smoothies

It’s been almost a month since I last posted. I won’t make excuses. I will apologise, and promise many good things in the next few weeks. Starting with my new obsession.

Here’s a tip for you: smoothies that have spinach in them don’t have to star spinach. It can be a background ingredient, something that you add for its nutritional value. It makes you feel even more virtuous, not that that’s necessarily necessary when you’re having a smoothie in the first place, but it’s not bad.

Yes, smoothies have become a big part of my life. The blender lives on our kitchen bench. There’s frozen fruit in the freezer, a bowl full of peaches on the table, and yoghurt, milk and juice in the fridge. Myriad possibilities abound.

Continue reading

cranberry lime muffins

This is what I did today.

I browned some butter.

Zested a lime.

Listened to some Eminem… yeah, I did.

I buttered a muffin tin.

Whisked together some eggs and milk and vanilla.

Whisked together some spelt flour and baking powder and plain flour and salt. And sugar. Can’t forget the sugar.

I took photos without the flash because they look less harsh that way. Maybe a little fuzzier and retro looking. That’s ok.

See my blue fingernails? I don’t usually paint my nails because I work in hospitality but my two week (almost – had to work yesterday:) break meant I could. Hence. The green and red tea towel matches the cranberries and limes. My favourite apron, complete with pocket for my camera, and the moccies I always cook in.

I opened the curtains and was glad the heater worked.

I stirred the contents of three bowls and a saucepan together – and then I washed those dishes while these muffins baked.

I made myself a cup of coffee. Mmm… coffee…

And then I ate me some muffins.

Sometimes, I forget that I have to look after myself, forget trying to fill other people’s holes, and let God fill mine. Sometimes, I have to remember that I have something to offer as well, but I have to take time to be me and do stuff for me otherwise I’ll lose it. Sometimes, you just need to make some muffins and some coffee and sit down and eat them. Because it’s good.

Sometimes you just need to bake for you. Not for anyone else, to get anyone’s attention or friendship or love or acceptance or gratitude. Just for you, because you love to bake, the physical action, the ingredients, sights, smells, tastes. Just because.

Brown Butter Cranberry Lime Muffins

Adapted fromĀ Joy the Baker

100g butter, unsalted

2 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon (or capful) vanilla extract

zest of one lime

1 1/2 cups plain flour – I used 1 cup wholemeal spelt and 1/2 cup plain white. Good.

1 teaspoon salt

170g dried cranberries (or 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, if you have them)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter and flour a 12 cup muffin pan (I never usually do this but I was out of paper cases. By all means, use them if you’ve got them.

If you’re using dried cranberries, pour them into a bowl and cover them with 1/2 cup water. Set aside.

Place the butter in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Melt for about ten minutes on medium-low heat. Keep a close eye – you want the butter to be brown, not burnt. Swirl the pan every few minutes. It’ll get frothy and emit a beautiful nutty smell. Take off the heat.

Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and lime zest together.

Whisk the sugar, flour(s), salt and baking powder together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour all the wet ingredients in (not the cranberries!) and stir together.

Drain the cranberries and fold them in thoroughly. Scoop into the prepared muffin tin and bake 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes in the tin, then invert and cool on a rack or board. Eat at once, or when at room temperature.

white chocolate macadamia cookies

My brother is staying with me for this week. My family, as I’m fairly sure I’ve mentioned before, lives in the country, and I barely live in the city of Melbourne, out in the outer outer suburbs, where there are trees and views and long drives to anywhere. J’s doing work experience reblocking houses this week. (He’s basically digging holes for a week. Underneath houses.)

Me and J fought growing up. I mean, I have a sister, so obviously we fought, especially since we’re only two years apart. But me and my brother fought more. When I was bigger, I’d win. When he got bigger… we stopped fighting. As much. Because he used to win All. The. Time.

Now he does karate and I used to do karate and so it’s reduced to play-wrestling and him tickling the shiz outta me. (I’m not ticklish! I just have sensitive skin….yeah…)

Macadamia white chocolate cookies used to be a major staple at our school canteen. And I used to be the one who made the snacks at our house. But J didn’t eat them all – mainly because I have two other brothers and a sister. Five kids and two adults can polish off a tray of biscuits faster than you can say ‘Those are for school!’

(Ps, I sometimes shorthand write recipes I find on the internet on leftover conference promotion cards. No biggie. That’s one there on the side, peeking in.)

Well. Except for the fact that Mum was very good at keeping snacks for snacks and leftovers for leftovers – if you had leftovers for lunch and they were meant for dinner that night, watch out!

In any case, make these cookies and they won’t last long in any house.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Pps: It looks like I made two batches of cookies. Not so. For some reason, my camera started shooting blue pictures. Sorry!

125g butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

about 2 tbsp milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup plain flour (I used wholemeal spelt. They were delicious.)

1/2 tsp bi carb soda

pinch salt

130g chopped macadamia nuts

approximately 180g white chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Melt the butter in a saucepan. If you are patient, unlike me, melt it until it is browned. If not, don’t stress, they taste delicious anyway.

Pour the butter into a glass or ceramic bowl to help it cool straight down. Mix in sugar, then milk, egg and vanilla. Gently stir in flour and bi carb soda and salt, then fold in nuts and chocolate.

Plop approximate tablespoons of the mixture evenly around a baking tray, and bake for ten to fifteen minutes (mine took about eighteen to twenty.. It could have been my oven. Check them after ten.)

Share with your entire household. If that’s just you, don’t feel guilty.

leek and potato soup

Ah, leek and potato soup. How I adore you.

I was at my sister’s house on Friday night, and we made this soup. It’s cold over here in Melbourne, and soup is definitely on the agenda, but this soup was so good, I made it twice. Tonight, also, see, because it was my turn to cook.

I love sharing a house and being able to cook for each other. Apart from my housemates being great for when I get into a baking frenzy and start cooking batch after batch of cookies, sharing a meal together is one of my favourite parts about this house.

This soup is filling, it’s very vegetable-y, it can vary by creaminess should you be so inclined to do so (adding more cream, as in our house, or less cream. Like no-one I know would.) And it tastes amazing. Especially should you get sourdough bread and rip it apart with your hands, like heathens, and dip it in.

YUM.

This is especially comforting, knowing that next week I will be living below the line. The poverty line, that is. For five days, I will be spending less than $2 a day on my meals. Less than $2! That’s not much, especially in today’s consumer society. If you’d like to donate money to a great cause, my fundraising page is over here. The money goes to education projects in Papua New Guinea to get people out of poverty for good.

So I was thinking about dinner tonight, and about what I’ll probably be having for dinner for the next week, and I’m telling myself to toughen up because you know what? It’s five days. And that’s not long at all. So I’ll be fine. However, many people in Third World countries, and even in a First World country like Australia, won’t be.

Although I really wouldn’t want to be my housemates come Thursday week. Because me without coffee? Not a great look. If I can scrounge around for some teabags, they may be ok. Maybe.

Potato and Leek Soup

On Friday night we used a recipe; tonight I winged it. It’s pretty easy, but the original recipe is here, if you’re interested.

Adapted from Taste.com

Slosh of olive oil

1 large brown onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 leeks, chopped

4 potatoes (We used Desiree), peeled and cubed

1.25 litres boiling water

1/2 stock cube (optional)

1/4 cup cream (more if needed)

Sourdough bread, to serve

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large heavy based saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and cook over low heat until soft. Add the leek and potato and cook until the leek is soft, stirring often.

Fill the pot with the boiling water, until it just about covers the vegetables. Stir in the stock cube. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat, and gently simmer until potatoes are soft, about twenty minutes. Blend with a stick blender; add the cream and blend to combine. Serve with the bread and more cream, to taste.

uh oh

So, it happened again. I missed out on posting. OH NO the world’s coming to an end, right?

I’m being facetious, I’m sorry. I was doing that all Sunday night, too, I had to keep telling myself off.

I had a good reason (again) for not posting yesterday. I moved! I am now living in the sticks, basically, but it’s awesome. The drive to anywhere is lined with trees and so pretty, I get to live with awesome people (who own a coffee machine. I’d put up with anything for that) there’s a veggie patch and it’s near all these awesome orchards and farms and places with great produce. I’m in love.

And the kitchen is bigger than the last place, too. Happy. I can bake without treading on three people’s toes! I’ll have to make a celebratory cake and tell you guys all about it. By the way, not only did I get raves about the flourless chocolate cake, I got someone who told someone else about it and they want the recipe. I love passing recipes along. It’s awesome. I’m going to go do that now. And then I’m going to hang out in the sun because it’s a beautiful day and life is filled with possibilities.