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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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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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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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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Banana & coconut muffins

cooked banana muffins sitting on a wire rack

Market ingredient: N/A 
Difficulty: Quick & easy
Deliciousness: Very banana-ry
Did The Beard like it? Apparently.

I don’t have a market ingredient this week, but what I did have was 2 overripe bananas that I just had to do something with. They were so ripe that they were giving off that all-pervading heady banana smell; too ripe to eat on their own. As I kid, I hated bananas and I think it was because of that same intense smell. Also I had (for some unknown reason) masses of shredded and dessicated coconut in the cupboard. I think I had intended, once upon a time, to make a coconut cake, but just forgot about it.

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Tunisia Pt. 1: Kaak Ouarka

Kaak Ouarka, Tunisian Almond sweets

So not only have I not posted in over 2 months, this isn’t even really sticking to my normal posting style. I’m not posting about an ingredient from Eveleigh, or a particularly ingredient at all. Nor have I cooked anything. But I have just been gallavanting around the Mediterranean for a month and if there was a place in which I could consume lots of tasty treats, it would be the Med. So to kick of the new year and get me back into the swing of weekly blogging I thought I would share one of my favourite discoveries of all of Tunisia: Kaak Ouarka.

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Gingerbread house

gingerbread house completed

Market ingredient: Not applicable this week
Difficulty: Can be fairly difficult, depending on the degree to which you decorate
Deliciousness: So sweet
Did The Beard like it? He didn’t even get to try it. Unlucky.

A gingerbread house is really a labour of love. And man do I love making them. A bit of a family tradition in the Brown household, they were always the most hotly anticipated aspect of Christmas when we were kids. My Aunt & Uncle would bring one along every year and we would wait patiently all day, only to destroy it as we all scrambled to claim the lolly-filled chimney for ourselves. Whilst I could never take replace T&S’s role of gingerbread creators for family Christmases, I’ve taken it upon myself to be come the bearer of all things gingerbread at the Christmas party my friends & I have every year. Generally about a month out from Christmas, we get together to eat, drink and open ridiculous Secret Santa presents. Each person brings something and my role is always the house.

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Hazelnut meringue stack with hazelnut praline cream

Singular Hazelnut meringue stack

Market ingredient: Australian Gourmet Hazelnuts, from Mudgee
Difficulty: Not hard, just takes time
Deliciousness: Sweet with a hint of bitterness
Did The Beard’s friend Jim like it? The praline was a bit bitter for his liking

It’s been over a month since I’ve blogged about something I’ve cooked. Pretty lame, I know. Apologies. No excuse other than the fact that I’ve been lazy. So lazy in that I’d actually cooked this particular dish 3 weeks ago and it has taken me this long to write it up. What I actually really liked about this particular recipe is that is was part of an impromptu dinner party The Beard and I had one Saturday night with AOB & Jim. For no reason at all other than we just felt like it. Now the Hazelnut Guy at Eveleigh is pretty new. Seems to swap in and out with the Macadamia Nut Guy. Selling these goodies roasted or raw, ground or whole, they were really delicious. Much like the Macadamias I’ve used before, there’s something to be said for fresh nuts that haven’t been sitting in a supermarket for months on end. These are so much more flavoursome.

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Salted butter caramels

salted butter caramel cut into squares

Market ingredient: Pepe Saya butter
Difficulty: Easy, but difficult to know when it’s ready
Deliciousness: Intense
Did The Beard like it? It took 1 day to eat half the tray

Salty sweets are all the rage at the moment. Well, it seems to be, at least. I came across this wee recipe in the Good Living section of the Sydney Morning Herald the other week and had to try it. Salted butter caramels. Yum. It also gave me an excuse to use butter as my main key ingredient for once. Clearly this is one of those ‘minute on the lips, lifetime on the hips’ kind of recipes. but who cares.

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Rhubarb cupcakes

Rhubarb cupcakes in white cupcake liners

Market ingredient: Rhubarb
Difficulty: I always find baking difficult
Deliciousness: This is my favourite icing flavour now
Did The Beard like it? The icing saved the cake

I love the tartness of rhubarb. Raw, it will make your eyes water, but when cooked gently with sugar, it is such a delicious flavour. Like apples, it goes beautifully in pies and sauces. However, rather than baking a typical pie with the rhubarb this week, I wanted to be a little creative. It was Wee AB’s birthday during the week, so a fruity cupcake felt like it should be on the cards.

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