Fresh local potatoes

In many parts of the Bundaberg region, you will find along the road side, numerous fruit and veg stands that you will be able to access this seasons potatoes. They seem to range in price from around 60cents to $1 per kilo.
If you have never bought them this fresh before, wait til you take them home and prepare a rustic mash with skin on, some olive oil and chopped fresh rosemary sprigs. Mmmmmm,simple; flavorsome and not loaded with the normal milk or cream and butter.
Local potatoes, local farmers.

Star Anise

For those of you that haven’t used this very diverse spice in your kitchen before, I’m hoping I can convince you to at least try it.
It has traditionally been a used in the Japanese culture for an incense base product though it is more commonly used and known within the Chinese five spice powder.
I like using the star shaped spice within braises as it truly captures the essence of lamb shanks or even pan fried pork fillets and it adds a very subtle flavour with little scent.
The key to star anise is not to be too heavy handed with it, as it will quickly over power. I do also find that Star Anise in low amounts goes very nice with fruit dishes. Poached Pears, strudels or other fruits that hold their own characteristics and texture, though dont mind be partnered with something else.

My suggestion would be to buy some Star Anise, try some in small amounts until you become more familiar and in no time you will find yourself stocking this in your pantry as as a must have spice.

Playing with Pastry- 18th August 2011

I would like to thank those that attended the August Playing with Pastry Class. What a diverse group, though that was the beauty. It was great to jest in the kitchen, have fun with learning new skill sets and really get a feel for butter, flour and eggs.

We enjoyed working with vanilla beans and for many- a brand new experience.

I hope everyone enjoys the use of their new recipe cards, the vanilla bean to take home, the takeaway tart cases and the ability to re-create your perfect desserts from last night.

Bon appetite and Congrats!!


Snowpeas for everyone!!

Just another reason to live in Bundaberg. Driving through the back blocks of the Bundy region you come across acres and acres of snow peas being held up with timber stakes and string.
It’s an interesting spectacle to drive past at 100km per hour and see dozens of cars on the side of the road and plenty of pickers in the field.
Snow peas, based on them being locally grown can be found at a road side store from $2.50 per packet.
Eat fresh, eat local.

Pumpkin and Macadamia Scones

This is a quick, easy recipe that can almost be knocked over when you have a last minute phone call saying that you have friends coming over in the afternoon. With approx 20mins prep time, you could have these coming out of the oven around the same time as your first cup of coffee is being served.
The sweet pumpkin flavour is just beautiful and the crunch of the macadamias leaves you wanting more, especially when you serve them with lashes of butter and straight from the oven.
The pumpkin in this recipe can also be interchanged with sweet potato and the macadamias with pistachios. Each has their own flavour characteristics.
Yours to enjoy!
1tbsp butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 egg
1 cup cooked and mashed pumpkin- cooled
100grams macadamias- rough chopped
2 cups self raising flour
1 pinch salt

Add the soft butter and sugar into a bowl and combine. Add the golden syrup and egg and mix well.
Fold through the cooled pumpkin mix and chopped macadamias and then fold through flour.
Once the wet mix comes together and is not too sticky, fold out into a floured board and cut using a large cutter and place onto a baking tray.
Bake in the oven at 250’c for approx 20mins and serve when ready.

Kids creations

I just had to laugh when my daughter said to us this morning that she wanted crumpets with vegemite and cheese. That’s all fine, though when they were ready she wanted jam and then honey.
While this is frustrating on all sorts of levels- she did eat the first, though we are glad that we have introduced her to a variety of foods already.
From as long as I can remember she would eat curries with us, risotto’s, though even today is still very selective with some veggies.
I hope your kids enjoy their food and I hope that they allow you to experiment at the same time. Maybe involve them in the making of the dish, it seems to work for us!!

Kids and cooking!!

After recently discussing with various parents the importance of kids being confident in the kitchen, it also bought about some great warm fuzzy stories. 1 couple said that their family spend alot of time in the kitchen and to the point now that their eldest child wakes them up with breakfast in bed. Oh, and how do you like your eggs? Poached, scrambled or an omelette? How great is that!
Once kids learn how to read recipes, they know how to access the cupboards for ingredients and have a passion for food- the opportunity for them to succeed are endless.
Cooking doesn’t have to be a trade based career for them, it can in fact be a healthy way of life and parents can enjoy the idea of knowing that the kids are going to bra letters to eat more than 2minute noodles.

Kids cooking class will be coming soon!!

Bangers & Mash

Now, i don’t know many families that wouldn’t consider Bangers & Mash to be one of their family favourites. So with this in mind, what do you serve them with?

I have been asking around and have wanted to share the following findings:

  • With potato Mash, onion gravy and peas
  • With bread & Sauce, no mash
  • With mash and salad
  • or, with whatever falls from the fridge and the mash can be any veg apparently!

The other aspect for consideration is where do you get your sausages from? I appreciate that for most people, this meal has traditionally been one based on budget constraints, though if you are thinking gourmet- what about pork and leek sausages with wholegrain mustard infused mash and Broccolini. Still very simple, though the sausages are in all aspects- the ring leader.

Pork & Fennel Sausages, Lamb & Rosemary, Beef & Cracked Pepper, Chunky Pork or even just going with the classic of BBQ sausages with the trimmings.

Go on, re-invent a classic today and  email through your photo for use on the web. Make you famous!!