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

Saturday 21 September 2019

Street Art in Melbourne: Collingwood

Today we were near Collingwood and had time to go and take some photos of the street art there that I have seen recently while driving through.  I couldn't help notice what a hipster happening place Collingwood is with PBS and VACCHO, cool cafes and trains on rooftops, art galleries that treated the front of the building like a piece of artwork.  No wonder it is home to such interesting artwork.  Most photos were taken around Budd, Easey and Sackville Streets.

More street art photos from Collingwood  on Green Gourmet Giraffe a:
Street Art in Melbourne #8 miscellaneous
Street Art in Brunswick, Clifton Hill, Collingwood, Fitzroy

Sunday 15 September 2019

Sweet vegan pancakes or troubleshooting cake baking

Sunday morning brings us apples from the farmers market, lemons from the backyard, and an aborted cupcake flour and sugar mixture.  Plus two kids in the corner playing Exploding Kittens and waiting for breakfast at the end of their sleepover.  Time for pancakes!  They were much sweeter than usual but surprisingly good - the pancakes not the girls (though the girls were well behaved too).

Let's rewind to Friday afternoon when I was at a meeting listening to one of the senior managers talking about strategy.  I felt a bit like Ferris Bueller's girlfriend in class just before she was told her grandmother died.  Luckily I had my phone on silent when Sylvia started texting to me to ask for my best vanilla cake recipe.  I am not a big vanilla cake fan so I texted her to go to or Nigella Lawson.

When I arrived home on Friday the kitchen looked like the Swedish Chef had been at work.  Mysteriously, as well as a half filled mixing bowl, cupcake tins of batter and plentiful drips, there was a bowl of flour.  Sylvia explained it was flour and sugar and baking powder because she had started a unicorn cupcake recipe and found we did not have sour cream.  I wish I had been there to help but it is all part of learning to bake to stumble upon roadblocks.

So this Sunday morning I set out to make the batter into pancakes, using a favourite fluffy vegan pancake recipe for guidance.  Did I mention there were no eggs or milk (not even soy milk) in the house!  The batter seemed on the thin side and was quite frothy once I decided to add the vinegar but it cooked up a treat.  Probably due to all the sugar.  These pancakes have much more sugar than I usually add.  So much sweet stuff gets dumped on the pancakes that they don't need much sugar, as a rule.  Another odd thing about these pancakes was that even when I greased the pan well, the pancakes needed a lot more coaxing than usual to get them off the pan.

The pancakes were rather good: soft and fluffy, albeit quite sweet.  I am not sharing these pancakes to encourage you to make them but rather to share my solution as to how to rescue this cake mix.  But if you are after a dessert pancake to serve with a dark chocolate sauce and lots of fresh berries, then I think these pancakes might be just what you need.

More vegan pancakes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Banana oat pancakes (v)
Nutella stuffed pancakes (v) 
Spinach pancakes  (gf, v)
Squeezy bottle vegan pancakes (v)
Vegan fluffy pancakes (v) 

Sweet vegan pancakes
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
Makes about 12-15 medium pancakes

1 1/2 cups plain white flour
1 cup castor sugar
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
3 tbsp margarine, melted
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
extra margarine for frying.

Mix all ingredients together.  Heat frypan over medium heat and swirl a small knob of margarine around the pan.  Drop about 2 dessertspoonfuls for each pancake.  Cook until mixture is bubbly, and then turn and leave for about 30-60 second (ie not too long).  If they are really pale you can continue cooking until they are golden brown.  Be very gentle easing the eggflip/spatula under the pancakes as they seem to stick even to a nonstick frypan with margarine.  Eat hot or at room temperature

On the Stereo:
Down in the Valley: Handsome Family

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Overnight Sourdough Bread Rolls

There is nothing like a fresh crusty sourdough roll for lunch.  When I first starting to make my favourite overnight sourdough bread I always made two loaves.  One day I started to shape half the dough into bread rolls.  It was the best ideas ever!

I have made these rolls so often that I expected that the recipe would develop until I had it perfect.  I should have known after years of blogging that recipe development is not necessarily linnear.  The way I do it has changed with different demands of my life and diet.

I used to shape the rolls by making them into a moneybag sort of shape. I would gather the corners and pull them up into a long neck and then fold it over into the dough.  The step by step photos below were taken when I was doing this.  (I had planned to retake step by step photos but it is messy work and I am often in a rush so have not found the chance.)
But now I am using a method that involves less handling.  It is similar to how I made hot cross buns earlier this year with tossing them about very gently in the fine semolina.  As you can see in the photo below I only use my fingertips, as much as possible to keep as much air in the rolls.  The I gently shape them, gently pulling the top of the dough to the bottom.  The top (which was the bottom) should be smooth.  When I pull the dough down sometime air pocket appear, which is a good sign that the dough has lots of air in it (don't pop it).  And the tighter the dough the better the crust.

The other change in making bread rolls that I have noticed, when looking at old photos, is that I used to make 12 at a time but now I make bigger rolls in batches of 8. 

We put them in the freezer and take them out for school lunches.  I occasionally experiment with my loaves of bread and often will try this out with my rolls as well.  Charcoal rolls were really fun for work lunches. 

We made bear buns one weekend by adding some little eyes, ears and noses.  A few looked ok but most of the burst in unsightly places.  Making fish shaped rolls was another fun activity (but no decent photos and cannot find a photo online) and maybe we will try these hedgehog rolls some time.

The bread rolls aren't so different to a loaf but as I make them often and find the shaping the most challenging aspect I wanted to share this.  In other ways they are more forgiving than a large loaf because there is less rising involved.  We sometimes eat them hot out of the oven.  I have given a recipe for just a batch of rolls but I usually make double and use half the dough to make bread.  They are incredibly soft when warm from the oven and lovely and chewy when cooled.  I imagine the recipe will continue to evolve but this is how it is for me now and I highly recommend it to you.

Variations on the dough that could be used for these rolls:

Overnight Sourdough Breadrolls
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes 6-12 rolls:

150g of bubbly starter
285g water
9g salt
475g of flour
fine semolina (or flour or fine polenta) to dust

[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.  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 15 seconds.  Cover with greased clingwrap or a bowl cover and leave at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

Sprinkle semolina or flour generously onto table or board.  Scrape dough out onto this surface.  Cut into 6, 8 or 12 pieces.   I use a plastic cutter but a large sharp knife will do - and might need some flouring.  The dough will probably need some flour to make it easier to handle it.

Gently roll each piece into a ball.  Do this by putting the corners as tightly as possible around the bun (without squishing the bun) so the floured bottom of the bun is like a little blanket around the bun.  Turn it over so the floured bottom is a smooth top.  Toss in flour/semolina to stop it being sticky but treat it as though it is very fragile just using finger tips.  Then use your hands to shape as much as possible but don't worry too much if the bottom looks like a scrunched blanket.

Grease or line the bottom of a casserole dish with a lid (mine is enamel).  Sprinkle with some semolina or polenta.  Place rolls here as you shape them.  They can be either close together or have space between - if they are close together they can lose their round shape.  Let them rise in the casserole for 30 minutes with the lid on.  While the rolls rise, preheat oven to 240 C. 

Slash each roll once or twice (I do this in the casserole dish).  Bake for 20 minutes with lid (or foil cover) on.  Remove lid and bake another 10-20 minutes.  Bread is ready if it sounds hollow when tapped.

Cool on a wire rack or eat warm.  Can be frozen on the day of baking and then microwaved on 30 seconds at 50% power in the morning and used to make rolls for lunch.

On the Stereo
Music from the motion picture Control, a film by Anton Corbijn
- Various Artists

Sunday 8 September 2019

Rice, carrot and chia nut roast

I often make nut roasts for a special occasion or for a roast dinner but a few weeks back I made one just because the ingredients wanting using.  Nut roasts are great for celebrations but also great for using up bits and pieces.  We had a lot of nuts about, leftover rice, herbs in the garden and ends of old bread in the freezer.  There weren't enough vegies around to excite me into soup making.  The nut roast was just what I needed and it saw us through a week.

I made the nut roast on a Sunday when we had a freshly baked loaf of bread, it was great for meals during the week either crumbled with fried polenta and vegies for tea or sliced with cheese and chutney in a sandwich for lunch.  At the end of the week on Friday we had some left that was crumbled over a pizza, which is the best!

This is my 40th nut roast I have posted on my blog!  Wow!  In the early days I raved about them and encouraged others to eat them.  They still seem to divide people in a way that burgers don't.  (And nut roasts are just a lazy way to make a burger because they are bunged in a tin rather than having all that shaping!)  Ingredients can disappear into nut roasts such as the herbs above which seemed a lot in my hand but minimal in the roast.  And the important thing to note about nut roasts is that they are really hard to cut neatly when fresh and hot but slice beautifully the next day when cold.  If you want to see other nut roasts I have made, check out my list of links to nut roast recipes.  The possibilities are endless.

Some of my favourite nut roasts on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Chocolate and haggis nut roast 
Cottage cheese and walnut nutloaf (my Christmas nut roast)
Festive layered nut roast with tomato and herbs (v)
Parsnip, cranberry and chestnut roast
Welsh nutroast with laverbread, leeks and cheese (v) 

Rice, carrot and chia nut roast
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
Serves 6-8

2 cups cooked brown rice
3 large carrots, grated
3/4 cups dried bread crumbs
3/4 cups roasted cashews, ground
2/3 cups smoked almonds, ground
1/3 finely chopped herbs (I used parsley, chives, rosemary and thyme)
1/4 cup chia seeds
juice of 1 small lemon
1 tsp seeded mustard
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
black pepper, to taste
1 egg
1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients together.  Scrape into a greased and lined loaf tin and smooth on top.  Bake at 200 C for an hour.  Check at about 30-40 minute mark that it is not getting too brown on top and remove earlier if it feels quite firm or cover with foil to stop it getting burnt.  Cool on a wire rack.  If you can avoid slicing when straight out of the oven, let it rest for a while before slicing or slice when cold.

On the Stereo:
La Femme Chocolat - Olivia Ruiz

Thursday 5 September 2019

Melbourne to Grampians Roadtrip 2017

I wrote about our trip to the Grampians a couple of years ago.  Lately I have been sorting old photos and found some I had earmarked to put into a post but never found the time. It is a 3 hour drive from Melbourne to Halls Gap along the Western Highway.  Here are a few sights and cafes on the drive there and back.

Little bird cafe, Ballarat:
1) Mac and cheese croquettes and a roast veg and grain salad.  2) Sundae with vanilla, chocolate ice cream and berries. 3) Inside the cafe.


On the road:

Pomonal native flower show:

Views from Ararat:

Waack's bakery, Ararat
 Vegetable pastie.  Meringue monster, coffee scroll and chocolate doughnut.


I've not got much energy for commentary (hence my dive into some draft posts in the archives) but I can say we enjoyed the eats and sights.