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Friday, August 24, 2012

A Sunday in Mildura

As a family we recently spent a few days in Mildura mixing a little farm business with a special birthday party and of course, good food.  We dedicated Sunday to some family time.  

There were plenty of sunny Sunday morning vibes over breakfast at Stefano's Cafe Bakery Warm hospitality, delicious coffee and food, a colourful art exhibition and amazing bread to take home...what more could you ask for?





The rest of the morning drifted by in my grandparents' garden playing and chatting in the sunshine.  Both my grandparents are in their 80's and they have the most inspiring garden.  It is full of interesting objects and plants collected over a lifetime.  Every little piece has a story and it is a perfect place for children to hunt for treasure!


Glorious afternoon sunshine and bare grapevines on the verandah of the historic Grand Hotel


A trip to Mildura is not complete without dinner at the Pizza Cafe.  


Who can resist a roadside stall, complete with honesty box?  Not me!  A bag of avocados and a bag of blood oranges all for less than $10.00 put a smile on my face.


Thanks Mildura,  we will be back again soon.
Do you have a favourite foodie destination?
Do you have old favourites you always go back to?

Please visit Monika's blog for my Blood Orange Tart recipe.  Thank you Monika for hosting my guest post on your lovely blog. 

*I do not have an affiliation with any of the businesses mentioned, we are just happy customers!  My family does however have a long history of staying at the Grand Hotel.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Comfort in a bowl of soup

Last week several days of unsettling blustery weather and a hectic schedule brought on the sudden urge for a comforting soup.

I had recently read several recipes for Harira, a Moroccan inspired lamb, chickpea and coriander soup.  Starting with a beautiful home raised lamb shoulder I put together this hearty soup.  It proved to be the perfect pot of comfort and tasted delicious served with plenty of fresh coriander, natural yoghurt and warm pita bread.


Moroccan inspired lamb soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small brown onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500 g lamb shoulder or any pieces of lamb meat, trimmed and cut into chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 litre stock, I used home made vegetable stock
1 x 400 g can of good quality diced tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
1 x 400 g can of chickpeas, drained
1 x 400 g can of lentils, drained
1/2 cup risoni or other small pasta
fresh coriander leaves to serve

Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan or stockpot, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add the meat and cook over hight heat until the meat is browned.  

Add the spices, bay leaf, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, coriander and stock and stir well.  Bring to the boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Towards the end add the chickpeas, lentils and risoni and continue to simmer until pasta is tender.  Continue to stir occasionally.  Season to taste.

Serve with extra coriander leaves, natural yoghurt and warm or toasted pita bread.

*Chickpeas, lentils and pasta may be too many 'bits' for some people but it worked for me.  Omit any of these for a smoother soup.


Do you have a favourite comforting soup?
Do you feel unsettled when the weather is grey and windy?  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lately...

Lately…

I am watching and waiting rather impatiently to harvest my garlic crop.



Making a Jamie Oliver inspired curry paste from scratch.


Feeding our hard working chooks spare greens from the vegetable garden.


Enjoying delicious pork and pumpkins home reared and home grown respectively, by my brother.


Planting seed and practising some writing with Annabelle and George as we prepare for our spring vegetable crop.


Planting out tiny purple broccoli seedlings, raised with love by a good friend.


I am still feeling very new and a little lost in this space but I am on Twitter.  

How has your week been?
What are you cooking?
Have you signed up for anything new lately?


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Honey makes me funny



Honey doesn't really make me funny but that is just a little saying we have in our house!  Honey really is the most fascinating food.  I am not going to pretend to fully understand the incredible magic of honey making but I did get very excited recently when we were lucky enough to get a bucket of honey and honeycomb literally straight from some local bee hives.  In amongst the honeycomb, we could still smell the smoke used to calm the bees 

Last weekend we enjoyed an indulgent morning tea of home made Turkish style bread with ricotta, strawberries and honey.


Fresh honey in the house gave me the perfect excuse to make this delicious cake using some locally grown oranges.  



Recipe from Earth Garden magazine, June/August edition 2012.


Walnut, Orange and Honey Cake


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon orange zest, finely grated
a handful extra walnuts


Syrup
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest


Method
Preheat oven to 180°.  Line and grease a 22cm spring-form cake pan.


Grid the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground but not powdery.  Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and pulse briefly to combine.  


In a stand mixer, beat eggs until frothy, then add sugar and honey, continuing to beat until thick and pale, 3-4 minutes.  Lower speed and add walnut/flour mixture in steps until just mixed.  Add orange juice, orange zest, rum and olive oil and beat just until combined.


Pour batter into a prepared pan, scatter extra walnuts over the top.  Bake until tester comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes.


In the meantime put the honey, sugar and zest in the saucepan for the syrup, bring to the boil and remove from the heat before adding the juice.  Poke holes in the top of the cake while hot and pour the warm syrup over the top.  Leave for at least 10 minutes to soak in before serving.  


Do you love honey?
Do you have bees?
Do you have a favourite honey recipe?


PS I am fortunate enough to have written a guest blog for ABC Open about the delights of winter.  Feel free to visit before the winter is over!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In My Kitchen August 2012


Welcome to another little tour of my kitchen.  Thank you once again to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting this fun kitchen tour.

Firstly, this vibrant selection of home grown citrus and homemade marmalade all produced from my Mum’s suburban garden in Adelaide.  We don’t often get a chance to swap fresh produce so this was very special. 


On my kitchen bench is this adorable little handmade basket, also a recent gift from Mum.  I love the organic shape, resting in my hands it feels just like a bird’s nest. 


A batch of simple, yet delicious banana muffins caught on camera in the morning sunshine.  These disappeared quickly.


Within this hessian bag are some enormous potatoes which our children found very interesting.  We do buy in bulk but not usually to this extreme.  This big bag was a very generous gift.  Mashed potato anyone?


Warm chocolate self saucing pudding with cream.  There is probably nothing that brings back memories of my childhood more than this dish.  It is plain, simple, warming and delicious. 


I am harvesting a steady supply of winter vegetables such as broccoli, beetroot, and spinach with a little mint to put in wherever some greenery and freshness is required.


What is happening in your kitchen at the moment?
Are you making or harvesting or trading any produce?
Is it still feeling like winter at your place?