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Lemon tartlets

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A couple of nights on a row having diner with friends prompted a new baking endeavour: lemon tart. Many years ago I remember Brown's Bakery publishing their lemon tart recipe ... I hoped to find it online, but alas, no go. I ended up just buying shortcrust pastry (rather than making from scratch, but still spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen. I adapted this recipe . Baking is not really a van kitchen thing, and this was done at home, not in my little kitchen, but this blog is the best place to record what I did for future reference.  Recipe made 22 tartlets. Ingredients Eggs x5 plus yoke (reserve white for sealing the bottom of the tarts Super fine sugar (I blended caster sugar) 280g Lemon juice 200ml Crème fraîche 200g (icing sugar for serving) Short crust pastry x3 sheets (also used patty pans in the muffin tray and another set for blind baking) Method Beat the 5+ eggs lightly Stir in the sugar and let it sit until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally - abo

Everyday fruitcake

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I eat a lot of fruitcake. I've had a lifelong love affair with them which I unpacked in my last blog . As much as I really like the previous recipe, the ingredients are expensive and it takes a while to make. So having resorted to bought Christmas cake to get me through, I set out to develop an 'everyday' fruitcake recipe that was really good quality, but relatively simple to make.  Add to that, Maria and I are continuing our long quest to eliminate plastic packaging from food we buy ... so the extra challenge was to get the ingredients without having single use plastic with the ingredients. Rather than do more Google research I decided on a different plan. I called my dad and asked him to forage through my mum's old recipe books to see if he could find the tried and true recipe that she rolled out whenever there was a cake worthy special occasion. I was so pleased that he managed to find it, and it was a bonus to discover that she'd made a note on the bottom that s

Special fruitcake

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My mum made the best fruitcake. She was a cake decorator which meant elaborately detailed ornate wedding cakes, but also birthday cakes. There were four of us kids and when we had a birthday cake it was always iced fruitcake, so at least 4 times a year I got to eat mum's spicy fruity recipe. I remember innocently feeling genuinely sorry for other kids when I went to their birthday parties and they had 'lousy sponge cakes'. In my adult life I've always had my radar up for good fruit cakes. For many years now I get at least one Lions fruitcake at Christmas time; some occasions, including for example bush walks, are for me, impoverished without a good piece of fruitcake and a cup of tea. Apart from the 'staple' Lions fruitcake, my other go-to is YummyKitchen's Celebration Cake  which the major supermarkets stock around Christmas time. I have tried once or twice to bake my own, and have been disappointed (good cakes but not what I was aiming for) until I tried a

Couscous with greens and pan fried chicken

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We needed some thing relatively easy tonight and this turned out super good. We had some chicken thighs from Kunara Organic Butcher, and a friedge full of veggies from out trip to the farmers market yesterday. Servings 2 Time about 30 mins  Equipment Pan to make the chicken Saucepan medium size bowl knife and chopping board Ingredients oil 4x chicken thighs 2 large handfuls of chopped kale 1 small or ½ large zucchini diced 1 bunch of broccolini, chopped about 10 pitted Sicilian olives, halved  ¾ cup couscous  ¾ cup stock knob of butter pepper and salt Method Season the chicken thighs and place into a medium heat pan In the saucepan, add some oil and sauté the green veggies (except the olives). Once heated, cover so the moisture from the veggies steams them. When the veggies are almost done, throw in the olives, then, tip them into a bowl and keep aside. Turn the chicken Boil the stock in the saucepan, then turn off the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover and leave for 5 minutes. (By n

Caravan chicken and veggie curry

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I love curry. Maria is less enthusiastic, so I enjoy getting some spices brewing when I get a chance. We had some chicken thighs from Kunara organic butcher and some veggies in the fridge that I wanted to use before we head to the farmers market again on Sunday. And I wanted to experiment and make up my own flavour too .... I also had the chance to be around the van late afternoon so I could baby sit the pot while it brewed away. Servings 4 Time 2½ hours, most of that cooking time. Equipment (main) Chopping boards and knife Wooden spoon caste iron enamel pot saucepan for stock and couscous Ingredients ghee 1x onion, chopped 1x tbsp minced ginger 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced / finely chopped 1 heaped tsp of the following spices for depth cumin coriander seed (ground) turmeric plus a few dried bay leaves ½ tsp of the following for 'brightness' cinnamon cloves (4) grated lemon rind (½ lemon) then the following for heat (although I mede this one very mild) paprika dried chilli c

Lamb stock

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After dinner tonight, Maria cleverly suggested we  make some stock from the left over loin chop bones. We sat in the van tonight with it simmering away for a couple of hours with some onion, carrot, garlic, bayleaf, herbs and pepper and salt. Can't wait to use it to enhance a dish sometime soon.

Chicken broth with greens

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Today was Noosa Farmers Market Day and Johanna introduced us to her favourite stalls. Noosa is one of those markets that has a vibe. It is more than a row of stalls, it generates a local community feeling that  encourages people to slow down and make a morning of it, rather than get in and out to 'get the job done.' It's not quite Mullumbimby but it's good. We spent a few hours around the beach and after some exercise in the ocean we opted for a carby lunch, so on the way back the van we agreed something light and fresh was the go. We had enough other stuff to put together this broth, using mostly produce we'd picked up at the farmers market.  Servings 2 Equipment Chopping board and knife pot for broth pan for frying ladle for serving and tongs for stirring noodles Ingredients 3x stock cubes (we used some freeze dried 'bombs' from the market) 1x sachet of instant miso soup (if I had it I would have used a table spoon of miso paste) Splash of soy sauce peanut

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