Fig, feta and honey pizza

figs ripening under our net

Having dinner outside sometimes feels like our kids’ ticket to mucking around at the dinner table – wandering off on important missions such as to catch a cabbage moth stuck in the raspberry net, or to feed the chickens some basil. The eating can go on f-o-r-e-v-e-r as we don’t have the heart to tell them off properly and ruin the atmosphere. Instead we say a few semi-cross words, make sure they have a few more mouthfuls of dinner, then we’re back to having a conversation and they wander off again about a second later. But it’s so nice sitting out in the greenery with all of us enjoying our space. Continue reading Fig, feta and honey pizza

Fig and quark (or cream cheese) strudel

Fig and quark strudel

Figs, I’ve noticed, are surprisingly polarising. You offer them to some people and they act like you’re presenting them with a bag of precious gems, loaded with memories of childhood and warm autumn sun and being perched in the middle of their grandfather’s fig tree. And then, there are people who look at you with the deepest suspicion, as if sizing you up to see if you are actually serious. They take a moment, looking at the prospect of eating some kind of poison, then reply an awkward ‘no thanks’ and try to change the subject. Continue reading Fig and quark (or cream cheese) strudel

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

Puffed rice granola

Puffed rice granola

I feel lucky there are no food intolerances in my little family. We eat dairy, all kinds of nuts, eggs, sugar, and all the no-go foods for people on the low FODMAP diet (I’ve got a slightly limited understanding of this, but know it excludes onion, garlic and some fruits, vegetables and legumes). We’re also fine with that big category that is gluten. And while I am never fussed by catering to particular diets and I support family and friends who have intolerances, at the same time I feel personal horror at the thought of cutting out some of these foods (like no onion or garlic!?). Continue reading Puffed rice granola

Chocolate pavlova with cherries

chocolate pavlova with cherries

This pavlova has snuck onto the scene as a dessert for the festive season in our family – not as the main event (we’re all pretty wedded to Christmas pudding), but as a dessert for those barbecues and picnics in the lead up to Christmas or for Boxing Day. Continue reading Chocolate pavlova with cherries

Pumpkin and quinoa patties

pumpkin quinoa patties 1pumpkin quinoa patties 2

Fritters and patties are big at home right now. It seems a quirky developmental stage our children go through; a unique thing that happens in our house like bum-shuffle crawling and oh-so-late walking! (Our little boy is 20 months old and has just taken a few steps! But he generally prefers to scoot about on his bottom, wearing all his pants to threads.) Continue reading Pumpkin and quinoa patties

Proper egg carbonara

proper egg carbonara

In my uni days I used to stay at my boyfriend’s share house almost often enough to chip in to the rent – it was a house of four guys, where the dishes only got washed once they started to turn the corner of the long u-shaped bench; where the figs on the big tree in the backyard were used to play cricket (no-one knew what to do with a fig, even me); and where someone’s basket of dirty clothes stood in the laundry unchanged for two years. Carbonara was a feature on the menu, involving pieces of bacon not fried for long enough and still with its chewy rind on; onion or spring onion; and a 600 ml tub of cream.

Continue reading Proper egg carbonara