Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Croissant in a Jaffle?

Yep, day old croissant with jam in the Jaffle maker? Genius!!!!

As many of you are aware, I'm a little bit obsessed with my Breville Jaffle Maker.  I adore it!  I'm a big fan of a breakfast jaffle, usually consisting of bacon and eggs or some other type of savoury filling.

The other day, we had some croissants that were starting to get a little old and dry.  They weren't looking too appealing.  I thought, "I wonder if it could be revived in the Jaffle maker?" The answer is YES!!

I sliced the croissant in half, added a little butter and some raspberry jam and them popped in the Jaffle Maker.  The result is a buttery, crispy and sweet pastry.  Added with some vanilla cream and you've got yourself a sweet breakfast treat.

Really, is there anything that you can't put in the Jaffle Maker?!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Homemade Celery Salt...

Homemade celery salt

We have been inundated with celery in our veggie patch and we have been trying to find new ways to use ALL of the celery.  My wonderful husband made this batch of celery salt, which I thought I would share with you all.  It is super easy and uses the leaves of the celery.

How to:

  1. trim leaves from celery
  2. wash well and spin in a salad spinner, you need to get them super dry.
  3. Pat dry with paper towel.
  4. lay on a tray, lined with baking paper in a single layer.  You don't want them over lapping otherwise they won't cook.
  5. bake in a low over (about 150 to 170 degrees Celsius) for about 3 to 5 minutes.  You want it dried out, not brown!
  6. you will need to do a few batches.  Add the dried out celery leaves to equal amount of flaky sea salt.  Store in an air proof container.
How easy is that?!  So what can you do with this delicious salt now?  Well you can add to your food as per usual, add to savoury items when you add salt or try it on boiled eggs like I did!

Boiled eggs with homemade celery salt

Give it a go!  It's a great way to use up those final last leaves on the celery and adds great flavour.  Yum!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pomegranate Sour...

Just whipped up some Pomegranate Sours for a Saturday arvo... Recipe will be on my blog!

I've been a little obsessed with sours lately.  That frothy foam can transform a basic drink into something pretty special.  I also love pomegranates for the warmer months so I thought I would try my hand at a pomegranate sour!

240 oz pomegranate juice (such as POM)
180 oz of Belvedere vodka
60 oz of lemon juice
30 oz of simple syrup
30 oz of egg white (about the egg white of one egg)

Like any sour, add all the ingredients with ice into a cocktail shaker.  Shake! Why do we shake?  Well we need to combine and froth the egg white and chill the liquid.

Pour into chilled martini glasses or a short glass.  This recipe makes 2 cocktails.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Beetroot and Fennel relish...

Perfect partnership: homemade bread... Homemade relish... Now where's that cheese?! @paosinis

In the spirit of 'make do and mend' - I have been trying to waste less food.  The recipe for this Beetroot and Fennel relish is something that I just made up, mostly due to the ingredients needing to be cooked or they would have been in the compost bin very soon!

I adore beetroot relish as an accompaniment with cheese.  I think that I got hooked on this combo after having a cheese platter at Domaine Chandon in the Yarra Valley many years ago but nothing beats/beets (get it, beets!?!) making it yourself.

2 large beetroots
2 small to medium fennel bulbs
2 small brown onions
approximately 2 cups of cider vinegar
1 cup of caster sugar
about 1/3 cup mustard seeds

How to...

Clean beetroot bulbs and fennel.  Chop fennel into large chunks, chop beetroot into eights.

Making some beetroot and fennel relish!

    Lightly drizzle olive oil on beets and fennel and roast in a hot oven for about 35 minutes (or until beets are slightly soft) Keep an eye on the fennel to make sure that it doesn't burn!
    Remove from oven and cool.
Fennel and beetroot roasted and chopped ready to be made into relish!

Place beets and fennel in a food processor and blitz until it is in small pieces.  Do not turn into a paste!

Chop onions and lightly sweat until transparent in a large pot. Add the beet and fennel mixture and slightly cook together for a minute or two. Add sugar, mustard seeds and vinegar and bring to the boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 40 minutes, keep and eye on the mixture to make sure it doesn't dry out too much or is sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Mixture should be glossy, a little saucy but not too runny!  Spoon into sterilized jars and seal.  Relish should last about 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator if not sealed in a jar, it will last longer if properly sealed.

Drool... Bread, relish and aged Gouda...

Enjoy your relish with some delicious cheese and bread!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A fancy egg-ie bread...

Eggie breakfast goodness!

I love eggs for breakfast.  I go through stages of how I like them; boiled, scramble etc.  This week I've been making the good old 'Eggie bread' in the morning as it is quick and definitely satisfying!

This fancier version adds a good amount of flat leaf parsley while cooking.  I love how the parsley gets a little crisp.  Our parsley is going a little crazy at the moment, I feel like I'm using it in almost every meal!

You've never made 'eggie bread'?!  Simply you cut a hole in the bread (discard this part).  Heat a little oil in a frying pan, place bread in and then crack an egg into the hole and cook to your liking.  It only takes a few minutes and is delicious!

I like to cook mine so the egg yolk is still runny when I cut into it.  How about you?  How do you like your eggs?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Recipe Remix: Granola topped Carrot Cakes

Carrot & granola cakes out!
Granola topped Carrot Cake

I thought for this recipe remix that I would combine two of my loves; carrot cake and granola!  It also turned out that I had some granola that I made during the week left over so it worked out perfectly.  These little cakes are moist, crunchy on top and super delicious!

The original carrot cake recipe can be found here.  However for this recipe, I swapped the olive oil for macadamia oil.  It has given it a lovely nutty flavour and I would highly recommend it.  Just to recap, here are the ingredients that you will need!

Ingredients for carrot cake:
3 good sized carrots grated (you want about a cup of carrot)
1/2 cup of olive oil - I used macadamia oil
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
1 cup of self raising flour
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts (you can add extra if you like the crunch!)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of allspice or to taste


Mix the sugar, eggs and oil together (I did this on a low setting in the kitchenaid mixer)
Add carrot and flour and mix again.
Stir through walnuts.
Add mixture to 12 muffin tin, that has been prepared with paper cases.
Sprinkle granola on top.
Cook at about 170-180 degrees celsius for approx 20 minutes.

Granola topped carrot cakes
Here they are just before going in the oven!

For the granola recipe, you can find one of my basic granola recipes here.  If you are anything like me, you generally make granola each week and have it on hand!  You could also use a bought granola too. These didn't last long in our house!  They are moist and not too sweet - they definitely hit the spot if you are craving cake.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

A salad of memories...

Today's homemade lunch: raddicchio, feta, pear and hazelnut salad!

It's funny how the combination of flavours can bring back certain memories.  I remember my first Christmas in New York City.  It snowed on Christmas eve and we ran outside in Manhattan with snowflakes falling on our eyelashes.  We also went out to a restaurant for Christmas dinner and I remember having a salad that was made of radicchio, blue cheese, pear and hazelnuts.  I don't know why but this salad as the starter will always stay with me and everytime I make something similar, it takes me back to that Christmas in New York City, which was well over 10 years ago!

Yesterday, I made a similar salad, however I swapped the blue cheese for feta and made a champagne vinegar and dijon dressing.  This salad is filling, crunchy and fresh but will always make me think of Christmas in New York.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tomato, chickpea and chicken soup...

And dinner together.... Yum!

With the cooler weather, there is nothing better than a warming soup to eat for dinner.  This soup was inspired by a soup my friend had while we were out for lunch.  I added a chicken breast for additional protein (and also because I had one that needed to be used!).  My soup was served with homemade olive and rosemary bread, sliced with delicious butter!  The soup itself is quite healthy and delicious.

3 x 400g tins or lovely organic chopped tomotoes
approximately 2 - 3 cups of water
1 large red onion diced
1 medium carrot diced
2 sticks of celery chopped
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
1 x chicken breast
garlic, salt and pepper to taste
harissa paste to taste

How to!
  1. lightly sweat down the onions, carrot, celery and garlic in a 4 litre pot until slightly cooked
  2. add the tinned tomatoes and water and bring to a light boil.
  3. add seasonings - continue to taste through out.
  4. turn heat down and add the chicken breast, cook for about 15 - 17 minutes.
  5. remove chicken breast and roughly chop
  6. using a stick blender, give the soup a quick blend so it thickens but still has chunky pieces in it!
  7. Add chicken back to the soup with drained and washed chick peas.
  8. Cook for another 5 minutes or until chickpeas are heated through.
  9. Serve with bread and garnish with chopped parsley.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Joys of the Jaffle...

Oh the joys!!! My husband got me the new/old Breville Original '74 Jaffle maker!! That is true love!

I remember as a child that there was nothing more satisfying than a cheese or baked bean jaffle.  They were so much better than a toasted sandwich as all of the oozy ingredients were locked into the crisp bread.  I loved it!

I started to think about the joy of the jaffle again recently and decided that we needed to invest in a jaffle maker again.  To my surprise, Breville had re-introduced their Jaffle maker 'the Original '74' - a slightly more modernized version that graced my childhood home.  It arrived in its chrome glory and I haven't looked back!

Yum! #jaffle goodness! Bacon, egg, spinach... Breaky Jaffle FTW!

My favourite 'brunch jaffle' is a bacon, egg, cheese and spinach sandwich.  The following recipe makes 2 jaffles.

2 eggs
handful of grated tasty cheese
1 full rasher of bacon
handful of baby spinach chopped
salt and pepper
4 slices of bread

How to!
  • dice bacon into small pieces and lightly fry, you want to get a little bit of crispiness but not burn to a crisp!
  • in a small bowl combine the eggs, spinach, cheese and seasonings.  The mixture should be a runny paste.  The grated cheese holds it together.
  • butter bread lightly for the jaffle maker
  • Once bacon is cooked, add to the egg mixture, combine and then add to the jaffle maker.
  • Cook until outside is crispy and cooked.

You can play around with this recipe, adding chives, parsley etc.  It's super delicious and quite forgiving!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rabbithole Coffee: Hong Kong...

Rabbithole coffee

Whenever we are travelling, there is the search for good coffee.  You get sick of the watery instant coffee that is often provided in the hotel room very quickly.  With so much to see and do in Hong Kong, we needed to keep our caffeine levels up so we were super pleased to find Rabbithole Coffee very close to our hotel in Wan Chai.

These guys are speciality coffee... that is pretty much all they do, coffee and a couple of croissants, which are pretty tasty too.  On our first visit, we had a cold coffee, an ice drip to be exact.  The coffee itself was amazing, we had the choice of 3 different coffee bean blends but it was the presentation was outstanding!

Our coffee arrived in a small carafe with a whiskey type glass and ice ball!  As you all know, I adore ice balls and sampling this coffee cold over an ice ball was perfect.  The ice ball didn't dilute the coffee with extra water!

We have been back a couple of times for cafe lattes and espressos and each time the coffee and service has been outstanding.  A little slice of coffee heaven in Hong Kong.  One of the funniest parts of our visit was chatting to one of the baristas only to learn he had spent a year in Melbourne at a cafe we knew of!  Small world!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Can Pickle That... & tales of relish making...

I'm a huge fan of Portlandia and the 'I Can Pickle That' skit makes me laugh every time, mostly due to our large output of pickles this year.

However, it is not just pickles that have been happening at Casa MaMa... no!  We've been making all kinds of relish like the Zombie Apocalypse is coming!  We had a huge output of tomatoes this season.  We were so pleased that we got so many kilos of ripe tomatoes this year as we missed out last year due to overseas travel.  With so many tomatoes I made up about three batches of tomato relish, each one a little different to the other.  The great thing with so much relish is that I have been swapping it for other tasty treats from friends - even a 6 pack of beer!

Now that the tomatoes have ended, our capsicums (or peppers for my USA friends) have started to arrive.  We have approximately 30 plants that self-sowed from our compost and are flourishing!  If you know me well, you will know of my weird love for raw capsicum.  I knew eating all of those capsicums would eventually pay off.

More relish... This time with capsicum from our front yard...

With so many capsicums coming in, I have tried my hand at making a green capsicum relish too.  I didn't really have a recipe, I just adapted from my knowledge of relish making to ensure it was sweet, spicy and cured!

I've left the jars to sit and 'age' for a little while so stay tuned for the taste test!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bread Making...

Homemade bread

The amazing Ruth over at Gourmet Girlfriend has been inspiring everyone to jump on board her GG Bread Revolution (look at the tag #ggbreadrevolution on instagram to be inspired!)  Being a lover of cast iron pots and pans, and having a bit of a collection now, I thought that I would give the 'no-knead bread' recipe a go.

I'm loving it!  I'm not making a loaf every day like some others but it is definitely great for the weekends where we tend to need bread.  I have modified the recipe to bake the following loafs:

  • wholemeal with pumpkin seeds bread
  • rosemary bread
  • organic white with sunflower seeds
  • raisin, walnut and cinnamon

And here we are! Raisin & walnut bread out of the oven!
Raisin, Walnut and Cinnamon bread

Visit Gourmet Girlfriend to check out her original post.  The recipe is based on Jim Lahey's from Sullivan Street Bakery in New York.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Breakfasts and Brunch...

Hello brunch! Love me some bagels!!!
Smoked Salmon bagel.

Weekend breakfast and brunch is such a lovely treat. I thought I would share some of my home favourites.  I adore making breakfast and brunch at home, it is one of my favourite things to do on the weekend.  Even though I do enjoy going out for breakfast, nothing beats a fancy feed at home with a Bloody Mary, in your pjs!

Porridge with cooked apples, maple syrup and chopped pecan nuts.

And yummy breakfast! Scrambled eggs, spinach and bacon in a pita bread!
a speedy breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and spinach in a pita!

Mexican baked eggs
you will recognize this from a previous post... love a Mexican style baked eggs!
#breakfast baked eggs with hot sauce... Nom nom
baked eggs in bread with hot sauce!

The good thing about working from home today is making a delicious omelette with spinach, mushrooms and bacon! #breakfast #marimekko
the remains of an English style omelette, with mushrooms and bacon.
What's your favourite thing for breakfast?  Are you a sweet person who goes for pancakes and french toast?  Or do you dig the savoury with eggs, bacon and hot sauce?  OMG, I'm getting hungry right now!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cocktail Hour: Aperol Sours...

And aperol sours done!

Sometimes when the weather is warmer you feel like a sophisticated cocktail that is pink and frothy.  For me, the Aperol Sour hits the spot in all of these elements.

What is Aperol?  Well it's an Italian Aperitif, a little like Campari but lower in alcohol and much less bitter.  It has an amazing pink glow too in a glass.

Making Aperol sours... #cocktailtime

 What you will need to create your Aperol Sour:

  • 2 oz. Aperol
  • 1 oz. egg white (the egg white of one egg should make 2 cocktails)
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • ice
  • cocktail shaker
  • stemmed martini/cocktail glasses
(these measurements are for one cocktail, double if you are making for a friend as well!)

What do you do?

  • chill your glasses with ice and water while continuing the next steps
  • put a generous amount of ice into your cocktail shaker
  • add aperol, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white
  • shake in cocktail shaker until well combined and chilled (about 20 to 30 seconds)
  • strain into your pre-chilled glasses
  • garnish with a grapefruit twist (optional)

And drinking said Aperol Sour!!

 Now pop on some fabulous sunglasses and go relax outside, listen to some great tunes and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Coffee Gods...

Yay! Coffee crisis adverted! Our beans arrived today in the mail! @elgatogrande

I love the fact that we can get fresh coffee beans delivered to our door step.  With the crazy busy life that we live, sometimes you just can't get out to the shop to buy some.  My husband, and chief coffee maker in our house, is very particular about having just the right amount of coffee beans in the house.  You don't want to order too many otherwise they will be sitting around getting stale.

The folk at Coffex have saved us by being able to post out fresh coffee beans to our home within two days!  Amazing!  When I get home and see that parcel sitting there, I really know that there is a coffee God!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Who Knew a Vegetarian Sausage Roll Could be Awesome?!

Delicious "vegetarian" sausage rolls for dinner!
Vegetarian Sausage Rolls

I'm a reasonably big meat eater (sorry Vegetarians and Vegans!).  I probably don't always eat meat everyday but I do enjoy the taste of meat.  Many would joke that Australian meat pies and sausage rolls have very limited meat in them and I would agree with them if we were looking at the dodgy pies and rolls that are bought at sports games or convenience stores.

I had sampled a 'Vegetarian' sausage roll at a morning tea and was amazed by the texture and flavour.  Basically it was better than a regular sausage roll and I was inspired to try and re-create my own at home.  This recipe is delicious mostly due to the pecan nuts.  They give a great texture and flavour and I love anything with pecans in it!

What you will need:
4 sheets of puff pastry
2 x 400g cans of lentils, rinsed and drained well (I squish excess water out with my hands)
1 small brown onion
2 small carrots grated
3/4 cup of chopped pecan nuts
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
stick of celery finely chopped
1/4 cup of BBQ sauce, or tomato chutney for moisture, sweetness and flavour.
seasonings, garlic, salt, pepper etc... how you like it!
egg for egg wash

How to!
  • lightly cook the onions, carrot and celery in a cast iron pan.  You want to soften the veggies!
  • allow to cool and pop in a mixing bowl with all the other ingredients and mix well.
  • check your seasonings!  I added a bit of red pepper flakes at this point.
  • Cut your thawed pastry in half and spoon the mixture down one side
  • using the egg wash, brush down the edge of the other side, roll over to make a long sausage shape.  Make sure that the pastry is all sealed on the side
  • egg wash the top and cut into sections.  You can either cut into 4 mini sausage rolls or into 6 bite sized party rolls!
  • pop into the oven set at about 180 degrees Celsius. This iis a bit dependent on your oven.  Mine is quite hot but you may need to lift to 200!  
  • These guys will take about 20 minutes to 30 minutes to cook
  • serve with tomato sauce or a delicious home made chutney!

Green tomato chutney

We are definitely getting through our chutney! It is amazing on these delicious sausage rolls.  You can find my recipe for Green Tomato Chutney here!

You may also find this delicious!

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