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

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

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

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

Gado gado with homemade sprouts

Roasted peanuts, palm sugar and kaffir lime leaves for satay sauce in food processorSatay (peanut) sauce and gado gado

My five-year-old daughter surprised me the other day and asked for some sprouts in her kinder snack box. I looked at her and said, ‘What, do you mean plain?’ And she said ‘Yes – a container of sprouts, with a spoon please Mum.’ I almost said, ‘Are you sure?’ but stopped myself. Continue reading Gado gado with homemade sprouts

Baked barley

Barley, tomato and vegetable stew

My husband can make a pot of homemade baked beans with his eyes closed – the beans are soaked and blanched; mixed with onion, tomato, spices. After hours of cooking, the end result is tweaked with honey – white beans suspended in a rust-red liquor. These were a breakfast staple at our old cafe and my husband still tends towards making a mega load, filling lots of containers for the freezer. We pop them out every so often at weekends … Eating them on top of melted cheese toast, scattered with plenty of chopped parsley, takes me straight back to having our first baby. Those were hungry, busy, yet beautiful days, and I remember eating this for lunch, sometimes with one of us with our little girl asleep in the Baby Bjorn, the odd bean landing on her head! Continue reading Baked barley


Tomato chilaquiles in the pan

Working on an introduction to a Mexican cookbook a few months ago has sent me off on a new cooking adventure. The world of Mexican food is big and there’s a lot to cover, and the cookbooks I now have in my collection are hardcore – full of exotic, hard-to-come-by ingredients and strict cooking techniques. Mexican cuisine has always seemed interesting, but also a bit difficult and daunting to really do properly – so much easier for me to ramble into Asia, the Middle East, Europe, even Africa, for endless inspiration … But slowly I’m wrapping my head around Mexican food, cooking some great new things. I’ve realised I’m not just adding a new dish to my big list of favourite things to cook, but a whole new category. It’s been so exciting and I’m not nearly done yet. Continue reading Chilaquiles

Tomato sambal

tomato sambalingredients for tomato sambal

The last month of autumn might seem the wrong month for thinking about tomatoes. Happy days of tomato and chive sandwiches with different coloured cherry tomatoes from our garden are well and truly finished, and there are no more meals accompanied by our favourite zucchini, tomato and basil stew. Continue reading Tomato sambal

Eggplant, tomato and basil pasta

Eggplant, tomato and basil pasta

The veggie garden is looking decidedly bare and wintery now that I’ve finally pulled out the tomato bushes and collected the very last ripening tomatoes. It’s the end of a process of watching the garden build up and up in a frenzy over summer – the plants growing taller as the weather gets hotter – then watching things come down again piece by piece as the sun slips back in the sky and it starts getting chilly. Continue reading Eggplant, tomato and basil pasta

Sweet potato, green bean and smoked paprika salad

purple and green beansSweet potato, green bean and smoked paprika salad

In April 2012 the Hungry Girls were invited to do a guest blog for American website Design Sponge, and we settled on this favourite salad. It’s a jumble of soft-roasted chunks of sweet potato and regular potato, caramelised onion, crunchy green beans and juicy tomatoes – plus lashings of parsley and just enough Spanish smoked paprika for an element of spice.  Continue reading Sweet potato, green bean and smoked paprika salad