Kitchen Therapy


5 Comments

Date Nut Pinwheels

I love dates!
I discovered Medjool dates some time ago and fell in love.
I used them to make the Date and Nut Pinwheels for this week’s recipe from Dorie’s Cookies.
I have to be honest, since my father passed away at the start of November, I’ve been a little lost. Some weeks I have cooked, some I just couldn’t. However knowing that the Tuesdays with Dorie group was there whenever I was ready to return, was very comforting. Providing some much needed order and routine when I felt there was none. Offering mindful distraction through the baking process. Bringing together friends and family to share the final product.
And the final product this week was delicious!
I am looking forward to catching up with the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group 🙂

 


5 Comments

Melomakarona – Greek Honey Dainties

8a2a0688-c313-4d72-a49b-fd48191f07b1.jpg

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.


6 Comments

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!


3 Comments

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.


5 Comments

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…
IMG_8683.JPG

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 🙂


5 Comments

Cast Iron Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

fullsizeoutput_1185
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!
IMG_7819

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!

 


11 Comments

Cocoa Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunches

fullsizeoutput_db3

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!)
IMG_6701
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!


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.


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 🙂


10 Comments

Palets de Dames – a lesson in self care

 

 

IMG_8295

IMG_8286

IMG_8307

 

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.

IMG_8309

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.