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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sugared violets

A friend gave me a lovely posy of violets which smelt amazing….after admiring them for a day or so I thought that they’d be a lovely addition to a chocolate ganache cake that I’ll be making next week, and since they are organic flowers they will make a pretty edible cake decoration.

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No Knead Bread


I love to start the process for this bread making on a Friday night so that I have lovely homemade bread available over the weekend, it is so easy and the texture is similar to a sour-dough loaf.



No Knead Bread recipe


Published: NYT, November 8, 2006

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups bread flour, more for dusting

¼ teaspoon instant yeast

1¼ teaspoons salt

Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed


1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.


Growing your own…..

Even though I live in a relatively small apartment in Sydney, I still want to be able to produce my own food. I thankfully have a northern aspect for my balcony and this Spring I have decided to become more self sufficient and grow my own vegetables and herbs in the limited space available. I also want to recycle if possible, so given these requirements I visited my local green grocer and asked if they had some spare polystyrene  cartons that I could use…..I walked away with 5, which was perfect!

I then bought some potting mix, compost and mulch and some plants and I was ready to start my own vegetable garden.

I tend to buy green vegetables, herbs and salad leaves every week and wanted to grow plants that would fit into my allotted space, grow quickly and supplement my grocery shopping.

I purchased seedlings of the following: heirloom tomatoes, globe zucchini, basil, celery, cherry tomatoes, dill, basil, shallots a and a variety of lettuces





I will be taking photos each week to monitor the progress of the plants and this should give me knowledge to work out what I will replant again next year.

I’m looking forward to harvesting the homegrown produce over the coming Summer months …and eating the rewards of my labours of my balcony vegetable garden.


















Homemade goat’s milk ricotta

I was given a cheese making kit from my mother some time ago, when she was attending an interstate food & wine trade show…’s been sitting in my cupboard waiting for a ‘special’ menu or group of friends to join me in devouring the labours of my cheese making skills.

Needless to say, we should never, ever, wait for special occasions and just use our ‘special’ favourite crystal glassware, silver cutlery, expensive shoes or gourmet ingredient because before you know it the item has been sitting there as a ‘special’ item for a year and no one has had the benefit of seeing or using the product…crazy I know!

Anyways….. I finally got around to trialing the kit, and it was soooooo simple and easy to use and it made me wonder why I had put it off for so long!

I use ricotta regularly, it’s a great ingredient to lighten an otherwise heavy cheese and bulks up a dish too. I was contemplating how much I love goat’s cheese, though I realise that it’s not to everyone’s taste and I got to thinking that I’ve never seen a goat’s milk ricotta for sale…so why not make some!

I decided that 1 litre would be a good amount to start with, enough to experiment with and if the flavour wasn’t quite right then it’s not a huge amount of wastage…but then again, when was then last time you had a failure in the kitchen that was unusable, in my case not since I was a teenager [many moons ago!]

OMG….it is sooooooo devine, I will be surely making it again [and again, and again!!] over the warmer months ahead!

I used the silky, creamy homemade goat’s milk ricotta in the following meals over the past week:

-Pumpkin, spinach and ricotta lasagne [homemade pasta]

-Goat’s cheese ricotta, fresh thyme & basil and parmesan ravioli with browned butter

-Grilled zucchini, lemon zest, roasted garlic, goat’s cheese ricotta and watercress salad

-Bruschetta with goat’s cheese ricotta, fresh thyme, roasted walnuts, drizzled with honey


Here’s the link to the Mad Millie site that sells the cheese making kits if you are looking for one…