It’s been way too long, my friends… and I apologise sincerely for my all too frequent lapses in blogging these days. All manner of excuses come to mind, mostly legitimate… others somewhat pathetic… in the desperate hope that you’ll forgive me and continue to accompany me on my food blogging journey (as sporadic as it may be). Continue reading →
It is doubtful that you’ll come across another cake that is quite so easy to make, yet rewards with such beautiful taste and moist crumb. Honey is the obvious star, bringing a touch of sunshine and happiness… subtle and well-balanced… demanding only a cup of tea as the perfect partner. Continue reading →
A quick little post to share a delicious, yet fast and easy chicken dish that we enjoyed a couple of nights ago. So much to love about sticky, finger-licking chicken thigh fillets that take only a few moments to prep and about half an hour to cook! These will be fabulous when the kids go back to school in a couple of week’s time and I’m looking for those fast mid-week meals once again!
Both adults and children alike enjoyed the hit of chilli, though feel free to reduce the amount of chilli sauce if you prefer a little less heat. Recipe inspired by and adapted from a Bill Granger recipe.
1 Tablespoon (Chinese) Chilli & Garlic Sauce (or feel free to use a plain chilli sauce and add a couple of cloves of crushed garlic)
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Freshly-Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger (Grated)
½ Teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
1kg (Approx 8) Free-Range Chicken Thigh Fillets (trimmed of any excess fat)
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
In a large mixing bowl place the hoisin, chilli and soy sauces, the lemon juice, honey, ginger, garlic and Chinese Five Spice. Stir until well combined, then add the chicken and allow to marinate for about half an hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and line a large baking tray with foil.
Place the chicken pieces onto the lined tray, spooning any sauce left in the bowl over the top of them and bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes (or until cooked through). Remove to a serving dish and scatter with the toasted sesame seeds. Perfect on a summer’s evening, served with a crisp white, some steamed jasmine rice and a crunchy Asian-style cabbage salad… or some lightly steamed greens.
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!
For a classic autumn dessert that embraces two stellar seasonal delicacies, this simple yet heart-warming dish is an absolute must. The lemon zest and sea salt work perfectly to create a balance with the sweet succulence of the figs and honey, while the walnuts provide textural crunch and a rich earthiness. This is not so much a recipe, but a celebration of seasonal ingredients while they’re at their peak.
On a side note, this weekend I’m planning on stripping my little cumquat tree of all it’s bright jewels. Some of you may remember that last year my tree produced only one solitary (yet perfect) cumquat. This year is another story… I have about 70-80 cumquats to contend with and once again the debate resumes in my head as to what I should do with them. Hmmm, perhaps I should spread the risk and try a few different things… who knows, we might even enjoy them this year! Preserving some in salt (as inspired by Darya, from Tortore) seems like a great way to start… ready to use in casseroles and tagines throughout the winter months. If anyone has any other thoughts or favourite uses for cumquats (or should I say Kumquats), please let me know.
Slice open the figs to reveal their gorgeous inner beauty and arrange in a baking dish, topped with all other ingredients as suggested above. Cover the dish tightly with foil and place into a 200°C oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until roasted to perfection.
Serve with either a dollop of Greek yoghurt or some vanilla ice-cream on the side.
Notes on Cooking
Different varieties of figs may take more/less time to roast, so be sure to keep an eye on them and remove from the oven when they are roasted to your liking.
As it’s Friday, please head over to Angie’s fabulous blog The Novice Gardener to see what everyone else has been making for Fiesta Friday this week. It always makes for a great start to the weekend and the talented people who link into this ever-growing online party are such a lovely bunch to hang out with. A happy weekend to all!
About a week ago my husband and I celebrated our 15th Wedding Anniversary (the crystal glasses seen in my previous post were our gift to one another to remember this rather special milestone). We also decided to take our two boys out for dinner that evening to a local Italian restaurant to delight in some really wonderful food. After a relaxing meal and a glass or two of wine, it finally came time for dessert… tiramisu was spotted on the menu and my choice was made (all rather swiftly). It arrived at the table and naturally the children were keen to have a taste, but with the infusion of coffee and liqueur, a small spoonful was more than enough and they were straight back to their gelato. Phew… all the more for me! 😉
Following that evening, an idea has been rattling around in my head to create a version of this iconic, marvellous dessert that could be equally tempting for both adults AND children. So, despite not having posted a savoury recipe in well over a month, I am hoping that you will indulge me just one more time, so that I can put my head down to rest tonight and get a full night’s sleep! It really has been bothering me to the point of distraction.
One other thing that’s been causing a little lack of sleep lately is the fact that we were given a wonderful big pot of honey just before Christmas from our very kind bee-keeping neighbour. Those of you who follow G&G on Facebook may remember seeing photos of the Honey Bee Swarm in our backyard last October and our fabulous bee-keeping neighbour who came to save the day and remove them for us. I have to say that this pot of honey is very well loved, but I really didn’t want to see it all disappear, slathered onto slices of toast (never mind how delicious that is…)! So, developing this dessert has also allowed me to celebrate the amazing honey bees that visit our garden, along with the incredible-tasting honey that my neighbour and his hives have produced. Thanks very much D!
25g Milk (or Dark) Chocolate (chopped into chunks)
Honey Mascarpone Cream
300ml Heavy Cream
100g/½ Cup Mascarpone Cheese
3 Tablespoons Honey
For the dipping sauce, heat the cream and milk in a small saucepan over low heat, until just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Leave for a couple of minutes, then stir until completely melted and combined. Allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the Honey Mascarpone Cream, whip the cream in a large mixing bowl until frothy on top. Add the mascarpone and honey and continue to whip until you have soft peaks.
To assemble the dessert, dip the savoiardi biscuits into the dipping sauce, turning them a couple of times in the sauce to ensure completely coated. Place a single layer of the soaked biscuits in the base of a serving bowl (see photos below if unsure), then add a layer of the honey mascarpone cream. Continue layering biscuits and cream, finishing with a layer of cream. Grate some chocolate over the top and refrigerate for about 6 hours (or overnight), for the biscuits to soften and the flavours to infuse. Serve chilled!
Option of adding a little fresh fruit between the layers… berries, sliced banana or mango would all work really well in my opinion.