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.
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.
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.
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 →
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.
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!).
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 →
The days between Christmas and New Year are some of the best of the year. Time shifts; days come and go with little regard for dates and schedules and softer, more languid living is practiced. Leftover ham answers the call of hunger any time of the day and fresh stone fruit and berries are eaten cold from the fridge as the sun hits its summer stride. This atmosphere calls for fuss-free catering, the kind that simply appears and is appreciated.
New Year’s Eve is a time for pretty drinks. At 39 weeks pregnant I won’t be having a raging night, but I’ll happily serve up a jug of colourful punch for guests. This is a cheat’s white sangria: all show, no fiddly preparation. A bottle of good white wine is infused with fruit and berries and topped with sparkling apple juice and a sprig of rosemary to add some festive cheer. The result is not overly sweet, like some punches can be, and is beautifully refreshing on a hot night as the sun sets.
If you find yourself with remaining fruit in the bottom of the jug, turn it into dessert. The now boozy fruit can be heaped into a bowl and served with fresh cream for an adult fruit salad.
I hope you all have a wonderful start to 2014, leaving behind what no longer serves you and taking all that’s good with you into the new year.
Thank you for reading Simple Provisions in 2013, I’ve loved bringing it to you and really appreciate all the comments and pins and support I’ve been lucky enough to receive. My life will change quite a bit in January with the birth of this baby I’ve been growing for the last nine months, but the blog will go on! I’ve lined up some lovely guest bloggers to share their recipes and thoughts with you. And we’ll see how many posts this baby allows me to squeeze in between now and its birth…
Festive White Wine Punch
1 bottle of your preferred white wine (make it a nice bottle, it will make the punch taste better)
600ml sparkling apple juice (or 300ml apple juice and 300ml soda water)
1 punnet of strawberries, sliced
1 green apple, cubed (with skin on)
Handful of red or green grapes, halved
Handful of cherries, pitted and quartered
Handful of pomegranate seeds
Sprig of rosemary for garnish
Prepare fruit and place in a punch bowl or large jug. Pour wine over the top and leave in the fridge for an hour to let the fruit soak. Remove from the fridge and top with sparkling apple juice or apple juice and soda. Add ice and a sprig of rosemary for garnish and serve.
All year I set aside jars that we’ve emptied of their jams, olives, relishes or whatever and store them away for preserving and pickling season. By December I have more empty jars in my pantry than full, which is excellent as it means I have a stash ready to fill with Christmas presents.
This year I’ve ordered a leg of ham which will be served at brunch on Christmas Day. The best thing about Christmas ham is the sandwiches it inspires on Boxing Day. And no ham sandwich would be complete without some chutney. Our tomato plants are still a month or two off developing ripe and juicy fruit, so I went on the hunt for a chutney recipe that took advantage of other in-season fruit. Continue reading →
If you’re going to use a bit of bling in your cooking, Christmas is the time to do it. Last year I experimented with silver sugared balls, cherries and white chocolate. This year, I got my hands on gold edible glitter, which is so fun it runs the risk of adorning all dishes coming out of my kitchen this festive season! Before I get too excited and serve up a gilded ham, I started with a tart.
If your Christmas table is anything like my family’s, there will be no shortage of sweet treats. Chocolate wrapped in seasonal, brightly-coloured foil decorates the table and seems to creep in as an acceptable palate cleanser between courses (no matter how full you are). The dessert table is presented with a flaming plum pudding accompanied by brandy cream, a pavlova straining to hold up a rainbow of fruit, buttery shortbread and more chocolate. I love it. But I thought there might be room this year for something less sweet, and certainly less effort. Continue reading →
It’s Thanksgiving in America on Thursday. A time when people criss-cross the country, catching trains and planes to be with their family in order to sit down for a meal and simply give thanks. There’s no special candy, outlandish decorations or presents to buy, there’s just good food and loved ones. I appreciate the simplicity of it, and even though it’s not a holiday in Australia, I like to get in the spirit and use this time of year to reflect, be grateful and celebrate the produce of the season.
Traditional Thanksgiving ingredients like sweet potatoes, cranberries and apples are long gone from my local farmers market. Instead I have an array of bright green vegetables, crispy radish, spring lamb and fresh herbs to work with. It’s a fresh palate of colour and flavour that is a welcome relief from the winter produce, and therefor more than worthy of giving thanks for. Continue reading →
Medjool dates have become a regular in my fridge lately. These middle eastern fruits boast soft, sticky flesh and a flavour that is a sweet mix of honey and caramel. They’re lovely as a snack by themselves, but are just as comfortable adding a rich sweetness to other dishes.
I’ve been including them in my Bircher Muesli mix, where the overnight soaking plumps them up and renders them almost fudge-like. I’ve also made several batches of these Choco-Almond Truffles that get all their sweetness from the dates, but taste like real chocolate truffles. Dates make a banana smoothie extra sweet, can provide some texture to a cheese board and are delightful in a tagine.
Without too much effort, they can be pimped out with complimentary middle-eastern flavours to create a snack or dessert that is relatively healthy, and looks positively pretty.
Side dishes can make a good meal great. They are the supporting actors to a well-prepared piece of meat, which, if performing well, can hog the spotlight. But paying attention to what best supports the star can turn a meal from B-grade to award winning.
It’s that time of year when side dishes become more than an after thought. Thanksgiving and Christmas provide a great excuse to focus on all parts of the meal. If you’ve already started thinking about your festive menus, I highly recommend including a plate of Smashed Lemon Potatoes.