Sunday, February 5, 2017


For me, pfeffernusse are quintessentially Christmas and remind me of home, or Mama, which is maybe the same thing.

Leading up to the Christmas just gone, I discovered that a good friend from work also loves these tiny spice cookies, and seeing them being made on a cooking show, she took note of the recipe. After going on the hunt for ground aniseed, and then kindly sharing the recipe with me, along with a mixture of the various spices required, I found myself all set to try homemade pfeffernusse - which my friend had found to be far more spectacular than the store-bought kind.

So, to share the Christmas love (albeit at little late), I have finally gotten the chance to try them for my self. So here it is...

6 Tbsp honey
6 Tbsp white sugar (I used raw)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soft butter (I didn't have enough, so used half butter, half coconut oil)
1 egg (oops - I left this out!)
1 egg yolk

2 cups plain flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each of ground: cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, allspice, pepper, aniseed.

Mix the first set of ingredients together, than sift the dry ingredients into the mixture. Stir until combined.
Roll mixture into small (cherry tomato) size balls.
Bake at 160C/325F for about 15 minutes.

Mix icing sugar with just enough water to make a runny paste, then dunk the cooked cookies into the paste then place on a try to drip.

Yum! These certainly are delicious. Perfect with an afternoon coffee.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Brown Rice and Cranberry Salad

While in Melbourne visiting friends, we dropped past Ganache for, well, chocolate really, but given we'd missed lunch, I ordered a salad first.

What came out was a unique and surprisingly delicious brown rice salad with nuts, cranberries, fresh peas and legumes.

I loved every mouthful and thought it would make a great lunch for work so jotted down the key ingredients so I could try it out at home.

Thankfully, my attempt turned out well - maybe even better than the original.

Here's what I used...

Brown rice
Pine nuts
Turkish barberries
Baby peas
Macadamia nut oil (or EV olive oil)
Lemon juice
Bay leaf for cooking rice

Cook the rice with a pinch of salt and a bay leaf or two in the water.
Meanwhile, soak cranberries and barberries in boiling water.
Roughly chop the almonds and hazelnuts.
Toast nuts and seeds in a dry frying pan then set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Add chopped herbs, frozen peas to the mixing bowl.
Drain berries and rice (remove bay leaf) and add to mixing bowl.
Add lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper.
Combine well.

Enjoy warm or cold.

Yum! This is my new favourite and makes for a delicious lunch or dinner. It's excellent with boiled eggs (from the lovely hens next door), haloumi or tofu.

Oh, in case you were wondering, I also had a piece of Hazelnut Fan Slice and a couple of handcrafted chocolates.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bizza G's Lemon and Ginger Jam

If you've been to Williworld at breakfast time, chances are you were offered some Buderim Ginger Marmalade to complement your toast. Although frightening to some, and I must admit I was a little hesitant trying it for the first time, it really is one of the most delicious condiments. Equally delicious is the Buderim Ginger and Lime Marmalade.

Using this as inspiration - and with my lemon trees laden with beautifully rite fruit, I thought I'd try making my own version.

1.1kg lemons
400 or 500g fresh ginger
400ml water (give or take)
1.2kg white sugar

Place ginger in a large heavy-based saucepan with the water and cook gently until tender.
In the meantime, v-slice the lemons and remove the pips.
Add the sliced lemon to the ginger and cook until the lemon rind is tender.
Using a stick-mixer, blend the lemon and ginger until it is a 'roughly chopped' consistency.
Increase the heat and bring to the boil (add a little extra water to stop it from frying on the bottom of the pan, or if the mixture is just too think).
Add sugar, stirring constantly but gently until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Stirring frequently, boil for about 20 minutes or until it reaches 105-110 degrees or setting point.*
Ladle into prepared jars and tighten the lids.
Using a damp cloth, carefully clean the jars from any spills then wait and listen... I love hearing the lids 'pop' as the jam cools.

Yum! I love the sweet-tartiness and zing of the fresh ginger.
I may be a little biased, but I think I'd even prefer this to the pale-golden-jelly that inspired it.

* If you don't have a candy thermometer, test the setting point by dropping a little marmalade onto a chilled saucer, allowing it to cool for a minute before gently pushing it with your finger. If the marmalade crinkles, or is think, the setting point is reached; if not, boil for a few more minutes then check again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Carrot, Pear and Coconut Cake

One very special day for Greenhouse is 15 October. Why?
It's Ruby's birthday!!

Each year I try to make her a cake that is safe for her to eat, but also delicious for the humans around.

As coconut is apparently her favourite (judging by how much it makes her get her dribble on!) I thought I'd go with that. And 'cause I love it too.

Thanks to CSR I found this great recipe - although altered a tad which means it doesn't actually have any CSR products in it. Sorry!

Here goes:

125g butter
2/3 cup honey (I used raw honey from Williworld which has a great strong flavour)
2 eggs
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain wholemeal flour
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 small carrots, grated
1 large pear, grated
1 cup shredded coconut

Grease and line and 20cm round cake tin.
Cream butter and honey until light and fluffy and add eggs one at a time.
Stir in the sifted flours along with the coconut milk and grated carrot and half of the pear.
Spread mixture into cake tin and top with the coconut and remaining grated pear.
Bake at 180C for around 50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
Stand for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

A super moist, heavenly little number - which I'll certainly make again.

Happy Birthday Ruby-girl!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Veal and Potato Tagine

I began making Tagines after we were given a beautiful Tagine by the Kelf family as a wedding present.

Tagine is a traditional Moroccan meal named after the dish in which it is cooked. The tagine was originally used by Moroccan nomads as a portable oven, cooking pot and serving dish and was cooked on using a charcoal brazier, also made of clay.

Some modern-day tagines can be used on the stove as well as in the oven. After soaking it in water for an hour or so, I use a heat-spreader under mine and place it over a low flame, before transferring to the oven to cook.

If you don't have a tagine, a slow cooker, heavy based casserole or Dutch oven will work just as well.

Chop about 500g veal leg or shoulder into bite sized chunks, along with a brown onion, a few waxy potatoes and a red capsicum.

In a large bowl mix a finely chopped red onion, a bunch each of roughly chopped coriander and parsley, 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, a Tbsp each of cumin and paprika, 2 tsp turmeric, a chilli, pepper and salt.

Toss the veal and veggies with the spice mix.
You can then either leave to rest and marinate for a while, or just carry straight on...

When you're ready, set the tagine over a low to medium heat with a Tbsp or so of olive oil.
Place the mixture into the tagine and lightly fry for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring continuously.
Add half a cup of stock and a tin of crushed tomatoes, cover and turn the heat down or place in a low oven.

It is best if you gently cook this for several hours, checked occasionally and stirred if necessary, until the meat and potatoes are tender.!

Serve on a bed of couscous and top with fresh herbs and a little harissa.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Caramelised Figs with Coconut Parfait

So Aasha and I have been making caramelised figs for desert a fair bit recently due to a certain supermarket chain that has been selling punnets of fresh figs (usually 5 or 6 figs in each) for around $3-$4. Seriously good value when they can be up to $1.50 just for a single fig. Anyway, this particular evening Aasha made some coconut Parfait to accompany the figs. You can also serve the figs with a big spoonful of Greek yoghurt and some crushed nut (salted cashews are nice).

for two people I usually do the following:
4 medium-large figs
1/2 tsp butter
1 tsp brown sugar
1tsp water

If you want a sauce to drizzle over the top use a bit more water. Alternatively you can substitute water with brandy, white port or anything else that takes your fancy. This is also true for the accompaniments. While the coconut parfait was delicious, I think i prefer the Greek yoghurt as it is a nice contrast to the sweetness of the figs.

Caramelised Figs with coconut parfait

Caramelised Figs with white port syrup, greek yoghurt and salted cashews

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

When I was at school Mama used to make this regularly over summer when there were more tomatoes in the garden than we could possibly eat. Although somehow, prepared this way, you can always eat more...

A simple, fool-proof meal that is bound to be a favourite.

Slice ripe tomatoes in half or quarters.
Add a good amount fresh basil, chopped garlic, chilli, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Drizzle with a healthy amount of extra virgin olive oil.
Bake in a moderately low oven until perfectly caramelised - this usually takes a couple of hours.

Serve with pasta or a crusty sour-dough loaf, which is particularly good for soaking up every skerrick of flavour.