Sunday, 31 January 2016


It's the day before I start my little boy in daycare and go back to the office full-time. How to prepare? Cook the entire week's dinners, of course! Since I find the flavours develop in the fridge and it's easy to mix and match what I want, I made three different kinds of curry, and sealed them up in tupperware. None of them were particularly amazing -- Rick Stein's aloo gobi is rubbish compared to mine --- but I did take a little time out to make parathas for the first time. Skipping chapatis: go straight to the flaky version!

I was a bit nervous because the only time I made decent naan, I did it by accident. So I expected these to come out terribly. Fortunately, they are really really easy, and they came out totally deliciously! They also were easy to make ahead and then fry quickly just before serving. I bet they would freeze perfectly as well. I think next time I make them I will enlist a helper, and then the process would be really fast. Otherwise you're constantly switching back and forth between rolling (floury) and brushing (buttery) and everything gets a little sticky. The following quantity serves four people with curries.


  • 250g chapati flour (finely milled wholewheat flour), or half wholemeal, half plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp melted butter, plus ~5 tbsp for brushing
  • 120-150ml warm water

In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt, then add the melted butter and 120ml of the water. Mix together, adding a little more water if needed, until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Knead in the bowl for a minute then cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Set out a ramekin of the ~5tbsp melted butter with a pastry brush, a ramekin of plain flour and a rolling pin, plenty of kitchen paper (great for mopping up butter spills), and a plate with a wet tea towel to cover your parathas as you make them. Lightly flour a surface and the rolling pin, and give yourself plenty of room. (mis-en-place is super important here!)

Divide the dough in half, then each half in half again, and again, to make eight pieces. Roll out a piece of dough to a circle about 13cm in diameter. Brush the top thinly with butter, dust over a little flour, then fold in half over the butter to form a half-moon. Repeat the brushing, sprinkling, and folding again, to form a triangle. Roll the triangle out so that each side is about 13cm long. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Heat a heavy-based frying pan and fry each piece of dough 1-2 minutes each side; they should become golden, slightly singed, and puff up a little as they cook. If you like you can brush the sides with yet more butter as you do this! (I didn't, and they were still yum.) Remove them to a warmed plate, cover with a (dry) tea towel,
and serve as soon as you can.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Spiralized Pasta with Butternut Squash

A spiralizer take on our family favourite! Learning from my previous spiralizer experiences, I cooked the sauce until it was completely dry, in a frying pan that seemed way too big for it. I spiralized three courgettes on the tagliatelle setting, and added them once the sauce was dry. After a few minutes, they suddenly collapsed and let out all of their water, which rehydrated the sauce enough to coat the "pasta". I served it immediately, topped with grated parmesan, and the whole meal was fantastic!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Spiralizer Week: Day Four: Ginger Egg Drop Soup

This was the evening of another exercise class and I knew that the very simple soup we had in mind was just not going to cut it. So I beefed it up with some extra ingredients, while keeping the rest mostly the same. I was really unsure about adding vinegar to a soup, but it worked *really* well. In fact I can't quite believe how smooth and tasty this dish was. Of course it helped that I had made a really great chicken stock with the chicken carcass I had left from jointing a chicken earlier in the week. I think that is crucial for any non-puréed soup. The photo really doesn't do this soup justice!


  • a thumb of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 tbsp dried wakame
  • 4-5 spring onions, shredded
  • 1/3 tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 tsp sherry or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 cups really good chicken stock
  • 2 large eggs, gently beaten
  • two chicken thighs or a chicken breast, cooked, shredded
  • two grilled corn-on-the-cobs, kernels cut
  • 1 zucchini, spiralized into thin noodles
Fry the ginger gently until golden and beginning to crisp, then add the wakame, spring onions, chilli flakes, vinegar, soy sauce and chicken stock. Let it come to a simmer and cook for a few minutes, then add in the eggs, stirring as they cook. Add in the shredded chicken, corn kernels, and zucchini, and bring back up to temperature. Serve!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Spiralizer Week: Day Three: Avocado-Basil Zucchini Noodles with Chilli-Lime Prawns and Corn

Wow, what a mouthful. In both senses! I really liked the cold sauce for this dish. It was interesting how it affected the texture of the zucchini noodles. The prawns were OK, but not that great; I think I'd rather serve this with some jerk chicken or fried fish. The corn was luscious, and I liked how its heat softened the zucchini noodles just a tad. For some reason, this is the only dish in months that has provoked my lovely SO to spontaneously exclaim how much he liked it. So -- a win!


  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, skinned and stone removed
  • 1/4 cup yoghurt
  • 12 basil leaves
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 corn on the cob
  • 2-3 zucchinis, spiralized into noodles
  • seasoned, barbecued fish or chicken, to serve


Whiz the lime juice, salt, pepper, avocado, yoghurt, basil and garlic together in a blender. Barbecue or grill the corn until golden and tender. Cut the kernels from the corn and then mix with the sauce and zucchini noodles. Would serve really well with some freshly barbecued chicken or fish.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Spiralizer Week: Day Two: Zucchini Noodles with Chicken, Feta and Spinach

Day two saw me head to my usual Tuesday night Sh'Bam exercise class, so I was in need of a little more protein than a vegetarian meal would provide. Earlier in the day I bought a whole chicken and diced the breasts, so we could easily put this together after my class. (Oh, things that are going to be impossible when I am working in the office again!)

I have no idea what cuisine this was supposed to be, I just nabbed it from this blog. I replaced the spinach with sweet potato leaves from my garden, since they are totally out of control, and are much tastier and less soggy than spinach. Overall it was pretty tasty, if not super-memorable. The noodles are still fun!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Spiralizer Week: Day One: Puttanesca Sauce

My middle sister gave me a Spiralizer for Christmas, so I decided that this week would be Spiralizer Week, and every day I would do a different recipe from a beginner's Spiralizer recipe blog: a nice way to ease back from all-salads into slightly more filling food, while hopefully still shedding a few Christmas pounds. We started off well with this "spaghetti" alla puttanesca. You could, of course, make it with normal pasta, and it might fill you up for a little longer.

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2-3 anchovy fillets
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp capers, chopped if they are large
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 2 zucchini, spiralized into thin noodles

Crush the garlic into a frying pan with a little oil (use olive, or if you prefer, anchovy oil from the jar) and snip in the anchovy fillets, then fry over a low heat until the anchovy has dissolved and the garlic has softened. Pour in the tin of tomatoes and add the parsley, capers and olives; season with chilli flakes, if using, or black pepper. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until liquid from the sauce has completely evaporated.

Once the sauce is dry, add the zucchini noodles, and cook until they have *just* softened and enough water has come out to make the sauce a little liquid. Stop cooking immediately and serve the noodles with the sauce.

Saturday, 16 January 2016


I was first served gazpacho by my family in Provence, a couple of years ago when I visited after a conference. Naturally it was achingly hot outside, which is the perfect time, perhaps the only time, for cold soup. But this gazpacho is far tastier than that sounds! I could not believe how refreshing and zingy it was, and now I've finally replicated it down under, I'm looking forward to whizzing it up whenever I need a light and refreshing lunch.

  • 500g fresh tomatoes
  • half a cucumber
  • a red pepper
  • a slice of bread, preferably stale
  • a clove of garlic
  • 1tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 50ml wine vinegar
  • 50ml olive oil
  • a fresh chilli (optional)
  • basil leaves, Tabasco, pepper, olive oil to serve
Cut off the stem bits of the tomato, pepper, chilli if using, and skin and crush the garlic. Chuck everything in a liquidiser and pulse until well blended. Serve in little glasses with little spoons, topped with basil leaves, and with extra olive oil, black pepper and Tabasco on hand to add to taste.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Jamie's Salads

After a hugely decadent Christmas, and a 42C welcome to Perth, we ate nothing but salad for a whole week. I brushed off my old favourites: mango, mint and bulghur wheat; salad nicoise; and simple greens with lots of avocado. Toward the end of the week I recovered some appetite, enough to try a couple of new, more filling salads: Jamie's superfood salad, which reminded me of how good salad can be when you just chuck in the contents of the fridge, and Jamie's sexy salad, which is as good a salad as you can expect, having spent around $20 on the ingredients.

The best thing is, it's summer here, so it's the season for figs (as above), but also mangoes, peaches, apricots, and cherries. Love it!