This has to be the easiest soup to make and I call it “lazy” as there’s not much to throwing it together. With winter already here in Sydney in temperature, even if we’re not officially in the winter months, a warming soup seems like a good idea.
The recipe is a soup for two – double the ingredients to make a larger quantity.
Half a butternut pumpkin
4 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
500mls chicken or vegetable stock
Juice of an orange
Ground black pepper
Pouring cream for serving, herbs for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C fan.
Chop the pumpkin into rough chunks, skin and all. Take out the seeds if you can be bothered. Nothing fussy about this recipe! Slice the spring onions and peel the garlic, no need to chop.
Pile everything into a large baking dish and scatter a little salt over the veggies. Pour over the olive oil. Bake in the oven for half an hour or so until the pumpkin is soft.
Remove from the oven and transfer everything to a large saucepan. Add the stock and orange juice. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes until the pumpkin starts to get mushy.
Using a stick blender, process until the soup is creamy. Or transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz.
Season with ground black pepper. Serve in bowls with a little pouring cream swirled on top. Add a leafy herb for a bit of zhushing.
Nice served with bread – flatbread is excellent for mopping up the leftovers!
These pastries are delicious and are filled with cinnamon butter and poppy seeds, raisins and lemon zest. The dough is a simple enriched dough, made surprisingly with plain flour rather than strong flour. This gives the babkas a soft texture and they’re very easy to eat! These babkas are based on a recipe I learnt at a wonderful workshop run by Burnt Honey Bakery, in Copacabana on the central coast of NSW, here made with my own variations.
Instant yeast is used, and in this instance, if you can get hold of Le Saffre Instant Dried Yeast, all the better. It’s perfect for rising enriched doughs. If you can’t get hold of the brand, use standard instant yeast and increase the amount by 50%.
275g milk (room temperature) 1 free-range egg (room temperature) 9g instant yeast (use Le Saffre if possible) 510g plain flour 90g caster sugar 9g salt 80g unsalted butter in small pieces (softened)
65g brown sugar 25g ground cinnamon 110g unsalted butter at room temperature
Poppy seed filling
50g raisins, chopped 20g poppy seeds 15g milk 50g caster sugar Zest of half a lemon
50g caster sugar 25g water 10g poppy seeds
For the dough, mix the milk and egg together and whisk in the yeast. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Scatter the butter pieces through the dough. Add the milk, egg and yeast mixture. Turn the mixer onto low and mix to combine the ingredients. Continue to mix on low until everything is incorporated and the mixture looks like a dough. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes check to see if the dough windowpanes. The dough should be lovely and stretchy, and pass the windowpane test if you pull and stretch a small section – it should be translucent.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or my favourite, a plastic shower cap, and leave to prove for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. Press the dough down, and then place the bowl in the fridge for 2 hours. The dough will develop some more plus firm up to help with the next stage of shaping.
Meanwhile make the fillings and glaze. For the cinnamon filling, beat the ingredients until smooth and creamy. For the poppy seed filling, blitz the raisins in a food processor, then add the other ingredients and blitz briefly until combined. To make the glaze, dissolve the sugar in the water in a saucepan over a medium heat, bring to the boil then remove from the heat and set aside.
Remove the dough from the fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 10 pieces. Gently roll each piece into a rectangle. Spread each rectangle with some cinnamon filling, spreading to the edges. Place 2 or 3 dabs of poppy seed filling on the rectangle too. You don’t need very much as it’s quite strong.
Roll up each rectangle along the long side. Starting at one end, cut right down the middle longways, leaving a couple of centimetres at the top. Twist each strip together, and fold the ends together in a loose knot.
Place each babka on a baking tray lined with baking paper. You will need 2 trays. Cover each tray with a large plastic bag and place the trays in the fridge overnight or for several hours.
2 hours before baking, remove the babkas from the fridge to come to room temperature and for the final prove. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C fan. Place the trays in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until a burnished brown.
Remove from the oven and brush each babka with the sugar syrup, sprinkling with some poppy seeds.
Serve warm or at room temperature – these babkas are definitely best eaten on the day they’re made!
Here’s a cake that’s made with potato – and it’s easy and delicious! It’s heritage is German, and it’s called a coffee cake as it’s traditionally served with morning or afternoon coffee.
This recipe is blast from the past – I found it in my original hand written cookery journal. “Tracy” a friend from those days, and a fine cook, had passed on the recipe.
I made it again this week, when asked to provide some potato recipes for the program for the play The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race.
It seemed a good enough reason to revive an unusual and favourite recipe from the past!
2 medium potatoes ¾ cup sugar 1 cup sultanas ¼ cup chopped mixed peel 1 ½ cups full fat milk 1 tablespoon lemon juice 3 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup sugar ½ cup self raising flour, sifted 4 tablespoons butter 2 teaspoons cinnamon
METHOD Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan. Grease a 22cm springform pan and line the base with baking paper.
Peel the potatoes and put into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook until tender. Drain and mash well without any butter or milk.
Add the sugar and beat well. Add the sultanas, mixed peel, milk and lemon juice and mix well. Fold in the sifted flour and spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.
To make the topping, rub the butter into the combined dry ingredients,
Crumble the topping over the cake, Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. The cake can be quite moist so may need that extra time. Keep checking after 45 minutes.
When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Remove the sides of the springform pan. Carefully remove from the base of the springform pan, peeling off the baking paper.
So this is a great hack if you want a tasty treat based on Turkish gozleme, that staple of food markets and festivals. It’s fresh and light and filled with anything green you fancy – like rocket, spinach or fresh herbs.
It’s adapted from a recipe for Green Pockets by the brilliant Cornersmith people, simplifying it a little for a quick make.
You can make the dough a couple of hours ahead of time and get the filling ready just prior to cooking. Or make dough and filling at the same time.
Great for a quick lunch or snack, or even a savoury breakfast!
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
125g Greek yoghurt
190g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups of greens eg spinach, rocket, silver beet
To make dough, mix all the wet ingredients together. Stir in the flour and bicarb with a wooden spoon until you have a sticky dough. Put the dough onto a floured board and knead by hand for a few minutes until the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into 4 balls.
You can use the dough now or put in a bowl and cover with cling wrap and leave for an hour.
You could even stick in the fridge for a few hours.
To make the filling, chop all the greens, herbs, spring onions and garlic finely. Sprinkle over the salt and pepper.
Chop whatever cheeses you are using into small pieces.
When ready to make your cheat’s gozleme, take a ball and roll out into circles as thin as you can.
Spread equal amounts of cheese onto half of each circle. Then cover the half circles with all the green ingredients.
Fold the dough over the filling to make a semi circle kind of pastie shape, pinching edges together.
Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Cook each cheat’s gozleme for about 3 minutes on each side or until brown and speckled. Pressing down the gozleme once you’ve turned them over helps to amalgamate and cook the filling inside.
Remove from the pan and serve hot with lemon wedges.
It may be autumn in Sydney but the bracing winds and chilly temperatures are certainly with us this week! So time to start thinking about long slow cooking, casseroles, stews and tagines.
So here’s a tagine made with lamb shoulder, prunes and apricots and some lovely Middle Eastern spices. The shoulder needs to be boned and diced – it’s great if you can get your butcher to do that for you, less work for you!
The tagine itself is the star – just serve it with couscous or rice or homemade flatbread to soak up the juice.
2 teaspoons paprika – sweet or smoked
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and rind of a mandarin or orange
1 kg diced lamb shoulder
1 clove of garlic
1 x 425g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 x tins of water (use the chopped tomatoes tin for this)
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
125g dried apricots
125g pitted prunes
Combine spices and pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil, rind and juice of the mandarin/orange and stir to form a paste. Add lamb and stir until well coated in the paste. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
Heat a heavy based casserole on the stovetop, and add half the olive oil. Tip in the lamb and cook over a fairly high heat until evenly browned, then tip onto a plate.
Add the remaining olive oil to the casserole and stir in the the eshallots, and then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for a further couple of minutes or until the garlic is softened but not browned.
Return the browned meat to the casserole. Add the chopped tomatoes, tins of water and stir well. Add the pomegranate molasses. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on and transfer to the oven.
Cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried apricots and prunes, roughly chopped. Cook, covered for a further 40 minutes or until lamb is tender.
If you’re not completely satisfied with the tenderness of the lamb you can cook for a further 15 minutes.
Serve with the aforementioned couscous, rice or flatbread. A spoonful of yoghurt is nice too, and some chopped coriander.
This is a recipe I’m been messing around with for a few weeks. It’s based on a great recipe from Donal Skehan for Korean style sloppy joe sliders.
The main ingredient that makes the recipe Korean is Gochujang, a red chili paste that is a savory, sweet and spicy fermented condiment.
It looks a complicated recipe, but believe me it’s not! ￼Just some vegetables prep, really.
The taste of the meat is sensational! Feel free to add different veggies to the burger mix and to the pickle, I certainly had some fun doing this.
I’ve included photos of the latest version as well as earlier “experiments”.
Give it a go – it’s well worth it!
Oh, and the sweet potato fries are a must have accompaniment!
2 rashers free-range bacon
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 carrots, julienned
1 zucchini julienned
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
250g minced beef
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon gochujang paste
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1 red chilli, finely sliced
30mls rice vinegar
1 heaped teaspoon caster sugar
1 heaped tablespoon gochujang paste
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 brioche burger buns
1 carrot, julienned
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1/8 red cabbage finely chopped
Lime or lemon wedge to squeeze over
Sweet Potato Fries
1 medium sweet potato, cut into wedges
1 heaped teaspoon cornflour
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Chop the bacon rashers into smallish pieces, no need to be too precise. Fry the bacon for a couple of minutes until just starts to get crisp.
Add the oil, the 4 spring onions, 2 julienned carrots, zucchini and garlic cloves. Fry until just soft.
Add the minced beef, breaking up the mince as you fry it in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until the beef has browned.
Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar and gochujang paste and mix in to the frying pan.
Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan and add a splash of water (a couple of tablespoons) at a time if the mixture looks too dry. You will need to do this at least a couple of times.
After 15 minutes take off the heat and move the beef mixture to a large bowl.
To make the pickle, put the rice vinegar, water and sugar into a small saucepan and just bring to the boil after the sugar has dissolved.
Pour the liquid over the carrot, cucumber and chilli. Leave for 10 minutes then drain off the liquid.
To make the sauce, combine the gochujang paste and mayonnaise in a small bowl.
To serve, heat the frying pan you’ve just used on high. No need to wash first – any residual sauce will add flavour!
Cut each bun in half and smear some sauce on each half.
Fry each bun half, sauce side down for a couple of minutes until toasty and crisp.
Assemble the buns with beef filling and pickle and place on a large plate or platter with a handful of carrot, spring onion and red cabbage.
Serve with sweet potato fries, and a squeeze of lime or lemon over everything.
Sweet Potato Fries
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Cut the sweet potato into wedges. Place on baking paper on a tray. Sprinkle the wedges with cornflour, then coat with olive oil and grind over some sea salt.
Cook in the hot oven for 20-30 minutes until the fries are crispy.
Winter is on the way in Sydney. Time to break out the soup recipes! This one is pretty simple, a soup with lots of veggies and some Middle Eastern spices.
Vary the vegetables as you like, but make sure you include lots of root veggies like potatoes, parsnips and turnips. Other vegetables such as red peppers, celery and tomatoes work well too.
A note on the spices. The Middle Eastern spices mentioned are combinations of spices. If you can’t get either, feel free to substitute with a 1//4 teaspoon of a few of the following: cumin, coriander, allspice, paprika, cardamom, ginger.
500g pumpkin, peeled, cut into chunks
500g carrots cut into chunks
250g sweet potato
250g swede cut into chunks (swap for something else if you don’t like Swede)
2 onions, white or brown, cut into chunks
4 -5 garlic cloves halved, no need to peel
2 teaspoon of ras el hanout or baharat *
1 teaspoon sumac
Sea salt and ground black pepper
30mls olive oil
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C fan forced.
Put all the vegetables into a large baking tray, sprinkle over the spices and salt and pepper. Pour over the olive oil. Mix well, making sure everything is coated with oil.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot or saucepan. Place on the stovetop. Add the stock, and bring to a medium boil.
Using a stick blender, blend till smooth. Or you could transfer to a blender and blitz. Leave some of the soup chunky if you want.
Serve with a swirl of Greek yoghurt and a sprinkle of coriander or parsley.
ANZAC Day is Tuesday 25 April. It’s time to get baking!
I’ve baked a few versions of the famous biscuit over the years, but since I discovered the “real deal”, the authentic recipe researched by The Cook and the Curator, the wonderful blog of Museums of History New South Wales, I haven’t looked back!
So here’s the recipe. Make these ANZAC bikkies and you will not only get the real thing, they will be utterly delicious!
I add golden syrup, as I love the toffee flavour it imparts. Most recipes do include golden syrup.
Somewhere I read in a recipe that browning the butter after melting it gives a greater depth of flavour. It really does! To compensate for the fact that you lose a little bit of the butter by browning it, I have added another 15g of butter to the recipe.
The Cook and the Curator note that coconut is an optional ingredient and it wasn’t added till the 1930s. By all means add some to to your biscuits, but personally I’m not a fan.
It really is a straightforward ANZAC biscuit recipe – very easy to put together and quick to bake.
Here is the link to the original recipe from The Cook and the Curator if you would like to know more.
165g salted butter
180g rolled oats
120g plain flour
125g brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons boiling water
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
Place the butter in a small saucepan and heat until melted. Once the butter is melted, cook for about 3-4 minutes, swirling the pan often. The butter will foam and turn a golden brown. Remove from the heat and put into a bowl to cool slightly.
Mix the rolled oats, flour and sugar in a large bowl.
Combine the melted butter and golden syrup in the same saucepan. Add the bicarbonate of soda and boiling water and whisk to combine. Remove from heat.
Add the butter/golden syrup mixture and stir until well combined.
Take tablespoons of mixture and make into balls. Place the balls onto the baking trays, allowing space for spreading. Don’t flatten the balls!
Bake for 15 minutes or until biscuits are dark golden brown. Remove the biscuits from the oven and cool on the trays. The biscuits will firm up as they cool. Now remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight tin. They keep well for a few days.
This is simple apple tart I baked and blogged a while back. Recently I picked up some beautiful red apples from my local Orange Grove Markets. And as autumn is just showing its muted colours and the days are a little cooler, I rustled up another similar galette.
Made with yoghurt pastry (a variant on sour cream pastry) and with a pile of red apple slices, sugar and theme sprigs, this galette is a simple, rustic bake.
3 red apples, whatever you fancy. Crisp apples like Pink Lady are excellent Lemon juice 1 free-range egg yolk, beaten, for glazing Several sprigs of lemon thyme 3 tablespoons caster sugar 1 free-range egg white, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cut the butter into cubes and pulse with the flour in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Spoon in the yoghurt and continue to pulse in bursts until the mixture comes together into a ball.
Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Core and slice the apples thinly, and place the slices into the lemon juice to stop them going brown.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out between two pieces of baking paper so that it is about 2cm thick, rolling into a rough circle. Remove the top layer of baking paper and carefully transfer the pastry to your lined baking tray, by turning the pastry over and removing the bottom sheet.
Shape the round to neaten it if needed, and turn the outer edge up about 2cm in to make the sides of the galette.
Drain the apples slices and place in any artistic way you like on the tart.
Brush the 2cm edge of the galette with as much of the beaten egg as you need. Scatter some of the thyme sprigs over the galette and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the caster sugar.
Place the galette in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. The galette should be golden brown around the edges.
Once out of the oven, leave to cool. To make the crystallised thyme sprigs, dip some more thyme sprigs in the beaten egg white, then dip in the remaining tablespoon of caster sugar. Leave to dry on a piece of baking paper.
Serve with the thyme sprigs scattered over, or add a dollop of cream or more Greek yoghurt.
It’s after Easter – and here’s a great way to use up all those uneaten chocolate eggs, if indeed there is still chocolate that’s uneaten at your place!
Left Over Easter Egg Rocky Road, or just simply Easter Rocky Road, is perfect to make after Easter and will keep, broken into big pieces, in an airtight jar or tin for a few weeks. Delicious!
My Easter Rocky Road is pretty simple – you can add pretty much what you feel like at the time.
Easter Rocky Road
Melt a 200g block of dark chocolate and a 200g block + half a block of white chocolate. Pour into a tin lined with foil, dark on one side and white on the other. Leave a little of each chocolate for splattering.
Using a skewer, run some pink food colourin through the white chocolate.
Place as many as you like of the following in the melted chocolate – pink and white marshmallows, Smarties or M and Ms, mini Easter eggs.
I scattered some freeze-dried raspberry powder over the Rocky Road too.
Splatter or drizzle the left-over dark chocolate on the white side and the white chocolate on the dark side.