chicken and Pear Tagine

Day 14 – Chicken and Pear Tagine

Paris. Just writing the name makes me sigh.

I went there because a lover asked me to meet him there. It was so ridiculously clichéd, and yet it exceeded the hype and all our expectations, primarily because it was such an immersive experience. In between the sighs and the smiles and the whispered promises, we walked and we ate. Continue reading

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Apple Scrolls

Breads and Pastries – Apple Scrolls

My bread maker is in storage at the moment, so bread making has been a little sporadic around here, but I had a yen for some sweet fruit-filled rolls so in the midst of a cold and very blustery day I gave this a whirl.

I used bread improver to help prove the dough, and set the dough to rise in a partially-filled sink of hot water, but I really shouldn’t have worried – the dough rose steadily over an hour, the apple filling was just right, the oven warmed the rest of the house as they cooked.   Continue reading

Pork in Cider

Day 13 – Cider Pork Chops

A while back, I walked into my local shopping centre and there ran into a display stand of Bulmers cider and in an instant I was a gauche teenager all over again.

Growing up in Britain’s West Country, drinking cider was not so much a rite of passage as part of the natural order of things, like three-day weeks and cups of strong tea. We came to it sooner rather than later – it was the passion pop of choice for any party.

And it was at just such a party where I sipped cider nervously, with one eye on the clock to catch the last bus home before my midnight curfew. Continue reading

Vanilla Bean Pannacotta-001

Dessert – Vanilla Bean Pannacotta

A pannacotta is always a popular dessert but most people don’t feel up to the task of making them, thinking them too fiddly. And yet they couldn’t be simpler to make.

It relies on good ingredients and while you can make these wobbly wonders with gelatine powder, it works best with gelatine leaves. Why? It makes a softer, silkier dessert, and softens beautifully in your mouth. Continue reading

Saganaki Cheese

Day 12 – Saganaki Cheese

Such a simple, incredibly addictive dish, this is best served infrequently if you want to stay on good terms with your doctor, but oh, my goodness, how good this is.

Anything cooked as a saganaki invariably refers to the small two-handled deep sided frypan it is cooked in, which is why it’s possible to have, say, a prawn saganaki, even though it’s nothing like this dish. Continue reading

Parsley and Chickpea Salad

Day 11 – Chickpea and Parsley Salad

Wait! Where are you going? Don’t run away to the chocolate section just yet, this is really good. No, I mean it. Really good.

This started as a gift for a recuperating patient, my dear Miss Carly, but I was determined that it should taste good. Why? Well, hospital food has to be great tasting, but more importantly, I wanted to overcome any prejudice that a salad is inherently boring. Continue reading

Lemon Cream Tarts

Sweet Treats – Lemon Cream Tarts

Not every 15 minute meal can be cheap as well as delicious, but I have to say these lemon cream tarts are a sensational exception to the rule.

Granted, I had lemon butter in the fridge, and it also helps to have some cookie-style biscuits at the ready. I made these as a morning tea offering to a sick hospital patient, but in the end I should simply have made more – my housemate snaffled the last of them while I was visiting the hospital. Continue reading

Pumpkin, Lentil and Apple Soup

Day 8 – Pumpkin, Lentil and Apple Soup

You know it’s snowing nearby when you head out in the morning and instantly regret leaving your gloves behind. Here in deepest inner-suburban Melbourne, winter is not so much as coming, as has arrived and torn through the city.

It was blowing a gale when I went to the market, but my shopping list was short. I wanted fruit and vegetables mainly, a few deli items, not much more. By the time I got there my feet were cold and my hands were frozen and I was grumpy. Continue reading

Buttermilk Baked Chicken

Day 7 – Buttermilk Baked Chicken

I’ve spoken before about the virtues of using buttermilk as a marinade for chicken. The last time I used it, the resulting popcorn chicken disappeared so fast I barely had time to photograph it. So you would think I would have remembered and been a little more prepared this time.

Much as I love, love, LOVE the fried coating that surrounds all good southern-style chicken, it’s not the healthiest way to eat, so this time I have opted for a roasted version.  Continue reading

Sweet Treats – Jam and Polenta Cupcakes

These are not gluten-free but they are adaptable if you substitute for a gluten-free flour. The recipe asks you to use a piping bag. If you don’t have one, simply wait for the cakes to cool, then gently cut out a circular piece from the top of each muffin. Spoon a small amount of jam into each crater and place the small plug of cake back on top. Continue reading

Sweet Potato and Spinach Red Curry

Day 6 – Spinach and Sweet Potato Red Curry

I had some filo pastry left over from making last week’s Apple Strudel, so I bought some spinach to make Spanakopita. I used up all the filo pastry but then had spinach left over which is how this dish came into being. I got to Thailand via Greece and Austria. Of course. 

Admit it, this sort of thing happens to you too. Continue reading

Pyrex Giveaway

Giveaway – Win a fabulous pack of Pyrex goodies

Having moved so often in the last few years, most of my kitchen paraphernalia remains in storage. One day I will open up the boxes of cookbooks, mixing bowls and gratin dishes and greet them as if I’m meeting old friends at the airport.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Still. As a cook, I travel lightly. Up until recently, I carried one good knife for all my work, a measuring jug, some scales, a really decent chopping board. You’ve seen that chopping board in every second photo since last September. Until now. Continue reading

Apple Strudel

Dessert – Apple Strudel

I confess I would never have made this and you would never see the recipe on this site if it wasn’t for my wonderful friend Carly.

Enjoying her last few days at home before returning to work, Carly invited me to lunch and asked me to bring dessert.  A strudel was her suggestion and so I hit the books – the 1970s cookbooks to be precise. It was probably 30 years ago since I last made one.  Continue reading

Chai Spice Cake

Sweet Treats – Chai Spice Cake

Forget fruit and vegetables: Cakes have a season too. I have favourites for eating at various times of the year – lighter than air lemon angel food cake with tart berries makes great sense in summer, while anything with rich spices adds a welcome warmth in winter.

This cake makes much more sense now than, say, in the heat of summer. It just does. It fills the air as it bakes, perfuming the kitchen with clove, ginger, cardamom and pepper. Best of all it’s a welcome reminder that at this time of the year, it’s easy to add warmth to our bodies via spice. Continue reading

$120 – A Week of Family Meals – It Can Be Done

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