Cookbook Review: Melie’s Kitchen

Melie’s Kitchen by Amelia Ferrier (Penguin Random House New Zealand)

Melie's Kitchen

I have a fair collection of cook books both new and old.  My favourite cook books are anything with baking or preserving (jams and jellies and such like).  Some books I have never made anything from, although I want to try three or four of the recipes.  Other books I have get me extremely inspired to get into the kitchen and try stuff out.  Melie’s Kitchen falls into the second group – there is so much in there that is just ‘wow’ and ‘oh-my-goodness’ and ‘I’d never have thought of that’.  It’s so exciting (and no, it is not sad that I find a cookbook exciting). Continue reading

Lemon & Currant Biscuits (Cookies)

Lemon & Currant Cookies
A classic New Zealand biscuit (or cookie) is the Kiwi Biscuit, also known as a Highlander Biscuit after the brand of sweetened condensed milk that flavours these yummy cookies.  There are many different recipes out in the world for Kiwi Biscuits and each has a little tweak according to each baker’s preferences – a little more butter, a little less sugar, twice as many chocolate chips….. Continue reading

Date, Chocolate & Hazelnut Crunch

Date, Chocolate & Hazelnut Crunch
Unpacking boxes of food items to stock my newly built pantry, I came across a jar of date molasses.  Date molasses is similar to blackstrap molasses but milder in flavor (golden syrup or treacle can be used here instead).  The date molasses inspired me to create a slice similar to a very popular ginger crunch that originates in Takaka (the original recipe can be found here) but using dates (obviously) to appeal to people not overly fond of ginger. I don’t completely understand how people can not be fond of ginger but I do have a couple living in my house.  I try not to make the ginger version too often as I am likely to scoff the lot in a couple of days and that is not an action that fits into my everything in moderation philosophy.

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Walnut Honey Yoghurt Apple Loaf

Walnut Honey Yoghurt Apple LoafThe Mopp has embarked on a refined-sugar eating plan to help support a friend.  This has created quite a challenge in the kitchen as I now am baking dairy-free, refined-sugar free treats.  I like challenges and am having fun discovering a whole new world of recipes using honey.

This recipe is adapted from Cultures for Health Nutty Honey Yogurt Zucchini Loaf.  As it contains yoghurt, it isn’t dairy-free so the daughter has missed out this time.  However, with the nuts included, she’d have turned her nose up at it anyway, so no loss there. Continue reading

Dairy-free Wholemeal Double Chocolate Crinkle Biscuits (Cookies)

Dairy-free Wholemeal Double Chocolate Crinkle Biscuits (Cookies)

Wholemeal Double Chocolate Crinkle Biscuits

These chocolate biscuits are inspired by the ginger crinkle biscuit that I make regularly as they are easy to make and delicious (the recipe can be found on the Chelsea Sugar website here). There are also a lot of other super yummy recipes on that website – I used to make the Chocolate Chunk Oat Biscuits from time to time before dairy-free restrictions entered our life.  It doesn’t matter that 5/6th’s of our family are OK with dairy, if I make or bake something with dairy in it, I get the evil eye from the daughter as if I am intentionally rubbing in the fact she can’t eat anything and everything anymore.

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Chocolate Loaf with Coffee-Soaked Sultanas

Chocolate Loaf with Coffee-Soaked SultanasOne of the recipes in a cookbook I reviewed recently was for a Welsh tea loaf where the dried fruit is soaked in hot tea. The resulting loaf is delicious, particularly when cut into thick slabs and smeared with butter. I took that concept and replaced the tea with coffee. I like my coffee strong so I used two tablespoons of ground coffee to 1 cup of boiling water.

Chocolate Loaf with Coffee-Soaked SultanasI made the first version with raisins which was nice but as the Anster favours sultanas over raisins I switched. It helps that sultanas are less expensive than raisins. I’m fairly sure I have mentioned before that the Anster is one of those weird people who doesn’t like coffee. I can taste the coffee in this loaf but that may be because I know it is there. The Anster loves this loaf – it is his sort of food. I expressed a little surprise and asked him if he could taste the coffee and he said now that you mention it he could detect the coffee but it was subtle enough for his taste buds. Continue reading

Mango Muffins with Coconut & Chai

Mango Muffins with Chai & Coconut
Last year, the Anster offered to rebuild my pantry as my birthday present.  It was a great idea as my current pantry was a mix-match of shelves at different heights.  It worked much better than the previous version which involved banana boxes stacked one upon the other.  I was forever stacking and re-stacking boxes when the ingredients I required were in the bottom box. Continue reading

Homemade Chai Spice Blend

Chai Spice Blend
Marsala Chai is a blend of different spices used to flavour many things but most commonly hot tea.  The spices used vary greatly depending on personal tastes, ranging from a gentle warming flavour to in-your-face spiciness with optional additions such as vanilla, orange or basil.    Continue reading

The joy of baking: Rhubarb & Rosewater Purée

In the latest Australian Women’s Weekly issue (New Zealand edition (November 2015)), Nigella speaks about the therapy of baking.  I don’t often buy the AWW as I have to limit my magazine purchases in order to keep to my assigned budget but occasionally something on the cover calls out to me.  Most often it is a kiwi food writer or chef and I always buy the December issue because I LOVE the recipes.  In my experience, AWW recipes are very good and so they should be, triple tested and all.  I triple test my own recipes because I want them to be as “good” and fail-safe (and because the piglets in my house eat all the baking as I’ve forgotten I need to take photo’s.  I still haven’t posted my Apple Caramel Slice recipe because as soon as I make it, it is demolished).
Rhubarb & Rosewater Purée

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Winter woes + delicious apple shortcake

Apple Blossom

Winter is not my favourite season when the weather is wet and cold but when the sky is blue, the air is crisp and the sun gently warms as it delivers a dose of Vitamin D, I can’t complain.  In fact, I get a little antsy sitting inside…… I need to be out in the garden with my fingers in the dirt.  The combination of pulling weeds to tidy the garden while enjoying the company of my chickens and cats is great therapy. I have baked and cooked a lot of apple recipes lately but we have gobbled them down before I thought to take any photo’s.  I am sure my family will not complain when I make them again so I can prepare some blog posts. The Mopp turned 18 and requested an apple pie for his birthday dinner.  I intended to make Chelsea Winter’s Apple Pie with Feijoa & Maple however it was a low day for me – winter woes and all that guff so I was looking for an alternative which seemed easier.  Miss M offered to help with dinner which kick-started my mojo a little.  A few minutes (yeah, right) of Pinterest and I was away.  The pictures of this Caramel Apple Crumble pie from Averie Cooks made me forget the easier route….. Continue reading