bouncing back with biscuits & gravy

I’m back. 

It’s been about 3 months since my last post- in those months I was busy at work, planning a wedding, getting married and then enjoying a honeymoon then back to everyday life.  I was still cooking (there’s only so much takeaway you can do!) but just didn’t have the time or energy to keep moving at the same pace.

I’m back home, refreshed and relaxed and now wanting to get stuck into my list of ‘things I want to make and eat’. So this weekend it meant biscuits and gravy for brunch yesterday. Biscuits are like scones in Australia but we generally have them sweet  (cream and jam anyone?) but in the US they are more savoury from what I’ve seen, used to mop up sauces and also sandwich together delicious fillings and make a nice breakfast sandwich. I’ve had on recipe on the cards for some time and that will get made soon but there was a similar and much quicker version in a recent gourmet traveller so I decided to give it a go.

It couldn’t have been simpler.

Start with the biscuits- rub the shortening into the dry ingredients, add wet ingredients- bring dough together (gently gently!) pat out and cut out rounds.  Brush tops with butter. Bake. 

Then just keep them warm while you make your sausage gravy- I wrapped mine up in a tea towel.

Sauce was easy like the biscuits- removed sausage from casing and pan fry until golden breaking up into rough chunks with the spoon- remove when crispy golden and in the the same pan make a roux with butter and flour, add milk, stir still thickened, add sausage back into warm- serve with biscuits.

Quick hey?

I wasn’t sure how to serve it so I just spooned the gravy onto warm plates with the biscuits to the side- I split biscuits in half  and spooned the gravy over and sprinkled with some hot sauce.  It’s real comfort food- rich, but super yum and deeply satisfying.  I’d definitely eat this again.  No idea if my biscuits turned out the same as how they  are meant to be (let me know if you do!) but I was happy with eating the end product!

It’s good to be back 🙂

grilled shiitake with some umami

Umami- it’s one of those words that tends to get thrown about on menu’s.  This one I am ok with.  

Don’t get me started on things like ‘hand cut chips’ or ‘fresh salad’ or ‘deconstructed’…. Umami I understand- it’s the fifth flavour after sweet, sour, salty and bitter.  We don’t have an English equivalent of the word but essentially umami is a ‘savoury’ flavour- and I love it! Salt added to some proteins, fish sauce, Parmesan, mushrooms and so many more exhibit an ‘umami’ flavour.

Pinned to my Pinterest board for a while I had Peter Gilmore’s (think Quay and the famous snow egg- Sydney) grilled shiitake mushrooms with umami butter.  This week I decided it was happening.

Super simple recipe– grilled shiitake mushrooms topped with an umami butter.  This butter is filled with glorious things. You start with softened butter and mix in some dried shiitake and dried seaweed that have been blitzed in a spice grinder, toasted sesame seeds, white miso, lemon rind and fish sauce- mmmmmm UMAMI!

Firstly- don’t get distracted by Netflix and forget about the sesame seeds in the oven otherwise you end up with this…

That’s a little tooooo toasty- I gave it a second go and actually paid attention the second time.  Dump all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together and you end up with this delightful combination…

It’s not pretty I’ll grant you that but it’s really really tasty.

Next- take the stems off the mushrooms- on shiitakes they aren’t that lovely (when grilled) so slice them off and then coat with olive oil and salt..

Then it’s time to grill them- the recipe used a wood/coal bbq but I just used my cast iron grill pan over the gas- suitable alternative in my opinion.

I then topped these with the butter and put the in a low oven while I got together the rest of dinner.

Once they are warm the beautiful butter just melts into the mushrooms…

These were really good- I served them alongside a nice steak, baby spinach salad and a nice sourdough- these will be a make again and I think that this butter would go really nicely along with other veggies or even fish or chicken.

Give it a go- may sound strange ingredient wise but the flavour makes up for it.


compost cookies

I have a long list of recipes that I want to make, one day… just not at the point in time when I read it.  It’s either start this recipe 24 hours (min) beforehand (when I want it that day), too complicated a method to deal with and I’m reading the recipe late in the afternoon or a range of ingredients I just don’t have the time to go and source.  So this list is a long one, it’s not one central list, it’s scattered over Pinterest boards, ear marked in magazines and I know where they all sit in my cookbooks.  But every now and again I do knock them off one by one.

On the weekend I made compost cookies– the recipe is by Christina Tosi who originally started out at Momofuku and makes amazing things like cereal milk soft serve and crack pie (also on the list).  Compost cookies have been on the list for a long time…. in 2012 I first read about it in Gourmet Traveller where they featured Christina because she’d just released her Milkbar cookbook.  What I loved about it was the crazy combination of ingredients, a range of chocolate chips, pretzels, coffee, potato chips and a graham cracker crumb.

This brings me to Sunday- poor Monkey had to work that day so I decided I’d make him cookies.  My Pinterest page has a cookie/biscuit board so I went there for inspiration and landed on the Compost cookie recipe.  I read through it and thought that’s a few steps but that seems do-able today let’s do it.  So I headed to good old Safeway and picked up the stuff I didn’t have in the cupboard; glucose syrup, chocolate chips, potato chips, McVitee’s digestive biscuits (in lieu of graham crackers) and pretzels.  The one thing I couldn’t find from the shops which wasn’t surprising were butterscotch chips and I think that’s the reason why I’d put this recipe off for so many years because I just didn’t know where I would source them from.  I have gradually learnt that’s it’s ok if you don’t always have exactly the ingredients you need in some cases, so this time I supplemented the butterscotch chips with half white chocolate chips and half Reece’s pieces chips (so good!)

You first start with making the graham cracker crumb- whizz up the biscuits to crumbs and mix through sugar, milk powder, cream and melted butter and stir until it forms small clumps- these are mixed through the biscuit batter later- in hindsight I think that they mooshed into the mixture and became lost so I think next time I might crumble it over a baking sheet and bake until slightly crispy and then mix through.

Then it’s onto making the basic biscuit base, cream butter with sugars, add egg, flours etc.  Then came the fun bit, very carefully mixing through the choc chips, graham cracker crumbs, pretzels and potato chips- the kitchen aid did minimal rotations because i didn’t want to decimate the chips!

The mixture needs to be shaped and chilled before baking- they call for using a 70ml icecream scoop but I just used a 60ml cup measure- I am so glad I used something slightly smaller because the cookies are HUGE! Stack on a tray and chill for at least an hour.

When baking them make sure you give yourself plenty of room between each one, don’t try to cram more on, just be patient and be prepared to bake several batches of cookies. The first lot I cooked for too long but then for the next ones I took them out when the edges were just golden, middle still pale and puffed up, and when it cooled it deflated and all the nice chunky bits started to stick out.

So- do I think you would you eat these and go- oh my goodness I can totally taste the pretzels, chips, coffee etc!? No,but I think that what you do end up with is a beautiful salty sweet flavour and a great texture of crunchy and soft- so this recipe will move from the make one day list to the make again list.
Do you have a ‘to make one day list’? What’s on yours?

Additionally- do you know where you can buy butterscotch chips in Australia?