My oven and I are getting to know each other. We’re in the early stages of a potentially long-term relationship, and, to be honest, it’s not going so well.
I tried to ignore the fact that this new oven is a third of the size of my old one. Size isn’t everything, right? And its cooktop is electric. Julia Child had an electric stove! But this oven runs hot and fast, and it shoots cold air out of a vent that is at the exact height of my bum when I’m preparing food at the bench opposite it. I mean, that’s just rude!
Braving a cold rear, I wanted to share a dessert with the oven. A light, fluffy dessert that would really test this fledging relationship.
I have no recipe to share this week, even though I have a brand new kitchen to play with! Our house move was a success and after spending the last week working out how to effectively use the wood fire to heat the house, and how to get Charlotte, the chicken that came with the house, to like us, I’m a bit pooped. But between the beautiful morning light that streams into the kitchen and the plentiful vegetable garden five steps from my back door, I won’t be out of the kitchen long. In the meantime, here’s some things that have inspired me this week.
- Spin Spin’s tea towels are bright and fun, and would look ace in my new kitchen. I doubt I can resist the two-for-one special on now…
- Vegetable inspired wallpaper!
- I think this is a nice summary of steps to becoming a better cook
- Eat This My Friend’s Simple Turkish Eggs will happen when Charlotte the chook starts laying again
- Reading what The Canal House cooks for lunch makes me want summer to arrive. Their cook books are lovely, and Canal House Cooks Every Day is on my birthday wishlist
- Also making me long for summer: the genius behind Momofuku Milk Bar chats about strawberries with The New York Times
- Have you seen Food Curated’s videos? They’re lovely little profiles of food people. This guy really loves bread and butter (a man after my own heart)
- Not food related, but Adam France’s Crafting for a Cause is remarkably imaginative and mesmerising (via The Design Files)
A roast chicken has become a common occurrence in my house. I can start it before Nell’s night time routine and it’s done by the time she’s settled. It also gives me lunch the next day, and the start of stock which carries me forward to other meal ideas. I’ve been trying a few roast chicken recipes to see which one give me the most tender meat with the crispiest, tastiest skin, and I’ve settled on Ina Garten’s aptly named Perfect Roast Chicken. I usually use olive oil to give the chook a good layer of fat pre-cooking, but Ina uses melted butter. The result is crispier, more golden brown skin that wraps around perfectly tender, juicy breast. Delectable.
Since the roast chook has been on high rotation, I’ve been considering its flexibility. It’s a trans-seasonal staple that can be served hot or cold and is happy to be paired with any old thing from crisp, bright salads to luscious, sweet roasted vegetables. I’ve decided to challenge myself to share a roast chicken recipe for each season over the next year. I want it to celebrate the produce of the season and reflect the current mood of the sun as it streams in my kitchen window. It will take me a year to rotate around, following the sun and the seasonal produce to produce four roast chook recipes. Continue Reading
Today I am moving house. Everything is packed and in the process of getting onto the truck to move a few streets down the road. We moved to Kyneton as an experiment in slower living, and because it was an experiment we moved into a rental, so we could up sticks if we hated it. But in the last 18 months we’ve connected with the community and vibe of the town and couldn’t imagine leaving, so, we bought our first country home. So excited! Fittingly, my take on moving to the country and Kyneton living is being featured on The Countryphiles today. You can see my kitchen (my old kitchen as of today!) and read about my move to the country.
Read the story on The Countryphiles.
I often get asked about the photos on Simple Provisions. I take them, and I’m a self-taught photographer. I bought a camera when I started this blog and taught myself to use it in manual mode, as well as how to prop and style food and how to edit photos using software. I’m learning and improving as I go.
Here’s a little guide to the things I’ve learned along the way, and some of the resources that have helped me. I’m not a photography expert, and there’s plenty of resources on the web to teach you to take better photos, but here’s what helped me produce photos of food that people want to pin and share. I hope it helps inspire you to pick up a camera too.
If you are even mildly hungry, I suggest you wait till you have a full stomach before clicking through to visit Sarah’s blog, The Sugar Hit. Because when you arrive, vivid, beautiful photos of sweet, delicious things will be in your face, in bold, comic-book styling. Once you see Sarah’s food, a sensible lunch will pale into comparison. It’s an “I want to lick the screen” kind of blog.
When I asked Sarah to open her fridge for us, she was slightly horrified, likening it to the food equivalent of a no-makeup selfie. But Sarah has a giant bowl of cookie dough in her fridge, which seems like a dream fridge to me. Thankfully she agreed to reveal all. Read on to see what’s behind those gorgeous, bright photos on The Sugar Hit.
Sometimes, even though it’s winter, a salad is all that will do. Roasted vegetables are great, and sautéed greens have their place, but something fresh, crisp and green should not be banished from plates for months on end. The challenge is lettuce, which bolted in veggie gardens at the end of summer, as is its wont. Kale has sprouted in its place and when treated right, it makes a fine substitute for salad greens.
This is an eat-your-greens salad, bursting with health. Brussels sprouts are perfect little packages of goodness. They have the same health benefits of their larger cousin cabbages, and in Chinese medicine they’re said to help with digestion. They also grow on the coolest, most gnarly looking plant ever. The unpleasant smell that many people associate with sprouts is the result of overcooking, particularly overboiling, which unlocks an organic compound in the sprout that contains sulphur. Egg smells are avoided in this salad by finely slicing the sprouts and serving them raw. Continue Reading
Earlier in the week I made pomegranate roasted carrots, and they were delicious. After preparing the carrots I had a bunch of feathery carrot tops fanning across my bench. Heidi from Apples Under My Bed mentioned that she keeps carrot tops to make pistou or pesto when we looked in her fridge, and I was inspired to try it.
Root vegetables are givers. Radish, beetroot, turnips and carrots not only have tasty, colourful roots, they all have edible leaves. Carrot leaves can be bitter, so although you can eat them raw in a salad, they’re better off mingling with other elements in a stock, being mellowed with some heat in a frying pan or being whizzed into a pesto. Continue Reading
These carrots are not a Turkish pilaf. They do not in any way resemble a plate of plump bulgur wheat, tender lentils and shredded chicken gently spiced with cloves and cinnamon and topped with yoghurt. Sometimes things don’t work out in the kitchen as you expect them to, and this week the bejewelled pilaf of my imagination ended up resembling overcooked, grey porridge. I don’t even know what happened. Too much stock? Too much bulgur? I’ll attempt to work it out next time, but for now I’m grateful that I stuffed up because it meant I cooked these carrots, and they are delicious. Continue Reading
This week Heidi from Apples Under My Bed opens her fridge so we can peek inside, and what a cool fridge it is – it has a blackboard on the outside! Heidi is a dietician, porridge lover and blogger who’s approach to food is inspiring. She’s all about natural, beautiful, unprocessed wholefoods, but she understands the importance of balancing healthy eating with a large slice of pie every now and then. Follow Heidi on Instagram to be inspired by her egg-shaped bowls full of interesting porridge toppings, her simple yet gorgeous meals and her work on a farm. Get to know Heidi even more intimately by taking a look in her fridge…