Divide the dough in half. With floured hands, shape one half into an 18cm round on one of the trays. Using the back of a floured knife, mark the round into six wedges. Repeat with the remaining dough and tray.
  7. Bake the scone rounds for 25 minutes, swapping the trays on the oven shelves halfway through the cooking time, or until the tops are golden brown.
  8. Dust the scones with sifted icing sugar and serve warm. Jam and cream is optional.

Recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly Love to Bake cookbook.

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