Rise To The Occasion

When the pandemic hit, I was expecting some food-stuffs might be difficult to get. What I wasn’t expecting was that dry yeast would be one of them. Wanting to make some bread, and not confident to try making sourdough, I opted for an ingredient that I haven’t used since the 1980’s – fresh yeast.

Luckily the local delicatessen had a small amount of fresh yeast in stock which I used to make Herb and Onion Bread. The recipe makes two loaves so you can freeze one and eat one straight away. It’s delicious straight from the oven and slathered with butter. It’s great the next day too.

Ironically, as I was writing this piece, I noticed that dry yeast was finally back on the shelves. 🙂

Herb and Onion Bread



25g unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
300ml buttermilk
1 tablespoon honey
15g fresh yeast
2 tablespoons dried herbs of your choice
1 + 1/2 cups white flour
1 + 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1 + 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
milk for brushing
sesame seeds for sprinkling

Grease and flour 2 loaf tins.
Place the butter and onion in a small frying pan and cook gently until the onions are soft but not browned. Set aside.
In a small saucepan heat the buttermilk and honey until warm but not boiling.
Pour into a small bowl.
Mix in the fresh yeast.
Sprinkle with the dried herbs.
Place in a warm spot and allow to bloom for 15 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy.
In a large bowl, mix together the white flour, wholemeal flour and salt.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the cooked onions and yeast mixture. Mix together until combined and the dough forms a ball.
Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl.
Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down, divide into 2 and place in prepared pans.
Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Cover and leave in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 190C / 375F.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the loaves are well risen and golden brown. To check if bread is cooked, carefully remove one loaf from the pan and tap the bottom. It will sound hollow when cooked.
If the bread is not cooked, return to the oven and keep checking frequently until cooked.
Allow to cool slightly before turning out of the pans.
Serve warm or cold.

A Roll By Any Other Name

The Autumn Equinox in Australia will take place on Wednesday, 21st March at around 3:15am. It is a time when the hours of day and night are equal. It heralds the beginning of cooler weather and Winter on the horizon. When I think of the Autumn Equinox I think of harvest time, of reaping what we have sown. I also think of bread 🙂

As one of my passions is researching food, I tend to find inspiration for recipes almost anywhere. Recently I had a most entertaining conversation with friends, while having drinks in my favourite bar. I was talking about my recent trip to America, which included a visit to Salem, Massachusetts. Talking about Salem flowed to a discussion about witches, which in turn led to a passionate discussion on religion, as so often happens after a few drinks. One of the patrons brought up the dead sea scrolls, or, as he called them, “the dead sea rolls!” After we all finished laughing, my foodie friend Pete and I turned to each and both said “but they sound delicious!” We spent a few minutes discussing how we would create these salty rolls. We both agreed they should be boiled in water and sprinkled with sea salt before baking. It wasn’t long before my mind turned to bagels.

Bagels are usually boiled in water sweetened with malt extract, but these heavenly rolls are boiled in salted water. This makes them a bit saltier than normal bagels so be careful how much salt you sprinkle on them before baking. If you don’t have access to salt from the dead sea, ordinary sea salt will do 🙂

My recipe for traditional bagels – and other tasty recipes – will be available in my soon to be 
published travelogue/cookbook!

Dead Sea Rolls (bagels)


1 + 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 teaspoon honey
3 cups strong white flour
7g (1 teaspoon) dry yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
extra sea salt for poaching liquid
1 egg white
2 teaspoons cold water
sesame seeds for topping
sea salt flakes for topping

Whisk together the water and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Attach the dough hook.
Add the flour, yeast and salt.
Knead on low speed for 8 – 10 minutes or until elastic.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Place in a warm spot and allow to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Lightly punch down the dough.
Separate into 10 pieces then shape into balls.
Gently flatten each ball.
Make a hole in the centre of each ball using your thumb or the handle of a wooden spoon.
Twirl the bagel until you make a hole approximately 1/3 diameter of bagel.
Place on baking trays lined with baking paper.
Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220C / 425F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
Reduce to a simmer.
Place 2 – 3 bagels in the simmering water.
Poach for 2 minutes, turning over at the halfway point.
Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a tea towel to drain.
Repeat with remaining bagels.
Place 5 bagels back on each baking tray, keeping them apart.
Beat together the egg white and water in a cup.
Brush the mixture over the top of the bagels.
Sprinkle with chosen toppings.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.

A World Of Baking

As I was standing in line at the post office, I happened to see a book for sale called Bake: Beautiful baking recipes from around the world by Paragon Books. The heavy hardback was reasonably priced so I bought it. I couldn’t wait to get home and check out the recipes! The book contains so many bakes that I want to try but I just had to make one of the entries in the USA & Canada section – Spring Onion Cornbread! I was very happy with the result. The bread was moist, delicious and very flavoursome. It was great warm but also good the next day sliced with a bit of butter.

Spring Onion Cornbread


1 cup fine cornmeal
1 cup plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground celery seed
1 teaspoon sea salt
55g (2oz) parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 eggs, beaten
1 + 2/3 cups milk
55g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
3 spring onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 190C / 375F.
Line a baking pan with baking paper (approximately 28cm x 20cm).
Sift the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, celery seed and salt into a bowl.
Stir in 40g (1.5oz) of the parmesan cheese.
In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and butter.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Add the spring onions and mix until combined.
Pour into prepared pan.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until firm and golden.
Cut into squares.
Best eaten warm.

Love spring onions? Check out my recipe for Spring Onion Pancakes 🙂
Love cornmeal? Check out my recipes for Hush Puppies, Panda Cam Cuppycakes and Mamaliga 🙂

A Very Pious Meal

I’d love to say that I came up with the idea for my recipe Scripture Bread with Selected Verses all on my own, but I didn’t!

A few weeks ago, I posted my recipe for Tapioca Surprise. I had a few comments and a few likes. I try to visit the people who have kindly visited my blog and as part of that process I came across the frugal feeding blog. When I saw the post about Scripture Cake I got so excited! I couldn’t wait to do more research 🙂

What I discovered were variations of a fruitcake that used biblical references for the ingredients. One recipe even used a bible quote for the instructions saying follow Solomon’s advice in Proverbs 23:14 for making good boys, which is “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” Okay, so I assume I have to beat all the ingredients together. Very clever 🙂

No-one is sure of the origins of Scripture Cake but it does appear to have been a clever way of showing knowledge of the bible in the form of a fun trivia game! You would be given the recipe and then try and guess what the ingredients were. A King James version of the bible was the standard text. To make sure accidents didn’t happen, a standard version of the recipe was also given, but only after the guessing game ended 🙂

I loved this idea, but didn’t want to do a fruitcake. So I thought instead I would make up a platter of tasty treats that would complement each other and utilise the many foods mentioned in the bible. Not knowing the bible that well, I found an online King James bible and started searching for ingredients. I knew I wanted to make a flatbread, so I typed in “flour” and chose the best verse. I soon discovered that some verses mentioned a few foods in the one verse. Being slightly obsessive, I didn’t want to use those verses, so I had to find an entertaining verse that mentioned only the ingredient I wanted. This limited my choice, but I loved the challenge. I spent quite a few fun hours crafting recipes and searching the bible.

So here is my contribution to the world of scripture recipes:

Scripture Bread with Selected Verses


Biblical flatbreads served with marinated feta, olive tapenade and fig compote. You’ll need a King James version of the Bible to work out the ingredients – or you can just go to the list of ingredients at the end!

Special Equipment
3 cup size jar with lid

Biblical Ingredients
for the marinated feta
200g cubed feta 1 Samuel 17:18
1-2 sprigs of fresh Deuteronomy 11:10
1/2 teaspoon ground Numbers 11:7
1 teaspoon Matthew 13:31
3 tablespoons white wine Matthew 27:48
1 + 1/2 cup Exodus 27:20

for the olive tapenade
200g pitted kalamata 1 Kings 6:23
4 fillets John 21:10
2 tablespoons Exodus 27:20

for the fig compote
200g dried Nahum 3:12
1 peeled, cored and diced cooking Proverbs 25:11
1 teaspoon of mixed 2 Chronicles 9:9
1 tablespoon flaked or slivered Numbers 17:8
1 tablespoon Psalms 119:103
1 + 1/4 cup white John 2:10

For the scripture bread
2 cups sifted Leviticus 24:5
1 teaspoon sea 2 Kings 2:20
1/4 cup Exodus 27:20
1/3 cup Genesis 24:17

To make the marinated feta:
Place all the ingredients in a glass jar, making sure everything is completely covered in liquid. Secure the lid tightly and refrigerate for 2 days, occasionally giving the jar a good shake.

To make the tapenade:
Process or blend the tapenade ingredients together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

To make the compote:
Bring all the ingredients to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 30 – 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool before refrigerating until needed.

To make the bread:
Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. The dough should be slightly sticky.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 – 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 4 balls. Roll each ball into the flattest circle you can.

Heat an ungreased frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Fry each circle for 1 minute each side or until light brown.

Culinary notes:
If the oil in the marinated feta solidifies, remove from the refrigerator at least 1/2 an hour before serving to allow the oil to return to a liquid state.

When making the dough for the flatbreads, you may need to add more water or more flour to form a slightly sticky dough.

And for those of you without a bible here is the list of non-biblical ingredients 🙂

for the marinated feta
200g cubed feta cheese
1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 + 1/2 cup olive oil

for the olive tapenade
200g pitted kalamata olives
4 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil

for the fig compote
200g dried figs
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1 tablespoon flaked or slivered almonds
1 tablespoon honey
1 + 1/4 cup white wine

For the scripture bread
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water

No Trouble Brewing

I celebrated my Name Day last week by going to a short barista course. It was a hands-on workshop on how to use an espresso machine. We learnt how to grind coffee correctly, how to tamp it, which was surprisingly difficult, and how to brew it. I was okay at making coffee but excelled at frothing the milk! Something about controlling that steaming hot pipe and watching the milk heat and foam appealed to me. My frothed milk was so good the teacher used it to do some latte art. Sadly my attempt at doing bamboo latte art didn’t work so well. The class have asked her to run a workshop on that. Hopefully she will.

A few weeks before the course I checked out a local coffee shop with spectacular results. The biblically named Corinthians is a typical coffee lovers’ place featuring the usual coffee paraphernalia – syphons, drip filters, pour overs and my favourite – a cold dripper. This is the one piece of coffee paraphernalia I don’t have and want. Oh wait – I also want a home coffee roaster, and a proper espresso maker and … And that’s the problem with coffee! It’s not just the coffee that’s addictive but everything that goes with it!

Coffee Syphon

a prized possession – my coffee syphon

Managing to tear my eyes away from the cold dripper I scanned the chalkboard menu for the brews on offer. When I asked which coffee would be best for a flat white they suggested one from Rwanda. It was the best coffee ever!! For once I could taste all the flavours on the tasting notes – especially the blood orange. They asked my thoughts and I said it tasted like an orange creme brulee. Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw the waitress climb on a ladder and make an adjustment to the chalkboard menu. Under the tasting notes for my coffee she wrote – (+milk= orange creme brulee). Naturally I have been back for many more coffees!!

coffee chalkboard

my tasting notes immortalised for .. well until the next brew arrives!

When I’m not drinking coffee I am experimenting with it in my culinary pursuits. Two of my favourite recipes are my Coffee Soup

1 slice sourdough bread
unsalted butter for spreading
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup strong freshly brewed coffee

Toast the sourdough bread and lightly butter.
Cut the crusts off.
Cut remaining bread into cubes and place in the bottom of a soup mug.
Heat milk in a saucepan with the sugar and cinnamon until almost boiling.
Pour the freshly brewed coffee into the milk and stir through.
Ladle soup over the bread.

Replace sourdough with different types of bread.
Try soy milk for a nutty difference.

Coffee Soup

piping hot goodness

and Coffee Lamb Cutlets

for the marinade
1 tablespoon ground coffee
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
6 lamb cutlets, French trimmed

for the crumbing
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
olive oil for shallow frying

Place the coffee and boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Stir until the coffee has dissolved. Add the salt and pepper. Allow to cool.
Lay the cutlets flat on a board and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Gently tenderise with a mallet.
Place the lamb in a glass or ceramic dish. Pour over the cooled coffee mix. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Mix flour and salt on a plate. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Combine the cornmeal and mint on another plate.
Remove lamb from the marinade and wipe off most of the marinade.
Working with one cutlet at a time, coat cutlet in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in the beaten egg. Dip in the cornmeal mix, pressing firmly to coat. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Pour enough oil to cover the base of a large frying pan. Heat over medium heat.
Working in batches, cook the cutlets for 3-5 minutes each side or until they are golden brown and cooked to your liking.
Drain on paper towels before serving.

coffee lamb cutlets

a marinade made in heaven

Let me know if you have found new ways to use coffee in your cooking or if you know of interesting coffee paraphernalia I can add to my list of wants.