As You Like It

The rain was so heavy last night, and now the garden is very wet, but it is good for fertilizing, so I did this afternoon.  All fruit and citrus trees had the goodies, hopefully, they will be growing strong, and well. I was good to make the best of the situation.  Soon the job was done, the rain came again, just the way I like it.  Watering by hand was not needed

Craving for something sweets is OK, it was not the right time to have trifle but Christmas did come early in our home.  We had the trifle as we liked it, and I was so pleased sharing it with our dear friend the ninety-three years old Eileen.

Home cooking is very important for our family and me.  You know what you are having and what is in it.  However, one could get tired and not want to be cooking but frozen food could be the rescue.  Poached prawns dim sums were so good, they were frozen bought one, but they were so delicious just the way we liked it.

Stay in, the weather was so miserably wet, the rains did not want to stop.  You could do so much inside the house of course, but for dinner, hot homemade pizza would be a treat.  Our pizza is always special, we prepare it just the way we like it.
Today we had a crusty pizza with anchovies and olive topping, simply delicious.

Maybe it is not a traditional pizza, but it’s the way I like it.

Following recipes could be a pain but could get an excellent result from the experts.  This time I decided to bake sourdough bread just the way I like it in regard to the making of the leaven, the technique how to knead to shape., and to score.  However, I must say that the core what to do in sourdough baking I must still follow with respect.
The night before I prepared the leaven, made out from sourdough starter, water and flower (no measurement), approx: 50g flour and 55 water and 1/2 teaspoon dried yeast.  I mixed them together and cover with plastic, and leave on the kitchen bench for overnight.  By morning the leaven was looking beautiful, and ready to be used for the bread making.

In the morning at 8.30, I started to organise all the ingredients that are needed, the plain flour, water, salt.  I liked to have 500g plain flour, 9g salt, and 225g water.
The fun begun by mixing half of the water to the leaven stirred and mixed together nicely.  Added to the dough, and mix together with a spoon, add a little bit more of the water, and kept on stirring to make the dough soft.  Add in the last drop of the water, and mixed again and now the dough looked like this.
I worked gently with this mixture by smoothing the dough with a spoon.  Now the dough has to rest. It’s covered with a damp cloth and let proof for one hour.

After prooving for one hour, the dough looked soft and increase in size a little.  Time to temper the dough, to pull instead to knead, that what I did, just took two minutes.  Keep the dough inside the bowl while you do the pulling.
 
The dough had to rest to prove again, and covered with a damp cloth for thirty minutes.
  Now the dough looked smoother and soft to touch.
I had to do the same four time and proof in between for 30 minutes.

At the end of the 6th proofing, the dough becomes soft, smooth and elastic.

I baked one single large Boule, for that reason I did not to cut the dough, instead, I knead lightly by pulling method and place at the lined basket.  That was the final proofing and took  1-2 hours.  Be sure that it did not overproof otherwise the bread will be collapsed.
Baking Time.
Baked in a hot oven, at 225 degrees C
Transfer the dough from the basket to a lined baking tray.
Score the bread as you like it before baking
Splash some water inside the hot oven, prior to baking
Put the ready bread in the oven, and bake the bread for 22 minutes
Lower the temperature of the oven, and continue baking for 22 minutes.
My bread-the Boule was not dark enough, the crust was hard and sound hollow when it was tapped.
The bread was chewy, but the crust became soft.
(it could be I did not transfer the bread from the baking tray to the cooling tray straight away).
 I did it just the way I like it,(it’s more fun) and the result was not too bad, it cut well and taste good.
The family will have the bread with any topping just as they like it.
It was fun baking the sourdough bread, indeed I followed the technique of experts but somehow I loved it, It worked well.   Just the way I like it.

Having things as you love, Do things as you wish to do, the way you like are more relaxing.  I love the philosophy ‘As You Like it” especially to make easy for yourself and others happy or happier.

 

 

Until Next Post

Susi

 

 

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Spring in the Backyard.

Plants are springing, roses are looking healthy this year and the crabapple blossoming magnificently. Herbs and flowering plants are giving me promise, I am looking forward to enjoying them and spending time in the backyard.

Beautiful Blossom and the Wisteria is at its best.

Sadly the clivia potted plant got frost burnt last winter, but luckily the flower buds stay well and healthy.  Now the stems are getting longer by day, I shall have a lot of flowers, and they could be better to use them as the cut flowers.

Fruit trees, the apple tree survive winter well and the potted espalier starts showing off the leaves and the flowers.  Love the rustic look of the leave this Peonie rose.

Potted herbs are lovely and I am hoping the vegetable patch will accommodate all my plants very well this time, thinking to grow tomatoes, hot chilli and beans.

More greens and flowers.  By the end of October, the backyard will be more colours, and it is very joyful to see.

I hope your garden is flourishing this time of the year, Springtime can be fun, all my very best to you all.  Enjoy the Season!

 

Until Next Post

Susi

 

Elanora Esmée.

We visited our youngest grand child, Elanora and that was a lovely trip to the Netherlands. How good it was that we could hold and play with her.
She is such a beautiful and placid baby, she makes things easier for her mother and family.

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She was born on the 11 of June 2017 she is almost three months old this Spring, and the other day I was told that she weights at 5910 g and 60 cm long.  She is growing so fast, she is a joy.  Her older brother Milo is trying so hard to be kind and friendly to her, how

ever, we must watch him as he could be very excited toward her.
We made our stay in Europe better by visiting other countries.

We went to Hungary, mainly visited Budapest, just as well we were already in Europa, and that was a great trip, a lot of places to see.
Jane and her family sent us off to the train station in Eindhoven, as we had to catch up the flight in Amsterdam.

Budapest offers amazing architecture buildings, so beautiful, and the people are good and friendly, we had a lovely time there.  A day trip to Buda and Pest with a private guide was a good start to explore Budapest.  From the market hall to see the plethora of fresh produce, spices ingredients and embroideries work which was displayed in a glorious manner, so many and so beautiful, also enjoyed the delicious local food – Gulash, stuffed cabbage and so forth. Visited the Parlament house, walked on the chain bridge and cruising on the river Danube.  You don’t want to miss to see Budapest at night, that was what we did, the City was lighted up, absolutely bright and beautiful, we saw from the Danube river on the river cruise while we had our lavish dinner.  Other high light was attending the Hungarian Folk Concert, the dance was so vigorous and the customs were so colorful. It was a beautiful night, the last day before we went back to the Netherlands was very memorable indeed.

Market Hall Budapest

Visited a country restaurant with our tour guide Eva and tasting local dishes.

Inside The Parlament House and the picture of the building from the back, also at night time the House was  so beautiful with all the lights.

At The Chain Bridge Budapest, we got through walking on the bridge and it was so hot.  I am glad that we did it.

Cruising on the Danube, heading to the Margaret Island.

At Night Dinner Cruise, it was amazing to see the City lighted up.

Five days were good enough for us to visit Budapest, and it was so right to go back to the Netherlands, to spend more time with Elanora.

Beautiful pictures of Elanora, sleeping, and resting.

After a catch up with Elanora and family, we were off again to Italy, visited Tuscany.

Tuscany was good, loved the food, the culture, and the friendly people.  I found them they are kind and helpful.  It was very hot, and I missed out the beautiful sunflowers on the fields, and it was not so green, as we were there in Summer, but over all it was good.

I loved and enjoy the city tour, the guide was good with excellent knowledge.

Pissa, this time we visited the leaning tower of Pissa and went inside, managed to walk up the two hundred and ninety-six steps.  Our first visit was in 2005 and it was under construction.  I was so proud to be able to climb and walk that high, thanks to Rayner for his encouragement.

The wine tasting on the half day trip was good and together with people from Norway a very good bunch of people that made the experience was so pleasant.

We were so disappointed that the trip to go to see the Chianti region was cancelled, that would be great to taste the Chianti wine and the beautiful drive to the country side.

Visited Lucca, The wall-the Renaissance wall in Lucca stands grand, welcome all the visitors, as the olden days, it protected enemy from coming in, the whole community-people was secure and saved.   A long walk we did through the labyrinth of the ancient-renaissance buildings was amazing.  

Vespa museum in Pontedera was Huge, I saw the old model of the sixty which my parents used to have, indeed it brought a lovely memory.   And the journey on the train was hilarious.  We stopped when we reach the Pontedera station, and we would like to get off the train but the door did not open.  AH  AH, we had to continue the journey to the next stop, and from there we had to wait for the trains from Florenzia to get us back to Pontedera.

 

It was a good break from the Netherlands, however, we loved to go back and spend more time with Elanora and family.   Eindhoven, where she lives, is a modern city and a good place to live in. We went out for excursions, for lunches, dinner and pic nic.  A lot of lovely time together.  The weather was pleasant through out that make our stay was very enjoyable. All together we spent five weeks in Europa, but three weeks with Elanora was so important to us.  We were so pleased and happy to see the baby-Elanora.  

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We are blessed with our children and grand children.  Thank you, Elanora, and we are
hoping to see you and your mama, papa and your dear brother Milo in Australia to visit us soon.  See you all again.

With Elanora, We are a Family of Fourteen.  A Big Happy Family.

 

Until Next Post

Susi.

NO DAIRY PRODUCTS

It is a little bit tricky cooking without butter, cheese, yoghurt and cream. But it can be done, with a plan, we could deliver good food.
Cooking for the birthday boy Tristan, Susan’s husband was easy enough, but there was a mistake in regard to his birthday cake. My concentration was in the decoration of the cake, I will fill the cake with chocolate sauce and Tia Maria liquor and topped with melted chocolate,  meringue and roasted macadamia nuts. As the coffee cake was in the freezer, baked last month, I forgot that it has butter.  No, It Won’t Do!!!

Loukoumades – Greek Doughnut is the perfect fit for it.  A stack of light, crisps loukoumades drizzled with honey sprinkled with crushed macadamia nuts and dressed in fresh raspberries was his birthday cake.  Everyone was happy and enjoyed the sweet.

Loukoumades
Pretty Cake for Tris
Loukoumades with Fresh Raspberries

 

 

 

 

 

It took only 22 minutes to prepare from start to finish.  Dinner party for four was lovely.

For a relaxed day, the table set up the night before, followed by the cleaning of the rooms, bedroom, bathroom and so forth.  It all was great.

Table Set Up the Night Before

Delicious Dinner

Rib Roast
Carved Rib Roast. A thick cut the way we like it

Potato Fondant, Sweet Potato Confit, Greens Vegetables were the garnishes for A standing Rib Roast Beef and it’s gravy.   Of course, there were no Yorkshire Pudding.  But Fougasse bread was baked.  Come to think of it, I could bake the pudding no butter, using oil instead.

The Gravy-Smooth and Silky

No dairy cooking is easy but you have to think properly about the choices of the ingredients.  The food was delicious we did not miss the butter.  In fact, I will do cooking without dairy once in a while.  It suits the Asian cooking well, eat plenty vegetables and fresh food.

Fougasse with Herbs
Salmon Timbale with Avocado Sauce

Another dish which I cooked with less butter was the Salmon Timbale, again here I forgot that it was added a cube of butter in each timbale.  Served with Avocado sauce.  It ‘s a good dish and they had a little taste.  I have to apologise for it, even though only a little butter but it contains the dairy just the same.

It is a tradition of mine, the gift t0 family’s birthday is my cooking.  They appreciate it.  I wish Tristan well, and God Bless You Always.  Happy Birthday, Tris!
Susan’s birthday is next month and followed by Lance, Melanie’s husband but he lives in QLD with his family, I don’t think he will be with us for the celebration.

The cooking without dairy is my new thing that I have to learn, I am a keen learner, and I can do it.  I am blessed.

Until Next Post

Susi

Sweet Scones and . . . . . . .

Quick Mix
Scone is one of the quick mixes methods, it is so easy to prepare and quick to bake.  Morning or afternoon tea served with sandwiches and cakes, but it would no complete without the scones.  I could say that the scones made the Spread!

Last night we had the best news ever, our second daughter – Jane gave birth a beautiful baby girl, she is gorgeous.   I  love her name, Elanora Esmée. We have been waiting anxiously for the past months, and now we are the grandparents again.  Altogether we are a family of fourteen, we are blessed.

To celebrate I prepared sweet scones and mini cakes for morning tea.
It looks pretty, it is different.  The scones filled up with jam and whipped cream, and dressed with pink icing on top, and add some slivered almonds.  Festive little cakes.
The mini cakes were readily available from the freezer, but they were dressed beautifully with pink icing and macadamia nuts.
Pretty pink sweets scones and cakes to celebrate and to welcome Elenora Esmée were delightful, especially they were adorned with white and pink love heart sprinkles.

A Quick Mix Cake

Here is a quick mix method that I did, a moist cake

Pineapple Cake

 A fresh pineapple has been sitting in the fruit bowl for quite some time. Pineapple cake is going to have this weekend. It is a quick mix cake, you know by now that I am a practical cook, always cook what like to eat and easy to prepare.

Susy Mini Pineapple Cake
24 mini round cakes

Peeled Fresh Pineapple

Ingredients
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple and 1/2 cup sugar, mix to crush in a blender. It yields a cup
1 large egg + 1 dessert spoon yoghurt
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1  3/4 cups  self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

Self-raising flour, pineapple mixture and egg

Method
Set the oven up to 180 degrees C
Butter a mini cake tin to make 12 cakes

The cake mixture
Place flour, white sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
In another bowl, place the pineapple juice mixture, oil and mix lightly and add this mixture to the flour mixture.  Using a whisk, mix together by hands to combine

Add in the egg and yoghurt and mix to combine

Add in the egg and yoghurt, mix until smooth and the cake mixture is thick to a drop spoon consistency.
Spoon the cake mixture to fill up every each hole on the cake tin (3/4 almost full)
Bake in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes
Take it out and let the cakes stay in the tin for 5-7 minutes.

Take the cake out by lifting one by one and rest them in a cooler tray to cool
When it is cool, dress in melted white chocolate and sprinkle with desiccated coconut

 

Quick Cooking I Love

Pan fried salmon with garnishes.
Poached, Baked, Grilled and Pan fried fillet salmon can be done by quick cooking.  Garnish as you like it could be potato and salad could be rice and vegetables.  But this time I served it with pasta and zucchini, it was a good dinner and very healthy.  Get a good piece of meat, chicken and fish to do quick cooking method.  Indeed, you have to pay a little bit more, but the technique of cooking is so quick, it is healthy and delicious.  Other bonuses are you safe time and fuel expenses.

 

Pizza with Home Preserved Olives
Dressed home preserved olives come very handy, serve it with cheeses, dry biscuits a part of a spread, but it is delicious to add on the pizza topping.  So this is what I did.
What you need to do is the pizza dough, and it is easily done.  I did it before the gardening, as I knew I won’t have time to cook a fancy meal.  I had the dough, by the time to bake, it was quick enough to prepare.  Without knowing it we had a flavoursome pizza.  The wild rockets from the garden added extra freshness.

It has been fun baking and cooking using quick methods, indeed it is saving the time and it is no hassle. In no time you have this delicious food, savoury and sweet to be served, and the family and friends enjoy them.

There is a recipe today for you, just in case you love to bake a quick mix pineapple cake.  It is a lovely and moist cake.
I hope you like the idea of dressing the sweet scones, they do look pretty.

 

 

Until Next Post

Susi

Fougasse and Fruits

Pretty looking bread and it is a French bread the speciality of Provence.

In French cuisine, Fougasse is a type of bread typically associated with Provence but found (with variations) in other regions.  Some versions are sculpted or slashed into a pattern resembling an ear of wheat. (Wikip)

I love the shape, it looks beautiful to serve whole as a part of a spread.  And it is also good as a companion for a meal.  The bread is the best to eat on the day it’s baked, enjoy warm bread straight from the oven.  It freezes well, simply warmed up quickly prior eating.

Baking the Fougasse in My Kitchen.
After proofing the dough, followed by the shaping, and let it a rest for 25 minutes also, then bake the fougasse in a hot oven for 16 minutes.

Freshly Baked Fougasse.

This Fougasse has olives, it is a vegetarian fougasse you could say.  Another popular fougasse is with lardon or bacon.  In fact, you could have sweet fougasse as well, but I never have tried it.

Fougasse for French and focaccia for Italian.  There is a similarity, indeed both are flat bread.

FRUITS
Fuji Apple and Fresh Quinces

Harvesting Apples
The Apples-Fuji Apple

There are two fruits that I have to care of.  One is the Fuji espalier apple tree with the fruits and it is ready to harvest. And the fruit is my fresh quince which I got from the market is ready to preserve.

A good afternoon for me today harvesting and cooking in the kitchen

 

 

Preserving Quinces

QuincIMG_7401e is a classic and old fashion fruits, and they are not easily available in the shop.  When it is in season and there is an opportunity to buy, I always do every year.  I poached them and keep for future cooking.  Love the poached quince for the filling of my almond butter cake.
Quince is such ordinary looking fruit, the flesh is creamy with a harsh texture.  But by poaching and braising in syrup for a few hours, the colour from cream change to a radiant ruby colour, amazingly beautiful.
Poaching-Braising Quinces in My Kitchen.

The quinces were braised in syrup with cinnamon stick, clove and bay leaf for over two hours.  I keep in an airtight jar and refrigerated of course.

Baking is one of my plans to be doing soon this Winter.  Keeping the kitchen warm with the aroma of herbs and spices is beautiful and pleasing.  Home Sweet Home.

Util Next Post

Susi

SOUPS

Susi Soto

Hot soup, a delicious home cooking to prevent common colds.  The weather is cooler, and it is late Autumn, we must get ready for Winter, to keep fit, well and healthy.
The soup is chicken soup Javanese style (cooked my way) based on Soto.  I cooked for the family since we have been having a mild cold, it helped us to get better.

Soto-Chicken Soup
After the spices have cooked and released the fragrance, add in the whole chicken to braise
Cooking the herb and spices.

 

 

Turn the chicken over, and continue to braise for 10 minutes
Add and stir in two-litre hot water and continue cooking for 19 minutes over medium-high heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t need the recipe for this soup, but I love to give you what you need to cook this delicious soup.

The Ingredients: Spices and fragrant herbs (turmeric powder, white pepper powder, nutmeg, fresh lemon grass, fresh ginger and fresh kaffir lime leaves).  And chopped brown onion, garlic and lemon juice)

The meat: a whole bird chicken, wash, and dry.  Fill the cavity with a heaped teaspoon salt, crushed fresh ginger, kaffir lime leaves and lemon juice.  Keep aside.

Garnishes
Parsley and Fried Shallots

This is what I did.
In a big pot,  I sauteed the spices and fragrant herbs for a few minutes, add in a cup of hot water.
Add in the chicken and cook over medium heat for 6 minutes, place the lid on.
Turn the chicken over to cook the other side, and lower the heat, and with the lid on cook for 10 minutes further.  Add some vegetables-carrots, cabbage, spring onion and parsley and add salt to taste.
Now, add in 3 litres of hot water, bring to a gentle simmer, and continue cooking the chicken in the broth for 35 minutes.  Add two teaspoons of sugar to balance the flavour, and adjust the salt, you may need a little extra salt.
To get a better rich broth and a tender meat of the chicken, leave the pot over a very low heat for another 25 minutes.

Serve the soup hot with some chunk of the chicken meat, garnished with fresh parsley, fried shallots and a bowl of steamed rice.
I love to cook the soup throughout the year, and it is very good for colds.  It is raining and wet outside, better be staying in to keep warm.  I think we are on amend now.  Indeed thanks to the soup.

The soup has delicious colourful clear broth, it is simple enough to prepare and the ingredients are easily accessible in the market or supermarkets.  Have Fun in the Kitchen.  Happy Cooking!

 

Until Nex Post
Susi