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

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

Eggplant Orzo Salad

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It was bigger than an emu’s dark brown egg
But smooth and glossy. Its outside was curiously hard
If you picked it up. Like a turtle egg it bowed
With a sort of elasticity to the touch. I dug
A fingernail in. Beneath the purple surface.
The taste, we knew, would be strange, perhaps poisonous.

– From ‘Eggplant’ by Thomas W. Shapcott, in The City of Empty Rooms

I’ve had a rocky relationship with eggplant (aubergine) over the years. It was one of the few foods I went off during my pregnancies. It can be difficult to cook well, and after a few kitchen disasters I avoided cooking it myself at all, for many years. So often the vegetarian stand-in for meat at pubs and restaurants, I could stand never to see a soggy slice of eggplant laden down with tomato sauce and cheese again. Continue reading Eggplant Orzo Salad

Roasted Carrots, Crispy Lentils & Spicy Yoghurt

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The crazy vegetables
Uncurled
Their tendrills and leaf-crowns,
Throbbing bulbs,
In the sub-soil
The carrot
With its red mustaches
Was sleeping…

From ‘Ode To The Artichoke’ by Pable Neruda

Pablo Neruda was one of the first poets that I learned to love, and one that I still love to this day. I have several of his collections sitting on my book shelf, tattered and well-thumbed, as all good books are. A prolific poet, his work is considerable. He is probably best known for his love poems and sonnets which are, undoubtedly, some of the finest you will ever read. Continue reading Roasted Carrots, Crispy Lentils & Spicy Yoghurt

Roasted Broccoli, Barley & Feta Salad

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Sometimes my six month old son takes his time falling asleep at night. He likes to be fed and rocked and cuddled and fed again. When I’m low on patience, or have a million things waiting for me to do once he does fall asleep, this can drive me crazy. But then, once he is fast asleep in my arms, mouth open, gently snoring, I run my hands over his small bald head and soft round cheeks and there is love, too much love.

When they’re awake, toddlers are crazy and loud and hilarious and exhausting. And when they are asleep and the house is warm and quiet, they are all kinds of perfect. Before I go to bed I always sneak into W’s room, tuck her into the blankets that she has inevitably thrown off herself, stroke her hands and flyaway curls and kiss her cheeks and there is love, too much love. Continue reading Roasted Broccoli, Barley & Feta Salad

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