Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Zucchini Slice

A lot of my “go to” recipes are meals made by friends which I really like. My friend T has made a yummy zucchini slice a couple of times which tastes really good and looks easy to make. While in negotiations to get T's recipe, I happened to be flipping through a booklet that I received from Sanitarium - it had a recipe that was very similar to T’s so decided to make it for dinner. This recipe was great – I liked that it had wholemeal flour in it and it turned out very light and tasty. Plus the most work involved dicing and sautéing the onions and grating the cheese and zucchinis – too easy!

I think I would make this once or twice a month as the ingredients are readily available and it’s perfect for both lunch and dinners, served with a simple green salad. The original recipe included carrot and corn which I’ll try next time. T also added bacon to her mix which you can dice and cook at the same time as the onion.

Zucchini Slice
Adapted from Sanitarium’s Mini Vegetable Frittatas

2 tsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 large zucchinis, grated
1 spring onion, chopped
½ cup tasty cheese, grated and TBSP of grated parmesan
½ cup wholemeal self raising flour
½ tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup oil (I used canola oil)
Seed mix of pepitas, sunflower kernels, pinenuts and sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

1. Heat oil in a frypan and sauté onion until soft. Place in a large bowl.
2. Add zucchini, spring onion, cheese, flour and salt to the bowl.
3. Combine eggs and oil and stir into vegetable mixture.
4. Spoon mixture into lightly greased baking pan. Sprinkle with seeds and bake in a moderate oven, 180ºC, for 40 mins or until golden brown and cooked all the way through.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Peach Crisp Crumble

Crumbles or crisps are one of my favourite desserts - maybe it's because they're so healthy? Hmmm... Anyway, I've never really known the difference between a crumble and a crisp as I've always thought of crisps as an American thing. A good explanation of the difference can be found here. Crisps seem to include rolled oats, whereas crumbles are just butter rubbed into sugar and flour. I'm defintely a crisp girl then.

I'm always on the lookout for a good crisp recipe and I finally found one at taste.com.au There are a couple of things that make this crisp really tasty - the first is in the ingredients, the second I did by mistake.

The recipe calls for brown sugar instead of white sugar and it adds a depth of flavour when the sugar caramelises. The second thing is to use softened butter instead of chilled butter. Living in a warm climate such as Sydney, I forgot to chill the butter and left it sitting on the counter so that it softened up. I decided to rub the butter into the ingredients anyway - the outcome was large clusters of muesli and buttery flour instead of fine breadcrumbs - which turn into clusters of crunchy goodness when cooked - yum!! I don't think I'll ever chill my butter again when it comes to crisps.

A few other adaptations that I made to the original recipe was that I used peaches as I had them on hand; I used muesli that had dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, dates) and coconut in with rolled oats. And while this is a peach crisp, I have made this same recipe with apples and strawberries - I would never have thought that warmed strawberries could taste so good!

Peach Crisp
Adapted from taste.com.au

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
100g softened butter
3/4 cup fruit muesli
2-3 ripe peaches, cut into pieces
Vanilla ice-cream or cream, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine the flour, sugar and muesli in a bowl.
2. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is rubbed evenly through the ingredients.
3. Place the chopped peaches into a 6-cup capacity ovenproof dish. Scatter the muesli mixture evenly over the peaches.
4. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Spoon the peach crisp into serving bowls. Serve with cream or ice-cream.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Vegetable Cheese Souffle

To find a recipe that I know I want to make, but don’t have the recipe for, I can go through a number of different steps to finally arrive at the one I settle on.

Take for example, my process to find a soufflé recipe that I want to make. I’ve been thinking about making soufflé for a couple of months. I made one about 15 years ago when I was a young whipper snapper and just loved baking. We had all these Woman’s Weekly cookbooks and it was usually the picture that sold me. Now, with the internet, finding a recipe can go something like this:
  • Think that it would be interesting to make soufflé again.
  • Forget about it for several months and make easier stuff instead.
  • Watch Top Chef and see a soufflé is one of the challenges and think it’s time to investigate making a soufflé again.
  • Think that it would be nice to have vegetables in my soufflé. Oh and definitely cheese.
  • Get onto Google and search for recipes first, then almost immediately go to Google images (it’s all about how the food looks...) and look for an image that looks like the recipe worked out then go that page.
  • If it looks too hard (I think I’ll pass on making the 20 cheese soufflé) or I don't have the ingredients easily on hand - or that I would at least use again - pass on it. If it looks like I have to convert too many of the measurements, I’ll consider the rest of the recipe before deciding if it’s worth the time.
  • Smultaneously, I’ll jump on any combination of Tastespotting, Foodgawker or taste.com.au and search for Souffle. Repeat process until I’ve tracked down a recipe, then I’ll bookmark it and then return to it once I’m ready to go shopping.

I finally found this Vegetable Cheese Souffle recipe through Google after quite a research session but it was just right as it had mushrooms, brocolli and capsicums which I thought would be a nice combination. And just as important, it looked really simple to make. Interestingly enough, the end step is that you add icing sugar to the souffle! I decided I'd omit this step but if anyone decides to try it, let me know how it tastes!

It's not really a quick recipe that you could whip up after work as it had a few steps to complete. Also my souffle probably didn't rise as much as it could have as the top started browning too quickly so I took them out before they burnt which left them a tad too soft inside. It was nice and tasty but not something I'd make every week, just when I have a craving for vegetable cheese souffle again :)

Vegetable Cheese Souffle
From Qwerty Kitchen

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
225 grams grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 egg yolks
6-8 sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons diced red bell peppers
1/2 cup diced broccoli or asparagus tips
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 egg whites
Icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 230C

2. To Make Roux: Melt butter, then blend in flour, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat. Add cheese, and stir until melted.
3. Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl until thick and lemon colored. Slowly add to cheese mixture, stirring constantly. Reserve, cover and keep warm.
4. Saute mushrooms, red peppers, and broccoli or asparagus tips in olive oil, and reserve.
Beat egg whites to stiff peaks.
5. In a mixing bowl, add 2 cups roux to vegetables and fold in egg whites.
6. Pour into an ungreased souffle dish.
7. Bake in a hot water bath for 15-20 minutes or until top is slightly brown.
8. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Baking Baklava

Baklava is one of those desserts that seem like they'll take a long time to make for little reward - how wrong you would be!

I recently made baklava and it was so easy that I would encourage you to give it a go. In a nutshell (pun intended ;)) all you do is chop some nuts, butter up some phyllo pastry (layer upon layer upon layer) then pour over a syrup that only takes a few minutes to create. The crispy, flaky pastry, the crunchy nuts and sweet, runny syrup were so tasty that I couldn't stop reaching for the little diamond-shaped treats - very dangerous!

I used this recipe here, who found the recipe here, but used mixed nuts and left out the orange and lemon peel as I didn't have them on hand. I also halved the recipe below to avoid total sugar overload. All in all, it was a great little treat that I'll make again when the occasion calls for it.


4 cups mixed nuts (chopped)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup butter (melted)
1 pound phyllo pastry (thawed)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick cinnamon
3/4 cup honey


1. Mix the nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
2. Brush the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan with butter.
3. Brush butter onto the top of a sheet of the phyllo dough and place the sheet into the pan. Repeat until there are 8 sheets in the pan.
4. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture onto the phyllo in the pan.
5. Brush butter onto the top of a sheet of the phyllo dough and place the sheet into the pan. Repeat until there are 2 sheets on top of the nut mixture.
6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture onto the phyllo in the pan.
7. Brush butter onto the top of a sheet of the phyllo dough and place the sheet into the pan. Repeat until there are 2 sheets on top of the nut mixture.
8. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture onto the phyllo in the pan.
9. Brush butter onto the top of a sheet of the phyllo dough and place the sheet into the pan. Repeat until there are 8 sheets on top of the nut mixture.
10. Slice the baklava with a sharp knife.
11. Bake in a preheated 180C oven until golden brown on top, about 25-35 minutes.
12. Bring the water, sugar and cinnamon to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
13. Add the honey and simmer for 2 minutes.
14. Remove the cinnamon from the syrup.
15. Pour the syrup over the baklava when it comes out of the oven.
16. Let the baklava cool for a few hours.