Heidi Swanson’s Vaghareli Makai + Makhaniya Lassi

near-far-closeup

In these days of food blogs and online savvy, I’m relatively picky when it comes to buying cookbooks. I have a few on the shelf that I refer to time and again and though I’m always flipping through the glossy pages of cookbooks at the book shop it’s only rarely that I’ll purchase a new one. However Heidi Swanson’s new book, Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel, was a no-brainer.

You’re probably familiar with Heidi Swanson through her blog 101 Cookbooks. In fact, you’re probably already a fan. It’s hard not to be. Heidi’s signature style is unmissable. Her muted photography, easy storytelling, and wholesome recipes are among the gold standard of food blogging. And the same applies to her books. Near & Far is a work of art. It feels good in the hand; textured cover and thick matte paper. Part travel journal, the images weave a story from a door frame in Morocco to the streetscape of San Francisco, complimenting the recipes and the words and combining to create a strong sense of wanderlust. From India to Japan, Heidi evokes a strong sense of place, of looking from within rather than from without. Continue reading Heidi Swanson’s Vaghareli Makai + Makhaniya Lassi

Freekeh Vege Bowl with Miso-Tahini Sauce

freekeh-bowl

We had a most lovely week, this one just past. And much needed. The week before was shitty. First the kids were sick, and just as they got better both S and I caught the cold. Trying to wrangle a rambunctious toddler and a teething baby when all you feel like doing is laying down in bed groaning and watching reruns of Game of Thrones is no ones idea of a good time. But we got through it (just barely), my mother-in-law came up for a weekend visit and brought lovely aniseed cake with her, and then S had a whole week off work.

With S at home for the week, we did all kinds of nice things. We hung out, went and ate banh mi for Monday lunch at Mrs Luu’s, spent a night camping out at Lamington National Park (great to be out of the city, but god damn those bush turkeys were aggressive), enjoyed the drama of a leadership spill, ate fish ‘n’ chips for dinner watching the rain pour down, shared a tub of Ben & Jerry’s phish food ice cream, finally watched Mad Max: Fury Road (so fuckin’ good), played in the park, bought a new dining room table, went to two different markets and bought all kinds of tasty fruit ‘n’ veg. Continue reading Freekeh Vege Bowl with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Two Salads: Green Beans & Asparagus + Potato & Dill

green-bean-asparagus-birdseye

Now that we are a month into autumn, night comes early. By the time we are sitting down to dinner on the front verandah the shadows are long. By the time we finish, it is well and truly dark. So even though it is barely 8pm as I write this, I feel like it is much later. And even though I’m pretty fucken tired right now I’m enjoying being awake – the kids are both sleeping, S is reading in bed, there is a cool night breeze through the house, and I’m eating deliciously gingery pfeffernusse.

We got home this morning from a trip up the coast for the long weekend. We stayed in a cute cabin in the hinterland and spent a few days visiting markets, hanging at the beach, buying books, playing on swings, walking through gardens, and watching movies. It was a most lovely way to spend Easter. We are pretty well too – toasted homemade hot cross buns for breakfast, fresh bread and olives and cheeses and boiled eggs for lunch, takeaway fish ‘n’ chips on the beach for dinner. Continue reading Two Salads: Green Beans & Asparagus + Potato & Dill

Spaghetti with Shaved Asparagus & Chilli

spaghetti-asparagus-chilli

I know, I know – this post is two days late. Truth is, I don’t really have a good excuse. Summer holidays have been settling under my skin, so that the days are long and then suddenly gone, while the weeks fly by in a blink. For a change I haven’t been spending a lot of time in front of the computer. The heat and humidity and late stages of pregnancy are making me slower than usual. I shift between bouts of energy and the desire to lay down and simply daydream.

Much as I would like to spend my time in a state of heightened relaxation, toddlers don’t quite allow for that. So we’ve been spending a lot of time down the pool, me wallowing in the water and W either rearranging the sand, handful by handful, or laughing and being thrown up in the air with S. We also spend a fair amount of time at the library, where it is cool and quiet and we can all indulge our love of books. Continue reading Spaghetti with Shaved Asparagus & Chilli

Romanesco Cauliflower, Chickpea & Mint Salad

cauliflower-asparagus-mint-salad-birdseye-fork

We just got back from a two week sojourn to Ubud, Bali, hence the lateness of this post. I did have it all cued up and ready to go while we were away but alas, we were struck with the slow internets. It’s hard to care too much though about slow internets when you’re lounging around in a sarong eating fresh mango and papaya all day.

So I actually made (and devoured) this salad a few weeks ago, when the weather was still on the cusp of summer, when there was still a hint of cool breeze in the evening. This is a perfect season-cusp salad, with the heartiness of cauliflower combined with the spring of mint and pomegranate. Since we got back though, the heat seems to have settled in. Brisbane is dry – the park is a sea of dusty brown and street-side trees are withering and dying with all of the lack-of-rain. Continue reading Romanesco Cauliflower, Chickpea & Mint Salad

Homemade Labneh

labneh with olive oil and za'atar

About a year ago now – I was heavily pregnant at the time – we woke up one Sunday and decided that the ONLY thing in the world that we wanted was labneh on toast for breakfast. Pretty simple, right? Not so, as it turned out. We spent most of the morning scouring every supermarket, deli, and health food store for labneh and we were on the cusp of heading right across town to the New Farm Deli (by this time, keep in mind, we were STARVING).

We did eventually find, and devour, some labneh that morning (and many mornings since) but of course the real lesson learned was that if one wants labneh on-demand, you best learn how to make it yourself!

Continue reading Homemade Labneh