Peanut Soba Noodle Salad

peanut-soba-noodles-chopsticks

The day last week that I made this Peanut Soba Noodle Salad turned into a bit of a madhouse. The noodle salad is a variation on a dish that I make regularly and can do with my eyes closed, so my plan was to whip it up and photograph it while W was having her nap, and then when she woke up we’d share it for lunch.

Things didn’t quite go according to plan. Firstly, I had a bunch of rhubarb in the fridge too, so on a whim I decided that I’d also put together a crumble (recipe coming soon!) and that while it was in the oven I’d make the peanut soba noodles. Two birds, one stone. By the time I got around to making the noodles, the kitchen was already quite a mess (I hadn’t cleaned up the breakfast dishes yet) and bench space was becoming scarce. Rather than stop, do a quick load of dishes, and clear a space, I decided to forge ahead with the noodles, making even more mess and balancing bowls and all manner of things precariously on top one another. Continue reading “Peanut Soba Noodle Salad”

Lemon & Lentil Soup

lemon-lentil-soup

About three years ago I had the pleasure of travelling across western Queensland with the food writer Matthew Evans, on a food writing tour. We drove 800km inland under flat blue skies into cotton country, where green fields stretched into an endless horizon and at every door we were greeted with fresh scones.

After trading in his life as a Sydney food critic, these days Matthew lives on a small farm in Tasmania with his partner and son, where he grows his own veges and raises pigs. Matthew believes in good food – fresh seasonal ingredients grown yourself or sourced from your local farmers market. He believes that mass-produced food and industrial farming sacrifices both quality and ethics. During the many hours spent driving across Queensland, listening to his passion for, and knowledge of, food and food production, it was hard not to agree. Continue reading “Lemon & Lentil Soup”

Potato & Brussels Sprouts Salad

Potato-Brussels-Sprouts-Salad-Birdseye

I’ve recently discovered the enjoyment of the journey. Normally, getting from one place to the next, like from the bus stop back home, is about functionality, the necessity of moving from one space to another. I’m often listening to music or checking my phone, composing work emails in my head or thinking about what to cook for dinner. Not paying much attention to what is going on outside of me.

Lately, though, W is just full of curiosity. Her favourite game is to point at the sky, a bird flying overhead, a car, a tree, all with a sweet questioning sound, prompting me to pay attention so that I can talk to her about the world around us. She is also full of beans, and more often than not on the way back from a walk to the shops or the park, she’ll start wriggling and decide she wants to get down and walk. Suddenly a five minute trip home becomes a twenty minute amble as we stop to play with some bright red berries growing on a bush on the nature strip, lean against a sun-warmed rock, pick up some smooth strangely-shaped sticks from the gutter, or back track to examine a particularly interesting collection of stones. Continue reading “Potato & Brussels Sprouts Salad”

Sweet Potato Barley Bowl

barley-bowl-corner

This morning was one of those crisp bright winter mornings in Brisbane. Blue skies and clear fresh air, cool enough for a scarf, but warm enough so that by the time you walk down to the cafe you’ve shaken the cold out of your bones. We’ve discovered a favourite new cafe on the corner, opposite the park. It’s only a ten minute walk from home and W loves it because it means a run around in the playground and a shot on the swings on the way down (and usually on the way back as well!).

We don’t often go out for breakfast these days, but this morning we woke up and thought fuck it. It’s a public holiday, we’ve got a whole day with no plans, let’s treat ourselves. And it was so worth it. S got smoked pork with a fried egg served on lightly toasted flat bread with yoghurt, tomato, cucumber and coriander and I got homemade sourdough crumpets with poached rhubarb and honey macadamia ice cream. Pretty decadent for brekky, but let me tell you, SO GOOD. Continue reading “Sweet Potato Barley Bowl”

Buttered Brussels Sprouts with Flaked Almonds

buttered-brussels-sprouts

It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of my neck constrict, when New York began for me, but I cannot lay my  finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves to the exact place on the page where the heroine is no longer as optimistic as she once was.

From ‘Goodbye To All That’, Joan Didion

Lately I’ve been (re)reading Joan Didion. I started with her wonderful book of essays Slouching Towards Bethlehem, and am currently on My Year of Magical Thinking. She is a remarkable writer, combining sparse prose and careful construction with incisive commentary that feels neither judgmental nor self-indulgent. She is one of my favourite essayists, and her seminal essay ‘Goodbye To All That’ – which the quote above comes from – is one of my favourite pieces of writing. Continue reading “Buttered Brussels Sprouts with Flaked Almonds”

Roasted Cauliflower with Caraway Seeds

roasted-cauliflower-plate

This week past was a bit of a comedy of errors. W had been pretty sniffly over the weekend prior, and by Monday morning both S and I woke up with sore throats. We were feeling hopeful though, confident that if we dosed up with honey & lemon tea and stayed home all day, we’d knock it on the head and be fine. We were wrong.

By Tuesday morning we were both feeling pretty crook. It’s the first time I’ve been sick since W was born; it didn’t matter how much I wanted to stay in bed drinking tea until midday, W was up and ready to play at 6am. After brekky I sat down at my desk with a cuppa to check my emails. W was crawling around and wanted up, so I scooped her into my lap. In a split second, the tea was all over my laptop. Continue reading “Roasted Cauliflower with Caraway Seeds”

Grilled Persimmon & Wild Rice Salad

persimmon-wild-rice-salad

branches down there
in the mist, of luscious
red-orange, ripe-in-their-thin-skin
persimmons, pulpy
– transparent with frost.
Improbably festive

From ‘Persimmons: Campagnatico’, David Malouf

Before we moved up to Brisbane we lived in Brunswick, Melbourne. One of the great things about that part of the world is the network of bluestone alleyways that wend their way through the suburb. They are fantastic for shortcuts, for getting lost; like secret pathways, they indulged the childhood part of me that loved stories of labyrinths and hidden world. Best of all, they are fantastic for a spot of clandestine fruit picking. Continue reading “Grilled Persimmon & Wild Rice Salad”