Dips – Humous and Baba ghanoush

I love both these Middle Eastern and Arabic dips which are beautiful as starters or as part of a main meal. They have saved me from supermarket excursions, served as a starter many times for friends/family, satisfied as a late night snack and always feel special even though they are so simple to make. Both…

Easy No Knead Flatbreads

When I say these are easy, quick and delicious I am telling no lie. You literally add the ingredients together, divide the dough into 12 pieces, roll out each piece to a bread the size of a side plate and griddle. Perfect for dinner party/BBQ or just to rustle up as a snack for yourself….

War of the Fish Pies

Where to start with this one….everyone seems to have their own way of making this dish and people are very precise about the particular way they like theirs to be. I am no master of the fish pie by any means but I did research into the best looking concoctions and have even divulged my…

Sage Butter Spaetzle, Burnt Tomato Bake and Fennel Salad

A type of German egg noodle, literally translated to ‘little sparrow’ as the odd shapes were thought to resemble these little birds. I like this interpretation, imaginative – more alluring than ‘little sperm’ which I have also heard along the way. First time I tried this was in a little wooden restaurant in Dorset with…

Fig and Honey Lamb Shanks with Jewelled Rice and Cucumber Salad

I cut this recipe out of a magazine months ago and was excited to finally give it a whirl. I liked the fact they were ‘overnight’ and looked so sticky and plush in the photo, I imagined the sweet, rich, warming flavour with a soft, aromatic rice and zingy, fresh salad. The recipe belongs to…

English Breakfast Muffins

English because they are savoury muffins, rather than the sweet American variety. Well worth the little effort taken to rise 2 hours before you plan to eat – here’s how it could go for you….. 7am – Up to make the simple batter (15-20 minutes, including kneading) then back to bed for 1 hour whilst…

Creamy Bacon, Boursin and Courgette Pasta – My best kept secret

I know we’ve all added various cream cheeses to pastas before but this particular combination is something that pains me slightly to divulge as it has been a personal love affair since my mum first made this for us. A dish that pleases all, and can be made vegetarian easily with the exclusion of bacon….

Quick Poached Chicken Salad with Basil Mayonnaise

This is another quick recipe, perfect for week nights. I don’t know why but if you’re scared of making mayonnaise….don’t be – as for some reason I’ve always had success with this recipe which doesn’t happen that often. The mayonnaise and shredded chicken also works well as a tasty filling for a nice crusty baguette…

Crab, mint and lemon spelt pasta

Joker/Comedian – ‘What did the crab pull at the disco?’ Receiver – ‘I don’t know’ (yawn) Joker/Comedian – ‘A mussel/muscle’…. This is the only joke I have remembered since being about 5 years old. I don’t think I even got it at first but for some reason, it has stayed with me. It’s not exactly…

Supreme Butter Chicken with Herby Flatbreads

This recipe was inspired by good friends and their delectable (can’t help feeling like Hannibal when I say that word) curry we enjoyed over the weekend. I had never heard of adding saffron milk to rice and wanted to try this out for myself…I also came across the blog by Mimi, (below) and her butter…

Fettuccine with Spiced Butter

I came across this recipe on the blog ‘101 Cookbooks’ – the healthy recipe journal, who I think was inspired by a version from Yotam Ottolenghi. I believe he uses fresh saffron tagliatelle – the recipe is in his book. http://www.101cookbooks.com/ I haven’t actually changed a thing apart from using fettuccine and adding more chilli…

The Perfect Tiramisu

This was my first attempt at tiramisu so I wanted to do my research to find the perfect recipe. I like the traditional method and Baileys or beer just wouldn’t cut the mustard. I use madeira lots when cooking and enjoy the flavour so decided to use this, although Pedro Ximenez sherry was tempting too….

Lovely Crumpets

A weekend breakfast maybe, but not difficult by any measure. Whether you go for bacon and maple syrup or poached eggs and dukkah – they are almost as revered as pancakes in my house (which is really saying something). I hope you give this recipe a go and you enjoy them as much as we…

The Perfect Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Slaw

Having read and tried my hand at many fried chicken recipes, this one stood out by having the best flavour, crunch and when mated with this particular coleslaw and the white rolls on my previous post – I have to say, what an absolute delight! It’s the kind of meal you talk about after, as…

Soft pull-apart rolls

I first made these as buns for fried chicken and they were so light, soft and fluffy that I have decided to stick with this recipe for all future fried chicken escapades. You could use these as burger buns but I am still in the mind-set that brioche works best with any burger other than…

Boston Beans, Two Ways

I’m pretty excited about this one. Baked beans have been one of my pantry staples since first leaving home and I have always wondered if it’s a bit of a ‘cop out’ to buy them in the tin. This was a little experimentation involving two recipes – a quick one and a long one (the…

Broccoli Orecchiette

Easter had left us feeling like beached whales and so I wanted to make something really simple, tasty and cheap for Easter Monday. Looking through books, I found this recipe crop up again and again and as it met all my specifications I decided to give it a whirl. You’ll probably have most of the…

Raspberry Buttermilk Pancakes

I tell no lie when I say this could be the easiest pancake recipe of all time. Buttermilk has a heavier consistency than American pancakes, and I can’t say I have a favourite. I would sway towards buttermilk, if adding fruit and wanted to whip something up quick but if not I’d probably go American….

Easter Chicken and Potatoes with Green Olive Tapenade

As Easter is fast approaching, I thought a really special roast chicken recipe would be apt, so here we go. The sweet, buttery tomatoes underneath the skin keep it lovely and moist, oozing out as you serve the chicken and the garlicky tomatoes that have been ‘incubated’ whilst it cooks are beautiful spooned over whatever…

Pasta Jumble Bake

I came across this pasta at the weekend and bought it along with Sicilian and Kalamata olives, mozzarella, lots of large pomodoro tomatoes and basil with the intention of making a pasta bake. I’m always a bit dubious about pasta bakes as I don’t like overcooked pasta or too much sauce but this particular purchase…

Pulled Pork Monster Sliders

Or…Slow Roast Pork Shoulder Rolls I decided to make these after having particularly good pork sliders at ‘Little Creatures Brewery’ in Brunswick. If you get the chance to go, seriously order the fries – I think they could be the best fries ever. I often make a pork ragu, where the meat is cooked very…

Fennel, Garlic and Lemon Potatoes

The Delights of Fennel I am slightly infatuated with the aniseed flavour of fennel (almost as much as I am with Sambuca) but have only recently begun cooking with it. The love affair began when I realised fennel seeds went really well with roast vegetables, then I started adding the seeds to tomato sauces, BBQ…

Market Spaghetti

After a productive week, a bottle of well-deserved Prosecco turned into 2 less justified bottles, which lead onto my first experience at ‘Revolver’. Great fries, electronic music (not really our thing but good music anyway), vodka tonics and to top it all off – a burger I had prepared earlier from Ben’s ‘Hamburger Gourmet’ book….

Easy Yoghurt Flat-breads

These have never let me down, and I am by no means a bread maker – so that’s really saying something! I first made these to go with dips and then to accompany slow cooked lamb and coleslaw, and now I make these with most salads and pretty much anything. The only thing I ever…

Smoked Trout and Coconut Salad

‘Hot sun beating down, making you sweat’ Yes Phil, this is how it was in Melbourne’s summer, all you want to eat are fresh salads and cold food. I remember making Bolognese with an ice lolly in my mouth and the very prudent nights, sleeping as far apart as possible so as to escape from…

Thyme Roast Tomatoes with Feta and Basil

This is one of the most simple breakfasts but so fresh and so punchy – it was tough taking the photos before devouring this tasty morsel. It’s probably wrong for me to call this a recipe, it’s more like a good flavour combination. Plates all too often get busy or confused but good ingredients can…

Saffron Rice Pilaf and 2 Nifty Curries…

I have cooked many a curry in my time but find these two are good quick weeknight recipes using mostly store-cupboard ingredients, here is the spice list for all three dishes, Bay leaves Ground coriander or coriander seeds (to grind) Ground cumin Ground turmeric Garam masala Saffron threads As Winter drawers closer, I find this…

Spaghetti Bolognese

My choice for death row, without a doubt. Hearty, homely and ‘a cuddle in the mouth’. I did try this in Bologna and it was very good (almost as good as this little number) – not too saucy, caressing the spaghetti, rather than drowning it. It was also mixed in, which my partner was happy…

Beef Short Rib Ragu with Gnocchi

  I made this in ‘the gnocchi period’. You know when you make gnocchi once and suddenly this whole world opens up to you, all the combinations to try and how nice to have a new, staple ingredient to work with. If you haven’t already, try frying gnocchi in butter (another recipe for another time)…

Harissa and Capsicum Chicken with Chickpea Couscous

I found this in a Delicious magazine. The rich red capsicum sauce looked great alongside the golden tones of the couscous. I felt like it may look better than it tasted, but gladly I was wrong. Ingredients – Serves 2 3 tbsp olive oil 1 brown onion, chopped 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped 3 red…

Zucchini Agrodolce

Zucchini still sounds very Aussie to me, but then courgette agrodolce doesn’t have the same ring to it. Agrodolce is a traditional Italian sweet and sour sauce, made up from ‘agro’(sour) and ‘dolce’ (sweet) – in this case vinegar and sugar. If you haven’t already tried this, please give it a go as it is…

Baby Beet this for Breakfast Baby!

This combination was inspired by Top Paddocks… I have to say, this is probably the best breakfast I have had in Melbourne and I can’t bring myself to try anything else when I come here. I am not a beetroot person by any stretch of the imagination, but this ingredient has now transposed into one…

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad by Stephanie Alexander

Recipe by Stephanie Alexander – My only tweak was adding some rice vermicelli at the end. Vietnamese was something new and exciting to me since moving to Melbourne and living in Richmond, Victoria Street is our ‘can’t be bothered to cook’ destination. I always fancy this on a hot day, after a few drinks in…

Bill Granger’s Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake

Who doesn’t like cheesecake? This was the first cheesecake recipe I tried and love the way it is so easy, just a matter of measuring everything and letting the food processor do the work. Preheat oven to 140°C, lightly grease a 24cm springform cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper. Find a deep…

Lemon Trickle Cake *Good zing factor

I thought I’d start with this cracker of a cake that never lets you down. It may look simple (and it is) but the taste makes up for any of that. I once thought it impossible to make this cake too lemony….but I think I have found a happy medium with this amount of drizzle,…

Encapsulating the Pantry

Welcome to my blog. The name has derived from the fact I think that good ingredients should be ‘well travelled’ meaning they can complement or camouflage into any type of cuisine from anywhere in the world. I am also a collector of most ‘kitcheny’ things and small animal figures (the animal army). Since I have…