Kitchen Therapy


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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


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Roasted Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic

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While I was cooking this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe I started to think about my first job as a psychologist.
About 20 years ago I joined an innovative and dynamic team at one of the best hospitals in Sydney.
I spent 3 years working with the drug and alcohol unit at Kings Cross, Australia’s drug and red light capital.

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The work was cutting edge.
The area was… colourful (to say the least).
And the staff… well… let’s just say they were just as colourful and interesting!
I worked my butt off and loved it.
I was challenged every day in ways I couldn’t have imagined, by the clients and also by my managers.

I left that job to have my first baby and for the next 15 years I worked in various hospitals across Sydney as I went on to have 2 more children.
Somewhere in there I became very comfortable.
I had a lovely office, worked with great people and my clients were pretty highly functioning mostly presenting for help with depression or anxiety.

A couple of years ago I started to feel ‘antsy’.
I wanted to be challenged.
So I quit my job and for the past year I have returned to working in a Sydney Hospital with another dynamic, innovative and very cutting edge service. However this time the work has been in trauma, primarily sexual assault and domestic violence.
Also like my first job, this job has been round the clock shift work and a huge learning curve!

So… what does this have to do with jerusalem artichokes?!

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Well after a year of shift work and working with trauma I have come to realise that discovering this strange looking vegetable is about as weird and exciting as I want things to be for a while 🙂

So for now… the jerusalem artichoke represents where I am in life.
It’s a little weird but only minimum effort is required to reach results that are comforting and satisfying.

I peeled my artichokes with some potatoes and as the recipe asks, I threw in some garlic and rosemary and tossed everything in roasting tray with olive oil, salt and pepper. EASY!!!

The potatoes were my safety net, in case the kids didn’t like the artichokes.
Everyone loved the dish!
(I think the potatoes did help if I’m to be honest).

I am curious to see what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought of the artichokes!


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Double Carrots with Blue Eye Cod

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My last post with the French Fridays with Dorie group was back in April, a good 6 months ago.
I haven’t been part of the group for a long time however I have regularly ‘watched’ the progress of the group and enjoyed reading what everyone has been up to!
(Does that sound creepy? I can hear my daughter singing out “stalker”!)

When I read that the book will be completed in a matter of months, I knew I’d kick myself if I didn’t return to the group!
And now I’m kicking myself for not returning sooner!

It was fun taking part in this week’s recipe.
It was interesting watching the kids change their attitude as soon as they heard this was a French Fridays with Dorie recipe. Despite the gap in time, they understood they would be trying something new and their feedback would be sought.
I forgot how much the weekly recipes had become a family affair and everyone was excited to see them return.
Turns out I wasn’t the only one who missed the French Friday’s with Dorie group!

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The kids and my husband loved this week’s recipe!
I added a scoop of mashed potatoes under the fish to make it a heartier meal.
I also used Blue Eye Cod for the fish, it has a mild and delicate taste that the kids enjoy.

I am looking forward to taking a more active (and less ‘stalkerish’) part in this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe of the week 🙂


16 Comments

Visitandine

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It has been so long since I posted anything I forgot how to!

It’s crazy how easy it can be to lose your rhythm.
Before you know it, months go by.
I’ve missed being part of the French Fridays with Dorie group.
However a back injury and sciatica got in the way.
As did quitting my old job and starting a new one.
You know, all the usual life stuff 🙂

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Visitandine, was my son’s welcome back from 3 days at camp dessert!
Dorie Greenspan describes at as “a simple, very white cake with an elegant small-grained crumb, a lovely springy sponge…”

I cut my cake up, served it with berries and cream and the boys started eating before I took photos.
I decided to take actions shots and jump back into posting with what I had!

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After 3 days of roughing it in the Aussie bush my son was relieved to be home and eating “real food”.
He loved the dessert. We all did!
I am looking forward to being part of the French Fridays with Dorie group again!


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Tzatziki

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I was pretty much raised on Tzatziki.
My mum made it ALL the time.
She still makes it.
And I love it!
So I was pretty excited to see it was this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe!

After a day of netball… (that’s my daughter on the right!)

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Soccer… (My son is the one chasing the ball on the right!)

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And more soccer… (and a change in the weather!)

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It was comforting to finish the day with a simple meal.
We paired Dorie’s Tzatziki with lamb cutlets and some grilled pita chips.
Everyone was happy!

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We really, really liked Dorie’s tzatziki!
And by accident I stumbled upon a recipe by David Lebovitz for tzatziki that seems pretty similar if you want to try it for yourself… just substitute the olive oil for lemon.

I am looking forward to reading what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought of this!

 


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Dieter’s Tartine

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Lunch for one? What?!?
I realised that my attention is always on family meals.
Feeding our family of 5 takes a bit of planning.
Activities determine how quick and easy meals need to be some nights.
Likes and dislikes narrow down choices on other nights.
And then there’s the nights when I give up and order thai for everyone!
So on the days I’m not at work, lunch for me is quick and dodgy.
But not today!
Today I feast 🙂
Today was all about me!
I was making this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe for one!
It was quick and easy… and yet… it felt leisurely and indulgent.
(I am pretty sure I even clapped my hands in delight and anticipation at one point!)

I grilled some crusty bread (I love the stripes grilling leaves!)
Spread some cottage cheese on top.
Spooned some diced tomatoes and cucumbers over the cheese.
Scattered some green onions.
Ground some salt and pepper over it all.
And finally,
I drizzled (drowned) the entire thing with the most delicious Balsamic Vinegar I have ever tasted!
(I bought it on my last visit to the new Williams-Sonoma store that opened in Sydney).
OMG it was amazing!!!

I am looking forward to reading what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought.


21 Comments

Olive, Cheese and Sundried Tomato Bread

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I love going on holidays. I am always planning the next trip.
To me, it doesn’t matter if  it’s a lengthy overseas stay or a weekend away, I get ridiculously excited.
It’s a break from the every day.
An adventure.
And best of all I get to see how other people live!
There’s something intoxicating about that (for me, my husband just thinks I’m weird!).

I love going to shopping centres, discovering new stores and even going into the supermarket to see foods we don’t have back home.
At the Ala Moana Shopping Centre in Honolulu the boys discovered the Lego store, my daughter fell in love with Hot Topic and I found Williams-Sonoma.
I loved that shop!
So shiny and pretty!
Every time I use the things I bought in that store, I am flooded with happy memories of our holiday.

Recently I was looking for cooking schools in Sydney when I read that Williams-Sonoma had not only opened their first store outside the US in Bondi, but also their first ever cooking school was there as well!
A couple of days later my friend and I drove across the Harbour Bridge to Bondi and I was shopping in one of my happy places.
I fell in love with this dish, as soon as I came home I washed it and started making this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe.

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Looking at this dish made me HAPPY! (Seriously, ridiculously, insanely happy!)

As the loaf cooked I kept looking in the oven… smiling. So pretty…

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My son came home from an excursion to China Town where he used the money I gave him for lunch to buy a remote control car and helicopter. It was raining outside so I had two 13 year olds and two 5 year olds racing cars and helicopters indoors and it was cool because I had a pretty dish that made me smile!
It was that simple.

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The loaf was… nice.
I added sundried tomatoes.
I preferred eating it cold the next day.
I didn’t think it was anything special to be honest, but I am glad I made it.

I’m looking forward to reading what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought and the ingredients they added to their bread!


17 Comments

Strawberry Tartine

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To be honest, I didn’t think this week’s French Fridays with Dorie dish was going to happen.
I had goat’s cheese at home and this morning I bought a punnet of strawberries and a baguette.
I started the day off with good intentions.
And somewhere around lunch time, I made the decision that it was just all too hard…
(yes I have a sheepish grin as I say that!)
I mean, come on! Of all recipes, I decided that this one was too hard? It’s not even really a recipe!
Nevertheless, the decision was made and I would just wait until next week and get back on track.

Fridays we tend to just hang out on the school oval and the mum’s chat while the kids play.
By the time we walked home, my older two kids were home from high school with varied friends.
My husband had come home from work.
And as I was thinking of dinner, when to start, how many I’d be feeding, etc…
I noticed my husband was going through every cupboard in the kitchen, snacking on random things.
So I got up.
Cut up the bread.
Spread the goat’s cheese.
Topped it with halved strawberries.
And drizzled some balsamic vinegar….

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And I barely had the chance to take a photo before it was gone!
It was ridiculously easy…
I almost felt embarrassed I was going to skip it!
And it would have been an absolute shame because this effortless dish was delicious.

I am looking forward to reading what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group.


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Pioneer Woman’s Mexican Rice Casserole with Grilled Chicken and Avocado

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This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was deliciously simple.
1. Cut an avocado in half.
2. Take out the pit.
3. Sprinkle some lemon juice and salt.
4. Fill hollow with pistachio oil.

Two out of my three kids are allergic to nuts, one is anaphylactic, so I knew there’d be no pistachio oil for us! So from the start I knew a lemon and salt combo was going to be as exciting as it was going to get in our family. On the up side, I knew it would be eaten.

I deliberated on all of Dorie’s Bonne Idee’s and settled on having the avocado with the Lemon-Grilled Chicken. I was starting to get excited!
The last piece of the puzzle was Ree Drummond’s Mexican Rice Casserole.
I have had a page on my iphone permanently devoted to this dish for a couple of weeks now.
It was time to put it all together!
And it worked out beautifully 🙂

I have been searching for easy to prepare dishes that can fit into our hectic lifestyle.
And for some reason, I decided rice casseroles were the way forward (I don’t know why…)
I love Mexican food, but it’s not that common here in Australia.
Or at least not as common as Thai, Indian and Italian.
So when I saw the Mexican Rice Casserole… well…  it ticked all the boxes!
And the Pioneer Woman’s recipe had so many rave reviews I had to try it.
I made half the recipe and it was more than enough for a family of 5.
It was simple, tasty and the kids loved it!
The recipe is here if anyone is interested.

Now back to Dorie!
The Lemon-Grilled Chicken was super tasty and super easy,
The Avocado was perfect with some lemon infused extra virgin olive oil and salt.
The coriander (cilantro) leaves lifted the flavours just that bit extra.
I will be making this combination again, might even add the chicken to the rice casserole next time and top it off with the avocado slices.
The husband loved it, the kids loved!
Winner 🙂

I am looking forward to hearing what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie Group thought of the recipe and especially of the avocado / pistachio combo!


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Asparagus Soup

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I have always wanted to be persistent and consistent.
I hear they are qualities that lead to great and wonderful things…
What can I say?
I had good intentions…
Unfortunately my paved road lead me straight to the Game of Thrones.

Week after week I would check the French Fridays with Dorie recipe schedule and set my intention to participate.
Some weeks I simply noted the chosen recipe before returning to my books.
Other weeks I went as far as buying the ingredients for the week’s recipe.
There were a few weeks I made the recipe and then plain forgot to photograph it.
And before I knew it, the weeks turned into months.

Here I am, two months after my last post, thinking about how much fun I had making this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe and wondering why I had put off participating for so long?!

Yes. I had to turn my back on a bunch of 13 year old boys running in out of the rain as they waged a full scale Nerf gun battle in my house, shooting anything that moved. But the grass, mud and odd bullet to the head was worth it!

I am confident I would never have made Asparagus Soup if I wasn’t part of this group.
I might have told myself “one day”… but I know I wouldn’t have.

I would have missed out on cooking and sharing a delicious meal with my family.
And also the sense of satisfaction and achievement that comes along with each recipe completed.

It’s coming into winter here in Australia, so we ate the soup warm with a dollop of creme fraiche.
Yes. The kids pulled faces when they sat down to dinner and one confidently declared they were sure they weren’t going to like it!
However they all tried it and they all changed their minds after tasting it!

I am looking forward to catching up with the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group on this recipe!