Friday, August 31, 2012

rich chocolate slice recipe

choc date slice

Fresh medjool dates were a luxury we could rarely afford growing up. I remember my dad would buy one or two every so often and keep them hidden from us, probably eating them in peace and quiet when us kids were fast asleep at night. They are still ridiculously overpriced back home in New Zealand, but thankfully for all of us currently living in Australia they are often picked up for a steal at your local supermarket. When Dad was over here visiting recently I bought a whole boxful of them so we could all go crazy :-)

I love their sweet caramel flavour and they are the perfect base to use when making raw sweets and desserts. I blitz them up with almonds, cocoa and a little coconut oil until they turn into a sticky-sweet paste, press it into a tin then chill in the fridge for a beautiful rich chocolate slice... gone healthy.  

choc date slice
choc date slice

Monday, August 27, 2012

food blogging 101 + a little behind the scenes look at my darling lemon thyme

props

So, I've decided I'm not really a natural public speaker. I was always the kid who looked down at the floor the second the teacher asked for someone to come up the front of the class and speak. The kid who tried my hardest to come up with every excuse under the sun to get out of going to school on speech or debate day. The kid who would rather do anything, anything behind the scenes than be up front in the limelight. Writing about my life online for me has not been a problem, at least here I can go back over things and edit the hell out of them until I'm happy with what I've done before I push publish, but in person (via skype on this occasion) well, let's just say I think I need a little more practice in that area! I was really shocked (and very honoured) to be asked to speak at the NZFB conference held in Wellington NZ this weekend just gone, but oh my how nervous was I? And when I'm nervous I have a tendency to bleat on at a very fast pace (just a tad, haha) and go off on tangents when I probably should just stop and breath...

I was invited to talk at the conference about this here little blog; why I started it, how I've got it to where it now is (I still find it funny that some people think of my blog as successful, when really it's still just a teeny tiny dot in an extremely large and very talented pool) and to share any tips about blogging that I have learnt over the 2 years I've been at this. I'm not sure how it went and how much of it made sense? The weird thing about skype is that it kinda just felt like I was talking to myself the whole time as I couldn't really see or hear any reactions from the audience! So just in case I made no sense at all and also for any other food bloggers out there that may like to know, I'm going to go over in writing everything that I covered in my talk with a gazillion links and all. Just note though, that these are my own personal thoughts on food blogging and what works for me, read them by all means but don't stress out if you choose to do things differently. I really ain't no expert!
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

broccoli + rocket pesto recipe {vegan}

broccoli + rocket pesto

Mere moments before we all start to bare arms and legs in the celebration of spring, I thought I'd quickly get one last winter vege-style dish into the mix, pimped up with a few lovely spring herbs and greens from the garden. 
I've been making broccoli pesto since way back in the day when I cooked at a busy little cafe in Hamilton, NZ. The original recipe is long gone, and from faint memory it may have been a Donna Hay classic if I'm not wrong? Over the years things have come and gone, the parmesan's been replaced with a good dollop or two of white miso paste and when I have rocket (arugula) growing in the garden, that gets thrown in too.

rocket (arugula)

In all honesty our current vege garden is not really in good shape. The sad thing about renting is you never know how long you will be around and even though we'd love to stay in this house a few more years until ready to move back to NZ, the reality is... it's not up to us. We learnt the hard way with our first house in Perth that things change, and no matter how ideal you are as a tenant, things come up and in the blink of an eye the owner may well decide they want to move back into the house, leaving you out on the street.

We put in so much time, money and effort into our last garden and sadly had to leave it all behind which has made us more than a little hesitant to do it all over again. We did plant a bunch of stuff this winter, but because we really only did the bare minimum to prepare the soil (which is basically just sand here in Perth!) things haven't grown that well. I've still got lots of stuff in pots and we've been eating strawberries a couple of times a week already which is really cool, but really it's only my herbs and rocket that are still producing.
Sunday, August 19, 2012

a few of my favourite things {august 2012}

Untitled

This month has shaped up to be one of the busiest months so far this year and there's barely been a day when I haven't felt like I've been chasing my tail non-stop...  Not a whole lot has been happening on here as a result (sorry!), but trust me when I say a lot has been happening behind the scenes. For my fellow NZ food bloggers attending the NZFBA Conference in Wellington next week, I hope to catch you all via skype for my talk on Friday arvo. Please be kind, I'm just a tad nervous :-/
Monday, August 13, 2012

dahl maharani recipe

dahl maharani

It's been a very indecisive week around here. As you can see I've made a few changes to this blog and if you stopped by in the last few days while I was chopping and changing you may have wondered what the hell I was up to! Haha, me too. For a minute there I wanted this look, but have now gone back to the darker version, for now. See I've been wanting to change the look around here for ages now, but as I'm no graphic or web designer there's only so much I can do. Really all I wanted to do was simplify things and let the photos do the talking.

There was one thing I was sure of over the weekend though, and that was that dahl was going to be made at some point. If you've been reading for some time you will know how much I love all things Indian, and dahl in it's many forms is one of my favourite things to eat.

dahl maharani dahl maharani
Tuesday, August 7, 2012

roast kumara, chickpea and feta salad with spiced lemon dressing

roast kumara, chickpea + feta salad w/ spiced lemon dressing

There was a knock at the door early yesterday morning. I was in the middle of getting dressed so took a little while to get to the front door, all the while hoping it wasn't one of those annoying door-to-door sales people that have a knack for ridiculous timing. I opened the door to see my friend Nat getting back into her car 'sorry can't stop, enjoy' she yelled (or something along those lines) as she took off on her way to school, I'm guessing. All I could do was yell thanks and wave frantically through the fly-screen. What a lovely way to start the day (and so much better than if it had been one of those pesky sales people!).

There on the doorstep she'd left a little bag of freshly picked vegetables from her mothers garden. It contained a bunch of deep red rhubarb that will most probably end up stewed with apples and eaten for breakfast, a few kumara (aka sweet potato), long red chillies, some beautiful baby beets and a bunch of flat leaf parsley. Yum.

early morning gifts early morning gifts


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

beetroot + orange salad with honey mustard miso dressing

beetroot + orange salad w/ honey mustard miso dressing

Lately we've been returning home from the weekend markets laden with bags of citrus. There's always a couple of different kinds of mandarins for the kids lunches, sweet Bindoon oranges for eating and last week I even went crazy and bought a 12kg bag of oranges for juicing. I really do have to find myself one of those nana-shopping-trolleys, you know those big baskets on wheels that up until a few years ago only women over the age of around 60 or so would be seen pulling along behind them? Yep, one of those would make my life a damn sight easier on Saturday mornings. It's one of the things I most look forward to when Si's home on his week off. Having someone else to help carry the heavy shopping bags so the kids can hold my actual hand instead of just my back pocket is always welcomed. There is no way I would have dreamt of bringing 12kg worth of oranges home had I not had an extra pair of hands, that's for sure. I ain't crazy. Mostly.

beets beets


Now that I've finally shaken my cold (thanks for all the well wishes by the way!), I've had a hankering for something light and fresh. I've always loved the pairing of beetroot and orange, so with a few little extra's from the garden and pantry I pulled together this beautiful salad for lunch the other day that totally hit the spot.

orange Untitled honey + mustard + miso

I layered sweet juicy oranges between slices of beautiful earthy beets, a little peppery punch of freshly picked rocket (arugula) and crunch of pistachios added texture, while the creamy honey mustard miso dressing brought it all together perfectly. Super simple, yet incredibly good.

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