Monday, January 23, 2012

Cheese Biscuits

I have been making cheese biscuits for a while now but I have never been 100% happy with them until NOW! This recipe is the best yet and they are easy to make in a food processor. I got the idea for putting different toppings on them from my friend Jude.
125g cold butter, diced
150g sharp Cheddar cubed
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp Curry powder
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Using the shedding attachment of the processor, add butter and cheese through the chute.
Remove shredder and attach all purpose blade and add the other ingredients - but reserve 1/8 cup of the flour for rolling out.
Pulse until the mixture is well combined and forms a ball.
With your hands roll into a 30cm log, wrap in cling film and refrigerate until very cold.
Slice into thin discs (I made 22) and top with whatever takes your fancy. I used Nigella seeds, dried dill, fennel seeds and smoked paprika.
Bake for 12-14 min at 180C (fan forced)
These are so delicious with a cold glass of white wine and make a lovely change to cheese or dip when visiting friends for a catch-up drink.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Zucchini City

Well, it's no great achievement to grow a few zucchinis. They are the most forgiving of the summer veggies. I even water mine overhead and they don't seem to fall victum to fungal attacks until well into the hot weather.
Picking them when they are the size you want is another matter entirely. It's almost like if you don't get time to harvest in the morning, by evening they are too large!
I read somewhere that each little zuc has the same number of 'flavour cells' in each one, so when they get enormous, they just don't taste nearly as nice. Small and tender they are lovely in salads or pickled. Up to 30cm (1ft for you imperial people) they are great for fritters and the like. And over 30cm, I reckon forget it.
I picked this lot from the garden and found I had some feta in the fridge. This is such a great standby as it keeps for months in a vac-pack and is useful for lots of vegetarian stuff like filo pies, pasta and salads. Here's my favourite little fritter to use up all those zuccs - they are also lovely cold.
Zucchini Feta & Mint Fritters
3-4 20-30cm zucchini
1 leek or bunch of spring onions sliced
2-3 cloves garlic crushed
3 tbls wheat or potaoe flour
2 eggs
100g feta
1/2 cup of chopped parsely
and nearly as much mint

Grate the zucchini by hand or in the food processor, while you saute the leek or onion in 2 tbls oil . After 5 min add the garlic and zucchini. Cook down slowly on a gentle heat stirring occassionally. When its nice and soft (about 10-15 mins) take it off and drain the liquid out through a colander or coarse sieve. Squeeze a little to get rid of excess moisture. Return to the pan and sprinkle over the flour and half the herbs and cook through quickly, stirring for a few mins. Then let it cool right down in the fridge.
Lightly beat the eggs and add to zucchini mix with the cubed or crumbled feta, last half of the herbs & pepper. Stir through gently, cover and let it get really cold before shaping into fritters and frying in a non-stick pan with a little oil if needed.
I serve these with a simple avocado, cue, tomato salsa dressed with lemon juice, chilli sauce and basil.

I didn't have much mint in the garden (it has got a little dried out) so I made up the difference with Thai Basil.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Beauty in small things

I've been back in the studio not to paint yet but sew. Finishing some bags I started before Christmas took over. When I went to my sewing table I couldn't help but notice how my sewing things (with a little tweeking) made the prettiest still life. Hmmm... inspiration.
I've noticed this before I think...

Veni, Vidi, Velcro (I came, I saw, I stuck around)

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Crayfish Rice Paper Rolls
I've been away on our boat for 2 weeks on Rottenest Island. The weather was allsorts but the boys did a lot of diving catching crays and Dhufish. I'm not a huge fan of large crustacians BUT I came up with this idea of making them into rice paper rolls. I made a spicy dipping sauce and they were just the ticket with a glass of bubbly.
I have been in the kitchen all week since I got back home- I do miss creating recipes from the garden. I came home to a dozen cucumbers so I sliced lots into a spicy vinegar mix to keep in the fridge. I used a few different vinegars, chilli, garlic and celery seed. No salt - they taste great!
Didorf Salad
I couldn't wait to get my new dome sprouter going again so I filled that up straight away and today I created a Didorf Salad: Red Apple, celery, feta (low-fat), toasted hazelnuts (local) with Adzuki, fenegreek and alfalfa sprouts. I just tossed it in a light mustard viniagrette.
Summer Veggie Gnocchi
Other must sees this week was the first of the zucchinis with what's left of last years potaotes turned into veggie gnocchi with loads of fresh herbs including fried sage leaves. I've made this before many times and find I can knock it up in 30-40 mins - preparing the other ingredients while the spuds boil. Gnocchi needs a light touch so mixing and rolling out should be quick and rustic. I like to saute the cooked gnocchi in the garlicy oil I have done the veg in. Then put it all back together at the end. It gives the gnocchi a browned-off look and better texture. Of course a few shavings of good parmesan are essential too!