Kitchen Therapy


Ispahan Loaf Cake


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!



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.



FFWD: Playing Catch Ups…


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.

PicMonkey Collage

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.



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!


Summer Scallop Salad with Corn, Basil and Nectarines


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…


Surf lessons…


Theme parks…


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!


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


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…)


Each one looked at me indignantly and blamed his brother!


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!


Beef Cheek Daube with Carrots and Elbow Macaroni

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Herbed Olives.
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.

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.






Goat Cheese Mini Puffs




These cheese puffs almost didn’t get made because I got carried away watching season 3 of the Vampire Diaries.
My husband told me anyone my age watching the show should be just plain embarrassed!
In my defence, I wanted to check out what my 15 year old and her friends were watching…
and I kind of got hooked!
Like when I joined Facebook a few years back so I could understand what it was all about before I let my daughter join.
Come to think of it, I got a bit carried away back then too…
But if it wasn’t for the kids I would never, ever have read Twilight, The Hunger Games or know what Gangnam Style was!
And there’s nothing wrong with that!


I managed to tear myself away from the Stefan, Damon, Elena love triangle long enough to get this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe done.
And lucky I did, because it’s now almost midnight and I’ve just come back home from picking up my daughter and her friends from the cinema.
They watched the last Twilight movie and are sitting with tear stained faces telling me about the “horrible shocking twist at the end” while snacking on these bite sized puffs of cheesy comfort.


(Clearly now I have to go and see the movie!)

To see more golden cheesy filled puffs click here!







Chocolate Mousse

I like chocolate.
However I need my chocolate to be part of something bigger.
It can be the star of the show. Definitely.
But there needs to be a show. (No matter how small!)

I prefer it’s sweetness be offset with the tartness of fruit. Strawberries. Raspberries. Pineapple.
It’s texture elevated with the addition of nuts, coconut, honeycomb, popcorn.

I’ve come to believe my chocolate preferences are an extension of my personality.
The part of me that gets bored quickly.
The part that says too much of anything (even if it’s good), can become dull and monotonous.

My husband and daughter do not share my opinion.
To be honest they passionately disagree with me.

So for them, this dessert was perfect.
They thoroughly enjoyed it.

I on the other hand struggled.
I followed Dorie’s recipe and then promptly threw it out.
I did not like it! Actually none of us did.

I turned to my collection of cookbooks and searched the internet to see what I was doing wrong and how I could improve the flavour.

I noticed a few of the recipes had butter added to the melting chocolate and cream mixed into the final product.

I ended up following Dorie’s recipe and then adding the extra’s from Donna Hay’s recipe I found here.

My hybrid mousse was much nicer.
And the raspberries took the taste to another level.

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


Mushroom and Shallot Quiche

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is now one of my all time favourites!
The smell and taste of this quiche was divine.

It’s been a busy few weeks with birthdays and friends…


… and just life in general.

What a great week I chose to return though!

We loved this dish!

Looking forward to catching up with the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group and reading their thoughts on this recipe!


Spur of the Moment Vegetable Soup


When I initially saw this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, I made a mental note to myself to give it a miss.


We had just returned from a weekend in Melbourne and after spending time in shops like these…

I thought this recipe sounded… boring.


In addition to this, is the fact that it’s spring here in Australia.

And when you spend your days like this…



Soup is kinda the last thing you want to go home to!

A BBQ dinner is where your mind’s at!

But then something happened that made this week’s recipe exactly what we needed.
My 12 year old son had oral surgery.
We noticed a while back one of his baby teeth broke the skin but then disappeared again.
X-rays revealed the tooth beneath it was growing vertically!
The surgeon had to pull out the baby tooth and put in chains to help the tooth beneath it come up.

So with a strict diet of fluids for the next few days, Dorie’s Spur of the Moment Vegetable Soup sounded like a great idea!


I followed Dorie’s recipe and then added broccoli, leek and extra potatoes.

This soup was exactly what we needed!
It was tasty, simple to make and everyone enjoyed it.

I am curious to see how the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group went with this week’s recipe!











Hummus with Grilled Vegetables

This was the perfect recipe to come to home after a week away in Queensland.


And if you like it a little spicy, add a dash of cumin or chilli powder.
(Or hungarian paprika like I did)

I grilled some chicken strips to make chicken and hummus wraps for dinner.


Then I started to think about how good some grilled zucchini would be with that wrap.
And some eggplant.
And mushrooms.
And wouldn’t it be great to dip some asparagus spears straight into the hummus.
Just for the heck of it!


Dinner was amazing!
Dorie Greenspan’s hummus recipe was a hit!

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







Endives, Apples and Grapes

I’ve never had endives.
And to be honest I’m not sure how I feel about them…

I served this dish with pork and baked potatoes.
It was a good combination.
The apples and grapes gave the endives flavour and the pork moisture.
On their own, they tasted like… boiled cabbage.

While I was making dinner a friend came over to pick up her son and she said she cooks with endives regularly.
It gave me confidence to persevere with the dish.
She also said she uses it raw, adding it sparingly to salads.

And there ends my entire experience and knowledge of endives!

We are flying to Queensland as I post this week’s recipe.
A week of theme parks, beaches and galleries!

But I’m curious to see how the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group felt about this dish and I am already looking forward to catching up when I return!