Orecchiette with Ricotta, Eggplant & Black Olives

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“Things have a life of their own,” the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. “It’s simply a matter of waking up their souls.”

– from One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Over a decade ago now I spent some months in Colombia. I travelled from Ecuador up through the green coffee-clad mountains to the coast, searching for warmer waters and the landscape of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. After a spell in Cartagena – a bright, vibrant city – I caught a boat with a Frenchman to a small, impossibly glorious, island in the Caribbean waters. There was nothing on this island but a dirt road, a tiny town, and a hut with a thatched roof and no walls where we could sling our hammocks and fall asleep watching the stars reflecting off the ocean. I would have scrambled eggs for breakfast every morning, and the freshest fish for a late lunch. I spent my days reading and reading, and exploring the beaches and rocky shores. It was a bizarre and beautiful time in my life.  Continue reading Orecchiette with Ricotta, Eggplant & Black Olives

Carrot, Ginger & Miso Soup

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Love, we’re going home now,
Where the vines clamber over the trellis…

– from ‘Love, We’re Going Home Now’, Pablo Neruda

The week that we moved down to Melbourne was chaos. The afternoon we picked up the keys to our new house it was pouring with rain. The kids were going stir-crazy and the removalists tracked black mud all through our brand new place. The next day we settled ourselves in amidst the boxes, only to find that our power had not yet been turned on. We ate dinner outside as the sun went down, read to the kids by the light of our camping lantern, and then unpacked our bed in the strange quiet darkness of this new home. Continue reading Carrot, Ginger & Miso Soup

Roasted Veges with Coconut Turmeric Sauce

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Designers want me to dress like Spring, in billowing things. I don’t feel like Spring. I feel like a warm red Autumn.”
– Marilyn Monroe

Apologies for the radio silence, but I have a good excuse. We’ve just moved – both house and state – with all of the chaos that entails. After almost six years in Brisbane we’re back down south, back in the land of great coffee and cold winters, black outfits and flat vistas. Back home. Luckily, we’re down in time for autumn, my very favourite Melbourne season – purple twilight, red autumn leaves, wine bars, crisp mornings and sunny afternoons. Continue reading Roasted Veges with Coconut Turmeric Sauce

Lemony Barley with Grapes, Thyme & Almonds

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“On the vines the grapes hung in tiny clusters, freckled and warm.”
– from My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

I’ve read My Family and Other Animals countless times. Durrell’s funny and exuberant memoir of his childhood on Corfu is resplendent with lush descriptions of places, of people, of animals, and of food. He describes spending his days exploring the olive groves and swimming in the ocean, stopping to visit his neighbours whenever he felt hungry and snacking on “a bunch of amber grapes still sun-warmed, some figs black as tar striped with pink where they had burst their seams with ripeness, or a giant water-melon with an inside like pink ice.” It is one of my favourite books, not least because of Durrell’s obvious enthusiasm for food. Continue reading Lemony Barley with Grapes, Thyme & Almonds

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

Heidi Swanson’s Vaghareli Makai + Makhaniya Lassi

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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

Leek & Zucchini Frittata

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I woke up today and, just like that, it is spring. The air has lost its chill, the first of the jasmine is in bloom, the sky is the clearest highest dreamiest blue. A glossy fat lizard is sun-baking in our neighbour’s front garden, birds are singing on a wire, and I’m walking around in bare feet.

A short post today. I’ve had an emotionally draining week this one just past, and not nearly enough sleep. After a weekend of overcast skies and probably too much introspection, blue skies is what I needed to wake up to this morning. Too maudlin for a food blog? Perhaps. But there you have it. Continue reading Leek & Zucchini Frittata