Soda Bread

Soda Bread

Soda Bread

On Christmas Day my family indulged in a gigantic Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. Afterwards, we sat back, entered our food coma’s and emerged from them around the same time the Griswalds realise their Great Aunt has wrapped her cat as a Christmas present. Now, I don’t know if it was jelly-soaked wrapping paper, the deflating Turkey or the flow of toxic camper-van toilet waste into the gutter, but it was at this time that my brother announced it was time for his annual Pork and Cheese toasted sandwich.

In this particular sandwich my brother attempts to fit as much leftover pork, gravy, vegetables and cheese as possible, on a sandwich without incurring the much feared toastie-blowout. The toastie-blowout is a catastrophic Australian-ism thats possible occurrence will strike fear into the hearts of even the most fierce and weathered tradies, not dissimilar to the fabled “Drop Bear”, it is where your cheese and filling squirts out of the sandwich only to bake onto your jaffle maker. Life can be so cruel.

Upon him entering the kitchen, banshee-esque screams could be heard throughout the neighborhood as he realised there was no bread he could eat, he is allergic to yeast.  DUN-DUN-DUUUUN. Being the wonderful and modest sister I am, I stepped in and decided to whip him up a batch of yeast-free soda bread. Recipe below in case you ever find yourself or a loved one in such circumstances, or if you simply want some delicious bread.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup of rice flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 2 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 60g butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Butter, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 180°C. Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, ground cumin and 1 tablespoon of the fennel seeds in a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the milk and vinegar and use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until the mixture starts to come together. Use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently shape into a ball. Use your hands to roll the dough into a 40cm-long log. Cut into 8 equal portions.
  3. Shape each dough portion into a ball and place on a large baking tray. Use a sharp knife to score a cross into the top of each ball. Sprinkle with remaining fennel seeds. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Serve warm with butter.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Slice

Zucchini Slice

Zucchini Slice is a family favourite – a quick bake classic that is packed full of hidden veggies and perfect for fussy eaters.

Ingredients

  • 3 zucchinis
  • 2 carrots
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 1/3 cup of plain flour
  • 2/3 cup of grated tasty cheese
  • 1 tbs of garlic – crushed
  • 1 brown onion – finely diced
  • 200g of bacon – finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp of ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp of mixed Italian herbs
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
  • 1 large tomato – finely sliced
  • Mixed green leaves with balsamic dressing – to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170C and line a 30x10cm baking dish with baking paper.
  2. Grate the zucchini’s and carrots into a large mixing bowl and press with paper towel to remove all excess water.
  3. Add all other ingredients to the mixing bowl, reserving 1/3 cup of grated cheese and use a balloon whisk to mix – this will help to break up any clumps and remove lumps from the flour.
  4. Pour into lined baking dish, sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/3 cup of grated cheese and arrange slices of tomato on the top of the slice.
  5. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until set and the top is golden.
  6. Serve with mixed green leaves.

Enjoy!

Ham, Cheese and Tomato Scrolls

Last weekend the weather was AMAZING and I decided to make savoury scrolls for Ben and I to take on a picnic to our local dam/park/gardens. I wanted something quick, easy and without rising time to I developed a scone style herb scroll and it was delicious!

Ingredients – Scroll

  • 1 cup of wholemeal self raising flour
  • 1 cup of self raising flour
  • 50g of butter – cubed
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp of mixed Italian herbs

Ingredients – Filling

  • 100g of meat – I used a Russian smoked ham
  • Tomato paste of pizza sauce – to spread. Make sure your sauce choice isn’t too salty!
  • Cheddar cheese to scatter
  • I also put some mushrooms in mine, it did make them hard to roll tightly but I LOVE mushrooms!
  • NOTE: within reason, you can basically put whatever you would like in these – pineapple, fresh tomato, avocado – if hot avocado is your thing.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine the flour, herbs and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Rub in the butter with your fingertips as though you were making a scone mix – these are essentially just a giant, delicious scone. 
  4. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and slowly pour in the milk.
  5. Using your fingertips, again, combine the milk and the flour mix to form a dough ball that lifts away from the edges of the bowl. Yes, you will look like a creepy dough monster while this happens. 
  6. Place the dough ball on a well floured surface and knead until smooth. 
  7. Roll out to form a rectangle approximately 25-30 cm long and as wide as you’d like. I wouldn’t recommend it to be too thick as it will be dry and not very scroll-like. JESS9
  8. Top the dough with your desired filling, roll width-ways and cut into 2-3cm scrolls.JESS11JESS15JESS16
  9. Place onto baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
  10. Remove from oven, allow to cool and transfer to a serving tray.

Enjoy! xx

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15 Minute Monday – Sweet and Sour Pork

Hi my name is Jessica and I love pork.

That’s it plain and simple. I love pork in any which way it can come – pork chops, bacon, ham, jamón ibérico, prosciutto – I love it. Unfortunately for me Ben isn’t as bigger fan of this delicious anomal as I am, but he is well and truly coming around to it thanks to my delicious recipe for sweet and sour pork.

After some research and recipe tweaking and I have come up with a recipe for the most delicious, succulent and non-deep fried sweet and sour pork that you will ever have. In fact, this recipe has become a weekly request in my house with pork finding its way to our shopping trolley without my guiding hand. So ditch the take-away menu and the jars of suspiciously gelatinous, fluro ‘sweet and sour sauce’ because this recipe is chinch to make and it is delicious!

Ingredients

  • 600g of pork – I use heart smart steaks, diced. You can use chicken if you’d prefer
  • 2 tbs of cornflour
  • 2 tbs of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbs of peanut oil
  • 1 medium brown onion – halved and sliced
  • 1 large red capsisum – cut into strips
  • 1 large carrot – cut into matchsticks or julienned if you’re feeling fancy
  • 1 head of broccoli – cut into florets
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Steamed rice to serve

Ingredients – Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 2 tbs white vinegar
  • 1 tbs shao sing wine (Chinese cooking wine) or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbs ketchup manis
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 tbs tomato paste

Method

  1. Place the pork, cornflour, plain flour and salt in a bag, combine, add pork and shake/rattle/roll to evenly coat the pork. This coating works thicken the sauce and to provide a healthy version of the delicious coating you get on sweet and sour pork in Chinese restaurants without having to deep fry the pork.
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.
  3. Meanwhile, heat peanut oil in a large pan over high heat. Add onion and fry until translucent.
  4. Add pork and stir well to ensure all sides brown.
  5. Meanwhile, cook rice in rice cooker as per packet instruction, if you have a steamer tray on your rice cooker add your vegetables to the steaming tray halfway through cooking. I like to add the harder vegetables to the bottom layer i.e. carrot and broccoli stalks, then the softer vegetables like capsicum on the top layer.
  6. Once the pork has browned add the sauce, water and stir to coat all pieces of pork. Add the vegetables, reduce to a low heat and cover to simmer for five minutes or until the pork is cooked.
  7. Serve with steamed rice. 

Now I can’t go past a post on pork without one of my favourite pork quotes….

Spiced Chocolate Cookies

If you’re a beginner baker, biscuits are an easy and delicious starting point. These Chocolate Spiced Cookies are yummy – crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfect!

Ingredients

  • 185g butter – room temperature
  • 300g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 175g melted dark chocolate – cooled
  • 175ml milk
  • 150g plain flour
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa
  • 2 tsp of all spice
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180C and line 2 x baking trays with oven paper.
  2. Add the butter, sugar and vanilla essence to a large bowl and use electric beaters to cream.
  3. Add the eggs, egg yolk, melted chocolate and milk to the bowl and use the electric beaters to mix until fluffy.
  4. Shift flour, cocoa and all spice into the mixing bowl ensuring all lumps are removed. Add the chopped walnuts and guess what now, use the electric beaters to mix until fluffy.
  5. NOTE: if you’re okay with eating raw egg, which I am, you can stop the process here and enjoy one of the nicest chocolate mousse’s you will have ever eaten. It is seriously delicious; so much so that I even put some aside in a container for a certain batter eating friend to munch on.
  6. Roll the mixture into tablespoon sized balls, place on baking trays leaving a good 3-4cm between each cookie as they spread and bake for 18 minutes or until they are starting to brown.
  7. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.
  8. Sprinkle with icing sugar and share with friends.

Enjoy!

Black Forest Muffins

Australian Good Taste - October 2006, Page 55, Recipe by Sarah Hobbs. Photography by Ian Wallace.

Australian Good Taste – October 2006, Page 55, Recipe by Sarah Hobbs. Photography by Ian Wallace.

These Black Forest Muffins are one of the tastiest, simplest and easiest treats you will ever come across. This recipe is an on-the-run/cheats recipe that is designed for those times when you forget you have guests coming for dinner, people drop in OR you might just be really bad at baking and you want to wow people… and trust me these will!

Ingredients

  • 4 good quality double chocolate chip muffins
  • 1 tin of pitted cherries
  • 1 tbs of amaretto, brandy or kirsch
  • 200ml of double cream
  • 2 tsp of cornflour
  • ¼ cup of caster sugar
  • 1 flake bar – crumbled

Method

  1. Drain the cherries and reserve the syrup.
  2. Combine the syrup, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside for 2 minutes to cool slightly.
  3. Use a small serrated knife to split each muffin crossways into 3 layers. Place the bottom layer of each muffin on serving plates. Brush with a little of the kirsch. Top with half the cream, then half the cherries. Continue layering with remaining muffins, kirsch, cream and cherries.
  4. Drizzle the cherry syrup over the top of the muffins and sprinkle with the flake.
  5. Serve and lap up the compliments.

Enjoy!

Banana Nomcakes, I mean Pancakes

Happy Saturday! If you have a loved one having a lazy sleep-in this morning I recommend you win some extra brownie points by whipping up a batch of these delicious Banana Pancakes. This recipe was created after our honeymoon in Bali where Banana Pancakes are as common as Bintangs. Every morning we would wake to freshly cooked pancakes, topped with ripe banana and drizzled with honey – YUM!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup of plain flour
  • 2 tbs raw sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups of milk
  • 80g of melted butter, cooled
  • 1 egg, lightly wisked
  • Canola spray oil
  • 3 banana’s chopped
  • Honey to serve

Method

  1. Sift flours into a bowl, add sugar and stir to combine.
  2. Add milk, melted butter and egg; and whisk to combine.
  3. Heat a large pan over medium heat and spray with canola spray oil.
  4. Add as many of a 1/3 cup of mixture to the pan as will fit. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface on the pancake, around 2 minutes. Turn over and cook for another minute. You can vary the sizes of the pancakes which makes is great for presentation but be mindful that the cooking time will also vary.
  5. Transfer pancakes to a plate and top with either another plate or a clean tea towel. I don’t recommend putting them in to oven to keep warm as they can dry out and become rubbery which isn’t fun for anyone.
  6. Wipe out the pan, spray with a little more oil and repeat until the mixture is finished. If you find the pan is getting too hot, which it probably will, turn the pan onto a low heat. This should be enough heat to cook the pancakes as you get to the end of the mixture.
  7. Serve the pancakes stacked on a plate, topped with fresh banana slices and drizzled with honey!

Enjoy!