Mushroom & Walnut Pillows w/ Saffron Milk Cap Sauce

FinSki's Wild Mushroom Pillows1

Take me to the recipe!

You’ll find our beautiful Mushroom and Walnut Pillows with Saffron Milk Cap sauce recipe in Lyndey Milan’s, Taste of Australia Book. Page 184 to be exact, and yes, Blondie and I take full credit for the recipe! However if you don’t have the book then click here!


Easter Forage Review

Awesome fish for Good Friday fish bbq, packed! Mushroom picking kits, check! Enough food to feed a small army, yep! Wine, bubbles and beer for the boys, tick!

Blondie and I were off for what was going to be yet another amazing Easter at Yarrawonga South with our respective families. Good food, chilled wine, company of long time friends and of course wild mushroom picking! Bliss!

With both cars packed to the top, kids in the back, dog in the front Blondie and I took the long way round. We headed south, stopped off at the Southern Highlands pine forest to pick some mushrooms. Whilst there was nothing to be found (zip, zero!) at our usual spot our spirits could not be dampened! We had the most amazing drive ahead of us. Oberon via Taralga is such a beautiful drive. Winding country roads, sheep and cattle grazing and cool tunes pumping out.

Having arrived at our destination in the cold and wet rain we delayed our foraging adventure to Easter Sunday, after all there was yummy food to be cooked and wine to be drunk!

We knew that Oberon had some rain, but we also heard that it was a very dry summer. Nevertheless with open minds and hope in our hearts we ventured out for our first real forage for 2015. The pressure was on, we had two new picking recruits, Bodie and Bailey, who were keen to see what all the fuss was about.

FinSki's 2015 Mushrooms1

Mushroom Picking Crew!

FinSki's 2015 Mushrooms2

New recruit gives it a thumbs up!

Foraging for these beauties can be a fickle thing. Too often there have been stories where people have gone to one section of the forest and found nothing, whilst their foraging counterpart managed to pick a large haul!

Driving into the forest for the first time each season can be a funny thing, the nerves, the excitement, the smell of the fresh pine air, the need to train your eyes to spot the difference between a saffron milk cap mushroom and a saffron coloured rock or leaf (yes, it does happen).

We made a bee line for our true, tried and tested spot but to our disappointment we ended up with a tiny basket of …. 8 mushrooms! Not each, not per day but for the whole trip.

FinSki's 2015 Mushrooms

FinSki's Pasta1

First Saffron Milk Cap of 2015!

When you do manage to get your hands on these flavorsome Saffron Milk Cap mushroom you can’t go past our Mushroom and Walnut Pillows with Saffron Milk Cap Sauce! Perfect for the autumn months and best enjoyed with a glass of chilled chardonnay.

Bella and Blondie

Leek & Potato Soup w/ Onion Puree

Leek & Potato Soup w/ Onion Puree

Click image for recipe

Leek & Potato Soup w/ Onion Puree and Caramelised Onion Oil is heaven sent when you’ve got a cold.

As my boy is home sick from school with a cold today, I did the motherly thing and made some soup. Nothing is better than a piping hot bowl of soup to make you feel all warm and toasty on the inside.

This is my basic recipe for one of the food world’s most enduring partnerships … leek and potatoes. It’s also a fantastic canvas for experimenting with added flavours, which is why the onion puree has been introduced, which in turn produced an amazing by-product of the Caramelised Onion Oil that just had to be included in it.

Having come across a puree recipe from Chef Steps a little while ago, I was eager to incorporate it into a dish, and this was perfect. The Onion Puree is super simple to make, just bung some onions into a hot oven with some oil and salt and roast for 2 hours. The end result is incredibly sweet onions melting inside their skins. This gets pureed and voila, a tasty element to add to soups, risottos, aioli etc. But, what go me so excited was the  left over oily, caramelised, sweet and salty juices left in the baking dish – Oh my! You really have to make this for yourself.

Happy sopping – Blondie :)

Beef & Mushroom Meatloaf w/ Roasted Garlic

Click Image for Beef & Mushroom Meatloaf w/ Roasted Garlic Recipe

Click Image for Beef & Mushroom Meatloaf w/ Roasted Garlic Recipe

Beef & Mushroom Meatloaf w/ Roasted Garlic is a super simple recipe that is just as delicious served piping hot, straight from the oven as it is eaten in the following days on your sandwiches with lashings of tomato chutney and mustard.

I’ve made this with a roasted garlic on the side, but please go ahead and make as much roasted garlic as you choose to as the soft, sweet, caramelised garlic lends it’s self to being used in so many different dishes. Just squeeze the cloves out of their paper casings and cover them with olive oil. This will store well in the fridge for about a week.

To use the roasted garlic for this recipe, simply squeeze out the soft flesh and spread over the meatloaf for added flavour. Even though the roasting of the garlic changes it’s chemical makeup to be more easily digested, you will still have garlic breath – I don’t care what anyone says, it is definitely there! So this is to benefit the people who would like to avoid leaching out garlic smell through out their places of work or school.

Old fashioned homeliness – Blondie :)

Chicken pie with the lot!

FinSki's Chicken Pie1

Click on image for full recipe

Half way through last year Blondie introduced me to Aussie Farmers Direct. A great initiative supporting local farmers via an independent online retail facility. Each Monday and Thursday they deliver to my door fresh fruit and veggies along with a selection of meats and dairy items.

At first I was very skeptical of using this service, having bad experiences with both, Coles on line and the Woollies delivery service, however I took the plunge and placed my first order and was very pleasantly surprised.

What appealed to me most about Aussie Farmers Direct was that in my own small way I was supporting Australian farmers, buying Australian made products and keeping the $ in Australia. I also love the fact that it comes to my door bright and early in the morning, 6 am!

What I dislike like is my own negligence that seems to have happened 3 times in a row – forgetting to take stock of what was in the fridge prior to my Thursday and Monday delivery to ensure that I don’t double or triple up in some cases on certain items.

Having another frantic week at work I forgot to revise my Thursday order, as a result I have ended up with three leeks, 3 bags of onions (I can see French onion soup being made!) several bags of mushrooms (ravioli here we come!) carrots (yep Spot the bunny will be happy!) enough garlic to ensure that Count Dracular never visits Team FinSki’s! Cauliflower that is clearly not very happy to be sharing the fridge real estate space with another younger sibling.

With the fridge bursting I had to come us with a recipe that would use as many of the over purchased veggies as I could.

Whilst it hasn’t exactly been pie weather in Sydney I jumped at the opportunity to make a good ol’ fashioned chicken pie with the lot!

I love pies, the home made ones, not the store bought ones with the wobbly bits in the filling. There is something simple, nourishing and very homely about a good ol’ fashioned pie with a perfect crust!

My chicken pie recipe is really a no brainer, you can pack it with any left over veggies you like! The secret is in using good quality stock, I make my own and adding a little wholegrain mustard for extra taste.

I normally make a big pie to feed us for at least 2 maybe 3 nights and then freeze the rest in small batches to make more pie, or mini pies.

What’s your favourite pie?

Bella :)

Taco & Fajita Seasoning – Big Batch

Taco and Fajita Seasoning - Big Batch

Click image for Taco and Fajita Seasoning – Big Batch recipe

Taco and Fajita Seasoning – Big Batch is a one for all recipe, perfect for someone who can’t decide between taco’s or fajita’s for dinner.

If you are whipping up a batch of taco’s you really don’t need to alter this recipe at all, but if you want to make fajita’s with grilled meat you can then add a big squeeze of lime juice at the end.

Although there is a difference in the two recipes, when you are at home and just really want to have the punch of flavour of Mexican food this is a must to have on hand.

Happy Mexican feasting – Blondie  :)

Amazing Coconut Roughs

Amazing Coconut Roughs

Click image for Amazing Coconut Roughs recipe

Amazing Coconut Roughs… These are truly amazing little treats to have on hand for when you need a little energy boost… and fantastic for primary schools as they are free from most things that some kids are intolerant to – There is always one kid that can’t have gluten or eggs or sugar etc, in a class and it’s a shame that they always miss out on treats.

I will definitely be making them into little egg moulds for Easter this year!

Guilt free eating – Blondie :)

Christmas Tree Ice Cream Cones

FinSkis Xmas Tree Icecream

Click on image for recipe

You would have had to been living under a log the last few weeks to not know that it is Christmas in 11 sleeps!

I am a Christmas junkie! I love the food, the wine, the decorations and of course the planning which starts for me as soon as humanly possible! Our Christmas tree goes up religiously on the 1st of December however if the 1st should happen to fall on a week day then you can legally without offending the Christmas spirits put your tree and decorations up the weekend before! Decorating is a huge event, the boxes come out, the Buble Christmas tunes are pumped and I plot around the house with with a glass of champagne whilst Imogen decorates the tree. The hubby on the other hand prefers to have a beer or two at the local, however he is getting better with the decorations going up!

It turned out that this year hubby had two work functions each night so paper art decorations in hand Imogen and I decorated our lounge and dinning room. Very proud of our colour coordinated efforts!

Xmas Decorations

Back to the food aspect of Christmas! These little ice cream cone Christmas trees are too easy to make and the kids will love helping decorate them!

You need to ensure that the ice cream freezes well otherwise it will melt too quickly when you take the cones out. Although we didn’t have this problem, they were all gobbled up within seconds of coming out of the freezer!

If you have a Christmas inspired desert then please feel free to share!

Merry Christmas and Wesołych Świąt!

Bella :)

Traditional Finnish Gingerbread Biscuits – Piparkakut

Traditional Finnish Gingerbread Biscuits – Piparkakut

Click image for recipe

Traditional Finnish Gingerbread Biscuits – Piparkakut … If I were to choose one thing that is significantly Christmas to me, and for most Finns I would assume, it would have to be the mounds of gingerbread biscuits that come out at this time of year.

My Nana has always been the one to stock the family with these delicious, spice laden, thin crispy biscuits. She would have tins of them, and knowing how much my sister and I loved them, would keep a continual stock of them throughout the year that we would have with tea along with other lovely sweets.

I recently acquired a Finnish cookbook published in 1966, Kotiruoka by Uusi Laitos (translates to Home Cooking or something very similar) This is Nana’s and has been well thumbed through. It has nine different recipes for gingerbread cookies… NINE!

The Finnish/Nordic way is to have them neat, no fancy icing decorations and the shapes are simple hearts, stars and a scalloped circle… although I have, in the last several years, started a little tradition with my son and we now decorate large cookies cut from my gorgeous Donna Hay Christmas Bauble Cookie Cutters. The large size means the cookies can be intricately decorated and look stunning (my son channels Jackson Pollock when decorating these)

This amount makes about 50 cookies depending on the size of your cutters, but believe me they will disappear, and very quickly! Going with the FinSki’s theme for edible gift ideas, package them up in little bags or old biscuit tins and give them as gift.

Hyvaa joulua! Blondie

Traditional Finnish Gingerbread Biscuits – Piparkakut


Poppy Seed Pate Cake with Baked Ricotta

FinSki's Poppy Seed Pate Cake with Baked Ricotta1

Click on image for full recipe

This is a Polish marriage made in heaven! Poppy seed cheesecake or as I now call it, Poppy seed pate cake with Baked Ricotta!

You might remember that a while ago I came across this tub of poppy seed pate mixture at my local continental grocer.

FinSki's Poppy Seed Pate Cake with Baked Ricotta2

Happily handing over my cash to the register operator I ran home and ogled hundreds of recipes for poppy seed mixtures. Most of them called for ingredients that I didn’t have and being a Sunday I was determined to not have to venture out into the shops again.

My pantry had Anzac biscuits that had a week left prior to the use by date and sugar. In the fridge I had butter, a kilo of ricotta and eggs.

What on earth did you do with the Anzac biscuits I hear you ask?

Well, as crazy as it sounds they were the base for the cake, a baked base! At first when I put all the ingredients together I had a mini melt down, I remembered that when you typically make a cheesecake base with digestive biscuits, you don’t bake the base. You let it set with the cheese on top.

With my cheesecake about to go into the oven, I couldn’t give up now, no matter how large the error was!

When the cake was in the oven at 180º C the butter melted slightly and leaked onto the bottom of the oven tray, but once the cake cooled down my baked Anzac biscuit base was amazing. The hard set biscuit base complemented the softness of the baked ricotta and poppy seed pate.

FinSki's Poppy Seed Pate Cake with Baked Ricotta3 The rest of the cake was divine too!

Will I make this exactly the same again…hell yes!

What errors have you made in the kitchen that have ended up working out ok?


Mushroom foraging with Lyndey Milan

Australian Traveller magazine

Lyndey Milan puts FinSki’s mushroom foraging in her top 5 foodie experiences from her show, Taste of Australia.

Bella and I are over the moon to have ‘foraging for wild mushrooms’ selected in Lyndey Milan’s “Top 5 Foodie Experiences” for her article in Australian Traveller magazine.

With all the travels she did for her show, Taste of Australia; the multitude of experiences with the amount of people she met, mushroom foraging with FinSki’s ranked up there with the best!

Yay us!!

Pop over to our Mushrooming page for more fantastic stories on wild mushroom foraging in NSW.

Clarified Butter and Ghee

Clarified Butter and Ghee

Click here for recipe

Clarified butter and ghee are simple enough products to get at your local shop (well ghee is), so why go to the trouble of making them yourself? Aside from the flavour, it’s simply for the fact that you have control of where the butter will come from. Maybe you like a particular butter from a farm near you or a Danish butter brand or you only eat organic. If this is the case then you need to start making this for yourself.

The difference between clarified butter and ghee is purely the time the butter has been cooked for. Butter is clarified once the milk solids have separated – there will be two distinct layers. Ghee has just been cooked for a bit longer and will have a nuttier more golden hue. Both are far more outstanding products, both in taste and aroma when made yourself… I can absolutely promise you that you will never, ever buy ghee or clarified butter again after you have tasted your own.

This recipe is probably more a ghee than a clarified butter as I cooked it a few more minutes after the splattering stopped. It’s fast to make and it lasts for ages, up to 6 months in the fridge.

Use a butter that you love, (this is my favourite for making ghee). It needs to be unsalted and butter in it’s purest form, no additives at all.

Simple, easy and tasty – Blondie :)

Mum’s Divine Lamb Roast Marinade

Mum's Divine Lamb Roast Marinade

Click for recipe

I can’t believe I hadn’t put this recipe up yet, so here it is, short and sweet… This is my mum’s marinade for leg of lamb; it’s sweet with a slight hit of mustard heat and makes the most delicious gravy afterwards.

I was raised on this and whenever I make it myself I get a nostalgic whiff of childhood. The aroma that hits you when you walk in the door is divine, hence the title, Mum’s Divine Lamb Roast Marinade :)

Get yourself a large leg of lamb so you can enjoy several meals out of it with your family.

Food memories… Blondie

Simple Small Batch Aioli

Simple Small Batch Aioli

Click image for recipe – Small Batch Aioli

Simple Small Batch Aioli – Mayonnaise is one of those amazing condiments that is used in countries all around the world to add flavour or smoothness to their dishes. Aioli is basically garlic mayonnaise (although the true way of making this is to pound the oil and garlic in a mortar and pestle – no egg is added) but you can use any number of different ingredients to make your own flavoured mayonnaise.

The reason I like this small batch recipe is because I will never get through a cup or more of homemade aioli within a week. This is just the right amount to use on some sandwiches or on toast with poached eggs on the weekend.

If you are feeling adventurous you can add some fresh herbs or throw in some hot smoked paprika or any other spice to complement your meal, maybe add a mustard. Use lemon instead of vinegar, or use a different vinegar, maybe a fruit vinegar… the combinations are endless.

Let your creativity out! – Blondie  :)

Danish Sweet Cheese Pastries From Scratch

Click image for recipe - Danish Sweet Cheese Pastries

Click image for recipe – Danish Sweet Cheese Pastries

Danish Sweet Cheese Pastries From Scratch comes direct from Nigella Lawson’s, How To Be A Domestic Goddess cookbook. I chose this one for the mere fact that it’s a food processor made dough, which in my mind will make the dough making process easy and clean… hahaha!!

To start with and probably the one thing EVERYONE mentions about this dough is just how moist, messy and sticky it is… and they weren’t wrong. It’s like glue!

In the original recipe it asks to mix the dry ingredients then add the cold butter in the food processor then add this to the combined wet ingredients. That was far too messy for me, considering everyone’s comments on this particular pastry recipe, so I did it slightly different – I did it all in the food processor. The result was still a success, but you are still going to get dirty trying to remove the dough from the processor into a bowl for it to prove.

**Brainwave** Leave the dough to prove in the processor bowl! Will let you know how it goes the next time around.

Get your hands dirty and have fun!.. Blondie :)

Danish Sweet Cheese Pastries From Scratch

Asparagus and Chorizo Soup

Asparagus and Chorizo Soup

Click for recipe – Asparagus and Chorizo Soup

Asparagus and Chorizo Soup is a perfect Spring time soup with the fresh, sweet asparagus all over the veggie markets at the moment.

This asparagus soup would probably be my favourite, especially when teamed with a toasted ciabatta or turkish bread. The holes serve as lots of mini bowls that when dunked into the soup fill up and become the most perfect edible spoon. Just be sure to cut the bread length ways not into slices otherwise you will end up with most of it on the table!

This soup is a great canvas to show off a lovely chorizo sausage, with it’s distinctive smokey flavour and bright red colour contrasting with the mellow green of the soup.

Slurp it up wholeheartedly… Blondie  :)

Asparagus and Chorizo Soup

Homemade Sweetened Yoghurt & Bread

Homemade Sweetened Yoghurt - Small Batch

Click image for recipe – Small batch sweetened yoghurt

Homemade Sweetened Yoghurt & Bread… Yoghurt is a simple enough food to buy but it can get expensive. I particularly like the sweetened yoghurt freshly made at my local grocer; it’s lusciously thick and creamy and lightly sweetened but we do get through quite a bit of it so this is the focus for my homemade yoghurt.

After reading the final results of other people’s homemade yoghurts (the main complaint being that it wasn’t as thick as store bought varieties, alot even separated) I chose to add a thickener, pectin to be exact, just to be safe … I really wanted to replicate my favourite yoghurt and quickly. If you aren’t in a hurry then ideally leave it to strain in a muslin cloth over a bowl to catch the whey. This will produce a deliciously thick and creamy yoghurt -You won’t be able to strain it if you have added gelatin or pectin.

Yoghurt is basic enough to make, the challenge is having a source of heat to keep it warm for 10-12 hours (times do vary immensely though). I decided to do the esky method, but you can do any of the following methods:

  • put it in a non draughty area with a towel around it
  • place it in a thermos
  • remove the shelves from your dehydrator and leave it at 45°C / 113°F
  • place it on a brewer’s heat pad with a tea towel over it… they all do the same job.

Your yoghurt can set anytime from only a few hours, but you can leave it for as long as a day. The sour taste will get stronger the longer it’s left.

If you want a basic greek yoghurt then omit the sugar and vanilla and any thickeners. Just make as the method below and then pour into a strainer lined with muslin and leave to drain in the fridge till you have achieved your desired consistency.

It’s important to use freshly opened, ‘live’ yoghurt in your first batch to ensure the bacteria is at it’s freshest then, importantly, remember to make sure you to set aside a 1/4 cup of your yoghurt to use as a starter batch to get another lot of yoghurt going. You can generally get about 4 cycles from your homemade yoghurt before you will need to buy a fresh batch of live yoghurt to use as your starter.

Other variables you can use when making your yoghurt include using pure cream or half cream with half milk instead of straight milk.

After  you have tried your hand at yoghurt then get stuck into my Sweet Yoghurt Bread Rolls

Sweet Yoghurt Bread Rolls

Click here for recipe – Sweet Yoghurt Bread Rolls

This recipe comes direct from a website I stumbled across, Pure Enjoyment. I didn’t alter anything in the ingredients, (I think that is only the second time I have ever done that!) It’s faultless! Thank you so much for sharing this with the world :)

The crumb is a lighter version of brioche but with a flavour that has a delicate tang due to the yoghurt. I used my homemade Sweetened Yoghurt for this recipe but you could certainly go out and buy a favourite yoghurt (at Pure Enjoyment she and quite a few of her followers used a chunky fruit yoghurt) The aroma is heavenly and it’s just so moreish.

Timeline if you were to make it on the weekend… take 10 minutes to make the dough after breakfast and then leave to prove till lunch time, spend another 10 minutes – if that – making the 10 balls and then leave to prove till 20 minutes before afternoon drinks. Cook and then you have amazing sweet bread rolls to have with a beer.

What’s your cup of tea?

FinSki's Tea1 My morning routine starts the night before. On a week day I get my clothes ready for the office, laid out neatly on the ironing board ready to be put on at a moments notice after I jump out of the shower. I have my hand bag packed with the next days necessities, waiting by the door. I have my daughters lunch box ready so that come morning time I just need to fill it with the days fuel (not that it gets eaten anyway!). But the most important aspect of my morning routine is to ensure that my kettle is filled to the top, that my mug is ready and positioned carefully next to the kettle with a tea spoon of sugar sitting in the bottom with my favourite tea waiting patiently next to the mug, waiting to be infused in hot water the minute I jump out of my shower. Without my morning infusion the rest of the day can literally fall apart.

The morning routine fell into a heap this week when I opened the pantry cupboard only to reveal no tea! It wasn’t just a matter of running to the shop and picking up the stock standard Earl Grey flavour. Tea for me is like buying coffee, I have my favourite select few brands and straying from those is not an option. Take the religious 8.30 am coffee at work, I refuse to get it from anywhere else even though I manage to pass 4 coffee shops!

Balance was restored again that evening when I purchased one of my favourite teas, a Henry Langdon, Earl Grey.

FinSki's Tea3 I was introduced to Henry Langdon tea about 4 years ago by a rather very strange colleague at work who thought that when we die we get collected in a space ship and are shipped off to a place in heaven, anyway that’s another story for another post! As strange as this lady was, she knew her tea! Thanks to her I keep a box of this delicious tea in my cupboard and very secretly only share it with myself! It’s my little indulgence.

FinSki's Tea4 Until this week I had absolutely no idea how popular tea consumption was! Next to water tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world! I also didn’t know that different teas should be brewed at different water temperature levels for best results. For example water temperature for a classic black tea should be at 99°C, white tea at 65-70°, yellow tea at 70-75°C, and green tea at 75-80°. Do you think that this really matters? If you are a bit of a tea expert I’d loved to know!

Growing up tea would be served during breakfast, lunch and dinner, depending on what was on the menu. We drank tea black, with the tea leaves still sitting at the bottom of the cup/mug. Mum would squeeze a small amount of lemon juice and it tasted fantastic. Tea, sourdough bread with some cold cuts!

How do you take your tea and what’s your favourite?

Bella :)

Pork Sticks w/ Spicy Cumin Salt aka Pork Scratchings

Pork Scratchings w Spicy Cumin Salt

Click image for recipe

Pork Sticks w/ Spicy Cumin Salt aka Pork Scratchings are an incredibly moreish drinking snack that will have everyone wanting more. It really is impossible to walk pass a bowl of these crunchy, crispy pork sticks, especially when lightly dusted with the Spicy Cumin Salt.

These are a great starter to have with drinks, even a great snack to make for the movies as it stores well in sealed containers. If you just can’t wait till christmas for a pork crackling hit then here is your salvation.

Just remember that the pork skin does shrink alot from it’s original size, so when you are buying it buy what you think will be enough, then double it; trust me.

Happy crunching!  Blondie

Pork Sticks w/ Spicy Cumin Salt aka Pork Scratchings

Napoleonki – the Polish version of Millue Feuille

FinSki's Napoleonki1

Click on image for recipe

Desserts are not my ‘thing’, I mean I am happy to eat them but my cooking skill lie with savory food. My hubby isn’t a huge dessert fan either so I don’t particularly go out of my way to make desserts each week. The extent of dessert in our household is ensuring that we have a constant (err never ending) supply of chocolate mini magnums in the fridge for Imogen, all hell can break loose otherwise! I’m also not very good at making desserts and have had many failed attempts. Give me a mystery box of savoury ingredients and I can guarantee you that I will be able to whip something up, without a recipe. Sweet dishes are my nemesis.

If there is one thing that I admire about my mum that’s the fact that she can can whip up a Polish dessert blind folded! When I visit my parents house there is always a cake, a tort, a slice or some other sweet hiding in the fridge. I always get excited about visiting them because I know I’ll be eating wholesome good home cooked food, but then I end up leaving very full, simply because I can’t resist the temptation of sampling everything else that she has in her fridge, including the sweet stuff which always takes be back to my childhood days of living at home.

Each May I host a Mother’s Day lunch at my place and this year mum made Napoleonki which are another one of Poland’s best known desserts and share a striking similarity to the French dessert Mille Feuille, a vanilla/custard type slice also known as Napoleon.

I haven’t eaten Napoleonki for probably about 10 years and for very good reasons, one because just looking at them makes me put on about 10 kilos! Two because once I have one, I want another.

With the family luncheon finished, dessert came out and I made a bee line for the Napoleonki slice and with just one bite I was transported to my childhood days of eating desserts a plenty without a worry in the world. Days of Polish family gatherings where the tables were filled with food as far as the eye could see and laughter, banter and eating went on forever!

One of the things I love about cooking and eating, is how it can make you feel, the memories that it can create and the memories that it can bring back.

Having finished my slice I knew what I had to do next and that was to make very first Napoleonki!

So my dear friends, what’s a dish that brings your childhood memories flooding back?


How To Make A Broth, Stock or Bone Broth

Broth, Stock or Bone Broth… What is the difference between the three? Is there a difference between the three?

There’s no mistaking what a stock is or a bone broth is but it can become a little unclear as to where a broth stands, here is my interpretation of the three…

How To Make A Broth, Stock or Bone Broth

Broth -Think of a broth as the finished product, a soup in a sense… Chicken Soup or Won Ton Noodle Soup all use a broth. It is a gently flavoured liquid that is made by flavouring water with meat, or very meaty bones, carrots, celery, light herbs, onion and most importantly seasoned with salt. It is lighter in flavour compared to the stock and bone broths and is always clear and thin, which is an absolute necessity in asian cuisine. 

The cooking time is much shorter compare with the other two methods, around 40 minutes (unless you are poaching a whole chicken).  There are no added health benefits to an extended cooking time for broths, and it will even negatively affect the flavour of your broth, especially if you are making a fish broth, which will turn bitter if cooked longer than 30-40 minutes. All the flavour and nutrients you want will be leached out into the liquid during this short cooking time.

My favourite broth is a chicken one. By poaching a whole chicken in water with the addition of carrots, onion, celery and seasoned well with peppercorns and salt, you end up with beautifully moist meat and a broth that is delicious and effortless – this method takes about 1 hour 20 minutes as it’s the whole chicken. The benefit of this method is you have a lot of meat leftover that can then be made into pies or a salad through the week along with plenty of chicken broth. As a bonus, the chicken carcass can be incorporated into a bone broth, just freeze till required.

Broths will remain quite fluid as opposed to the stocks and bone broth, which with their naturally high gelatin content, will turn to jelly once refrigerated. 

Vegetable and fish broths do not benefit from long cooks.

How To Make A Broth, Stock or Bone Broth

Stock – Is a component of cooking, it’s used to add body and flavour to a dish, generally not to have on it’s own, think of risotto, stews or gravy. It is made with well roasted bones –  ideally with quite a bit of meat still left on them for the extra flavour, and vegetables. Roasting the meaty bones is necessary to a good quality stock as you want rich, well developed flavours in a stock, which the roasting of the bones and vegetables will do. Un-roasted bones will leave a slightly odd, unpleasant flavour to the liquid.

Stocks are generally cooked for 6 -12 hours.

As I make quite big batches of stock at one time (10-12 cups worth) I personally choose to keep the added flavours of vegetables and herbs to a minimum, this way I can alter it to lean toward a particular cuisine when I want to. It’s still a very rich stock just not heavily loaded with flavours outside of the roasted meaty flavours.

Remember to keep all your bones from the roasts you make, in the freezer till you are ready to make your stock. My favourite stock combines the meaty bones of various beasts with the addition of a rabbit carcass  – the flavour is magical!

How To Make A Broth, Stock or Bone Broth

Bone broth – Think of bone broth as homemade medicine. Made to be drunk straight, especially the first ‘pressing’, it is the holy grail of the stewing liquids. Used for speeding the healing, repair and recuperation time from illness, reduce joint pain, reduce inflammation, prevent bone loss and build healthy skin, hair, and nails. Certain amino acids that come mostly from the bones can assist with a healthy gut and digestion, a balanced nervous system and strong immune system - just as chicken soup (using the whole chicken) has been proven to aide in healing, bone broth takes it that next step further. Made using mainly the bones – as that is where the amino acids and minerals will be coming from, it’s the very long stewing time, combined with a vinegar solution to draw out certain minerals, that makes the bone broth highly regarded for it’s health benefits. If you are making bone broth you are making it because of it’s centuries known health benefits, otherwise you would stick to stocks.

To get the most out of the bones do your best to source organic or biodynamic animals and birds,100% grass fed beef, pasture raised chickens… basically any animal or bird that has been raised well and healthily as you are making this bone broth for it’s health benefits so the bones need to be from the healthiest animals possible… and keep them all! As you come across them, bag and freeze them; accumulate them so you have a nice mound of bones, raw chicken carcasses etc to make your broth or stock. Continue Reading →