Cheesy Rosemary & Onion Damper

We have an abundance of rosemary growing in our garden right now. It’s been raining a lot lately, and it’s making the rosemary go nuts. Perfect excuse for roast lamb, which means leftover roast lamb, which means sandwiches! Even better, have that leftover meat with some tomato relish and an easy homemade rosemary damper.

Damper is a traditional Australian style of bread, which used to be baked mostly in the coals of a campfire. It was a plain bread, often eaten with butter and/or golden syrup. These days you can make it at home in an oven, which is less messy, and you can add all sorts of ingredients to make it a bit fancier.

damper

1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 cups self-raising flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated cheese
1 1/4 cups water

Saute the onion in some oil or butter until soft, set aside to cool. Preheat an oven to 180C and grease a biscuit tray.

Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips. Mix in the rosemary, onion and cheese. Add 1 cup of water and mix until it starts to come together as a dough. Turn out onto a floured workbench and knead it all together with your hands. Add extra water or flour as need while kneading to bring it to a smooth dough.

Shape into a round about 2 inches thick, and place on the tray. Cut a cross in the top of the dough about 1 cm deep. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle on some extra grated cheese if you want. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the damper is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it.

cooked damperIt’s dense stuff, so it’s pretty filling. Open sandwiches are usually a better bet with damper, or you can always just eat it as it is, fresh from the oven with a good amount of butter. Or use it to mop up gravy!

 

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Easy Cheesy Mini Muffins – a guest post

My fiancé doesn’t bake much, but when he does, he makes these deliciously easy little bites of savoury cheesy goodness.

 

Here he is to tell you how to do it:

Hello internet!

I got this recipe off one of my friends, it was hand written in a letter, I suspect the recipe was knowingly simple as I have meagre baking skills. (I can heat up pies like a pro though)

The things you will need are listed below. I suggest you purchase all of them and put them in a heap in front of you before you start baking as nothing sucks more than having to run down the shops for some cheese halfway through making cheese muffins.

2 cups grated cheese

1 ½ self-raising flour
½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

a healthy shake of smoky paprika

1 egg

1 cup milk

Mix all the dry ingredients, and the grated cheese, together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk the egg and the milk. Pour the egg and milk into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Spoon mixture into greased mini muffin trays, and bake at 210C for about 10-15 minutes. Cool in tins for 5 minutes, then turn on to a wire rack.

Woah ok that was easy! Here’s an action shot of me spooning the sticky stuff in the muffin pan.

Tips:

  • The cheese needs to be tasty cheese, or pizza cheese is also good. The best cheese however is called pizza plus and it’s the best cheese because it’s 3 kinds of cheese; tasty, mozzarella, and parmesan, also known as the ‘Cheese Triarch’ (it’s not really).
  • If you have any leftover cheese, sprinkle a little on top of each muffin before putting them in the oven (let’s face it we all have leftover cheese)
  • You can make them hammy by adding a good big handful of diced ham or bacon bits (adding bacon bits will make them more bacony than hammy)
  • If you want to get really fancy you can also add fresh chopped herbs, if you want to get really really fancy you could add in some myrrh and frankincense (don’t do this).

Everyone loves them, even babies!! Best served warm straight out of the oven, but at room temperature is also fine.

Luke had never had muffins before – he’s now a huge fan!

Savoury Cupcakes

You might be thinking “savoury cupcakes, doesn’t she just mean muffins?”. Well, I’d say you’re right, but there are some who disagree*. The debate started recently at work, with a colleague who wanted to know why there couldn’t be such a thing as a savoury cupcake. My definition of cupcake vs muffin is all in the process, however I thought it would be possible to make a savoury muffin in a cupcake liner and decorate it in a way similar to a cupcake. Because today was the birthday of the colleague who asked the original question, I thought it fitting that I attempt savoury cupcakes in her honour.

It is technically a muffin recipe, this is true. The nod to cupcakes comes through with the cupcake liners and the size, and also with the topping. The recipe is modified from an AWW recipe, and it made 24 savoury cupcakes.

½ cup polenta (cornmeal)
 1 cup milk
200g finely diced bacon or ham
3-4 spring onion stalks, finely chopped
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
2 teaspoons caster sugar
125g corn kernels, not drained
100g melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated cheese

Preheat oven to 200C. Mix polenta and milk in a small bowl, drain the corn kernels and add the juice but not the corn, and allow to stand for 20 minutes. This helps to soften the polenta and makes it less gritty in the final baked result.

Fry the bacon and onion for about 5 minutes, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Mix the flour, sugar, corn kernels, grated cheese and bacon mixture together in a large bowl. Add the butter, eggs and polenta mixture, and mix briefly until just combined.

Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 minutes.

To make the topping I mixed a tub of spreadable cream cheese with a large handful of finely chopped parsley, and spread this on top of each cupcake once they were cool. I then topped each cupcake with a small amount of tomato relish, but chutney could also work. The cupcakes can be served at room temperature or warmed slightly.

If you wanted to make a vegetarian option, you could omit the bacon, add more corn, and maybe also add some sun-dried tomatoes or toasted pine nuts.

*Although most people seem to think that this counts as a muffin, not as a cupcake, as you can see below from the (informal) vote we ran today…