Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Giving


This week my big two finished school for the year.

It's been a big one. Both of them achieving great successes in different ways. Sometimes through hardship and wonky pathways.
I am talking not necessarily about awarded successes but rather intangible success.
Success in becoming who they are.

Sometimes the measure of success is a bit of a blurry thing I reckon.
Blurry in the sense that awards sometimes don't recognise really huge achievements that really count.

As is customary at most schools there is a Speech night & awards are handed out.  The principal and other senior teachers and children say a few words.

At this speech night, our big kids school Principal said something that really stuck with me.
It was this:

Don't think of your education as the things you learn here but as something that you can go away and give to others.

Powerful words.

I love that idea.  That what we learn throughout our life only become worthwhile if we give it away.
Our knowledge is only useful if we share it.

The act of giving.  A wonderful thing to focus on at this time of year.

Not giving things and stuff but giving ourselves.

Giving love.


SPICED SALTED CARAMEL CITRUS UPSIDE DOWN CAKE:
I made this cake last week and LOVED it.
My mate Stacey is coming over tomorrow and so I have baked another one to share with her.
This is a great Christmas time cake as it's spice makes it festive.
I used this recipe for inspiration but made a few changes.
Upside down cakes are so great & really quite easy.  Just be sure to line your cake tin with baking paper. I find using a springform tin helps too, although I used a well greased silicon tin for the one pictured here and it worked really well (the trick to using silicon cake tins is to lie them on a baking tray to pop in and out of the oven as they are floppy and the cake will break as you move it).


WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

for the spiced salted caramel:

  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 5 oranges, skin on, sliced into 1/2 cm slices
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
for the cake:
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon bi-carb
  • 250g salted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 6-7 slices cooked orange slices from spiced salted caramel 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 175C.

First we make the Spiced salted Caramel.
Place sugar, water, spices, salt and sliced oranges into a non stick fry pan.
Spread the orange slices evenly around the pan.
Turn on the heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
Once the sugar has dissolved, turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes or so until the pith of the orange becomes transparent.
Remove from heat and stir in butter.
Remove 6-7 slices from this mix to be added to the cake batter and set aside the rest to cool.
In a mixer add butter & sugar and mix till fluffy & light.
Add the eggs.

Chop the cooked orange slices coarsely and add these.
Now add the almond meal & sour cream & mix.

Slowly add the flour, baking powder & bi-carb.

Grease and line a 23cm springform tin.

Arrange the whole orange slices around the tin and pour some of the caramel over the top (I save some of mine to serve with the cake later).

Now carefully add the cake batter on top and smooth over so it is fairly uniformly spread across the tin.

Place into the oven and cook for at least an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from oven and use a knife to separate the caramel from the edge.
Let cool and invert onto a serving plate.

Serve with some of the reserved caramel sauce.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

NEW GG Clog Brooches

I dream of having my very own range of Clogs one day.
I wear Clogs each & every day.
They are the only shoes I wear (apart from runners when I run).
I have been collecting them for years now.

So while I am dreaming of making REAL clogs to wear on your feet, I have come up with my very own GG Clog Brooch to wear on your shirt - the only one of it's kind.

Last week I made up a small batch limited edition Red Brooch to see what you all thought.

I had no idea they would be so popular! Of course that makes me ridiculously happy.
To know little clogs are happily being worn all around the place makes me smile.
I totally get that while you may love the idea of wearing clogs,  maybe they are just not the thing for your feet!
These brooches may be the answer.

Instead of wearing them on your feet you can wear them on your fave shirt, or dress or jacket or give them to a fave friend. YAY!


I now have them available in four different options.
GLITTER RED because everyone needs a Disco Clog right?!  
ORANGE

YELLOW
MINT GREEN
You can buy them by clicking HERE or by clicking on the Top RHS of my blog.

Thank you to all of you who have been supporting my work this year by purchasing classes, goodie bags, clog brooches & super-power aprons.

I am SO GRATEFUL.
xx
GG

Friday, 28 November 2014

A project built upon Kindness & Gratitude

Last night I had the pleasure of attending my very first Thanksgiving event.
It was really a celebration of the beginning of a beautiful project by Winnie & Co- The Bakers Drawer.

The makers describe it as such : "simply a movement of kindness, based on gatherings around a kitchen table."
You know my love of the Kitchen table,  so this project was always on my radar.

It is about showing Random acts of Kindness.  Filling the drawer with love- of your own making and then sharing it with someone.  So beautiful.
Last night Kate & Kylie gathered with the owners of the first batch of Bakers Drawer owners to share stories of Kindness & gratitude. It was beautiful & an absolute pleasure to be part of it.

Each drawer is named after the person who inspires you to bake.
Mine is named MAGGIE.  She is named after Maggie Beer- my inspiration and mentor as a self-taught cook & lover of life & giver of love & joie de vive.

Last night I filled Maggie with a Nectarine & Pistachio Galette made with it's namesakes Sour Cream pastry. It seemed fitting that it's first offering contained a little bit of her.

I am so thankful that there are people who invest in love & the sharing of it.
May Kindness never go out of fashion.

You can find out more about The Bakers Drawer here (including details of how to purchase your very own). 

EGGPLANT & HALOUMI GALETTE with Tahini Sauce:

I only used half the batch of pastry last night to make the sweet galette & so I used the remainder to make this.
Really anything wrapped in this pastry is AMAZING but adding the Nigella seeds into the dough is so perfect for this Middle Eastern flavoured tart. And I will have to work very hard NOT to drizzle the Tahini sauce over EVERYTHING. it is incredible- but especially delicious with caramelised Eggplant I think. 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:


  • 1 eggplant cut into 1cm slices
  • 1/4 cup grated Haloumi
  • 2 teaspoons Nigella seeds
  • fresh coriander
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, finely crushed
  • 3-4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt
  • 1/2 batch sour cream pastry (recipe here)
  • paprika for dusting
  • olive oil
METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 190.
Fry the sliced eggplant in olive oil until caramelised on both sides.
Set aside to cool while you roll the pastry.
Dust the bench well with flour & sprinkle a layer of Nigella seeds directly on top.
Now place your pastry onto this and roll it out so the Nigella seeds embed into the pastry like so....

Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Carefully roll the pastry onto the rolling pin and roll it out onto the tray.
Now add the sliced eggplant and the grated Haloumi. Fold over the edges of the Galette roughly 


and place into pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until pastry is brown.



Make the Tahini sauce while it is baking by adding together the Tahini, vinegar, cumin, lemon juice and garlic. Stir well and add salt if necessary.

Remove Galette from oven and serve immediately drizzled with Tahini sauce, freshly chopped Coriander & a dusting of Paprika.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Hola! It's a giveaway

One of the luckiest things about being a blogger is that I sometimes get an opportunity to share really GREAT stuff that I get sent with YOU- my readers!

This week I am sharing with you a gorgeous new publication by Phaidon press  thanks to the ace peeps at Small Talk PR.

When this arrived and I opened it, I literally gasped at it's beauty.

Mexico - the Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte is one of the loveliest books I have had the pleasure of looking through in along while.

I had the good fortune of my sister & her husband living in Mexico in San Cristobel de las casas (in the state of Chiapas) in the 90's to help open my eyes to the joys and freshness of authentic Mexican food. It is far more complex and varied than the food we seem to equate it with.
Mexican food is seeing a  bit of a renaissance in Australia, ably helped along by some of the food trucks who are opening our eyes to Mexican food being more than stodgy Chilli Con Carne.
It reminds me of what happened with Thai and Indian (and now Vietnamese food) - as it's popularity surged so did the availability of more authentic recipes.

This book is divided into sections- street food & snacks, salads and starters, eggs, soups, fish & seafood, meat, vegetables, sauces, rice & beans, breads and pastries, drinks & desserts and the FAB section of Guest Chefs- including Andrew Logan from Melbourne's Mamasita .

I love cookbooks that really give you a deeper insight into the culture behind the cuisine & teach us more about the foods that we eat.

Did you know that the mexicans use Tortillas- their flatbread made of maize corn flour- in HUNDREDS of ways, not just to wrap tacos? And that it has been a staple in their cuisine since Ancient times.
And did you know there are around THREE HUNDRED varieties of Chillies- and not just the red & green ones that many of us are familiar with?
Some of the cultures that have influenced Mexican food are Spanish, Mediterranean & Jewish.

So interesting huh?! Reading cookbooks can teach you so much about our interesting and delicious world!

the best news is.........

I have a copy of this EXQUISITE publication to give away to on of you LUCKY readers, thanks to Small Talk PR.

All you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you would love this book to join your others in your cookbook shelf. Be creative with your answers!

Terms & Conditions are available to view HERE.

Buen Provecho!

{Congratulations to Reannon the winner of this competition. Happy cooking & bye bye nasty el paso packets!}
COMMENTS ARE CLOSED.









Images courtesy of SmallTalk PR

Friday, 14 November 2014

30 minute Vegetarian Burritos with Home made flat bread.

Tomorrow my eldest lad heads off into the Wilderness for a week.

All week he has been sitting exams & in between study breaks he has been preparing for a 7 day self catered hike through the Victorian Alps.

The kids will be carrying their own food, tents, and clothing & be led by nothing more than a compass and a map and the glorious wilderness of the High country.
They have had to design their own menu, shop together for ingredients and work out who is carrying what. They will cook on little Trangia each night surrounded by nothing but the Wilderness.

These kinds of experiences are so so great. And the timing is perfect.
Right after a very stressful time where the culmination of the year's work comes down to a test in a weird silent environment, so different to their every day, they head off to clear their heads and take part in an activity that takes them back to the basics of being alive.

It will take most of the kids right out of their comfort zone.  From what my lad tells me most are really NOT looking forward to it at all.
My lad really really is & I love that.
He knows it won't be easy but he is still looking forward to it.
Hard stuff isn't always bad. I love that he understands that challenges aren't always insurmountable, even the ones that really do seem to be at the time.

From past experience we know that for lots of the kids that take part in this it can be a life changing experience.  It will help them muster inner strength they never knew they had.  Some will experience the beauty and solitude of the Wilderness for the first time in their life. These things stay with you forever. A reminder of the things that matter.

I love that he knows how much nature has to offer.
I love how he gets that being away from all the devices and day to day comforts is not really about taking away but adding to their life.
I love that he is excited about cooking outside every day- one of our family's very favourite things to do.

There were times this week I looked at him and just had tears. I was both proud and incredulous at how lucky I am.

I wish I was going too........
Gosh I will miss him. But I am so grateful that he is doing this and happy to know he will be sucking every ounce of the experience into his very being.


30 minute VEGETARIAN BURRITOS with Homemade Flatbread:
This is a 30 minute recipe from scratch! TRUE story.
This is what my lad is cooking for the first night's dinner (the breads will be pre-made).
So easy and incredibly nutritious and high in protein & low in cost. Perfect everyday food but especially perfect for hiking energy!
I promise even you die-hard meat eaters will love these and not miss the meat. They are super tasty and filling.
My flatbreads are based on the trusty River Cottage recipe  (but mine use no yeast) but LunchLady has a gorgeous one using Sourdough starter if you have some of that!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:


  • 1kg Red Kidney beans (presoaked- or use good quality tinned ones)
  • 2 onions chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • a bunch of fresh coriander - roots to add to the beans & save the tops to add to Burritos as you wrap them
  • a little extra water
  • salt
  • 500g flour
  • 300g lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
METHOD:
for the flatbread ~

Combine the flour, water and oil and knead for 5 minutes until well combined & elastic.
Let rest, covered for 15 minutes (you can start the Beans while it is resting).

Once it has rested, roll it into a sausage and divide into about 10 portions.

Roll out each portion and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

Heat a heavy pan (no oil!) to high. Once pan is hot reduce the heat and dry pan fry the breads on either side until they brown.  The bread puffs up beautifully as it cooks.

Lay on a plate and cover with a tea towel until ready to serve.

for the Beans ~ 

Add some oil to a pan on medium high heat.
Add onions and cook well until translucent and completely soft- about 10 minutes.
Now add the finely chopped coriander roots and the garlic and stir gently for a minute or two.
Add the spices and stir till the spices smell fragrant- about a minute.
Now add the pre-soaked Kidney beans and stir well.
Add a little water and cook for about 10 minutes so that all the lovely flavour has soaked into the beans and there is not much liquid in the pan.

Serve onto the flatbreads and add accompaniments of your choice.
We added Cheese, Sriracha chilli sauce, finely sliced Spanish Onion, fresh coriander, tomatoes & lemon juice.

I know I posted the LP version of this a few weeks ago but my kids and I CAN NOT get enough of this track.
TURN IT UP as you knead that dough people!
xx