Kitchen Therapy


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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!


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Ispahan Loaf Cake

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I was excited and looking forward to making this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe.
Ispahan cake.
I love turkish delight.

I love raspberries.
And… I love lychees (I have eaten kilos of them this summer).
Yes, I know there are no lychees in this cake however the three ingredients were now linked in my mind and this cake was going to be awesome!

And it was!

 

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The cake is made mostly of almond flour so the texture is moist and delicate.
The recipe calls for rose syrup and rose extract. My chances of finding either were slim, so I used a good quality rose water and the flavour came through beautifully.
To be honest, I liked the taste and texture of the cake so much, I wouldn’t have minded the loaf plain, without the raspberries.
It was that good!

I am looking forward to catching up with the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group and see what they thought of this week’s recipe.

 


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FFWD: Playing Catch Ups…

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This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was ‘Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin’.
I found this dish… I don’t know… plain?
The meat itself was delicious.
Moist and tender.
However I think this was due to the beautiful cut of meat I used.

My older son started high school and they were off to camp in the second week. The day he returned from camp, was my little boy’s first day at school!
I made the pork that night to celebrate and I served it with Dorie’s Potato Gratin which they love!
We scraped the oranges off the pork and enjoyed it alongside the gratin.

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With all the start of new year craziness, I made last week’s recipe, the brown sugar squash and brussels sprouts en papilotte, however I did not get around to posting it!
(That happens more than I like to admit!)

Again, I have to say the recipe, was nice, but nothing special.

 

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I’m glad I tried both of the recipes above.
I’ve noticed if I tell my guys at home it’s a FFwD recipe, they just nod their heads and give it a go, no complaints, even if they don’t like it!
I love how being part of this group has become a family affair!

I’m looking forward to catching up and reading what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought of both recipes!


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Summer Scallop Salad with Corn, Basil and Nectarines

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This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Chicken Liver Gateaux with Pickled Onions.
I decided to go rogue and catch up on a recipe I missed.

When theFFwD group made this dish it was winter in Australia and nectarines were not available.
I love scallops and was disappointed at the time I couldn’t make this dish as Dorie intended.
So, I made a mental note to myself to wait until summer…

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Surf lessons…

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Theme parks…

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Water slides…

And don’t forget the sweltering Aussie heat.

Summer is here!
So Chicken Liver Gateaux has been pushed to the back burner in favour of more seasonal cooking!

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Tomatoes, corn, nectarines and basil are teamed with plump, tender, scallops…

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And topped with a basil puree and lime dressing.
(It’s still school holidays here and I took my two beautiful boys grocery shopping with me.
To break up a fight, I asked them to go and grab me a two limes.
I had to laugh when I got home and unpacked the groceries…)

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Each one looked at me indignantly and blamed his brother!

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In the end, It all came together beautifully.
I served this with fresh, crusty, bread rolls and everyone enjoyed it.
And that’s all that matters!

The perfect summer dish 🙂

I have to say, I’m curious about what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought of the Chicken Liver Gateaux!


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Beef Cheek Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Herbed Olives.
Ummm…
I didn’t make herbed olives.
I didn’t even register herbed olives on the November recipe schedule!
I just went to the FFWD site to get ready to link to it and there they were.
November 23rd – Herbed Olives.

 

I’m genuinely baffled and a little amused!
(Amused because I think my little obsession with beef cheeks has rendered me blind!)

 

 

It all started with an episode of MasterChef.
One of the contestants was cooking against a chef from Melbourne called Frank Camorra.
There was such a humbleness and graciousness in the chef’s demeanor, years later, I can still recall how uplifted and inspired I felt after that episode.
On our next trip to Melbourne,  I googled his restaurant on a whim and before I knew it, we were having lunch at his Spanish restaurant, Movida.
I was so excited, I wanted to try everything on his Tapas style menu.
Dish after dish arrived, my husband and I were having so much fun.
The flavours were exciting and new.
And then… right at the end… it came out.
Braised Beef Cheeks in Pedro Ximenez on Cauliflower Puree.
I didn’t think food could make you feel giddy with pleasure.
But that’s what this dish did to me.
The beef cheeks melted in my mouth.
The sweetness of the dark, thick, sherry sauce was perfectly balanced and complimented by the smooth cauliflower puree.
Seriously, my words just don’t do this dish justice.
Every 2-3 months we fly to Melbourne and 2 years later, our first stop is still Movida.

So with all this flooding my mind, it’s no wonder I jumped the gun on this recipe!

Dorie’s recipe for beef cheeks was good.
Comforting.
Satisfying.

After all the jumping around it was a good meal to sit on the back deck and fill up on…

 

Once I realised this was not going to be anything like Movida’s beef cheeks, I let go of my expectations and enjoyed the dish. It was a good, solid, meal.

If you’d like to see what French Fridays with Dorie is all about, click here.