Roast chicken with Pernod & oranges

tray of roast chicken

Market ingredient: Thirlmere free-range chicken
Difficulty: Such an easy roast
Deliciousness: OOOOO yeah
Did The Beard like it? Almost as good as Mum’s (seems to be a reoccuring theme here?)

You know why I love middle eastern cooking? Actually, there are numerous reasons, from the one-pot-cooking of tagines and stews, to the heady combinations of spices, to the use of fruit in savoury dishes. So many dates, plums, prunes, figs and citrus. And then there’s the use of aniseed flavours. Delicious, delicious aniseed. Fennel, fennel seeds, aniseed tea (try it). And then there is arak. For the uninitiated, arak is an intensely aniseed flavoured liquor that The Beard’s family friends and relos used make. And sweet baby jesus, this stuff is intense. Mental note to self – you’re supposed to drink it watered down. Not as a straight shot. Dad and I learnt the hard way when The Beard rocked up to my parent’s place with a 2L Southern Comfort flagon filled with the stuff. But that’s another story…

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Falafel with tahini sauce

Bowl of falafel

Market ingredient: N/A
Difficulty: Fiddley
Deliciousness: I really liked them
Did The Beard like it? “Not as good as Grandma used to make”*

One of the best things about going to Bathurst for the long weekend is getting to spend time in the kitchen with The Beard’s mum. She’s incredible in the kitchen. Much like my own Mum, Mona is a little bit experimental in the kitchen. She likes to try new things out and to hell with recipes and measurements! When she suggested we make falafel, I was excited but a little worried that I’ve never remember what the recipe was. To be fair, I’m sure there are purists out there that will say “that’s not how you make falafel”. But I love Mona’s philosophy: “If it tastes good, add it”.

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Spiced roast pumpkin soup

pumpkin soup in a bowl with croutons

Market ingredient: Pumpkin
Difficulty: Fairly simple – would be quicker if you didn’t roast the pumpkin
Deliciousness: The opposite of last week – AMAZING
Did The Beard like it? Quote unquote: “beautiful”

It’s POURING like a mo fo outside. I mean absolutely pouring. The Beard and I made the decision to step outside for a quick bolt to the shops and came home looking like we’d just stood under the shower in our clothes. And I was even wearing gumboots and carrying an umbrella. Now if that isn’t the perfect excuse to whip up some warm and comforting pumpkin soup, then I don’t know what is.

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Panfried pine mushroom fail

bowl of panfried pine mushrooms

Market ingredient: Pine mushrooms
Difficulty: Pretty easy
Deliciousness: I completely f*&ked this one up
Did The Beard like it? Not at all

It’s not often that I’ll claim this, but I really made a mess of this dish. Well, I’ll often claim it, but in that “I-know-this-dish-is-awesome-but-I’ll-say-that-I’m-not-sure-about-it-so-people-will-praise-my-skills” kind of way. But for once, I really actually did mess up the dish.  From appearances, it all looks good, but the taste was something else. And here’s why…

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BBQ lemon thyme scotch fillet

bbq lemon thyme scotch fillet

Market ingredient: Scotch fillet
Difficulty: SO easy
Deliciousness: Zingy
Did The Beard like it? It would have been awesome if he hadn’t over-cooked the steak 😉

A super quick one this week. A way to make a mid-week steak dinner just a little fancier. This week’s market purchase was some delicious thick-cut scotch fillet. I’d never seen these cuts before, but they’re called a Cattleman’s Cut – basically scotch fillet with the bone still attached. Beautifully marbled and perfect for BBQing.

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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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BBQ whole snapper with fennel, lemon & tarragon

whole stuffed snapper ready to be barbequed

Market ingredient: Snapper
Difficulty: REALLY REALLY simple
Deliciousness: YUM
Did The Beard like it? Loved it.

Since returning from travels, I have had cravings for seafood. Between Tunisia, Sicily and Malta, The Beard and I consumed more seafood than I think I have in my entire life. At any of the coastal cities and villages of these places, you could get such fresh & beautiful fish (and generally for ridiculously cheap prices as well) and all I could think of for the past week was the delicious simplicity of the way the nations of the med cook their seafood. Unfortunately, there are no fishmongers at Eveleigh, so we had to make 2 markets trips yesterday; one to Eveleigh and one to Sydney Fish Market.

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Spiced rice-stuffed marrows

hollowed marrows stuffed with rice

Market ingredient: Marrows
Difficulty: Easy, just needed to cook longer
Deliciousness: OK
Did The Beard like it? Meh

Sometimes you have a bit of a dud week. Where what you think is going to be an awesome dish turns out to be kind of average. And this was that week. I ummed and ahhed about whether to even write this post, but I figured that everyone has their off week, right? Everything I cook can’t always be awesome 😉

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Lemongrass & ginger lamb ribs

Lemongrass & ginger lamb ribs on a white plate

Market ingredient: Lamb ribs
Difficulty: SUPER easy
Deliciousness: Nice, but really rich
Did The Beard like it? “Awesome”

Being back at Eveleigh Markets and back in the kitchen post-holiday has been somewhat therapeutic. As much as I adore eating out, it gets a little tiring after a while, when all you feel like is a salad, or some sort of delicious home-cooked meal. Cruising around the med, the cuisine that I did miss was SE Asian. The flavours are so crisp and fresh, and I just longed for them after eating mound of couscous after mound of couscous, followed by pizza, pasta then a week full of pastizzis (and yes, I can hear the collective cry of “1st world problems”). Lamb is not something I tend to mix with Vietnamese-esque flavours and I’m not really sure why. I have always stuck with beef or pork, but seeing these huge racks of lamb ribs, it felt like a good opportunity to give it a burl.

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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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