Greek – Zucchini and Fresh herb Feta Frittata

Zucchini and Fresh Herb Feta Frittata

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This is a dish that both my mother and grandmother both bake to perfection and even though for the sake of the recipe I have added measurements for the zucchini and the fresh herbs a little over or a little under will not alter it, it will alway taste as delicious as it should.

When zucchinis are in abundance and fresh herbs are plentiful then this bake may appear a few times as part of the dinner meal, for lunch or even breakfast.

Filling:

  • 4  Zucchini (medium sized) Grated
  • 1/4 cup Fresh chopped Mint
  • 1/4 cup Fresh chopped Dill
  • 1/4 cup Fresh chopped Parsley
  • 1 onion, finely grated
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 250g feta cheese, crumbed
  • 3 egg whites (whipped to stiff peak)
  •  1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a bowl mix together the grated zucchini and fresh herbs set aside.
  2. In a small fry pan add a tablespoon of olive oil and the grated onion, saute gently till the onions have softened and lightly caramelised. Add the onion to the zucchini and mix to combine.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.
  4. Beat the egg yolks and  olive oil together add the crumbled feta cheese, white pepper, mix into the zucchini mixture.
  5. Fold the whipped egg white into the zucchini mixture.
  6. Oil a large baking tin (approximately 20cm x 25cm) spread the mix evenly. Spread the grated cheese over the top.
  7. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes till the top of the bake is crisp and golden.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

 

Sesame Seed Dinner Rolls

There is a true beauty to baking in general, yet nothing surpasses the aroma of freshly baked bread penetrating into every corner of your home. The aroma likened to a warm hug or a heartfelt smile from a loved one you have been longing to see. For myself its been the longing to walk past the village bakery in Greece to relive a moment that has lasted a life time.

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Now I know that you might be looking at these pictures thinking …..”she’s made rings, as well as rolls”, true I took the opportunity to make the Turkish “Simit” a bread ring that is heavily crusted with sesame seeds (which I was totally obsessed with eating at all hours of the day while in Turkey a few years ago).     I uses the same method of baking as the rolls. So be brave and try something different …ps they make the perfect edible napkin rings 🙂

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Sesame Seed Dinner Rolls

Ingredients:
1 Tbs milk powder
250ml water
40g Rice Bran Oil
40g Unsalted Butter melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
500g Bakers flour

Honey Wash:
2 teaspoon honey
2 Tablespoons water

Topping: Sesame seeds

Method:
Place in a bowl the flour, milk powder, dry yeast, sugar and salt mix well to combine all. Add the water, oil, melted butter, egg and mix. Using a standard mixer with a dough hook attachment knead till the dough looks smooth and elastic – on medium speed for approximately 6-8 minutes.

Cover the dough with cling film  to prevent forming a skin and leave to rest about 15 -20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 60g portion sized pieces. Shape each into a ball and allow to rest again for a further 10 minutes. Take each individual dough ball and press with your hand to open the dough to form a circle about the size of a teacup saucer. Then roll back again to the dinner roll shape.

Dissolve the honey and water. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on a small baking tray or flat dish.

Brush the tops of each dinner roll with the honey wash then roll the wet side in the sesame seeds.

Place on baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.

Allow the dough rolls a further 30 – 35 minutes to rise.

Preheated oven at least 15 minutes prior to use at 200 degrees Celsius. 

Just before baking, use a water filled spray bottle to spray a fine mist of water over all the dough rolls. Reduce the oven temperature at 170 degrees and bake the bread rolls until golden brown approximate baking time 12 – 18minute. (All depends how big you make to rolls)

Once baked place the rolls on cooling racks.

The only thing let to do is head to the fridge reach out for the butter, rip one of those freshly backed beauties apart and lay on the butter.

Pure Joy!

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“Kiwi Fruit and Banana Booster”

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Ok now don’t knock it till you try it.

“Kiwi Fruit and Banana Booster” 

1small Banana
1 Kiwi Fruit, (Green or Gold) plea and stem removed
1/2 cup fresh Spinach
1cm piece of fresh ginger 
Zest of half a lemon
1/2 Tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon white Chia Seeds
1 cup cold Almond Milk

Method
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth. 

Enjoy!

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Strawberry Fields

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“Strawberry Fields” 

Makes one serve, but feel free to share!
1 cup Strawberries (washed and stems removed)
1 cup Almond Milk
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 pinch Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter (or Peanut Butter)

Method

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.
Enjoy!

My Best Ever “Banana and Walnut Cake”

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Banana and Walnut Cake

85g butter (room temperature)

150g Sri Lankan Rapadura Sugar

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1 egg

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200g ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 2 ripe bananas)

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125g natural Greek yoghurt

30ml rice bran oil

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220g flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

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60g walnuts, chopped

1: Preheat oven to 180°C, or if it’s fan-forced, 170°C.

2: Prepare a loaf pan by lining it with baking paper. Set aside for the moment.

3: Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes then add the egg. Don’t forget to scrap down the sides.

4: Mix together the mashed banana, yoghurt and oil. With the mixer on low speed, add to the batter. Beat for a further 4 to 6 minutes or until the batter is light and fluffy.

5: Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the batter and then the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Give the bottom of the pan a tap to even out the batter and release any large air bubbles. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

6: Leave on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Make like Maria and try these sugars in your favourite recipes. Discover the new Sugars of the World range in Coles, Woolworths and Independent retailers nationally. www.sugarsoftheworld.com

Enjoy!

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The Perfect Little Princess – Cake Expo Melbourne

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Swedish Princess Cake.

It’s perfect for a special occasion. It is a delicate cake, and looks best with simple decorations.

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Ingredients:

For the crème patissière:

75g egg yolks (approximately 3 small egg yolks)
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
500ml whole milk
50g cornflour                                                                                                                          45g Butter (Room Temperature)

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For the Jaconde sponge:
3 medium whole eggs
125g icing sugar
125g almond meal (sifted)
3 egg whites
15g caster sugar
40g plain flour

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For the filling:
2 tbsp Good Quality Raspberry Jam
Punnet of raspberries (approximately 150g)

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For the decoration:
400g marzipan
400g white Fondant
Pink food colour (or other colour if you prefer)

Equipment:

Two baking trays with a minimum width of 30cm
15cm half sphere mould
15cm round pastry cutter
Plastic piping bag
6 inch round cake card board

8 inch round cake board
Small non-stick rolling pin
Mould for flower decorations or you can try making a flower by hand
Scalped Edge Cutter
Egg carton or plastic paint palette with wells
Leaf Mould Veiner                                                                                                                                                                  Large Flower Petal Cutter
Plain round 2.5cm pastry cutter

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190°C

Line two baking trays with baking paper.

To make the crème patissière –
Whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar in a mixing bowl, then add the cornflour and stir to combine. Place the milk, vanilla seeds and scraped vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to a bare simmer. Pour about a quarter of the hot milk onto the egg yolk mixture, immediately stirring until smooth.

Add the egg yolk and milk mixture to the pan with the remaining hot milk stir well till combined and smooth. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and bubbles in the centre, stirring well to make sure the crème patissière does not burn on the base of the pan. Taste the crème patissière to check it is cooked; it should not taste floury. The texture should be smooth and thick.

Transfer to a bowl or tray. To prevent a skin from forming, cover tightly with cling film, pressing down firmly to make sure there are no air pockets. Allow to cool to room temperature place back into a clean mixer bowl with a paddle attachment and on medium speed begin adding the room temperature butter in small amounts beat until the butter is well incorporated and the custard is smooth, chill until further use.

To make the Jaconde sponge –
Beat the whole eggs and icing sugar together until pale and fluffy. Sift together the flour and ground almonds, then gently fold into the egg mixture using a spatula.

In a clean dry bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until they reach soft peaks. Fold the meringue mixture into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking trays and level the surface using a palette knife or the back of a spoon.

Bake for 8–10 minutes on a low shelf, depending on your oven. The sponge is cooked when the sides are beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tin and the top is lightly golden brown and springs back to the touch.
Allow to cool outside of the oven but leave the sponges in the baking trays. Once cool, cover with cling film to prevent the sponge sheets from drying out.

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To assemble the cake –
Place the sphere mould on top of a small round cake tin to hold it steady. Line the inside of the mould with clingfilm, overlapping the edges.

Cut out a 30cm round from one of the sponge sheets. Use it to line the inside of the sphere mould, leaving a small overlap around the outside edge. Trim off any excess using a pair of kitchen scissors.

Fill a piping bag with the custard filling. Snip an inch off the tip and pipe a thick layer into the bottom of the cake mould, then place six fresh raspberries evenly over the custard. Pipe another layer of buttercream on top. Continue adding layers of buttercream and fresh raspberries until you have almost reached the top edge of the mould. Level off the last layer of cusard using a palette knife.

Cut out two 15cm rounds from the remaining sponge sheet using a pastry cutter. Sandwich the two rounds of sponge together with a thin layer of raspberry jam. Place the two sponge rounds on top of the buttercream-filled mould. Place a layer of clingfilm over the top then place the 6 inch cake board on top. Trim any excess sponge from around the edges of the mould. Cover all with another layer of cling film over the top tightly. Chill for at least 4–6 hours or preferably overnight.

To make the decoration –
While your cake is setting in the fridge, make the flower decorations.

For the pink-coloured fondant, mix 400g white fondant with few drops of pink food paste colour to blend together a very pale shade. To prevent it from drying out, keep the sugar paste wrapped in cling film until use.

Make 3–4 flowers in different shades of pink fondant with sugar paste hardener added so that the flowers will air dry quicker and hold their shape.

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To decorate
Once the cake has set, remove it from the fridge and turn it out on the 8 inch cake board. Remove the mould and the cling film.

On a surface dusted with icing sugar, roll the marzipan out to a thickness 3–4mm. It must be large enough to cover the dome. Using a rolling pin, lift the rolled marzipan and lay it over the dome cake. Smooth the marzipan down the sides of the dome using your fingers. Tuck the edges down and trim away any excess marzipan using a kitchen knife.

Roll out the pink sugar fondant and place over the marzipan the same way. Trim away any excess sugar paste as before.

Cut a 2.5cm wide strip or scalloped edge that is long enough to go all around the base of the dome to create a swag border.

To finish, placed a flower on top of the dome. Be creative its up to you but keep it simple!

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This cake has a shelf life of 3 days when stored in the fridge, however the decoration may become soft and sticky in cold humid conditions. Therefore, I recommend making the cake no more than 2 days in advance of serving and consuming it.

within 1 day.

This recipe was inspired by the wonderful Dome Cake by Peggy Porschen.

Aromatic Braised Beef Pie

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Aromatic Braised Beef Pie
Ingredients
For the filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5kg gravy beef, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
300g speck, rind removed and cut into thick strips
1 brown onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
125ml sherry
125ml port
250ml liquid beef stock
1 cup broad beans, peeled (use frozen if fresh unavailable)
1 herb bouquet consisting of 8 parsley sprigs, 1 large bay leaf, 3 sprigs of thyme, 2 whole cloves or allspice berries, 1 strip orange peel, wrapped and tied in cheesecloth
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
250g Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced

For the pastry
2½ cups plain flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
300g butter, chilled and diced
200ml sour cream
1 free-range egg yolk and 1 tablespoon milk, beaten, for the egg wash

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To serve

2–3 teaspoons sesame seeds
Utensils
25cm pie dish
Serves 8–10

Preparation Method

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker pan. Season the chopped beef with salt and pepper, then add to the pan with the speck, onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the sherry, port, beef stock, broad beans and herb bouquet. Cook in the pressure cooker for approximately 25 minutes. Remove the herb bouquet and discard.

Place the butter in a separate pan, add the flour and cook it through (approximately 3 minutes). Begin adding some of the beef sauce from the pressure cooker, a little at a time, to form a rich, thick sauce. Add the beef and vegetable mixture and the mushrooms.

Simmer for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely in the fridge.

Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and butter into a food processor bowl and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream through the feed tube and process until combined, adding a little water if necessary. Place the dough onto a floured board and knead lightly until smooth. Cut off one-third of the pastry and roll into a ball. Shape the remaining pastry into another ball. Wrap both balls then flatter out slightly wrap in cling wrap and rest the pastry for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Roll out the larger pastry ball. Line the pie tin with the pastry and place back in the fridge to rest. (A hint for rolling out pastry: spray your worktop with oil. Place a large piece of cling wrap on top and roll the pastry out onto it. This will make it easier to pick up.) Roll out the smaller piece of pastry onto baking paper, making it just a little wider to fit the top of the pie and allowing for enough pastry to be crimped around the edge. Place on a tray, cover with cling wrap and rest in the fridge until the filling is cold.
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Fill the pie case with the completely cold beef mixture. Top with the prepared lid. Crimp the edges. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes from any remaining pieces of pastry and decorate the lid. Make a few slits with a knife for the steam to escape. Brush the top of the pie with egg wash. Sprinkle the crimped edges with a generous amount of sesame seeds. Bake for 40—45 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the dish and serving.

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Zucchini, Feta and Spinach Muffins

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There are a few recipes that can remind me of a time and a place and these Zucchini Muffins do exactly that!

Many of my childhood memories are also tied to the smell of fresh herbs, stories from grand parents and memories of traveling, music and family both near and far. When I look at the cuisine that I have grown up with I cant help but think how fortunate I have been.

Versions of this recipe mostly appear in Middle Eastern recipe books as fritters and although my grandmother made them that way as well, I think she would have been happy with my muffin version too. Its less time consuming without losing any of the taste.

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INGREDIENTS
Zucchini, Feta, and Spinach Muffins:

2 medium zucchini, grated

200g Frozen Spinach, thawed

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 Tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)

2 Tablespoon fresh Mint (chopped)

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 Spring onions sliced fine

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

½ cup Self Raising Flour

Salt and black pepper, to taste

3 Tablespoons Olive oil (plus a little extra for the cupcake Pan)

Method:

Preheat the oven 180 Degrees

Place the grated zucchini and spinach in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, wring all of the liquid and discard. Place the grated zucchini and spinach in a large bowl.

Combine the zucchini, spinach, feta, herbs, eggs, spring onions, garlic and oil. Stir to mix well.

Sprinkle in the flour and fold through until it all is incorporated and holding together.

Using a nonstick cupcake pan, add ½ teaspoon of olive oil to the base of each cupcake section and divide the batter between the 12 spots on the cupcake pan.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Note: For a Gluten Free option use Gluten Free SR Flour 🙂

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Walnut and Almond Semolina Halva – Karma-Free Dessert

Semolina halva is one of the most popular desserts found in Greece, India and the Middle-Eastern.

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The secret to good halva is to roast the semolina and the almond meal very slowly with the oil constantly stirring so as not to scorch the grains. Steam the finished halva by covering the plastic wrap and allow it to sit covered till it cools. This will ensure that every grain will be fluffy and plump.

My mother and grand mother both enjoyed making and eating halva. They had their own secret recipe which I found to be either too oily or too sweet or the grains were well crunchy would be the best descriptive word to use…..ok call me fussy!  Thankfully, after I did a little experimenting and made my version of the dessert neither of them would make it their way again preferring to use my recipe. I hope you enjoy this recipe too and it becomes your favourite.

The beauty of this dessert is that you can make small variations like adding 1/4 of soaked sultanas or use cashew nuts even adding coconut milk and vanilla extract. You have a base recipe to start with. 🙂

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:
Group A
3 cups Water
1 cup Sugar (I like to use Raw Caster Sugar)

Group B
1 1/4 cup Semolina
1/4 cup Almond Meal
1/3 cup Rice-Bran Oil

Group C
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
1/3 cup Walnut pieces

Method:
Combine the Group A ingredients, place over moderate heat, stirring only till sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil then remove from heat.

Combine Group B in a 2 -3 litre sized saucepan and stir fry the grains over low heat till the grains are light golden and aromatic. (Take care not to scorch the grains it takes about 10 minutes).

Add Group C stir till all combined stir for a further 2-3 minutes.

Remove the saucepan of semolina from the heat, slowly pour the hot syrup into the semolina, stirring constantly. The grains will splutter at first (take care) it will quickly stop as the liquid is absorbed.

Pour the mix into a nonstick Bunt Cake pan (sprayed with oil) or as I have used individual moulds. Cover the halva with plastic wrap very tightly and set aside till it has cooled and ready to remove from the mould.

Serve cold with an extra sprinkle of semolina and crushed walnuts. I do also like making a vanilla custard to serve with the halva hot. I know it sounds strange but don’t knock it till you try it. 🙂

Enjoy

Cheers

Maria

Artful is the new Rustic!

If the thought of a recipe described as RUSTIC sends shivers down your spine consider this!

“Artful is the new Rustic!

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Bread can be described as wholesome, earthy, crusty and rustic. Countries live and breath by the bread they make and have further developed a measure of quality by which a baker is referred to as, most popular being “Artisan Bread” or “Artisan Bakers”!

Why is it that a recipe handed down from Great Grand-mother to granddaughter not warrant the same respect , the feeling of deep admiration for a carefully crafted recipe measured not by grams but handfuls and the feel of the dough being carefully nurtured through every step.

“Don’t get me wrong I love the careful precision and craftsmanship produced in modern patisserie”

My point is we need to recognise that there is true art to be seen, valued and admired if only we looked closer with a child like wonder and used our sense of smell and our curiosity to enjoy the amazing baked spectacle that has been crafted together to produced a canvas of colour and long lasting memories.For all the recipes handed down for us to enjoy and to all the  “Artful Bakers”

” THANK YOU”

Pastry
Pastry
Home made Apricot Jam
Home made Apricot Jam
Mixed Sultanas, Currants, Orange Peal
Mixed Sultanas, Currants, Orange Peal & Mixed Spices
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Egg wash and a sprinkle of Demerara Sugar

Ingredients:

160g Self-Raising Flour

2 Tablespoons Icing sugar

1 Tablespoon Custard Powder

100g Butter – Unsalted

1 Egg

65g Light Sour Cream

Filling:

1 cup mixed dry fruit (Sultana, Currant, Mixed Peal)

Apricot Jam (optional Raspberry is lovely too!)

Cinnamon Sugar (optional)

 

Egg-Wash:

1 Egg yolk

1/2 Tablespoon Milk

You will Need:

1 Baking sheet lined with baking paper

1 pastry brush

Rolling Pin

Method:

Pre-heat oven 180 Degrees

1: In a food processor add Self-Raising Flour, Icing sugar, Custard Powder and Butter process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor rub the ingredients together using your fingertips.

2: Add the egg and sourcream, bring the mixture together to form a dough ball. Do not over work the pastry.

3: On a floured surface use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry 4 – 5 mm thickness.

4: Brush the apricot jam over the pastry surface, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and lastly sprinkle over the mixed fruit. Gently roll the pastry. Place it on the baking tray brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the demerara sugar on top.

 

4: Bake till golden 25 – 30 minutes.

I hope you and your family enjoy this “Artful bake” 🙂

Happy Baking