Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Melbourne city (CDB) street art

It's been busy.  Too busy for much cooking.  But I have street art photos from a day out in the city, a walk along SouthBank on the way to a conference and a meeting in the city.  Some humour.  Some whimsy.  Some beauty.  Lots of greenery.  And a little weirdness!  I hope you enjoy.

Above and below: Off Little Bourke Street near the corner of Elizabeth Street.  Climate change is even come to street art!

Below is a lot of photos from Guilford Lane.  Highly recommend a walk along this leafy lane.  (Even if you are not visiting the Cat Cafe - stayed tuned for some pics!)

Above: on Little Lonsdale Street between Melbourne Central walkways!  Because Molly Meldrum is a legend.

Above and below are artworks off Flinders Lane, some of which were part of Flinders Lane Augmented Artwork Festival in Sept 2019 that you can read about at Hot or Not.  I suspect some of the weird fashion artwork on the metro site in Swanston Street at the top of Flinders Lane is to distract from how high they are building on City Square!  Above is a mural along a wall and directly below is a fading but amusing Gargamel from the Smurfs.

Below is artwork from Yarra Promenade along SouthBank.  It is all under a bridge - maybe the Kings Street bridge?

If you are interested in seeing Melbourne city street art, you can find walking tours online.  More Melbourne city (CBD) street art photos from my blog:

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Mini quiches - eggy or vegan

The school holidays ended yesterday with the rude awakening to daylight savings.  I resent that stolen hour of the clock going forward for spring but I do love the light evenings of summer.  We had some fun outings to the zoo, the cinema (Dora the Explorer movie was much better than I expected) and the Cat Cafe.  Photos to come.  I got some cleaning and gardening done but not much in the way of baking.  I had promised Sylvia we would do quiches.

I had been inspired by this mini quiche recipe to try my favourite tofu besan omelette mixture in quiches.  Sylvia is so into eggs that I suggested she try an egg version.  She was so keen that she had a quick chat to me about how to make them and went off to make hers before I had a chance to start.  That kid is very confident in the kitchen!

Her quiches looked great but I left them to her and had my vegan ones. 
They were good but a bit stodgy so I have suggested some milk in them.  I did like crustless ones as an alternative way of serving my omelettes (as well as a gluten free alternative).

We ate the quiches for lunch and felt thoroughly summery.  It was so warm that Sylvia made a rainbow shower with the hose and was ready for a trip to the pool.  I had the tomatoes and johnny jump-ups to repot before we headed out.  Then we got caught up so we had our swim after dinner.  It felt like the sort of thing to do on holidays while there was no school or work the next day.  But now the holidays are over and I still am hoping to find a bit of time for cooking once we find our daylight savings routine!

More quiches on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Crustless asparagus and potato quiche
Leek tofu quiche (v)
Mini tofu crustless quiches (gf, v)
Pumpkin cornmeal quiche
Vegan quiche with tofu and besan (v)
Zucchini and tomato quiche with wild garlic 

Vegan mini quiches
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe's vegan quiche and vegan omelette
Makes about 8

300g silken tofu, drained
6 tbsp besan (chickpea flour),
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
 2 tablespoon mirin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion granules
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon black salt
handful of parsley
splash of vegan milk (optional)

To assemble:
8 cherry tomatoes
2 squares (approx 25cm x 25cm) of puff pastry (optional)

Roast tomatoes at 220 C for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

Blend filling ingredients until creamy (I didn't use milk but I think it might be good to add to thin the mixture slightly).  Cut each piece of pastry into 4 squares.  Pinch together the middle of each side to make a windmill sort of cup to place in a greased muffin pan.  Alternatively skip this step and make crustless quiches for an easy GF alternative.  Pour filling into each pastry cup or greased muffin cup.  Place a roasted cherry tomato on top and push a few torn basil leaves around it.  Bake at 220 C for 20 minutes.

Sylvia's Mini Quiches
Adapted from Peter Russell Clark’s Kraft Family Cookbook via Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes 4

1 sheet puff pastry
grated cheese
fresh basil
about 4 cherry tomatoes
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk

Cut sheet of puff pastry into 4 squares. Grease 4 cups of a 12 muffins pan. Line each muffin hole with a square of puff pastry.

Sprinkle grated cheese in each lined muffin hole. Use scissors to chop a little basil in each and then arrange a couple of quarters of tomatoes in each. Mix egg and milk in a mug with a fork. Use a spoon to distribute this mixture between each muffin hole.

Bake mini quiches at 220 C for about 20 minutes or until they look golden brown and filling is cooked. Sit for a few minutes and then gently remove from muffin cups with the help of a knife. Eat warm or room temperature

On the Stereo:
Legacy: the Very Best of David Bowie

Thursday, 3 October 2019

In my kitchen - October 2019

October arrives with glorious spring weather to banish the chilly September weather from our minds. Can you believe it is forecast to be 29 C today in Melbourne!  The sun is shining.  I am on holidays.  That means time for outings, cleaning and gardening.  So we start my monthly peek into my kitchen with a friendly jar of nutella that is waiting on the shelves for the right moment!  I could not resist the fun g'day label.

Another chocolatey treat was this batch of Dorie Greenspan's famous World Peace Cookies.  I baked these for a work morning tea and they were wonderful.  They are egg free so easy to make vegan if you have vegan margarine and vegan chocolate.

We've made sushi a few times lately.  Usually plain.  Sylvia likes her with cucumber in it.

I decided to revisit a sushi rice salad I haven't made for a while.  But I didn't have the ingredients.  So I made pickled cabbage and carrot (riffing on these pickles), chopped some tofu nuggets and added other vegies I had on hand (capsicum, cucumber, corn).  It was delicious and I loved how the pickled cabbage made it purple so I might work on this so I can blog it.

Sylvia made beach cupcakes one night after school.  While they didn't all work out, this one in the picture was great.  (Note to self: if batter too thin and has been added to muffin tins, don't add flour to remaining batter and dollop over thin batter, just return the thin batter to the bowl and wash out the muffin tins.)  It had blue icing, ground marie biscuits (which got soft in the icing), icy pole lollies, and an umbrella.

Coles supermarkets had their third round of little shop giveaways.  As with last year I was torn between admiring how cute they were and being horrified at how wrong they are.  Sylvia collected the lot but the excitement was more subdued this year.

We went shopping for a bundt tin.  The one I wanted was the only one left and nailed to the rack!  So instead we bought a cute cat cookie cutter and a melon baller that had been reduced frequently to $1.  It is Sylvia's dream to make watermelon balls but I am not such a melon person.  Perhaps in summer we will get some use out of it.

I always have besan (chickpea flour) in the kitchen.  One of my favourite dishes to make it vegan omelette.  I recently bought this packet from a local Indian shop and took a photo to share the fancy packaging.

Sylvia's school had an art show.  We purchased some of her pictures for charity.  Coloured.

Black and white.

Art show also means art and craft sessions.  I learnt how to make gods eye weaving.  It seemed I was one of the only people in the world to never have done this before.  We enjoyed it so much that Sylvia and I found some icy pole sticks and wool at home to have a gods eye craft session.

As a kid I loved dim sims from the fish and chip shop.  So I had to try these from the supermarket freezer.  I served them with some oven chips.  Sadly these dimmies and chippies were a sad and sorry shadow of my wonderful childhood memories.

I remember when kombucha was new and exciting.  Now it is in so many stores and cafes.  I even bought a bottle of Cola flavoured kombucha recently.  It was lovely.  I still have dreams of making my own kombucha.  The store bought stuff is nice but relies too much on artificial sweeteners for flavour.

This Messy Monkeys choc crunch cereal had a lot less sugar than Coco Pops.  I liked that it was also more chocolatey.  But I had a bad experience with buying a packet of Messy Monkeys burger rings at a petrol station.  They smelled old, stale and disgusting and left a really bad taste in my mouth.  I gave one to my niece who said she usually loves them.  Luckily Ashy had some at home to give me a taste of the regular ones which are nice.  I must have got a really dodgy pack (not out of date) so now I am a little wary but glad to have tasted the better ones.

Sylvia decided she wanted to try Gerry's Pitas because a friend at school had them.  They were really good but got a bit lost in the fridge.

That one day in September is the AFL grand final lunch.  We love putting together a platter and started buying crisps earlier in September.  It was hard to resist the lure of Grilled Cheese Toastie
Pringles.  A friend made me laugh when she said she could taste the burnt corners.  They were good but I am still not quite sure of the difference between Grilled Cheese Toastie and Cheese flavours.

The Smiths Garlic Bread crisps were marketed to the footy crowd with the picture on the packet and we fell for these too.

While Coles has had great success with little shop giveaways, Woolworths has made more effort to be environmentally friendly with their giveaways.  At the moment they are giving away seeds.  Sylvia had had great fun planting them.  I am not sure how we will go for growing them in pots in our concrete yard but Sylvia is not keen on them being transplanted in my mum's roomy backyard.

Continuing on with our garden, we have embraced spring fever and bought cherry tomatoes (Tommy Toes) and edible flowers (Johnny Jump Ups) that we have repotted into bigger pots in the yard.  Now I have to remember to get back into regular watering with the weather warming up.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event, that was started by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens. 

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Cinnamon scroll scones

The joy of holidays is time to bake.  It has been a while.  But yesterday the state government kindly gave us a Friday holiday to celebrate the AFL footy grand final.  I went to pick up Sylvia who had been staying at my parents' place.  My mum had made some delicious cinnamon scrolls using scone dough.  They were so good that today we made them while watching the grand final.

Actually we are not footy fans so watching the grand final each year is a strange kind of ritual.  I grew up in a footy family so I know enough about the AFL and want Sylvia to know enough for socialising.  But for us, it is really about making a fancy lunch and watching the entertainment at the start and the drama at the end.  This year we saw great music with John Williamson singing Waltzing Matilda, Paul Kelly singing Leaps and Bounds, and Mike Brady singing Up The Cazaly.  Classics!

Our neighbour visited and we all shared a big platter!  Chips, dips, baguette, cheese, vegies, and warm vegetarian sausage rolls.  I did clear away quite a lot of leftovers after the lunch and dinner was a casual affair of leftovers.  It is not traditional footy food - meat pies, sausage rolls, and hot dogs.  Nor are the cinnamon scrolls traditional footy fare. My dad always buys jam doughnuts at the footy.

Given we don't really watch all the game of football, we create out own traditions.  We decided to make the scrolls around half time.  As it was, the game started slowly but before half time, the Tigers had already pulled out in front of the Giants and were never in doubt for the rest of the game.

My mum said that many decades back she had bought pre-made cinnamon scrolls that you could put a few in the oven at at time but she can't quite remember if they were pre-cut.  When making scrolls at home, dental floss is a great way to cut individual scrolls from the "log" to help them keep their round shape (a knife has a way of pushing down too hard and crushing the shape).  Sylvia showed my mum how to do this when at her place.  She also did it today.

Our scrolls weren't perfect in shape but they were pretty good.  I still need to accomplish the art of having an even log to cut round from.  They tasted delicious with a thin glaze drizzled over them.  They were lovely and soft with a sweet hit but not overly sweet.  I really loved that they were pretty quick to prepare.

We had the scrolls with a cuppa tea and a platter of fruit and sweets: watermelon, strawberries, kiwi fruit, orange wedges, red liquorice and tim tams.  Sylvia had also got out some curly wurly caramel chocolates but these got put away because we had plenty else.  We sat and watched the presentation with the gutted Giants and the jubilant Tigers.  And suddenly the day had passed and it was dinner time and we weren't at all hungry.

I am on leave next week and hope that I might find some more time for baking and blogging.  However, while I don't have too much planned, I have a lot I hope to squeeze in and will need to see just how much I can get done.  Maybe I might find time to try these with a savoury filling or maybe that will need to wait for another week when I have some time.  I'd also quite fancy trying these with pumpkin or treacle scone dough.  The possibilities are endless.

More scrolls and scones on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Fruit mince scrolls (v)
Pumpkin scones
Pumpkin spice scrolls (v)
Sourdough cheeseymite scrolls
Treacle scones (v)
Walnut, brie and apple scones

Cinnamon Scroll Scones
Scones adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes about 9

Scone dough:
2 cup self raising flour
Pinch salt
30g butter (I did 2 tbsp margarine)
1 cup milk (I used soy)

2-3 dessertspoons butter or margarine
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

2-3 dessertspoons of icing sugar
1 small dessertspoon of butter or margarine
boiling water

Preheat oven to 220 C. Line or lightly grease a baking tray.

Place flour and salt in a bowl. Rub in butter with your fingertips (or as you normally would do – pastry cutters, food processor etc) til it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add milk and water and mix in gently til it forms a soft and sticky dough.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead a few seconds til smooth. Roll dough into a rough rectangle til about 1 cm thick.  Spread butter or margarine evenly across dough (soften butter if needed).  Scatter brown sugar and cinnamon over dough.  Roll up from the long side.  Wash and dry a piece of dental floss so it does not have a mint flavour.  Pass floss (or string) underneath the rolled dough and cut in 1 inch pieces by pulling ends of floss together.  Place each piece on prepared tray with about 1cm between each roll.

Bake in over for about 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and sound hollow when tap on top. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Make glaze by placing 2 tbsp icing sugar and butter in a small bowl or mug.  Drizzle a little boiling water over it and mix well.  Add an extra tbsp icing sugar to get it a creamy colour (not transparent) but still quite thin.  Drizzle over warm scrolls.

Eat warm or room temperature.  Best eaten on day of baking.

NOTES: These can be vegan if using vegan butter and milk.  I didn't do too much measuring with the filling and glaze but I think the amounts I have given are pretty close, but they can be adjusted to taste.  I think I could have made the dough even thinner than 1cm when I look at my scrolls.

On the stereo:
Youtube: Jessie J