Sunday, August 25, 2013

Miss Kitty Bakes: Roasted vegetable, goats cheese and hazelnut salad.

August is a funny time in Sydney. One day, the weather is warm and springlike. The next, the wind whips up and you have to swathe yourself in winter woolens again.

This is a recipe I made up last week when we had a range of rather sorry looking root veggies in the fridge. We were desperate for something green and leafy but the urge for comfort food has not quite left. This salad fits the bill perfectly: the comforting warmth of the cinnamon honey roasted vegetables combined with the smooth goats cheese and crunch of the hazelnuts makes for the perfect late winter salad. You could serve it without the rocket (maybe with some steamed beans or brocolini instead), but I think the peppery nature of the greens is an excellent foil for the dish and elevates it to a lighter plane.

I wasn't going to blog this (because it seemed somewhat simple) but I have had quite a few email/Facebook/Instagram requests after I posted the picture on Instagram, so I assume people are feeling like we are - a little desperate for some comfort food in a salady world.

Enjoy! We certainly did. So much so, we are having a version of this again for dinner tonight.

Miss Kitty's warm winter vegetable salad

1 small sweet potato or kumera
1 large parsnip, peeled
2 carrots
A piece (maybe 300g) of butternut pumpkin, peeled
2 tablespoons Coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
2 large handfuls of rocket, washed and dried
100g goats chevre (we used Meredith Dairy chevre)
50g hazelnuts, roasted, peeled and roughly chopped
Caramelised balsamic vinegar to drizzle

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Chop the sweet potato, parsnip, carrots and pumpkin into even pieces and place in a bowl. In a cup or jug, combine the melted coconut oil, cinnamon and honey, stirring well to combine, then pour over vegetables. Mix with your hands until everything is fully coated. Work quickly as the coconut oil may reset if your veggies are cold.

Spread the vegetables out in a roasting tray or baking sheet(s) in one layer. Roast for approximately 45 minutes at 180 degrees or until golden brown, tossing once or twice during cooking. Allow to cool a little on the tray.

Place the washed and dried rocket onto a platter and top with the veggies and a handful of chopped roasted hazelnuts. Dot with the crumbled goats cheese and drizzle with caramelised balsamic.

Serves Four as a accompaniment - we had ours with BBQd lamb chops. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Miss Kitty Bakes: Carrot, zucchini and banana muffins

As I have previously mentioned, Georgie is a veggie hater. A genuine skeptic. But in order to try and get some green nutrients into her I have resorted to hiding veggies in other food. I grate every type of vegetable imaginable and pop it in bolognese. My "tomato pasta sauce" has about seven different vegetables in it. And then there are these muffins.

There's nothing revoutionary in including zucchini in a muffin. Zucchinis, when cooked, take on a lovely sweet flavour that complement the carrot and banana. You could always add nuts or raisins to the mix to add a different dimension but we seem to prefer this classic version and everyone in the house likes them which is also a bonus. This recipe makes a rather large quantity but the muffins freeze very well so it's worth making the full amount, then you always have a healthy, veggie laden snack on hand for morning or afternoon tea.

Zucchini, Carrot and Banana Muffins
Adapted from: The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread via DelectablyMine


1 1/2 cups (220 g) plain flour
11/2 cups (220g) wholemeal flour
1 1/8 cups (227 g) sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups (340 g) carrots, peeled and grated
2 cups (255 g) zucchini, grated
1 cup (270 g) mashed, ripe banana (equivalent to 3 smallish bananas)
4 eggs
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (120 g) vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large bowl, gently toss together the carrots, zucchini, and bananas. Pour the liquid egg mixture over the grated vegetables and bananas, and fold in gently to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold in until just combined.

Scoop the batter gently into greased or lined muffin tins. Bake for 8 minutes at 200 degrees, then rotate the pan and reduce the temperature to 175 degrees. Bake for an additional 9-11 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and place on a wire reach to cool completely before tucking in.

Yields: 24 muffins

Friday, August 2, 2013

Miss Kitty Bakes: Slow cooked lemon and garlic chicken

When I think of winter, I think of long slow braises and soft unctuous roasts that spend hours and hours in the oven. We spend a lot of time with the oven on in this house - the benefits of which are twofold: 1. we get lovely, yet easy food and 2. it keeps the kitchen snug and warm.

This delicious Nigella Lawson dish is no exception: minimal fuss, high reward for effort and a lovely warm kitchen to boot. And it reheats very well so you can spread the three minutes worth of effort over two meals. It seriously can't get much better than that!

We sometimes make this with a whole chicken cut into pieces, or marylands, or chicken thigh pieces on the bone. It's a very forgiving dish. And a delicious one. It's a winter staple in this house. Give it a go!

Nigella Lawson's Slow Roasted Lemon and Garlic Chicken

1 chicken (approx. 2.25kg / 4½lbs) cut into 10 pieces
1 bulb of garlic (separated into unpeeled cloves)
2 unwaxed lemons (cut into chunky eighths)
1 handful fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
150 ml white wine
Black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3/325ºF.

Put the chicken pieces into a roasting tin and add the garlic cloves, lemon chunks and the thyme; just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks, leaving some intact for strewing over later. Add the oil and using your hands mix everything together, then spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.

Sprinkle over the white wine and grind on some pepper, then cover tightly with foil and put in the oven to cook, at flavour-intensifyingly low heat, for 2 hours.

Remove the foil from the roasting tin, and turn up the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF. Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelise at the edges.

Serve the chicken straight from the roasting tin strewn with your remaining thyme alongside yummy roasted potatoes and a green salad.