Sunday, 3 May 2015

In My Kitchen - May 2015

We are well and truly into the autumn with its mellow fruits.  The camellia bush is full of flowers, our lemon and lime trees are heavy with fruit, and the fruit bowl is filled with crunchy red apples.  Oh joy!  The nights are drawing in and making it difficult to photograph food in natural light.  We are excited by farmers markets, a wobbly tooth and the annual hard rubbish collection.  Above is the lemon tree.  There is lemonade in my kitchen.

We have been visiting farmers markets in Coburg, Geelong and CERES.  Here is a selection of some of the produce.  Strawberries to nibble on, a fun stripey zucchini, freshly picked walnuts and a selection of in-season apples.

Some time ago the little food processor attachment that came with my hand held blender ceased to work.  Despite recently buying a high speed blender, I miss the little attachment for quick small jobs.  I gratefully accepted a hand held blender from my brother who has packed up his house in favour of travelling in a caravan.  It seems to do the trick, though occasionally spurts soup everywhere thanks to gaps in the stick blender attachment.

I am such a sucker for a quirky crisp flavour.  So I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try Windsors Camembert and Quince crisps.  They was surprisingly good.  Cheesy with a slight sour fruity flavour.  Though I would be unlikely to eat them regularly, this packet made me wish manufacturers were more adventurous more often.  Meanwhile I still dream of baking a quince and cheese tart one day.

I am much better at resisting a new twist on a favourite chocolate bar.  There are just too many to buy every new 'edition' and often the original is still the best.  Yet I fell for the Cherry Ripe bar with Dark Chocolate Ganache.  After all it was the 90 year anniversary and a local icon to be supported.  This bar was nice but no improvement on the original.

I made a visit to Terra Madre in Northcote a few weeks back.  It was hard to exercise restraint with such interesting groceries on offer.  My purchases were hit and miss.  It's good to have black beans.  The kale chips were like corn chips with a tiny bit of kale.  E loves the Devilish Tomato and Chilli Relish.  I am not sure I will ever use the VegeSet (substitute for gelatine).  I made a vegan omelet with the silken tofu.  Most exciting was finding Daiya shredded vegan cheese.

I couldn't wait to try the Daiya.  I made a melted cheese sandwich with kale pesto.  It was really really good and gooey and I think it might have had stretch too.  Then I got worried about how long the cheese would last and put the rest into a Vegetable Nut Crumble.  It was really good.

On E's birthday he was given some chocolates that have lasted surprisingly for a couple of weeks.  He also received a jar or WispaGold caramel hot chocolate that we all love.  It is from Treats From Home that imports British groceries for ex-pats.  So I am not sure it will be a regular in our house.  Maybe just as well.  In the photo is also a Hawaiian girl door stop and some 3D glasses for a fancy birthday card.

Sriracha, like Daiya, appears in lots of blog posts I read but is not so common in my part of the world.  I found a bottle on sale at Asian supermarket KFL.  We have barely touched it but I am sure once E has finished some other hot sauce he will enjoy it.  I also bought some blueberry tea and frozen edamame beans.  I must write more about this supermarket one day.

A week or so ago I made a Red Lentil and Celery Soup.  It is a crazy world where a full bunch of celery was cheaper than a half bunch in clingwrap.  I love having some celery about but a bunch always seems a lot to use.  This soup seemed a good way to use a lot of celery but I am not sure the flavours were quite right.  It may have been my substitution of parsnips for some of the carrots as I could taste them a bit too much.  I might try it again some time.

The other morning Sylvia called me into the kitchen to show me how nicely she had plated her breakfast and ask to use my phone to photograph it.  Yes, it seems that she thinks photographing food and posting it online is quite normal.  How different from my young self.  At her age, I had never heard of computers, the phone had to be plugged into the landline, and we didn't take many photos because it was expensive to develop film.

Lastly I have finally sprouted my first batch of mung beans.  I was surprised at how much they grew from the dried beans (above).  Almost three times the volume.  See a photo of them sprouted here.  So cheap and so easy.  I have always loved mung bean sprouts.  They are so good in a salad sandwich or scattered over a salad.  

And now that I have finally sprouted mung beans, it seems I might one day do other things I always hoped I would.  Onwards and upwards.

I am sending this post to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for her In My Kitchen event.  Head over to join in (by 10th of each month) and/or check out what is happening in other bloggers' kitchens.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Greens, rice and yoghurt soup for neglected greens


This is the soup I need in my life.  The list of ingredients reads like a list of green vegetables I buy with good intentions but too often find in a wilted soggy mess at the bottom of the fridge.  The soup tastes good and is healthy and will keep well in the fridge. 


The soup was far thinner than many that I make but was redeemed by adding brown rice and yoghurt.  The parsley taste was quite prominent but in a good way.  Which made me feel good about using it because it was given to me by the lovely Carmen after we had lunch at Pope Joan last week.


This soup will readily accommodate whatever leafy vegetables or herbs you have on hand.  It will work well with other seasonings, especially if you don't have tofu bacon marinade to use.

I didn't plan to blog it.  But it looked so pretty and was a fine accompaniment to a good book.  I had it for a quick lunch and loved eating it for dinner after swimming with a slice of freshly baked sourdough bread.

I am sending this soup to:

More green soups on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Asparagus, potato and quinoa soup (gf, v)
Broad bean, courgette and pea soup (gf, v) 
Cream of broccoli soup
Curried apple soup (gf)
Nettle and silverbeet soup (gf, v)
Pea and garlic soup (gf)
Potage St Germain (split pea and green pea soup) (gf, v)
Silverbeet, lentil, potato soup (gf, v)
Spring onion soup (gf)

Greens rice and yoghurt soup
Original recipe by Green Gourmet Giraffe
Serves 4-6

1 tsp rice bran oil
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
4 cups vegetable stock
400g tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 large silverbeet (chard) leaves. chopped
2-3 large curly green kale leaves, chopped
1 tbsp tofu bacon marinade
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
handful of cos lettuce leaves
handful of parsley
Seasoning
2-3 cups cooked brown rice
plain yoghurt (or cashew cream), to serve

Fry onion and celery in oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until vegetables brown and start to soften.  (Perhaps 5 - 10 minutes.  Celery seems to take longer to cook than onion.)  Add zucchini and garlic and fry another 5 minutes or until zucchini is starting to soften around the edges.  Add stock, beans, silverbeet, kale, tofu marinade and mustard.  Bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Stir in lettuce and parsley until wilted.  Remove from heat and blend until smooth (I used a hand held blender.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.  To serve, stir in about 1/2 cup brown rice and a good spoonful of yoghurt to each bowl.

On the Stereo:
Bleecker and McDougal: Fred Neil

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Sourdough vanilla sponge cake with bunting for 8th GGG blogiversary

So this blog turns 8 today.  It is my tradition that E's birthday cake is always featured on my blogiversary.  His birthday was anticipated with great plans for eating sausage rolls at Luna Park with my family and a treacle tart on the day of his birthday.  Instead it was met with rotten weather and ill health.  Despite these challenges, we still managed to celebrate with good food and fun.

We had planned our trip to Luna Park a few weeks prior and crossed our fingers for good weather.  Melbourne's weather can be fickle.  On the day before we planned to go out, Sylvia was sick.  While we waited for the locum doctor to visit us at home (our first time - it was really useful), I baked sausage rolls and chocolate caramel slice to take with us. I was too hopeful.  Then next day it was pouring rain and we had a fluffy of facebook messages about contingency plans.

My brother booked us a table at the Beachcomber.  It was surprisingly busy.  Yet I can appreciate that everyone else wanted to be cosy inside rather than outside in the wind and rain (see above photo).  I had a great green smoothie, an average minestrone and shared some of the really lovely haloumi and pita breads.  Rather than eating dessert I saved myself for the chocolate caramel slice.

I had made the caramel slice with a blend of gluten free flours.  (Check out the post for my notes on the GF version.)  I worried I had overcooked it but the next day it was chewy and delicious.  I gave some to my family and we made our way through these and the sausage rolls at home.  Sausage rolls make great snacks and meals.  Even Sylvia loved them.  Mostly!

A few days later on E's birthday he came down with a cold.  Fortunately he was not off his food.  I was busy on that day but managed to bake the cake and make a chilli non carne (recipe to come) before I went out. I was making a sponge cake I had made a few times before.  E loves it.  This time I decided it was a good opportunity to use up some sourdough starter.  So I tweaked the recipe and it worked brilliantly.

My evening was even more time poor than I had expected as I took a friend of Sylvia's after school.  She was meant to come home for a playdate but we got waylaid in the supermarket and before I knew it, it was time for her to go home so - thanks to a communication breakdown - I took her home while her mum was knocking on the front door of our home.  While I chatted to her mum I said I wanted to make bunting to rig up over the cake with skewers.

Kerin is great with craft projects.  Before I knew it she had coloured string and washi tape and we were taping small strips of washi tape around the string and cutting it into triangles.  It is always more fun to do this sort of thing with a friend and I suspect I might have just run out of puff if I had been doing it myself at home, so I was most grateful for her help. 

Back at home I wanted to put smarties around the base of the cake but Sylvia was adamant that they would go around the top and as a flower in the middle.  Sometimes it is better to let kids develop ideas than to go with the original plan.

We had a delicious dinner.  The chilli non carne was delicious with tortillas and lots of extras.  The cake had lots of really soft buttercream because I just put some margarine in a bowl and mixed icing sugar in until I couldn't bear to add more sugar.  We sang happy birthday, E blew out the candles and Sylvia sliced up some wedges of cake.  Fresh sponge cake with soft buttercream is exactly what E loves and he was delighted.  The sourdough didn't make a huge effect on the flavour.  It was more for using up starter than affecting the taste. 

It is a small cake so it was gone within a day or two.  I wish it had been bigger and I could share a blogiversary  celebration slice with you and all the lovely readers who have supported my blog since it started in 2007.  I write a longer reflective post on the changes on my blog and my life annually at New Year's Eve so I wont dwell on these here.  But I will say that I am always amazed that another year of blogging has passed and I am still here.  Many thanks for continuing to visit, read and comment.  Meanwhile, life seems to get busier and busier.  Fortunately there is still lots of good food I am enjoying and want to share here. 

For instance, I had also planned to make a treacle tart as well but I ran out of time and had to postpone this for another day.  We weren't fussed.  Everyone was very full.  Though Sylvia and E ate their cake with the ice cream that I had bought for the tart.  However I have since made the treacle tart (before they ate all the ice cream) and will share it soon.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Creme Egg Chocolate Drizzle Cake for a blogiversary
Two year ago: Vegan Victoria Sponge Birthday Cake
Three years ago: Ghost cake, birthdays and wildlife
Four years ago: Guitar Birthday Cake
Five years ago: Viking cat cake with a butterscotch secret
Six years ago: Happy Birthday to E and GGGiraffe
Seven years ago: Green Gourmet Giraffe Birthday Cake
Eight years ago: A very vampire birthday

Sourdough vanilla sponge cake
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe

125 plain flour
125g caster sugar
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
pinch turmeric (for colour)
125ml sourdough starter from fridge
5 tbsp soy milk
3 tbsp rice bran oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
buttercream or icing sugar for serving

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 15cm round cake tin. (Or double ingredients for a 20cm round cake tin.) Mix dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix wet ingredients in a small mixing bowl. It should be thick creamy batter. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve dusted with icing sugar or spread with buttercream icing.

On the Stereo:
Dream Your Life Away: Vance Joy

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Kale scones and ANZAC Day

Perhaps kale scones for dinner were fitting on ANZAC Day, given that after the Dawn Service, I went to my family's ANZAC Day breakfast and ate vegie fritters and tofu bacon while they had egg and bacon.  I am no traditionalist in the strict sense of the word.  Yet traditions still beckon me with their comforts and windows into our culture.

I went to stay with my parents on Friday so I could go to the Torquay ANZAC Day Dawn Service with my family the next morning.  My niece Quin was also there.  She made dumplings with my mum.  I was so impressed with her pleating of the wrappers.  We ate the dumplings hot out of the pan before our dinner.  I had vegie fritters and butterscotch self-saucing pudding.

The next morning the hardy ones in the family rose at 4am so we could drive down to Torquay before dawn.  This was the 100th anniversary of the day the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) embarked on their first major military campaign in World War II at Gallipoli, Turkey.  (See more at this post on ANZAC Day.)  The service was much busier than other years.  I could barely see the podium where the speeches were and had to content myself with the above photo of the No Standing sign.  It amused me because we all did a lot of standing around while we waited for dawn, listening to stories, singing anthems, watching bi-planes fly overhead and finally the Last Post.

There were also many earnest and emotional speeches.  A senior soldier reminded us that the military commemorates, not celebrates, war.  I did wonder if we were really managing that when the message from our Prime Minister spoke of Gallipoli as a "magnificent defeat".   Indeed this reflects my mixed emotions about the way our nation remembers war.  Yet when we had a minute's silence I thought of my mother's uncle who died in World War II and how many family gatherings have taken place without him since that moment.

We then joined the many cars driving back to Geelong where my mum had stayed behind and cooked up a huge breakfast.  We had pancakes, sourdough bread, raisin bread, hash browns, juice and coffee.  I took along tofu bacon and my mum specially made vegetable fritters for me.  Everyone else enjoyed bacon and eggs as well.
 
After breakfast Sylvia played with her little cousins and my mum and I headed out to the Newtown Farmers Market.  I bought a bunch of kale.  We had a light lunch (and a home made ANZAC biscuit) back at my mum's and then I drove back to Melbourne.  I was so tired from my early morning that I got confused taking my 3 year old niece home and almost arrived at my 18 year old niece's home before realising my mistake.  Then I had to contend with horrid rainy roads on the drive home.

I had little energy for dinner when I arrived home. I had fancied making ANZAC scones but wanted something savoury.  I wanted scones.  I had kale.  It made sense to marry them.  (It was like marrying traditional Australia with modern international cuisine.)  I blended up the kale to make a green milk mixture.  I fiddled with the seasonings in a savoury scone recipe.  My scones were lovely but not perfect.  More milk and a little less seasoning were needed.

Yet there was something cheering about having green scones with my leftover sweet potato and lentil soup.  I also had them for breakfast the next morning.  These are the sort of hippy food that is very good with hummus and mung bean sprouts (top photo).  Or you can just enjoy naturally green scones because you love the colour!

I am sending these scones to Elizabeth's Kitchen's Shop Local challenge because I used the kale from the farmers market.

More savoury scones on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Beetroot, apple and walnut scones (v)
Cheeseymite scones 
Sour Skon
Spinach and feta scones
Sweet potato and cheeze scones (v)
Walnut, brie and apple scones 

More savoury scones from elsewhere online:
Asparagus and stilton scones (gf) - Gluten Free Alchemist
Bloody Mary scones - The KitchenMaid
Carrot scones - Allotment to Kitchen
Potato scones - The Daily Spud
Tomato rosemary scones - Danielle Omar

Savoury kale scones
Adapted from Where's the Beef?
Makes about 16 - 20 scones

1 cup soy milk*
50g kale leaves (no stems)
2 1/2 cups plain flour*
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes*
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp smoked paprika*
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of salt
50g cold margarine
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped*

Preheat oven to 230 C.  Grease two medium oven trays.

Blend kale and soy milk until smooth.  (A high speed blender is best but if you are happy for specks in your scones, a regular blender would do.)

Place flour, nutritional yeast flakes, baking powder, mustard powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.  Rub margarine into dry ingredients.  Mix in chives (if you have them).  Add kale and milk mixture to mix into a dough.

Knead briefly on a lightly floured surface until smooth.  Pat out to about 1.5 cm and cut into round or whatever shape you fancy.  Place on greased tray about 1 cm apart.  If there is a little extra green milk that has pooled at the bottom of the blender, use it to brush on the scones (or use a little extra milk).

Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly browned on top.  Remove from over and wrap in a clean tea towel until ready to eat.  Best eaten on day of baking but still edible the next day.

NOTES: I would use perhaps another 1/4 cup of soy milk to make the dough softer.  If it was sticky I would knead with a little flour if required.  I used a mixture of white and wholemeal flour.  I used 1/2 tsp of onion salt instead of 1/2 tsp onion powder and pinch of salt.  I also substituted smoked paprika for some of the mustard powder.  The scones were a bit too savoury.  I have adjusted the onion powder in the recipe but would possibly reduce the amounts of nutritional yeast and smoked paprika.  I didn't use the chives but would use them if I had them as well.  A little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to sour the milk might also lift the flavour.

On the Stereo:
Golden Apples of the Sun: Judy Collins

Friday, 24 April 2015

Vegan peach cheesecake

We were short on time for dinner.  I took out a tub of rice from the freezer.  Only, when I opened the lid after defrosting, I found it was the stewed peaches I had earmarked for Kari's Raw Apple Cheesecake Pudding.  Which means it was time to make the cheesecake.  The peaches just wouldn't wait any longer.

The peaches were stewed towards the end of summer and I had tired of them.  When I saw Kari post her cheesecake pudding, I decided to make it with the peaches.  But the kitchen was busy with holiday and birthday baking.  So I put the peaches away for a day when we weren't inundated by treats.

It was easy to make and delicious to eat.  As I am a bit wary of coconut oil, I just added dessicated coconut for instead of oil.  My high speed blender made a very smooth mixture of the ingredients.  Kari preferred a bit of texture which might be why her mixture seems firmer than mine.  Or it might be that she added raw apple rather than stewed peaches.  I added some nutritional yeast flakes and salt for that slightly savoury taste of cheesecake.  It was mostly fruity and creamy but very pleasing.

As Kari noted, it wasn't a set cheesecake so she called it a pudding.  I am happy to call it a cheesecake but enjoyed serving it in jars.  Sadly I didn't have cute little jars like Kari.  Hers was a raw cheesecake but as my peaches were stewed it wasn't raw.  Perhaps I will try it with raw fruit another time.

Serendipitously as I made these I was listening to a woman on the radio talking about World Allergy Day (17 April).  They talked a lot about hayfever.  However I thought it relevant as these are dairy free, egg free, and soy free.  There are so many allergies out there.  They are not nut free but for those like my daughter who can't eat peanuts but can eat other nuts, they are fine.

I ate them mostly for breakfast.  They are quite nutrient-dense with all the nuts and dates but they were very satisfying.  Of course, they would also make a great dessert.

Lastly if you read Kari's post, you will see that she posted this cheesecake recipe as part of her London Marathon fundraising effort.  She has posted lots of great recipes as part of her fundraising for Beat, a UK eating disorder charity.  On Sundahy she runs her marathon.  I wish her best of luck and encourage you to make a donation if you are able to.  And I hope she has some good food like this cheesecake afterwards!

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Southwestern stuffed spaghetti squash
Two year ago: Apple cider cake
Three years ago: Zucchini Layer Cake plus random thoughts
Four years ago: Why Does Food History Matter?
Five years ago: Curried Paneer and Birthday Cheer
Six years ago: Tempting prune cake
Seven years ago: ANZAC Day and the Biscuit Police

Vegan Peach Cheesecake
Adapted from Bite Sized Thoughts
serves 4 to 6

Base
1/3 cup raw almonds
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup (about 3) medjool dates, stoned

Filling
1 cup raw cashews, soaked
scant cup of stewed peaches*
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

Make the base by blending all ingredients in blender or food processor until it can clump together.  Press into 4 to 6 small jars or glasses.  (I used the tamper from my blender.)  To make the filling, blend all ingredients until smooth.  (A little bit of texture is fine.)  Divide among glasses or jars (and screw lid on if there is one).  Chill in the fridge.  Keeps refridgerated for 5 days or can be frozen to keep longer.

NOTES: My stewed peaches were not terribly sweet.  I made them months ago and could not remember what they had in them by the time I got them out of the freezer - I think they had brown sugar and lemon juice.

On the Stereo:
Studio: Cowboy Junkies

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Vegetarian Japanese Curry

When I was a student, we had a Japanese student stay with us briefly.  She cooked us lots of amazing meals.  It was my first experience of how interesting Japanese food could be.  Often Japanese restaurants have not seemed as good as her dishes.  Junko never made me Japanese curry but it is one of the more pleasing Japanese dishes I have had in restaurants.  So I was keen to try it at home.

Sometimes it is only in making it myself that I understand a dish.  Indeed understanding how Japanese curries differ from others I have had came from making it.  It is more like an Indian curry than a Thai curry but is made like a soup with a lot of the flavour and texture coming from stirring in a roux.

I followed the recipe by Rika of Vegan Miam.  She has such lovely photos that draw me in. Then, the geek in me wanted to check if her recipe was typical.  So I did a quick search for other Japanese curry recipes.  I was surprised to read that many people just buy the roux rather than making it.  I was happy to do as Rika did and make it myself.

I was interested that recipes for Japanese curries suggested different flavourings to add including Worcestershire sauce, red wine, apricot jam, miso, maple syrup, ketchup, honey and chocolate.  I would like to try it with chocolate one day.  This curry had some apricot jam that was on hand.

More mysterious was the Oriental curry powder that Rika used.  I have never heard of it and just used the Keen's curry powder that I had in the cupboard.  Our curry was quite hot, though not unpleasantly so.  A few people noted that Japanese curries are quite mild.  So I checked for Oriental curry powder in the supermarket and only found a roux for a Japanese curry.  But as it had palm oil and MSG I don't know that I will be rushing out to buy it. 

We ate this on the school holidays.  It was a chaotic night after a trip to the park with Sylvia's school friends.  I searched high and low for black sesame seeds but they were nowhere to be found.  I discovered them in the back of the cupboard last night.  Maybe it is a sign that I need to make Japanese curry again.

I am sending this curry to:

More Japanese-style recipes:

Avocado, pickled ginger and tofu soba noodle salad (gf, v)
Japanese snow pea salad (gf, v)
Japanese-style pumpkin, sprouts and tofu soup (gf, v)
Sushi stack with carrot, tofu omelet and avocado (gf, v)
Sushi with sticky walnuts and edamame (gf, v)
'Teriyaki' tofu with brown rice and kale (gf, v)

Japanese Curry
Adapted from Vegan Miam
serves 4-6

1-2 tbsp any neutral oil (I used rice bran)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 cups water
2 large potatoes, cut into chunks
1 small apple, peeled, and grated
2 tsp curry powder*
1/4 cup tamari
1 tsp salt, or to taste
125g tin of corn kernels, rinsed and drained
300g pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup frozen broadbeans (or edamame)

Roux
3 tablespoons neutral oil (I used rice bran oil)
1/4 cup plain flour
1-3 tsp curry powder*
1 tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp apricot jam

Garnish
2 spring onions, sliced
black sesame seeds

Heat oil in a stockpot or large saucepan.  Cook onion and carrots for 5 to 10 minutes until vegetables soften.  Stir the garlic in for a minute and then add remaining ingredients except broad beans.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile make the roux. Stir together the curry powder, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and apricot jam and set aside.  Fry together the oil and flour until it slightly browns and smells cooked.  Add the curry powder mixture and stir until smooth.  Add a ladleful or two of liquid from the curry and stir roux until smooth.

Tip roux into curry and also add broad beans.  Gently simmer a few minutes, stirring frequently, until roux incorporated and broad beans warmed through.  Garnish with spring onions and black sesame seeds if desired

NOTES:  For traditional curry, use a Japanese Oriental curry powder (such as S and B).  I used Keens curry powder which is more Indian.  It worked well but was quite spicy with 1 tbsp of curry powder in the roux.  Perhaps less curry powder is needed with Keens, hence my suggestion of between 1 to 3 tsp depending on the curry powder used.

On the Stereo:
Born to Die: Lana Del Ray

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Ruckers Hill Cafe and Ukelele Festival

It was the old record player re-purposed as a cafe table that first caught my attention as I walked past Ruckers Hill Cafe.  We had just had a nightmare finding parking in Northcote.  If there was a parking spot we missed it and then it was gone when we returned, or someone took it from under our nose.  Finally we rushed down Northcote High Street to meet E who was volunteering at the Ukelele Festival.  I suggested we backtrack to Ruckers Hill Cafe and was very glad I did.

It is not a huge cafe.  There wasn't much room inside so we saw on a bench outside.  We ordered Zucchini and Carrot Fritters for E (above) and Olive Cream Cheese Slice for me (below) and Cheese Toastie for Sylvia (not pictured).  In keeping with the ambiance of the cafe, everything was presented beautifully with lots of colourful and healthy vegetables.

I am not usually a fan of these eggy slices but was delighted with this one that had interesting add-ins, lots of flavour and a generous pile of salad on the side.  While the salad had a lot of lettuce, it had a great dressing that made me happy to eat my way through it.  My slice had big blobs of mild cream cheese in it which were well balanced by the olives. 

It was a great place to sit.  We saw lots of fellow ukelele players as we watched the passers-by.  Some stopped to chat.  Others gave us a big smile and an entertaining remark as they rushed by.  The waitress was friendly as we talked to her about the Studio Ghibli films.  I even liked that we could go in and look at the old piano as we waited.  If we had had more time we might have stayed for dessert and one of the interesting juices.

We had a ukelele performance to go to and then found ourselves at Yuni's Kitchen for a drink.  Actually E and Sylvia had a drink and I had a wander around the shops.  Before I went I checked out the menu and we agreed we should return to eat there some day.

Yuni's Kitchen has a lovely courtyard with a painting of a dove one one side and the Chalice Church on the other.  I was fascinated by the quinces and pomegranates growing at the side of the church.  Are they for passers-by or does the church or the cafe use them?

Whatever their purpose it added a really nice touch to a leafy courtyard with shade cloth and lots of space for kids to run around.  We could also hear the faint sounds of ukelele performances in the church.

We then went to see E play at the Shellac Gallery.  It was great to see him playing solo and to hear him performs songs I have heard him practicing in the bedroom.  And I had a catch up with my friend Heather.

While at the Shellac Gallery we were also able to check out the ukelele artwork.  I really liked the above black and yellow ukelele which was decorated with pasta.  Then we had promised Sylvia some time browsing the beautiful toys in the Big Dreams shop.

By then I was ready to go home.  E stayed on for more gigs but I was so tired that I took Sylvia to buy some chips from the Fish and Chip shop (Abdul's Halal Takeaway) on Elizabeth Street, Preston to take home for dinner. 

Luckily the staff were kind and honest.  I absent-mindedly left both my purse and Sylvia's dolly behind as we left but someone came out to let us know.  Then we collapsed at home with excellent hot chips and corn jacks.

Ruckers Hill Cafe
212 High Street
Northcote
Open Tue-Fri: 7:30am-3:30pm, Sat: 8:30am-3:30pm, Sun: :900am-3:30pm

Ruckers Hill Cafe on Urbanspoon