Kitchen Therapy


Onion Tart Pissaladiere

It has been 6 months since my last post. Six months!
I cannot believe how fast time is passing.
I have cooked along with the group on and off behind the scenes these past months.
However I have come undone in the sharing department ūüôā
I’m not sure what happened… I think it all started when the kids made fun of my habit to avoid phone and computer updates. I succumbed to kid pressure and updated my phone but then it no longer wanted to get along with my computer. I have 6 months of photos that need downloading. The kids think my problem is with the Cloud but I don’t understand it. It reminds of me being in Chemistry classes and the teacher talking about molecules and… stuff. I can’t see it, so I just don’t get it.
I have missed being part of my cooking groups! I love that it means I cook things I might never get to, like this onion tart or Pissaladiere!

My photos are not the best but I found a way to get them up on my blog so I am happy for now!
I loved the contrast of the sweet onions with the salty olives. I used Kalamata olives, but we take our olives seriously in this house and I have a particular store I go to that I know sells the best Kalamata olives so I stuck with what I knew.
What really surprised me is how much the kids enjoyed this tart. And not one complaint about the anchovies!

I’m a bit rusty when it comes to posting online and I’m trying to not get distracted by an episode of Longmire on Netflix that my husband has playing in the background! But gee I’m glad to be back and cooking with the Cook The Book Fridays group! I can’t wait to have a read and see what everyone else thought of this recipe.



Baked Yogurt Tart


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! 


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 ūüôā )
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.


French Apple Tart


According to family and friends, there are foods that define me.
Pineapples, coconuts and meringues make them think of me.
(Hey, I could be associated with much worse!)
And when it comes to baked goods they know I’m a total sucker for pastries with apples and cinnamon.
So it’s no surprise that this French Apple Tart was an absolute pleasure to bake and eat.

Soft, mashed apples with a hint of cinnamon, topped with a layer of tender, baked, apple slices.


It’s amazing what you can make with a few simple ingredients…
Bread crumbs.
Lots and lots of apples.
And a little bit of lemon juice…


This recipe is from the book, Baking with Julia and it’s this week’s scheduled recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie. If you’d like to see the recipe and give it a try, Gaye will be posting it on her website, Laws of the Kitchen.


\I decided to use another recipe for the pastry crust however.
I tried the ‘flaky pie dough’ from this book when the group made the Blueberry-Nectarine Pie.
And I didn’t like it.
I’ve tried Dorie Greenspan’s ‘tart dough’ recipe from her book Around My French Table¬†, as part of the French Fridays with Dorie group, and I’ve loved it each and every time.
But I wanted to try something different this time.
I mean what’s the point of buying so freaking many¬†cookbooks if you’re not going to open them up and give them a test run? Right?
So I decided on a recipe from John Barricelli’s The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook and my husband declared it the best pastry he’s EVER had.
He even asked if he could scrape off the apples and just eat the crust!
I have to admit, it was pretty good!
It went amazing well with the tart filling.


Pate Brisee
(From The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook)

# recipe makes enough for 1 double-crust pie or 2 single-crust 9 inch tarts, since I only needed enough dough for a single 9 inch tart I halved the recipe below#

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice water

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.
With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow and steady stream, a little bit at a time until the dough just comes together. The dough should not be wet or sticky. If the dough is too dry and does not hold together, add a little more water.

2.Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide into two and wrap each half in plastic wrap, shaping them into flattened discs. Chill at least 1 hour before using.

(The book’s author, John Barricelli, gives the following tip:
“When making dough, not only should the ingredients be cold (including dry ingredients) but so should your equipment, including the bowl and blade of your food processor or bowl and attachment of your standing mixer.
I’ve read this tip a few times in different books and decided to follow it. Maybe this is what made it the best pastry my husband has ever had???)


Tomato and Bocconcini Tartlets


About a year or so ago, I went to my friend’s house and as the kids ran around and jumped in and out of the pool we sat in her back yard, chatted and caught up on each other’s lives.

She laughed at me because I had grabbed my Amazon package the postman has just delivered and was opening it at her house.

While I ripped at the box, she went inside and brought out little tomato tarts she had made from a recipe in the  latest Donna Hay magazine. They we bite size squares of golden puff pastry topped with olive tapenade, a slice of tomato and fresh bocconcini cheese.

They were so incredibly simple and delicious we ate the entire tray as we flicked through my new book, Dorie Greenspan’s ‘Around My French Table’ and she listened to my plans about joining an online cooking blog I had read about.


The next day, I bought the magazine, and the ingredients, and I made the delicious little tarts for my family.
They were a huge hit and I’ve been making them on a regular basis since then.
They are a great after school snack!


hen I saw this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe it brought back my memories of that lazy afternoon.


So much so, that I kind of went on automatic pilot mode.
I didn’t follow Dorie’s instructions. They seemed a little bit complicated for something so simple.
I just cut the puff pastry sheets into little squares.
Smeared a dollop of black olive tapenade and put a slice of tomato on top.
I baked these in the oven until golden brown.
I then took them out of the oven and topped them with fresh slices of bocconcini cheese and basil leaves.

I followed Dorie’s suggestion and sprinkled some balsamic vinegar on top of some of the squares and I have to admit, I loved the taste.


Simple and Perfect!

I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie group thought of this week’s recipe.










Quiches and Tarts – and everything in between!

It has been another busy week.
At home there’s school, soccer, band, karate, dancing, netball, get togethers, parties, homework, assignments, fights, tears… mostly mine!

Netball Gala Day to raise money for Cancer Research

Band Workshop

Helping out at school

At work there’s more tears, lots of them, but at least there the tears are from clients trying to cope with their own lives.

In all the madness I tried to foster a sense of control so I went on a cleaning and purging binge!
I cleaned everything! Including my iphone… and all the photos… including the one’s of this week’s recipe.

Probably how I looked when I realised I wiped the photos!
(Don’t you love the pics the kids think are hilarious to take!)


I can tell you Dorie’s Spinach and Bacon Quiche was amazing.
Everyone loved it, from the 3 year old to my 70 year old dad.
Absolutely amazing!
To see actual photos of Dorie’s Spinach and Bacon Quiche from the talented French Fridays with Dorie cooks, click here.¬†

I made this quiche on the weekend, so I was going to be really good (after missing last week’s recipe) and get my post ready nice and early.
When I discovered I’d wiped my photos I was bummed but ready to make another quiche.
Everyone loved it after all…
But then, as I was flicking through my copy of Around My French Table, I noticed the recipe for Gerard’s Mustard Tart.
I joined after the group made this and I happen to love mustard so I thought I’d make this instead.

Dorie uses the same tart dough recipe for both recipes and I had my trusty sidekick helping…

The dough is so easy to make…

The filling for both quiches was even easier to prepare…

As I said I love mustard.
I also love leeks and pasty.
The taste was unusual and unfamiliar, but in a good way.
It left us with a quizzical but appreciative look on our faces.
I definitely recommend stepping out of the familiar and giving this tart a go.
And the spinach and bacon quiche will definitely be made again and again!

A very comprehensive and detailed recipe of Dorie Greenspan’s mustard tart can be found here.¬†


Orange-Hazelnut Tart

I found this tart really easy to make.
Maybe it’s because I was prepared and organised.
I read the steps, organised my self and over a couple of days I completed one stage at a time.

I made the dough after picking up the 10 year old from school with a bunch of his friends.
As they ran riot around the house, I whizzed up the dough, pressed in the crust and placed it in the freezer before dragging them all off to karate.

I cut and dried the oranges that same night while negotiating with my 13 year old daughter a camping trip being planned on facebook with 7 boys and 7 girls at a site only accessible by boat or an hour and 1/2 bushwalk!
The next morning my 10 year old had early morning try outs for the school Eagle Tag team so we were up early and I had time to blend up the hazelnut cream and leave it in the fridge to chill.
(My 13 year old is allergic to most nuts, so swapped the almonds for hazelnuts which she can actually eat!)
And while waiting for the 3 year to finish dance class in the afternoon, the tart was easily assembled and put in the oven to bake!

I am never organised or prepared!
Most things I squeeze in at the oddest moments with never enough time or the right equipment and ingredients at home!
So this was such a pleasant experience!
Until I decided to go through the 13 year old’s closet and pull out clothes she no longer wears while the tart was baking.
I lost track of time and burnt it lightly singed the edges.

The tart tasted delicious!
I do think almonds would have been better, the hazelnuts have a very strong and distinct taste.
But well worth the time and effort.

For the almond version and many more variations check out French Fridays With Dorie!



Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

Just joined French Fridays with Dorie! Very excited!

I’m kind of new to this whole blogging thing.¬†However it didn’t take me long to find some amazing sites!

And even less time to work out what most of these guys had in common was an appreciation for Dorie Greenspan.

I have to admit I had never even heard of Dorie prior to this but after looking at pics of some of the amazing stuff being cooked from her books, I found myself eagerly awaiting my Amazon delivery of a few of her books!

So this is my first French Fridays post and I just discovered the Problems and Questions page which I read in retrospect.

I was lucky the one cake pan I had was exactly the right size and my cake didn’t leak!

And while I’ve been reading about the all the baking being done in snow storms and oohing and aahing over fairytale pics of snow-covered fields and trees, I forgot that I live on the Northern Beaches of Sydney Australia! Our 6 week summer school holidays are coming to an end with the kids back at school Jan 31st but most of our days are spent here…

Doing this…

You may be wondering what in the world I am on about!

What I’m trying to say is… it is hot down under in Oz!

So to complete this week’s recipe I started cooking after 9pm when the humidity and heat isn’t¬†so bad (sometimes) and chose the option to chill it over night.

I was up and baking the rest of the cake at 6am the next morning before another full day at Manly Beach and the water slides!

The kids were exhausted and famished after another 10am-5pm beach day so they devoured the cake.

The final verdict was “delicious!” from myself and my 10-year-old son, while my husband and 13-year-old daughter thought it needed to be more sweet!? (Each to their own I guess!)

Thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this week’s event and I found that while participation is voluntary having some accountability and a set day and time to complete the recipe by, motivated me into action.

Have been enjoying reading all the other posts on Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake at French Fridays With Dorie!

And loving the snow pics, but still stopping to appreciate this…

The Aussie summer and Manly Beach at dusk!


Prosciutto, Feta and Ricotta Tarts

These are absolutely delicious! Golden, crispy, savoury bites that are incredibly satisfying fresh from the oven or straight from the fridge!


6 Sheets Filo Pastry
Olive Oil Spray
5 Slices Prosciutto or Ham, finely diced
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs Flat-Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
120g Ricotta
100g Feta
375ml Pouring Cream
3 Eggs


Preheat oven to 180C.


1. Lightly grease 12 hole muffin pan (we used Olive Oil spray).



2. Cut 12 x 1cm wide strips of baking paper and line each muffin hole so it extends beyond the rim so it’s easier to remove the tarts.



3. Stack 3 filo sheets (spray between each sheet with oil). Cut stacked filo sheets into 12x10cm squares. Spray one square with olive oil and place another square diagonally on top to form a star shape. Press into muffin hole and repeat with remaining 3 filo sheets until 12 tart shells are complete.



4. Combine prosciutto (or ham), onion, parsley, ricotta and feta in a large bowl then season with salt and pepper.



5. Spoon mixture into tart shells.



6. Whisk cream and eggs, pour over the ricotta mixture.



7. Bake for 25 minutes or until set. Stand in pan for 15 minutes before serving.