Roast eggplant soup and Snoods

aboveI have almost worn out my favourite snood in this chilly weather. If I could somehow permanently attach the snood to my neck, I would. It’s glorious.

When it’s not festooned around my neck, it drapes itself over my knees at work. It makes me look like a nanna, but my knees are so damn warm that I don’t even mind. The days that I leave the snood at home, I feel like a part of me is missing. My décolletage, exposed, catches the frosty weather and longs for the snood.

I really love my snood.

Carrot, ginger and cumin soup and yearning

As the weather cools down, my body yearns for swaddling clothes and hearty meals. I fulfilled both of these desires over the weekend – dressed in a big jumper and flannelette pyjama pants, I concocted this glorious soup.

pour

It’s the kind of soup that you need good, crusty bread with. The kind of soup that tantalises you with its smells as it bubbles away. It turns out that this is the kind of soup that converts non-soup eaters into soup devourers! My younger brother initially refused the offer of soup because he’s “not a fan,” but he ended up converting after watching everyone else consumer theirs eagerly.

The cumin and ginger make this soup really sing. I’ve never been tempted by a carrot soup, I always thought they sounded bland, but this soup is a game changer! It’s thick and hearty and flavoursome, attributes which make any soup a winner in my books.

Carrot and ginger soup

Serves sixbread

  • 3 cups carrot, chopped
  • 1 brown onion, roughly diced
  • 1 cup sweet potato, roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock


group
Pop the carrots, onion and sweet potato into a heavy-bottomed pan with 2tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir them regularly to stop them from burning.

carrotWhen the veggies are soft, add in the ginger and garlic and cook for a further two minutes.
Add in your salt and pepper, followed by the stock, and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by about a quarter. You can simmer the soup for a shorter amount of time if you prefer a thinner soup.



Serve straight from the stove top with a dollop of sour cream.basket

done

Raspberry meringues and simple joys

bowlNot too long ago I posted a recipe for chocolate swirl meringues as an accompaniment to your Valentine’s Day – there is something about meringues that I equate with romance. Maybe it’s the intense amounts of sweetness, or their crisp lightness? Whatever the reason, you should definitely treat your loved ones to some meringue bites, because they’ll love you dearly for it!

People of all ages go a little weak at the knees for meringues, because they’re such a simple pleasure – egg white, sugar and joy.

Vegetarian baked eggs and perfect breakfast

paprikaEver since I went to Fairford Street Social for breakfast a few weekends ago I have been craving baked eggs. I didn’t re-create them exactly (I chose to opt out the eggplant and I toned down the spice because I’m chili-sensitive), but they were still delicious.

There is nothing more comforting than a good pot of baked eggs. I know that it’s the height of Summer in Australia at the moment, but it’s been pretty windy and overcast recently, so these baked eggs were perfect; served with toast, they are the ultimate stay-indoors food.

They’re also a really delicious Valentine’s day brekkie if you’re spoiling your better half on February 14th. The Boy was sceptical of the concept of baked eggs at first, but from the minute I started cooking up the peppers, onion and garlic, he was super keen on the idea.

Vegetarian baked eggs

Serves 4

  • 2 banana peppersabove
  • ½ brown onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • 6 roma tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • ¼ cup basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 zucchini
  • 4-8 eggs

ingredientsDe-seed your peppers and roughly chop your onion. Put them in a heavy based pan with a slosh of oil, and heat over a low-medium flame for 8 minutes until they soften and brown. Mix intermittently.

peppersChop up your garlic roughly (trying not to leave big clumps of it) and add that in the pan, allowing the flavours to develop for two minutes, stirring as you go.

coloursAdd in all the remaining ingredients – the paprika, chili flakes, tomatoes,  basil and oregano – and give it a good mix. Turn the heat down to low and let the mixture reduce away for 15 minutes.

ribbonsWhile the tomato mixture bubbles away, use a vegetable peeler to create ribbons of zucchini. Peel right over your ramekins so that the ribbons fall unevenly into the ramekins.

Preheat your oven to 200°C.

spoonPour the hot tomato mixture straight over the zucchini in the ribbons, distributing it evenly amongst the ramekins. Give the ramekins a shake to spread the mixture out evenly. Crack your eggs straight into the ramekins and pop them into oven for 20-23 minutes.

eggsThe number of eggs you use will depend on whether your baked-egg-eaters want one or two eggs – I opted for one, but my fellow diners opted for two. Ramekins with one egg in them should be done 2-3 minutes before the others; keep an eye on this, as you want the yolk to remain runny!

cookingServe with a freshly toasted slice of bread, for dipping.

serve

Herb thins and easy food


IMG_7509Summer is a time for easy food. Chips and dips are de rigueur barbecues, pool parties, weekend getaways… basically any event you will attend this Summer! I split my New Year’s Eve between the 9pm fireworks with The Boy’s parents and a rental house with friends at Cottage Point, and we had chips and dips at both!

I did have a fabulous New Year’s – we had a great position at Lavender Bay for the fireworks, and Cottage Point is glorious. I could have instagrammed everything, but restricted myself to gorgeous Westhead Beach and the adorable wharf at the bottom of our house.  

Gluten free garlic parmesan pull apart bread and Wintery weather

herbsThe weather in Sydney is consistently wet. It has been six days since I last posted a recipe, and the only excuse I have is the weather! Weather like this makes me want to cook and eat.

And repeat.

Blogging took a back seat while I busied myself baking (and eating) delicious Wintery foods that I thought I’d have to wait until next year to post.

flourI also got the chance to use some gluten free flour I was kindly given by Well & Good. I’d never baked with gluten free flour before (to be honest, I was pretty apprehensive!), but the result was perfect. The bread rose perfectly and crisped nicely. The gluten free flour seems to result in a slightly different tasting bread – not a bad taste, just slightly different to regular flour.

Mini mushroom tarts and lady beetles

A lady beetle was the highlight of my morning.

I opened a bag of baby spinach to put in a breakfast smoothie and she was there. I stared at her for a second, because it’s not what you expect of baby spinach. When you buy unwashed greens you sometimes encounter slugs or a teensy snail, or something equally squeamish…but mainly they’ve just got a little soil clinging to a few leaves.

She was so still and curled up that I assumed she was dead. I contemplated how long this gorgeous little beetle had been alive before she landed on the wrong leaf and was packaged up, shipped and refrigerated.

Barbecued sweet potato salad and Summer

My family barbecue all year round. I once told the Boy that you could barbecue anything…he didn’t believe me. My original claim may have been slightly hyperbolic, I don’t think it was completely off the mark! You can barbecue starters, mains and desserts, you just have to know how!
plateBarbecuing the vegetables in this recipe gives them a subtle charred, smokey flavour and contrasts the freshness of the lime beautifully. As the Australian weather warms up, this is a great way to treat yourself to a little taste of Summer.

Spinach and parmesan quiche & leftovers

spinach 1My dear mother often buys spinach. She has the best intentions for it – healthy meals, delicious spinach and cheese pastries, something different to the usual green addition to our meals – but it very rarely gets used. It often (rather wastefully) sits in the fridge and wilts until someone takes pity on it and disposes of it.

I know, I know, I can hear you all groaning in disapproval – “how wasteful”, “think of the starving children in Africa”, etc but that’s what happens in a house where everyone works. There just isn’t enough time for good intentions!

Parmesan entertainers (biscuits)

in bowlMy love for parmesan borders on the obsessive. I don’t mean that weird dry yellow powder that comes in a shaker bottle; I mean realparmesan cheese.

If it were up to me, spag bol would be 1 part spaghetti, 1 part bolognaise and 3 parts parmesan cheese.

It’s tangy and mature and just delicious.

In my world there is no such thing as too much parmesan. Pasta, salads, fruit, sandwiches – you name it, I’ve parmesaned it.