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!

Moroccan Baked Eggs

Moroccan Baked Eggs 1

I am a huge fan of baked eggs, they are perfect for a lazy weekend brunch, breakfast or even dinner. They look super impressive and I always think food seems that bit more special if it is served in its own edible bowl.

This recipe is delicious! It incorporates the flavours of roasted capsicum with the glorious smoky, sweet flavour of paprika and cumin to create a Moroccan inspired dish. Topped with freshly chopped chives and served with a smoky garlic, chilli sauce – how can you go wrong!?

Ingredients

  • 3 medium capsicums – mixed colours, halved and deseeded
  • 6 large free range eggs
  • 2 medium brown onions – finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 1 cup of McCain Frozen baby peas
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • 250g short cut bacon – diced into 1cm wide pieces
  • ½ tsp each of ground coriander seeds, cumin, sweet paprika and Moroccan herbs
  • Grated tasty cheese – to scatter
  • Chopped chives and chili sauce – to serve

Moroccan Baked Eggs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the capsicums on the baking tray and cook for 15 minutes or until slightly tender.
  3. Meanwhile heat a medium sized pan over a high heat. Add olive oil, onion and garlic, reduce to a medium-high heat and cook until onion becomes translucent and starts it brown.
  4. Add the bacon, McCain Baby Peas and spices to the pan. Cook, stirring until the bacon begins to turn golden.
  5. Remove the capsicums from the oven, drain any juices and pat dry using paper towel or a clean tea towel.
  6. Fill the capsicums with the pea mixture, dependent on the size of your capsicums it should be about 3-4tbs, and make a well in the centre of each capsicum halve.
  7. Crack an egg into the centre of each well, scatter with cheese and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the egg whites are fully cooked.

Enjoy!

Moroccan Capsicum5

Spiced Chicken Wings

Image: Australian Gourmet Traveller

Image: Australian Gourmet Traveller

With Footy Finals Fever in full swing one thing I know everyone can agree on is the need for something delicious to munch on while you cheer your team onto glory! With that in mind, one of my all-time favourite finger foods would have to be chicken wings. They can be cooked a thousand ways, eaten with your hands and downed between sips.

Without further ado let me introduce to you one of the most deliciously, devilish chicken wing recipes I know – Spiced Chicken Wings with Roast Garlic and Chipotle Sauce.

Ingredients – Wings

  • 400 ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp each smoked sweet paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground garlic and ground onion
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lime
  • 1 kg chicken wings, jointed

Ingredients – Roast Garlic and Chipotle Sauce

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Spanish onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 chipotle chillies in adobo  – available from delicatessens
  • To serve: juice of 1 lime, or to taste, plus wedges
  • Pinch of caster sugar

Method:

  1. Whisk buttermilk, spices, oil and lime rind in a bowl, season to taste, add wings, stir to coat and transfer to a non-reactive container. Cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  2. For roast garlic and chipotle salsa, preheat oven to 180C. Wrap garlic in foil, roast until tender (40-50 minutes), cool slightly, squeeze flesh from skin and set aside. Meanwhile, place tomatoes cut-side down on an oven tray lined with baking paper, add onion, drizzle with oil, season to taste and roast until tender (35-45 minutes). Cool, peel tomatoes, process in a food processor with remaining ingredients to a thick sauce, season to taste and set aside.
  3. Preheat a barbecue or char-grill to medium-high. Drain wings and grill, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (8-10 minutes). Season to taste and serve hot with salsa and lime wedges.

Best served with a Rose, pear cider or icy cold beer!

Enjoy! Oh and go Freemantle!

Vegan Broccoli, Mushroom and Tofu Soup

Okay, so I am sure the word vegan has thrown you off and you probably think this recipe will be tasteless and leave you hungry, but you would be wrong! This soup is a wonderful set and forget meal that is hearty and will fill you and the family to the brim. It’s packed full of goodness and is a great winter warmer.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 10 mushrooms
  • 200g silken tofu
  • 1 x 2 person serve of 90 second brown rice
  • 1L of vegetable stock or chicken stock but obviously it won’t be vegan if you use the chicken stock
  • 1 large brown onion – diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic – minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a heavy bottomed casserole dish – I used my La Chasseur cast iron pot.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and fry until fragrant and translucent.
  3. Break the florets from the head of broccoli, chop the stalk, quarter the mushrooms and add to pan.
  4. Cover with stock, bring to the boil, reduce to simmer and cover for 40 minutes.
  5. Cook the brown rice according to packet instructions, add along with the tofu.
  6. Use your spoon to break up the tofu and a stick blender to blend.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve!

I also cracked black pepper over the top when it was served so it didn’t look as much like a brown/green blob – just a thought.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato, Carrot, Leek and Pumpkin Soup

photo

With the morning hovering below zero in Young it has been hard to drag myself out of bed of a morning and when I manage to I am normally greeted by my over enthusiastic dog, coffee and peanut butter toast. While going through the usual morning procrastination about get out of my dressing gown, brushing my hair and plying my face with make-up the other morning. I decided it was simply imperative that I make a soup to greet me when I came home for lunch; and, boy am I glad I did.

Arriving home, the smell of delicious soup filled the air. I hurried over to my slow cooker, lifted the lid and knew I was in some kind of soup heaven. So, in summary I suggest that you make this soup for lunch or dinner. You can have everything in the slow cooker and ready to go in under five minutes – yes, I know, it’s crazy quick to prepare. And, if you leave it long enough everything will have collapsed so much that you don’t even need to blend it.

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato or yam for our friends from the U S of A
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 leek, white part only
  • 1 cup of dried yellow split peas, rinsed
  • 1/2 a butternut pumpkin – I use butternuts as I find them to have a creamier more subtle flavour but feel free to use whichever variety you have on hand.
  • 2L chicken or vegetable stock – if you use the vegetable you’ll have a lovely vegan soup
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 tsp of mixed dried italian herbs
  • 2 tsp of dried ground oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Peel the pumpkin and sweet potato.
  2. Cut all vegetables and split peas into chunks and place in slow cooker.
  3. Add all spices and stock.
  4. Place slow cooker on HIGH if you would like the soup ready in around 3-4 hours or on LOW if you would like it ready in 5-6 hours or more.
  5. Cover and let cook!
  6. Uncover – remove rosemary stalks and bay leaves. Taste and add any additional seasoning needed.
  7. If you would like the soup to be free of chunks use a stick blender or blender to blend until smooth in batches.
  8. Serve in a bowl as is or with sour cream.

Tip: if you’d like to give this soup a twist add in a tin of Coconut Milk at the end, stir through and top with coriander leaves.

Enjoy!

Caramelised Onion, Tomato and Olive Tart

Caramelised Onion, Tomato and Olive Tart

One of the things I have liked best about moving to the country is how friendly all of our neighbours are. From the drive-by-wave (much different to Sydney style drive-bys) to collecting mail and giving you homegrown vegetables over the back fence.

A few nights ago Ben and I were outside playing with the dog when a neighbour wandered over with a bag of fresh tomatoes and zucchinis they had grown. While we had just done our shopping and bought these we gladly accepted them all was I was thinking what we would make to use up our tomato army.

Yesterday I was tried and the last thing I felt like doing was heading to the supermarket then slaving over a hot stove… As I have completely given in to cooking show fever I thought I would make my very own ‘Invention Test’ and see what we had at home I could make that would use up a lot of tomatoes and some zucchini.

May I present to you one of the easiest, most fuss-free, mid-week meals I have ever made: Caramelised Onion, Tomato and Olive Tart. I promise you that after some short prep work you will have 30 minutes to pop your feet up with a vino and relax.

Ingredients

Makes 2 tarts

  • 3 large brown onions
  • a lot of tomatoes, I used about 8 roma’s
  • 1 zucchini
  • 12 olives
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • 2tps butter
  • raw sugar
  • 3tbs dried rosemary
  • freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt
  • basil leaves, to garnish

Method

  1. Slice onions and add to a hot a pan with butter and a splash of olive oil.
  2. Reduce pan to a low-medium heat, add rosemary and sprinkle with raw sugar, mix. Allow to cook for around 15 minutes, you want your onions to caramelise. The addition of both butter and oil may seem a tab over the top but by using both it will stop the other from burning while the onions sweat. The sugar will allow this to happen without your onions sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 200C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  4. While your onions are cooking cut the tomatoes into rounds approximately 1cm wide. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar and allow to sit.
  5. Using a veggie peeler slice ribbons of zucchini and cut the olives in half.
  6. Once your puff pastry has started to soften, cut each sheet in half and layer the two pastry halves together, pressing gently to secure.
  7. Using a knife cut a 1-1.5cm boarder around the edge of pastry ensuring you only cut through the top layer. This will form the boarder that will rise during cooking.
  8. Divide the caramelised onion between pastry rectangles, spreading to the border. Top with tomatoes, olives and zucchini ribbons.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is crisp, puffed and golden.
  10. Top with fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar and oil olive. Serve and enjoy!

Note: if you can be bothered to head to the supermarket grab some danish feta and crumble over the top, yum.

Enjoy!