Greek-style stuffed tomatoes

Greek style vegetarian stuffed tomatoes

When my mum talks about food, I listen. It isn’t usually on her radar – she’s much more of a book and movie fiend, an avid follower of current affairs, a lover of indigenous cultures, a keen traveller, and an amazing woman in general … For food to rate a mention, it has to be beyond good. Like the broad bean and ham dish she once had in Spain and still talks about, and the stuffed tomatoes she had in Greece. Continue reading Greek-style stuffed tomatoes

Pasta salad with olives and roasted garlic

Pasta salad with olives and roast garlic

I started out making pasta when I moved out of home, at age 17, featuring a crisper worth of vegetables plus some pesto from a jar. (Wry smile thinking about the strange tiles of pumpkin I used to cut, and the undercooked eggplant. But I was doing a good job of eating vegetables at least!) Continue reading Pasta salad with olives and roasted garlic

Green salad with fried almonds and ricotta

Green salad with herbs, fried almonds, ricotta

The last time we hosted Christmas, we didn’t have children and possibly didn’t have a Christmas tree (or if we did it was nothing I can remember). Now look at us, we’ve got a real tree (thank you, Oxfam) with a smiley angel that my daughter and I made perched on top, and two polka-dot stockings hanging from our mantel. I even make a wreath of kangaroo paws for our front door. Continue reading Green salad with fried almonds and ricotta

Grilled mussels with capsicum salsa

grilled mussels with capsicum and basil salsa and smoked paprika

Why open a mussel raw when you can cook it via steam and it will open itself? Because mussels grilled on a barbecue, cooked gently from heat beneath their shells, are INCREDIBLE! They’re rendered so delicate and soft, without any of the tightening that goes on when they’re steamed, and you would swear you were eating something extraordinarily rare and expensive, not something you buy for under $10 a kilo. So we – my husband and I – put up with the slightly time-consuming task of prising them open again and again. (My husband is a champion at it and doesn’t seem to mind the job, so sometimes I leave him to it!)  Continue reading Grilled mussels with capsicum salsa

Sultana polenta cake

sultana polenta cake

‘Sultana cake’ is probably not the thing you lust after … but bear with me! This cake is beautifully buttery without being particuarly high in butter, and the sultanas … well, I like sultanas, but in this cake they taste somehow better than plain sultanas – juicy and mellowed and more sophisticated. It’s definitely a case of a thing being more than the sum of its parts. Continue reading Sultana polenta cake

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)