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
  • Print

 

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.

 

Advertisements

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.

Grilled  Asparagus with Sauce Vierge

I’ve had a bit of a surreal week; it’s been insanely busy at work, but the evenings are dragging a little… there’s still so much to do, so much to put away and organise, still so many boxes to get through from our recent move.

Grilled Asparagus with Sauce Vierge

Apparently, things don’t magically find a home when you move… you have to wait for other things to happen first, have to wait for things to go up, to be built, to be put in place. And if anything goes wrong, or not to plan, well, the you have to wait even longer.

I’d like for it to all be over and settled now, please. I’d like be able to read a few chapter on the weekend and not feel guilty; I’d like to be able to spend some time on cleaning up this blog without boxes staring at me, judging me; I’d like to be able to bake in the almost warm spring breeze without having to hunt for a kitchen tool.

We’re still so busy, there hasn’t really been time for long and leisurely brunches on the weekends. So when I saw a really fresh bunch of thin asparagus, I knew we were going to have breakfast for dinner, and who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?

Grilled Asparagus with Sauce Vierge

I’m hoping this week’s Fiesta Friday co-hosts do, so that way we can have breakfast, lunch and dinner, with some drinks thrown in for good measure, with Angie @The Novice Gardener,  Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 and Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes.

Grilled Asparagus with Sauce Vierge

  • Servings: serves 2 for breakfast
  • Print

Grilled Asparagus with Sauce Vierge

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches thin asparagus (trimmed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 to 4 slices of grain bread (toasted)

Sauce Vierge

  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 golden shallot (finely diced)
  • 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (coarsely crushed)
  • 100g cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chervil sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon chives (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon basil (finely chopped)

Method

  1. Preheat the grill or broiler. Place the trimmed asparagus on an oven tray in a single layer, drizzle with one tablespoon of oil, scatter with lemon rind, season to taste and grill until tender, turning once or twice for about 8 to 10 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, for the sauce vierge, heat the remaining oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallot, garlic and coriander seeds and stir occasionally until fragrant and tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and vinegar, season to taste and keep warm. Just before serving, stir in herbs.
  3. Poach the eggs in just simmering water until cooked to your liking, 3 minutes for soft yolks, drain on absorbent paper and keep warm.
  4. Arrange the toast and asparagus on serving plates, top each with a poached egg, spoon the sauce vierge over the top and serve warm

Recipe by Emma Knowles and Alice Storey as found on Gourmet Traveller website.

Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters and a Tribute to Selma

It seems that every other person has a blog nowadays.

Some start up because they need a creative outlet. Others are looking for notoriety. Still others just want a little piece of space, carved out just for them and their thoughts.

I started my little food blog at a time when they were already a dime a dozen. I had no new idea, not fantastic, paradigm-shifting approach to creating or sharing recipes. I just wanted a little creative outlet and a place to keep track of my efforts, achievements, and which recipes in the mounds and mounds of magazine cutouts, cook books and web links were the ones worth cooking again.

What I never thought I would encounter when I started was a community of like-minded people who were so sweet and nurturing. A group of people that were unbelievably kind and supportive, even to one who mostly just lurked in the shadows and only popped up every now and then to shyly say hi before going into hiding again.

Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters
Amongst this beautiful community was a lady who I formed a bond with over haloumi, of all things. Selma @Selma’s Table was always there, encouraging all of us with her kind words and sweet nature, and we’re all deeply saddened to hear of her passing. I will miss her wicked sense of humour and her heartfelt advice.

These haloumi fritters are not the ones we first bonded over, but they are the ones I’ve made to honour Selma. A huge thank you (and even bigger hugs) to Angie @Fiesta Friday, Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook, Elaine @Foodbod and Sue @birgerbird for putting together this space for all of us to remember Selma.

Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters with Avocado Salsa

  • Servings: makes 12 to 16 fritters
  • Print

Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters

Ingredients

  • 250g frozen peas
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g cornflour
  • 100g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 180g haloumi (half finely grated, half cut into 1cm cubes)
  • 3 scallions (finely sliced)
  • Zest and juice of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • Vegetable oil (for shallow frying)
  • 1 Avocado
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander (finely chopped)

Method

  1. Boil the peas in salted water for 2 minutes, then drain. Refresh under cold water, then drain again. Roughly mash half of the peas with a fork and then set aside.
  2. In a different bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, flours and baking powder until combined and smooth. Fold in the peas, haloumi, scallions, lime zest, coriander and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Add 4 tablespoonfuls of the mixture to the pan, pressing down to flatten slightly, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the mixture has been used up.
  4. Meanwhile, halve, de-pit and roughly chop the avocado flesh. Mix in the chopped fresh coriander, and then add the lime juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, to taste.
  5. Serve the fritters hot or at room temperature with the avocado and coriander salsa.

Recipe adapted from Delicious magazine.

Maple-Baked Nectarine Crostini with Mozzarella, Basil and Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

How do we really feel about imported fruit and vegetables?

Do we really and truly buy fresh produce because we want to support the community and our local growers? Because it is better for us? Because it’s better quality? Because it’s the right thing to do?

Yep, these are all good reasons. Personally, I prefer to buy local produce so that I can cook seasonal meals, from the comfort foods of winter to the beautiful fruit-inspired summer mains and everything in between.

And to be perfectly honest, the wait for seasonal delicacies is part of the appeal.

Baked Nectarine Crostini

I did buy imported nectarines the other day. I saw them and instantly remembered all of the summer dishes that I never got around to making before the stone fruit season had come to an end.

They weren’t great like middle of the season nectarines, but they weren’t bad either. And since I knew I was going to bake them, I only felt the tiniest, teeniest bit guilty for buying imported fruit.

So, moral of the story, it’s pretty much in everyone’s best interest to buy fresh and local produce. But if it’s available, and it’s tasty, and you really, really want to make something, it’s okay to sometimes buy some imported goodies.

I’m sharing these baked nectarine crostinis with the Fiesta Friday #73 gang, created by Angie @The Novice Gardener, and this week co-hosted by the lovely Michelle @Giraffes Can Bake and very sweet Juju @ cookingwithauntjuju.

Maple-Baked Nectarine Crostini with Mozzarella, Basil and Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

  • Servings: makes 8 crostini
  • Print

Baked Nectarine Crostini

Ingredients

  • 4 nectarines (stone removed, quartered)
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 8 pieces of sourdough bread
  • 2 fresh mozzarella balls (cut into 8 thick slices)
  • 8 large basil leaves
  • Raspberry balsamic vinegar to drizzle (or balsamic vinegar)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the nectarine quarters cut side down in a baking dish, drizzle with maple syrup, and bake for 15 minutes or until just tender.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly toast the slices of sourdough.
  4. Top each piece of sourdough with a slice of mozzarella, a basil leaf and two pieces of baked nectarines. Drizzle with raspberry balsamic vinegar and serve warm.

Vanilla Scones with Strawberry Cream

Have you ever thought about how many different kinds of scones there are? There are sweet scones, like white chocolate and strawberry, herb and cheese savoury scones, fruit-filled scones, butter scones, pumpkin scones, lemonade scones, buttermilk scones, lovely sounding crème fraiche scones that Kitsch n flavours just posted… I could continue for days…

Scones have never really liked me. I can make soufflés and bake croissants, but every scone recipe I’ve tried has ended in disaster.

Vanilla Scones

I have a friend who can speedily and effortlessly whip up a batch of scones without thought. Whilst also cooking lunch. And bread. And happily chatting and drinking wine. She is very skilled at multitasking…

She’s even walked me through her recipe and watched me make it and still has no idea how I messed them up time and time again.

They tasted fine, but boy did they look awful.

Recently, I had to take a morning tea/afternoon tea type treat to an event, and I figured it was the perfect time to try making scones again, and shock horror, they actually turned out pretty well! They tasted great and rose beautifully and evenly, and because these particular scones contain no butter or milk, they were still great the next day.

So seeing as how I am now free from the scone curse, I’m off to experiment with other types of scones and offer these ones up to the Fiesta Friday #70 party. Angie @The Novice Gardener, Dini @Giramuk’s Kitchen and Mollie @The Frugal Hausfrau are your co-hosts this week so it should be a great get-together.

Vanilla Scones with Strawberry Cream

  • Servings: makes 20 to 24 scones
  • Print

Vanilla Scones

Ingredients for Vanilla Scones

  • 4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 cup thickened cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla essence)
  • A few tablespoons of milk
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar (to serve)

Ingredients for Strawberry Cream

  • ¼ cup strawberry jam
  • 1 ½ cups whipped cream
  • 150g fresh strawberries (roughly chopped)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Sift flour, sugar and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Create a well in the centre and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine cream, milk and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a flat-bladed knife to combine.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth.
  5. Pat the dough out to a 2.5cm-thick round. Using a 5cm scone cutter, cut 12 scones from the dough. Gently press the remaining dough together and repeat.
  6. Place the scones on the prepared tray, allowing a little room for spreading. Using a pastry brush, gently brush some milk on the tops and sides of the scones and then bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.
  7. Remove the scones from the oven, cover with a clean tea towel and stand scones on tray for 10 minutes.
  8. To make the strawberry cream, stir the jam in a bowl until slightly softened. Add the cream and half the strawberries and gently fold through until just combined.
  9. Split scones in half. Top the bases with a dollop of strawberry cream, the remaining strawberries and the scone tops. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Recipe by Julie Jansen from taste.com.

Smoked Salmon and Quinoa Lettuce Cups with Lemon Crème Fraiche Sauce

Whether you were celebrated or helped to celebrate, I hope everyone had a lovely Mothers’ Day last week.

A friend’s mum is actually the inspiration behind these lettuce cups.

Lettuce Cups

We were having a grazing lunch a while ago of freshly-baked bread, salad, crisp vegetables and lots and lots of cheese. After trying to force more food on everyone, she ended up wrapping the leftover bits and pieces in a huge piece of cos lettuce. She looked so cute munching on her lettuce parcel, even while the rest of us good-naturedly teased her for it.

So I made a note in my phone to make some lettuce cups of my own, and here they are. You could pretty much use whatever combination of veggies that you like or have on hand, throw in some protein – tofu, smoked salmon, smoked chicken – and, to keep the boys happy, add some quinoa or couscous. Dollop on the crème fraiche sauce, fold into a parcel, and enjoy.

I’m sharing these with the Fiesta Friday # 68 lot, created by Angie @The Novice Gardener, and this week c-hosted by Justine @Eclectic odds n sods and Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook.

Smoked Salmon and Quinoa Lettuce Cups with Lemon Crème Fraiche Sauce

  • Servings: makes 8 lettuce cups
  • Print

Lettuce Cups

Lettuce Cups Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • ¼ cup mixed fresh herbs (finely chopped)
  • 8 of large, curved lettuce leaves (cos, little gem, iceberg)
  • 1 bunch asparagus (woody ends trimmed)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 100g smoked salmon
  • 1 Avocado
  • 12 baby bocconcini

Lemon Crème Fraiche Sauce

  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice of a ½ a small lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil or 1 tablespoon fresh dill (finely chopped)

Method

  1. Rinse and drain the quinoa and then cook it following the packet directions, adding the mixed fresh herbs to the cooking liquid. Set aside to cool.
  2. Wash the lettuce leaves, then dry them thoroughly between absorbent towels. Set aside.
  3. Toss the asparagus spears with the oil and lemon juice, season with salt, and grill until slightly charred, about 5 minutes.
  4. While the quinoa and asparagus are cooking, prepare the smoked salmon by portioning it into 8 slices and rolling them into 8 individual rolls. Halve and pit the avocado and cut four slices out of each half. Quarter each baby bocconcini into quarters.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, whisk together the crème fraiche, mustard and lemon juice until smooth and combined. Fold through the basil or dill and season with salt.
  6. When everything is cooked and ready, lay out the lettuce leaves on a serving tray. Top with a full tablespoon of quinoa, add a roll of smoked salmon, a couple of asparagus spears and a slice of avocado. Top with some baby bocconcini, drizzle some crème fraiche sauce over the top and serve warm or at room temperature.

Torta Pasqualina – A Savoury Easter Pie of Silverbeet, Ricotta and Eggs

Easter for me has always been about family and food.

And on the occasions when my sister hosts Easter lunch, it’s all about paring back her menu to a manageable amount that won’t leave her with mounds and mounds of leftovers.

Savoury Easter Pie

I tend to bake or cook Easter food from different countries and cultures to bring along to Easter lunch. Mostly because I’ve found a recipe I want to try, in part because I really don’t like the traditional Easter bread my family makes unless it’s three days old, toasted and slathered in butter, and a tiny little bit because I like to know there’s a safe vegetarian option for me and my youngest niece.

I’ve been holding onto a chocolate babka recipe for almost a year now, in anticipation for Easter, but not all plans work out as expected. In fact, the babka idea and post flew out the window the minute I saw a recipe for Easter pie in the latest Delicious magazine.

So, I’m assuming you’ve had your cocktails, your amuse bouches and are now ready for your Easter lunch starter: Torta Pasqualina.

Happy Easter everyone!

Torta Pasqualina (Savoury Easter Pie)

  • Servings: Serves 8 as a starter or 4 as a main
  • Print

Savoury Easter Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove (bruised)
  • 2 bunches silverbeet (thick white stalks discarded, leaves finely chopped)
  • 400g ricotta (drained)
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Finely grated zest of ½ a lemon
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 50g grated pecorino
  • 7 eggs
  • 375g frozen puff pastry (thawed)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a 26cm springform cake pan.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid over high heat. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds or until fragrant . Add the silverbeet and cover with the lid. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until wilted. Season with salt and set aside to cool. Remove the garlic and discard. Drain the silverbeet in a colander, pressing down to remove the excess liquid.
  3. Combine the silverbeet, ricotta, nutmeg, lemon zest, grated cheeses and 2 eggs in a large bowl. Season and set aside.
  4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 5mm thickness. Line the base and 4cm up the side of the springform pan to form a rim. Cut the remaining pastry into four, 26cm-long strips and set aside.
  5. Spoon the ricotta mixture onto the pastry, smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon. Make four, evenly spaced indents in the filling, then carefully crack one egg into each indentation.
  6. Arrange the pastry strips in a criss-cross pattern over the filling to create 4 to 8 wedges.
  7. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush it over any exposed pastry. Place the springform pan onto a baking tray and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until puffed, golden and crisp.

Recipe by Silvia Colloca.

Smashed Avocado and Fetta on Toast

Have you noticed that there is a negative side to food trends? Where the oh so last year dish that was raved about and declared divine is discarded for the new trend, fad, ingredient or flavour?

I recently overheard someone in a café complaining how smashed avocado is so passé, and yes, they used the word passé. Okay, so you can pretty much get a version of smashed avocado from any café these days, but so what? If it tastes good and you like it, why can’t you order it? Whatever happened to each to their own? Maybe loudly opinionated food snob whingers should become passé…

Smashed Avocados

And just the other day I read an article that argued that sourdough is so overused, and that our obsession with it is a fad that’s going to pass when ‘foodies’ decided it’s time to worship a new type of bread. There was no sense that the author had done any research on sourdough in the midst of the sweeping generalisations, otherwise they may have noticed that sourdough can be traced back to the California gold rush of 1849, if not back even further… 165 years is hardly ‘temporary’…

But how are bloggers different to hoity-toity café goers and reporters who tell you what you should and shouldn’t be eating? Isn’t one of the main ‘reasons’ for blogging to get your opinions out there?

Sure.

But as a general rule, food bloggers offer their opinions in quite an unassuming way, and usually by sharing their stories. They very rarely annoyingly parade their opinions about, loudly shoving them in your face and belittling you if you don’t automatically bow down and agree…

So, if there are past food trends that you still eat, even though they seem to have fallen out of favour, then more power to you and your culinary tastes!

Now onto more important things… like smashed avocado… This recipe is the basic starting block. Get the base mix to your liking and you can build the toppings from there, from a simple garnish of fresh herbs, chilli or dukkah, to basil and lemon juice-topped cherry tomatoes, to fried or poached eggs, with or without smoked salmon.

Oh, and in case sourdough just doesn’t do it for you, or you can’t get your hands on some, rye bread is a fantastic substitute for smashed avocado toasties.

Smashed Avocado and Fetta on Toast

Smashed Avocados

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe but firm avocados
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
  • 100g Danish fetta
  • 4 slices of sourdough or light rye bread
  • 1 tablespoon of dukkah

Method

  1. Slice and halve the avocados, remove the pits and scoop the avocado flesh out into a medium bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice, crumble in half of the fetta and mash roughly with a fork until just combined. Taste and season with salt, if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the bread until golden brown.
  4. When ready, scoop ¼ of the avocado mixture onto each slice of toast. Top with the remaining crumbled fetta and scatter with dukkah. Serve with lemon wedges.

Honey Roasted Fig and Mascarpone-Yogurt Parfait

It’s getting just a little harder to find figs these days, and that’s usually the first sign for me that it’s time for earthier, more comforting flavours to make their way back into my everyday cooking.

Like very many people, I cook seasonally. I look forward to certain months, anxiously awaiting the return of something, usually plums and berries.

Image

However, I’ve noticed that I do not upload blog posts seasonally. I tend to  post recipes because I’ve cooked the dish again, or I come across the photo, a post-it note. Sometimes I post recipes because there’s a particular national food holiday or event that creates a playful link. Other time, I post recipes because everyone else does, not so much to say, ‘hey, I can do it to’, but more because there’s this urgency sometimes in the food blog community when a trend takes off and you just get caught up and dragged along for the ride.

So, partly because of a seasonal cheese challenge throw down from Fromage Homage, and partly because I will very soon be figless until next season, I will post some of my favourite and newly discovered seasonal dishes for May.

Honey Roasted Figs and Mascarpone-Yogurt Parfait

  • Servings: makes 1 indulgent breakfast parfait
  • Print

Roasted Fig Parfait

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh figs*
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ vanilla bean (or one teaspoon vanilla essence)
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 4 tablespoons granola (separated)

Method

  1. Preheat the over to 180°C.
  2. Discard the stems and slice each fig in half. Place them in a snug, single layer in a shallow baking dish.
  3. Combine the honey and the vanilla bean seeds or vanilla essence. Drizzle the honey mixture over the figs and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until softened. Allow to cool a little before roughly chopping.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the yogurt and mascarpone in a bowl and stir until smooth and thick. Set aside.
  5. In a glass (or bowl), begin to layer the ingredients: add two tablespoons of granola, top with half of the yogurt mixture, followed by the chopped figs, layer over the rest of the yogurt, and finally, top with the remaining granola.
  6. Eat immediately!

 

* Mission figs are best for baking, but any fresh figs will work quite nicely.

Categories

Archives

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Food Daydreaming on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: