23 May 2013

Cheese Scones

There are a few recipes that I make so often, that they are scribbled out on post its and stuck to the fridge door - this is one of them. I got it from my mother's cookbook. She was an avid collector of recipes, she'd painstakingly cut them out of newspapers or magazines or jot them down on scraps of paper. Credit where credit's due, I think this recipe came from the monthly New Zealand Machine Knitters Society newsletter - always a treasure trove of tried and tested recipes.

The key to making a good light scone is not to handle the dough too much. When it comes time to add the liquid, do it swiftly and mix very lightly. This is a savoury scone, but you can make a sweet version by omitting the cheese, adding a tablespoon of sugar to the dry mixture, and then add dried ingredients of your choice. I like chopped dates and walnuts, or raisins and cinnamon with a pinch of mixed spice.

Cheese Scones

  • 575 grams flour (about 4 and 3/5 cup)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100 grams butter, chopped finely or grated
  • 300 grams grated cheese
  • 450 mls milk 


1.   Sift flour, salt and baking powder together.
2.   Rub in butter with finger tips until it resembles bread crumbs and mix in the grated cheese.
3.   Add in the milk and mix very briefly until it starts to come together.
4.   Tip onto the counter, and gently squeeze it together until it comes together into a dough.

5.   Press into a rectangle and cut into 12 equal pieces. Place onto a floured baking tray, and brush with milk.

6.   Bake at 200 degrees celsius for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

22 May 2013

Chiang Mai Noodles

Recently, I've spent a lot of time baking, this time though, I'm heading back to my savoury roots and sharing one of my favourite noodle recipes - Chiang Mai Noodles. Whilst the name suggests the Chiang Mai region in Thailand, the dish itself doesn't bear the traditional hallmarks of Northern Thai cuisine, for a start it uses copious quantities of coconut milk that isn't traditional in northern thai food, but regardless of it's authenticity, it is lovely, sweet, sour and creamy with a decent wollop of heat.

The recipe below should make 4 servings, but to be honest, I eat big when it comes to curries so I pop it into two big bowls, and work my way quite happily almost all the way through one. I've also added fried tofu (stop gagging) and beansprouts, which are not traditional in the dish, but add texture and taste to the dish - as with most of my recipes, play around with the flavours and ingredients you like.

Chiang Mai Noodles
2 large servings, or 4 smaller servings

  • 250 grams fresh egg noodles
  • 1 to 2 small red chillies, deseeded and chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 asian shallots, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons good quality red curry paste (home made if possible)
  • 350 grams chicken breast, sliced finely into strips
  • 1 tablespoon chopped palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 750mls coconut milk
  • juice of half a lime
  • small handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • 4 medium green onions, chopped finely
  • chopped red chillies for garnish
  • packaged fried noodles to garnish

  1. Cook noodles for a few minutes in a pot of boiling water until cooked. Drain, drizzle with a little oil, toss and set aside.
  2. In a mortar and pestle (or small food processor), pound the garlic, chillies, shallots and curry paste until a thick and chunky paste.
  3. Heat a wok over medium to high heat, add a tablespoon or two of oil, stir in the paste mixture and stir constantly for a few minutes to cook out the raw taste of the paste, add the chicken and fry for a few minutes more until the outside of the chicken is cooked.
  4. Add the palm sugar, fish sauce, chicken stock, coconut milk and lime juice and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through. (add tofu here if using). Taste and add extra sugar or lime juice if needed.
  5. Place the noodles into individual bowls, scoop chicken pieces on top, and ladle curry soup on top. Garnish with spring onion, chillies, coriander and fried noodles. (add bean sprouts here if using).

15 May 2013

Beef Pide

I've been to Turkey a couple of times, and I love grabbing a seat at a street side restaurant and ordering a Pide - the Turkish version of Pizza, combined with a bowl of ezme (spicy tomato salsa) it is serious comfort food. The dough is easy to make and lovely and crispy, and you can play around with the toppings, much like any other pizza. Traditionally the meat would be lamb, so use that if you like, I just fancied a beef pide this time round. The egg on top is optional, but delicious, it makes the Pide almost pie like, and for me adds both texture and taste.

You can also make the dough and bake it plain, with a few herbs and olive oil, to make bread for dipping.

Turkish Pide

For the dough

  • 3 cups flour
  • 50mls olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the meat mixture

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500 grams minced beef, or minced lamb
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes (optional)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • small squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs


1.   Mix together the water, sugar and yeast and sit for 5 minutes until frothy. Put the flour, salt, and olive oil into a bowl and add the yeast mixture. Combine well, and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put into an oiled bowl in a warm place for an hour to rise.

2.  Saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the beef, cumin, coriander, paprika and chile if using and stir until the meat is browned.  Add the tomatoes, and cook out the moisture. Remove from heat, add a squeeze of lemon juice and the parsley and mint, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir.

3.   Roll out the dough into 4 ovals, pinch the ends to create a boat like shape and place on a baking tray.

4.   Spread the filling onto the base, leaving about a centimetre around the edges, and fold the edges of the dough up to form a shelf around the pide.

5.   Carefully crack one egg onto each pide, breaking the yolk, and bake at 200 degrees celcius for 15 minutes until the egg is cooked and the dough is crispy and brown. Serve with a spicy tomato salsa.