Thursday 31 May 2018

Sourdough cheeseymite scrolls

Ever since I have been doing my overnight sourdough bread I have wanted to try it in Australia's iconic cheeseymite scrolls.  It took me until a few weeks back to try it.  And then I needed another go last weekend to get it right.  I really love the cheeseymite scrolls from Bakers Delight using the classic Aussie combination of cheese and vegemite but there is something magical about fresh bread from my own oven.

We had a bit more time than we had expected on Sunday so it was a more leisurely morning that expected.  I was able to wash the sheets and change my doona ("burrito style").  After the cheeseymites were baked I took Sylvia and her bike to Officeworks and Bunnings.  With a cheeseymite in my bag in case we got hungry.

Now let me take you through the baking adventures of cheeseymites scrolls.

Firstly I make the overnight dough.  This was my first go at it.  And while it is great in bread loaves and rolls, I think it was a bit tough for the cheeseymites.  On my second go, I found that I forgot to put on the dough til I was going to bed and then forgot to add in some sugar and oil and had to knead it into the dough.  This is not recommended!

This is my first go at rolling out the dough.  It was too thick and you can see in the below pictures that there was not enough of a swirl.  Sylvia (who is often known to take her cheese slices out of cheese and vegemite sandwiches and leave them in her lunchbox) said there was not enough cheese.  Actually I think the amount of cheese on the dough was fine but the lack of scrolling meant you didn't get enough overall.

What I did get right with the first go at the cheeseymites is cutting it.  I took some dental floss (because I think we have fishing line somewhere but I couldn't be bothered hunting it out) and washed the mint flavouring off it and used it to cut the rolls into pieces.

Less successful was baking the rolls in the dutch oven I use to bake my loaves and bread rolls.  The cheeseymites came out quite misshapen looking.  I needed a bit more curves and less corners in the shapes.

Here is my flattened dough when I tried again.  On notable difference is that I patted it out on a sheet or baking paper.  This helped me to roll it (like one of those sushi mats) and made sure it did not stick to the table top.

A little tip I picked up when reading people who had already made cheeseymite scrolls is to mix the vegemite with a little water.  Compare the above picture of sylvia brushing on the watered down vegemite to the earlier photo of the sporadic dabs of vegemite .

The scrolls looked quite small when they were rising.  They rise a bit when baked but were never going to be the huge scrolls that Bakers Delight make; the scrolls that began our national obsession with cheeseymite in the 1990s.  (Or more accurately, took a traditional love of cheese and vegemite and coined a term for it and then a scroll to feed our need for this comforting combination.)

I forgot to put the cheese on top in the first batch and then forgot again when I put them in the second time I tried the recipe.  The second time I put the cheese on 10 minutes into baking.  It really did make a big difference.

And finally they were out of the oven and hard to resist.  I could have eaten them all in one day, they were so delicious.  Instead most of them went into the freezer.  They really are better fresh.  And they are great for lunches, especially when busy.  All I need to do on a busy morning is to give them a short blast in the microwave to start the defrosting and then pop them in the lunchbox.  Then at lunchtime I have a home-baked lunch to be proud of!

I am sending these cheeseymite scrolls to Honest Mum's Brilliant Blog Posts and A Mummy Too's Recipe of the Week.

More vegemite creations at Green Gourmet Giraffe: 
Cheeseymite puffs
Cheeseymite scones
Vegemite burger (v)
Vegemite fudge
Vegemite and poppy seed scones (v) 

Sourdough Cheeseymite Scrolls
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
Makes 15 scrolls

150g of bubbly starter
285g water
20g olive oil
9g salt
5g sugar
500g of flour

To make into scrolls:
200g grated tasty cheese, divided
3 tbsp vegemite
2 tsp water

A few hours before making the loaf, take sourdough starter out of the fridge and feed it so it gets nice and bubbly. 

About an hour before going to bed (or first thing in the morning) mix everything together to make a sticky dough.  It is easiest to mix everything except flour first and then add flour.  Use hands to mix if required.  Set aside covered with a tea towel for half an hour.  Knead in the bowl for about 1 minute (sprinkle with a little flour if necessary).  Cover with greased clingwrap and leave at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

Scrape dough out onto a well floured board.  Pat the dough onto a long sheet of baking paper into a rectangle of about 45 x 30 cm.  It should be no more than 1cm thickness.  Mix vegemite and water and spread or brush over dough.  Sprinkle with about 150g grated cheese.  At the long edge, carefully roll up like a swiss roll using baking paper to support the dough until you have a long roll.

Use a non flavoured dental floss (I washed and dried mine) or fishing line to bring under the edge of the roll, wrap around the dough, cross over and swiftly pull the ends to slice pieces of about 1.5-2cm.  Place each piece or cheeseymite scroll on a lined tray about 1cm apart.  Cover with a piece of greased clingwrap.  Preheat the oven to 240 C and leave for about 30 minutes or more.  They will not rise very much but that's ok.

When it time to bake, remove the clingwrap and cover the cheeseymites with foil.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove foil, reduce heat to 220 C, sprinkle with cheese and bake for a further 20 minutes but keep an eye on them after 10 minutes to check they are not browning too much.  Once they sound hollow when tapped remove from tray and cool on a wire rack.

They are best on the day of baking, though can be kept for the next day.  If they are not going to be all eaten, freeze on the day of baking.

NOTES: I usually make two loaves with my overnight sourdough bread recipe.  When I made these rolls I made twice the dough but used half it for a loaf of bread and half for the cheeseymites.  I halved the dough for this recipe but if you want a loaf as well you could double the dough recipe.  I have made a vegan version of these rolls using vegan cheese some years ago and they worked quite well though I would put the cheese on only 5 minutes before the end of baking.

On the stereo:
Boy Child: Scott Walker

Saturday 26 May 2018

Sloth slice (Easy choc chip slice)

I grew up with a fine appreciation of the holy trinity of condensed milk, chocolate and coconut.  It was - and still is - in some of my favourite sweet food - hedgehog, grubs and mock turtle.  I decided to call this slice, Sloth slice because it is so easy and because there is something appealing about fun titles to food.

Once you have melted the butter, this slice is mixed in the tin and is even easier than the classic magic slice which has the biscuit and butter layer at the bottom and the coconut, choc chips and condensed milk at the top.  You just mix it all up and if you have chocolate melts to be used, you put them on top for some extra chocolate hit.  After all you can never have too much chocolate!

My one concern was that the hot butter would melt the choc chips.  Indeed some of them started melting but I added the butter slowly and so all were not lost.  I also noticed in my photos that there were some cracks when I pressed the batter in firmly.  Perhaps this is why some of the pieces had particularly sticky bottoms while others were not.

The resulting slice is very moreish.  It is a sort of kids slice (for the days when kids didn't have a whole range of dietary requirements) but my 9 year old turned up her nose.  She is mysteriously fussy some days.  It is a bit denser than a cake and rather sweet with the condensed milk crust.  And really really good when it is still warm.

It is a great slice for a topsy turvy weekend.  Today I helping my dad who is generously getting some work done around our house - he is great with his drill and saw and screws of all sizes.  We were all set to see friends tomorrow but it has been cancelled as they are off overseas soon and Sylvia's friend who had a sleepover here last weekend has come down with chicken pox.  So I am not sure what we will get up to but it is tempting to just sit at home and eat too much of this slice.  It is so delicious.

I am sending this slice to We Should Cocoa and Baking Crumbs (hosted by Jo's Kitchen Larder this month).

More condensed milk, coconut and chocolate recipes:
Cherry Ripe cake pops (gf)
Chocolate caramel slice 
Hedgehog - with condensed milk
Grubs (gf)
Mock turtle
Prince William's fridge cake (posh hedgehog)

Sloth slice (or Easy choc chip slice)
Adapted from MumLyfe

1 cup self-raising flour*
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup dark or milk choc bits
1 tsp golden syrup
125 g butter or margarine
400 g tin of condensed milk
Chocolate melts, to decorate (optional)

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Grease and line a 28 x 18cm slice tin.

Melt butter and golden syrup (easiest in the microwave 30 -60 seconds).  Set aside.  Mix self raising flour (*or 1 cup plain white flour and 2 tsp baking powder), coconut, and choc chips.  Gradually add the slightly cooled melted butter mixture so it doesn't melt all the choc chips.  Press down firmly.  Pour condensed milk over it.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Dot with chocolate melts if desired.  Cool in tin and then cut into squares.  Store in an airtight container but don't expect them to last long!

NOTES: I think this could be made vegan easily with vegan margarine (which I used). coconut condensed milk, and vegan choc chips.

On the Stereo:
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic: The Sundays

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Street art in Melbourne: Brunswick 2017-2018

While I am busy, it seems a good opportunity to catch up on sharing some photos of street art from Brunswick.  It is a suburb that is always prolific in street art, with some pictures on the sides of large apartment blocks, such as the one above.

And for more pictures of Brunswick street art:

Saturday 19 May 2018

Rye and lentil casserole and a busy week

Last night I dreamt that I had moved house and looked out the window to see chimps wearing top hats in the backyard.  It has been that sort of crazy week.  Last Saturday I made a huge casserole that saw us through some busy days.  We finished it tonight and I still have a tub of it in the freezer.  So let me take you through a busy week accompanied by casserole.

Firstly let me tell you that it is well and truly casserole weather.  A couple of weeks ago the weather suddenly turned from warm and dry to cold and wet.  I took the above photo while waiting for a tram home after work two Fridays ago.  After I took it, someone mentioned to me it would be a wet walk across the road to get the tram.  Then we saw that the tram stop was not in use and a few of us had to race through three sets of traffic lights to get the next train.

I made the stew while Sylvia and her friend had a craft session at the kitchen table.  The inspiration came from a bag of rye berries I found at the back of the pantry and a bag of puy lentils that was being neglected.  I found a recipe for a lamb, rye and dried apricot tangine so I decided to throw in some Turkish dried apricots we were also neglecting.  I checked what I might need to include oven baked lentils and cobbled together a recipe to suit me. 

I spent a bit of time adjusting the flavours after it cooked in the oven.  It was a bit on the sour side.  I amped up the salt, then vinegar, then sugar.  Finally I let it go and it was very good with some rice and coleslaw.  The rye berries were not quite cooked but the slightly chewy texture actually worked for me.  The casserole had a bit of bite rather than being total mush.

When Sylvia had her swimming lesson I had some time at home beforehand to photograph the stew.  It is always a challenge to make a brown stodgy casserole look interesting.  Then i had to rush to the supermarket, to the post office and to get a prescription at the chemist.  The chemist was really busy and by the time I had my prescription I had to rush to pick up Sylvia from school for her swimming lesson. 

Usually I have her swimming bag together and in the car but I was so disorganised her swimmers were at home and I had to drop the goods at home to go in the fridge.  So I had to take her home, dump the groceries, get her ready for the pool and head out again.  On the way into the pool she fell over and had grass stains on her pjs that she wore.  We just arrived in time for the lesson and I was relieved that she enjoyed it.  I was glad to have casserole to come home to.  Though perhaps photographing it had made me even more disorganised.

The week was busier than usual.  E was starting a new job which meant I did more pick ups and drop offs at school.  In addition I had one night when I stayed at work til 10.30pm because we were packing up our office to move to a different building and I needed some quiet time to focus on packing.  (I have realised this photo looks like I work with luxury with the bottle of wine and the couch but let me assure you that although I will miss my couch in my new office, it has not been used a lot.) 

Yesterday I had to have my office completely cleared and left early to pick up Sylvia straight after school.  It was a struggle but I did it and only was only 15 minutes late.  Luckily Friday is an afternoon for milling about after assembly.  We managed to get to the mall for hot chocolate and the heavens opened.  Sylvia still enjoyed her hot chocolate and a browse in the library.  Then we had pizza for tea.  I had casserole to use so I topped the pizza with tomato paste, casserole, pineapple, mushroom, olives and cheese.  I baked the pizza for 5-10 minutes before putting on the toppings to make sure it cooked properly.  Wonderful with a side of Adventure Time.

The final day of the stew was today.   The weather was mercifully dry (for the washing on the line) but fate was not kind to iconic La Mama Theatre in Carlton.  It was quite sad to see the shell of the theatre surrounded by many firefighters and viewed by shocked onlookers.  La Mama saw the gensis of many theatre and acting careers in Melbourne and Australia.  We went to Lygon Street search of a book but instead ended up walking away with a new warm jacket for Sylvia and ice cream from Pidapipo Gelateria.

Then we swung by Sylvia's friends to pick her up for a play date and brought her home for a sleepover.  I told the girls they could stay up for Harry and Meghan's Royal Wedding but they have been more interested in dressing up in Sylvia's room and taking selfies.  We had macaroni cheese for tea.  E and I had some of the remains of the casserole on the side as well as some broccoli.  Great comfort food. 

And so ends the week of the casserole.  Until I find a moment I need to take the last tub of it out of the freezer.  Because I suspect there are more busy times ahead.

More winter-warming casseroles and stews on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cheesy lentil bake (gf, v) 
Chickpea, potato and tomato stew (gf, v) 
Lentil ragu with chocolate chilli fettuccine (v) 
Nicki’s Nana’s Chulent (v)
Prune and bean casserole (gf, v)
Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash (gf, v)
Veggie Crumble

Rye and lentil casserole
Serves 10-12

1 1/2 rye berries - soaked
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion. chopped
4-6 garlic, roughly chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1/4 cabbage, chopped into 1 inch squares
2 litre water
2 cup puy lentils
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dried apricots
2-4 tablespoons of honey (or other sweetener)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
4-6 tsp salt
3 tsp stock powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp each cumin, fennel, allspice

Soak rye berries.  (I did this for 2 hours in boiled water.) 

Fry onion in a large ovenproof stockpot for a few minutes until translucent.  Stir in garlic, carrots and cabbage.  Fry for about 10-15 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and stir well.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.  Coer and bring to the boil.  Meanwhile preheat oven to 180 C.  When stew is boiling, stir, remove from heat and place in oven.  Cook for 1.5 hours or until cooked.  Check flavours again and adjust if required.  Keeps well in fridge for at least a week or can freeze.

On the Stereo:
Melt: Straightjacket Fits

Thursday 17 May 2018

Catch up eating out 2017-2018, Melbourne's inner north

It has been busy lately and, as always, I visit more cafes than I ever have time to write up.  So here is a wee round up of some of the places I have been over the past year.  I have chosen the ones of which I have decent pictures.  Some are from places I have already been and others from places I want to write up when I have been back again. Yet again showing just what an amazing array of food Melbourne has to offer.

Naughtons Hotel
43 Royal Parade, Parkville 3052

Naughtons Hotel is a place we would go drinking sometimes when I lived on campus at the University of Melbourne as a student.   More recently I have been there for a couple of work lunches.  It was a little hit and miss but I really loved this dish of cauliflower and almond pastry, harissa carrots, coriander and grains, labneh ($25).  The pastries were delicious but the overall dish was lighter with the nice salad.

Post Office Hotel
229-231 Sydney Road, Coburg 3058

I wrote about the Post Office Hotel back in 2012.  Since then it has expanded into another large dining room.  The menu is no longer the innovative middle eastern dishes.  It is more a pub classics style but done creatively with burgers, pizza and pasta.  I have eaten there a few times but the most memorable meal I have had was with my mum over a year ago on a balmy lunchtime in the beer garden.  I really loved the vegetable charcuterie platter.  It had chargrilled sourdough bread, olive oil, dukkah, green beans, olives, hummus, gherkins, possibly a pumpkin dip and some orange vegetables that at the time my mum and I had trouble identifying.  Perhaps a squash.

True North
2A Munro Street, Coburg 3058

True North is another local cafe that I have been to every now and again since I wrote about it in 2014.  The sandwich really impressed me with the vegan chorizo, roast potato, melted cheese, lime and coriander pesto. I removed the fresh coriander!  It was served with lots of corn chips.  Not the easiest sandwich to eat but really great comfort food.  I visited again last week and had quite a similar filling in a quesadilla which was also very good: pan fried potato and vegan chorizo with cheese and jalapenos served in a toasted flour tortilla with lime aioli and greens ($19).  I like that they continue to try new things.  Their passiona pancakes are on my list of dishes to try.

Rude Boy Burger
482 Albion Street, Brunswick West 3055

I visited Rude Boy Burger with Faye who wrote about it in her Veganopolous blog.  Both of us had the Vegan Latina with chilli and spring onion fried potato cake, chickpea salsa, chimchurri, jalapenos, avocado, chipotle relish, lettuce, tomato and onion ($13.50).  We were there on a Tuesday when all the regular burgers were half price.  Hence my decision not to try a special vegetable burger.  I was really pleased with my choice.  Stuffing a potato cake in a burger is genius.  It would be too much carb if you stopped there but with all the add-ins, it was really good.  But filling.  I made the mistake of also ordering some onion rings.  They were nice but the burger was enough and the potato cake was enough grease for one meal.

Humble Rays
71 Bouverie Street, Carlton 3053

After I saw that Cindy had written about Humble Rays I was curious to try it one lunchtime. It is a really nice light space, though far bigger and busier than I had expected.  I ordered a bowl of vegetables, sesame seed tofu, seaweed and a yuzu dressing.  It was nice but quite light.  I had been disappointed the tofu didn't have a bit more flavour but it worked well with the dressing.  I decided to have dessert and chose the Green tea skookie.  It is a matcha choc chip cookie cooked in a small skillet, served with toasted marshmallow, vanilla ice cream, matcha cookie crumbs and white chocolate curls. The cookie was a bit dry but nice with all the toppings.  Just not quite enough chocolate for my liking.  I keep hoping to go back.

Two Monks
Coburg Leisure Centre, Bridges Reserve, Coburg 3058

In the school holidays I took Sylvia swimming and we stopped for lunch afterwards.  The Coburg Leisure Centre cafe has been taken over by Two Monks and had some interesting dishes on the menu.  I ordered the (vegan) Quinoa, israeli couscous, spinach, avocado, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, dried cranberry with lemon, olive oil and garlic dressing ($16.50).  I really enjoyed the salad, despite the dressing being a bit more oily than I like.  I have tried some Israeli couscous recipes and not had great success.  This seemed a great way to serve it.  The drawback of eating here is the lack of any ambiance but it is great to have some decent food to eat after swimming.

Handsome Her
206 Sydney Road, Brunswick 3056

I was pretty keen to visit Handsome Her when it opened in a blaze of publicity over its idea of charging men a surcharge to raise awareness of the gender pay gap and donate the surcharge to women's services.  It has the same owner as the Glass Den.  The food is all vegan and very creative.  It took me until late last year to finally visit with Faye.  She has written about it on Veganopoulous. We had The Kelis - a pulled jackfruit burger with smoky barbecue sauce, rainbow slaw, mayo, avocado, onion rings, grilled pineapple on a charcoal bun ($21).  I enjoyed it but find pulled jackfruit quite juicy so the burger was quite moist but full of flavour.  I loved the pineapple on the burger.  A nod to the traditional fish and chip shop burger with the lot.  For dessert I tried a peanut butter chocolate cake pop which was delicious too.

Mantra Lounge
167 Grattan Street, Carlton 3053

It also took me a while to get to the Mantra Lounge, a vegan cafe near The University of Melbourne.  (It is quite close to my old work place and I wish it had been there back then.)  Finally late last year I visited and had the sausage roll with the salads.  Really delicious.  I also had a refreshing home made lemonade.  A few weeks back I went again and had the satay curry with rice and roti.  It was really good with chickpeas and vegies but I was too deep in conversation to remember to take a photo.

Mr Nice Guy's BakeShop
151 Union Road, Ascot Vale 3032

I've been to Mr Nice Guy's (vegan) BakeShop quite a few times since writing about it in 2014. Last year when we went, Sylvia was very taken by the idea of Monster shakes.  She tells me this one was the cookie monster.  It was an amazing creation of chocolate milkshake with lots of vegan cream, oreos, chocolate sauce and other stuff I can't remember.  It looked beautiful but was a bit sweet.  Less photogenic but more successful have been the meatball sub and the hot dog in a pretzel.  I still find it fun to look at all the cupcakes, doughnuts and cinnamon buns on display.  So much yumminess.

Glass Den
15 Urquhart Street, Coburg 3058

Yes I have had to share two photos from the Glass Den.  I have had quite a lot of meals there since I wrote about it in 2016.  Sadly my notes are pretty sketchy and my memory is worse.  Lately I haven't had many meals but continue to go there for a drink with friends.  I loved the hot apple and ginger juice with cinnamon last winter and hope it is back now the weather has cooled.  I am sad they stopped serving kombucha.  And I was a bit disconcerted to order a bagel and find their bacon had changed.  I liked their coconut bacon but now they serve more of a faux bacon that seems too real to be fake.

The food continues to be beautiful.  An instagrammer's dream.  I wish I had more notes on the dishes above.  I think the bruschetta might be peach and avocado with berry slick and maybe a charcoal bun.  I think the dessert is a bubble waffle with cookies and cream - oreos, mini meringues, blueberries, strawberries, ice cream, marshmallows, matcha cookie crumbs and caramel sauce.  Sylvia really loved the kids nutella and fairy floss brioche burgers when we went early last year.  I really should check out the menu again soon.

Flirting with Shadows
Shop 4, 12 Victoria Street, Coburg 3058

Lastly a small cafe has opened at the top of Foleys Arcade in Coburg facing out onto Coles carpark.  This is a lovely welcoming space with a few quirky touches.  The bench at the window is actually an old door that has the beautiful etching in the above photo.  I have had a lovely burek and lentil soup there.  E loves the Turkish coffee and Sylvia had had a few ice creams there.  The chocolate caramel slice pictured above was impressive not just because it tasted so good but also because it was just the right size - a few mouthfuls rather than the size of a mattress!  And the owner is a lovely friendly guy who is interested in making sure the cafe has food to suit a whole range of dietary requirements so he is always trying new things.  Definitely worth a visit after your next supermarket trip.