Kitchen Therapy


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Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake


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So much is happening around the world these days I am really keeping the focus on simple home pleasures.
The last few recipes from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking Chez Moi have fitted this brief perfectly!
I have made the last few recipes many times and they have been very rewarding for little effort.
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe continues this run of quick, easy and delicious food.
I knew this cake would be a hit at home, so I baked it without the poached oranges a week ago and it was gone within a few hours.
(It brings me so much satisfaction to see what I’ve baked eaten and enjoyed!)
We loved the cake soaked with orange syrup.
I made it again topped with the oranges poached in water, sugar, cinnamon and ginger and again it was eaten by the end of the day.
I honestly don’t know which way I preferred it, I loved both versions equally.
I thought the oranges would make it more sweet however they added a freshness and lightness to the cake that surprised me.
It was a win win for us with this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe!

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*I am typing this while helping one son work on a paper on Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and listening to my daughter’s chatter about her classes on first week at university. I hope I have made some sense in this post!!!


15 Comments

Matcha Financiers

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In my last post I made fun of my 8yr old son not wanting to eat Dukkah Roasted Cauliflower, the recipe of the week for the Cook the Book Fridays group. It was funny when it was him doing it. Not so funny when I caught myself thinking “I can’t! I just can’t eat green cake” while grimacing. Then to make things worse, I think I beat him in the immaturity game when I caught myself, many, many times throughout the week, thinking “I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I am” while thinking of these Matcha Financiers.

I tried to like these, I know Matcha is pretty popular and on point (or at least I think it is, I see it everywhere on Instagram etc.) I wish at times that I actually cared about what is popular. My 15 yr old is awesome at this. If it’s on trend he will wear, drink, eat, whatever is the latest. I worry about the tattoos that will be “in” when he turns 18!

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I really did not like the look or taste of these. I tried really hard to like them. I made them with coconut flour and also with hazelnut and almond flour. I put raspberries in some, chocolate in others and even combinations of both. I made tiger cakes out of them (as pictured) and used dark, milk and white chocolate in case it made a difference. My daughter had to stage an intervention and tell me to “let it go, it’s okay if you don’t like them mum!”

I am curious to see what others in the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought about these Matcha Financiers.
I have enjoyed all the recipes from Dorie’s book until now and I am looking forward to making Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake next post!

 

 

 

 


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Black Forest Soft-Centered Teacups

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These were so quick and any easy to make!
Melt some butter and chocolate together until smooth and glossy.
Beat some eggs with sugar until fluffy, throw in a couple of spoons of flour.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and cook 10-12mins.
Very little effort for an amazing outcome!

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I have been craving Black Forest Cake, it’s a favourite of mine.
So I took Dorie’s suggestion and threw in Morello cherries.
I’m also not a big chocolate fan, I do like it though when there is another flavour to break up the sweetness.
The tart Morello cherries tasted amazing in these little teacups.

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The only problem I had with this recipe is that makes 4 cups and we are a family of 5!
As soon as I made these, my husband and I had to run off to the Year 10 Information Night at my son’s school.
When we returned, the kids were kind enough to leave us one cup to share.

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I will definitely be making these again, they are too easy and satisfying not to! Everyone loved them.
I am looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought.


9 Comments

Flour’s Famous Banana Cake – Recipe Review

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School is back for 2016!
Routines are slowly taking shape and the craziness of summer holidays is beginning to settle.
Each day now, I walk my son to school and as he heads off to class with his teacher, I, along with many other parents head straight to the little coffee shop tucked in amongst a few local shops across the road. The coffee is fantastic and I always order it to go, however most of the time I end up sitting at a table catching up with a friend.
It’s a routine I enjoy.
Today, after dropping off my son, I met my friends, we bought our coffees to go and this time we did take them away with us. We decided to walk them back to my place and enjoy the banana bread I made the previous night.

When my children smell banana bread baking they feel comforted.
They love the smell that fills the house.
However… they are also very clear that after trying many version of banana bread over the years their favourite recipe is for the Banana Espresso Choc Chip Muffins from the Baked cookbook (see photo below).
(I usually leave out the espresso but don’t tell them that, it makes them feel grown up!)

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Yesterday however, I had to break it to them that I would be trying a new recipe from Joanne Chang’s Flour book.
The recipe is from her first cookbook, pictured below on the left.
I bought it a while back however after falling ill I couldn’t do much more than stare it for a long time.
There are SO many recipes I want to try however yesterday I had the bananas on hand.  Being unwell has taught me to grab opportunities that come up, no matter how small they may seem and to not over think things. This may sound simple, however my nature has always been to deliberate painfully over what to cook for so long that I end up making nothing. So with my new philosophy guiding me, I decided to make Flour’s Famous Banana Bread.

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It felt good to be making something, even if it was “just another banana bread recipe” 🙂
The recipe can be found all over the internet, here is one link for this recipe from the food network.

Coming together over banana bread is not something new however there is a reason a lot of us do it. It is comforting and nourishing to the soul and it tastes so damn good!
The grown ups really enjoyed this recipe, however the kids can’t go past the choc chips in their favourite banana muffins. I get it, who doesn’t want chocolate thrown into an already awesome tasting treat?!

I didn’t add the walnuts to the recipe (there are too many nut allergies in our house) and I think it still tasted really good. I liked the moist topping that developed on the cake and the inside was surprisingly light. I would definitely make this again, it was easy to make and well worth the effort.

 


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Lemon Slice – Australia Day 2016, Dee Why Beach

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Lemon Slice on Australia Day? Why not!!!
It’s straight out of the fridge and icy cold, the perfect bite for out hot Aussie weather.
This fortnight’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was a great addition to our Australia Day Celebrations.

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January 26th is Australia Day and as usual we head out to Dee Why Beach on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
We have bacon and egg or sausage and egg sandwiches.
There are pancakes with maple syrup and butter or lemon and sugar.
And this year we had Dorie’s Lemon Squares!

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The festivities include a car and bike show, thong (flip flop) throwing competitions, rides, performers and music.
Tattoos are a must, as are hats, flags and anything else that bears the Aussie flag wrapped around your body, your car or even around your house. I usually end up with an Australia flag tattoo on my cheek at some point in the day.
It’s tradition 🙂
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And of course there’s always a few kangaroos hopping about…

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The celebrations start early on Australia Day so we head home around lunch time, when the heat is at it’s peak. We have a rest and put lamb (another Australia Day tradition) in the oven for hours of slow roasting then head back to the beach for a swim while it cooks.
We return home tired and famished. The smell that greets us is soothing and we can’t wait to eat!
This year we will be finishing off a great day and great meal with Lemon Squares topped with dollops of whipped cream.

You can find the recipe (with raspberries added) here.
* We have nut allergies in the house so I left out the almond meal and used normal flour.
I also left off the almond slices that were to be scattered on top of the squares.

 


19 Comments

Fluted Carrot Orange Cake

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I have been indulging my sweet tooth over the Christmas break. Pavlova, caramel slice, vanilla slice, panna cotta and a variety of Italian pastries from Nutella filled Ricotta Cakes to my favourite, the Butterfly, a double profiterole filled with vanilla and chocolate pastry cream. It has been a very sweet holiday! So… when I saw this as the recipe of the week I have to admit I didn’t feel too excited. A cake with carrot, ginger and orange? It felt almost… healthy. I wanted more of the lush creaminess I was indulging in for the past few weeks. The only thing that stood in this recipe’s favour was its simplicity. That and the fact that I had missed being a part of the Tuesdays with Dorie group! So I baked…

 

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The smell, colour and texture that came together in making this cake surprised me.
The kids started to migrate towards the kitchen asking what the smell was. Always a good sign!

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The cake was light yet moist.
The flavour was full and satisfying and it was eaten in one day.
I think it was a welcome change to be honest.

It has been an intense year in our household, my daughter graduated from high school and after months and months of studying for the final exams she recently received her results and smashed her tests! She needed a high mark to gain entry into the double degree she had her heart set on and her hard work paid off. She worked so hard, I could not be happier for her or more proud.
So we celebrated her results as well as all the usual Christmas/New Year festivities with lots and lots of cake as I mentioned above.

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My daughter graduating from high school, celebrating with friends and off to her Year 12 formal above.
She liked Dorie’s Fluted Carrot Orange Cake the most and has always been excited to taste the latest Tuesdays with Dorie group recipe.


17 Comments

Tiger Cakes

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In her book Baking Chez Moi, Dorie Greenspan describes these mini bite sized cakes as “…a traditional French pastry made with egg whites, almond flour and lots of butter. The addition of finely chopped chocolate that melts and stripes the little cakes explains their name.”

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That sums up nicely this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe!
The problem for me however was that two out of my three children have nut allergies.
So after a little bit of research, I substituted almond flour with coconut flour.
I had read that coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture and can result in a dry and flaky end product.
Google had many suggestions on how to fix this little problem and to be honest the more I read, the more I felt overwhelmed with ratios, quantities of eggs and liquids etc to add moisture.
So I decided to keep it simple and keep the almond flour and coconut ratio the same, I replaced the cup of almond flour the recipe called for, with a cup of coconut flour.
I mixed the flour into the egg whites as the recipe instructed and then I added a cup of milk to the mixture before following the rest of the recipe as it is in the book.
My little cakes didn’t rise with baking and I was worried!
However I pulled them out and they turned out amazing.
The outside was firm and the inside was moist and delicious.
The family loved them and the only complaint I heard was “I can’t stop eating these!”
The boys in the family loved them dipped in chocolate, my daughter and I preferred the naked 🙂
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5 Comments

Apple Kuchen – Baking Chez Moi

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I cooked with the French Fridays with Dorie group, on and off, for many years. I enjoyed being part of the group. However, for the last year or so of the group I was more than off than on. I decided it was time to challenge myself in my career and changed jobs. A huge learning curve kept me distracted and busy and unfortunately, away from many activities that nurtured me. Like the French Fridays with Dorie group. When the Tuesdays with Dorie group announced that it would be cooking from Dorie Greenspan’s new book Baking Chez Moi I felt excited! Here was my chance to start from the beginning and carve out a scheduled fortnightly routine that would provide me with down time. Time to switch off and create something that would bring me fully into the present moment.

I posted the first recipe and the I went on to cook the next 3 or 4 scheduled recipes without posting them. I planned to get around to doing it but life just kept getting in the way 🙂
I then planned to add all those photos from the beginning on today’s post, however getting back into the routine was a bit overwhelming. My brain is still struggling after a bad run with glandular fever and to be honest, I couldn’t even remember my WordPress login and password! So I decided to keep this post simple. I forgot how liberating ‘simple’ can be.

The Apple Kuchen pictured above was completed over the day. It’s school holidays here and steps were fitted in between running kids around. It took a bit of thought and organising but worked out well. I love baked apples (or anything baked with apples) so I was excited to be returning to the group with this recipe. I enjoyed the flavour of the apple kuchen but for some reason expected there to be more custard filling. My filling was very dense with apples, however saying that, the apples were soft and tender and full of flavour. I am looking forward to cooking with this new group and finding out what they thought about this recipe!


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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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Canneles

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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