The first weekend of December is suddenly here. Unless you are one of those manically organised and gung-ho people whose festooned and twinkling house is visible on Google Earth, this is the time that many of us are just getting our festive act together: fashioning together door wreaths, attempting to string up tangled-together lights, writing and sending cards. All good fun, and great for getting us in the holiday mood. Continue reading
All day long I have been under the misapprehension that Thanksgiving is this Thursday. With a wee panic I have been peeling, chopping, mixing, roasting…burning my hand. But, I have literally just popped ‘Thanksgiving Day 2013′ (with my good hand) into a well-known search engine and see with relief that it is the 28th. The 28th, *sigh*. And, glory be, I’m not working. Woo hoo!
It’s a proper, audible woo hoo because the chocolate-walnut pumpkin pie – sitting Siren-like on the countertop – can now be demolished; its burnished, gooey top soon to be breached by a trio of greedy spoons. Bliss. But first we will tuck into these kale stuffing-stuffed butternut squash stacks – trying saying that three times quickly :D. We’ll have them with steamed Brussels sprouts, braised celery and some homemade za’atar bread. I know the latter doesn’t strictly ‘go,’ but you know me and za’atar…
When I think of gratins (more often than you might imagine) I think of a dense pile of creamy, cheesey thinly sliced potatoes, bubbling and browned. A dish so rich that when you dig out a lush spoonful it is umbilically attached by a stretch of gooey cheese. Now that’s a gratin. Continue reading
I know it sounds a bit gloomy to pop ‘summer’s end’ into the title, but it does seem appropriate. September is nigh, and unless you are of a southern hemisphere persuasion, autumn is here in all but name.
I may be a bit of a weirdo but I quite like autumn. I like its colours, textures and tastes: bumpy, rough apples with their creamy sweet-sharp flesh; prickly brambles, daring you to pluck their dark treasures; kale – proud and tall – emerald leaves fanned like peacocks. Even the air is different – better – tinged as it is with illicit bonfires and hints of vegetal decay. All seasons have their plus points: who can’t say that spring, with its shyly peeking plants and lengthening days isn’t welcome? But, at least here in the UK, early autumn is the best of all seasons – fresh food in abundance, dry warm-ish days and nights finally cool enough to sleep through. Unless you wake up with loads of crazy ideas that is. Continue reading
I’m having a bit of a rough day. Relatively speaking. Although I am sitting here with two purring cats vying for attention (read: my lap), what I really want to do is go for a wee lie down. Maybe have a wee cry. Do you ever feel that way? Continue reading
Welcome to our new favourite summer salad. Why is this our favourite? Well, it is at once creamy, crunchy, savoury, tangy, slightly bitter and ever so slightly sweet (from the corn). We love what I call ‘dimensional salads’: ones that not only have complementing textures, but also complementing flavours – and this is definitely one of those. There is even a little pop from the quinoa, which I liken – if cooked less than the packet instructs – to those crackly pop rocks candies we used to get as kids. Minus the sweetness and weird science-experiment ingredients, of course. I was inspired to make this health-giving bowl of goodness from a recipe I saw in Yotam Ottolenghi’s second book, Plenty (avocado, quinoa and broad bean salad). I have made many versions of this textural salad in the past couple of years, but this is probably my favourite. I tend to add so many vegetables that it is always bigger than the bowl I have for it. That’s a good thing, right? We ate it in last week’s long anticipated sunshine, but with a new ingredient. One of which I believe Mr Ottolenghi would approve. Continue reading
“When it comes to food, I’m inspired by the raw vibrancy of fresh produce and food markets, and that wonderful symphony of tastes, aromas, colours and sounds all teasing the senses at once. The tenderness of baby cos lettuce leaves, the perfume of peaches and mangoes in summer, the versatility of pumpkin and sweet potato, the aromatics of freshly picked herbs, and the colour and diversity of the market people and their food.” Liz Posmyk aka Bizzy Lizzy of Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things
With a philosophy like this, saying ‘yes’ to a guest post opportunity from Liz was one of the quickest and easiest decisions I have made for awhile. Although she is much more ‘hands on’ with the growing ending of things than I, Liz and I share a very similar passion for fresh and seasonal food.
Lucky Liz has shared her love of good food through a newspaper column in her hometown of Canberra, as well as her own radio show. She has also worked at the sharp end as a fresh market centre manager too. But I know her best through her fantastic blog, bizzy lizzy’s good things. Here she shares articles about food producers, fellow cooks and recipes emphasising not only the best of Australian produce, but also handed-down recipes from her Magyar heritage (including all the tricky-to-pronouce titles!).
Liz asked me to chat about my connection with food and how I use it in my work, and share it on my blog. And of course you can’t do a guest post on a food blog without a recipe to go with it So, I have shared an easy and healthy twist on the vegetable tart. Although I have stupidly given away the secret ingredient in the title! Please go visit Liz to see the recipe and look around her lovely blog. And thank you Liz, for this tremendous platform to share my work with your many readers. Follow me Down Under!
Because this is a rather detailed recipe I will keep my usual rambling preamble brief-ish. But take heart, it is only long because I have lavishly described the ins and outs of the gnocchi-making process, and given three ways to roll it out. In fact, I think it may take longer to read this post than it will to make this dish. If you heroically read through to the end of the recipe you will see that gnocchi is quite a playful, fun thing to prepare. Not at all daunting, unlike a souffle or creme brulee, or any one of a number of dishes we foodies/gourmands/greedy guts feel we should tackle in our lifetime. Once you get the rolling out down-pat the whole process shouldn’t take much longer than 20 minutes, not including an optional timeout (the dough, not you) in the fridge. It’s just that my ramblings only make it seem like the War and Peace of recipes, rather than the Very Hungry Caterpillar recipe that it is. Continue reading
Peeking shyly from sandy soil, these soldiers of Spring are a true April-May delicacy. Whether pale, undercover and interesting, exotic purple or (appropriately) spring-green, asparagus attracts us like no other vegetable. A few of you may demure from its herbal charms, but for the rest of us the arrival of this short-lived crop is nothing short of sigh-inducing. It is one of the few vegetables that really is at its best nearly naked, save for a butter sauce, or something like this carrot-miso concoction. To be honest, I like it best plainly roasted, then finished off with lemon and salt as it comes out of the oven. If I can be bothered it instead gets tossed onto a griddle pan to get those pretty, restauranty charred bits, but the oven is fine. I could eat it this way for days on end, only turning to ‘fancier stuff’ like this sauce when the sudden novelty wears off, or when just a heap of oddly-addictive vegetation – no matter how wonderful – won’t suffice. Continue reading
This redder-than-red curry not only looks amazing (for a curry that is – curries not being known for their looks), but features homemade paneer cheese. Yes, homemade cheese. An easy, fail-safe cheese. How good is that?
It gets better. Well, maybe not better-better, but better for you. Not only is it pretty (-ish) and has homemade cheese, this curry is also cheap, nutritious and quite low in fat. Woo hoo! Continue reading