Kitchen Therapy


Lamb Shank Tagine

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It has been a while since I cooked from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. Actually that’s not true! There have been weeks I’ve cooked along with the Cook The Book Fridays group however failed miserably in documenting the efforts. I wrote about our horribly humid weather here in Sydney, our new puppy and just life getting in the way in the Hamantashcen post a few weeks back. I forgot to add in there that we are also building a new home. It’s getting there, very excited to try out my new kitchen…


Back to this Lamb Tagine though, it was amazing!
I was determined to make it and I even checked with the weather app to decide what day would be the coolest. It was of course mid-week and soccer training night. I was ready though! And then I realised this recipe was actually very easy and it was the perfect recipe for a mid week, soccer training day 🙂
I felt pretty accomplished when the kids came home. The house smelled amazing and they had this incredible meal on a day that we usually scape things together in a rush. That was just an additional bonus to this recipe.
All I had to do was prepare the rice.
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It was sweet and rich and the lamb just fell off the bone. It was delicious. The kids loved it! It was a winner in our house. I loved the raisins and apricots in this. And the hit of spice from the cayenne pepper was perfect. Lots of different tastes and textures dancing around in my mouth 🙂
Looking forward to reading what everyone in the Cook the Book Fridays group thought!

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Apple Weekend Cake


I love apples, I love cinnamon and I loooove cake.
This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe was a winner in every way with us.
It was quick and easy to make.
The cake was light, yet moist and full of flavour.
I didn’t have rum so I opted for the extra teaspoon of vanilla.
I found myself looking for a more pure and simple smell and taste of apple.
Next time I will skip the extra flavouring.
It was that simple 🙂
And we had more time to enjoy the last days of summer at Manly Beach…

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie members thought!



It has been another long while since my last post.
There are weeks I cook along with the group, read up on what everyone thinks and then don’t actually post anything!
Then we decided to get this little guy a few days before Christmas…

We suddenly had a new fur baby in the house!
He threw our daily routine into chaos for a little while 🙂
Most of all however, the humidity of the Australian summer has just sucked the life right out of me. Living by the beach definitely helps. I think Manly Beach is stunning…

So… finally… Chewie the puppy is house trained.
I have a new laptop that actually works with my phone so I can upload/download things (lol).
Most of all, the temperature has finally dropped!
And I have been wanting to make Hamantaschen for the longest time.
These little cookies have fascinated me for a while now.
So many variations on the internet I didn’t know where to start.
When I saw they were the recipe of the week for the Tuesdays with Dorie group I knew it was meant to be!
I loved these. I rolled my pastry thin, I was worried it might have been thinner than the 1/8 inch height Dorie recommended. I just managed to get the dough on the baking sheet before it melted in my hands, so I’ll admit my expectations were low. The result was such a delicate and fine pastry I could have happily eaten it on its own.
The filling I thought would be too sweet when I tried a spoonful. Yet somehow it balanced out in the light delicate pastry shell.
I thoroughly enjoyed these and am very happy that my first attempt was Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from her Dorie’s Cookies book and as part of the Tuesdays with Dorie group! Cannot wait to see what others thought.


Crumb Topped Apple Bars

It has been a very long while since I cooked with the Tuesdays with Dorie group. I have always enjoyed being a part of the group. However, as I mentioned in my last post, I was working with rape and domestic violence clients, working a 24 hour roster and then I caught every virus going, the last one being glandular fever. I just could not recover. I made attempts to join in with the cooking, however it was always short lived.
I have recently found a functional medicine doctor, not many of those here in Australia! I wasn’t expecting much, considering my experience to date with doctors has been… not great to say the least.
Some genetic testing revealed I have inherited faulty MTHFR genes. Not one, but two faulty copies from each parent! Basically, this gene mutation effects my ability to convert folate I eat into something my body can use. If you are cruising through life, this might not be much of an issue, and for me it was fine for some 40+ years. However once I became very ill, it was hard to recover.
I tried everything! Even going vegan for a while, which I now realise made things worse as my body needs a much larger amount of B12 than the average ‘non mutant’ gene person 🙂
I am excited that with high doses of B12 and methylfolate (tiny doses) I am already feeling better! And the first thing I wanted to do was cook!

This week’s recipe was interesting for me as part of my healing was cooking green apples, with a handful of raisins, cinnamon and some honey. I love this combination. The crumb topped apple bars are the same combination (minus the cinnamon) on a cookie base!
It was so much fun cooking this. I haven’t used butter and sugar in a while and it was ridiculously enjoyable! I realised my tastes have changed a bit and while I loved the apple filling I did find the whole bar a bit too sweet! Something I did not think I would ever say in my life!
The rest of the family was very excited with the smells that filled the house with this recipe. They have enjoyed the raw desserts I’ve been making however they did say they missed the smell of baking 🙂
I am looking forward to reading about what the other members of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of their recipe of the week.


Buckwheat Rolls with Seaweed Butter

We loved these crispy Buckwheat Crepes with Seaweed Butter.
The kids and I love our sushi. We are regulars at the local Sushi Train, so I knew these would be a hit. Everyone loved them!
It was also a good opportunity for me to use up the Buckwheat flour I had bought on my journey to get my health back.
It is what has kept me from cooking with this group and also the Tuesdays with Dorie group which I really loved.
A bout of glandular fever knocked me flat on my backside almost three years ago now. I was already run down from working with rape and domestic violence clients and it was shift work so my sleep patterns were destroyed.
Many doctors appointments later, medications, tests, experimenting with vegan and paleo food, I found a functional doctor that ran some genetic tests.
Turns out I have a gene mutation that causes my body to struggle when converting folate from food into something my body could use. Not a problem when healthy, but a disaster when run down! So not only was I short in B12 I needed a much higher dose than the average, non mutant, human! Not sure if this is the actual problem, I’ve learnt it’s never that easy over the last few years, however it’s all I have to work with at the moment.

I made a few attempts over the years to rejoin the groups however it was such a struggle physically it didn’t last long.
Weeks of supplementing with methyl B12 and methylfolate and I am hoping to rejoin this group on a regular basis and cook!
So back to the Buckwheat Crepes with Seaweed Butter that was this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe! I think months of cooking with Buckwheat and our love of all things sushi made this a winner in our house!


Onion Tart Pissaladiere

It has been 6 months since my last post. Six months!
I cannot believe how fast time is passing.
I have cooked along with the group on and off behind the scenes these past months.
However I have come undone in the sharing department 🙂
I’m not sure what happened… I think it all started when the kids made fun of my habit to avoid phone and computer updates. I succumbed to kid pressure and updated my phone but then it no longer wanted to get along with my computer. I have 6 months of photos that need downloading. The kids think my problem is with the Cloud but I don’t understand it. It reminds of me being in Chemistry classes and the teacher talking about molecules and… stuff. I can’t see it, so I just don’t get it.
I have missed being part of my cooking groups! I love that it means I cook things I might never get to, like this onion tart or Pissaladiere!

My photos are not the best but I found a way to get them up on my blog so I am happy for now!
I loved the contrast of the sweet onions with the salty olives. I used Kalamata olives, but we take our olives seriously in this house and I have a particular store I go to that I know sells the best Kalamata olives so I stuck with what I knew.
What really surprised me is how much the kids enjoyed this tart. And not one complaint about the anchovies!

I’m a bit rusty when it comes to posting online and I’m trying to not get distracted by an episode of Longmire on Netflix that my husband has playing in the background! But gee I’m glad to be back and cooking with the Cook The Book Fridays group! I can’t wait to have a read and see what everyone else thought of this recipe.


Rice Pudding with Strawberries and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup


I love rice pudding.
It’s one of those dishes that takes me back to my childhood both in Yugoslavia and then later here in Australia.
My mum would sprinkle chocolate on top and it was real comfort food to me.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe sees classic rice pudding topped with fresh strawberries and a spiced hibiscus syrup.
I was surprised by how much I liked the hibiscus syrup. The kids weren’t keen, they said it tasted like medicine! However I loved it. Especially once I added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the syrup before serving. The colour was so pretty and vibrant and I think it lifted the flavour of the strawberries. The kids (and my husband) preferred their rice custard topped with just fresh strawberries.

It’s winter here in Australia and it’s been pretty mild, apart from a storm that swept the entire East Coast last weekend.
The northern beaches of Sydney where I live were hit pretty hard, the photo below captures one of the local beaches before and after the storm. It made the rounds on facebook so I have no idea who to credit it to but it captures the impact of the storm pretty well.

This weekend they are predicting another round of storms.
The rain and the wind were so fierce last time, we were pretty much housebound.
If we have a repeat of this weather this coming weekend I am planning to make another batch of this rice custard, watch movies and keep warm. Maybe try some warm winter toppings on the custard!

I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group chose to cook this week!