Broccoli mallum

Broccoli mallung

I fell for broccoli hard as a teenager, lusting after its crunchy, healthy greenness, which, when I moved out of home to go to uni, probably also had something to do with how easy broccoli was to cook and how dependable it was to find in the supermarket … But something happened along the way, and years later (okay, close to decades later) I notice that broccoli is virtually missing in action on this blog! I’m remedying this right now with a recipe that has made me love broccoli all over again. Continue reading Broccoli mallum

Lemon and rye biscuits

Lemon and rye cookies, lemon cordial

I’m totally guilty of taking our lemon tree for granted. Such is its happy disposition – never asking for water all summer yet always looking so waxy green, and providing us constant fruit since sometime before last winter! I think partly I’m resigned to the fact I can never use all of its lemons (lots end up in bags for family and friends), and the ripe fruit also waits patiently on the tree, so most of the time, I have to say I ignore it. (For instance, I noticed I hardly ever post recipes featuring lemons!) Though I do admire the tree from our kitchen window, and of course pick lemons whenever we need. We planted it about 9 years ago along a north-facing wall in our Melbourne backyard, a position it clearly loves. Continue reading Lemon and rye biscuits

Eggplant with yuzu and bonito

Japanese aubergine with yuzu and bonitoJapanese aubergine with yuzu and bonito

Years back, while travelling in rural China, we realised that the best stir-fries are a lot like the best Italian pastas – minimal ingredients, simple technique, allowing the produce to shine. It’s true of this dish from Japan, too. (But in case those two foreign words in the title are mysterious: yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit that I think you can only have fresh here in Australia if you grow it. However, in the Japanese sections of Asian grocers you can buy bottles of yuzu concentrate, which works wonderfully here. Hunt it out – so delicious! While you’re there, search the shelves for bonito flakes, which are fine shavings of dried fish famously used in dashi broth, but which also make a magical, delicately fishy garnish. You can get them in convenient serving-sized sachets.) Continue reading Eggplant with yuzu and bonito

Peach and Thai basil granita (and sherry cobbler!)

Peach and Thai basil granitaPeach and Thai basil sherry cobbler

The fruit from all the trees in our backyard inspires me to cook the best that I can; to make it really count; to capture the short season before it is gone. It’s usually a balance of making old favourites and having fun exploring new and delicious things. And while enjoying the fruit in the now, I also like to dabble in a little preserving/making things last, even if it’s just putting one small thing in the freezer. Continue reading Peach and Thai basil granita (and sherry cobbler!)

Pâté, Spanish pickled vegetables

Homemade olives in brine in jarsChicken liver pate, Spanish pickled vegetables

Lots of things converging here: the homemade olives we are tickle pink with; a Spanish-inspired quick pickle featuring said olives and other puckering bits (and delicious vinagery carrot!); my friend’s mother’s pâté recipe, which is as much a celebration of onion and nutmeg as it is chicken livers. I’ve made these two dishes multiple times through December and January – peasant food that is fit for a Christmas table, or for get togethers and celebrations of any kind. Continue reading Pâté, Spanish pickled vegetables

North African grilled capsicum and egg salad

Boiled eggs and grilled green capsicum salad

Choosing green capsicum (bell pepper) over red is some kind of step into true, post-30 adulthood. All through my younger years I barely took any notice of green, always making a beeline for fire-truck red: so happy and sweet. But now I see that green capsicum isn’t just an unripe version of red, but a brilliant thing in itself – its sweetness balanced out with zing and depth. It’s become my go-to for paella, and I love it in this salad. Continue reading North African grilled capsicum and egg salad

Paneer makhani

Indian paneer cheese in spiced tomato sauce with cardamom sweet potato roti

Tomato and cheese – a classic Italian combination, yes? Well here is its Indian cousin. Cubes of paneer cheese cooked in a spiced tomato sauce, creamy with butter and cashews. A bowlful of comfort that has become a huge favourite in our house, particularly in combination with this cardamom-spiked sweet potato roti (optional; rice is also great). Continue reading Paneer makhani

Real raspberry jelly slice

Raspberry jelly slice – with real raspberry jelly and without condensed milk

Sometimes it’s an interesting dish from the other side of the world that excites me; other times it’s seasonal produce or food from our own garden, or the challenge of making something from scratch. And then there is another side to me – totally smitten with the old-school Australian/British baking of my childhood. The things my Nana made, and the cakes you could buy at our local country bakery (which of course you still can, and which we do, whenever we’re on a road trip. We dip into what we call ‘the bakery fund’, which extends to my husband buying pies, pasties and sausage rolls whenever there’s a reasonable opportunity – especially if there is ‘award-winning’ something announced in the bakery window, i.e. in every second town.) Continue reading Real raspberry jelly slice

Japanese buckwheat soup

buckwheat kernels, tofu, carrot and pine mushrooms – ingredients for Japanese buckwheat soup

This soup makes me ridiculously happy, for a lot of reasons. A sure first is remembering the day last year when we hired a car and drove deep into the mountains of Shikoku, Japan. It was a big day in the car, punctuated by pockets of time spent in the quiet little villages of the Iya Valley, and at our final destination before we turned back, which was the double vine bridges suspended high above a turquoise river. Continue reading Japanese buckwheat soup

Apple and lime cake

Apple and lime cakeApple and lime cake

I realised there was not a single recipe here for apples! Plenty of apricot, plum and fig recipes – because they’re fruit trees I have, and which I love getting creative with every year. There’s also a bit of citrus (particularly lime!) going on. We don’t have an apple tree, but I do love apples … of course. Apple tarte tatin is about the best dessert going if you ask me, and I also love an old-fashioned apple and cinnamon tea cake – yes, the kind you might have made in high school. I’ve been tweaking a recipe for a few years (primarily spiking my cake with ungodly amounts of brandy; all warm and spicy in the mouth). But here is another apple thing I love. A very simple and yet elegant apple and lime ‘cake’. Continue reading Apple and lime cake