Monthly Archives

June 2011

My Best Ever Pad Thai

June 29, 2011

My best ever Pad Thai is from a street restaurant opposite the main bus station in Kanchanaburi. Yep, it’s true.

When Ben and I take the 7 hour bus journey from Bangkok to Sangkhlaburi, heading to Baan Dada, we have a quick 10 minute stopover in Kanchanaburi. Despite it being a fairly generous break by bus-journey standards, by the time we have a toilet break we are always rushing. Always.

Every time we have made this trip, we have had to sprint to our bus as it pulls away from the station. Every single time. You’d think we’d learn, but no! You’d perhaps think that we’d reassess our ability to do all we wanted in those 10 short minutes, but you would indeed be wrong. You see, on our first trip we spotted a lady making Pad Thai on the street out the front of her restaurant. We ordered and received two take-away packs, before madly dashing to the bus.

Once safely on the bus, we ate our boxes of authentic Thai take-away. And that was it. From that moment on, the first 3 hours of the trip from Bangkok to Sangkhlaburi would be spent eagerly awaiting the sight of that lovely, talented lady and her wok. We knew we were in for a stressful 10 minutes, but we didn’t care about that…

The Pad Thai is honestly too good to pass up. It’s worth the stressful dash to the bus before it vanishes from sight with our luggage forever. It’s just worth it.

Sticky, but not overly so. Slightly sweet, but what you really get is that lovely wok flavour, combined with super fresh ingredients and generous serves of egg, tofu and all the good stuff.

In January, following on from our 12 days in Vietnam, we headed to Thailand, destination Baan Dada. It had been 15 months since our last visit, which meant it had been 15 months since our best ever Pad Thai. We were positively buzzing, incredibly excited to have it again.

We’ve enjoyed this blissful Pad Thai three times now, and each visit our anticipation builds. Yet we are never let down. In fact I think our lady makes it that little bit better each time. Perhaps that’s how she lures hungry travellers in?… She’s just doing her part to stimulate the local economy. Maybe in the end people just move to Kanchanaburi to be closer to their best ever Pad Thai? Sure, why not? It works for me!

Heidi xo

Brunch with My Girls

June 27, 2011

Yesterday I had a bunch of girlfriends over for Sunday brunch. I had long been wanting to host a girlie get-together in my new apartment, and brunch seemed like the perfect meal to do just that. After all, it involves the very best food – fruit, baked goods, eggs… what’s not to love?

The sun was ever so lightly wrapping itself against the window, blessing us with some golden warmth on this otherwise chilly Winter’s day. We had such a lovely time, filled with happy chatter, food made with love, lots of laughter and a little champagne.

I can’t believe in just over 4 weeks I’ll be heading over to America, where De is getting married! It is going to be such an amazing trip.

I was thrilled to use my eclectic mix of vintage plates, cups, saucers and napkins. I had a lot of fun putting the table together.
My friends kindly offered to bring berries and champagne, so all I had to do was a little morning prep and cook the rest quickly before we all sat down to a veritable breakfast feast! We listened to French Cafe music as we ate. I must admit, I was too busy cooking, eating and having fun to snap away. But here is a quick snapshot of our lovely day…

Buttermilk Pikelets (recipe link – I used the recipe for the pikelets alone, not the pears). In the flurry of preparing food, these pikelets turned out rather…rustic…certainly not picture perfect 😉 However I was happy with them, in spite of their relaxed form. They were definitely fluffy and I will use this recipe again.

The Pikelets were enjoyed with Lemon Curd (made from this lemon bar filling, which I baked without the base)…

and fresh Strawberries and Raspberries, and some Greek Yoghurt too.

In the centre of the table was Baked Oatmeal

and Pumpkin Walnut Bread.

There was also Ciabatta

which was eaten with Boiled Eggs

and Grilled Asparagus, dressed with Lemon, Parmesan and Sea Salt.

We drank Champagne and Sunzest Organic Orange Juice, in true brunch style.

I served the orange juice in this gorgeous Willow style measuring jug, which mum and dad bought Ben and I as a housewarming present.

For dessert, I whipped up a batch of my BFF Brownies and we ate them warm from the oven with Vanilla Ice Cream and Tea (either English Breakfast or Earl Grey).

Would you like Milk with your Tea?

Thanks for the gorgeous flowers, phe (from Red Hill, to boot!) The Daphne is filling our house with such a beautiful aroma.

…..

I adore brunch, especially with my girls. Everyone had a great time, which was really lovely to see. I had so much fun putting this feast together, and can’t wait to do it again. Even though there was a lot of washing up to do later that evening…

…I made sure I did it in style, with another glass of Champagne 😉

Heidi xo

Steak Sandwich Saturdays

June 25, 2011

Don’t we all need a Steak Sandwich Saturday every now and then? On the first day of the weekend when midday rolls around, and your tummy is telling you it’s time to sink your teeth into something that is both delicious and substantial, it is at this point when the trumpets start playing and we prepare to hoist the Steak Sandwich Saturday flag. March in the troops!

Super fresh, crisp cucumber and seriously sweet tomatoes are a must…

Your parent’s homemade Green Tomato Chutney really comes in handy…

Good quality parmesan, just a light shaving…

Assemble all the ingredients (including spinach leaves and crisp red onion) with flash cooked minute steaks that have been dressed with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Toasted Dench wholegrain sourdough makes an excellent bread base.

Serve with olives, for kicks…

And that’s how you do Steak Sandwich Saturdays.

Heidi xo

Cashew Coconut Chicken Satay with Stir Fried Vegetables, Soba Noodles and Coriander

June 23, 2011

There has been a bit of buzz about coconut oil the past year or so, with a little side of controversy. I wrote a post on coconut oil some months ago, so check that out for a bit more detail (link here). Yet in a coconut-shell (sorry) here is the deal…while coconut oil is a saturated fat (the bad fat), the body processes it differently to other saturated fats, so it is not considered such a bad fat. Plus, it can be heated to high temperatures, so it’s safe for cooking. As it’s a saturated fat, it’s liquid when warmed and solid when cooled – hence the interchange between “coconut oil” and “coconut butter“.

Whenever I get a coconut-craving, I adore popping some in a smoothie for a delicious tropical taste. Although this hasn’t occurred much lately, what with it being absolutely freezing in Melbourne! Maybe I should make a coconut hot chocolate instead…

Coconut oil can also be used in baking (I used it in my oaty carrot bars), and I am keen to use it more in baking, as I find it imparts a lovely flavour. It’s nice in savoury dishes too…

As part of my work with Melrose, I created the following satay sauce recipe using their organic coconut oil. Many people are quite vocal about their satay sauce preferences, so know that this one is more of a sweet satay sauce, due to the coconut oil and the palm sugar. I tend to add more chilli for extra heat, yet for the masses I felt that a more modest amount would be appropriate (I do love my chilli). I also included a stir fry recipe, in case you need inspiration to use the satay sauce!

Cashew Coconut Satay Sauce

This recipe creates a sauce that is not overly hot. Play to your preferences and add more/less chilli as you desire. This sauce can be served as part of the related recipe, Cashew Coconut Chicken Satay with Stir Fried Vegetables, Soba Noodles and Coriander. Alternatively, drizzle the sauce over grilled tofu, grilled chicken or vegetables (cooked or fresh).

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 teaspoons Melrose Peanut Oil
2 large cloves Garlic, crushed (or 3 small cloves)
1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger, grated
1 teaspoon Red Chilli, finely chopped (or less if you don’t like the heat) * This Satay is not particularly hot.
2 ½ heaped tablespoons Melrose Cashew Butter
½ heaped tablespoon Melrose Unrefined Coconut Oil (in it’s solid form. This would equate to ~1 tablespoon of liquid coconut oil)
½ tablespoon Palm Sugar, shaved (from Asian Grocers)
1 teaspoon Melrose Sesame Oil
½ teaspoon Light Soy Sauce

* Substitutions: you could use brown sugar in place of the palm sugar, and you could use Melrose Almond Butter in place of Cashew Butter, if you wish.

* Make this sauce gluten-free by purchasing a gluten-free soy sauce.

Method

1. In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the peanut oil over low-medium heat. When hot, add the crushed garlic, grated ginger and finely chopped chilli. Cook until the garlic is very lightly browned (2-3 minutes).
2. Add the cashew butter, coconut oil and palm sugar, and stir until the oil has melted and the mixture is smooth.
3. Add the sesame oil and soy sauce and stir to incorporate.
4. Taste and adjust flavouring as you see fit – i.e. if it is too hot, add in some more cashew butter to soften the flavour, if it’s not hot enough, add in some more chilli.
5. Cook for another minute and serve.

Cashew Coconut Chicken Satay with Stir Fried Vegetables, Soba Noodles and Coriander

Serves 4

Ingredients

8-12 Bamboo Skewers
1 bunch Bok Choy
¼ of 1 long Cucumber
½ of 1 medium Red Capsicum
1 medium Carrot
400g Chicken Tenderloins, trimmed of any fat
2 teaspoons Melrose Peanut Oil
2 teaspoons Light Soy Sauce
160g Soba Noodles
Cashew Coconut Satay Sauce (see recipe above)
1 big handful of Fresh Coriander leaves, roughly chopped

* Substitutions: in place of the soba noodles, you could use any sort of noodles you wish, or even steamed rice. Check out Asian Supermarkets for a great range of noodles. In place of the chicken tenderloins, you could use strips of chicken breast. For a vegetarian option, try grilling chunks of firm tofu on skewers.

* Make this dish gluten-free by purchasing gluten-free noodles (or using rice), and using a gluten-free soy sauce.

Method

1. Soak the skewers in cold water for 30 minutes.
2. Whilst the skewers are soaking, cook your Cashew Coconut Satay Sauce (see recipe above) and set aside off the heat (you will reheat this later just before serving).
3. Prepare your vegetables by slicing the cucumber and capsicum into thin strips, and the carrots into thin rounds. Cut the ends off the bok choy and wash the leaves thoroughly.
4. Put a medium-sized pot of water on to boil.
5. Using the soaked bamboo skewers, thread the tenderloins lengthways (one tenderloin per skewer), starting at the thicker end of the tenderloin (i.e. straight through the middle). Set aside.
6. Heat 1 teaspoon of peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add the carrot and stirfry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the capsicum and stirfry for a further minute. Next add the bok choy and stirfry the vegetables two more minutes. Add in 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce during the last 30 seconds of cooking. Set aside. Reheat your vegetables in the wok for around a minute (or until hot) before serving.
7. Add your noodles to the boiling water and cook according to packet instructions (usually 3-4 minutes). When cooked, drain and put back into the pan with the lid on, and set aside.
8. At the same time your noodles are cooking, heat the other teaspoon of peanut oil over medium heat on a chargrill or barbeque grill. Cook the skewers for ~4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
9. Heat up your Cashew Coconut Satay Sauce over low heat, stirring often, whilst you’re cooking the chicken. Be careful not to burn the sauce.
10. When your noodles and chicken are cooked, and your vegetables and sauce are warm, it is time to serve up. Divide the noodles evenly onto 4 plates (or bowls). Place the vegetables on top of the noodles, add the chicken skewers and then drizzle generously with Cashew Coconut Satay Sauce. Place the fresh, sliced cucumber to one side of the noodles, before finally scattering the dish with coriander.

Heidi xo

Homemade Pasta

June 21, 2011

Last weekend we went down to my parent’s house in Red Hill. It had been so long since we had been down, my mind and body were craving a visit. As we drove amongst the tall trees I inhaled deeply, letting the chilly fresh air warm my bones. I was home.

Saturday night we made pasta. A lot of pasta. Ravioli and pappardelle were on the menu. Usually I let Dad take the reins when making pasta, but this time I wanted in.

I wanted to feel the dough in my hands, to knead…

to let it rest…

and to roll…

Dad was helping me along the way…

And it was fabulous, truly so much fun. I’m surprised that making pasta wasn’t on my list…I suppose I can tick it off anyway.

There’s something about making your own pasta that is so primal to me. In the same way that making bread makes me feel like I’m completely great at life, like I’m doing something I was born to do, that is wholly natural. Bread represents the basic human need for nourishment, and I view pasta in the same way. Natural, wholesome goodness, the epitome of simple food. Making it is wonderfully cathartic and comforting.

How simple and beautiful is that?

I am seriously lusting after my own pasta machine. Ben and I bought mum and dad their Atlas one a few years ago for Christmas, and they’re really happy with it. I only wish we’d bought two…

We served this pasta with a beautiful goat ragu (recipe link). It was rich, comforting and wholesome. The perfect meal, essentially.

I’m so excited to make my own pasta in the future, and let my inner nonna shine. I do so love to get my hands floury, and create comfort by hand. It’s quite a beautiful process, don’t you think?

Heidi xo

Bread and Jam

June 19, 2011

After last weekend’s rather extravagant breakfasts, I was craving a more humble morning meal. And so I assembled a simple breakfast, full of old classics that never go out of style, but which are often cast aside for a more show stopping dish, like pancakes. I must admit, I’m guilty of looking past the humble pot of jam in search of something more jazzy. Not this weekend though, it was time for something a bit more low key…

Saturday morning’s breakfast was all about bread and jam…and nut butters…

…and soft boiled eggs with avocado…and ruby red grapefruit.

All simple components, brought together to make something incredibly homely and undoubtedly fantastic.

Bread and Jam.

It took me back to my younger self, when I was obsessed with “Bread and Jam for Frances“. All Frances liked to eat was Bread and Jam…and milk. After this breakfast, I can see why…

Heidi xo

Jamie Oliver Meatballs

June 17, 2011

This is a simple post, following on from a rather hectic week. It seemed right to share this recipe with you. So I am.

You all know I’m a fan of twirling…and what better way to accompany a twirl than with beautiful juicy meatballs. One of my favourtie meatball recipes is this Jamie Oliver gem (recipe link). I have long doted on Jamie Oliver, I adore him in each and every way. And at the risk of sounding a little suspect, I adore his meatballs too.

The zesty, spiced flavour is light and lovely. Coupled with a rich tomato sauce, this is a bit of a special dish. Ben and I always try to double the recipe and freeze a whole bunch of meatballs and sauce, so that we have meatballs whenever we want. In a perfect world, everyone would have meatballs whenever they wanted, right?…

This dish makes for a fabulous mid-week Winter comfort meal. Perfect for when you’ve had one of those days, when obstacles to productivity seem to pop up at regular intervals in ascending intensity, and traffic seems to move that little bit slower than usual on the way home. All you need to do is defrost your serving, pop some pasta into boiling salted water, cuddle up on the couch with your loved one (significant other/family/friend/pup/glass of wine), and talk not about your frustrating day, rather marvel at how fabulous these meatballs are. You’ll end up feeling lighter, trust me.

Heidi xo

Three Somers Proud

June 15, 2011

Boy, wasn’t that a fabulous long weekend?…

While I did have some work to do on Monday, at least I was able to snuggle up on the couch and work from home, fuelled by super-duper vegemite toast (that’s what my family calls it) and copious cups of tea. Not so shabby 😉

I was very well fuelled throughout the whole weekend, as it were….Each morning I started the day with breakfast and coffee at one of Melbourne’s fabulous cafes. What can I say? Ben and I were making up for lost time after his recent study-induced hibernation. We were itching to get out and explore our wonderful city. The long weekend couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

THREE

Saturday morning saw us venture to Three Bags Full in Abbotsford, arriving just after 8:30am so as to avoid the notorious queue. This was Ben’s first visit and my third, and I can safely say that Three Bags Full is now firmly a favourite in my eyes.

It’s quite possibly a favourite simply because of the riduculous, sublime Black Sticky Gingerbread (which is no longer a ‘special’, rather now a regular menu item). This heavenly dish, with candied cumquats and vanilla marscarpone, was as incredible as ever.

Breathtaking

I also ordered a lovely skim Latte

…and a super fresh Vegetable Juice.

Ben went with one of their specials, a Chorizo Ragu with Poached Eggs. The ragu had a really nice flavour, it was quite spicy! Although the dish came out not as warm as we’d have liked, it was still a winner.

Ben also ordered a Long-Macchiato

…and a Strawberry Smoothie. Not the best smoothie we’ve had, but tasty nonetheless.

SOMERS

Sunday morning was a touch hectic, as we rose early to cook a beef rendang for our evening’s dinner party. But things began to delightfully slow down to the kind of pace a Sunday really should be, as we drove down to meet two friends at Somers General Store. As I’ve mentioned previously, this place is like home to me. We had a great time, catching up with my girlfriends and my friend’s gorgeous bub.

Ben and I both ordered the Big Breakfast (I went for poached eggs, while Ben chose scrambled). The mushrooms were probably the best part of the dish, they were tiny buttons – as cute as a…button…and absolutely delicious.

And beautiful coffee, as always (skim Latte).

Harriet ordered the Waffles with Blueberries and Ice-Cream, which was a long weekend special and looked amazing. I should have stolen a bite but alas, I was focussed on my eggs and Harribean is not a slow eater. Mental note, steal bites from friends at the start of the meal. These waffles were my second pick on the menu, but I wanted something bigger, clearly 😉

Jess had a berry Friand as a snack from the beautiful cake cabinet. I am in love with this beautiful fork.

We then browsed all the Vintage goods and I, with lustful eyes, resisted purchasing many gems. I leave for America in 7 weeks, and so I must restrain myself and save all my pennies. We did come home with a tin of beautiful smoked paprika, though, and some Chai tea for my friend’s birthday.

PROUD

The beauty of the long weekend meant that come Monday morning, instead of heading off to work, we were free to venture out for yet another breakfast. This time we tried the popular cafe, Proud Mary. I had heard many great things about this place, yet Hannah‘s recent blog post cemented the fact that I simply had to go there…soon.

And so, Monday morning, we ventured to Collingwood. After a short wait, we secured a bench seat and promptly ordered two coffees! A skim Latte for me…

…and a Long-Macchiato for him.

Wow. This coffee is gooooood. Seriously good. Those swift baristas are mighty mighty skilled. Smooth silky liquid gold, my friends. I ordered two coffees over the course of our breakfast…and I never do that.

We also shared the Tina Juice, for some fruity refreshment. This blend of apple, pineapple, kiwi and strawberry was more than delightful. Nature’s soft drink. Nature rocks.

After a few cheeky wines the night before (at the aforementioned dinner party where beef rendang and lemon tart with lime mascarpone was consumed), we were both craving more savoury type dishes as opposed to the sweeter options. As increible as the ricotta hotcakes with caramelised figs, orange blossom, almonds and iced pistachio nougat sounded, I simply needed that potato hash. Like, straight away.

And so Ben and I shared said Potato Hash with Bacon, Spinach a Poached Egg and Bagna Cauda (bagna causa is a sauce made of anchovies, garlic, olive oil and butter)…

…as well as the Wild Mushrooms with Truffle Polenta and Parmesan Crumbed Poached Egg.

Both dishes were just delicious. Incredibly good food. The mushrooms were quite rich, so it was good to be sharing the dish. And even though I usually adore anchovies, the bagna cauda was a little salty for my taste. But boy were these two dishes beautiful – some of the best savoury cafe breakfast options I’ve enjoyed in a long time. I will definitely be coming back to Proud Mary.

We finished with another round of coffees. Another skim Latte for me, yet Ben, feeling rather adventurous, went with the Magic Mocha. It was rather magical. It came with two marshmellows after all…

…..

So there you go. I had a Three Somers Proud kind of long weekend, and it was deliciously fabulous. While I did miss cooking breakfast at home a little, it was fun to finally relax with my man and enjoy a cup of coffee, or two, over a beautiful morning meal. We’re really spoilt here in Melbourne, we have so many brilliant cafes to choose from. I wonder where I’ll end up next…

Heidi xo

BFF Brownies

June 13, 2011

Recently I’ve been on a bit of a brownie mission. Rich, gooey, dense cocoa cakes have been filling my dreams. And so, into the kitchen I hibernated, trialling batches in a cocoa-daze until I was happy with the end product…

I call these brownies my BFF Brownies for two reasons. The first is because they contain Banana, Flax and Fibre. The second is because once you eat them, they’ll be your Best Friend Forever.

Yes, there are loads of delicious brownie recipes out there. But this one is a little bit special…it’s healthy. Honestly, it is! It contains ground flaxseed , so you’re getting a dose of Omega 3 Fats, and a fibre blend so you’re getting, well, fibre! Fresh dates and mashed banana provide natural sweetness, as well as vitamins and minerals. The dark chocolate is giving you a little antioxidant love, but the main cocoa goodness comes from cocoa powder.

These brownies do contain a little brown sugar, because I wanted them to taste rich and gooey, like a brownie should, rather than morphing them into a health bar with a bit of cocoa and passing them off as a ‘brownie’. Plus, there is no butter or oil in them, and that’s pretty fantastic. And they’re gluten free to boot.

Yep, they’ll be your best (brownie) friend forever. My other BFFs are already requesting large batches be made at frequent intervals. That warms my heart.

BFF Brownies – Banana, Flax, Fibre Brownies

(Gluten Free)

Makes 15 Brownies

Ingredients

1 cup Almond Meal
3 heaped tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1 1/4 teaspoons Gluten-Free Baking Powder
1/3 cup plus 1 heaped tablespoon Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Melrose Organic Golden Flaxmeal
1/3 cup Melrose Organic Omega Fibre mix
1 teaspoon Salt
200g pitted Fresh Dates (~10 large dates) – you need FRESH dates for this recipe, not dried. Find them in the chilled fruit/vegetable/herb section in supermarkets.
2 Eggs
1 very ripe medium-large Banana
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup Low-Fat Milk
2/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 180 Degrees Celsius, Convection setting.
2. Grease a 15x25cm baking pan with margarine/butter and line with baking paper.
3. Into a large bowl, sift the almond meal, cocoa, baking powder and sugar (to get rid of any lumps). Add in the flaxmeal, omega fibre-blend and salt. Stir to combine with a large wooden spoon.
4. Cut along the dates lengthways and remove the pit. Place the pitted dates in a hand blender. Whiz until it resembles a rough paste.
5. In a separate, large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the banana to the egg mixture and mash with a fork. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
6. Spoon your rough date paste into the egg mixture and mash to combine. You will end up with a slightly clumpy mixture.
7. Add in the milk to the egg mixture and gently stir.
8. Pour the milky egg mixture into the large bowl containing the dry mixture and gently fold – don’t overwork the batter.
9. Add the chocolate chips to the batter and gently fold them through.
10. Pour the batter into the prepared (greased and lined) baking pan. Spread evenly, smoothing the surface.
11. Place the pan in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. If your oven is not so efficient, it may take a couple more minutes to cook. Be careful not to overcook your brownies, though. You want them to be a little gooey.
12. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the baking tray for 10 minutes. Slice into brownie-sized squares – this mixture will make 15 modest-sized brownies. Lift the baking sheet and brownies out onto a wire rack.
13. Serve warm with a cold glass of milk or cup of tea. For dessert, a warm brownie (heated quickly the microwave) with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream would be delightful.
14. Allow the remainder of the brownies to cool completely on the wire rack. Store in an airtight container. Alternatively, you can individually wrap the brownies in Plastic Wrap then pop them in the freezer (to be removed a few hours before eating).

A Little Announcement and a Giveaway…

This is the first recipe I created as part of my work with Melrose. I am currently working with them to create healthy recipes using their products, including nut spreads, oils, omega spreads and flaxseed products. I am thrilled to be a part of the inspired, respected and friendly Melrose team, and look forward to creating many delicious and exciting recipes for them (and you!).

To celebrate me joining the Melrose team, I am having a little giveaway! Melrose has kindly provided a variety of their products for me to send out to some lucky readers. A few months ago I took a tour of the Melrose factory and was amazed at the big range of products they produce and distribute. Their work really is very varied, and they have a strong organic philosophy. This is great for me, as I am provided the opportunity to work with a huge range of natural, quality products. And I get to make brownies…how wonderful is that?! So for you, my lovely readers, there are 6 Melrose goodies to be won (open to Australian readers only)…

Hazelnut Spread – made from 100% roasted hazelnuts.

Organic Coconut Oil (or butter)

Organic Mayonnaise – dairy free, egg free and gluten free.

Organic Worcestershire Sauce – gluten free.

Organic Castile Liquid Soap x 2.

To enter, leave a comment outlining which product you would love to try and why (be sure to send me your email address). I will select winners in two weeks time.

Heidi xo

27.6.11 GIVEAWAY WINNERS ANNOUNCED
Hazelnut SpreadHannah
Organic Coconut OilZoe
Organic MayonnaiseRebecca
Organic Worcestershire SauceKat
Organic Castile Liquid Soap Michelle
Congratulations and enjoy! I’ve contacted you all via email. Thanks again to Melrose!

Pumpkin Walnut Bread Delight

June 11, 2011

As you are all now probably far too aware, I like to do something a little special for my weekend breakfasts.

During the week I am all about my bowl of yoghurt, raw rolled oats, berries (frozen ones which I defrost) and a drizzle of light agave nectar. Occasionally I will have half a large dark rye roll with nut butter and jam, plus a small bowl of the yoghurt and raspberries, sans the oats. What can I say? I adore these two breakfasts and I simply do not mess with them. Come Saturday or Sunday, however, I love to spice things up. Occasionally I will crave eggs, bacon, mushrooms and the like, but usually my mind teeters over to something sweet.

As we are still in the phase of unpacking after our move, I recently came across four tins of pumpkin that I had purchased at USA Foods six months prior. I gazed at them and, call it food telepathy, I sensed they were feeling neglected. It had been a while since my last pumpkin venture, you see. And so I consulted the delightful Californian baker, Joy, as I was certain she would have a pumpkin-centric gem for me (those North Americans sure know how to use their pumpkin). I searched through her blog until I came across the perfect recipe (it’s a vegan recipe too!).

Buzzing with the prospect of a pumpkiny breakfast, last Saturday morning I rose early and bounced into the kitchen to get baking…

Pumpkin Walnut Bread recipe link.

It was delightful.

Bakers beware, this is a very sweet loaf. I halved the recipe to make just one loaf (the original recipe is for two loafs), and furthermore I reduced the sugar content from 1 cup brown sugar to 3/4 cup (it felt like simply too much sugar to me), and I think it could have even been reduced to 1/2 a cup. Maybe next time. Although having said that, the sweeteness was a lot more pronounced when the loaf as eaten warm from the oven. When nibbling on a slice the following day, the sweeteness was well balanced (a spread of light dairy spread didn’t go astray either).

I also altered the spices, I doubled the nutmeg and cinnamon, added a touch more cloves (which I ground up myself – the recipe called simply for cloves and I was unsure whether she meant pre-ground or whole – surely not whole?!). I also added ground ginger in place of the all-spice, as I didn’t have any of the latter. I was thrilled with my spice assembly.

I baked my loaf for 55 minutes and rested it for 15 minutes in the tin before turning out and serving with Greek Yoghurt. It was wonderfully delicious.

Thank you, Joy.

Heidi xo