Recipes From My Kitchen – Cauliflower Cheese Pasta Bake

Recipes From My Kitchen – Cauliflower Cheese Pasta Bake

This recipe is like a cross between cauliflower cheese and macaroni cheese, and it’s perfect comfort food! The weather’s picked up again in Tassie and we’ve got some beautiful sunny days as we head into autumn, but it was getting a bit chilly for a while and I dug this recipe out! Make this to enjoy on its own, or pair it with some BBQ food. It’s great as a veggie dish, but chicken or bacon are tasty additions. I sometimes add a bit of broccoli too, for a little more colour. It can also be prepared in advance, up to the stage where it’s ready to go in the oven, giving you time to do all those other things that crop up before dinner, or relax with friends and family! (more…)

Recipes From My Kitchen – Cherry Clafoutis

Recipes From My Kitchen – Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry clafoutis is something that for some reason I’ve always wanted to make. I’ve got an image of it in my mind, with amazing puffy, golden batter rising around plump, juicy cherries. But cherries have always been too precious to do anything with other than just eating them, so I’ve never made it. But, recently I had a call from a neighbor saying that their cherry trees were ready for picking, and it needed doing before the birds got them! (more…)

Recipes From My Kitchen – Spaghetti with Beans, Walnuts, and Mascarpone

Recipes From My Kitchen – Spaghetti with Beans, Walnuts, and Mascarpone

I created this dish as a way to use some of the beans that are currently cropping really well in my new veggie patch. These borlotti beans (aka tongue of fire) are so pretty with their red streaky pods (although this colour disappears on cooking). I’ve picked these young and am eating them pods and all. Regular green beans, or French beans, would also work really well in this, but the ones I’m growing aren’t quite big enough yet! (more…)

Recipes From My Kitchen – Spicy Zucchini Tomato Rice

I made this earlier in the week, after being gifted some zucchini (aka courgettes!) from our lovely neighbours. I obviously forgot to take photos of the zucchini, but they were a mixture of yellow and green which made for a very pretty dish. Also forgot to take pics of the cooking process and final result, as it came after a busy day at work and I was just trying to get food into my belly as quickly as possible! I was delighted with the result of this experiment though. Filling but not heavy, and with leftovers for lunch a couple of days later 🙂

https://www.pexels.com/photo/3-zuchini-brown-wooden-surface-128420/

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Iced Olive Leaf Tea

iced tea olive leaf lemon mint tasmania

We’re coming into spring in Tassie, although with what looks like a dusting of snow on Mount Wellington again today and highs of 14degC with an icy wind, it’s not feeling as spring-like as it was yesterday!

Anyway, my mind is filling with thoughts of (hopefully!) warm sunny days ahead, and so I decided to use my olive leaf tea as a base to create an iced version. I tried a few combinations of ingredients, but my favourite is this unsweetened iced olive leaf tea with lemon and mint. The olive leaf tea provides a rich, complex base, while the mint and lemon give it a fabulous fresh lift. (more…)

A Tale of Two Brownies…

olive oil chocolate brownie

Wholemeal version on the left, Lucero version on the right.

I’ve baked brownies a couple of times recently. I’ve mentioned brownies before, and I still don’t feel they’re something I’m good at! This recipe from Lucero Olive Oil has been my go to (yes, using olive oil instead of butter – hooray!), but I’ve wanted to do some experiments using fewer refined ingredients. I found this one, on the lovely Passionate About Baking blog using wholemeal flour and raw sugar and decided to give it a go! The result is much cakier, but I have a confession… This second recipe calls for baking powder, and for some reason (well there are several, I’ve been a bit frazzled…) I read this as baking soda (aka bicarbonade of soda), and promptly added 1tsp of the stuff. I didn’t even realise what I’d done until partway through baking [“Oooh, how funny – that’s rising really well… oh noooooo!”] And I used all extra virgin olive oil in place of the combo of butter and oil (90ml in total).

So, the flavor is ok, the bicarb is mostly hidden by the chocolate, but overall these are a bit too cakey and crumbly for my perfect brownie. But I don’t think the use of wholemeal flour and soft dark brown sugar caused problems. I want to try this second recipe again, but would change the following:

  • Melt the chocolate alone, and then whisk in the oil – the only reason being that the aroma of good extra virgin olive oil being added to melted dark chocolate is simply divine. And much better than when the oil and chocolate are heated together!
  • I’d add maybe a tablespoon of full fat milk, just to increase the moisture level a little. Probably wouldn’t be needed if I’d used some butter.
  • Another top tip is that if you’re adding walnuts as I do because I LOVE the added texture of these, they should be added AFTER the flour has been folded in. If you add the walnuts and the flour together, the flour gets stuck in all the little walnut crevices, and it’s really REALLY hard to combine it all without beating the mixture. Which can tend to make the finished product rubbery 🙁
  • And finally, I will pay attention to the recipe, and try and select the right ingredients!

If you want to read more about chocolate brownies, The Guardian did one of their excellent “How to make perfect…” series on the topic. But I’m off for now, I have brownies to eat 🙂 FFx

PS. Would love to know YOUR favourite brownie recipe – please share in the comments!