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Remember your first time?

6 Apr

Well it certainly was a weekend of debuts for me…I’m actually feeling quite accomplished this week; proud even. Proud enough to do a little shameless boasting anyway! That was your warning people!

Most notably, I participated in my first (mini) triathlon! It was surprisingly fun, though I must admit I was decidedly terrified pre-race!

On the cooking front, I made fresh egg pasta for the first time (in preparation for my impending triathlon debut), baked my first loaf of fruit bread and whipped up my first ever batch of fruity, buttery scones! In hindsight, I possibly went a little overboard with the whole carbo-loading thing; nonetheless I had a great excuse!

Why scones you ask? No I haven’t joined the CWA; in fact, I had a perfectly good reason for baking a batch of the good ol’ fashion high tea favourites. JAM! More on this later.

As promised, today’s download is all about last weekend’s road trip…

Destination: Blue Mountains

We got on the road bright and early Saturday morning to make the most of the day. Unfortunately I hadn’t quite packed appropriately for the chilly weather we encountered on arrival, so a good portion of our morning was taken up by emergency shoe shopping (needless to say, I wasn’t complaining)!

After a yummy macchiato at Stockmarket Cafe in Leura (regretfully we didn’t get to try their much-lauded & scrumptious looking breakfast menu) and a whip around the local shops and markets, we headed for Katoomba. We couldn’t visit the Blue Mountains without a trip to the famous 3 Sisters so we picked up a few picnic goodies and made the pilgrimage!

Our makeshift picnic lunch was hands down the most enjoyable dining experience of the weekend. Simple but delicious! The two standout ingredients were the near-authentic, super crusty demi-baguettes from Hominy Bakery in Katoomba and the morning’s market bought chutneys.

There’s just one other place I feel compelled to recommend to anyone who’s planning a visit to the Blue Mountains, Station Bar & Woodfired Pizza. It’s the perfect wintery watering hole…exactly what you need in a place like Katoomba!

We stumbled across this charming bar on our way to the pub for a pre-dinner tipple. The decor at Station Bar & Woodfired Pizza is oh-so-warm and inviting and the temperature inside, much the same. And though I can’t attest to the quality of their wood-fired pizzas, I can say that the few I saw and smelt nearly tempted me to cancel our dinner plans and settle in for the night!

Wood-fired pizzas; cocooning decor; a long and inventive cocktail list; live music and a sensational array of beers on tap and by the bottle…have I sold it to you yet? Get there!

I thought I might share a recipe with you this week. This one was inspired by my trip away…

So I have to confess, I’m a victim for a market (thanks Mum)!! I used to be found hanging around the bead and jewellery stalls but these days, for sure and certain, you’ll find me somewhere near the food, especially if there’s a sample to be had! So naturally I hunted down the local markets in the Blue Mountains area as soon as I knew our destination.

Et voila, success! Thanks to the weekend away my fridge is now laden with delicious chutneys and yummy jams!

In fact I came across rosella jam at the Penrith High St Markets on our way back to Sydney and couldn’t resist stocking up as it’s not so easy to find.

This was the inspiration for my introduction to the art of scone-making…ones of a healthy(er) disposition! See, I told you there was a good reason for it!

The following recipe is a combination of a few recipes that I liked – I’m not sure I’ve nailed it yet, but according to those who sampled the finished product, they weren’t half bad!!!

Please let me know if you have any tips or tricks for scone making!

Fig & Walnut Scones with a healthy(er) disposition

  • 165g cold butter, cubed
  • 3 cups flour or wholemeal flour if you like ’em really healthy!
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked for a wash
  • 2 tbs sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon for dusting

Cinnamon Greek yoghurt

  • Small tub of plain Greek yoghurt or Greek style natural yoghurt
  • A couple of drops of vanilla essence
  • Sugar and cinnamon mix

Preheat oven to 220 deg Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the baking powder, soda, and sugar. Mix.

Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers, forming crumbs. Continue until the mixture is approximately uniform without letting the butter get too warm. Stir in the figs and walnuts.

Add the buttermilk and work it into the dough. Add more if needed to moisten the whole mixture. Be careful not to overwork the dough or it will create tough and chewy scones – not CWA approved!

Once the dough is mostly uniform, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half. Pat each half into a circle or rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cut into relatively even wedges with a sharp knife.

Place wedges on the baking tray relatively close together to help the scones rise and avoid spreading. Brush each wedge with the egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Reserve any leftover cinnamon sugar for the Greek yoghurt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the wedges are golden brown and smell irresistible!

And for the finishing touches… Cinnamon Greek yoghurt & rosella jam

Call me a killjoy, but I‘m always looking for ways to make sweet treats a little healthier without compromising on taste or decadence.

I’m not much of a cream girl (boring I know) so I created a substitute that will never make you miss cream on your scone again!

Whilst the scones are busy getting golden and delicious, mix some of the leftover cinnamon and sugar blend with a few tablespoons of Greek yoghurt (or Greek style natural yoghurt). Add a few drops of vanilla essence to taste. Once the yoghurt mixture is sweet enough for your liking, lightly whip with a fork or whisk to add some air to the mixture (if you wish).

Spoon into a bowl and serve with warm scones and jam of your choice!

Miss Piggie xx