Watermelon, Radish and Pistachio Salad with Herbed Quark

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Here is a beautiful fresh recipe that would be perfect for Summer, not really now, in this freezing cold, disgusting wintry weather. Back in February was when I actually made this salad, we took it to the beach to watch the sunset and enjoy the beautiful warm weather. It’s just that I haven’t had two seconds to spare until now to actually sit down and get the recipe up on here for you all. I’m struggling to remember how I actually made the dressing, I did have it written on scrap of paper somewhere, but who knows where that is hiding now. Lucky it’s a pretty straightforward salad, you could almost make it just from looking at the photos, which, as you can see, there are plenty of (they are all just too pretty with those radishes!)

If you’ve never heard of quark before, it’s a European style cheese, similar in texture to cottage cheese or ricotta and similar in flavour to yoghurt. It is a healthier option to cheese as it is lower in fat and salt, and has a lot more protein than yoghurt. It is becoming more available in Australia these days, I was surprised to find it in my local supermarket. However, if you can’t find it, ricotta or feta will work just fine in this recipe.

This salad is perfect as a fancy little entree or, if you want to serve it as a main, you could beef it up with a grain, such as pearl barley, or add some cooked prawns and some fresh crusty bread alongside. Yum!

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

Half a small watermelon, sliced into small triangles

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, half finely chopped and half left whole

1/4 cup fresh chives, finely chopped

300g quark

edible flowers and nasturtium leaves

3/4 cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

salt and pepper

 

Method

To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and a 1/4 cup of the pistachios in a small food processor. Process until the pistachios are finely chopped and the dressing is well combined. Taste and check for seasoning and a balance in acidity and sweetness. Adjust if necessary.

To make the herbed quark, combine the quark, finely chopped basil and chives, mix well.

On four plates, arrange the watermelon, radishes, whole basil leaves, quenelles of the herbed quark, flowers, nasturtium leaves and the rest of the pistachios. Drizzle with the dressing.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Moroccan Seafood Stew with Pearl Cous Cous and Harissa Cream

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When Lisa contacted me and said she was in Aus and would love to do a collaboration shoot with me, I knew it would be a fun day. Having not seen Lisa for five years, we had a lot to catch up on, but, after only a couple of minutes it was like those five years had been just five days. When you have friends like that, time and space don’t seem to matter.

We initially planned to do an outdoor, bush tucker cook-up, to help showcase the Primus gear that Lisa needed to shoot. But, due to one of the biggest storms to hit the East coast in years, flooding, wind and rain found us doing a cute little set-up in my backyard. It was really great working with another passionate foodie and photographer, and not to mention Daniel’s amazing fire-starter skills to keep us warm and set the scene.

The stew was one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten, everyone was really impressed by it yet it was so easy to make. You could use whatever seafood you like, or even change it to meat and vegetables. The flavours were amazing, especially the sauce soaked up with some nice thick sourdough. It also matched really well with the pearl cous cous salad, I love the texture of those little beads.

I also roasted some whole cauliflower in the fire. I haven’t included a recipe here as it is very straightforward. Just rub the whole cauliflower with some olive oil, salt and your favourite spices (I used cumin and sumac). Wrap in foil and cook in the fire or a hot oven for about 20mins, or until tender. It’s delicious dipped in the harissa cream…

Good company, cute set-up, delicious food, a few drinks and a little bit of work. It was a fun day!

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Recipe (adapted from Valli Little)

Serves 8

Moroccan Seafood Stew

Ingredients

Olive oil

2 brown onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbs fresh ginger, grated

2 tbs ras el hanout (spice blend, available in good spice stores)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp harissa paste

2 x 400g can crushed tomatoes

1L chicken or veg stock

1 kg seafood marinara mix

1 kg mussels

2 salmon steaks, cubed

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained

2 tsp honey

Fresh coriander and toasted almonds to serve

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 2 mins or until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 1min. Add as el hanout, cinnamon, harissa, tomato, chickpeas, honey and stock. Reduce heat to medium low, cook for 10 mins, or until slightly reduced. Add marinara mix, salmon and mussels. Cook for about 10mins, without stirring too much to avoid breaking up the fish. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh coriander and flaked almonds.

Serve with cous cous and harissa cream.

Pearl Cous Cous (a rough idea, amounts were not measured on the day)

Ingredients

Pearl cous cous (cooked to packet instructions in chicken or vegetable stock)

Olive oil

Lemon juice

White wine vinegar

Honey

Dried parsley

Fresh coriander

Sultanas

Kalamata olives, sliced

Salt and pepper

Flaked almonds, toasted

Method

Combine all ingredients except for the almonds. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Place in serving bowl and top with almonds just before serving.

Harissa Cream

Ingredients

2 red capsicums, roasted, skin removed

200ml sour cream

2 tbs harissa paste

1 tsp lemon juice

salt

Method

Using a stick blender or in a small processor, blend the capsicum, Harissa paste and lemon juice together until smooth. In a bowl, combine the capsicum mixture with the sour cream. Add a little salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smokey Pulled Jackfruit Burgers with Rainbow Slaw and Cashew Mayo

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After a few big months of work, parties, events, weddings and catering jobs, life is finally starting to slow down for the year. I have no more major events scheduled in for the rest of the year, apart from going to Indonesia over July and August (where I will be turning 30!), and am looking forward to a couple of months of slower/healthier living and creating lots more recipes.

I cooked this dish a couple of weeks ago as a trial dish for an upcoming wedding. The main for the wedding was to be three taco stands, a pulled pork, a fish, and this pulled jackfruit. It went down a treat and people were shocked when I told them it wasn’t meat. The texture is so similar, I actually prefer it to pork. It soaks in the flavours really well without all the fat of pork (which I know some people love).

The jackfruit is so versatile, you could match it with any flavours, I think next time I’d like to try it in a green curry.

You could also serve it with this smokey sauce in a jacket potato, on rice, in a burrito, enchiladas, or, like at the wedding, on tacos.

Any good Indian or Asian grocer should stock the tinned jackfruit in water or brine.

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Recipe

(Serves about 6-10)

Ingredients

Pulled Jackfruit

1/4 cup rice bran oil

2 brown onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbs smoked paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper

3 tbs dried oregano

4 tins jackfruit in water or brine, drained

2 tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup bbq sauce

salt and pepper

Cashew Mayo

2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight, or boiled for an hour, drained

1 cup water

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs mustard

salt and pepper

Rainbow Slaw

1/2 white cabbage, shredded

1/2 red cabbage, shredded

3 stalks celery, finely sliced

2 small or 1 large carrot, grated

1 red onion, finely sliced

2 long red chillies, finely sliced

Bunch parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

To serve

Soft bread rolls (white or brown)

Store bought sweet potato and potato chips

Siracha chilli sauce (optional)

Method

For the jackfruit, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5mins until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the spices, jackfruit, kidney beans and bbq sauce. Being to the simmer and cook, stirring often, for about 1 hour. Use the back of a wooden spoon to squash the pieces of jackfruit against the sides of the pot to shred them apart. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to suit.

Meanwhile, for the cashew mayo, put all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until a smooth paste. If your food processor doesn’t produce a smooth enough consistency you can transfer the mix to a bowl and finish it with a stick blender. If it is too thick add a little more water. Keep in the fridge until needed.

For the coleslaw, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.

To serve, fill a bread roll with the warm jackfruit, the coleslaw, the cashew mayo, the chips and a drizzle of chilli sauce if using.

Enjoy!

 

 

Nasi Goreng with Kang Kung, Chicken and Prawn Sate and Tomato Sambal

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Indonesian people eat rice three times a day. No wonder they are the geniuses behind this delicious dish. You can serve it as simply or as complicated as you like, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, anything goes; just like life in Indo…

I’ve visited Indonesia three times over the past twelve months and am hoping to get back there soon to skip a couple of the cooler months here in Aus. Now that I have explored quite a bit through most of the islands, this time I’m looking forward to staying in one place for a couple of months and really getting to know the place, the people and learn a lot more about the food.

A lot of Indonesian food is cooked using copious amounts of oil and palm sugar, and MSG is common. I’m keen to adapt some common Indonesian recipes into some healthier versions with less oil, less palm sugar and definitely no MSG. There are so many beautiful fresh and tropical ingredients there, it won’t be hard to do.

Here is a recipe for my version of Nasi Goreng with a few yummy things alongside. The Kang Kung (water spinach) dish is definitely one of my favourite Padang choices. To make this dish vegetarian, omit the prawns from the rice, use tempeh for the sate and omit the fried anchovies.

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Recipe (serves 4-6)

Tomato Sambal
Ingredients
1o0ml rice bran oil (or other veg oil)
200g eschallots, peeled and diced
100g garlic, peeled and crushed
100g ginger, grated
400g long red chilled, diced
300g birds eye chillies, diced
2 lemongrass stalks, white and pale green part, sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
2 tbs dried coriander seeds, crushed
60g palm sugar, grated
2 tbs shrimp paste, roasted
2 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Method
Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the eschallots and garlic and cook until soft. Add the ginger, chillies, lemongrass, lime leaves, and coriander, cook for a further few minutes. Add the palm sugar and cook, stirring, until sugar starts to caramelize.
Add the tomatoes and cook until soft and reduced, about 10mins.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Puree the sauce using a large mortar and pestle or blender. Add the lime juice and salt to taste.
Keep in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Or freeze.

Nasi Goreng
Ingredients
80ml rice bran oil, plus extra
100g eschallots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
200g cabbage, chopped
300g prawn meat, chopped
1/4 cup tomato sambal, plus extra to serve
5 tbs soy sauce
600g cooked rice, chilled (from 2 cups raw)
100g baby spinach
salt to taste
4-6 eggs
Fried shallots
Crispy fried anchovies
Krupuk crackers (I used ones made from taro)
2 Fresh tomatoes, quartered
1 small cucumber, sliced
Lemon basil
Method
Heat the oil in a large wok over medium high heat. Add the eschallots, garlic and carrots and cook until soft. Add the prawns and cabbage and cook, until cabbage is soft and prawns are cooked.
Add the sambal and soy sauce and cook for a further few minutes to reduce some of the liquid.
Add the rice and spinach and cook, stirring for a further 5 mins.
Add salt to taste.
Heat extra oil in a frying pan over high heat. Fry the eggs until white is cooked and yolk is still runny.
Serve the rice in a mound (you can use a cup to mould it), top with the fried egg, shallots, anchovies, some extra tomato sambal, krupuk crackers, the tomato, cucumber and lemon basil, and whatever else you choose to serve alongside (I also served Kang Kung and chicken and prawn sate, recipes follow)

Kang Kung (spicy water spinach)
Ingredients
2 tbs rice bran oil
4-6 eschallots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
4 long red chilles, halved, de-seeded, and thinly sliced lengthways
1 birdseye chilli, finley chopped
2 bunches water spinach, washed, trimmed and chopped into 10cm lengths
2 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs kecap manis
2 tbs soy sauce
salt to taste
Method
In a large wok, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the eschallots, garlic and chillies and cook, stirring, until soft.
Add the water spinach and sauces and cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted and reduced, about 5mins.
Add salt to taste.
Serve.

Chicken and Prawn Sate
Ingredients
Rice bran oil
600g chicken thigh, cut into 2cm cubes
12 large green prawns, peeled, tail left on
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs tomato sambal
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs kecap manis
5 tbs palm sugar
Small bamboo skewers
Method
Place the chicken in one bowl and the prawns in another. Add the 1/4 cup sambal, 1/4 cup kecap manis and 3 tbs of the palm sugar to the chicken. Add the 2 tbs sambal, 2 tbs kecap manis and remaining 2 tbs palm sugar to the prawns. Stir each well, cover, and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.
Thread about 5 pieces of chicken onto skewers, and one prawn each per skewer with the tail pointing away.
Heat the oil on a grill pan to very hot and smoking. Carefully add the chicken skewers and cook, turning, for about 5-8 mins or until cooked through and caramalized, adding the prawns in the last 3 mins of cooking.
Serve.

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Panzanella Salad with Haloumi and Pomegranate Molasses

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Hello again. It’s been a long time between posts! Over 6 months I think! But don’t mistake this to mean that I haven’t been cooking, in fact, I’ve been cooking so much that I just haven’t had time to write down recipes or take photos of everything I’ve been doing. The best I’ve been able to manage lately is a quick snap on my phone and an upload to instagram (which I kinda love).
So much has happened over these last six months, the last time I posted was from a friends apartment in Amsterdam, just a couple of days before I flew to Mykonos to work for a month as a private chef in a Villa there. Oh how I wish I had sufficient words to describe that month. To keep it brief, it was one of the most challenging months of my life, physically, mentally and emotionally. I was struggling to figure out why life had sent me there, apart from learning that I never EVER want to be rich. It was an amazing (if not soul destroying) experience and I wouldn’t take back a second of it.

Then it was on to Turkey, one of my most favourite and cherished countries. The food, the people, the landscape, it’s incredible. I spent a couple of months slowly roaming around, a large chunk of which was spent in the crystal clear waters of the mediterranean sea, free diving with turtles and lying on the pebbly beaches. I met some beautiful people and had a beautiful time. I love that place.

After that came Indonesia, where I met up with some friends and also showed my Mum around Bali for her first ever trip overseas. We ate, drank, lay on the beach and hooned around on a scooter, she loved it.
Finally, after being away from my home town for over 12 months, it was time to head back. Fortunately I had already been contacted by a friend here in Aus that owns the cutest little fish restaurant right on the beach about doing some work for them upon my return. I took the job and we haven’t looked back! it’s been an amazing experience and I feel so fortunate to be working with such kind and generous people. I’m learning a lot and have the freedom to be as creative as I like.
This summer has been a total whirlwind of work, parties and beach time. It’s been totally amazing. I could go on and on about all that has happened over the last six months, but, I highly doubt anyone wants to know every detail, and to be honest I can’t even remember half of them. I just know that I’m happier than ever and so excited for everything to come.
Anyway, here is a quick and easy recipe for one of my most favourite types of salads, I absolutely love the way the bread soaks up the dressing, along with the pops of sweetness from the pomegranate, the saltiness of the haloumi and the freshness of the herbs. It’s perfect on it’s own or you could serve it alongside some grilled seafood or meat. The recipe simply lists the ingredients I used, without amounts, so you can adjust it to however many people you are catering for (and also because I can’t find the piece of paper I wrote the actual recipe down on….)DSC_0030DSC_0028DSC_0026DSC_0003

Recipe

Ingredients

Wholemeal sourdough, toasted and cut or torn into pieces

Heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

Baby cucumbers, sliced

Red and green capsicum, sliced

Red onion, finely sliced

Kalamata olives

Rocket

Mint, leaves picked

Pomegranate seeds

Haloumi, sliced 1cm thick

Olive oil

Fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Pomegranate molasses

Method

In a large bowl, gently toss together the sourdough, tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, onion, olives, rocket, mint and half of the pomegranate seeds with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Leave to marinate and for the flavours to develop for about 15mins, tossing gently every 5mins.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or frying pan to medium/hot with a little olive oil. Fry the haloumi until golden. Set aside and keep warm.

Place the salad into serving bowls, top with the remaining pomegranate seeds, drizzle with the pomegranate molasses and place the haloumi on top.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Balsamic Fig and Lemon Cheesecake with Walnut Crust, Candied Walnuts and Fresh Figs

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These little organic figs I found in the local market on the weekend reminded me of a beautiful holiday to Lagos, Portugal, with one of my dearest friends. We would go for a jog along the harbour every morning and pick wild figs from the sides of the road on our way back to our hostel. They were small and dodgy looking and we had to be sure to cut them open and check for maggots before eating them (speaking from experience). But, the good ones were delicious and perfect with some greek yoghurt and berries before a day at the beach.

This is a different kind of baked cheesecake, not so heavy, creamy and cheesy, and a little lighter and fresher. It would be lovely served with some greek yogurt or vanilla ice-cream on the side. You could replace the figs with strawberries if you like.

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Recipe

Ingredients

Base

150g digestive biscuits

30g walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

Big pinch of salt

80g butter, melted

Balsamic Fig Jam

12 small figs, roughly chopped

2 tbs balsamic glaze (click for recipe)

1/2-3/4 cup water

Filling

200g cream cheese

125g caster sugar

zest of 2 lemons

2 eggs

400g crème fraîche

4 tbs plain flour

To serve

4 fresh figs quartered

2 handfuls walnuts

3 tbs balsamic glaze

Extra balsamic glaze, to drizzle

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a spring form cake tin or slice tin.

Place the biscuits, walnuts, cinnamon and salt in a food processor. Process until fine crumbs. Add to a large bowl with the melted butter and mix to combine. Press into the base of the cake tin, using the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Place in the oven and bake for 10mins. Remove and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, for the balsamic fig jam, in a small saucepan, add the chopped figs, balsamic glaze and some of the water. Over medium heat, bring to the simmer, reduce to low and cook, stirring for about 20mins or until jam like in consistency, adding extra water if necessary. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the caster sugar and lemon zest. Use electric beaters to beat until combined and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, until combined. Add the crème fraîche and flour and continue to beat until combined and fluffy.

Spread the balsamic fig jam over the base. Top with the filling and spread out evenly. Place in the oven and cook, for 45-50mins. Until golden and firm on the edges.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place in the fridge and allow to cool for at least 4 hours.

To serve, heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Combine the walnuts with the balsamic glaze, spread onto a baking tray and bake, for about 10mins. Allow to cool.

Top the cheesecake with the balsamic walnuts, fresh figs and drizzle with extra balsamic glaze. Decorate with edible flowers if you like.

Enjoy!

 

Baba Ghanoush with Pickled Apple, Walnuts, and Paprika Oil

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This weekend I am co-running a pop-up restaurant in Amsterdam! It’s going to be so much fun, I’m so excited to introduce some new flavours and concepts to the people of Amsterdam. We will be serving an eleven course, plant-based feast, with a little seafood and Kangaroo meat thrown in. We want to celebrate the vegetables though, using locally sourced, seasonal produce and some Australian bush spices. I can’t wait to start cooking!

In the meantime, here is a recipe for the most delicious babganoush you will ever taste. A result of some eggplant growing old on my friends sideboard, he told me to use them for something before they went bad. My specialty! I love having the skill to be able to use anything and make it into something, nothing ever gets wasted!

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Recipe

Ingredients

3 medium eggplants

1/2 cup tahini

1 tsp salt

Juice of 1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, finely grated

pinch chilli flakes, plus extra to serve

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 green apple

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup roasted walnuts

Handful coriander leaves

Toasted pita bread to serve

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Use a fork to pierce the eggplant all over a few times. Using metal tongs, hold them over an open flame for around 10 minutes, turning constantly, until the skin is charred. Place them in a baking dish and continue to cook for a further 20-30mins, until they are very soft and collapsed. (if you don’t have an open flame to char them first, you can do it under a grill or just cook them completely in the oven. You just won’t get the smoky flavour). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Add the tahini, salt, lemon juice, garlic, chilli flakes, cumin and some cracked pepper and using a fork, combine and mash the eggplant until a stringy paste forms. (you can also use a blender but I prefer to keep the texture of the eggplant, I find it goes a bit gluey when processed)

Peel and grate the apple. In a small bowl, combine the grated apple with the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Stir well and allow to sit for at least 10mins, stirring every so often.

Combine the olive oil and the paprika in a small bowl and stir well to combine.

To serve, place the eggplant mixture in a large shallow dish. Drain the apple from any excess liquid and place on top of the eggplant. Sprinkle with the walnuts, coriander leaves, and extra chilli flakes. Drizzle with the smoked paprika oil. Serve with some toasted bread and other mezze dishes if you wish.

 

Lemon, Thyme and Goat’s Milk Yoghurt Cake with Lemon Glaze, Golden Plums and Red Currants

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We’ve just returned to Amsterdam after a three week, whirlwind road trip through Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and France. We were so lucky and grateful to be able to join our friends in their van for the amazing journey. As well as staying in a few funny little campgrounds along the way we were also able to find some free-camping spots in the most magical settings; amidst mossy pine forests, in the valleys of the snow capped Alps, next to rushing glacier rivers lined with wild thyme and oregano, and nestled (hidden) amongst the vineyards in Tuscany. We were also shown some beautiful hospitality by friends in Germany and Italy and stayed in some cute little apartments in Rome and Paris, where I was grateful to do some cooking on a real chopping board, with a real knife, rather than on a plank of wood with a pocket knife (although I do really love camping cooking).

After three weeks in the van, we arrived in Paris, in the midst of a heatwave, and in dire need of a good shower, a soft bed, and some clean clothes. It was too hot during the day to wander the streets of Paris for more than a couple of hours at a time so I resided in our tiny apartment’s kitchen and did some cooking. With a glass of wine and some french radio playing, I couldn’t help but feel I was getting a better Parisian experience than the hoards of people lined up to go up the Eiffel Tower.

If you can’t find goat’s milk yoghurt for this you can use regular natural yoghurt instead. You could also replace the lemon zest with orange or mandarin and change the plums and red currants to whatever fruit is in season in your area.

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Recipe (adapted from Delicious Magazine UK)

Ingredients

175g butter, softened

350g caster sugar

Seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

3 large free range eggs

350g plain flour

200g natural goats milk yoghurt, plus extra to serve

1 tbs baking powder

2 tbs fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

6 small golden plums

250g fresh red currants

Icing

175g icing sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp boiling hot water

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Method

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees celsius. Grease a 24cm bundt or ring shaped cake tin with butter (use a regular cake tin if that’s all you have).

With electric beaters, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together, for about 5mins, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest and then beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with the second and third egg.

Spoon half the yoghurt into the mixture, sift over the baking powder with a pinch of salt, and half the remaining flour, then fold in. Repeat with the remaining yoghurt and flour, along with the thyme.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake, for about 50-55mins, or until golden brown and springs back to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 5mins and then turn out onto a wire rack over a baking tray.

For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the lemon juice and water and mix until smooth. While the cake is still slightly warm, spoon over the icing, letting some run down the sides. Sprinkle with the time leaves and leave to set.

Slice the plums and fill the middle of the cake with them, allowing them to spill out and over. Add some currants on top and around the cake. Serve with the extra yoghurt.

Enjoy!

Spiced Eggplant with Savoy, Lentil and Pomegranate Salad

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It’s becoming more obvious everyday. I think I finally need to make the move, the one I planned to a couple of years ago but got sidetracked by other travels, it’s time to come and live in London for a while. It’s a weird thing, to want to come and live in one of the biggest and coldest cities I’ve ever been to, but I feel there is so much opportunity for me here, as well as one of my dearest friends, and, when it gets too cold, I’ll just shoot off down to Spain or Morocco and warm the cockles. Anyway, I’ve got a few more months here in Europe, I’m sure I’ll have more of an idea by the time we head back to Australia.

So, we finally got to catch up last night, my dear friend and I. The conversation did not have more than a two second gap in it for about five hours straight. I was so excited to cook for her and wanted to make something wholesome and delicious, but, as it is when travelling, I’m also restricted by the ingredients I can use. Luckily there were some spices in the cupboard here and I was able to find the rest of the ingredients in the endless Middle Eastern grocers lining the main street here. So much pita bread!

If large enough, the eggplants are sufficient on there own as a meal, but we ate them alongside some warmed pita bread, hummus and a quinoa salad. Find the recipe for my favourite creamy hummus here.

I adapted this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, one of my favourite food blogs to turn to when I want some inspiration for a truly healthy and wholesome meal. I also made some little chocolate and almond cakes for dessert, completely sugar, dairy and gluten free. They were so delicious! Unfortunately we were too busy eating and talking to think to get any photos by the time dessert came around!

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large eggplant

Olive oil

2 tbs garam masala

2 tbs curry powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

Salad

1 small savoy cabbage, finely sliced

400g can puy lentils, rinsed and drained well

Bunch parsley, finely chopped

1 pomegranate, arils (seeds) removed

1 tbs olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbs maple syrup

salt and pepper

To serve, hummus, pita bread, quinoa salad (optional)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthways and use the tip of a knife to cut a criss cross pattern, about 1cm deep, into the flesh. Drizzle well with olive oil, using fingers to rub all over. Sprinkle with the spices, salt and pepper, and use fingers to rub spices into the cuts. Drizzle with more olive oil if they feel too dry. Place in the oven and cook, for about 45-50mins, or until flesh is dark on top and soft in the centre.

Meanwhile, for the salad, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Blanch the cabbage, for 1min, drain and rinse under cold water. Leave to drain as much water out as possible. In a small jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper and shake well. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lentils, parsley and dressing and toss to combine.

To serve, place the eggplants on a large serving platter, scatter the salad over the tops and sprinkle with the pomegranate. Serve with sides such as hummus, pita bread and quinoa salad. Enjoy!

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