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Ginger Gems July 9, 2010

Posted by Sarah in baking, butter, cosy, dining in, food, Gem Irons, Ginger Gems, home made, recipe, Thrifting.

Wont you come in from the cold?  Can I tempt you with a just-baked Ginger Gem?

Actually, we baked these last night.  They were lovely with tea after dinner, and even better for breakfast this morning.

This old Gem Iron belonged to my Grandmother.  I packed it with other essential belongings and it moved countries with me.  I am so very fond of it.

I haven’t seen a new Gem Iron for sale in a store ever.  I wonder if they’ve stopped making them?  I wonder if The Delta Metal Co Ltd, of Christchurch, New Zealand are still in business?

The circular Gem Iron is a recent acquisition.  I found it at the Surry Hills Markets last Saturday.  $5 and it came home with me.

Pre-loved.  Worn from countless morning tea’s over the years.  Sturdy and dependable.  I like imagining the old lady who owned this before me.  I wonder if she used the same recipe that I do?

Two recipe for Ginger Gems

Taken from the Edmonds Cookery Book, 1980.  Written in the matter-of-fact way that Edmonds recipes are synonymous with.  At least in my mind.

Ginger Gems

1 cup of Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Milk
25g (1oz) Butter
25g (1oz) Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
Sift dry ingredients.  Beat egg and add with milk.  Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup together and mix in last of all.  Put in twelve hot greased gem irons and bake 12 minutes at 215 C.

Taken from At Home At Play, by Pennie Oliver

Ginger Gems

60g Butter
150g Caster Sugar
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Golden Syrup
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
175ml Milk
250g Plain Flour
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger (we doubled this)
extra Butter for gem irons and for serving.

Preaheat the oven to 230C.  Place the gem irons in the oven to heat.  Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl  Beat in the egg.  Stir in the golden syrup.  Mis the baking soda into the milk.  Add the dry ingredients and milk and baking soda to the bowl.  Mix to combine the ingredients.  Remove the gem irons from the oven.  Drop about 1/4 teaspoon butter into the bottom of each of the hollows.  Spoon the mixture into each hollow to two-thirds full.  Bake for 10 minutes, until the gems are cooked and golden.  Serve plain or with butter.
Makes 20 – 22

Green soup recipe November 7, 2009

Posted by Sarah in dining in, food, green, health, home made, organic, recipe, soup, vegetables, yoghurt.
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I wanted soup.  Something bursting with greens.  Something healthy, light and tasty.  I had a head of broccoli and some home made chicken stock in the refrigerator, and after trawling my google reader feeds I came across Heidi’s recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  I used her recipe as inspiration and ended up with this magical green goodness.

I served it with a big dollop of organic yoghurt sprinkled with smoked paprika.  I imagine it would be great with Heidi’s recommended croutons, but we had cheese on toast instead, which was perfect in it’s simplicity.  The next day i reheated some for myself over the stove top, and poached an egg in it as it was warming through.  It was totally delicious, and added some welcome protein.  Enjoy!

10g unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

300g podded broadbeans, blanched and peeled

1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces

1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped

1.25 litres chicken stock or water

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

40g grated cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium heat.

Add the onion and celery and saute for a few minutes until soft, add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the broadbeans, broccoli and chicken stock.

Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is just cooked.

Turn off the heat and add the spinach.  Stir until wilted and combined with the rest of the soup.

Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

Add the chives, cheddar cheese and smoked paprika and stir until the cheese is melted.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4


Chewy oatmeal and date cookies October 7, 2009

Posted by Sarah in baking, butter, dining in, food, fruit, home made, recipe.
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The weather here in Sydney has taken a sudden dive.  All of a sudden our picture perfect not-winter has turned on us, reminding me that this city does indeed have seasons.  Albeit slightly irrational, fleeting ones.

I’ve been so cold this afternoon at home that I made a batch of these delicious cookies to warm the house, and our bellies.

I used Deb’s recipe for thick, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies.  I didn’t have any raisins in the house so I subbed them for chopped dates, and subbed the walnuts for a mixture of pecans and macadamia nuts.

They’re so delicious, I hope there’s some left for Joh when he gets home….

Best pumpkin soup ever (recipe) September 15, 2009

Posted by Sarah in dining in, food, health, home made, organic, recipe, vegetables.
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I’m sitting here at my desk, eating the most delicious pumpkin soup.  It may just be the best I have ever made, which is ironic considering I made it without really paying much attention.  It seems a bit silly to be posting a recipe for something so simple, but sometimes simple is just what you need.


1kg organic jap pumpkin

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves organic garlic, finely chopped

1 large organic onion, diced

1 litre chicken stock or water (I use my homemade stock, this blog post by Michael Ruhlman perfectly describes why you should too)

1 cup water

200 grams sour cream

1/2 bunch organic kale (about 300 grams)

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut your pumpkin into fairly large sized chunks, leaving the skin intact.  Discard seeds.  Place on a roasting tray and cook in a hot oven until you can easily slide a knife into the flesh, about 30 mintues.  You want the pumpkin to be soft before it goes into the soup, so be sure to check that it’s completely cooked before you remove it from the oven.  Remove the tray from the oven and leave the pumpkin to cool down to room temperature.

Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large stock pot.  Add the onion and cook slowly until the onion is nicely caramelised, about 10 minutes.

While the onions are sweating remove the skin from the flesh of the pumpkin.  If the pumpkin is cooked properly the skin will peel off very easily.

Once the onions are cooked add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the pumpkin and chicken stock and/or water.  Bring this to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionaly.

Wash the kate well in a bowl of water.  Separate the leaves from the stems.  Discard the stems.  Place a frying pan over a medium heat and fill with the kale.  Put a lid on the pan, if you have one, and wilt the kale for three minutes, turning every so often so the kale cooks evenly.  Remove from the frying pan to a chopping board and leave to cool completely.

Remove the soup from the heat and stir through the sour cream.  Grind over some pepper and add 1 teaspoon salt.  Use an immersion/stick blender to blitz the soup until smooth.

Chop the kale and add to the soup pot.

Taste for seasoning.

Toast some of your favourite bread to serve alongside your soup.

Makes 4 servings

A well balanced breakfast January 3, 2009

Posted by Sarah in bread, dining in, food, health, home made, organic, recipe.
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Today’s breakfast:

Organic sprouted rye bread

Organic avocado

Organic mung bean sprouts

Home cured salmon gravlax

This must be one of the healthiest life giving breakfasts that I can think of.  I’m really loving sprouted grain bread at the moment, i’m going to sprout some wheat of my own this week and see how we go making the bread from it.  We have been sprouting all kinds of beans and seeds this week, picture heavy post of our efforts to come soon.

I was given a tub of gravlax salts that my bosses partner had made.  It contains salt, pepper, sichuan pepper and sugar.  We purchased a small fillet of salmon to cure the first time to see how it went.  We washed and dried the fillet and packed it with salt and dill, then wrapped it all tightly in plastic wrap and stored it in the refrigerator for three days.  I turned the salmon twice a day to get the flavours to go through the whole piece of fish.  This morning when we unwrapped it I was amazed to find that there wa no fishy smell at all, and that the fish had firmed up and gone a darker red colour.  Delicious!



Buttermilk peach cake November 15, 2008

Posted by Sarah in baking, cake, dining in, food, recipe.

For breakfast!


Today I woke up with the knowledge that there was a small container of buttermilk in the fridge that had to be used today or thrown out. But I also knew that I had used the last of the eggs yesterday, and whatever I cooked first today had to be something I could do in my pyjamas. I sat down at our trusty computer and searched for eggless buttermilk recipes and eventually found this recipe. I was all excited and about to get up and start creating when I found that the recipe did in fact have eggs! Upon scrolling through the comments I found that there was indeed an eggless substitute, one that a commenter had left on the site. The recipe goes like this:

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 cup berries

Sift dry ingredients together, add melted butter and buttermilk. Pour into a tart dish and top with berries. Bake at 180 degrees celcuis for 45 mintues.

I melted the butter and then let it cook for a few mintues longer to caramelise. I strained it before I added it to the cake batter. Heidi’s origional recipe calls for wholewheat flour but I used white flour and it came out fine. I used half white sugar and half brown sugar, because that’s what I had on hand.

I went to the markets specifically to buy peaches for jam yesterday (4kgs infact!), so they became the topping in place of the berries. Before baking I sprinkled the top with pink salt and brown sugar.


I just happened to have some peach jam in the fridge that I made yesterday, so I used that to glaze the tart/cake.


Delicious! I still can’t decide if this is a tart, or a cake, or a pie. I think when it cools it will be quite a different beast.

Christmas 2007 December 29, 2007

Posted by Sarah in apron, baking, christmas, fabric, food, gift, home made, recipe.
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This year I made a pledge to buy only handmade. Well, I took this pledge one step further and decided to make almost all of the presents that I gave this year.

For my dear Mother I made this apron. I called her the other day and she was already using it!


I made aprons for most of the rest of my family members in New Zealand. Each included an individual hand-written recipe for the recipient. I really want the children in our family to grow up knowing how to cook. I’m not there to cook with them, so i’m hoping this encourages the families to get together and enjoy food.


Our friends in Sydney received hampers full of home made goodies made by me. We packaged up individual parcels to peoples tastes in bamboo steamer baskets and cellophane. Here’s what we made: Hazelnut Panforte, Plum Jam, Chocolate, Fig and Ginger Fruit Mince Pies, Traditional Fruit Mince Pies, Hazelnut Shortbread biscuits, Fruit Tea, Cherries in Vodka, Balsamic Onion Jam, Chocolate Truffles. I didn’t get any photos of our packaged hampers, but they did look great!


A less than lazy Saturday November 9, 2007

Posted by Sarah in baking, beef, bread, chocolate, dining in, food, home made, markets, organic, recipe, vegetables.

I like to spend time filling my larder.  Preparing for future culinary sensations.  Modern housewifery.

The weather here has been appalling for the last few weeks, and I love it.  I love the opportunity to stay indoors, don my apron and create.  This Saturday just past Joh and I embarked on a somewhat mammoth cooking bonanza.  Here’s what we achieved with our 10 hours.

First of all we had to do some shopping for ingredients.  Down to the markets for lemongrass, ginger, red capsicum, coriander, limes, chillies.  Off to the butcher for some beef bones.  To the supermarket for wholemeal flour and onions.  Back to the Thai supermarket later for tamarind and more lemongrass.  The first thing we did when we got home from our shopping trip was to heat the oven up to roast the beef shin bones.  This is to release the flavours of the bones to make really good home made beef stock.


Joh prepared some capsicums for roasting while I got to work on some homemade bread.

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The bread was put on top of the computer to rise, then the beef bones and capsicums went in to roast.  The next step for me was to make some home made mince meat for my christmas mince pies.  This year I made a traditional fruit mince mixture, and also another mix made from figs, chocolate and ginger.  The second mixture is great for people that don’t like traditional fruit mince pies.  The recipe can be found here.  I tweaked the recipe slightly and used organic where I could.  I also used half white chocolate and half dark chocolate for a point of difference.


The bones came out of the oven and went into the stock pot along with spring onions, brown onions and ginger that Joh prepared.  The stock was left to cook over a low heat for about 3 hours.

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The capsicums came out of the oven, were peeled and bagged in portions and popped in the freezer.


I kept the organic apple peels from the fruit mince from earlier and made some fruit tea too.  This takes some time in the oven on a very low heat so we got to work on that while we waited for the bread to cook.


Now the reason we wanted to cook today at all.  Chilli Jam.  This is a thai-style chilli jam, full of fish sauce and sprimp paste.  I love to have it in the fridge to give stir fries a lift, and Joh will just eat it by the spoonful whenever I’m not looking :)  We also made up a batch of Red Curry Paste so that we can make our own Massaman Beef Curries at home.  Thats the chilli jam on the left and the red onions and lemongrass dry frying in the right hand pan for the Red Curry.


This is the finished chilli jam.  And the baked bread.  And the two types of fruit mince.

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The beef stock was cooled overnight and the thick layer of fat was removed.  The beef stock is now happily waiting in the freezer.  We froze the Red Curry Paste in ice cube trays so that we can just take out as many as we need to make a meal.  It’s 7pm and we’re both really tired and can’t be bothered cooking for ourselves after a huge day in the kitchen, then a big clean up.  We contemplated going out to eat but resisted the temptation and stayed in.


The photo really doesn’t do this meal justice.  Organic scrambled eggs with coriander and organic tomatoes.  Organic sunflower sprouts, mushrooms and asparagus, and our own homemade bread.  Perfect, simple and easy.   We gobbled this down in five minutes, both very happy we didn’t leave the house to eat someone else’s food.

Cooking myself towards my holiday July 31, 2007

Posted by Sarah in baking, cake, dining in, food, home made, organic, recipe, Uncategorized.
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Today I’m home from work, with one day between now and our holiday! I’m so looking forward to going home, it’s going to be great! There is a slight dilema with going away for three weeks though, and that is what to do with the few items of food you have left in the house. This is really a domestic bragging post, i’m just showing off how very 1950’s housewife I am. I even ironed Joh’s shirt for him last night :P

Anyway, this is what I had to use up:

4 onions, 2 organic tomatoes, a huge bunch of parsley, 1kg of organic potatoes, 1 cup of buttermilk, 7 organic eggs, a knob of ginger, rosemary, thyme, 5 apples, half a bottle of cranberry juice.

And this is what I’ve done. We don’t have any ‘raw’ ingredients left now, just the next 5 meals cooked and ready to go. And something in the freezer for us to defrost and have when we get back to Sydney in three weeks. Genius.

I peeled, cored and sliced the apples, and put them in an oven dish. I covered them with the cranberry juice and cooked them for half an hour in the oven until the apples were soft and the juice mostly evaporated. These are now sitting in the fridge ready to be eaten on muesli, or with yoghurt, or on top of the coconut cake.

I used the buttermilk to make a Coconut Buttermilk Cake, which also used up the last of the butter in the fridge, and used an egg. This will be great for Craft Night tonight.

I used two onions and the potatoes and rosemary to make a delicious potato soup. This also used up 1 litre of home made vegetable stock from my freezer.

And I’ve made a soup with canned organic tomatoes, organic barley, red lentils, ginger, onions and the parsley. This will freeze well if we don’t eat it all tonight.

With the remaining eggs I made a frittata, and added lots of parsley, thyme and the tomatoes. It also has a little bit of roasted red onion from last nights dinner. Yum!

And I made a chana dhal to put in the freezer for us to have as an easy meal on the night we get from NZ.

Happy holidays to me! Happy holidays to Joh!

Recipe for Pear and Cherry Crumble June 19, 2007

Posted by Sarah in crumble, dining in, food, recipe.

A certain Rondoner I know wanted the recipe for this crumble.

First, make this but omit the anise.

Then, poach some peeled, cored, quartered pears in a syrup.

Make this from equal amounts of caster sugar, cider and water. Bring to the boil to let the sugar dissolve, then turn down a little and carefully put in your prepared pears and let them cook in the syrup until soft, but not mushy. Remove from the syrup and cool. Keep the syrup. They can be stored in the fridge (in their syrup) for about a week and used whenever you like.

Next, heat the oven to180 degrees celcius.

Cut up your pears, or leave them in quarters and place in the bottom of an oven dish. Open a jar of pitted cherries in syrup, drain off all that nasty syrup, rinse even. Use fresh cherries if in season, be sure to stone them first. Then scatter as many as you please onto your pears. Pour in a little of the pear poaching juice so that the bottom of the oven dish has a thin layer of juices (only about 1mm).

Crumble over as much shortbread mix that you want. Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden on top, and you can see the fruit bubbling from underneath.

Serve warm with cream.