The Quest for Wattleseed

I recently had some difficulty finding a reasonably priced supply of wattleseeds in the Hunter, in preparation for my Chow Down to Eurovision 2015.

After searching far and wide, I remembered the lovely ladies of Hunter Hunter had recently reviewed a spice shop smack bang in the middle of the Hunter St mall.

My Souk Drawer can be found at 160 Hunter St, Newcastle and is well worth a visit. The owner Chris Sim has provided an “Aladdins Cave” of spices, chillis and other wonders to tempt the home cook. He has a wonderful knowledge of his product, and happily and generously provides his customers with his wisdom. Chris also makes his own spice mixes and invited me to try the temptingly named “exquisitely sugared”, a mix of sugar, cinnamon, anise, vanilla, nutmeg, orange peel, chocolate powder and cardamon. Delicious and smelt incredible. The challenge is now on to find a suitable recipe for the said mix!

So in true form, I went in to buy wattleseed and came away with Chermoula, Ras-el-Hanout, Laksa Lemak dry spice mix, exquisitely sugared mix and yes some wattleseed!

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If you are in the area, please take some time to drop in and chat with Chris. Dont worry about finding him, the smell of spice permeates the mall and will lead you to him. His prices are very reasonable with a minimum purchase of 20g…….Cheap as Chermoula!

Happy shopping…..TBHxx

Chow Down to Eurovision 2015

As a new blogger I was absolutely delighted to be invited to take part in the Chow Down to Eurovision 2015 competition hosted by the talented and funny Jason from blog Don’t Boil The Sauce.

I’ll let Jason tell you all about the competition here, and please take some time to read some of his other posts. They are great fun!

This year Eurovision takes on a whole other dimension for us here in Australian. 2015 will be the first time we have been invited to compete! The jury is still out on who will represent us, but no doubt we will fulfil the criteria. We also get to vote!

For me, Eurovision holds one distinct memory…….ABBA! The 1974 competition saw them come onto the scene singing Waterloo and then take the world by storm. And yes I was that raving teenage girl who followed them with a devoutness reserved for religion. Dancing Queen was surely written specifically for me? When the album Arrival was due for release, my best friends mother was working at RCA records at the time,  and managed to obtain a copy for me 24 hours before anyone else! Oh can you hear the drums Fernando!

So as an ode to the Swedes with a little bit of Oz thrown in, I have made Wattleseed Blinis with Smoked Salmon as my entry for Chow Down 2015.

 

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The recipe I have used comes from Juleigh Robins via Herbie’s Spices. The recipe makes 12 large or 36 small blinis.

Recipe:

1 tablespoon Wattleseed Roasted and Ground
3 eggs
150mL milk
150mL water
80mL canola oil
2 cups self raising flour

Methods/steps
Heat the wattleseed gently in a dry pan to release flavour.
Whisk together eggs, milk, water and oil until well combined.
Slowly add the wattleseed and flour to make a spoonable batter. Adjust the texture with extra milk or flour if necessary.
Allow the mixture to rest for about half an hour to relax the flour and to soften the wattleseed grains.
Place a teaspoon (for small blinis) or generous tablespoon (for entrée or luncheon blinis) of the batter onto a lightly greased hot frying pan or solid cooking plate. Cook until small bubbles appear on the surface, then carefully flip the blini over with a spatula and cook the other side.
Serve smoked salmon, creme fraiche and some sprigs of dill.

 

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Happy Eurovision 2015! Aussie, Aussie Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!

TBH xx

 

Calm before the Storm…quick eats in Noosa

The food techy and I have just returned from a few days in Noosa sampling the delights on offer. Our timing was impeccable with Cyclone Marcia bearing down but providing some excellent swell for the surfing food techy and brilliant sunshine pre the strong winds and rain. Our thoughts are with the locals of the Sunshine Coast and Central Queensland as they wait out this extreme weather. We hope all are well and will be safe from harm.

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Noosa has been a favourite of ours throughout our marriage. It was the destination of choice when I was pregnant with the beloved son and we have had a wonderful holiday there with “Finger on the Pulse of Sydney – Fiona” and her lovely family from the UK. Noosa itself has been through many transformations, often dependent on the financial climate of the economy and always at the behest of mother nature. This trip we found her in good form, thronging with tourists of all nations and buzzing with excellent food, and so many surfers off the point that one could have walked on water across their boards (quote from the food techy).

So where did we eat? My sole purpose for choosing Noosa for our quick getaway was to finally treat ourselves to the wonderful food of Peter Kuruvita. He has taken control of the Sheraton kitchens and named his latest adventure the Noosa Beach House. And she is a beauty! There were 4 of us and we had the choice of a wonderful degustation menu, the special menu celebrating Chinese New Year or the a’la carte. We chose the latter and were very happy with our decision. The Seafood tapas plate and the signature Seared Yellow Fin Tuna, Ruby Grapefruit, Sweet Pork, and Crackling were our shared entrees accompanied by a cold glass of Ros Ritchie Pinot Gris 2013. Both dishes were amazing in their taste as well as visual appeal. Mains included Kuruvita’s other signature dish of Sri Lankan Snapper Curry, a deconstructed dish of beautifully cooked fish with the most delicious curry sauce on the side. Sri Lankan curries are very different to their sub continent cousins in Indian, providing a lovely delicate balance of spice, flavour and heat. I had food envy though with both the Spiced Duck with oat crumble, medjool date, cavalo nero and dehydrated grapes, and the food techy’s choice of Tajima Wagyu Sirloin with smoked potato, beetroot, horseradish, slow cooked short rib . The short rib meat literally melted in your mouth (yes I pinched a bit). Desserts were scrumptious and consisted of the playfully named Sri Lankan Love Cake with peach, coconut, palm treacle and freeze-dried raspberries and the Mexican Vanilla Bean Pannacotta with hibiscus, honeycomb and pistachio.

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Our other treat for the night was Mr Kuruvita’s presence. We were told that he was eating at the restaurant that night and were delighted that he came to our table for a chat and to answer our concerns regarding his freeze dried raspberries and the recent Hepatitis A outbreak. He had a charming sense of humour and spent time with us explaining the intricacies of Sri Lankan Palm Treacle – known as Kitul. The food techy and he also got political over the regulations surrounding raw milk production and supply. PK would love to have access to buffalo curd to accompany his Kitul! The food techy was looking into how we could supply that for him….stay tuned for pictures of buffalo grazing under my Hills hoist! Mr Kuruvita (Peter to his staff) is a generous man and one who is obviously enjoying this new venture and the relaxed atmosphere it provides both him, his family and his customers.  A memorable night thank you Noosa Beach House and considerably reasonable in price coming in at $85 per head including 2 bottles of wine. Yes we will definitely be back!

Other eats around the area included breakfast at Corb-ns at Maroochydore on our way to Noosa. Good coffee and a decent breakfast menu with all the usuals. I did enjoy the smashed avocado with some goats cheese mixed through as a small change to the norm. If you are an Op Shopper like moi, Maroochydore has a whole strip “Vegas style” of charity shops to browse. Head south on Aerodrome Rd and you’ll find them. A quick bite to eat and the obligatory mango smoothie was had at Canteen. A great lunch stop whilst browsing the beachy stores of Noosa junction. Make sure you browse the wonderful wines at XO Cellars  next door to Coles for an eclectic but great array of drinking. Their sister restaurant Embassy XO at Sunshine Beach is out of this world (we ate there last visit with the aforementioned Fiona and clan).

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If you are after good coffee head to Belmondos where Clandestino Roasters are hiding and will provide you with a decent brew. Belmondos is chock full of organic paleo type things that does my head in, but it is worth a browse and a look out for the day old sourdough basket with reduced price loaves! Other great coffee can be found in Noosa via Streets of Harlem. A hole in the wall right at the end of Hastings st serving strong and flavoursome macchiato.

Our final eatery was a sneaky indulgent lunch at Thomas Corner Noosaville before heading back to Brisbane Airport. Here the food techy and I shared some delicious sardines on sourdough with an eshallot paste and the sourdough sandwich with leg ham and melted comte cheese.(I was obviously missing my own sourgdough by this stage). An interesting dry ginger beer from Keith and Sons was consumed as we sat catching a cool breeze off the Noosa River. We finished off with an apple tart tartin with prune and brandy icecream….a treat for the trip home.

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Thank you Noosa for another restful break. We’ll be booking our next trip north shortly! Stay safe Queenslanders…. TBHx

Sourdough Baking with Camilla (Duchess of Newy)

Camilla has arrived in my home and is the name I have bestowed upon my sourdough starter generously offered by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. I have named her after the Duchess of Cornwall in a nod to a resilient women who rose again to get her man! Camilla has also come from good breeding stock (Priscilla) – important for securing the lineage of the aristocrats! I’m hoping my Camilla will keep rising with resilience too.

I have decided that baking sourdough bread is much like raising children, the difference being you get instructions from the wonderful Celia for your bread raising! Where was Celia when the human baby was born and raised? I could have done with written instructions and twitter encouragement then too! Constant photos of bubbling starter were sent back and forth….is this right Celia? is she bubbling enough?, have I added enough flour? I wonder if Celia would have been quite so captivated by my photos if they were of pooey nappies, strange rashes and growth charts? I have to say, Camilla was far easier to feed on flour and water, and I didn’t end up with cracked nipples!

Camilla at 6.30am doin’ her thang!

So after feeding Camilla all weekend and feeling like a new mother with scheduled feeding times, Camilla was rearing to go and bubbling with excitement (literally) by Sunday morning. Thanks once again to Celia who provided excellent instructions and tutorials on her blog to get you “started with your starter”. The result was two incredible and delicious loaves of sourdough. The food techy (an expert in the art of bread making) has given them 2 thumbs up and a review of great texture, good crumb and a decent bloody crust. The smell emanating around the house is one of homeliness and warmth.

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Inaugural Camilla loaf

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Camilla’s second loaf

I am now addicted to the art of sourdough baking and thankfully so, as I still have 11 kgs of bakers flour to use!

So here’s to you Celia, Priscilla and Camilla. May we find world peace by not only breaking bread together, but baking bread together. TBH xxx (feeling even more Bountiful after devouring half a loaf of bread in record time).

TBH announces the arrival of……Baby of Priscilla the sourdough starter

It is with great delight that I announce that I have became the proud foster parent of “baby of Priscilla” the sourdough starter. Thank you so very much to Celia of Fig Lime Cordial blog, I feel truly honoured to be included in Priscilla’s life and all her offspring! I will do my very best to assure her line of ancestry is keep alive and well in the Hunter.

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I have however been given the task of naming this little offspring of Priscilla and would ask any readers for their suggestions. Being someone that enjoys a good limerick, a rhyming name would be splendid! So something to go along with Priscilla, or perhaps starter, even sourdough? That is your quest if you choose to participate!

So this weekend I will be happily ensconced in feeding my new baby and then seeing what she can do with some good bakers flour! Stay tuned! TBH XX

PS: Please take the time to visit Celia’s blog. She has been “at it” for several years and has wonderul recipes and stories to tell. She is indeed the epitome of generosity!

Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits

My dear old mum is yet again in hospital following a fall and another fracture. She has pulled through surgery and hopefully on the road ( a long one) to recovery. In amongst visits to the hospital today, I managed to make these for the food techy to take back to Brisbane with him and hopefully to be shared with our friends Katherine and Richard who both enjoy these types of flavours and an unusual biscuit.

 

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They are incredibly easy to make and delicious. The title has healthy ingredients listed and so ……they must be! Thanks to Selma for sharing on her blog. Please visit Selma’s page…..she has some wonderful thoughts and recipes to share. TBH XXX

 

Selma's Table

Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits | Selma's TableI was so thrilled when Elaine of foodbod asked me to write a post for her new series, “What would you feed me?” Elaine is the embodiment of healthy eating – she is vegetarian, sugar free, caffeine free and also avoids wheat but doesn’t miss out on any flavour with her punchy Middle East inspired spicing. I discovered her blog when someone re-blogged one of her earliest posts which was for a pavlova – the antithesis of how Elaine eats!  So I set my mind to thinking how I could produce a treat that was true to Elaine’s food ideals. Obviously, it had to have tahini in it – Elaine’s favourite food group!!  Ground almonds to substitute for flour and honey for sugar…I kept thinking about those lovely Chinese Almond Cookies that are made for Chinese New Year. I am rather partial to orange zest and cardamom in baked goods, so…

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