Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

Winter Roast Chicken

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

Simple Provisions on The CountryphilesToday 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.

How to Teach Yourself Food Photography | Simple Provisions

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.

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Look in the Fridge: The Sugar Hit

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.

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Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

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

Carrot Top and Walnut Pesto

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

Pomegranate Roasted Carrots

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

Heidi from Apples Under My Bed | Look in the Fridge

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…

Heidi from Apples Under My Bed | Look in the Fridge Continue Reading

Jaffle Iron

It’s jaffle season. The time of year when two pieces of bread and a jaffle iron can not only feed a hungry stomach, but can warm the heart (and burn the tongue). The best tasting jaffles are the ones made in a cast-iron jaffle mould that is shoved into a campfire using the long handles. Beanies and gloves keep extremities warm while the white-hot coals toast the bread and seal the filling into a golden pocket of smokey goodness. But the great outdoors is not a prerequisite for an excellent jaffle. The creativity afforded by the blank slate of white bread buttered on the outside is worth having fun with, crackling fire or no.

Two jaffle combinations have settled into high rotation in my kitchen this year. One was borne out of the need to recreate a favourite menu item from a cafe that rudely closed down and the other was inspired by Melbourne cafe Pope Joan.

Jaffle Fillings

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Look in the fridge
I’m a stickybeak. I love nothing more than stealing a glimpse into other peoples’ lives. I subscribe to real estate emails even when I’m not looking for a house, I pay attention to behind-the-scenes stories and relish trawling through sites like The Selby, So, How Was Your Day and Freunde Von Freunden to see how other people live. I find real life endlessly fascinating, much more so than beautifully styled magazine spreads.

This favourite pastime of mine got me thinking about fridges. This year my fridge has been on show. Friends and family have been kind enough to keep it stocked with food while we get used to parenthood. Nearly everyone who brought a meal commented on how empty our fridge was, clucking over us like this parenting thing had us well and truly beat judging by the state of our fridge! The thing was, it wasn’t that different to how it usually looks.

I brought this up on the weekend with a group of friends who were over for dinner. We proceeded to huddle around our open fridge to analyse it. They concluded that yes, it was very empty, and seriously lacking in half-jars of things, strange ingredients you only use once and what do you mean you only have two jars of jam?!

I look at my fridge and think it’s normal. But I guess everyone does. And isn’t that interesting? I wonder how much a person’s fridge is a reflection of their personality and their approach to food. Is my fridge empty? Or do I only make friends with people who have fridges heaving with food (there’s legs in that theory…).

This has prompted me to start a new semi-regular series here on Simple Provisions. I’m going to ask other bloggers, chefs, gardeners and anyone else interesting to open the door and let us look in their fridge. We’ll see if fridges reflect personalities and how people eat, or at the very least we get to be nosey parkers.

If you feel like playing along, you could win a copy of the new gorgeous magazine Alphabet Journal. (I’m super excited to have contributed to their first issue). Head to Instagram, follow me and post a photo of your fridge with the hashtags #lookinthefridge and #simpleprovisions and tell us the one weird thing you’re harbouring in there. I’ll select a winner next Wednesday at 9am Australian Eastern Standard Time, so get your fridge in before then.*

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who shared their fridge. The contest is now closed.

It seems unfair to ask others to do this if I haven’t revealed all. So here is an unedited, unstyled view of my fridge.

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