Roasted Sweet Potato & Turmeric Soup

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It’s a mid-winter afternoon. The skies are heavy with bruised purple clouds, the light low and dark. I’m in the kitchen, sock-clad and lights on. The oven is heating and the room is warm; it smells of spices and roasting and comfort. The kids are sleeping and I’m listening to Philip Glass soft in the background. The bench is covered in peel and peppercorns and all kinds of mess. I’m cooking soup.

Soup is the ultimate comfort food. And spending time in front of a hot stove on a cold day is one of life’s pleasures. Soon after we moved to Brisbane we bought a big red Le Creuset pot. Over time it has become marked with use; scarred, if you will. No longer one of many exactly the same, but uniquely ours. There is something timeless about cooking a pot of soup in the Le Creuset, a sense of connecting to a long line of women cooking soup in big pots. My friend Nev describes it as a harking; “Le creuset is of a historical period, steeped in tradition and pretend memories.”    Continue reading “Roasted Sweet Potato & Turmeric Soup”

Semolina Porridge & Maple Baked Apples

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When you go to the supermarket you usually find three or four types of apples – golden delicious, granny smith, pink lady, fuji. Sometimes you might come across a jonathan, or a red delicious. Truth is there are scores of different heirloom apple varieties – sundowner, jazz, alvina, cameo, eve, royal gala, winesap, bramley… These days, though, commercial apple farmers grow the apples for their look and their ability to be stored and travel well. Taste, sadly, is not on the top of the list. If you want to delve into the many different apples available, you need to head down to apple country and find yourself some growers.

We’re pretty lucky to have found a grower down at our local market who comes up from Stanthorpe – Queensland’s apple capital – every week. Each week he’ll have some 8 – 10 apple varieties to choose from, along with – season depending – pears, quince, persimmon. I tend to go for crunchy not-overly-sweet apples, and for ages I was loving the alvinas until they went out of season. Lately it’s been cameos, but they are now at the end of their season too. Continue reading “Semolina Porridge & Maple Baked Apples”

Simple Spiced Pilaf + Roasted Carrots

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South of my days’ circle, part of my blood’s country,
rises that tableland, high delicate outline
of bony slopes wincing under the winter,
low trees, blue-leaved and olive, outcropping granite-
clean, lean,  hungry country…

From ‘South of my Days’, Judith Wright

It’s the first day of winter today. After a warm weekend the cooler weather finally seems to have settled. The skies are overcast and there is a cold wind blowing. I pulled out the warm baby doona from the cupboard for little T and have all the windows closed even though it is the middle of the day. I’m drinking a pot of tea as I write this, S’s big woolen socks on my feet. Winter brings with it a strange sense of melancholic satisfaction, at once the desire to stay still and go internal, and at the same time to escape to far-flung places. I’m in the mood for watching movies, going to bed early, drinking red wine, listening to jazz, writing stories. And eating all things roasted. Continue reading “Simple Spiced Pilaf + Roasted Carrots”

Spice-Roasted Chickpeas, Herbed Freekeh & Moroccan Carrot Salad

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This is a special post – it is part of the wonderful Cooking for One series! The very lovely Katie of Whole Nourishment invited me to get involved in this project which will see different bloggers all week posting recipes and tips around cooking for one. Before I get into my tips and recipe, let me just say that if you haven’t stumbled across Whole Nourishment before, then you most definitely should pop over for a visit. Katie has a real enthusiasm and passion for good clean food, which comes across in her wholesome and delicious recipes. And while you’re there, you should check out all of the other Cooking for One bloggers: Food To Glow / She Likes Food / To Her Core / Lynsey Loves Food / Earthy Feast / Nourished Roots. Continue reading “Spice-Roasted Chickpeas, Herbed Freekeh & Moroccan Carrot Salad”

Roasted Cauliflower & Lentil Salad

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When S and I drove out of Melbourne and up to Brisbane we packed the car full of our worldly belongings and hit the road. We had sent a few things ahead of us – bed, bikes, kitchen table, bookshelves – but otherwise it was whatever we could fit in the backseat. We closed the door to the house we had lived in for the past two years, handed in our keys at the real estate agent, and pointed the car north.

For the first few days in our new Queensland house we slept in sleeping bags, had picnic meals on the living room floor, and hung out in camping chairs. Even after our furniture arrived and we’d bought a few more things for the house it was always minimal, sparse. We kind of liked it like that. Continue reading “Roasted Cauliflower & Lentil Salad”

Toasted Oat Porridge with Boozy Poached Pears

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Many years ago I spent about 12 months living in a big old share house on top of the hill in Brunswick. It had a bright red front door and a hallway full of bikes in various states of use and repair. It was right next to car wash in which we held some pretty epic parties, and it had a lovely green garden that caught the morning light.

It was a great place to live – I made good friends there, and wrote most of my thesis there as well. The one downside was that it was freezing fucking cold during the long Melbourne winters. My room was out the back and had this great big window overlooking the backyard. Beautiful in summer letting in all the light, but so cold in winter letting in the air gusts between the cracks. I used to hunker down in bed, dreading the midnight toilet run. Continue reading “Toasted Oat Porridge with Boozy Poached Pears”