This recipe focuses on taking a fresh look at ingredients, and using them in different ways.
This gorgeous dessert is the perfect example. Originally I used dried apricots for this dish, but any dried fruit you have on hand works beautifully.
Next time you feel like something sweet after dinner but don't think you have anything that will suffice, try the pantry: there's nearly always dried fruit of some kind in there!
2 cups dried fruit of your choosing*
⅔ cup warm water
2 tablespoons butter
Few drops vanilla essence
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup walnut pieces or raw pistachios
Greek Yoghurt to serve
Add vanilla to warm water. Soak fruit in water for 10 mins. Now pour the fruit and water onto a greased oven tray. Dot the butter over the fruit, sprinkle the walnuts and sugar over the top. Bake for 25 mins at 180°c.
Serve with Greek yoghurt
*the fruit pictured is a mix of sour cherries, peaches, pears and currants.
If the thought of homemade bread makes you think of effort, time, just too much hassle, I'm here to change your mind. This focaccia recipe requires NO KNEADING and MINIMAL BABYSITTING! You combine the ingredients in a bowl, pop the bowl in the fridge overnight, pour into a baking tray and bake the next day.
Focaccia is perfect for a bits n’ pieces supper, a ploughman's style lunch, a quick breakfast, the lunch box, or a host gift next time you're invited to someone's place for a meal. We like using it as a pizza base at our place.
Let's do this!
2 cups heritage flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp instant yeast
2 cups warm water
1 tsp soft butter for greasing pan
3 tbs olive oil
Italian herbs or dried rosemary
Sea salt flakes
Combine flour, kosher salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl, stir to combine. Add warm water, whisking it in as you go, til it's mixed well. (A wooden spoon will suffice if no whisk handy). Cover the bowl well and pop it in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours, maximum 24.
Butter a 22cm cake tin or brownie pan. The shape doesn't matter. Line the pan with baking paper then pour in 2 tbsp olive oil into the pan. Put dough in a pan, turning it over so it's coated in oil. Tuck the dough edges in so it's a roughly shaped ball in the pan.
The 2nd rise: cover the pan and leave it to rest for about 2 hours. A warm place is good - sometimes I pop my dough in the car to give it a little nudge. When the dough has swollen to cover most of the pan, it's ready for the oven!
Baking: drizzle the remaining tbs of olive oil over the risen dough. Now the fun part: press down on the dough with both hands so all your fingers make deep dents in the surface. Sprinkle top with Italian herbs or Rosemary and flaky sea salt.
Bake at 200°c (180°c fan forced) on the centre oven rack for 25 mins approx. Check it at the 20 min mark. If it's nicely golden and the sides are crispy its ready.
Use a spatula to transfer carefully to a cooling rack
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Wattleseeds are Australia's beloved Golden Wattle tree's gift to the culinary world. Roasted and ground much like coffee beans, they resemble coffee in appearance and even a little in taste - although much milder in flavour - along with a subtle note of hazelnut.
So with a flavour and aroma reminiscent of coffee and hazelnuts, you can imagine how well it lends itself to all sorts of baked goods: try adding a spoonful or 2 to your favourite banana bread recipe, Anzac biscuits, choc chip cookies or pancake batter!
Here is the ultimate breakfast muffin recipe.
2 cups wholemeal or white self raising flour
1 generous tbsp ground wattleseed
1/2 cup sugar
100g salted butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
Few drops Bloomfield vanilla essence
½ cup 55% dark chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
Combine the flour, baking powder, wattle seed and sugar in a bowl.
Add melted butter to the dry ingredients, along with the eggs. Beat with a whisk or an electric beater until smooth. Gradually add the milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Fold chocolate chips into the mixture.
Pour into the wells of a greased muffin tin, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes or until the muffins spring back when lightly touched.
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I'm loving experimenting with pepperberries - its like pepper, but so much more! There's a fruity edge to it initially, and the heat comes later...not in a blow your head off, chilli kind of way, but more of a back palate kick that rounds the mouthful off perfectly.
This recipe really showcases how a single ingredient, even used sparingly, can turn a tray of roast veggies into a truly special meal. And it's great for those bottom-of-the-crisper veggies you don't know what to do with. Pumpkin, potato, carrot, zucchini, capsicum… just throw in whatever you've got! For the below recipe I've specified the veggies I used on this occasion.
Take our word for it, the addition of pepperberries will provide a slight fruitiness packed with a zing you'll want to come back for everyday. 😀
(serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side)
½ cup pumpkin, cut in bite sized cubes
1 fresh beetroot, cut into bite sized cubes
1 celeriac, cubed as above
Juice of 1 Lemon
A handful of walnuts
6-8 cubes persian fetta or vegan fetta
1 tsp crushed Pepperberries
A good handful of rocket or salad greens
Preheat the oven to 190c.
Lay your veggies out on a lined baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and half the lemon juice. Sprinkle it with a little salt and half the pepperberries.
Roast for 30 mins or until the veg is lightly golden and cooked through.
Meanwhile put the walnuts, fetta and salad greens in a large bowl. While the veg is still a bit warm, add it to the bowl and toss it all gently to combine, adding a little more olive oil and the remaining lemon juice and pepperberries.
Serve as a side to a main meal, or eat on its own as a delicious, light lunch!
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This pumpkin scone recipe is an old family one of mine, passed down through the generations. It won many a medal for my foremothers at the Brisbane Ekka over the span of the 20th century.
For a different spin on it I have added lemon myrtle, and it brings a whole new element! I can almost hear my great grandmother gasping as she clutches her peacock blue beads...but i think it’s a good gasp :)
"But wait", I hear you say, "that photo - surely that's not a scone! It's baked in one piece! Controversial!" Home bakers of the Inner West, remain alert but not alarmed; I am here to assure you that scones can indeed be baked in one piece.
Not only does it ensure the most sublime texture and crumb, but it cuts out so much faffing about with cutting the scones into circles and transferring them to the baking tray. You just pile the mixture onto your tray, bake, cool and cut into wedges or squares.
1 cup roasted mashed pumpkin, still hot
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten into the milk
3 cups wholemeal SR flour
(Can add cinnamon to flour if you fancy)
1 tbsp Lemon Myrtle
Place in a mixing bowl the pumpkin, sugar and butter. Stir to blend. Add egg and milk then add flour & salt.
Now, I can't stress this enough - Do not over mix! Stop mixing as soon as ingredients are blended.
Now, here is the plot twist: compared to your garden variety scone, this mixture will be less like a dough and more like a batter. So instead of cutting out individual scones, place the whole mixture onto a baking tray lined with paper or an Agreeno baking mat, then bake in a 220C oven.
It takes about 20 minutes. Poke a toothpick in the centre. When it comes out clean, it's ready to come out. Let it cool on the baking tray for 15 mins before cutting into squares or wedges.
They're perfect with butter & golden syrup or honey.
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Look, I have to tell you that this recipe is amazing as is. But you can definitely add some different dimensions to it. Try a teaspoon of cinnamon added to the flour. Lemon zest and dried lavender also work beautifully. I'd even be so bold as to suggest folding a sprinkling of chai tea into the mix. Make it your own. And please let us know how it goes!