Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Thai tofu salad

My husband and I have been eating at this amazing Thai restaurant for over a decade, and back in the days we first discovered it, I was a card-toting member of the vegan club. Most of the time, I felt like the food I ordered in restaurants was a poor sustitute (Greek salad, hold the feta, dressing on the side ugh), but not with this glorious thai tofu salad. Everyone I have ever shared it with has been as besotted by it as I am. I have been toying with the recipe for years, and I think I am pretty close to getting it now..


1/2 cup fish sauce/vegetarian fish sauce
2 tablespoons soya sauce (gluten free fine)
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon finely grated palm sugar

Organic firm tofu
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup torn mint leaves
1 cucumber, cubed
1/2 red onion, sliced into moon segments
Olive oil for frying

In a saucepan, fry triangle shaped pieces of tofu until crisp and golden. Remove from pan and combine with the remaining salad ingredients.

Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Dress the salad and serve while tofu still warm.

This is fresh, summery and totally delicious (and virtuous to boot!).

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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

roast potato and parsnip soup with parsley oil and crispy bacon

More comfort food for a wintry day, made from what I had available in the fridge. This is a smooth yet hearty soup, and very easy to whip up. Worth taking the extra step of roasting the vegies, especially the garlic.

You will need:
4 small parsnips
4 medium potatoes
1 onion
1 bulb of garlic
1 litre vegetable stock
1 rasher of bacon per serve
a handful of flat leaf parsley
unsalted butter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

bread and butter, to serve.

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 200'c. Dice the parsnip and potato, and slice the top off the garlic bulb. Spread evenly onto a baking tray and place into oven for approximately 20 minutes, then remove the garlic bulb and return the remaining vegetables to the oven for another 20 minutes.

Bring the stock to the boil. Dice the onion and then sautee in a large saucepan until just translucent. Add the roasted vegetables and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth. Meanwhile, lay the bacon flat on a baking rack and cook in the 200'c oven for approximately 15 minutes, until just crisped.

Strain the soup back into the saucepan, removing any fibres or lumps. Leave over a very low heat to remain warm. Taste and adjust seasoning with freshly cracked salt and pepper.

Blend olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper until a coarse paste forms.

Portion the soup into individual bowls and serve, topped with a drizzle of the parsley oil and a rasher of crisped bacon (optional). Perfect with sourdough bread and butter. Enjoy!

Monday, 12 July 2010

sweet potato, parsley and walnut risotto

I promised I'd be back quickly! This is a bastardization of risotto, a version that will get a delicious meal on your table with a minimum of fuss and effort. The dish takes less than half an hour from beginning to end and is really delicious.

You will need:

A small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
One small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil plus extra to finish the dish
2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup white wine or verjuice
1 litre vegetable stock.
Freshly milled parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

What to do:

Place the vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce to lowest temp and leave to simmer. Meanwhile, put olive oil in a frying pan and, over moderately high heat, fry the onion and garlic until they begin to gain translucency. Add the cubes of sweet potato and stir, then the rice. Leave to fry for a minute or two, then add the white wine. Stir until it has halved in volume. Reduce the heat to low/medium and add half of the stock. Stir. Leave the risotto to cook for 9 minutes, then add the remaining stock. Stir, then leave to cook for 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Use the back of a wooden spoon to press down on the sweet potato, mashing half of it through the risotto. This will give it a rich colour and deep flavour.

Add most of the milled parmesan cheese, reserving enough to top the serves, and stir, then remove from heat. Continue to stir until all the liquid is absorbed. At the last moment, add the parsley, then portion into serving bowls. Top with a flourish of olive oil and the walnuts, and a little extra cheese. Serve immediately.

I think I used to cook

I still love this blog. I still want to learn new recipes voraciously. I haven't forgotten, I promise. My bedside table is littered with cooking magazines, books and notepads filled with scrawled shopping lists and menu ideas. The other day, I got two new posts on different recipes I'd put up, and it gave me such pleasure to know that, though I've been remiss in my updates, what I've previously written is still being read. So I had to post again.

In the last year, I've moved countries, landed my dream job - working with a revered aussie cook who is so incredible it just blows my mind, got diabetes, got married, and now... got pregnant! Yes, lovely husband (aka my partner in culinary crime) and I have a little foodling munching its way into the world, due to make an appearance in October. How lucky are we?

Slightly less lucky is the constant morning sickness I've been plagued with, and the total food aversions. I'm only just managing to regain some semblance of a normal diet, though will admit with desperation that my post preg diet is foul when compared to the delicious and nutritious meals I previously devoured. For the first time since being a pimply teen, I find myself hankering for salt and vinegar crisps or choc coated liquorice, or worse, two minute noodles. gulp.

In three weeks time, I'm cutting my work back substantially, and hot on my agenda to fill the days is a resumption of cooking mayhem and marvelousness. I have a freezer to stock with ready to re-heat meals, after all... Any suggestions for challenges would be most welcome.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

diabeatit, a lengthy absence

A lengthy absence has elapsed, even for me. There are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, I have landed my. dream. job. I found a job working with one of this country's most amazing foodie personalities and I am in heaven. It's not working with food, but it's just so incredibly inspirational. And fun.

The only downside is that it's about a 2 hour commute either direction, so I have very little free time. While the cooking continues like a freight train, the last thing I feel like doing at the end of a l-o-o-o-n-g day is plugging into the puta and blogging.

On top of that, about three months ago, I went to my GP for a routine check up. He ran a few tests and it turns out I have type 1 diabetes! While not the worst thing in the world, by any means, for someone like me who lives for food, it's been a steep learning curve. The need to monitor everything I eat has taken some of the joy out of the boundless cooking, but I'm pretty sure that I'm on top of it now. This, of course, means that any sweets I whip up are just for my sweet, so he would say that every cloud has a silver lining...!

Below are some dishes that I'll blog recipes for soon, and many more to come.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

cooking challenge 28: chocolate and date brownies

I absolutely love brownies, and always have. There's something about the rich, moist, melt in your mouth, crumbly sweetness that just knocks my socks off.

I made these as a gift, hence the wrapping, but I ended up eating all the ones that didn't fit in the box. Whoopsies. However, I can still thoroughly recommend these as a gift, or party treat, or just something to whip up and take into work for friends!

You will need:

240g good quality dark chocolate (70%)
1 cup caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
3 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 cup dried dates, chopped
1 cup plain flour

What to do:

Preheat oven to 180'c and lightly grease a shallow baking tin.

Over a moderate heat in a small saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from heat and add 200g of the chocolate and stir constantly until it is a liquid. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate for a maximum of 10 minutes - do not allow the butter to set.

Remove from fridge and stir in sugar, eggs and flour until combined. Add dates and remaining 40g of chocolate. Pour into the prepared baking tin and use a spatula to smooth the surface.

Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing and serving. Dust with cocoa or icing sugar.

Next time I make these, I think I will add macadamia nuts, or ginger, or orange rind. Something to make them just a little more sophisticated. Of course, Baileys would also do the trick...!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

challenge 27: tart lemon pie

You will need:
For the lemon filling:
4 lemons (juice and zest)
130g caster sugar
5 eggs
150ml double cream
For the pastry:
250g good quality plain flour
140g unsalted butter - at room temp
60g icing sugar, sifted
3 egg yolks, room temperature
a little water
What to do:
To make the pastry, mix the butter and icing sugar to form a soft paste. Add 2 egg yolks and beat until combined. Sift the flour over the top and use your fingertips to rub it into the butter mix until it reaches the consistency of rolled oats. Add a little dribble of water (approximately a tablespoon - give or take) and use your hands to knead into a firm dough. Don't knead it for more than a few seconds - you really just want to get it to hold together. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 170'c.
Meanwhile, to make the lemon filling, mix the eggs, juice from the lemons, zest and sugar and whisk until combined and a little frothy. Pour in the cream and continue whisking. Refrigerate.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and, on a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry to approximately 4mm thickness. Lay the pastry gently into a flan tin and prick the base with a fork all over. Blind bake for about 15 minutes, remove from the oven. Take out the rice/beans to expose the pastry base. Use the remaining egg yolk as an egg wash to coat the pastry base. Bake for a further 20 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, transfer the lemon curd mix to a deep saucepan and slowly warm it, on a low heat, stirring constantly to ensure the sugar doesn't catch and the eggs don't curdle. Pour the lemon mixture into the pastry case and bake for a further half hour or so. The tart will have the consistency of just-set jelly when ready. Leave to cool before serving - drift icing sugar and lemon zest over the top before serving with a thick dollop of cream.
Will I make this again - definitely. I haven't yet, because I know I will end up eating 75% of it, but I do think it makes such a great summery treat, and the buttery pastry is the perfect foil to the tartness of the filling. Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

bacon and leek pasta with mushrooms and spinach

You will need:

3 rashers of rindless bacon
1 leek
a handful of baby spinach leaves
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
10 button mushrooms
1/2 cup single cream
1/4 cup white wine
Olive oil
Prepared Pasta
What to do:
Chop onions, leek, garlic and mushrooms. Julienne the bacon. Rinse the spinach.
In a large frying pan, heat your olive oil and then add the onions, leek, garlic and bacon. Fry for several minutes until the bacon is browned. Add the mushrooms and fry for another five minutes or so. Splash in the white wine and season with salt and pepper. Add spinach. Let the white wine reduce by half, then add the cream. Stir well.
Add to prepared pasta and serve immediately, topped with parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


D's sister gave me these ice trays- aren't they sweet? From Ikea, I've got fish and starfishies which now decorate my drinks. Love 'em!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

delicious scones

You will need:
250g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
200ml milk
60g unsalted butter
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 200'c.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the self raising flour and salt. Use your fingertips to mix in the butter, until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs.
Mix in the milk and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a dough. Knead it gently, then roll to the thickness of between 3 - 4 cm. Use a small cup to cut rounds and lay them on a non stick baking tray.
Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until lightly golden.
Scones freeze beautifully - wrap them individually and then just microwave them for 30 seconds before serving with jam and cream. Yum yum!