Yes this looks like a lot of ingredients, but I will say it until you are sick of hearing me – these are spices that should be a part of your pantry supplies. Summer-fresh curry leaves are available now at about $2 a packet and you can pop them in a small airtight container and freeze them for reliable results throughout the year.
This is a wonderful vegetarian meal, and using tinned beans will help you get it on the table in under half an hour and is sensational the following day for a work lunch. Continue reading
This is a great variation on cheesy scrolls for when you want a savoury lunch but can’t be bothered with making bread from scratch.
It’s a basic scone dough to which you add mashed potato and lots of flavours, making it the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tomato or vegetable soup or even a Ploughman’s lunch with ham, cheese and some home-made pickles. Because they’re a scone dough, they’re best eaten on the day they are made, or frozen as quickly as possible in an airtight container for another time. Continue reading
It’s apple time. Now is your best bet to buy apples that are in season, ripe, bounteous, perfect for baking, instead of the chalky and soft fruit we eat out of cold storage through the rest of the year.
Pistachios are also in season, making this cake the perfect baking item on your to-do list. It’s wonderful for lunch boxes too.
You can substitute for any type of firm, crispy, tart-tasting apple and you can use walnuts as well, or leave out the nuts completely. Continue reading
In my part of Melbourne, food trucks are a common sight. There’s a range of different cuisines for sale that broadly span the dude-food arc. If it can be held in one hand, it’s on offer.
Needless to say, one of the most popular is a taco truck. I see it, perched on the side of Rucker’s Hill, next to a handkerchief-sized plot of grass where hipsters park their bikes and eat, themselves part of the spectacle. Perhaps that’s part of the attraction. Continue reading
After almost two months since it was first made, I still have a jar of salted caramel fudge sauce in my fridge.
From time to time I open the fridge door, ferret around for butter, or the organic raspberry jam I bought from Daylesford, or a knob of ginger from the vegie crisper for a stir-fry. I grab cream for a quick scrambled eggs on Sundays while I am still sleepy, the basil in its terrarium bag from the fridge door for a quick bruschetta, or hummus to snack on with some crackers.
The caramel stays put. Continue reading
“Sandra, N has invited you to lunch, only she didn’t have your number so she asked me to ask you.”
“Oh, that’s great, what’s her number so I can reply?”
“I’ll send it to you.”
[Eight days later, and just one day before the party, I finally get N's number]
“Hi N, it’s Sandra, I’ve only just got your number, but I would love to come tomorrow. What do you want me to bring?”
“That’s great! It’s a very casual affair, just bring cheezels, or lollies”
“Oh, so you don’t want me to bring the salmon quiche that’s now cooling on the bench?”
“That will also be wonderful!”
Gosh, I love take-me-as-I-am friendships.
They are now twenty-one and nineteen, but still my children remember their days in primary school fondly. For some reason the conversation turned to their school days recently and they both rhapsodised about the once a month occasion when I would work in the school canteen.
I’m not sure if it was simply that their mum was there, or that she was a shoe-in to splurge a little more and buy them treats they normally wouldn’t have, but they loved seeing me there.
And for my part, I have fond memories of it as well, the straggly queues, helping the Kindy kids work out correct change, and my personal favourite, listening to a child say, “Can I have a Blith Ball please Mrs Reynoldth?” “Hello darling, did you lose your front tooth this weekend? You must be in Year 1.” Continue reading
From Cajun cooking traditions around New Orleans, blackened fish takes its hue from an intensely flavoured spice rub rather than overcooking. Nevertheless, this is not the meal to cook indoors unless you have really great extractor fans over your stove – it’s the sort of cooking designed to set off smoke detectors. Instead use your barbecue hotplate to best effect.
Take the time to make this spice mix, and then use it not just on fish but on chicken as well. You could even try it on some tofu if you want a vegan option. The heat in this spice rub comes from cayenne, so add it according to your own preferences.
Traditionally one dredges fish in melted butter before applying the spice mix. Rub the spice mix into the flesh, rather than coating it liberally over the fish – that way you get all the flavour without it beating you senseless.
The cooking time is just a few minutes on a very hot hotplate. If butter is not for you, use a lick of olive oil instead. Continue reading
Oh my goodness me, this is good.
Not surprisingly the recipe comes from peach country in the southern states of the US. To combine it in barbecued food is heavenly. You can add this as a side to grilled chicken or even flat mushrooms, but its best when brushed over pork, marinaded for a few hours, then baked or barbecued. Think chops, american-style spare ribs or pork scotch fillets. Continue reading
My friend and I met through an online world, as so many of my friendships have started and then we met in person a few weeks later, already firm friends.
Whenever I head to the Central Coast for a visit, a breakfast with her in our favourite beach side café is always one of the first things I arrange.
Earlier this year I stayed at her place for a couple of nights and late into the evening, with perhaps one too many gins in me I attempted to write down a recipe she gave me.
When I came back to it, sober and now back in Melbourne, I could barely make out the recipe, written as it was in a list with no instructions.
Good job I used common sense to decipher it. Continue reading
These golf-ball sized lunch box snacks are perfect fuel for energetic people and unlike some health foods, they are incredibly delicious.
Make a batch of them this weekend, ready to pop into lunches and child and adult alike will enjoy them. One or two are really quite filling and will keep your energy levels sustained until dinner time.
It’s been a while since I’ve had this soup, but then again, it’s been a while since hot weather. While the rest of the country has sweltered, I still have my blankets on the bed. Every time I think now would be a good time to remove them, along comes another cold front.
It’s January as I write this and I’m wearing ugg boots.
So, back to vegetable soup. This was always going to be on the cards given I had half a fridge of vegies to empty before the next market excursion, but I had forgotten how wonderful such a bowl could be. It’s very delicately flavoured and that’s part of the charm. Continue reading
If you have never been on Twitter, or are more than a little dubious about yet another social media time-suck, allow me to disabuse you of that notion. Twitter is full of the coolest people in the world, true enough, but it is also full of wonderful, sane, witty and joyous everyday people who get along very well in a community of like-minded souls. It is never better than when it is filling the sometimes yawning gap caused by dislocation, or illness, or age. It connects us all.
And in this wonderful place, I found Quilting Muriel.
Muriel makes the most wonderful quilts for returning veterans and lost dogs. She’s savvy, opinionated, politically aware and very droll.
She also just happens to be 95 years young. Her more than 40, 000 followers think she’s about the coolest thing on Twitter. Continue reading
It’s a great truism of Australia that every country town is likely to have a pub and a Chinese restaurant to feed and water the weary traveller. Yes, even now.
I can’t remember the last time I was in small town restaurant, with its faded wallpaper or red lantern light fittings and it’s been a long time since I’ve had anything other than broccoli in an oyster sauce, but this is a recipe worth revisiting.
It’s easy to forget, when summer is at its peak and our tables groan with fruit, just how susceptible our banana crop is to cyclonic conditions. It was only a few years ago that Yasi tore through far north Queensland and took out whole communities. When other people have to rebuild lives and houses, it seems churlish to complain about the high price of bananas that invariably follows.
I say all this because bananas are currently at very small prices. The sort of prices that encourage you to head out and buy so much that the bananas then over-ripen. Which is exactly what you need for this recipe. Continue reading
Lamingtons are lovely, but there comes a time when there might be such a thing as too much chocolate. Now, I’m not sure when that occasion might arise, as I have never ever thought there could be such a thing, but some people assure me that such a moment happens. Possibly with about the same frequency as an appearance of Haley’s Comet.
Still, if yours is a more than once every 86 years event, consider some jelly cakes instead. Continue reading
One of the great joys of family life is a chance to sit down at the table with everyone and recount our day. Sadly, that’s a rarity for me these days and I miss both the company of my family and the sort of meals that are perfect for sharing – roast dinners chief among them.
Then I went shopping and took advantage of a two for one special, of two small chickens, sold as a twin pack. Perfect for one or two people, I originally thought I would cut them into portions and use them across a few recipes. In the end, I roasted one and shared it with a friend.
Not just any roast chook, but one filled with a wonderful spice mixture that is fragrant rather than hot. I served it with an onion sauce and a lemony vegetable couscous and as it makes a spectacular display in the middle of the table, you can be forgiven for wanting to sit back and admire it before tucking in. Continue reading
Couscous is one of those pantry staples that everyone buys for one dish, then conveniently ignores for the rest of the time while more popular items get used up first. Why hello pasta, rice, rice sticks, even two minute noodles. No, not you couscous. Sorry, not today.
Don’t tell me you virtuously use couscous regularly. Most of us mere mortals do not use it. It sits up the back of the pantry growing stale. Musty. Then we throw it out because it’s now home to every pantry moth in the neighbourhood.
Before you do that, consider this dish. I have deliberately called this vegetable couscous because a) you can use any vegetables you want; b) it uses up all those vegies in danger of being thrown out if they are not used up TONIGHT and; c) “Holy-Mother-of-God-this-is good-and-why-did-no-one-tell-me? Couscous” wouldn’t fit across the header. Continue reading
To my mind, and palate, there is something all meat-free meals should have: Umami. Difficult to define, umami is the earthy, full-flavoured mouth-feel that gives depth and a subtle oiliness to one’s palate – and yet it doesn’t contain oil at all. Mushrooms are packed full of umami, which has been best described as food with a pleasing brothy flavour. It goes a great way to explain why we always feel full after eating mushrooms. Quinoa also has umami – it’s somehow meaty, even though it’s a seed. Continue reading
Coconut is one of those ingredients I always have in the pantry and yet, in culinary terms, I run hot and cold on it. Often it will sit there undisturbed for months, then I get a yen for it and before I know it, I will have used it in two or three recipes within the space of a week.
I’m going through a coconut time at the moment.
I have a tin of coconut cream in the pantry, which I’ll use in another dessert recipe in the next week or two – you have been warned – but for now, my mission is to add some flaked coconut with a half-used jar of breakfast fruit which is sitting in the fridge. Continue reading