Bread Appreciation with Garlic & Herb Swirly Bread

Garlic and Herb swirly breadCarbs have been given such a bad rep. I mean, I kinda feel pretty bad for them.
All this deep repugnance towards them whilst forgetting the beautiful role that they play.
Carbs are only a full on hero in bread, and to be honest, bread is the absolute bomb.

I would say ‘bread is the best thing since sliced bread’, but that doesn’t really make sense…

Garlic and Herb swirly breadAnyway, being the huge bread fan I am, nothing gives me greater joy than working on a loaf over the course of a day.
It truly is a labour of love. You gotta be in it to win it.
In this case, to win it, it’s mostly a waiting game (yeast is a slow worker hey), but that never really bothers me when the fire is roaring and a book is calling ma name.
So really, it’s kinda a win win situation.Garlic and Herb swirly bread

To be more specific, I don’t mind bread with a bit of a twist (heh heh see what I did there…)
Shaking it up but swirling through my favourite; garlic, herbs and of course, a whooooole lotta cheese.
What more could a gurl want?garlic and herb spread

I went head over heals for this version of the braided bread, I mean just check out all that room for bursts of herb and cheese!
Therefore, that bread to filling ratio?
100% sorted.

And the smell?
^^ All you gotta do it walk through the front door to start salivating… then you run to the kitchen a pull apart the bread full of herby cheesy pockets

Garlic and Herb swirly breadP.S. it is possible to consume almost a whole loaf in one sitting… but don’t worry i’m not hatin’ on the carbs, i’m lovin’ them

GARLIC & HERB SWIRLY BREAD
(recipe adapted from taste.com.au)

Ingredients:
2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 x 7g packet dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup shredded tasty cheese

Garlic Herb Spread:
1 cup chives
1 cup basil
1 cup parsley
1/2 lemon worth of juice
1/2 cup grated parmesan
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Method:
1. Place 1 cup of flour, warm water, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until a thick batter forms. Cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until frothy.
2. In the meantime make the Garlic Herb Spread by combining the herbs, lemon juice, parmesan and salt and pepper into a food processor and blend until well combined. Stream in the olive oil while blending and process until smooth. Place in a jar and set aside in the fridge until needed.
2. Back to the bread dough, add remaining 1 cup of flour, salt, 1 egg and oil to the yeast mixture. Stir until dough comes together. Turn onto floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes. Add flour throughout kneading until dough is no longer sticky.
3. Place dough into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic and stand for 15 minutes, or until dough is well risen. Punch dough down with your fist. Knead for 2 minutes.
4. Roll dough out to be around 18×12 inches then spoon the garlic herb spread over top, spreading evenly with a spatula, then sprinkle over the cheese, leaving a clean 1/2-inch border around the edges.
5. Roll the long side of the dough into a semi-tight roll then cut the dough in half down the length of the dough roll and loosely pinch the ends together (the dough will fall open a bit because of the filling). Place the strands side-by-side, pinching the top ends together, quickly braid the two together, keeping the open ended parts on top. Pinch the ends together, shape into a wreath, securing both ends together.
(if the words don’t explain the braiding process well enough, Joy the Baker has a great video on how to do the braided loaf)
6. Transfer to a lined baking tray, loosely cover the top with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes to rise a bit more.
7. Top with shredded parmesan cheese and bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
8. Allow to cool slightly, then pull apart and enjoy!

Garlic and Herb swirly bread

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A Day in the City

Melbourne city Melbourne city Melbourne cafeMelbourne city Melbourne city flinders street stationMelbourne city Melbourne city Melbourne city I never mind a good old day in the city (hence the title).
Lil bit of shopping, a whole lot of eating and some wandering around here and there.
You really can’t go wrong.

It all begins with that train ride.
Slow, but steady, as you can see the impending skyscrapers getting bigger.
Then you hit those well walked pavements and escalators full of people filled with purpose.
You bustle on and join the shuffle of the crowd, then we disperse off on our own little daily adventure. Kinda fun hey?

As for Melbourne as a city?
I’ll say small but sweet.
Full golden little nooks and crannies.
It’s no New York, but it makes sense and really encapsulates and celebrates what makes Melbourne different. Therefore, i’m quite a fan!

So above are some snaps from a day out! There’s really so much more to show, but hey, we’ll save that for a rainy day.

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Staying Warm in Winter with Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate

Cinnamon Spiced Hot ChocolateFor me, Winter is all about curling up with a good ol’ book by the fire to escape the cold.
But obviously this scene would not be complete without a nice warm cuppa.
Yep, sometimes I brew a mug of peppermint tea, but sometimes i’m like
‘ummmmmmmmmmm i actually feel like a cheeky hot choccy’Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate

But from time to time a bought hot chocolate mix just doesn’t make the cut.
Sometimes we go all the way to milky town, where I add like 10 tablespoons to reach the perfect chocolaty level, and sometimes till i’m like ‘mmmmm mehh’
(you may call me a hot chocolate snob, but when you work in a chocolate store, it’s inevitable that your standards are lifted).
Cinnamon Spiced Hot ChocolateSo this gal went off to solve some serious first world problems by making home-made hot chocolate mix to avoid that disappointed saga.
Cinnamon Spiced Hot ChocolateThe first time I attempted this was with a friend who was suffering the woes and pain of post wisdom teeth operation, so what better way to distract her from her home bound boredom then to whip out the big guns (aka the food processor).
And lemme tell ya, it was a hit.
It was so good, I made it all over again, and may or may not be sipping on some now…
Cinnamon Spiced Hot ChocolateThis recipe is adapted by the one and only baking legend Isy Hossack at Top with Cinnamon.

Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:
50g Dark Bittersweet Chocolate
50g Milk Chocolate
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup milk powder
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons corn flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup of milk to serve

Method:
Break the chocolate into chunks and blend in a food processor until mealy.
Add the cocoa, sugar, powdered milk, salt, and corn flour and cinnamon to the food processor.
(If you don’t have a food processor, finely grate the chocolate instead – then stir in the rest of the ingredients by hand) and blend until combined.
Scoop the mixture into a jar (make sure you scrape around the edges of the food processor bowl to dislodge any chocolate that may be stuck there) and screw on the lid.

To serve, a small pot combine the milk and hot cocoa mix.
Whisk together gently over a medium heat until well mixed and steaming. Pour into a mug and serve.
Top with froth if you wanna, cause ya know, froth is where the fun is at.
Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate and FYI i’m never going back to bought hot choccy mix, it’s kinda that good.
Just thought i’d let ya know.

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Birthday Breaky ~ Happy Birthday Mum!

IMG_8353-3A birthday only comes round once a year, so naturally, it’s gotta be made something fun.
Especially when it’s for someone who is thuper duper special.
In this case, it’s my one and only Mum (capitol letter intended) who is growing up one extra year (but always young at heart).
breakfast juiceWhat a better way to celebrate than with the most important meal of the day.
BIRTHDAY BREAKY!
Pure genius in other words.

Pretty much everything you could ever want in a breaky in one room.
Bravo Mum. Bravo x 1000.
jam and breadLet’s visualise it shall we?
You got your basics; juice, fruit galore, granola, yoghurt, porridge (cause it’s Winter, duhhh), bread and jams
And the specials; pastry heaven (of course savoury and sweet), apple & berry crumble, rhubarb & pear compote (as featured here), banana bread
Bliss I tell ya!
granola breakfastAdd a fire place warming the whole room, a cool winters morning, coffee and tea (no brainer) and a room full of friends, it’s really a recipe for a success and a perfect kick off to not only the day but also a birthday celebration.
white flowersAnd aren’t those hand-written signs awesome!! Credits 100% to ma sister, you rocked it.
banana breadbreakfast juiceBut most importantly it was about celebrating a special day, and thanking mum for all she has done for me, really being there for me 24/7.
So, here’s another Happy Happy Birthday Mum! You deserve the swellest year and all the love in the world <3me and mum

This party idea was clearly too awesome to keep to ourselves.
You’re welcome.

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Vanilla Pound Cake with Rhubarb & Pear Compote

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Rhubarb and Pear CompoteI’m kinda brain dead and dunno really what to say… I blame the lack of brain activity these holidays.
It’s sorta a eat, sleep, tv repeat type of situation (and chuck in some socialisation for good measure).
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Rhubarb and Pear CompoteThe big event of the week these holidays is Mum’s upcoming Birthday Breaky.
This means menu planning and a lil’ trial run of that food that’s tantalising me on those well-written calligraphy signs my sister has whipped up.
For mum and I, compote was something we always thought would be an ideal little addition to the buffet; on top of
Yoghurt, Muesli, Banana bread, it’s just so damn versatile it can pretty much lay itself over all that is edible, if ya know what I mean.
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
So naturally, I thought it was prime time to do a little practice run, ya know, test the waters and see if we’re ready to rock n’ roll.
Along with being inspired by Delicious magazine’s Pound Cake, I decided to whip up a little spin off of this, it only seemed fitting.
enter:

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Rhubarb & Pear Compote
And obviously I topped it with ice-cream. It’s just silly not to.
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Rhubarb and Pear CompoteWe get vanilla cakey goodness from the pound cake, topped with the citrus and sour yet slightly sweet syrupy compote, topped off with the creaminess of the ice-cream, it’s really a recipe calling for salvation … and perhaps even 2 servings.
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Rhubarb and Pear CompoteI originally did make a lemon pound cake to go with this, then I took a few mouthfuls and thought… nup, not gonna work, not with that compote. So to the households delight, we were graced with 2 pound cakes last weekend, now how fun is that!

Shall we skip the small talk and head to the main event? (sorry for the lack of conversation on my behalf, i’m just as dazed as a cucumber these days. Cheers holidays.)Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Rhubarb and Pear Compote

VANILLA BEAN POUND CAKE WITH RHUBARB & PEAR COMPOTE
Pound Cake recipe adapted from ABC Delicious Magazine, Issue 139, July 2014
Rhubarb & Pear Compote recipe from taste.com.au

Ingredients
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake:
200g softened butter
1 1/4 cups (275g) caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour

Rhubarb & Pear Compote
60ml (1/4 cup) fresh orange juice
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
1 bunch (about 700g) rhubarb, trimmed, washed, cut into 4cm length
4 ripe pears, peeled, cored, halved, each half cut into 3 wedges
1 x 3cm-wide strip orange rind, pith removed
1 x 7cm cinnamon stick

Ice-cream to serve

Method
For the Pound Cake;
preheat the oven to 170C, and grease and line a 1.25L loaf pan with baking paper.
Beat butter and sugar using electric beaters for 3-4 minutes or until thick and pale.
Add vanilla and beat until combined.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add flour, beating until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into a pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until golden and skewer comes out clean. Cool in pan.

For the Compote;
Place the orange juice and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves.
Add the rhubarb, pear, orange rind and cinnamon stick.
Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.
Uncover and cook for a further 5 minutes or until fruit is tender and liquid thickens slightly.
Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes to cool.

Slice the Pound Cake, top with a (generous) scoop of ice-cream and spoon the Compote on top – enjoy!
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Rhubarb and Pear CompoteVanilla Bean Pound Cake with Rhubarb and Pear Compote

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Daisy and the Fox

Sunday at the Markets

Sunday MarketSunday MarketSunday MarketSunday MarketSunday MarketSunday MarketSunday MarketSunday MarketSunday MarketSunday MarketSunday MarketSundays I generally sleep in, get up and maybe do a cheeky little baking sesh and thennnn maybe sleep a little more (but of course a walk… who can forget the dog).

But when I do get up early on a Sunday, it’s for a purpose (and determination) to get to the Sunday Market and snap up those bargains.

Something that always becomes almost a strong moral code at the market is; “one person’s trash, another’s treasure”, which I could not agree with more.
Those antique bits and bobs draw me in like a fly to food on a Summers night, I do have a fairly large enormous collection of stuff (nope, I refuse to call it junk).
It’s really an investment.

I just love the bustling and eager vibe from the early rises, all out for a good shop (and maybe a sneaky little jam doughnut… it’s gotta be done).
There’s a little bit of everything for someone;
clothes? ya sorted.
retro records? ya sorted.
plants of all kinds? ya sorted.
A little musical entertainment whilst you go on your way?
Pretty much, the markets got it. Something for everyone. Ain’t it fun!
Sunday MarketAnd incase you’re wondering the market pictured is the Camberwell Market, it’s pretty RAD.

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Celebrating Mushrooms ~ Mushroom & Onion Thyme Puff Pastry Tart

Mushroom and Onion Thyme Puff Pastry TartThere’s one thing I get really excited about when I find we have it in stock (well, actually quite a few… but lets focus on this particular goodness);
mushroomsss!
the next thing I check?
Thyme.

It’s only right, the two just go hand in hand, and the smell…. mmmm… just perfection.
I could rave about it forever.

Mushroom and Onion Thyme Puff Pastry Tart
I didn’t really get into mushrooms until a few years ago (I know what you’re thinking… ‘this kid has been seriously missing out’),
but really, i’m thoroughly enjoying making up for it, in the form of this mushroom packed tart.
(plus it’s super quick and easy, so it can get in your belly quicker… you know how it is.)

Mushroom and Onion Thyme Puff Pastry Tart

Puff Pastry is just such a dream boat in this little compilation, it results in lightness and flakiness, all in the space of time your shortcrust pastry would be resting! (but lets not offend shortcrust, she’ll be probz making an appearance here soon anyway)
Combine the soft and thyme flavoured onions and mushrooms, sprinkled with creamy feta and your sorted. For life.

Mushroom and Onion Thyme Puff Pastry Tart

I love to share what I’ve whipped up with the fam bam, but unfortunately mum is allergic…. I mourn for her, I really do.
But on the brighter side, more for me and the sis… it’s bittersweet.

MUSHROOM ONION THYME PUFF PASTRY TART
(recipe adapted from Mixed Mushroom Tart @ Taste.com.au)

INGREDIENTS:
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, sliced into rings
1 clove garlic, diced
200g/ 2 large flat mushrooms, sliced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
7 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves removed and used) + more for garnish
60g feta crumbled

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Score 1.5cm border around the puff pastry (being careful to not cut the whole way through) then prick the inside with a fork. Brush with egg and place in the oven for around 10 minutes or until light golden and puffed.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions and garlic, stirring until onions are translucent.
Add the mushrooms and thyme, with the additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cook and stir until mushrooms are tender and fragrant.

Place the mushroom and onion mixture on top of the puff pastry, and spread to be inside the border.
Cook for a further 10 minutes in the oven or until golden and puffed.

Garnish with feta and fresh thyme – and enjoy!

Mushroom & Onion Thyme Puff Pastry Tart
Mushroom and Onion Thyme Puff Pastry Tart
Mushroom & Onion Thyme Puff Pastry Tart
Hope you all have a wonderful week! And I hope at some point you get to kick back and enjoy some mushroom goodness.
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