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

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

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

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

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