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  • Cherry Red Fingertips & A Culinary Christmas Tradition

    Fingertips stained a purple-bluish hue, mouths too. There is no mistaking the tell-tale signs of two cheeky cherry-eating children and that trail of pips that follow suit. Beau may as well have found gold when he spied the festive globular gems in the fridge. All 5kg of them. A few weeks ago, when Sophie arrived for our Spring Lunch she handed me a box as she stepped into our home, "I'm sorry I could only get seconds." As I lifted the lid I let out a gasp of delight for what looked up at me was a tumble of glistening gems, "these are seconds? They're perfect!" I recently treated my ears and allowed the visuals to dance around inside my mind as I listened to the mesmerizing voice of Meryl Streep narrate Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. The main character, Lara, lives on a cherry farm in Northern Michigan and I couldn't help but imagine her and her three grown daughters picking the dangling jewels from the trees as their mother told them the story of the moments that made up her life thus far as my fingertips became increasingly more stained as I pitted each taught shiny drupe. Every year I promise myself I'll invest the small amount of money into purchasing a cherry pitter, and each year I find myself standing at my kitchen bench pressing the pips out with my fingers, dodging juice missiles that evidently leave their mark on all manner of surfaces, including me! Why on earth did I wear a white singlet? But what to make with these cherries? The culinary possibilities are endless - cherry compote. Cherry tart. Cherry pie. Cherry jam. Cherry strudel. It was Sophie's mention of cherry bread as we sat around the table that piqued my interest. I had sourdough to shape, a bowl full of pitted cherries...I put two and two together and a delightfully festive creation was born. Studded with chopped almonds and a touch of cinnamon for that Christmassy warmth. Thick slices (fresh or toasted) generously buttered then smeared with my spiced cherry jam makes for quite an enjoyable breakfast (or anytime snack) during the month of December. Insert your favourite hot beverage to accompany you and perhaps listen to the marvelous Jeannette Winterson's Christmas Days, 12 stories, and 12 feasts for 12 days. The Snow Mama story is our favourite. And just like that you may find a brand new culinary Christmas tradition is conceived. Cherry & Almond Sourdough This quantity of sourdough will give you two loaves of bread. I use one of these for the cherry version and I leave the other plain. I am by no means a master at sourdough baking, but this method always delivers delicious results. 150g ripe sourdough starter 750ml warm water 10g salt 800g bread flour 200g spelt 1 cup pitted cherries 1/4 - 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon In a large bowl, mix the starter, water, and salt with your hand. Add the flour and mix until well combined. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Remove the teatowel and using your hand, stretch and fold the dough 8 times as you turn the bowl in a circle. Cover and rest again for 30 minutes. Repeat this stretching and folding process 3 more times. Cover with the tea towel and leave the bowl to rest on the bench overnight. The following morning should see the dough having risen to the top. If it hasn't, simply leave it until it has. Sometimes this happens at 6:30 am for me and other times, when the house is a bit cooler, I will have to wait until about 9:30 am. Dust your bench with semolina. Scrape the dough out onto the bench and using your hand bring up the outside of the dough into the middle as if you are tucking a baby up in a swaddle until you have a nice round. Cut in half, shape again into a round, and leave on the bench, covered with a teatowel for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, you can prepare your banneton baskets. I use round ones, and only one of them is a "proper" one. The other is the green basket from a 1kg tub of ricotta which works just as well. Lay a teatowel in each one, dust liberally with semolina, and set aside. Shape one of your loaves as per normal and place it into the banneton. With the other, which will be the cherry bread, you want to pat out the dough so it is flat and resembles a thick pizza. Scatter over the cherries, almonds, and cinnamon, and then fold the edges up and over to tuck everything in. Now here you want to sort of knead it all in as you shape it into a round. You may find you need more semolina here. Poke any larger cherries back in using your fingertip if they try and escape and then pop into the banneton. Tuck the teatowel over the top of each one and place it in the fridge. Sometimes I leave mine for an hour and other times I leave them for 7-9 hours. Whatever works for you. Place a large casserole pot with a lid (or whatever you use to bake your bread in) into the oven and preheat to the highest setting. Mine goes to 250c fan force. When you are ready to bake, rip off a square of baking paper, scrunch it up, and then flatten it out onto the bench. Take your cherry bread from the fridge, invert it onto the baking paper, smooth out the semolina over the top, make a few slashes/scores with a lame, sharp razor or serrated knife, and lower into the casserole/cast iron pot. Pop the lid back on and bake for 22 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the oven temperature to 200c, and bake for another 20 minutes. Invert your golden loaf out onto a cooling rack and allow it to rest until cooled. Enjoy any way you desire, but I like to slice mine thickly, lightly toast it, and then spread it with butter and spiced cherry jam (you can find the recipe for the jam here). Eat, enjoy, and be merry!

  • Comfort Zones, Connections & the Power of Manifestation

    When we take a step out of the zone where we feel our most comfortable, wonderful opportunities present themselves, often in abundance. Opportunities in which to learn which then lead to growth. They can set us on a path (or paths) that we may not have thought about following or even considered to be a possibility. The truth is we constantly surprise ourselves. I remember, many years ago a passing comment that I made to Ben. We had not long moved into our humble weatherboard home when I said, "I want to have the kind of home where people want to come to ours for long lunches and dinners." Back then our kitchen was not much bigger than a postage stamp. There were random doorways with no doors. Natural breezeways snaked their way through the floor, making our ankles frigid. A garden that was alive in my imagination but in reality was a mess of dirt, debris, and weeds. Fast forward some 11 years later and that garden, with the seeds of imagination, has bloomed and grown. So too has that 20-something-year-old who dreamt of having a home where food would be at the centre, shared with family and friends. In fact, it has gone quite beyond that, for that young woman would not have dreamt of opening up her home to people she didn't know or had never met IRL (in real life). If someone had told her that one day she would have 6 people from Instagram over to her house for a three-course lunch and collaborate with a gorgeous young florist whom she met at an afternoon tea event for her own book in Sydney at someone's house who she also had never met "IRL" I would have given them a very perplexed look indeed. But there it is a prime example of life's many surprises, of the twists and turns and the power of manifestation. As I sat at our large timber table for the Spring Lunch event on Sunday with Petrina, Sophie, Susan, Hannah, Di, and Chris sharing food and conversation I could not have been happier. I am so thankful to each and every one of them for stepping out of their comfort zones to take a seat at my table with people who arrived as strangers but who were farewelled like old friends. That's where the magic lies.

  • The Gift of Time & Chocolate Walnut Slice

    It was all a bit chaotic beforehand. "Do you need to take some sheets?" "Have you got their sandals?" "Sammy, no, not Vivvy's bunny!" By the time they had bundled themselves into the car, the clock read 8:20 a.m. They departed and there I stood, my little black furry companion by my side, "Well, Sammy boy, it's just you and me mate." I tidied the house. Hung the washing. Folded towels. I marveled at the stillness. It was as if the walls of the house had let out a huge sigh of relief. It was quiet. I grabbed my bag and my keys, and as Sammy picked up the rear I had a long walk along the beach in my sights. The days that followed had a natural rhythm. There was no rushing to get multiple bodies out the door on time. I didn't have a million and one things racing through my mind, nor did I feel that I had to keep track of the ticking arms of the clock. I ate my lunch when I wanted. There were no disruptions. I could plan the whole day to suit my needs. I worked without having to think about the needs of anyone else. I pulled my gardening gloves on at 6 pm and came inside an hour and a half later and every single thing was exactly how I had left it. Upon their departure, I tucked a supply of freshly baked goodies in with their cargo and made sure to save a couple of pieces of the chocolate walnut slice for me. A recipe that comes from the delightful The Australian Women's Weekly 100 delicious biscuits and slices book which was gifted to me by a dear friend who is a whizz when it comes to finding hidden gems at the Op Shop. It even belonged to Amy in a previous life, as that is the name that is inscribed in a cursive scrawl at the top of the front page. The slice is a cross between an ANZAC, a brownie, and a chocolate cake. It is a revelation and was enjoyed by all. A simple recipe, as is always the case, provides the utmost joy. And so too does a walk along the beach. A solo weekend at home. Space to breathe. I could easily have had another couple of nights, just me, myself and Sammy. However, I am looking forward to seeing those three beautiful faces when they return, wrapping my arms around their bodies, and listening to their stories. I know that the chaos won't be too far behind either. Voices yelling, "Mumma, Mumma! Sammy's got my shoe!" "Mumma, Mumma, I'm hungry!" "Mumma, Mumma, What's for dinner?.....Ohhhhh but I don't like that!" The house will take a deep breath and we will soldier on. The washing pile instantly grew and then I heard...... "Let's build a cushion house!" And normal life resumed. Chocolate walnut slice This recipe comes from The Australian Women's Weekly 100 delicious biscuits and slices Base 1/2 cup self-raising flour pinch of salt 1 cup rolled oats 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed 125g unsalted butter Filling 60g butter 60g dark chocolate 1/3 cup caster sugar 1 egg 1/3 cup self-raising flour 1/3 cup plain flour 1/4 cup milk 60g chopped walnuts 1/2 tsp vanilla extract Chocolate icing 15g butter 30g dark chocolate 3/4 cup icing sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tbsp hot water Preheat your oven to 160c fan forced. For the Base, sift the flour, and add the salt and remaining dry ingredients to a medium bowl. Add melted butter and mix well. Press the mixture into a lightly greased 18cm x 28cm (or thereabouts) slice tin until even. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (don't allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) Add the sugar and beaten egg and mix well Add the sifted flours alternately with the milk and then stir in the vanilla and walnuts. When the base is baked, pour the filling over the hot base and bake for a further 25 minutes, or until the center feels slightly firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes while you make the icing. Melt the butter and chocolate over the simmering water once again, add the sifted icing sugar, vanilla, and water, and stir until smooth. Smooth out all over the surface of the filling and then set aside to cool and set. Cut into bars, squares, or finger slices and enjoy with a cup of tea either in the company of oneself, or the company of others.

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  • A Mini Kitchen

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  • Food | A Mini Kitchen

    Home About Online Store Recipes Sunday Lunch Contact Search More Welcome to A Mini Kitchen, a place where the simple, slow and joyful memories that surround food are shared together with recipes to bake, cook and create for the ones you love. Food love laughter & memories Recipe archive March 2023 (1) 1 post February 2023 (1) 1 post October 2022 (1) 1 post August 2022 (1) 1 post July 2022 (1) 1 post June 2022 (2) 2 posts May 2022 (1) 1 post March 2022 (1) 1 post February 2022 (1) 1 post January 2022 (2) 2 posts December 2021 (1) 1 post November 2021 (1) 1 post October 2021 (1) 1 post September 2021 (1) 1 post August 2021 (1) 1 post July 2021 (1) 1 post June 2021 (1) 1 post May 2021 (1) 1 post April 2021 (1) 1 post Amy Minichiello Mar 30 5 min Roast Chicken & the flavour of Home When I have been away from home for an extended period of time the one thing I crave upon returning is a golden roast chook with an... 62 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Feb 7 3 min Zucchini, ham & cheese Muffins That first of week of school felt a little like being stuck in a fog. My bearings were all out of kilter. A new routine to adapt to and... 231 views 0 comments 2 likes. Post not marked as liked 2 Amy Minichiello Oct 6, 2022 3 min Whole Orange & Ginger Cake I attempted to put a rather large bounty of limes to good use after my sister-in-law had forwarded a video to me on... 160 views 0 comments 5 likes. Post not marked as liked 5 Amy Minichiello Aug 12, 2022 3 min A bowl of Rice Pudding & other small Delights It arrived wrapped in a textured, hand-painted piece of wallpaper - an offcut from a farmyard scene that lines the walls of their... 256 views 0 comments 3 likes. Post not marked as liked 3 Amy Minichiello Jul 21, 2022 3 min Naked corn & a Chicken, corn and noodle soup Rummaging around the depths of the freezer can uncover forgotten treasures. A bag brimming with de-kernel-ed corn cobs was the gold I... 175 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Jun 17, 2022 3 min Overnight Quinces The aromatic, bright yellow fruits caught my eye. There they were bulging against the brown paper bag in which they were housed, as if in... 179 views 0 comments 3 likes. Post not marked as liked 3 Amy Minichiello Jun 2, 2022 7 min Limoncello Syrup Cake When I first began dipping my toes, or should I say hands, into the world of layer cakes, I was met with terms such as swiss meringue... 239 views 0 comments 3 likes. Post not marked as liked 3 Amy Minichiello May 5, 2022 3 min A Cosy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese As the leaves crunch underfoot, and the fading light gives way to the bitter chill that hangs upon the air, the promise of a steaming... 159 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Mar 17, 2022 2 min Granny's Pikelets As the butter softly crackles on the warm surface and the first spoonful of batter hits the pan I can smell it - the smell of comfort,... 174 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Feb 17, 2022 3 min On Leftovers & Birthday Cake Quite often our fridge will be full of leftover cake innards - dribs and drabs of lemon curd, spoonfuls of berry coulis and the most... 120 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Jan 20, 2022 3 min The Sound of Summer and an Economical Cinnamon Tea Cake Bridge ruffies, Bumble bees, Devilled kidneys and mutton broth. Pint, pound and ounces, and an introduction that reads - "Dear Homemaker,... 238 views 0 comments 2 likes. Post not marked as liked 2 Amy Minichiello Jan 13, 2022 3 min Gutter apricots & a mid-summer Jam There is a little red raspberry patch on the upper left side cheek of the apricot I hold in my hand. A few freckle-like blemishes here... 58 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Dec 9, 2021 3 min Rhubarb, Orange, and Almond Tea Cake I find it difficult to call rhubarb a vegetable, just as I find it difficult to call tomatoes a fruit. The perfectly slender pink... 359 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Nov 19, 2021 8 min A Weekend away & Anniversary Chicken “It is a wet and miserable morning in this little part of the world, so I’ve left you both a stash of firewood and some simple slippers... 197 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Oct 7, 2021 3 min One-pan Roast Chicken Drumsticks with Parmesan, Cream & White Wine We have two very cheeky Common Mynas that stealthily squeeze themselves through the wire of our "Girls'" (aka Chooks) yard. I watch them... 625 views 0 comments 2 likes. Post not marked as liked 2 Amy Minichiello Sep 3, 2021 3 min A Comforting Pear & Chocolate Cake On the far left corner of the stovetop sits one of my silver saucepans. It is a spot I find myself coming back to time and time again - a... 239 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Aug 6, 2021 3 min One-pan roast chicken, chickpea and eggplant kasundi There is always at least half a dozen or so tinned varieties of pulses sitting on the shelf of our pantry. They are my go-to for adding... 250 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Jul 15, 2021 3 min Dark chocolate brownie with red wine A package arrived the other day, the accompanying note read - Dear Amy, with the colder weather settling, we are now firmly in Gluhwein... 133 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Jun 26, 2021 4 min Quince crumble tart Lately, my mind has been abuzz with all things encased in that flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth combination that makes up one of the... 138 views 0 comments 2 likes. Post not marked as liked 2 Amy Minichiello May 10, 2021 3 min Lamb Shank Curry As soon as there is the slightest hint of a chill in the air I instantly crave meals that require long, slow cooking. It is comforting... 595 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Apr 17, 2021 3 min Spring onion cheese Tart Beau and I had to grit our teeth as we pulled the rather robust spring onions from the earth in which they were grasped tightly into. So... 139 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Jan 7, 2021 4 min Two Summer Jam's - Apricot & Plum It has been a relatively cool start to the summer season down here in this part of the world. The earth has been soaking up the heavy... 153 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Jan 2, 2021 7 min Pork Chops with Crispy Crackling, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Crispy potatoes. Apple & Rhubarb Pie. It was a little after 11 am, I had just set the table. I took a step back as I counted the chairs - 6 in total. A smile spread across my... 120 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Nov 28, 2020 7 min A Rather Good Lasagne, Crisp Green Salad & Tingly Lemon Gelato. The latch of our front gate can quite often be heard from inside our little weatherboard home heralding the arrival of guests. Beau more... 285 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Nov 21, 2020 5 min Spiced Fig & Walnut Bread Every Sunday night once the house has been blanketed in silence and both Beau and Viviana have drifted off to the land of dreams I slice... 318 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Oct 24, 2020 6 min Curried Lamb Forequarter Chops, Potatoes, Rice Pilaf with Silverbeet. And Apple & Banana Shortcake. The opening sentence in the hefty cookbook that is "The Australian cookbook" reads...The revolution in Australian cooking over the last... 214 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Sep 29, 2020 2 min Rhubarb & Rose Jam "Pop." That satisfying sound as the tight seal is broken, inside in all of its sweetened glory is the most wonderfully irrediscent jammy... 239 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Sep 21, 2020 4 min Pumpkin & Hazelnut Cake with Ricotta Cream "It reminds me of something similar mum used to make..." If there is a sentence to conjure up feelings of joy, then this is it. As a... 226 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Sep 8, 2020 4 min Rhubarb & Lemon Scones with a Jasmine Scented Drizzle A tussie mussie of foraged spring beauties sits on the windowsill above our kitchen sink - the light mauve, deep burnt orange and faded... 336 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Sep 1, 2020 3 min Spiced Pumpkin Sourdough Pancakes It was close to midday by the time I had wiped down the kitchen sink. Two loaves of freshly baked sourdough sat proudly on the bench as... 67 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Aug 20, 2020 5 min Sticky Date Cake with Poached Pears & A Sourdough Crumb I am finding the scribbled notes on the lined piece of paper in my notebook hard for me to even decipher...Arrows pointing here another... 220 views 0 comments 2 likes. Post not marked as liked 2 Amy Minichiello Aug 11, 2020 2 min A Warming Winter Soup of Pumpkin, Ginger & Lemongrass The calmness of the bay and the wild unpredictable waters of the ocean can both be reached within minutes from our humble little... 136 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Jul 29, 2020 3 min Fennel, Chorizo & Marinara Risoni My heavy-based casserole pot sits on top of the stove even when it's not in use. It's covered in cooking stains, burnished marks that... 100 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Jul 1, 2020 3 min Rhubarb and Coconut Meringue Slice They are the final addition to my basket, their long, slender rosy-red stems balance on top of a beautiful snow-white cauliflower, a... 251 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Jun 24, 2020 3 min Lime, Nasturtium & Poppyseed Syrup Cake There are numerous boxes stacked high on top of one another in my mum and dad's garage. A treasure trove of forgotten objects and... 120 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Jun 4, 2020 5 min Hot smoked Salmon & Potato Pie Margins of time are so very precious - these in-between stolen moments can be found right throughout the day, after putting a load of... 296 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello May 27, 2020 2 min Sausages with Tomatoes & Capsicums As the days become increasingly shorter and that late afternoon nip in the air has us retreating back into the warmth and comfort of our... 172 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello May 14, 2020 4 min Silverbeet, Spinach, Ricotta and Herb Hand Pies It was one of those days where the air was crisp but the sun shone a soft glowing light, it fell over the trees and the fine blades of... 394 views 0 comments 2 likes. Post not marked as liked 2 Amy Minichiello Apr 28, 2020 4 min Quince & Dark Chocolate Ricotta Crumb Cake Luscious, creamy ricotta would have to be one of my favourite ingredients of late. Being so versatile it's always so handy to have... 347 views 1 comment 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Apr 28, 2020 5 min Fig and Walnut Frangipane Tart It had been raining all day, the type of rain that soaks into the earth saturating everything in sight. A very pungent onion caused my... 132 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Apr 28, 2020 4 min Honey-roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart The smell of tomato plants always reminds me of my Nanna. As I brush my hand over their leaves and bring them to my nose I am a little... 184 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Apr 28, 2020 2 min Green Spaghetti with Carrot top & Silverbeet Pesto Where does the inspiration for a meal come from for you? Every morning, I open the fridge door to jars full of jams, chutneys and... 41 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Apr 28, 2020 2 min Rosemary, Lemon Verbena & Almond Shortbread (gluten free) In the pantry on the third shelf sits a container that is more often than not filled with some sort of home baked goodies. It just feels... 71 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Apr 28, 2020 3 min Apricot Crostata ​ ​My eyes were drawn to an open cardboard carton that sat on the workbench beside our front door. I had just arrived home and my first... 78 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked Amy Minichiello Dec 21, 2019 4 min Spiced Cherry Jam As we drove off down the uneven dirt road, destined for our return home, his little sing-song voice exclaimed, "Mummy, I like that... 131 views 1 comment 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Oct 1, 2019 4 min Dark Chocolate, Roasted Almond & Cumquat Marmalade Cake At times it begins with a thought; an idea starts to form in my mind. It may have been something I had read, smelt or tasted and in some... 322 views 0 comments 2 likes. Post not marked as liked 2 Amy Minichiello Jun 22, 2019 4 min Hot smoked salmon, Brie & Quince tart A slice of oozy creamy brie sat on top of a piece of Smyrna sun-dried quince and I was in heaven. As I stood there savouring every last... 125 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello Jun 9, 2019 5 min Nanna Joy's Sausage Rolls My feet quickly scurried over the icy-cold pavers towards the carport; our second fridge lives out there and I grasped whatever it was... 1,531 views 0 comments 2 likes. Post not marked as liked 2 Amy Minichiello May 31, 2019 6 min Quince Frangipane Burnt Butter Tart Butter; What is it that makes it so special? What is the very first thing that pops into your mind at the mention of it? Is it a golden,... 198 views 0 comments 1 like. Post not marked as liked 1 Amy Minichiello May 10, 2019 5 min Quince & Apple Tart with Hazelnut Crumble I really never used to look forward to the colder months; the change in seasons and the rain were more of a hinderance than anything... 213 views 0 comments Post not marked as liked

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