Monday, 13 August 2018

Caraway Scones - International Scone Week - August 2018 - #ISW2018

International Scone Week has come around so fast this year.  #ISW was started some years ago by Celia from the Fig Jam & Lime Cordial blog, and is now under the mantle of Tandy of Lavender and Lime fame.  Join in folks!  Everyone is welcome.  I don't often make scones; not sure why as they are incredibly quick and easy to make.  They can be sweet or savoury, and whipped up in a short time for surprise guests.

This recipe is from Old Farmhouse Recipes by Alison Uttley, known for her Little Grey Rabbit children's books.  She gives no oven temp. or baking time, and not much direction for this recipe - I guess any good cook of the (late Victorian) era would know these things already.  So I've done my best, and I think they turned out pretty well, if a bit flat.  I'm not sure if they're meant to be this way, or if my bicarb soda was just too darn old?:=)  And who would have thought to put marmalade and caraway seeds into scones?:=)  Pretty tricky those Victorians.  

slather on the butter and jam


450g. of plain flour

1 tsp of baking powder

110g. of butter

170g. of sugar

2 tbs of caraway seeds - I used US tablespoons here

2 tbs marmalade

1 tsp bicarb-soda dissolved in a tsp of water

1 tbs of vinegar

about 180 mLs of buttermilk or plain Greek yoghurt thinned out with water

1-2 tbs of cream or milk for brushing the tops before baking


Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl

Mix in chunks of the butter with a knife, then get your hands in and rub it together till it looks like breadcrumbs

Stir in the sugar and caraway seeds

Make a well in the middle of the flour and butter mixture

In goes the marmalade, bi-carb and vinegar - yes, it fizzes:) 

Mix to a stiff dough with the buttermilk or yoghurt - start with 125 mLs (half a cup), then use more if needed

Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 2 cm. (about 1 inch) thick shape - round or rectangle

Cut out rounds with a scone cutter (or glass) - you will get about 12

Place on a lightly floured, or a lined baking tray

Brush the tops with the cream or milk

Bake at 200C for about 15-20 mins. till lightly golden brown on top

Cool on a wire rack or just eat warm with butter and jam:=) 


I didn't have buttermilk (Alison says to use 'sour milk'), so I made up some thick Greek yoghurt with water till I had about 180 mLs

I would probably use a bit less sugar next time, as the marmalade also makes them sweet

You may need more or less liquid, depending on your flour, etc

Leave the caraway seeds out if you're not a fan, or try another spice

I ended up with 19 scones!  I think it was because I made my dough shape too small - i.e. only 1 cm. thick rather than 2.  Silly me!  Maybe that's why they ended up a bit flat too

ingredients (mostly) gathered  

rub between your fingers till it looks like breadcrumbs 

yep the bicarb and vinegar fizz together

it should look like this when you squish it together

bring it together gently to a ball

pat out the dough with your hands till about 2cm. thick

cut out the rounds with a scone cutter or glass

golden brown and smelling great

delicious with lots of butter and jam

caraway seeds - artwork by sherry's pickings

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Balley Soup

Guess what?  This is not an Irish soup, like I thought from the name.  It is in fact Lebanese.  Cute little meatballs dropped into a flavoursome soup - you can't go wrong with that.  The original recipe which I found in a Woolworths' Fresh magazine, is by a reader called Jane (no other info).  She says it is specific to a village called Beit Shalala in Lebanon.  This is my spiced up version of it, as her recipe is simple, with no onion, garlic or chillies, and no spice except cinnamon.  Sorry people, but I just can't leave things alone:=) 

cute little meatballs ready for the pot 

(Recipe adapted by Sherry's Pickings)

Serves 4:



500g. beef mince

1/2 tsp sea salt, and black pepper to taste - maybe 8 grinds of the mill

2 tsp dukkah (optional)

1-2 tsp dried parsley or 1-2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp mountain pepperberry or spice of your choice


1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs butter

1 large brown onion, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 red chillies, finely chopped

1 tin (410g.) of crushed tomatoes or tomato purée

1/2 tsp sumac

1-2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp sugar

3 tbs parsley, chopped

1/3 cup white rice

2-3 cups chicken stock

1/2-1 cup of boiling water - if needed

1/2 cup frozen baby green peas, thawed in (more) boiling water

1 tin (400g.) chick peas, drained


Throw the beef mince and the seasonings, etc into a medium mixing bowl

Mix up well with your hands and form into small balls (about 1 tbs per ball)

Heat the oil and butter together in a large saucepan

Fry the onion, garlic and chillies for about 5 minutes till starting to go golden

Now plop the meatballs into the pan and let them go brown, shaking now and then - this should only take a few minutes

Add the tomatoes, sumac, cinnamon, sugar, 2 tbs of the parsley, rice and stock to the pan

Bring it to the boil (on medium heat), then turn to low

Let it simmer away for about an hour, partially covered - keep an eye on it, and add some boiling water if it's getting too thick

Add the baby peas and chick peas, and let them warm through

Check for seasoning and add more sugar, salt and pepper if needed

Cast on the other tablespoon of parsley, and serve with chunky bread

roll your cute little meatballs together 

chop your parsley

drop those balls into the pan

I had put in a bit of water first, as the recipe states, but decided afterwards that frying up the onion, etc first was a better way to go.  So that's what I suggest - add the stock after the aromates and meatballs have been fried.

let it simmer away for about an hour

oops- sorry not a great photo

This is a tasty soup, great with a thick piece of sourdough or pane di casa bread.  It doesn't come up that well in a night-time photo, but rest assured, your tastebuds will be happy.


Jane's recipe calls for 2 tsp of cinnamon.  I found this overpowering so I suggest trying it with one tsp first

Her recipe can in fact be found on her blog Quilt Jane, posted in May 2011

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

In My Kitchen - August 2018

I don't like August!  There, I've said it.  July was not great for me, with lots of illness and family squabbles, so maybe I'm wrong, maybe this August will be fabulous:=)  Okay, moving on...  I've got lots to show you, anyway.

coffee-flavoured honey

I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds good.  I mean, coffee is great with everything.  And I'm careful to buy Aussie honey, local if possible, since a lot of the stuff you buy in shops is Chinese, and not even real honey, just rice bran syrup with a dash of honey.  So buy carefully, folks.  Lesson over :)  

olive oil, and birthday plates

As regular readers will be aware, myself and a mate went off to Northern Rivers for a cooking class on my actual birthday.  We stayed at Brunswick Heads, a gorgeous little coastal village.  She bought me these lovely serving plates "for the blog."  I had better make something wonderful to put on them.  I do have a cake recipe I'm dying to try out...

ceramic oil decanter

Yep, another gift, another beauty from our potter mate Miss B.  I love its sinuous lines, don't you?  And so useful too - always a winning aspect to any gift, I feel.

oh no, another cookbook?!:)

Just what I need - another cookbook, ha ha!  Here we have Joanna, superwoman, mother of five, interior designer, cookbook author, tv host and so on.  I've not had a good look at the recipes yet, so I can't tell you if they will be useful.  Here's hoping for some gooduns.

Japanese soy sauce mini jug 

My cousin brought this wee jug back from Japan for me.  It is so very cute.  (Oh yes, that's just reflections on the jug from the cloth.)  We love soy sauce in this house, though we mainly use organic, wheat-free tamari, so this little jug gets a workout.

pear slices tossed in olive oil and salt, and baked

I chopped up a few too many slices for the pear bread I made recently, so I turned them into pear chips.  Very delicious!

a knife and a Japanese wood cutter

The two way wood cutter is also a gift from my cousin.  I love the way you are told to 'Enjoy Cooking Time!'  I'm a bit afraid of this cutter to be honest.  My track record with mandolins is not good:=)  I bought the knife after the cooking class I went to for my birthday, even though my mate sliced up my finger with one of them.  (Sorry to dob you in, Lady M.)

a Japanese strainer

Another useful gift from my cousin.  I used it for grabbing peas out of the saucepan, but who knows what esoteric uses it may really have?:=)

and another one:=)

This is such a fabulous cookbook.  I've already made one recipe from it, and am about to make another.  Nice to find an author whose flavours and methods suit me so well.

Violet the violinist

Almost in my kitchen is Violet, a new artwork I bought myself for my birthday.  Well, that was my excuse anyway.  I love her fat thighs and the paintbrush which is her bow.  I can almost hear her playing sweet sounds...

Hope everyone had a great July, and hope to see you here for IMK - August.  Cheers, Sherry.

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