Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Pizza Muffins

Pizza muffins, savoury muffins, call them what you will - they make a tasty snack.  Of course I love sweet muffins too - especially the blueberry kind.  When my father-in-law died fifteen years ago, I made a batch of muffins to take up to feed the grieving family.  For the first time ever, they were flat and unhappy little muffins, sunk down in misery in the muffin tray.  I guess they were reflecting the sadness we all felt...  But these little darlings will make you very happy, my friends.

savoury, cheesy, delicious morsels

I hunted through my multitudinous cookbook collection for muffin recipes and came up with the basics for the amount of flour, baking powder and so on.  Then I added in all the tasty pizza-like bits and bobs: cheese and olives, basil, ham and tomato paste...  Mr P. and Princess Pia were both fans of the finished result of my playing-around.  I hope you are too:-)  And don't be put off by the long list of ingredients; this is such an easy recipe, and it comes together very quickly, with delicious results.


250g. (8 oz) plain flour 

2½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp bicarb soda

2 tsp lightly dried parsley (optional)

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tsp basil paste

2-3 tsp tomato paste

150 mLs plain yoghurt

100 mLs buttermilk

75 mLs milk approx.

45 mLs olive oil

75g. ricotta

80g. ham, chopped roughly

40g. kalamata olives, sliced finely

50g. parmesan, grated

25g. roasted capsicum, chopped roughly

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2-3 tsp spaghetti sprinkles (optional) for the top


Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and parsley into a large mixing bowl 

Whisk the egg in a large jug, then add the basil and tomato pastes;  stir well

Add the yoghurt, buttermilk, and milk into the jug and stir very well - you want to have 350 mLs all up in the jug, so adjust the plain milk as necessary

Now the olive oil and ricotta are added to the yoghurt mixture; you've got the picture - stir well

Whisk the ham, olives, parmesan, capsicum, salt and pepper into the flour mixture

Gently fold the yoghurt mixture into the flour; don't worry about lumps or bits of flour - you don't want to overwork the batter

Spoon the batter into a lined or greased 12 hole muffin tray and cast the sprinkles over the top; this batter makes 15 muffins so you will need to bake these, then bake the rest (unless you have 2 trays)

Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes till golden

Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack

Delicious with lots of butter


I used patty pan liners to bake these, but you could just grease the holes well with butter

I baked 12 muffins, then used the rest of the batter to make one big pancake-like object - Mr P. was a big fan of this!

Spaghetti sprinkles are a mix of chilli, herbs and spices

whisk the flour, baking powder etc together 

gathering ingredients 

stir the wet and dry ingredients together - gently 

ready for the batter (I just think this shot is cute)

ready to be baked @180C for 25-30 mins.

savoury golden beauties

you can smell them from here:-)

fluffy, savoury muffins

   artwork © Sherry's Pickings  

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Sauerkraut Soup

As you may know from recent posts, I made four jars of sauerkraut in early Winter.  Four jars is a fair bit to go through, so I had to come up with some recipes.  An old friend visited Latvia last year, and kindly gave me a little book of Traditional Latvian Recipes on her return.  It includes such delights as: sour porridge made with barley groats and curdled milk; casserole made with herrings and white bread, and pig's head with caraway and rutabaga!  I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I read these recipes:-)    

hearty sauerkraut soup

And then I found this one - sauerkraut soup - with a handful of ingredients and very little cooking info.  It basically says to fry up pork, carrot, a small amount of onion, with some sauerkraut and boil till tender.  You've gotta laugh.  So I did, laugh that is, then made my version of this tasty soup, sans pig heads or curdled milk or rutabaga:-)  I used pork in the form of bacon, and added a few more veg. and some herbs and spices.  Those Latvians must be tough!


2 tbs butter

1 tbs olive oil

1 large brown onion, chopped roughly

1 large carrot, chopped into chunks

180g. (6 oz) brussels sprouts, cut into halves

2 medium potatoes, chopped into large chunks

300g. (10.5 oz) bacon, cut in large dice

350g. sauerkraut

30g. (1 oz) pearl barley, parboiled in 1 cup water for 20 mins.

1.2 Litres boiling water

1 tsp stock powder (I used chicken but use whichever you prefer)

1/2 tsp caraway seeds

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp ground pepperberries or spice of your choice

a big pinch of dried chilli flakes 

1 tbs dried parsley or 2 tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped

sour cream, to serve

extra parsley, to serve


Heat the butter and oil in a large soup pot (mine holds 5.5L)

Tip in the onion, carrot, brussels sprouts, potatoes and bacon

Sauté the vegetables for a few minutes, giving them a regular stir while they start to colour

Now add the sauerkraut, barley (and its water), boiling water, and other ingredients to the pot

Give it a good stir, and let it simmer away for 20-25 minutes till the veg. are tender

Keep an eye on it, give it a stir occasionally, and add extra water if needed

When the veg. are to your liking, serve in large bowls with sour cream, extra parsley and black pepper, and crusty bread

ingredients gathered

in go the veg. and the bacon

ready to serve

ready to eat

such a cute little book (but weird)

artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Cauliflower And Cheese Scones - International Scone Week 2019 - #ISW2019

Once again, International Scone Week has caught me unawares!  Where the heck is this year going to?  Just as well Tandy from Lavender and Lime reminded me it was on again.  (Everyone is welcome to join in #ISW, so go to Tandy's blog for info.)  I have a few scone recipes I wanted to try, but Mr P. seemed keen on this one...  I found several versions of cauli scones, but most have you boiling and mashing said vegetable.  'No, no,' said I to myself, 'not happening'.  So here we have a recipe that uses cauliflower rice i.e. raw cauli blitzed in the food processor.  'Yay,' I said to myself, 'that's the recipe for me.'  (Boy, does she ever stop talking to herself - tee hee?)

delicious warm and cheesy scones

This is a recipe from Monika of the Everyday Healthy Recipes blog.  I added a few blings of my own to personalise it, but her recipe provides the basis.  And what a tasty one it is, (even if my scones ended up a wee bit flat).  Mr P. wolfed down three (or four?) at lunchtime, straight out of the oven.  But then again, he is a carb man after all.  I had a couple, warm and cheesy, the melting butter cascading over the sides...  You get the picture, folks.


280g. plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

2/3 tsp sea salt flakes

1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional but tasty)

1/8-1/4 tsp ground black pepper or mountain pepper berries

2 tsp lightly dried parsley flakes, or 1-2 tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped 

1/2 tsp dried onion flakes

1 large egg

150 mLs buttermilk

130g. raw cauliflower, chopped roughly (use the florets and stalks)

80g. cold butter, cubed

70g. mature/tasty cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

good sprinkling of sesame seeds - say, 1 tbs?


Sift the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne, black pepper, parsley flakes and onion flakes into a large mixing bowl

Whisk them well together

Whisk the egg and buttermilk together in a medium bowl

Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor till it resembles grains of rice - don't go too far; you don't want a paste

Now stir the cauliflower into the egg and buttermilk mixture

Add the butter and the cheese into the flour mixture, and rub in with your fingertips till it looks like breadcrumbs

Now tip the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring with a knife till just combined

Tip the sticky, lumpy dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and bring together gently (!) with your hands till you have a smooth dough, about 2-3 cm. thick

Cut into 8-10 triangles and place them (via a metal spatula) on a large, lightly floured baking tray

Scatter the sesame seeds over the scones

Bake at 220C (425F) for 15 minutes till golden


Treat the dough with care; too much handling will make it tough

Try a mix of tasty and parmesan cheeses

Use your fave herbs 

ingredients gathered

egg and buttermilk whisked together 

cauliflower blitzed

stir the egg and buttermilk into the flour mixture

pat out the dough to a rectangular (or round) shape 2-3cm. thick  

cut the dough into 8-10 triangles

golden and crunchy on top after 15 mins. @220C

Mr P. is about to eat half of these

cheesy buttery scones

        artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Thursday, 1 August 2019

In My Kitchen - August 2019

I don't have much to tell you about July, my friends.  It flew by like every month; I blogged, I cooked, I wrote stories (one of my short stories will be published later this month btw - yay!), I ate, I visited galleries, and I had a damn fine time.  I really hope you all did too.  And I trust you all had a marvellous foodie month of it.  So let's cut to the chase, and check out my kitchen:

a cookbook

Some readers will remember that I went to a cooking class for my birthday in June, with Belinda Jeffery.  I bought another of her books, full of easy and tasty recipes.  I haven't made any of them yet, but I will, I will.  I'm not spruiking her classes, but if you get the chance to go...

organic lemons

Our wonderful neighbour and friend Princess Pia brought over some organic lemons from her tree.  Mr P. has been having them in hot water, as he has been sick with a cold.  Oh, the green one is a lime from another friend's tree, in fact.  I love their knobbly, speckled skins.

at last!  our new gas oven

Finally our new oven turned up, after a lot of pestering by Mr P.  Can't wait till it is actually in the kitchen.  I've been baking in an oven with a door that doesn't close all the way, so I've had to add 30C to the cooking times for everything!

you know who!  such a cute teapot

I love anything Alice, so this was a lovely gift from a dear friend who knows of my predilection.  I'm not much of a tea drinker, but I adore this sweet, little pot.

chicken and chickpea dinner

This is such an easy dinner.  Chop everything up, brown it off in a large frypan, and chuck into the oven for 50 minutes.  Yep, the Princess's lemons are in the foreground.

Feathers McGraw

My latest Wallace and Gromit figurine; this is Feathers McGraw under the guise of Game of Cones.  He is just adorable, and sits next to my kitchen angel, overseeing my kitchen activities.

the beautiful Frida Kahlo

My cousin knows I love Frida, so she gave me this lovely china plate, and some paper napkins with her image.  I always say Frida must be turning in her grave to see how many people are ripping off her image for lots of money:-) 

my birthday bowls

The lovely Miss B. made me a couple of stoneware bowls for my birthday.  They are delightfully solid, and beautiful.  The clay is very dense (I think), so even when you are having hot soup, the bowl doesn't get too hot to hold.  Winner!

That's it from me.  Now it's your turn, my lovelies.  Feel free to join in, everybody.  We love our regulars but new foodies are always welcome to join the party.  Here's how to do it, below:

1. Add via the Add Link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page, under the Add your IMK link

2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it to the list below.  

3. Email me: sherrym1au@gmail.com, with your link or any queries about the link process

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

In My August Kitchen:

Not Quite Nigella 
The Napoli Alert

Sherrys Pickings

Friday, 26 July 2019

Hazelnut Porridge

I must confess, my friends: I have a foodie fangirl crush on Ruby Tandoh.  Those eyes, that hair, her forthright manner and her heartfelt writing...  I really loved watching her on the Great British Bake Off years ago, girlishly fluttering her lashes at Paul Hollywood.  Then she came out!  And Paul cast his eyes elsewhere, as he is now seeing a 24-year-old female person.  It makes you wonder what a 53-year-old bloke has in common with such a youngster.  Anyways, we are not here to talk about middle-aged men having a crisis:-)

I've bought a couple of Ruby's books lately, including Flavour: Eat What You Love.  It contains 170+ recipes, written in Ruby's inimitable style, feisty and conversational.  In fact, her writing reminds me a little of Nigella's - friendly and factual and comforting.  Mr P. and I were not feeling well on the weekend, so I decided to make one of her simplest recipes - porridge.  Perfect for a cold Brisbane morning.  Yep, it actually has been rather chilly these last few mornings.      

Ah Ruby...

Fortunately, I had roasted the nuts the day before when I was feeling less sick and exhausted, so they were all ready to be blitzed.  It was just a matter of throwing everything into the saucepan, and stirring for a few minutes.  Easy peasy, and so deliciously comforting.

Serves 4:


200g. (7 oz) rolled oats - I used rolled wholegrain oats  

100g. (3.5 oz) hazelnuts, roasted and ground  -  see Notes

850 mLs (28 fluid oz/3.5 cups) full-fat milk

400 mLs (1.6 cups) water

big pinch of salt : say 1/8 tsp?

big dash of ground cinnamon : 1/8-1/4 tsp (optional)

thick cream and brown sugar to serve - optional, but you'd be crazy not to:-)


Put the oats, nuts, milk, water, salt and cinnamon in a large saucepan over a medium heat

Bring to a simmer, stirring all the while

Once simmering, turn it down low and keep stirring for several minutes till it is thick

Serve with the cream and sugar


Roast the nuts in a single layer on a baking tray @ 180C for about 12-15 minutes (watch them carefully as they burn easily when almost done); rub them between your fingers in a tea towel or piece of kitchen paper to get rid of most of the skin, then blitz in a food processor till you have a crumbly meal

You could use a store-bought nut meal (try almond meal), but it won't have the same flavour as a freshly roasted and ground one

I used my Scottish spurtle to stir the porridge; this is a traditional implement dating from the fifteenth century (well, not mine personally - tee hee).  And you must stir with your right hand in a clockwise direction, otherwise you will invoke the Devil.  Phew!  Crisis averted:-)

ingredients gathered

roasted and ready for blitzing

and blitzed to a nice crumbly meal

ready to start cooking - see my lovely spurtle?

Just about done - see the bubbles?

ready to serve

 so creamy, so nutty, so warming 

Flavour is divided into five chapters: Vegetables and Herbs/Fruit/Eggs and Dairy/Meat and Fish and Storecupboard.  She further divides the chapters into various ingredients.  This is a useful tack when you are trying to think of a recipe that uses up a particular old veg. lurking in the back of your fridge.  Her recipes appear to be readily made, and with common ingredients.  I'm looking forward to trying more of them!

   artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Friday, 19 July 2019

Pumpyard Bar Ipswich - Review

Okay, I'm going to tell you a secret.  I am a member of a secret Instagram pod.  Oh yes indeedy.  So keep it to yourselves, my friends:-)  We got together recently for a Winter instameet, (dragging husbands along with us), to have a nice lunch, and to take some IG photos. 

We went to historical Ipswich, home to many fabulous old buildings, an art gallery and some trendy cafés.  Oh, and did I mention the local brewery, the first to open there in over a hundred years?  We did a wander along the river, taking some interesting photos, but lunch was calling our names.  So we headed to the Pumpyard Bar at 4 Hearts Brewery where they brew beers made without chemicals, and also create small seasonal batches.  (Nope, I'm not being paid to mention them, you sillies.)  

looking into the Bar - Dr. Who and the Daleks much?

We sat outside in the winter sunshine, after asking a staff member if they could turn down the music (a bit loud for Mr P. and me).  They were happy to oblige, and were helpful and pleasant all round.  We sat and perused the menu eagerly.  They have burgers and pizza, and the usual pub suspects like chicken, a seafood basket, and a couple of salads.  And delicious eggplant chips!  If only we'd had room for the sweet potato fries too...    

ginger beer $4 and sparkling piccolo $10

Yep, Mr P. had his usual - ginger beer, while I had the Dunes and Green sparkling piccolo.  Mine was a zesty little number, while the ginger beer was its usual gingery self.

a beer and a lemonade?

Sorry, not sure what the other pod people drank.  Yep, remiss of me I know.

eggplant chips with tomato relish $12
These were ever so crunchy on the outside, and tender on the inside.  The coating was a wee bit salty for me, but the relish was a spicy and delicious winner.  The pod people were very happy with these little numbers.  Our pod leader chose a pizza, while her mum had brisket sliders.  Mr P. went for a polenta stack; I had calamari while hubby no. 2 chose a pumpyard burger.  And yes, there were beer-battered chips, which were freshly made and delicious.   

Italian pizza with pancetta $20
This was a tasty pizza with a thin and crispy base (yay, my fave kind).  So there was pancetta, and fresh basil and black olives, salami and mozzarella - all the good things.  It was a wee bit too salty for my tastes, but all up, this was a delicious pizza.  Ah, come on, I only ate one piece:-) 

7 spice calamari with lemon and aioli $16 

I enjoyed the calamari; it was delightfully spicy and not at all greasy.  A bit more aioli would have been nice, but I managed.  It was tender, it was tasty; I liked it.  And I had it all to myself:-)  Can I help it if some people just don't eat fishy things? (sniff).  

brisket sliders $16

The pod leader's mum chose the sliders, but they defeated her, and she only ate two of them.  She enjoyed them both though; the slow-cooked brisket with slaw and BBQ sauce was flavourful and tender.  And terrific value, too!

Pumpyard burger $20

The burger came with onion, Swiss cheese, pickles, tomato, beetroot and bacon, tomato relish and beer-battered chips.  This was a hefty sort of a burger, and thankfully not on brioche or any of those fancy buns!  Hubby No. 2 hoovered this down.     

polenta stack $26

Mr P. always loves a vego option, so he went for this dish.  It included mushroom, eggplant, capsicum, red onion and a napoli sauce.  He loved the large pieces of polenta, with their crispy outside and tender interior.  The tasty yellow capsicum and red onion added flavour and texture to the dish.  I found the flavour of the polenta a bit odd for my tastes, but Mr P. was happy with his choice.  It's gluten free too for all those coeliacs out there.

the outside wall of the Bar

The brewery and bar is located inside a beautiful old building which has been refurbished in recent times.  Part of a precinct originally built as a College, the buildings had been left to run down over the years, but were restored and rescued, and now house the brewery, bar, a restaurant, an ice cream shop and function space.  

heading down to the Bar

We finished our meals, and wandered off to take some more photos of this photogenic town.  Well worth a drive out from Brisbane to indulge in some tasty food (and ice cream!), and to check out the historical buildings (and antique shops!).  

beautiful local church dating from 1849

looking to the pedestrian bridge over the Bremer River  

This meal was paid for by us, the pod people:-) 

Open Wed- Sun

88 Limestone St.,

Ipswich QLD 4305
Ph: 07 3282 9076
Pumpyard Bar - 4 Hearts Brewing Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato