Tag Archives: salad

Quinoa Bowl

13 Oct

Quinoa bowl

During my recent birthday trip to visit my friend Karen, I was introduced to my new favorite dish, the Quinoa Bowl. Seriously, it’s so versatile and delicious and healthy and readily available. You can make it for lunch as a salad with what you have in your fridge. Or you can fancy it up and add some beautifully seasonal ingredients and make a completely different dish for a larger more satisfying meal.

ingredients

My version is a late summer/early autumn quinoa bowl. Here in Minnesota, everyone has zucchini (also called courgette) to spare, either from their garden or from the farmers market or even the grocery store. I can usually score a few from coworkers who have so many that they’ve run out of things to do with them and are so very happy to hand them out. They were first on the list.

zucchini

Butternut squash is a lovely ingredient that pairs with so many great fall flavors, which made it a slam dunk for this dish. Since it goes especially well with sage, I tossed the chopped up squash with sage, olive oil, salt and pepper and put it in the oven to roast.

butternut cubed

You have to be careful with cutting up the butternut squash, as you might risk life and limb. If you peel the skin first with a sturdy potato peeler, then the flesh is a whole lot more manageable.

peeling butternut

Because of my upbringing in Brazil, I have a hard time cooking meat without marinating it first. A simple marinade adds so much flavor to meat. For this chicken, I tossed the breast pieces with white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped sage and chopped garlic. It’s super easy in a zip top plastic bag – you toss everything in there, zip the top, mix it up a bit, let it sit for 30 minutes or so, then remove the chicken to the grill and toss the bag. No muss, no fuss. (not pretty, but also not messy)

chicken in a bag

While the squash was roasting and the chicken marinating, I began the quinoa. Rinse it first, then add to a saucepan – 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water, a dash of salt and bring to a boil. (here are fool-proof cooking instructions from the folks at The Kitchn)

rinsing

The chicken and zucchini went on to the grill.

grilled chicken 2

I had half an onion in my fridge, so I drizzled that with olive oil and tossed those slices on the grill too. Have you ever had grilled onion? Oh boy! It’s a happy day when you can grill onions. They are sweet, smoky and a bit crunchy still. Yum!

grilling 2

If you look closely, you can see one of the perils of grilling veggies – they slip right through the grates and out of reach…sadly.

This was also a great excuse to try my new balsamic vinegar and olive oil, a gift from my dear friend Eddie, they are from a local Minneapolis store called Vinaigrette. They were amazing! The balsamic is so sweet, think and mellow that you could drink it straight from the bottle. Thanks Eddie!!

oil & balsamic

I poured a glug of balsamic in a bowl, added olive oil, a blurb of Dijon mustard, fresh ground pepper and salt with a few drops of water and whisked it until well combined.

vinaigrette

Now assemble. Quinoa on the bottom, then top with all the rest of the goodies – I used the roasted and grilled veggies, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, herbed goat cheese and grilled chicken, drizzled with the vinaigrette and garnished with fresh sage.

Quinoa bowl

Voila! My new favorite dish.

helping cats

Anddddddd proof that I’m a certified crazy cat lady! (Never fear, both Hattie and Mabel were swooped off the table 30 seconds after I took this photo)

Quinoa Bowl

Cooked quinoa (how to cook quinoa)
Grilled chicken
Roasted butternut squash
Grilled vegetables (zucchini, onions, or any others)
Dried cranberries
Pecans
Goat cheese

Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt
Pepper
1 teaspoon water

Whisk all the above ingredients together in a bowl until they are all well combined. Drizzle over the top of your bowl for a lively punch of flavor.

Bonus dish: A few days later, I cooked a whole new meal with the leftovers – I chopped up chicken, some of the veggies, some kale and the quinoa, sauteed them until crispy and topped with a boiled egg.

quinoa hash 1

Voila! Quinoa hash!

Quinoa hash

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Lamb, roasted vegetable and couscous salad

27 May

Well B, your infamous carrot cake has been giving me cake cravings. All baked goods really. Yummo.

Whilst consuming said baked goods with a cup of tea on the verandah with the wonderful Beth, she started talking about her plans for dinner. Roasted carrots and parsnips, lamb from ‘the boys’ at the local kebab shop, couscous and an amazing dressing. Now, she HAD ME at the dressing. I promptly invited myself over, in the name of the blog of course. ALL FOR YOU, the things I do huh? It’s an iPhone photo filled post. Hope that’s OK.

plated1

Here is the finished product in all it’s glory. It is one of those, pretty easy to whip up if you have it all there, meals. Beth calls it a cheat meal, because she gets a foil container of delicious sliced lamb our much-loved Turkish Kebab House. But I call that resourceful.

I arrived to this array…

ingredients

… good A to B of Cooking reader, our Beth. She knows the drill.

To make this, you’ll need: parsnips, carrots, olive oil, onion, lemon, coriander, cumin, full cream yoghurt, honey, pistachios, couscous, and some lamb, cooked and sliced up – kebab style if you can get it. Beef would work too I reckon, but us Aussies, we love our lamb.

We peeled the parsnips and chopped them up in to a tail and a few halved sections. And the carrots in to about four pieces. A drizzle of olive oil and then a sprinkle of cumin seeds, a good pinch of salt and a grind of fresh pepper, and they were in to the oven. Toward the end we added pieces of onion, as they take less time to roast.

veggiesroast

While that was roasting, we made the dressing. Or Beth made the dressing and I watched on.

dressing1dressing2

She whisked together yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, ground cumin, and honey. We then tasted and added more of things to get it ‘right’. If it is too lemony, add more honey. Make sure you get a good taste of cumin too.

We prepared the couscous, which was a matter of following the pack and boiling the same volume of water as couscous, and then mixing it through and letting it sit a couple of minutes, then fluffing it with a fork.

When the veggies were nice and roasted, it was time to assemble. First the couscous, then the veggies, then some pistachios, the lamb, a generous handful of coriander, and then a smattering of the dressing.

plating1plating2plating4plating5

Put the platter in the middle of the table and serve yourself. Honestly… delicious.

plating3

Thanks Beth!

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Beth’s awesome dressing

ingredients
1 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons honey

Whisk the ingredients together until thoroughly combined, and taste for balance.
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Roasted Veggies

ingredients
5 carrots, peeled and sliced in to four, lengthways and then across once
5 parsnips, peeled and chopped roughly to a similar size as the carrots
1 red onion, peeled and sliced in to quarters. Separate the layers

1 tablespoon (ish) oil
a good pinch of cumin seed
pinch of salt
grind of pepper

Put the carrots and parsnips in a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the cumin, salt and pepper and bake in a 200C/390f oven until they are roasted through and just starting to brown. Add in the onion pieces and cook  for another 10 minutes or so.

Other elements —

Cook a cup of couscous
Wash a big handful of coriander
A pre-prepared serve of lamb kebab meat 

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To assemble
Start with cooked couscous, then pile on the roasted vegetables, sprinkle over the pistachios, then add the kebab meat and a good handful of washed coriander. Pour over the dressing.

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Beet Salad

8 Oct

Those savory pies of Alice’s are going right onto my fall menu rotation. They will be perfect to keep in my freezer to take for a lunch on the go. This beet salad would be a good accompaniment to the savory pies, as well as many other dishes.

I got this recipe from my friend Diana after I picked up these gorgeous multicolored beets. It was certainly a winner, thanks Diana!

I bought these from an organic farmer at the Mill City farmers market in Minneapolis. After scrubbing the skin, cutting off the stems and roots, I popped them into a large pot with a steamer basket and a couple inches of water to steam.

Keep pot covered and steam the beets until they are soft enough to be easily pierced by a fork.

While they are steaming, chop up some bacon. Mmmmmm, BACON!

Put it into a large skillet over medium heat to crisp it up

Toss in some sliced garlic near the end to crisp that up as well. Drain and set aside.

When the beets are fully steamed, pull them out and let them cool for a few minutes, then peel.

You should be able to slide the peels right off with some paper towels.

Chop them into bite sized pieces and let them cool.

Whisk up a vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt & pepper.

Toss the beets with the bacon bits, crisp garlic slices and the dressing, then crumble goat cheese over the top.

Voila! Alice, I think we make a pretty good team with our dishes. What’s next?

Beet Salad

7-8 beets
6 slices of bacon, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 oz crumbled goat cheese

Dressing
3/4 cup of nice extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Remove stem and root of beets, scrub skin and place into steamer for 15-20 minutes or until they can easily be pierced by a fork.

While beets are steaming, chop up bacon and place into skillet to crisp. Add sliced garlic to skillet for the last few minutes to crisp as well. Do not burn the garlic, as it will get very bitter if it is burnt at all. Remove and let drain on a paper towel.

When beets are finished, remove from steamer and let cool for a few minutes. Then slide the skin off the beets with a paper towel, chop and let chill.

Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt & pepper. You may not need all of this dressing for the beet salad – in which case, you can store the unused portion in the fridge and use it on another salad.

Toss all ingredients together and top with crumbled goat cheese. Serve.

Vietnamese Prawn and Pork Pancakes (Banh Xeo)

13 May

B’s meal on the grill looked so very tasty. I love the idea of shaved marinated asparagus, cooked or not.

The prawns with salad reminded me of this Vietnamese dish, which is a pancake scattered with flavoured prawns and pork that you then break up and wrap generously in lettuce and herbs.

The word Xeo means the cracking sound generated when you cook the Banh- the pancakes. I have never cooked them before and was honestly surprised by the flavours. I am not sure why I didn’t think coconut milk and rice flour pancakes would be so… umm… coconut ricey.

It took me a few attempts to perfect the pancake cooking. I have read that many homes keep a special pan just for this dish. It is a bit of an art as the pancakes are sticky and delicate until crisped up. I found that I needed a good layer of oil in the pan, and by not lifting or checking it too much until it was crisp on the base, I was able to keep it in one piece. I have used a mix of recipes to develop this one.

You need quite a few ingredients to make these… but if you have a good Asian grocery it might be one stop shopping.



The pancake batter is made with rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric, cold water and salt.

I put all of the batter ingredients in to a bowl and mixed well. This needed to be set aside for at least an hour, but overnight is great. You will need to give it a stir before using it.

I then prepared the prawns and pork to allow them to marinate a little before cooking.

I sliced up the pork fillet as thin as I could, and shelled the prawns and then sliced them in half long ways. This also makes it easy to devein them. Then into a bowl I put the garlic, fish sauce, salt and sugar and mixed them up, along with the pork and the prawns. I left this to marinate for half an hour in the fridge.

Fish sauce is a staple in South East Asian cooking. It is quite pungent, as it is made from fermented anchovies. It is inexpensive and adds a distinctive flavour. I like Golden Boy brand. If you would like to read more about fish sauce, here is a link to a wikipedia article.

Next I made the nuoc cham dipping sauce which is very simple. I mixed some lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and water. Then I added some chopped up chilli and you can also add minced garlic if you like that extra bite. I mixed it until the sugar dissolved, and then tasted to check that the sauce was strong enough and that I could taste a good balance of the sour and sweet.

I  loaded up a serving platter with cucumber sticks, a pile of lettuce leaves, Vietnamese mint and coriander (cilantro).

Next I cooked the pork and prawns.

I started by slicing some onion lengthways and sautéing it in a hot pan with some vegetable oil. When it was cooked to transparent I added the marinated pork and prawns and stirred it constantly until the meat was cooked through, the prawns were pink and the pork was pink no longer.

I set the meat aside in a bowl close to the stove. I also filled two small bowls with bean shoots and chopped spring onion and had them at the ready stove-side.

I put  a layer of oil in a pan, and heated on medium-high heat. When the oil was hot, I poured in a small ladle of pancake batter and swirled the pan to coat it with a thin layer. I sprinkled the batter with spring onion, bean shoots and some of the pork and prawn mix. I left it to crackle away and cook until it was browned and crispy on the bottom.

When it was cooked, I folded it over in half and put it on a plate.

To eat… start with a lettuce leaf, and break off some pancake and place it inside, then load up with herbs and cucumber to your liking. Dip it in the sauce and hey presto.

Crunchy, fresh, warm, a bit gooey, sweet, sour, salty, and a little spicy in each mouthful.

I don’t think we have discussed much Asian food before B. Curious to know where you will take this. Over to you!
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Vietnamese Prawn and Pork Pancakes (Banh Xeo)

pancake batter ingredients
1 3/4 cups rice flour
300ml (half a pint) coconut milk
300ml (half a pint) cold water
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the ingredients in a bowl to a smooth batter and allow to rest a minimum of one hour. You can leave overnight.

pork and prawn filling
250g (1/2 pound) pork fillet, sliced thinly
250g (1/2 pound) prawn meat, cleaned and deveined
1 tablespoon fish sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 small onion, sliced thinly lengthways
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, and sauté the onion until transparent. Add the prawns and pork along with their marinade and cook until the pork is no longer pink, and the prawns become pink.

for the pancakes
3 spring onions (scallions), chopped
a big handful of bean shoots

to serve – arrange on a platter for the table
1 iceberg lettuce
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), washed
1 bunch Vietnamese mint, washed
2 cucumbers sliced in to sticks

To cook the pancakes, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium high heat, and pour in a thin layer of batter, tilt the pan to spread the batter to make thinner.

Scatter with some bean shoots and spring onion, and then a small handful of the cooked pork and prawn mixture.

Cook over a heat that gives you a gentle crackling noise (medium-high in my case), and when the base starts to crisp up, you can move in the pan by shaking it a little. Be careful not to lift with an egg slice until the base is crispy.

When the base is cooked, fold the pancake in half and slide, or lift, on to a plate.

They are best served straight away, but if  you want to cook a number at once, place on warmed plate, cover with foil and put in a slow oven to keep warm until you have as many as you need.

To eat, break some of the pancake off and place on to a generous layer of iceberg lettuce, then top with herbs and cucumber. Dip in the nuoc cham sauce and eat.
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dipping sauce –  nuoc cham
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 1/2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 small chilli chopped
optional: 1 clove garlic, minced

Mix all of the ingredients together and taste for balance.

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Grilled dinner: Asparagus and Prosciutto Pizza and Romaine Salad

7 May

Tis the season to be grilling! Alice inspired me to make a dinner on the grill. The weather in Minnesota is not always beautiful, sunny and warm, so when we do have a beautiful day, we want to be outside soaking it in.

My friends Jill and John and their young daughter Grace are some of my favorite grilling buddies. Every once in a while, I head up to their house and spend time with them, visiting and cooking. They’ve been my willing subjects when I experiment with different dishes and this week was no exception. I tried this dish last summer and really loved the flavor of the grilled pizza crust.

I made some pizza dough and let it rise while I prepared the rest of the ingredients, there it is resting under the dishtowel. You can use pre-made pizza dough or even the pre-baked pizza crust, but I always prefer home made. This recipe is very easy to make, especially on a spring afternoon that feels like summer, or an actual summer afternoon when the weather is warm, because the dough will rise very nicely.

This pizza is mounded high with marinated shaved asparagus. The trick to shaving the asparagus is to use a vegetable peeler. Just start at the sprout end, using the woody stem part as a handle and peel/shave away until you have a mound of slivered asparagus. Toss it with the juice of half a lemon and some crushed garlic.

Cut some mozzarella into small cubes, and slice up some prosciutto.

Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch circle and brush it very generously with olive oil.

After heating up the grill, carefully lay the greased dough circle onto the grill.

Close the lid and let it grill until it is solid and has some nice grill marks.

This should allow you to easily remove it from the grill, flip it over and add the toppings.

Put it back on the grill, close the lid and let it continue to cook until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned. Then slide it off the grill, cut it up and eat. Warning, this step might take various tools and more than two hands!!

It was a little tricky to make it look pretty, so bear with the lopsided pizza – it did, however, taste quite good.

Meanwhile, since the grill is already warm, why not grill up the salad too?

Cut a bunch of romaine lettuce in half, keeping the stem intact to hold the leaves together, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Marinate some shrimp in lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Wash a cup of grape or cherry tomatoes.

Grill the shrimp just until it is pink. If you use frozen pre-cooked shrimp like I did, then just put them on for a couple of minutes so they capture some of the grilled flavor and they are completely thawed.

Place the lettuce on the grill, cut side down.

Flip after a few minutes. You want the lettuce to wilt a little and get some of the smoky grill flavor, but don’t leave it for too long or you will just have little crispy lettuce bits. Grill on each side for about three minutes each, then remove from grill and chop into bite sized chunks.

Toss with the grape tomatoes and shrimp, drizzle with olive oil and splash with red wine vinegar.

Grace really was excited about the tomatoes.

And she really enjoyed the pizza.

Pizza and salad from the grill. It’s just the thing for summer!

Grilled Pizza

I used SmittenKitchen.com for the recipe for the crust, which really was super easy. And then loosely based my pizza on her shaved asparagus pizza

1 recipe Really Simple Pizza Dough or your favorite pizza dough
1/2 pound asparagus
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded or cut into small cubes
4 oz finely sliced proscuitto
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Several grinds black pepper
the juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Mix up the pizza dough and while it is resting and rising, shave half a pound or a small bunch of asparagus by using a vegetable peeler. Start at the top, at the sprout and peel down the stem, using the woody end as your handle. It’s OK if the pieces all come out different widths, it just makes the pizza more interesting. Toss the shaved asparagus with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.

Chop up the mozzarella cheese into small cubes, grate the Parmesan if needed and slice the prosciutto into thin strips.

Preheat your grill to about 500 degrees F or high heat.

When the dough is ready, roll or toss it if you are a fancy Italian pizza tosser, into a 12-14 inch round.  Brush one side very generously with olive oil. Put the pizza on the hot grill, olive oil side down. One thing I learned from my sadly deformed pizza, is that even though I like the taste of a thinner crust on my pizza, thicker crusts are much easier to work with on the grill.

Once the dough has grilled enough to have nice grill marks on the bottom and is solid enough to move, remove from the grill, generously brush the raw side with olive oil, then flip it over so the grilled side is up and the raw side is down.

Load the toppings on the pizza and finish grilling with the lid down. If you are brave, you can top the pizza while it is on the grill. If you are not brave, you can top the pizza on a separate surface and return it to the grill fully topped. All of this has to be done very carefully, as the pizza dough is still soft and breakable.

Once the cheese has melted and is browned and once you have lovely grill marks on the bottom of the pizza, you’re ready to eat!

If you need more pointers, The Kitchn has a good step by step guide to grilling pizza and Pillsbury has a nice tip on how to get the dough on the grill without deforming it by using tin foil.

Grilled Salad

2 Romaine lettuce hearts
Olive oil, a drizzle
Red wine vinegar, a drizzle
1 pound of pre-cooked shrimp
1 container of grape tomatoes
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Salt
Pepper

Cut the Romaine hearts in half, keeping the stem intact. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Toss the shrimp with the lemon juice and crushed garlic. Grill the shrimp briefly on a hot grill pan just to give it some smoky flavor.

Place the lettuce on the grill, cut side down, for three minutes. Flip over and grill the other side for three minutes, then remove from the grill, chop into bite sized chunks and combine with the shrimp and tomatoes. Drizzle the whole salad with some nice olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar.

I sure enjoyed the grilled dinner that you started, Alice. What do you have for us next?!

Vegetable Salad with Vinaigrette

18 Apr

Alice took me to the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne for cooking supplies for our day of cooking. Have I mentioned how much I love fresh markets like this? Have I mentioned how much I love farm fresh vegetables? Remember this picture?

It was fantastic! Just the place to pick up all the necessary vegetables to make my Dad’s cold steamed vegetable salad. He would make this salad for special dinners. It’s a bit different from most leafy green salads as you can use whatever is in season, including root vegetables, but everything is steamed then chilled before being dressed with a simple vinaigrette dressing. It makes for a very dramatic presentation as well, a beautiful addition to any nice dinner.

I picked up some beautiful vegetables from Keegan, the green grocer at Fresh Generation, just a bit of whatever looked nice. I tried to get some vegetables that would taste good steamed and whose colors looked nice together. We picked out some zucchini, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beets (beetroot) and potatoes. I peeled and trimmed them in preparation for the steamer.

Into the steam bath they went, a few at a time.

I finished slicing some of them, then mounded them on a large serving platter and put them in the refrigerator to chill.

Before serving, I whisked together some red wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard,  some finely chopped red onion with salt and pepper then drizzled it over the mounded vegetables.

A few farm fresh hard boiled eggs sliced onto the top completed the platter.

It was a great hearty and healthy dish befitting a nice relaxed dinner with friends.

Steamed Vegetable Salad

Steam the vegetables of your choice – some of the best vegetables for this salad include carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beets (beetroot), potatoes, green beans, chayote squash or chuchu if you’re Brazilian. I believe that every time my Dad made this dish, he included different things, a bit of whatever happened to be in season at the time.

Steam vegetables just until barely softened, as you want a little bit of crunch to remain. Cut them into bite sized pieces and chill. Mound onto a serving platter, drizzle with dressing and serve.

Basic Vinaigrette
3/4 cup of nice extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped red onion
1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk together until combined. Pour over vegetables.

You can make an endless combination of flavors with this one general recipe. You need to start with base of a 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, for example, 3 tablespoons of olive oil to 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Then you can add fresh herbs such as tarragon, oregano or rosemary which all go very nicely with the vegetables, or you can chop up some onion or shallots very fine and whisk them in and you can add Dijon mustard with salt and pepper.  You can vary the vinegar, if for instance, you have a nice fruit infused vinegar or balsamic vinegar, use that. You can use regular salad oil or a little sesame oil for an Asian flair. The sky’s the limit! Have fun creating a flavor you will enjoy.

A Day of Cooking

12 Apr

B, Karen and I gathered around the kitchen bench on a Sunday afternoon, with the company and hospitality of my father Malcolm, his wife Betsy, and the boisterous cocker spaniel Manny, we spent hours cooking and laughing.

It was mayhem as we chopped, skinned, mixed, blended, talked, and stirred up a few courses that we shared in the evening with my brother Sam and his partner Jacqui.

I wish I had taken more pictures of us as we went, but the mayhem I mentioned above… well, yeah.

Betsy was busy with a tapestry she was making as a wedding gift, and Manny was busy being Manny. That is a full time job in case you were wondering. Betsy is a wonderful cook and was helping from the sidelines most of the day. She also contributed the idea of the olive oil and dessert wine cake for our last course.


Karen used to work as a cook, in high pressured, fine dining kitchens. She has also taught cooking classes, and is always an absolute pleasure to cook with and learn from. She spent the day giving us sage advice, and making up a chickpea fritter with a fresh tomato salsa recipe. It was all measured by eye and taste, but the fritters were made with… mashed cooked chickpeas, Indian besan flour (made from chickpeas), white flour, baking powder, milk, chopped spring onion, cumin seed, salt, chilli powder, fresh oregano and garlic. If you want her to develop a recipe for us to post… you need to campaign her. Feel free to be vocal in the comments.

The salsa was fresh and vibrant, delicious on the crispy  fritters. The salsa was a mix of tomato, spanish onion, chilli powder, fresh oregano, De Soto sherry vinegar, olive oil, a small pinch of  brown sugar and salt.

We ate those first as we all gathered around the kitchen bench (which looked like a whirlwind had been through), to have a pre-dinner Campari and soda.

The first dish we ate at the table was one of my long time favourites, a mussels recipe by Karen Martini with chorizo, white wine, tomato and onion as the main flavours. The mussels are mixed through pearl or risoni pasta. I will post the recipe soon.

B made a vegetable dish that was as beautiful as it was filled with love. It is something her father used to make. It was a lovely clean dish to have after the rich flavoured mussels. This one is so simple in concept, and B is planning to post the recipe.

And then came the olive oil and dessert wine cake, from a recipe by Stephanie Alexander. B and Karen made this cake with a little help from me. If you call ‘help’ handing them the salt instead of the sugar, and then making them start over again. It was sensational in spite of my innocent attempts at sabotage. It was light like a sponge, but with a lovely density thanks to the oil and sticky wine.


My partners in crime… B and Karen


Betsy…

Jacqui…

Dad, or as you may wish to call him, Malcolm…

and my younger brother Sam.

One guess who was taking the photos and didn’t get one of herself?

Will another picture of Manny suffice?

Alice

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