November 27, 2014

Lamb, Spinach and Feta Gozleme


Hello, long time no speak.. or should I say write.  As soon as I publish this post I'm going to get a message, most likely from my mum, who will say "well it's about bloody time!".  

You see, I haven't blogged in, um, 9 months maybe?  And it's because my life became very busy.  I became overwhelmed with having so many responsibilities and trying to do everything, I reluctantly had to let go of some things.  After juggling so many balls, I decided to drop the 'blog' ball.

So what have I been doing.  Well, first thing, I started my own freelance graphic design business back in April.  It's something I thought about for a while, and when the opportunity came up, I decided to take the risk and work for myself.  I work from home part time, and it's awesome.  Distracting, but awesome.  You can stalk my work here.  Secondly, I got a puppy.  Which again, is distracting, but awesome.  I mean, look at that face!


Also doesn't help that I spend any little free time trying to renovate / fix my old 50's house.  

I have still been cooking, quite a bit actually, and have discovered so many new recipes that I plan to share.  My cooking style has also changed quite a bit.  When I bought the Ottolengi book, Jerusalem, about a year and a half ago, I was introduced to a new world of flavours (although I will always hate cloves and star anise!), and my passion for homemade food grew stronger.  

So after posting a photo of my dinner on Instagram last night and my friend Sara commenting she expects to see it on my blog, I thought "oh yeah, my blog..  maybe it's time to pick that ball back up".  So here it is.  A recipe for homemade Gozleme, which has become my go-to market dish.  It just happened to be good timing that I had leftovers for lunch today that could be photographed.  If you do have gozleme leftovers, just place them in a warm frypan to reheat. 

Hopefully the next recipe won't be too far off!

PS this pastry is friggen awesome!  It comes together so quickly, and it's soft and chewy and delicious.  This might become my go-to flatbread recipe.  Stay tuned...




LAMB, SPINACH AND FETA GOZLEME

Dough
2 cups of self-raising flour
1 cup Greek style yoghurt (really important you use a good quality yoghurt with live cultures)
1 teaspoon sea salt

Filling
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sumac
2 tablespoons ground cumin
500g lamb mince
Medium bag of baby spinach (about 120g), roughly chopped
Handful of fresh mint, chopped
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
200g feta, crumbled
Handful grated cheese (any type that will melt nicely when grilled)
Handful of pine nuts, lightly toasted
Sea salt to taste


In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt and yoghurt and bring together with a spoon.  Pour the dough onto a clean surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and elastic and forms a perfect ball.  You can add a tablespoon of water at any stage should the dough be too dry - it needs to be smooth and slightly sticky.

Place the dough in a bowl and allow to rest in a warm spot for half an hour while you work on the filling.  I like to put it in a pre warmed oven, turned off and with the light on.

For the filling, add a little olive oil to a fry pan over a medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent.  Add the spices, stir well, then add the mince.  Turn the heat up to high - you want the mince to fry, not braise.  Remove any liquid if you mince releases water.

Place the mince mixture into a large bowl, add the chopped spinach, mint, parsley and pine nuts.  Allow to cool very slightly before adding the feta and grated cheese.  Taste for seasoning.

Place the dough on a floured surface, divide into four balls, the start to roll each ball into a long oval shape (roughly 40cm x 20cm).  The dough should be about 3 - 4 mm thin.  Place a quarter of the filling on one half of the dough, then fold the other half over and press the edges so it comes together.  Add a little grape seed oil (or an oil that doesn't smoke) to a frypan over a medium heat, then add the filled gozleme and cook for 4 minutes each side, or until they are nice and golden and the cheese has melted inside.  Place it in a warm oven on a wooden board while you make the rest.

Serve with lemon wedges, yoghurt and chilli sauce.

Serves 4.

March 30, 2014

Chocolate Meringue Drops


Since moving into my new house, I have been constantly frustrated at the lack on bench space.  In total, there might be around half a square metre.  That's it. Maybe not even that.  When I cook I use heaps of bowls, utensils, plates, spatulas.. you name it.  So every now and then while cooking I have a little moment where I yell out to my significant other "I hate this kitchen!!".  And I really do.  BUT, life goes on.

For the last three months my mum has had my big, shiny, new KitchenAid mixer.  Having no bench space, I let her "borrow" it.  But this weekend I went and got it back as I had to do some cooking.

I made these little guys this afternoon, and they are super delicious that I had to share straight away.  They are crunchy, chocolatey and sweet, and will hit that spot when having a coffee.  A note though, as I wish I had read properly before starting to cook, they require about three hours in the oven.  Yep, so don't start baking them at 5.00pm when you need to slow roast meat...  as I did.

CHOCOLATE MERINGUE DROPS
2 eggs whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teapsoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

Preheat the oven to 100C.  Line two baking trays with non-stick paper.

Beat the egg whites in a very clean bowl (I swish around a little apple cider vinegar to ensure there is no grease that will stop my egg whites from going stiff.  A wedge of lemon around the bowl also works well).

When the egg whites start to become stiff, slowly add the sugar while continuing to beat.  When the sugar is dissolved in the egg whites (you shouldn't be able to feel any grains when you rub the egg whites between your fingers), add the vanilla and sift in the cocoa, then slowly fold it all in until there are no grains of cocoa powder.

Pipe onto the tray about the size of a 20c coin for those in Aus, and about an inch wide for everyone else!

Bake in the oven for 2-3 hours, or until they are hard and slide of the paper with ease.  This will ensure there is no moisture left in the meringue, so it will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks..  but who are we kidding, these won't last two weeks!

Makes around 60-80 drops (depending on the size you pipe)!

January 27, 2014

Olive Oil Crackers with Rosemary & Sea Salt


Well hello there..  long time no see.  It's only been about four months since my last post.  Terrible.  However I never doubted in my mind that I would be back here eventually, sharing new recipes that I love.  In fact I have come across many recipes lately that I want to share, but I've been terrible at taking photos, which left me not blogging for so long.  

So four months since the chocolate shortbread.  Lots has happened - I moved house, still renovating two houses, I finished uni, then there was Christmas and New Year, and yesterday Australia Day.  Life has been so fast-paced lately, and it has left me wanting to take a break and slow down.  I've set myself a goal for 2014, to finish things and not procrastinate.  I miss the days of having nothing to do.  Every time I sit down to relax I can't switch my mind off, I just think of all the things I need to do.  Isn't it funny that a few big life changes can make you miss routine?  I used to be bored of routine life, now it's all I want. 

So in the midst of all the changes there has been the need for two changes in my eating habits - budgeting and eating more whole foods.  I'm pretty good at the second one, but budgeting has never been for me.  When it comes to food, if I love it, I'm happy to pay for it.  Not now though.  So to start my journey of cost cutting I have made my own crackers.  It's a small simple grocery item that can be stupidly priced sometimes.  Not these guys, cheap to make, thin, crispy and delicious!

Now I planned to use semolina flour with plain flour, but found out some nice little critters had gone and contaminated my bag of flour, so it's just plain, but feel free to mix it up with semolina or whole wheat flour.  Also, feel free to cut these into shapes, I just like the rustic look of them being long and broken.

PS. On another note, does anyone know how to get birds away from fruit trees?  I have this amazing fig tree but birds are getting to the figs before me!  



OLIVE OIL CRACKERS WITH ROSEMARY & SEA SALT
Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 1/2 cups of plain flour (or mix of flours)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Sea salt flakes

In a large bowl add the flour, salt, rosemary and sesame seeds, and mix well.  Make a well in the centre and add the oil and most of the water.  Start bringing them together with your hards (or a spoon) and when it comes together start kneading.  Add the rest of the water a bit at a time (you might not need it all, or you might need more flour), then keep kneading for a couple of minutes until you have a nice smooth ball of dough.  Cut the ball into 8, then roll them into small balls using a little olive oil, then place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes to rest.

Preheat your oven to 200C.  Line two trays with baking paper.

One at a time flatten the balls of dough and pass through a pasta machine until it's around 2mm thick (setting 5 for me).  Take the long strips and place on the tray.  Continue with another 3 balls.  If you don't have a pasta machine then use a rolling pin and slowly stretch out the dough with your hands (it's quite elastic).

When four strips are on the tray, prick them with a fork all over - this will stop them bubbling. Sprinkle with a little sea salt flakes, then place in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden.  Place them aside to cool and continue with the other dough.

Makes 8 long pieces (roughly 30cm).


September 27, 2013

Chocolate Shortbread


This is a short but sweet post - sweeeeet yes it is!  I am a lover of shortbread.  I have made a few variations over the years, but never full on chocolate.  I took as standard recipe, added some cocoa powder and choc chips, and voila, you have the perfect accompaniment to coffee.  These come together very quickly, so were a great thing to bake last weekend when I had a urge to bake, but little time.

CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD
200g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup dark choc chips

In a bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth, and light and creamy.  Add the vanilla and salt, and continue beating.  Slowly add the cocoa powder and flour (sift if it is lumpy) and mix together well. Stir in the choc chips so they are evenly distributed.

Lay the dough on baking paper or cling wrap, and roll into a log.  The thickness of the log depends on how big you want the shortbread to be - I made roll about 6cm thick.  Place this in the fridge for 30 minutes, or the freezer for 15.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Line two trays with baking paper, then unroll the cold cookie dough log, and cut into 1 to 1.5 cm thick pieces with a bread knife.  Place the shortbread on the tray and bake for 15 - 20 minutes. If you made large ones, leave them in the oven longer.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 24 shortbread.

September 20, 2013

Short Break



There's a saying - life happens when your busy making plans - and that saying couldn't be more true for me right now.  I haven't done a post in almost two months, and it's not because I haven't been cooking, the complete opposite actually, but because so many things have been happening that I haven't had time to post.  I've been so busy with all life's plans, that days are passing so quickly.  What I thought was a few weeks, has turned into two months.  So sorry, if you continue to visit this blog and are constantly having to look at balls (my mum complained of this).

Things aren't going to slow down either.  In the last couple of months I have gone back to uni to finish my last unit - designing and printing on textiles.  I have been trying to finish off my home renovations (I tiled my own kitchen splash back which I am super proud of!).  And just recently my partner and I bought a house together.  So this means I will be packing up my little place and moving, not to mention the extra renovations that will need to happen to BOTH houses.

So it's busy times ahead.  But I am so determined to keep this space going, so hang in there!  I promise I will have some awesome recipes for you soon.  Some recipes are already half done, it's just the photo / editing part that holding them up (I think my camera has dust on it).

Tash x
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