cook | eat

this salad has simple yet sophisticated ingredients that are really so effortless to pull together.

we had this on a Friday night after a long week at work. we wanted something light yet decadent, and we didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen; relaxation, wine and chats were needed, and this dish pairs perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • Bunch of watercress; washed & trimmed
  • Prosciutto; roughly torn
  • Camembert; the best quality you can afford
  • Fresh figs; washed, dried, halved and grilled for a couple minutes each side (2 per person)
  • pistachio nuts; shelled and dry toasted in a dry pan (handful for two)

All these ingredients don’t really have measurements; just add to taste or increase/decrease according to numbers of people eating.

No dressing is needed because the figs caramelise on the outside and stay juicy on the inside which lends a lovely liquid to the salad.

Method:

Assemble in pretty layers of ingredients, the smaller more delicate ingredients towards the top. Serve with or without a glass of crisp, slightly sweet rosé or a mature Blanc de Blanc champagne.

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Summer in a glass; Fruity 5 Seeds Cider Cup

There’s not much more refreshing than an icy cold, crisp apple cider on a balmy Sydney summer’s eve.

In my little nook of the world, as the city traffic noise starts to wane, the golden glow of dusk streams through my apartment windows, my fave tunes waft over the stereo speakers, and my little shadow Harley the cavoodle excitedly follows my every move, it’s time for a refreshing cocktail. Nothing too complex; just good ingredients, and something with a clean & refreshing taste.

5 Seeds have released a new lower sugar cider, just in time for Aussie summer!

With the same clean, crisp apple taste, 5 Seeds Lower Sugar Cider is just as refreshing and satisfying as their other ciders, but with less sugar.

I’ve got an idea to pimp it up a little; adding vodka as it’s neutral flavour won’t interrupt the apple cider, and some summer fruit to compliment the apple theme and get it looking colourful in mason jars.

Ingredients

  • 5 Seeds Lower Sugar Cider; bottle per person
  • your fave vodka; 30ml per person
  • cubes of ice

summer fruit;

  • ripe mango, thinly sliced
  • plump passionfruit
  • slices of juicy watermelon
  • fat, round strawberries
  • green pear, sliced into wedges
  • white nectarine, sliced
  • crisp apple, sliced thin for the cup and thicker for garnish
  • ribbons of cucumber
  • sprigs of fragrant mint

Method

  • in a mason jar or other glass, place ice, pour vodka, layer fruit then top with the sparkling 5 Seeds Lower Sugar Cider
  • garnish with mint, colourful stirrers threaded with apple & a festive straw
  • serve*

*best shared with a lover or friend overlooking the sunset

outtakes with Harley the cavoodle:

summer prawn cups

After the first couple of weeks of summer being a total let down of rain and jumper weather, Sydney has finally been slapped in the face by the summer we know and love! High-30-degrees and sunshine!

The summer weather always makes me crave seafood, so over the weekend when I was planning a quick casual dinner for an impromptu catch up with friends, I decided to do a super easy, low fuss but totally delicious take on the Prawn Cocktail (or Shrimp Cocktail for all my Northern Hemisphere mates).

Ingredients

  • fresh prawns (I use large Australian Tiger Prawns); 3-4 per person
  • iceberg or cos lettuce, shredded
  • fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • fresh avocado; quarter per person, sliced evenly
  • cocktail sauce; I use store bought but there are some good recipes out there if you prefer to create it yourself

Method

  • layer lettuce, avocado, prawns & sprinkle of dill in a pretty formation in your fave cup, glass or bowl
  • drizzle with cocktail sauce & serve

make :: blueberry lemon icebox cake

We’ve just had the hottest three days on record in Sydney. Much of the state is in critical weather condition with many towns and areas being evacuated for fear of total devastation by bushfire.

Seriously, I don’t know how we’ve been functioning in 47°C heat (117F).

This cake was a great distraction; it’s no-bake, so you don’t need to inflict more heat on your poor living space, and it makes the perfect summer dessert; light, creamy, citrusy and most importantly,  cool.

It needs to feeeze overnight, so make it a day ahead.

Blueberry lemon icebox cake

Recipe is from Tastemade.

weeknight dinner :: steamed fish parcels

a quick week night dinner using veggies from my weekend market bag

steamed snapper parcel

start with your choice of fish (I’ve used Australian wild snapper), a lemon, fresh herbs (I’ve used parsley,  coriander & fresh turmeric), olive oil, salt & pepper

lemon & herb bed

place a bed of sliced lemon and herbs on a sheet of foil, lay fish fillet on top, scatter salt, pepper and grated turmeric and drizzle olive oil.

fresh tumeric; peel & grate

fold foil into a pretty parcel and cook in a preheated oven (180 degrees Celsius) for 15-20 minutes.

cooked fish parcel

serve with your choice of veggies or salad. i served tonight’s dinner with a selection of veggies sautéed in sesame oil (green beans, mushrooms, asparagus, red onion, radicchio & topped with orange segments)

sauteed veggies

Bon appetite!

//all photos my own//

market fresh

i prefer buying my fruit and veg from local organic suppliers rather than from the big supermarkets. you know it’s fresher and free from chemicals and you get to know the farmers, learn more about where your food comes from and how it’s grown. it’s also important to financially support the ‘little guy’ over the supermarket chains!

in Sydney, i get my fruit n veg from one of two locations; the weekly Sunday organic farmer’s markets at Frenches Forest or The Locals Market.

at the farmer’s market you can walk around and chose your own produce; chat to the farmer’s and select what looks good on the day.

produce from Frenches Forest Organic Market

there’s usually other delicious goodies like artesian breads, hand-pickled veg and small batch honey, all direct from the creators.

The Locals Market is the brainchild of a local Sydney woman Talia, whose love for good fresh produce led her to create and grow a kind of co-op; she and her team get up early on Saturdays and scour the Sydney Growers Markets for the best local produce and divide it all up into bags which we, the local consumer, can collect from a few different pick-up locations.

the produce changes weekly depending what’s in season. She emails out a list of what’s available that week, you please your order and collect on Saturday morning. Easy!

The Locals Market also has a blog with great recipes and ideas to turn all that good produce into good fare.

this week’s The Locals Market bag & Harley checking it out



all of this for $45!

checkout your city council websites for nearby markets and give your support to your local farmers. you’ll get great produce and feel good too!

//all photos my own//

Folonomo :: restaurant review

For love not money is the ethos of this place and their name reflects that using the first two letters of each word in the saying.

It’s Sydney’s first “profit for purpose” restaurant, where after operating costs, all profits go to charity.

The food is sustainable and ethically sourced, but it’s beautiful, tasty, fragrant and inspires long comfortable dinner talking & laughing with your love or a bunch of friends.


Simple dishes (rump steak with kipfler potatoes & eel butter) yet complex with texture (braise lamb shoulder with ‘dirty rice’ that consists of three different types of rice with crunchy toasted seeds and duck mince).

Their kitchen is small but lively and sitting at the counter you get to see the dedication to quality and the enjoyment that is had by the chefs and cooks to produced these dishes. It’s fun efficiency, especially when the night starts to wind down and “staffies” beers are cracked as a reward to a job well done.

All plates are for sharing and we had one of the two sides; the cauliflower rice with silverbeet lemon & mint and it was to.die! The soft yet still firm cauli mixed with pops of mint, wholesomeness of the silverbeet and crunch of toasted seeds was a true party in my mouth! It was a fresh side to lighten the richness of the steak & fall-apart lamb dishes.


Again, dessert was shared; this heavenly French pastry bread called ‘kouigin amann’ buttery and toasty and served with baked pears, firm and caramel-y, lemon curd and in-house vanilla icecream. Oh.My.God. Seriously.


It’s BYO wine/champers at the moment while they wait on their liquor license.

5 dishes, wonderful staff, good food, good atmosphere, $125. Leave a hefty tip because it all goes to charity!

//all photos my own//

amaretti & pumpkin risotto

Tonight’s weeknight dinner; amaretti and pumpkin risotto with spinach & dill served with shredded poached chicken.


I picked up this little pack of risotto from a local providor, and thought it a beautiful star of a mid-week dinner.

Heat a little oil in a saucepan, then add the risotto and stir for a minute til fragrant. Add 125ml of white wine and stir til absorbed, then slowly stir in 500ml of water, a little at a time til all absorbed (about 12 mins).


When cooked add in a good handful of baby spinach and some chopped dill, a little butter and season to taste.


Serve with grilled or shredded poached chicken.


Enjoy! Serves 2

//all photos my own//

mornings

I recently heard an interview with a chef on a random radio station (can’t remember where or with who!) but I loved the questions enough to write them down when I had a chance.

Here’s my answers to these fun quiz questions!

What time do you get up?

  • weekday exercising it’s 6.15am, otherwise 7am for work and on the weekend I sleep in as long as possible!

Coffee or tea?

  • coffee coffee coffee coffee. there is a time for tea but in general I prefer the black gold

coffee from my local Fix in Crows Nest
coffee from my local Fix in Crows Nest
How do you have your toast?

  • when Im eating grains, I have sourdough with avocado and squeeze of lemon with salt & pepper. delish!

avocado on sourdough
avocado on sourdough (pic via cupofjo.com)
Breakfast, Brunch or Lunch?

  • Lunch. I’m not particularly a fan of breakfast food; it’s just not that exciting.

Favourite restaurant in Sydney?

  • Gowings Bar and Grill

Gowings
Gowings (pic via Gowings website)

Dine @ Gowings
Dine @ Gowings (pic via Gowings website)

our lovely waiter pouring my fave beverage!
our lovely waiter pouring my fave beverage!
What’s the only thing that’s always in your fridge?

  • butter and wine! can’t really make a meal out of that combination but it’s what’s always present in my fridge!

***

Now, what about you?

Happy Thursday!

birthday week eats

last week i celebrated a birthday! i turned 40 minus 3. i also decided that i deserved to eat and drink special things cooked by other people and not in my kitchen.  here are a few delicious morsels i savoured for you…

birthday dinner @ Chiswick
birthday dinner @ Chiswick

a meal of delicious seafood at Matt Moran’s Chiswick.

twilight cocktails @ Bar 36
twilight cocktails @ Bar 36

i’ve always maintained that Bar 36 (aka Blu Horizon bar at the Shangri-la) makes the best vodka martini. a birthday martini is becoming my yearly tradition!

 

paleo-friendly brekkie @ the local
paleo-friendly brekkie @ the local

brekkie at Sotto in North Sydney

Veuve & blooms
Veuve & blooms

because birthday girls drink bubbles!

lunch @ Cooh
lunch @ Cooh

i read about this new organic, sustainable cafe (Cooh) and had to go! i had smoked trout with roasted beets, radish, goats feta mousse and a seed crisp. soooo good.

i’d definitely have a birthday week do over!!!