My new found love for cooking started three months ago when I took a job on a cattle station close to Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. I’ve continued to experiment in the homestead kitchen and sometimes cook four days a week for the crew.
I’ve already shared with you some of my favourite dishes and smoko bakes but like my food, I’ve kept the best ’til last. I like to think my culinary skills have immensely improved since the days of blowing up the slow cooker and nearly burning down the kitchen. I’ve also developed some signature dishes which I just love to serve as they seem to bring big smiles across the table.
My favourite things to cook are of course sweet treats due to my exceptionally sweet tooth, as not only do I get to try each bake fresh from the oven (one must always try before serving!) I also get to scrape the bottom of the bowl (who doesn’t!). Thinking about it, I also get to nibble on the off cuts AND ensure the cake tin is free from any gooey bits as of course this saves on washing up 😉
I’d like to share with you some of my best recipes, starting with my all-time favourite bake (if I HAD to choose!)
Now it really is a blessing that I didn’t grow up in a country with banana bread, otherwise I would have no doubt be one of those fat kids on a roller coaster. Banana bread is like a little bit of heaven and nowhere does it better than Australia. My recipe has been adapted from one I found online by Diva’s can cook.
Every time I bake this at the station it’s gone before the end of smoko and there’s only seven of us. There’s always mixture spare once the loaf tin is filled so I add chocolate chips to the leftovers and bake banana & chocolate muffins – delish! If you’re going to bake one thing in your life, it needs to be this!
There’s nothing that reminds me more of home than a good roast dinner (apart from the wind and the rain!) and roast chicken is my favourite. My grandad has been coming round every Sunday at 6 for a feed for years and no one does it quite like mum….until now!
Sorry mum but my roast chicken is truly something special and I can’t wait to cook it for the family when I visit England in December. It’s a tough dish to get right but when it’s done good, it’s great!
My food followers on Instagram told me that it was recently Bastille Day so I thought I would bake the guys something French for smoko. Friands are a great little treat to have with coffee, although I never order one as they are always rather small and if I’m going to go for cake, I want a jolly big slice! I did these in muffin tins and they turned out great, more dense and nutty than a good muffin but equally as tasty.
My Swedish colleague Elina made this traditional Swedish Kaddkaka which translates to “sticky chocolate cake’ eaten on the 7th of November. I adapted her recipe by replacing 1/2 cup of flour with 1/3 cup of hazelnut meal which I toasted, skinned and ground myself – effort!. This intentionally made the gooey cake taste like Nutella (mmmm Nutella!). Half of the mixture ended up on the bottom of the oven after the cake tin broke but despite this kitchen malfunction, it turned out just perfect. Unfortunately we only have cheap cooking chocolate at the station so the topping wasn’t to my standard but with a nice block of Green & Blacks or Lindt or even Cadbury’s (can’t be too spoilt now) it would taste even better.
I couldn’t decide whether to include my mini quiches or savoury muffins in this post as both are my signature savoury smoko bakes. They are fairly similar in the fact you can add almost any filling and they are baked in a muffin tin. My favourite filling is garlic roasted veggies, caramelised onion, crispy bacon, pinenuts and if I’m lucky, feta cheese. I never was one to take my mothers advice of “less is more” so I overload this recipe with flavouring and fillings. You can never have enough garlic!
I hope this post has inspired you to try your hand at a spot of cooking. Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment in the box below. Also, if you have any recipes that you’d like me to try please share! It won’t be long before I will be back on the road and living off tinned tuna and powdered milk as I drive down the coast of Western Australia.
Living life, loving cooking,