Grilled Eggplant with Ginger Dressing

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“The smell of manure, of sun on foliage, of evaporating water, rose to my head; two steps further, and I could look down into the vegetable garden enclosed within its tall pale of reeds – rich chocolate earth studded emerald green, frothed with the white of cauliflowers, jeweled with the purple globes of eggplant and the scarlet wealth of tomatoes.”
– Doris Lessing

I’ve been dreaming in eggplants these past few weeks. I never knew how much I loved this most delicate of nightshades until this year. Every weekend since they came into season we’ve come home from the markets with our bags overflowing with the deep royal purple of eggplants. I tend to favour the long slim Japanese eggplants with their slightly sweeter taste and thinner skin. I’ve made this salad more than a few times lately, and last weekend S made a deliciously smoky baba ganouj that he served with lashings of tahini, a drizzle of sticky-sweet pomegranate molasses, salty fried haloumi, and roughly torn fresh mint. Continue reading

Toasted Coconut & Green Mango Salad

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Whenever I go someplace new, I seek out the markets. Not the tourist trinket traps, or even the quirky weekend crafty markets (though I’ve a fond spot for those as well). I seek out the produce markets frequented by locals, where they sell the fruit and veg and, if you’re lucky, some damn fine street food. Usually you have to get up good and early to catch markets at their bustle-y best, but each place has its very own rhythms. No matter my feelings towards a new town or city, discovering the markets will inevitably allow me to tap into the heart and the beauty of a place.

A few years ago in India I arrived in Jaipur late one afternoon. After checking in and stuffing my face with delicious aloo paratha I took a stroll around the streets. I turned a corner and stumbled across the most colourful market sprawled in the narrow alley between two rows of buildings. Although I associate produce markets with early morning, this one was doing a brisk evening trade. Baskets heaped high with gleaming purple eggplant, plump sweet peas in their jackets, mounds of turmeric and fiery red chilli, were being picked over by elegant women in saris and salwars, tiny bangle-clad children underfoot. I bought myself a street-side chai, found a perch, and drank it all in. It was during that moment I fell in love with India. Continue reading

January Favourites

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“In my way of thinking, anything is possible. Life is at the bottom of things and belief at the top, while the creative impulse, dwelling in the center, informs all.”
– Patti Smith, M Train

We ended 2015 by having dinner with old friends then sharing a bottle of champagne – just S and I – before getting into bed well before midnight. It was most lovely. We started 2016 with a long walk, a train ride, and coffee. Also most lovely. And since those cruisy beginnings, January seems to have hit like a bomb. S and I are both really busy with work, the weather is heating up to all kinds of crazy fuck-climate-change-is-a-bitch degrees, and I already feel ready for a holiday. Continue reading

Broccoli, Onion & Cashew Fried Rice

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By the time we arrived in our hotel in Hoi An we were exhausted. We’d taken a train, three planes, and a one hour car drive, in which our tired six-month-old bub fell asleep sitting up. Yet we were so excited about being in Vietnam we decided to brave an evening stroll anyway. Bad idea. Bub cracked the shits and we had to retreat. She finally fell fast asleep that first night in a strange bed, and S went out to get us food as on top of being exhausted, we were fucking starving. He came back with a bowl of rice topped with garlicky gai lan (water spinach). Simple ingredients, fresh flavours, and goddamn if it wasn’t one of the best things I have ever eaten. Continue reading

Peach Pistachio Galette + A Melbourne Trip

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“I’m not a prophet / or a stone age man / just a mortal / with the potential of a superman…”
– David Bowie

My first memorable encounter with David Bowie was the tripped-out fantasy film Labyrinth. To this day, one of my favourite movies. The thing is, Bowie’s legacy is so much more than his music. He was an artist in the way we all want to be artists. He was brave and daring. He blurred boundaries. He was enigmatic and beautiful. He was deeply creative and he embraced the otherwordly, whether by design or inclination or a little of both. He made us feel proud of our weirdness, our queerness. He was inspired and inspiring. Continue reading

Vegetarian Pho + Comfort Food

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This post is part of a blog collaboration on healthy comfort foods and recipes, as well as thoughts on comforts beyond the kitchen. Links to the other participants’ articles are below my recipe. 

One of my first ‘blogging’ friends was the ever-lovely Katie Schmidt of Whole Nourishment. Although we’ve never actually met (being in opposite hemispheres), I’ve no doubt that Katie would be as warm and generous in person as she is online. Moreover, her blog is one of my favourite spots online – unpretentious and inviting, replete with thoughtful, delicious recipes that embrace whole foods and mindful eating. In particular, I appreciate the informed way Katie discusses nourishment in a holistic sense, and have learned a lot from her approach to integrating food and life. So, when Katie invited me to participate in a collaborative recipe series around comfort food, I jumped at the chance!

Katie invited myself and four other food bloggers to reflect on the notion of comfort, both in food and in life. In Katie’s words: “Comfort food to me is not only the food on my plate but also the non-food aspects of daily life that nourish me all the same.” These days, when people talk about comfort food what they usually mean is the kinds of sugary/oily/salty food that are too-often used as an emotional crutch. Which isn’t comfort, not really. Katie draws a whole different – and much refreshing – take on it, elucidating the ways that certain foods and the accompanying life choices bring our bodies a genuine deep-seated comfort. Continue reading

Lemony Barley with Grapes, Thyme & Almonds

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“On the vines the grapes hung in tiny clusters, freckled and warm.”
– from My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

I’ve read My Family and Other Animals countless times. Durrell’s funny and exuberant memoir of his childhood on Corfu is resplendent with lush descriptions of places, of people, of animals, and of food. He describes spending his days exploring the olive groves and swimming in the ocean, stopping to visit his neighbours whenever he felt hungry and snacking on “a bunch of amber grapes still sun-warmed, some figs black as tar striped with pink where they had burst their seams with ripeness, or a giant water-melon with an inside like pink ice.” It is one of my favourite books, not least because of Durrell’s obvious enthusiasm for food. Continue reading