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fig, pecan and white chocolate cookies

24 Sep 2012

Last Friday we had yet another farewell morning tea. I decided to whip up some cookies using this recipe for white chocolate, cranberry and macadamia cookies but tried out a new combination of fruit and nuts.

fig, white chocolate and pecan cookies

This is my 'go to recipe' whenever I need to whip up some cookies. Instead of the macadamias and cranberries, I substituted equal quantities of toasted pecans and chopped soft figs.

fig, white chocolate and pecan cookies

I normally bake a few cookies day 1, then store the rest of the dough in the fridge or even in the freezer for a few more days.

fig, white chocolate and pecan cookies

The cookie dough undergoes a transformation after a few days. When you bake the older dough, the cookies are much flatter but more crisp and sometimes I prefer them that way.



Despite being stored in an airtight jar, these cookies do soften so it you like your cookies crisp you'll need to reheat them for a few minutes before eating. That's if you can keep your hands off them for that long! I really liked the combination of flavours and I'll certainly be making these cookies again.

fig, white chocolate and pecan cookies


I'm about to head off on my travels, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to blog next. So until the next post, keep well.

Jillian



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roasted eggplant and za'atar pizza

19 Sep 2012

This past year there's been an explosion of cookbooks written by food bloggers. Sara Forte from Sprouted Kitchen is one of those bloggers with the recent release of her book, The Sprouted Kitchen. Today's recipe is an adaptation of one of her recipes.



Most weekends I make pizza for my Saturday night dinner. I love pizza but make it at home as I can't tolerate the quantity of mozzarella cheese used in restaurants. At home I use buffalo mozzarella instead or look for recipes which use another kind of cheese.

Do you have a favourite Sunday morning breakfast?

As you know I'm travelling soon which means I have a fridge filled with food that needs to be used before I go. I had half a block of haloumi cheeese leftover from these pumpkin and haloumi burgers and was looking for a way to use it. I decided to adapt Sara's recipe using haloumi cheese instead of feta and as always, I made another change or two along the way. I'm not a huge fan of tahini so instead of the tahini, I used 3 tablespoons of baba ganoush. I didn't have any wholemeal plain flour in my cupboards, so I used white flour but added some quinoa flour in the pizza dough. Oh and of course I cut back on the mozzarella cheese.


Do you have a favourite Sunday morning breakfast?

It's a really tasty pizza and with half a block of feta cheese in the fridge, some leftover pizza dough and an eggplant in the fruit bowl I can see I'll be making another version of this pizza before I go away. This time I'm wondering how the addition of a few olives on top would taste?

eggplant and za'atar pizza

Only 7 more sleeps now until I fly to Montreal. Very excited! I'll post on Monday and then I'll blog when I can, time and internet connections willing.

See you all soon,

Jillian
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blueberry buttermilk pancakes

17 Sep 2012

Growing up, Sunday breakfast was often pancakes. Usually I'd spread black currant jam on my pancake before rolling it up and slicing it into pieces. Don't ask me why but I still do this to this day. Then Dad discovered a blueberry pancake mix that came from the States. I remember it had a little tiny tin of blueberries in the box and from then on I was hooked. I don't often make pancakes but when I do they're always blueberry pancakes.

blueberry buttermilk pancakes

Blueberries have been really expensive during winter and now that the price has come down, I decided to celebrate with a batch of pancakes for breakfast on Sunday instead of my usual porridge. Do you have a favourite Sunday morning breakfast?

blueberry buttermilk pancakes

I bought this cute little frying pan ages ago and this was the first time I'd used it. It's a perfect size for pancakes.

blueberry buttermilk pancakes

I adapted a Donna Hay recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes from Marie Claire "Cooking". I love my pancakes served with a dollop of yoghurt and a generous drizzle of maple syrup over the top.



Here's the recipe I used. The original recipe used another tablespoon of sugar and 45 grams melted butter instead of the yoghurt.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes (adapted from Marie Claire Cooking)
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1 cup self raising flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
2 tablespoons low fat yoghurt
1½ cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
Extra blueberries, yoghurt and maple syrup to serve

Place flour, sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and mix to combine. Place egg, yoghurt and buttermilk in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Add mixture to flour and sugar and mix until smooth.

Stir blueberries and lemon rind through buttermilk-flour mixture. Pour spoonfuls of mixture into a greased, preheated fry pan over medium heat. Cook for 1 minutes on each side or until pancakes are golden.

To serve, place pancakes in a stack on a serving plate and top stack with extra blueberries, yoghurt and maple syrup.

Serves 4 to 6.

I hope you enjoyed your weekends.

Jillian
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pumpkin and haloumi burgers

12 Sep 2012

I saw this recipe for pumpkin and haloumi burgers in September's Delicious magazine and they looked so appealing, I decided to give them a try. Have you noticed there's a bit of a pumpkin theme on the blog this week?

pumpkin and haloumi burgers

It was pretty easy to track down the ingredients. Haloumi cheese can be found in the dairy cabinet of most supermarkets or delis in Sydney these days. The zaatar and tahini I picked up at my local deli.



I served the burger with some of my home made faux chips topped with a mixture of zaatar and salt.

pumpkin and haloumi burgers

It's not tomato season here so trying to find a decent tomato that doesn't resemble an orange golf ball at a reasonable price has been challenging.



The verdict? The patties were just huge and a bit bland and tended to overpower the other burger ingredients. Next time I'd make 8 burger patties from the mix and dial up the seasoning. The best part - the zaatar topped faux chips. They were delicious and I'll definitely be making those again.

Time for me to go and do the dishes. I hope you've all had good weeks and I'll see you again next week,

Jillian
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pumpkin spice cake with maple cream cheese icing

10 Sep 2012

I've always loved pumpkin and cook with it all the time but I normally use it as a savoury ingredient. I rarely use pumpkin in my baking, though I used to make pumpkin pie years ago. I may come from the land of pumpkin scones but I've never actually eaten one.

When I was home in Brisbane last month, I looked through some of my old favourite cookbooks. I found a recipe for pumpkin spice cake which looked interesting so I scanned the page. The recipe comes from one of my Margaret Fulton cookbooks but I had a bit of a seniors moment and forgot to write down the title of the cookbook.



I made all sorts of changes to the original recipe, not the least the addition of some maple syrup flavoured cream cheese icing. Here are some of those changes. Instead of boiling or steaming the pumpkin, I oven baked the pumpkin for about an hour before pureeing it. I used golden caster sugar rather than regular sugar and cut down the quantity by ¼ cup. I used buttermilk instead of regular milk and I skipped the walnuts entirely. Instead of baking the cake in a rectangular tin, I cooked it in a 20 cm round tin so it needed an additional 15 minutes cooking time.

pumpkin spice cake with maple cream cheese icing

The icing I used was kind of inspired by one from Ottolenghi - The Cookbook.

pumpkin spice cake with maple cream cheese icing

The maple syrup cream cheese icing was kind of special so at the last moment, I decided to make a pumpkin spice layer cake. I topped the icing with some maple sugar flakes given to me by a friend.



I took the cake into work and I wasn't sure how the test audience would react. They love, love, loved it. In fact I think the word divine may have been uttered.

Here's the original cake recipe for you plus the icing recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Cake (a Margaret Fulton recipe).
125 gm butter, softened
1¼ cups sugar
2 eggs
2¼ cups self raising flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ cup milk
1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ cup chopped walnuts

Grease a rectangular cake tin about 33 x 23 cm (13 x 9 inches) and line the base with baking paper. 


Set the oven at moderate (180ºC/350ºF).

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift together the flour, salt and spices. In another bowl, combine the milk with the pumpkin and bicarbonate of soda. Add the flour and pumpkin mixture alternately to the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the nuts. 
Turn into the prepared tin and bake in a moderate oven for 50-55 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. 

Cool in the tin for a few minutes, and then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

Ice with maple cream cheese icing or serve plain.

Maple Cream Cheese Icing (inspired by Ottolenghi – the Cookbook)
60 gm unsalted butter
190 gm softened cream cheese
½ teaspoon vanilla
⅓ cup light muscovado sugar
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

In a small bowl using electric beaters, cream the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and gradually add sufficient maple syrup to form a soft icing. Makes sufficient icing to top and fill an 8 inch (20cm) round cake.


I hope you all had lovely weekends. I was busy researching things to see and do in New York and Montreal. Many thanks to my lovely readers for their NYC suggestions.

See you all later,

Jillian
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paperboat press

5 Sep 2012

The lovely Kylie from Paperboat Press pressed a little packet into my hand last time we met at the Sydney Finders Keepers. This is what was inside, a lovely little blue and white bowl.



I've always loved blue and white china so this little bowl has been added to my collection.



Many thanks Kylie.

P.S. 3 weeks today until I fly out to Montreal. I'm starting to get very excited about the trip, yet a trifle concerned with all that needs to be sorted out before I go. Too much to do and too little time.....

Jillian
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rhubarb and strawberry buckle

3 Sep 2012

Rhubarb and strawberry is my favourite fruit combination. I oven bake rhubarb and strawberry every week to serve with my weekend porridge or weekday bircher muesli.

rhubarb and strawberry buckle

I'd already made some cookies last weekend and I wasn't planning to bake anything else but with both rhubarb and strawberry in season, how could I go past this recipe for rhubarb and strawberry buckle? It's yet another recipe I pulled from a back issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine. The recipe is also included in the Australian Gourmet Traveller Slow Food Cookbook. 

rhubarb and strawberry buckle

I didn't have any rapadura sugar in the cupboard but with an unopened packet of dark muscovado sugar I decided to use that instead. I'd not used dark muscovado sugar in my baking before and it's a very dark brown sugar.

rhubarb and strawberry buckle

Can you see some of my long division? I'm sure it's because of my day job, where I run around with a tape measure and goniometer, but I weigh and measure everything!

rhubarb and strawberry buckle

The cake smelled lovely and spicy whilst it was baking and I could tell it was going to be a nice moist cake.



Normally I don't get to taste my baking before the test audience does but this time I chose to be selfish and cut a slice of the buckle soon after it came out of the oven. I'm pleased to report the rhubarb and strawberry buckle was absolutely delicious and more than makes up for the disappointment of the rhubarb ginger cake I made a few weeks ago. I'll definitely be making this one again.


I hope you all enjoyed your weekends.


Bye for now,


Jillian

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