Friday, 25 January 2013

A healthy summer meal with family

While my parents were here for Christmas we had some lovely summer meals together. 

One night we had dinner at our place with Mum, Dad, my sister and nephew and I made Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Happy Cow burgers. I saw this on the 15 minute meals program and made it for M and I. We loved them so I kept them  up my sleeve for next time Mum and Dad visit as they follow a macrobiotic diet

I also made a simple broccoli, bean and spinach salad dressed with lemon and olive oil and a fabulous Nigella Lawson recipe for soba noodle salad which I've made many times before. Often I’ll make a quick spicy tomato sauce to go with veggie burgers but as it was so hot I made a chopped tomato salsa instead with onion and basil. 

It was a really nice simple summer meal, made even better by having my parents there with me!

Jamie Oliver's Happy Cow Burgers - with my small changes

  • 1 bunch fresh coriander (Jamie uses the stalks and keeps the leaves for salad, but I just used a slightly smaller bunch and used the whole thing)
  • 1 400g tin mixed beans
  • 200g frozen broad beans (the 2nd time I made this I ran out of beans with 100g to go so used frozen peas to top it up, it worked fine)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin (I double this)
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander (I double this)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (I didn't use this the 2nd time and it still tasted good)
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and whiz until smooth and combined. NB: I found the first time I did it the beans needed to sit for 20 mins before I whizzed them as they were too frozen to puree properly.
  2. Make into patty shapes and dust in flour
  3. Fry in olive oil until brown all over and serve!

The first time I made these we tried eating them in a burger bun (like Jamie recommended in his book) but they were too soft and went all over the place. We've since just had them more like a patty than in a burger - but still good nonetheless!

Kate eat-drink-dream

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Quick and easy summer salmon

We love smoked salmon and eat quite a lot of it, but usually the traditional cold smoked thin sliced. Recently I noticed the packets of hot smoked salmon sitting in the fridge at the supermarket while I was browsing and thought I'd pick one up. The advantage of them is that they have a long fridge life (up to a month) so I've taken to keeping a packet in the fridge for use as a quick weeknight meal or weekend lunch.

One of my favourite new brunches with this hot smoked salmon is to use it on crispy toasted sourdough. I tossed it through with some chopped coriander, spinach leaves, spring onions, tomato, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper and spread the toast with good quality mayo. A delicious quick snack.

And another new invention is this chopped green salad. In this one I tossed the salmon with cooked green beans, asparagus, peas, cucumber, chopped baby spinach, lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper. I think M and I will be eating many more light easy meals like this over summer!

Kate eat-drink-dream

Sunday, 20 January 2013

M's Wine Review - Fulcrum Chardonnay 2010

On one of my many visits to Dan Murphy's I met one of the winemakers from Fulcrum wines. He was doing a tasting of his Chardonnay and Pinot varieties. After having a quick chat I tried two vintages of his Chardonnay, the 2011 and 2010. Both struck me as odd. I was expecting that classic creamy chardonnay flavour, or a more modern acidic and exciting chardonnay variety, yet I was presented with a completely different and most un-chardonnay like wine!

I wasn't sure what to make of it, so I bought the 2010 vintage as I thought it tasted better.

In a nut shell, it is a simple wine. It is very gentle at first so you don't get that overbearing chardonnay flavour. It is nicely balanced with mild, almost straw-like, flavours. This is followed by some lime and citrus coming through the back of the pallet. The wine is easy to drink, and also very easy to enjoy. It isn't a standout chardonnay in its own right but seems like a mixture of very fine chardonnay-like flavours.

This is what the wine makers wrote about this wine:
Fulcrum Chardonnay is a new wine by Gippsland’s young gun, William Downie and long time friend and colleague, Jason Searle. Inspired by the wines they enjoyed over meals during stints in Burgundy, this Chardonnay is a lovely M√Ęcon style. Lovely texture and palate weight supported by touches of almond and white flowers. 
It's certainly something different and will appeal to most!

Price range $18-25

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Gourmet camping at Wye River

I only discovered camping in 2012, but we've been twice. After our first camping experiment we went out and bought a bigger 3 room tent and we finally got to test it out in November last year when we went to Wye River campsite with some friends and my sister and nephew. I really love the chilled out vibe and we basically spend our days reading, chatting and preparing and eating good food. 

I won't go in to detail about every great meal we ate on our recent camping trip, I'll let the pictures tell the story. But highlights would have to be the delicious bread that's baked fresh every morning at the Wye River General Store, the day sitting in the rain sipping Chandon with crushed strawberries, the delicious fish and chips at the Wye Beach Hotel and of course toasting marshmallows and popping popcorn with my gorgeous nephew.

Looking forward to even more camping in 2013!

Wye River General Store on Urbanspoon Wye Beach Hotel on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Christmas Feasting - Part 2 Christmas Day

Following our epic Christmas Eve we re-booted ready to go again! Christmas wasn't over yet and a beautiful balmy day greeted us on the 25th of December, my big sister was hosting Christmas Day dinner.

I'd say our family's celebration is fairly normal Australian - apart from the macrobiotic dishes for Mum and Dad we still have most of the traditional dishes and some seafood too.

We arrived to a perfect start - a bottle of champers and some fresh oysters and gorgeous marinated grilled prawns. We sat outside and chatted for a while, enjoying the warm evening.

Following this we moved inside to the beautifully set dining table and a feast of turkey, glazed ham, bread sauce (my all time favourite), gravy and salmon served with fennel remoulade. We had some gorgeous modern salads too, a bean, pea and sprout salad, a fresh potato salad and a delightfully Christmassy cous cous, pistachio and cherry salad.

After a little break we had a traditional dessert - hot Christmas pudding with brandy butter, cream and an alcoholic berry and fruit salad. It's the only time of the year I eat pudding like this, but boy do I like it! Excuse the dodgy photo, I'd had a few wines by then and nearly forgot to snap one before it was devoured!

Overall it was a sensational Christmas Day, spending time with loved ones, good food and good wine! The perfect way to top off a few days of feasting!

Hope your Christmas celebrations were as good as ours!

Kate eat-drink-dream

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Christmas Feasting - Part 1 Christmas Eve

I love Christmas! It’s a special time of year to get together with family and friends for a special tradition.

Since meeting M we celebrate Christmas both on Christmas Day and on Christmas Eve which is the Polish way. I've become quite attached to some of the traditional Polish celebrations too, they're lovely in sentiment and the food is delicious! 

This year my parents came over from Tasmania and we celebrated as a big family of in-laws on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Polish Christmas is vegetarian and seafood and we had some of my favourite food. Technically there's 12 dishes, one for every month of the year, including: Barszcz (beetroot soup with dumplings), salatka (a creamy potato salad), gorgeous smoked salmon from the local Polish deli, golabki (cabbage rolls), some lovely fish fillets and of course, everyone's favourite, pierogi (dumplings) stuffed with potato, onion and cheese and some stuffed with cabbage and mushrooms, served with sour cream.

For dessert we had a smorgasbord of cakes - cheesecake, sponge cake, poppyseed cake, wafelki (I've blogged about them before) and a Christmas specialty - kutia. This dish is made from wheat, honey and poppy seeds and tradition says that the more kutia you eat the more wealth will come in the following year. It's an acquired tasted but I quite like it.

And of course, it wouldn't be a Polish celebration without some traditional Polish vodka! My father-in-law brought out a bottle of zubrowka which is flavoured with Bison Grass, they leave one beautiful slender blade in the bottle when the make it. We drank it straight however I'm quite fond of it mixed with good apple juice, it tastes just like apple pie!

Tomorrow I'll publish our Christmas Day summary, so come back then for some more feasting goodness!

Kate eat-drink-dream