Category Archives: raisins

Curried raw kale, roasted red pepper, and spelt salad

It’s spring here, so I’ve been enjoying my life here in Sydney by refinishing furniture (as pictured here),

replanting seeds, and getting up to my usual shenanigans in the kitchen. This curried salad is from one of my CSA box experiments, and uses up some of the first signs of summer’s impending heat in the form of a roasted red pepper and some beautiful curly kale. I can’t wait until I have enough of my own produce to try a version of this from our balcony garden.

Curried raw kale, roasted red pepper, and spelt salad

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Filed under almonds, experiments, local, main, quick meals, raisins, salad, seasonal, side, spelt, vegan, vegetarian

Raisin coriander sesame semolina sourdough

I only started to feel settled here in Sydney when we figured out where to get decent flour.  It was an outright quest for us, slowed only by the oppressive heat of summer, but we found it in the end: high-protein, good quality bread flour, with sufficient gluten to make a proper, self-supporting loaf.  With it, we discovered rye, hard whole wheat, spelt, semolina, all the ingredients we needed to make the bread we missed, and perhaps try a few new ones along the way.

This loaf here? It’s a new favorite. The raisins give it a subtle sweetness while the coriander turns this bread into something decidedly adult.  And the semolina? It makes this amazing toast without messing with Tartine Bakery’s characteristic open crumb.  In short, it’s the kind of sourdough loaf I’ve been trying to create since James and I became interested in baking so many years ago.

The only fault I can find with this bread is that it takes some planning to make. But now that it’s dark when I leave work, I don’t mind this so much.  It gives me something to look forward to on the long drive home.

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Filed under baking, raisins, semolina, sourdough

Disaster!

Come on, now. You know I would only post a disaster with promise.  This one starts with meyer lemons and ends in a sweet pudding, which would have been intriguing if only I could cook rice.

It all began with a mysterious package that arrived on Saturday. No note — just a meyer lemon, a massive shallot, and a bag full of jerusalem artichokes.  The leaf on the meyer lemon told me that this was FRESH, most likely from some warmer, more pleasant coast, and therefore might have something to do with my friend P’s attempt to coax me back to CA.  (Well, that and she told me the package was coming, but that wouldn’t make the story nearly as exciting, right?)

Anyway, I knew I had to do something special with the gift. Just the night before, I was reading The Spiteful Chef, and came across a post where she recommends adding condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla to some parboiled rice for a quick rice pudding.  I LOVE condensed milk, in a ridiculous, irrational, will eat an entire can if I’m left to my own devices kind of way. And I happened to have one on hand, along with some arborio rice, this meyer lemon, some raisins, and homemade vanilla extract.  With tea in place of stock, and the condensed milk to make things creamy and delicious, I figured it’d be the best way to stretch the meyer lemon out just a little bit.  After all, I could use the zest in the rice pudding and save the juice for something else.

And so I did. Here’s the final result:

You know what? It was tasty. The cream Earl Gray (Earl Gray with less bergamot and more vanilla) complemented the fragrant scent of the Meyer lemon, and the condensed milk made the lemon peel and raisins taste like candied goodness was sprinkled through each bite.  Unfortunately, it was also a little crunchy. Yup, that’s right — I undercooked the rice, thinking that cooking in the condensed milk would help soften things.  Boy, was I wrong. So file this under work in progress. I’ll post the recipe as I think it should be, with a note where I modified things. I’ll try this one again and update a final version when I get a chance.  In the meantime, thanks for making winter a little nicer, P!

Recipe after the jump.

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Filed under dessert, Meyer lemons, raisins, rice, tea, work in progress

Cinnamon raisin spice rolls

I have been craving cinnamon rolls for years. YEARS. And I resisted up until now. Why, I have no idea — I’m just silly like that sometimes.  I finally made them over the holidays, in one of my, “Damn it, James, I’m not going to work this morning” moods.  They were our Christmas morning breakfast, post-hike lunch, pre-dinner snack, and …

Hey, don’t judge me.

This recipe (or formula, if you’re as pretentious as Peter Reinhart occasionally is, which I fully forgive every time I make another one of his recipes) makes light, warm, and not-too-sweet cinnamon rolls, with a little bit inspirational filling from their slightly stickier relation and a slight nod toward the warm spiciness of hot cross buns.  If there’s one thing I’d change, it’s probably the glaze. I really wanted cream cheese frosting on these, but I’m indulgent like that, so you might disagree.  The icing isn’t bad — after all, we scraped it off the plate once the cinnamon rolls were gone, like rabid, sugar-crazed fiends — but it wasn’t oh-my-god-I-need-MORE good.  Next time, I intend to do better.

Recipe after the jump.

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Filed under baking, breakfast, holiday, raisins

Hot Cross Buns

hot cross buns

Hot cross buns (or hot x buns, as I call them, in honor of my rudimentary decorating skills and slightly twisted Catholic school girl days) are delicious breakfast food, full of warm spices, juicy raisins, and whatever else you happen to want to throw in with the dough. They’re a relatively quick yeast bread, though they would do well with a little rest in the fridge. Fresh-baked breakfast treat, anyone? They also happen to be ubiquitous in Australia, especially around Easter-time.

pre-oven

This is my first go at making hot cross buns, after years of hearing James suggest we should try and make them. Clearly, I don’t know what I’m doing. My Easter memories are limited to cheap chocolate and countless hardboiled eggs, carefully decorated and gathered in the morning dew. But trying out new traditions is kind of fun, especially when I have to ask James to translate the ingredient list for me. Caster sugar? Sultanas? You get the picture.

Citron

This one’s a new one for me, so it’s not quite right yet. It’s good, but it’s not “correct,” as James would say. But I did get to taste an authentic (and delicious) version of these just this morning, thanks to some friends of ours. So I’m kind of hoping I can help you skip this initial awkward phase and get straight to the good stuff.

Prep

So, Happy Easter, even if your celebration is limited to a Cadbury creme egg or two. And since I’m in a curious mood, I’ll leave you with a question: what are your favorite holiday foods?

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Filed under Australia, baking, bread, breakfast, citron, raisins

Pasta for a long night

Pasta!

James always works late on days when I have overnight shifts. I hear him come in quietly, grab some food — something simple, usually involving cheese on toast — and slip out into the twilight, back to work, just as I’m settling into bed for a nap. When I wake up, the house is quiet, and sunlight no longer peeps around the curtains, taunting me with its brightness. On nights like these, I wake up in time to make something light but filling — something to get me through until morning.

Spinach
Usually, this breakfast / dinner / midnight snack involves pasta. It’s funny, because it kind of feels like I’m reverting to when I lived by myself. I think I ate pasta almost every day, tossed with a few vegetables and a bit of spice. Since James and I moved in together, pasta’s taken a backseat to protein; typically, there’s some sort of meat involved. Yah, me, the ex-vegetarian for who knows how many years. I’ve become a serious omnivore.

Not that I’m complaining, of course.

prep

But on nights like these, pasta’s all I want. Especially when I have gorgeous farmer’s market spinach and eggs on hand.

This recipe is really simple, and can be prepared in the same amount of time it takes to boil the pasta. I didn’t want to mess with the spinach much, since it tasted lovely and fresh as is, and I wanted creaminess without the cream. That’s where the eggs came in. Beyond that, I did the usual — tried a little of this and that, until I had a dish worth blogging about.

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Filed under anchovies, eggs, lemon, local farms, main, pasta, quick meals, raisins, spinach

Baking for a hectic week

Power Bar

This weekend was supposed to be filled with all sorts of fun projects: a new loaf of bread, a wonderful meal, the start of a new gardening season, and perhaps a bit of relaxation on the side. But these idyllic pictures of what I might do with my “spare time” must have deluded me into thinking that Spring Break would bring anything but trouble.

Prep 1

Yesterday, we took the car out to pick up supplies for our garden, and do a bit of grocery shopping in preparation for all the gorgeous dishes I had planned. We had a trunk full of all sorts of good stuff — organic soil, seeds, fruit, vegetables, milk, and the like — and were on our way back from a neighboring town, making our way on the rain-streaked monstrosity otherwise known as I-95.  Things were clearly going a bit too smoothly.  We had barely stood in a line, despite making our way through four different shops, and eerily enough, traffic had slowed to a decent pace for the weather. People were being polite for once.  This never happens, unless 1) someone’s already been pulled over or 2) you’re starring in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Prep 2

I think option 2 was more appropriate, given what happened next. My car (a classy Ford Escort) decided it was high time I recognized it was nearing 100,000 miles and started acting like it had been possessed by some sort of alien force.  And so, one tow truck ride from the Better World Club later, with mechanic visits and potentially large bills looming, I decided to cut down my long list of complicated recipes and just make something that might get me through the next week in one piece.

Prep 3

Energy bars have been on my list of things to try making from scratch for a while, since James and I are both total bitches when we get hungry and nevertheless tend to pack too lightly for some of our biking / hiking treks. These bars pretty much meet all my criteria for yummy energy food: they’re compact, delicious, and not greasy at all. If you’re looking for something to take on a hike, or just want to get through a long day at work, these little bars will quickly become a weekly habit.

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Filed under baking, dried fig, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, quick meals, raisins