Grief control. Knitting, cakes and chicken tray bakes

Grief. It’s a strange thing. Different very time. Why did I think I’d feel the same after my dad died as I would after my mum did?

I guess it is (blessed) inexperience. But it has been so much harder.

Anyway. I’m out the other side of (most of) it now. And I have a very neglected blog.

I haven’t been sewing as much as normal. But I have been doing some cooking and knitting.

So. Let me tell you about it. Starting with the cakes first because my dad had a sweet tooth.

The cakes

Lemon and ricotta cake

Delicious on its own or with blackberry and strawberry compote and ice cream as a dessert.

  • 250g unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 250g ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 220g almond flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup) SR flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan). Grease a 23 cm springform pan and line the base with paper
  2. Cream butter and sugar with zest until pale and creamy
  3. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well in between
  4. Beat in ricotta, a little at a time
  5. Whisk almond flour, flour, baking powder and salt separately
  6. Reduce speed, add vanilla, the dry ingredients and lemon juice to the mixture, and mix until combined
  7. Whisk egg whites separately until stiff peaks form and then carefully fold egg whites into cake mixture
  8. Spoon into tin, smooth surface and bake 50-60 minutes

This delicious moist cake recipe is from David Herbert’s column in the 25-26 July 2020 issue of the Weekend Australian magazine.

 

Persian love cake

This is a super easy gluten free cake that is deliciously moist and with fabulous spicing. Super pretty too, especially when you fortuitously have Persian fairy floss in your pantry and use it for decoration!

Adapted from Poh Bakes 100 Greats

  • 300 g (3 cups) almond flour
  • 185 g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 220 g (1 cup) firmly packed soft brown sugar
  • 120 g (generous 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250 g Greek-style yoghurt
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 4 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 4 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan).
  2. Grease a 24 cm springform pan and line the base with paper.
  3. Combine the almond flour, caster sugar, brown sugar and melted butter in a food processor until you have an even, sandy consistency.
  4. Divide the mixture in two and tip half into the pan. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the eggs, yogurt, salt, cardamom, and rosewater to the remaining crumb mixture and whisk until there are no lumps.
  6. Pour over the crumb base and sprinkle the flaked almonds and pistachios over the top.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes

Serve this cake with a dollop of Greek yoghurt – it helps balance out the sweetness

The pistachio and almond topping makes this cake very attractive. No need for pink fairy floss to make it pretty – it already is!

 

The chicken tray bakes

Moroccan chicken tray bake

This is another one of David Herbert’s recipes from the Weekend Australia Magazine – the 13-14 June 2020 issue.

  • 4 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6-8 chicken pieces (David recommends skinless thighs – I’ve made this a couple of times, every time with something different – skin-on Marylands, skin-on thighs and skinless chicken chops – all good)
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 2-4 zucchini, cut into 2 cm slices
  • 8 capsicum pieces from a jar
  • 50g whole blanched almonds  (I used flaked)
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley (I just picked the leaves off)

Couscous

  • 175g (1 cup) instant couscous
  • zest  half lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • seeds from half a pomegranate
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas ( I used currants)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (fan)
  2. Mix harissa and vinegar in a large bowl.
  3. Add chicken pieces, onion  and zucchini and gently mix to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer to a large roasting pan and cook uncovered for 25 minutes, turning halfway.
  5. Add capsicum and almonds and cook a further 10 minutes or until chicken is tender
  6. Meanwhile, make couscous:
    • Put couscous in heat proof bowl and add 350mL boiling water, stir, then cover and leave for 5-7 minutes.
    • Stir through Zest, garlic and herbs; drizzle with oil
    • Add pomegranate seeds and sultanas and toss well
    • Season with salt and pepper
  7. Scatter chicken with parsley and serve with couscous and lemon wedges (I made a space in the roasting pan, piled the couscous in, added lemon wedges and served it straight from the pan)

I highly recommend this – so simple and yet so delicious. It is almost my favourite chicken tray bake recipe.

Sheet pan chicken tikka

This queen of all tray bakes from Smitten Kitchen is still my favourite.

The version below is double the recipe (recipe serves 4) and so well and truly smothered in coriander and pickled red onion that you wouldn’t know there was chicken and potato and cauliflower underneath.

  • For the chicken
    • 4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
    • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 fresh green chili seeded and minced
    • 1/2 cup yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1 kg chicken thighs or drumsticks (skin-on, bone-in)
  • For the vegetables
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4-6 potatoes, peeled if desired, cut into 2 cm chunks
    • 1 small cauliflower, cut into 2 cm-wide florets
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • To finish, if desired
    • A few thin slices of red onion
    • Lemon wedges
    • Salt
    • Dollops of yogurt
    • A few tablespoons roughly chopped coriander, parsley or mint
  1. Combine ginger, garlic, fresh chili, yogurt, salt, and spices  in bowl. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat evenly. Let marinate for 15 minutes or up to a day, covered, in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C.
  3. Add potatoes, cauliflower, salt, cumin and olive oil to the roasting pan and toss together with your hands until evenly coated.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade and leave excess behind. Make spaces in the vegetables for chicken parts throughout the pan.
  5. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, then toss the potato and cauliflower to ensure they’re cooking evenly, and return the pan to the oven for 10 to 20 minutes more (i.e. 30 to 40 minutes total roasting time), until chicken and vegetables are cooked through.
  6. While it roasts, if you’d like to use lightly pickled onion rings on top ( it adds colour and a nice tangy fresh zip to the dish) separate the rings and toss them in a small bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Set aside until needed.
  7. When chicken and vegetables are cooked, top with dollops of yogurt, herbs and scattered the above onion rings all over.
  8. Serve right in the pan.

Truly delicious!

 

The knitting

This winter I finished off two long term WIPs.

A cable hat

This is from Moda Vera Mawson yarn and the pattern was on the ball band.

Memorable mostly for my daughter’s delight in the truly terrible photos of me modelling it (actually I have to admit that it was a lot of fun taking these photos).

But also memorable because I finished this off in the hospice at the bedside of my beloved father. Plus I used a cute label from KATM.

A lacy shrug

This one was started on holiday in Yorkshire – that’s Richmond castle in the background! It’s the wrap from pattern #5954 in Wendy Aran with Wool yarn, both purchased in a little shop in the middle of Leicester.

Happy holiday vibes to this one.

I don’t have any ‘good’ modeled shots of me wearing this (this is as good as it gets), but it was worn a lot WFH over winter. It is one of those great things to add for a little bit of extra warmth whilst sitting in a chilly home office.

The sewing

I know. Its time to get back to sewing…

Coming to the blog soon..

Mmmm. Delicious autumn food

[is it still autumn??!]

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Who knew cauliflower could be so delicious?

Twice-baked cauliflower souffles

Ingredients

  • 200g cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 350ml milk
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 120g plain flour
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 140g gruyere, grated
  • Radicchio leaves to serve

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C and grease four 1-cup (250ml) ramekins. Place the cauliflower, onion, bay leaf, thyme and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered, for 8-10 minutes until cauliflower is tender. Strain, reserving cauliflower and milk, and discard the other solids.
  • Melt butter in a clean saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, then gradually whisk in the reserved milk. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until thickened and combined.
  • Whisk in the egg yolks, 1/2 cup (125ml) cream and half the cheese until combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Whiz the cauliflower in a food processor until smooth, then add cheese sauce and pulse to combine. Season.
  • In a large bowl, using electric beaters, whisk eggwhites to stiff peaks. Fold one-quarter of eggwhites into cauliflower mixture to loosen, then gently fold in remainder. Divide among prepared ramekins, place in a deep baking pan and fill with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of ramekins. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden.
  • Remove from pan and set aside to cool slightly before turning out onto a baking tray (they can be covered and refrigerated for 24 hours at this stage).
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Pour some of remaining cream over souffles and scatter with remaining cheese. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until souffles rise again and sauce bubbles.
  • Place in radicchio ‘cups’, drizzle with remaining sauce grind some black pepper over and enjoy.

from Taste.com.au

 

Prefer something different as an appetizer?

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Herb and feta bread

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 150 grams (1 1/4 cups) plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 large  eggs
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 150 grams plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 200 gramssheep’s milk feta cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh herb leaves (flat-leaf parsley, basil, chervil, chives, mint, fennel preferably a mix), about 20 grams or 1 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 175°C.
  • Butter or grease a 24-by-12-cm  loaf pan and sprinkle half the sesame seeds onto the bottom and sides, shaking the pan to coat.
  • Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cheese and herbs.
  • Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, level the surface with a spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds.
  • Put into the oven to bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the loaf is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes and run a knife around the pan to loosen. Unmold and transfer to a rack to cool.
  • Cut in slices or cubes just before serving, slightly warm or at room temperature.

from Chocolate and Zucchini

 

Now lets talk about main course – enough to have delicious leftovers in your lunch box the next day.

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Moroccan slow cooked lamb

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds trimmed boned lamb shoulder, cut into 5 cm cubes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, chopped ( or a can of tomatoes)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons (packed) grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Method

  • Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl.
  • Add lamb and toss to coat.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large frypan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add lamb to skillet and cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally and adding 2 more tablespoons oil to pan between batches, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to slow cooker after each batch.
  • Add onion and tomato paste to drippings in pan. Reduce heat to medium; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add broth, garbanzo beans, apricots, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and lemon peel and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.
  • Transfer everything to slow cooker and cooke for at least 4 hours on low
  • Serve with pearl couscous and coriander.
  • Enjoy leftovers the next day at work.

From epicurious

 

Looking for something sweet to finish? How about a piece of cake? ( yes, pomegranate seeds make two appearances on the blog today)

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Blackberry ricotta cake

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups ricotta
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup frozen blackberries, divided

Method

  • Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 22cm-diameter cake pan with baking paper.
  • Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended. Then fold in butter, followed by ¾ cup berries, taking care not to crush them. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining ¼ cup berries over top.
  • Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
  • Sprinkle with more berries to serve. Make sure you also have lots of cream, Add pomegranate seeds to make it look extra pretty.

from bon appetit

Returning  to regular programming of sewing soon..