Kitchen Therapy


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Palets de Dames – a lesson in self care

 

 

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There’s a quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe “Do not hurry; do not rest”.
For the past year, as I talked about here, I have been a whirlwind of hurry.
But I nailed the ‘do not rest’ bit.

As I talked to clients about practicing self care and mindfulness, I heard my inner voice screaming “hypocrite!”

I managed to ignore this voice…
However after a while I had Doc Holliday’s words from the movie Tombstone going around and around in my head, “It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.” (Damn conscience!)

So I sat down and decided to practice what I preached.
Despite knowing how important and valuable self care is, I have always been really really bad it.
So, very slowly, I introduced ‘doing’ mindfully to my life.
Rather than saying ‘yes’ to everything and running from place to place, I have been choosing what matters to me.

Surprisingly, one of the first things to go in order to reduce the ‘hurry’ in my life were social events (and people) that drained me.
I’ll be honest I struggled with this for a while.
Grabbing coffee, doing lunch, dinner dates and weekends away are the norm where I live.
Was there something wrong with me that I would prefer time alone???
I wrestled with these thoughts as I picked up one of the books I’ve been wanting to read ‘one day’.
Oh! What bliss! I was reading, not for research or for work purposes, but for the pure pleasure and joy of reading.
I realised there really was nothing wrong with me!

I did hit a hurdle when it came to making these cookies though.
I received Dorie’s new book ‘Baking Chez Moi‘ in the mail and spent hours looking through it, excited at the prospect of cooking through the book with the Tuesdays with Dorie group.

And then the recipes and dates were posted and I was so ready!
I had butterflies in my stomach!

And then as the posting date approached I told myself I had plenty of time and returned to my beloved books.
The posting date came and went and I was in major procrastination mode!

I contemplated just putting this recipe aside and starting with the Cranberry Crackle Tart, but luckily that conscience of mine kicked my butt again and many days later I found myself making the dough late at night and baking these early the next morning.

We ate half of them before they were cool enough to ice!
I made 24 cookies and ended up with 10 to ice.
The were eaten the same day they were baked. All of them. Gone!

I heard “I love these” and “these are great” being muttered as my husband and kids returned to the kitchen again and again.
I almost had myself convinced to skip these and I am soooo  glad I didn’t.
It was good to remind myself that I enjoy baking as much as I love reading.
Baking is now firmly on my self care list of activities!

These cooking are simple yet incredibly satisfying.

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The recipe can be found here and they are topped with sanding sugar which I forgot as I was busy stuffing them in my mouth!
But above is a photo of the sugar crystals I had to decorate the top of these cookies with…

I am very excited to be part of Tuesdays with Dorie and can’t wait to see what everyone else thought of these.

 

 

 


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Canelles

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According to my daughter the Canneles made to celebrate Dorie Greenspan’s online birthday turned out to be the perfect snack to grab on the way out to another birthday party!

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I love knowing that people have been eating these little cakes for centuries.
They remind of me European pastries I grew up eating.
There’s something special about biting into the firm, crisp exterior and finding a soft, moist inside with a strong vanilla and rum taste.

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This recipe is out of Dorie Greenspan’s new book Baking Chez Moi and the recipe can be found here.
There’s something about baking that I find incredibly calming and satisfying.

To celebrate Dorie Greenspan’s birthday, the launch of her new book and also the 4th anniversary of the most amazing online cooking group :) French Fridays with Dorie the following list of people participated baking recipes from Chez Moi! Enjoy looking around x

Mini Cannelés

Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone Filling

Paletes de Dames, Lille Style

Brown Butter-Peach Tourte


15 Comments

Roasted Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic

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While I was cooking this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe I started to think about my first job as a psychologist.
About 20 years ago I joined an innovative and dynamic team at one of the best hospitals in Sydney.
I spent 3 years working with the drug and alcohol unit at Kings Cross, Australia’s drug and red light capital.

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The work was cutting edge.
The area was… colourful (to say the least).
And the staff… well… let’s just say they were just as colourful and interesting!
I worked my butt off and loved it.
I was challenged every day in ways I couldn’t have imagined, by the clients and also by my managers.

I left that job to have my first baby and for the next 15 years I worked in various hospitals across Sydney as I went on to have 2 more children.
Somewhere in there I became very comfortable.
I had a lovely office, worked with great people and my clients were pretty highly functioning mostly presenting for help with depression or anxiety.

A couple of years ago I started to feel ‘antsy’.
I wanted to be challenged.
So I quit my job and for the past year I have returned to working in a Sydney Hospital with another dynamic, innovative and very cutting edge service. However this time the work has been in trauma, primarily sexual assault and domestic violence.
Also like my first job, this job has been round the clock shift work and a huge learning curve!

So… what does this have to do with jerusalem artichokes?!

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Well after a year of shift work and working with trauma I have come to realise that discovering this strange looking vegetable is about as weird and exciting as I want things to be for a while :)

So for now… the jerusalem artichoke represents where I am in life.
It’s a little weird but only minimum effort is required to reach results that are comforting and satisfying.

I peeled my artichokes with some potatoes and as the recipe asks, I threw in some garlic and rosemary and tossed everything in roasting tray with olive oil, salt and pepper. EASY!!!

The potatoes were my safety net, in case the kids didn’t like the artichokes.
Everyone loved the dish!
(I think the potatoes did help if I’m to be honest).

I am curious to see what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought of the artichokes!


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Double Carrots with Blue Eye Cod

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My last post with the French Fridays with Dorie group was back in April, a good 6 months ago.
I haven’t been part of the group for a long time however I have regularly ‘watched’ the progress of the group and enjoyed reading what everyone has been up to!
(Does that sound creepy? I can hear my daughter singing out “stalker”!)

When I read that the book will be completed in a matter of months, I knew I’d kick myself if I didn’t return to the group!
And now I’m kicking myself for not returning sooner!

It was fun taking part in this week’s recipe.
It was interesting watching the kids change their attitude as soon as they heard this was a French Fridays with Dorie recipe. Despite the gap in time, they understood they would be trying something new and their feedback would be sought.
I forgot how much the weekly recipes had become a family affair and everyone was excited to see them return.
Turns out I wasn’t the only one who missed the French Friday’s with Dorie group!

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The kids and my husband loved this week’s recipe!
I added a scoop of mashed potatoes under the fish to make it a heartier meal.
I also used Blue Eye Cod for the fish, it has a mild and delicate taste that the kids enjoy.

I am looking forward to taking a more active (and less ‘stalkerish’) part in this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe of the week :)


16 Comments

Visitandine

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It has been so long since I posted anything I forgot how to!

It’s crazy how easy it can be to lose your rhythm.
Before you know it, months go by.
I’ve missed being part of the French Fridays with Dorie group.
However a back injury and sciatica got in the way.
As did quitting my old job and starting a new one.
You know, all the usual life stuff :)

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Visitandine, was my son’s welcome back from 3 days at camp dessert!
Dorie Greenspan describes at as “a simple, very white cake with an elegant small-grained crumb, a lovely springy sponge…”

I cut my cake up, served it with berries and cream and the boys started eating before I took photos.
I decided to take actions shots and jump back into posting with what I had!

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After 3 days of roughing it in the Aussie bush my son was relieved to be home and eating “real food”.
He loved the dessert. We all did!
I am looking forward to being part of the French Fridays with Dorie group again!


6 Comments

Pavlova with Berries and Salted Caramel Recipe

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Maybe it’s an Aussie thing, but I’m very fussy with my pavlovas.
Glossy, thick, white meringue topped with strawberries, kiwi fruit and drizzled with passionfruit.
It just doesn’t get better than that for me.
The sweetness of the meringue balanced with the sourness of the fruit keeps me coming back for more.
Each. And. Every. Time!

However I’ve decided I need to shake things up and try new things.
So I’m making an effort to be open to new taste combinations.
And when I saw my daughter eyeing this recipe in the latest delicious. magazine, it was time to begin.

Everyone loved this recipe by the way.
I loved the meringue.
I could (and did) drink eat the salted caramel on it’s own with a spoon.
It was heavenly.
So after dinner I gave everyone a spoon and told them to go for it!
And as you can see from the photo, not much was left.
It was a hit!
This pavlova was a visual feast and a taste sensation.

Pavlova with Berries and Salted Caramel
(adapted from Delicious Magazine, issue 132, November 2013)

6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (sifted)
1 1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour (sifted)
2 tsp white vinegar

to serve:
300ml thickened cream
2 tbsp soft icing sugar
2 cups mixed berries

salted caramel:
2 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup water
300ml thickened cream (at room temperature)
1tsp sea salt flakes

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Place egg whites and cream of tartar into a clean, dry mixer bowl and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Add sugar 1 tbsp at a time until all the sugar is added and the meringue is glossy and thick.
Stir in the cornflour and vinegar, beat until combined.
Spread the mixture onto the baking paper in an oval or rectangular shape.
Reduce oven to 130 degrees C and bake for 1 hour or until the outside is firm but not browned.
Then turn oven off, open oven door slightly and let meringue sit in the oven until completely cooled.

To make the salted caramel place sugar in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water.
Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
Increase to medium heat and cook, without stirring, until mixture turns golden caramel (about 10 mins).
Remove from heat and pour in cream.
Finally, return the pan to a low heat and add the salt.
Stir the mixture for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
Pour salted caramel into a container and leave on bench top to cool.
(This recipe makes a lot more caramel than you need!
Leftover caramel can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, if it lasts that long!).

To serve, whisk the thickened cream with soft icing sugar until soft peaks form.
Spread over the meringue.
Scatter your choice of berries on top.
Drizzle with salted caramel.

Enjoy :)


16 Comments

Tzatziki

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I was pretty much raised on Tzatziki.
My mum made it ALL the time.
She still makes it.
And I love it!
So I was pretty excited to see it was this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe!

After a day of netball… (that’s my daughter on the right!)

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Soccer… (My son is the one chasing the ball on the right!)

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And more soccer… (and a change in the weather!)

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It was comforting to finish the day with a simple meal.
We paired Dorie’s Tzatziki with lamb cutlets and some grilled pita chips.
Everyone was happy!

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We really, really liked Dorie’s tzatziki!
And by accident I stumbled upon a recipe by David Lebovitz for tzatziki that seems pretty similar if you want to try it for yourself… just substitute the olive oil for lemon.

I am looking forward to reading what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought of this!

 

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