Friday, 30 July 2021

Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Pine Nut Salsa

 

Zucchinis, Zukes, or Courgettes, same thing, and at the moment they are in season here, so if you have lots of them in your vegetable crisper like I had, this could be the recipe for you. I wanted to do something a bit different with them this time, so why not stuff them? I really like stuffed vegetables, and they transform into a meal in themselves. Serve these as a meal on their own, or if  you are thinking of a banquet, they make a great side dish for hungry people. This recipe is inspired by chef Yotam Ottolenghi, yes I am a fan of his recipes, as you know, and this one has ingredients which you probably have on hand already, if not they are easy to find. I had a lot of fun making this recipe, and it's a cinch to make for Meatless Monday, a Sunday lunch, or just during the week, it's light and easy.

I was preparing the zucchinis, removing the flesh and hollowing them out, having fun and making little canoes, when Mr. HRK came up to me and said I think that might be going a bit far. Mr. HRK has a very quick wit at times, and when I said to him, I need to do this before I can stuff them, which I didn't think was anything too extreme, he said well the Canoe Slalom race is on the TV and Aussie Jessica Fox is racing shortly for a Gold Medal, and you are making canoes? That's really getting into it isn't it? I hadn't even though of that, but we had a good laugh, and then Jessica won the Gold Medal for the Canoe Slalom race which was amazing, she was incredible, and I had my canoes to play with as well:) So Jessica you had  lots of support back here in Australia, and we are so proud of you. So this recipe is an ode to the Slalom Canoe Gold Medal event, and a tribute to Jessica Fox. What a woman.


Cook's Notes:
  • Don't be afraid of adding extra herbal flavour to this dish, it will shine through.
  • If you love chilli, add a chopped capilano sweet chilli to the stuffing mix.
  • Very fresh, organic produce is the key to successful vegetarian cooking. I bought these zucchinis and beautiful cherry tomatoes from a local Mackay farmer, called Sweet As Fresh As, who throughout the Winter sell sweetcorn, tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers and whatever else they have in season. Their strawberries are to die for. I rarely manage to cook with those though, as we eat them all too quickly. They set up a stall at the Wednesday City Markets, and sell from their truck which they drive to a North Mackay roadside spot up the road from Bunnings and opposite a S.D.A. school. They can be found there every Thursday and Sunday morning. They are a real Mackay farming success story.
  • Keep a tightly sealed bottle of lightly toasted pine nuts in the frig, so that they are ready for dishes like these, saves a lot of time. 
  • To save time, the stuffing can be made a day ahead so that the zucchinis are ready to be stuffed and baked.
  • A mix of yellow and green zucchinis also looks very attractive on the plate.


Ingredients:

Serves two as a main course, or four as a side

2 large zucchinis, (500 g) halved lengthways
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large beaten egg
40 g Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino) finely grated
40 g fresh sourdough breadcrumbs (about 1 slice, crusts are fine)
100 g cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 large lemon (finely grate the zest for 2 teaspoons, then juice to get 1 tablespoon)
4 tablespoons finely chopped oregano leaves (a good bunch), plus a few extra leaves for a garnish
A couple of sprigs of lemon thyme, optional ( I used it because I grow it, and love the flavour)
35 g pine nuts, lightly toasted
3 tablespoons olive oil 
salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 230 deg. C fan forced.
Hollow out the zucchinis with a dessert spoon into the shape of canoes, leaving about 1 cm thickness around the edges. The zucchinis will still hold their shape if scooped out carefully.


Prepare the zucchinis and the tomatoes: 

Transfer the zucchini flesh to a sieve or colander and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. I sprinkled the flesh with a small amount of salt and left them for a little while to encourage the salt to drain off, but my zucchinis didn't release much moisture. You are aiming to be left with about 100 g of drained zucchini flesh. 
Meanwhile in another bowl continue the squeezing and crushing and crush the tomatoes well with your hands.
Put the drained zucchini flesh into a bowl, add the crushed tomatoes, and add the egg, garlic, breadcrumbs and Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a grinding of black pepper. Give a stir and set aside.

Pine Nut Salsa

In a separate bowl mix the lemon zest, pine nuts, and oregano. Take half of this mixture, and mix into the zucchini mixture. Place the remaining half of the mixture to the side for later, to finish making the salsa.

Place the zucchini canoes on your baking tray, with the hollowed sides facing upwards. 
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the zucchini halves and season them with 1/8 teaspoon of salt.


Fill the zucchinis with the zucchini filling mixture,and bake for 15 minutes, until they are beautifully golden-brown and set. Be careful to check after exactly 15 minutes.


Finish making the Pine Nut Salsa while the zucchinis are baking.
Add the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt to the bowl of oregano, zest, and pine nuts. 

When the zucchinis have cooled slightly, spread the salsa on each of them, and sprinkle with a garnish of oregano leaves for further flavour and presentation, and serve.

If the zucchinis are being served as a main, serve with a salad and whatever carbohydrate you might prefer. But that is your choice and optional.


We've had moderate success with growing zucchinis, and at the moment we have about 6 volunteer plants in our garden, self seeded from our compost heap, plants with large leaves, which could be zucchinis, could be pumpkins, could be another kind of squash, time will tell, and that's the fun of it. Meanwhile I'll keep shopping for this healthy produce at the markets.

Congratulations to all of the amazing athletes from all nations competing at the Tokyo Olympics. Some of the stories bring tears to our eyes, others fill us with joy and pride. They have all worked so hard to be there.

Warm wishes,  

Pauline

















Monday, 26 July 2021

French-style Braised Chicken with Leek and Mushroom - Poulet a l'etoufee aux poireaux et aux champignons

French cooking doesn't need to be fancy, it can be quite simple, with the subtle flavours being achieved by layering the ingredients in one pot.

Cooking this entire French dish in one stove top pan is an easy way to cook, saving time and effort, and it is also incredibly delicious. This is one of my favourite dishes now, however as Nigella Lawson says at times, it comes with a warning: "it isn't as easy on the eye as on the palate; this is a dish made for pleasure not a photo-op." Lots of finely chopped green herbs will make it prettier though.  By using "fines herbes" such as tarragon, chives, chervil and parsley, the beautiful flavours come through. I used tarragon in this dish giving it a very distinct  flavour. Tarragon is easy to grow in your own garden, and with it's delicate yellow flowers, also adds a cottage garden feel to your patch. I couldn't be without tarragon growing at home.

Cooking notes:

  • For the wine I recommend you use a crisp dry white wine such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc. A dry Riesling will also compliment the dish beautifully to cook with, and to drink while you are eating. There are so many delicious Australian Rieslings available.
  • It is essential to leave the fat on the meat. The fat from the skin will render into the pan, and will act as a base for the sauce. It will significantly add to the layers of flavour in the dish that I spoke about earlier. The skin can be removed later on your plate if you wish, but I don't.
  • You can make this dish even richer in flavour if you aren't watching calories, by frying the chicken to start with in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil for an authentic French cooking experience. However it is still delicious the way I have presented the recipe using spray on olive oil.
  • Shallots can be substituted for the leeks
  • The squeeze of lemon juice at the end gives it the finishing touch, please don't forget it.
I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we do. It makes a perfect weeknight dinner or a weekend lunch, and the leftovers continue to increase in flavour. I have developed this recipe from one I found in an Australian Coles supermarket recipe book.

Let's Cook:

Serves 6

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking: 35 mins

Ingredients:

 6 Chicken Thigh Cutlets, or Chicken Legs, with bone in and skin on (I prefer the thighs)

1 leek, thickly sliced, pale section only

200 g brown mushrooms, halved

2 bacon rashers, fat removed, and chopped or use pancetta as a substitute

1 tablespoon French Dijon Mustard

1/2 cup (125 ml) chicken stock,

1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine 

1/2 cup (125 ml)  cream, pouring or thickened

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped tarragon

Method:

Spray a casserole pan suitable for a stove top  with olive oil and heat the pan.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan, skin-side down.

Cook chicken pieces for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer them to a plate.

Now add the mushrooms, leek, garlic and bacon to the pan and cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until the leek is tender.

Add the French Dijon mustard and the stock and stir through to combine.  

Return the chicken to the pan with the juices. 

Reduce the heat to medium low. Slowly cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly. 

Stir in the lemon juice and the tarragon.

Serve with some mashed potato, steamed green vegetables such as beans or broccoli or whatever you have on hand, and a few fresh tarragon leaves on top of the dish or a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley. However pasta and rice also work well as the carbohydrate on the side of the plate, still with some green vegetables of course.

Waiting for more chopped herbs to be added

I baked a hi-top sourdough loaf to mop up some of the delicious juices as well.

I am in a French frame of mind at present, as our son Matthew and his lovely family, partner Myrtille and our grandchildren fly to France in the morning, leaving the Falkland Islands after working there for 2 years. They will be living and working in Montpelier for 12 months. Myrtille is French, so her family will be looking forward to her coming home. I asked Myrtille across Whatsapp, to translate the name of this dish for me into French as my Grade 12 French might just have been a little bit lacking. Once the children are asleep tonight, they need to go indivdually and have a Covid test at the hospital in Stanley, before they can board the plane in the morning, even though they are both vaccinated. This is the type of procedure we will all need to get used to. For now though, Mr. HRK and I are happy to live the simple life, enjoying the things we do at home, and the company of friends, and hoping that one day it will be safe for us to travel again. France is first on my list, how about you? We have our second Covid vaccination in mid-August. 

Are you watching the Tokyo Olympic Games on the TV? We are loving it, especially the swimming yesterday, and hoping for Gold again today. It's nice to see some views from around Tokyo as well.

Thanks for dropping by, and we hope you are well. I would love to hear from you.

Warm wishes and bon appetit,

Pauline




















Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Lemon and Ricotta Mini-Bundt Cakes

These cakes are a celebration of citrus fruits in season, a tangy theme running through my sweets baking this Winter. 

Fill these little lovelies with lemon or lime curd, dust with some sifted icing sugar, garnish with a slice of dehydrated cumquat, (optional of course) and sit back and enjoy with fresh cream or yoghurt, depending on the time of day. Lemons and limes have been abundant this Winter, and quite interchangeable when cooking sweets.

Just mix all the cake batter ingredients in one bowl, and bake at 180 degrees, for 25 minutes. It's that simple. This mixture makes 20 mini bundt cakes, or a large cake (bundt that is). Or you can also make 12 mini bundt cakes and a loaf cake, which I have also done. Lightly coat your mini bundt pan with olive oil spray, fill the recess to 3/4 full and wait patiently for them to cook. If you are making a large cake it will take around 40 minutes.

The dehydrated cumquat slices adorning the cakes come from the Kumquatery, situated in Renmark, South Australia, the home of ubiquitous fruit plantations. Is cumquat spelled with a K or a C? I think it's a C, but the Kumquatery spells cumquats with a K, their prerogative I think, anyway it's a nice product. These are fresh, sliced, raw Nagami Kumquat fruits which were grown on their Renmark farm, and have been dehydrated. A unique Australian product. Our travelling friends, Paul and Jenny, brought us back a packet of these "dried kumquats" after driving all the way from Mackay to South Australia in their campervan recently, quite a trek. Luckily they went and returned when they did, as unfortunately the state is now in lockdown because of Covid. Jam makers will also know that a very delicious marmalade is made from cumquats. 

At the end of this post, I am giving you my recipe for home made lemon or lime curd, made very quickly in the microwave which is what I spooned into the lemon cakes. For the whole story on making your own curd, with photos, you can find it at this link

Let's cook:

Ingredients:

5 eggs
300 g castor sugar
100 ml light olive oil
1 x 375 g Ricotta cheese
Lemon zest from 2 lemons
Juice from 1 lemon
300 g Self Raising Flour

Method:


Whisk the eggs and olive oil together.
Mix in the Ricotta cheese, and castor sugar.
Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. (or lime juice and zest.)
Add the Self Raising Flour and mix in well.


Just out of the oven, base side up.

If you wish to ice your cakes instead of filling with curd, which sounds great to me, make a runny icing from icing sugar and lime or lemon juice and let it dribble down the side of the cake.

1 dozen lemon and ricotta mini bundt cakes

12 cup Mini bundt pan

A loaf cake made from the same recipe, waiting to be iced with lemon icing

This cake recipe is adapted from an original Italian recipe posted by Gordana Holden.


How to make Home made Lemon Curd in the microwave, a precious product
Makes 2 1/2 small jars
Ingredients:

150 g lemon juice (juice from about 4 bush lemons, maybe 5 of other varieties)
50 g unsalted butter
3 large eggs plus one egg yolk
150 g caster sugar
zest of four lemons

Method:

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and the yolk well. Leave to sit until needed.
Grate the lemon zest finely from the lemons onto a board.
Mix the lemon juice and zest, caster sugar, and butter in a large microwave bowl. I used a pyrex one. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, remove and then stir until combined and all butter is melted.

Strain the eggs through a sieve into the hot juice bowl, continuously whisking as you do this. Yes, you can do this with a little coordination.

Microwave your hot juice bowl for another 30 seconds, remove and whisk quickly, microwave for another 30 seconds, whisk, and then microwave for one minute and whisk. I repeated this process twice more for 30 seconds each time, and then it thickened beautifully. I placed a small amount on a small plate to test it and of course had a taste. Yum! How long you need to microwave it will depend on the power of your microwave.

A final whisk and I ladled it into 2 1/2 jars, let it cool and then placed it in the refrigerator. This curd is so delicious and perfect for eating with scones, filling bundt cakes, or straight from the spoon.

Thanks for dropping by.

Warm wishes

Pauline

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Self-saucing Sticky Date Pudding Traybake

 

Winter  in the Southern Hemisphere is the time to treat yourself to an indulgent style pudding. However it is still delicious in Summer.

Baked Puddings are such Winter Warmers, and Sticky Date Pudding is at the top of the list for me. This recipe takes a shortcut though by producing it's own delicious caramel sauce during the cooking time, no need to cook the sauce separately, making it a cinch to put together if catering for a group of people. Each step can be prepared in advance, and then assembled and placed in the oven to cook while the main course is being eaten, which is the best way to approach cooking a self saucing pudding.

I want this recipe on my blog so I can find it again easily as I will definitely be making this again.  I found it in a Woolworths supermarket recipe book which I collect every month but recipes can be difficult to find again, so here it is, slightly modified.

Recipe Serves 8

Self-saucing Sticky Date Pudding 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups pitted dates, roughly chopped to an even size

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

80 g butter, cut into 1 cm cubes

2 free range eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup boiling water

icing sugar to dust

Whipped or double thick cream, to serve

Caramel sauce

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

50 g butter, cut into 1 cm cubes

1 1/2 cups boiling water

Method:

Cake Batter:

Preheat oven to 180 deg. C/160 deg. C fan forced. 

Cooking timeLightly grease a baking dish, approx. 20 cm x 27 cm., and 5 cm deep. Baking this in a metal tray, may make the cooking time faster in the oven, I used a ceramic tray as my metal ones were too small or too large and it took exactly 35 mins in a fan forced oven. I would check it after 30 minutes.

Place dates and butter in a small dessert size bowl. Add the bicarbonate of soda and 1/2 cup of boiling water. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave to stand for 10 minutes and then stir to ensure the butter is melted.

In a large bowl, place the brown sugar and the eggs, and whisk these up until well combined. Stir in the cool date mixture, then fold in the sifted flour.

Pour the batter into your greased tray and leave to rest while you make the caramel sauce.


Caramel Sauce:

To make the caramel sauce, place the butter and brown sugar in a 1 litre jug and add 1 1/2 cups of boiling water.

Stir until the butter has melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Now slowly and carefully pour the liquid mixture from the jug over the back of a large metal spoon to cover the batter in your baking tray.

Bake for 35 minutes until nicely browned and pulling away from the edges of the dish, or until the pudding bounces back when gently touched. 

To serve, dust with icing sugar and a splosh of cream.

Serve immediately.

Leftovers will still be delicious warmed up the following day, however the caramel sauce may have soaked up into the cake.

Mr. HRK just loved this pudding. He said it reminded him of a Mexican plum pudding which we discovered many years ago at a little Mexican restaurant in Milton in Brisbane, near the XXXX brewery, my Brisbane friends will know where that is.  When we were both living in Brisbane, I was working but Mr. HRK was a student, and we used to go to this little restaurant just to eat the dessert, it was so good. The recipe stayed with the Grandmother of the family who owned the restaurant, or so the story goes and was never given out. Anyway sadly the restaurant is no longer there and the recipe has possibly disappeared as well, so Mr. HRK was giving me lots of suggestions last night on how this pudding could be modified slightly to replicate the Mexican Plum Pudding which he still remembers. We are working on it.  So Dear Readers, would you go to a restaurant just to eat their dessert if it was that good? Nowadays we would go for the whole meal, but back then we were saving money to get married. It was the late 70's, say no more. 

Hoping you can all enjoy the weekend, with some nice things to eat, even in lockdown. We are not taking anything for granted here in Queensland.

Warm wishes,

Pauline

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Roasted Cauliflower Curry with Lime and Coriander

 

The pure white cauliflower loves being the hero in vegetarian dishes, and in this curry all we need is cauliflower, curry leaves, a few spices and tomatoes and we have a delicious midweek dish. Browning the cauliflower thoroughly under the grill at the beginning of your preparations gives the curry great depth of flavour. I cooked up some rich homemade chicken stock yesterday,  so I used that as the liquid base, however use vegetable stock for a real vegetarian dish, or using coconut milk would make this dish even more filling, but it definitely doesn't need it. "Did you miss the meat in the curry?" "Not at all," replied Mr. HRK,  "and I loved the Mango chutney you put with it". 

 We have a curry tree, fresh chillies, and fresh ginger growing in our garden, and ground coriander seeds and turmeric root which we have dehydrated and ground ourselves so I already had a lot of the ingredients on hand for this curry. I also used some locally grown organic garlic from Eungella, which is an hour west of Mackay and 686 metres above sea level making it perfect for garlic growing. If you visit Mackay, travelling up to the picturesque township of Eungella through the fertile Pioneer Valley is a must.

This recipe is from Gourmet Traveller magazine, and I urge you to try this dish. It is more aromatic than spicy and I think it is suited to most palates.

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower (about 1.5 kg), cut into 3 cm florets

4 tablespoons rice bran or olive oil (or use ghee if you wish, about 75 grams)

1/2 cup fresh curry leaves (loosely packed)

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 long green chillies, thinly sliced (I used a red one as well)

30 cm fresh ginger, finely grated

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp garam masala

400 grams cherry tomatoes, fresh or tinned

400 ml of liquid, try chicken stock, vegetable stock, water, or coconut milk

To serve, there are many options that you can use:

Steamed basmati rice and coarsely chopped red onion tossed in lime juice (the traditional Indian way)

Lime wedges and Greek-style yoghurt

Fresh coriander

Mango chutney, which I always serve with a curry as I have many bottles of my homemade mango chutney in the pantry. Making chutney is an annual event at the end of the year when the mangoes are still green.

Method:

Chargrill the cauliflower. Turn your oven grill onto high. Toss the cauliflower in  half of the oil or ghee in a bowl, season to taste, and spread the florets onto a lightly greased oven tray. Grill, turning occasionally, until slightly charred. Leave to rest while you make the curry sauce.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan with a lid over a medium heat, I use my Scanpan for this. Add the curry leaves, garlic, onion, and ginger and season to taste. Stir occasionally to prevent burning until the onions and other ingredients are softened and golden. Add spices, and stir until aromatic (1 minute), then add the tomatoes and 400 ml of vegetable or chicken stock, or coconut milk, and simmer until reduced by about a quarter allowing the flavours to develop (8 minutes.) 

Add the chargrilled cauliflower  and stir through the sauce for a couple of minutes until all heated through. Taste to check if any more seasoning is needed and serve.

Cook's observations:

  1. The cauliflower could be browned in advance and refrigerated in a container for a day to cut down on the cooking time later on.
  2. Frozen cauliflower pieces could be used if you have trouble buying fresh produce.
  3. It is well worth buying a can of organic cherry tomatoes for this dish. They bring a lovely flavour to it, or use homegrown ones if you are lucky to have some growing
  4. Grind your own coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar for superior flavour and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  5. If you like eating curries often, buy a curry tree and grow it in a pot, you will use the leaves over and over and they are fast growing and the pot can move with you if you relocate. Ours is really big now, but grows in the ground and is also a good screen tree. Ask around as friends are often growing them and they send out suckers which can be repotted.
  6. Use ground ginger if you don't have the fresh stuff.
  7. Add a can of chick peas to this dish for some protein and to stretch it even further.
  8. Leftovers are delicious for lunch, or for serving with a salad.
The weather here has been magnificent, cold nights, and beautiful sunny mornings so we took Locky to the beach for a walk and a run and he loved it. Bucasia Beach only 15 minutes drive from our home is one of our favourite beaches, dog friendly, only a few other people on the beach with their dogs, and even more importantly  there is a nice little beachshack style cafe across the road from the beach to enjoy a coffee or breakfast, or even dinner after a late afternoon walk. No photos of the cafe this time, but brekkie was delicious. This is Winter in paradise.

Locky loves the Beach

A fisherman trying his luck, not my fisherman though.


Early morning serenity on Bucasia Beach

Thanks for dropping by, 

Warm wishes

Pauline




Saturday, 10 July 2021

Golden Syrup Dumplings, a comforting dessert

The night time temperatures have plummeted here so it's time to indulge with a warming dessert. I am often asked to make this dish for dessert when I am cooking for the whole family. However last time when we were away and I wanted to make them, I found it difficult to find a recipe that I liked online. So here is my favourite Golden Syrup Dumpling recipe which I recently rediscovered in an old school recipe book of mine, which was a relief as I thought I had lost the recipe forever. The whole story about this lost recipe was in my last post. This is comfort food in a bowl.  

The recipe was originally given to me by Theresa, a former work colleague, who was a qualified and talented book binder in a library where I worked, many moons ago. I really hope book binding hasn't become a lost craft in this digital age.

I like to make the dough for the dumplings in advance, and place them on a lightly floured plate, cover and refrigerate. them. This can be done a couple of hours before cooking them.. Place all of the syrup ingredients in a wide saucepan, ready to boil.


If you are very well organised with plating up your main course, the dumplings can be placed in the saucepan to simmer on a low heat and will be cooking as the main course is being eaten. Let the steam do the work. Dessert is then ready to be served following the main course. It's that easy. However it is important that your wide saucepan can maintain a low simmer for 10 minutes. I had trouble with that this time, as the thermostat on my stove top has decided to cause problems, and I can only maintain a low heat on the small hotplates, the large hotplates only work  at a high heat. I found a way around it, however it looks like we will be purchasing a new stove top in the near future. 

Let's start cooking:

Golden Syrup Dumplings: 4 servings

The Syrup


Syrup Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup white or lightly packed brown sugar (I use white)
2 tablespoons golden syrup
30 g butter

Dumplings

Makes approx 20 small dumplings

Ingredients:

1 cup self-raising flour
30 g butter
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup milk

Serves 4

Let's cook:
  1. Prepare the syrup first so that you are ready for cooking the dumplings. Place water, sugar, golden syrup, and butter in a wide, shallow saucepan with a lid. Stir occasionally over low heat to dissolve sugar, and rest the sauce while you make the dumplings.
  2. To make the dumplings, sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter to form crumbs with your fingers, then make a well in the centre of the mixture and add egg and milk. Mix gently so that ingredients are just combined. (Don't over mix). Add more flour if necessary until you have a dough which forms a ball. The consistency should be similar to a scone mixture.
  3. Bring the prepared syrup to the boil. With floured hands, form dough into little balls and place, one at a time into the syrup. Alternatively, drop portions of dough from a spoon into the boiling syrup. Or prepare the dumplings in advance and keep them covered and refrigerated until ready to use.
  4. Cover the saucepan immediately with a lid, and let the steam do it's work to create light, fluffy dumplings. Reduce heat and simmer until dumplings are cooked and well risen (about 6-10 minutes, depending on size). Don't overcook or they will be tough.
Preparing the syrup


Mix the flour and butter together to a crumbly mixture, I use my fingers

Add beaten egg and milk to dry ingredients


Mix to form a dough


Shape the dough into beautiful little dumplings


Simmer away




Serve immediately with warm vanilla custard, whipped cream or ice cream and enjoy.

I made a fresh  healthy tuna salad to eat as our main course, which we ate while the dumplings were cooking. This is a layered salad, using whatever I have on hand, and I love adding green peas and thinly sliced red onion for flavour, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, a few olives, and then I just added a small can of tuna to each plate but any protein on hand would do. I topped it off with a dollop of homemade mayonnaise which is always delicious with salad. Making your own mayonnaise is so fast and easy and saves having to go and buy it. Here's the link to my recipe for home made mayonnaise.






It'll be a late night for us tonight. Mr. HRK and I love our tennis, and you may have heard that our very own Australian female tennis player, Ash Barty, is playing in the women's singles final at Wimbledon tonight. Ash is also a Queenslander as we both are, which makes it extra special. We are so proud of her and wish her all the best. She is the first Australian woman for 20 years  to play in a Wimbledon final. We plan to stay up and watch it live on TV and support Ash, and the match should start in about 30 minutes time at 11 pm. Hopefully it will only go to two sets, I'm not sure how I will stay up if it goes to three sets, but it will be so exciting, and I will give it my best shot. I can hear Mr. HRK making noises in the kitchen as I write this, so he will be preparing some sustenance for us to make it through the match, even though we had dumplings for dessert ha, ha.

Also, warmest wishes go out to everyone in lockdown in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong where the Covid Delta variant seems to be spreading. It is such a worry. Hoping you are coping ok in your homes, and managing to stay healthy and happy. Mr. HRK and I send you our best wishes, let's hope this will be over soon. Keep safe.

Thanks so much for dropping by.

Best wishes

Pauline





Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Armenian Nutmeg Cake

 

This is a rustic style cake, with the warm and sweet Middle Eastern flavours of freshly ground nutmeg exciting the senses, and the soft, moist crumb making it a joy to eat. It's a very clever cake, as a crusty base is created by half of the dry mixture, and then the rest of the wet cake mixture when added to the cake tin is topped with chopped walnuts. 

This isn't a pretty cake to photograph, but it's a cinch to make and absolutely delicious to eat with a cup of espresso coffee or a pot of tea. I urge you to give it a try. It's a real keeper.

I found this cake recipe in The Mackay Whitsunday Anglican School Recipe book called "Tastebud Ticklers", collated by teachers, parents and students of the school, and published back in 1994. There are so many great recipes in this book, and this one has stood the test of time. The recipe book was assembled as a fund raiser as they generally are, and the Principal of the school at the time, Mr. Ron Bourne, famously said that if the book was published and actually raised some money he would walk to Sarina, just an hour by car down the road from Mackay and back again. Well none of us remember him actually doing that, but it was a successful project, and some of the parents still refer to it and cook from it as I just have.

 I hadn't looked at this book for quite a while before I made this cake, but just now as I was flicking through the pages again, I found my original Golden Syrup Dumplings  recipe in there. I had forgotten that this was the recipe I contributed to the book, and I had since lost the original of this recipe, true story. In 1994, I started a new job, so I am pretty amazed that I found the time to even contribute to this recipe book let alone remember that I did. Wow, what a find, because Golden Syrup Dumplings are a favourite of ours in Winter, and I have since used other recipes which Mr. HRK and I have humbly thought weren't as good as my original. My lost recipe has been found, and I have to tell you I am pretty excited. So needless to say dear readers, this dumpling dessert will be back on the menu again at home, and will hopefully be published on the blog, one cold wintry day, so watch this space.

For now though this story is really about the Armenian Nutmeg cake, originally contributed to the book by Norelle  Millen. Thanks Norelle. 

Ingredients:

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup milk

2 cups self raising flour or ( 2 cups plain flour and 4 teaspoons of baking powder)

1 egg at room temperature

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

4 oz butter (113 grams) chopped into pieces

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

METHOD:

Combine the sugar, sifted flour and nutmeg, and rub in butter. Place half the mixture into a well greased 20 cm or 8 inch spring form tin.

Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in warm milk and pour this into the remaining mixture. Add beaten egg and mix well.

Pour the wet mixture over base in the cake tin evenly and sprinkle with walnuts.

Bake for 50-60 minutes in a moderate oven. Mine cooked in 40 minutes and is very moist. Each oven is different in cooking time.

There's plenty for every body.


It's balmy Winter weather here after a cool start of 9 degrees, so as soon as I made this cake first thing this morning, I started gardening. Mr. HRK was in the garden all morning, working on a garden at the side of our house which had become overgrown, so we are starting again with that one. It's always exciting starting a garden from scratch again.

The very original recipe.



Warm wishes to you all, and hoping your week is progressing well.

Pauline