Eighty Eight Banbury


Crusty No-Knead Ciabatta

bread boardThis is bread for dummies. Seriously. I’ve never baked successful bread. My last attempt resulted in sugary tasting rocks. So, as usual, I was skeptical that this one would work. So skeptical was I that when it worked brilliantly the first time I baked another two loaves right away just to make sure it was fail safe! If I can, so can you!

Mix in a bowl:
3 cups standard flour, 1 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast (I use Edmonds of course. It’s labelled ‘good for breadmakers’). Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water and mix until shaggy dough forms. Cover with Gladwrap and leave to sit on the bench for 12+ hours (I think 14-16 hours is perfect. One loaf ended up at almost 22 hours and it was super holey.)
Put cast iron pot (lid on) into a heated oven (200 degrees C). Meanwhile, put the dough onto a floured surface (be generous with the flour) and shape into a ball.  Cover with the plastic wrap again and leave alone until the pot has heated for 30 minutes.
Take the pot from the oven (warning:HOT!) and drop the bread dough in. Sprinkle with extra flour and any toppings as desired (sea salt, herbs, whatever you like). Pop the lid back on and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes check the bread – mine tends to need another 10 with the lid off. However you need to watch the colour carefully so that it ends up golden brown not black!
Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
Tip: If you tap the bottom of the bread with your knuckles it will sound hollow when cooked.

bread board2
That’s it! I don’t claim this recipe in any way. It’s as old as bread is and no one really knows who first invented it, however I based my recipe on the one listed at Simply So Good.


The Joy of Organisation

Does anyone else lust over ‘home organisation’ type images in magazines? Annie Traurig (see www.livesimplybyannie.com/) works as an organisation expert; beautifying both homes and businesses. She really is amazing and has inspired me to scrutinize my own house for areas to declutter and sort.

It’s quite easy to cover shoe boxes with fabric or get plain ones (just ask politely at any shoe shoe and they’ll usually send you away with a stack). Labels are essential to save time delving into numerous boxes looking for some panadol!

Bathroom: Check.


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Chocolate Caramel Slice

This is a staple at every good kiwi cafe. Unfortunately mine are always a bit messy looking to be found at a cafe but they are still delicious.

chocolate caramel slice

125 grams melted butter
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup soft brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
60 grams butter
395 gram can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
185 gram dark chocolate (I prefer 50% cocoa cadbury chocolate block)
1TB oil or butter

Preheat your oven to 160-180 degrees c and line a slice tray with baking paper. I use a 20cm x 30cm baking dish – if I had something a bit smaller that would be better!

Mix the flour, brown sugar, coconut and melted butter.


Press the mixture into your dish and flatten it with the back of a spoon or spatula. Bake until golden (I’d allow 15 minutes) then remove from the heat and cool completely.  base

Start the caramel by adding the condensed milk, butter and syrup into a saucepan. Stir over a low heat until your caramel becomes smooth and well…caramelly!


Remove from heat and cool completely.

Once both elements are both, pour the caramel over the base and cook again until the caramel turns golden (15 minutes). Generally mine bubbles in the middle where it’s a bit more liquid whilst the edges brown and set faster – that’s fine!

Cool the slice completely before spreading over the chocolate topping.

To make the chocolate, break the chocolate into a bowl. You can either use a typical double boiled type method or pop your bowl into the microwave stopping it every 30 seconds for a stir until smooth. Add 1TB of butter or oil and stir.

Pour the chocolate over the slice and cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes until set.

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Little Things that Please

For me 2013 is all about living intentionally. I want to be deliberate in my relationships, in my search for faith, in my work and home life. I want to be intentional about pursuing gratefulness. It’s too easy to take the basics of health, shelter, family for granted.

I’ve been looking around our little home with new eyes, recognising the angles and corners that are pleasing. My bunch of dried lavender in the bathroom from Mum’s garden at Christmas, the vibrant blue pottery dish gifted by a dear friend, a tiny gold owl sitting on the bookshelf. They are small pleasures that easily warm the heart if we let them.

These are some little treasures which grace the microwave corner:

20130224_122319Blue polystyrene ball; a half finished craft project, cute fabric heart; arrived attached to delicious chocolate chip cookies from my best friend, a Thyme plant which has now found a home outside, Steve’s memo board; a Christmas gift.

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I Miss Popcorn

It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed popcorn. Thanks to Crohn’s disease I can no longer tolerate popcorn, nuts or other healthy (yet difficult to digest) treats. There’s something so satisfying about making popcorn regardless of whether you can taste the end product or not!

ingredients Popcorn:
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup popping corns (more or less)
Caramel Topping:
100g of butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/3 nuts (I used chopped peanuts)
1/4 cup of golden syrup (optional)

Heat your oil in large pot on low-medium heat. Add popcorn and put the lid on.

While the popcorn pops, melt butter and sugar (plus syrup and nuts) in pan on low heat. If you don’t use syrup you might need a bit more butter.

Once the popping starts slowing down (or, as in my case, the pot fills up), take off the heat. Pour the popcorn onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Once sauce is saucy and all melted together, such as…

Pour caramel sauce over popcorn. Pop the tray into the oven and grill very quickly 140-160 degrees C until the sauce hardens. Don’t walk away – I can’t count the number of times of I’ve turned my back and ended up with charred popcorn.


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I’m No 15 Minute Meal: Lamb Lollipops

I like Jamie Oliver. If he visited New Zealand with his enthusiasm for overhauling school canteen junk food I’d support him. Unfortunately he’s cheated a little with his recent cookbook/tv show; 15 Minute Meals.

Even a Masterchef winner would struggle to make these meals in 15 minutes. I don’t know about you but my stove top takes a good ten minutes to heat up and I can waste at least three waiting for the jug to boil. I didn’t set out to prove Jamie wrong but it happened. This meal took two people 17 minutes to complete, I’d allow another ten if you’re doing it solo. We hit the timer once the stove was hot, the jug boiled and all ingredients measured up ready to go.


The end result; lamb lollipops curry with spiced pea rice and crushed poppdoms. The result? Delicious and well worth however many extra minutes this recipe will take you to prepare!


Jamie Oliver: 15 Minute Meals (Recipe at http://keeprecipes.com/recipe/howtocook/lamb-lollipops-curry-sauce-rice-peas)