plate 2 plate - red lentil hummus

23 May 2016

Hi Every-one,

it's time for another Plate 2 Plate post where Juliana and I make, style and photograph the same recipe. This time Juliana chose Heidi Swanson's red lentil hummus recipe. I eat hummus all the time but rarely make it and if I do make it, I admit to using tinned chick peas. I was intrigued by the recipe and wondered how the red lentil hummus would taste. Apart from the black sesame seeds I had all the other ingredients in my pantry.

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It looks like Juliana did as well.

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The first thing I noticed when I opened Juliana's files were how different her red lentils looked compared to mine. 

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Juliana used what we'd call yellow split peas in Australia and it might explain why our finished hummus looked so different. Here's Juliana's hummus, looking well just like hummus should.

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Here's how the two finished products looked side by side. Juliana's in is on the left; my effort is on the right.

My batch was a bit of a disaster. 

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My red lentil hummus was quite grainy and watery and looked more like a sauce than hummus. The recipe made a huge amount and while I like hummus, I decided against making another batch.

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Inspired by my copy of 'Falafel for Breakfast' I decided to prepare a Middle Eastern feast. As well as the hummus I made some za-atar bread; an Israeli chopped salad and some tasty beef kofta. I filled the bread with the salad and the kofta and drizzled over the red lentil hummus/sauce. Together it tasted great!

Here's the recipe for you from NEAR & FAR: RECIPES INSPIRED BY HOME AND TRAVEL by Heidi Swanson

Red Lentil Hummus
2 ½ cups cooked red lentils (see Note)
2 medium cloves garlic
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
⅔ cup (160 ml) tahini
¾ tsp fine-grain sea salt
2 to 3 tablespoons whey, kefir, or warm water
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
Extra-virgin olive oil, toasted sesame oil, minced chives, and/or chive blossoms, to serve

Start by adding the cooked lentils and garlic to a food processor and pulsing for at least a minute, scraping the paste from the corners once or twice along the way.

Add the lemon juice, tahini, and sea salt. Blend again, another minute or so. Don’t skimp on the blending time, but stop if the beans form a doughy ball inside the processor. At this point start adding the whey a splash at a time. Blend, blend, blend, until the hummus is smooth and light, aerated and creamy.

Taste, and adjust to your liking—adding more lemon juice or salt, if needed. Serve topped with the black sesame seeds, and preferably, a good amount olive oil, a few drops of toasted sesame oil, lots of chives and chive blossoms.

Note: Rinse 1½ cups (9 oz or 255 g) dried red lentils well and place in a saucepan with 1¾ cups (415 ml) of water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, roughly 15 minutes.

Thanks once again to Juliana for continuing to make Plate 2 Plate happen.

See you all again next week.

Bye for now,


pita bread

16 May 2016

For those of you with sharp eyes you may have noticed a change or two on the blog. It has a new name for a start, Delicious Bites, and it also has a fresh new look. Many thanks to Maira for the design.

I do hope you like the changes. The blog has a recipe page and a new feature, a print button, to make it easier to locate and print out the recipes. I've been working on this redesign since February so it's been a bit of a labour of love. It's not complete yet as I still have to relabel some of the posts and make a few minor tweaks. I've also joined instagram though there isn't much to see at this stage as my latest purchase, a little tablet, is only a few hours old.

Now onto this week's recipe. When it comes to making bread, I've been having a bit of a battle with my new oven and so far the oven is winning. I've worked out the best way to make pizza in my oven so I figured I'd be able to make some flat breads.

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A few months ago I bought a copy of 'Falafel for Breakfast' by Michael Rantissi and Kristy Frawley. The recipe book has been much thumbed since I bought the book but I've only just started cooking from it.

Last weekend I made a Middle Eastern spread for lunch. I made three recipes from the book and this recipe for pita/za'atar bread was the first thing I made. I quickly demolished these flatbreads and have just made another batch.

I made a half batch of the dough and topped 2 of the pitas breads with za'atar and olive oil.

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Here's the recipe for you f
rom Falafel for Breakfast by Michael Rantissi and Kristy FrawleyFor all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. My oven is quite slow, so I baked the pita breads at 200°C.

Pita Bread – makes eight, 

500g strong bread flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1x 7g dry yeast sachet
1 tbs sea salt flakes
2 ½ tbs extra virgin olive oil
350 ml warm water

Pita bread
Put the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the centre and slowly add the olive oil. Using your hands, combine the flour and oil. Gradually add the warm water until the dough is a little sticky (you may not need to use all of it). The dough will come together when you start kneading it.

Dust a work surface with flour and knead the dough for 3–4 minutes, until it forms a nice smooth consistency.

Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a damp tea towel (dish towel) or plastic wrap with a few holes pricked in it. Leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball (or whatever shape you like). Dust the work surface with extra flour, place the 8 balls of dough on it and cover with the damp tea towel or plastic wrap with holes to rise again for 30 minutes.

Roll out each ball of dough into a circle about 5 mm thick, or whatever thickness you like. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Put the dough circles on the baking tray (you may need to cook them in batches) and bake for 10–15 minutes, or until a light colour. Allow to cool on a tea towel (dish towel) and use within 1–2 days.

Za’atar bread
8 tbs za’atar
150 ml good-quality olive oil

To make za-atar bread, once you’ve rolled the balls of dough into rounds and set them aside to rest for 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Put the za’atar and olive oil in a bowl. Mix to combine.

Gently stamp your fingers into the dough rounds, making little valleys just deep enough so the za’atar oil won’t roll off the dough. (Don’t press too hard as you want the dough to remain aerated.) Spoon the za’atar oil over the dough.

Put the dough circles on the baking tray (you may need to cook them in batches) and bake for 10–15 minutes, or until a light colour. Allow to cool on a tea towel (dish towel) and use within 1–2 days.

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For my lunch, I filled the pita with hummus, beef kofta and salad. The following day for a delicious snack I dipped the toasted za'atar bread into the hummus.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend. I'll be back next week with this month's Plate 2 Plate post.

Bye for now,


mandarin cake with yoghurt icing

9 May 2016

A few weeks back, I saw a picture of a mandarin cake with yoghurt icing on shewhoeats instagram feed. It's Mandarin season in Sydney so inspired by the photos, I adapted this lemon cake recipe to make a mandarin cake and modified a Donna Hay recipe for the yoghurt icing. 

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I took the cake into work and it was pretty good but I wanted to see if I could make the cake even better. I remade it during the weekend baking it in a loaf tin. I added an extra egg to the batter and changed the proportions a little. I think the second version was much better so much so that I'm keeping it all to myself.

For the first version I browned the butter before making the cake. The uncooked batter tasted amazing but I could barely taste the browned butter in the baked version so for the second cake, I just melted the butter. If you do want to make the brown butter version allow an 10-20g extra butter as you'll need to discard the solids created during the browning process.

The not too sweet tangy yoghurt icing is the perfect topping for this cake.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. To make a large bundt cake or 23 cm cake just double all the ingredients but bake for the same length of time.

Mandarin Yoghurt Cake 
½ cup plus 1 tbs caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tbl finely grated mandarin rind (2 large mandarins)
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1¼ cups self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
⅓ cup Greek yoghurt
¼ cup mandarin juice

For the icing
100g Greek yoghurt
60g softened cream cheese
⅓ cup icing sugar, sifted

The night before, place the yoghurt for the icing in a muslin lined sieve. Set the sieve over a large bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 180°C (conventional). Grease and line a small loaf or 16 cm cake tin with baking paper or you could use a small bundt tin.

In a large bowl, combine the caster sugar, the eggs and the grated mandarin rind. Gradually add the butter and mix thoroughly. Sift the flour with the baking powder and the pinch of salt and stir into the egg mixture in thirds, alternately with the yoghurt and the mandarin juice. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes. The top should be golden and when tested, a skewer comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack.

In a bowl cream the softened cream cheese with the sifted icing sugar. Stir the prepared yoghurt into the icing sugar mixture. Mix well and using a palette knife, ice the cake. 

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Store the cake in the fridge but remember to bring the cake to room temperature for maximum flavour. I hope you get the chance to make this cake because it's pretty quick and easy to put together and very tasty.

See you all again next week,


buttermilk pancakes - sunday special

2 May 2016

During the Easter break a friend invited me over for brunch and served up a massive pile of ricotta hotcakes topped with Greek yoghurt, bananas and raspberries. 

Inspired by my friends pancakes I tried this recipe for buttermilk pancakes from Cooks Illustrated.

While making the pancakes I was busy baking a cake while also styling and photographing some cookies so my mind was not really on the job. I forgot to add the melted butter to the batter which I later found in the microwave but added an extra egg. Some how they still managed to turn out okay and I scoffed 4 of them for my breakfast.

Now that Passover is finally over I've returned to the kitchen with a vengeance. Yesterday I baked a cake; made a loaf of bread and made another batch of buttermilk pancakes but on this occasion I followed the recipe. If you look closely at the images below you can see the difference between the 2 batches. The pancakes on the right were made using the correct recipe whilst the pancakes on the left were my distracted batch. Yesterday's pancakes rose at least twice as high.

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Here's the recipe I used, slightly adapted for an Australian tablespoon.  For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Cooks Illustrated Best Buttermilk Pancakes - makes about 16 pancakes

2 cups plain flour
1½ tbs sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream (I used Greek yoghurt)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1-2 tbs oil

Preheat oven to 90°C/200°F. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and set it inside a rimmed baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream or yoghurt, eggs and melted butter. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently stir until just combined. The batter should be lumpy with a few streaks of flour. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.

Heat a tsp of oil in a 12-inch non-stick pan over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels carefully wipe out oil leaving a thin film of oil on the bottom and sides of pan. Using a ¼ cup measure, portion the batter into the pan in 4 places. Cook until the edges are set; first side is golden brown and bubbles on the surface are just beginning to break, 2-3 minutes. Using a thin wide spatula flip the pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown and cooked 1-2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as necessary. Serve pancakes immediately or transfer to wire rack in preheated oven.

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Here they are topped with Greek yoghurt, banana and raspberries and doused with maple syrup. For dessert I topped the pancakes with some oven roasted fruit and yoghurt and drizzled with maple syrup, they were equally delicious.

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Maybe you could surprise your Mum with a pancake breakfast for Mother's Day.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekends. See you all again next Monday.

Until then,


anzac apple crumble

25 Apr 2016

Today is Anzac Day and it's traditional to bake a batch of Anzac biscuits. I thought it would be nice to make something different so last week whilst I was looking through an old copy of Gourmet Traveller magazine I found this recipe for Anzac Apple Pie. It's not really a pie though, it's just a fancy apple crumble. I had most of the ingredients on hand so I whipped this up for dessert.

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I didn't have any treacle so I doubled the quantity of golden syrup and added a teaspoon of grated lemon rind to the crumble topping.

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It came out of the oven looking nice and golden with a soft Anzac biscuit topping. Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Anzac Apple Crumble
Anzac biscuit topping
120 gm (¾ cup) wholemeal flour
110 gm (½ cup) firmly packed brown sugar
45 gm (½ cup) rolled oats
40 gm of desiccated coconut and moist coconut flakes
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind 
90 gm butter, softened
¼ cup golden syrup
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda 

Stewed ginger apples
4 Granny Smith apples, coarsely chopped
15gm piece of ginger, thinly sliced
55 gm (¼ cup) brown sugar
½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
½ cinnamon quill

To serve: icing sugar, vanilla ice-cream or thick vanilla custard +/- caramel sauce.

Anzac biscuit topping
Stir flour, sugar, oats, both coconuts and the lemon rind in a bowl to combine and make a well in the centre. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat with golden syrup, add 1 tbsp cold water and stir until combined (1-2 minutes), then stir in bicarbonate of soda (1-2 minutes; be careful, mixture will froth up). Stir golden syrup mixture into dry ingredients. Shape mixture into a 20cm disc on a baking tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes). Preheat oven to 180ºC while you're preparing the apples. 

Stewed ginger apples
Combine ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of water and stir occasionally until apples are tender (10-12 minutes). Spoon into pie dish or baking dish with a capacity of about ½ litre, cover with Anzac biscuit topping, pushing sides into dish to enclose and bake until topping is golden brown and crisp and apples are tender and bubbling (15-20 minutes). 

Dust with icing sugar and serve hot with scoops of vanilla ice-cream or custard. I didn't do this but I think it would be delicious topped with some caramel sauce.

Wishing you all a peaceful Anzac Day.

Bye for now,


passover week - ottolenghi’s chocolate fudge cake with a twist

18 Apr 2016

Welcome to the final recipe for Passover Week 2016 and it's a show stopper.

This gem from Ottolenghi is flourless so it was always suitable for Passover but what would you say if I told you it was also dairy free? Don't thank me now, just race out and buy some extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter, lots of eggs and some dark chocolate and make this!

I won't lie and say this is a cake that requires no effort, because it does if you follow the recipe to the letter. There is chopping, melting, stirring, beating, cooling and waiting.

Ottolenghi's instructions are then to bake the cake in 2 separate layers.  I used about half the batter for the first layer and found the cooking times needed to be adjusted. I stored the batter in the fridge while the first layer was cooking and cooling. The first layer took 30 minutes to bake whilst the second layer took 40 minutes. Is this step strictly necessary? I don't think so as the 2 separate layers were barely discernible when the cake was cut. Next time I'd bake the cake for about 55 minutes and dispense with the whole 2 step process.

The original recipe used butter but on a whim I decided to make the cake using extra virgin olive oil. The oil and chocolate mixture did seize a bit so there was no runny chocolate sauce texture as described in the original recipe. In the end it all worked out once the egg yolks were added but you have been warned. The cake has a mild olive oil flavour so use a good quality, well flavoured oil.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

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Ottolenghi’s Chocolate Fudge Cake with a Twist - makes a 17 cm cake.

To make a 20 cm cake use the quantities in the link.

150ml extra virgin olive oil or 150g unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
215g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces 
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar  
35mls water 
3 large eggs, separated 
pinch of salt 
cocoa powder for dusting
To serve: raspberries/pomegranate seeds or sour cherries 
Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F). Butter a 17cm spring form pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment/baking paper.  

In a large heat proof bowl, combine the olive oil or unsalted butter and the chopped chocolate. Combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour the boiling syrup over the olive oil and chocolate and stir until they have melted into a runny chocolate sauce. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, to the chocolate mixture and then beat until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Set the bowl aside until the mixture comes to room temperature. 
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt to a firm but not dry meringue. Fold a third of the meringue into the chocolate mixture. Once combined, add another third, fold and then fold in the remaining third until just combined. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan reserving the remaining batter for later and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it on a wire rack to cool completely.  
Flatten the cake with an offset spatula and pour the rest of the batter on top. Level the surface again. Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes (my cake batter was stored in the fridge and took 40 minutes to bake). When tested with a skewer the cake should have a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
Allow to cool completely in the spring form pan before unmoulding the cake. Dust with cocoa powder before serving. I added some pomegranate seeds for some added colour and texture but I think raspberries or some sour cherries would also be nice.

The cake is moist, dense and delicious and will keep covered at room temperature for 4 days. I'd be inclined to store the cake in the fridge, bringing it to room temperature before serving.

See you all again next week.

Bye for now,

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