If you’re in need of making something indulgent this weekend – waffles may be the answer! And particularly if you’re in a part of Australia that’s in lockdown, I hope this might cheer you up.
I found a good recipe by the inimitable Martha Stewart for buttermilk waffles. Very easy and very quick. However, I must fess up and explain that the first waffles were rather flat and a bit disappointing. So I added spoonful or so of extra flour and anothter 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to the remaining mixture. This did the trick and the the rest of the waffles were thick and fluffy! However, I hope that if you followed the inimitable Martha’s recipe as is, it will work out fine for you.
I included my recipe troubleshooting as I always like to be as accurate as possible as I describe my cooking experiences.
I served the waffles with some cookie crumbs – I crushed up a couple of cookies I had left over. Add a good drizzle of golden syrup, some whipped cream and a few raspberries and strawberries and you’re in the waffle breakfast business!
2 cups plain (all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bi-carbonate soda (baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 free-range eggs
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, bi-carbonate of soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, and eggs, then add the flour mixture, and mix until batter is just combined.
Heat the waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and brush with a little oil. Pour batter onto the grid, spread batter if necessary, but make sure you don’t overfill the grid. Close the waffle maker and cook until the waffles are golden brown and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
The waffles will be cooked but maybe a little soft. At least mine were. Put them in the preheated oven for a couple of minutes to crisp up and also to keep them warm.
Make the rest of the waffles in the same way. Serve with golden or maple syrup, whipped cream or yoghurt and fresh fruit – berries are great! And cookie crumbs for some extra luxe!
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’s definitely the time when we need comfort food, preferably something warming and hearty. Pies are perfect!
This one has my go-to beef filling, a lovely casserole of slow cooked beef and tomato. And to make it easy, a simple crust of shop bought puff pastry – all butter if you can get it.
It’s rustic – no need to be too fiddly in the presentation!
Ingredients Beef Filling
500g shin (gravy) beef or chuck steak or blade steak if you can’t get shin 1 dessertspoon plain flour 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium brown onions, chopped 2 – 4 shallots (more or less depending on the size of the shallots), chopped 2 x 400g tins whole peeled tomatoes I large tomato, roughly chopped 200 mls red wine 1 tinful of water 1 tablespoon molasses 1 dessertspoon Worcestershire sauce Sea salt, black pepper A bay leaf A few springs thyme Few sprigs rosemary
For the pastry – 2 sheets of all butter puff pastry + free-range egg, beaten, for brushing the pastry
Preheat oven to 140 degrees C.
Place the beef into a ziplock bag with the flour, close and shake the bag to coat the beef pieces in the flour. Heat a heavy based cast iron casserole on the stovetop. Add two tablespoons of oil to the casserole.
Add half of the beef pieces and cook for a minute or two to brown the meat, turning to make sure all sides get the heat. This is just to caramelise the meat. Remove the pieces from the casserole and set aside. Add the other half of the beef and caramelise in the same way, removing from the casserole once browned.
Add the other tablespoon of oil, and add the the chopped onions and shallots. Fry over a medium heat until the onions and shallots are softened, about 3-5 minutes. Return the meat to the casserole.
Add the tinned tomatoes, roughly breaking up into the casserole. Add the chopped fresh tomato. Stir in the red wine, and using one of the tomato tins, add a tinful of water. Stir in the molasses and Worcestershire sauce. Season with a sea salt and black pepper. Tie up the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary with an elastic band or a piece of string, to make a bouquet garnis, and put into the casserole mixture.
Making sure the mixture is simmering, carefully remove the casserole to the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours, or until the beef is tender and almost falling apart. You should check after 2 hours, just in case the casserole has cooked a bit dry. If so, you can add some more water. As a general rule, it’s pretty hard to overcook this cut of beef, so 2 1/2 – 3 hours is usually about the right time.
Remove the casserole from the oven, remove the bouquet garnis, and cool to room temperature.
Making the Pie
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Remove bought puff pastry from the fridge. You will need a pie dish, tin or mould, 18cms or 20cms in diameter. Cut the pastry from each sheet, into two pieces, one slightly bigger than the other. The bigger round should be at least big enough to fit into the pie dish, covering the base and sides. The other round will need to cover the top of the pie.
Ease the bottom pastry round into the dish. You can trim off any excess from around the edge.
Now it’s time to fill the pie. You won’t need all the filling – fill with enough of the meat mixture to fit comfortably into the pastry. Brush the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg.
Take the second, smaller round of pastry, cutting or stretching to the size of the top of the pie, making sure you have enough pastry to overlap the top of the pie. You can always trim the excess. Place over the filling, making sure the top pastry meets the bottom pastry all around the pie. Seal the the top and bottom of the pastry by pushing down around the edge with the prongs of a fork.
I did a bit of fancy scoring on the top of the pie (see photo) but it’s not really necessary.
Brush the top of the pie all over with beaten egg, before putting the pie into the hot oven. Cook for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven.
Serve in big slices with a green salad, your sauce of choice and some crusty bread. A glass of red wine goes down well too!
A ciambella is an Italian ring-shaped cake with lots of regional variations, so my research tells me. It’s a breakfast or afternoon tea cake, but it will double nicely as a dessert cake too. I’d never made one before – it looks wonderful so inviting – so I thought I’d give it a go.
If you’re looking for a simple cake that looks fancy and tastes delicious this is for you! The recipe is adapted from a couple of great recipes from Silvia Colloca and SBS Food .
Here’s the recipe.
2 large apples
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon + extra juice for sprinkling
180g raw sugar
50g extra virgin olive oil
200 g self-raising flour
75g almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1 tablespoon golden syrup, warmed,for glazing
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Non fan forced seems to work better for this cake.
Butter and flour any Bundt tin – a plain ring tin or something more fancy!
Peel the apples. Chop one of the apples into small chunks, and the other into thin slices. Sprinkle with a little lemon juice to prevent from browning.
Place the eggs and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, and using the whisk attachment, whisk on low speed increasing to medium until the mixture is pale and creamy.
Add the olive oil and ricotta and whisk on a low speed just until the mixture is smooth and free from lumps.
Sift the flour, almond meal and baking powder and fold into the batter.
Stir in the lemon zest and juice, vanilla, orange liqueur and the chopped apple.
Pour the batter into the Bundt tin. Place the apple slices around the ring, overlapping each other.
Put the cake into the oven and bake for about 35–45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Let the cake cool completely in the tin, then loosen the cake around the edges with a palette knife.
Carefully turn the cake out onto a plate and then even more carefully turn the cake the right way up.
Brush the top of the cake and apple slices with the warmed golden syrup.
Serve on its own or pretty much with whatever you fancy – I served it as a dessert with a strawberry compote and plenty of lemon curd!
We’re in lockdown in Sydney, so it’s back to isolation cooking!
The weather is chilly, so perfect for some hearty fare. I found 4 dishes that fit that description, all cheerful and easy to make. Chilli beef, Yorkshire pudding, treacle glazed steak and chicken risotto.
Granola Dust is a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s healthy take on food Everyday Super Food. It’s basically a granola mix blitzed in the food processor until the mix becomes pulverized. Great for serving with fresh fruit, or just sprinkling over muesli to add another texture.
Breakfast Trifle is a heathy and easy brekkie idea, using Granola Dust that you’ve already made up and have in the store cupboard.
To make a Breakfast Trifle, start of with a layer of Greek yoghurt, then add any mixed mixed berries you like, scatter some Granola Dust on top and finish with a drizzle of honey. You can make this in a jar or in a bowl. You don’t have to limit yourself to berries – stone fruit in summer, or poached apples or pears in winter would be great!
You can adjust the quantities depending on whether you’re making breakfast trifle for one or a large one for the family! The idea is to have fairly equal layers of Granola Dust, fruit and yoghurt.
The quantities for Granola Dust in the recipe are what Jamie Oliver specifies in his book. I thought that sounded rather a lot, so I made a quarter of the mix – this gave me half a large jar’s worth of Granola Dust.
1kg porridge oats
250g unsalted mixed nuts such as walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews
100g mixed seeds such as chia, poppy,sunflower, sesame, linseed, pumpkin
250g mixed dried fruit such as blueberries, cranberries, sour cherries mango, apricots, figs, sultanas
3 tablespoons quality cocoa powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the oats, nuts and seeds in a large baking tray. Toss together and roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway.
Stir the dried fruit, cocoa and coffee into the mix, finely grate over the orange zest, then in batches, blitz in the food processor till the mixture forms a rough powder or dust.
Bouquet garnis – bay leaf, a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary, tied together
125g self-raising flour
69g cold butter
3/4 cup grated cheese
Method Pre-heat oven to 140 degrees C.
Dust the beef pieces in the flour and place them in a zip lock bag and shake. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed casserole on the stove top.
Fry the beef in small quantities to avoid “stewing” the meat, until brown on all sides. Remove the beef to a plate, add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, and fry the garlic and onion. Add the carrots and lightly brown.
Return the meat to the casserole. Add the stout, ale or beer. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopping as you mix it in. Fill the tomato tin with water and add to the casserole.
Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and sugar.
Place the bouquet garnis into the casserole.
Cook on a medium heat with lid off for 5 minutes, then transfer the casserole, with lid on, to the pre-heated oven. Cook for about two hours or until beef is very tender. If the beef is still a little tough cook for another half hour.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the dumplings.
Put the flour into a large bowl. Grate the cold butter into the flour. If this is too tricky, just chop it finely. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a splash or two of cold water to help the mixture come together into a dough.
Divide the dough into 12 small balls. Once cooked the balls will swell in size.
Place the dumplings on top of the casserole once the meat is cooked. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the dumplings. Cook, uncovered for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the dumplings are golden brown.
Serve at once with a crisp green salad!
You can also refrigerate or freeze portions of the casserole.
Making your own pasta is so satisfying! Here is a recipe for a couple of different kinds of ravioli. You can use my fillings or create some of your own.
Whether you use a pasta machine to roll your pasta, or roll by hand, it doesn’t take too much effort to create a lovely lunch or simple supper!
The basic recipe for the pasta is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe. It’s pretty easy to do and the pasta dough is rich and silky. The quantity makes enough for 12 ravioli.
3 large free-range eggs
300g Tipo 00 flour
Put the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs into the bowl. Break up the eggs with a fork in the well.
Gradually incorporate the eggs into the flour, mixing with your fingertips. Mix until you have combined all the eggs into the flour and you have a rough dough.
To make the Taleggio and Walnut Ravioli, I mixed in a small handful of fresh thyme leaves to half of the dough quantity before the kneading stage.
Now knead both kinds of rough dough until each comes together into a smooth ball, and continue kneading until the dough has been really worked well, and is smooth, soft and silky.
Wrap the doughs in cling wrap. Leave in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour, in order to make it easier to roll and shape.
For each kind of ravioli, use the pasta machine to roll the dough so you have 2 thin sheets. It’s important to roll the pasta sheets so they are very thin; I didn’t quite get the sheets thin enough so the pasta was a little thick.
If unsure about how to roll the dough using a pasta machine, there are plenty of “how-to” videos on YouTube.
You can also roll your dough by hand using a rolling pin. Jamie Oliver’s advice is to roll small pieces of dough, one at a time. Try to get them as thin as you can.
Thyme, Taleggio and Walnuts Ravioli
Combine 100 gms or so of taleggio cheese (any soft rind cheese will do) and a dozen or so walnuts chopped.
Ravioli with Pecorino and Sundried Tomato
Combine 100 gms or so of pecorino cheese (parmesan will work too) and a small handful of chopped sundried tomatoes.
For each kind of ravioli, place 6 small spoonfuls of each mixture on one pasta sheet, allowing for a border when you come to cut the ravioli. Moisten the exposed pasta and put the other pasta sheet on top. Press down to divide the sheets into 6 and, making sure you don’t trap any air with the filling, seal the ravioli edges.
Cut pasta into shapes using a pastry cutter or a sharp knife. I dusted the ravioli with a little flour to help them keep their shape as I wasn’t cooking them for an hour or so.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and put the ravioli in. Cook for 5 minutes until al dente.
For a quick sauce, heat a little butter in a frying pan until the butter foams; pour over both kinds of ravioli and serve with additional shaved pecorino.