A tale of two best friends on opposite sides of the world and their quest to cook everything from
Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cook's Companion'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bircher Muesli

Bircher with craisins and raspberries

I love bircher muesli. It's so refreshing and you really feel good after eating a bowl of it. During Lent, when we can't have any dairy, this is usually what I have for breakfast instead of cereal and milk. As long as I remember to get the mixture going the night before, we're all good. We pretty much always have everything on hand and at its most basic can be made with just oats and water, although I don't think it would taste that good.

Stephanie's original recipe uses the oats with water, lemon and honey as the base. I did try this, but found it a little bland, and prefer to make it with fruit juice. My favourite is apple juice, but any juice can be used. I also like to mix up the fruit, using nuts, seeds, shredded coconut...whatever is going really! The original recipe also adds a grated apple, which I think is optional when using fruit juice, but it is nice to put something in there, whether it's a grated apple, pear or even some stewed fruit in winter. Again, I find the yoghurt optional and think it's pretty good without it.

The picture at the bottom shows the muesli as made to Stephanie's original recipe. The recipe given below, is the way I like to eat it and is shown in the main picture. Mind you, it's not really a recipe, more of a starting point.

Bircher Muesli (Printable Recipe)
adapted from Stephanie's Bircher Muesli, pg 79
serves 2

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup cloudy apple juice
1/4 cup craisins
raspberries and yoghurt to serve

Tuesday, July 27, 2010



Madeleines are something that I had never eaten before, but just knew I would love. On our trip to Paris, I made a special detour to a cooking store just to pick up a madeleine tin. I liked the idea of getting the tin in Paris for the quintessential French cake. A madeleine however, is not quite a cake, not quite a biscuit...it's somewhere in the middle. Made of sponge batter, the cakes are pillowy soft on the inside with a nice crisp outside.


For my first attempt, these turned out pretty well and a few of them even got the nice dome on the tops. I think they could probably have been a little lighter in texture, so next time I will whisk the eggs a bit longer. The honey flavour was very light and I had to really think about it to be able to taste it. I'm looking forward to making many, many more of these.

Honey Madeleines (Printable Recipe)
adapted from Stephanie's Honey Madeleines, pg 498
makes 20 - 24 regular madeleines

90g butter, plus 20g extra for coating the tin
1/2 tbsp honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup castor sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
tiny pinch salt
90g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An evening at River Cottage with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall

River Cottage

My fantastic hubby decided to totally spoil me for my birthday and got us tickets to River Cottage. My birthday was a month ago, so I had been waiting excitedly for our trip.

We headed off on our way and sadly the weather started to turn. Just as we arrived it started spitting. We parked in the carpark at the top of the farm and hopped into the trailer being pulled by a big blue tractor to take us down the steep path to the farm (see pic 1 below). The trailer was a bit foggy so it was hard to see out the windows, but I managed to catch a glimpse of River Cottage and the garden (see pic 3 below). It is just as beautiful as in the TV show.

River Cottage

We headed inside, where chairs were setup conference style for the cooking demonstration part of the evening. There was also a handy mirror above the cooking bench (see pic 2 above). Hugh came out and greeted us all. He was just as charming as I imagined he'd be and I think hubby was almost as keen to run away with him as I was. He walked us through the four courses we'd be eating and cooked up a serve of each one.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chilli con Carne

Chilli con Carne

I had been feeling a little tired lately, so decided that a week of red meat dinners to boost my iron would hopefully sort me out. I had a flick through Stephanie, but nothing from the beef or lamb sections really took my fancy. In the dried beans section, I came across the recipe for chilli con carne and thought I would give that a go.

Chilli Con Carne
adapted from Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion, pg 137
serves 4