April 30, 2014

favourites – April edition


Yippee! We are well into my favourite season of the year and already I am loving the cool change it has brought forth.  I am a cold season girl through and through, a testament to growing up in wet, windy Wellington (NZ) I dare say, and yearn for the months when I can rug up in layers.  Hello woollen knits, scarves and boots!

Anyway, here are a few favourites I have crossed paths with this month...

One word.  DELICIOUS!!

You are not poor.  Couldn’t agree more!!!

Bookmarking this recipe for the winter months and this one too.

Totally crushing on this linen bed range

So excited to have participated in such a great initiative

I am in need of a new bag and love the simplicity of this one


April 28, 2014

flaked quinoa, chia and flax meal porridge with caramelised pear and walnuts

easter 186easter 185easter 188

The seasons are slowly but surely changing and with the drop in mercury I find myself reaching for woollen jumpers, long pants, socks and slippers.  Winter blankets that have been collecting dust bunnies during the warmer months are being pulled out, washed and aired ready to adorn our beds.  Hot water bottles have been rescued from the back of the linen cupboard and flannelette sheets are making an appearance.  Stews, casseroles and soups are making their way onto our menu and the kettle is rarely off the boil in anticipation of the next cuppa.  As desperate as summer was to hang on by a bare thread, autumn is making her presence known while winter is whispering that she’ll soon be on the heels of autumn.

I’ve been lingering in bed in the mornings lately, enveloped in the warm cocoon of my blankets.  Not yet completely dreading the idea of rising as I do in the midst of winter when the chill factor is numbing but enough that I prolong the inevitable and the patience of by belly grumbling children.

Now that the weather is decidedly cooler first thing, we’ve been starting our day with a bowl of warm porridge.  Where once I would soak the oats overnight trying to emulate the porridge of my youth, I now favour a speedier somewhat healthier version.  In my humble opinion, if you are yet to try flaked quinoa porridge get in that kitchen pronto!  This porridge has a different texture to traditional porridge, it is smoother, silkier and creamier.  It is also much lighter than oats but just as filling and we find it doesn’t require the addition of milk though you could add a splash of milk of your liking.  I encourage you to play with the topping, you are only limited by your imagination.

Flaked quinoa, chia and flax meal porridge with caramelised pear and walnuts – serves 2 but can easily be halved or doubled.

1 cup flaked quinoa
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp flax/linseed meal
1 cup coconut milk/cream
1 cup water
1 pear
1/4 cup walnuts
10 g butter or 2 tsp coconut oil
honey to serve

Place the quinoa, chia, flax meal, coconut milk/cream and water into a small pot and place over a low to medium heat.  Stir occasionally for 4-5 minutes until thick and creamy.  While the quinoa is doing it’s thing heat the butter in a small pan and quarter, core and chop the pear into small bite size pieces.  Cook the pear over a low heat for 2-3 minutes tossing the pan a few times then add the walnuts and cook a further minute or so.  You want the pears to be caramelised and sweet but still intact and the walnuts to be lightly toasted.
Half the quinoa porridge between two bowls, drizzle with honey or maple syrup and top equally with the pear and walnuts.  You are good to go.

Topping suggestions
- Caramelised or stewed apple with cinnamon
- Caramelised or mashed banana with lightly toasted slivered almonds
- Chopped date and toasted walnut
- Berry compote with greek yoghurt

April 24, 2014

Molly’s anzac cookies

anzac 043anzac 058anzac 062anzac 071anzac 075

As a small child I would often attend the Anzac dawn parade with my grandparents.  We’d arise in the wee hours of the morning, rug up warm and head down to the local RSA where other men, who had served our country, and their loved ones waited in hushed silence for the march to begin.  It was a day of recognition and commemoration for all the soldiers who had sacrificed their lives to protect our nation. 

Being so young I knew there was an importance surrounding the day but I didn’t fully grasp the significance until I was much older.  At that age, my five year old mind was in a hurry for it to all be over so we could get back home to the warmth of an open fire and fill our grumbling bellies with hot cocoa and cookies.  Shame on me!

Now, decades later, I have taken over the tradition of baking those very same cookies.   Not only in remembrance of the sacrifice made of men I never knew but in memory of my loving Nan.

Lest we forget.

Anzac cookies

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup rolled oats
50 g butter
1 Tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp boiling water

Preheat oven to 180°c and line an oven tray.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, coconut and oats. 
Melt the golden syrup and butter together in a small pot over a low heat.  Add the baking soda and boiling water to a cup and stir till dissolved then mix into the butter/golden syrup.
Pour the butter, golden syrup and soda mix into the large bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.
Using moistened hands, roll tablespoons of cookie mix into balls before flattening on the oven tray.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.  Cool cookies on a wire rack before storing in a biscuit tin.

Makes 12-15 cookies

April 22, 2014

hot cross buns

easter 156
easter 162
hot cross buns 001
hot cross buns 007
hot cross buns 002

I know that Easter is done and dusted and that you may well be thinking that I have missed the boat in terms of posting a recipe for hot cross buns but let me share a little secret with you.  My man and I share a particular weakness for these spicy fruit buns, so much so that we enjoy them at any time of year *wink

You see, hot cross buns were the last meal we enjoyed together before uniting as husband and wife.  We married on Good Friday, 1999 so it seemed only fitting that we start the day with hot cross buns, sadly they weren’t homemade as we now enjoy, they were just your average supermarket variety.

I remember waking earlier than usual that morning, the sun just peaking out over the horizon.  I looked over at the man still deep in slumber beside me wondering how I got to be so darn lucky.  My heart skipped a beat and butterflies of excitement starting dancing in my belly as I drank in the sight of him.  I reached out for his hand and holding it in mine thought about all the dreams we had shared, the babies we had created and the memories we had made.  Leaving him to his dreams, I slipped out of bed to prepare breakfast.  A pot of tea and toasted hot cross buns with lashings of butter.  We sat in bed that morning looking out towards the beach, sipping, eating and laughing.

There was no sense of urgency as I prepare to leave for my parents to get ready, just a quiet calm that continued throughout the day.  We exchanged vows on a cliff top overlooking the beach where I grew up, surrounded by loved ones, followed with a leisurely lunch at my dad’s restaurant.  As far as weddings go, it was a very simple affair but one that I look back on with the fondest of memories.

Before I went to sleep that night I thought back in reverse of all the events that had unfolded that day.  The partying and dancing until the wee hours, the heartfelt speeches, marrying the man that I adored – my soul mate, being given away by my Grandfather who only had weeks to live and eating breakfast in bed undisturbed by our little people.  In that moment I promised myself that I would start making our hot cross buns from scratch and I’ve been umming and ahhing over hot cross bun recipes ever since.  The recipe that follows is this years version adapted ever so slightly from here.

Hot Cross Buns

310ml warm milk
2 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp dried yeast
600 g sifted flour
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
1.5 tsp nutmeg (we love our spice)
60 g soft butter
2.5 cups raisins (might seem overkill but we love fruit too)
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Egg wash:
1 egg white
1 Tbsp milk

2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp water

Place the warmed milk into a small bowl with the sugar and sprinkle over the yeast.  Mix to combine and let stand about 5 minutes till frothy.
Place the sifted flour, salt and spices into a large bowl and mix.  Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add the raisins, yeast mixture and eggs and stir until combined.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes until it becomes elastic and smooth.  Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or gladwrap and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Once risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down before dividing into 12-16 equal pieces.  Form a neat ball with each piece of dough and place about 2 inches apart on to a lined tray.  Cover and leave to rise again 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 190°c.  Mix together the egg wash ingredients and brush over the top of the buns.  Whisk together the flour and water to make the crosses until it makes a smooth paste.  Pipe the top of the buns then bake approximately 15 minutes until golden.

Best enjoyed with lashings of butter and a pot of hot tea!

*edited: I use a fan force oven, if you have a regular oven heat to 200°c and bake for a total of 20-25 minutes, reducing the heat to 180°c after 10 minutes.



April 16, 2014

tales of a recipe junkie

tales of a recipe junkiej-10
tales of a recipe junkiej
tales of a recipe junkiej-22
tales of a recipe junkiej-40

Well hello there, welcome to ‘tales of a recipe junkie’.  Come in, make yourself at home and allow me to explain a little of what I plan for this here space.
Okay, so where do I start?  This little spot has been a long time in the making.  I’ve dreamt of a space where I could share stories and my passion for all things food, and finally, after trying my hand at other things, it’s becoming a reality.  I guess coming from a long line of passionate foodies it was only natural that I would have this desire to share my love of food, it’s in my blood after all, part of my dna.

For as long as I can remember I have collected recipes.  From magazines, newspapers, books, friends and family.  I used to keep my collection in scrapbooks, drawers, boxes and folders and my book shelves used to groan under the weight of the  cookbook addiction I had.  I kid you not!  These days my Pinterest boards are bursting at the seams with inspiration of recipes I want to try and I’m also much more selective of the cookbooks I buy.  The only problem I have is that there are not enough hours in a day.  That said, I do cook every chance I get and thankfully, due to having such a large family, when I do cook up a storm I have no end of willing guinea pigs participants eager to sample my wares.  It’s a win/win all round.

My aim is for ‘tales of a recipe junkie’ to be a platform where I can weave my stories and memories into the food I cook and hopefully inspire you in the way that I have been inspired by foodies and cooks over the years.  Let the magic begin!
So tell me, do you enjoy to cook?  What’s your signature dish? I’m curious to know.

Photos courtesy of my friend Em