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

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 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

Roasted Beetroot with Crispy Lentils & Dill Yoghurt

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“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.

The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime…the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.

The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.”

– from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Continue reading Roasted Beetroot with Crispy Lentils & Dill Yoghurt

Beetroot, Lentil & Cherry Salad

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I’ve been having technicolour dreams of late. Really clear dreams that seem totally realistic, without the surreal quality that dreams so often have. Bright dreams full of piercing sunshine and fast-paced narrative. When I wake up in the middle of the night it takes me a good minute or two to readjust to this reality and work out where I am and what I am doing. By the morning though I’ve forgotten most of the dreams. All that stays with me is a snippet or two, a snapshot image.

I’m not sure what is causing the strange dreaming. Perhaps it is the hot sultry nights we’ve been having – heat always messes with my sleeping and dreaming patterns. It could also be the fact that I am in the advanced stages of pregnancy. Full of hormones, and baby. Either way I find the dreaming both unsettling and exciting. I’ve always loved dreaming. When I was a teenager I used to write down my dreams every morning as a way to train myself to remember them better. Continue reading Beetroot, Lentil & Cherry 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

Lemon & Lentil Soup

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About three years ago I had the pleasure of travelling across western Queensland with the food writer Matthew Evans, on a food writing tour. We drove 800km inland under flat blue skies into cotton country, where green fields stretched into an endless horizon and at every door we were greeted with fresh scones.

After trading in his life as a Sydney food critic, these days Matthew lives on a small farm in Tasmania with his partner and son, where he grows his own veges and raises pigs. Matthew believes in good food – fresh seasonal ingredients grown yourself or sourced from your local farmers market. He believes that mass-produced food and industrial farming sacrifices both quality and ethics. During the many hours spent driving across Queensland, listening to his passion for, and knowledge of, food and food production, it was hard not to agree. Continue reading Lemon & Lentil Soup