October 16, 2011

BBQ pizza

This was not the blog I thought I would be writing today. As I downloaded a few images from the camera, I have realised I really need to find time to get talking about some of the meals we have been eating this week, however, like most things in life we were thrown a curve ball.
Last night Nic and I went out to dinner at a wonderful little French restaurant in Surry Hills with a good friend of ours. We have been meaning to catch up for ages but the universe never seemed to co operate with our previous arrangements. Anyway, the sitter was booked and the boys excited because they were going to finished watching their movie and have pizza for dinner.......even the sitter was looking forward to some homemade pizza.

Half way through the day Nic noticed our oven clock wasn't on- weird. He then tried to turn the oven on- still nothing. Our brand new oven had decided to stop working which is not good, especially considering it took the landlords about 8 weeks to replace the old one!

Now not one for encouraging a melt down from the boys I was determined to have pizza on the menu, after all the dough was already made and proving on the bench.  I remembered one of my friends telling me they eat pizza when camping and I have always wondered how good it would be, so I decided to wonder no more and give it a go.

I made a pita bread dough so I knew it would cook quickly on the base but didn't know how good the toppings would be. I am happy to report it was baby Q to the rescue. I popped the pizzas on grease proof paper and a thin tray then turned the temperature to medium heat on the BBQ, put the pizzas in the middle and closed the lid.

The pizzas were ready in a flash (aprox. 8 min) and so I hear, tasted awesome. Alex was very happy that they cooled down a lot faster than regular pizza and Max loved the crispy thin base. I have to admit I was keen to have a piece when I pulled them off the grill plate but decided to keep myself hungry for the feast ahead (turned out to be a very wise decision as I ate way to much pate and cheese!)

Anyway, if you happen to be struck down with a broken oven or in the bush with your barbie, don't despair because I am here to tell you BBQ pizza is the way to go. In fact I am tempted to make the next one in the BBQ because it did look so yummy but you be the judge.

As you can see, the bottom was perfect and the top dripping with soft melted cheese, what more could you ask for?

Pita bread
3 teaspoons dried yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
375ml warm water

Place the above ingredients into a measuring jug and let the yeast ferment for 5 min.
In a mixing bowl with a dough hook (or big bowl and your hands) add the following

625 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons salt

Mix in the yeast mixture then add in
1/4 cup olive oil

Kneed into a soft ball of dough then cover and place in a warm spot to let the dough double in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, cover and prove again. Continue this step at least 4 times for a light dough.

Roll out as needed for pizza.

October 13, 2011

Snack time for the kids

I'm sure you all get the same looks as I do when you go and pick the kids up from school. The grumpy face stares up at you like it was all your fault the school bell didn't chime an hour ago.

"Hello boys!" is 9 times out of 10 met with....

'Ohhh I am soooo hungry, did you bring anything to eat?' where the answer is always 'no, but I'm sure there is something at home'.

It's when we get home I then realise there really isn't anything amazing to eat (surprise, surprise because if there was, I would of polished off a piece before I picked them up!).

Yesterday was a little different and I am wondering if it was a good or bad thing to do?

The cupboards were open then closed and then reopened in search of food. I looked in the fridge and declared I might have something. I pulled some bread out (thankfully Nic baked the day before) at the same time Alex found the leftover lemon curd. We decided to put them together and finish with slices of strawberries (I think that was my 'healthy' contribution).

I'm not to sure if it's a good school snack or not but one thing I do know, it kept them quiet for the rest of the afternoon and that can't be to much of a bad thing....right?

October 9, 2011


Yesterday I started the day cooking pumpkin risotto at 8am. The boys poked their heads into the kitchen to see what was for breakfast...
'Yumm, what's for breakfast' Max asked sniffing the butter, garlic and onion combo sauteing on the stove.
'Cereal was my reply.....and some toast if your lucky'. 

You see I was running behind schedule for my TVSN shoot and because it's live filming I know I am not allowed to be late! 
For those of you who don't know what TVSN is, it's the selling network on Foxtel. It's where I get to have a play with KitchenAid pots and pans for an hour enticing people to buy the cookware and enjoy playing with it as much as I do, and now that my nerves have settled I really love doing the show.

With the risotto made and other ingredients shoved in bags, I flew out the door ten minutes behind schedule and still had to pick up some milk on the way as I completely forgot I needed it for the homemade custard I was making?!
Minutes to spare I managed to pull it all together and we had a fantastic show. The host was awesome and a lot of fun was had, so much so that I felt like I needed to cook something a bit special for my family for a change.

Of course there was nothing left in the fridge from the following week so I needed to do a big shop before I was cooking anything yummy.

Rhubarb was on special, two beautiful, young bunches for $5- bargain! I knew I had some left over pastry in the fridge so I grabbed a few green apples and decided on apple and rhubarb galette for the evenings dessert.

After roasting the rhubarb with a little brown sugar, knobs of butter and some lemon juice, I added slices of green apple, stirred it all through then let it cool before wrapping it in pastry and popping it in the oven.

The day went on with the usual events. When I have the time I love to hop on the net and read up on what is happening in my friends lives via the blogsphere. This week I have been very worried about a friend of mines little boy as he has been very sick. Lisa was a friend of mine back in high school. There was a group of us that knocked around, hanging out at the basketball courts, gossiping, laughing and even playing the odd game of basketball when no one was looking. Actually all the girls I hung around with were very good basket ballers, I on the other hand was tall and lanky with no basketball ability except to catch the rebounds and pass them off quickly before I ruined the entire game. I'm sure I was only invited to play purely because I was their friend.....and I was grateful for that.

As life moved on and college started our little group of girls slowly broke apart. Lisa and I started at the same college in Devonport with a few other good friends of ours while the other half of our high school bunch decided to go to school in Launceston (about an hour and a half away from Devonport). We all started becoming interested in things other than our small country town and basketball. 
I think I started getting itchy feet as soon as I saw a way out of our small country town and was probably one of the first to jump ship and discover the big wide world. 

My dear friend Rebecca (Bec) always kept me up to pace with what the girls were up to over the years. I always knew when someone had a baby, got married or moved away. Although I never kept in touch, I always liked to know how everyone was doing. All our lives were full of adventure and progression however, it wasn't until I came back from the US that I got back in contact with Lisa via her blog (and via Bec....or was it Lisa who got in contact with me? this sound much more likely).

Lisa writes about her family, I started reading about her life and it started to fill in the blanks from the bits and pieces I had heard over the years. I liked the connection, it reminded me of life before responsibility, marriage and everything else that comes with being an adult. I liked that I knew her before we really grew up and to read about her life now and to see what an amazing job she is doing raising her family of boys with her wonderful husband just makes me feel happy in this crazy world we live in.

Last night Bec continued to keep me updated, she told me Lisa's son Noah passed away after they had to make the decision to turn off the ventilator that was keeping Noah breathing. Uncontrollable tears fell from my eyes and my heart swelled with hurt and pain for Lisa and her family. I know they are surrounded by family and friends and I am also grateful to have found an old friend and to know her story this far. 

As I sat with my piece of rhubarb pie and tears stinging my eyes, I know why I write my blog. It is something I want to share, something I want my boys to have to read back on when they are wondering why there are the men they will become. It is my piece of the blogosphere where I get to tell my story and it is nice to know there are other people out there willing to listen, after all, we are all just trying to make the most out of this crazy, yet wonderful life we have all made for ourselves.

October 3, 2011

High Tea to You

Look I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, nor have I been eaten by aliens or had surgery to my hands.
 No, I have been on a path trying to find a new direction for my life. More importantly, I have been trying very hard to start living my life the way I actually want to, instead of my work life ruling me.

As most of you know I have been working in the corporate catering sector where I spend most of my days feeding people in suits lovely sandwiches, rolls and salads. If I get really lucky I get to cook hundreds of homemade beef, lamb and chicken pies, sweet chili sausage rolls and even cupcakes. I shouldn't complain as I have also been known to feed the odd celebrity on their trip to Sydney. Only the other day I made Hugh Jackman's steamed veggies with bye eye cod (which I am happy to report he loved), but believe it or not it just isn't ticking all the food boxes for me. I have met so many wonderful people in the two years I have had Sydney corporate catering but it has also been a toll on my family life. The boys know way to much about my work kitchen and not so much about their mum....that is unless I am telling them 'in a minute' 'No, don't touch that, don't eat that...' blah,blah.

Sydney corporate catering has been SOLD to a wonderful, young, energetic and blissfully single lady who cannot wait to take it on and I couldn't be happier. For these past few weeks I have been thinking of what I am to do with myself in between a few really busy days in the kitchen. If the past few weeks are a sign, I'll be flat out until handover at the end of the month.

Not being one to sit back, relax and wait for things to come to me. I have been wondering what it is that I really would like to do. What do I love about cooking and the hospitality industry?

One of my favourite past times is High tea. For my 18th birthday I went to the ex Hobart Sheraton with my mum and dad and enjoyed the delights of small pastries, cucumber sandwiches and hot floral tea.

Every year I turned another year older in Chicago, my good friend Sara use to spoil me and take me to high tea spots around Chicago. The last time we were seen out eating divine cakes and pastries was just after Alex was born and it is a memory I always turn to when I need a pick me up.

  When I decided I would like to bring a bit of glamour, flare and happiness to others the art of a good high tea was first on my list.

A few weeks ago I bought the name "High Tea to You" and within a week I had my first booking- a bridal shower, how perfect! It is a business in progress but a business I cannot wait to grow. Because my family have put up with my 12-15 hour days, cooking until all hours of the night and extremely early starts I have decided to keep the high teas to weekends and very special events. Now all I need to do is find a day job where flexibility is the key and the working day ends after 8 hours.......shouldn't be to hard, right? Pity I haven't worked out how to blog for a living :)

And just in case you are thinking you would like your own high tea at your house, a beautiful park or special place then give me a buzz at camillabaker.com and let it happen!

 Jansz on ice with chicken and cucumber sandwiches, prawn cocktails and mini berry brioche....

Not to mention the lemon curd tarts, scones jam and cream and red velvet cakes that were the biggest hit.

Bride to be Nicky going in for a scone with her cup of tea.