Brookford Kitchen Diaries: March

Inspired by Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries I originally began this blog as a place to keep track of what I’d been cooking…I think I lasted about a month. Anyways, newly inspired here’s what was happening in my kitchen in March…

March 1 is St David’s Day – the Welsh National Day. To celebrate from afar I made Nigella’s Bara Brith. I meant to photograph it on one of my vintage Meakin Tintern plates so it would be more Welsh. I did, however, pull the wrong plate from the cupboard. No matter, you get the idea.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a book club baking session, but after finishing Jane Austen’s Emma we got together (sadly one member down this time round) and made Cranachan. You’ll find the recipe – and the connection to the book here.

Adam Liaw’s The Cook-Up is back on SBS and I’m loving it. I watch it on catch-up TV while I’m working – which really means it’s on in the background and I look up if something interesting is on. Sarah bought me the book from the last series, Tonight’s Dinner 2, and so far I’ve cooked a lot from it. This chicken and leek stir-fry is what cock-a-leekie soup would be like if it was a stir-fry instead. The recipe is here.

Another alumni from Adam Liaw’s season of Masterchef is Marion Grasby – who has built quite the foodie empire. This month I made her Sichuan Chongqing Noodle Soup. With beef braised in a spicy Sichuan broth, it’s not the meal of minutes, but it is worth it. Yum.

Even though the temperatures were still high during March, I was craving some autumn – a season we tend to miss out on here in South-East Queensland. To make up for that I created some in the kitchen with this warming goulash.

It’s been a tough month in the day job – I’m currently doing my role plus caretaking another so the stress levels have been a tad high. The other day it was particularly messy and despite having meat and salad on the menu I needed something more comforting – like Nigella’s Beef and Beans With Pasta.

On the Destination front, this month we “visited” Wellington and South Africa.

When it came to Destination Wellington I attempted to recreate the idea of some of the dishes I’d had over there in February – although it was more about using the ingredients to inspire a menu. You’ll find the post here and the recipe for the Brown Butter Cake here.

As for Destination South Africa, inspired by Tannie Maria on Recipes For Love and Murder, I made Bobotie (which we served with Chakalaka and yellow rice) and Malva cake. While not photogenic, it was very tasty – more so than we thought it would be.


Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen

I had to read this one in the cookbook club – the review will be posted during Autumn with the recipe for Gado Gado.

Baking Wisdom, by Anna Olsen

You’ll find my review here – along with the recipe for the scones in the lead picture of this post.

Notes From A Small Kitchen Island, by Debora Robertson

I really need to get around to writing a review on this one – which means, of course, that I need to cook from it. More than a cookbook it’s a collection of essays/articles with recipes to illustrate the words and I adored it. A very close second for my cookbook of the month.

Home Cooked by Kate Humble

This was my favourite cookbook of the month and another that I’ll write a proper review for. Kate Humble is who I want to be when I grow up and this book – which I’ve read for the words as much as the food – is full of ingredients, ideas, fabulous photography, and a life that I’d love to live with the food I’d cook if I lived it.

So far I’ve made the Caraway Beer Bread which is ridiculously easy and literally took me 5 minutes to prepare and pop in the oven – and is my gift to you this morning. Don’t feel constrained by the caraway seeds – you can use different beers, nuts and seeds, herbs, cheese, whatever.

Caraway Beer Bread

What you need…

  • 375g self-raising flour
  • 330ml beer (we had pale ale in the fridge so I used that)
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt

What you do with it…

Preheat the oven to 180C (fan) or 200C (no fan) and oil a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.

Into a large bowl tip the flour, caraway seeds and salt and stir to combine.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the beer and stir until you have a sticky dough.

Tip the dough into the prepared loaf tin and cook for 50-60 minutes. You can check it’s cooked by inserting a skewer (and having come out clean) or tapping it on the bottom (it will sound hollow).

I had it for lunch with cheese, piccalilli and ham, for afternoon tea with butter, and for breakfast with scrambled eggs.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

11 thoughts

  1. Hi Jo, everything looks delicious as always. I really can’t bake bread but I might give that beer and caraway seed recipe a go. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve given that recipe to my daughter too – it’s the bread you bake when you can’t be faffed with any of the making bread palaver.


  2. Jo, you have had a very busy month. This post has inspired me to keep better track of what I am cooking on a daily basis. I usually on take photos of things that I am going to post. Thanks for the idea.


  3. It looks like you’ve had a very yummy month! I’ve taken a page from your book so to say and have been checking out cookbooks from our local library… I’ve yet to actually prepare a meal from them but I am really enjoying reading them and taking inspiration from the photos and the variety of ingredients (the only thing holding me back is that I highly doubt my boys would eat those recipes I really want to try!).


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