Roasted Carrot, Cauliflower & Black Lentil Salad

“But then the dark skin of night would peel off and there would be a fresh day waiting for us, glossy and colourful as a child’s transfer and tinged with the same sense of unreality.”

– from My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

Pre-dawn on Monday morning T and I boarded our train home. I had no coffee, and T was yawning, but watching the sunrise unfold along the horizon from the window of a speeding train made up for all of it. The first lick of colour was an egg-yolk yellow fading up to green, silhouetting the trees in front a deep black. Ever so gradually the sky began to blush blue, until the fiery orange sun finally broke its banks. T’s excited yells woke all of the sleeping train passengers; such is the beauty of discovery as a child.  Continue reading Roasted Carrot, Cauliflower & Black Lentil Salad

Savoury Miso Porridge

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“Oh madam, when you put bread and cheese, instead of burnt porridge, into these children’s mouths, you may indeed feed their vile bodies, but you little think how you starve their immortal souls!”

– from ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte

My friend Nev is of the belief that savoury porridge will be the next big food fad. And it has been popping up in more and more places, from the hipster cafe that I frequent in Footscray (their version is topped with grilled octopus and pickled vegetables, and is fucking great) to Bon Appetit, and on various food blogs here and there (Heidi, of course, being a good few years ahead of the trend).   Continue reading Savoury Miso Porridge

Rice & Egg Bowl

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A few weekends ago I invited a friend around for Sunday brunch. She came with a backpack full of eggs and fresh herbs and sambal oelek, and proceeded to cook us all bowls of egg-y, rice-y, herb-y goodness while I sat on the kitchen bench. My friends rock, I know it.

Indeed, I enjoyed the eggs-over-rice style meal that she made us so much, that I’ve replicated it a few times in the last couple of weeks. Now that our chooks have (finally) started laying (!!), we’ve got plenty of the freshest eggs to go around, so any dish that showcases them in all their splendour is just what I’m after. Continue reading Rice & Egg Bowl

Shakshuka with Schug + Herby Zucchini Salad

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Not that long ago, a special occasion called for booze and parties, wild costumes and late nights/early mornings. In these present days of small children and being all grown up, special occasions are mostly food-based. Afternoon barbecues, civilised early dinners, pancake breakfasts, brunch. Which is alright by me, truth be told. I like going to sleep early, and I like to cook. And I love to eat.

And so for Mother’s Day this year, I put on a brunch. First time cooking for guests in our new house. I’m not really one for the hallmark-card holidays. S and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day and since having kids we haven’t really paid much attention to the parents days either. But we’re back in our home town now where the various members of our extended family live, and so this year we celebrated Mother’s Day with my mum and her partner, my little brother, and my older brother, his wife, and their daughter. Continue reading Shakshuka with Schug + Herby Zucchini Salad

Peach & Fennel Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

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“The walls were wet and sticky, and peach juice was dripping from the ceiling. James opened his mouth and caught some of it on his tongue. It tasted delicious.”

– from James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

We woke up this morning to grey skies awash with a light rain. The arrival of autumn is always bittersweet. Crisp mornings and cooler days, deep purple twilights, pots of tea and woollen scarves, apples and persimmon. All of these are things that I love. But it also means the end of summer, with its long days and bounty of fresh stone fruit, warm night breezes and morning swims, icy cold slices of watermelon. With the arrival of autumn, the endless horizons of summer come in a little closer to home. Continue reading Peach & Fennel Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

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 Grilled Eggplant with Ginger Dressing

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 Toasted Coconut & Green Mango Salad