The occasional kitchen flop can sometimes be a blessing in disguise on several fronts. Most likely it helps to ensure that the same mistake won’t be made again in the future… and it can also serve to get those creative juices working to find ways of improving upon a particular recipe that didn’t turn out so well. Continue reading →
These Cinnamon & Saffron Scrolls would have been much better for my waistline had they been made on a weekend. In that case, they wouldn’t have been sitting there on the bench top, urging me to eat them… with no one around to say “Oi, haven’t you had quite enough of those, young lady?” Perhaps I’ll make them again tomorrow to see if my theory works! Continue reading →
Just when I was really quite sure that I had all the kitchen appliances and gadgets one could possibly need, a conversation one recent Wednesday morning made me decide otherwise. Nancy, who is a Bostonian, spoke rather beautifully about her family tradition of alternating between pancakes and waffles on Sunday mornings. She had me craving a delicious waffle, along with the machine to make them, right there on the spot. Continue reading →
Ideally you shouldn’t be reading this post for yet another month. You see… my excessively organised mind had quite liked the idea of my 100th Post (yes, that’s THIS one! 🙂 ) being posted on Gather and Graze’s 2nd Blogiversary (the 12th April). But here we are… well ahead of schedule… so I guess we’ll just have to celebrate twice! Continue reading →
My fellow food bloggers are a constant source of inspiration to me… both in food and life in general. They really are a wonderful bunch of people who I consider my friends, even though we’ve never met in person. I set aside many recipes that they’ve created… for sometime down the track when time permits, or when the occasion or season is right. My ever-growing list is slightly bewildering with the sheer number of entries, but somewhat comforting in the fact that I know there will always be inspirational recipes to be found when I need them. Now and then, I see a recipe that I feel compelled to make that exact same day after reading it… often from pure excitement and the anticipation of tasting the wonderful new dish!
So, recently when I came across a fabulous post for Nutty Spiced Apple Granola on Trixie Pin’s ‘Almonds are Mercurial’ blog, I knew immediately that it was high time I too started making my own granola… or toasted muesli (as is oft called in this part of the world). I made up a batch that very same day! A few adaptations were made, due to the ingredients that I already had on hand in the pantry and also to personal preferences and whims… though this is exactly the sort of recipe I would expect people to adapt constantly… keeping it interesting.
Home-made Toasted Muesli/Granola | Gather and Graze
400g (4 Cups) Rolled Oats (or a mixture of oats/bran/barley/wheat etc.)
100g (⅔ Cup) Raw Macadamia Nuts (Chopped Roughly)
100g (⅔ Cup) Raw Almonds (Chopped Roughly)
100g (⅔ Cup) Raw Cashews (Chopped Roughly)
100g (½ Cup) Sunflower Seeds
100g (½ Cup) Pepitas
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt
100g (⅓ Cup) Honey
100g (½ Cup) Brown Sugar
60mls (¼ Cup) Sunflower Oil
1 Tablespoon Vino Cotto (optional, but adds fabulous flavour)
75g / ½ Cup Dried Apple (Chopped fairly small)
100g / ½ Cup Dried Peach (Chopped fairly small)
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C and set aside 2 large baking trays.
In a large mixing bowl, place the oats, chopped nuts, seeds and spices. Stir to combine.
In a small saucepan, mix together the honey, brown sugar, oil and Vino Cotto. Stir over low/medium heat until the brown sugar has dissolved. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to coat the oats and nuts well.
Spread this mixture out evenly over 2 large baking sheets and place into the oven for approximately 30-35 minutes (giving it a stir every 10 minutes to make sure that the oats and nuts don’t brown too quickly… or burn). Note that the mixture will still be soft when you remove it from the oven.
Allow the mixture to cool (and dry) completely, before tossing through the chopped dried fruit and placing into an airtight container.
Notes on Cooking:
The variations for substituting grains, nuts, seeds and fruit are endless – be adventurous!
Life sometimes gets in the way of blogging… just as blogging sometimes gets in the way of life. My usual weekly post got strung out to just over two weeks and it’s been haunting me that I’ve not found the time and energy to put something new out there. Cooking? I’ve been plating up dishes every single day, but to feed my hungry family… instead of my hungry blog. The depths of winter are taking their toll… short days… where it’s too dark at dinner-time to shoot any photographs. The winter solstice, but a couple of days ago… the beginnings of lightness of mind, in the knowledge that our days will only get longer from now on, until the sun beats down with warmth once again.
The blog and I both desperately needed this flavour-filled Frittata today. It warmed the soul, lifted the spirits and got those creative juices flowing once more. It’s great to be back! This Frittata makes for a super easy mid-week dinner, or a fabulous brunch/lunch for the weekend with friends.
Pumpkin, Chorizo & Kale Frittata | Gather and Graze
500g/1lb Butternut Squash or Pumpkin (chopped into chunks)
2 Fresh Chorizo Sausages (skins removed and torn into chunks)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
50g/2 Loosely-Packed Cups Kale* (stems removed and torn into pieces)
85g Boursin Cheese* (use Goat’s Cheese or Feta if you prefer)
75g (3-4 Tablespoons) Caramelised Onion Relish*
4 Free-Range Eggs
125ml/½ Cup Cream
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream, along with a grinding of salt and pepper. Set aside for the moment.
In a medium (23cm) heavy-based, shallow frypan, place the chopped pumpkin and chorizo and toss through with the olive oil and season with a little more salt and pepper. Place into the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.
Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C.
Into the frying pan, add the kale, cheese (broken into pieces) and onion relish (dolloped here and there) and stir a little to combine. Pour over the egg/cream mixture and place back into the oven for about 35-40 minutes until puffed and golden brown.
I used a store-bought Caramelised Onion Relish, though if you’ve got some home-made on hand, all the better!
Boursin Cheese worked really well in this dish… adding an extra depth of flavour. I’m not such a fan of goat’s cheese, so this was the perfect substitution.
The kale was absolutely delicious, becoming slightly crispy being baked in the oven. I had been tempted to substitute for English Spinach, but so pleased that I didn’t.
There are some evenings when breakfast fare can seem rather appetising for a light and easy dinner. Nights when husbands are out at work functions and eldest children are away on school camps… perfect timing for this relaxed, simple dish that ticks all the boxes of being deliciously comforting, relatively healthy and ready in a flash…
A dish that can be adapted for all tastes and preferences… the options are endless. Next time I’ll be trying this with strips of smoked salmon and a sprinkling of snipped chives!
Over the next few weeks I’m going to be playing tour guide, host and interpreter for some very dear French friends who are coming out to visit us for the first time here in Australia. My apologies in advance for not being able to post as much as I’d like to over this period and also for possibly not getting a chance to read and comment on all of your posts. If I find the time, I’ll certainly try to post a little something here and there of my adventures around the country avec mes amis français!
Oeufs en Cocotte with Prosciutto | Gather and Graze
Line 2 ramekins (mine are about a 1 cup capacity each) with enough strips of prosciutto to cover the base and sides.
Crack 2 eggs into each ramekin and gently place in the halved cherry tomatoes, a couple of teaspoons of creme fraiche, a few torn basil leaves and a grinding of salt and black pepper. If you like, sprinkle over a teaspoon or two of finely grated parmesan cheese.
Bake the eggs in the oven for approximately 15 – 18 minutes until cooked to your liking. Serve with a good serving of hot buttered toast.
Almost everyone has their favourite Sunday morning pancake recipe, but for those who don’t or for those who are willing to take a punt and try something new, I’d love to share with you the following…
Below is the recipe I’ve been using for years now and it’s always been so well received by both my own little family, as well as any family or friends staying with us over a weekend. It’s on the light and fluffy side and depending on how much batter you pour into the pan, can vary between a crepe-like consistency to more of a thicker pancake.
As I always have Greek Yoghurt on hand, I decided to adapt this recipe many years ago (and haven’t looked back since), from Bill Granger’s‘Buttermilk Pancake’ recipe, which was included in his wonderful cookbook ‘Bill’s Food’.
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk a little to ensure there are no lumps of flour.
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, dollop in the yoghurt and then little by little add the 2 cups of milk, stirring as you go to maintain a smooth consistency.
Pour the milk/yoghurt mixture and the beaten eggs into the dry ingredients, whisking continuously until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and once again whisk continuously until thoroughly incorporated.
* It is preferable to allow the batter to rest for half an hour or so, before using.
Butter and Sugar (after flipping the pancake, melt thin shards of butter on top and scatter with a teaspoon or 2 of sugar. Fold over and continue to heat a little longer before serving). From living in France, this continues to be my favourite way of eating a crepe/pancake!