Saturday 25 May 2019

Quinoa And Green Bean Salad

Have you picked yourself up off the floor yet?  Me, doing a vegan and ever-so-trendy quinoa dish?  Yep I'm amazed at myself too:-)  I've had a bit of stomach trouble lately (too much wheat and meat?/too much info?) so I decided I'd better do something good for my gut health.  So I conjured up this healthy, gut-friendly dish.  And it was very tasty too, so win-win!

grab your ingredients

Just as an aside, last week was the 6th anniversary of Sherry's Pickings, and what a wonderful time it has been.  I've so enjoyed meeting fellow food bloggers in virtual and real life.  Such a lovely community of fellow foodies.  Hope you enjoy my new banner and background too, which ring in the changes!

Original recipe by Sherry's Pickings:

Serves 4 as a side:


200g. (1 cup) of cooked quinoa

200g. green beans, steamed or boiled till tender

200g. frozen edamame, steamed or boiled till tender

half a red capsicum (bell pepper), chopped or sliced into strips

2-3 spring onions (scallions), sliced

fresh parsley or herb of your choice, snipped or chopped - amount at your discretion, maybe 3-4 tbs

1 tbs baby capers, rinsed well 

2 tbs crushed peanuts - i.e. finely chopped

1 tbs dukkah 

1-2 tsp white sesame seeds

2-3 tbs (40-60 mLs) lime or lemon juice

2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

sea salt to taste - maybe 1 tsp 

ground black pepper to taste - maybe 1/2 tsp


Cook up the quinoa, green beans and edamame till the amount of tender you prefer, and leave till they hit room temp.

Pop the edamame out of the pods

Slice up the capsicum and spring onions

Chop or snip up the parsley

Throw all the ingredients into a salad bowl and toss well

Serve with baked or grilled salmon or any fish of your choice; chicken would go well with this salad too


Cook quinoa as per the packet instructions, or get Mr P. to do it for you (tee hee).  He told me he took one cup quinoa, rinsed well, and shoved it in the microwave with 1½ cups cold water on High for 6 minutes, then at 80% for another 5 mins.  Toss it with a fork and let it sit for 10 mins.  FYI - 1 cup raw quinoa = 3 cups cooked 

Mr P. also cooked up the green beans and edamame in the microwave: green beans took 5-6 mins. on High, while the edamame took 4-5 mins. 

ingredients gathered

chop that parsley

juice the lemon for the dressing

ready to serve

and ready to eat

    artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Monday 20 May 2019

Nutella Chelsea Buns

Nutella?  Mmm, I have to confess I love the stuff.  I don't believe in foods being good or bad, so I will just say 'everything in moderation, even Nutella'.  You could use another version of this choc/hazelnut spread, or make your own.  But forget your niggardly worries my friends, and just enjoy this sweet treat with a cuppa.

delicious with a cuppa

I first found this recipe in The Australian Women's Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook.  These are fabulous books, with well-written and tested recipes.  But because I can't leave a good recipe alone, I decided to try a Nutella version.  I had intended to post this pre-Easter, but time got away from me.  So here is my version of an updated Chelsea Bun, with lashings of chocolate and that ubiquitous choc/nut spread.

Recipe adapted by Sherry's Pickings:

Makes 10 buns/scones


60g. (2 oz.) hazelnuts, roasted and finely chopped, and divided into 40g. and 20g.

375g. (3 cups) self-raising flour

1/2 tsp sea salt 

50g. (1⅔ oz.) cold butter

1-1¼ cups cold milk

1½ tsp Frangelico (optional) - whisk this into the milk if using


60g. (2 oz.) butter

50g. (1/3 cup) brown sugar, lightly packed

150g. (1/2 cup) Nutella

160g. (1 cup) sultanas

1 tbs (20 mLs) Frangelico (optional) - sprinkle over the sultanas if using

50g. (a hearty quarter cup) chocolate chips

50g. (2/3 cup) candied orange peel, finely chopped (optional) 

40g. of the roasted, chopped hazelnuts as mentioned above, and keep the other 20g. for the top of the buns


6 tbs icing sugar

4 tsp water or Frangelico - I used 1 tsp water and 3 tsp Frangelico


First, roast your nuts @180C for 10-15 minutes on a lined baking tray in a single layer - watch them carefully towards the end as they can burn quickly

Let them cool for a minute or two, then rub the nuts between your kitchen paper-lined fingers till most of the skin comes off, then either chop well or shove them into a mini food processor and blitz - gently, not to a powder

Now make the dough by sifting the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl

Rub the cold butter into the flour with your fingertips till it looks like breadcrumbs

Add the milk carefully; try adding half the milk then keep adding till you have a firm but pliable dough

Roll out the dough till you have a 30cm X 23cm (12in x 9in) rectangle

Cream the butter and sugar together, and spread over the dough

Throw dobs of Nutella over the butter and sugar mix, and spread with a spatula till you have an even layer

Scatter over the sultanas, choc chips, orange peel and hazelnuts

Roll the whole thing up carefully, lengthwise

And cut into ten thick slices - which you now place into a well-greased 23cm (9in) cake tin 

Bake in a moderate oven 185C (365F) for 25 to 30 minutes till golden

Just before the buns are ready, mix the icing sugar and water/Frangelico in a small bowl

Sprinkle the other 20g. of hazelnuts over the top of the buns and pour on the glaze

Mr P. and myself found these buns to taste better when room temp. rather than warm from the oven, but whatever takes your fancy...

Will keep in an air-tight container for a few days


If using the candied orange peel, try to buy a good quality product at a deli or specialty store

In place of Frangelico, you can use hazelnut essence (from cake decorating shops) or hazelnut syrup from delis or some cafés

You can add some cocoa to the glaze if you fancy a bit more chocolate

ingredients gathered

rub the toasted nuts between your fingers  

  blitz till a bit chunky, a bit powdery 

firm but pliable dough

spread on the butter and sugar mix, then the Nutella

scatter over the choc chips, sultanas and hazelnuts 

rolling, rolling, rolling

cut into ten pieces

squish into that well-buttered cake tin 

 golden and fragrant after 25-30 mins at 185C  

sprinkle on the nuts

artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Monday 13 May 2019

Salt Dining and Lounge Bar - Review

It was dark and it was rainy one recent Friday night when Mr P. and I decided on a last minute dinner at the newly opened Salt Dining and Lounge Bar. Salt is a new addition to the dining scene in Wilston, replacing the former Noho grill. We asked our friends The Barrelmakers (not their real name or occupation - tee hee) to come with to check it out. They were tired after a long week but stalwarts that they are, they came out rain and all. They even agreed to sit outside where the rain was driven in horizontally as we ate. Our choice to sit outside (under cover) so not Salt's fault btw. :-)

European Sunsets share platter $32

Our mates decided on a share platter with chicken wings and halloumi, a plate of salt and pepper squid and fries, and a share board of bread with pesto and olive oil to dip into. I had the grilled chicken fillet, while hubby chose the Mary Poppins – a sweet potato waffle burger with mushroom, onion jam, tomato and lettuce (with halloumi in place of tofu, an extra $3). Sadly the waffles were limp rather than crispy, and had way too much cinnamon (a tad weird on a savoury dish surely?) and too much sugar, which hubby didn’t find enjoyable.

Mary Poppins $17

marinated chicken fillet $18

On the other hand, my marinated, grilled chicken fillet was some of the best chicken I’ve ever had. Incredibly moist and tender (just like the menu says), with caramelised edges and grill marks as proof, this chicken was a delightful and spicy dish. The fries were fine – crispy outside, soft inside – but the ‘fresh house salad’ seemed to be mostly roast capsicum strips, which I found a bit odd. I’ll say it again tho – this was fabulous chicken!

bread share platter

Our mates’ platter of bread came with many and varied slices – looked like sourdough, white and grain - which was great for the family of four with the two hungry youngsters. The pesto was pungent, and the olive oil was abundant. The European Sunsets share platter ($32) came with dips and olives, salt and pepper squid, halloumi and chicken wings. All went down a treat. The family of four also ordered a serving of salt and pepper squid with chips, on a bed of green leaves ($18). The squid was tender and spicy, the chips seasoned and beer battered.

salt and pepper squid $18

My drink was the Nutella kahlua mudslide ($16), a concoction with loads of Nutella, and whipped cream, and nicely alcoholic. I kinda stumbled home after this one. Very filling, very delicious. Hubby had the vanilla thickshake ($7.50); it came with whipped cream on top (which he isn’t a fan of) and was not cold enough for his taste. As he says – ‘the cream or ice cream should be mixed in with the milkshake’ – but that's his personal disposition.

Nutella Kahlua Mudslide $16 - a meal in itself:-)

The family of four had a glass of rosé, a beer, a soft drink and a coffee milkshake – all fine, and as expected, though the youngest Barrelmaker had to return her drink and have a new one made up as her original order had been mixed up. This was fixed promptly and without fuss.

looking in to the modern interior

All up, not a bad place to have a drink and/or a meal.  And next time hopefully it won’t be raining!  (And it wasn't - raining, that is)  

Addendum:  Mr P. and I came here for dinner a couple of weeks later with Princess Pia.  I had talked up the chicken fillet so we both had that, while Mr P. went for the chicken and Napoli calazone $20.  He liked the filling, but wasn't a huge fan of the dough.  A bit too heavy, he thought.  But he enjoyed his salad with the tangy dressing.  The Princess (being Italian) told us that calazone means a pair of knee-high socks!  So take what you will from that:-)  

calazone $20

deliciously tender grilled chicken $18

A little less caramelised round the edges this time, but still so tender and tasty.  I enjoyed the salad a bit more than the previous time, as it had a few more fresh ingredients and less capsicum strips.  Did the salad dressing have maple syrup?  I think it may have, so a bit sweet for my tastes.

Fifth Leg sauvignon blanc $8

The Princess drank sauvignon blanc ($8), while I went for a glass of Prosecco ($7).  Mr P. stuck to lemon, lime and bitters $4.50 (which sadly came out of a bottle rather than being mixed at the bar) as he was the designated driver (as usual - tee hee).  All up, we three enjoyed our meals and found them great value.  Oh, and the service was friendly, prompt and helpful.  One of the lovely ladies grabbed extra chairs and set up an outside table for us, without demur.  A pleasant evening!  And no rain:-)  

The Picking's Verdict:

Food: 7/10

value: 8/10

service: 8/10

looking in

1/1 MacGregor St., Wilston 4051

Ph: 0468 872 589

Hours: Wed-Mon - 11am to 9pm but hours vary
             Also open for breakfast on weekends

Café coffee grill tapas bar is their own description!

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Panko-Crusted Salmon

I'm becoming a bit of a proselytiser here.  Nah, it's not rude; I just mean that panko breadcrumbs and I have become best buds!  And I'm letting everyone know:-)  So I've been using them left, right and centre lately.  We had friends over for dinner a few weeks ago, so I made them panko-encrusted salmon.  They were instant converts too.  I even had to send Lady J. a photo of the packet so she knows what to buy at the shops:-)

Lady J. and Lord N. have moved from next door to our Premier to the seaside, about forty-five minutes from us.  So we don't get to see them as often, but when we do, we eat and we drink and we talk!  Eat, drink, talk, repeat! (as a certain blogger friend says).  We're lucky to have lots in common, like archaeology and history and books and art and ... And food, glorious food.  This salmon went down a treat with all of us.

crunchy and salty coating; tender fish

Recipe by Sherry's Pickings

Serves 4:


6-7 tbs panko breadcrumbs

1-2 tbs fresh parsley, very finely chopped or 3 tsp lightly-dried parsley

1/2 tsp sea salt flakes   (plus another 1/2 tsp smoked salt - optional)

10-12 grinds of black pepper, say 1/2 tsp

1/4-1/2 tsp shichimi or dried chilli flakes (optional)

1-2 tsp chicken stock powder

3-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

4 salmon fillets, skin on (about 150g. each)


Firstly, place everything except the salmon into a large bowl

Give it a good stir till well combined

Hoist the salmon fillets into the mixture and coat well

Place them on a foil-lined baking tray skin-side down, happily side by side

Pat any leftover panko mixture over the fillets

Bake them @ 180C for about 12-15 minutes - mine were done at 13 mins.

Serve with salad and potatoes, steamed or boiled or Mr P.-style!


I got Mr P. to do his usual trick of throwing the potatoes (chopped into large chunks) in the micro-wave for 6-8 mins. till tender.  I believe he puts butter and olive oil and seasoning on too, but that's his secret ...

Check the salmon after 10 mins. and take them out if they look right for you - we like ours a little translucent in the centre

You can use skinless fillets, but the skin keeps it moist so I suggest using them skin-on.  It is sooo easy to pull the flesh off the skin when baked

beautiful shiny salmon fillets

coat the fish with the panko mixture

deliciously tender inside and crunchy outside after baking @180C for 13 mins. 

serve with an asian-style salad 

and Mr P.'s potatoes with herby oil

Lord N. holding his dinner:-)

      artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Wednesday 1 May 2019

In My Kitchen - May 2019

May you say?  The month between hubby's April birthday and my own in June.  Heading into Winter at last, my fave season perhaps, here in (sometimes too) sunny Queensland.  I am a Winter baby, and I love being able to slap on a scarf and jacket.  Funny thing Life - with me ending up here where the sun shines most of the year.  Do you feel you are in the right place, my friends?  Or is it a bit of a mystery how you got there?  Truth to tell, I don't think I could cope with real Winters anymore, so just as well I'm here :-)

Enough of that mental meandering now.  Let's take a leap into the previous month's goings-on in my kitchen.  It was as busy as usual clearly, 'cos it just flew on by, faster than a Concorde jet.  Or maybe faster than a Virgin spaceflight, though less deadly.  Nope, you're never getting me into one of those things.  I like a bit of gravity in the morning:-)  

a beautiful blue ceramic bowl

Here we have another ceramic bowl I bought recently.  This one is made by Ruth Bruten, a Melbourne writer, cook and ceramic artist.  And mother of five!  A busy lady indeed.  I love its smooth roundness in my hand.  Happiness!

handmade pastries

I love these cute little baked pies.  So handy to have in the fridge!  I made quite a few, which didn't last long as Mr P. and I scoffed them down for lunches.

baked Brie

We had friends over for dinner one night so I popped a Brie with walnuts and honey on top into the oven for about 15 minutes till it started to run.  So delicious, folks.  Serve it with warm bread as a starter.

more wooden spoons!

Are you laughing Tiffin Fiona?  Yep I knew it.  Only one of these is for me though.  The white oak one is for my nephew who just gained his chef's papers.  The wood came from a Bundaberg Rum distillery vat!  And the silky oak is for me, origin unknown except for Far North Queensland.  The carver Ron makes wonderful implements from reclaimed woods all over the place.  Every time we go to Stanthorpe, we stop by Jersey Girls Café for a milkshake made with fabulous jersey milk, and I can't go past Ron's fab stuff. 

as per the label

Yep this is tartaric acid, not quite the same as cream of tartar apparently.  I had to hunt for this one, as it is not readily available.  I will be using it in a recipe soon, so keep an eye out for an upcoming post.

a cookbook!  told ya:-)

Remember I said last month I was expecting another couple of books?  Well, here's this one by Irris Makler, an Australian journalist based in Jerusalem.  Over several years, she collected the stories of Holocaust survivors who shared their family recipes with her, and now with us.  Thinking of the Holocaust reminds me of a young man we met in Hungary years ago over a cup of coffee.  He kindly invited us to stay at his flat in Vienna, which we did.  I got sick and we had to stay for a week (he must have been sick to death of us by then).  He regaled us over the week with tales of his neo-Nazi leanings.  Being laidback Aussies with not an anti-Semitic bone in our bodies, this was indeed a bizarre experience!  

local (ish) olive oil

Mr P. and I headed west a few weeks ago for a short break.  It's so good to get away from city madness, and head off to the country.  We pottered around, caught up with friends, and bought some local produce, including this extra virgin olive oil.  Surprisingly to many, it does actually snow in sunny Queensland; this olive oil comes from an area on the border with New South Wales where it does indeed sleet and snow now and then.

Easter treats

On Easter Sunday morning, we ducked out to the local chocolate shop to grab some last minute treats, handmade by the lovely chocolatier Jessica.  See the beautiful pink bunnies?  You may have heard of the latest craze - ruby chocolate, made from the ruby cocoa bean.  All very top secret as to how it is made!  Tastes like white chocolate with a fruity hit.  Really delicious.

my cute ceramic toad overseeing my kitchen

Last but not least is Ferdinand, my kitchen toad.  He is made and hand-painted by an artist in L.A. - Caroline McFarlane-Watts, who makes beautiful miniatures for Hollywood.  How could I resist this green beauty?  That's enough from me this month, so join in my friends with your kitchen happenings!

Please feel free to join us for this month's In My Kitchen link.  Everybody is welcome!

(Addendum to links for IMK: Inlinkz has changed its linking method due to the new EU data protection laws, so I can only add other people's posts on their behalf, in a list separate to the actual linky.  So, I will still have the inlinkz option up, but you have to either verify yourself through social media or create an inlinkz log-in.  I think you only have to do that once!  I will also have a list of posts for those who don't want to log-in, so if that means you, either comment with your details on this post, or email me with your post details and I will add it to the list - hoorah!)

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