Ravioli in Brodo

Ravioli in Brodo

Last week I had lunch in an Italian cafe near my place. If you follow me on Instagram (I’d love you to!), you may have seen what I had. I couldn’t resist capturing the simple beauty of the meal, and giving a little eulogy on how good it was.

Morsels of tasty meat were hidden in folds of fresh pasta and suspended in a golden, flavourful chicken broth that had been showered with parmesan; ravioli in brodo.

The steaming bowl of brodo was served with crusty white bread on the side, ready to mop up the last of the broth. And mop it up I did, while planning how I could recreate this deliciousness. I asked for the secret to the broth, a rustic, cloudy stock that tasted like the cream of chicken soup my Nanna used to make. The answer was “necks”. Continue reading

Rosewater Chicken

Rosewater Chicken

Being served a dish that is so good it makes you hunt down the recipe and make it again and again is such a gift. It’s like someone curating the world’s recipes for you, hand selecting the one that suits your taste and serving you a meal that is everlasting.

My aunt (hi Aunty Roe!) served this Karen Martini chicken dish at Christmas time and it had me going back for seconds. I’ve made it several times since, and with Easter gatherings imminent, I thought I’d share this Cinderella style dish that takes the humble chicken thigh and transforms it into a bejewelled goddess.

Chicken thighs are not the most glamorous of ingredients, but the darker, moist meat found on the thigh is full of flavour thanks to a higher fat content. You can pick up a tray of thighs cheaply, which makes them great for feeding a crowd. The list of ingredients for this recipe is long, but the process is simple: marinate, grill, dress, serve. The result is fragrant, sticky grilled chicken with a sweet and tangy dressing, crowned with a colourful array of fruit, nuts and herbs. Continue reading

Polenta with Roasted Pumpkin and Brown Butter

Polenta with Roast Pumpkin and Brown Butter | Simple Provisions

How many times per week do you think it’s acceptable to include brown butter in a meal? Three seems reasonable… right?

I made brown butter for the first time last week. A friend brought me some wild mushroom and garlic ravioli and I needed a quick sauce to go with it. Now, for those of you already in on how magical brown butter is, you can nod your head knowingly and smile a distant smile, remembering your first time. For the rest of us, this is a butter that grew up, got an expensive haircut and started annunciating its vowels more clearly. It’s sophisticated and elegantly simple.

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Smashed Figs with Labneh, Walnuts and Sumac

Smashed Figs with Labneh, Walnuts and Sumac | Simple Provisions

12 weeks ago my previous existence was thrown up into the air with the birth of baby Nell, and it’s now slowly resettling in a different configuration. My hair (and the rest of me, to be honest) doesn’t get washed as often, I now go down the baby aisle of the supermarket and my approach to cooking has simplified even further.

When time and available hands are restricted, good quality ingredients and big flavours come to the fore. I find myself buying interesting or strong flavoured ingredients to base a meal around, using pantry staples, frozen homemade stock and home-grown tomatoes, lettuce and herbs to fill it out. Halloumi and feta make simple salads more flavoursome, and having a bowl of cooked grains like quinoa, cous cous or freekeh in the fridge means the start of a meal is already done.

Using the produce of the season will help a simple meal pack a flavour punch. Fig trees are currently heavy with fruit, and I’m not one to miss an opportunity to relish the soft, deep purple and crimson sweetness on offer.

It’s the time of year when Summer is hiccuping out the door as Autumn stumbles in. Both seasons exist at once, with chilly mornings developing into glorious sunshine and days flip flop between warming soup or cooling salad weather. What better way to bridge the seasons than a salad full of earthy flavours and autumnal delights. Continue reading

Guest Post: Warm Peaches From Honest Kitchen

Maternity leave from the blog is almost over! This is the last Guest Post, which means I’ll be back in the kitchen imminently, and I’m looking forward to it. But before I do, Jonny and Ali, my friends and sometime bloggers at Honest Kitchen, have created a couple of gorgeous recipes with the last of the summer harvest. They’ve taken peaches, warmed them up and turned them into a fresh, flavoursome salad and a decadent dessert. It’s a double-dose last hoorah for summer! Enjoy.

Peach tarte tartin

One of the best parts of summer is the stonefruit – nectarines, apricots, plums and peaches. We are blessed in Victoria with an abundance of fruit that grows in the Goulburn Valley regions of Central Victoria. In peak season, we buy bag-loads of juicy, sun-speckled peaches at the farmers market. These peaches stay on the vine until perfectly ripe so they’re wonderfully juicy and delicious, but they become over ripe quickly, so we’re often looking for ways to make the most of these jewels of summer.

One way that we do this is by cooking them. Using heat with peaches brings out yet more of those summery flavours and is a terrific way to use less-than-perfect fruit. Even a hard, floury peach from the supermarket will shine when cooked.

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Guest Post: Teriyaki Beef Donburi and Sushi from One Equals Two

Introducing Saskia from One Equals Two

When I worked at Martha Stewart we looked into how families plan their meals for the week. The upshot was that meal planning can be rather haphazard, which can lead to poor nutritional choices and food waste. Enter Saskia’s blog! One Equals Two provides tasty, gorgeous recipes that create two family-friendly meals for the effort of one. Not only is this extremely practical and useful, Saskia serves up the recipes with beautiful photos, pun-tastic headlines and charming prose. Plus, she is one of the nicest people going around, so reading her blog is like sitting around the kitchen table with an old friend. Read on and let Saskia inspire you to be more organised.

Teriyaki Beef Donburi

Hi! I’m Saskia Ericson from One Equals Two. I’m a huge fan of Amelia’s beautiful blog, not to mention her food ethos and gorgeous photography, so when she kindly asked me to guest post here on Simple Provisions I couldn’t have been happier.

I’m a graphic designer by day, running a small studio with my husband; and frenzied blogger by night (and early morning)! I’m also a passionate cook and have developed my own recipes for many years.

My pet hate is food waste, and I’ve attempted to address this by sharing the joy of planned-overs (planned leftovers) on my blog. Although leftovers rock, and are not at all deserving of their daggy reputation; there are usually never quite enough to create an entire second meal, and they often languish in the back of the fridge. Planned-overs on the other hand are made to be transformed into a complete second meal in a flash. By adding a few fresh ingredients and a splash of creativity, you can get twice as much out of your preparation; saving time, money and energy!

I’m thrilled to share one of my favourite family meals with you, one that aligns with Simple Provisions philosophy of uncomplicated cooking; a simple yet completely delicious Teriyaki Beef Donburi (rice bowl). Black quinoa is mixed with the rice, which not only adds texture and a good nutritional wallop, but also converts notoriously high GI white sushi rice into a dish plugged with healthy slow-release energy. My sons refer to this concoction as ‘spotty rice’.

The components can be prepared and served at the table on separate plates, for diners to assemble. Please feel free to customise. Shelled edamame and leftover roasted sweet potato are lovely additions.

Preparing double the rice and extra beef and asparagus requires no additional time, and you’ll be left with the ingredients for whipping up a batch of delicious sushi rolls the next day. These can be quickly assembled in the morning for school and/or work lunch boxes. Alternatively, the sushi rolls make for a light yet satisfying dinner the following night, and they’re ideal picnic fare too. Enjoy! Continue reading

Guest Post: Raw Zucchini Pasta with Lemony Oregano Pesto from Le Pirate

Introducing Sam from Le Pirate

I found Sam’s blog, Le Pirate, when I was living in New York. She’d written a series of posts on NYC that read like my typical weekend. She’d visited my local cheese shop, stopped by a couple of my favourite neighbourhood cafes and eaten gelati at a place that would woo me onto the L train on a hot night to sample their flavours. This girl had good taste! Turns out she’s Australian, and is currently living in Byron Bay, one of the most beautiful and bountiful regions of our country. Sam writes about food in a passionate, colourful and lyrical way that inspires me to not only cook, but to pay attention to how the food I’m serving affects my mood, my day and my outlook on life. I’m sure you’ll be inspired by her beautiful writing too.

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Lemony Oregano Pesto

When Amelia asked me to guest post for her blog I was touched beyond comprehension. How couldn’t I be? She writes about food in a way that just resonates with me – and with anyone who sees that good food and minimal fuss walk hand in hand.

Amelia’s approach to cooking is refreshingly straightforward. There’s nothing tricky going on. She does what every cook ought to do more – take the freshest seasonal produce available, and dress it as simply as possible. As such, creating beautiful meal becomes as effortless as throwing a ball into the air. Amelia is acutely aware that a fresh radish needs little more than a liberal dab of good butter and salt. That food is only as good as the company you share it with, or indeed the memories that you share with it. She gets that homesickness has a taste (and of course that taste is avocado and Marinated Goats Cheese smothered across sourdough) and that there’s never a bad time for a handful of fresh herbs. It’s a less is more philosophy, and I dig it.

Like Amelia, I’m currently embarking on an experiment in slower living. We (my lover and I) are currently inhabiting a house on what was once a dairy farm, tucked up in the outskirts of Byron Bay. This place – this region – lives and breathes food, which for a person like me, who lies awake consumed with the thought of what I’ll eat for breakfast, is like living in a place where every single day is Christmas.

Guest Post: Spiced Lamb Mince with Hummus from Shuki and Louisa

Introducing Louisa from Shuki and Louisa

Louisa is one half of Shuki and Louisa, a producer of Middle Eastern specialties, based in Melbourne, Australia. We met on a cold morning at the Woodend Farmers Market when we recognised each other from our blogs, and realised we were both having babies around the same time. Once a month I stock up on some of Shuki and Louisa’s delicious hummus and babaganoush, which are both creamy and perfectly seasoned. If you’re in Melbourne, you can taste them for yourself at Coburg, Flemington, Woodend and other famers markets. Check out their Facebook page for more info, and enjoy this simple and tasty Middle Eastern recipe.

Spiced lamb mince with hummus Hi there! I’m Louisa from Shuki and Louisa, taking over the reins of Amelia’s delightful blog, just for this week. I met Amelia a few months back at a farmers market, where I sell home made dips and I was stoked when she asked me to contribute a recipe to Simple Provisions.

The recipe I’ve chosen to share features one of the dips we make; hummus. I’ve not shared the actual recipe for hummus, not out of caginess but because I honestly belive that how you like your hummus is up to you! So either make it yourself with just the right amount of lemon and garlic, or buy a great one from your local store.

So what I am going to show you how to do is make a great appetiser/party dish with a lovely tub of hummus. It’s basically crisp, spiced lamb mince on hummus. There’s two important things here though, you need to make sure you hummus is not fridge cold. Like cheese, hummus is best served at room temperature, so store it in the fridge but take it out half an hour before you want to eat. Also, you need to make sure the lamb mince is good and crisp. This means careful stirring, breaking up and watching as you brown the mince. Then, you’ll achieve a nice textural contrast between the creamy, smooth hummus and the crisp lamb. Continue reading

Guest Post: Pear and Fennel Salad from Rub a Dub Dub

Introducing Zoe from Rub a Dub Dub

Zoe is a food blogger, nutritional medicine student and self-taught food photographer and stylist based in Canberra, Australia. Her photos are always bathed in the most beautiful light, which is how her blog first caught my eye. Zoe’s recipes inspire a more healthful approach to cooking, and her nutritional studies combined with focus on kids (baby number 2 arrived on Boxing Day!) is an interesting spin on food blogging. She holds the belief that eating the right food in the right way and sourced from the right places can change your life. I encourage you to check out her blog and be inspired by her beautiful photos and recipes like I have been.

Rub a Dub Dub Pear and Fennel Salad_

I love Amelia’s philosophy around food; it’s one that I not only relate to but wholeheartedly agree with – so I was really stoked when Amelia thought to ask me when she needed a few guests to help her out!

In particular, I agree that food doesn’t have to be complicated; it just has to be nourishing, satisfying and flavourful. Plus, taste buds are pretty darn indiscriminate – a meal doesn’t have to have Michelin stars attached to it for them to think it’s tasty. I believe there is an often overlooked nuance between diversity and complexity in food. One is about ensuring that you give yourself the best shot at providing your body with all the different nutrients and energy it needs – and in my opinion is vital for good health and wellbeing. The other is about how we like to eat food and how it has evolved with access to more ingredients, cooking aids and techniques. It speaks to our cultural, historical and often socio-economic upbringing. I believe that eating a diverse diet is essential whereas eating complex meals is optional (but can be lots of fun!).

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Honeydew with Rose Water and Honey Cream (and a Baby Girl!)

Honeydew with Rosewater and Honey Cream

Happy New Year!

I had this post almost ready to go last week, dutifully planning to write it up on Monday and post it four days before my due date. But that plan got scuttled when our beautiful baby girl, Nell Frances, decided to come to the party early. We’ve spent the last week in a joyful love bubble, getting to know her and ourselves as parents. We’re so happy she has joined us!

Over the coming weeks I’ll be a bit quiet as I get to grips with parenthood, however I’ve lined up some fantastic guest bloggers to share their recipes with you. I’m sure you’ll love their approach to food just as much as I do.

Before I go, here’s a a simple, elegant dessert that takes next to no preparation and is wonderfully refreshing, yet deliciously decadent. The perfect end to a meal on a hot summer night: just slice up a rockmelon, whip up some cream with honey and rosewater, and serve. Continue reading