Kitchen Therapy


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Melomakarona – Greek Honey Dainties

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It is exactly one week until Christmas 2018.
What a year!
We moved house.
My daughter finished her university degree (and is having an existential crisis about what next…travel for now!)
My son has finished high school and it has been a very draining few months of final exams, receiving marks and we are still waiting a few more days for university offers to come through (we hope…)
A close friend passed away, a few months ago, she fell down stairs walking home, an accident, that made me painfully aware of how fragile life is.
And just before midnight Nov 1st my father passed away.
I’ll be honest, it is hard to write this and not get teary.
He passed away 3 weeks before his 76th birthday.
I still can’t believe he is no longer here.

These Greek Honey Dainties are flavours I grew up with.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect them to be so close in taste to what I am familiar with.
I made the Christmas spice version and I am so, so happy with how they came out.
I have lost 5 kilos in the past few weeks (which I was happy to see leave!) and these were well worth risking the weight returning!
These bought my mother and also myself comfort, her mother (who is from Greece) made these all the time. Remembering has been so important recently…

I loved these. I will make them again and again!
These were the recipe of the week for the Tuesdays with Dorie cooking group.
A wonderful group of people by the way!
From Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan.


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Double Buckwheat Double Chocolate Cookies

I like Buckwheat!
However I’m not really that much of a chocolate fan.
Which is strange considering I seem to make a lot of chocolate things!

I thought these were good.
I would not make them again however I did like the activated bukinis that went into the cookies. I couldn’t find the kasha however I think the bikinis did the trick!

These cookies were part of the Tuesdays with Dorie group recipe of the week.
They are from Dorie Greenspan’s Book, Dorie’s Cookies.

I wasn’t that taken by these however I am interested to read about what the rest of the group thought!


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Rosemary Parmesan and Pecan Cookies

These cookies piqued my curiosity!
Tuesdays with Dorie has encouraged me to push myself and try things that I would usually skip past or tell myself I’d get back to that one day and never do.
These cookies from Dorie Greenspan’s Dorie’s Cookies cookbook are both sweet and savoury at the same time.
You can taste the rosemary, a delicate hint of parmesan and the pecans come through as well. The taste is subtle yet clear. It’s an unusual taste combination for a cookie however it works… really well.
I’m still fighting a virus, so this recipe was simple and easy, a good and comforting winter bake 🙂

Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this week’s recipe options.


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Vanilla Bean Sablés

IMG_8654This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking Chez Moi are the Vanilla Bean Sablés.

I knew I needed butter for these. In Australia our butter “sticks” are 250g, so they’re more like blocks! I was walking through the dairy aisle, looking for the butter when I felt the squeeze in my gut that tells me these days not to take this for granted.

Recently, one of the mums from school passed away. It was Anzac Day, April 25th, when she slipped walking home and fell down a sharp set of stairs.

We met when our boys started kindy together, they were 5 years old, now they are 18. We were all new at the school, we had just moved to the area, and I think we were as nervous as the kids! The school was pretty small at the time so even though our boys were never close friends, we all knew each other pretty well. She had the one child, she adored him and volunteered tirelessly at the school. She ran the canteen, the band, the uniform shop, I know at some point she was voted best volunteer in the state and you just knew that she was the person to ask about anything. When our boys moved to high school, she just picked up and tackled the same tasks at the new school. She was incredibly organised and ready to help. We usually ran into each other at the supermarket. We would catch up amongst the shopping aisles, moving our trolleys to the side (I’m sure to everyone’s annoyance) and discuss our boys final year of high school, their hopes and plans, have a laugh and then move on.

It has been a few months since she has passed away and every now and then I think I see her at the shops, but then I catch myself. I continue with my shopping, no longer lost in my thoughts but painfully aware of how fortunate I am to be buying butter, baking cookies and sharing them with my family.

I think the simplicity of these cookies complimented where I am in life at the moment. Keeping things simple, appreciating family and tradition, being present in the moment.

I can see why Sablés are so popular. They are comforting, can be a foundation for many other flavours (I’d like to try lemon) and they are simple. The first log I made I brushed with egg yolk and sugar before cutting and baking, the second I baked as is. I’ll be honest, I preferred these plain…
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I really enjoyed making and eating these, the whole family did. I am looking forward to the reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group though 🙂


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Cast Iron Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies is for Cast Iron Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.
These are caramelised and crispy around the edges, soft and chewy in the centre.
The dried apricots soaked in hot water and the shredded moist coconut in the recipe add sweetness and depth of flavour.
It tastes like a wonderful chocolate chip cookie yet has the texture of a moist, chewy, muesli bar.
I found this playful and delicious.
The whole family loved this week’s recipe!
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It is the first day of school holidays for us here so I don’t expect these will last long in our house!
To see the rest of the group’s thoughts on this week’s recipes click here!

 


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Cocoa Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunches

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We moved house and have been living on take away food for a while now. The tradesmen have practically moved in with us. Every day I buy them pies for lunch and we sit together eating and chatting. The builder has connected my television, my washing machine, dishwasher and he brings me cakes from the Italian pastry shop near his home. My husband knows that I now refer to the builder as my other husband 🙂
We have been relying on Sara Lee (and the builder) for something sweet!

Finally the inside of the house is kind of, almost, pretty much finished.
And the weekend was cold, wet and extremely windy.
Perfect baking weather to try out my new kitchen (it’s a little empty at the moment!)
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I checked the Tuesdays with Dorie baking schedule and knew I had to make these cookies. I love sesame and tahini. I grew up eating halva and often dollop a spoonful (or two or three) of tahini on an apple or just straight into my mouth.

Making the Sesame Crunch was simple, the second time around. Amazing how quickly the sugar goes from light brown to bitter and burnt!
The rest of the cookie was quick and simple. I had all the ingredients I needed on hand.

The family loved these! I have to admit I was a little disappointed I couldn’t taste the sesame as much as I would have liked. They tasted like a chocolate biscuit with a bit of crunch. A very good chocolate biscuit. However I had my heart set on the nutty tahini flavour I loved and I was a little disappointed. The rest of the family were not! They loved the cookies. Maybe next time I will use less cocoa powder…

So good to back in the kitchen! My kitchen 🙂
Can’t wait to see what everyone from the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of these!


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Hamantaschen

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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…
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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…
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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.