Wednesday 25 September 2019

Coconut Rice Pudding With Vanilla And Lime

When I think of rice pudding, I think of tins.  Our grandma used to give our mum tins of rice pudding as a treat for her kids (me and my three siblings).  Surprisingly, it didn't put me off rice pudding at all, and I still make a baked version now and then with cream and lemon juice.  Tinned quinces on the other hand were a childhood nightmare, and if we didn't eat them at dinnertime, we got them for breakfast the next day.  Oh, how we suffered, poor darlings.:-) 

This is a recipe from Stokehouse Q, a local restaurant overlooking the Brisbane River.  They serve it with mangoes, in the summertime when mangoes are at their peak.  Mr P. and I are not fans of this squishy fruit, so I served it with what I had in the freezer - coconut chunks and cranberries.  Choose your favourite fruit!   

creamy and sweetly delicious


170g. (6 oz) arborio rice (or other short-grain rice)

170 mLs (2/3 cup) water

400 mLs (1.6 cups) coconut milk

400 mLs (14 oz) coconut cream

3 tsp vanilla paste or fabulous-quality extract

1/2 tsp (3g.) sea salt 

75g. (2.6 oz) macadamia nuts

a splash (or light spray) of plain vegetable oil

a veeeerrry large pinch of sea salt

zest of 1 lime

250 mLs cream

100g. (3.5 oz) caster sugar

fruit and fruit sorbet, to serve


Place the rice and water into a large saucepan, and give it a good stir

Let it come to a low simmer, stirring until the water is absorbed - this will only take a few minutes

Now add the coconut milk, coconut cream, the vanilla and salt, and stir in well

Stir regularly as it simmers gently, till the rice is tender - this took about 30 minutes - and keep a very good watch on it towards the end so it doesn't stick or burn (you may need to add a bit of extra coconut cream to keep it from sticking)

Let it cool in the saucepan for 5-10 minutes, then push clingfilm right onto the surface of the pudding

Put it in the fridge overnight, or if you're in a hurry, for 6-8 hours

The next day, take the pudding out of the fridge and let it warm up for about 20 minutes before adding the other ingredients - I warn you, it is like spakfilla at this stage :-) 

Roast the nuts with veg. oil and salt for 10 mins @150C

Cool 'em down, then chop as finely or roughly as you like

Zest the lime (after scrubbing and drying, if it's not organic)

Whip the cream and sugar together till you get medium peaks

Haul the pudding into a large mixing bowl, and loosen it with extra cream or coconut cream (I used about 3 tbs of both!)

Stir the nuts and lime zest into the rice pudding, then stir a few spoonfuls of the whipped cream into the rice mixture

Tip in the rest of the cream, and fold it through the rice pudding

Serve with fruit, coconut chunks, and a scoop of your fave fruity sorbet


I scrubbed my lime with a potato brush, then dried on a clean towel

Choose your fave sorbet and your fave fruit to go with - they suggest mango and mango sorbet

rice and water

thick and creamy after 30 mins. simmering

into the bowl for cooling overnight in the fridge

slap on that clingfilm and rest overnight - yep, you too:-) 

roast and chop the nuts

I told you it was thick, my friends

in go the chopped nuts and lime zest

sweet and ready to eat with coconut chunks and cranberries

    artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Thursday 19 September 2019

Burghul/Bulgur Salad With Blueberries And Lemons

Burghul, bulgur or bourghoul?  Depends whether you're Turkish or Persian or Lebanese.  Whatever you call it, it's been around for a long time, and is still a popular grain in many cultures.  I remember as a young, greenie, vego Uni. student eating a lot of this stuff!  Along with other weird and wonderful things; how could I forget buckwheat porridge, which looked like brown glue and tasted just the same? :-)  Or endless soy beans and seaweed, and yoghurt and potatoes (not together).  Ah, the memories...  

fresh and zingy

Here we have a recipe from plum gorgeous, by Romney Steele, an American artist, writer and cook.  She spent a year living in a mountaintop orchard, which inspired the seasonal, fruity recipes in her book.  Since we're having very warm weather already (it's only the second week of Spring!), a fruit-laden salad appealed to me.  This book has lovely photos, and over sixty homey recipes, using simple and fresh ingredients.  The methods are (mostly) uncomplicated, the recipes full of flavour; this is a book to appeal to many a home cook.

Serves 4-6:


160g. (1 cup) burghul wheat

a large pinch of salt - maybe 1/8 of a tsp?

240 mLs (1 scant cup) boiling water or vegetable stock

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

130g. (3/4 cup) of fresh corn kernels 

1 Continental cucumber, diced

150g. (1 cup) fresh blueberries

40g. (1/4 cup dried blueberries), softened in just-boiled water for five minutes

50g. (1/3 cup) pine nuts, lightly toasted in a small, dry frypan

1 bunch parsley or fresh coriander leaves, chopped

handful of fresh mint or chives, chopped finely

3-4 tbs lemon juice

2-3 pieces of preserved lemon, chopped finely - just the skin, flesh discarded

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

sea salt to taste - maybe 1/2 tsp

black pepper to taste - a dozen grinds of the mill perhaps?


Place the burghul and salt in a medium bowl

Pour the boiling water over, stir, cover and let sit for 15-20 minutes

Then drain any excess liquid, and fluff up with a fork

While you wait for the burghul to 'cook', mix the onion, corn, cucumber, blueberries, pine nuts and herbs in a large mixing bowl

Now stir in the burghul, and the amount of lemon juice you fancy

Then in go the preserved lemon and olive oil

Season with salt and pepper

Adjust the lemon juice, salt and pepper to your taste

If you fancy, serve with a protein like chicken or fish


Try quinoa or couscous if you don't have burghul

Blanch the corn kernels for a few minutes then refresh under cold water if you like your corn a little less crunchy

Use frozen corn kernels if you can't be bothered taking them off a cob - but you'll need to sit them in boiling water for a few minutes to defrost them

If you prefer, choose two small cucumbers of whatever sort you fancy

Use a different dried fruit if you don't have blueberries - cranberries perhaps?

This is a great side, but you could eat it happily as a main

I served this with baked buttermilk panko chicken

ingredients gathered

looks delicious already

tossed and ready to eat

panko chicken to go with ...

knobs of panko chicken on top of this fruity salad = yum!

To be honest, Mr P. and I prefer couscous so when I make it next time, that's what I'll use.  I bought the burghul from a bulk store; maybe it had been sitting in its plastic (!?!) tub for way too long :-)  Anyways, this was a really tasty and fresh salad, and you could feel it doing you good as you masticated.  And I felt very virtuous using up some frozen buttermilk that was lurking in the depths of the freezer.  A delicious and surprisingly hearty dish, my friends.

artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Friday 13 September 2019

Sticky Midnight Gingerbread

I love the name of this: midnight gingerbread.  Sounds a bit magical to me.  And it certainly tastes a bit magical too.  This is a recipe from Ruby Tandoh's book Flavour Eat What You Love.  Now you know I love Ruby, my friends, so I was really hoping this would be a great recipe and happily it is.  Not too sweet, wonderfully spicy, moist and delicious.  This would be great to take to a big gathering of friends and/or family.  Or give some away to your neighbours, as I did:-)

be generous with the icing sugar

Serves 12, or many if cut into small slices:


225g. butter

225g. black treacle

225g. soft dark brown sugar

thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

3 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

375g. plain flour

4 tbs cocoa powder

2 tbs ground ginger

4½ tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

375 mLs strong black tea, still hot

icing sugar, to dust the top


Line the bottom of a 20cm X 30cm X 3cm slice tray with baking paper, and lightly butter the sides

Melt the butter and treacle in a small saucepan, then tip into a large mixing bowl

Now stir in the brown sugar and grated ginger

Whisk in the eggs, then add the flour, cocoa, ground ginger, baking powder and salt and give it a really good whisking till smooth

Pour in the hot tea, and beat in really well

Whack the batter straight into the baking tin and into the oven @ 180C for 35-45 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean from the middle of the cake (Ruby says "more or less clean")

Let it cool right down, then swaddle like a baby in clingfilm and a tea-towel and put it away somewhere safe

And WAIT for 48 hours!

Then toss icing sugar very generously all over it, and slice it up

Store in an airtight container for up to a week


After peeling the ginger, I ended up with about 35g., which was proclaimed "the perfect amount" by our houseguest Ms. MA

ingredients gathered

dry ingredients ready for whisking in 

strong hot black tea

luscious black treacle

whisk everything together till you get a smooth batter

after baking for close to 45 mins @180C

ready to slice up - yep I ate that wee corner already:-)

icing sugar strewn over, and ready to eat and/or gift 

There was a lot of cake, and only me and Mr P. to eat it, so I cut it up and gave heaps away.  We still had some a week later, and it was still in tip-top condition.  Of course, I kept it in an airtight container.  This really is a lovely, moist cake with a lovely flavour.  Good on ya' Ruby!

artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Saturday 7 September 2019

Pochito Sydney - Review

Pochito - mmm, what does it mean?  According to them, it's when you're in a happy/drowsy state after a satisfying meal.  Oddly, there is no such word when you Google it, nor does it exist in my super-huge Spanish/English dictionary that I've had since Uni days:-)  Maybe it's a secret Chilean word...

a gorgeous day in Sydney

We ended up here for lunch recently, when visiting Sydney for a book launch.  (Yep, the one which included my short story.)  Our dear friend Ms. TW picked us up from the airport, and swept us away for a Chilean street food lunch.  As you can see, they specialise in empanadas and coffee.  We were in desperate need for food, as they don't feed you on planes anymore.  Remember the good old days when they actually gave you a proper lunch or dinner?  Nah, it's pretty dim in my mind too.

Mr P. heading in with determination

Mr P. on the hunt for food, glorious food - tra la la, as the song goes.  He loves his carbs so empanadas were a must; all that glorious housemade pastry to come...  

pork and more pork:-) 

So yep there's lots of pork here and if you don't like pork, go for chorizo - no hang on, that's ... pork.  As you can see, pork is all the go here.  Now as some astute readers know, I am not a pork fan, so I stuck to the empanadas.  Mr P. chose them too, while Ms. TW (The Writer) went for the Bacán.

Bacán $10

This is grilled chorizo on a roll, with slaw and a coriander salsa.  Ms. TW especially loved the salsa, coriander being a fave herb.  She enjoyed the spicy, tangy sausage, and the fresh slaw.  She felt this was a great combo of flavours and textures.

Mr P. awaiting his lunch
Mr P. looks very anxious and expectant here, doesn't he?  Not to worry; he was soon indulging his fetish for carbs (tee hee).

garlic chilli cheese and prawn empanada $7

This was deliciously cheesy, though I wouldn't have minded a bit more prawn and garlic.  But for such a good price, you really can't complain.  I wolfed this down, so sadly there are no photos of the interior.  The friendly waitress cum part-owner told us that all the pastry is house-made, and all the empanadas are handmade.  

spinach and ricotta $5

You're now going to be spammed with photos of anonymous pastries, my friends :-)  'Cos we ate 'em before I could photograph them.  Mr P. said this was the spinach model, so we have to trust him, don't we?  The verdict: 'pretty good, and as expected.'  And 'should have tipped the hot sauce over it.'  Why did we not copy that table of Spanish-speaking young ladies next to us, and make use of the hot sauce?  Next time, readers, next time. 

chicken and mushroom $6

Mr P. tells me this was the chicken and mushroom version, which he loved.  He said it had a fabulous, herby, white sauce, good pastry (told ya!), and was just a great combo.  Our friendly waitress who is also the part-owner Paulina, told him this was her grandmother's recipe.  Or maybe her mother's?  Oh Mr P., keep your head straight.

traditional beef $6
Mr P. and myself had one of these each, which were not bad.  I think we both found the filling a bit bland though.  Once again, I say to myself, 'hot sauce, girlie, hot sauce.  Why didn't you use the hot sauce?'  

interior of the beef version

I managed to get a shot inside this one:-)  You can see the boiled egg and olives here.  

alfajor $4

Delicious, delightful, dulce de leche shortbread sandwiches - yep, I had to try this.  And it was a delight - sweet, caramel-y, coconutty deliciousness, with a tender, crumbly shortbread.  A sweet treat indeed.

Colombian coffee $3.50

Ms TW let me try her coffee; this was a really great cuppa, so smooth and flavourful.  One of the best coffees I've had in a while, in fact.  Ms TW was also suitably impressed with it.  Just so smooth and strong - like our men?:-)

Berlines with caramel $5

These are yeasty German doughnuts popular in Chile, and apparently so-called due to the large German influence from German immigrants to Chile during the latter half of the 19th century.  I just know they are delicious, my friends.  Look at all that squidgy caramel!

Berlines with vanilla bean custard $5

And here we have the vanilla version.  See the lovely black specks of real vanilla?  What could be nicer?  Yep, that's right - nothing:)

hot sauce!

And here we have the hot sauce.  We really should have copied those girls:-)  They were sprinkling it on their food with great gusto and abandon.  As were the many other happy customers.

Pochito is a friendly, homey café, with food that is from the heart of the owners Paulina and her mum Patricia.  And clearly it is popular with the Spanish-speaking locals, and others too.  Worth a drop-in after a lunchless plane flight, for sure. 

1021 Botany Road, Mascot 2020
Ph: 0412 603 100

Open Wed to Sunday till 3 pm (4pm on Saturday)

Pochito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday 1 September 2019

In My Kitchen - September 2019

It's September, it's Spring and they've had a bit of rain out west.  Hip hip hooray!  The locals had started to buy in water as the dams are nearly empty, so even a small amount of rain is welcome.  Fresh green leaves are appearing, and flowers will be blooming.  It's a beautiful time of year here in sunny Queensland before it gets too hot.

August is a blaah month, and not much happened here in Pickings Land.  Mr P. and I both got mild colds, at separate times.  We travelled to Sydney for a weekend; we bunkered down and did ... not much.  But there was food, and there was cooking.  Always a comfort, even if it's still on the cruddy old oven.  The new one has taken up permanent residence in the dining room, while we wait and wait for the stove men to come do their thing(s)...  

young butcher bird 

Just for a bit of a change, I am showing you a juvenile butcher bird sitting on our back deck, waiting for some food.  S/He still has baby feathers, so not quite as black as they will become.  S/He comes to the kitchen window, and begs me for food.  Such a sweetie, even though as adults they eat other birds' eggs!  I love her whiskers though:-)

Come and join in everyone, for this month's In My Kitchen.  All welcome, new and old.  We love to see your global kitchens, and it's such fun to see what's happening in the 'other' hemisphere.  You know who you are:-)

In my kitchen:

that spread is a bit ... odd
I loved the nuts, but the spread is kinda weird; not sweet at all so probably a bit too healthy for me.  It will go in smoothies for breakfast.  Macadamias originated here in Australia sixty million years ago, and have been a staple food item for the indigenous peoples for a very long time.  So delicious!

a sweet little tumbler from Magnolia Mountain

I have several items from Magnolia Mountain, but this one had to join the collection.  They make beautiful things!

I won these!

It was Love Your Bookshop Day recently, and my fave indie store Avid Reader had a cake-off, as they do each year.  So I baked, and I won the above.  I'm not sure what category I won, as they all seemed to be taken already:-)  (I love the zero f**ks tea towel.)  


This is Edchup, named after Ed Sheeran the singer.  See the cute little tomato face with his spectacles?  Why?  Who knows?  Tastes the same as good old ketchup.

as per the labels

We go through a fair whack of olive oil in this house, and I love pearl barley.  It reminds me of my childhood; mum used to make a hearty soup with it.  I guess it fed lots of hungry children cheaply.  Oh, and there's a tea towel too.  You know I can never have enough of these in my linen cupboard:-)

I love Ruth

I love Ruth, and this is another fascinating read; this time about her tenure as editor of Gourmet magazine.  I sped through this one in a few hours.

one delicious quiche

This quiche is made to Ruth's recipe; it always works!  So, not only is she a good writer, but she's also a great cook.  And I've loved other recipes of hers too - like that ginger bundt cake.  Mm, must make it again.

the boastie bit

Okay folks, here is where I do some boasting.  I've had a story published in this anthology.  That's why we were in Sydney on the weekend - for the launch.  I even got to sign some books.  It was very exciting, I have to tell you.  Not food related, but I had to spill the beans.  It's very exciting to see your name in print, I have to say.  Well, that's it for another month.  Come one, come all, fellow foodies; join in the IMK fun for September.  Looking forward to all your wondrous posts.  Cheers!

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