01 January


Damper

(Australian Bush Bread)

January 26: Australia Day

We have not had the opportunity to travel to the Land Down Under. But we have friends from there, although they live in New Jersey, where we met when we lived there for a while, too. Gary and Girlie B. even got married on Australia Day! Their wedding reception concluded with fireworks over Sydney’s Opera House (we saw their lovely photo album).

We still visit with each other occasionally and they give us nice Aussie souvenirs, such as the aboriginal cloth featured in our food photo above with a bush bread called “damper”. It is very rustic and simple, traditionally baked with coals in a campfire or oven by drovers, stockmen and swagmen who had bare basic provisions of food supplies in the outback. But damper is delicious hot out of the oven, with its crustry bits and crumbs, and smothered with a little butter or jam, although it is traditional to eat it with golden syrup.

For a quick way to celebrate Australia Day, bake a quick bread from the bush—a delightful damper!

Recipe

(Adapted from Australia’s Best Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (see Notes)
  • 2/3+ cup milk (water is traditional)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Melt the butter in the microwave and pour over the flour mixture.

Stir in the milk, adding a little more if the dough is too dry and crumbling. Mix until it sticks together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a round ball. Avoid overworking the dough as it will get too tough. Flatten into a 7-8 inch disk (or leave as a mound shape).

Brush the top with a little extra milk to brown the top when baking. Score some deep lines (and “X” or 8 wedge marks) on the top. Place  on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Slice into wedges and serve. Eat warm with butter, jam, golden syrup or honey.

Notes

  • Some recipes suggest cutting up cold butter pieces and mixing cutting it into the dough with a pastry blender.
  • Feel free to sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the damper or experiment with different spices and flavorings in the dough.
  • Damper does not last for more than a day and is best eaten fresh as it hardens the following day.
  • Search for other bread and Australian recipes in our blog.

Chipas

(Paraguayan Cheese Buns)

January 20: National Cheese Lovers Day

Smile and say “cheese” “chipas”! We blogged before about Brazil’s pão de queijo. Now we are posting a similar recipe from its neighbor, Paraguay. Their cheese buns are called chipas. Both pão de queijo and chipas are made with tapioca starch/cassava or manioc flour to give it a nice, chewy texture. In this Paraguayan recipe, we used Parmesan cheese. These cute round cheesy buns are sure to bring smiles to those who eat them, as they are delicious hot and fresh from the oven as a snack or a side dish. Prepare Paraguayan chipas for National Cheese Lovers Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Tablespoon)

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cup tapioca starch/cassava or manioc flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 8-10 teaspoons milk
  • 1 ¼ cups Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the tapioca starch/flour with baking powder and salt. Add the softened butter. Beat in the eggs.

Slowly pour in the milk and mix until well combined. Fold in the cheese. Use a 1 ½ inch scoop and place dough on lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • If the dough is too dry, add a teaspoon of milk at a time.

  • Try other shredded hard cheeses in this recipe. Some may be saltier than others so adjust the seasoning to taste.

  • Search our blog for other recipes containing cheese.

 

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

cheddarbaybiscuits

January 20: National Cheese Lovers Day

The hot cheesy-garlic biscuit appetizers at Red Lobster restaurant are so addicting that we have even bought the boxed mix at the store so we could enjoy eating them at home. But sometimes we cannot find it because the store needed to restock the product or does not carry it. So we looked online for a copycat recipe and found an easy one. While it may not be the exact one as Red Lobster’s, these Cheddar Bay biscuits are close—and less salty. Those who love cheese will certainly love these Cheddar Bay biscuits, especially on National Cheese Lovers Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Big Oven)

For the biscuits

  • 2 ½ cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the Bisquick baking mix, cheese, milk and butter and garlic powder.

cheddarbaybiscuitssteps1

Mix until moist and everything comes together but do not overwork the dough. Scoop mounds onto a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the topping. Remove the biscuits from the oven.

cheddarbaybiscuitssteps2

For the topping

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Directions

In a microwave-safe cup or bowl, combine the butter, garlic powder and parsley flakes. Cover and microwave until melted. Brush the tops of the biscuits with this melted butter mix. Serve the biscuits warm.

cheddarbaybiscuitssteps3

Notes

  • Avoid overmixing the dough or it will not bake up as flaky and soft.
  • Other recipes use cold butter pieces instead of melted butter in the dough. Combine the butter into the Bisquick baking mix and combine using a pastry blender or two forks or knives until it looks coarse and there are lumps resembling large peas. Continue to add the rest of the ingredients for the biscuits and stir until a sticky dough is formed. Bake as usual and brush with butter topping at the end.

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