Monthly Archives

November 2013

Buttermilk Seed Pancakes

November 30, 2013

With just so much love for pancakes in my heart, I bring you these lovelies for your weekend plate.

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I hold particular affection for these pan cakes, my most recent creation. We are rather obsessed with them in my house. In fact I like to keep a supply of these delicious discs in the freezer for when mid-week pancake cravings strike – just defrost them for 10 minutes on the counter and then pop in the toaster! Suddenly Tuesday will feel like Sunday.

This recipe calls for a dash of wholegrain flour and crunchy seeds for wholesome nourishment, a glug of requisite buttermilk (an ingredient required by pancake law) and a grounding drizzle of browned butter. Obsessed much?

I love the promise a plate of pancakes brings…the assurance of an auspicious day. This buttermilk seed stack will make you slow down, savouring the tender bites while curled up in a chair, pleasantly and peacefully turning the pages of a book.

To pancake and read is one of my most favourite weekend activities…

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Buttermilk Seed Pancakes

Recipe inspired by Joy and Kate.

Makes 8 pancakes (freeze leftovers individually in plastic wrap & then defrost briefly before heating in the toaster)

Ingredients
2/3 cup Wholemeal Flour
1/3 cup Plain Flour
1/2 tablespoon Sunflower Seeds
1/2 tablespoon Pepitas
3/4 tablespoon Poppy Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 cup Buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Browned Butter

Method
1. To make your browned butter, heat a chunk of unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the sound of the butter crackling slows down it will begin to brown. Watch carefully and when fragrant and nutty and nicely browned remove it from the heat (if bordering on too brown pour it into a small bowl, otherwise I just leave it in the pan to cool).
2. Whisk the flours, seeds, salt, baking powder and soda and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.
3. Whisk the eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of browned butter and stir to combine.
4. Fold the wet ingredients through the dry ingredients until just combined (do not over-mix).
6. Cook your pancakes by heating a non-stick pan over low-medium heat with a drizzle of remaining browned butter. Test that the pan is hot by flicking water on the pan (if it dances, it’s ready) then cook your pancakes by scooping 1/4 cup of the mixture at a time (I use two pans at a time). Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip and then cook for a further ~2-3 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
7. Serve your pancakes with berries and a generous drizzle of maple syrup. They’re also lovely with some Greek yoghurt.

Heidi xo

 

 

My Chicken Soup

November 27, 2013

Chicken soup is such classic, everyone has their own version. Sometimes it is a sacred family recipe, passed down with diligent, step-by-step instructions. Other times it’s merely the encouragement, the sentiment…

“Mum, I’m not feeling that well today.”
“That’s no good, you should have some chicken soup.”
“Yes, I should…”
“Chicken wings make great stock, remember.”
“No, I think I’ll cook the whole bird, I’d like the meat for during the week.”

In those cases when comfort calls and my body craves bone broth, I head to my local butcher and pick up an organic, free range bird. It’s costly, but undoubtedly worth it and makes so many meals. By this I suppose I mean it creates so many meals but it also makes them, in that it elevates a humble soup or broth to star status. A quality chicken will do that.

Yes, you might like to put on your good tracksuit pants for this soup. It’s pretty special. First, we make stock…

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My Chicken Soup

Makes a giant pot of stock. Soup recipe serve 2 generously.

Chicken Stock/Broth Ingredients
1 whole organic, free-range Chicken
1 Onion,
2 Carrots, unpeeled and chopped into 2-3cm chunks
2 Celery Tops (the leafy part)
1 small thumb sized cube of fresh Ginger, peeled
1 large Star Anise
1 small handful Parsley Stalks
2 large fresh Bay Leaves, torn (dried will work too but I find they’re not as flavourful. I might add up to 4 leaves if using dried)
1/2 tablespoon whole Black Peppercorns
Water

Chicken Soup Ingredients
1 Leek (or 1/2 a brown onion), thinly sliced
2 Carrots, sliced into fairly thin rounds
1 large stick Celery, chopped
2 cups Chicken Stock (recipe above)
1/2 cup Peas (frozen)
1/2 cup Shredded Chicken (from stock recipe above)
1/2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper

To serve, optional: fresh parsley, chilli sauce or soy sauce, rice, pasta or rice noodles…

Chicken Stock Method
1. Rinse your chicken then put it in a large stock pot. Add the rest of the soup ingredients and enough water to cover the chicken.
2. Cover the pot with a lid then bring the soup to the boil. Remove the lid and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken, shred the meat you want to eat and save it for other dishes, then return the carcass to the pot and cook for a further 6-12 hours (as long as possible).
3. Drain the stock and either: a) place into containers if you’re in a rush or b) refrigerate the stock in the large pot for a few hours until the fat rises to the top, them skim it off. I often don’t skim the fat, as I find when using a quality chicken you don’t really need to. Freeze any portions of stock you wish and keep some for soup! PS, the vegetables cooked in the stock? I discard the celery leaf, ginger, parsley stalks, star anise, peppercorns and onion skin, and save the carrots and onion to serve in the soup recipe below.

Chicken Soup Method
5. To make your soup, heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the leek or onion, generously season with salt and sautee for for a couple of minutes until the leek softens (add a dash of water if the pan dries out). Add the carrot and celery and cook for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer for ~20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Taste and season as required. Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken simmer for another 5 minutes to heat through. Serve with optional garnishes.

…and then we make soup. On this night below, I ladled the soup on top of some brown rice noodles before adding a dash of soy sauce and more than a dash of chilli sauce. Just go with your mood…

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Friendsgiving with Yasmeen and Jason

November 25, 2013

Friendsgiving… Thanksgiving with friends. Isn’t that just the most fabulous idea?

Though not a holiday we observe here in Australia, I feel Friendsgiving is something we can and should easily adopt, at least yearly. Giving thanks for the blessings in your life, and for your friendships. It is Spring here in Australia, so we are lacking in the fall produce abundant on Thanksgiving tables across North America. But that did not matter, our friends put on a gorgeous spread celebrating not Autumn eats, rather deliciousness. Ok, two things: deliciousness and friendship.

I value my friends. And in my experience, when you find friends with similar passions and values and life priorities, you need to tend to that…with laughter and care and support… and Turkey. Friendsgiving with Yasmeen and her husband Jason and their lovely friends was a beautiful, warm, cranberry-kissed, happy affair. Thank you, friends.

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On the menu:
♥ Roasted turkey (Yasmeen has great tips in her post here!)
♥ Mashed potatoes
♥ Cornbread
♥ Ciabatta stuffing with chestnuts and pancetta (addicted)
♥ Green beans and peas
♥ Sauteed zucchini
♥ Sweet potato casserole with brown sugar pecan crumble topping
♥ Cranberry sauce
♥ Mushroom Gravy

For dessert:
♥ Baklava
Brown butter baked doughnuts with pumpkin pie spice sugar
♥ Turkish coffee
♥ Peppermint tea

Check out Yasmeen’s blog post for more Friendsgiving snaps.

Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

 

Mushroom Salad with Asparagus and Thyme Pinenut Brown Butter

November 22, 2013

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I’ve been trying to figure out why I love mushrooms so much. What is it about those brown beauties that make them so special, so unique?

Well firstly, they’re a fungus, but a familiar one so we don’t feel too intimidated. We treat them like a vegetable, though they’re unlike any other vegetable we use in the kitchen. Mushrooms are aesthetically stunningly, with their staggering shades of brown and moody greys. They’re also meaty, completely satisfying. If a mushroom graces your plate you know your meal will be whole.

Secondly, they’re highly nutritious. Mushrooms give you a bounty of B vitamins and other important vitamins and minerals. There’s some really fantastic research happening on the benefits regarding mushrooms and disease risk, so you should most definitely feel encouraged to pile up your plate. Mushrooms are also quite low in kilojoules, which can help with weight control but it also means you can jazz them up with dream ingredients such as goats cheese, nuts, legumes, chicken…to name a handful of mushroom marriages.

Thirdly, I find them to be quite romantic. I fancy the idea of foraging for mushrooms, wicker basket in soil-kissed hands, gathering as we go. Under the steady supervision of a knowledgeable guide, of course. I’d rather not dine on a poisonous loot of scavenged shrooms. This post by Emma was ace, giving you a peek into mushroom farming.

Yes, mushrooms are very special, don’t you think?

I recently created a Spring salad for the Summer Mushrooms campaign, hoping to celebrate our present season and often moody weather. Here, big and flat mushrooms are the main event, in their fleshy glory. The thyme pinenut brown butter is really just a delicious costume and the rest of the ingredients – the leaves, asparagus, prosciutto, ricotta, parmesan and lemon, well they all tie together so merrily. This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the prosciutto, but it just adds that salty, vibrant crunch I so love.

Summer Mushrooms Competition – here’s the deal…

Summer Mushrooms have an awesome campaign this year, “Mushroom Miles – where would you rather be?“. Simply enter your receipt details on that website link (keep your receipt where ever you buy your mushrooms, the grocer store or the supermarket, what ever store) and go in the draw to win a holiday! Yes, please. There are 3 tiers: for 200g of purchased mushrooms you go in the draw to win a $5,000 holiday, for 300g a $10,000 holiday and for 400g a $20,000 holiday. So obviously, if you buy more mushrooms you’re eligible for a bigger prize. You can enter multiple times but only once per receipt. There are also smaller prizes up for grabs. All in the name of eating mushrooms!

Now, back to that thyme pinenut brown butter…

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Mushroom Salad with Asparagus and Thyme Pinenut Brown Butter

Serves 2

Ingredients
4 large flat Mushrooms (~550g)
1 bunch Asparagus
2 handfuls Garden Greens (I used a mix of baby spinach, rocket and mustard leaf)
2 strips Prosciutto, diced into 2 cm pieces
1 large clove Garlic, crushed
1 heaped tablespoon freshly shaved Parmesan
25g Pinenuts
~1/2 tablespoon fresh or slightly dried Thyme (I used fresh thyme that had just started to dry out)
20g unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Ricotta (you could use goats cheese here)
Juice 1/2 Lemon
Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste


Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the mushrooms on the baking paper with the cap facing up, then drizzle with the olive oil. Season well. When hot, place into the oven to roast for 30-40 minutes until soft and nicely roasted.
2. Meanwhile, toast the pinenuts in a pan over low-medium heat for ~5 minutes until golden brown. Place in a small bowl, top with the thyme and set aside.
3. Trim the hard woody edges off the asparagus, then slice the remaining stems into 4cm pieces on a diagonal. Cook over medium heat in a non-stick fry pan for ~5 minutes until charred and cooked through, though still retaining some bite (add a splash of water to the pan if it’s too dry). In the last minute add the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds, then add the lemon juice. Turn off the heat and place into a bowl. Top with the parmesan and set aside.
4. In the same pan, cook the prosciutto over medium heat for a few minutes until crispy (add a little olive oil if your pan is dry). Set aside.
5. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the sound of the butter crackling slows down it will begin to brown. Watch carefully and when fragrant and nutty and nicely browned, remove and pour over the pine nut and thyme mixture. It will crackle and sound awesome.
6. Plate up your salad by putting the leaves on a plate, then top with the cooked mushroom, prosciutto and then asparagus parmesan mixture. Add a dollop of ricotta to each plate, then drizzle the thyme and pinenut brown butter over the top. Add some freshly cracked pepper and you’re good to go.

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Heidi xo

* This post was sponsored by Australian Mushroom Growers Association (thanks guys! I had fun creating a recipe for you), but my mushroom love is real and opinions are sincerely my own.

 

Lunch with Aunty Joyce

November 19, 2013

Last Sunday Ben and I had lunch at my parents’ house. Impromptu visits involving homemade bread, gifted garden cuttings and pot plants are so simple now we’re living merely 10 minutes from their door. On this day they hosted a lunch with mum’s Aunty, my great Aunty Joyce. Mum made a lovely tomato tart and a particularly delicious quiche using leek from their garden.

Mum based her quiche on this recipe (link), but used slightly less cream and only 1 cup cheese (tasty cheese), and added peas to the mix as well as an extra egg. Tarts and quiches like these, with spring vegetables and tender pastry, are just about my favourite weekend lunch. Especially when enjoyed with fresh salad and homemade sourdough. And family.

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Mum served a vibrant apple cake made by Bernie, from The Red Hill Kitchen. I adored the flecks of zest in this beauty and appreciated the apple skin in the mix, too (I hate to peel apples and waste the skin!). Mum whipped up some cheeky cream (spiked with calvados) to serve with the cake, which was a delicious, ‘on theme’ decoration.

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The five of us had a lovely time eating quiche and cake, chatting about family, gardening and birds and my dad’s once long hair. And we spoke about Uncle Rex. We miss him. There was tea, of course. Very weak and black, for Aunty Joyce, just like my nana, her sister. I favour strong black tea, myself. I get that from my grandad. I also inherited his slightly crooked feet. But my fear of birds? I got that from my nana.

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After lunch we took a turn in the garden together, chastising possums and picking rosemary. Ben and I left with a loot of goodies and trundled down the hill to our home, our garden, taking with us the love and advice of my great Aunt and parents. I planted that rosemary cutting straight away.

I hope it is as strong as theirs…

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Heidi xo

On Loving Eggs

November 15, 2013

I have the best intentions when buying eggs. I’ve seen videos and read articles about factory farmed chickens and the awful life they lead to produce eggs in an attempt to keep up with consumer demand and keep prices down. It horrifies me.

I want to make the right choice and only buy eggs that I know come from happy chickens who lead a good life, and I am happy to pay extra for these eggs. The trouble is, it can be so difficult to know what eggs are the most humane choice. Words like “free-range” and “cage-free” and “organic” are thrown around leaving consumers very confused and frustrated. There needs to be more transparency in the industry and better standards, most definitely. But we as consumers do have some power here, we just need to educate ourselves and not reach for factory-farmed eggs out of convenience.

So where do we start? If you’re lucky or have the inclination, you can find a farm near you and visit. Or you might meet with a farmer selling their eggs at your local market market and have a chat. Find out about their practices and find a farm or brand you’re happy with. Support them, even though it may cost a few dollars more. It’s worth it, so worth it.

You can also refuse to support factory farming and spend thirty minutes educating and empowering yourself by reading these next few links. Visit Humane Choice and Animal Welfare Labels for more information on the best products and download a great consumer guide to choosing eggs. And look for products that have the Humane Choice accreditation.

I do really love eggs, you see. I live and grew up in an area where it’s normal for people to have a backyard full of roaming chickens. And I’ve long enjoyed the benefits of this, with ready access to fresh, free-range eggs. Moving to the city to attend University when I was 18 really allowed me to see how confusing it is when shopping for eggs at the Supermarket. As a poor student living on rice and legumes and meals from my mum, I no doubt bought the least expensive option available and learnt that cheap, unhappy eggs produced in terrible conditions taste really bad and…sad. They didn’t even resembled the eggs I grew up with, their bright orange yolks and a rich, creamy taste and texture. When living at home I would grunt in moody teenage angst when having to wash poo or feathers off our fresh eggs. I soon realised it was a privilege. In fact I count fresh, free-range eggs from happy hens to be one of life’s truest joys and truest privledges. At our current home we have room for some chickens of our own, and I’m keenly trying to figure out the best and safest way to make this a reality. For now, I’m once again enjoying egg deliveries from my mum and dad’s hens.

Lately I’ve found a new love – duck eggs. Mum’s friend provides us with a good price for these porcelain parcels, and I’ve had the most lovely time seeing what they can do. They’re different from chook eggs, for sure, almost prehistoric in their gigantic, gloopy glory. I favour the flavour of chicken eggs for boiling, poaching and scrambling, so I save my duck eggs for one special purpose where I can celebrate their fat yolky goodness…ice-cream. Oh, duck egg yolks make the most glorious ice-cream. So rich and smooth and gentle and creamy. So creamy.

And now I’m completely and utterly ruined. Store bought ice-creams do nothing for me, even the good brands. *sigh* I suppose I’ll just have to keep close to my duck friends. Though having said that, you can simply add an extra chicken egg yolk into the mix to make super lovely ice-cream out of chicken eggs. The real key is, of course, using happy eggs from happy birds, whether chickens or ducks. That is really loving eggs.

coffee icecream

Coffee Ice-Cream (recipe link). A stellar recipe by the infallible ice-cream God, David Lebovitz.

My Ice-cream maker (link) – a gift from my gorgeous Aunty Carole, who gets my food brain and supports it so lovingly. I highly recommend this ice-cream maker.

Heidi xo

Steel Cut Oats

November 13, 2013

Recently I’ve been loving on steel cut oats. Though nutritionally they are not dissimilar to my beloved rolled oats, there’s something special about these golden groats. I find the texture so fun! Steel cut oats are wonderfully chewy, the tiny bites pop in your mouth. I’m addicted.

In fact, I find the combination of rolled and steel such porridge fun I thought I should share it with you today for Wednesday Breakfast Club.

To make this mix I combine 1/4 cup steel-cut oats with 1/4 cup rolled oats in a small saucepan. Then I’ll soak the oats in some milk for ~15 minutes while I have a shower and get dressed, before heating them for ~20 minutes on the stove top, diligently stirring to ensure they cook well. During this time I often read and reply to emails on my phone. The stirring calms me.

Then it’s time to play with toppings. Of late I’ve had a hankering for toasted sunflower seeds or pepitas. Or both. Often I’ll add with a spoon of nut butter. Sometimes honey, rarely jam. Today, however, was totally a jam day.

Oh, what a combination.

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♥ Steel cut and rolled oats made with milk
♥ Toasted Pepitas
♥ Homemade roasted almond butter
♥ Burnt fig jam
♥ Coffee, black.

 

What did you have for breakfast today?

Heidi xo

Ginger and Cucumber Spritzer

November 11, 2013

“White wine spritzer” feels so seventies, doesn’t it? I wasn’t even born in that decade but spritzers surely make me thing of fondue and flares. I picture ladies at backyard BBQs, wine spritzer in hand and a whole lotta hair. Personally I’d never order one when out, let alone make a spritzer at home. What a bummer…

Let’s try and freshen up that image!

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Usually I’m in the “wine is so good by itself, why jazz it up?” camp. But when asked to develop a recipe for Taylors Wines I felt like celebrating the almost warm days that are creeping in and creating a sunshine drink. Call me dreamweaver.

Reaching for Taylors’ chardonnay I instantly knew I wanted to add some cucumber to the mix, inspired by a new lady friend and mentor in my life who serves water with strips of cucumber and lemon, which is just so far out. As a ginger fiend, I thought it’d make a lovely addition to the spritzer and so I made a homemade ginger syrup. It’s a simple assembly, but so right on – white wine, soda, ice, cucumber, ginger syrup and candied ginger pieces. Lovely.

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This ginger and cucumber spritzer is both warming, from the ginger, and refreshing, from the chilled wine and cucumber. I quite fancy it as a friendly drink enjoyed with a dose of afternoon Summer sunshine, you know? Or perhaps you’ll stay inside and make it a lazy day, spritzer in hand and some cheesey fondue goodness as you watch The Godfather.

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Can you dig it?

Ginger and Cucumber Spritzer

Makes 2 & 1/2 cups

You will need to begin this recipe an hour before you want to serve the drink.

Ingredients

For the ginger syrup (inspired by Joy The Baker):
40g fresh Ginger
1/2 cup White Sugar
2 cups Water

For the spritzer:
1/3 cup Ginger Syrup
1 cup Taylors Chardonnay, chilled (add an extra 1/4-1/2 cup if you prefer a stronger wine flavour)
100g Cucumber, plus extra for serving
1 cup Soda Water, chilled
1 handful Ice Cubes

Optional: Candied Ginger (from when you made the ginger syrup)

Method

1. First, make the ginger syrup. Peel and slice the ginger into thin rounds. In a heavy based saucepan, add the ginger, sugar and water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking for ~30 minutes until it begins to reduce, thicken and become a syrup. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the ginger slices and place on a piece of baking paper, allowing them to cool. Pour the syrup into a jar, allow to cool and then store in the fridge. You can make a double (or triple!) batch if you wish, adding more or less ginger as you desire. You can also add more sugar, as is traditionally done, however I find this quantity of sugar sweet enough. The ginger pieces work well in this drink, enhancing the flavour of the ginger syrup, however I also fancy the ginger pieces sprinkled on top of ice-cream or nibbled just as a they are.

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2. Next, assemble your spritzer! Put the ginger syrup (and a few ginger pieces, if you desire a stronger flavour) in a pitcher. I couldn’t find my clear glass pitcher and so went with a jar. I think it’s pretty, though not terribly functional. Add the wine and stir. Slice the cucumber diagonally (~ 1/2cm in size) and place in the pitcher. Allow to infuse for ~30 minutes if you wish, this will help enhance the cucumber flavour. To serve, add the soda water and ice.

Extra sliced cucumber goes down a treat when serving this spritzer. You’re drinking salad!

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Giveaway!

To get you in the mood for sunshine and spritzers, Taylors Wines are giving away two bottles of their great wine to two super lucky readers – this Chardonnay 2012 featured above and their Pinot Gris 2012. How fabulous is that?!

Taylors are an ace company, producing lovely wine in South Australia’s Clare Valley. I hear that Clare Valley is a gorgeous region. I like that Taylors has a recipe page on their website where you can search for recipes to match your wine. I particularly love the look of this Eggplant Parmagiana to go with their Eighty Acres Shiraz Viognier 2012. And look, they even have a cheese fondue recipe to go with your Chardonnay. Taylors, you’re so right on.

To win, all you must do is leave a comment below, telling me your favourite thing about wine, why you adore it. I will also accept entries if you tell me your favourite seventies movie. This competition is open to Australian readers only and winners must be of legal drinking age (and be able to provide proof of age by scanning and emailing your ID). The winners will be announced in one week, on the 18th November 2013.

Update: the winners are Carly & Merowyn! Carly for her comment on both the wine love and her 70s movie love – Grease IS the word – and Merowyn for that just truly epic poem 😉 Congratulations, ladies! I’ll be in contact via email.


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Cheers.

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Heidi xo

 

 

Tasmania, Day Four.

November 8, 2013

So here we are, day four of our Tasmania trip. The final day. The day that further cemented my love for this state. Not that I needed more encouragement or persuasion. Tasmania really put on a show for mum and I during this visit, my very first time crossing the strait to the apple isle. And that’s it, it’s done and I’m sold.

From the nature (oh, the nature) with generous greens and golds and bountiful browns and magnanimous magentas decorating the land…the undulating scenery of rocks and hills and water and mountains and paddocks…To the food and produce of the finest quality, crafted with sincerity and integrity. And then there’s the people behind this stellar food and produce, their pride and neighbourly warmth.

My affection comes after only treading so far as the North West region of Tasmania, there is so much more to see. I hear that Hobart is brimming with food and culture and art, so that is next on my list.

Stanley

Let’s end our visit on a high! We’re off to Stanley.

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Have you been to Stanley? It’s incredibly charming. The giant rock you see above is called “The Nut” and it’s probably what Stanley is most famous for. We climbed The Nut and it is indeed a fabulous feature of Stanley, however I was more thrilled to simply be in the place where Bill Mollison was born. There’s something special about this place…

Stanley feels like a quintessential English seaside town. There are cobblestones and pubs and fishing boats and scallop pies. Heck, there’s even a red phone booth, encouraging cheesy tourist posing. The clouds came and went over the course of our visit in a terribly fickle manner, but that just made it feel all the more like England. We just loved our stay in this town. Stanley gave us the perfect dose of comfort and exploration on our last night in Tasmania.

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Mum and I arrived in Stanley quite tuckered out after all our travelling and tasting. We went for a wander around the town and took a few photographs, before heading to the pub for a drink and a chat with some locals. The Stanley folk were so welcoming, we had a nice chat about the area and were keenly encouraged to sample the local pickled octopus. The girls working at the pub even took our details to see if we could tour the factory and pick up a pickled octopus supply to take home (alas, it wasn’t possible, but we did find some at the local supermarket).

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The Ark Stanley

After our pub visit we checked into our accommodation at The Ark. This bright home is an excellent place to stay, it’s clean and spacious and has all the amenities you’d desire (including really fabulous, large, sleek showers). The Ark is situated below The Nut and overlooks the water, so it’s in an ace location. We could have quite happily stayed here for a few more days.

Mum and I tried multiple times to get a table at Xanders Brasserie, an incredibly popular restaurant in the heart of the town, but it was completely booked out. This was a real shame, as we hear it’s an amazing, innovative restaurant (they had possum on the menu – possum!). We’ll have to save it for our next visit. Though I must say we were very happy to collapse in our room and enjoy our night in such lovely comfort – hot showers, white robes and a picnic dinner in our room. Not too shabby at all.

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Picnic Dinner

That evening we devoured a veritable feast of Tasmanian goodies. There was 41 Degrees South hot smoked salmon, incredible cheese from Ashgrove and King Island Dairy, the divine Ashgrove cultured butter and a bottle of Ghost Rock Two Blocks 2012 Pinot Noir (oh, that wine!). Whilst delighting in our spread, we had a bit of a Kathy Bates marathon, courtesy of The Ark’s ace DVD supply. First up was Fried Green Tomatoes, which is such a favourite of mine, and then Misery (creepy, creepy)! I felt like I was thirteen again sitting with my girlfriends watching scary movies.

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The Nut

In the morning we headed straight to The Nut for a super steep hike and walk around the top of the rock. The views of Stanley, the water, the land, the space, were truly stunning. What a refreshing way to wake up in Tasmania.

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Hi, wallaby, how are you doing?

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Touchwood Cafe

Back in the town we enjoyed a fabulous takeaway coffee at Touchwood cafe, a lovely local gem with cottages, a gallery and cafe/restaurant. The owners are very friendly and they serve Genovese coffee, what more could you want? Cake? Well yes, they do that too, with an excellent selection – check out these gorgeous wholemeal savoury buttermilk muffins!

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I was about to devour a muffin but instead we saved ourselves for some local scallop pies. These pies were a bit of fun, one mornay style and one curried. Though I am still thinking about that muffin…

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Highfield House

After brunch we visited Highfield House and explored the grounds. You can do tours at Highfield, which would be a fun activity if you’re anything like me and love history and homes. You can also hire the venue for Weddings. Wouldn’t that be divine?

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Home…

All our senses satisfied, feeling completely full of gratitude and inspiration and seafood and wine and cheese, we bundled up and headed back towards Burnie to fly home.

Tasmania, you’re a true beauty. Thanks for the superb scenery and food, your natural charm and warm spirit, and the chance to spend this special time with my mum.

Thank you also to Tourism Tasmania and Deb from We Are Social, for being so generous in offering me this trip. I’m feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.

All I have left to say is…

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Heidi xo

* Disclaimer: although I traveled courtesy of Tourism Tasmania, my opinions and recommendations are most sincerely my own.

Banana Soft Serve with Toasted Seeds and Nut Butter Topping

November 6, 2013

Good morning, friends.

Monday afternoon I posted a picture on my instagram account of a rather extravagant snack. It involved banana soft serve, nut butter, maple syrup and sea salt. Many appeared to appreciate my concoction and Carly asked for a recipe, so today I decided to wake a bit earlier, update my previous mention of banana soft serve and scribe a recipe for Wednesday Breakfast Club.

Banana soft serve – what is that?

Well it’s really just pureed frozen bananas, maybe with a dash of milk or yoghurt to help move things along. That’s it. Banana soft serve (I hesitate to call it ice-cream as though it is creamy in texture it does tend to melt quickly like a soft serve) is outrageously simple and tasty, and after trying it once you’ll surely insist on having bags of chopped, frozen bananas in your freezer at all times.

For breakfast today, I bedazzled my banana soft serve good and proper with toasted seeds and melted nut butter. Smooth banana cream with rich and sticky nut butter, slightly crunchy flaxmeal and certainly crunchy seeds, plus the sweet pop of syrup and salt. Oh, it was a treat.

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Banana Soft Serve with Toasted Seeds and Nut Butter Topping

Serves one

Ingredients
1 frozen Banana
2-3 tablespoons Milk (any kind, eg: cow’s or almond)
1 tablespoon Nut Butter (I used a blend of roasted almonds and cashews, similar to this recipe)
1 tablespoon Sunflower Seeds and Pepitas
1 tablespoon Flaxmeal (ground flax seeds, or LSA mix)
1 teaspoon Pure Maple Syurp
Sea Salt

Method
1. Toast the seeds in a non-stick pan over low heat for a few minutes until nice and toasty and slightly golden. Set aside.
2. If you nut butter is not drippy, melt it in a small saucepan over low heat, thinning with a tablespoon of milk and whisking as required. Set aside.
3. Puree the frozen banana in a food processor (adding 1-2 tablespoons milk as required) until smooth.
4. Spoon the banana soft serve mixture into a bowl and top with the flaxmeal, nut butter, seeds, maple syrup and a sprinkle of sea salt.

What did you have for breakfast today?
Post pictures on instagram and twitter, hasthag #wednesdaybreakfastclub and join in the fun! Or just tell me here in the comments, I appreciate all forms of dietary snooping. I find it a lovely way to get inspiration.

Happy soft serve Wednesday!

Heidi xo