It is understandable if you have mistaken my kitchen interior to be as pretty as the ones on Pinterest and other food bloggers. The rising popularity in taking shots in the kitchen has set a new standard for the rest of us; we are no longer allowed to have non-styled behind the scenes anymore. This statement might make a huge amount of you frown and almost reach for the “follow” button, however one thing about pretty is that it is not practical.
My style of cooking has evolved. Slowly maturing from a collectible/novelty fanatical with a poor sense of organisation, to 5 foot 1 kitchen autocrat who panics about not having a clean steel bench top. Hey! You never know when you would need a steel bench top, what if I want pizza….
Of course this all comes from my attempt to re organise the chaos that is my kitchen/work area with surprising results. As someone who comes from a “no waste family”, it has taken about 1 month and bit to clean up the stuff out of the house. Now comes the hardest part which is finding ways to put what we have left in a fashion that is aesthetically pleasing but functional. I am responsible for the kitchen of course. I am not trying to pick on one type of person or even a group, but designs set by these food blogs, style blogs and interior designers are not great in the long run.
Small trays; wire hanging racks near the stove; spices/oils/books over the stove or on the ceiling selves; ANYTHING out of white PLUSH fabrics have no place in the used kitchen. In the long run trays are often re-cluttered, spices/oils/books are damaged and the cleaning/fading of white to pale urine yellow is not attractive. I am also not a big fan of introducing pot plants with soil into the kitchen area. This a big fear of mine is finding a bug or crawler in my food when I am cooking/baking.
Sure if you have moola to splash out on your kitchen once a year or even every two yearly, go ahead make your kitchen a look-alike tribute to style. However for the majority of us this is not possible, so after all this whining I am sharing what I might be doing.
First, be real about how your kitchen is used. If you are cooking everyday in the kitchen, have little kids etc.. the most stylish option may not be for you.
Second, look at organization tips for their functional purpose first rather than how “hipster” it is. I have become a big fan of using the walls and to have a little as possible on the kitchen table top besides the heavy as Kitchenaid Stand mixer (>_<);;
Thirdly, what is your budget? Like most of us we do not want to spend heaps on organization, so try to use what you have now then if you need it buy one or two things you have made room for. Also look for stuff around the house; a lot of gems are found in the back of the closet.
Lastly, make room for variance. I know this term is not used for this type of activity but if you are anything like me it is a barrier for lazy days. Sometimes I want to clean and organise, sometimes I don’t; so to combat this I have made sure that there is some wiggle room in how I put away things.
I am no genius at cleaning or anything. Ultimately to comes down to your needs. If you like me and dream of a stainless steel plated kitchen or want something more homely, just make it work for you! 🙂
Now on to something I am more comfortable with and a lot more sticky. Australia day is on the 26th of January, so it would be “unAustralian” of me not to pay respect to Milo. I might be Chinese but I am a full Aussie at heart. I eat Vegemite straight ( yes, the black tar), love my paddle pops and of course Milo! Milo is the chocolate malt drink powder. Sweet with savoury undertones it is a natural partner to use in this loaf cake which I have heavily adapted from “Chocolate and Zucchini” and Nigella Lawson’s recipe. This cake is a hybrid of the two.
I did not use zucchini in this loaf cake for the nutritional purposes; I used it because I liked the tender crumb that was maintained even after a week in the fridge. Also the use of zucchini is not noticeable but really do zucchini’s taste like anything in the first place? Use the best dutch cocoa here and eating dark chocolate for the best flavour and colour to the cake. Dark, tender crumb cake with large chunks of chocolate ribboned through is what you want.
Anyway the chocolate flavour is not overwhelmingly sweet and good enough for extra decadence with a milo glaze which is simply icing sugar, coconut oil, cocoa and milo. Do not underestimate the power of this simple glaze to turn an everyday cake into something special enough for a Birthday. Australian or not, all you need a small slice of this cake a big milo hit. Yes you have the poke the cake and glaze it twice for the best results. Trust me, I am not a Kitchen Stylist 😉
Quadruple Milo Glazed Loaf Cake
Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini and Nigella Lawson’s Feast.
Makes a 2 pound Tin plus a few muffins tins with extra batter, Serves 10-12
175g unsalted butter, well softened
200g brown sugar
150g sour cream
5ml vanilla extract
60g dutch cocoa powder
240g plain flour
350g Zucchini, grated
2g baking powder
8g bi carbonate soda
4 Tablespoons Milo
160g dark chocolate chunks
MILO GLAZE and GARISH
80g coconut oil, melted
250ml hot water
3 teaspoons cocoa
3 tablespoons Milo
400g pure icing sugar
Milk, any kind, extra if needed
Chocolate flakes, crushed
- Pre heat Oven to 160C. Lightly oil and line a loaf Pan with baking paper. Lightly squeeze the grated grated zucchini of water before setting aside in a small bowl
- Over a large bowl sieve flour, cocoa, salt, bicarb and baking powder. In a large jug mix butter, sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract.
- Make a large well in the middle of the flour bowl. Pour in the jug mixture. Fold gently till half of the flour is incorporated. Add zucchini and continue to fold till combined. Fold in remaining chocolate chunks.
- Pour some of the batter into the loaf pan; 1/3 up the side of tin. Sprinkle two table spoons of milo over this batter. Pour on remaining batter. Fill to 3/4 of the way up the side of tin and sprinkle remaining milo on top. Gently tap the cake on the bench to even out the batter. Draw a line down the center of the cake with a knife before baking.
- Bake in pre heated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Test with a wooden cake tester to make sure it comes clean but a small amount of crumb is Ok. Allow to cool in pan.
- Make the syrup by combining icing sugar, cocoa, milo, water and oil in a large bowl. Whisk the mixture until smooth. If thick add tablespoon of milk till pourable but still thick.
- Remove cake from pan and place on a wire rack over a tray. Pour a glaze over cake. Spread it around with a spoon. Allow to meld with the cake.
- Poke the cake with skewers. Pour another layer of syrup over the cake, allowing it to run down the holes. Pour one final layer over and sprinkle over your flakes of chocolate.