Category Archives: Bread

Broad Bean Salad, and Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

Broad Bean Salad

Broad Bean Salad

Last week, we had a busy time catching up with family and friends, entertaining grandsons and (shock, horror!!!) a couple of shifts of work for me.

My youngest son Daniel works at Cafe Aura in Traralgon so with one chef on holidays, and the boss off sick, they are very short staffed and got me in to do some prep work.

The first shift I worked was at really short notice-I had to take up a pair of black pants and get myself organised for a 9 am start after a 7.30 am wake up call from Daniel. I worked just over 5 hours and most of the shift was spent with my fingers either cramping up or threatening to. Not much fun.

Work

Work

The second shift I worked on Tuesday night was much, much better. I had lots of warning and did a nice mix of cooking on the grill and prep.

Saturday, Russ, grandson Rooke and I went to Melbourne for a family get together. Everyone took along either an appetiser, salad or dessert to share and meat for themselves to our Niece Yvonne and husband Stuart’s place. It was a fantastic afternoon catching up with everyone. Russ made us a crab dip using some of our picked frozen crab meat. It was really popular!

Family get together

Family get together

Sunday, we took our grandsons Kobie and Rooke to an open day at the Traralgon fire station. It was great-they got to use the hoses, sit in the fire truck, try on the breathing apparatus, we watched as they burned off a gas fire and saw the Skylift rise 42 metres in the sky. The boys got a free sausage, sticker, tattoos and cardboard cut out fire truck to

Fireman Kobie

Fireman Kobie

make.

This week’s been more of the same.

Wednesday I did kinder duty at Rooke’s kindergarten. I’ve done it once before and really enjoy it. I was in hospital as a new mum (of son Michael) with one of the kinder aides Di, so it’s been great to meet her again after maybe 24 years.

Zeus

Zeus

Thursday, we took Daniel’s beautiful big bull arab pup Zeus(he’s 10 months old) to the local car wash/dog wash for a bath. He was shampooed, rinsed, conditioned, flea rinsed and blow dried til he looked squeaky clean and smelled sweet.

Thursday night we went to a bbq with friends. I made a broad bean salad using our home cured bacon, and another crab dip.

Friday I worked 10 hours and today (Sat 22nd) I’m home now in the middle of my two shifts, so I’ll do another 10 or so hours.

Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

  • 1 cobb loaf (I really love Woolworths Onion and Parmesan one)
  • 1 cup crab meat (about)
  • 250 g block light Philly cheese
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup low fat whole egg mayo
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill leaves
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • a slug of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 400 g can of artichokes, drained, then squeezed really dry, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

    Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 c
  2. Cut a lid from the cobb loaf, then carefully scoop or cut out most of the soft bread from the loaf and the lid.  Slice the scooped out bread into dipping sized pieces and put them and the loaf and lid on a baking tray and place in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile mix the remaining ingredients together and heat gently in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  4. Increase the heat of the oven to 180 c, then pour the mix into the cobb loaf shell and put back in the oven for about 15 minutes or until bubbling and browning on top.
  5. Serve with the dipping pieces, and the lid torn to bits.

Broad Bean Salad

  • 500 g packet frozen broad beans, cooked per packet instructions, cooled in cold water
  • 125g bacon, diced, cooked crispy, reserve rendered fat
  • 200 g feta cheese
  • 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • zest of a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • oil, extra, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Broad Bean Salad

    Broad Bean Salad

Method

  1. Peel the cooled broad beans (gets rid of the tough khaki green outer skin to revel bright green inner flesh)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring gently to combine. I use the bacon fat, making it up to two tablespoons with extra oil.
  3. Chill to allow the flavours to meld.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

A few more crabs means we poor pensioners can eat again!

Crab, lettuce, garlic aioli roll

Crab, lettuce, garlic aioli roll

Wednesday, after an amazing lunch of crab roll with garlic aioli and lettuce, and full of hope after the day before, we headed to Monkey Mia to crab once again. Our neighbour and his son took their big boat out too.

We put the boats in at 2.30 and headed back to to the boat ramp at 4.30. They caught (and threw back) 3 undersized crabs, we brought home 6 good sized ones, threw back 3 just size ones and heaps of females (tiny through to size). I reckon yesterday’s big boys knew the girls were coming!

Dinner last night was roast veggies (pumpkin and sweet potato bought back in Carnarvon and still going strong) with a couple of sausages thrown in on top, peas and gravy. It was good!

Lunch today, we were forced to have another crab sandwich. It’s a terrible, hard life we lead.

Rye Bread

Rye Bread a Bit Over-browned But it'll be OK

Rye Bread a Bit Over-browned But it’ll be OK

Most of you that have ever had a drink and nibbles with us, will have eaten the little “toasties” Russ likes to make out of stale, leftover bread. The bread has to be good though, or the toasties wind up like this non-Catholic imagines communion wafers to be.

Coral Bay bakery right across the road here sells a pretty decent multi-grain loaf that is great for sandwiches, but when it’s dried out Melba toast style, it just dissolves into nothing on your tongue when eaten.

With a rotten cold, and it being too windy for fishing, I decided today would be as good as any to make some decent bread so Russ can restock our toasties store. I’ve made this rye bread loaf before and found it to be super easy and give good results. I don’t own a bread maker, so I just knead breads by hand-and really enjoy doing it. I kneaded one handed this morning while I talked on the phone to son Mick. That’s how easy this bread is!

Rye Bread

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
Rye Bread Second Rise

Rye Bread Second Rise

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients together, knead for 7-10 minutes, by hand or machine. Your dough should be smooth and a bit sticky,as that is the nature of rye bread dough.
  2. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth or lightly oiled (I use cooking spray) cling film. Let rise until doubled, about an hour, maybe longer depending on the room temperature
  3. Gently knock down, and shape as you like-either free form or in a bread tin. I bake it free form, on a biscuit tray lined with baking (NOT greaseproof) paper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190c, and let the bread rise until it is almost doubled.
  5. Slash with a sharp razor or a serrated knife.
  6. Spritz with water and place in the oven.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the pan for even browning and bake for 15 minutes more. Tap the bottom of the bread-it should sound hollow. If it doesn’t pop it back in for a couple of minutes more until it does
Rye Bread a Bit Over-browned But it'll be OK

Rye Bread a Bit Over-browned But it’ll be OK

Amusing ourselves on windy days

We think this one is a verticordia

We think this one is a verticordia

Too windy to fish again yesterday, we decided on an afternoon drive out to Mt Frankland and a short walk to the summit.

After breakfast and before our drive, Russ had a go at making us a loaf of caraway rye bread for our lunch. It was a great success and yummy as open sandwiches of leg ham, avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese and red onion.

Mt Frankland is about 30ks from Walpole through big trees, farmland and along sealed and unsealed roads. The term “mountain” is used loosely-we were gradually climbing the whole way as we drove to the car park, then it was a 1.2 km return walk to the granite rock summit. The last 200 metres was a steep walk up (then down) over 300 steps and two near vertical ladders. All well worth it though as it gave stunning views of what’s known as the Walpole Wilderness-over 300,000 hectares of often untouched bush land.

Brown Tree Creeper

Brown Tree Creeper

At the car park, we got out of the car to the most beautiful bird calling somewhere nearby. It sounded like a bell. I looked down to see a little brown bird right at my feet making all the noise. At home we looked him up in our bird book and found he was a Brown Tree Creeper. We saw some climbing the trunks of trees looking like little woodpeckers and quite a few on the ground where they apparently spend quite a bit of time. They certainly weren’t shy.

After the walk to the summit, we took a 600 metre return walk to the Wilderness Lookout. It was a magnificent steel structure through the tree tops at the base of Little Mt Frankland (a smaller granite rock), for more views of the wilderness. We had this whole place with it’s huge information shelter, bbqs and amenities all to ourselves to enjoy.

Walking to the summit alongside Mt frankland

Walking to the summit alongside Mt frankland

Off home, we decided to take an alternate route down Copeland Rd as we’d seen both ends of it on our drive out. The word “road” was also a loose term with it not much more than a goat track in places. We had branches scraping the sides of the car and whipping the windscreen for most of the 12 ks.

Russ's Smoked Fish Pie

Russ’s Smoked Fish Pie

Last night Russ cooked us a delicious and warming smoked fish pie, using our own smoked fish. It was a great finish to a great day out.

This morning, we toasted the remaining rye and caraway bread and topped it with Donnybrook tomatoes and avocado for our breakfast.

Peaceful Bay

Peaceful Bay


After lunch (it was still too windy to fish) we took a drive to Conspicuous Cliff and Peaceful Bay. The beach at Conspicuous Cliff was deserted apart from us and another couple and really beautiful. Peaceful Bay is a tiny town consisting of several streets (First to Fourth Street and and the grandly named dirt Central Avenue), a caravan park and shop/office, fire brigade and emergency services shed. The fibro holiday shacks all have names like digabringabeeralong, sootz us, peace and quiet, the love shack, this’ll do, etc.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Doing what we love doing the most.

Crab Bruschetta

Crab Bruschetta

Janette and David left us Sunday morning and flew back to Melbourne after a night in Bunbury. It was a great visit and we really appreciate the fact they made such a big effort to come see us and spend some time together. It’s just a pity the weather was not so nice. I laughed when David christened Walpole Yowie country, but that’s what it felt like in the misty rain that seemed to fall for most of their visit. We still managed to do quite a bit of sight seeing and ate well over the week.

Monday we fished and caught enough to pickle a big jar full, and smoke some too. I’m always happy when I have pickled fish in the fridge as it’s now one of my all time favourite foods to snack on.

On Tuesday, Russ and I drove to Perth so I could see the dentist at 10 am on the Wednesday. I broke a tooth while we were over in Victoria but got it smoothed over until I could see our dentist over here. The Victorian dentist recommended crowning the tooth, so I booked two appointments accordingly. However, when I saw my dentist (To Tam Nguyen at Osborne Dental Clinic) she recommended I have a filling instead and promise never to eat pork crackle again!. That recommendation saved us around $1300 and a second visit to her. Funny, between talking about Vietnam to her, holidays in general with the office manager Janelle, and chatting to Petra the Dutch dental nurse, I’ve decided I love going to the dentist. We spent Tuesday night with Blair and Leah and enjoyed a great dinner out at a local Cambodian restaurant Tamarind (one of our favourite cheap and cheerful places to eat in Perth).

We drove back to Yowie country after my appointment, stopping to buy avocados, pumpkin and tomatoes at farm gates, then did our grocery shopping at Manjimups’ very, very new Woolworths. I love new supermarkets-they are always stocked to maximum capacity in the first few weeks and therefore full of specials. We walked away with quite a few!

Today, we decided to go and fish. Once again we came home with plenty of pickling and smoking fish (love to have the next lot in the fridge) a big feed of flat head (Russ caught the biggest he’s ever caught today) and he caught a huge blue swimmer crab on his fishing line so there was much joy over that! We’ve been here 6 times in 8 years and in the early years, we were told that there used to be crabs in the inlet but they’d been long “gone”. Read “over fished” here!

We arrived here this time to have our neighbour tell us the crabs are back, and they are BIG. Sure are. We came in at lunch time, then headed out with our crab nets. Sadly we caught a female with eggs, so released her and another I couldn’t be bothered cooking and picking. All our baits had been mauled, a couple went missing and one bait holder got ripped right out of the net, so they are there. It’s just a matter of time before we catch some (I hope). We have 18 more days here to do what we love doing the most-fishing and crabbing.

Tonight I’m making crab bruschetta with the first crab we’ve actually caught in 2 1/2 years.

Crab Bruschetta

  • 1 large crab, cooked and picked (ours was a blue swimmer crab)
  • 2 tablespoons whole egg mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • few drops Tabasco
  • 4 slices sour dough bread (ours was olive and rosemary), brushed with olive oil and grilled
Crab Bruschetta

Crab Bruschetta

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except the toasted bread) together.
  2. Divide between the slices of toast, then pop under the griller and til heated through and golden brown.

Cooking in/from a caravan

The end result

The end result

8 years ago when we decided we might buy a van, we  thought we’d get a second hand one. We were instantly put off by those that previous owners had cooked or smoked in-those smells seemed to linger on. Eventually, we bought a new van and decided from day one not to cook inside-after all that’s where we sleep, and who cooks in their bedroom?

Mostly we’ve upheld that ideal, only coming inside to cook if it’s cold and dark, or raining and miserable, or the insects beat us. We do cook stuff like rice, pasta, and potatoes inside quite often though.

On our first trip with our first van (or “shake-down” in caravanner-speak), to Gol Gol near Mildura, I remember meeting and chatting to a woman at the camp kitchen as she made dinner. She was cooking lamb chops, eggs and tomatoes in a frying pan and asked what we were having for dinner. When I replied “risotto” she said “oh you’ll learn to cook more simply soon”. Funny, but we were having risotto because I thought, and still think it IS simple. Cut, slice and dice a few things, fry, boil and stir a few more, slap in some butter and (freshly) grated Parmesan and dinner’s done. And all that can be done whilst you enjoy a glass or two of the wine that’s gone into the making of it.

Lastly after travelling a while, some friend or other suggested we probably ate lots of BBQs. Now I love a BBQ but I think it’s something to be shared. Russ likes to cook up a couple of nice big pieces of meat (we tend to cook roasts instead of sausages and chops) and we make a few salads etc-hardly the thing for a couple in a caravan. No, we don’t eat lots of BBQs and in fact I think you could count the number we’ve had in 7 years on the fingers of your two hands.

So what do we eat?  We eat exactly the same sort of meals as we do at home. Russ and I both like to cook which is lucky, because we both suffer from the “we could have done better at home, in half the time, for quarter the cost” syndrome. We have plenty of time, so why not eat good food cooked using good local ingredients?!

The caravan has  a 4 burner cooktop (3 gas and 1 electric hotplate), microwave, domestic freezer built in and the second largest van fridge available. Outside we have a two element electric hotplate, pizza oven and AC/DC fridge. The van has it’s own crockery, cutlery, pots, pans, knives and gadgets, electric jug, sandwich maker and an iron.

When we pack up to travel, we empty the pantry of all dry and canned goods, sauces and condiments, herbs and spices. Everything from the fridge and freezer goes too and we can  store it all in the van. Everything has a home. Sometimes though, when we visit more remote areas, we shop for a month. That’s when under the bed, seats and wheel arches become extra storage for stuff like potatoes, whole pumpkins, long life milk, boxes of cereal, and casks and cartons of wine and beer.

So with all that cooking gear on hand, we eat stews and casseroles, I make stocks and soups, roasts and meatloaf, bread and pizza (the yeast is in the fridge).  I love to make chutney and relish and continue to do that as we travel as I find it’s a really relaxing hobby and we get such good produce to do it with. We obviously eat a lot of seafood when we’re catching it. We eat a lot of Asian style salads and stir fries, and curries are a favourite too.

Our freezer leaves home full of chicken, pork and red meat, and as that gets used, we replace it with fish. Russ skins, fillets, pin bones and vacuum seals the fish and right now we reckon we have around 20kgs frozen.  The freezer holds around 30kgs. Although the freezer only runs on AC, we’ve had it turned off in 40c heat for 24 hours and opened it to find everything perfectly frozen still. When we free camp, we run the generator mostly for it.

When we traded in the last caravan for this one, Keith of Coronet Caravans, where we bought them both, commented how well we’d kept it. I reckon that’s because we cook outside.

Last night, I made Easy Chicken Parmas, but I made my own tomato sauce, once again using those lovely tomatoes we bought two weeks ago in Carnarvon. I asked for plenty of green ones in the bottom of the box and they are just reaching perfection. No need for any sugar when they are this ripe.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

  • 6 large tomatoes, skins removed (you cut a cross in the bottom of the tomato, pour boiling water over it, count to thirty, then pour off the water. Skin when cool enough to handle.)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • plenty of freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Dice the skinned tomatoes.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and gently cook the onion and garlic until softened but not browned.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the mixture is well thickened and sauce-like (chunky sauce-like!).

I used my fresh tomato sauce to make Easy and Fast Chicken Parm by Chef 1MOM~Connie. It’s another recipe from food.com for another swap I’m participating in. I’ve taken the liberty of “Australianising” Connie’s recipe and explain how I made it for the two of us. Check out the original recipe though-it’s a great one for a quick tasty meal. I think our chickens may actually have been emus-the breasts were huge as was this meal, but oh my, it was so good.

Easy and Fast Chicken Parma

  • 4 cups chunky Ragu tomato sauce (or your preference- I used my own  but any kind you like is good)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 large tomato chopped (1/8 ths)
  • 90g shredded  cheese (I used a mix of mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 smashed garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • cooking spray
  • Cooked spaghetti to serve
Chicken Parma with Home Made Tomato Sauce

Chicken Parma with Home Made Tomato Sauce

Method

  1. Spray casserole dish with oil.
  2. Place chopped onions on casserole base, sprinkle over smashed garlic. Next top with chicken breasts.
  3. Top those with the fresh tomatoes slices.
  4. Use 1/2 the sauce to cover chicken breast.
  5. Bake in oven 25-30 minutes at 190c degrees
  6. 5 minutes before chicken is finished sprinkle the cheese on top so that it can melt into the chicken parma.
  7. In the meantime boil water and cook noodles.
  8. Simmer remaining sauce and toss through the cooked noodles.
  9. Serve the chicken parma on top of the spaghetti.

Today I’m making bread rolls. Russ likes to use leftover bread, baguettes and rolls to make little dried toasts for cheese, dips and to eat our pickled fish on. The bread at the bakery here is just not “gutsy” enough in his opinion, so I’m making my own whilst he fishes for our dinner tonight.

Easy Bread Dough

  • 1 cup warm water (blood temp)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the warm water, then sprinkle over the yeast. Allow to sit for around 10 minutes in a warmish spot until the yeast activates (it looks frothy). Mix in the oil.
  2. Pour this liquid over the combined flour and salt and work it with a knife (imagine it’s a dough hook!)
  3. Depending on the flour and the day, you may need to add in a little more water. I added two tablespoons for a perfect dough
  4. Lightly flour your work top and tip the dough out.
  5. Knead by hand for 10 minutes (it’s fun and good for you)
  6. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and set aside in a warmish, draft free spot until it has doubled in size. Once again, how long this takes depends on the day.
  7. Heat your oven to 200c.
  8. When it’s risen, knock it back then form into one loaf or two baguettes or 6 roll. Whatever, it’s up to you. Allow it to rise again, then slash with a sharp knife or razor.
  9. I like to spray water on it here to give a crusty finish. You can glaze with egg or sprinkle over poppy or sesame seeds-that’s up to you.
  10. Bake for around 25 minutes for the loaf, and about 15 for a baguette. It’s done when you tap the bottom and get a sort of hollow sound.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.