Tuesday 27 August 2019

Halloumi Salad With Caper Dressing

Regular readers will know I love quaint cooking books; community and school cookbooks, or just vintage and weird:-)  I bought a cute little book from a High School up the coast a while back, full of homely, family recipes.  There are some fab family dishes here from desserts to pies to bakes.  The book is divided into five sections: bakery/entrées and dips/soups and salads/mains, and desserts.  I like the way they start with Bakery, which has lots of delicious sounding cakes and tarts.  These clever folk have their priorities right:-)  

This book even has a few surprises like a rabbit dish, paella, goulash, and maple syrup glazed lamb shanks.  The photos are attractive, and the book is well set out with 2 recipes to a page.  Mr P. and I love going to Maleny, a hinterland town that has a lot of greenie/hippie type inhabitants.  This lovely little cookbook reflects the diversity of the town.  My fave story of staying in Maleny for the weekend is being bailed up and bitten by a couple of mad donkeys.  Yes I do mean the ones with long ears and big teeth:-)  One of them had a big nibble of my arm!  I hope I was tasty...      

grill your veg. and halloumi

This recipe is provided by Claire Michell, one of the Maleny High students.  Simple but delicious.  

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side:


caper dressing

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs lemon juice

1 tbs white vinegar

1 tbs capers 

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp mustard - grain or Dijon

pinch of dried oregano

sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste - maybe 1/8 tsp of each?

Halloumi salad

250g. (8 oz) halloumi cheese

3 zucchini

1 large potato, sliced thickly, parboiled or microwaved

400g. (14 oz) tin or jar of artichoke hearts, drained

1 red capsicum, cut into 4-6 pieces (optional)

1 lemon

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil


Place the dressing ingredients into a glass jar with a lid

Shake very well, and let it commingle for at least 30 minutes

Slice the halloumi into 8 pieces

Halve the zucchini lengthways, then cut each half into 3 chunks

Quarter the lemon, and put into a large bowl with the halloumi, zucchini, potato, artichokes, capsicum and olive oil

Toss everything gently to coat in the oil

Put everything on a hot grill plate, and let it become beautifully browned and tender

Pile onto a serving dish, and pour the dressing (after a quick shake) over all the delicious veg. and cheese


You could use different vegetables with this:  try eggplant. mushrooms, broccolini or asparagus

Mr P. microwaved the potato for three minutes before grilling

Try other herbs in the dressing, like thyme or parsley

Mr P. suggests tzatziki would go well with this, in place of the vinaigrette

dressing ready for a good shaking:-)

shake shake shake ... la la la ...

veg. and halloumi chopped up and ready for the olive oil  

Mr P. microwaved then grilled the potato slices 

toss everything in the olive oil (yeah ok, so I like a glove)

throw the veg on the grill plate

toss gently with the vinaigrette

and eat!

such a cute book, filled with family-friendly recipes 

artwork © Sherry's Pickings  

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

40g. 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