From my kitchen

This is the place where my culinary adventures are documented, and shared.

Golden Soup

Grate an onion and a lot of carrots, about 350g
Saute in butter for at least 10 minutes
Add grated pumpkin - a chunk about 100g or more
Cook a bit longer
Add chicken stock, simmer with about 100 grams of cauliflower florets for about an hour
Add grated lemon rind, lemon juice and salt
Blend with a stick blender.
Serve with sour cream, coriander and calendula petals. 

A variation on Zucchini Slice

Every child in Australia knows about Zucchini Slice. A comforting mixture of bacon or ham, grated zucchini, eggs and flour it is a good cheap meal (with tomato sauce!) or travells well in a lunch box to school.
My own kids were involved in a primary school that made a compilation of family favourite recipes to sell as a fund raiser, and Zucchini slice was sent in by many families.

Over the years I have made so many that the recipe page is now spotted and stained! 

Here is a riff on the favourite.

375 grams zucchini
1 cup of chopped roasted capsicum ( I buy mine in bulk and freeze in small portions) OR 1 cup sweetcorn OR 1 cup grated carrot
1 onion processed in the food processor 
1 cup grated cheese 
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup of sour cream 
4 or 5 eggs beaten 
Nice addition: crumbled feta cheese-say 1/2 cup

Set oven to 180C.

Grate the zucchini and onion, then the cheese in the food processor. Mix.
Lightly beat eggs. Add to vegetables.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Pour into a lined lamington tin (eg a shallow rectangular pie tin) 
Bake for 30-40 minutes until well browned. 

Moroccan spice blend

1 tspn ground cumin
I tspn ground ginger
1 tspn salt
3/4 tspn black pepper
1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn gound coriander
1/2 tspn cayenne
1/2 tspn ground allspice
1/4 tspn ground cloves

Morrocan chicken and rice

Melt some butter and add 1 tblspn moroccan spice blend, cook 1 minute. Paint all over a whole chicken before roasting, then break up chicken.

Soak bismati rice with 12 dried apricots, chopped, and a handful or two of sultanas or currants. Drain, then cook the rice as per usual but in stock, and with the soaked fruit and a tblspn of the morrocan spice mix. 

When ready to serve add pomegranate kernels, parlsely or coriander and toasted nuts. 

Serve chicken on the rice with a yoghurt dressing made with 1 cup yoghurt, 1 tspn toasted cumin and 1 tblspn honey. 

Nutella mousse 

Measure your serving bowls by putting some water in, and seeing how many mls it is. Multiply by the number of serves you need. For example, I serve this is large "Japanese style" shot glasses, and put 150m in each so if I have 7 serves I need 7 x 150 mls or just over a litre of mousse.
That means I need 500mls of Nutella and 500 mls of sour cream, mixed in a bowl and carefully spooned into the serving dishes. Refrigerate until just before you are eating.
Serve with some slightly tart fruit like blueberries or raspberries on top. 

Preserved Lemon Dip

Add 3 quarters of preserved lemon skin (not the pith) to about a cup of ricotta cheese and two tablespoons of sour cream in a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth. Add some chilli flakes if liked. Excellent on crackers -decorate with lemon thyme. 


This is a riff on the Stephanie Alexander recipe from the must-have recipe book "The Cooks Companion.. I wouldn't have thought of adding rosemary to pumpkin but with the sweet slow cooked onion it is a triumph.

Start by slow stewing two onions in olive oil for at least 30 minutes. Add the onions to 650g of pumpkin chunks to a deep ovenproof dish, wash with a liberal dose of olive oil and sprinkle with a good tablespoon of rosemary leaves, salt and pepper, and add paper thin slices from a clove of garlic and about 10 slivers of sundried tomatoes.  Roast at 180C for 30 minutes then add a half a cauliflower cut into florets and some fresh tomato chunks Roast again for half an hour. Sprinkle with about a cup of fresh breadcrumbs moistened with olive oil and return to the oven for at least 15 minutes.

Serve with a yummy green salad. 

Well, anything green really! You will find recipes for pesto which go the traditional route -basil leaves, pine nuts etc. Lovely! But did you know you can make pesto from any green vegetable which you would eat raw- parsley makes a lovely pesto, as does mizuna and nasturtiums. Did you also know that you don't need pine nuts, which are very expensive in Australia? You can add any nuts you have on hand -walnuts and cashews are lovely. If you don't have any nuts, you can add peanut butter to great effect! My pesto usually starts with stuffing my food processor with washed greens from the garden, and add the juice of half a lemon (mine are big lemons) and a clove of garlic or any kind of spring onion I have harvested, a handful of nuts and a slug of oil. Turn the machine on and add any more oil you think you need until it is a nice slurry. Use in toasties, as a pasta sauce or as a dip. 

We love eggplant, and enjoy it in a variety of dishes, including 'swooning imam'- or stuffed eggplant, and of course baba ganoush.  Recently we added another easy recipe which is absolutely delicious: Marinated Grilled Eggplant! After grilling thin slices of eggplant on the barbeque, marinate in 0.5 cup olive oil mixed with 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, a good couple of cloves of garlic crushed or minced and some herbs like parsley and basil. Leave it for a couple of hours before serving as part of your antipasta. Leftovers make excellent additions to sandwiches and rolls.

Cashews with Kaffir Lime Leaves
Fry about 10 kaffir lime leaves with some chilli flakes in a some olive oil for about 2 minutes until the leaves are crisp. Put aside in a mortar.

Use the flavoured oil to pour over about a cup of unsalted cashews, and roast them in the oven at 180 degrees C for about 15-20 minutes -watch that they don't burn!

With your mortar and pestle, crush the leaves and add salt.

Sprinkle over the cashews when they come out of the oven. As they cool the cashews will crisp up.

Serve with drinks -and enjoy.

In 2008 this cake was a firm favourite. Still is!

Lemon and Poppyseed cake -see the recipe here 

Sweet Potato Hummus

Replace the chick peas in your favourite hummus recipe with roasted sweet potato, and add some zest of a lemon or lime for a lovely change of flavour which will be welcomed by those (like me) whose digestion finds chick peas difficult.

Cream of Anything Soup Mix

I found this on a website or forum somewhere, but I am not sure where!

1 cup of powdered milk
2 tablespoons of cornstarch (cornflour in Australia)
2 tablespoons of chicken or veggie stock powder (or dried mushrooms, celery leaves etc)
Half a teaspoon dried basil
Half a teaspoon thyme
One quarter of a teaspoon of black pepper

Keep this mix in a jar and use it to make a soup like this :

Saute whatever veggies you have on had -eg cauliflower, pumpkin, mushrooms, celery until soft, or use leftover cooked veg. Add just enough water to cover, then add  one third of a cup of the mix. Cook whilst stirring. Blend with a stick blender.

Scones -from an old and much loved and stained Wembley Downs Primary School recipe book 

In a bowl combine 1 cup of cream with 2-3 eggs (depends on size of eggs), a generous tablespoon of sugar  and  1 cup of milk. Stir in 3-4 cups of SR flour which has been sifted. Make a wet dough and turn out onto a floured board. Shape with your hands into a flat circle about 4 cm thick and cut scones with a cutter or knife.
Bake on parchment paper in a very hot oven (230 degrees) for about 11 minutes.

These freeze well. When you take them out of the oven you can defrost for about 10 seconds in the microwave, but for best results warm under the grill for a minute or so.

LSA Bread

370 mls tepid water
1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
0.5 cup Linseed Almond Meal and Sesame seed mix (sold as LSA in supermarkets)
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 Tablespoons brown sugar
320 g plain bread flour
220 g wholemeal plain flour
1.5 teaspoons yeast

I make my bread in a stand mixer with a dough hook, starting with the liquid ingredients. Weigh everything, even the water. In winter it is worth warming the flour in a very low oven until, when you stir it with your hand, the flour does not feel cool anymore.

Mix on very low for about a minute, then on a slow speed for 5 minutes.

Oil a bowl and tip the dough into it. Add a plate upside down on top -it doesn't hurt to have oiled the plate too, and even in winter you can warm the bowl and the plate first. Then you leave it for about 2 hours until the dough has an even surface and has risen about twice as big as the dough you first tipped in. You need a warm space for this to happen -put it in front of a sunny window, in an oven you had on low and then turned off, in an esky after you lined it with a towel.

After two hours tip the dough onto a floured surface and give it a bit of a knead with your hands for about 2 minutes. Shape the dough with your hands and put it into an oiled loaf pan.

Now you need to keep it both warm and moist for about 30 minutes or so: a big plastic box is good.  It is about this time I put the oven on as hot as it can go -about 250C. When the dough has reached about 2cm beyond the lip of the loaf pan, it gets a quick snip with my kitchen scissors on top to make some 'expansion joints". Then in the hot oven for 15 minutes and then cook further at 180-200 degrees for 25 minutes.

It is done when it smells like bread, and when you tip the bread out of the tin and tap it, is sounds like a drum.

Yes it is tempting to eat it warm but it needs to cool completely before you eat it. Bread needs to steam and cool!

Sourdough bread

For this recipe you need a sourdough starter. Here is how I made mine -from following this link 

350mls tepid water
150 g starter at 100% hydration
600 g flour (plain or a mix of plain and wholemeal)
1 T oil
1 teaspoon salt

Follow method for breadmaking as above, in the LSA loaf. Recently I have been making free form loaves, which are a lot of fun.

December 2017 update:
I have had great results from starting my mix as described above -after dinner the night before. I leave it to prove overnight in a bowl on the bench, with an oiled plate on top. By morning I have a dough which has completely filled the bowl. I give it a light kneading, just enough to make it look and handle like dough again, and put it in the banneton. Then I cook it UNDER A DOME -I use the covered roaster that I own - for 35 minutes at 240C. Take the lid off after that and cook for a further 15 minutes. This gives the bread more time to rise in the oven before the crust sets, so you get a lighter airy loaf, with a thin crisp crust.

Bean dip.
Drain a can of bean mix and rinse well. Add the juice of a lemon and one or two crushed garlic cloves. Blend well.

Spicy feta dip.
This is salty and spicy and I bet you can't stop when you have tried it. 
Take about a 100 g of feta and mash it roughly. Add to that about two large tablespoons of sour cream. one half teaspoon of vinegar and one half teaspoon of olive oil. Add about a half a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes. Mix.

Turkey legs 3 ways 

This is soup made from turkey stock and potatoes, sweet potatoes and cauliflour. I used the stick blender before serving. 

I bought some turkey legs because they were cheap -anything under $10 a kilo interests me. There were three in the pack. I googled a recipe and put them in the slow cooker with smoked paprika, fresh herbs including parsley, fennel and thyme, and we ate them for dinner the first night with a rice and vegetable warm salad base.

There was quite a lot of stock and meat left over from dinner. We saved the meat and put the bones back in the slow cooker and cooked overnight.

The next night DH made a risotto with the strongly flavoured stock, and added some of the turkey meat as well as frying a chorizo sausage to add to  the meal. DH is our risotto maker and it is always good, but this time it was exceptional.

The third meal was a TLT for each of us for lunch: Turkey, Lettuce and Tomato toasted sandwiches with aoli

All of this was so tasty and cheap! Any time I see turkey legs on sale I will buy more.

Sun dried tomato dip
I used half a jar of sun dried tomatoes. (I buy these in quantities-they are so useful!)
I used half a tub of sour cream (I buy the cheapest no name brand. Don't worry too much about the use by date either-it lasts at least several weeks beyond it)
I handful of dried onion flakes-I would . say at least a tablespoon (I buy these from a bulk supply shop). 

Whizz everything together, put in a serving dish and put in the fridge for about an hour to let the onions rehydrate, and in so doing soak up some of the liquid in this dish, and serve with fresh home made bread or chopped fresh vegetables.

Roasted Capsicum, Tomato and Pumpkin Soup 
I had about two cups of chicken stock, which had been made in my small $16 from the supermarket slow cooker -one of the best things I ever bought - with the leftover bones of 6 chicken legs. To this I added a tin of tomatoes and 5 roasted capsicums. I buy huge jars or tins of these roasted capsicums from the bulk shop and freeze them in small portions. I then added a handful of cauliflower florets and stems -the remains in the fridge of a whole one I had been using up. I added quite a decent wedge of pumpkin cut into bits and peeled of course. After about 20 minutes I blitzed it all with my stick blender  -and it was absolutely delicious.

A variation of this -instead of the cauliflower and pumpkin you can add a tin of chickpeas or some beans well drained. I have done this too and it is nice. The pumpkin adds some sweetness of course.

If you have any cream or sour cream you can swirl that through as you serve.

Brown Rice Salad 

Cook brown rice and add to it any vegetables you have on hand. Steamed broccoli is popular around here, but you could add chopped spring onions too, with tomatoes and celery as well. It helps a lot to add sesame seeds and toasted cashews and chopped mint , but the big transformative element is the right dressing. Here is our current favourite: mix together 2 tspns sesame oil, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tspn grated ginger, 1 Tablespoon tahini, 

 Autumn Harvest Soup 

I harvested a small sweet potato and some tomatoes this morning. This is what resulted. It was amazing! 

1. Roast a quarter of a pumpkin cut into cubes, one small sweet potato cubed and two tomatoes halved until they are soft and have singed edges. This is the first 'magic' of the dish. The sweet veg are amazing. 

2. Fry in olive oil an onion and chopped garlic. Then add chopped carrots (3 or so). Fry for a few minutes and then add a heaped teaspoon of the Roasted Sri Lankan curry powder below  and fry a minute or two longer until fragrant and everything is coated. This is the second magic -the curry powder is amazing here. It doesn't add much heat, so if you like you could add chopped chilli or chilli flakes. 

3. Add about 500 mls of water -or any leftover casserole bits and bobs you have plus some water.

4. Tumble in the roasted veg and 1 tin of Roma tomatoes with its juice and simmer for 5 minutes or until the carrots are soft.

Blend with a stick blender and serve with sour cream. If you can eat it outside on a warm autumn afternoon you are a very blessed person indeed.

Roasted Sri Lankan curry powder

I wanted to make a Sri Lankan pumpkin curry so I made some Roasted Sri Lankan curry powder. It was fun and easy to make, and smelled absolutely amazing. I have to say that the supermarket staple Keen's curry is a dull alternative, now that I have the Sri Lankan curry. 

It doesn't have any chilli, so if you like heat you add the curry powder and as much chilli as you like.

The curry powder uses all the things I had at home already!  Coriander seeds, Cumin, Black peppercorns and Uncooked Rice, Mustard seeds, Cloves, Cardamom Seeds Fennel Seeds. 

These recipes were popular around here. The curry powder was used again last night in a beef curry, to which I added garlic, ginger and chilli along with curry leaves from the garden. I also used some dried grapefruit skin, which adds a huge depth of flavour to any casserole, and the juice and zest of one lime. 

Find all the instructions here for the curry powder. 

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