Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Polish Strawberry Kisiel - AKA Strawberry Fruit Pudding

This is a very simple pudding; it's basically fruit juice thickened with flour.  I will confess right here - mine did not thicken much at all.  Really, you could just about drink it (which apparently is also a thing).  Not sure why?  Not enough flour?; not the right kind of flour?  Who knows?  Still tasty though.  The original recipe calls for potato flour which I didn't have, but I read that you can use other flours like cornflour or arrowroot - so I did :-)  Apparently potato flour has a slightly earthy taste which I didn't fancy here.  

Soft foods are good for me at the moment.  I had a back molar tooth out last week (maybe a wisdom tooth?), and it's giving me a hard time.  The socket (?) is feeling okay, but my jawbone is being a right mongrel.  Drugs are my friend right now :-)  And warm, salty mouth washes every couple of hours.  My dentist should just take over my bank account.  And he reckons I need another crown.  OMG!  

This is a slight adaptation of a recipe from Rose Petal Jam by Beata Zatorska and Simon Target.  Beata was born in Poland, but migrated to Australia and became a family doctor in Sydney.  This book is about her travels back home after twenty years.  Gorgeous photos and interesting tales.  But no nutty bling for her :-)  Nor did she mention divvying up the cold water into two amounts; in fact her recipe just suddenly mentions using another 100 mL of water for the slurry.  As my dessert was a wee bit runny, I decided that next time it would be best to use the 500 mL for both the fruit mixture and the slurry.  

  

Serves 6-7:


ready for the bling


ingredients:


500g./1 lb 2 oz strawberries or fruit of your choice - fresh or frozen

500 mL/17 fl oz water, divided into 400 mL and 100 mL

6 Tbs (85g.) caster sugar

8 tsp (24g.) arrowroot or potato flour or cornflour (see Notes)

a splash (about 1/8 tsp) rosewater - optional

juice of a small lemon - maybe 40-50 mL

2 tsp Chambord or other fruit liqueur - optional


For the topping:


a handful (50g. or so/2 oz) pecans or walnuts or your fave nut, chopped roughly

more strawbs, sliced

chocolate Flake bar, broken up

raspberry or strawberry pearls - optional!


Method:


If using fresh fruit, you will need to rinse, hull and slice up; otherwise just tip the frozen slices (or fruit juice) into a medium saucepan

Then pour the 400 mL water, plus the sugar, in with the fruit

Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and let the fruit soften for about five minutes

Place a sieve over a medium bowl, (don't forget the bowl) and tip the fruity mass into the sieve

Press out all the juice with a large spoon, leaving behind the pulpy bits in the sieve and pour the juice back into your pan

Make a slurry with the arrowroot/potato flour and the other 100 mL of cold water (see photo below)

Then slowly mix it into the fruit juice, stirring constantly till the mixture thickens (or maybe not - tee hee)

Now add the rosewater, lemon juice and liqueur (if using)

Let it simmer gently for another minute, then leave to cool slightly

Spoon/pour into ramekins and let it cool in the fridge

Add the nuts, extra fruit, chocolate shards and fruity pearls on top

Some recipes say it's best hot, some say cold; I liked it cold


Notes:


You can even use bought orange juice from the shop!

Arrowroot is AKA tapioca flour

Flake bar is light and flaky, and breaks up into shards very easily, but you could chop up or grate some regular chocolate

The bling was my idea; the original recipe is just the thickened fruit juice



ingredients gathered

fruit, water and sugar in the pan

strain the fruit and press out the juice

make a slurry with the flour and water

simmer and stir with the slurry

simmer for a few minutes till it thickens

ready for the fridge

bling bling bling!

all blinged up and ready for the eating
(hands courtesy of our English/Aussie friend visiting from the UK)



© Sherry M.



a beautiful book


Sunday, 1 May 2022

In My Kitchen - May 2022

This is the third long weekend in a row here!  We had Easter; we had Anzac Day and now we have Labour Day.  I baked up a storm of Anzac biscuits last weekend for our local Historical Society's Anzac Day service.  As long-term readers may remember, my granddad fought at Gallipoli during the First World War.  Such a young lad to go off to such horror.  And he never really recovered from his war wounds; he was in and out of hospital his whole life.

The weather is finally changing at last!  I even wore a (light) scarf on our afternoon walk the other day.  We are heading down south to Canberra (our capital city) in a few weeks where it will be freezing for us poor Queenslanders.  I am taking MANY coats and scarves.  But for now, I am sitting here in a tee-shirt, enjoying the afternoon breeze.  Let's head off to my kitchen round-up, before I get stuck into the several short stories I am intending to write before we go away.   


In My Kitchen:


snipping parsley and chives for the freezer

I love having herbs in the freezer, so I snip them up and shove 'em into freezer bags.  Et voilĂ !  Ready to pour into a stew or a soup.


there were many seedy chicken pasties made

Our friends were unwell, so I made some pasties for them so they didn't have to worry about meals.  Quite tasty, I have to say.  I do love me a whole heap of seeds!  These had white and black sesame seeds plus poppy seeds.  Do you remember all the fuss a while ago about people turning poppy seeds into opium/heroin?  I didn't even know you could till they told us :-)  The same with the painkillers they used to sell; you could make 'em into hardcore drugs.  Who knew?  A wee bit hilarious for us innocents.



and hand-carved wooden spoons by Thea Conway

As regular readers are aware, I am obsessed with hand-carved wooden spoons.  These are eating spoons, made by an Aussie lady.  I do find the bowls a wee bit shallow, so I will use them for cooking mostly.


I bought this

Not really a fan I have to say.  It was expensive, and I don't really like the flavour.  I may try making my own version next time, but without the dried garlic!  And I always have heaps of seeds in the pantry :-)


here we have semi-dried tomatoes in EV olive oil

I bought these for the pizza pie I recently blogged.  I drowned the leftovers in EV olive oil, and into the fridge they went.  So handy for other dishes.

Easter gifts from my cuz

My cuz sent these to me for Easter.  So sweet of her!  I adore that bunny plate.

It has been a busy April, and I have much to do in May before heading off for our road trip.  Covid restrictions have been lifted, and we seem to be heading into normal life again.  What a weird world it has been!  Hope yours is coming along well too.


oops, nearly forgot my curveball!

This is another wee sculpture from our mate Dion.  I have several of his works; this is L'il Dusty who sits on my desk, watching me type.  So cute.  And as a tribute to our Pa: in uniform, going off to war as a teenager in 1915.  They didn't even have the proper uniform or insignia at that stage.  Lest we forget!


Bertie Jackson aged 17

So let's get to it, global friends and new friends.  Join us for another IMK post.  And here's how to do it:

IMK posts are about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  And a curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related (see the artwork above).  

The link is open from the first of the month to midnight on the thirteenth of the month.

Options for adding your post to IMK:

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 OR:

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

3. Email me: sherrym1au@gmail.com, with your link or any queries about the link process, or if you would like it to be added after the 13th ('cos I can sneak it in; I know the boss)



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Saturday, 23 April 2022

Butter Puff Pizza Pie/Slice

April is a birthday month for us - Mr P., his auntie, my sister, three friends and various ring-ins :-)  We had a birthday gathering on Good Friday for Mr P. on our back deck.  The first gathering here in I don't know how long - 'cos, you know - Covid ...  It was wonderful.  Wine and food and hugs.  It was a fabulous feeling.

And next weekend is the Anzac Day long weekend, which commemorates all Australian and New Zealand soldiers.  It has become a huge thing in recent years, bringing us all together.  I will be baking many Anzac biscuits for the morning service :-)  But for now, I present to you my pizza pie/slice, doing duty at two birthday teas this month (with more to come).  


golden crispy savoury seedy ...

ingredients:


2 sheets butter puff pastry, thawed

3 Tbs Mersey Valley spreadable vintage cheddar cheese, or similar soft cheese

2 Tbs cornflake crumbs or panko breadcrumbs

150g./5.5 oz ham, diced 

1/2 cup mixed olives, pitted and chopped

3-4 wedges artichoke hearts, chopped

1/3 cup semi-dried tomato strips, chopped into wee pieces

2 Tbs fresh herbs, chopped - parsley and chives are my fave

a good sprinkling of dried oregano

black pepper, to taste

2 Tbs milk for glazing

several Tbs of white and black sesame seeds, and poppy seeds 


Method:


Heat the oven to 190C/375F

Line a baking tray with baking paper

Place one piece of butter puff pastry on the paper

Spread the soft cheese over the pastry

Sprinkle the cornflake crumbs or panko over the soft cheese

Then layer on the ham, olives, artichoke hearts, and dried tomato 

On go the herbs and black pepper

Cover with the other piece of pastry

Crimp the edges, and brush the whole shebang with the milk

Cast on your seeds and cut into squares with a ravioli cutter or knife

And ... bake! (for 25-30 mins.) till golden brown on top

I put the oven fan on for the last 5 minutes as I have a senile, doddery gas stove - this helps finish off the baking and crisp up the top layer

Eat warm or cold or however you fancy


Notes:


I used the tomato strips without oil; and I put the remainder in a jar, cover with good EV olive oil and into the fridge it goes ...

I keep bags of chopped parsley and chives in the freezer; so handy to just tip some out when needed

Always buy the butter puff if you can; it's worth the expense (butter, not palm oil) and saves the orangutans!

P.S. Today is the anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 1616.  Just in case you were interested ...



ingredients gathered

chop the artichoke hearts

place the pastry on the baking paper-lined tray

scatter on the chopped goodies

ready for the oven

golden and delicious after 25-30 mins. @190C

and over to Princess Pia's for her birthday arvo tea


and here's Mr P, in his new birthday cap!

I searched online for quite a long time to find him this Harris Tweed cap!  Did you know that Harris Tweed is like an appellation for cheese or wine?  It is protected by an Act of Parliament in Britain.  It has to be handwoven at the home of the weaver, and made in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.  Mr P. loves it!

  


© Sherry M.


Friday, 15 April 2022

Malteser Bark For Easter

I know I've made chocolate bark before, and I remember something made with Maltesers, but it hit me that this bark would be a splendid idea!  And to be frank ("I told you not to call me Frank!"), I'm looking at something quick for an Easter post.  April is going haywire.  Birthdays, and blog posts, and writing competitions, and overnight guests etc etc ...

My cousin sent us a lovely little Easter parcel with gloriously dark chocolate, so let's melt it and smother it in broken-up Maltesers, folks.  I was going to use puffed rice thinking it would be 'healthier' than rice cereal but checking the ingredients, I found the Rice Bubbles to be 91% white rice, whereas the puffed rice is 79% rice flour.  Mmm, I didn't like the sound of that, so Rice Bubbles it was.  Maybe it doesn't matter, but who knows?


chocolatey ricy blingy!


ingredients:


300g./10.5 oz chocolate - Use milk, dark, white, ruby - your fave!

150g./5.3 oz Maltesers, smashed up

20g./0.7 oz puffed rice cereal

Lots of Bling!


Method:


First melt your chocolate - I do it in the microwave

Spread it over a baking paper-lined tray

Throw the smashed up Maltesers, the rice cereal and lots of bling all over the chocolate

Whack into the fridge to set, then chop up/break it up as you please

Wrap in cellophane for a lovely Easter gift


Notes:


Lindt 70% dark chocolate is my go-to, but go ahead, make your day!  Use your fave kind, or use more than one kind and swirl 'em around

I blitzed the Maltesers in the food processor, so I ended up with big bits, little bits and some dust



oops! I've jumped ahead - melt the chocolate and blitz the Maltesers

ingredients

all blinged up

and ready for cutting/breaking up

delicious

eat 'em up



© Sherry M.

Friday, 8 April 2022

Suet Dumplings, Chicken Sausages And Chicken Soup - A Sorry Tale

This is the sad and sorry story of suet dumplings and chicken soup.  Once upon a time, Sherry decided to make dumplings just like her mum used to make.  Her mum always used a packet of suet mix, just like her mum did.  Okay, you get the picture :-)  So this is more of a story than a recipe but here goes:  I bought two packets of suet mix just to be safe.  I thought I'd be clever and stuff those little beauties with chicken sausage filling.  So I bought chicken sausages.  The saga begins.

First I had to work out how much flour to suet, so I read the instructions on the side of the packet.  I grabbed a huge mixing bowl, and turfed it all in.  And I thought - 'let's double the recipe' - so I chucked in another packet of suet.  A scream ensued as I realised I had totally screwed up the amounts.  I'm no mathematical genius, so I got Mr P. to bring his brain to the party, which was no help at all :-). 

There was no fixing this baby, so we jumped in the car and hared off to the supermarket for more suet.  Finally after much searching of shelves, with packet in hand, we drove home.  Foolishly I decided to rectify the mistake by re-calculating the amounts already weighed out.  Instead of starting over, I used the mixture in the bowl.

Then I made the dumplings, or tried my damnedest (is that a word?).  First I squeezed out the sausage filling from their cases.  Is there any better feeling than that?  Squishy, moist filling oozing out in your hands ...  I made up a small ball of filling, then tried to encase it with the dumpling mix.  My friends, it was like herding cats.  The dough wanted to become one with my hands.  Mr P. threw in heaps more flour, and more flour ...   

We gave up; there was no saving these babies.  So I turned the whole, soggy, sorry mess into chicken soup with chicken balls.  Hilariously, somehow it ended up with a few large balls of soggy suet dumpling (without filling)!  Dunno how they snuck in.  


check out the big chicken meatball!


ingredients:


500g./1.1 lb herby chicken sausages, filling squeezed out of their skins

1 cup -ish (you may need more) panko breadcrumbs

1.5 L/51 fl oz chicken stock

1 cup of frozen veg. (I used peas, corn and capsicum)

1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce - or your fave sauce

1 tsp gochugaru - feel free to use your fave chilli powder/flakes

1 Tbs hot sauce - your choice

salt and black pepper to taste

a big handful of parsley and chives, chopped roughly 


The Next Night:

(We had it for dinner the next night too, so I added chopped mushrooms, zucchini, spring onion, etc.):


Two big mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 small zucchini, diced

3 spring onions, finely sliced

1 cup cooked rice

1 tin (400g.) cannellini beans or your fave bean

more herbs of your choice

more chilli powder

more stock if needed (I did)


Method:


Squeeze out the chicken meat from the sausage casings, roll into balls (your preferred size) and then roll them in the panko

Bring the stock to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer

Gently lower the chicken balls into the liquid and simmer away for about 10-15 minutes till the meat is almost cooked through

Add the frozen veg., sauces, seasonings and herbs and simmer for a few more minutes till the veg. are done 

Serve with a whisper of chilli oil on top of your bowl


NEXT NIGHT:


Reheat the leftover soup gently on a low-ish heat

Add the extra veg., the rice, the beans, the herbs and chilli powder/flakes

Simmer till everything is heated through and the veg. are tender

Ladle into your bowls


Notes:


You can buy chicken mince, if you can't be bothered eviscerating the snags (sausages)

I had some leftover Thai fried rice in the fridge, so in it went

P.S. - suet is the fat which surrounds the kidneys of beef or sheep!


 

ready to squeeze out the snags

sausage meat and suet mix

ready to serve the first night

delicious and hearty soup (and balls) - see the soggy dumpling?

soup, glorious soup ... la la la!


Oh, I forgot to tell you the rest of the saga.  I was going to throw out all the mess.  So I had a packet of unopened suet mix, and a massive bowlful of suet and flour and salt.  I thought the birds and possums might like it ...  No, thought I to myself.  Be thrifty.  And I weighed it out and divvied it up and bagged it and put it in freezer bags and tagged it.  Sweat pouring down my brow, hands covered in suet-y mess, I bravely finished up my suet story.  So there it sits, in my freezer drawer, awaiting the next instalment of the dumpling sagas.


(Joining up with Marg from The Intrepid Reader for Weekend Cooking.)


© Sherry M.

Friday, 1 April 2022

In My Kitchen - April 2022

Greetings, everyone.  I hope you're all doing okay.  We're having a damp and soggy end to the month.  And yes - it's been raining again, and areas of northern New South Wales are inundated again.  They had barely started cleaning up from the floods a few weeks ago.  And as for Ukraine - I can hardly bear to think about that.  

And then there's the topic du jour - Will Smith.  I won't dignify his appalling behaviour, except to say he clearly needs help!  And what the heck is going on with society where being rich and famous means you get away with this behaviour?  Enough of that; let's move on to brighter things!

Easter is a-coming.  Oh my, how did that happen?  Hubby's birthday is on Easter Monday.  Very inconvenient of him; and I'll have to order his cake the week before :-)  Of course, he said: 'I don't need any presents'.  But I managed to think of a couple anyway.  Don't tell him I bought him a flat cap.  Luckily he doesn't read my posts (unless I ask him to - tee hee).


In My Kitchen:


yep, coffee bags and Tumami spread

The coffee bags were a bit disappointing as I prefer my coffee stronger.  The Tumami is a black garlic and tomato spread.  Delicious in soups, stews and so on.


raw honey

This honey is harvested once a year in Tasmania.  Kunzea is a native Australian shrub, which has very useful essential oils.  (I love the roll-on liniment which is an anti-inflammatory cream and is also excellent for insect bites!)


native chilli oil

This punchy oil has macadamias, pepperleaf, wattle seed, shallots and garlic swimming around in the jar.  Delicious on many things.


dried bush fruit powder and native spice

Finger limes are a native fruit, growing in the coastal border region of New South Wales and Queensland.  It's always a wonderful surprise when you open them up, as the tiny vesicles (aka beads/pearls/caviar) can be any one of a number of beautiful colours, including pink, orange, lime or lemon.  The dried powder has a marvellous, tangy flavour and scent.  And the Aussie lemon myrtle makes a beautiful lemony and fragrant spice.


and then there was lunch ...

I slapped together some avocado, smoked salmon, my homemade preserved lemon, and a good squeeze of yuzu Kewpie on corn thins.  We go through so many bottles of that delicious, creamy, citrusy stuff! 


green food waste caddy from our local Council

Our local Council has started handing out food caddies, which can be emptied into our normal green waste bins.  Such a fab idea!  All our food scraps go in them, to be turned into compost for farmers.


ready to be hung!

My curveball is this wonderful painting by our friend Catherine Reason Macauley from Reason Gallery.  It is quite large, and takes up a fair bit of real estate on our living room wall.  We love it!


So get to it, friends and new friends.  Join us for another IMK post.  And here's how to do it:

IMK posts are about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  And a curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related (see my artwork above).  

The link is open from the first of the month to midnight on the thirteenth of the month.

Options for adding your post to IMK:

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 OR:

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

3. Email me: sherrym1au@gmail.com, with your link or any queries about the link process, or if you would like it to be added after the 13th ('cos I can sneak it in)




In My Kitchen:


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Click here to enter