Cooking is naturally a tactile experience, where hands and fingers get busy touching, transforming, testing and arranging. There’s a lot of chopping and stirring, squeezing and shaking, but it’s quite rare that massaging is involved.
Perhaps when you’re marinating meat you’ll give it a good rub to evenly distribute the marinade. And you could argue that kneading dough calls on masseuse-like skills. Both these processes are designed to ensure the best possible conditions for maximum flavour and the right texture. Which is exactly what massaging kale leaves is all about. Continue reading →
A change of season heralds a change of breakfast in my kitchen. I’m no longer getting up in the dark, scurrying around before 7am in the half light, trying to keep warm with a large bowl of porridge. Instead the sun is my natural alarm clock and it bathes the kitchen in a gentle, welcoming light that greets me when I pad out of the bedroom in my dressing gown. This sunnier outlook calls for a lighter, more energetic breakfast.
Bircher muesli, or overnight oats, is the original muesli, invented by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for his patients in the 1900s. His recipe requires the oats to be soaked in milk for a period of time to soften them, making them easier to digest, as oats had not yet been made “quick” by manufacturing processes. Soaking is no longer required for muesli, but creating a breakfast inspired by Dr Bircher-Benner is a tasty, nourishing and wholesome start to the day. Continue reading →
A meal that keeps on giving is worth a little extra effort. This asian-inspired salad feeds 4-6 people, but it generously extends itself to provide leftover poached chicken for another meal or two, a few containers of chicken stock to pack into the freezer and some pickled carrots to adorn tomorrow’s sandwiches. It’s also very flexible as it’s happily served immediately or can wait till tomorrow. This makes it a great Sunday meal, leaving starts of lunches and dinners for Monday and Tuesday. So if you’re up for a little bit of prep, you’ll be rewarded.
Curly parsley, the 70s food garnish of choice, has perennially been left on my plate uneaten. Pub meals were the main culprit, employing a tuft of green in an attempt to counter balance the deliciously greasy fare served out of their deep fryers and grills. But curly parsley doesn’t have to be the unflattering herb bound to adorn otherwise empty plates heading back to the kitchen. It has a fragrant and robust flavour that can be harnessed for good.
Tabbouleh (or tabouli or tabouleh), the crisp and flavoursome lebanese salad, uses curly parsley as its base. Traditionally made with bulgar and served as a side salad as part of a mezze, tabbouleh lends itself well to improvisation. Parsley, lemon and mint will keep the basic DNA of the salad in tact, but variations in grain, supporting herbs and onion type are acceptable.
My recent holiday to Byron Bay has inspired me to eat healthy, fresh food (take me back!). And now that Spring has arrived in Kyneton, evidenced by a sea of wildflowers in my garden, and the accompanying hay fever, a salad based meal is more than appropriate. So instead of using tabbouleh as a side dish, I promoted it to the main attraction of my lunches this week. Continue reading →
Thanks so much for having us while we take this pregnant pause, enjoying a grown-up holiday for two before we become three. The cloudless skies, sparkling ocean and gentle warm breezes have been much appreciated.
Do you get all guests up at 5.30am with your early sunrise? We don’t mind. The morning activity of your people, you know, the jogging and surfing and general healthy living, is a refreshing change from the grey commute we’ve been experiencing during the winter months down south. And boy do your cafes know how to do a great breakfast. Colourful bowls of fruit and muesli, local breads with homemade tropical marmalades, muffins bursting with berries, and eggs partnered with vivid green sprouts and creamy avocado were all delicious. Continue reading →
I love birthdays. I love surprises and presents and being spoiled and Facebook messages and all the other good things that come with celebrating the passing of another year.
It was my birthday on Monday. I successfully turned it into an Amelia festival starting on Friday night, continuing through to work on Monday. Four cakes were involved. I regret nothing.
The first birthday cake I remember was made by my mum from a Woman’s Weekly kid’s birthday cake recipe book. I pored over the well-worn pages of that book, weighing up my options, taking the selection of my cake very seriously. There were trains and swimming pools and a lion, but I chose a cake that was a garish shade of pink and somehow incorporated hot pink tulle as part of the decoration. I thought that cake was the most beautiful in the world, and my mum the greatest mum ever for making it.
When the clouds hang heavy in the sky, the rivers run fast and the earth is downright soggy, I crave English pub grub. I want to duck under a medieval doorway and feel the bumps and grooves of a worn slab of wood as I lean over the bar to order a pint. A fire would be crackling in the corner as I pull up a chair under a window pane to watch the drizzle, waiting for a generous serving of bangers and mash to complete the scene.
There are no wonderfully pokey, old pubs in Kyneton, but the weather is suitably English. So when I found a packet of beautiful pork and fennel sausages from a local farm in the fridge, I knew what was coming.
Sausages are an all-season food. They’re equally happy on the BBQ destined for a slice of thin white bread and a squirt of tomato sauce, as they are in a thick stew or pasta sauce. When paired with creamy mashed potato, winter is upon us and you can have no plans other than snuggling in to the couch after a plateful. This is not energising food, it’s lazy winter afternoon food. Continue reading →