Watermelon, basil & rosewater granita

2 glasses of granita with cream

 

Market ingredient: basil
Difficulty: a little messy (although that’s perhaps just me) and you need 2 days
Deliciousness: Refreshing
Did The Beard like it? “It needs more rosewater”. But then again, he thinks life needs more rosewater.

Who doesn’t love a granita? A cheat’s alternative to a sorbet, all icey and delicious. I know I do. This recipe is adapted from a much-loved and highly utilised Stephanie Alexander (the other Stephanie) recipe, straight cookbook of biblical proportions, The Cook’s Companion.

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Marinated Labne (yoghurt cheese)

spice-covered labne balls in plastic container

Market ingredient: Lush natural yoghurt
Difficulty: Really easy & super versatile
Deliciousness: Tangy
Did The Beard like it? “mmmm, perfect”

I thought I would do a little shout out to the Lebanese sour, yoghurty cheese so loved by The Beard. Pretty rare that I go all Nadia Comaneci-styles with Lebanese food, but The Beard seemed to really enjoy this one. Since dating the guy, I have grown to love this stuff. With a ricotta-like consistency and a delicious tartness, this is the perfect addition to a middle eastern mezze. Scoop it up with fresh Lebanese bread. It’s actually perfect plain and spread on toast as well.

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2013 Gingerbread house

gingerbread house

Well, it’s 2014 and it’s been a long time between blog posts. Oops. Whilst I know everyone is probably sick to death of turkey, ham, trifles and pudding and madly trying to work off the post-Christmas indulgence, I thought it might be worthwhile still posting a few pics of the 2013 Gingerbread house. I haven’t bothered posting the actual recipe here (but you can find it in last year’s post).

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Linguine with stinging nettles and chorizo

linguine with stinging nettles and chorizo on a plate

Market ingredient: Stinging nettles
Difficulty: The dish itself is REALLY easy, but handling the nettles can be troublesome
Deliciousness: Simple flavours
Did The Beard like it? “If I didn’t know they were stinging nettles, I’d have thought it was spinach.

I was really excited this week. I was on to a jackpot of an ingredient. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that the intention of this blog was to push myself to cook with ingredients that I’ve never used before or do so rarely. It’s not often that you actually come across an ingredient that you’ve literally never used or never tried and this was one of those weeks. Not only was I shocked that someone was actually selling stinging nettles, but there were in fact 2 stalls selling them. Radtown.

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Blood orange meringue cupcakes

cooked blood orange meringue cupcakes

Market ingredient: Blood oranges
Difficulty: Fail safe cake. Guaranteed.
Deliciousness: Bitter sweet
Did The Beard like it? I’d serve them up for afternoon tea

Before this post goes any further, I have to ask one question:  Why the hell do I not eat more blood oranges? Damn. These things are good. I never give oranges in general a chance. I discount them over other seemingly more interesting fruit all the time. I get distracted by peaches, persuaded by pomegranates, and lured in by perfect pink lady apple. But the humble orange – I just walk on by. Until this week. I was actually on the hunt for ruby red grapefruit as I’d sort of been set a little challenge (although that’s the opposite of what this blog is about – I’m supposed to find a food and be inspired to cook, rather than thinking of a recipe and seeking out an ingredient). Whilst there was not a grapefruit to be seen at Eveleigh Markets this week (or any other week now that I think about it) I was stopped in my tracks by the deep crimson flesh of these organic blood oranges. See you later grapefruit.

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Moussaka

Baked moussaka and red cabbage salad

Market ingredient: Eggplants
Difficulty: Fairly easy – can just take some time
Deliciousness: Lovely
Did The Beard’s friend like it? “Delightful”

As the winter seems to draw to a close (although whether we actually had a winter this year is somewhat debatable), I felt that it was only appropriate to try and bust out some final heart-warming and cosy dishes. Moussaka is something that I’ve always thought about cooking but, for some reason, never have. It’s a deliciously comforting dish most commonly associated with Greek cuisine. Although word on the street is that it’s actually Phoenician in origin, but I’ll let the Lebanese and Greeks fight it out for ownership titles on this one.

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Basbousa (Semolina slice)

semolina slice in a tray with sugar syrup

Market ingredient: N/A
Difficulty: Honestly SO easy. You can prepare and cook in under 1 hr
Deliciousness: Sugary sweetness. 
Did The Beard like it? “DELICIOUS”

It’s that time of the year again where I get myself whipped into a frenzy about the impending annual ski trip. And this year we got the call up to partake in the Annual Parentals Trip to Turnak. i.e The Beard and I will be hanging out with Mamma and Papa Brown and their friends for an entire week in a legendary lodge in Guthega that doesn’t have internet connection. Nor a TV. Nor mobile phone reception, unless you are with Optus, stand on a stool in the front corner of the living room and direct your phone north. In the vein of all good ski trips, such a week always involves an incredible amount of food and wine and it’s up to each person who is staying to take it in turns cooking for the rest of the team for 1 night.

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Chinese braised beef cheeks

chinese braised beef cheeks

Market ingredient: Linga Longa Beef Cheeks
Difficulty: Requires 10 hrs of cooking time
Deliciousness: Intensely rich
Did The Beard like it? “I can feel it making me fat”.

It’s nice to find something at Eveleigh Markets again that I’ve never actually cooked before. The amazing butcher from Linga Longa Farm (the same guy that does those amazing Cattleman’s cut of beef) had some incredible looking beef cheeks. I LOVE this cut of meat when out at restaurants: so rich and intense, full of meaty meaty flavour.

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