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

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

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

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

Potato, dill and caper salad

Potato, dill and caper salad

Our family has been exchanging emails about who’s bringing what for Christmas. I love how this day has evolved from the traditional roast meat and veg, to meat with a spread of colourful salads and side dishes spilling over the meat on your plate, pushing the meat a little into the background (well, the way I dish up anyway!). Just quietly, I think the salads and vegetables are the main event. I do love quality ham and roast pork with crackling, but you’ll generally find me hanging out in the trimmings department. Continue reading Potato, dill and caper salad

Smashed cucumber salad

Smashed cucumber salad

My vegetable garden seems to have a mind of its own. This summer it decided that tomatoes and basil would not be the frontrunners. Instead it’s been the cucumbers and spring onions, and just when I was about to give up on them, our super slow beans finally started producing. While technically this is my garden, I feel like I’m really just along for the ride and am happy with any result – as long as there is one! Continue reading Smashed cucumber salad

Brown-rice nori rolls

Brown rice nori rolls

We’ve been eating lots of sandwiches of late. When I can, they involve homemade sourdough, and we toast them up in a frying pan with a splash of olive oil to make them extra delicious. But still, it equals bread for lunch, and I don’t think it’s clever if we’ve also had bread for breakfast. Continue reading Brown-rice nori rolls