Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category


Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by admin No Comments

I love making bread, it’s my all-time favorite food, above chocolate even! Seriously bread is my weakness. So here’s my latest, pretty versatile recipe that is Challah originally, but you can leave out the eggs, or half the honey and it’s good too.

  • 1 1/2 cups of water (lukewarm – so the yeast can feed)
  • 1 sachet of dry yeast (roughly 7-8grams)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (whisked, set aside a little of this for brushing the loaves, use about 1.5 eggs in the bread mix, or you can just use 1 egg, with no egg wash)
  • 1 Tbsp vege oil (or melted butter)
  • 4 cups flour (sometimes you’ll need 1/2 c more or less)

Place the warm water and 1 tsp of the honey into a bowl with the yeast. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast is frothy. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Add the flour a cup at a time, just so that you can stop when the dough has come together nicely, you may not need a full 4 cups.

Knead the dough for 8 – 10 minutes until it’s nice and smooth and elastic feeling. Then place it in a lightly greased bowl for an hour or so with a clean dry tea towel over top. It should rise and double in size. At this point you can divide the dough into 3 parts and roll out each and braid it, or you can roll it into little balls to make buns. Whichever you decide, place them on a lined baking tray and cover with the same tea-towel for another hour.

Once the loaf or buns have grown again, preheat the oven to 180C or 350F and lightly brush the egg you set aside previously, over top of the dough (this is not necessary, the buns in my picture below aren’t egg washed). Bake for 20 – 25 minutes (a whole loaf) or 15 – 20 minutes for buns.

Soft Pretzels

Posted on: June 24th, 2012 by admin 3 Comments

They are just so delicious aren’t they?  I can’t think of many people who don’t love a big chewy bite with coarse salt and some mustard.  Well hold my mustard, but you know what I mean.  Pretzels are wonderful to make yourself, they are surprisingly easy, just taking a little time.  They are well worth it for the smell in your house alone.  I like to make a double batch and do half with coarse salt and half dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar.

The traditional recipe calls for a lye bath, but I just can’t see how that can be healthy.  Anything that requires goggles and gloves in the kitchen scares me.

  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (1/4 ounce or 1 packet)
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 c warm water
  • 3 c all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (or you can use vege oil)

For boiling:

  • 4 – 8 c water
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp coarse salt

Mix yeast, coarse salt, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Slowly pour yeast mixture over flour mixture, stirring to combine. Using your hands, gather dough together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Cut dough into 12 pieces, and roll each into an 18-inch rope. Form a U shape with 1 rope, and twist ends together twice. Fold twisted portion backward towards the center of the U shape, then gently press ends of rope onto dough to seal. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet, and repeat. Let rise for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 250ºC (475ºF). Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add baking soda. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, 1 minutes per side. Transfer to wire racks to drain. Return to baking sheet, sprinkle with pretzel salt, and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Pretzels will keep, uncovered, at room temperature for up to 12 hours.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Song for this recipe:

“The denial twist” – The White Stripes The Denial Twist - Get Behind Me Satan

The White Stripes were an American rock band from Detroit, Michigan. The group consisted of songwriter Jack White and drummer Meg White. Jack and Meg were previously married to each other, but are now divorced – there was always a lot of mystery surrounding their relationship, people said they were bro and sis…  Anyway I like Jack White.  I like his voice, he writes good songs, in most of his forms of bands (the Raconteurs, the Dead Weathers) and he’s an interesting character- which I expect from a rock musician.  Even though the White Stripes are no longer together, Jack has a new solo album out now, which I also like so far.

Milk bread rolls

Posted on: March 25th, 2012 by admin 6 Comments

I think I crave bread more than other foods.  All baked goods actually.  But yeasty breads are definitely my weakness.  Especially when I see an image of fresh baked bread rolls – I have to make them.  The smell in the house, the warm out-of-the-oven softness, the satisfaction when eating lunch the next day. So many good things to do with baking bread.

We often use milk bread when we make French toast.  It’s the best bread to use, we find.  Portuguese bakeries often bake these rolls, which are pretty easy to make yourself.  All you really need is a little time when using yeast – it’s not hard, you just need something to do in the hour that it rises.

This recipe was inspired by one of those pictures – that makes your tastebuds instantly crave.

  • 2 1/4 tsp (that’s about 1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 c milk
  • 70 g (5 Tbsp) butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c bread flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c all purpose flour
  • (Bread flour makes for fluffier bread, but if you don’t have it, you can just use 3-4 c regular flour)

Egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt

In a large bowl stir together yeast, warm water and a pinch of the sugar- let sit for 5 minutes. Add melted butter (cooled), milk, remaining sugar, egg and salt and mix to combine. Gradually mix in flours (just do 3 cups first and build up from there) until the dough is formed and not too sticky.

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Lightly coat a large clean bowl with a neutral oil (I use canola), form the dough into a big ball and place in the bowl. Cover with a tea towel or plastic and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and divide into 12-18 pieces (depending on what size roll you want – I made 14 ).  Roll the dough into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. If you want individual rolls, place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. If you like pull apart rolls, place them shoulder-to-shoulder on the sheet.

Cover the rolls with a tea towel or lightly greased plastic and let them rise again.  This time for about 45 min – 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 215ºC (420ºF). Whisk together the egg and pinch of salt to create an egg wash. Brush the rolls with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes until the rolls sound hollow when thumped on the bottoms.

Recipe adapted from the daily waffle/the joy of cooking.

Song for this recipe:

“Cameo lover” Kimbra Cameo Lover - Vows

Kimbra is a New Zealand singer who seems to be becoming more popular due to her recent collaboration with Goyte on the track “Somebody that I used to know”.  Her solo album is pretty good, a nice mix of interesting tunes and good beats, even if the lyrics aren’t always my cup of tea – but I think that’s because the album is called ‘Vow’s’.  It’s a pretty great listen from beginning to end, which I appreciate, she has a terrific voice.  I especially find it suits parties and Sundays.

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by admin 3 Comments

When you have a massive bunch of Kale, sometimes it’s hard to know what to do with it all.  I mean I know it’s healthy – really healthy, but there’s only so much I can steam and eat and enjoy.  In fact I don’t totally enjoy it steamed, but I eat it because I know it’s good for me.  When I read this easy recipe for Kale salt and vinegar chips, I knew it was the answer/recipe I’d been looking for.  Literally gone in 60 seconds after photos, these chips are a great, crispy salt’n'vinegary way to enjoy  Kale.

  • 1 bunch kale, about 6-8 big leaves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp white vinegar (The original recipe called for balsamic, but we went off Foodess’ recommendation to use white vinegar and loved it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and line or lightly oil two baking trays.

Wash and dry the kale and tear into bite-size pieces. Toss leaves with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Give the leaves a quick rub to make sure each gets a coating of oil- this will make sure they crisp up well.

Place the kale on the baking sheet in a single layer – no overlapping leaves. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake for 6 minutes, then stir and turn kale, and bake for another 6 minutes. Remove crisp pieces as they are done to prevent burning (if they get too brown they can taste kind of charred) and allow remaining kale chips to get even heat. (A single layer is important for crispy results, they tend to steam when they overlap).

Original recipe from Foodess

Song for this recipe:

“Walk on gilded splinters” – Dirty Dozen Brass Band Walk On Gilded Splinters - Medicated Magic

Last week my sister went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  She said it was an amazing bonanza of bedazzled performers, drinking all day, necklace throwing and good music.  I want to go.  This song is a tribute to southern USA and their talent for making ‘greens’ more edible.  Fry them, add pork or smother them in butter.   The Dirty Dozen are an awesome band, apparently they revolutionized the New Orleans brass band style by incorporating funk and bebop into the traditional New Orleans style, and have been a major influence on the majority of New Orleans brass bands since.  I believe they have many albums, but Medicated Magic is my favourite – now someone throw me a necklace.

Carrot and Beet salad

Posted on: November 7th, 2011 by admin 4 Comments

This is a really simple fresh salad.  It’s wonderful to make as an accompaniment for many dishes and is a beauty to serve because the combination of beets and carrots makes an amazingly pink salad!

This serves 2-3

  • 3 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 2 beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 orange, juice and grated zest
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed to a paste
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped coriander (optional)

First lightly toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat for just a few minutes, stirring so they don’t burn.  Take them off when they turn slightly brown.

Mix the grated carrot and beetroot together in a large bowl.  Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Check the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, honey or orange juice as you prefer.

Naan bread

Posted on: August 26th, 2011 by admin 10 Comments

Bread on the stove

This is not exactly a true naan recipe, I wish we had a naan oven. But Beans made up this recipe a long time ago and we eat it regularly with curry and soups. It is, in fact, my absolute favorite bread we make.  Many people have been asking us for it lately, maybe because it’s quite easy to make and you don’t need to turn on the oven and it’s really delicious!


  • 2c flour
  • 1/4 c plain yoghurt
  • 1 pkt (7 or 8 g) quick rise yeast
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or melted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • water (1/4 c luke-warm and 1/2 c extra)

Add yeast to luke-warm water with a tiny pinch of sugar and let stand (can be just a few minutes if you have no time- or 10 otherwise).

In a bowl mix flour and salt, add the yoghurt, oil and then the yeast mix. Check the consistency and add a little water at a time, if needed, until the mix makes a firm dough.

Break into small rounds and roll out really thin on a floured surface. They should be roughly 20cm (10 in) round.

In a large shallow fry pan you can cook them in a little butter or dry. Just add the dough to the pan and watch the bread puff in places, after about 1 minute- or when it browns- flip. They cook fast so just continue until all the dough is used. The texture of this bread is wonderful, perfect to make with anything that needs mopping up, like curry or stew.

Also try cooking breads with added garlic, cheese, herbs or spices. Or maybe you’d like sweet ones with an added tbsp sugar and then a squeeze of citrus.

Song for this recipe:

“Look out weekend” – Kid Sister Look Out Weekend (feat. Nina Sky) - Look Out Weekend (feat. Nina Sky) - Single

Nothing like a bad pop remix, but you can have fun with any kind of music when you’re in the kitchen, just grab a utensil as a mic and sing badly- so fun.  I go to New York this weekend to visit my little sisters, one from there, one from Aus and we are going to eat, shop, talk and dance like crazy – look out weekend…

Soup for the sick

Posted on: July 31st, 2011 by admin 3 Comments

Being sick is the worst.  I’ve been hit pretty badly this time, so for a week being out of action- what to eat?  Luckily Beans makes me a simple soup that is the most perfect thing for when you’re feeling bad (yes sick in the middle of summer – the injustice).  Then again I love this flavorful broth so much I wish it wasn’t reserved for ill health.

Simple Chicken soup

  • 1/2 L (2 1/4 c) water
  • 1 chicken breast (organic would be best)
  • 2 big nubs of ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic

Add the water to a small pot and bring to the boil.   Peel the ginger and slice it from the halfway point, so that the whole piece stays together but has a lot of cuts in it.  Peel the garlic cloves and give them a gently bash.  When the water is boiling add the chicken breast and ginger and garlic and let the whole thing boil for about 10 minutes, then turn it down to a simmer for another 10 minutes or so, depending on how large a chicken breast you used.

Serve some of the chicken with the delicious broth and get well soon.

Song for this recipe:

“Get me away from here,  I’m dying” – Belle and Sebastian Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying - If You’re Feeling Sinister

A Scottish ‘wistful pop’ indie band, who’s intricately titled songs are usually a pretty good listen.  Sometimes their sound is compared to the Smiths, but I find them a little more cheerful.  Although this song was chosen more for how I’ve been feeling lately.