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!

:: adventure :: New Zealand part 2 :: Queenstown

As I’m inching towards the edge of the 154ft precipice, my ankles tightly bound, my mind is blank with fear & excitement. I no longer remember my mantra “It’s better to look back on life and say: “I can’t believe I did that”, than to look back and say: “I wish I did that.”  I focus on the quick hammering of the heart in my chest, the wind whipping around my face and the stranger’s hand gripping my arm.

I am bungy jumping.

I stick to the pact my husband & I make; “three, two, one” then jump! I see him standing far below, already having taken the soaring plunge himself and waiting for me to join him. I don’t realise it but I scream during the three second free-fall before my scream turns to joyous whoops. The multiple bounce-backs are an amazing, indescribable feeling. I am chained to a life-saving rope, yet I’m free. Then it’s over and I am pulled into the landing boat and taken ashore to climb the 150+ stairs, my legs like jelly from the adrenaline.


 I’m bungy jumping!!! @ AJ Hackett, Queenstown

  Me from the viewing monitors   The view from the Observation Deck; Jay jumping

                                                          Jay jumping!

*****

Queenstown is a place of staggering beauty. Officially the adventure capital of the South Island it has so much to offer.

For 5 days and 4 nights we explore the delights of Queenstown. Apart from bungy jumping we celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary with a ride up the Skyline mountain gondola, a wander & wine tasting at Gibbston Valley Winery and soak in the most luxurious bathing experience at Onsen Hot Pools.

We eat at some amazing restaurants. We revisit Fergburger twice to ensure our fill of NZ’s best burger (it’s pretty damn good!). We eat tender and gamey venison, fresh crayfish, oversized oysters and creamy local cheese.



Fergburger (#drool)

We laugh and scream our lungs raw on the Shotover Jet and walk around the immense Queenstown foreshore.

 Freezing our butts off on the Shotover Jet

********

Our hotel is bliss; part of the Accor Group of hotels, Hotel St Moritiz M Gallery is 5 star luxury.

    

Our room is gorgeous with an incredible view out over Lake Wakatipu. I wrote a review on TripAdvisor which you can find here.

*******


 Onsen Hot Pools   Lunch & tastings at Gibbston Valley Winery

 Steak & seafood at Captain’s Restaurant
 Dinner in The Library at our Hotel St Moritiz 

  More pics from Hotel St Moritiz
 Birdseye view over Queenstown from The Skyline.

*****

A rainy day leads us 2 hours south of the township to the very end of Lake Wakatipu, through Arrowtown, to the remote picturesque shores of Glenorchy and Kinloch.

  Roads like this are meant to be travelled.

 Cabin lakeside

The wildness of this region is consuming; we barely see another soul the further we travel out of Queenstown. The beauty of the mountains and the vastness of the lake merge into one beautiful foggy landscape as the rain settles in and the clouds loom low so even the tops of the mountains can’t be seen.

The townships of Glenorchy and Kinloch are merely a suggestion to gather people close by. Farms are sprawling and teaming with flocks of woolly sheep, lambs fresh from the newness of Spring, herds of blackJersey  cows and studs of horses wander the lush countryside and rocky shoreline.

   
 I manoeuvred myself around a large cow to take this picture! I also managed not to step in any cow paddies!

*****

The sheer beauty and heart pounding adrenaline inspired by Queenstown stays with you long after you leave her stunning shores.

[Read Part 1]

(Note I’ve tagged most of my photos with my Instagram handle @thisismelly…all photos my own)

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!!!

food glorious food

this is what i’ve been cooking lately



roast chicken & veggies for a dinner with friends


lamb shanks for the cold winter nights


paleo big brekkie


mussels en provence


mid-week paleo chicken fajitas


weekend steak, scrambled eggs & veggies


buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce for footy night


chicken & date tagine

flourless, sugarless chocolate cake

🍒🍎🍌🌽🍆🍠🍕🍔🍗🍪

have you been cooking up a storm? what’s been on your plate of late?

weeknight feeds | chicken cacciatore 

I love the simplicity of this dish; not only is it super quick and easy to make but it bursts with delicious Italian flavours!

It’s a one pan weeknight wonder! Just adjust the ingredients for however many people you’re feeding.


Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • a punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup deseeded kalamata olives
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • handful fresh thyme leaves
  • sea salt & ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • flat-lead parsley

Optional:

  • couscous to serve
  • garden salad to serve

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180•C.
  • Drizzle an oven proof dish with olive oil, sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place into dish.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients in a haphazard manner
  • Cover with foil and place in oven for 40-45 mins, removing the foil for the last 10 mins.
  • Sprinkle with parsley before serving
  • Tastes best with couscous and garden salad
  • Serves 4