Plump, fresh, fragrant home-grown garden tomatoes…

These remind me again of my dear friend Midge rushing into our kitchen one hot Brisbane summer, writing down this recipe on an old envelope & telling me I just had to make it …it was SO simple & SO delicious! 

Chilled Tomato Soup

midge's recipe

It certainly is…& I’ve kept her scrappy memo tucked away with many of those favourite old recipes when I was learning how to cook for a family & friends.

It reminds me too of the classic vegetarian Spanish Gazpacho-such a beautiful summer soup which I also made then … but I’ll make this old one of Carrier’s recipes remembering Midge that summer.chunked tomatoes,diced veg & lemon

Chunked tomatoes,chopped cucumber and 1/4 red onion, lemon rind & juice.

chopped ham & cream

chopped ham & cream

All this can be whizzed together in a flash in a blender. Stir in cream if preferred at end & check seasonings.

blended soup with stirred in cream



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Kukuye Sabsi

Traditional Iranian New Year Dish

I’ve taken this recipe from my very old and favourite  “A Book of Middle Eastern Food” by Claudia Roden. Beautiful fresh, green & light…to eat with a crunchy green leafy salad…or just as finger food…IMG_0030a fitting antidote to Xmas excess.

Simple fresh ingredients:

8 eggs

Leek, green onion, spinach, parsley, tarragon and chives are the ones I used but others may be used instead- 8 eggs, salt & pepper. I also added a few chopped walnuts as suggested.8 eggs in bowl

fresh vegs & green herbs

Chop all very finely and add to beaten eggs.

Mix eggs & chopped greens

Pour into a baking dish and bake in a very moderate oven under foil for 30 mins ,then another 15-20 mins until golden on top.

Ready to bake

Slice & serve hot or cold.

IMG_0031 (1)Delicious!

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Simple Noodle Dishes


Quick & Flexible Solution for”One of Those” Days

Ingredients: Noodles, any fresh herbs, any vegetable flavourings, left-over meat or other protein, stock ,wine or water. The variations are endless.

This is the latest from our fridge and pantry…by no means the most delicious we’ve made, but very nourishing and satisfying.

  • Chang’s Noodles
  • onion
  • garlic
  • mushrooms
  • parsley
  • chunks of leftover cold steamed Romatoptf chicken
  • baby spinach
  • chicken stock

Continue reading

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Fennel with Lima Beans & Ham Hock

Fennel & Beans

Fennel is the most delicious Autumn and Winter vegetable .

Cold weather comfort food!  Dry beans soaked overnight  then simmered with seasonings (onion,carrot,celery,parsley, pepper & salt pork/ham hock) till tender.

pork hock & wine


fennel & pork

Fennel quartered, then lightly caramelised in olive oil, doused with wine, then stock, some ham hock shredded and tender beans added with some parsley or dill…a fragrant and warming winter meal.

Ready to serve,fennel,beans & pork

Mmmmm!  Delicious!

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“From the Lands of Figs and Olives”

Syrian meat pastriesAfter a Spinach & Fetta Pide attempt, I thought I’d try a similar dough recipe using a minced meat filling.The usual olive oil onions and garlic are cooked with the meat and spices then fresh tomato, butter & lemon juice are added to enhance the flavour.balls of dough rising

This dough turned out to be outstanding , though the filling was rather sweet for my taste, so I’ll try out some different fillings next time. Still, the meat pastries will be good to add to the freezer for later.

The dough “Ajeenat al-Fatayar” from Syria & Lebanon is designed for meat,spinach, cheese and leek pies and its texture is excellent.

1T sugar, 1/4 cup lukewarm water, 1/4 oz package dry yeast (I used 1 teaspoon), 3 cups flour, 2 T butter,  1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp ground ginger, 3/4 cup warm milk, 1 T olive oil.

1.Dissolve sugar in lukewarm water,sprinkle in yeast & stir, then set in warm place till yeast begins to froth.

2. Mix flour, butter, salt & ginger in large bowl. Add milk and yeast mix and knead well.

( Add more warm milk or flour if necessary.  Do not allow dough to become sticky.)

3. Shape in a ball and brush all over with olive oil & place back in bowl. Cover with a damp cloth (or cling wrap)  & set in warm place to double in size.

(The dough can be frozen at this point and defrosted completely before use).

4. Divide into golf sized balls and allow to rest covered again for 2 hours.

5. Roll out into circle 4 or 5 inches across. Place heaped T of mixture in centre , brush some egg white round edge, then fold and pinch into a triangular pastry.

Lebanese meat pie

Bake at 200 degrees C for 15 to 20 mins.

This recipe is “From the Lands of Figs and Olives” by

Habeeb Salloum and James Peters. Interlink Books.

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Broadbeans …finishing soon…

broadbean omlette

A simple, quick and delicious omlette .

Bacon,red onion, asparagus, broadbeans (skinned).

asparagus,broadbean with bacon & red onion

Add 6 eggs,goat’s cheese & seasoning.

eggs added

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Plum Crazy

Plum conserve, plum tart, plum cake, Chinese plum sauce, baked plums, stewed plums
The plums are finished… we’ve definitely had enough and the resident and migratory birds have had their annual treat as well …We’ve given so many away, eaten them every way possible …but thinking of cold winter evenings, finally in desperation, have dragged out an old Vacola stovetop preserver to put a few jars of the beautiful President plums aside in sealed jars. I wish I’d dragged it out sooner for some plundered wild Nectarines which finished up as chutney… no doubt to be enjoyed later anyway.
It’s amazing how much late summer harvest there still is on the veggie patch…notably zucchinis,climbing beans and apple cucunbers. We’ve also dug up a great crop of pink-eye potatoes & a neighbour has handed over some feral apples in exchange for some of the plum harvest.

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Indian Flatbread

red onion flatbread

I love the idea of being able to produce a healthy, nutritious and delicious bread. My Indian students who gave me their delectable fresh homemade flatbreads to try made me wish that such a tradition could be part of my daily life too. Following some video blogs such as “Show me the Curry” convinced me to begin practising at least every now & then, and I now have a small repertoire of easy favourites. This chickpea and wholemeal flour with red onion, chilli, herbs & seeds is really nutritious and quick to make. It’s good to make for immediate use with a curry or dip or for freezing some balls of dough to cook later. The chickpea flour gives the bread a lovely nutty flavour. I found this recipe in “Fresh Indian” by Sunil Vijayakar.

150 g plain wholemeal flour,150 g gram (chickpea flour),1 red onion, finely diced, 1 red chilli, de-seeded & finely chopped,1 Tablespoon chopped fresh coriander, 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon black onion (Nigella) seeds,100-150 mls lukewarm water, salt, sunflower or olive oil for brushing.

chickpea flour flatbread

Sift both flours in a large mixing bowl. Add onion, red chilli, chopped coriander, cumin & onion seeds. Season with salt & mix together. Gradually pour in enough of the measured water for mixture to come together and knead on a lightly floured surface to make a soft dough. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then divide the dough into 8 portions. Shape each into a ball. (You can seal in ziplock bags at this stage to freeze if you wish.)

balls of dough

roll out flatbread

Roll the balls out on a lightly floured surface to a 12 cm (5″) diameter disk.
Heat a large flat griddle pan till hot. Cook the disks one at a time for 30seconds, flip, brush with a little oil or ghee, flip over & cook for a minute, moving the bread around. Flip the dough again and cook on the other side for a minute or until bread is lightly browned both sides.

fry in griddle pan

Remove, cover in foil, serve warm.

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Zucchini Flower Pasta

zucchini flowers
The flowers are dazzling and the growth of the zucchini itself defying belief… almost triffid-like … if you look away they double in size- but snatched first thing with their gorgeous flower still open they are tender and delectable.

Inspired by Silvia Collaca’s “Made in Italy” which I’ve been loving to watch recently, I just had to make Saffron Pasta with Zucchini Flowers. So simple,quick and easy,using my favourite dried pasta.
chopped zucchini
saffron pasta dish

First caramellize the onion & garlic in olive oil, add the zucchini & flowers-Season & cook gently for about 10 minutes and add the saffron soaked in a little warm water. Meantime have the salted water boiling to cook the pappardelle-they only take 4 minutes. Drain, tip into the pan & stir. Add a little more oil & lots of pepper and serve with parmesan.
Delicate,fresh and delicious!
saffron pasta with zucchini & flowers

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Last Summer Fruits

still more sour cherriesIan pitting cherries

Cherry pipping is done… (time management specialist & willing kitchen helper on hand!)…last lots frozen to make Ursula’s cake in more dreary days to remind us of such a fleeting delight.

On to the apricots & peaches!
The birds have had a feast on the upper canopy, and luckily we’ve savoured a few sun-warmed gorgeous ripe apricots…but necessity meant a rescue mission of the not quite ripe to make an apricot and almond crumble (once again from “Jane Grigson’s Fruit Book”) and a peach tart- this time from Elizabeth David’s “Summer Cooking”.
I’ve loved going back to these much worn & loved paperbacks to unearth some past favourites & to think about all those untried with such pleasure…to make one day?
apricot & almond crumble

peaches & zucchini

Actually these peaches came from Araluan…ours are not quite ripe yet. We went to Braidwood for a post Christmas breakaway…and came back loaded with beautiful white peaches and nectarines from a footpath vendor -a grower- up from the valley.

The zucchinis are from our garden though…and they’re beautiful. Had to make a side dish with them-pan-frying lightly in olive oil & garlic with thyme, some lemon zest & juice. Delicious! (“River Cottage Everyday” suggestion!)
zucchini,thyme & lemon

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