Japanese greens and walnut salad

Blanched beetroot leaves, chopped asparagus, calendula and short-grain rice

We just got back from three weeks travelling around Japan, and we’re still doing that lovely thing – remembering what we were doing in increments from now. You know, ‘This time last week’, or ‘Two weeks ago today’: ‘We were walking around that amazing moss-covered cemetery in Koya San / at the giant Buddha in Kamakura with Shiro and Timoko / eating yakitori skewers for breakfast in Kochi / in our Airbnb in Kanazawa listening to the typhoon howling out our window!’ Continue reading Japanese greens and walnut salad

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

Pomelo salad (with squid)

Pomelo and squid salad ingredients

Citrus is incredible at the moment. The colder it gets, the better it seems to taste, which helps me to remember that even the chilliest depth of winter is a season I should love (I try!). Friends sent a big bag of home-grown mandarins our way and I think they’re imperials (the most popular and common mandarins), but they’re so different to commercial ones. Their skin is still touched with green and inside they’re bursting with juice. They have more pips than usual, but their flavour is so sweet and real and wintery. Continue reading Pomelo salad (with squid)

Pumpkin, leek and anchovy pizza

Pumpkin, leek and anchovy pizza

We get a weekly box of fruit and vegetables through a small suburban co-op that buys directly from a local organic farm. The co-op has 25 member households, and I wrote a story about how it all works and about box shopping in general for the winter issue of Slow Living magazine (joy!). I used the story as a good excuse to go out and visit the farm that supplies us, which is called Green Gully Organics on the edge of the Yarra Valley. Here are my favourite photos taken in the packing shed while talking to one of the lovely owners Shelley Chilton, and wandering around the farm trying to dodge all the mud (should have worn gumboots!). (Can you tell it was leek season?!) Scroll to the bottom for a few words about the farm and a favourite pizza recipe featuring the beautiful pumpkin and leeks we get in our box at this time of year. Continue reading Pumpkin, leek and anchovy pizza

Tortilla soup

Tortilla soup and toppings

There are so many reasons to love this soup, and so many ways you could describe it. You could talk about the warm and fruity dried pasilla chillies that give the soup its brick-red colour, or the charred tomatoes, onion and garlic that are another big part of its flavour. And then there are the cubes of avocado that go on top, and the fried tortilla strips and the crumbled queso fresco cheese (sooo delicious, if you can get your hands on it). But before all these elements are added, it actually boils down to being a version of chicken soup and one you could definitely turn to when you’ve got a cold – I would say it’s even more worthy (and more exciting) than your standard variety as it has also has tomatoes for vitamin C. It’s a phenomenal soup whichever way you look at it.  Continue reading Tortilla soup

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

Zucchini, tomato and basil stew

zucchini tomato basil stew close upBaby Tromboncino zucchini

The zucchinis are upon us! I’m growing the Italian variety called Tromboncino again, and I won’t write much about it here as you can read about it in last year’s post (Stir-fried zucchini and seasonal greens with soybean paste). In a nutshell, this zucchini is a climber so it takes up much less ground space than regular zucchini. We have it growing over an arch-like frame, which creates a lovely shady nook in the garden. The pale-green zucchinis are super long and thin and the kids like to pretend they’re walking sticks. Family, friends and neighbours have been gifted a few this year – I’m spreading the crazy zucchini love! Continue reading Zucchini, tomato and basil stew