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Articles on this Page
- 07/16/14--19:35: _Running Away from Home
- 07/29/14--00:00: _How I came to run away
- 07/31/14--21:16: _Breton cake with Pe...
- 08/06/14--22:22: _Paul Bangay's Winte...
- 08/13/14--21:13: _Baked Squid with Br...
- 08/17/14--21:40: _Caramelised pineapp...
- 08/17/14--22:04: _Utterly Delicious S...
- 08/17/14--22:18: _Fragrant tea-smoked...
- 08/17/14--22:27: _Shepherd’s salad wi...
- 08/17/14--22:46: _Turkish toast with ...
- 08/18/14--21:27: _A Food Lover's Pilg...
- 08/18/14--21:36: _Cluny
- 08/19/14--00:42: _Bocuse
- 08/19/14--00:52: _Conques
- 08/19/14--01:08: _Veal with Quinoa in...
- 08/28/14--20:35: _Silver dory brioche...
- 09/03/14--22:41: _Community Gardens w...
- 09/09/14--23:13: _Frank Camorra
- 09/10/14--00:29: _What Katie Ate: At ...
- 09/10/14--00:47: _Spiced pumpkin and ...
- 07/16/14--19:35: Running Away from Home
- 07/29/14--00:00: How I came to run away
- 07/31/14--21:16: Breton cake with Pedro Ximenez-poached plums
Preheat the oven to 165°C fan-forced (185°C conventional).
Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat with hand-held electric beaters for 1–2 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the softened butter and continue to beat until well combined. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough, then knead lightly with your hands until smooth.
Press the dough into a 24 cm loose-based fluted tart tin. Brush the top with beaten egg, then bake for 25 minutes or until golden (the cake will still be quite moist and gooey in the centre). Leave to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a serving plate.
Meanwhile, for the poached plums, place the plums, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon in a heavy-based saucepan and set aside for 30 minutes to macerate. Add the sherry and bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and poach, covered, for 4–5 minutes until the plums are just tender but still holding their shape (the time it takes will depend on the size and ripeness of the fruit). Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Increase the heat to medium–high and simmer the poaching liquid for 5–8 minutes or until thickened and syrupy.
Place the cream and yoghurt in a large bowl and beat with hand-held electric beaters until firm peaks form, then cover and refrigerate until required.
Spoon the poached plums over the cake, then drizzle with the syrup. Garnish with mint, if using, and serve with the yoghurt cream to the side.
- 08/06/14--22:22: Paul Bangay's Winter Gardening Tips
Many plants are dormant in winter, so it’s the perfect time to explore planting options for the gaps in your garden beds. Order plants to fill in these spaces at the start of winter and plan to plant them in late winter/early spring.
At Stonefields, we use winter as the opportune time to cut back all the perennials and prune all the shrubs. Once this is done, we fertilise the beds with well-rotted manure and then mulch with compost. This ensures the garden is well prepared for its winter sleep.
Make use of the space created by dormant perennials and pruned shrubs by planting lots of winter-flowering bulbs. Staggering the flowering like this will provide you with blooms for almost 12 months of the year.
Winter is the perfect time to prune roses and deciduous trees. We cut our roses back hard in late June and then do all our fruit trees in July.
The maintenance and expansion of all ‘hard’ landscaping elements, such as paving, paths, drives and terraces, is best carried out in winter. Doing it at this time of the year usually causes the least damage to sleeping plants.
Winter is the perfect time to stay inside and read all your gardening books and magazines. I take advantage of the cold and wet days by planning future redesigns or new planting schemes.
There are lots of things you can do in the vegetable garden during winter: prune your fruiting canes, such as raspberries and currants; heavily fertilise your asparagus bed with lots of manure; and plant all your brassicas, such as broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts. Leave your summer potatoes in the ground and dig them up as your need them, as it’s the best place to store them.
Winter is a great time to prune and train your wisteria, because you can easily see its structure. Remove all the light wispy growth, cut back the rest to the flowering spurs and tie it to its supporting structure.
Check all drainage and ensure it’s working well, especially in lawn areas. If it’s not working in winter, it will be a disaster during the growing season when the plants need to get lots of air to their root systems.
Lastly, enjoy and embrace the cold weather – I love nothing more than wandering around my garden feeling the crunch of frosty grass under my feet. And the gardens love it too, because it kills many unwanted pests and diseases.
- 08/13/14--21:13: Baked Squid with Braised Beans & Chorizo
For the braised beans, soak the beans overnight in 1 litre (4 cups) of water with the bicarbonate of soda.
The next day, drain the beans and rinse well, then place in a saucepan, cover with fresh water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse again.
Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over medium heat, add the chorizo, onion and garlic and cook until the chorizo is golden brown and the onion and garlic are translucent. Add the piquillo pepper, thyme and paprika and saute for 5 minutes to lightly caramelise. Add the beans and wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced to a glaze. Add the stock and simmer very slowly for a further 2 hours or until the beans are tender. Scatter over the sorrel or spinach leaves and keep warm.
When the beans are almost ready, preheat the oven to 250°C.
Heat the olive oil in another frying pan over very high heat. Add the chorizo and saute until lightly caramelised, then add the squid and toss quickly. It is crucial that the pan is really, really hot, otherwise the squid will stew.
Tip the squid and chorizo into the pan of braised beans, then transfer to the oven and bake for 5–10 minutes or until the squid is tender and golden. Scatter over the chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
- 08/17/14--21:40: Caramelised pineapple and strawberries with cardamom custard
- Place the milk, vanilla and cardamom in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to scalding point, then remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, sugar and cornflour in a medium bowl until well combined. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot milk and whisk until smooth. Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and cook, stirring, over low heat until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Do not allow the custard to boil. Pour through a fine-meshed sieve into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and press it onto the surface to prevent a skin forming. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
- Place the pineapple and strawberries in a bowl, sprinkle over the extra sugar and toss to combine. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the fruit and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2–3 minutes or until lightly caramelised. Serve with the custard (warm or cold), sprinkled with the pepitas.
- 08/17/14--22:04: Utterly Delicious Simple Food
- 08/17/14--22:18: Fragrant tea-smoked salmon with wasabi butter and Asian salad
- To make the brine, pour the salt, sugar and water into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved, then remove the brine from the heat. Let it cool a little, then pour it into a jug and pop it in the fridge.
- Once the brine is cold, line a container (with a tight-fitting lid) with a plastic bag. Sit the salmon in it and pour in the brine, then knot the bag tightly, squeezing out as much air as possible before you do. Seal the container and put it in the fridge for 1½ hours – any longer and the salmon will become too salty. Just before smoking, drain the salmon and pat it dry.
- While the salmon is chilling in the brine, make the salad. Use a vegetable peeler to shave ribbon-like strips from the cucumbers (when you get to the seeds, start on the other side of the cucumber as the seedy part is too watery to use). Put these into a bowl with the remaining salad ingredients and gently mix them together. Cover the bowl and pop it in the fridge.
- For the lime dressing, put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together until the sugar has dissolved. Taste it and adjust the flavour – it should have a good sweet/sour/salty balance. Pour the dressing into a jar and put it in the fridge too.
- To smoke the salmon, preheat your barbecue to mid-way between low and medium heat. Thoroughly mix together the smoking mixture and spread it evenly into a medium-sized foil barbecue tray. Sit the foil tray on the barbecue rack and balance a sturdy wire rack on top, then close the barbecue lid. Check after a few minutes to see if the tea mixture is smoking; when it is, rub the salmon fillets with a little oil, then sit them, skin-side down, on the barbecue around the smoking mixture. Cover and cook for 3 minutes to crisp the skin. Now carefully transfer them to the rack over the smoking tea mixture, still skin-side down, close the barbecue lid and smoke them for 10–15 minutes, depending on their thickness. When they’re done, they should look beautifully burnished, and when gently prodded in the thickest part should feel slightly resilient but not soft (undercooked) or bouncy (overcooked).
- While the salmon is smoking, make the wasabi butter. Dollop the butter into a bowl and beat it briefly with a wooden spoon to loosen it up. Add the wasabi, coriander and salt and mix them all together. Taste it and adjust the flavours to suit you, as wasabi varies considerably in strength from brand to brand. Cover the butter and put it in a cool spot. (You can make the butter a day or two beforehand if you like and pop it in the fridge – just remember to return it to cool room temperature when you’re ready to use it.)
- When the salmon is ready, remove it from the barbecue. (Let the smoking mix cool, then wrap the tray in newspaper and discard it.) Mix the salad and dressing and spoon some onto each plate, then nestle a fillet into it. Gloss a little wasabi butter over each fillet and serve.
- 08/17/14--22:27: Shepherd’s salad with croutons
- Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake them together so they’re thoroughly mixed. Taste the dressing and adjust the flavour to suit you – it may need a splash more vinegar, or a little extra salt – then set the jar aside. (If you want to make the dressing ahead of time, add the chopped tarragon just before you use it.)
- Preheat the grill to high. Slice the capsicum down its natural contour lines into 3–4 large pieces, then remove the core, seeds and white ribs. Sit the pieces of capsicum, skin-side up, in a single layer on a grill tray lined with foil. Slide the tray under the grill and cook the pieces until the skin blisters and blackens. As soon as it does, remove the tray and cover the capsicum pieces completely with a heavy tea towel (you could also transfer them to a plate and cover them tightly with plastic film). Leave the capsicum to sweat for a few minutes. As soon as it’s cool enough to handle, peel away and discard the skin then slice the flesh into stubby strips.
- Put the capsicum strips, cucumber, tomato, radish, onion and olives (if using) in a large bowl. Cover it and put it in a cool spot while you make the croutons.
- To do this, pour olive oil into a large frying pan to a depth of 4 mm and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, toss in the bread chunks and cook, turning them regularly, until they’re golden all over – this doesn’t take long and you will need to keep an eye on them as they burn quite rapidly. As soon as they’re ready, scoop them out onto paper towel to drain (and try to restrain yourself from eating too many before you put them in the salad!).
- Fish the garlic out of the dressing, give the jar a good shake, then pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and gently mix everything together. Sprinkle a good handful of croutons on top, crumble over about two-thirds of the feta and gently mix them in. Scoop the salad into a serving bowl and scatter some more croutons and the remaining feta over the top. Finish off with a sprinkling of tarragon leaves and sumac or freshly ground black pepper. If you’re lucky enough to have any remaining croutons, serve them separately.
- 08/17/14--22:46: Turkish toast with herb-roasted tomatoes and bacon
- Preheat your oven to 190°C and line a small baking tray with baking paper.
- For the parsley pesto, put the garlic cloves in a small saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the garlic for 10 minutes or so until it’s soft, then remove the pan from the heat, drain off the water, and scoop out the garlic. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin into a mortar or small, sturdy bowl. Add the sugar, salt and pepper and pound them with the garlic to make a paste (if you’re doing this in a bowl, use the back of a spoon to form the paste). Stir in the parsley and thyme (or basil), and if the mixture doesn’t quite hold together, add a tiny splash of olive oil.
- Halve the tomatoes (roma tomatoes are best halved lengthways) and sit them, cut-side up, on the prepared tray. Dollop some of the parsley pesto onto each one, then drizzle the olive oil over the top. Pop the tray in the oven and roast the tomatoes for about 20 minutes or until they’re tender. When they’re done, remove them from the oven and keep them warm (if you like, you can leave them in the turned-off oven with the door slightly ajar).
- About 10 minutes before the tomatoes are ready, fry the bacon until it’s done to your liking. Drain it on paper towel, and keep it warm.
- Meanwhile, cut 4 good-sized pieces of Turkish bread and split each one in half horizontally. Toast the slices until golden. Put the bottom half of each slice on a warm plate and spread lightly with mayonnaise or butter. Curl the bacon slices on top, then scoop on the tomato halves and drizzle them with any cooking juices that are left on the baking tray. Finally give them a good grinding of black pepper, then sit the toasted top, slightly askew, on the tomatoes, and garnish with parsley or thyme sprigs.
- 08/18/14--21:27: A Food Lover's Pilgrimage To France
- 08/18/14--21:36: Cluny
- 08/19/14--00:42: Bocuse
- 08/19/14--00:52: Conques
- 08/19/14--01:08: Veal with Quinoa in Onion and Prune Chutney and Leek Emulsion
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat and brown the veal, in batches. Transfer to a large ovenproof saucepan or casserole dish, add enough cold water to cover and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Tie the herbs together with kitchen string to make 2 bouquet garnis. Add the vegetables, bouquet garnis, nutmeg, caraway seeds and salt and pepper to the pan. Skim any scum from the surface, then cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1½ hours.
- Meanwhile, to make the chutney, soak the prunes in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes. While they’re soaking, heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over low heat, add the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes or until soft. Season with salt and pepper, then add the drained prunes and balsamic vinegar and simmer for 15 minutes.
- While the chutney is cooking, preheat the oven to 220°C. Use a jug to scoop out 1 litre of the veal’s cooking liquid and place in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, then transfer to a bowl, add the chutney and toss to combine.
- Transfer the veal and vegetables to a roasting pan with 2 cups (500 ml) of the cooking liquid and roast in the oven for 15 minutes, basting two or three times, until the meat is falling apart. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.
- Meanwhile, to make the leek emulsion, cook the leek in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain and plunge into iced water to stop the cooking process and retain the lovely green colour. Drain, then squeeze the cooked leek in your hands to remove all the liquid. Put the butter and 1 cup (250 ml) of the veal’s cooking liquid in a blender and blend briefly to melt the butter. Add the leek and blend to make a smooth emulsion.
- Serve the veal and vegetables with the quinoa in onion and prune chutney and the leek emulsion.
- 08/28/14--20:35: Silver dory brioche sliders
Preheat the oven griller to medium heat.
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then cook for 1 minute. Turn the fish over and add the butter, then cook for 1 minute or until the fish is just cooked through, basting it with the foaming butter. Transfer the fish to a plate, then cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Immediately spread the brioche with the extra butter, then place, cut-side up, on a baking tray and toast under the griller for 1–2 minutes or until golden.
Divide the lettuce among the bases of the brioche, then top each with some of the tartare sauce and fish. Place the brioche tops over the fish and serve immediately, with cornichons alongside, if you like.
- 09/03/14--22:41: Community Gardens with Richard Unsworth
- 09/09/14--23:13: Frank Camorra
- 09/10/14--00:29: What Katie Ate: At the Weekend
- 09/10/14--00:47: Spiced pumpkin and apple soup with bacon
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced and line two baking trays with baking paper. Scatter the pumpkin seeds on one of the trays and bake for 5 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- In a small, non-stick frying pan, toast the cumin and coriander seeds over low heat for 2–3 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar, add the sage and grind to a fine powder with the pestle.
- Place the pumpkin, ground spices and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large bowl, season and toss to coat. Tip onto the second tray, arrange in a single layer and roast for 30 minutes. Add the apple and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the pumpkin and apple are tender.
- Meanwhile, heat another 2 teaspoons oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until golden. Set aside to drain on paper towel.
- Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, then cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes or until softened. Transfer to a blender along with the pumpkin mixture, 2 cups (500 ml) of the stock, half the goat’s cheese and half the bacon, and blend until smooth.
- Tip the pureed pumpkin mixture into a large saucepan, add the remaining stock and cook over medium heat for 8–10 minutes or until reduced slightly, then season.
- To serve, divide the soup among bowls and sprinkle the remaining bacon and goat’s cheese over the top. Finish with a scattering of toasted pumpkin seeds and a grinding of pepper.
Jane de Teliga had it all - a glamorous and fulfilling career as style director for Australia's best-loved magazine, a happy family life and a beautiful home in Sydney's stunning eastern suburbs. But when empty nest syndrome struck, she suddenly found herself wondering what it all meant. Who was she when she wasn't being defined by her career and motherhood? To find out, she did what many people long to do - sold the house, left her job and went to try her luck in Paris. Along the way she discovered meditation, yoga and the inescapable truth of the Buddhist saying: 'Everywhere you go, there you are'.
From her beginnings in the art world to her current work teaching and inspiring the next generation of fashion stylists, Jane has led a rich and varied life. This memoir, beautifully illustrated with photographs from Jane's life in fashion and her travels, is the story of one woman's journey from the heady world of fashion to a simpler and happier existence - the story of a woman taking a step into the unknown and finding herself in the process.
One dreary, sad winter’s day I found myself at Sydney’s unprepossessing international airport, two suitcases in hand, clutching my beautiful daughter Emily, struggling to breathe as I said goodbye to everything. The enormity of what I was doing was shimmering like a mirage somewhere at the back of my brain. ‘Let’s pretend I’m just going on holidays,’ I croaked, ‘I just can’t say goodbye.’ And weaving their way through that brain mirage in big letters were the words, ‘What the fuck are you doing, Jane! You’re leaving your girls! The most important thing in your life! You’re leaving your family, your friends, your job and your home. Are you completely bloody crazy?’
After a final clutch I made a strangled dash into the immigration hall. A middle-aged, middle-class Australian woman in her comfy velour tracksuit pants struggling to regain her composure, basically making a run for it; a run towards a new life.
Let’s backtrack, but let me caution you first. This is my story, as honest as I can make it, about what happened when I decided to create a new life for myself. The innate narcissism of telling my story confronts me at every turn, but here goes.
People who hear my story always say, ‘You’re so brave!’ or ‘How courageous’. But bravery had nothing to do with it. My decision to pull the rug out from under my own feet and move to the other side of the world was more about saving my own life. It was about finding a life that I chose, rather than a life that chose me.
This is the part where I say, ‘I had it all’. Well, yes, I did but I didn’t. A pretty little cottage in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, ten minutes from the beach, the smell of sweet jasmine wafting on a warm night, a palm tree swishing in the breeze in my tiny courtyard – my home. There are memories of hanging out the clothes in the backyard, naked, on a blistering hot day (‘For godsake Mum put some clothes on.’), lying in bed snuggling up with my daughters, Emily and Mads, on either side in ‘a mummy sandwich’, catching up with each other’s news, late at night in the still air, hearing the distant roar of the surf rolling in on Bronte Beach, walking through the bush gully on a sunny day, the spicy scent of eucalyptus in the air, heading down to the sparkling sea and diving into the cool, salty water. My annual birthday drinks, the only entertaining I ever seemed to manage, were held in a gardenia-scented courtyard on a summer night, full of the hum of laughing and chatting friends. There was much time spent nattering for hours with my dear friend Alexandra over a cup of herbal tea, at her place or mine, or going to dinner down the road at my mother’s place; a woman who must be the best home cook in the world, just as her mother Kath was before her. These were just a few of my favourite things.
But until you’ve experienced the empty-nest syndrome you will probably wonder what the problem was. My two lovely girls, who I had lived with, nurtured and annoyed, shouted at and laughed with, sung and danced with (when they would let me) for more than twenty years, grew up. Those beautiful, maddening, wonderful, so clever, so funny lights of my life – tra la la, they went to university, my old alma mater Sydney University. Emily to do an economics (social sciences) degree followed by a law degree, Madeleine taking on media and communications. They both did so well with very little help from me and I am immensely proud of them. They found really lovely boyfriends, Emily’s Adrian and Madeleine’s Tim, both indie rock musicians (I think it must have been a childhood of watching Countdown, en famille, every Sunday night). Then each of these gorgeous girls left home for good, leaving me to wander up and down the hallway wondering why life suddenly felt so empty. And I pined (as in‘That parrot’s not dead, it’s pining for the fjords’, to quote Monty Python), and I was alone.
In-season plums are unbeatable. There are lots of varieties available, but I prefer to use blood plums for this because they give a wonderful burgundy-red hue to the syrup. I also break a few plum stones with a nut cracker, remove the kernel and pop them in the syrup, as they have a subtle, almond-like flavour. You can use any sort of good-quality, dark sweet sherry for this.
Breton cake with
Pedro Ximenes-poached plums
3 free-range egg yolks
160 g caster sugar
160 g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups (225 g) plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup (180 ml) thickened cream
¾ cup (210 g) Greek-style yoghurt
1 handful baby mint leaves, optional
PEDRO XIMENEZ-POACHED PLUMS
12 small (about 800 g) blood plums, stones removed, quartered
¼ cup (55 g) caster sugar
5 pieces lemon zest, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler, white pith removed
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup (250 ml) Pedro Ximenez sherry
Paul Bangay is one of Australia's most high-profile landscape designers. His working life is divided between Australian and overseas commissions; his spare time is spent at Stonefields, his house and garden in country Victoria. Paul's influential books include The Garden atStonefields, Paul Bangay's Guide to Plants, Paul Bangay's Garden Design Handbook, The Defined Garden, The Boxed Garden, The Balanced Garden and The Enchanted Garden, continue to find and inspire new readers.
Here, Paul shares his top 10 tips for keeping your garden in good shape over winter.
I love the flavours of Spain, particularly the wonderful bean stews. If you’re lucky enough to find little bottleneck squid the size of your thumb, there’s no need to clean them inside, as they won’t yet have grown a cellophane-like quill nor be big enough to eat fish. All they’ll need is a quick rinse to remove any sand and grit. If the squid are larger than this, ask your fishmonger to clean them for you, keeping the tentacles.Piquillo peppers are available in jars at good delis, but at a pinch you could just use grilled capsicum to add a similar smoky-sweet flavour. Sorrel can be found at most farmers’ markets – if you have no luck, a handful of baby spinach leaves is a great substitute. Don’t forget to soak the cannellini beans the night before . . .
Baked Squid with Braised Beans & Chorizo
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
150 g chorizo, peeled and cut into chunks
600 g baby squid, with tentacles, rinsed and patted dry
small handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
lemon wedges, to serve
BRAISED BEANS AND CHORIZO
250 g dried cannellini beans
pinch of bicarbonate of soda
75 ml extra virgin olive oil
200 g chorizo, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
125 g piquillo peppers, seeds removed, cut into strips
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
250 ml (1 cup) white wine
750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock
large handful of baby sorrel or spinach leaves
300 ml reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon low-GI sugar, plus 1 teaspoon extra
1½ teaspoons cornflour
150 g peeled pineapple, thinly sliced
150 g strawberries, hulled and sliced
20 g toasted pepitas, to garnish
Belinda Jeffery's instinctive cooking style responds to the seasons. With this in mind she has divided her latest cookbook into recipes to suit the time of year.
During the long, hot days of summer, savour the delicacy of tea-smoked salmon glazed with wasabi butter. In the cooler months, spend a cosy afternoon in the kitchen, making slow-cooked Turkish lamb with prunes, saffron and cinnamon or a pot of Boston baked beans. For those in-between days, be tempted by pork and water chestnut burgers with sesame bok choy, or a warm lentil salad with beetroot, fennel and goat's cheese. And just about everyone can squeeze in a little something sweet at the end of a meal, making a slice of chocolate crackle and caramel ice-cream loaf or butterscotch pears with almond praline hard to resist.
In this wonderful new collection, Belinda offers all the culinary inspiration you will need to see the year through.
This is such a terrific dish, yet it’s surprisingly simple to make. However, I must admit the first time I cooked it was somewhat alarming – I smoked the salmon in a wok in my kitchen and managed to set off the fire alarm, and although the salmon tasted wonderful, all in all it was an extremely stressful experience! Fortunately, I’ve since worked out a much better, less angst-inducing way to smoke the fish in a covered barbecue.
I feel I should particularly mention brining the fillets as it may seem a rather unusual thing to do, however it’s a really important step and results in more flavourful, moister fillets that tend not to stick to the barbecue. Don’t be tempted to overdo it or the salmon will be too salty . . . says she who did just that not so long ago, and ended up with a tableful of guests gulping down copious amounts of water to slake their salt-induced thirst!
4 × 200 g salmon fillets, skin on
1–2 teaspoons light olive oil
1 cup (290 g) fine salt
½ cup (110 g) caster sugar
2½ cups (625 ml) cool water
4 smallish Lebanese cucumbers
4 small spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 medium-sized bunch watercress, washed and broken into sprigs
40 small mint leaves
1–1½ small red chillies, very finely chopped
8 paper-thin discs of ginger, very finely shredded
1/3 cup (75 g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup (80 ml) rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce, or more to taste
½ cup (100 g) uncooked jasmine rice
½ cup (110 g) brown sugar
½ cup (45 g) large leaf black tea leaves, such as Assam
4 × 5 cm strips orange or mandarin zest
80 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons wasabi paste, or more or less to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
sea salt, to taste
This vibrant salad lies somewhere between a Middle Eastern fattoush and a Turkish shepherd’s salad. It’s simple, but (and I hate to say this, because we cookbook writers can bang on about it) it’s really important to use the best, freshest produce you can find – the smallest, crunchiest cucumbers; sweet, ripe tomatoes; peppery little radishes; and a deep-red capsicum – for that’s what lifts it out of the ordinary and makes it shine. Actually I think the crunchy little croutons have a fair bit to do with that too, as they’re awfully hard to resist. I invariably make heaps more than the quantity in the recipe as at least half are purloined off the draining paper before I even get the salad to the table! You can use any bread for these; however, I find the airy, spongy texture of Turkish bread makes the croutons extra crunchy. If you’re using regular bread you will need to remove the crusts.
1 large red capsicum (pepper)
4 small (or 2 medium-sized) Lebanese cucumbers, sliced
400 g ripe cherry tomatoes (an assortment of colours and sizes is lovely), halved
5 small radishes, halved lengthways
½ small (or ¼ large) red onion, very, very thinly sliced
handful of kalamata olives (about 60 g), optional
olive oil, for pan-frying
200 g Turkish bread, cut into 1.5 cm chunks
120 g good-quality feta
small tarragon leaves (or basil leaves or dill sprigs), to garnish
½ teaspoon ground sumac, or a good grinding of black pepper
1/3 cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
pinch of caster sugar
1 clove garlic, peeled and squashed to release the flavour
2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon leaves (basil or dill are good too)
I love that feeling of waking on a Sunday morning knowing that rather than the usual madcap scramble to get underway, I can snuggle back into bed with a cup of tea and the newspapers and (hopefully!) not have any sort of agenda to stick to. In keeping with the laid-back feel of the morning, we’ll often cook ourselves what I think of as a ‘proper’ breakfast, and take the time to really enjoy it. I never plan what we’ll eat, but am just happy to rummage through the fridge to see what leftovers there are, and what I can do with them. This particular dish came about after I unearthed half a jar of herb pesto, and our somewhat recalcitrant tomato plants had finally yielded up a decent crop. These, along with rashers of local bacon and some chewy Turkish bread made, as it turned out, a perfect Sunday breakfast.
You can easily decrease or increase the quantities depending on how many you’re cooking for (and how hungry you are!). I usually count on a decent-sized piece of the toast, and 2 rashers of bacon per person; however, if you’re really hungry or cooking for a crowd, you can increase these quantities and double the amount of parsley pesto. A poached egg plopped on top wouldn’t go amiss either.
about 400 g small ripe tomatoes (these can range in size from large cherry tomatoes to small roma or plum tomatoes)
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
8 rashers bacon, rind removed
1 loaf Turkish bread
good mayonnaise or unsalted butter, for spreading
freshly ground black pepper
flat-leaf parsley or thyme sprigs, to garnish
2 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
½ teaspoon caster sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large handfuls finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2–3 tablespoons finely chopped thyme (or basil) leaves
tiny splash of extra virgin olive oil, optional
Dee Nolan laces up her walking boots for more adventures of the cultural and culinary kind, this time retracing the footsteps of the early French pilgrims, who travelled to Santiago de Compostela in vast numbers. In this book, as in her previous book A Food Lover's Pilgrimage Along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, she seamlessly weaves together her two great passions: the history and religious relics of the medieval pilgrimage and her keen appreciation of food and wine.
As Dee winds her way through the vineyards of Burgundy to the gastronomic capital of Lyon, across the vast Aubrac plateau of the Massif Central and through the fertile valleys of Quercy and Gascony, she discovers that 'what is old is new again'– not only are the ancient pilgrim paths enjoying a resurgence in popularity, but early farming methods are making a comeback and there's a renewed interest in regional produce and food traditions. Travelling at 'human pace' reminds her of the importance of connection - to our past and present, to the land we live on and the people we meet.
This captivating book unearths numerous treasures in the French countryside, from exquisite Romanesque churches to world-renowned wine and cheese caves, colourful local customs and food experiences of both the Michelin-starred and home kitchen variety.
A fine imagination is a must on a visit to modern-day Cluny. When I first glimpsed the town across the pretty southern Burgundy countryside, I thought that all I’d read about the destruction of the great medieval Abbey of Cluny couldn’t be true. A huge, beautiful spire-topped tower soars above the red tiles of the town’s roofs. A few hours later, I am standing in the town, in an open paved area as big as a village square. This was once the entrance lobby to the abbey. Ahead of me, down two flights of steps, across an even bigger open area, over a street, through the square outside a smart hotel and beyond some houses, the tower I’ve seen from a distance rises up on the right. It is even more spectacular seen from ground level and by any other criteria is as big as a church in its own right. It is just oneof four original towers.
‘Do you see that tree?’ asks Claire, my guide. I squint into the distance to the fields on the edge of town. Yes, I see it. ‘You have to imagine – that is where the abbey ended.’
At the time, it was the biggest church ever built, a lavish masterpiece and the jewel of all the beautiful Cluniac Romanesque buildings that spread right through Europe, many of which provided shelter to pilgrims on their way to Santiago. It took the extraordinary medieval craftsmen and builders forty-two years to build. About 650 years later, after the Revolution, the church was bought by three speculators who planned to sell off its stone. Their demolition teams took twenty-five years to fell the colossus because it was so masterfully constructed. Ultimately, they had to resort to explosives, which shattered priceless artefacts and scattered them across the town. What remains is just 10 per cent of the original abbey.
Cluny was really a monastery village within a fortified enclosure. One grand diplomatic summit that included the pope, the King of France, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, counts, princes, dukes and more, with all their vast retinues, was easily accommodated without the 300 or so monks having to make way. Its scholarly reputation was just as formidable. The abbots of its golden age were men of great learning, intellect and charisma. In the words of the late medieval scholar, Helen Waddell, Cluny ‘kept the gates of knowledge for Europe’.
According to the menu, my starter at Paul Bocuse's restaurant, L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges, was the truffle soup. But in reality, before the truffle soup comes an amuse-gueule of crème of petit pois and cheese gougère, followed by a starter of foie gras with apple and polenta. All my senses are working overtime, from the exquisite taste of the magically light foie gras to the cacophony of ‘Oui, Chef!’ ricocheting around me. The pace of orders coming into the kitchen quickens and I watch and listen, fascinated. Everyone moves faster and faster. As the tempo increases, so, palpably, does the tension. Their choreographed teamwork needs to be faultless in this world of zero tolerance. A phone rings at my elbow. As Christophe answers it, I realise my little booth is his kitchen office. It’s the milkman. Christophe summons the young chef in charge of ordering the milk to the phone. By the phone is a list of suppliers that reads like a Who’s Who of Lyon providores. If Lyon is the food capital of the world, then the forty or so on this list are the crème de la crème. Christophe cooks the meat and checks every plate before it leaves the kitchen. He’s a formidable presence. His body language is unequivocal: no room for error. He reminds me of great newspaper editors I have worked with, and the kitchen feels just as electrified as
a newsroom on deadline with a major story.
My main course arrives – and no, it’s not on the menu pinned above my desk either. It’s Rouget barbet en écailles de pommes de terre croustillantes, a beautiful fillet of red mullet topped with exquisitely arranged scalloped potatoes, the cream sauce with flavours of rosemary and orange. The dessert trolley is being assembled right in front of me and I watch Vincent, the chef pâtissier, delicately arrange his tarts. He’s as thin as a whippet. François appears with a second main course – Loup en croûte feuilletée, sauce choron. It’s a classic Bocuse dish of beautifully sculptured golden pastry in the shape of the sea bass within, complete with scales, eyes and fins. François sets to work, surgically removing the top of the pastry and extracting a portion of fish, then artfully arranging the exact dimension of pastry on top. It’s 1.40 p.m. and now some of the staff are running. Sweat trickles down cheeks. The restaurant is full – it usually is. On the weekends they serve 200 guests a day. Crisply suited François remains smiling and calm.
It’s a morning made in heaven. I can just make out the silhouette of a wooden wine press inside a tumbledown hut. Where there were monks, there were vineyards and I’ve read that Conques had 110 hectares of vines before the phylloxera outbreak in the nineteenth century. In 2003, grape-growing returned to the steep slopes by the village when a young man called Patrick Rols planted 6 hectares of vines, and he is now producing well-regarded, organically grown red and white wines.
Conques is on the fringe of an old region in the Auvergne called La Châtaigneraie. It means chestnut grove, but in reality it’s a sizeable area to the west and north of Conques so named because of its chestnut forests. Chestnuts were once a vital source of nutrition for both man and beast. The eagle-eyed can spot old stone huts in the countryside where the chestnuts were dried, and where canny locals hid the abbey’s treasure when the Revolution came. At the end of the 1990s, Englishman Peter Graham wrote a wonderful book called Mourjou, drawing on his twenty years living in a village just a short distance as the crow flies from Conques. It is the lovingly told story of the food heritage of this part of the Auvergne, his adopted home, and of a resourceful and imaginative cuisine born out of hardship and handed from generation to generation by the women. But tradition is not immune to deep freezers and convenience foods. ‘It could be that restaurants will replace women as the repositories of traditional Auvergnat cooking,’ he wrote, and over the past weeks I’ve often thought his prophecy was probably spot on.
The last half-hour’s walk to Conques has us descending a steep, rocky one-person track, most of it through woods, where trees arch above us in a permanent guard of honour. There is a sign to Conques, some fields, Patrick Rols’ vineyard and suddenly we’re on a wide tarmac path, immaculate stone walls on either side and up ahead is the first of the village’s half-timbered, picture-book-perfect houses with its steep slate roof. The tarmac soon gives way to narrow, medieval cobblestone lanes – in places, we can almost reach out and touch the houses on either side. Wisteria, honeysuckle and roses clamber over walls and above front doors. Any day now, the village will explode in a mass of blooms. And then we see the abbey, the sun catching its golden limestone, with massive towers at either corner and an intricate, monumental carving crowning its entrance – the tympanum with 124 figures depicting the Day of Judgement. A small group of schoolchildren sit cross-legged on the ground in front of the entrance as their teacher explains one of the most remarkable surviving examples of Romanesque art. I wish my art lessons had been so firsthand.
When Pépita Grocat kindly agreed to part with this recipe, I nearly jumped for joy. I’d eaten her veal at Le Comptoir des Tontons, the restaurant in Beaune she runs with her husband, Richard, and the melt-in-the-mouth braise was just the kind of luscious, deeply flavoured food that I love to cook – and eat! Pépita sources her ingredients carefully from local Burgundy producers for whom sustainability and heritage varieties are important. You can taste the difference. She emphasised that this is not a recipe to rush. The veal must be cooked very slowly in the broth, and then removed from the liquid and basted in the oven. For how long? Until it is falling apart. There was just one thing missing when the recipe arrived by email – the details of which spices she uses. That was Chef’s secret. With a little experimentation, nutmeg and caraway seed proved a happy combination. I like to think Pépita would approve.
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
1.5 kg boneless veal shoulder, cut into 2 cm pieces
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs sage
2 bay leaves
2 turnips, peeled, cut into 4 cm pieces
10 baby (Dutch) carrots, scrubbed
1 swede, peeled, cut into 4 cm pieces
2 parsnips, peeled, cut into 4 cm pieces
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
salt and pepper
500 g red and white quinoa
ONION AND PRUNE CHUTNEY
120 g pitted prunes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions (about 400 g), finely chopped
½ cup (125 ml) good balsamic vinegar
2 leeks, halved lengthways, washed well and sliced (including as much of the green tops as possible)
125 g butter, chopped
A healthier version of a slider, featuring flaky pieces of perfectly cooked fish, a tangy tartare sauce and a soft sweet brioche roll, these are great for adults, and also a good way to encourage kids to eat more fish.
Silver dory brioche sliders
Richard Unsworth and Yvonne – Photo by Nicholas Watt
Richard Unsworth is a founding member of the James Street Reserve Community Garden, based behind his Garden Life store in Redfern and is especially passionate about the power of gardening to help us connect with one another. His new book, Garden Life, is a garden book with soul, showcasing to-die-for gardens as well as tips and advice for creating your own garden and growing your own plants.
Richard shared some of his experiences with the James Street Reserve Community Garden.
The oasis that is the James Street Community Garden, behind the Garden Life store in Redfern, is situated in what used to be a really sad piece of council land, masquerading as a public park. In the past, residents would often walk a longer way to the shops to avoid the dodgy space.
About five years ago, a group of dedicated and talented locals hatched a plan to turn it into a community garden and Garden Life was approached to offer support and sponsorship to help it get off the ground. I jumped at the chance to be involved.
It’s so heart-warming to see how the continued dedication and hard work of the members has paid off and transformed this barren area into a thriving bio-diverse little haven for plants and people.
As well as an abundance of veggies, herbs and flowers growing in the beautiful, rich, worm-filled soil, the garden is now alive with bees and insects all busy doing their thing.
Working bees are held monthly and provide perfect opportunities for education, carrying out seasonal tasks and give everyone an update on what’s happening in each of the circular beds. Members bring their kids along to sow seeds and muck in where they can.
As much as it is about growing food, on a social level it’s a chance for locals and members to come together and connect with each other, to enjoy community and feel ‘part of’ something other than their day-to-day.
The garden is absolutely helping to change social behaviour and I vividly remember seeing a passing grandmother pointing out the different veggies to her young grandkids who may only have seen these before on a supermarket shelf.
The community garden is now vibrant, abundant and alive – adding great energy all around this once sterile and scary corner. See if there are any community gardens in your area and if not start one of your own!
Frank Camorra is chef and owner of the acclaimed MoVida restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney. Born in Barcelona, he grew up in Australia before a trip to his birthplace in 2000 inspired him to share his love of Spanish food. And so his stable of critically acclaimed and much-loved tapas bars and restaurants was born. Hidden down a gritty and graffiti-ed Melbourne laneway, MoVida was an instant hit, leading to MoVida Next Door and MoVida Aqui. Then came MoVida Sydney, along with venues at Melbourne and Sydney airports. Frank has co-authored four previous books, MoVida, MoVida Rustica, MoVida Cocina and MoVida's Guide to Barcelona.
What Katie Ate: At the Weekend takes favourite recipes from Katie Quinn Davies' wildly successful blog, along with many never-seen-before recipes, and presents them in this gorgeous book filled with Katie's unique and beautiful photography. She shares her inspiring ideas for informal get-togethers, whether it be for a couple or a crowd. Entice your guests with Katie's refreshing take on flavour-packed pizzas, salads, tapas, cocktails and decadent desserts.
This is an absolute favourite of mine – it’s fantastic as a dinner-party starter, and I always get lots of compliments when I serve it. I had never thought about putting apple in a soup before, but it works really well here with the pumpkin and adds just the right amount of sweetness to contrast with the bacon and spices.
1/3 cup (50 g) pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 kg butternut pumpkin (squash), peeled, seeded and cut into 3 cm pieces
70 ml olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 green apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3 cm pieces
500 g free-range bacon, fat and rind removed, diced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 litre chicken stock
120 g goat’s cheese