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A picnic loaf for a picnic

May 21st 2015 10:21
Picnic loaf

One of the things which I have very much enjoyed while I have been on maternity leave (and will miss now that I am back at work) has been catching up with my friend and her son for regular picnics.

Over the past 10 months we have picnicked across the state, visiting gardens, rivers, council lawns and parks. We have even, on occasion, picnicked on the lounge room floor.

Quite a while back I spied a recipe for a layered picnic loaf, and mentally filed it away as something I would like to make at some stage. After about 9 months of picnicking, it made its way to the front of my mind where I decided I could pull together my own version using some of the fresh produce pick from the backyard. The result was delicious, if a little tricky to eat while holding on to a little person at the same time.

Layered Picnic Loaf (serves 2)

1 small eggplant
1 small zucchini
1/2 sweet potato
1 green capsicum
1 long red chilli (optional)
1 small loaf of bread
1 x 250g chunky dip
50g shaved salami
50g sun dried tomatoes
100g fresh ricotta
handful kalamata olives, chopped
fresh basil

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Slice eggplant, zucchini, sweet potato, capsicum and chilli thinly, then drizzle generously with olive oil and bake in oven for around 20 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Allow to cool.

Picnic loaf

With a sharp bread knife, remove the top 1cm of the bread and set aside. Cut the middle of the bread loaf out, leaving a 1cm crust on all sides. Discard the middle of the bread, then spread the chunky dip over all sides, including the lid.

Layer the salami at the bottom of the loaf, then layer roasted vegetables, and sundried tomatoes on top. Combine ricotta and olives with fresh basil, then layer this on top of the tomatoes.

Place lid on loaf, then wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge with something heavy on top of it for at least 2 hours.

Picnic loaf

Bring back to room temperature, cut into slices and serve.

Picnic loaf


Fancy some figs?

March 21st 2015 10:02
We have entered into another glut of the season, and this time it is figs. I have written before about the wonderful fig tree my father-in-law has at their place. This year the harvest is again bountiful and we have been lucky enough to find ourselves with a few bags of the precious fruit to call our own.

With a cupboard still full of fig jam and fig paste from previous years, my first foray with this season's pick was to try and re-create Maggie Beer's Burnt Fig icecream.

To do this, I simply cut the figs in half, sprinkled them with some cinnamon sugar and roasted in a hot oven for around 20-25 minutes. You want the figs to have some burnt edges and to have started to go a little crusty. Then, once they had cooled, I pureed the mixture and swirled it through some vanilla custard icecream I made. It was good, but I wouldn't call it worthy of a Maggie Beer comparison.

Upon making the icecream, I discovered that I only needed about half the amount of fig puree as what I had made, so with the remaining 2 cups, I decided to make some bread.

Similar in base to this zucchini cake, the fig bread uses vegetable oil, cinnamon and walnuts to round it out. I had a couple of slices for breakfast, and took a couple to work with me for afternoon tea. Delicious!

Fig Bread

3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 cups fig puree
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped walnuts

With a whisk, beat eggs and sugar together until pale and frothy. Add fig puree and oil.

In a large separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the fig mixture alternately with the buttermilk, mixing well after each addition.Fold in walnuts. Bake at 180 degrees C for 1 hour in a large greased and floured loaf pan.

** This loaf also freezes quite well. Simply slice and gladwrap individual servings ready to defrost, or if you are looking to serve it warm, simply lightly toast from frozen.


Zucchini cake

January 17th 2015 10:24
zucchini cake

Anyone with even a partial green thumb knows that summer time in the veggie patch equals zucchinis, zucchinis and more zucchinis. As we currently have epic veggie patches, you will not be surprised to hear that we have lots of zucchini around at the moment.

One of the most prolific fruiting and easiest veggies to grow, zucchinis (also known as corgettes) are perfect for adding to a pasta sauce, chopped into a stew or playing the starring role in many a dish (such as here and here).

But, with three or four zucchinis ripening at least every other day, you can get to the point where every zucchini dish is getting a bit 'same old, same old'. However, this zucchini recipe is different.

Similar in principle to the idea of a carrot cake, this zucchini cake is simple to make, freezes well, and makes use of those extra zucchini in a form that is perfect for consumption with a cup of coffee in the morning, or with a cup of tea in the afternoon. Kids love it, adults love it and you'll once again be happy that you decided to grow zucchinis.

Zucchini Cake

4 small zucchinis, trimmed and grated
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs beaten
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup sultanas

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Grease and line a loaf tin. In a large bowl combine zucchini, oil, sugar and eggs. Sift all dry ingredients together and gradually blend into the zucchini mixture. Add walnuts and sultanas and mix well. Pour into your tin and bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If desired, spread cake with cream cheese icing. Cool before cutting.

Brie, chocolate and strawberry toastie

November 28th 2014 10:49
chocolate strawberry brie

After a trip to the Central Markets last week, we discovered, when we arrived home, that we had purchased an embarrassing amount of cheese

[ Click here to read more ]

Managing the glut

November 20th 2014 10:47
cashew chicken

Somehow, over the past month, our neat little veggie patch, has morphed into an entire backyard full of plantings. Think market garden, think commercial growers, think Doomsday Preppers/ end of the world/ we will be self-sufficient

[ Click here to read more ]

Garden goodies

September 30th 2014 01:18
Since this post, our little food critic has arrived and things are quite different around here.

Dinner is often a juggling act - trying to eat with one hand while the other one holds onto the little man, all the while trying not to drop food on him (we are about 80% successful in this pursuit

[ Click here to read more ]

Salted caramel apple crumble

August 4th 2014 16:58
salted caramel apple crumble

Crumble is one of my "go-to" easy dessert options for when we have guests over, or for when we volunteer to take a dessert to someone else's house for dinner. I find it is simple to prepare, easy to transport and the elements can be made ahead of time to ensure you enjoy the maximum socialising opportunities

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Raisin Loaf

July 30th 2014 01:57
Raisin loaf

Now that I have a little extra time for a few days, I have been thinking about getting back into regular bread making

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Making meals

July 5th 2014 06:26
baby rough cooking

There has been a lot of cooking happening around here lately, but comparatively, not a lot of eating (although my tummy has certainly been getting bigger

[ Click here to read more ]

Meatballs with quinoa

May 3rd 2014 23:27
meatballs and quinoa

We're coming into winter here in the southern hemisphere, and along with the new cooler season comes a renewed focus on comfort food and meals in bowls that you can hold in your hands to warm you up on the inside and out

[ Click here to read more ]

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