Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beer Bread

I promised the kids sourdough beer bread for dinner on Sunday night. After reading the directions from and

that arrived from The Book Depository on Friday afternoon I found out it would take several days to develop the sourdough starter.
So off to the  internet I went to find a beer bread that I could make by Sunday night. I started to look at some of the 185 000 results Google gave me and quickly worked out I wanted a yeast bread that used rye, whole wheat and unbleached white flours and the beer. I couldn't find exactly what I wanted so I decided this mixture would work (Fingers crossed and a quick prayer). It worked beautifully - the bread has a great crumb as you can see above, smells and tastes faintly of stout and malt. We agreed it is one of the nicest breads we've had for ages. A mature cheddar or some stilton would go perfectly with this bread or cream cheese and jam. I will be making it again with a honey malt beer.

  • 100 g mixed grain flakes
  • 50 g ground oatmeal
  • 200g white bread flour
  • 200g whole wheat flour
  • 100g dark rye flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tblsp. instant yeast 
  • One stubby of room temperature Coopers Stout – 365 mls 
  • 125 mls warm water
  •  Mix together the dry ingredients in a metal bowl.
  • Stir in the beer and water with a spoon.
  • Mix the dough for 5 minutes ( you can do this in the mixer because this is a wet sticky dough but I just used the spoon).
  • Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let it rise for at least 1 hour.
  • Next I took a bowl scraper and turned the dough back on itself with this. It punched down the dough really well and mixed it at the same time. Recover.  Let rise for at least 2 hours punching it down hourly then refrigerate it overnight. 
  • Next day get it out of the refrigerator when you get up. Put the dough somewhere about 22° C to warm. I have a defrost setting on my oven and in the winter this is perfect for a slow prove. (Below is a photo of the dough after I took it out of the refrigerator).
  • The dough should have doubled in size. Shape the dough and put it into an oiled bread loaf tin. (I didn't knock it back completely just handled it enough to get it shaped and into the tin)
  • Put it somewhere warm. (You can use a plastic container big enough to hold the tin and a hot water bottle filled with boiling water)and when it has doubled in height put into a pre-heated oven 180°C
  • When you put the dough into the oven, spray the oven surfaces with a mist of water, or throw in 2 or 3 ice cubes
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.  Let stand for at least 15 minutes or ideally until cooled to room temperature. The bread smells so good you might have to leave the house to achieve this. 
  •  The recommended temperature to cook bread is 200° C and if you haven't made bread before start at that temperature. My new fan forced oven seems to dry out the crust too much if I cook a loaf of bread at that temperature so I reduce the temperature to 180° C.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Roasted Tomato, Onion and Mushroom Pie or The Daring Cooks’ August, 2012 Challenge: Cornmeal

There's so much you can do with cornmeal, Rachael of Pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!

I was late doing the challenge and fell back on a tried and true family favorite. I have called it a pie even though there is no pastry

Roasted Tomato, Onion and Mushroom Pie with Herb Salsa.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 large onion
5 roma tomatoes
4 or so mushrooms

4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup polenta
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup grated cheddar


1/4 red capsicum
1/2 lebanese cucumber
2 ripe roma tomatoes
3 green spring onions
1 cup chopped fresh coriander
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped basil or 2 tablespoons basil paste
1/4 cup thai sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Mix the oil and basil together and pour into the base of an oven proof dish.
Cut the onion into 12 wedges. Spread the onion over the oil.

Cut the tomatoes in half and spread over the top of the onion.
Fill the holes with the mushrooms.

Roast at 150 ° Celsius for 60 minutes.

Bring 4 cups of vegetable stock to a rolling boil and stir in 1 cup of cornmeal. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 1 teaspoon white pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt

Spoon over the roasted vegetables and top with the grated cheddar.

Place under a hot grill until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Finely chop all the herbs, cucumber, tomatoes, capsicum. Mix with the sweet chilli sauce and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until required

Cut into 1/4's and turn out onto the serving plates and top with a large spoonful of the salsa.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Berry Nice to Meet You - Blackberry Bakewell Tart

It’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop Time – This month’s adventure is hosted by Christina of The Hungry Australian 

So it’s “Berry Nice to Meet You” – Let me tell you who I’d like to meet - Jamie Oliver. I’d love to  umm shake his hand. He’s gorgeous and he can cook and he’s rich enough to keep me in cookbooks and a style I’d like to become accustomed to. Of course he’s also younger (which wouldn’t stop me, I can be a cougar), married (to a lovely woman which would stop me) and I’m married (to a lovely man oh yeah that would stop me too, darn morals) so I think I am out of luck there but everyone is entitled to a little fantasy.
Anyway I digress, back to sexy Jamie Oliver. For this month’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop I give you
Jamie Oliver’s Bakewell Tart – Blackberry style.
On TV a couple of weeks ago Jamie was exploring the English country side in his refurbished army truck now a mobile pub.

I was salivating as Jamie poached an egg to go with steamed asparagus and smoked salmon. Next I could practically smell the Bakewell Tart as he made it. Jamie used American cranberries in his version and I am not a fan of those. I decided to use blackberries. It isn’t the right season here for either so I used some blackberries I froze last summer.

Jamie's Cranberry Bakewell – Now my Blackberry Bakewell Tart


Jammy Bit
300g frozen berries  of your choice
zest and juice of one orange
150g sugar

Batter/ Frangipane
100g walnuts crushed or blitzed
100g hazelnuts crushed or blitzed
250g butter
250g sugar
zest and juice of a lemon
zest and juice of an orange
3 eggs
60g plain flour

St Clements icing
1/2 orange juiced and zested
1 lemon juiced and zested
150g icing sugar

Sweet shortcrust pastry
200g plain flour
75g cornflour
5 grams baking powder
50g sugar
180g cold butter cubed
zest  of one lemon
75ml milk or an egg + a little water if needed


Jammy bit

Make the filling. Place the sugar, berries, juice and rind into a saucepan on a low heat and stir occasionally until the liquid reduces and it goes jammy.
In the food processer blitz the butter and flours until it resembles bread crumbs, add the sugar, lemon zest and milk. Process until it is a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.
Roll the chilled pastry out on a floured surface to about 3 mm thick. Press it into a greased and floured 23 cm fluted loose bottom pie tin.
Line the pastry with bake paper and then fill with baking beans or rice. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes in a 180° C oven (170°C if your oven is fan forced). Remove the paper and beans. Cool before proceeding with the rest of the dish.


Blend the sugar and butter in the food processor or mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the blitzed nuts, lemon and orange zest, juice and eggs.
Mix well and add the flour, mix until smooth.

To finish
Place ¾ of the berry filling into the pastry case.
Top with spoonfuls of the batter. 
Put teaspoonfuls of the remaining berry jam on the top. You could use any left-over pastry to decorate the top.
Bake on 170C for 45-50 minutes. (160° C for fan forced). Cool in the tin.

Mix the sifted icing sugar with a little lemon and orange juice until a thick runny consistency is made. Drizzle over the cooled tart and serve with runny cream

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Left Over Roast Chicken and Vegetable B'Stilla

Not everybody loves leftovers. Too often they are zapped in the microwave and chucked on a plate. Not to appetising and where's the love?
A great way to jazz up left over roast chicken is to make combination of Chicken, filo pastry, almonds and other stuff into a pasty/pie called a B"Stilla or Besteeya.
There's often left over roast chicken  in our house. Sometimes deliberately, sometimes because some of the kids forget they are coming for dinner. This week we also had some leftover roasted pumpkin and sweet potato.
I made vegatarian for the Husband by leaving out the chicken, increasing the almonds and using nuttelex instead of butter (this made it vegan).
Traditionally B'Stilla was a feast dish and when it came out of the hot oven it was covered in a layer of sugar and cinnamon. I don't do that.


2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 leek finely sliced
1 potato finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads microwaved for 15 seconds and soaked in 60 mls water or stock
1/2 bunch of finely sliced spring onions
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons Ras El Hanout - see recipe below
1 teaspoon sumac
12 sheets of filo pastry
80 g butter melted
3 tablespoons toasted almonds - chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon Ras El Hanout250 g roasted pumpkin
4 cooked chicken thigh fillets sliced or 3 cups shredded leftover roast chicken


Heat the oil in a frypan.
Add the leeks and fry until softened.
Add the saffron threads and water and potato. Cover and allow to steam until the pototoes are cooked. Remove the lid.
Add the spring onions, parsley, lemon zest, Ras El Hanout and sumac and combine.
Cut the sheets of filo in half and stack between sheets of wax paper. Cover with a damp tea towel.
Combine the toasted almonds with the extra Ras El Hanout.
Brush one 1/2 sheet of filo with melted butter, top with another 1/2 sheet, brush with melted butter - sprinkle with 1/4 of the almond and spice mix and top with another sheet of filo.Repeat so you have 8 stacks of 3 - 1/2 sheets

Layer 1/4 of the leek and potato mix + 1/4 of the pumpkin + 1/4 of the chicken (or extra almonds) on top of 4 stacks of the pastry

Brush the edges with more melted butter. Top each with another stack of 3 sheets and turn the edges in.

Brush with more melted butter.
Bake in a 200° Celsius oven until golden.
I like mine cut open with a big dollop of yogurt on the top.

There are an infinite number of recipes for Ras El Hanout. I make it by by combing the following spices
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Mix well and store in a glass jar. Or buy it already mixed at a good shop like Goodies and Grains in the Adelaide Central Market. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

CWA Citrus Sour Cream Cake

The CWA - Country Womens Association was formed in New South Wales and Queensland in 1922. The CWA works to improve conditions for women and children especially those in country and isolated areas.
The CWA today has over 25000 members and is perhaps best known for scones and cakes this overshadows all the other work they do.
Last night the Masterchef All Stars revisited the CWA challenge. The eight competitors drew to decide which cake they would cook. Chris drew the whisk for Citrus Sour Cream Cake. We love citrus in this house. I didn't have any mixed peel so I grated the rind off two lemons. This is a really easy recipe and one for my recipe folder.

Citrus Sour Cream Cake 

125g butter
1 cup castor sugar
3 x 60g eggs
½ cup mixed peel
¾ cup self-raising flour
¾ cup plain flour
½ cup sour cream

Preheat oven to moderate temperature (180ºC). Grease and line base of loaf tin with baking paper.Cream butter add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beat well between each addition. Transfer mixture to larger bowl, stir in the peel with half the sifted flours and half the sour cream, finally add the remaining flours and cream. Spread mixture into prepared tin. Bake in moderately slow oven (160ºC) for about 1-1¼ hours or until cooked. Stand 5 minutes before turning out to cool on a tea towel covered rack.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August means Microwave cupcake, Eat Drink Blog and Sweet Adventures

August means it's winter here in Oz heading for Spring. Here in the lovely Adelaide Hills we have seasonal weather or all the seasons in one day. Today started off sunny, turned cloudy, rained a bit and then got sunny again. Typical August weather.

August is also the unveiling of the program for the Adelaide hosting of the Eat Drink Blog Conference on Sunday November 4th 2012.

Over at the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop it is Berry Nice to Meet You. Christina of The Hungry Australian is the hostess this month and more info can be found on her blog.

I have taken holidays for most of August and that is the time for easy stuff. One of the easiest recipes I have is for a Microwave Cup Cake - it is cooked in 2 or 3 coffee cups.

Microwave Cup Cake

6 Tablespoons SR Flour (or 4 Tablespoons flour and 2 cocoa)
4 tablespoons sugar or brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, frozen berries or choc chips

In a small bowl mix the egg, milk, vanilla and oil with a spoon.

Add the flour and sugar and mix well.

Add walnuts, berries or choc chips.

Divide the mixture evenly between 2 greased coffee mugs.

Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes on high.

Allow to cool slightly then tip out and eat or eat it straight out of the cup with cream and or ice cream.

Optional –

- Put some cooked apples underneath the cake mixture.

- Leave out the egg and mix ½ a mashed banana through the mixture.

- Substitute 1 tablespoon maple syrup for 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Fold through 2 tablespoon chopped pecans.

- Instead of milk use orange or lemon juice and add some of the rind finely grated.

- Substitute 1 tablespoon of milk for rum and add 1 tablespoon chopped raisins.

- After greasing the mug cover the bottom with a teaspoon or two of your favourite jam or golden syrup. Then put the cake mix on the top.