Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Invest in People

You already know how I love to share.

You already know how my basis for cooking and indeed this entire space is to share.

To share my cooking, yes.

But it is to share LOVE that really matters.

Food is just an expression of that.

It doesn't have to be complicated.

Or fancy.

It is the intention that is what matters.

Yes, I love to make my food look pretty.

I am an aesthetic person and I love to look at pretty.

But I appreciate food beyond this just as I do with other things in life.

It is the sharing that is the MOST important thing.


I read this caption below in one of my very favourite magazines.

I have read the book that the quote comes from too.

Heartbreakingly AMAZING.

The quote resonated with me so very much.

It is people that we need to invest in.

and LOVE.

This magazine is full of pretty but it is SHARING that is at the heart of it.

The simple act of sharing as love.

That is why I LOVE it so much.

The lovely folk at Kinfolk have given me a copy of the latest issue to share with you!

How ace is that!

LUCKY you!

It's because I LOVE you!

I DO!!!!!

All you need to do is leave a comment below about how you invest in those you LOVE and I will pick a winner!


Comment away!

NB: To be eligible to win I need to be able to contact you via email so we can organise delivery of  your copy!
Entries close Wednesday 5th September 8pm.

I LOVE beetroot.
I used to despise it. 
The canned sliced variety made me shudder.  Many years later I discovered REAL beetroot.
It was a revelation.
So many beautiful things grow beneath the earth- garlic, spuds, jerusalem artichokes, horseradish and BEETROOT amongst many others.....
I came up with this recipe last night for dinner after buying two glorious organic bunches of Beets at the market.  
Today it is in lunchboxes.
It would be the BEST picnic dish.
So pretty and just as delicious cold as it was hot.
I served the hot version with the leaves and stems that i panfried in a little butter and a teaspoon of cumin seeds. DELISH.
DON'T throw away the stems or the leaves. They are delish (and super pretty) in salads or cooked up in anyway that you would normally cook spinach.

Maybe you can make this to take on a picnic to share with someone you love.
Go on! 

  • 2 bunches of small beets
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • a good glug of Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 stems of fresh thyme
  • 200g fetta (100g goes in to cook and 100g to crumble over later)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1 egg

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Trim the stems & leaves of the beets and set aside to use later.  

Steam the beets skin on (if you peel the beets the colour will all leech out while they cook) for about 20 minutes or until just soft . 

Take out of the pan and rub the skin off gently- when cooked it should just slip off.

Slice in half.

Place a good glug of EVOO into a non stick pan on medium heat.

Add garlic and fry for a minute or so.

Add beets and red wine vinegar & sugar.

Cook for 5 minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is looking syrupy.

Add the Balsamic and cook or another 2 minutes and remove from the heat.

Place the beets in a pie dish. They do not need to touch but need to be fairly uniformly placed around the dish.  (I put them in so the flat side was facing up- I wanted the lovely round beets to be facing up when the tart was inverted, but this is totally up to you) 

Crumble 100g of fetta around the beets.

Pour over the syrupy sauce.

Now place the puff pastry over the top of the beets and tuck in around the edges.  It doesn't need to be perfect- this will end up being the base of your tart.

Brush the pastry top with egg wash & place in the oven for 30 minutes or until it is nice and brown.

Remove from oven and place a plate over the pie dish (it needs to be a little bigger than the pie dish) and invert pie dish & revel in your awesomeness!

Now add the extra fetta & some thyme. 

My music post is a little different today. Not so much a song. But something very special nonetheless.
I first saw it ages ago.
It has been around a while but maybe you haven't seen it.
It REALLY is worth watching from beginning to end. It makes me cry at the loveliness.
It is one of the most lovely things I have seen on the internet EVER.....

Friday, 17 August 2012

On the Weekend

What do you do on the weekend?

Do you do weekend sport?

Do you catch up on all of the weeks washing?

Do you have a Friday night ritual?

Do you get to sleep in?

Do you catch up with friends?

Do you catch your breath?

At our house we look forward to the weekend like everyone else.

A chance to unwind, take a breather, try to get some things done around the house.

I love that we don't have early morning sport that means getting up earlier than during the week.

If we aren't doing Farmer's Markets we are lying on bed with extras popping in and out for early morning snuggles trying to delay getting up as long as possible.

Then we stumble out in PJ's to cook a special weekend brekky.

The TV is on in the family room with old episodes of Wacky Races.

Remember that show? Oh my...... I love it as much now as I did in my own childhood.

My lads look forward to being allowed the tiny bit of 'weekend gaming'~  the only time they are allowed all week.

We will try and schedule a special 'Family movie' on Saturday night that we all watch together snuggled in like sardines on the couch.  Sometimes even a TV dinner- quelle horreur!

We try and do some cooking together and shop for the ingredients as a family.  I know it isn't what everyone finds fun but our family LOVES food shopping.  We love going to Market together.  Love the smells, the sounds, the colour, the faces, the culture......just EVERYTHING.

In fact we pretty much do everything together.  There is a lot of together at our place.  Is it a big family thing?  I am not sure.

Somebody once asked me on Instagram if I 'forced' my kids to play together because all the pictures of them were together.  Of course I don't force them too but yes we are together a lot.  My kids unashamedly adore one another.  And we adore that they do. Who wouldn't?

Whatever it is I love the weekends and our together time.

This recipe came about as a result of my 12yo wanting to cook some fish.
He was once my MOST fussy eater. 
He is now my most adventurous and the most interested in cooking.
It was something we came up with together but he did all the prep and I did the frying.
We had such fun.
For me as such a busy mumma it is the most wonderful way to spend one on one time with my lads.
And then we get to eat the spoils! SO MUCH WIN!
I have a cold Rice paper roll recipe here but in this one you shallow fry the rolls to make them crunchy. DELISH.

  • 500g Rockling (or any other white fleshy fish) cut into 10cm lengths
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 bunch coriander 
  • 1/2 bunch mint
  • 10 garlic chives
  • (some extra of each of these herbs for putting in each roll)
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves
  • lime zest & juice of a lime
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Rice bran oil (and extra for frying)
  • rice paper sheets
Put everything except the rice paper sheets into the blender and BLITZ baby Blitz!

Pop a rice paper roll into a dish of water for just long enough to become just a bit soft (if you leave it too long the sheet becomes too soft to work with)

Now place it flat onto the workbench (it will totally soften as you place all the ingredients on top).

Smear a good heaped tablespoon of blitzed spice mix on top- in the middle of the rice paper, followed by a piece of fish and some more herbs.

Now fold up the bottom over the ingredients. You will notice the rice paper is now translucent & soft to work with.
Now fold in the left and right sides and roll into a cigar shape.
Now set aside on a plate until you have rolled all of your rolls.

Heat a nonstick pan to medium  and shallow fry several at a time for abut 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve immediately with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce (recipe here)

I'm having one of my fairly frequent 'Icelandic music' listening weeks this week.
 I have shared this artist before.
Her voice is just enchanting...and i love the gentle drumming in this track too. Hope you do too!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Just imagine

Close your eyes and Imagine a while.

Imagine .............

  • a world where people judged each other by the goodness of their hearts & not by the way they looked
  • a world where people stopped in the street and smiled at each other
  • a world where we praised each other for effort and not end results
  • a world where physical exercise was just part of our normal activity and not a scheduled part of our day
  • a world where we asked questions without being made to feel a fool
  • a world wherever we went we could just start talking to the person next to us without being judged as crazy
  • a world where we saw beyond religious beliefs & cultural differences and just saw the person
  • a world where we looked out for everyone else and not just ourselves
  • a world where we stopped sometimes to just be
  • a world where the biggest problem we had was how to catch our shadow

It exists already.

It is Childhood.

This cake ends up with an amazing crunchy top like eating Toffee Apples and underneath is a moist apple cake.
I used this recipe as a base but I had to tinker with it.
There were things I didn't have or didn't like. Like the one hundred and eleventy billion gallons of jam for instance....eeeeew!
SO here is my version. 
And it tastes so much better with a little childhood mixed in.
  • 5 organic Apples, peeled cored & sliced into wedges
  • 2 1/4 cups Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 300g organic butter
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped and added
  • 1 tblspn Baking Powder
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspn ground Cinnamon (and a little extra for dusting)
  • 7 organic eggs
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 3/4 cup of water

Preheat oven to 170C.

Grease and line a 25cm  springform tin.

Place 4 of sliced apples over the base and dust a little cinnamon over. Reserve the other apple to add to cake batter.

Place 1 Cup of the sugar and the 3/4 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir till the sugar is dissolved. Then STOP stirring and watch for the sugar to turn Golden Brown.  (Look here for my instructions on making Caramel)

Once the sugar has become a golden brown, take off the heat immediately and pour gently over the apples.

In a cake mixer, mix butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add eggs one by one. 
Add Ground Almond, flour & baking powder.
Now add the milk, vanilla seeds and cinnamon.

Turn off the mixer and stir through the remaining apple.

Pour batter over toffee apple in the cake tin.

Let the little people lick the bowl.

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Then cover with baking paper & continue to bake for 45 minutes.

Let stand in the tin for ten minutes before removing.

Best eaten slightly warm but will keep in a sealed container in the fridge.

Todays track is from a band I had been listening to all week on high rotation. A very lovely friend messaged it to me to listen to when the kids sickness was getting all a bit much. It totally cheered me up.
We are totes on the same page with our music! Shazam! Music twinsies.
What a lovely thought.  Songs can totally cheer me up. What about you? Does music cheer you up?
Now I am sharing it with you......and it is ONLY about my most favourite thing of all..... LOVE.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Playing Doctors & Nurses

Remember when you were young and playing Doctors & Nurses was one of the coolest games?

Remember the fights as to who would be the Doctor and get to make the patient better?

Hubster and I have been playing that game at our place this week.

Only it is real life.

And not that much fun really.

And there aren't any fights about who does what.

And it is more Nurses & Nurses rather than Doctors and Nurses.

Just one foot in front of the other as we manage a horrid bout of gastro.

I am just thankful he is here.

I am thankful that he is so wonderful at helping by being around so I can take children ALONE to the Doctor instead of having to take the entire tribe and not really hear what the Doctor says anyway as I scramble to keep calm in the little surgery.

Or that I can grab buckets as he herds the others away from the 'Bomb-It' (as our littlest calls Vomit).

I am thankful for technology that allows him to almost do his work at home.

Last time the kids were super sick he was away.

It was awful.

I am ever so thankful he is here this time.

I can think of a dozen other things I would rather be doing right now than playing Nursemaid but I couldn't wish for a different mate to play with.

Making your own curry pastes is ever so easy and the rewards are the most flavoursome, fresh curries.
I really hope you will never buy pre-made jars again.
Tikka Masala paste is sooooo versatile.
I use it to marinade Chicken to then skewer & BBQ or use it as a base for Chicken & Fish curries.
Once you get a feel for it you can change the ingredients around a little to suit your tastes

  • 2 tblspoons cumin
  • 2 tblsp coriander
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 5cm piece of ginger
  • 1 tblspoon garam masala
  • 1 tspn turneric
  • 2 tblspoons paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 2tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 strips lemon rind (use peeler to peel the strips)
  • 1 tblspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tblspn water
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 120ml light olive oil

Dry roast spices till fragrant. 

Grind all spices to a powder.

Then blitz all ingredients except the oil in a food processor to a paste.

Heat the oil to medium & add the paste.

Stir gently through.

Cook at a very low temperature for about 15 minutes.

Place into sterilised jars. Paste will keep for several weeks in the fridge (But mine never lasts that long!).

I made this batch into a Fragrant & fresh tasting Fish curry.
But I have added the method for Chicken of you prefer
I used Rockling but  you can use whatever Fish you like - ask your fishmonger for advice about suitable fish. (or you can replace the Fish with chicken) 

Heat a non stick pan to medium.

Add all of the Tikka Masala paste and cook till fragrant (about 5-6 minutes).
(If making Chicken Tikka Masala fry off a chopped onion first in some oil and then fry Chicken pieces till brown and THEN add the Tikka Masala paste).

Add 1 kg Fish cut into large chunks.

Cook very gently and stir through till fish is covered in paste.

Add a can of coconut milk & bring to a simmer.  (if doing Chicken version add 1 1/2 cups of regular cream or plain Yoghurt & simmer for about 30 minutes)

Cook gently for ten minutes or till Fish is cooked through.

Serve with Rice &  squeeze of lemon.
NB: I added a cup of fresh Fenugreek leaves when I added the coconut milk (available in the freezer at Indian grocers) or you could add spinach. Fenugreek laves or METHI adds a lovely zingyness and another texture. They are also LOADED in good nutrients. 

In a lovely segue from Sick Bay I took the older two boys to see The Punch Brothers play at Melbourne's magnificent Recital Centre this week.  We are so lucky to have such a gorgeous venue & I have been lucky enough to see a few AMAZING shows there.
This was one of them. These guys were so so great live & I was one happy mumma being able to take two such handsome lads as my date!

Their rendition of Radiohead's Kid A was my boys favourites song of the night: