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Delight and Things

a little peek at what delights me

Tag Archives: recipes

I was given a box of peaches off the tree this week by a friend – best gift ever! They’ve been smelling so good in my kitchen the last two days that I haven’t wanted to touch them but I woke up this morning wondering what I was going to do with them, because with the hot and humid weather we’ve been having I knew I didn’t have long before they were going to go mushy.

peaches
My first thought was a pie or a tart – but my pastry skills are lackluster at best, and that’s in freezing Canadian temperatures with little chance of the butter melting before it gets in the oven, not in the height of the Australian summer, so I had to rethink. I felt that perhaps the best use for the fuzzy fruits was to make up some sort of cool treat to try to beat the heat. I thought about one of my favourite Canadian treats that got me through many a bad day in university – frozen yogurt.

Unsure what special kitchen tools I was going to need to, I looked up a recipe and was delighted to see that frozen yogurt is pretty much just that: frozen yogurt. No churning need be involved.

colours

So I got to work freezing my plain yogurt and cutting up my beautifully fragrant peaches which were quickly going soft in the heat. I added a bit of vanilla and also a bit of golden syrup because I know my other half is not huge on the ‘plain yogurt’ taste. When it was half frozen I added the peaches and buzzed it up with my hand blender. After washing up, I decided that I wanted something a bit more special than plain old peach, so I added some fresh ginger. Not too much – I think I added only 1/4 of a teaspoon, although in hindsight I could have added more, and then I buzzed it up again (luckily my hand blender is not hard to clean). Back into the freezer, this time in popsicle moulds.

peaches&frozenyogurt

The verdict?

Pretty darned nice.

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On one of the overly toasty afternoons where you end up having to find an inside job to do between noon and three while it’s too hot to do much else, I decided to make gingerbread cookies. Scratch that, I made ninjabread cookies – yes you heard me right! My friend has these hilarious little cookie cutters shaped like gingerbread men but doing side kicks and whatnot… so I borrowed them and they turned out excellent – so excellent, in fact, that they did not last long enough for a photo opportunity. But here’s what made them extra excellent: I used fresh ginger instead of ground ginger. Bold, I know. It could have been a disaster. But I didn’t have any ground ginger and it was a Saturday and by the time I drove half an hour to the shop it would have been closed. (Three cheers for living in the middle of nowhere!) But I actually think it was a happy accident because the fresh ginger made it spiiiiicy. Some bites were simply sweet, some bites were packed with gingery zing. As a ginger lover, I was in heaven. For the ginger hesitant, don’t give up your regular recipe.

Here’s the recipe I used. It’s adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe. I halved the recipe.

Spiiicy Gingerbread – oven at 180°C, or 350°F

    • 3 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup raw sugar (if I’d had packed brown, I would have used that, but all I had on hand was raw)
    • 2 tsp minced ginger
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp nutmeg
    • some finely ground black pepper
    • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
    • 1 egg
    1. Mix the flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a bowl and put aside.
    2. Beat the butter and brown sugar together in a bowl, until creamy and fluffy. Mix in the fresh ginger well, the other spices, the egg, then the molasses.
      Add the flour mix and combine.
    3. 1/2 cup dark molasses (treacle, for those Aussies reading this)

The original recipe said to chill the dough for an hour, but I found it got dry in the fridge so let it come back up to room temperature again before rolling it out on a floured surface. It needs to be about 1/2 a cm thick or a bit thicker, depending on how crisp or doughy you want your cookies. Bake on a lined baking sheet, 12 – 14 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before icing.

Ice with whatever form of icing you like!

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After admiring my boyfriend’s mother’s lemon tree the other day, I snuck a look around and, confirming it was safe, stole three fat yellow lemons off its limbs. I left a good 70 lemons on the tree, so really don’t feel toooo bad about it. I was really doing the tree a favour by removing some fruit so it could focus its energy on sustaining the other ones, right??

I looked at them sitting in the fruit bowl on the table top for about a week, and although they looked quite fresh and decorative, knew that they needed to be used. Then while flicking through a magazine while waiting for a ride later on that week I happened across a recipe for lemon butter.

Delicious! The perfect use for my three yellow friends.

Things fell into place when I got a free afternoon due to some showers (never have I been in a job where things slow down because of some rain!) so I got to work. Juicing, zesting, simmering. About an hour later the house smelled so fresh and citrusy good I could hardly wait for it to cool down before tasting it.

Yum. Every lemon lover must try this recipe. Although it’s not exactly the one from the magazine (as I’m not great at following recipes).

Lemon Butter

  • 3 med lemons
  • 1 orange
  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  1. Zest the lemons and the orange into a medium saucepan. Juice the lemons (leave the orange) until you get 2/3 of a cup. If you don’t get enough out of your lemons, top it up with bottled lemon juice or squeeze the orange.
  2. Toss in the chopped butter and the sugar, then stir constantly over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
  3. Whisk your egg yolks in a bowl. Add to the butter mix in the pan. Continue to cook at medium heat until it thickens, but don’t let it boil.
  4. Pour lemon butter into jars and seal while still hot. Or tip into a sealable container and refrigerate for up to a month.

 

What delighted me most about my lemon butter was that my eggs were also farm fresh, straight from friends’ chooks!

Hope you get a chance to enjoy on fresh baked bread for a morning snack.

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While helping shift some rye seed from the silo to spreader the other day I looked up and noticed some fat black berries on a tree nearby. No, wait, not berries… olives!! Totally excited, I pulled one off, yelled “Look, Jamie, OLIVES!” and before he could say anything, stuffed it in my mouth.

Olives on the tree

BIG MISTAKE.

For those of you out there who live in Mediterranean climates where olive trees are plentiful, you’re probably just shaking your head right now. For those of you who don’t, please take note: fresh olives are not delicious. And by not delicious I mean positively awful. I’m fairly certain it was the most bitter thing I have ever put in my mouth. I immediately spat it out and ran to the ute in search of some water.

Jamie was doubled over with laughter – he has fresh olive experience and to his credit was trying to warn me but I was just too excited. “You’ve got to cure them, Raine.” I felt humiliated by the olive tree and so, even though I was mad at it, decided that I was not going to be beaten and started to collect the rest of them off the branches.

Again, thank goodness for the internet, as a handy google search started me off in my 3-6 month mission to produce edible olives from the tree. It’s so far involved soaking the olives in water for 10 days, and then in a brine. After a few more days of soaking them in that, I’m supposed to jar them up and let them rest for 3-6 months until they are yummy. If all goes well, I will let you know the process I used. But there’s no point in posting it if I simply end up with aged undelicious olives.

I really do hope they work though, for three reasons:

1. I love olives. And I love things that you can make yourself.

2. My dad has a fairly large olive habit (read: $40 plus a month spent on olives alone) and I think he may be the proudest father in the world if I started curing my own.

3. Wouldn’t it be great if you could call yourself and olivier? Too bad if it’s not an actual thing – I’ll be the first.

My fresh olives

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