In My Kitchen – June 2014

I’m baaaaaaack!

And hopefully here to stay!

Its been a tough few months, this pregnancy has been so different to my first, any complaints or groans I made when I was pregnant with my daughter now in retrospect seem like mere exaggerations. I wish I bit my tongue!
At 27 weeks now, I am only just starting to eat things and have been enjoying the smells of food again. I hope this feeling lasts because it’s been a rough 6 months food wise.

There haven’t been too many cravings, more aversions than anything. I normally LOVE fish. Well apparently bub doesn’t so that’s a big no go. As are tomatoes.

Now as most Wogs would know, tomatoes are present in pretty much every dish! Whether they be in sauce form on a pizza, present in salads, or the base ingredient to a good stew or casserole.

So we’ve been enjoying meat and three veg for dinner pretty much every night. My husband groaned the other day and said ‘oh pub food again’. Yes honey, pub food. Then I reminded him that men aren’t the ones pushing watermelons out of their penises so he should just shut up and eat what I make. He quietly dug into his meal and claimed it to be the best meal ever.

I digress.

Its June, it’s a fresh start, a fresh season, and I’m feeling better. So good to be back and can’t wait to catch up on the blogosphere.

In My kitchen this month: Fresh Pink Lady apples, picked from the orchard.
We took a day trip to Bilpin and visited Pine Crest Orchard so our fridge is full of delicious apples picked straight from the orchard. At only $3.50 per kilo, the price is a steal compared to the $5 I often see at the markets or grocers. And you can’t beat biting into a fresh crunchy apple you’ve picked yourself.

pine crest apples Bilpin

In My kitchen – Is Easter Armenian Choreg.
The beauty of freezing freshly baked breads is that you can eat it any time of the year. That said, it’s no crime making choreg in June, but it just doesn’t feel right to me. Traditionally choreg is baked between Good Friday and Easter Sunday and the smell and aroma from the sweet freshly baked bread screams Easter is coming. I have no problems thawing a frozen loaf though and lathering it with Nutella or sour cherry jam and devouring it for breakfast!


In My Kitchen: Is a brand new sparkling oven.
Well its not brand new, but its definitely sparkling! The last IMK post I featured the bun in the oven announcing my pregnancy. The lovely and wonderful people at Oven Express must have tsk tsk and shook their heads at the state of my oven because next thing I know I had a call and a prompt van pull up with the offer of a clean oven.
What a God send! Being pregnant, lethargic and over it, the last thing I wanted to do was to get on my fours and inhale awful chemicals found present in those supermarket ‘oven bomb’ cleaners. You know, the type that you spray and close the door only to return to a mini nuclear cloud hanging over your kitchen.

Before. Shocking!

Before. Shocking!

Well this experience was nothing like that! The wonderful oven cleaner Matt arrived, promptly on time and without further ado, he had removed the door and got to work using the old fashioned ‘elbow grease’ method. Being pregnant and hypersensitive I was a bit concerned about toxicity but it just happened to be some ‘super strength dishwashing liquid’. Nothing more. My kitchen didn’t smell at all and there was no white residue left like the supermarket bomb varieties. Matt was super friendly and didn’t mind having a little apprentice on hand to hand him equipment and keep him company!

Matt and his apprentice

Matt and his apprentice

I can’t recommend Oven Express highly enough. The whole service from start to finish was an hour and the end result is better then any oven cleaner you can buy or do yourself. He was so precise and even offered to change my faulty oven light bulb. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even know my oven had a light! Oven Express is a Sydney wide mobile service and can be contacted on 1800 325 773.

After. A sigh of relief! Sparkling new!

After. A sigh of relief! Sparkling new!

The In My Kitchen is thanks to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Please do take a sticky beak at the other kitchens listed around the globe! My previous IMK posts can can be found here.


Sweet Easter Choreg


There is nothing sweeter than the freshly baked smell of Choreg over Easter.

Choreg, tsoureki, çörek, kozunak, cozonac. Whatever you want to call it, is a sweet egg rich brioche like bread that is baked over the festive Easter weekend.

Mahlep/Mahlab,  is the main flavouring of Choreg. What’s Mahlep? It is essentially the kernel found inside the seed of Mediterranean wild cherries that has been grounded into a fine powder. It has a very distinct flavour and smell and I can’t imagine Easter without the smell of Mahlep in the kitchen when a batch of Choreg is baking away in the oven.

This is my Mumma’s recipe, she keeps it hand written on a sheet of paper that is about as old as I am. Her recipe page is covered in stains and food splatters that has accumulated over the years but she still refers to the same piece of paper and won’t transfer her recipes onto a nicer, cleaner notepad.

So here it is! Susan’s famous Choreg: Recipe makes 6 loaves

  • 1 block of butter (250g block)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Mahlep*
  • 350g pure icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dry yeast (or 3 x 7g sachet’s)
  • 1kg plain flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • ½ tablespoon white sugar

Glaze: 4 egg yolks and Sesame seeds (white/black) and/or flaked almonds.

*Mahlep can be found in the dry herbs and spcies aisle of supermarkets, delicatessens and most Middle Eastern specialty stores.

Choreg ingredients

This is the type of recipe that is made to the T, none of this ‘a bit of this and a bit of that’ in this one! It is long and time consuming but I promise it is worth it!

Start by making the yeast mixture by mixing the dry yeast with ½ cup of warm water; add 1 tablespoon of plain flour and the ½ tablespoon of white sugar. Max this mixture in a large bowl as it should double in size and froth almost instantly if covered.

Frothy yeast mix

Frothy yeast mix being added to the creamed butter

In a separate large bowl cream the block of butter with the icing sugar with your fingers. Add the yeast mixture to the creamed butter and continue to mix with your hands. Add the Mahlep, eggs, milk and slowly incorporate the flour as you start kneading the batter. Knead away for 10-12 minutes by ‘slapping’ the mixture in the bowl towards your body in a wave action.

Slap the Choreg batter!d

Slap the Choreg batter!

Once you have a smooth, bouncy dough, dust the mixture with more flour, making a cross indentation in the dough (this is completely optional, it is traditional in Armenian/Greek culture to signify the religious cross of Easter). Cover the bowl with a lid or cling wrap and wrap your closed bowl in a heavy blanket for a minimum of 6 hours. Overnight is optimal.

Goodnight Choreg mix, rest up baby! See you tomorrow morning.

Goodnight Choreg mix, rest up baby! See you tomorrow morning.

When you unwrap your dough, it should have doubled in size. Gather up all your strength and punch the batter nice and firm to deflate it. Knead for a minute further to get a nice consistency

Separate the dough into 6 smaller balls, dust with flour and cover with a damp towel. Leave for a further hour to rest.

Take one ball, and separate it into 3 smaller balls. Roll it out to form 3 logs with a rolling pin and ‘braid’ your mixture into a nice pattern. Repeat with your 5 other large balls.

Glaze your braided Choreg with egg yolks and cover with your choice of sesame seeds, nigella seeds or flaked almonds. Bake your Choreg in a preheated oven of 180degrees or 350f for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Slice of Choreg with sour cherry jam

Slice of Choreg with sour cherry jam

Choreg can be eaten on its own, with a chocolate spread or (my favourite) with a slather of sour cherry jam. Enjoy it with a cup of tea.

Happy Easter to you all.