Coconut Turmeric Noodles

“…balance of humors, coconut liquor thinned / by broth, sour pulp of tamarind / cut through by salt, set off by fragrant / galangal, ginger, basil, cilantro, mint, / the warp and woof of texture…”

– from ‘Hot’ by Craig Arnold

Lately, both kids have been climbing into our bed at various points through the night, so by the morning all four of us are squeezed in together. We’re not sure if it’s these cold winter nights that have them seeking extra body warmth, or just that natural childish desire to be close, but either way it is a habit that is equally parts endearing and exasperating (much like parenting more generally, in fact).  Continue reading Coconut Turmeric Noodles

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

Beetroot, Quinoa & Hazelnut Salad

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My older brother and his daughter have been coming around on Wednesdays to spend the day with us. The kids fight play together, and we hang out, shoot the shit. He lives in Taiwan these days, so it is especially nice to be able to spend some time together. It is also especially nice to be able to spend some time with my niece – she is small and sweet and funny.

Brothers are a lovely thing. I have two. One older, one younger. Having lived away from my hometown for the past six years, my favourite part of homecoming thus far has been having my brothers (and my nieces) in close proximity. There is something tangible about the sibling bond that I had forgotten about these past few years. They are the only two people that I feel comfortable punching with all my strength, that I can whinge with without feeling guilty, that love my kids in the way that only family can, that laugh at their own bad jokes in a way that is somehow endearing. Continue reading Beetroot, Quinoa & Hazelnut 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

Vegetarian Pho + Comfort Food

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This post is part of a blog collaboration on healthy comfort foods and recipes, as well as thoughts on comforts beyond the kitchen. Links to the other participants’ articles are below my recipe. 

One of my first ‘blogging’ friends was the ever-lovely Katie Schmidt of Whole Nourishment. Although we’ve never actually met (being in opposite hemispheres), I’ve no doubt that Katie would be as warm and generous in person as she is online. Moreover, her blog is one of my favourite spots online – unpretentious and inviting, replete with thoughtful, delicious recipes that embrace whole foods and mindful eating. In particular, I appreciate the informed way Katie discusses nourishment in a holistic sense, and have learned a lot from her approach to integrating food and life. So, when Katie invited me to participate in a collaborative recipe series around comfort food, I jumped at the chance!

Katie invited myself and four other food bloggers to reflect on the notion of comfort, both in food and in life. In Katie’s words: “Comfort food to me is not only the food on my plate but also the non-food aspects of daily life that nourish me all the same.” These days, when people talk about comfort food what they usually mean is the kinds of sugary/oily/salty food that are too-often used as an emotional crutch. Which isn’t comfort, not really. Katie draws a whole different – and much refreshing – take on it, elucidating the ways that certain foods and the accompanying life choices bring our bodies a genuine deep-seated comfort. Continue reading Vegetarian Pho + Comfort Food

Green Tea Soup with Roasted Eggplant

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Green tea soup – ochazuke – is one of my favourite Japanese dishes. Traditionally, it is served with rice and salted fish (usually salmon) as well as nori or another type of sea vegetable. Ochazuke is a kind of un-cooking. You prepare the elements in advance but then it all comes together at the last in a haphazard way. Pouring over the hot green tea takes care of the cooking of the vegetables, but it isn’t an exact science. A little more of this, a little less of that.

I like the idea of un-cooking. Mostly, I suppose, because it echoes my style of cooking. I seem to have a complete inability to follow a recipe to the letter. Even my own recipes! Unless I’m developing a recipe for the blog (or baking), I rarely use measuring cups or spoons, preferring instead to eyeball the amounts. And I’m always tempted to add chilli, some green veges, extra spices, a handful of herbs, or just a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to make the recipe my own. The beauty of un-cooking is that it teaches you to cook by the seat of your pants, to improvise, to mix shit up. Continue reading Green Tea Soup with Roasted Eggplant

Szechuan Tofu with Soba Noodles

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rain that defies rain’s downwardness
and spools past the windows, frame by frame –
film after film of Edwardian rain.
Rain as a haunting, rain’s ghost train.

– from ‘Rain’ by Jacob Polley

Friday was all kinds of wet. Sometime early in the predawn morning the skies opened up and the rains just kept on coming. I cancelled plans to meet friends for coffee and book shopping in the morning and instead we stayed at home. It was so overcast outside that the house was dark and cool even in the middle of the day. The rain never stopped, coming down hard and the easing off in turns; when it came down hard on the roof it blocked out all sound, a kind of white noise. Continue reading Szechuan Tofu with Soba Noodles