Friday, April 4, 2014

Jamie Freak'n Oliver

Seriously, who doesn't love a bit of Jamie? The man is incredibly talented, not to mention motivated, and is personally one of my favourite chefs. I turn to his recipes pretty much all the time, and though I'm yet to actually cook anything in the timeframe specified I still think the recipes are simple and quick, and always totally delicious. 

This was my attempt at the Pesto Pasta with Garlic & Rosemary Chicken from 15 Minute Meals, with just a couple of minor variations. I traded the lasagne sheet pasta for spinach fettucine, and the chicken breasts for chicken tenderloins, simply because that's what I had on hand.  

It definitely didn't take me 15 minutes, I'd say more like 45. But hey, not all of us have a crew of cleaners and a food processor and an eight-burner stove top. And the end result (despite not being quite as pretty) was certainly tasty nonetheless.

If you're after recipes that are quick, easy and full of flavour I'd highly recommend adding something Jamie-related to your recipe book collection  as if you haven't already.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Out and About: Lemon, Middle and Orange

Unless you know where to look you're pretty unlikely to stumble across this cafe, tucked neatly and unassumingly away in Collingwood's industrial backstreets. I heard about it late last year, and finally decided to pay a visit on Saturday. 

With a former Rockwell & Sons / Auction Rooms chef in the kitchen you can't really go wrong, and the menu offers a nice mix of fresh and interesting dishes. I opted for the croquettes of the day—beef and herb—which arrived on a bed of tangy tomato relish and topped with two poached eggs and a light rocket salad. 

Normally I wouldn't be inclined to order anything beef-related before lunch time, but after our lovely waitress assured me they were pretty special, I decided to give them a go.

Well, I think you can see just by looking at them that they were indeed, pretty special. Crunchy and perfectly salted on the outside, soft and almost terrine-like in the middle. The filling really wasn't anything like I had envisaged when I ordered, but it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. And as always, I added a side of avocado. Can't have brunch without avocado. 

If you like your brekky with a bit of a twist, I'd recommend paying this place a visit soon.

Lemon Middle and Orange
25 - 31 Rokeby Street
Collingwood VIC 3066

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

You Say Tomato, I say Kumato.

When I was younger I really despised tomatoes, thinking of them as quite the unnecessary evil. Particularly those hateful little cherry tomatoes  which everyone insisted on adding to everything  yep, those ones were definitely the worst.   

As I grew older I came to realise that the tomato could maybe, just maybe hold a rightful place in certain scenarios  take a Hungry Jack's Whopper for example  when the mayo mixes with the juice from the fresh tomato? I mean, c'mon, it's pretty damn special. And so I came to understand (even appreciate) that sometimes, a little slice of tomato isn't such a bad thing.

That said, I was not about to be won over by those nasty cherry jerks. Try as I might to enjoy them, I could never bring my tastebuds around to thinking they were okay. Because... well, because they're just. not. good.

But last year everything changed! And since it was a big moment for me, please allow me to introduce my newest friend: the kumato.

The kumato is everything a cherry tomato wishes it could be. It's sweet and tart and firm and not slimy and it's even a better shade of red. Since discovering these guys I am totally converted. I'm adding them to everything. Salads, pastas, stews, you name it.

But why should you care? Well I guess my point is (yes, there is one), is that you don't always have to stick with what you know, or with what you think you don't like. Get out there and try something new! You may just be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Spicy Lentil and Bacon Soup

When it comes to cold weather eats, there's pretty much nothing better than a good bowl of soup. Well, at least as far as I'm concerned. And I'm not fussy, no, pretty much any soup will do. 

This particular concoction is something I made up on the fly a few years back, and has since settled itself comfortably onto mine and Mr B's list of winter staples. And now, with temperatures finally on the decline here in Melbourne, it seems as good a time as any to bust out a few old favourites.

This soup is not only tasty, super easy and quick to put together, it keeps well in the freezer too  perfect for those cold and lazy nights when you're craving something warming without any hassle.

800g (2 tins) brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 large brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 zucchini, diced
125g rindless free-range bacon, diced (omit for a vegetarian option)
1L chicken or vegetable stock
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Olive oil

In a large heavy-based pot heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook off the onion, garlic, chilli and bacon, until the bacon is just beginning to brown. Add the celery, carrot and zucchini and cook until the vegetables begin to soften slightly.

Pour in the rinsed lentils and stock, season well with salt and pepper and bring it up to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer straight away (don't let it keep boiling), then cover with a lid and allow to gently simmer for 45 - 60 minutes. 

Serve it up with your favourite crusty bread. Yum!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Simple Salad

If you're after a quick and easy meal you really can't go past a fresh garden salad paired with some sort of protein. It's always my go-to option after a long day, and the best part is you can be as creative, or as simple as you like with your salad ingredients.

This particular version featured crisp mixed greens with finely sliced radishes, red capsicum, cucumber and spring onions, topped off with crumbled feta cheese. Dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice, it proved to be a rather delicious companion for a grilled chicken breast.

So tell me, what are your favourite salad combinations?