Author Archives: S-J

Cola Ham (Or: why don’t we eat ham like this all the time?)

Ham! Cola Ham!Christmas food! Hooray!

In an excellent stroke of luck, our friend Christopher received a very large Christmas hamper from his work three days before he left for his huge Christmas adventure in the US. Because he is excellent people, we got a 5kg ham on the bone for freeeeeee! (And all the other stuff from his hamper! Thank you, Christopher’s Corporate Overlords!)

The ham sat and took up space in our fridge for the two weeks before the 1st Annual Fakesmas (Friend Christmas on the 22nd). I’ve done Christmas ham two times previously — one marmalade and mustardy and one cidery — and so figured I’d just knock up a glaze of whatever when Fakesmas arrived. It was not to be, however, as I watched Luke Nguyen cook a Claypot Cola Chicken one Thursday night. The time had come for me to the live the dream and make a Cola Ham.

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Christmas Morning Muffins. (My way.)

Muffins

Christmas morning is not Christmas morning without these muffins now. I only started making them three years ago but they are now a family tradition. This year, I got up and made them with my boy. Well, being 11 months old, he just pootled around playing with his drawer of kitchen utensils (i.e. anything he can’t hurt himself with).

Christmas Morning Muffins

Makes 12 generous muffins

  • 1 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • freshly grated nutmeg (this is pretty much the only time I will be like this: If you don’t have fresh nutmeg, don’t bother. Freshly grated nutmeg is so radically different to the stuff in the jar that they shouldn’t be compared. Leave it out. Then go and get someone to buy you a microplane grater and some whole nutmegs. Rant over.)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Juice and zest of 2 oranges
  • 55g butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 75g craisins (or dried cherries. Or both. I’ve done both before.)
  • 75g chocolate chips
  • raw sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 200C.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest.

In a measuring jug, pour in the milk and add the orange juice until you have 2/3 cup of liquid. Add the melted butter and the egg and stir to combine.

Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined i.e. it will be lumpy and should be lumpy!

Fold in the dried fruit and chocolate and mix again very gently.

Divide into muffin tin and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake for 1o minutes.

Perfection.

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Last Minute Christmas Pudding Dash (Or: Holy Smokes! It’s December.)

Brandy

 

So, all of a sudden, it was the last few days of November and, yet again, I had failed to make a Christmas Pudding. I refused to live in that world and ran to the internet to find a suitable recipe. Continue reading

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Coq Aux Vins Sandwich (Or: yes, we did actually use two wines and then nerded it up grammar style.)

And then there came a day unlike any other* when I decided it would be a good idea to take all the delicious elements of Coq Au Vin and put them in a sandwich.

It was a good day.

I was having leftover Coq Au Vin for lunch one day and mopping up all the deliciousness with a nice piece of bread and had a moment. I will now recreate that moment through a short playscript.

INT. KITCHEN. LUNCHTIME.

Me: THIS IS SO DELICIOUS.

My Brain: We should make this into a sandwich.

Me: Holy smokes! How would we create such a devilish treat?

My Brain: Let’s get Katie in on this.

Me: Good thinking, Brain. *texts Katie*

Katie: *is the ideas person*

And so this sandwich was born. Was it a labour of love? Yes. Did it take longer than your usual lunchtime repast? Yes. Was it worth it? HELLZ YES.

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Quinoa and Pumpkin Salad (or: Summer’s here. Let’s eat salad.)

Just a quick post because I instagrammed a picture of last night’s dinner and have never felt more popular with calls for the recipe. We weren’t planning on doing another goat’s cheese recipe so close on the other one but you have to give the people what they want.

This is a super simple salad but so tasty. Also, this basic concept has been changed numerous times depending on the season/what’s in the fridge/what looks good at the shops.

Quinoa & Pumpkin Salad

Serves 3 HUNGRY adults who enjoy eating as a main, would probably serve 4 or 5 less greedy adults as a main. Would serve MANY as a side.

  • 1/2 a butternut pumpkin, cubed
  • oil (I used vegie as we were out of olive oil)
  • paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, well rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tsp ‘chicken’ stock powder (Even though I eat meat now, I tend to use the Massel stocks which are animal free and the actual tastiest.) (I also know this is more stock than the side of the tin tells you to use. Sue me, I like things extra tasty.)
  • 2 cobs corn, sliced off the actual cob bit (or use a can’s worth. We aren’t fussy around here.)
  • spring onion (we used one because we were harvesting from our small spring onion crop in the garden. Use as much as you enjoy. Or sub in onion or leek.)
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • a couple of sprigs of thyme
  • chèvre or goat’s cheese of your choosing

Preheat oven to 180C and start cutting the skin of your pumpkin and cubing it up. Place it in a roasting dish and glug some oil over it and then sprinkle it with as much paprika as you desire. Toss everything so it get all covered in the oil and paprika. If you feel like it, some honey on the pumpkin could also be a taste sensation. (I forgot to do this.) Pop this is the oven and roast until soft i.e. however long it take you to do the rest of things. Check on it occasionally but it will be pretty happy to do its own thing.

Rinse the quinoa. I put mine in a fine sieve and run it under water for a couple of minutes. I know other people rinse their again and again but I find that one rinse is enough. Put the rinsed quinoa, water and stock in a medium saucepan over high heat. When it starts to boil, turn it all the way down to low and put the lid on. Leave for approx 20 minutes. (Quinoa can be fickle and you’ll need to check it — with your mouth — to make sure it isn’t messing you around.) When most of the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat, leave the lid on and put to one side until the rest of your salad is ready.

CHECK YOUR PUMPKIN. You can probably turn it off about now but you might as well leave it in the oven so you have more bench space until you need it.

Heat a smidge of oil and butter in a small saucepan and sauté the spring onion, corn and thyme whilst you get to work on your asparagus. Break off the woody ends (literally snap it at the bottom; it knows where to break) and throw them away, chop off the leafy end bits and then slice the rest of the stalks. Put the leafy end bits and the sliced stalk in with the corn and cook for a couple of minutes.

Now to assemble:

Find yourself a large bowl. If you are at our house, this is difficult as the usual one is full of lollies for trick or treaters tonight.

Put the quinoa and pumpkin in the bowl and mix the pumpkin through. It’ll break up as you do this so there with be some nice chunks of pumpkin but also smooshy pumpkin through the whole thing. Pour in your corn and stuff and mix that thorough.

Crumble as much chèvre as you desire on top.

Eat with abandon.

(Look, if you roasted some almonds and then chopped them roughly and sprinkled them over the top, I would totally be into that. In fact, see you at your place for dinner.)

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Review: Pearl Oyster, Preston (Or: the day that S-J had two breakfasts. For the good of the blog! Honest! Part Two.)

And here is the thrilling conclusion to me eating two breakfasts!

So, post-Lowlands, I immediately toddled off down the road to Pearl Oyster. It is safe to say that Pearl Oyster is our local. I would say, on average, I drop in at least once a week and Esther and Arty are probably there more than that. I have explored that menu thoroughly and I reckon I could offer a fairly elaborate review of all of them.

However, this day I did try something I had never had before. Behold the Date and Walnut Loaf!

Delicious Loaf. (With some sort of orange flavoured creamy spread.) (I’m a details person, obviously.)

Now in what is another example of truly dreadful blogging practice, I cannot remember if it was a mascarpone-based spread or a ricotta. It was orangey and complimented the loaf perfectly.

I don’t often go the sweet breakfast but this was an excellent choice as it wasn’t too sweet but was very satisfying. (In case you were wondering: my recommendation for savoury breakfast is the Sambal Omelette with Smoked Tofu.)

I could tell you more about the wonders of Pearl Oyster but I’d say the proof is in the eating i.e. I am there all the time.

Pearl Oyster

114 Miller Street, Preston

Open 7 Days, Mondays are meat-free

Breakfasts average about $16

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