Carrot and orange cake

Carrot and orange cake with cream cheese icing and walnuts

I’ve been writing this silly little blog for nearly two years now, that’s mad isn’t it?! I’ve got to be honest, for the longest time I was a bit weird about it.

You see, the truth is I’m actually quite private. Yeah right you say! But it’s true. Yes, I realise I project my life onto the internet for full public consumption, but that’s easy when you hide behind a pseudo-name and an avatar. It took me years to get a Facebook account, I still am slightly scared by twitter and I can’t even begin to fathom Pinterest, so it came as no surprise that I took a little time to ease into the blogging.

Cream cheese icing and walnuts

For the first few months I barely even told my friends about my project, I certainly never interacted with the wider blogosphere (yes, I did just use that word, a sure sign I am now a bona-fide part-time blogger!). I was so terrified that someone might actually SEE it, shock HORROR! Over time, I have (very) slowly been working on this.

So ten days ago, when I went to a food bloggers meetup group, I was really really stepping outside my comfort zone. The people I met there were amazing and all write such unbelievably drool-tastic blogs that it made me feel immediately self-conscious. They also spoke another language, one I’m not very familiar with; SEO, engagement and PR were just some of the foreign and strange terms being bandied about. I just sipped my wine, nodded, smiled and tried to at least look like I knew what they were talking about.

Carrot and orange cake silce

Seriously though, it was wonderful to meet such lovely, energetic and creative people. Left-brained auld me can always do with a dose of inventive thinking and inspiration, check out some of their blogs below (in no particular order) to get some for yourself.

It has also made me think a little more seriously about what I want to get out of my hobby, which has been good. And I realise that I am what I am. I am never going to take the best photographs, or write the snappiest posts, get 10 bazillion hits a day or even write the most interesting recipes. But that’s all OK. As long as I’m still excited to be in the kitchen, making things that make my belly gurgle and pushing myself to write something that at the very least doesn’t put people to sleep, I’ll be happy.

Also, I made carrot cake and it was good.

Check out all of this yumness: Belly Rumbles, Simon Food Favourites, 84th & 3rd.com, Mademoiselle Slimalicious, The Littlest Anchovy, Raging CravingsOne Small Pot, and last but by no means least Chew Town.

Carrot and orange cake

Carrot and orange cake slice with cream cheese icing and walnuts

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Bread for your belly

Rosemary flecked focaccia

If you haven’t seen the film Anchorman, you should, right now. Stop reading this post and go rent it. I’m serious.

Those of you that have will no doubt remember Ron Burgundy singing at his scotch:

I love scotch.
Scotchy scotch scotch.
Here it goes down, down into my belly…….

And so on.

Well today I am here to confess that I feel much the same way about bread. It’s sad really, scotch and bread don’t really have a lot in common, one takes 18 years to mature, is smooth and effortlessly cool and the other is, well, just bread. But the heart (and by heart I of course mean belly) wants what it wants.

If someone told me in the morning I could never eat bread again I think I might consider slapping them; at the very least I’d shout at them, loudly. I always feel sorry for those women in glossy magazines who profess the benefits of a carb-free diet. I mean, they may be skinny, rich and successful, but could they really be happy? I doubt it. But then again, the less bread they eat, the more there is for me, whoop!

The magic of yeast

Magic stuff, that yeast!

Making your own bread is a lot less effort than you’d think and the results are oh so worth it. You just need time and a little elbow grease. The recipe I’m sharing today is one I’ve adapted from Maureen Tatlow’s The Back to Basics Cookbook. I’ve tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes and I just love it.

There are just two things to point out with it, if you don’t put in the requisite kneading time your bread will be heavy and dense; but hand-kneading for 10 minutes is a kind of exercise and so in a way makes up for the delicious carb overload that’s coming. The second thing is, this bread doesn’t keep well, you really need to eat it on the day it’s made, although it does toast really well on the day after. So adjusting the quantities to suit your hunger levels ain’t a bad idea.

Rosemary flecked focaccia

Rosemary focaccia

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Pork with a serious, devilishly good (chocolaty!!) twist

If you’re anything like me you will think chocolate and wine are thee very  bestest inventions in the whole entire wide universe. Fact.

They are delicious together. Or separately. For breakfast (well maybe not the wine), brunch, lunch or tea. When you’re happy, sad, bored, stressed or just feel like you deserve a treat. I honestly don’t know what I would ever do if, in a desert island type situation, I had to choose between The Fella and a chocolate-red-wine combo. I’d certainly need a glass of wine to help me mull it over, I may need several in fact.

But… what if you mix these two yummie ingredients with something totally left of field, something completely unusual, something like pork? Am I blowing your mind?! I hope so because this dish is very very special indeed.

This is a recipe from Rachel Allen’s Rachel’s Favourite Food for Friends, and it has been a major hit since the first time I made it a few years ago. Initially people are very reluctant to try it, but after a little coaxing and a taste, it gets gobbled up quicker than you can say: but chocolate isn’t supposed to be for dinner! Of course, you don’t actually taste the chocolate; it just adds a beautiful richness and sweetness to the sauce. Midweek dinner this ain’t, this is RICH and filling and unusual, but totally delicious. So I urge to mix it up a bit this weekend and try it, I guarantee you’ll love it, or your money back.

Sweet and sour pork with raisins, pine nuts and chocolate

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Wonky heirloom Caprese salad

heirloom & cherry tomatoes

There’s a building right at the edge of North Sydney with a giant digital time and temperature display that I’m kind of obsessed with.

Every morning, as I drive past, I mentally take note of the temperature. Without fail. It’s kind of a morning ritual for me, like coffee and newspapers. I think it might be an Irish thing; as a nationality, we do tend to be unreasonably fascinated by temperature.

Take your annual summer holiday for instance; sure you couldn’t be expected to have a good foreign holiday until the mercury reaches at least 30 °C. You see, you just wouldn’t be getting your money’s worth. Sure what would be the point of leaving the country if you didn’t get pure roasted alive?!

caprese salad with heirloom & cherry tomatoes

Likewise, hot days at home are monitored with fascination – jaysus, the winky weatherman said it’s going to be 23 °C tomorrow! Oh holy god! I may dig out the shorts, let’s bring the kids to the beach, and ring the neighbors, we’re going to have a barbeque, god it’ll be great to get a bit of tan! – would be the typical thought process of many an Irish person on the annual day of summer.

Neither would a Skype conversation with anyone from home be complete without an enquiry about the temperature. It’s one hot topic!

So, true to my race, I check the temperature on my drive to work every morning, and think about what a mental country Australia is. Last Friday it was 19 °C at 7.03 am. I kid you not.

caprese salad with heirloom & cherry tomatoes

Let me just put that into context for you: at seven in the morning, in the spring, it was as warm as it sometimes ever gets in the middle of the day in Ireland in summer.

I think that means summer is officially on it’s way. Australian summer, obviously.   

To celebrate, I made a wonky heirloom Caprese salad, because nothing tastes more like sunshine than tomatoes and basil. I used some juicy heirloom tomatoes and chopped everything up so roughly, you’d swear I don’t even own a knife. Then, I sat in the back garden, soaked up some rays and enjoyed it.

Wonky heirloom Caprese salad

caprese salad with heirloom & cherry tomatoes

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Kumquat, vanilla and vodka scented marmalade

What fun and yummy little fruits kumquats are.

For those of you unfamiliar with these petite citrusy bites, they’re all kinds of entertaining. For instance, you can pick them up and pretend to be a really big scary giant, just hanging out with an orange.  See? Fun!

Or if prancing around the kitchen shouting fee-fi-foo-fum at the cat isn’t really your idea of a good time, you could always offer them to unsuspecting boyfriends, telling him of course they can be eaten skins and all; and try to supress your giggles while his face puckers up and turns inside out. Ha!

But if winding up your loved ones ain’t your thang, I guess you could just make marmalade. It’s not quite as fun, but it’s sure as hell deeeeelicious.

I love marmalade and will always have a jar of it in the fridge for weekend toast-fests. I’ve made it plenty of times before, but never with kumquats, so I hit the interwebs for a little inspiration. I found quite a few recipes recommending adding vanilla extract, which seemed straight forward enough; but I also found several recommending using rice wine (or a mixture of rice wine and water) as the cooking liquid. Alcohol in a recipe is always guaranteed to grab my attention, I was intrigued.

For my own marmalade, I decided to use vodka. I figured the citrus flavour could handle a bit of a kick, and hell, even if it didn’t work, it would certainly make the weekend toast-fests a little more entertaining.  I got lucky, it worked; and boy does it taste good.

Kumquat, vanilla and vodka scented marmalade

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Baba-ga-what-now?

One of the things I love about Sydney is the sheer amount and variety of restaurants there are. It’s astounding! In this town, you could eat out every night of the year and never get bored. In my small corner of the city alone there are several Thai, Indian, tapas, Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, modern Australian, Japanese, vegetarian and Turkish places. There is also a French restaurant, a Polish place, a Brazilian barbeque joint, a Himalayan and a Chinese restaurant. And this is all just in my immediate neighbourhood!

If you start heading over to other suburbs the list just keeps getting longer and longer and loooonger. And, no doubt the pounds will begin to pile.

I guess this multicultural mish-mash is thanks to years of immigration. It’s strange that all these interesting and exotic people never thought to move to the sunny emerald isle and share their tasty treats with us, isn’t it?! In fairness we could have done with a bit of variation over the years, potatoes are yum, but even they can get a bit boring after a bit.

Or maybe it would have all be a bit too unusual for us? If they had thought to move to Ireland, perhaps all these new tastes would have just blown our little mind-holes. Like, I’m pretty sure if I mentioned baba ganoush to some folks I know back home, they would look at me with vacant faces and say baba-ga-what-now?

It’s aubergine (or eggplant) barbequed and all smushed up into pure deliciousness. Just in case you didn’t already know.

I saw this beautiful recipe in a recent issue of SBS Feast magazine and I am so excited to share it. Not only is it absolutely stunning and pure exotic, it’s also quick, easy and super delicious. Perfect for impressing people or for exploring a new cuisine; only if there are no spuds left in the fridge of course.

Haloumi with baba ganoush and pomegranate

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Hey Pesto!

There are currently four things growing in my back garden: an abundance of nondescript weeds, a deranged passion-fruit vine, a pretty hardy rosemary bush and more oregano than a small Mediterranean nation could eat in a year.

I am an atrocious gardener, but this is not for lack of trying. I frequently plant all kinds of interesting and edible things, only to watch them wilt and die before my very eyes. I have absolutely no idea why these four plants manage to thrive where all else fails.

So what do you do when you’ve a garden full of oregano and you don’t fancy eating roast lamb non-stop for the next year? You make pesto, yummo!

I love love LOVE pesto, although this love is not shared my all members of my family. I think it can be used to dress up absolutely anything from pasta to sandwiches to veggies to dressings; it’s pretty much an all-round genius sauce, and oregano pesto is no exception.

Pesto purists beware; for this recipe I totally parted with tradition and just used what I had to hand: oregano from the garden (obviously), Pecorino I found on special in Harris Farm Markets and macadamia nuts (to make it a bit more ‘Stralian!). And I was more than happy with the delicious results.

Oregano, Pecorino and macadamia nut pesto

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Upside-down Christmas and New Year

Overindulgence (over|in¦dul¦gence).
Noun.
1. the action or fact of having too much of something enjoyable: her alleged
overindulgence in alcohol

2. excessive gratification of a person’s wishes: his overindulgence of her whims

I’m sure many people are just like me, and had to look this word up in the dictionary yesterday morning. At least I hope I wasn’t the only one.

This was my third Christmas and New Year in the land down under. And while I do miss Christmas at home something shocking, I have to admit, I find New Years in the sun very pleasant altogether. Hot sunshine, beaches, laughing kookaburras, barbecues, factor-30, kangaroos and buckets of chilled white wine may not scream Christmas to most people, but they do make for some good times. A little too good, truth be told.

I did very little cooking over Christmas, but I did make this desert. It was an attempt to reconcile the two very different types of Christmases I’ve experienced. Because, despite the fact it’s thirty degrees outside, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the pudding!

Upside-down Christmas pudding ice-cream

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Spring green salad

I’ve been a bit hard on myself these past few weeks. Like that dude, Bear Grylls, I’ve been putting myself through a mad-hard endurance test. Except, I haven’t been scaling mountains or eating bugs. No, my fortitude has been tested in a far more boring manner: I’ve been working a lot, not sleeping much and drinking far too much alcohol than should even be allowed. Which is pretty much the same as the entire working world in the run up to Christmas.

Anyways, after a few weeks of this abuse, my immune system has finally given me the finger, packed up and gone on strike. And within seconds, my old friend herpes simplex seized his chance and erected a tribute to an erupting Mount Vesuvius on my bottom lip. Very attractive.

Apparently I need vitamins. Stat!

Isn’t it funny though, when your body really needs healthy nourishment; all you want to eat is beans on toast? Which are pretty vitamin deficient I think. But this salad saved me, and more importantly, it got my immune system and me into peace talks. It’s totally healthy but it doesn’t feel like you’re eating rabbit food. Oh no, instead you get all the lovely, herby goodness, nicely balanced with the salty feta and finished off with the crunchy toasted pitas; satisfying the demands of both taste buds and immune system in one go. Nice one!

Broad bean fattoush

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Strawberry and blueberry clafoutis

I’m pretty sure this is my new favourite recipe. It’s yum!

Over the past month or two I’ve eaten so much of this I’m liable to actually turn into a blueberry; not unlike Roald Dahl’s Violet Beauregarde. When I start turning blue, I’ll know it’s time to worry.

Clafoutis is a French desert, generally made with cherries or other stone fruit. It’s absolutely delicious, but the only way I can describe it is as a cross between a cake and custard. Actually, fruity-custardy-cake sums it up pretty well.

In addition to being delicious, it takes all of three minutes to prepare, then sits in the oven for forty effort-free minutes, making it perfect for a dinner party. The only trick is, you do need to eat this while still warm from the oven. We recently made the mistake of bringing it to a friend’s barbeque. Unfortunately, once cooled the egg becomes dense and loses all it’s lovely creaminess. Not a mistake I’ll make again; in future this will all be eaten up quicker than you can say ‘how do you pronounce clafoutis?’.

Strawberry and blueberry clafoutis

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Sweet chicken tagine with minted couscous

Like every other person on this planet, I love to travel. It’s funny isn’t it, how people nowadays think of ‘travelling’ as a hobby? Yet another thing we can thank the intrepid Mr. Michael O’Leary for, I guess. Anyways, everyone loves holidays, no surprises there. But I’m the only person I know who picks a destination based on what kind of food you’ll get. Feck culture, I’m hungry.

Paris may have the Musée d’Orsay, but it also has dark and interesting brasseries and a boulangerie on every corner. Yumo! As for Barcelona; yeah, yeah, Gaudí was great, challenged modern architecture like never before, but is it nearly time for paella? I could continue but I may be labelled a philistine, or worse yet, a lush.

Anyway, the point of this is that when I go away, I try to take a cookery course if I can. These types of courses generally include a trip to the local market to buy ingredients, where you can learn, see and smell all kinds of weird and wonderful things. It can be really interesting, however you are likely to come home with a handful of recipes that call for pandan leaves or galangal root or other such exotic items you don’t generally come across in Dunnes Stores.

Not so with my trip to Marrakesh a few years ago. This recipe only calls for things you generally would have at home, or at the very least could easily find in the local shop. And it is de-lic-ious. I was taught to make this by a woman at a riad (I’ve been looking for the website but can’t seem to find it unfortunately). Riads are small courtyard houses, many of which have been converted into amazing boutique hotels. I spent a few hours at the riad, learning all the tricks and tips the cook had to offer. Later that evening, The Fella and I came back to be served our meal by the plunge pool on the roof and feel totally decadent!

Sweet chicken tagine (or tajine) with minted couscous

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Chicken satay pizza

Oh dear, I seem to have created an uber-addictive and calorie ridden tour de force.

Anyone who is on a diet, please proceed with caution. I’m pretty sure this harmless looking snack contains oh, about 79 bazillion weight watchers points per slice. By all means make it, but when the top button of your pants starts to object don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This recipe is from one of The Fella’s cookbooks from back in his bachelor days. It’s a wonder he found a girlfriend at all, given how much he likes this pizza; although I suspect all the faffing about with yeast and dough probably put him off making it too often.

I’ve adapted the recipe and made my own satay sauce, rather then just using a jar. So now I have plenty left over for chicken or prawns or the more traditional satay companions. Satay makes a super interesting pizza sauce and this recipe has actually inspired me to experiment a bit more with what I would consider to be stapes in a recipe.

I would definitely recommend you chuck the diet out the window, go forth and be adventurous with peanuts!

Satay sauce and chicken satay pizza

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Hallowe’en barmbrack

It appears that Australians don’t do Hallowe’en.

It makes a lot of sense; obviously October evenings in the southern hemisphere are a lot less cold, dark and, well, scary than they are back home. Which I guess is why Hallowe’en never took off here, despite the influx of Irish immigrants over the years, and why it flourished in the States instead.

It does slightly bother me that the American version of Hallowe’en is all that’s widely known here; no one realises that it’s an ancient Celtic festival. Therefore, the focus is all on trick-or-treating, and nothing else. No bobbing for apples, no bonfires and no barmbrack. I have decided that I’m on a one-woman mission to change all this. I did have to go to stupid work today though, so I only got as far as the barmbrack, but every little counts. Right?

Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit bread made to celebrate Oíche Shamhna (Hallowe’en night). It’s not only totally delish but is also loads of fun as it contains some odd little things you don’t normally find in baked goods, such as a ring, a coin, a pea, a piece of cloth and a stick. These objects mean different things for the person who finds them. The ring and the coin are the two best-known ones, they indicate that the finder will either get married in the coming year or get rich. The others are not so optimistic. The pea means the finder will not get married that year, the piece of cloth means they will be poor and the stick means they’ll have an unhappy marriage. Presumably, the stick was to be used a weapon! Lovely!

Hallowe’en Barmbrack

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Haloumi salad

Is there anything in this world better than fried cheese? Really? I’m pretty sure it’s virtually impossible to beat, even with a super-long-great-big stick.

I actually wonder what was going through Mr Haloumi’s mind when he was inventing it? I like to think the thought process went something like this:

Mmmmmm, cheese really is some kind of super food, totally healthy and not at all packed with fat. No, no, no. So how could I make it appeal to the non-healthy eating market? … conundrum … I know, let’s FRY IT! Whoop!

Genius.

So to counteract it’s many health benefits, I’ve paired the Haloumi with super fresh, calorie-free veggies in a yummie salad of my own inventing (that sounds so way better then admitting these ingredients were all I could find in the fridge).

I know there are the Haloumi haters out there, who think it’s too chewy and salty and just plain weird. Well I just say bah to them, the less they eat, the more there is for me, right? But I did cook my Haloumi with a squeeze of lemon juice, just to cut through that saltiness, then paired it with a little lemon dressing and Bob’s your Uncle, you have yumness on a plate.

Haloumi salad

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The dreaded pesto

This recipe is for my dad.

Dad is usually very adventurous about what he’ll eat, with one major exception: he cannot and will not abide pesto.

He was raised on a diet of spuds, cabbage and bacon that bored him to tears; so now he has an appetite for absolutely anything. He has been known to disgust friends and colleagues in posh French restaurants with a penchant for things that crawl on the sea bed (raw, of course). And in college he was affectionately known as Two-Dinners-Dillon. This is a man who likes his food.

This all worked out well for him, as my mother is an absolutely cracking cook. However, as a working mother of four, she has, on occasion been known to favour convenience over taste. So when the first incarnation of this strange concoction called pesto arrived on Quinnsworth’s shelves in the late 80s, it didn’t matter that it actually tasted like something an animal might try and bury. No, no in my mother’s eyes it was new, foreign and exciting. And more importantly, it could be poured over a pot of just cooked pasta, meaning dinner for six could be prepared in approximately 14 minutes. Dad hated it and it became known in our house as “The Dreaded Pesto”. Eventually he just boycotted it, which drove my mother mad. And to the best of my knowledge, pesto (fresh or otherwise) hasn’t darkened the door of their fridge ever since.

I, on the other hand love love love LOVE pesto. It can be used to dress up absolutely anything, from a plain old cheese sandwich, to salad dressings, to meats; and (my favourite) baked spuds. Limiting it to pasta is just an injustice. This recipe is lovely; it has quite a different taste to basil pesto, not as sweet and with a hint of smokiness from the walnuts. I think it’s what pesto would have tasted like if it had been invented by the Irish.

So this one’s for you Dad, one taste and I promise you’ll be hooked!

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Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka!

Years ago, just after we first met, The Fella went on a trip with his cousin to Poland. While international travel broadens most people’s minds, The Fella came back with just one word (which he repeated a LOT) and significantly less brain cells. The word was tatanka. Or to be more specific: Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka!

Tatanka is a cocktail made with a very special type of vodka, Żubrówka is a Polish brand that is infused and flavored with bison grass. It tastes like no other vodka you’ve ever had, as in, it actually tastes nice and not even slightly like paint stripper. So when I saw a bottle in our local liqueur shop, I wasn’t even slightly deterred by the $49.99 price tag (it costs about 20 quid at home) and I snapped it up.

All the tatanka recipes I found on-line called for ice. However I have it on good authority from a Polish friend back home that using ice is a faux-pas, instead you should use super-chilled vodka and juice. The Polish can get very touchy about their vodka and it is mostly drunk undiluted and unadulterated.

This drink is super delicious, very simple and after just a few you too will be singing: Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka! Tatanka!……………

Tatanka

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Summery tart

This week spring well and truly descended onto Sydney, and it got HOT. It has been lovely and bright in the mornings and when I leave the office each evening. We’ve started sleeping with the windows open every night.

So, I started what I feel may become a springtime ritual in Australia: I worried about how many bugs we’re going to have come summer (which was sparked by finding a baby huntsman spider in my kitchen, eek); and I fretted about by my poor très-burnable Irish skin.

But I also hit the interwebs in search of light, bright, summery, yummery food to cook. I’ve resolved to eat no more stodge until May. During my search I found this beautiful tart on one of my favourite websites: Delicious. And it was oh so colourful, simple and delicious. I served it with a crisp green salad it really hit the spot. Plus it gave The Fella ample opportunities to make super hilarious innuendos about all kinds of tarts, like, who doesn’t love a good tart on a hot day? But maybe the less said about that the better….

Tomato, chive and Brie tart

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Offering to the cookie gods

Something strange has been happening in Chez Yumbolicious these past few weeks. Something very strange indeed.

I got a new cookbook last month; it was second hand and I think it might have some mad weird powers.

Basically, it follows me around the house. I keep finding it in the strangest of places: on the dining table, beside the couch, sitting on the landing, next  to the computer……… And it’s always open on the same page: chocolate chip cookies.

It’s so bizarre; I just can’t figure it out. It’s almost like the book is willing me to bake them. It must be the book, who else could it be? The Fella says I’m going mad, he said I should make them to appease the cookie gods, or heaven knows what the book would be up to next.

Heaven knows indeed.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Unorthodox souvlaki

One disappointment I’ve had since coming to Australia has been my experience of the great Australian Barbecue. Now, don’t get me wrong, these Ozzys do love their outdoor cooking, but it’s just not quite as I’d expected.

I really should use this information to challenge my stereotypes; as I’m sure the Ozzys appreciate hearing ‘throw a shrimp on the barbie’ about as much as I welcome idiots saying ‘top o’the morning to ye’.

Most self-respecting Ozzy barbecuers have a large gas-powered or electric grill on their patio, instead of the tray of smoking, glowing coals that we’re so fond of on the annual three days of Irish summertime. And I can see why they do; it’s simply easier to control a grill. You’re less liable give your friends salmonella with pieces of charred chicken that are still raw on the inside, or turn a sausage into a weapon, or transform a nice juicy steak into something you could wear on your feet.

But really, isn’t that really half the fun?!

So, anyway, the point of all this is, I found this recipe for souvlaki, which are meant to be cooked on a barbecue. Not actually owning a barbecue, I opted to cook these on an electric grill (albeit an indoor one). And although, I know this was unauthentic, they still tasted soooo good.

I know many many Greek people are probably cursing my existence night now, but in my defence, I was excited to try these and simply couldn’t wait until summer. But once it does come around, I’ll cook them again, on a proper, smoking, coal barbecue and I’m sure they will taste even better again!

Souvlaki with salad and tzatziki in pita bread

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Messy meringue

This week I got to thinking about how recipes are invented. Now, bear with me here, I’m not being totally stupid. Obviously some stuff just tastes good together, like macaroni and cheese. And clearly the Irish national dish of spuds, bacon and cabbage evolved simply because, way back in the day, there just weren’t many other dinner options. But do you ever think some recipes were ‘invented’ by accident and just kind of caught on?

The reason I ask is, this week I made the traditional English summer desert, Eton Mess. Now, I don’t want to mislead you, I hadn’t originally intended to make it. Instead, I envisioned making a beautiful, white, fluffy, towering pavlova. But unfortunately my meringue looked like it had fallen off the back of a truck and then dragged through a hedge backwards by a pack of wild and ravaging dogs.

But it tasted good, nice and crispy on the outside and slightly chewy in the inside and deliciously sweet. So really, the only option was to smush it up, cover it with cream and pretend that’s what I had really intended to do all the while. And I’d like to think that’s how the recipe was ‘invented’ in the first place!

Eton Mess

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