Posts filed under ‘Cooking’

What I’ve been up to these last few weeks.

I’ve been really sick, but I’m feeling heaps better obviously and have been cooking my way through Annabel Langbein’s cookbook “The Free Range Cook”. I was going to create another blog for the challenge but I didn’t want the added responsibility and it’s too hard to properly maintain two blogs. SO ANYWAY, in photos, here’s what’s been up:

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October 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm 1 comment

Busy People’s Bread

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Yesterday my amazing Mother bought me this book:

The_Free_Range_Cook_cover I nearly fell over with happiness.

I have wanted Annabel Langbein’s new cookbook since I first saw an episode of her show “The Free Range Cook”. Her recipes just seemed so delicious and simply. And then of course there’s the natural factor, all her recipes she makes with free-range products. (That isn’t really possible for me because I don’t live out in the country with a ENORMOUS garden, but hey, I try).

Today I tried to cook my second Annabel Langbein recipe, the first was her Chocolate Cranberry slice:

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Today I made the Busy Person’s Bread.

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I had fun with the yeast haha, I was amazed at how it frothed up!!

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There is something so, so satisfying about making things like bread, dough and pastry. I’m not sure what it is but those things are probably my favourite things ever to cook. I did quickly learn that I was going to need a bigger bowl than my Pyrex bowl though…

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I didn’t have any pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top at the end so I used some others, the name which I forget… It may have been Linseed but I’m not sure. I split the mixture between two loaf pans, sprinkled the seeds on top and put it in the oven.

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I swiftly learnt that three pans are better than two as I watched horror as my beautiful dough started spilling over the edge of the pans and onto the racks below. I lost quite a lot of mixture and I could only look on in dismay. In future, I shall use three pans or use two BIGGER pans. It also saves the pain in the ass job of cleaning the oven.

They cooked for 20 minutes at 80 degrees first and then they baked for a further 30 minutes at 210 degrees. However… I noticed that not only were they massively overflowing, but the tops were starting to burn! I turned the temperature RIGHT down and cooked them for a further ten minutes. When mum came home she moved them to a lower rung and told me to leave them for a little while more. Eventually they sounded hollow when I knocked on them so I took them out of the oven and set them on racks to cool.

They do not look pretty and DEFINITELY do not look like the pretty picture in the book, BUT… They taste yummy 😀

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Overall I was generally happy with the result. There are definitely things I’d do differently in the future but I’m learning all the time 🙂 It’s all part of it. Next time my bread will kick BUTT!

I bought a 10 concession card for the local pools today… I plan to swim or aqua jog. I’ve been really upset and depressed lately because I’ve become so unfit because my knee pain is so bad that EVERYTHING hurts. I decided water is the only way I’ll get in a decent workout without pain. I hate hate HATE swimming though, but it’s something I plan to work on. Now I’ve paid for a concession card I have no choice but to use it. Stay tuned!

In other news,

I’m addicted to this song:

October 15, 2010 at 2:08 am 1 comment

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae

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Oh. My. GOD! If you haven’t already figured out what this shining beauty is, it’s Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae and it’s AMAZING!

I told mum I was going to make her dinner with a dessert that would blow her mind, and I did it! After seeing Nigella cook up a storm with this recipe on youtube the other day I’ve been hanging out to give it a go. It’s really easy too, just 200mls Condensed Milk, 100g Dark Chocolate Chips and 100g Smooth Peanut Butter all melted in a saucepan. Nom nom nom! If you want an easy and delicious dessert option, I highly recommend this!

For dinner I made pizza bread with rosemary, olive oil, garlic and salt.

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It was YUMMY too! Took forever though because there was a bit of drama concerning the dough… I’ve never made dough like that before and I was home alone all day today with no parents to assist me. The dough I made first was great! I kneeded it and it became gorgeously smooth and elastic, just the way it should, so I put it outside in the sun to rise without knowing that UV Rays kill yeast… Epic fail…

So my perfect dough didn’t rise 😦 SO I decided to try again with some new dough, but the second batch was disastrous, it was flaky and tough and wouldn’t go smooth and elastic the way it needed to. I got so frustrated I just wanted to throw it out the window.. To top that off, the second batch wouldn’t rise either even though I didn’t expose it to sun!!! Oh well, I used the first dough and the pizza bread actually turned out very nice 🙂 It was crisp and tasty and soft on the inside. Success!

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I used the recipe out of my currently favourite recipe book:

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It doesn’t look like much but WOW! I discovered this tucked away at the back of my mother’s cookbook cupboard and it’s so full of easy, delectable recipes that I haven’t seen before. I can’t wait to try out more!

Anyway, I’m full so I’m going to go and read more of my insanely addictive book, “Needful Things” by Stephen King. Night!


October 3, 2010 at 5:48 am Leave a comment

Blue sky and Pumpkin Pie

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:O What is that? I hear you ask… Why… It’s BLUE SKY!!!! Lots and lots of glorious blue sky!!!

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Blue sky that’s lasted all day 😀 I’m so happy to see blue sky that I keep looking outside just to make sure it’s still there haha. I decided to spend this beautiful day cooking with all the doors and windows wide open, it was AMAZING. Coco enjoyed it too 😀 (She went for a swim in her water bowl lol)

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Today I baked and ate for the first time ever, a Pumpkin Pie. I made everything completely from scratch including the pastry and since canned pumpkin isn’t available in New Zealand I cooked and mashed a real pumpkin.

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All was going well until I read the recipe again and realised we didn’t have any evaporated milk!! I had never used that ingredient in anything before and wouldn’t have been able to complete the recipe without it. I made a mad dash down to the supermarket on Mum’s bike to grab a tin as quickly as possible. It took longer than I’d hoped because I had no idea what I was looking for because I didn’t know what it looked like and even the supermarket assistant didn’t know. Eventually however I spotted the cans hiding beside the condensed milk 🙂 YAY!

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Everything went swimmingly after that, although I was terrified the whole time I was making the pastry because I’ve never ever made pastry before. I didn’t want to overwork it and make it tough or put in too much water. It turned out great though! The kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off when I was done though…

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The pie went in the oven for 65 minutes, during which I cleaned up the enormous mess and cooked lunch for my Mum and Step-Dad. It was yummy too! It was stir-fried tofu and vegetables with noodles. Nom nom nom. Just as we were sitting down to eat the pie was ready to come out, it was perfect timing, it would have time to cool whilst we ate lunch and then we could have it afterwards.

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Now I’ve never made a pie before OR tasted pumpkin pie so I had no idea what this was meant to taste or look like. I think I did a pretty good job though considering!

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(It’s gooey at the end because it hadn’t cooled enough) It tasted AMAZING!!! The pastry was really nice too 😀 I was so so pleased with the outcome.

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So there you have it! Successful Pumpkin Pie 🙂 Nana will be proud, it was her recipe I used ^.^ I cooked a fab breakfast for myself this morning, eggs in a basket. It was yummmyyyy.

I don’t think I’m going to do much cooking tonight haha, I’ve been in the kitchen since 8.30 am potting around and cooking things. It’s now 2.30 pm lol.

Have a good afternoon!

October 2, 2010 at 1:34 am Leave a comment

Successful Vegetable Broth

Today I finally got around to making the Vege Broth I’ve been meaning to. It took me 35 minutes to chop the truck load of vegetables I had to use, but it was SO worth it.

I have a problem with chopping onions… And today I found a solution 😀

vege broth 002 Brilliant haha.

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After being hunched over the chopping board for ages I finally finished chopping everything up. Then I added 4 litres of water, salt, tamari sauce, tomato paste and dried rosemary (because I didn’t have the real thing).

I brought it to the boil and then lowered the heat and let it simmer for an hour and a half. Once it was ready to come out, I drained it in a sieve and then waited for it to cool. Once it had cooled I put a little bit into ice cube trays and the rest into freezer bags to freeze all of it.

It was so easy and fun to make, you can literally use everything but the kitchen sink in terms of vegetables. I did go out and buy some more veges because we didn’t have any carrots and a broth is simply not complete without carrots.

It tastes SO good!! I tried some and I was so amazed. It smelt fantastic as well.

I’m so pleased to have finally made it. I now have 4 litres of delicious vege broth to use in a ton of recipes.

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Nom nom nom 🙂


October 1, 2010 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

Small Pleasures

This afternoon I busied myself trying out two new recipes that I couldn’t resist. Both of which wouldn’t have helped my waist-line, but hey, sometimes you’ve just got to throw caution to the wind and enjoy the pleasures that sugar and butter have to offer 🙂

The first recipe I tried was very very simple, it was one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes that I do believe I posted a video on in the previous blog post. I made her Raspberry and yoghurt swirl. The recipe does call for crushed up oatmeal cookies but I didn’t have any of that so I went without. I also used low-fat berry flavoured Greek yoghurt instead of full-fat, plain.

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It’s messy (I’ve never put together a parfait before in my life) and doesn’t look like much, but HOLY DAMN it tastes like heaven in a glass!! It was shockingly good and I enjoyed every last teaspoon of that heavenly mixture. It’s so simple too! All you need is frozen raspberries, Greek yoghurt and icing sugar! I can’t wait to eat more of these in summer 🙂 I think it would make the perfect treat on a hot summers day. Ice Cream? Pfffftttt, this is WAY better than ice cream. I seriously recommend you try this recipe, it’s killer!

2 teaspoons of icing sugar to every cup of raspberries I’d say and as much Greek yoghurt as you need. You can add crushed biscuits if you’ve got them (any biscuits would probably do the trick).

The second recipe I tried was the non-vegan version of Oh She Glows’ Soft Ginger Cookies.

Ginger biscuits 030Ginger biscuits 020Ginger biscuits 016Oh. My. God.

These biscuits are the most delicious thing I have ever cooked in my LIFE. I’m not even exaggerating, these are so amazing, it’s hard to believe that I managed to produce something so good! They’re like biting into a fluffy ginger cloud… Oh my gosh I get dreamy just thinking about it…

My only complaint is that the recipe calls for Himalayan sea salt… Although I can’t quite figure out why :/ It was rather unpleasant to be enjoying such a delectable cookie and then find yourself biting into a big, hard lump of salt 😦 It ruined it a little bit… Next time I wouldn’t add the salt.

Without the salt, they’re perfect!!

Anyway, the title of my blog “small pleasures” relates 100% to cooking (funnily enough :P) and the way that such small things about it can give you such pleasure. As Nigella Lawon says: “There’s a lot to be said for mindless, repetitive action”. Couldn’t agree with you more Nigella! What I’ve come to love so much about baking and cooking is that you get such fabulous results from the work you put into it. It’s worth absolutely every second of the time you spend, and it’s come to be quite therapeutic for me. It’s my ultimate de-stressor, but unfortunately I’m bleeding our poor old pantry dry of ingredients. We’re out of Cocoa powder at the moment which is a pain because I have an amazing recipe for Chocolate Mint cookies from Nigella Lawson’s website.

One of the biggest small pleasures (lol) for me has to be the garlic roasted peanuts that Mum and I have started making.

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They are so delicious and SO easy, it’s insane. All you need is a bucketload of peanuts, some peanut oil and about 7-8 cloves of crushed garlic. Mix it all in, pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir and repeat until they’ve spent collectively 8 minutes in the microwave. See! How easy is that? And believe me, they are YUMMY.

Anyway, that’s all from me for today. Tomorrow’s forecast is terrible so I plan to spend the day making the vege broth I’ve been meaning to create for about 2 weeks now… Better late than never.


September 30, 2010 at 9:20 am Leave a comment

Nigella Lawson, Julia Child and Chocolate Spice Muffins

Sorry for being M.I.A as of late… I’ve been absolutely flat out, run off my feet all week and I’ve been too exhausted to do anything in mu spare time. I’m working at the local newspaper this week as a reporter and the hours are long and the work gets taxing. I enjoy it, but it is quite tiring.

I came home sick yesterday afternoon with a headache, nausea and a cold. I was glad I did, I passed out on the couch for two hours to help ease my headache and catch up on 4 days of lack of sleep. Once I’d risen I baked some Chocolate Spice Muffins from my Cupcakes and Muffins cook book. Unfortunately they weren’t so great by themselves, but I’m sure with some whipped cream and jam they would’ve been lovely.

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Last night I was looking up cooking related videos on Youtube and I felt compelled to search for Nigella Lawson. I’m so glad I did! I feel so inspired by her and I love her food philosophy. Even though most of what she creates has your entire RDI of calories in one serve, her food looks like fun to make and would be great to serve at birthdays, Christmas and BBQ’s.


I would love to own one of her cookbooks but I’m too poor :/ They cost quite a lot, so I’m counting on a wicked trademe bargain to get one.

Another cookbook I’d LOVE to own is The Art Of French Cooking volume 1 and 2 by Julia Child. If you’ve seen the film Julie and Julia you’ll understand why this sounds like such a great cookbook. Also, Angela from Oh She Glows used this cookbook to recreate a vegan version of a beautiful food she ate while in Paris. That pretty much sealed the deal for me.

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Unfortunately these also cost a small fortune even on trademe, so until I find a paying job these will sadly be out of my reach 😦

Last night I made pizza for dinner, the lazy and sick person’s answer to dinner.

Anyway, I’m not feeling well so I’m off now, I shall leave you with these amazing Nigella Lawson youtube videos to entertain yourself.


September 29, 2010 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

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Hey there, my name's Jenny. I have a huge passion for cooking/baking, writing, yoga and photography. I love nature and my favourite thing to do is spend an entire day outside, breathing in crisp, fresh air. Even better if I have a pen and paper with me. I started out running in March 2009 but sustained an injury in October 2009 which has unfortunately prevented me from running. I've been experimenting with other kinds of exercise to find another one that clicks. Follow me on my journey to maintaining good health + surviving high school and pursuing a career in Journalism. I Hope you enjoy reading my blog!

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