Quick Cucumber Pickle

This little gem of a condiment is probably one of the easiest things to come from my kitchen.

It’s so easy even Archie helps to make it – also it’s his favourite thing at the moment so he’s keen to have a stash in the fridge.

This pickle can be teamed with anything. Perfect for adding to burgers, pimping up a curry or stir-fry by adding a freshness. Basically it can make friends with any kind of dish and it will make it taste good.

QUICK CUCUMBER PICKLE

1 cup of white vinegar

1 cup of water

3/4 cup of white sugar

1 pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)

1 telegraph cucumber (sliced)

METHOD

Add vinegar, water, sugar and chilli (if using) to a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Slice your cucumber – not too thin and not too thick.

Once the pickle liquid has boiled take off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Add the cucumber.

Cover with a lid and leave to cool.

It’s ready to eat.

You can keep it stored in the fridge for 1 week. Just put the cucumber and liquid into a sterilised* jar.

*To sterlise a jar – Make sure it is clean and fill it with boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Empty and add your contents. Don’t forget the lid. Place the lid in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Remove and place on the jar. Remember once you have sterlised the jar don’t touch the inside of the jar or lid.

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Sticky Pork Bao with my Quick Cucumber Pickle.
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Ferrero Rocher Brioche Rolls

I’ve been tutu-ing with my cinnamon rolls AGAIN.

Who doesn’t like Ferrero Rocher?

Well actually my mum doesn’t. She digs chocolate and she loves nuts but it is a cardinal sin to combine the two.

If your like me and love them take the original brioche dough and change up the the filling.

Gooey and rich but not too sweet you will be in heaven.

Ferrero Rocher Filling

150gm Whittakers 65% cocoa chocolate (chopped)

70gm hazelnuts

3/4 cup hazelnut spread (any kind) – I’ve used Nutino. Made in Italy and nowhere near as sweet as Nutella.

In a dry pan toast your hazelnuts until brown and toasty smelling. Eyeball them the entire time they burn QUICKLY! Take the hot nuts and place in a tea towel. Rub to remove the bitter skins and roughly chop the nuts.

Roll out the brioche dough and spread out the hazelnut spread. Sprinkle over the nuts and chocolate.

Roll and follow the original recipe.

Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing better that hot, sweet and cinnamonny (that’s a word right!?!) buns.

I have been experimenting with a traditional cinnamon roll recipe and this is my version of Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze.

The great thing with the second prove overnight, you look like a baking legend when you rock up at the kindy shared lunch or work morning tea with warm buns!!

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INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

1 1/4 teaspoon dried yeast

160ml luke warm milk

3 cups plain flour

1/4 cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 free-range eggs

125g butter (melted)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste OR 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

FILLING

100gm butter (softened)

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 cup of dried fruit or chocolate (optional)

GLAZE

1 1/3 cups icing sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste OR 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

METHOD

In a bowl mix together the warm milk and yeast. Leave for five minutes. Make sure your milk is not too hot otherwise you will kill the yeast and your dough will be a dud.

In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar and salt. Melt butter and add to the flour mixture.  Lightly whisk the eggs and add the vanilla paste/essence then add to mixing bowl. Lastly add the milk yeast mixture.  Place a dough hook on your stand mixer and knead until a thick combined dough is made (roughly 8 minutes).  Place in a lightly greased bowl and stand covered in a warm place for 60 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

After it has risen roll out the dough on a lightly floured bench so it’s roughly rectangle shaped and 1cm thick.

For the filling switch from your dough hook to the whisk on your mixer.  Add the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and beat until light and fluffy.  Spread over the rolled out dough leaving a 0.5cm edge.  Here is where you add any fruit or chocolate. Sprinkle evenly over the filling.

Starting from the longest edge roll into a large sausage. Cut the roll in half then half again. You should then cut those halves into 3.  Making 12 rolls.

So there are 2 ways you can go from here. If baking immediately you can grease a baking dish and place the rolls in all comfy and let them proof again for 45 minutes OR you can place the rolls into a greased dish and place in the fridge covered overnight.  Don’t put the refrigerated rolls straight in the oven. Pull them out of the fridge 15 mins before hand to warm up a bit!

From here both of these need to be cooked in a preheated oven at 180 degrees (160 degrees if your using fan forced) for 20 minutes.  Then loosely cover with foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until cooked.  Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

In a bowl mix all the glaze ingredients. Spoon the glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls.

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Happy Baking.

Jx

 

 

Tray Bake Pasta

This recipe has evolved from a stand at the stove gig to a throw it all in a pan gig.

I am all for making good food as easy as possible. I know the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is spend hours at the stove. Bonus ….. even a husband could make this one!!


TRAY BAKE PASTA

4-6 good quality sausages of your choice (head to your butcher for the best ones!)

1.5kg tomatoes OR 1 jar of pasata sauce if you need to sell a kidney for said tomatoes

1 onion (sliced)

2 springs rosemary

1 handful of thyme

1 pinch of dried chilli flakes (omit or pump it up depending on taste)

salt & pepper

2-3 glugs of good olive oil (I use garlic infused for extra flavour)

Pasta any shape/type but remember shapes are a great carrier for sauces (depending on how many you are feeding. I used 1x 500gm packet to feed my family of 5 with left overs).

Parmesan

Fresh basil leaves

METHOD

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Add tomatoes, onions, herbs, chilli, salt & pepper to a large baking dish.

Take each sausage and pull the insides into small meatballs. Each sausage makes 5-6 meatballs.

Give it a big glug of olive oil cover with foil and bake for 20-25 mins.

Uncover and smoosh the tomatoes with a fork (if you have used pasata sauce skip this step).

Bake for another 10-15 until brown.

While this is happening cook your pasta in boiling salted water until done. Drain and keep 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the baking tray, add the cooking water and with a wooden spoon chuff up the baked on goodness to make the sauce.

Serve with fresh basil and grated parmesan.

Enjoy!!

J xx

Cookbook Classic – HOME by Unna Burch 

I have a confession to make.

I have a secret.

Well to be honest it’s not so secret!

I am a cookbook hoarder. If you have every watched Nigella Lawson you would have seen her cookbook library. It is probably the most epic thing I have ever seen in my life. A whole room dedicated to her love of cookbooks.

In all honesty I just love all books but cookbooks are for me next level. Flicking through the pages of a cookbook take you on a journey. Regardless if you ever actually cook from it.

The very talented Unna Burch from The Forest Cantina has recently self published her 2nd cookbook called Home and it really is like visiting her home.

Unna self published via Kickstarter. As a backer I was lucky enough to be part of her Auckland styling/photography workshop she did last year. Unna has an amazing presence about her. It’s really hard to describe how rad she is. But she is pretty dang amazing.  She take simple styling to the next level and watching her work was mindblowing. From the placement of a leaf or seed to added props and textures it really was like watching a master at work.

Bonnie Beattie art director and lifestyle photography for Home visually told the story an a way that captured a moment in time.

Home is a collection of recipes which Unna says is her home cooking. Not only is Home a cookbook it looks at lifestyle. From good food to growing your own produce, to raising chickens for the perfect coloured egg (check out The Forest Cantina on Instagram to see what I mean) and giving you an insight into urban bee-keeping. After reading it I was ready to buy hives, rent an allotment and buy some chooks. Then I realised I would be really shit at all of those things so i’ll just stick to the cooking!!

Stand out recipes from the book for us have been the Diner Style Pancakes – easy to make (as I could NEVER make the Edmonds cookbook ones).  Once you try these you will never lower yourself to buy those shaker pancakes again.

Meatloaf with a BBQ glaze is now a firm fixture on our dinner menu.  What I love most is the fact not only is it freaking delicious, it does us two dinners so it saves me time!! We have it with spuds and veggies on night one and the leftovers we have meatloaf burgers with wedges. It’s even good cold and Unna gives a great recipe for Meatloaf sammies.

We have also tried the super fast egg foo young. This is genius and perfect when you have those moments of “I can’t be bothered cooking” and it actually tastes better than takeaways!

I am slowly working my way through the book and I can’t wait to spend a weekend in the kitchen making Nana Kui’s beetroot chutney, jalapeno – cranberry jelly and giving Unna’s ramen bone broth a crack.

Home is definitely a book you will cook from as well as escape in the beautiful images that Unna and Bonnie have captured. If you want to be inspired to cook I say go with Home.

Oh Melbourne ….. PART ONE

I promised MANY people I would blog about our trip to Melbourne. But I got in a post holiday funk so looking and reminiscing about our AMAZING time just made me sad that I won’t be doing it again any time soon. I quickly got over myself and here it is. Our Melbourne adventure sans kids.

Oh and I will have to do it in parts because I started writing it and realised I had a BUTTLOAD to talk about so here is PART ONE. 

WARNING – Lots of food. Some of the images are not my own. I was too busy stuffing my face to get me phone out and lighting was shite, so it would not have done the food justice!!

DAY ONE – If you need a place to stay at Auckland Airport the night before you fly I cannot recommend the ibis Budget at Auckland Airport enough. Like it’s not 5 star but at $89 a night AND you can leave your car there for up to 7 days for about $60 you can’t really complain.

I hadn’t been to Melbourne before so I didn’t really know what to expect. But my 1st impression flying into it was “man it’s really FLAT!”

We continued our love for the Ibis hotels staying at the ibis Budget on Little Bourke St. We were super central BUT when you look at the map of the Melbourne CBD it’s all in blocks and everything looks really close. In reality the streets are QUITE long!! For example we were staying at 600 Little Bourke St and heading to GingerBoy for dinner it was a good 15-20 min walk even though it was on a little laneway just off Little Bourke St!!

The awesome thing about Melbourne is the different cultural aspects of it all. Staying on Little Bourke St you are heading into Chinatown. It really is epic and if you love to people watch you will LOVE Melbourne.  Chinatown is full of amazing restaurants each paying homage to their specialty be it dumplings, seafood or noodles. You could literally spend a week eating your way through 500m of Chinatown.

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Image – Google

GingerBoy is hailed as Melbourne’s 1st Hawker style fusion restaurant and to be honest it is pretty dang good. It is set up where you order a few dishes to share. We were feeling hungry so got the banquet menu (plus a few cocktails!!). Choosing the banquet menu you are given the fav/most popular dishes on the menu. This is a great way to eat because you get to try things you wouldn’t normally choose. It also gives you a great idea of what a restaurant is about.

The stand out for me was the salt and pepper chicken spare ribs (pretty sure they were chicken wings!) in a tamarind hot sauce. The were almost a smidge on the hot side for me (lil bit of a spice puss) but they were so good I didn’t care that the mouth was on fire!! GingerBoy was also the 1st place I got to try Wagu beef. So I’ve heard about this famed “Wagu”. It’s the mac daddy of beef.  For me I’m not a huge steak/beef fan and never order steak when I go out for dinner so it would never enter my head to get it. But holy sweet baby Jesus. It is THE BEST beef I have ever eaten. I can’t even describe why. It was like your eye fillet on steroids and then some. So my challenge to you my friend is if you get the chance to try Wagu …… DO IT!!

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Image – TripAdvisor.

DAY TWO – This was a CRAZY busy day. In hindsight I wouldn’t have done this all in one day because I don’t think we got to mooch and really see everything we could have.

We hit the pavement early for coffee and bomboloni (Italian filled donuts) at Coffea an awesome little place on the doorstep of Queen Victoria Markets. One thing about Melbourne is that coffee is GOOD and service is quick. No matter how busy a cafe is your coffee will take less than 5 mins to make an appearance and we were never disappointed. I am ruined for life and become a complete coffee snob!!

Queen Victoria Market you bloody beauty. A food nirvana. It’s a place where you literally don’t know where to start. Because I am a bit of a geek we booked a Foodie Tour of the Queen Vic. A tour which has tastings and gives you a bit of history about the place. I think I turned to Luke at one stage and was fizzing with foodie excitement. There were fat juicy oysters, beautiful kangaroo steaks and this frigging amazing blue cheese that had been skewered with chocolate liquer – mind blowing. There were every kind of olive you could think of, handcrafted chocolates and Luke got pretty excited about the wee craft beer and cider shop (should have gone back to that bit!)

 So that was just the meat, fish and dairy hall! You head outside and there is produce for DAYS. Organic, local and veges I had never even heard of, oh and the feijoas for $1 each and they were TINY!  

My second ahhhhh moment came when I discovered ReWine. Clearskin wines in ONE litre bottles that you can REFILL. Red, white and the best Prosecco I have ever had. We also picked up some of their famous mulled wine syrup for those winter nights. 

 We nailed some donuts from the famous donut van (we were told this is a Melbourne insitution and the line is round the block on the weekends), then headed for another coffee to shake off the few wines I had! Queen Vic has another part of the market which we didn’t get to and that was the merchandise side of things. Trinkets and tresures awaited but because we had a lunch booking we had to rush off. Next trip I’m setting aside a WHOLE day to explore this amazing place. 

Now Dinner by Heston was one thing we had planned for ages. Dinner by Heston is the antipodean cousin of Dinner by Heston, London. It was proably the most amazing culinary experience I have ever had. The only shit thing was the fact I decided to be a lady and I wore my glam heels. It was a 15-20 min walk to the river and by the time we got there I was blistered and in agony. That said I sucked it up with Luke saying “I told you so!!” – asshole!

My photo’s I took didn’t do the meal justice. If you want a better idea definetly google it!! We got the 6 course tasting lunch and I am so glad we did. Stand outs for me was the “meat fruit” – chicken liver parfait and the hay smoked ocean trout oh and weird but great was the roasted cucumber. Luke was all over the “rice and flesh” – saffron risotto and curried kangaroo tail and tipsy cake with spit roasted pineapple the 1st (yes there were 2!) dessert.  

Dinner by Heston was amazing and we both realised that we didn’t talk much through out the lunch because we were so busy watching the staff. It was a well oiled machine with each person having a role in the big picture. We sat opposite the kitchen with the large glass windows which made perfect people viewing. So my recommendation is that is you get the chance go. Have an open mind. be amazed and maybe take your credit card!! 

We ended up finishing our Friday in the best way possible with family, cutting shapes in a little place called The Black Rabbit and drinking $10 espresso martinis. Followed by a kebab while walking home. I felt 20 again. However it I did not feel 20 the next morning!!

Sweetcorn and Kale Fritters

For a twist on the traditional sweetcorn fritter.

3/4 cup of plain flour

1 egg (free range if possible)

440g can creamed sweetcorn

 can whole corn kernels

2 tablespoons chia seeds

4 -6 kale leaves (chopped)

1 pinch chilli flakes (more if you like it hot)

salt and pepper to taste

oil 

METHOD

  • Place flour, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Add the egg.
  • Add both tins of corn and chilli.
  • Mix till WELL combined.
  • Add chia seeds.
  • Add kale.
  • Oil large flat plan and cooking over a medium heat til golden.
  • Serve with salad and sauce of your choice.

    I served my fritters with Lisa’s Carrot and Cumin dip and dry toasted sunflower seeds.