Spicy Pumpkin Bread

Friday, August 21st, 2009


Nick loves making breads… Naan bread, tortillas, bread rolls… and I love eating bread!!!! Therefore, I would say we work very well together 🙂

So when Nick said he wanted to make some pumpkin bread, I was all for it!

He was a little suspicious that it was an actual bread due to the exception of yeast… can you really have a bread without yeast? Maybe…


Either way, it is a lovely savoury pumpkin bread (or loaf) with a brilliant orange colour, great flavours of spices and works especially well for morning tea or with a meal.

Spicy Pumpkin Bread
Recipe slightly adapted from

Melted butter, to grease
300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mild chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
450g (1 cup) mashed cooked pumpkin
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
60g butter, melted, cooled
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush an 11 x 21cm (base measurement) loaf pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Sift the flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.

Place the pumpkin, milk, butter and egg in a jug, and use a whisk to stir until well combined. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, and stir with a large metal spoon until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Sprinkle evenly with pepitas.


Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven. Set aside in the pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.


Note: You’ll need to steam about 500g peeled, deseeded, chopped pumpkin for this recipe. This bread is great for sandwiches and as an accompaniment to a chargrilled lamb salad.

Coconut and Cardamon Burfi

Friday, July 24th, 2009


If you’re still not full after that entire banquet, perhaps you should make a few more naan breads, as this Indian sweet won’t fill you up, but it will end the meal very nicely.

It is lovely and sweet with beautiful coconut and cardamom flavours with little chunks of pistachio. The sweetened condensed milk joins them all together and they are best eaten at room temperature, as they loose a bit of flavour straight from the fridge.


This recipe is from Food Safari, which I turned to for advice on desserts or sweets to make. I didn’t really see a huge difference in the mixture from mixing to heating for 10 minutes, but perhaps it did combine and roll a bit easier.

Coconut and Cardamon Burfi
Recipe from Food Safari

250g desiccated coconut
395g can sweetened condensed milk
10 cardamom pods – grind/crush seeds into a powder
Handful of pistachio nuts, roughly crushed

Mix 200g of the coconut and the remaining ingredients in a bowl.


Heat a non-stick pan on low heat and add mixture to the pan. Stir over low heat until the mixture starts to dry and rolls easily into a ball. Remove from the heat. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes until cool enough to handle.


Place the remaining coconut onto a plate. Using damp hands, roll the mixture into balls and then roll in coconut to coat. The coconut balls can be refrigerated for up to a week.


Naan Bread

Friday, July 17th, 2009


A lot of trial and error has gone into making naan breads at our place. Salt quantity, rising time, trying to figure out how to cook naan bread in an Australian kitchen…
We have tried two ways to date, cooking under the oven grill and cooking on the grill on the BBQ. Both ways work quite well, resulting in a nice, soft bread which is slightly crunchy on the outside. It’s served with a small amount of butter rubbed on top, which melts into the bread.

It is just fantastic with all the curries we make, so get in there, tear a bit off, use it to grab some curry (with rice if you like) and enjoy yourself!


Naan Bread
Recipe adapted from VahRehVah

Makes: 6

3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon oil
3 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup milk (approximately)

Add warm water into the dry yeast and sugar, set aside to allow yeast to be activated.

Sieve flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add oil to water and yeast mixture and mix well, then add to the flour, mix and add milk to make a soft, sticky dough. Use a bit of oil on your hand if it starts to stick. Lightly flour a clean bench. Knead the dough until smooth. Break dough into six portions and knead lightly. (You can let it stand for a while to prove if you like, although we found it didn’t make much difference to the overall texture).


Heat the grill on very high (approximately 220°C). Stretch each ball into a naan shaped piece of dough (roughly 20-30cm long and 10-15cm across). Place two naan on the grilling tray and cook, watching constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn, and turn when the naan has browned in patches.


Brush some butter on top of the naan and serve with curries.


Fried Rice

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009


Looking for something easy, quick, tasty and reasonably cheap? Well, fried rice is a good way to use up whatever is left in the fridge and easy to alter the recipe by adding fresh ingredients.

Easy Fried Rice
Recipe from

Serves: 4

1 cup long grain white rice
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 bacon rashers, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 shallots, trimmed, finely sliced (I used a sliced onion)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus extra to serve
I added a few sliced mushrooms too, when cooking bacon and onion (capsicum would also go well in this dish)

Cook the rice in a large saucepan of boiling water for 12 minutes or until tender. Drain and leave to cool.

Using a whisk, lightly beat eggs in a small bowl. Heat oil in non-stick wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add eggs. Swirl over base to form an omelette. Cook 2 minutes. Turn over. Cook 2 minutes until set. Transfer to a chopping board. Set aside to cool slightly. Cut into short strips.


Add bacon to wok. Cook 4 minutes until light golden. Add carrot. Stir fry 1 minute. Add shallots, peas and rice. Cook, stirring, 3-4 minutes. Add egg and soy sauce. Stir until heated through. Serve immediately, with extra soy.




Banana Bread

Sunday, June 7th, 2009


I don’t like wasting food. I try to eat all fruit and veggies before they start turning bad, but sometimes other things come up and I forget about them. Luckily, with bananas, even if I do forget about them for a short or long amount of time, they will still be perfect for banana bread.


I often hear people say – I thought it was too ripe or too far-gone for banana bread. But I think it’s almost never too far-gone. I use bananas that have started ripening a lot, to ones that have turned completely black. And don’t worry if it’s a little or a lot squishy or becoming a little translucent – this just makes it easier to mash and gives a stronger banana flavour. If you don’t have enough time or bananas for banana bread, just peel the bananas, place in a plastic bag and freeze until ready, then thaw over a few hours and mash like normal.


Now although this isn’t a “bread” as such, it’s still able to be toasted under a grill or sandwich press and served with a little butter. Any left over slices can be frozen and thawed for a snack – you may want to toast it up to make it a little fresher. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Banana Bread

125g butter
¾ cup white sugar
4 medium bananas
1 teaspoon bi-carb-soda
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups self-raising flour
pinch salt

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs, mix well.


Peel and mash bananas, fold into butter mixture, add soda dissolved in milk, then fold in sifted flour and salt.


Turn into greased 9”x5” loaf tin. Bake in at 180ºC for 50 minutes or until cooked through. Cool on cake cooler. Serve warm or cold sliced with butter.



Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I’m not the best person at remembering to send someone a recipe they’ve asked for. Unless I get reminded or leave an email in my inbox marked as “unread”, it’s unlikely I’ll get around to it, especially if I haven’t had a chance to type it out. So I felt a bit bad when a friend of mine asked for a Bruschetta recipe and I still haven’t emailed it to her.


Well here is the Bruschetta recipe I use. It’s nice and quick, with lovely flavours… even for someone who doesn’t like eating raw tomatoes… now who could that be? 😉 De-seeding the tomatoes reduces extra liquid which will cause the bread to soften and go soggy, so make sure you serve very soon after spooning the tomato mix onto the bread.

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

(Recipe from Super Food Ideas)
Serves: 4

1 loaf day old sourdough bread
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 large tomatoes, quartered, deseeded
4 basil leaves, shredded
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Slice bread into eight, 1cm thick slices (traditionally straight across the bread, not diagonally). Lightly toast (under grill) both sides bread until crisp on outside but soft on side. Cut garlic cloves in half lengthways. Rub cut side of garlic over 1 side of hot bread.


Drizzle 1½ teaspoons oil over garlic side of bread, Season with salt.

Cut tomato quarters in half again and dice. Place in a bowl. Add basil, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Spoon onto toasted bread and serve.

Variation: Replace the fresh tomatoes by combining 1 cup chopped semi-dried tomatoes and ½ cup chopped feta-stuffed olives with the basil.



Wednesday, May 6th, 2009


I am becoming quite adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, although a few years ago I wasn’t the most adventurous eater. Nick and I were out for a lovely dinner out on Sydney Harbour. At the beginning of the menu, for either sides or starters was dukkah served with oil olive and bread. I couldn’t pronounce the name of the dish on the menu and just read the description, which was something like an Egyptian nut and spice mix.

So, taking the plunge I decided, lets order that! Nick, with a surprised look on his face due to my decision at trying something quite ‘random’ at the time, was a little hesitant to order it in case I didn’t like it – but I continued to express my interest in it, so we ordered it.


… and what a great decision. Once we had dunked a bit of bread into the oil and then into the dukkah, the taste was amazing. We couldn’t stop eating the relatively small helping we were served. Although as we ate, we tried (and when I say we, I mainly mean Nick, as he is better at distinguishing tastes) to determine what flavours, nuts and spices were included in this mix – as this was a definite dish to try at home.

I searched the internet quite soon after (probably the next day) to try and find a recipe that matched closely to the flavours we detected. We found a fantastic recipe and then a few months to a year later saw dukkah becoming increasingly more popular and sold at all supermarkets, although mind you, at supermarkets it is quite overpriced.

I still have yet to try the many different flavours you’re able to use while making dukkah, so hopefully in the near future I can trial out a few more recipes. (I just find it difficult to move away from a recipe that I already know I love).


Recipe from Recipezaar

1 cup of shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup blanched almonds
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ teaspoon salt

Toast the pistachio nuts and almonds in a hot oven for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Toast the spice seeds and sesame seeds separately in the same way.


Cool and combine with the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Grind the mixture until it resembles small breadcrumbs. The mixture should be very dry and crumbly, not a paste.


Be careful as over processing can release the oil from the nuts making the mixture moist, which you don’t want.


This can be made a few days in advance and stored in an airtight container. Serve with hot bread rolls and olive oil.



Corn Bread

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

After seeing corn bread being made on Food Safari for their USA episode, Nick was inspired to make some. We saw versions using corn kernels, corn off the cob and creamed corn. The ones on food safari looked so easy and very convenient in the muffin tin, that he decided to go with that recipe.


This was a very easy recipe, just combine all ingredients and spoon into muffin tins. Once cooked they smelled lovely and tasted great when we let them cool down a bit. We had made quite a few muffins and accidentally forgot to take them to share with people, leaving us with quite a few in our container at home (we had also frozen some). When trying these a couple days later they had already started going bad, they weren’t fresh and became a little soggy around the edges. So if you’re likely to not get through all the corn bread on the day of baking or the day after, make sure you individually freeze them!!!

I think it would be lovely with a bit of crispy bacon on top… perhaps next time.

Corn Bread
Recipe from Food Safari

Makes: 12 muffins ( I can’t remember if Nick doubled the recipe – ours made 24 muffins)

½ cup polenta
1½ cup self raising flour
½ cup castor sugar
Pinch of salt
½ cup melted butter
3 eggs
1 cup of creamed corn
1 cup full cream milk

Mix polenta and self-raising flour, castor sugar, salt, melted butter and eggs.


Add creamed corn and milk. Mix until you get a nice creamy consistency.

It took a bit of mixing to get to this stage, and was a bit lumpy (perhaps we should have added the creamed corn and milk a bit at a time)

It took a bit of mixing to get to this stage, and was a bit lumpy (perhaps we should have added the creamed corn and milk a bit at a time)

Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown in color.


Remove muffin tray from the oven and let them cool until they are ready to be remove from the tray.


Once cooled either store in air-tight container for up to one day or alternatively wrap indivually with cling film and store in freezer. Remove from freezer and thaw when required, heating in microwave or oven to make a bit fresher.

Honey Chicken and Baked Spring Rolls – Cooking Class 1

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

My sisters and I have wanted to join a cooking class to learn some new cooking techniques and recipes as well as meeting a few new people and having a great time. Although with all the moving that’s going to be happening with my family, we don’t have much extra time or flexibility with a course.


So K. came up with a great idea, we each choose a dish we’ve never made before and would like to make, buy the food, then everyone comes around and helps make it together. This way we each get to help make something new and try a whole range of new foods as well as have a bit of fun!

K. was first up and chose a Chinese-themed night: Baked Spring Rolls and Honey Chicken with stir-fry vegetables. We were each allocated a separate job with preparing the vegetables for the spring rolls, cooking the filling and rolling them, as well as cutting the chicken, making the batter and sauce and cooking it in hot oil.


The recipe for the honey chicken was a bit lacking in some quantities, leaving some trouble-shooting for the batter, which included at least 10 minutes of people jamming a fork into the non-Newtonian fluid (where the fluid behaves like a solid rather than a liquid) we made from the cornflour and water (check out a video of people running on pool filled with it here:
After more water was added the mixture started acting a bit more like batter is supposed to. Although once cooked, the crispy chicken was coated in a lovely honey syrup and tasted great!

With all that oil, batter and honey, we were lucky that my sister had chosen baked spring roll recipe rather than another deep-fried recipe. These spring rolls are extra tasty and I’m sure they’d be quite healthy too and can certainly be adapted to make Vegetarian spring rolls by omitting the chicken and ham.

Oven Baked Spring Rolls
Recipe from Nutrition Australia website

Makes 20

1 teaspoon oil for trays
2 teaspoons oil
1 medium onion, diced
½ teaspoon finely chopped ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
5 mushrooms, finely diced
½ capsicum, finely diced
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
½ – 1 cup finely diced cooked lean ham or chicken
½ cup bean sprouts, e.g. mung beans
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon salt-reduced soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (choose one or a combination of: parsley, coriander, basil)
250g packet frozen spring roll pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 200 C. Brush an oven tray with oil/ or lightly spray with oil.
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium to high heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add celery, mushrooms, capsicum and cabbage and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Add ham/ chicken and sprouts. Put on the lid and let vegetables cook for another minute.

Spring Roll Filling

Spring Roll Filling

Meanwhile combine the cornflour, sweet chilli sauce, soy, and herbs. Add the mixed sauces to the spring roll filling, heat until mixture boils and thickens. Remove saucepan from the heat and allow mixture to cool.
Place 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture on the bottom corner of one spring roll sheet. Fold edges of sheet in and roll up. Continue until all the mixture is used.

Place Filling on Spring Roll Sheet

Place Filling on Spring Roll Sheet

Fold base pf sheet up over filling

Fold base pf sheet up over filling

Fold sides of sheet to the middle then continue to roll up to make the spring roll

Fold sides of sheet to the middle then continue to roll up to make the spring roll

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Bake in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes or until the spring rolls are golden brown. Serve with a dipping sauce as a snack or with rice for a main meal.

Serve with sweet chilli sauce

Serve with sweet chilli sauce

Chinese Honey Chicken

Recipe from Geocities

Serves: 4-6

500g skinless chicken breast
¾ cup honey
1 cup cornflour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 egg whites
cold water (we used around ½ cup)
oil for deep-frying
extra cornflour (for dusting chicken)
1½ teaspoons sweet chilli sauce
garnish: spring onion (chopped) or sesame seeds

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Make the batter: mix together cornflour, baking powder, beaten egg whites and cold water.

Coat the chicken in the batter

Coat the chicken in the batter

Dust chicken with cornflour then dip it into the batter. Deep-fry chicken pieces for 1 min or till crisp on the outside and cooked through.

Deep fry the battered chicken in hot oil

Deep fry the battered chicken in hot oil

In another pan, add honey and chilli sauce and heat over medium heat. Pour hot sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve immediately.

Add honey sauce over crispy chicken and serve

Add honey sauce over crispy chicken and serve

The first cooking class is finished, next is Nick’s turn…