Sunday, January 28, 2018

Rye Sourdough Bread

This is a very quick post before we leave on holiday. I am taking a small quantity of sourdough starter with me.You just never know when you will be able to whip up a loaf of bread en route.

This is my latest recipe for Rye sourdough bread that I am using and I just love it. I want to know I have the recipe at my fingertips if I have a sudden urge to make a loaf. I love the flavour of rustic Rye and it is grown as a bread making grain. I use Laucke Rye Breadmaking flour at the moment. However, I will be researching where I can buy Rye flour more economically, probably online. Please let me know if you know of a reliable mill to buy it from.


140g Desem (sourdough mother)
360g Bakers Flour (Laucke Rye breadmaking flour)
112g plain flour (or wholemeal for a heavier and even healthier loaf)
278g lukewarm water
31g oil
21g honey
10g salt


Mix the Desem,water, oil, honey and salt together in a container.
Combine the Bakers flour and plain flour together in a large bowl and make a hole in the centre of the flour.
Add the sourdough yeast mixture to the flour and mix to form a dough. Leave to rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.
Remove from the bowl and knead a few times. Place back in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, and allow to rise in a warm spot for 3-4 hours until double the size.

Remove from the bowl, knead again a few times and place in a lightly oiled bread tin.
Allow to rise again in a warm spot for a couple of hours until it fills your tin.

Using a very sharp knife, make a few slits across the top of the bread to facilitate a better rise.

Place in a preheated oven at 220 degrees for 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 200 degrees for another 20 minutes.

 Remove from the oven and remove the hot cooked bread from the tin, very carefully,  and then place the bread back in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp up. Remove and allow to cool before slicing. (Waiting is the hardest part)

This is a quick summary I have given of my bread making process. Seeds can be added to the flour or on top of the loaf if desired.

Please contact me though if you would like some more information.

Best wishes


Friday, January 26, 2018

Indian Vegetable Pakoras with Mango Chutney

Pakoras hmmm, well I moved outside my comfort zone a little by making these delicious Indian vegetable fritters. I've been wanting to try them for a while, using the Organic Besan (chickpea) flour that I had bought at the Organic and Natural Store just outside Mackay. If you are used to making fritters, you will enjoy making pakoras. When I first mixed up the batter it was a bit too runny so I added more flour and water together and added it to form a fritter batter consistency, as when it is added to the vegetables it will thin out slightly because of the liquid in the vegetables. Next time, I will aim for even thinner  pakoras. Perhaps the climate has something to do with the consistency of the batter. On a hot and humid day with rain threatening, batters, bread doughs and pavlova mixes are going to be affected. The consistency could be slightly different in a cold Northern Hemisphere climate. However despite all of that, these were delicious. We needed a meat free day, and these were perfect for lunch. In fact Mr. HRK loved his first taste of them so much he took over the cooking which I was very happy for him to do. I could then concentrate on trying to take an acceptable photo of them.

We were driving to Cape Hillsborough near Mackay with friends, where we planned to have lunch at the Old Station Teahouse which is on the way. To be honest, I don't feel the need to always buy Organic products. However the Organic store has many products which can't be found elsewhere, and now has an impressive little coffee and tea shop attached to the store with a very nice selection of cakes and slices. So we spent more time there than planned and I also admired the African woven baskets which are hard to find elsewhere. After the visit, I wondered why I don't make more of an effort to visit there more regularly.

  • 5 cups of shredded or thinly sliced vegetables ( I used onions, carrots, beans and capsicum) Broccoli could also be used
  • 2 cups of chickpea (besan) flour
  • 1 1/2 - 2cups of water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cooking salt
  • 1/2 cup thinly cut mint leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • A good pinch of ground turmeric 
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • Vegetable oil for pan frying
  • 1 1/2 tsp cooking salt
  1. Place the shredded vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. Toss the salt through the vegetables and leave for 5 minutes, no longer, to soften the vegetables. Any longer and too much liquid will remove from the vegetables.
  3. Stir in the chopped mint
  4. In a separate jug, combine the besan flour, fennel and cumin seeds, and the ground coriander.
  5. Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the flour and mix well. If the consistency is too runny add more flour, or alternatively if it is too thick add more water. 
  6. Heat up a thick based frying pan, add the vegetable oil.
  7. Cooking in batches, cook 1/4 cups of the mixture, flipping the pakoras over when bubbles start to appear on the surface. Flatten them out if necessary to form  fritters. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.
  8. Serve the Pakoras hot, garnished with coriander, and with mango chutney on the side. My homemade mango chutney was delicious with these.
I haven't been blogging as frequently lately, as my laptop has been running very slowly because of a malicious My Way programme which attached itself to Google on my machine. It was driving me crazy. We have finally fixed it and I am back on track, with the NBN installation being a bonus.

We are also preparing for a long road trip to Tasmania, so there has been a lot of organising to do, arranging house sitters, mower men, cleaning the house etc. More about all of that later.

Happy Australia Day long weekend everybody. Hope the weather is kind to you. Despite this being an Indian recipe to promote multiculturalism in Australia, we will be having an Aussie BBQ tonight.

Best wishes

Pauline x

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Caponata, a Sicilian Eggplant Stew

 I've tried a few different Caponata recipes, because I love the sweet, sour and tangy flavours typical of this Mediterranean vegetable stew. It's also a handy dish to make at home when I have extra eggplants and herbs. In this version, my favourite so far, the sultanas add a piquant sweetness to the earthiness of the eggplant without adding too much sugar, which combined with the vinegar gives this dish the moreish factor. It can be eaten hot, warm or cold.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pomegranate Chicken and Burghul Salad

A warm delicious chicken salad that takes no time to prepare at all, adorned with fresh and pretty pomegranate  seeds, is just the answer on a hot summer's day. This is the perfect addition to your salad repertoire for an easy Summer meal. Serve it with a crisp, cool green salad and everyone will think it took more time than it actually did to prepare. The chicken meat needs to be rested for 10 minutes before combining with the salad ingredients. Chopped pistachios or roasted pine nuts are the perfect Middle Eastern garnish to set the scene. I used pine nuts because the pistachios had mysteriously disappeared from my pantry, however next time pistachios will be on the plate.

Unfortunately pomegranates are seasonal, and we are seeing less and less of them in the supermarkets now in the Tropics. The seeds can sometimes be found packaged in plastic boxes  in the fruit section, just like the blueberries and raspberries.

We have a  1 year old Pomegranate tree growing in our garden, and we have high hopes for that tree, no pressure though.

Let's cook:


8 skinless chicken thighs


2 garlic cloves
1/2 green chilli
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon olive oil


1 1/4 cups couscous or burghul
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup (75g) currants
Splash of pomegranate molasses
1/3 cup (50g) pistachios, chopped, or browned pine nuts
Fresh Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate


Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Cook the burghul or couscous according to the packet. Fluff it up with a fork then stir through the mint and parsley, currants and molasses. Let your head go with the mint and the parsley for extra flavour.

Cook the chicken thighs: 

Heat a frying pan over high heat, add the thighs and cook on one side for 3 minutes or until golden. Turn over and quickly brown the other side. Then roast them in a preheated oven 180 deg. oven for about 20 minutes or until cooked right through.

Allow the chicken to rest, then shred the meat into bite-size pieces.

Transfer the burghul salad to a serving platter and top with the chicken, pistachios and pomegranate seeds.

This recipe was adapted from one I found by David Herbert when he was having a quack in the Weekend Australian newspaper magazine, ha, ha. It looked good to me. Thanks David, delicious as always.

Serves 4.

How do I love food? Let me count the ways....

Thanks for dropping by,

Best wishes


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Friday Night Special for a family

Tuna and rice are the basis of so many economical and tasty meals and this one has been a family favourite for years. Preparing fast, easy and nutritious meals is the way to survive the summer we are having. Sometimes they take a little bit of forward planning, for example with this dish having the rice cooked in advance, but that is easy particularly if you cook a stir fry the night before accompanied by rice.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Strawberry Jam Drops, a weekend biscuit treat

Jam Drops may be retro, but they are still a popular biscuit to enjoy for morning or afternoon tea. This is a family recipe from my Mum's collection and probably dates back to the 1950's. When haven't Jam Drops been part of every home cook's repertoire? I have tweaked it slightly, adding vanilla essence, but I love the nutty flavour and aroma that rolling these uncooked biscuits in dessicated coconut brings to the plate when they are baked. It  is the browned coconut sprinkles that set this recipe apart. The whole family will love them.

Happy New Year to my readers of this recipe. I hope 2018 is healthy and fulfilling and everything you wish it t be.

 Jam Drops are a great way of using up extra jam, which sits patiently bottled in the refrigerator waiting to be noticed. We returned from Cairns this week, to shockingly hot weather, exacerbated by a very hot Northerly wind blowing which we aren't used to at all. However, I needed a sweet treat with a cuppa and rather than make a whole cake, I thought of biscuits which are quick to make and bake, and also to eat, although I can stop at one. These biscuits are nicely crisped on the outside, and chewy in the middle. I used my homemade strawberry jam in these which is quite thick, however any jam will do. To bring them up to children's party status in the past, I have also added hundreds and thousands or some other colorful decoration to the top of the jam filling, nice for a change. I'm sorry  I didn't think to do that this time for an interesting  photo.

The trickiest part with making these biscuits is rolling them into the right sized shape in the coconut. The mixture spreads during cooking, as you can see in my first cooked tray below, so they do need to be spaced out well. The ideal Jam Drop is round, with the shape not affected by it's closest neighbour. However it depends on how you are feeling as to how particular you want to be, and the shape doesn't affect the deliciousness of them at all. The second tray of 5 biscuits, is more like how they should look in an ideal world. There were 6 on that tray before Mr. HRK sampled them.

This is a recipe and a biscuit to be enjoyed whilst relaxing with your feet up.

Makes about 25

1//2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups sifted SR flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup desiccated coconut
115g (1/3 cup)strawberry or raspberry jam


Preheat oven to 180 deg. C.

Beat butter and sugar to a cream.
Add well beaten eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla essence.
Lastly add sifted flour.
Take teaspoonfuls of mixture and roll in coconut.

Place each uncooked Jam Drop on a greased tray about 5cm apart, or on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper.

Use your lightly floured finger to make an indentation in each ball. Add 1/2 teaspoon jam into the centre of each biscuit with a small spoon.

Place tray in oven.

You may need to turn tray around halfway through cooking for even browning.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until biscuits are cooked through and light golden.

Store biscuits in  single layers between sheets of non-stick baking paper, in an airtight container in a cool place if possible for up to 2 days. They won't last much longer.

6 cooked on a second tray and one missing already whilst still hot.

Below is the riginal handwritten recipe from my Mum's recipe book. This is the full extent of the recipe. What occurred to me when I was looking through her old recipes was how simple and briefly worded they were. Most of them were hand written and handed on through the family or friends.  The specific instructions on how to cook the recipe was communicated verbally and still is to a certain extent, and there was also an understanding that who you gave your prized recipe to could cook. Recipes in books and on line now often include so much detail, aimed at the beginner cook to those more experienced. Ingredients are also more complex requiring explanation. What are your thoughts on this? Is there sometimes too much wording and detail in the recipes of today? Or do you find all of that extra detail interesting as I do.

This was the complete recipe in my Mum's recipe book. Just four ingredients and a brief method. How times have changed.

Keep cool or warm depending on which Hemisphere you are living in.

Thanks for dropping by.

Best wishes,