Hokkaido Milk Toast (Japanese style), Lentil Curry and Lamb Momos

I was a little selfish this weekend, (yes, it’s all about me)!  Although I was conscious that there was plenty to be done  with our reno and in the garden, I opted to do a little cooking. I was in need of a change from the normal weekend sourdough bake so I made some Hokkaido Milk Toast (Japanese style) bread that looked interesting.

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This bread is reputed to be soft and fluffy, suitable for sandwiches and more typical of the supermarket fluff on shelves in the major ‘not so super’-markets. Very interesting method used to make this dough. You create  some tangzhong, which is exactly like making glue from a bit of flour (50g), 5 times quantity in water (250 ml) and cook over heat until 65 degrees or lines form when stirred. This is then cooled and added to an enriched yeasted dough, kneaded by machine and shaped, proved and baked. The result was not disappointing even though I misread the recipe and added the entire amount of tangzong. A bit of tweaking with some extra water and turned out OK. The bread had a distinct sweet aroma while baking and I thought this would prove to have a sickly sweet flavour but no, it was fine. Will definitely try this again, it was a nice change and my occessional hit for some vegemite on fluffy bread was satisfied!

Milk toast dough Vegemite bread

Lamb Momos with Tibetan Chilli Sauce.

I’ve borrowed Rick Stein’s India cook book from the library, so I’m test driving as many recipes as I can before it goes back. This way I can see if I like it enough to invest in buying it. I don’t buy a lot of cookbooks these days unless I know the food is going to be good and that I can go on a bit of a journey when I read it. This book certainly takes me on a journey. The photos put me right back in India and I can hear the crazy sounds and noise of the buses and traffic. The colours are stunning and I remember the smells and hustle & bustle that is everywhere in India. I made the Lamb Momos (Nepalese Dumplings) with Tibetan Chilli Sauce last night and tonight the Spicy Lentil Soup with Squash (pumpkin) tomato and green beans. Golly those Tibetans must have a strong constitution! This sauce was very fiery but also had a really good flavour. The momos dough was beautiful. I loved these but I think I’ll cut way back on the chilli next time!

Lamb momos

Momo Yum!
Momo Yum!

Tonight I made Rick’s Spicy Lentil Soup and once again it was beautiful. I had to make a few comprises as I couldn’t get either fenugreek or asafoetida anywhere locally. Will put those on my list for my next trip to Dandenong Market. I opted to leave off the tarka topping due to lack of fenugreek, but it didn’t detract from it’s delicate flavour. I served this with rice but I think it would be good, (although not traditional) with cous cous or even cooked with pasta in it.

Rick Stein's Spicy Lentil Soup

Zen with our brunch!

As I’ve mentioned before, we really enjoy our Sunday morning brunches, especially when we can eat outside. Today just made it into that category and I got to cook some pullet eggs I bought at the Warragul Farmers Market. What are pullet eggs you ask? These are the eggs laid by chickens who are just coming into laying age, the “P” plate chook you could say. Not as big as normal eggs but don’t be deceived by that! The flavour, colour and creamy texture of these eggs was beautiful. Free range farmed at local Willow Zen Farm,

Willow Zen Pullet eggs.
Willow Zen Pullet eggs.

I look forward to having them as a regular brunch item. I poached the eggs and served them on my sourdough toast along with mushrooms that were cooked in butter/olive oil with a  small chilli finely chopped and in the pan. Some chopped coriander, ground pepper and a dash of white wine vinegar stirred through before serving. Look at the colour of those eggs!

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Out in the garden.

I discovered a few hidden bunches of grapes in the berry hut this week. This variety is a slip grape, put the grape near your mouth and slip it out of its skin! With a  lovely hint of honey flavour, it was indeed a pleasant discovery!

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The other exciting discovery was in the greenhouse. I didn’t think I would have any success with growing sweet potatoes. Yes, I’ve had plenty of green on top but getting tubers is difficult in this cool climate. Well lookie here…………………

Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes

I might just have some success this year!

 

 

 

 

 

Chick Peas, Pulled Pork, Tortillas, Bread and Garden.

Yep, it’s been a busy weekend! I love it when you get to achieve everything you set out to, it is incredibly satisfying. It certainly helped that the weather was absolutely beautiful. After 10 days of non stop rain and misery the sky was blue, no wind and the temperature got to about 19 today.  This is my son’s dog enjoying the warmth as did we!

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I’d been feeling a bit under the weather Thursday and Friday so it was great that I felt energised and raring to go for the weekend. First up I chooffed off to the Warragul Farmers Market to stock up on some goodies. This market has developed well and even though we are entering winter, there is still a great range of produce and a really strong sense of community from every one who attends or sells there. I love it! I bought some beautiful organically grown carrots (see recipe later) and leeks from Thorpdale Organics  (forgot to take a pickie), organic milk and paneer from Miranda Dale Dairy, chicken from Mirboo Pastured Poultry, Eggs from WillowZen, who claim their pullet eggs are sensational poached. I’ll report back on that later! Apples (I always forget the business name but they are very friendly),  Mushrooms from Gippsland Mushrooms, Saffron grown in Mirboo, just up the road, chorizo sausages and surely something else! No need to go into those awful big ‘not so super’ markets at all!

With the shopping stowed away I spent a couple of hours in the veggie patch trying to bring a bit of control back into it. I hadn’t done much over the last few weeks and found it very therapeutic getting out there and getting stuck into it. I tweaked the area where last season I had put a bath to grow some potatoes. It is now a better use of space and gives me a spot to put a chair so I can just sit and contemplate. It also means the worm farm and compost bin are easier to access.

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Some gravel fill in between the pavers and some bee attracting flowers planted, it should come up quite well. I also gave the greenhouse a good clean up. I noticed there was quite a big build up of muck on the panels which would be reducing the mount of sun coming in. With the cold season I need to capture as much warmth as possible,  so some hot water, truck wash, broom and a good high pressure blast of water and it is back to looking loved.

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Belated Mothers Day Lunch.

We were in Sydney for mothers day, so the kids came home today for lunch. I was really happy with today’s  meal. I often don’t enjoy eating what I cook but thoroughly enjoyed these dishes. Eating while sitting out in the lovely sunshine consisted of:

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Spicy Pulled Pork– Pulled pork is such an easy and cheap way to feed a group. I put a pork shoulder in the marinade/rub  in the slow cooker pot Friday morning before I went to work, put in fridge until Sat night then turned the slow cooker on low and it was beautifully cooked by Sunday morning. I do cover the meat with some baking paper to keep it moist while its cooking. It just falls apart and is so juicy and tender.

Spicy Pulled Pork

The recipe had ‘Cebolla en escabeche’ (picked onion) as an accompaniment. The pickling being achieved by soaking onions in lime and orange juices. I didn’t have limes so substituted green lemon juice and it was fine. Love the colour!

Cebolla en escabeche

Last week when I was at Herbies Spices in Sydney we sampled a lentil and kidney bean dhal using his ready made blend. I bought some of the blend and used it to make a chick pea dish to go with lunch today. So easy, add some oil/ghee to a pan, add 1 finely chopped onion and soften, add 2 tablespoons of the spice blend and cook out for a minute or so. Add drained chick peas (2 X 400g cans), tomato passata (I bottle mine in beer stubbies so that would be 375ml), 1/2 the juice from the drained peas and cook until required thickness. I also threw in a couple of the last cherry tomatoes. If too thick, add a little water to thin. You can also add some yoghurt but I didn’t and it was still lovely. Served with coriander on the top. Beautiful.

Chick Pea Dahl

An interesting side dish  I made was a carrot and radish (turnip) salad only I couldn’t get radishes at the farmers markets so I used young turnips which have a similar spicy element to them. Put the carrot and turnip through the V-Slicer, took about 2 minutes to make. Winner-It was really nice!

radish and carrot salad

Home made tortillas, Annabel Langbein’s recipe of course!

Tortlllaswhich were used as a wrap for the pork, chick peas and side salads. Some greek yoghurt, bean sprouts and tomato relish as well and it went down really well.

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Lastly are a couple of photos of the pretty spider webs I saw when I ventured out early Sunday morning. Hope your weekend was as fulfilling as mine!

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In My Kitchen-May

It is now 9.43 pm and literally 15 minutes since we walked in the back door after spending Friday, Sat and most of today in Sydney, our state of New South Wales capital city. I’m probably too late for the IMK deadline so I’ll just do a brief summary of what’s in my kitchen (or will be after my weekend in Sydney).

We flew in around midday on Friday and jumped into a taxi to the Chef’s Warehouse that we have heard Celia frequently mention and shown us the delights she has acquired there. My goodness, I am so glad we don’t live too close! I focussed on only buying things I know are hard to source at home and that I could fit into my hand luggage and came away with this little lot. Some clay cookware which I’ve been wanting to get for tapas and breakfasts, in particular spanish eggs. A Really fine mesh skimmer, some bakers linen for using as a couche (once I have an oven I can fit a baguette bigger than a hot dog roll into). A lovely wooden spoon and,

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some new wine glass racks that have a wider base than the ones we use now. This was quite funny as the lady at Chef’s Warehouse didn’t think we’d get them onto the plane as they might be considered ‘dangerous’. She very kindly gave us some bubble wrap we could wrap them in and post home which we had every intention of doing until we got to the airport with our package ready to post and there was  nowhere to post it. A quick discussion with the security people and we were okayed to carry them. Lucky!

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I attended a spice appreciation and blending class at the renowned ‘Herbies’ in Rozelle. This was great but will take too long to cover here, a separate post about that later. I did bring home some special spices and the blend I made up as part of the session. Now to think of a way to use it! I also picked up a lovely new bowl at ‘The Essential Ingredient’, another one of my online shops. This is an extremely short post but after a busy weekend I really need to hit the hay and dream of  how I will use my Sydney souvenirs In My Kitchen!

Thanks again Celia for the link up! Head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial to see some other interesting kitchens.

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Weekend Roundup-Spicy soup and reno update.

We have so much on the go at the moment we don’t know our arses from our elbows! With having finally sold our Fish Creek Property,we’ve been working to empty and clean there ready for impending settlement this week (everything crossed!). Both of us are really under the pump at work and finding it heavy to handle, might have to review that very soon I think!

We have also felt a bit like the reno has hit a bit of an impasse, so we made a concerted effort to do a few jobs. Mr ATMT started painting the snug and I have been hanging the wallpaper to the bottom of the walls. Coming together nicely, the bottom colour will be a matching tone of the top colour but lighter. Think dark blues and mustard seed tones for drapery and accessories. It actually looks more a coffee colour than it is in the photo!

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We have been searching on Ebay for ages waiting for a suitable sized gas log fire to go into the lounge room fireplace. As much as it breaks my heart (kidding) to remove the lovely white bricks that are circa 1960, we will get over it. This is the fireplace with the modern brickwork. I know,  gorgeous, why would we want to remove it?

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We finally managed to secure a gas log fireplace in an as new condition for a couple of hundred dollars. Much better than a couple of thousand! We opted for gas log (this unit has faux coal) in this fireplace as we already have 3 other wood fires. It’s a welcome option on the nights when it’s not really cold but you need some warmth and a sense of fire. Now to source a mantel fitting to the era of the house. The unit included a cast iron insert that the burner will  sit into. This photo just shows the burner with the faux coals. As these fireplaces were built more for coal than wood it should fit the style of the house really well. Bit excited really!

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With the cooler weather setting in, especially at night, it is soup season. We could live on soup I think. We are very partial to potato and leek soup but on checking the supplies in the cupboard and the harvest from the morning I opted to make a potato, onion and red lentil spicy soup. This was delicious and so easy.

Spicy Potato, Onion & Red lentil soup for 2 plus.

4 potatoes, 4 medium to large onions, 300 ml stock (I used home made veggie), 1/2 tspn cumin, 1/2 tspn garam masala, 1/4 tspn chilli powder (or more if you like a bit more kick), 4 garlic cloves, 1/3-1/2 cup red lentils, S&P and extra water. I also added a couple of shiitake mushrooms I’d picked in the morning.

Peel and roughly chop potatoes, peel and slice onion, peel and roughly chop garlic. Heat a little olive oil in a pot and add onion and garlic, cook till clear then add spices, cook a few more minutes then add potatoes. Mix around then add the stock, lentils and enough water to cover the lot. Bring to boil then stir and turn heat down to a gentle simmer. Cover and let simmer until the potatoes are cooked and start breaking up. I served this with parmesan, chopped thyme and some sourdough croutons. Mr ATMT managed to make the croutons! Simply cut the bread into the size of crouton you want then place on a tray in the oven at about 160 until they are dry and crisp. This is a great way to use stale bread of any description. Hearty and warming for 2 tired souls on a cool night! What’s your favourite soup?

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