Sunday, February 07, 2010

cake off!

From left to right: Moroccan orange cake, Chocolate cake, english lemon tea cake.
Courtesy of Emma.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Hello world!!!


Not much cooking going on, but yesterday I had an amazing Japanese meal with fried chicken, scallops, eggplant and lotus root, slathered with lots of grated daikon. It was tender and juicy and divine.

Am currently on the look out for cake recipes with chocolate and lemon... for a special occasion...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Slow down, danger ahead

Sometimes life throws you a couple of curveballs, and it can feel like you've been bounced around a few times too many. I've had a minor life changing moment a few weeks ago, with life holding up a massive stop sign. The realisation that I've been running on empty for too long, trying to keep going while my petrol gauge flashes empty. So I've been trying to slow down to avoid a crash, and catching the flu proved to be a good thing, because I've had to take the weekend off work. It also means having the weekend to rest and not worry about the time or being somewhere five minutes ago, which is an absolute luxury, like 300 threadcount linen. Meals have been simple and sparse, I just don't have the energy to plan ahead. So mostly leftover staples like fried rice, soups, both Asian and Western. I had a really good home-made minestrone at a cafe, so soup for the week ahead is going to be minestrone. I'm not going to bother with a recipe this time because it is quite straight forward, so just a list of the veggies I'm using (again the leftovers and ungainly) - cauliflower, carrot, celery, zucchini, roast garlic (for the flu), pumpkin or sweet potato, finished with a can of beans and tomatoes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Not too cold for salad

With 4 degree nights and 14 degree days, it isn't the right season for salad yet, but I do miss crispy leaves of rocket, spinach and cos.

Japanese inspired salad

Tofu - marinated in tamari, dark sweet soy sauce and mirin and then grilled or fried
Sliced orange sweet potato - grilled
Mixed leaves
1 cucumber - sliced
Wedges of tomato or baby tomatoes

1 part tamari/soy sauce
2 parts brown rice vinegar
1 part toasted sesame oil

Garnish with fried breadcrumbs. I used multigrain breadcrumbs which are uneven and have more texture. Toasted sesame seeds would work as well.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

perfect popcorn

It's been a while. I've been cooking - carefully thought out meals one or two days a week, rough one-dish meals rest of the week, which is the story of my life really. (which is another story on the main blog)

But for the moment, here is how to make perfect popcorn as taught to me by Cat.
1 cheap saucepan with lid. You want something that heats up fast. No fancy heavy bottomed cast iron rubbish.
Enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
Just enough popcorn to to form 1 layer at the bottom of the pan.
Toss the corn in the oil for a bit and turn on the flames.
I think you can take it off the heat when the popping is fast and furious, and just when it starts to slow down.
A pinch of salt is enough. Heh.

When I've tried to do it before Cat's wonderful advice, I've put too little oil and too much corn, the result - uneven burnt popcorn. I can't believe it's so easy.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

praawwnn on the baarbieee?

Last year I was quite excited to get back to Oz, to my little kitchen, and start making yummy meals. This year, argh, it feels like a drag to get back into the swing of things. I've been surviving on one-dish meals and eating out (thanks to the generosity of friends). Definitely feeling like I'm lacking in inspiration. I guess everyone goes through patches.

I did try to make a triumphant return with what I thought was going to be a fab salad - first step fry little bits of bacon, add in some baby octopus (you can chop these up to make them a managable mouth-size). While that is sizzling, assemble sliced fresh mango, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, olives. The dressing is lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, olive oil (my ex housemate used to say EVO, like it was the name of a car, which it is). Plonk the cooked octopus and bacon and all the juices on top of the salad. It was almost complete as I went to sprinkle some pepper as a finishing touch as the whole bottletop came loose.....

It was a very peppery salad. Cue Marlon Brando saying "I could have been a contender."

Which reminds me of people who write short stories (memoirs) only six words long...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

cooking by zen

I had a craving for crispy onions, the garnish you find on top of certain foods, so I decided to fry up a batch yesterday. Mum always said that this is one of the "examination dishes" for any new bride entering the household, because it shows your skill with the knife (all the slices have to be even, although you can cheat with a grater), your skill with the wok (can't let them burn), and patience (from peeling the onions till the end takes at least half an hour, depending on how fast you can peel). Unfortunately, onions make me cry so I did resort to closing my eyes and cutting by feel, hoping that I wasn't going to lose any skin or fingers. It went well, pictures to come, and I was getting the rest of dinner ready when my tap came loose and the water came gushing straight out, soaking everything in the kitchen within a 3m radius, including me. At least I know where my water mains was, so I dashed down, winner of the wet t shirt contest Feb 2008, secretly grateful it wasn't winter, screwed it shut and returned to mop up the mess. My landlord is a really sweet guy and he came over later to fix the tap so everything worked out in the end. Hopefully the weather will be nice and hot in the next few days so the carpet dries out...