Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Things I am enjoying : April 2014 edition

  • I have finally been lured down the Pinterest rabbit-hole.I think I stayed away as I just knew I would it would be a visual minefield of awesome.
    I was right, it is just that,  but down I went anyway fashionably late to the party...... Such a rebel.
    You can find my boards here ~  http://www.pinterest.com/ruthbruten
  • Slow chats over coffee & Corn fritters with lovely friends.
  • Eating zingy & fresh Asian style salads
  • Listening to my kids playing music in the studio.
  • Looking through this amazingly gorgeous Swedish website 
  • Looking at all my Winter veggies thriving.
  • Wearing tights again now the cool mornings have hit Melbourne. YAY.
  • Running every day again after an illness related break. Far out the hard work gets undone quickly.....

    What are you enjoying?

Weekends mean slow breakfast times in our house.
We have no commitments on the weekends except to each other and so we take it really slow, enjoying being able to chat with no hurry at all. The BEST.
I love to cook special breakfasts. For me they are most enjoyable mealtimes of the weekend.
It somehow is a celebration of the slowing down, the ability to linger over the table with each other knowing there is no place to be.
The breaking of the fast.
Worth celebrating indeed!
I love eating super scrumptious savoury style breakfasts - especially curry.
I can eat curry anytime but I do especially love a veggie curry for brekky.
Here is one of the ones we had over the weekend.
This would also make a delicious dinner.

  • 1cup red lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped fine
  • 1tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 2tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 red chilli, chopped fine, seeds removed if you want to reduce heat
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cups chicken/veggie stock
  • 5 leaves tuscan kale
  • 2 tblspoons ghee for frying (substitute half oil, half butter if you don't have ghee)
  • salt
  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1 cup atta wholemeal flour (substitute with regular plain flour)
  • 1/4/ teaspoon bi-carb soda
  • water to make batter
  • rice bran oil for frying
  • fresh coriander
  • lemon wedges 
(for the dhal)
Heat the ghee in a heavy based pan.
Add onion and fry gently till browning, add ginger and garlic and fry till fragrant.
Add chilli, spices and curry leaves and stir cooking for a couple of minutes to help release the flavours.

Now add the kale and fry a minute before adding lentils and stock.

Bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer for half an hour.

(for the Dosa)
While the lentils are cooking make the batter for the Chickpea dosa by mixing the flours, a pinch of salt, bicarb & enough cold water to make a fairly runny pancake style batter.

You can some add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fresh chopped coriander if you wish to bump up the flavour- I added all three on the weekend and they were SCRUMPTIOUS!

Heat 2tspns oil in a non stick pan and pour a ladleful of batter into the pan.
Tilt pan to make a large and thing circle of batter.
Flip when bubbles remain.
Cook as many as you require.

Serve each person a Dosa topped with some Dhal, sprinkled with Fresh Coriander, some Lime Pickle and a wedge of lemon to squeeze over.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

How to make a Cornish Pasty

Last night I set about making something I had never made before but that has very strong links back to my childhood.

My family heritage includes Cornish lineage but also growing up in Adelaide my childhood involved weekend trips to a glorious and famous little corner bakery in North Adelaide called Perryman's Bakery.  It was famous for it's Cornish pasties.  There would be a line snaking it's way around the street.
I understand it is not as it used to be anymore as lots of things are.  Just a memory.

I had an urge this week to try to make one for myself.  I don't do a lot of baking with pastry.  My hands are hot and generally I lack patience but it was a task I wanted to see through.

I find it really fun trying out something new in the kitchen. Experimenting.  And so I did with my Cornish Pasty. I never claimed for this to be a traditional one- and boy oh boy is there heated debate about what actually makes a Cornish pasty a Cornish pasty (as some of the comments on my Instagram can attest)!
The recipe (as all recipes do) has developed over time.  Meat only being added later as it was originally a hearty food made by the poorer communities using Swede, Potatoes and Onions. Although research tends to agree that any food that was available in the kitchen was used to fill them.
It's history comes from the Cornish mines.  It was invented to be a hearty food for the miners to take with them down the mines, handy to pop in their jacket pocket self-contained in it's pastry crust,  to sustain them through their physically demanding days. There are stories too of the half savoury/half sweet Pasty also. A true 'All in one Meal". The pastry was not even eaten but used to protect the inner filling from the arsenic on the miners hands.

It is now a geographically protected food, in that to be able to call it a Cornish pasty it is supposed to follow the strictest of guidelines & be made in a very limited area, as with Parmigiano Reggiano & Champagne.

I have done a lot of reading into the Cornish pasty before I began and there are countless versions out there. I wasn't intending for mine to be neither perfect nor Traditional but merely an ode to my happy childhood memory.

I wanted to make a Savoury one and was interested to find, against my better judgement, that most recipes did not require the filling to be cooked before hand.  Less work always makes me happy, so although this seemed strange I was willing to eliminate a cooking step!

The following recipe is my version of the Cornish Pasty.
Made with simple ingredients of high quality.
This dish is testament to the notion that simple food cooked well is indeed the most delicious of all and a reminder that our idea that British food is gluggy and flavourless is not at all correct if cooked well with good ingredients.

It is important to dice all the filling ingredients into uniform dice so as it cooks evenly.
To make a Vegetarian version substitute the meat for 2 potatoes.

Please not the filling is NOT COOKED before assembling the pasties.

(Makes 4 pasties big enough to be a meal in itself.)


For the pastry:

  • 500g butter, chilled and diced
  • 500g plain flour
  • a glass of water chilled with ice cubes ( you will prob only need to add a few drops )
  • 1 egg (for eggwash)
For the filling:

  • 1 x 400g rump steak, cut into 1cm dice
  • 1 swede (Turnip), cut into 1cm dice
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1cm dice
  • 1 onion, cut into 1 cm dice
  •  1/2 cup peas
  • S & P
Preheat oven to 175C.

Mix the chilled butter & flour in a food processor until it resembles crumb, adding a little water if necessary to combine.
Remove onto a floured bench and roll into a dough.

Portion into four even balls and place in fridge to rest for 20 minutes.

While the pastry is resting chop all fillings into 1cm dice- this is important to get even cooking.

Place all fillings into a large bowl and mix well. Season.

Roll out each ball of pastry on a well floured bench till you can fit a 20cm plate over to cut out a circle. The pastry should be about 1/2cm thick.

Place a handful of the filling into the centre of the circle and lift the sides to meet at the top.

Fold over pastry and squeeze so as to seal.  Don't stress if it breaks as you go, you can repair.  Wonky pasties look great &  we are not seeking perfect shapes but perfect flavour!

Place made pasties onto an oven tray lined with baking paper and brush with egg wash.

Once all pasties made transfer tray to oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove and serve with good Tomato Sauce or Mustard.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Introducing Henry

Mr Girlfriend and I met in 1987.

The following year we bought our first car.

A series 3 LWB Land Rover.

Here I am camping with it approximately eleventy billion years ago.

And so began a long love affair.

Between Mr Girlfriend & I and with these unreliable but loveable beasts that are Land Rovers.

We owned that car for a long time before we felt we needed to be sensible and buy something more reliable.

The nostalgia of owning one has never left us though.

We look longingly at them and can't help but admire them wherever we roam.

Then last year I had the opportunity to purchase one from a friend.

The story of this particular car is a special one.

We felt lucky to be able to give it a new life & for our lads to experience the romance and nostalgia of Land Rovers.

And so I bought it for Mr Girlfriend as a birthday gift late last year.

It has been at the mechanic since being brought back to life- he was in no hurry.

Yesterday, five months later I took hold of it and drove it away.

This particular one was built just a couple of years before we met.

A 9 seat troop carrier.

Meet Henry.........

We are planning on meeting up with his comrade  Percy very soon for a camping trip on Bruny Island.

PEAR, RHUBARB & GINGER upside-down cake:
It is a lazy Friday today, rain falling outside.
A perfect day to be baking.
I had seen this recipe and thought it sounded delicious. 
This is my own version. 
The original recipe asks for fresh rhubarb but I had some Rhubarb compote in my fridge that I make to add to muesli, so I used that instead ( I boil a bunch of chopped rhubarb with some sugar and 2 star anise with a little water until syrupy- i have this in my fridge to have on top of muesli)- I also had some pears I needed to use.

  • 200ml rhubarb & star anise compote (see notes above)
  • 1 pear, cored and sliced
  • 80g soft butter cut into chunks
  • 140g soft brown sugar
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 175g Plain flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tspn ground ginger
  • 150ml extra light olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Line a 20cm springform tin with baking paper.

In a large bowl combine flour, caster sugar, eggs, baking powder, ginger and olive oil.  Mix well.

Pop the cubes of butter evenly around the bottom of the baking tin and sprinkle the soft brown sugar all around.

Place into oven for 5 mins.

Remove from oven.

Place pear slices around the base and smear the rhubarb compote over the pears.

Now pour cake batter over the top and place in oven for 55 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool in tin before upturning onto a plate.  (be sure to run a knife around the edge so as to separate the caramel from the tin.)

One of my fave tracks from 1985- the year our Landy was made.

Monday, 14 April 2014

On Blogging, Being Real & Rad Communities

On the weekend I flew up to Sydney to be a part of the Kidspot Voices of 2014 Masterclass.

Gourmet Girlfriend has been listed in the TOP 30 Australian Blogs in the Food & Wellbeing category, alongside a whole lot of of incredible Australian talent-
A M A Z I N G. I am super excited & honoured to be alongside the other people in that list!
There is no doubt that these kinds of accolades are incredibly lovely.  To be noticed for all the hard work that goes in to publishing a blog regularly is really lovely. And conversely for the people who have missed out on the Top 100 after the excitement of nominations it is a really hard & sad time to miss out.

Many of my favourite Australian blogs have been recognised- either in the initial nominations, the Top 100, or the Hall of Fame.
It is  great way for people navigating the blog landscape in Australia to have a look around at the incredible talent out there.

You can head here for the Top 100.

And here for the Hall of Fame.

The Australian Blog landscape is filled with incredible talent and each year I am amazed at how much it is growing.  I really encourage you to take a look around at the blogs listed here.

On the weekend at the Masterclass there were 3 different panels talking about topics such as using Facebook, Sharing on Social Media & Creativity and Inspiration by panellists with great experience in the business.

Every time I attend one of these classes I am thankful I do. Without a doubt it reaffirms why  I do what I do.  I LOVE my little space here and feel ever so thankful to have built this community of rad peeps that I get to chat to on a regular basis.

I LOVE to meet with other bloggers at these events- old mates from years of being in blog world and all the fab new people involved. It really is ace to connect in real life.

Every time I attend one of these events I am also left feeling as if there is SOOOO much stuff I do not understand and a wave of overwhelming "Oh my gosh I have no idea what I am doing" floods over me & a sense of panic that my blog is just not good enough & schmick or professional enough.  I  look around at all the other amazing people and feel as if I could never be like them.

Then I sit back and remember that my blog is about me, about being real. I'm not really schmick or professional.  I'm wonky and not perfect.  I don't get the HTML stuff, I've tried but my eyes glaze over and my brain goes to mush.  But really it shouldn't and doesn't matter. Being true to me is what matters. Doing it my way is what matters.  Showing you guys a bit of me is what it is about. That is what makes all blogs so wonderful. So much difference, so much choice- all unique!

But what I hope I do get right is interacting with you guys- my readers.  My gorgeous and treasured GG community! I know this is what a lot of other bloggers value the most too. That is where my investment is. YOU.

So every time I start to worry about the super schmicky ways and how I am not doing very well at that, I try to remember that the community part of what is going in here at GG is alive and kicking & that is what is dearest to me.

That is and always has been what drives me.  It is about sharing my world with like minded people and creating a space where we can all hang out together learning ace stuff & being inspired by each other- just like I was on the weekend by others.

Thanks so much for your treasured involvement in the GG space. It means the world to me.

I hope your week is a wonderful one with love, laughter and lots of your fave peeps at your kitchen table.

What's for dinner at your place?


I think I might make this....I feel a bit whacked out today and in need of some super comfort style food. This fits the bill perfectly!
We went away recently and spent some time as a family in one of most favourite places on earth- South Gippsland.
We always go to the local Accredited Farmers market  to get some local goodness when we are there.

This time my eldest boy chose some local Venison to make a pie.
This is based on his recipe. GOSH it was so so good! And really easy- it just requires a long slow cook.
It can easily be changed to Beef (use Chuck or Gravy beef) which is what I am doing today along with some Guinness to add depth of flavour.
You could use a large Muffin tray and make individual ones if you like.


  • 1kg Gravy Beef, cut into large chunks and dredged in flour (this aids in thickening the sauce)
  • 4 carrots, chopped into cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can of Guinness beer
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped finely
  • S & P
  • puff pastry
  • egg wash
In a heavy based pan gently fry the onion, carrot, bay leaves and garlic until translucent and fragrant.

Add the beef and allow to brown. Now add the can of guinness and the chopped parsley.

Season well and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat and simmer at the lowest temp possible for 3-4 hours (popping it into your slow cooker would be handy!).

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the beef mix into a large ovenproof dish and cover with puff pastry.
Make a hole in the pastry to allow the steam to escape- (i find it is necessary for this to always be heart shaped-it's a kind of 'Made with love' stamp you know! ).

Brush with egg wash and place in oven for 30 minutes or until nicely brown.

Serve with mash & greens.

"In love we find out who we are,
in sorrow we abide.
Our strength's revealed by what we build
from the broken things inside.
But a day will come when you will know
which way you must choose to go...
to travel on and live alone
or turn yourself around
and try to get back home."

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

How can I make your childhood amazing?

This morning I read this article in the Huffington Post. I really encourage you to do the same.
I often find treasure in the Huff. It is a good place to go to when the bad news gets a bit too much to bear.

It is one of the places I like to have a look through regularly to find intelligent editorial.
Well heck I certainly can't find it in any of Australia's print newspapers anymore (although I am LOVING this very new paper - I do hope it lasts......)

Anyway.....as I read through this article I found myself nodding and maybe even doing a bit of a fist-pump here and there (I was hiding at home in my office so I was only embarrassing myself).

It came after a night where I marvelled as I watched my kids playing the simple card game of SNAP at the dinner table together & the joy that playing that simple game brang to my crew.

But do you know what it was that I loved so very much?

It was this one sentence......

"Childhood is inherently magical, even when it is not perfect."

Yup.  Nail hit on head.

I love it because it takes away this recurring theme that we seem to surround ourselves with as parents,  that the more we provide in terms of stuff and things and big celebrations and better this and that, the better and richer childhood we are giving to our children.

It takes away the notion that the way we 'deliver' childhood to our children is somehow better or richer or more magical than someone else's way.

And maybe most importantly of all it takes away the need for parenting to be a competition and leaves the child to take charge in forging their own path a bit more.

I think people are starting to swing back around to paring things back a bit, taking things back to the simple.  Have you noticed this turn too?
I think it is a healthy thing.  For us parents and most beneficially of all for our children.

We need to give our children time and space and they will create the magic.

CHILDREN are what make childhood magical.

They inherently wonder, they inherently invent, they inherently question, they inherently imagine.

It is not the 'stuff' we buy them that makes this happen.

It is the way children make what they already have into something magical.

It is the rug over a chair that turns it into a castle, it is Mummas shoe that turns them into a Queen, it is the dirt that turns into magic soup, it is the tree that turns into a precariously high fort, it is the bedsheet that turns them into a ghost.

THEY are what create childhood.  It's not by buying the latest and greatest toy or by giving a super dooper fancy schmancy birthday party.

It is created by the singular and most wondrous thing of all- the creative genius that is the mind of a child.

As parents maybe we need to step right on back and let our kids do more of the creating & give ourselves more time to watch them enjoying their childhood instead of spending all our time worrying we are doing it wrong.

I think we need to stop trying to make it all sparkly and perfect and let it be wonky and wobbly. Where is the magic in perfect?

We can make our children's childhood amazing by giving up trying to create it for them and give them the time and space to create it themselves.

Because childhood in itself is amazing.

I made these last night for dinner. Served with a delicious green salad for a super filling and hearty vegetarian meal.
Really is anything wrapped in Puff pastry NOT delicious?

One of my lot has taken them to school to eat cold for lunch today too.
EASY & delicious and can be frozen to pull out on those "OMG I haven't made dinner yet' moments.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED (makes 4 large rolls) :

  • 1 x 250g packet frozen spinach
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 150g grated cheese
  • 150g crumbled fetta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs (reserve a little bit for basting the pastry)
  • S& P
Preheat oven to 200C
Mix all ingredients (not the puff pastry!) in a large bowl.

Cut the puff pastry sheets in half.

Spoon mixture into the centre of each pastry sheet, roll over and tuck in so all of the stuffing is tucked in nicely.

Place baking paper onto an oven tray.

Turn over so the joint seam is on the bottom & lay the rolls onto the baking paper.
Brush with egg wash & sprinkle with sesame seeds if you are feeling fancy!

Bake for 25-30 mins or until nicely browned.

Remove and eat or cool and freeze ready to pop out for emergency meals!