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Pear crumble.

Winter is officially here but if you ask me it’s been here for a while now. Most evenings I am curled on the lounge with the heat on cupping a hot chocolate. I have now also added a bowlful of pear crumble to my evening to keep me extra warm.
Whilst apple crumbles are gorgeously sweet and rhubarb crumbles are beautifully tart my weakness is a perfect pear crumble. Beurre Bosc Pears mingle in the oven with sugar, vanilla and butter getting to know eachother real well and then I cover it in a thick blanket of crumble mixture made with more butter, sugar and a good pinch of cinnamon.
To me nothing is quite as warming on a cold evening as a perfect pear crumble. And don’t forget the cream. Double cream of course.
Meilssa ox
Pear crumble
      Original recipe from Melissa
4 beurre bosc pears, peeled, cored & cut into thick wedges
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g unsalted butter chopped
crumble topping
1 cup plain flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
100g unsalted butter, softened
½ cup flaked almonds
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200ºC. Mix pear wedges with caster sugar water and vanilla extract and then place in a four cup capacity baking dish. Dot with chopped butter, cover with foil and place in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
  2. For the crumble place the flour, ground cinnamon and softened butter in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the brown sugar and flaked almonds and mix with a spoon to combine.
  3. Top the pear mixture with the crumble mixture evenly and then bake in the oven for another 20-25 minutes until crumble is dark and golden. Serve warm with a good dollop of double cream.


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Chocolate chip & pecan cookies.

Today I had planned to post a recipe for Confit Garlic and Thyme Bread however the last couple of days my cooking skills have been failing me. I’m blaming it on this damn cold I have.
It hasn’t mattered what I put in the oven this past weekend it all came out looking and tasting nothing like it should. Well almost everything. The only thing that has managed to come out of the oven looking and tasting like it should are these chocolate chip and pecan cookies.
These have been my morning and afternoon tea, after dinner treat and fill a pretty plate to enjoy with friends choice of cookie for a few weeks now and today when I pulled yet another batch from the oven I thought I would share them with you.
These are certainly not the prettiest cookies but they are oh so good and most of all not even a damn cold can get in the way of your baking skills when it comes to these.
Melissa ox
Chocolate chip & pecan cookies
            Original recipe from Melissa
125g plain flour
pinch salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
110g roasted pecans
150g bittersweet choc chips
120g unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
80g castor sugar
80g raw sugar
  1. Sift flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl. Add pecans and chocolate chips.
  2. Cream with an electric mixer the butter and sugars in another bowl until pale and fluffy. Add egg and mix until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and form into 2 logs about 4cm in diameter, wrap tightly in cling wrap and chill for 1-2 hrs in the refrigerator before baking.
  3. Preheat oven to 170ºC, line a baking tray with baking paper. Unwrap logs and cut into 1.5cm thick slices. Place on baking tray allowing enough room for spreading and bake for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


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Fennel, orange & toasted fennel seed salad with citrus vinaigrette

I love watching the turn of the seasons evolve and as we head into the cooler months. The daylight hours are shorter and afternoon sky’s a palette of golden hues. Most of all though I love curling up on the lounge with a big bowl of something hearty and plenty of crusty bread to mop through it.
It’s fair to say though I probably love curling up on the lounge too much during the cooler months enjoying a bowl too many of something hearty and crusty bread is a vice I can’t live without.
This year I vowed to change my ways and try to balance the hearty with the light and so far I’m succeeding because I am addicted to this salad of shaved fennel, orange segments, toasted fennel seeds and citrus vinaigrette. Try it alongside a golden roast chook or scoop it over a piece of slow roasted lamb.
The textures in this salad are gorgeous. The freshness of the shaved fennel goes well with the crunch of the toasted fennel seeds and the orange and citrus vinaigrette bring it all together. If you think fennel seeds are too much then swap them for a good handful of toasted walnuts.
Melissa ox
Fennel, orange & toasted fennel seed salad with citrus vinaigrette
                 Recipe by Melissa
For salad
2 small fennel bulbs or 1 large bulb, trimmed, finely sliced
and a small handful of fronds set aside
1 orange peeled, seeds removed and cut into segments
2 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
For vinaigrette
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
salt & pepper
  1. Combine finely sliced fennel, orange segments and toasted fennel seeds. Set aside.
  2. Combine extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, salt and pepper to taste and whisk together lightly. Pour vinaigrette over salad and top with fennel top fronds.


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Carrot, Walnut & Orange Blossom Honey Cake.

Last year for Christmas the Mr gifted me with all the cookbooks I had asked for plus one extra I wasn’t expecting – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Every Day.

Hugh’s cookbook fast became a favourite after I cooked his recipe for Baked Chicken Curry. Since then I have made the Flatbreads to mop up my curries, Lemon Curd marble Muffins to say thank you to friends, Chicken French Bean & Almond salad and Tabula Kisir are on the regular rotation for work lunches and the recipe I’m going to share with you today for Carrot Cake is a must have with a cup of tea on Sunday afternoons.

What sets the Carrot Cake recipe apart from the others is the honey you drizzle over the top when the cake is fresh from the oven. I used Orange Blossom honey but you can use any honey you like. I also added a good handful of toasted walnuts to add some crunch. 

This cake does not need icing but if you feel like dressing it up a bit may I suggest whipping together cream cheese, a few sprinkles of icing sugar and orange zest to serve it with.

Melissa ox

Carrot, Walnut & Orange Blossom Honey Cake
          Adapted from River Cottage Every Day
4 medium eggs
150g caster sugar
300ml sunflower oil
300g wholemeal self-raising flour
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
3-4 large carrots, about 350g in total,
peeled and finely grated
120g toasted walnuts roughly chopped
About 150g runny honey
  1. Grease a 23cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Put the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat together with a hand-held electric beater, or using a freestanding mixer for about 10 minutes until pale, foamy and slightly thickened. Add the oil and beat for another minute or two.
  3. Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together into the mixture. Tip any bran left in the sieve too Fold in gently. Finally fold in the grated carrot and toasted walnuts. Spoon mixture into the prepared tin and bake in an oven preheated to 180ºC for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and stand the tin on a wire rack.
  4. Put the honey into a small saucepan over a low heat and heat gently until it is liquid. Pierce the surface of the hot cake all over with a small knife, or a skewer. Slowly pour on the hot honey so it soaks into the cake. Leave to cool slightly in the tin before turning out. Serve warm or cold.


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New beginning.

A little over two years ago I started The Kitchen Enquirer as a place to share all my favourite recipes and places to eat. Also around the same time I became engaged, me and the Mr started looking for our first home to buy and an interstate engagement and wedding needed to be planned.

On top of the above both me and the Mr secured job promotions with a lot more responsibility and since we hadn’t found a home to buy we had to move into a small house out the back of my future mother-in-laws home. So every day we commuted over an hour to get work, spent our weekends driving to the other side of the city hunting for the perfect home and many hours were spent talking to and emailing my mother who without complaint took on the arduous task of organising our engagement and wedding.

Now that me and the Mr are married, settled into our home with a couple of terrors we adopted in the form of Maggie the dog who is named after my heroine Maggie Beer and Oscar the cheeky cat and work has slipped into a hectic rhythm I decided it was time to jump back on the blogging bandwagon.

I’ve given myself a new look and a new name which suits me and my personality a little better. Melissa’s Kitchen while generic means something to me because Melissa is me and the kitchen is my special place in our home.

So without further adieu I present to you Melissa’s Kitchen. I truly hope you will enjoy coming here and sharing in my kitchen triumphs and the odd disaster.

Happy Cooking!

Melissa ox


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