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Luxury Potato Salad

February 19, 2015

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To be honest there is nothing particularly luxurious about this salad (inexpensive, humble ingredients) but I was reminded of polish luxury potato vodka just now… and that made me chuckle… and I don’t feel the need to explain myself further. This is an instagram pic (perhaps noticeably lacking Graham’s photo editing skills) but you can pretty much see everything going on with this salad – spicy, herby, pickly, potatoey. We had MANY potatoes left over from Graham’s birthday raclette dinner and while I typically steer clear of white potatoes (I know it’s kinda silly but I do) these were great and surprisingly light. I have probably committed a sacrilege against my Eastern European heritage with my lifestyle choices but I like to think of this salad as a humble tribute… or something.

The most exciting thing about this recipe? PIckle juice in the dressing. Maybe this is something everyone knows about but I didn’t and was THRILLED by the discovery. Also try and use polish pickles, it feels more authentic somehow.

I love you mom.

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Cauliflower Frittata – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

November 30, 2014

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Another Ottolenghi inspired dish, this cauliflower frittata is just REALLY good. As our co-workers and loved ones know, Graham and I eat a lot of frittatas.. Why you may ask? Because they are quick to whip up, reasonably healthy (though with enough cheese and meats you can turn the most well meaning frittata into a heart attack), and it makes a perfect four serving meal – two dinners and two lunches.. Though lately Graham has been whipping up 12 egg frittatas which could take care of your next three meals.

The frittata is also a great entry level dish to explore your culinary creativity – cheap ingredients (so you don’t feel badly if botched), standard formula yet oh-so-versatile (eggs + cheese + veg + herbs + leftovers + whatever you have lying around), and did I mention it was quick?

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Cauliflower and Chicken Curry

November 19, 2014

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I should preface this post by saying this is not actually curry… assuming the defining characteristic of a curry is curry powder (which seems logical to me). So let’s instead say this dish is very reminiscent of curry with a sweet and spicy coconut broth and other complex curry-like notes. I made this on Friday during a brief window I had before heading to a friends birthday. I needed something I could throw in the oven and forget about while I ran to the gym, and this worked perfectly with about 7 minutes of prep! I ended up buying some wine and a birthday card instead of going to the gym but the timing of 45 minutes still worked! I added some cauliflower and snap peas today to complete the dish and it turned out beautifully.

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Sesame Chicken Thighs

October 12, 2014

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I have been all about the chicken thighs lately and you should be too! The boneless, skinless variety are a healthier option and take almost no time to cook. I know purists will argue that the bone and skin are all flavour but you can’t beat the speed and ease of this recipe. If you have the foresight to marinate a day ahead the flavours have more time to develop, but even 30 minutes is usually enough time for the sweet sesame marinade to absorb. You can always hike up the flavour by making a little extra sauce and pouring it on top.

About my relationship with chicken thighs…

I make chicken thighs a lot but I am not yet sick of them and neither is Graham (I know this because he requests them all the time!). I think it is natural to attach yourself to an ingredient or family of ingredients.There is a lot of comfort in repetition, and the satisfying feeling of really getting to know something – let’s call it intimacy. This intimate understanding allows you to perfect your preparation and expand your creative reach. When I have chicken thighs in front of me I feel relaxed and let myself be inspired by whatever other ingredients I have handy – some leftover wine in the fridge, fresh herbs that are going off, and of course my enormous stash of condiments.The key is not to become anxious about all the other great recipes and ideas you should be testing out. This is a particular challenge for me in cooking and life… for example I find it VERY difficult to re-read books (even my favourites) because I think of all the other great books left to be read. However, I am learning to relish reading those great books again and recreating my rock solid recipes – I guess the crazier life gets the more you enjoy the calm of intimacy.

I recently re-read one of my favourite books “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and in this book Milan Kundera describes the German expression “einmal ist keinmal” or roughly translated “once is never”. Essentially if an experience (or delicious dish) happens only once, it may as well never have happened at all. I will refrain from describing the ontological conclusions that ensue, but I think it works for this context.

I was not expecting the chicken thighs to be so thought provoking… If you made it this far please continue reading for the very simple and delicious recipe šŸ™‚

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Brunch, Featured, Uncategorized

The Farm Fresh Poacher

October 4, 2014
The Farm Fresh Poacher

I considered omitting this recipe because I didn’t want to saturate my blog with poached egg posts, and also the ingredients were a little out there… ButĀ it was really good and Graham took some stunning photos so I had to throw it in!

Disclaimer: This recipe is full of obscure ingredients from the Brickworks farmers market but many delicious substitutions would be possible. So basically if you can’t get your hands on lamb bacon (yup that’s what that is) or stinging nettle goat cheese (not much sting but LOTS of flavour) or pear garlic preserves (just yup), I have also suggested some alternatives. If you do come across these items they were all really good and as a rule I encourage everyone to experiment with preserves and condiments whenever possible. These are flavours you simply can’t develop in 10 minutes when you are hungover and desperate for brunch!

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Seafood, Uncategorized

The Tuna Tartare

September 6, 2014

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Of all the things I have ever made, I fear sometimes that I will only be remembered for this dish. If that is the case… I suppose I could have done a lot worse.

I don’t know what it is about tuna tartare but if you like fish (and even if you are iffy on the fishy) this is just a tasty a** dish and also a little impressive. It is not impressive because it is hard but because it is beautiful. Splurge on sashimi grade tuna for this – if you can’t find tuna that looks like these photos (bright pink and happy) talk to me… I have a fish guy.

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Stuffed and Sauced

May 21, 2014

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I make chicken a lot and I often stuff it with goat cheese… If I had a nickel for every variation of goat cheese stuffed chicken I have made… I would probably have two dollars.

I always make at least four pieces, that way you are free to spontaneously invite over two neighbours or to have a delicious lunch the next day.

To break up the monotony of the double bill, I’ll make two different kinds. Goat cheese stuffed is always a crowd pleaser, and this black bean sauce is GREAT because it’s incredibly simple and versatile. Ā To be honest deciding which to eat for dinner is the hardest part of this recipeĀ so we typically halve and have both.

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Perfectly Poached Eggs

May 3, 2014

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The elusive perfectly poached egg – everyone has had that disappointing experience at a restaurant where your egg was over or underdone. It’s heartbreaking! Some will send their’s back while others (like me) will sulk as their plate is conspicuously clean of yellow goop. Maybe it’s all these restaurant misfires that intimidate people from making their own at home, or perhaps it was an ill-fated experience with a vortex (I don’t know who it was that spread around the vortex poaching rumour but in my experience it is patently false).

So take a deep breath, it’s easier than you think, and once you’ve mastered it you can revel in the awe and praise of grateful diners for the rest of your life. Just ask Graham.

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