Kitchen Therapy


6 Comments

Hamantaschen

fullsizeoutput_c9a.jpeg
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…
fullsizeoutput_c9e.jpeg

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…
fullsizeoutput_c9f.jpeg

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.


2 Comments

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.


10 Comments

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!


9 Comments

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.


8 Comments

Rice Pudding with Strawberries and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup

IMG_6441

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.
IMG_6461

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!

 


8 Comments

Betty’s Chocoholic Cake with Raspberry Filling

IMG_6248

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Betty’s Chocoholic Cake.
Wow! This was a hit with all the chocolate lovers in the family.
The cake is dense and rich, to me it tastes like 3 layers of brownies stacked on top of each other.
Which, according to the kids, is awesome!
Unlike the rest of my family however, I’m not that fussed on chocolate!
So I added a raspberry sauce between the three layers to break up the sweetness.
I blitzed 300g of raspberries, strained them them to remove all the hard bits and then boiled the raspberries with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornflour.  I spread the sauce between the 3 layers and then covered the cake with Dorie’s chocolate ganache.

chocoholic cake 2

I woke everyone early on the weekend and we headed to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and walked from Coogee beach to Bondi beach to try and work off some of the sugar from this cake 🙂
It’s a long and somewhat tough walk but it’s also really pretty so that makes it easier somehow!

coogee

We then felt good about coming home and having more cake!
Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this month’s recipes!

 


8 Comments

Tarte Tropezienne

IMG_6162

My last post was David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Pudding.
I made a double batch of his recipe three times last week.
I made it for my son’s 16th birthday and it was sooo delicious, I just kept making it again and again and again…
We kind of overdosed on chocolate last week, so this week, choosing the Tarte Tropezienne for the recipe of the week was an easy choice for us!

When my copy of Baking Chez Moi first arrived, way back at the beginning of Tuesdays with Dorie, the Tarte Tropezienne caught my attention immediately. I love brioche, I love pastry cream!
I’ll be honest though, I felt a bit hesitant making this.
Making dough has always made me nervous. I think mostly because I don’t do it that much.
I made the dough as Dorie said, using the paddle attachment of my Kitchen Aid and I made a  soft, sticky, runny paste!
So I started again and this time I used the hook attachment and it worked! I beautiful smooth ball of dough formed, joy!
I made the dough and pastry cream one day and the next day I baked and assembled the cake.
I could not find pearl sugar so I bought sugar cubes and smashed them. Oh my what a mess!
I had bits of sugar all over the bench, floor and in my hair. But it looked so pretty I didn’t mind one bit!
I love this cake! It turned out delicious.

I am looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this month’s recipes! I’m already thinking about Betty’s Chocolate Cake I’ll be making next time!

 

 


15 Comments

Chocolate Pudding

IMG_5888

IMG_5881

todd's 16th

This week my son turned 16!
His birthday falls at the end of the Easter two week school holidays.
On the first day of the school holidays he went to Chinatown in Sydney with his friends and had a great day at the markets and eating dumplings. The next day he started to feel unwell and a week later we found out he had salmonella poisoning. Luckily it wasn’t severe enough to send him to the hospital but it knocked him around for the entire 2 week school holiday break. He lost a few kilos that he really couldn’t afford to lose so I was excited to get him eating again!

He loves chocolate and I had planned to make this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe, the salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse for his birthday celebrations with the family. I left My Paris Kitchen open on the recipe page on the kitchen bench and everyone who walked past and saw the photo was excited! It looks amazing. The problem was that I realised the recipe required raw eggs. Normally I wouldn’t give this a second thought. However, after our salmonella experience I decided (reluctantly) that I just couldn’t take the risk. I broke the news to the family that I would not be making the mousse and my daughter thanked her brother for getting himself sick and “ruining everything”. (I don’t have siblings, I am an only child so I need my husband who is one of 4 boys to reassure me that this is normal!)

I decided to compromise (and I hope the group doesn’t mind) by finding a recipe from David Lebovitz for something similar. I couldn’t go past the Double Chocolate Pudding on his website!
In the past week I have made a double batch of the recipe 3 times. It was surprisingly silky and smooth but not overly sweet. The problem with this was that you could just keep eating it! The third time I made it first thing in the morning and took the photos before everyone came home from school, uni and work. It really was that good! It was also very quick and easy to make. So much reward for such little effort! I know I’ll be making it again… and again… and again 🙂
I know down the track I will make the salted caramel mousse, but for now I can’t say enough good things about David’s Chocolate Pudding!
I can’t wait to see how everyone went with this week’s Cook the Book Fridays group recipe!

 


11 Comments

Croque Monsieur – Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwich

ham

This is a great school holiday dinner! Especially before we head out to watch a game of rugby.

parra

The boys had sliced leg ham in their sandwich and the grown ups had prosciutto.
I was a bit sceptical about the bechamel sauce, I’m not a fan of it.
However this time I could see that it added a creaminess to the sandwich that I really liked.
The recipe in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen requires you to place cheese on top of the grilled sandwich and then grill it a second time in the oven.
I just couldn’t add any more cheese!
I used Emmenthal cheese for the adults and Jarlsberg for the kids.
It was simple, delicious and very satisfying.
IMG_5486

I also made the vinaigrette and tossed it through some radicchio and baby cos leaves.
The sandwich was salty from the cheese and prosciutto and the vinaigrette provided a sour kick from the vinegar and mustard.
I needed something to cut through all the salty sour flavours.
I added a tablespoon of brown sugar to the vinaigrette recipe and this really did the trick for us.
Even my little guy ate all the greens 🙂

I am looking forward to reading what everyone else in the Cook The Book Fridays group thought of this week’s recipe!


14 Comments

Jammer Cookies

IMG_5460

IMG_5465

IMG_5431

IMG_5430
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is the Jammer Galette. Dorie describes it as “a vanilla sable topped with a spoonful of jam and circled with streusel.” The recipe is for a “thick, chunky galette” however I couldn’t get the idea of small, cookie sized jammer out of my mind. I wanted something I could just pop into my mouth and savour, and these turned out perfect!

As I was making these I was thinking about this blogging thing and the love and effort that we all put into it.
We buy the ingredients, we make the food, we photograph it making it look as pretty as we can and then we write about it. It’s a fair amount of work!

Recently, I have come across people on various social media sites (totally unrelated to any of these groups by the way!) posting photos of food that they have taken from magazines or other sites and claiming it is their own. I’ve read about this on other blogs and in my naivety I always thought no, that doesn’t really happen! However, having witnessed it, it’s been on my mind a lot recently.

My first reaction was “wow! the audacity!”and I laughed it off (that’s often my first reaction to most things). As time has gone by I realise that it actually does bother me. With each recipe we make I’ve become more and more mindful of the time, commitment, love and effort involved. Sometimes the efforts are rewarding and other times nothing goes right from start to finish! Either way we are in this, doing it, and for that I have a huge respect.

These little cookies didn’t have many ingredients however they really were a labour of love.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In hindsight my little slap of reality has been good for me.

We loved these and I can’t wait to see what recipe the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group cooked!
I found Dorie’s recipe for these on the Epicurious website if anyone is interested in trying them 🙂