Simply Baking

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Decluttering is not just about throwing out the piles of junk gathering dust in the basement.  Nor is minimalism about having a sparsely furnished apartment with almost no sign of human habitation.  They are words which are open to interpretation but the over-arching concept is to simplify our homes and lives so that we can make time and space for living.

It is important to keep baking and cooking simple.  Creating meals from scratch can easily lead you to acquire all manner of ingredients.  All too often these are used once and then end up relegated to the back of the cupboard.  I have a well-stocked pantry that has the basic ingredients that I use to create the meals we eat.

I also regularly make substitutions to new recipes so that they fit my ingredients.  It is easy to be conned into having many varieties of one ingredient, such as sugar.  There is caster, white, soft brown, raw, Demerara and numerous others.  I use raw sugar for most general use.  I also keep soft brown sugar and caster sugar.  If a recipe demands a specialty sugar that I feel cannot be satisfactorily substituted I discard the recipe.

Flour is another example of many options available – white, wholemeal, organic, stoneground, plain, self-raising.  I prefer to keep both white and wholemeal.  I use white flour for pastry, pasta and making roux for sauces but other than that I tend to use wholemeal or half and half if I want a lighter texture.  I only buy plain flour and add baking powder to make self-raising flour as required.

2012-03-28 01I buy my flour in 5kg bags from  Simply Good.  I also buy my baking powder in bulk from the same store.

2012-03-28 02The baking powder is sold from bulk bins so I fill a recycled paper bag with it and then decant into the large glass jar. which is in my stock cupboard.  I refill the small container in the pantry as required.  Please do not not confuse bicarbonate of soda (bicarb) with baking powder.  Baking powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar.

2012-03-28 03With basic ingredients to hand it is easy to bake for your family where you know exactly what is in the food.  I made these muffins this morning with the last of some bottled cherries I had bought a couple of years ago – not sure why?  The recipe was the basic muffin recipe from the book, “Down to Earth” by Rhonda Hetzel.  You can find out more on her blog.

2012-03-28 04I made a zucchini quiche for dinner at the same time.  I always try to cook more than one dish when I have the oven turned on so that the power is used efficiently.

Have you tried to simplify the ingredients in your pantry?

Friday Favourites – Zucchini Quiche

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A friend gave this recipe to me nearly 30 years ago.  It seems to be commonplace now but at the time it was a real novelty.  I use it for main meals, packed lunches and finger food depending on the the serving size of the pieces.  The ability to serve it either hot or cold just adds to the versatility.

ZUCCHINI QUICHE

350-400g zucchini, grated
1 cup grated cheese
1 onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup self-raising flour
¼ cup oil
5 eggs
Black pepper for seasoning

2012-01-20 01Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine.  Spread in an ovenproof dish and bake for approximately 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

2012-01-20 02HINTS & MODIFICATIONS

2012-01-20 03I love this recipe for several reasons.  It allows me to make use of the things we produce – eggs, zucchini and onion.  The recipe is one of the most forgiving and versatile ones I have come across.  At various times I have used 1 less egg, substituted milk for 1/2 of the oil, used up to 100 g more or less of zucchini, substituted half of the zucchini for other vegetables such as grated carrot, diced capsicum or corn kernels.  The results may not be perfect but it is definitely edible.

The quiche is usually served with salad here, but the options are almost endless.

2012-01-20 04I am pleased to say that all of the salad is home-grown except for the capsicum.  The eggs, zucchini and onion are also home-grown and even the oil I used is local avocado oil.

Please let me know if you are inspired to try this recipe if you are not already familiar with it.  I trust that you will enjoy the results as much as we do.