Sunday, September 11, 2016

Let's Get Technical 2016 - Biscuit week

Week two in the tent saw our lone baker being called to the dance floor for a Viennese whirl.

While there was the risk of some dodgy piping this bake appeared to go off without a hitch and is something I'd happily make again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Lets Get Technical 2016 - Cake week

It's that magical time of the year between Eurovision and Christmas when the world stops to watch some people bake a cake in a tent. I wonder if that is how they first pitched the show to the network?

Yes the Great British Bake Off is back which means one Sundays are filled with #Lets_get_technical. 

Like the previous 2 years of Bake Off I will again attempt all the technical challenges in real time on social media in the allotted time limit.

This could be described as a display of madness but I like the discipline of a prescribed bake and mostly being able to achieve a fairly decent result. 

The first technical challenge for this series was to make 12 individual jaffa cakes in 2 hours.....simples?

I think Mel and Sue have nothing to fear..... 

I remember the first time I saw UK jelly it was Reading 2008, it comes in a solid block a bit like a gummy bear. 

The judges were right about this bake being deceptively simple and to be honest you could complete this challenge in about 60 minutes. The devil is in the detail and the real skill is to complete the 3 simple elements perfectly. I'm going to practice more with the chocolate. 

I enjoyed this first challenge and have made it again since sunday. Chocolate and orange are not my favourite flavour combo but I can see myself using the base recipe again and mixing up the flavours.

New series new photo! 

Looking forward to biscuit week now!
The hashtag to follow is #lets_get_technical on instagram, facebook and twitter Sunday afternoons from 3pm AEST

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Let's Get Technical - Great British Bake Off 2015 Pastry Week

With the start of a new season of Great British Bake Off I realised I hadn't finished posted the results of last season's Let's Get Technical.

I will post these without further commentary apart from how delicious they were and I think i managed them ok! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Nettle, potato and garlic soup aka glove up soup!

When Life gives you buy gloves!

As you can see Life has given me an abundance of free food in the form of stinging nettles. They fill the backyard near the chicken coop and thanks to the prickles the chickens don't eat them. 

Nettles spread like no ones business so if you aren't the best gardener (like me) you can just say you dedicated your garden to your love of nettles.

The only down side to nettles is they grow in the winter when it's dark by the time I get home so it's not a convenient mid week ingredient without some forward planning.

While a soup is the easiest use I think they slip into any recipe that calls for some greens so my next plans are to try them in a pesto and a ravioli.

To prepare them I pick the leaves off the stem and rinse thoroughly in cold water. I also don't touch them without gloves even after they are cleaned.

When it comes to nettles slogans from my youth come in very handy 
"if it's not on it's not on!" 

The chickens can disappear into the depths of the nettle maze, I assume their feathers protect them from the prickles. (Wish my pants did!) 

The giant "tomato sauce day" colander so that's a lot of nettles. 

Nettle, potato and garlic soup

  • 2 brown onions chopped
  • 6 large potatoes quartered skin on
  • 1 head of garlic peeled (less if you don't like garlic as much as I do)
  • 3-4 cups of nettles (it's not a precise measurement its rather just however many nettles you have)
  • Olive oil
  • 2L Stock approx (chicken, veg or just water)
  • Add a splash of olive oil to a pot.
  • Sauté onions till just soft.
  • Add potato, garlic and cover with stock.
  • Simmer until potatoes are falling apart approx. 30 mins.
  • Add nettles, cook for 1 minute
  • Blend till smooth.
  • Season and serve with a crusty roll and far too much butter!
  • Cream (150ml) can also be added to the soup if you like a creamier soup 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Spicy Capsicum and Bacon Pasta

I really enjoy making connections through social media so am thrilled to be taking part in the Andrew in the Kitchen series #fdbloggerfriends.

A "get to know you" series featuring food bloggers he follow on twitter.  Andrew asks the bloggers about themselves, their blogging and to create a new recipe.

As we are getting into the chiller stages of winter in Melbourne I wanted something that was full of flavour, comfort and a bit of spice to keep me warm.

This spicy capsicum and bacon pasta is quick to prepare so that in no time you'll be on the sofa under a blanket ready for an evening of Netflix and chill....winter chill...or the other type if so consensually desired.

Spicy Capsicum and Bacon Pasta Serves 4-5 
  • 100g mix of bacon and pancetta
  • 2-3 red onions sliced 
  • 3-4 large red capsicum sliced (seeds removed)
  • 4 garlic cloves sliced
  • 5 long red chilli 
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 100g pecorino grated
  • Handful chopped parsely
  • 500g rigatoni


  • Add olive oil to a pot on medium heat
  • Gently fry  bacon and onion for a couple of minutes
  • Add capsicum and garlic and cook on low for about 15-20 minutes
  • Boil pasta as directed
  • Add chilli and mix through
  • Increase heat and add 1/2 cup of pasta water and stir through
  • Drain pasta and add to the pot (turn off heat)
  • Mix the sauce through the pasta with parsley and half the grated pecorino
  • Serve topped with more pecorino 
I had always thought I didn't like chilli till I really tried it and now I'm hooked!

I like the mix of bacon and pancetta but you can use just one if you prefer

The key is gentle heat you don't want char grilled capsicum on this occasion.

A good sprinkle of parsley from the garden 

A glass of red and you're in business...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2016 - Come Together with Cake

The Eurovision 2016 final is only a few hours away and increasing thoughts of will it be Australia, Russia, France, Bulgaria, Austria or Cyprus that we will all be meeting at next year.


2014....on fire

The Eurovision logo cake is a bit of a Chow Down to Eurovision highlight and this year is no exception.
I have made a cinnamon cake as an homage to Swedish buns and then decorated with a basic icing and a whole heap of fondant and metallic food paints.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Eurovision and my all our favourites wins!!

Cinnamon Come Together Cake
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 2 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • In a mixing bowl add the eggs and sugar
  • Beat with an electric beater till fluffy, paler and thicker about 2 minutes
  • Add the milk, oil, cinnamon, flour, and baking powder.
  • Beat till smooth, don't over beat
  • Grease a 16.5cm dome cake tin
  • Pour batter into tin
  • Bake in a 170°C oven for about 50 minutes
  • The cake will be cooked when a skewer comes out clean
  • Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack

Almost identical??

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Chow Down to Eurovision 2016 Good Morning Australia

With the incredible performance of Dami Im last night in Semi Final 2 it makes perfect sense to have an Australian focus on the Chow Down to Eurovision....Breakfast!

Apart from crazed screaming it is difficult to put into words the feeling of being in the Globen arena and witnessing the response to Dami's performance. People jumped to their feet applauding in the biggest reaction of any song for the night. 

I could not be prouder of Dami representing our country to show the amazing talent and diversity that makes us a great and potential Eurovision winning nation? (I know better not put the mockers on it)

So for everyone back in Australia getting up at 5am to cheer Dami on you are going to need a good hearty breakfast......which would also work in Stockholm after leaving Euroclub in time for breakfast! (yet to find a kebab van) 

I have kept the Eurovision flavour drawing from Spain with a simple hot breakfast you can just pop in the oven.
You can make the sauce ahead and just put it together at 4.30am so its ready for when the Eurovision theme tune rings out at 5am!

Spanish baked eggs
  • 1 large brown onion diced
  • 4 large roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1 red capsicum de-seeded and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 4-5 large potatoes cooked
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 chorizo
  • 100g pancetta
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 3 red capsicums
  • 6 eggs
  • Chilli optional
    • Sauce: Add a large splash of olive oil to a heavy based saucepan
    • On a very low heat add diced onions and simmer for about five minutes
    • Add the chopped tomatoes and capsicum and simmer on low for about 20-30 minutes
    • Blend
    • Roughly chop the cooked potatoes
    • Slice the chorizo and pancetta 
    • Roughly chop red onion, capsicums and tomatoes
    • In a large pan add more olive oil
    • Lightly fry chorizo, pancetta and red onion
    • Add potato, tomato and capsicum 
    • Add sauce and stir to combine
    • Make indents with the back of  ladle and crack in the eggs
    • Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes (15 if you like a runny egg)

    You can add more eggs if required....just squeeze them in

    Top with some sliced chilli to give you that extra wake up call

    Some previous Chow Down to Eurovision breakfast dishes: