Granola

5 Nov

I’ve always been super disdainful of granola. I feel like its pretending to be a healthy breakfast food, but is actually chokers with sugar and fat – making it delicious but super not healthy. So I’ve always eaten my untoasted dry muesli. BUT (in capitals so you know its important), that was before I made my own granola. See then you know exactly what’s in it – you know yes it had oil and sugar and so isn’t as healthy as my other muesli, but actually not that much, and its SO much tastier! So moral is – ignore my rant, make this granola, eat it for breakfast, enjoy!

Recipe very slightly adapted from here.

Essentially mix lots of rolled oats with the tasty bits of your choice.

My choice was pecans, macadamias, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. Add cinnamon and mix well.

Meanwhile heat honey, maple syrup and oil on the stove to combine.

Pour all the liquid onto all the solids, and mix well – coat all the oats with honey mixture.

Bake until deliciously golden.

Add dried fruit of your choice. My choice was chopped dried apple, goji berries, dried sour cherries.

Stir to combine! Delish!

Eat as you choose. My day one choice was for breakfast with plain yoghurt and stewed apple. Yum!

Day two choice was smoothie-fied.

All these ingredients combined…

Gives a delicious smoothie, and ice-cream for breakfast!

Until next time,

Alice

Recipe – Granola

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (pecans, macadamias, hazelnuts etc)
  • 1 cup seeds (pepitas, sunflower seeds)
  • 8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 cups dried fruit (goji berries, sour cherries, apple etc)

Recipe

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

2. Roughly chop nuts if you wish.

3. Toss together coconut, nuts, rolled oats, cinnamon, and salt.

4. In a saucepan over low heat, stir together the oil, maple syrup, and honey until combined and runny.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

5. Add the wet ingredients, all at once, to the rolled oat mixture.  Toss to coat, insuring that all of the dry ingredients are coated in the maple syrup mixture.

6. Divide the mixture between two lined baking pans.  Spread into an even layer.

7. Bake granola for 45 minutes to 1 hour, removing the pans from the oven twice during baking to toss and stir.

8. Once mixture is evenly browned and toasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

9. Add dried fruit and stir.

10. Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature.

11. Enjoy!

25 things before 25

4 Nov

I’m sorry its been so long between posts – I don’t have any real/proper excuse, but I am going to try and be better now!

So, this post isn’t very foody, and is instead a little (actually a lot) self-indulgent. See I’m turning 25 in January (argh, that’s so old, quarter of century, mid-twenties, argh!), and inspired by Joy the Baker (as in fact most things I do are really), I’ve developed a list of 25 things I want to do before I turn 25. Some are serious (donate blood), some are silly (wear lipstick, make marshmallows), some are to challenge me to do things I’m bad at (make friends, buy things online, hug people), and many are food related. So anyway here it is, and I’ll try and semi-regularly update on how I’m doing. I actually started about 2 months ago, so I’ve already done a few things so I’ll put those in there too. And yes I know this whole thing is kinda lame – don’t judge me🙂

Ok, list is:

1. Donate blood at least once

2. Make 2 new friends

3. Do 3 craft projects

– 1 Done! Mexican paper flowers with Snow White for Housewarming. Instructions here. Proof here:

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4. Buy myself 4 dresses online

 – 1 Done.

5. Buy 5 pretty blog props

– 5 Done. Thank you country town op-shops/antique shops.

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6. Read 6 non-fantasy books

– 1 Done. Gone Girl – Couldn’t put it down but thought the ending was 68% creepy and 32% lame.

7. Give presents to 7 people for no reason

– 2 Done. The ugliest/cutest kitten plate for Belle, and a squirrel doorstop for the Queen.

8. Plan 8 creative dates.

– This is mildly hard since Prince Charming is always off in exotic places, but in progress.

9. Buy 9 bunches of flowers

10. Write 10 letters

– Email me your address if you want one!

11. Learn 11 new words

12. Try 12 new foods

13. Bake 13 new things

– 5 or more done. Stay tuned for more details! Considering changing this to Bake 13 things from the Joy the Baker cookbook though because that seems to be how its happening…

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14. Wear lipstick 14 times

– 5 Done. I gotta go out more.

15. Cut 15 cms off my hair

– 1st step done – dyed 15 cms of my hair pink. Next step chop it off.

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16. Take photos at 16 pretty places in Sydney

– 3 Done. Marrickville.

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Drummoyne on the harbour.

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Glebe.

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17. Go to 17 new restaurants, cafes or bars

– 7 or more Done.

18. Go swimming 18 times

– 1 Done. Need hotter weather!

19. Hug 19 different people

– Maybe 8 Done?

20. Make 20 marshmallows with Rapunzel.

21. Do 21 blog posts

– Well one done now!

22. Make 22 jars of something!

 – Considering vanilla extract or pickled veggies

23. Pick 23 pieces of fruit from a tree

24. Stay awake for 24 hours

25. Throw a party for 25 people

– Done! Spring-themed Housewarming.

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Until next time,

Alice

Easter!

12 Apr

I hope you all had a lovely 4 day weekend filled with much chocolate and sleeping in! I know I did! Belle and I decided not to accompany the King and Queen down the south coast, and instead have a ‘holiday-at-home’. This basically involved staying at home, but pretending we were on holiday, and doing a lot of food-related activities!

On Friday, my princess friends Tiana and Ariel came over and we went on an outing to get Tsoureki! Ariel had discussed this with me earlier in the week, and decided it was an easter necessity to try it! It’s a greek traditional bread, normally braided and with a red hard boiled egg in the dough, traditionally eaten after the midnight mass on Easter Sunday (according to the wise internet). And plus it was meant to be super tasty!

Apologies for the big hole – we were too eager to eat it, we forgot to take a photo first🙂

And tasty it was! Very like brioche it was a slightly sweet, soft and delicious! We bought ours from Hellenic Bakery, Marrickville (371 Illawarra Road, Open daily 5:30am-7pm), which the internet (so wise) had told me had some of the best tsoureki in Sydney. I haven’t got a lot to compare it to, but it was pretty great.

We also bought some other treats – Belle had a spinach and cheese triangle that was eaten well before thoughts of the camera entered our minds but was reportedly delicious, and we got some kourabiethese (greek shortbread) – so buttery, so good! They also had some divine looking bougatsa (semolina custard and pastry slice) that has me planning my next trip back there.

And then Ariel – because she is incredible – made her own tsourekis and brought it round on Saturday. Oh goodness, so tasty and even better than the bought one!

And speaking of incredible Ariel. Hand-made ricotta. Thats right. She also did that. In about 10 minutes on Friday afternoon and produced this amazing looking and tasting afternoon tea out of no-where!

Belle and I also did some Easter baking, but of the slightly tacky and un-stylish variety (I feel like this kind of says something…haha). Belle made this incredibly decorated and tasty carrot cake (eh? get it? Cos easter bunnys eat carrots!), with green cream cheese frosting, green tinted coconut grass and oreo and marshmallow bunnies!

And not to be out-done on Easter spirit I made bunny bread! Unfortunately he was a lot cuter before he was cooked, after which he turned into a fat, flat bunny, that actually looked quite a lot like our fat cat Betty.

Happy Easter everyone!

Alice

Homemade sourdough!

29 Mar

The king and queen went to Tasmania in February, and had a great time. They brought us back some presents, the best of which was some Organic Sourdough Wheat Starter from here.

It came as a dehydrated starter mix to which I had to add water, and leave it to ferment for 12-24 hours until there were signs of fermentation such as “strong aromas, growth and/or bubbles”. Eww!! But luckily these things did happen! I had to ‘feed’ (all the terms when talking about sourdough are so creepy!) it once before I could use it to make bread. This involved taking 50 grams of the original starter and adding 200 grams of flour and water, and leaving to ferment again.

Starter pre-fermentation 

So once that long process of getting the starter ready is done, I can start the bread-making process! This starts with adding 1 kg of flour to 600ml water (at 15-20 degrees celcius) and 400g of the starter. This is left to sit for 20-60 minutes.

After this you add 21g of salt and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Leave in a warm place (20-26 degrees celcius) to rise until the dough has risen to 1.5 times its size.

At this point, you pour the dough out onto the bench, fold it several times (without getting rid of all the gases) and make the bread into loaf sizes, and shape them into balls. I made 2 loaves from this amount.

The dough balls are left to sit for 20 minutes, then the balls are gently flattened, and the dough folded to make the top more narrow than the bottom. The dough is then rolled top to bottom to create a cylinder/oblong-y shape. These pieces are then meant to be placed in floured bannetons but I sadly didn’t have any of these, so I just used oiled loaf tins. The loaves are then left to double in size.

Finally, the top of the loaves are cut with a sharp knife, and cooked in a 240 degree oven for 45 minutes, gradually turning down the temperature to 180 degrees. The recipe that came with the starter also recommended steam at the start of the bake, which is achieved by pouring boiling water straight into a pre-heated baking pan in the oven!

And ta-da! Bread!

It was so delish!! We ate it with fancy butter from Meander Valley in Tasmania, and sometime there just is nothing better than bread and butter!

I’ve made the sourdough twice now, and its been a success both times (yay!). The first time I just used white flour, and the bread was perfect – nice soft crumb, dense but with a crunchy outside, slightly sour but not overwhelming taste. The second time I used half white, half spelt flour (also from tasmania!). Although the texture was nice with the spelt, the taste was a little too strong for me, and the bread a little too dense. I’ll have to keep experimenting!

Till next time,

Alice

A Good Food Weekend

19 Mar

Here are some wonderful things I did this weekend:

We bought a new cookbook – Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking. Everything in it looks amazing – and super easy but delicious! Perfect for mid-week cooking. I’m especially excited to make the sweetcorn chicken soup and the home-style fried eggs with oyster sauce and chilli.

The Queen made snapper pies for dinner – they were divine! She found the recipe here, but apparently it is the real recipe for the famous snapper pie at the Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay! She added mashed potato on top instead of pastry – Oh they were so good – belle, the beast, the king, queen and I ate them for a delicious Sunday night dinner.

We went to yum cha and accidentally had the most delicious salt and pepper lobster. From a distance we thought it was crab and only realised once we had it, and our ticket was stamped, and it was all too late  that we had in fact ordered lobster! It was delicious, of course. Super fresh and a great way to eat lobster – it was chopped up so the flesh could be pulled straight out of the shell, and the super thin, crispy salt and pepper batter was perfect with it! And luckily the King was paying🙂

I went out to celebrate my friend Cinderella’s birthday and had a lovely night but may have had a few two many vodka, lime sodas. When we arrived home we had the most perfect midnight snack after a night out – these frozen Costco dumplings!

I went to Princess Jasmine’s house for dinner and she made a delicious feast of dukkah-marinated lamb, haloumi, rocket salad and broccoli with preserved lemons, yum! My other good friend Snow White brought some caramel popcorn she had made, but she had gone one extra amazing step further and made it salted caramel popcorn. Oh my god it was good. But so addictive – I was overcome with the need to consume a lot of it very quickly and so forgot to take a photo, but it looked just like the picture below. Must get the recipe!

Hope you had a wonderful and food-filled weekend too,

Alice

Fish Tacos

18 Mar

I travelled in the states for 6 months last year, and although we ate our fair share of crappy american food (mac’n’cheese, hot dogs, burger, so many fries) we also ate some really amazing food. I was particularly impressed by the mexican food – it was a like  a completely different breed from the mexican I had eaten in Sydney. In particular we had some amazing mexican at this place called ‘Taco Loco’ in Laguna Beach, California – we did a detour and decided to go to Laguna Beach purely because we’d read about the blackened shrimp tacos at this place.

And they were worth it! That’s them at the back of this photo, with calamari nachos at the front. Lookin at this photo makes me want to eat them now! Yum! Its hard to pin down what was so particularly great about these but tastily seasoned fish, delicious fresh salsa, slightly spicy sauce and (probably most importantly) proper corn tortillas were definately important parts.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago in the paper: Neil Perry has a recipe for an amazing looking mexican feast, and gives the name of the place where he gets his authentic mexican ingredients – hooray the chance to make those amazing tacos again!

http://www.fireworksfoods.com.au/

Its a sydney based company that both imports things from mexico, and makes some products itself. We ordered some spicy chipotle sauce ($2.95 for 145g jar), and some white, yellow and blue corn tortillas ($2.95 for 10 x 15cm taco-sized tortillas), and they were delivered right to our door!

And so of course we made fish tacos! Slightly different from the californian ones – I did a bit of research online and was inspired by the recipe here (http://www.averagebetty.com/recipes/grilled-fish-tacos-recipe/).

The recipe is a little vague. I’d like to pretend its because I’m cool like Jamie Oliver and can describe ingredients as handfuls, smidges, ‘a bit’ of this – but really its because I didn’t write down what I did and can’t really remember now, sorry! But really if you do what you think and try everything I’m sure you’ll get it tasting delicious! And add heaps of lime juice! The recipes for about 3-4 people but if you want to make it for more people allow about 200g fish and 3 tortillas per person and just make heaps of the other bits!

Till next time,

Alice

Recipe – Fish Tacos

Ingredients

  • About 500g white fish (we used freshly caught blachfish that our fisherman friend John very kindly dropped over to us, but any white-fish like bream or flat head would be fine)
  • Cumin powder
  • Ground coriander seeds
  • Iceberg lettuce (or anything similar – we used a chinese cabbage last week cos we had it!)
  • A packet of 10 corn tortillas
  • 3 tomatoes
  • A red onion
  • A big ripe avocado
  • A handful of coriander
  • 3 limes
  • About 1/4 cup of chipotle sauce
  • About 1/4 cup of sour cream

Recipe

1. Rub the fish with a little cumin and ground coriander seeds (and any other spices you feel like!), and leave to marinade for about half an hour

2. Finely chop the red onion, chop the tomatoes, avocado and coriander, and mix together. Add the juice of 2 limes, some salt and pepper and check the taste.

3. Slice/chop/tear the lettuce

4. Mix the chipotle sauce with the sour cream and the juice of a lime. Feel free to add more chipotle sauce if you want it spicier!

5. Cook the fish for a few minutes a side on the BBQ, then re-heat the tortillas for a minute or 2.

6. Put everything on the table and serve! I recommend grabbing a tortilla, adding a big spoon of sauce, a couple of pieces of fish, a few pieces of lettuce and a big scoop of salsa.

7. Enjoy!

Alice in Food-er-land!

15 Mar

Lucky I didn’t choose that as my blog name huh?

So, once upon a time there was a girl who’s name was Alice in Wonderland. She lived in the land of Australia, in the town of Leichhardt. She studied science, loved disney and most of all she loved shopping for, cooking and especially eating food! She had 3 beautiful cats, the loveliest dog in the whole realm and lived at home with her parents the King and Queen, and her sister Belle. She had her very own Prince Charming, who luckily also loved food!

So thats my disney story so far, hopefully there’s more of it to come, and I can share it with you in this blog! Basically this blog will be about all of my food adventures – things I cook, eat, buy and enjoy. I’m thinking now that I’ll try to keep it an adventure (or a quest if we want to disney-fy it) and try a new restaurant and a new recipe every week and try to write about it here. And there might be some other stuff too!

So to get started Belle and I visited ‘Meet Fresh: A Taste of Traditional Taiwanese dessert’ in Chinatown (13 Goulburn St, next to Mamak).

http://meetfresh.net/

We had no idea what we were doing when we ordered – all of the menu items sounded delicious but we had no idea what they actually were! Belle ended up leaning across the counter and pointing at what one of the ladies working there was making, and saying “We’ll have that!”. Turns out it was Taro Balls Dessert 6. Of course!

It was a big bowl of shaved ice with pearls (just like you would get in bubble tea), noodle jellies (little squishy jelly noodle worms), jelly cake (quite firm jelly), and the taro balls (back left of the picture above), covered in a delicious syrup we think was a brown sugar syrup. It was delicious!!

The taro balls were definitely the highlight – they were a mix of orange and purple colours (perhaps the orange were sweet potato?), and had the texture of perfect gnocchi, and a quite subtle not too sweet but very tasty taste! So good! The bowl was quite large so seemed good value at $5.50, and it was the perfect refreshing dessert – with all the cool ice, and not too sweet toppings! Although Prince Charming would have hated it – he won’t eat anything with slug texture, and there was plenty of slug texture going on in this dish!

Belle suggested this video sums it up perfectly, ‘Slimy, yet satisfying!’

Next time we’ll have to try the pearls tofu pudding, or the signature herbal jelly! And they’re open till at least midnight every night – perhaps a midnight snack visit right now…

Love Alice