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 🙂


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Pavlova with Berries and Salted Caramel Recipe

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Maybe it’s an Aussie thing, but I’m very fussy with my pavlovas.
Glossy, thick, white meringue topped with strawberries, kiwi fruit and drizzled with passionfruit.
It just doesn’t get better than that for me.
The sweetness of the meringue balanced with the sourness of the fruit keeps me coming back for more.
Each. And. Every. Time!

However I’ve decided I need to shake things up and try new things.
So I’m making an effort to be open to new taste combinations.
And when I saw my daughter eyeing this recipe in the latest delicious. magazine, it was time to begin.

Everyone loved this recipe by the way.
I loved the meringue.
I could (and did) drink eat the salted caramel on it’s own with a spoon.
It was heavenly.
So after dinner I gave everyone a spoon and told them to go for it!
And as you can see from the photo, not much was left.
It was a hit!
This pavlova was a visual feast and a taste sensation.

Pavlova with Berries and Salted Caramel
(adapted from Delicious Magazine, issue 132, November 2013)

6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (sifted)
1 1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour (sifted)
2 tsp white vinegar

to serve:
300ml thickened cream
2 tbsp soft icing sugar
2 cups mixed berries

salted caramel:
2 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup water
300ml thickened cream (at room temperature)
1tsp sea salt flakes

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Place egg whites and cream of tartar into a clean, dry mixer bowl and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Add sugar 1 tbsp at a time until all the sugar is added and the meringue is glossy and thick.
Stir in the cornflour and vinegar, beat until combined.
Spread the mixture onto the baking paper in an oval or rectangular shape.
Reduce oven to 130 degrees C and bake for 1 hour or until the outside is firm but not browned.
Then turn oven off, open oven door slightly and let meringue sit in the oven until completely cooled.

To make the salted caramel place sugar in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water.
Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
Increase to medium heat and cook, without stirring, until mixture turns golden caramel (about 10 mins).
Remove from heat and pour in cream.
Finally, return the pan to a low heat and add the salt.
Stir the mixture for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
Pour salted caramel into a container and leave on bench top to cool.
(This recipe makes a lot more caramel than you need!
Leftover caramel can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, if it lasts that long!).

To serve, whisk the thickened cream with soft icing sugar until soft peaks form.
Spread over the meringue.
Scatter your choice of berries on top.
Drizzle with salted caramel.

Enjoy 🙂


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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.


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Baked Yogurt Tart

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I was curious to try this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia baked yogurt tart.
It’s school holidays here in Sydney, so I was afraid this recipe might be filed away in the ‘too hard’ basket. (Which by the way just gets emptied, not revisited!)

The dough was made the night before.
After a day of skate parks, outings to Manly, Yogurtland and trying to get a GoPro set up so the kids could take more pics of themselves skating(!) for instagram.
 The last thing I wanted to do after dinner was make another mess!

Every time I opened the fridge, there was my dough.
Just sitting there…
Wrapped in plastic…
Waiting to be used. 
I threw out the dough I made to be used for a tart that the French Fridays with Dorie group was making not long ago and I decided I wasn’t  going to do it again!

It was getting late, but hey, it’s school holidays!
I could see my the face of my 6 year old son light up with excitement when he realised we were going to cook!
And to his credit, he did most of the work.
He chose strawberries  for the tart and worked out the pattern.

By the time it was cooked and ready to eat he was showered and in bed.
So my daughter and I had fun eating the tart well after 10pm that night! 

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The photos are pretty bad however the effort was made and the sense of satisfaction was well worth it!
We laughed a lot and I assured my daughter she wasn’t going to be in any of the photos…  (I lied 🙂 )
I thought the filling would be creamier, softer. I was surprised at the density of it.
Nevertheless it tasted good and went well with a dollop of cream.

I am looking forward to see what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought!

The recipe can found by clicking here.


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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Savarin

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The Savarin, a yeasted bread cake saturated in sweet syrup, pear eau-de vie (brandy), filled with whipped cream and topped with your choice of berries.
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia recipe.
Looks simple…
And I think it would have been simple if I didn’t leave it till the very last minute.
Which also happened to be the weekend I was having 5 of my son’s friends sleep over for his birthday.
Six 13-year old boys.
They are loud, they squeal, they argue, they burp, they fart, they tell each other they stink, call each other names, wrestle each other to the ground, jump on each other, laugh at inappropriate jokes and can’t seem to keep their arms and legs to themselves. And did I mention they are loud?
I made the cake before heading out to dinner and a few games of laser skirmish.
I took many, many photos.
My husband took many, many photos.
13 year old boys move.
A LOT.
Nearly all the photos turned our blurry.
Someone, if not everyone, was moving at any given time. Below are the best out of the lot, and as you can see they aren’t that great!
My 6 year old son was happy to get his dad all to himself and play a game of pool while the big boys laser battled (and came out arguing over who was the best shot and argued again as the scores came up on the screen).
Teased, poked and paid out on each other through dinner.
Argued over who was the best at PS3. Who was going to sleep where. And what movie to watch.
(And that last pic is of me hugging my son as he’s trying to squirm away).

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The next morning they woke us all up at the crack of dawn with more laughter and arguments.
The early start however meant I could make the syrup and soak the cake before starting on pancakes for breakfast.

When they all went home, bleary eyed and tired (me and them), I filled the the middle of the cake with whipped cream and topped it off with fresh berries. The recipe calls for the berries to be mixed in raspberry puree however I prefer my berries fresh.
I sat down to a quiet and freshly cleaned house, drizzled the cake with pear eau-de-vie…

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And savoured each and every bite!
(My husband wants me to mention he did most of the cleaning while I finished making the cake 🙂 !).

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I love baba cakes, so I thought this was wonderful.
I preferred it with the pear eau-de-vie.
I’m not a fan of alcohol in cakes so I was surprised when I splashed more and more brandy on top of my cake. I thought it was the taste of pears that kept me going back for more, my husband thought it was just me trying to blot out the past 24 hours! (Truth is I loved every minute of the craziness!)

The recipe of the cake can be found here.

I am looking forward to see what the rest of the Tuesday with Dorie group thought of this cake!


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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!