A mini-holiday to Byron Bay


IMG_7867Sometimes it takes a quiet moment to realise how wonderful it is to live in Australia. Turn off your TV’s and radios and don’t read your social media. Just take a big breath and look around you. Green grass, blue ocean, bright skies, happy people with plenty to eat, what more could you want? I felt like this on our recent trip to Byron Bay and the hinterland.

We had been wanting to visit Harvest Café in Newrybar, up behind Byron for a while now and decided this was the perfect excuse to have a night away. Harvest is a great establishment with a long history. I was so lucky, I arrived and was greeted by the owner Tristan Grier. I had not reserved a table so there was going to be a bit of a wait. This was fine with me as I was going to have a look around the little township but then Tristan offered to give me a tour of the place and tell me some of the history!

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The wood fired oven was HUGE and Tristan told us about the renovations that had improved the baking facility and how the bricks were reused around the building. I have never seen such a big oven! Harvest bakes all it’s own bread in this oven. There is also a huge vegetable and herb garden that surrounds the restaurant and deli. They pride themselves in cooking, sourcing and running the restaurant as sustainably as possible.

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IMG_7823We enjoyed lunch. I ordered roasted carrots with mixed grains, roasted baby eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, miso and basil and Sid had Burrawong Chicken, roast corn, spring onions and pearl barley. Absolutely delicious.

IMG_7832IMG_7833IMG_7834After lunch we drove to our accommodation at Byron called Atlantic Byron Bay. I had struggled a bit with finding a place to stay in Byron Bay. Of course if you have oodles of money you can always find something but if you are looking for a place in the mid range it’s not always so easy. Little did I know what a visual treat I was in for!

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The place is absolutely beautiful and the décor is perfect for a beach holiday. There are several cottages and within those is your room. Each cottage has a shared dining room, living room and kitchen. So while you have the privacy of your own room you also have the opportunity to mix with other people and the space to go for a walk and read outside or inside. The kitchen is fully functional and you could easily cook up a great meal. I just loved the place. There is also an American Airstream that you can reserve. It sits in the garden and is the coolest silver caravan you have ever seen.

IMG_7861It is all in the details, the towels, the soaps, the cookbooks.

IMG_7856In the morning we walked to Byron Farmers Market and on the way stopped at Targa Cafe for breakfast.  I ordered coffee and fruit toast and both were fantastic. Really good coffee, which is always a blessing for me and those around me as I NEED a good coffee in the morning. Targa serves lunch and dinner and the staff were very friendly so I will be returning.

IMG_7883It was starting to warm up now so we pressed on to the Byron Bay Farmers markets. These markets are on Thursdays mornings. There was a wonderful array of produce, lots of things you don’t see all the time. Some things I have never seen like Cashew Apples, which are the fruit that surrounds the cashew nut. The bright colours of all the produce were so beautiful.

IMG_7922 IMG_7895 IMG_7896We should have brought our trolley as we ended up with way too much to carry and struggled back to the Atlantic. How I wished I could have stayed another day or two but that was not how it was meant to be, this time.

When I returned home I baked a new sort of brownie. Dark Chocolate and Salted Peanut Brownies. They were delicious and you might like to try the recipe.

IMG_8065The recipe is just the same as my original brownie and then you add 1 1/2 cups of salted peanuts.

Recipe

Ingredients

500 grams Milk or Dark Chocolate ( choose the best you can find, the highest cocoa value)

• 250 grams of unsalted butter

• 5 large eggs

• 1 cups of castor sugar

• 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

• 11/2 cup of almond meal

• 11/2 cups of salted peanuts grams of nuts

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Prepare the baking tin with baking paper. Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave or over double boiler until runny. Stir in vanilla essence and set aside to cool a little. Beat eggs and sugar until thick and stir in the chocolate mixture. Add the almond meal and then hand stir in the nuts. (or you can just decorate the top of the brownie)When mixture is well combined spread into the baking pan and bake for almost 30 mins. (My oven is hot so I take them out after 25 mins) The surface should be flaky in appearance. Take from the oven and put in the fridge to cool.  Best left overnight Cut and serve when cooled.

Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Cake a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi


You may remember in October when I went to a lunch hosted by Yotam Ottolenghi at Gerard’s Bistro. I know that I will never forget what an enjoyable afternoon it was. He is such a charming man in a time when charm seems harder and harder to find. I also admire his recipes and he has taught me a few great tricks as I have worked my way through from his cookbooks.

The poor maligned cauliflower seems to have problems convincing people about how delicious it is. Strange as I only have great memories, Morroccan roasted cauliflower with almonds is an all time favourite. This Cauliflower Cake from Yotam’s cook book Plenty More is a fantastic way to serve a meal without meat and packs into lunch boxes too.

Image 4I served mine with a lentil and lemon salad but any salad will do.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 1 1/4-inch/3-cm florets (1 pound/450 g)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled (6 ounce/170 g) ( I only had a white onion)
  • 5 tablespoons/75 ml olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 7 eggs (scant 1 pound/440 g)
  • 1/2 cup/15 g basil leaves, chopped ( I used parsley instead)
  • 1 cup/120 g all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 5 ounces/150 g coarsely grated Parmesan or another mature cheese
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds

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Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft. They should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander to dry.

Cut 4 round slices off one end of the onion (each 1/4 inch/5 mm thick) and set aside. Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place in a small pan with the oil and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk well, and then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower and stirring gently, trying not to break up the florets.

Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2-inch/24-cm spring-form cake pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter, then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them around the inside of the pan so that they stick to the sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly, and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set; a knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It needs to be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature.

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Chicken Coriander and Sesame Seed Meatballs


IMG_2551Welcome to 2015! After a lovely long break from Everydaycook I am back with new recipes and more stories to share with you. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas holidays and cooked up some amazing meals to share with family and loved ones.

I enjoyed a quieter Christmas this year with my parents and my family. We have our first wedding in March, my eldest daughter is marrying her long time partner. Therefore we thought it better to have a  quiet time before all this excitement.  Moments like these make you stop and think about your life and how lucky you are to celebrate the marriage of your daughter.

I am also trying to look my best so I have been making nice light healthy meals. This chicken coriander and sesame seed recipe is one of my latest summer meals. It is great served with flat bread and a big salad. Left overs are great in sandwiches or with a salad the next day.

IMG_2546I found this recipe in a Marie Claire cookbook and made a few changes.

Recipe

Ingredients

500 grams of minced free range chicken

4 spring onions chopped thinly

25 grams of fresh coriander chopped

11/2 teaspoons of sea salt

11/2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

finely grated zest of 3 limes

finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce

Tahini dressing

1/2 cup of tahini

1 tablespoon of lime juice

2 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper.

Method

Preheat the oven 180C and line a tray with baking paper.

Put the chicken mince, spring onion, coriander, lime zest and all the ingredients except the sesame seeds into a bowl and mix really well.

Roll the mixture into walnut size balls and then roll them in the sesame seeds until well coated.

Place them on the prepared tray and sprinkle a little sesame oil over them all.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

For the tahini sauce just mix all the ingredients together and serve with the chicken meatballs and flat bread.

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