Sunday 26 August 2018

Chocolate Discs

Speaking of discs, hubby and I went into the library the other day.  He picked out a dvd, went up to the counter and asked how he could borrow 'the video.'  The librarian looked askance, clearly thinking what an old dodderer we have here.  I just pretended I didn't know him :=)

And speaking of chocolate, here we have a slightly mad recipe (well, not really a recipe but an idea) which mixes sweet and savoury in one delicious bite.  It's kinda trendy these days to mix odd flavours together, and to blur the line between sweet and savoury.  I know my cousin definitely thinks vegetables do not belong in the ice cream churner.  Fennel ice cream anyone?:=)

looking rather delicious, if I do say so myself:=) 

Recipe by Sherry's Pickings:


60-70g. of salt and vinegar crisps/chips

200g. dark chocolate - I used (mostly) 70% cocoa

4 tbs (80 mLs) of thickened cream (that's 5 tbs + 1 tsp for American readers)

a large handful (2 tbs?) of bling to scatter over - I used chocolate crispies, but use whatever you fancy. Something with a bit of texture is best


Zap the crisps/chips in a small food processor, or put into a plastic bag and bang like crazy with a rolling pin to get crumbs

Line a baking tray with baking paper, and spread about 2/3 of the crumbs evenly over the paper

Melt the chocolate and cream together in the microwave for a couple of minutes till it just starts to look melted (don't worry, once you stir it, it should all be melted) - be sure you pause it, and stir every 30 seconds or so

Cool it for 2-3 minutes (the chocolate, not you, tho' feel free)

Grab a couple of dessertspoons and make little mounds/discs/balls on the crumby paper

Spoon the rest of the crumbs over the tops, and sprinkle the bling over each one

Place the tray in the fridge for about 30 minutes, then put the discs in an airtight container, and store in the fridge


Use milk or even white chocolate if you fancy

I made 9 discs, but you can make them smaller if you wish

Make sure you put the cream in with the chocolate when you melt it.  Don't foolishly (like I did) stir it in afterwards - it started to go a bit gloopy, so my discs ended up somewhat blob-like:=)  

An alternative way to make them, is to crush the crisps, put them all in a bowl and throw your choc discs/balls right into the bowl so you end up with balls of combined chips and chocolate

ingredients gathered

line the baking tray with the crushed crisps

throw on the bling, me hearties

blingy, sweet, salty, vinegary treats

Hubby turned to me with a sad look, and said "I probably won't like these".  But he gulped one down manfully, and said "Delicious!"

Our friend Princess Pia has just informed me that they have chocolate-covered chips in Japan (where she visited earlier this year).  This must have lain there in the back of my mind, till I came up with chip-covered chocolate. :=)

I am linking up with the monthly (though August is the final one, sadly) chocolate fest hosted by Choclette of the Tin and Thyme blog.  It has the fabulous name of We Should Cocoa!


cacao pod - artwork by sherry's pickings

Monday 20 August 2018

Chicken Supreme AKA Dijaaj Muluki

Regular readers know my horror stories of being attacked by our neighbour's crazy, feral chooks when we were kids.  And the stories about a friend's father chopping off the heads of his chooks in front of us.  Oh my dears, the blood, and the squawking.  Did I tell you about our fox terrier?  She used to go hunting our neighbour's birds (a different neighbour), including their extremely loud peacocks.  As far as we know, she only caught the chickens, but who knows for sure?:)

All this didn't stop me chowing down on a tasty bit of chicken whenever I came across it - which wasn't often, 'cos chickens were expensive and we were poor:=)  And now the question we all ask ourselves, much like 'what is the meaning of life?' - why does everything taste like chicken?  Even chicken?  And why does every mammal want to eat it?  Our gentle Sheltie dog (not the terrier) would just about snap off my fingers to get to a piece of roasted chook.  It's a mystery, my friends, a mystery.   

tender chicken with yoghurt sauce and chopped salad

Here is a fabulous chicken recipe from Delights From The Garden of Eden, by Nawal Nasrallah.  We loved her medieval hummus recipe, and this is another tasty one.  Can't wait to make her boureg next!

(Serves 4:)


1 kg. (about 8) skinless thigh fillets, or about 4-5 bone-in pieces

1 large brown onion, quartered

2 bay leaves

5 or 6 cardamom pods

1½ tsp of sea salt flakes

1/4 tsp black pepper (about 8 grinds of the mill)

1½-2 tbs olive oil

2 brown onions, thinly sliced - use red onions or (many) French shallots if preferred

150-200g. mushrooms, cut into chunks

¼ tsp black pepper (yes, another)

½ tsp ground coriander

¼ tsp dried chilli flakes or powder

1 Turkish flatbread or flatbread of your choice, torn into chunks

1 tbs sumac

Plain Greek yoghurt, and chopped salad for serving


Place the skinless thighs into a medium saucepan, along with the onion, bay leaves, cardamom, 1 tsp of the salt, and the pepper

Add just enough cold water to cover it, and bring to a boil on high heat

Skim any scum off the top - there probably won't be much if using boneless thighs

Turn down the heat to low, and let it simmer away for about 25 minutes till the chicken is just cooked - if using bone-in thighs, you may need to let it simmer for another 10 minutes

While you wait, heat up the oil in a frypan, tip in the sliced onion, and stir every so often for about 15-20 mins. till it turns golden brown

Stir in the mushrooms, and let them cook for a couple of minutes

Now stir in the other ½ tsp of salt, the pepper, coriander and chilli

Grab a large casserole or roasting dish, preferably one with a lid, and place the torn-up pieces of bread in a layer on the bottom

Spoon half of the onion mixture over the bread, and place the strained chicken pieces on top, in a single layer - KEEP the broth!

Spread the other half of the onion mixture over the chicken, and sprinkle the sumac over the whole thing

You now pour the broth over the chicken, cover it (with alfoil if no lid) and bake at 200C/400F for 20-25 mins.

Now take off the lid/alfoil and cook for another 10 mins.

Serve with yoghurt which has garlic, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, lime oil, and lime juice mixed in, and a chopped salad of tomato and cucumber with salt, pepper, lime oil, and lime juice mixed thru


If using boneless thighs, chop each one into 3 pieces before cooking

If you use bone-in thighs, you may need to cook it for another 10 mins. in the oven

If you use red onions or French shallots instead of brown onions, you will only need to sauté for 10-15 mins.

FYI, I had about 350 mLs of stock when the chicken was strained

Use plain olive oil if you don't have lime or lemon oil for the yoghurt and salad accompaniments; Nawal suggests using 1 cup (250 mLs) of yoghurt with 1/2 cup of chopped parsley,1/4 tsp salt and 1 garlic clove, grated

ingredients gathered

into the pot

gently stir the mushrooms into the onions

place the torn bread over the bottom of your dish 

ready for the oven @200C

making the yoghurt sauce

chopped salad 

yum!  ready to eat

brown onion - artwork by sherry's pickings

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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