Easy Blueberry Loaf

I was feeling kind of under the weather when I decided to make this loaf bread, but I thought… you know what? I have to do something! I couldn’t just waste the day away in bed with my episodes of New Girl and Chicago P.D. Yes. I am a tv show nut.

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Back to my loaf. Originally I wanted to make this loaf with oats, but alas I was out of oats. How this happened I have no clue. I leave the country for 3 months and my family just forgets to buy certain things! So I improvised and went with half self-raising and half whole wheat flour. Not everyone enjoys the sort of strong taste of the whole wheat. Now I loaded this loaf with blueberries. I literally wanted them to be bursting out from every little slice and direction. It’s like how I love my blueberry muffins – absolutely loaded.

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While writing out the recipe I couldn’t help but think about all the other recipes I wanted to try out, and ofc write! Things like doughnuts and other baked goodies. Even though I am not really baker. No harm in the attempt right? I am actually super excited to be cooking and baking! I have probably said it heaps of times, but now that I am working full-time I am incredibly psyched to be cooking and packing lunches and easy dinners. Oh and finally, I am not studying on the weekends!!! Do you know how much time I now have to dedicate to the miniature kitchen?!?

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Okay end of the rant. This recipe is very easy, and honestly doesn’t need much equipment. I just like to make sure the wet and dry ingredients are mixed separately. I make sure I whisk through the dry ingredients to break down any lumps and bumps prior to folding the wet ingredients with a a wooden spoon. It is THAT simple! Remember to keep the milk and egg out for a little time to raise the temperature slightly, in particular the egg. The egg MUST be at room temp!

In terms of the milk, I went ahead and made my own buttermilk. All you need to do is mix the whole milk with apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. Personally I think either works a treat. You need to let this sit out for around 15-30 minutes to allow the buttermilk to prepare. Of course… you could just buy the buttermilk, but sometimes making it yourself is fun too! You can otherwise add 2 spoons of yogurt to the milk and whisk that through.

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When preparing the blueberries you need to do an extra step. I prefer using frozen berries because they don’t rip apart at the slightest touch, but fresh is obviously better. In either case you need to coat the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour. What this essentially does is ensures that the blueberries do not ALL sink to the bottom. It’s sort of acts like an adhesive to the wet batter and holds the berries up while baking. Don’t believe me? Look at the little specks of blue/black while this bad boy was baking! They stayed right at the top ๐Ÿ™‚ Without the flour, the berries would have collected at the bottom so that when you sliced into the loaf you would just have lumps of berries down the bottom and not a pretty result ๐Ÿ˜›

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Alrighty! Recipe card time! ๐Ÿ˜€ Do we like these cards? I’m hoping to add a few features to these cards, so stay tuned! You will notice in the recipe I write that you can cover the loaf tin if the color of the bread has already developed into a lovely golden brown. Cover it with aluminum foil to actually stop the top from burning, and trap a lot of the heat within the space under the foil to essentially steam the rest of the loaf. This will ensure a lovely crust, and deliciously soft and moist bread.

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Seriously, try the recipe. It’s moist and delicious and oh so good.

 

 

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Bang Bang Broccoli

Okay so I have been wanting to make this recipe for AGES! But every time I ended up buying broccoli it was for some other recipe, usually a Thai curry, or a stir fry. So FINALLY I had a whole bunch of broccoli left, and I had a free Saturday (full disclosure I was actually meant to go out for a fancy dinner but got a tad bit sick the night before *sigh*). So here we go.

Now the first awesome thing about this recipe is that you can make it completely VEGAN! Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ Otherwise it is ofc 100% vegetarian, so a bonus. This recipe is quick, simple and works fantastic as a 3:30pm snack, or even an accompaniment for lunch. Simple, delicious, crunchy and healthy – what more do you need?

So you want to start by cleaning the broccoli really well. It’s the kind of vegetable that a lot of mold and/or bugs can really latch onto. Use lukewarm water to soak the broccoli for around 3-5 minutes, and then pat dry on paper towels. Make sure you dry it off well, otherwise the batter will not coat the broccoli properly.

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Then make the sauce. Oh the sauce. SO much delicious in on little go. Set the sauce aside so that it reaches room temp, and thins out as well. This is important to ensure you get a consistent coating of the broccoli when you toss it all together. I add garlic powder to my recipe because I love that added hit, but if you aren’t a fan then omit it completely. If you choose to use Sriracha in your sauce, then skip the garlic powder otherwise the flavour will be far too overpowering. Trust me.

Next up, the batter. You want to start by mixing the apple cider vinegar with the milk, even if you are using a vegan milk substitute. This will basically make an instant buttermilk for you. You can use buttermilk, but I personally like the fruity tartness of the apple cider vinegar. In a bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and hot sauce. Pour in the milk and vinegar mixture and whisk everything well until the batter is nice and smooth.

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Cut up the broccoli into little chunks and add it to the batter, coating each piece really well. Make sure the stem is coated nicely too.

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I like to set these aside for at least 5-10 minutes, just to soak up all of that hot sauce goodness. It is so worth it. After that, toss each piece into breadcrumbs, before dropping them into your deep frying over medium heat. Fry them until they are beautiful and golden brown. Remove them and let them rest on some paper towel. You need to let these settle for a few minutes, allowing the paper towel to soak the oil, before salting the chunks. Finally toss them into the delicious sauce and then serve them up.

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Need the recipe card? It’s right here!

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Have a go at this insanely easy, but incredibly delicious recipe. Side note. My sister HATES greens. She is only 10, and well, she behaves like most 10 year olds and despises broccoli. But, interesting, she ate these yummy morsels. She did think they were a little spicy, but hell she still ate them.That is the important part ๐Ÿ™‚

Review: Criniti’s Italian

Criniti's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

For some reason or other, Criniti’s has become my go to restaurant. Need to go to a decent restaurant? Criniti’s. Need to go to a restaurant with plenty of vegetarian options? Criniti’s. Need to go somewhere closeby and/or has multiple outlets? Yup. Criniti’s.

So this particular review is based on all the vegetarian meals I ate. SO, meat eaters, this one isn’t for you.

I sound like a big advertisement :/ But in all seriousness. This is place is pretty packed on weekdays as well. During lunch there are always plenty of families, or people from work getting a bite. At night, the ambiance is warm and cozy and it is always someone’s birthday. Now the decor isn’t exactly to my personal taste, with the large mounted Ducati and spare parts adorning the place, but I absolutely love the visible wood fire oven, colorful bar serving some pretty great drinks (with plenty of Italian liquors and wines), along with the overall slightly vintage look.

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DEMOLISHED!

The service I have found to be very friendly, but a little slow. Particularly on weekdays! But alas when short staffed, this is bound to happen. The staff is most definitely patient however. It’s not all that customary for the manager to be serving food, but when needed he or she is also out there serving or cleaning up, which is something I really liked. I think it’s fantastic when the entire staff is working as a team ya know? #teamspirit. Much too often I’ve seen managers unprepared to do the dirty work. *sigh*

The menu here is pretty damn expansive, with regular pizza, white pizza, risotto, burgers, salad and so much more. The prices are a bit on the high side, but the portions are pretty large. I would generally say one plate between two people is the right amount. I love the drinks menu because of the excellent wine and beer range. Yes even their beer range is great. Typically I opt for a simple Riesling with my food, or a really good fruity White, coz I love my white wine. Dad went for a peroni, and I must say I did like it.

Alright onto the part that you really want to hear about. The food.

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We started our meal with the Tomato Brushcetta Pizza Crust, as an entree. Dad in paricular loves this one because it’s delicious and fresh. There is fresh tomato, basil and onion which have been rested in their own juices with some salt and pepper ofc. It’s such a simple combination, but it is a bang on winner. The garlic crust this was served on was wonderfully thin, with a thick but soft crust. The juices of the bruschetta softens the crust down so much… love it. In saying this however, this is something you can easily do at home, so for the price you are paying I would like to see something more original and extravagant. Even a hint of balsamic would have elevated this to another level.

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Next up we ordered the Penne Vegetarian. This was a delicious pasta in a magnificent basil sauce with eggplant, sundried tomatos, olives, zucchini and capsicum. I love it when pasta is loaded with rich vegetables, and this was just that. The sauce was a stand-out really, and in fact paired as a tasty sauce for the left over crusts from our pizza. The pasta was cooked perfectly, and so were the vegetables. I certainly would recommend this one for any vegetarians out there.

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This was followed by our next main -the ferrara pizza. This I absolutely loved. There was onion, capsicum, olives and the crust was so excellent. You could taste the light smokiness of the wood fire oven on it, which is just another added taste element. The only downside to this one was that it had cooled down a little before it came to our table. We could actually see our pizza on the counter waiting to be delivered to us. This was a bit of a bummer, but the pizza itself was great. On top of that, look at the large crust! This wasn’t a huge deal for us, since we did dip the crust in the leftover pasta sauce, but considering the price, I would have like to see more topping and less bread.

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And we did decide to grab some dessert too. We opted for the 3 scoop gelato, choosing salted caramel, lemon sorbet and cookies and cream (seriously how cute is the serving!!). The cookies and cream was PHENOMENAL. Truly it was so creamy and decadent, with chunks of little cookies scattered in the scoops. Each little chunk was a different size, and portion, so it added a great dimension of texture to the ice cream. The salted caramel was true bliss in a scoop and was finished by my sister in a jiffy. The least liked was the lemon sorbet, mainly because it tasted more like an icy pole than anything else!

Okay time to rank.

Food: 6.5/10

I’ve taken points off because of the brushetta and the pizza. The un-originality of the former, along with the price of it was a let down. As I mentioned above, I would have liked more of the topping than the crust that we got. Also the lemon sorbet gelato, well I didn’t really like it all that much.

Service: 5/10

This is really the let down. I understand busy, but having to wait over 10 minutes to even catch someone’s eye for the bill, did bug me. Oh and the bill was just given to us – a piece of paper. No book or anything!

Ambiance: 9/10

Apart from all the biking gear, which you actually lose focus on within 10 minutes, the ambiance is lovely and cozy.

The menu: 8/10

The menu has a number of items, but I would love to see some more original recipes.

Total: 7/10

Would I go back? Well yes. I’ve actually always had really good experiences at Criniti’s!

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Chive, Cheese and Cucumber snack

Looking for a simple midday lunch? Or do you need an easy snack?

I sound like a television advertisement :/

In all seriousness. This has to be the easiest snack recipe, and perhaps one of the healthiest too. It is perfect for lunch. It is perfect for those little cravings. Honestly I don’t really know what else to write about this one.

I made it when I was feeling a little peckish, but didn’t want to eat all that much. I wanted something to curb the hunger, but not make me feel bloated. Now how could you possibly go wrong when you have cheese, and chives and cucumber?

All you need to do is chop up the chives finely, and mix it through with the cheese. I add a pinch of salt and paprika and mix it through really well. The paprika is optional, but I think it adds just a nice little amount of warmth to the snack – just another layer of flavor.

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I used some simple sandwich bread for this, but I would honestly prefer a crusty rye or sourdough for this. Toast up the bread nicely, either in a pan or in a toaster, and then spread over the cream cheese mixture.

Slice the cucumber thinly, and lay these across the bread.

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And

well

That’s it.

Seriously.

Delicious.

Okay recipe card ๐Ÿ˜›

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Chicken, Chive and Cabbage Dumplings

Who doesn’t love good old dumplings? I for one absolutely love them, and I often head over to a good dumpling or yum cha place for lunches and dinner. Aah the chilli oil โค

Now dumplings are actually so easy to make at home! Yes they do take some time, but if you are prepared to put in some time and a little effort, you can make your own delicious dumplings at home. Now normally I would show/write about making the dumpling pastry too, however this time I actually used pre-made store bought gow gee wrappers which are perfect to make these delightful morsels ๐Ÿ™‚

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For me dumplings are like comfort food. In winter, in particular, you will fine me, a big bowl of dumplings, some chilli oil, and the entire series of New Girl, or Friends or Grey’s Anatomy. *Sigh* now you know I’m weird

Okay back to the recipe. I used Chicken mince, chives and cabbage as the title suggests, but I also added shitake mushrooms, shallots, ginger and garlic to the filling. I like to start the recipe by actually cooking off the vegetables, and mixing in rice wine vinegar, chili and soy while cooking these together. Then I mix in the chicken mince once the vegetables have cooled slightly.

I steamed my dumplings, and then pan-fried them. Nowadays you can find bamboo steamers everywhere (i.e. look in Kmart!), or you can use an Idli steamer (not even joking here). If you are using a bamboo steamer, it is IMPORTANT that you line the base. This is a MUST!! I line mine wither with baking paper (greased paper) OR some banana leaves or cabbage leaves.

You can alternatively pan-fry the dumplings, and then add some water, cover and then steam. I find my way a little easier, and there’s less a chance of any dough sticking or getting very mushy. It also means you get a lightly crunchy texture along with the smooth steamed dough when you eat these.

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Oh and the dipping sauces? I made an instant chilli oil – so simple. Make a quick paste of fresh chili, chili flakes and fresh garlic and mix the paste well into vegetable oil. Add some salt and pepper just to season, and set aside for a few hours.

The other dipping sauce was a mixture of fresh chilli, coriander stalk, soy sauce and some rice wine vinegar… and that’s it!

Folding the dumplings can be a bit tricky, but thankfully there are HEAPS of you-tube tutorials showing you the different ways to fold them. You basically have to stretch the dough and make tiny folds along the length of the dumpling, so it ends up looking slightly like a crescent moon. A pretty crescent moon.

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Alright now for the recipe. It’s a bit long, but trust me… these are worth it

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A couple of tips! Place your dumplings, once filled, onto a tray lined with baking paper (greased paper) to stop them from sticking to any surfaces. I basically use this lined tray for the entire process, and even serve the dumplings on them!

To serve, remember the dipping sauce! I also add some lime, fresh chili slices and a drizzle of chili oil ๐Ÿ™‚

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Valentine’s Day Cupcakes!!

So it happens to be Valentine’s day, and well I spent it shopping. Literally, shopped alone for a few hours… spent some moolah… and came home. Sounds sad? No it was actually really good. I got myself some new work clothes and shoes and some bits and bobs for The Miniature Kitchen ofc :P. Oh well, for those looking for a delicious and fun recipe to celebrate with your Valentine… here is a simple one ๐Ÿ˜€

So these are chocolate cupcakes, made with some yogurt for added amazingness, filled with some more chocolate and sweet raspberries. The frosting? How could I give up creamy and rich raspberry and cream cheese ๐Ÿ˜€ Yum yum yum yum yum.

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Now this recipe is tweaked fromย http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/02/11/chocolate-cupcakes-creamy-raspberry-frosting/ – this site is definitely my inspiration when it comes to baking. The main changes? The frosting, the amount of oil used and instead of the buttermilk I made 1/4 of a coconut milk and yogurt mixture. I just love the flavours of coconut and chocolate together, and when combined with raspberry… I think it is just heaven!

TO Sally, thank you for being such an amazing inspiration when it comes to baking. I love each and every one of your recipes. I love trying them out and I love trying out something new each time with them.

Alright, so some key points here.

  1. the egg MUST be at room temperature!
  2. the milk MUST be at room temperature
  3. you CAN use both frozen or fresh raspberries ๐Ÿ™‚

Now based off the quantities, you should make 6-8 big cupcakes

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Real talk – the first time I made this I messed them up pretty bad! I took the quantities down wrong *sigh*

Can you use strawberries instead? Ofc ๐Ÿ˜€

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So now to talk about the frosting.

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I didn’t use the recipe that Sally lists, and instead made my own version of a raspberry frosting using cream cheese (yumyum). The recipe is simple, and to be honest I usually taste and go when it comes to fresh fruit in frosting. This is mainly because the sweetness will always vary between fruit, season and batch! Now you can skip the milk in this recipe if your cream cheese is really soft and smooth, but if it’s fresh and thick then the milk will just help you achieve a silky consistency.

I used left over white chocolate ganache in this recipe to boost the creamy texture and add just a hint of luxury to this mixture. This is TOTALLY optional and if you want to add it you MUST add white chocolate ganache, otherwise you won’t end up with pretty pink frosting.

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And that is that!! This recipe doesn’t take long at all, there aren’t a million and one steps, and it’s pretty fool proof as long as you follow the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚ I mean if I can do it, you can. Trust me. Baking and me are not good friends ๐Ÿ˜›

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Indian Style (Konkani) Salmon

It has been almost a year since I posted here, but you know what, I am 100% back and ready to blog my heart out. What have I been doing for the passed year? Cooking, baking, and well completing an honors thesis which literally occupied 90% of my mindspace. Quite frankly I tried my best to continue blogging, but I did need time to focus on my education. So from me, a massive thank you for being so patient! It means the world ๐Ÿ™‚

This happens to be one of those recipes that I love making all the time. Salmon is just such a crowd favourite and if cooked well, is the perfect healthy dinner. Now salmon actually has a high caloric count, and even a small fillet is hugely filling. My favourite way to serve up a fillet? With a big salad packed with tonnes of greens, or even a small portion of spicy rice. This Indian style Salmon goes incredibly well with a simple curry base, such as butter chicken curry (minus the chicken) or rogan josh masala.

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Back on track ๐Ÿ˜› This recipe is so perfect for those nights where all you need is some comfort food, something that is warm and hearty and is going to fill you right up. With lemon, and coriander along with warming cloves in this marinade, you honestly cannot go wrong. Now one big tip about cooking fish in general – ย salting the fish before the marinade helps to keep the fish ridiculously tender.

 

The marinade is so incredibly simple. All I added was some coconut, tamarind, coriander, cinnamon, pepper, more clove and star anise binded with some lemon juice too. Add through fresh red chilli for a delicious spicy kick in your recipe, along with garlic for that added bite. Yes we all know how much I love garlic. Now garlic and fish, well they just are the perfect combination. Trust me on that one.

Once the marinade is made, rub it into the Salmon flesh and set it aside. Let the fish marinade for a minimum of 10 minutes, but preferably marinate the fish for 30 mins in the fridge to let the flavors intensify and the fish to tenderize. The coriander gives the salmon a fresh edge, while the spices really warm up the meal. Now if you wanted to make this salmon fillet luxurious, then add a touch of softened butter. Remember to add a touch of salt too!

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Arrange lemon slices and coriander stalks onto some aluminum foil and lay the salmon over the bed. What is the lemon there for? It’s to help steam the salmon to honest perfection in the foil pocket. Additionally, you end up with a sweet almost caramelized tang from the lemon which not only balances the spice in the marinade, but also intensifies the overall warmth from the meal. Bake for 30 mins, or until the fish is done to your liking. Some like it well done, some like it medium, so it depends on your preference.

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TO serve? Go ahead and make yourself a big green salad to go along with this delicious flaky salmon, or a little bowl of rice would work too. This salmon goes incredibly well with left over coconut rice too ๐Ÿ˜›

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