These are *supposed* to be of equal size.Dave here. I’m doing some guest content on Tina’s blog to give her a kick into updating it herself.

Mister Seven’s standard breakfast order these days is “flatbread with cream cheese” – or, in the last couple of days, “flatbread with nothing on it,” because I guess he’s too good for cream cheese now? – and we’re almost out of pita breads from the shop, so today I decided to try my hand at making them.

The recipe here is from Chef John via Binging with Babish, and I didn’t change anything other than almost forgetting to add the salt, but the key question is whether they can be frozen and cooked later. A quick search suggests freezing the dough in balls after the first rise, then defrosting for 2-3 hours when needed and rolling them out – but that seems like a solution for a different problem than I have, which is how to make breakfast when I woke up ten minutes ago and the coffee machine is still warming up.

So here’s the experiment we’re doing: I’ve rolled out eight pitas (pitæ?), cooked one as a control (everyone approved, especially Mister Seven), and put the remaining ones in the freezer between sheets of baking paper. Tomorrow I’m pulling one straight out of the freezer and into the frying pan, no 2-3 hours of nothing.

Stay tuned.


Next day update

Freezing them turned out pretty well. Not quite as good as the fresh one, but it did puff up a bit after flipping a few times, and Mister Seven was happy with his breakfast. I put some Vegemite in a second one to throw into school lunches – this one didn’t puff up enough to have that pita pocket, but it was easy enough to tease apart with a knife.



Final update

So… satisfying…

The hunt for the ideal hot cross bun continues. I still miss my favourites from Davelle’s bakery in Epping, but I’ve moved house so it’s too far even for me to make the trip just for buns

I decided to have another crack at making them this Easter, and thought I’d try the Laucke sweet bun packet mix. It is a sweet bun packet mix so didn’t include the cross, which is fine as I find it is often a bit tough. I didn’t have very high expectations for the mix given the long list of ingredients on the label, but have tweaked it mostly in terms of method but added a few ingredients too:

1. I added 2 teaspoons of home ground mixed spice which I had on hand and added it to the flour.

2. I soaked 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit (currants, sultanas and a little mixed peel). It’s important to soak your fruit or it’ll make the buns dry as they soak up any liquid in the dough. Cover with boiling water and soak for a few hours or soak in cold water overnight. Drain.

N.B. As an alternative you could use cranberries or use choc chips.


1. Add yeast to warm water to make sure it’s still active (it should start to froth up in 5-10 minutes). Add flour mix and spice to an electric mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, add the yeast liquid and mix on low speed until a dough forms. Swap to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 8 minutes or until a small piece of dough stretched out forms a thin layer and doesn’t just break apart. This let’s you know the gluten has started to develop and this gives the bread its structure.

2. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, turn over in the oil and cover with oiled clingwrap. Place in fridge for 6 hours (or as long as you have, overnight would be fine). This retards the growth and develops flavour. The dough almost doubled in volume.

3. Dust a chopping board with flour, remove dough from bowl and  press out into an oblong like an A4 sheet of paper in portait. Lay drained soaked fruit on top and press in gently (it won’t go in much that’s ok). Roll up towards you starting at the furthest edge making small firm pressing turns to help enclose the fruit within the dough. Once rolled up, turn the log seam-side up and press out gently as before into portrait. Repeat the rolling again until the dough starts to stretch over the fruit and some of the fruit starts to pop out. Return dough to oiled bowl, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

4. Cut dough into 8 pieces (this made quite large buns, you could easily make 10-12 buns) and shape into balls. Use flour as this is a bit messy. Try to enclose the fruit within the dough. Place buns on a baking paper lined tray with a little space between them as they will expand. Place tray inside a large clean plastic bag (like a small clean garbage bag), trap some air in there so the plastic doesn’t touch the buns and tuck ends under or tie up. Place on the stove top or another warm place. Place a pizza stone on the bottom level of the oven and preheat to 250C fan forced.

5. For the next 45 mins to 1 hour let buns double in volume inside the bag and oven should get really hot.

6. Remove tray of buns from bag and place in oven on the pizza stone, close door quickly. Reduce oven temperature to 200C fan forced. Quickly open the oven door and throw one cup of ice or 1/2 cup water onto the bottom of the oven underneath the tray of buns and quickly close the door. This creates steam in the oven which produces a nice crust and browning. Bake for 15-20 minutes until deeply golden.

7. While buns are baking make a glaze with 2 tablespoons white sugar, 1/3 cup water and a pinch of cinnamon. Bring to the boil in a saucepan, stir until sugar is dissolved then simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Brush warm glaze onto freshly baked buns. Allow buns to cool before cutting. They will be a little doughy straight out of the oven but are fine after cooling. 

85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery
Kitchen by Mike is my newest food haunt and I love it. I’ve been taking everyone I can possibly grab as well, so have now been for weekday breakfast and lunch, weekend brunch, but not dinner.
The food: There’s no menu, just go up to the food counter and see what’s on. There’s always good bread, and I mean open crumb, moist, crusty sourdough with pepe saya butter. Usually a few interesting salads and some grilled or roast vegetables. A simple pizza with a delicious crust and quiche or tart, pastries and a cake or two for dessert. Everything is served room temperature and they just keep replenishing the food during service. It reminds me of Ottolenghi in London. Lunch is reasonable and normally works out to about $15 per person, depending on what you get.
The plate above has a globe artichoke, a luxury I learnt to appreciate from my stepmother. You peel off the layers one by one, dip them into the homemade mayonnaise and scrape the flesh between your teeth. When you finally get to the heart you discard the furry choke and eat the tender heart and stalk. Also on the plate, a lentil and brussels sprouts salad, a deeply caramelised roast pumpkin wedge with spiced yoghurt. I’ve also tried a wonderful mushroom soup, roast chicken, margherita pizza and coleslaw.
For breakfast I’ve had a bacon buttie and toast with jam, my friends have had the sourdough pancakes with lemon curd, the Boston baked beans with poached eggs and the bircher muesli, all of which are good. There is a limited menu for weekday breakfast; toasted muesli and yoghurt, Bircher, toast with jam and porridge.  The weekend breakfast is where they have the most options.
The space: is a canteen in a warehouse space, so as it’s getting chillier, bring something warm to wear. A colleague who came here first told me to leave time to walk around the homewares section before you eat, so that you’re not so distracted by the pretty things and end up ignoring your dinner date.
The coffee: is fantastic. I’m surrounded by Campos and Allpress, Sonoma and Bourke St Bakery all of whom do good coffee so this is stiff competition people! They also have smoothies, fresh juice, iced tea and homemade lemonade that come in cute glass bottles with barber striped paper straws. If you just want coffee and a pastry don’t line up in the big line, just go to the coffee counter and save yourself some time.

img_6708 (Modified in Image Viewer)
I had a somewhat belated craving for hot cross buns yesterday, a carry over from the last few weeks addiction. Do try this one, it is the most tender version I’ve ever made at home. They look a little rustic, as I was a little hasty in shaping them, getting excited about eating them!
I wanted to say ‘failsafe hot cross buns’, as this recipe is straightforward. The dough only needs to be mixed for 4 minutes and then left to rise for about 2 hours.  I’ve been playing around in my Professional Baking book which is what this recipe is based on- that’s also why all the measurements are in grams.
sweet dough
100g butter, diced
100g white sugar
10g salt
25g milk powder
75g eggs
200g water
400g bread flour (or strong flour)
100g cake flour (soft or plain flour)
16g instant dried yeast
3g ground allspice
60g currants
80g sultanas
cross paste
150g water
135g cake or plain flour
30g vegetable oil
15g milk powder
1g baking powder
1g salt
clear glaze
25g water
50g glucose syrup
25g white sugar
1 Preheat oven to 50-100°C. For the sweet dough, add butter, sugar, salt and milk powder to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until combined. Add eggs and mix until absorbed. Add water and mix well.
2 Add flours, yeast and allspice and mix on low to medium speed for 3 and a half minutes. Add currants and sultanas and mix on low speed for 30 seconds until mostly incorporated into the dough.
3 Remove bowl from machine, cover with cling wrap and lay a tea towel on top of the bowl. Place the bowl in a warm place such as on the open the oven door with the oven set to 50-100°C for two hours or until dough has risen. Increase oven to 190°C.
4 Form dough into 60-80g balls and sit next to each other, just touching on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
5 For the cross paste, mix all ingredients until smooth, then transfer to a zip lock or piping bag and pipe intersecting lines over your hot cross bun rows. Bake at 190°C for 20-30 minutes until golden and cooked through.
6 For the glaze, add water, syrup and sugar to a small saucepan and stir over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Apply warm glaze to hot cross buns, with a pastry brush, reheating the glaze if necessary.
P.s. If you happen to live in the tropics you can just leave your dough to rise outside in a sheltered area and leave your oven off until you have to bake them.
N.B. I used a flat ‘K’ beater, as the dough hook didn’t blend the butter in properly and as it is such a short mix time it isn’t required here, as it would be for a normal dough.

Ok so here is the recipe of my latest attempt at Hot Cross Buns. They were a lot lighter and fluffier this time, and a bit richer due to the extra egg and a bit more butter. I also put them in a really warm place near the cooktop where I was cooking dinner so they rose quite well. I think the softer flour helped too.
Hot Cross Buns
Bun dough
700g (4 2/3 cups) soft plain flour*
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
2 x 8g packets dried yeast
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
120g raisins, soaked^
130g sultanas, soaked^
300ml full cream milk
125g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
White paste for cross
50g (1/3 cup) plain flour
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1. Whisk flour, sugar, yeast, allspice, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon sea salt in a bowl until combined. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until tepid (about 40C, no more or it will kill the yeast. If it gets hotter than this then leave it until it cools to tepid before adding to dry ingredients. 40C is about body temperature if you don’t have a thermometer). Add eggs to milk mixture, whisk. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, add milk mixture and stir until roughly combined. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer such as a kitchenaid or kenwood mixer with dough hook attached and mix for 3-4 minutes until a smooth elastic dough forms. Alternatively you can knead by hand for about 10 minutes.
2. Spray a large bowl with oil spray, place dough inside and cover with cling film. Put bowl in a warm place for 40-50 minutes or until at least doubled in size. If the dough is not bulging out at the top leave it longer, this is crucial for a fluffy dough. Knock back dough by punching lightly and knead in sultanas and raisins. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces, roll into balls and place in a greased rectangular baking tray. Cover with cling film and stand in a warm place for 30-40 minutes or until doubled in size.
3. For the cross, preheat oven to 220C. Combine flour and 1/4 cup water and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a ziplock bag, cut off the tip of one corner and pipe lines down the centre of each row of buns to form crosses. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 200C and bake for another 10 minutes until golden.
4. For glaze, combine sugar and cinnamon with 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes until glaze has thickened. Transfer buns to a wire rack to cool. Brush glaze over hot buns with a pastry brush and leave to cool.
* Soft flour is also called cake or biscuit flour, with a protein content of about 9g/100g flour. It is available at most large Australian supermarkets. Even at smaller retailers you can normally find a plain flour with a gluten content of about 9.5g/100g.
^Place raisins and sultanas in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak 10-15 minutes then drain and squeeze out excess moisture in a clean tea towel.

If you fall into the category of hot-cross-bun-lover then this post is for you. For all of you who can’t stand fruit in bread stop reading now. You were warned!
I have been amusing my workmates with my current obsession with hot cross buns. I do try to wait until a respectable few weeks out from Easter but that is as long as I can last. Once Davelle’s Bakery at Epping starts making them, all thoughts of low-carb/wheat free etc. go out the window. Not that I really hold strong to any of those theories but I do try to eat a wide variety of grainy breads, sourdoughs, spelt etc. and feel the better for it. But when it comes to hot cross buns there is something akin to the slice of white toast, thinly spread with butter and a smattering of vegemite. It’s a classic and classics sometimes should not be tampered with. Or at least if you’re tampering, prepare yourself for fabulous success or dismal failure.
Knowing all this as wise and true, I still felt the need to make some hot cross buns the other day. Not being able to get to Davelle’s for some reason, I decided I’d have a go at producing those light, spiced, glazed fruity pillows of heaven. Ok so the standard was set high. What I produced tasted pretty darn good, I have to say. I toasted some whole spices and ground them in my new spice grinder, thanks Tom and Mals… and the glaze was lightly spiced with cinnamon too. Even the crosses worked, but the dough was just a little too dense for my preference. And I like dense bread, just not a quality I favour in my hot cross buns.
I think I didn’t let the dough rise for long enough, greedy claws that I was. So next time, I’ll leave the dough a little longer and hope for an airier result.
The recipe I used was adapted from one by Adelaide Lucas available at Gourmet Traveller dot com.
Happy eating or baking if you are feeling like something home-made.
P.s. Note to the wise, Davelle’s sells out very quickly of hot cross buns so unless you get there before lunchtime head to Martelli’s Fruit and Veg at Carlingford so you won’t be disappointed. They buy them by the pallet it seems. I hate to think what time the bakers at Davelle’s have to wake up to make them fresh every day! A big thankyou for feeding my addiction 🙂
Does anyone have any favourite places to get hot cross buns?

This is a wholemeal spelt sourdough using an organic white flour starter culture as the only raising agent. The shape of these loaves is called a ‘batard’.
This is a light rye loaf made with a blend of organic white and organic rye sourdough starters plus a little additional fresh yeast for a lighter texture. Also, I used a loaf tin to try to create a more easily toastable bread. The little slices of the first loaf were hard to get out of the toaster!
1. One of the most prized parts of sourdough is the chewy crust and to create this you need steam in the oven. To create this I crank up the oven (I did about 220C fan-forced) with a tray of water sitting on the bottom of the oven. By the time the oven heats up and is ready for the bread to go in the water is normally bubbling and you have your steam to create your nice crust.
Julia Child has a different method, she uses a piping hot brick which she adds to the tray of water to create a real burst of steam.
2. I find that the loaves burn quite quickly in my oven so I put the racks as low as possible and turn the heat down to 200 or 190 if the bread starts to brown too much. If it looks like it is going to go very brown you can cover the loaf with alfoil.
3. Bourke St Bakery’s cookbook recommends using filtered water and organic unbleached flour.
4. There is a trick that I haven’t used yet but am keen to try. Julia suggests using a terracotta tile to bake your bread on which you pre-heat, like when making pizzas the Italian way. This is meant to give an extra push from the heat underneath the loaf and help give a higher loaf.
Next step is to try some raisin bread, and some lighter fluffier loaves too…

I have been experimenting with Sourdough starters or ‘ferments’ for a while. A while because for months now I have been feeding  flour and water to ‘the baby’as it has come to be known and have only just made my first successful sourdough loaves. November and December were a little busier than expected which is why I’ve been so quiet.
My first attempt at making sourdough last year was very dense as I ignored the suggested rising times and this is not the time to be making up the rules! Once you are proficient, sure, but in the meantime I am taking advice from the Bourke St Bakery cookbook for good notes on making a successful starter culture using just flour and water and Julia Child’s very detailed notes on troubleshooting when baking. Very helpful.
So I made some wholemeal spelt loaves, which were nutty and delicious, though still a little dense so I think I may have under-proved them, but I am looking forward to today’s batch of light rye which in addition to the traditional sourdough starter also employs some fresh (compressed) yeast to make for a tasty bread with a lighter texture. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find fresh yeast but I bought some at the deli in Carlingford Court!
A home oven is not ideal for making bread, but with some tricks you can have success. I am only just finding my way at the moment but I promise to post some pictures if these ones turn out decent 🙂
More soon,
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

The biggest challenge with having an African dinner party was which region’s cuisine to choose, so we didn’t! We just left it quite open and this is what we ended up with…
Clockwise: In the large white square dish is doro wat chicken, injera bread, bobotie, rice, bulgar salad, tomato salad.

Coriander Bread (Pain Nord Africain au Coriandre) Recipe

2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Dissolve yeast in warm milk in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except all-purpose flour. Stir in enough all-purpose flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes.
Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise until double, about 1 hour. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
Punch dough down; divide into halves. Shape each half into an 8-inch long loaf. Place loaves into two greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Cover; let rise until double — 40 to 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 190 C or 375 F.
Cut lengthwise slash in top of each loaf. Bake until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped — 35 to 40 minutes; remove from pans. Cool on wire racks.

Egyptian beetroot dip

serves: 4
ready in: 1 hour (15 mins Prep – 40 mins Cook)
Serve this beautifully vibrant dip with chargrilled pita toasts for a casual start to a barbecue, or use it as a scrumptious sandwich filler.
5 red beetroot (1 kg)
1¼ cups (325 g) plain low-fat yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon paprika
pepper to taste
preparation method
Cut off the beetroot stems 1 cm from the roots (no closer). Scrub the roots very gently but thoroughly, being careful not to nick the skin.
Cook the beetroot in a large pot of simmering, salted water for 40–60 minutes until tender. Drain. Allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, cool slightly and rub off the skins. It is a good idea to wear rubber gloves when doing this to prevent your hands from becoming stained.
Finely chop, grate or process the beetroot in a food processor, then transfer the flesh to a serving bowl.
Add the yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, oil, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and paprika to the beetroot and mix well. Season to taste with pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required. Serve with warm crusty bread.

Kosayi (African Dipping Sauce)

500g or 9 Baby red capsicums
90g or 3 long red hot chillies
30g or 7 small red hot or habanera* chillies
2 tbsp vegetable oil
75g sugar
75 ml white vinegar
1 tsp salt
Olive oil
*If replacing the 7 small hot chillies (with habanera chillies) you must remove the seeds and veins before blanching them in boiling
A good kosayi should be not too hot, you can just feel the heat. The mixture will keep for about 6 months in the refrigerator – the older it gets the better it tastes.
Place the chillies and the whole capsicums in a large pot of cold water and bring to the boil.
Simmer for 25 min or until soft. Cover, turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
Drain and seed both chilli and capsicum, then peel the capsicum. Place in a food processor and blend to a creamy paste.
Press mixture through a fine strainer to remove any remaining skin.
Stir in sugar, oil, salt and white vinegar then place in a jar and allow at least 2 days to mature.



1 kg beef mince
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp ginger, grated or chopped
2 slices white bread
1 tbs jam
2 tbs chutney (Mrs Ball’s is the authentic safe chutney)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tbs vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/2 cup raisins (variation is 1/4 cup raisins + 1/4 cup grated apple)
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tbs curry powder (Indian spice mix)
2-4 bay leaves (fresh or dry doesn’t matter!)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Oil in pan, saute onions, ginger and garlic and remove from pan.
Saute curry powder in oil to develop flavour then add mince. Cook mince until brown and crumbly, remove from heat.
Soak bread in milk, squeeze dry and shred.  Add to mince along with onion mix.
Add salt, pepper, tumeric, cloves, vinegar, raisins, jam and chutney and mix through.
Place in baking dish, press down and top with bay leaves.
Bake for about 50 minutes @ 180 degrees. After 30 min in the oven, beat the egg and milk together and carefully pour over mince in the dish, return to oven.
Remove from oven when topping is cooked (may not need the extra 20 minutes).


2 cups white rice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs margarine
1/2 cup raisins
Boil saucepan of water. Add all ingredients except raisins to boiling water and top up water as required during cooking. About 5 min before rice is cooked, add raisins and simmer until rice is tender. Drain and serve!

chef kurt linsi’s queen of sheba salad


700g          ripe tomatoes, cut into small wedges with seeds removed. Nicole used ‘kumatoes’.
1                   red onion, finely chopped.
1                   clove garlic, finely chopped
1                   small red chilli, finely chopped
1/2 cup      tomato sauce or ketchup
Few drops tabasco sauce
1 tbsp          vinegar
1/4 cup      olive oil
1/4 cup      medium dry sherry
1/2 tsp       worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp       salt
grind of     black pepper
In a bowl Combine salad ingredients. Combine sauce ingredients. Marinate the tomato mixture in the sauce. Serve in sauce dishes without lettuce or drain well and place in the center of the Injera bread.

bulgar salad


225g (8 oz) bulgur wheat
285mL (1/2 pint) boiling water
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 red capsicum, grilled, peeled and sliced
1 bunch of plump spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cucumber, coarsely chopped
115 g (4 oz) feta cheese, crumbled
lime wedges, to serve
oil-cured black olives, optional
Place the bulgur wheat in a large bowl, add the boiling water and leave to soak for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a fork, until the water has been absorbed. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice and seasoning. Pour oil mixture over the bulgur wheat, add the herbs and mix well. Then mix in the remaining ingredients. Cover and chill until required. Serve garnished with lime wedges.

doro wat chicken


Feeds 10-20
1 whole chicken, plus an extra couple of chicken breasts or thighs
3 lemons
500ml of white vinegar
5 kg brown onions
50g finely ground cardamom seeds
100ml olive oil
100ml Nit’r Qibe (spiced clarified butter)
6 tbsp berbere spice mix (chilli powder)
4 tbsp tomato paste
Mixed spice
2 tbsp cardamom seeds
2 tbsp nigella seeds
2 tbsp ajwain (or fennel seeds)
1 tbsp African basil leaves, seed and leaves
2 tsp black pepper corns
3 tbsp salt
2 tbsp ground black pepper
12 hard boiled eggs
Remove the skin completely from the chicken and cut into 21 portions. (This is the traditional Ethiopian way.) Any excess blood or fat on the chicken needs to be removed, as it will affect the flavour of the sauce. After the chicken has been cleaned, soak it in the vinegar and some wedges of lemon in a non metallic bowl.
Finely dice the onions and place them in a large pot with the lid on over a medium heat. Do not add oil or liquid. Cook the onions until they have reduced by at least half. This process usually takes about an hour.
Once the onions have reduced, add the olive oil cook for 30 mins. Then add the spiced ghee (nit’r qibe) and berbere and stir into the mixture. Add the 21 portions of chicken. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the temperature and allow the chicken to cook through, making sure the onions do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Grind together the mixed spice ingredients and once the chicken is partially cooked, add the mixed spice and stir through. Add salt. Allow the mixture to simmer slowly and stir occasionally.
While the mixture is cooking, prepare the eggs. Bring water to the boil, add salt and hard-boil the eggs. Once cooked, peel the eggs and allow to cool.
Cut vertical groves into the eggs to ensure flavour seeps in. Spoon out some of the excess oil that settles on top of the mixture. Add the eggs when you are about to turn off the heat.
This is better the next day and even better the day after that. Just make sure you reheat thoroughly.
N.B. A berbere spice mix is available from Herbie’s spice shop in Rozelle and it includes many of the spices mentioned in the ‘mixed spice’ section of the recipe and not so much chilli, so I used 6 tablespoons of Herbie’s berbere mix and added the tomato paste to round out the flavour and add a redder colour as it was bit dull brown and too clovey. The heat seems to come more from the pepper than the chilli so add some more chilli if your spice mix is not hot and you like spicy food.
Serve with Injera bread. Here is the recipe for it below…

injera bread

makes 8-10
1 cup amaranth flour (available at health food shops, you could also try buckwheat or wholemeal for a nutty flavour)
2 cups plain flour
3 cups water
pinch salt
Mix flours with water until smooth in a bowl, cover.  Leave to sit for 2-3 days (even overnight will do if you don’t have time, it just won’t be as sour) until it starts to bubble. During this time you can mix it a few times with a spoon but otherwise just leave it covered. You want crepe batter consistency so if too thin you can pour off some of the liquid that has risen to the top before you mix and cook the batter.
Stir in the salt. Heat a large frypan until when a few drops of water are added the water dances on the surface and evaporates. Quickly wipe the surface of the pan with a paper towel dipped in oil. Add a ladle of the mixture and cook slowly until air bubbles rise to the top. Do not let it brown, and make sure that it is not too thick. You can tip the pan so that excess batter runs to the edges. Do not turn over, only one side gets cooked, just wait until it is cooked through then slide off to a large plate. Repeat until the batter is used up.
Cover with clingfilm once cooled until ready to serve. You can cover the plate with one injera and use it to mop up sauce, by breaking off a piece with your fingers and any extra injera can be rolled up into a ‘cigar’ and cut in half and used to dip into sauces.

m’hanncha (the snake) with caramelised fig


* 150g chopped almonds
* 75g granulated (raw) sugar
* 1 tablespoon butter, melted
* 2 teaspoons orange flower water
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 8 sheets filo pastry
* 40g butter
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 cup icing sugar
* 8 fresh figs
* 4 tablespoons brown sugar
Put the sugar, butter, orange flower water, almonds and cinnamon in a blender and blend until smooth.
Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and place each lengthways down the side of one piece of filo pastry. Roll the pastry around the mixture. The finished thing should resemble a sausage shape.
Coil it into a kind of snail’s shell then set aside and cover with a damp tea towel. Repeat this with all 8 pieces.
Heat the butter in a large pan and then fry the pastries until they are browned on both sides.
Sprinkle the pastries with cinnamon and icing sugar and serve. They can be left to cool if you wish to eat them cold.
Figs: Depending on the quality of the figs, they can be sliced or quartered and eaten fresh if very juicy or if a little dry then cut in half from top to bottom, lay cut side up on a baking tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake in a 180C oven for 5-10 minutes until the tops start to caramelise. Keep an eye on them as they burn quickly.
A dollop of thick sweetened yoghurt flavoured with a little cinnamon and honey would be a delicious addition.


We had a couple of bottles of South African red wine, called Pinotage, which were so different to each other you would have sworn they were different types of grapes.  Nice to try though.