Perfect Late Summer Bruschetta

Perfect Late Summer Bruschetta

For me, using produce when it’s at its seasonal best, and a good price, is just common sense, and I very rarely shop with a recipe in mind, taking inspiration from the fresh produce in front of me. When I see plums I always buy some, just a few to start when they are expensive, and as the season progresses, I purchase buckets. Then after I’ve made jam, and a few cakes, I start to think of different and savoury ways to use them

Read More

Summer Eating and Beautiful Vegetables

Summer Eating and Beautiful Vegetables

This summer has been an unusually hot one, and I’ve sort of lost my appetite for anything that needs time to cook, even the barbecue has lost its appeal, there’s only so much charred food that I can take. I fluctuate between wanting to eat food with gentle flavours, a little something poached in a flavoursome broth, or perhaps a spiced dish that will tickle my taste buds and wake up my palate, but without fiery heat – there’s enough of that happening outside. I’m finding we’ve been eating more vegetable based dishes, accompanied by some sort of grain. They fit the mood right now, and the vegetables around have been gorgeous, particularly from organic Moonacres Farm.

Read More

Thyme, Fennel Seed and Lavender Grissini

Thyme, Fennel Seed and Lavender Grissini

Over the past year baking homemade grissini has become a regular occurrence in my kitchen. I’ve been making pizzas for my family for years, but it wasn’t until I was looking for delicious, well-priced grissini, that I realised there weren’t any. So that started a bit of a trend, and a habit that I thoroughly enjoy. They last well in a sealed jar for two weeks, are perfect on their own with a glass of wine, even more delicious when wrapped with prosciutto or thin slices of grilled courgettes, or served with a bowl of homemade tapenade.

Read More

Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce

Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce

The New Year has begun, and I’m easing myself into it very gently. Last night I woke to the constant drumming of rain on the tin roof outside our bedroom window. Today it’s actually starting to pelt down, the temperature so cool I’ve put on my favourite oversized sweater and am curled up on the sofa slowly going through emails that have been piling up, unanswered, over the Christmas period. These are the days I love, be it summer or winter; for me they are food days. And on these days I like to have something cooking slowly in the oven, or simmering on the stove.

Read More

Watermelon and Plum Daiquiris: a Family Tradition.

Watermelon and Plum Daiquiris: a Family Tradition.

As Christmas approaches, I start to think about family, and how important it is to have them, whether they be blood relatives, or close friends, who are always there for you when you need them. From the moment we are born, we start making our traditions, at first with our parents and siblings, and then, as we grow older and leave the nest, with our partners, children, and friends. These little traditions, whether they be silly or serious, pop up every year like clockwork, and don’t I love them, particularly at this time of year.

One of our traditions is to drink Daiquiris at Christmas, and this started years before our children were born. 

Read More

Three Little Classics

Three Little Classics

I know I’ve talked about Elizabeth David here before, and what an inspiration she has always been for me, her food and writing evoking a satisfyingly delicious life, filled with fresh ingredients and flavours that were a part of her every day living. Her descriptions of what she was cooking and journeys to local markets and quiet provincial villages has always made me want to dive into the pages and be apart of her journey of discovery with food and wine. 

Read More

Hazelnut Tart or a Tender Tart

Hazelnut Tart or a Tender Tart

I discovered this tart whilst reading The Alice B Toklas Cook Book first published in 1954. For those who aren’t aware Alice shared her life with Gertrude Stein in the first half of the 20th century living in Paris. Fredrich (not his real name), an Austrian, was employed as their perfect servant and cook, and was engaged to Duscha, a friend of Gertrude and Alice’s. According to Alice, one day, the devil, in the guise of a dark eyed beauty, met and fell in love with Fredrich, and threatened to kill him if he didn’t marry her instead. On the day of his disappearance (it seems Fredrich was quite weak) we find Alice, Gertrude and the weeping Duscha, enjoying the Tender Tart he baked as a parting gesture, with a cup of tea.

Read More

Rainbow Chard and Tomato Walnut Crumble with Burrata

Rainbow Chard and Tomato Walnut Crumble with Burrata

I can’t get enough of this pretty and delicious vegetable. Its beautiful colours bring sunshine into my kitchen. Cooking turns the leaves silky, and the stems soft and oh so pretty with its rainbow-hues of pink, orange, yellow and red. And I like to keep my preparation as simple as I can, and not play around with it too much, just enjoying its colourful beauty, lemony flavour, and its rustic charm. So the simple addition of tomato walnut crumble and a creamy burrata makes it a perfect antipasti dish.

Read More

Mushroom and Spinach Galette

Mushroom and Spinach Galette

Mushrooms hold a very special place in my heart. I have many memories of dishes lovingly prepared by my mother, and mushrooms were quite often on our table, as my father adored them. Some Sundays, we would go for a drive and find ourselves at a mushroom farm where we would pick big fat, meaty field mushrooms and then take them home for lunch where my mother would fry them up with garlic and parsley, finally adding a large dollop of sour cream. They would then be consumed with thick slices of toast, dripping with butter. Heaven, it doesn’t get much better.

Read More

Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero Flowers and ‘Nduja

Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero Flowers and ‘Nduja

You just know Spring is here when the markets start to fill with new-season produce: everything’s so wonderfully green, crisp and fresh. Although I’ll miss winter and her cold, grey days, it’s lovely to be able to throw open the windows and let the warmer breeze gently blow in: the perfume of Jasmine wafting through the house every now and then. At the moment I’m enjoying cooking and eating Moonacres Farm Spring organic produce; particularly the young garlic and Cavolo Nero flowers, in a very quick and easy pasta, combined with some of Salumi Australia’s ‘Nduja.

Read More

My Favourite Chocolate Mousse: an American Recipe.

My Favourite Chocolate Mousse: an American Recipe.

I have to start this post off by saying this recipe isn’t mine. Like the recipe for Crème Caramel, (in the recipe section) I can do no better, this chocolate mousse, is simply the best. For someone who’s not a chocolate lover, I make this mousse a lot, one of my daughters will eat it for breakfast, (it covers all the food groups, doesn’t it), and every time I post it on Instagram, I have several requests for the recipe, so, for those of you who don’t have Thomas Keller’s fabulous book Bouchon, here it is. He also uses it in a tart, with the most delicious hazelnut crust (see below): a gorgeous crumbly, nutty pastry with a lovely saltiness to it that compliments the mousse perfectly. 

Read More

Coq au Vin. Revisiting a Classic: No. 1

Coq au Vin. Revisiting a Classic: No. 1

Coq au Vin, such a classic French dish, and one that I adore. Recently I realised it’s a dish you dont see around much anymore, and certainly not on restaurant menus. Maybe its gone out of fashion, considered boring perhaps – who knows? I tend to think however, no matter what the latest food fad, classic dishes like this are important to have in your repertoire. They are perfect with the right glass of wine, and are not too hard to make, provided you have a great stock, which I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about; I know I go on about it, but its important, so I have included it in the recipe below. Just remember, it’s a stew really it is.

Read More

Black Bean and Chorizo Soup, Poached Pears and a Little Smoked Salmon Pasta

Black Bean and Chorizo Soup, Poached Pears and a Little Smoked Salmon Pasta

Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I often put recipes up in my recipe section without writing a post. So, if you go to my site, and into “recipes”, you will find these delicious dishes below.

Read More

Magic Chicken Soup: a healing combination of turmeric, ginger, garlic, bone broth and other glorious things.

Magic Chicken Soup: a healing combination of turmeric, ginger, garlic, bone broth and other glorious things.

I’ve been fighting off a cold for the past few weeks, and finally it’s set in, coinciding with a grey day and rain beating against the kitchen window. I’m feeling poorly, emotional, and tired, and when I feel like this I need soup, usually chicken, or my Tuscan bean soup. Today is no different, but I don’t feel like delving into my usual repertoire, I want a soup loaded with a lot of ginger, turmeric, garlic, fresh herbs, a fabulous broth, with a huge hit of vitamin C; something that’s going to be restorative, that will nourish, hydrate, and heal my body and soul.

Read More

Veal and Pork Ragù with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Brandy, and a beautiful dish of Pears baked in Red Wine

Veal and Pork Ragù with Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Brandy, and a beautiful dish of Pears baked in Red Wine

I’m a bit of a sucker for a bowl of pasta with bolognese sauce any time of the year. Having a supply in the freezer isn’t a bad idea either for those nights when I don’t want to cook, or there are a few extra mouths to feed. It’s easy to make, it just needs time, and I love the aromas from the simmering sauce as it cooks away gently; every now and then being stirred. But every once in a while I want a change from the traditional flavours, so I make this ragù, flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg and brandy; it’s interesting how just a few spices can change a dish, giving it a more exotic feel and flavour. We love to eat this with spaghetti, but fregola, or soft polenta is delicious too.

Read More

Deida’s Butter Biscuits, Crisp Cheddar shortbread and Hazelnut Meringues

Deida’s Butter Biscuits, Crisp Cheddar shortbread and Hazelnut Meringues

I want to start with an explanation of how from week to week I decide what to write about. Sometimes it’s about an event I’ve done, occasionally about somewhere interesting we’ve been, but mostly it’s about food. What I cook is dependant on a number of things; seasonal produce from the market, as I’m always inspired by what’s available now; recipes for my children, who often ask me how to make something; memories from my childhood; and you, who sometimes ask me for specific recipes, to which I’m always happy to oblige. This post though, is inspired by my childhood memories, and the need to write family recipes down for my girls, so they won’t have to wonder, as I sometimes do, how the hell did my mother do that?

Read More

Red Velvet Borsch

Red Velvet Borsch

My grandmother and my aunt Tamara used to make a lot of Borsch. It would differ, depending on the time of year. At Lent, it was always without meat, and water was used as the base of the soup. Other times, beef bones and stewing beef were used, the meat shredded after cooking and put back into the soup. This version was hearty, delicious, and perfect during the colder months. My mother’s borsch was slightly different, although equally delicious, and, like my aunty Tamara’s and grandmother’s, was always served with a big bowl of sour cream and horseradish; so commonplace on a Russian table. 

Read More

Beef Cheeks and Burgundy

Beef Cheeks and Burgundy

When the weather turns cooler I start thinking about braising, and cooking with wine. Instinctively I turn to my French cookbooks, as I love French cuisine, particularly the classics. For me, there’s no better food, when done well. I’ve cooked my way through Elizabeth David’s books; French Provincial and French Country Cooking amongst them, and still refer to them constantly. Her recipes are deliciously simple, and she always treated food with such reverence, understanding, and above all care. Paul Bocuse – The New Cuisine, is another favourite.

Read More

Confit Salmon with Rhubarb. An Unexpected Marriage.

Confit Salmon with Rhubarb. An Unexpected Marriage.

I‘ve been playing around with rhubarb lately, experimenting with ways to use it; not as a dessert, but as the vegetable it really is. I love my rhubarb curd, (recipe under Little Things), and stewed rhubarb with fresh ginger and orange zest… yum, and rhubarb crumble… The list goes on and on.

Read More

Grazing Tables and a Romantic Wedding

Grazing Tables and a Romantic Wedding

Recently, I was asked by Sydney boutique caterer Delectable Dishes to be part of a team to put together a wedding at the National Art School in Sydney. This venue has quite a history, having been a prison from 1841 –1914. It’s one of Sydney’s oldest, and best-preserved examples of colonial architecture; the buildings are a gorgeous yellow sandstone, and I’m sure if they could speak would have so many amazing stories to tell. And after this evening there will be another story to add: one of a beautiful bride, loving families and friends, long banquet tables in the old cell block covered with flowers of sunset hues and glowing candles, and in the courtyard, two grazing tables groaning with fresh seafood and antipasti to be devoured by guests before the main course.

Read More