Dubai, Travel

Dubai: Spices and Silks

September 29, 2014
Spice Souq Dubai

We arrived in Dubai at 5.30 in the morning, luckily we were able to secure an early check-in at our hotel, and although our room is not ready, we are able to sit and have some much needed food and coffee as well as be treated to some beautiful views of the city from the pool deck.

Pool view at Hilton Dubai Creek {focus_keyword} Dubai: Spices and Silks hiltonpoolview

It is 10 am and already it is above 30C when we enter the Spice Souq, located near Dubai Creek. We arrive just after the market opened so while there are a number of people bustling around, it has not reached peak hour. It is obvious that we are tourists and immediately the hawkers descend upon us, yelling out that they will give us the best deal, the best pashmina, the best spices. It is quite overwhelming at first, but after a time we get used to firmly saying no.

Souk entrance  {focus_keyword} Dubai: Spices and Silks soukentrance1

The Souq is most definitely a feast for the senses, with soft pashminas in every colour imaginable while the variety of spices on offer is an aromatic overload. Spices and teas are piled high outside each stall, and the owners are more than happy for you to touch and smell everything.

spices with dried lemons {focus_keyword} Dubai: Spices and Silks spiceswithdriedlemons

One of the best experiences, is that each stall holder will quiz you on your spice knowledge, pointing at different spices and asking you to identify them. By the time you get to the end you know all the answers (those strange looking round things are dried and blackened lemons) I feel like I could go on MasterChef now and give Gary a run for his money.

spices - front view {focus_keyword} Dubai: Spices and Silks rowsofspices

As well as spices, there is a large amount of herbal teas available for purchase at the Spice Souq, including beautifully fragrant hibiscus, lavender and rose.

teas at spice souk  {focus_keyword} Dubai: Spices and Silks herbalteas

I was impressed with how each stall holder gave advice on how to use each spice without being pushy about making a sale and contributed to the overall good experience that we had.

On the other end of the spectrum was the part of the Souq that sold pashminas and watches. Here you will find people will chase you down waving a pashmina at you. One man actually hooked a pashmina over my head…unfortunately not a pleasant experience and one which detracts from the beauty of seeing these products. At end of the day though, this is their job and should not deter you from visiting.

Pashminas at Dubai Souq {focus_keyword} Dubai: Spices and Silks pashminas

Shoes at Dubai Souq {focus_keyword} Dubai: Spices and Silks shoes

If you do intend to visit, I recommend going in early as we did so that you miss the crowds. My second piece of advice is to barter, as negotiation is expected.

Dinner, Eating In

Lasagne with Grated Philly & Tasty

September 22, 2014
Cooked lasagne and cheese

In just a few days I will be heading off to Italy, I have been dreaming about the pasta, pizza and gelato for months now so it seemed fitting then to have an Italian themed blog post at some stage. Luckily for me I received a very nice parcel from Philly cream cheese – their Grated Philly & Tasty is a combination of Philadelphia cream cheese mixed with tasty cheese to provide a creamy melt – perfect for pasta dishes like lasagne. The product should be hitting supermarket shelves soon and you can find more information here. Each packet has an easy to follow recipe on the back (mine incidentally had a simple lasagne recipe).

Philly Creamy & Tasty  {focus_keyword} Lasagne with Grated Philly & Tasty phillycheese

The first thing I noticed when I opened my packet was that the cheese wasn’t clumped together, like so many other grated cheese products, I had a quick taste and it definitely lived up to the creamy name, it also had definite cheddar flavour that tasty cheese is known for. It also smells nice and fresh – always a good sign. I very rarely keep grated cheese in the fridge as I sometimes feel that it tastes old and feels quite dry, so I was impressed that this felt freshly grated and soft.

Lasagne can be quite a laborious process, but I think it is worth it. This is a recipe that has come from years of making this dish and I find that it is full of flavour and I highly recommend a slow cooking process for the meat filling. I  also recommend using two or three different kinds of mince meat as it contributes to a flavourful meat sauce. In this recipe I used a mix of beef, pork and veal but you could use whatever you prefer.

The addition of verjuice to the bechamel was something I learned from Katie Quinn Davies and it adds a slight sweetness to the sauce which I really enjoy. You can also add some grated nutmeg if you wanted to, in this recipe I opted out of doing that (read I forgot).

The lasagne was in the oven for about 35-40 minutes and came out with crispy edges but not too dark with the meat sauce bubbling around the edges. I have to say I was impressed with how the cheese melted and the bechamel itself was lovely and velvety smooth – which I think is probably because of the addition of the cream cheese.  I would actually love to try this on a croque monsieur.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA {focus_keyword} Lasagne with Grated Philly & Tasty platedlasagne

Grated Philly & Tasty were given to me at no cost, but all opinions expressed are my own.

Meat and Spinach Lasagne
An original recipe from Eating with Katie

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

pinch chilli flakes

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

500g beef mince

500g pork or veal mince (I used a mixture of the two)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon, heaped tomato paste

1 glass red wine

1 can tomato puree

200ml beef stock

300g spinach

fresh lasagne sheets

Bechamel Sauce

60g butter

60g flour – seasoned with salt and pepper

600ml milk

1/4 cup verjuice

1-2 teaspoons English mustard

200g Grated Philly & Tasty

Method

1. Heat a heavy based pan over medium – high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and fry onion, garlic and chilli flakes for a few minutes.

2. Add carrots and celery and cook until all vegetables are softened and onions are slightly golden.

vegetables cooking {focus_keyword} Lasagne with Grated Philly & Tasty onionscooking

3. Add meat, and cook until browned. Then add in balsamic vinegar. Stir. Add tomato paste. Stir through and add red wine. Cook for a few minutes.

4. Add tomato puree, pour stock into empty can and swish around to get any remaining puree. Pour over the meat.

meat sauce {focus_keyword} Lasagne with Grated Philly & Tasty meatcooking

5. Bring to a rapid bubble, then reduce to a simmer. Cook over low heat for a further 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bechamel

1. Heat milk in a separate saucepan over a low heat.

2. Heat a saucepan over low heat. Add butter and heat until melted. Add flour and rapidly whisk, until you get a smooth paste.

Bechamel sauce {focus_keyword} Lasagne with Grated Philly & Tasty bechamel2

3. Gradually add warm milk, stirring the whole time. Pour in verjuice and add the english mustard. Slowly sprinkle over Philly Creamy and Tasty and stir until cheese has melted and sauce has thickened. Remove from heat

To Assemble

1. Spoon meat into the bottom of a oven proof dish. Add a handful of spinach. Pour over about a ladle of bechamel sauce. Layer lasagne sheets on top and pour over about half a ladle of bechamel sauce. Repeat until meat is finished – finishing with a lasagne sheet on top. Pour over the remainder of the bechamel sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

layer lasagne {focus_keyword} Lasagne with Grated Philly & Tasty lastlayer

last lasagne layer {focus_keyword} Lasagne with Grated Philly & Tasty assemble2

last layer with cheese {focus_keyword} Lasagne with Grated Philly & Tasty lasagne with cheese

Bake in a preheated oven at 180c for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

hot lasagne with melted cheese {focus_keyword} Lasagne with Grated Philly & Tasty freshlasagne

Visual Feasts

Lioness, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

September 19, 2014
lioness

Flash back Friday! I can’t believe how long ago it was that we travelled back to my home land. Current news stories do not always paint Zimbabwe in a particularly pleasant light which makes me sad as this is country full of people with huge hearts. It is also a country full of some of the most beautiful scenery and wildlife on the planet. I would actively encourage anyone to travel to Zimbabwe to experience the beauty that is has to offer.

Happy Friday everyone.

Desserts, Eating In

Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Popcorn

September 12, 2014
chocolate cheesecake with salted caramel popcorn

I don’t think I will get sick of the salted caramel craze that is currently taking the world by storm. The mix of decadently sweet and salt, makes it just so ‘moreish’.

When we dined at Ezard a few weeks ago, one of my favourite desserts was a wonderfully salty caramel popcorn teamed with a dark chocolate. Cue light bulb moment in my head as I needed to bake something for work…everyone loves a cheesecake and I thought a dark chocolate cheesecake with a salted caramel topping would work well.

I found a recipe on the Philadelphia website that looked nice and simple and I swapped out the milk chocolate for dark chocolate, as I thought the bitterness of dark chocolate would work better with the richness of the salted caramel.

Mixing the salted caramel with popcorn makes a lovely, sticky, crunchy mess which tastes delicious. As I took this cheesecake to work, I put the popcorn on the cheesecake the night before. This meant that it softened a little in the fridge, so this is something that I would recommend adding to the cheesecake just before you serve it.

salted caramel popcorn {focus_keyword} Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Popcorn  caramelpopcorn

This is a lovely mousse like cheesecake the filling itself is very light and that’s what makes it rather dangerous. Be warned though, it is quite rich and a small slice will be more than enough.

 

Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Popcorn  
Adapted from philly.com.au

Cheesecake

1¼ cups chocolate biscuit crumbs

80g butter, melted

500g cream cheese, softened

¼ cup caster sugar

2 teaspoons gelatine dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water

200g dark chocolate melted and cooled slightly

1 cup thickened cream, softly whipped

Salted Caramel Popcorn

1 1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup brown sugar

300ml thickened cream

1/2 – 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes

200g popcorn

Method

1. Combine  the biscuit crumbs and butter then press into the base of a greased and lined 20cm round springform pan. Chill.

biscuit crumb {focus_keyword} Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Popcorn  biscuitbase

2. Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the gelatine and chocolate and mix until smooth then fold through the cream.

3. Pour the mixture over the prepared base. Chill for 3 hours or until set.

4. For the salted caramel popcorn. Add the caster sugar and water to a small pan and stir over a low heat. Once the sugar dissolves, turn up the heat to medium-high and allow the mixture to come to the boil.

boiling caramel {focus_keyword} Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Popcorn  caramel1
5. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to boil uncovered for around 1o minutes or until the mixture becomes lightly golden. Note, that it’s really important that you don’t stir the mixture during this time.

Golden caramel {focus_keyword} Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Popcorn  caramel2
6. Remove the caramel mixture from the heat, add the brown sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add in the cream and stir until combined.

salted caramel step 6 {focus_keyword} Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Popcorn  caramel5
7. Return to the stovetop and stir over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

8. Remove from heat and add salt to taste.

9. Pour mixture over popcorn and use a greased spoon to mix. Gently pile popcorn mixture onto the chilled cheesecake.

popcorn topping {focus_keyword} Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Popcorn  addingpopcorn

Visual Feasts

Christchurch, New Zealand

September 1, 2014
185 chairs Christchurch

Last week, I was lucky enough to travel to Christchurch for a week. I had a fantastic time, met some awesome people and ate at some lovely restaurants (post coming soon).

It was my first time walking around the Christchurch CBD since the earthquake in February 2011, and it was quite eerie walking past empty pieces of land where buildings used to stand.

One of the things that really struck me, was the earthquake remembrance art installation. 185 chairs sit in an empty lot to represent the 185 lives lost on February 22.

185 chairs {focus_keyword} Christchurch, New Zealand 185chairs

Each chair is unique, and made it really hit home to me how many people New Zealand lost that day and how many families lost the people that they loved. Particularly heart wrenching was the infant car seat.

baby seat  {focus_keyword} Christchurch, New Zealand 185chairsbaby

I don’t think words can fully describe how these chairs moved me. I had family and close friends living in Christchurch when the earthquake hit and I am incredibly grateful that each of them were safe.

My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by the quake and who are still affected today…blocks of houses sit vacant in the worst hit areas, abandoned as they are now unsafe to live in. Let us hope that the home owners will have answers soon about what will happen.

The strength and resilience of the people of Christchurch is amazing and I think that it will stay that way.

Eating Out, Melbourne

Ezard

July 28, 2014
Ezard dessert tasting plate to share

A few weeks ago, it was Nathan’s birthday and, as we had friends visiting from Christchurch, it seemed fitting to take them to one of Melbournes best restaurants (and one of Nathans favourites!). Ezard is located on Flinders Lane, next door to the Adelphi hotel it is tucked away below the street.

The restaurant interior is dimly lit, with a minimal sleek design and we are greeted warmly before being seated near the kitchen. We were soon served complimentary bread and oil with Szechuan pepper, chilli and lime sugar, and nori with bonito flakes, dashi and toasted sesame seed. The oil is infused with rosemary and parmesan and out of this world in terms of flavour. Seriously, I could have eaten that bread all night.

We opted for the degustation menu, and let me start by saying that though the courses appear small, they are packed with flavour and you will leave feeling more than satisfied.

Our first course is the Japanese inspired oyster shooter with cucumber, apple and yuzu. The liquid has the perfect umami flavour which goes well with the silkiness of the oyster. There is wasabi in the liquid which adds a slight kick at the end. It opened my taste buds and was the ideal first course dish.

Japanese inspired oyster shooter, cucumber, apple and yuzu  {focus_keyword} Ezard oyster shooter cucumber apple and yuzu

Japanese inspired oyster shooter, cucumber, apple and yuzu

The next course is another cold one, consisting of tuna sashimi, wasabi, pickled cucumber, sticky soy, sesame and bonito mayonnaise, crisp rice noodles. The tuna was wonderfully flavoured and melted in the mouth. The addition of crispy noodles added texture to the fresh oiliness of the fish.

Tuna sashimi, wasabi, pickled cucumber, sticky soy, sesame and bonito mayonnaise, crisp rice noodles {focus_keyword} Ezard tunasashimi

Tuna sashimi, wasabi, pickled cucumber, sticky soy, sesame and bonito mayonnaise, crisp rice noodles

steamed spanner crab dumpling with Yarra Valley salmon roe, chervil, coconut tom kha follows and is still the dish that stands out in my mid two weeks later. The dumpling is soft and cooked well, while the broth is sweet with many different levels of flavour but still beautifully delicate, the salmon roe adds a pop of saltiness that compliments the dish well.

Steamed spanner crab dumpling with yarra valley salmon roe, chervil, coconut tom kha  {focus_keyword} Ezard spannercrab

Steamed spanner crab dumpling with yarra valley salmon roe, chervil, coconut tom kha

Steamed spanner crab dumpling with yarra valley salmon roe, chervil, coconut tom kha  {focus_keyword} Ezard spannercrab2

Steamed spanner crab dumpling with yarra valley salmon roe, chervil, coconut tom kha

A salad of of black fig and pickled beetroot, whipped goats curd, air dried beef, shallot and nut oil dressing is the perfect next course as it light but still well flavoured. The vinergariness of the pickled beetroot cuts through the richness and oiliness of the air dried beef and the goats cheese finished it off well. 

 

Salad of black fig and pickled beetroot, whipped goats curd, air dried beef, shallot and nut oil dressing  {focus_keyword} Ezard saladofblackfig

Salad of black fig and pickled beetroot, whipped goats curd, air dried beef, shallot and nut oil dressing

The steamed mulloway with rice noodles, japanese plum wine dressing, asian mushrooms, baby corn, fried chilli sambal arrives in a beautifully fragrant broth that doesn’t disappoint on the flavour front and we all finish it quite quickly. 

Steamed mulloway with rice noodles, japanese plum wine dressing, asian mushrooms, baby corn, fried chilli sambal  {focus_keyword} Ezard steamedmulloway

Steamed mulloway with rice noodles, japanese plum wine dressing, asian mushrooms, baby corn, fried chilli sambal

Our final savoury dish is a chinese style duck breast, massaman curry, coconut rice, melon, asian herb salad. I had the duck on a previous visit and knew that it was a great dish, so I was looking forward to having it again. The duck was fantastically pink and the gaminess of the meat went well with the spice from the massaman curry sauce. Slightly sweet and sticky coconut rice added a coolness to the heat from the massaman curry and the asian herb salad added freshness and crunch. 

Chinese style duck breast, massaman curry, coconut rice, melon, asian herb salad  {focus_keyword} Ezard duckbreast

Chinese style duck breast, massaman curry, coconut rice, melon, asian herb salad

We finish with the dessert tasting plate, as past experiences at Ezard have taught me to not miss out as they are beautiful. The tasting plate was a great idea as we were able to sample a little bit of everything, with the chestnut and yuzu semifreddo, caramel popcorn, chocolate moss being the standout for me. 

Ezard dessert tasting plate to share  {focus_keyword} Ezard dessertsharingplate

Ezard dessert tasting plate to share

Overall our experience at Ezard, from the food to the service was flawless and I would highly recommend a visit.
Ezard on Urbanspoon {focus_keyword} Ezard biglink

Eating Out, Melbourne

Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar

July 7, 2014
Mr Hive Menu


Located in the Crown Metropol Hotel, Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar is a large restaurant that has a warm and inviting interior. There was a live band playing the night that we dined, which gave the restaurant a more casual atmosphere.

They are incredibly busy, and though we are seated quickly, when an amusé bouche is placed on our table, we are not told what it is, and I am the first to take an experimental bite. It is a square of watermelon in a crumb of some sort which I cannot quite place and we are disappointed to not be told what it is, though it does act as a palate cleanser of sorts.

watermelon amusé bouche {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  IMG 0001 2

I start off with the beef tartare, which was plated beautifully and looked delicious. Although the meat has been prepared well, it is incredibly spicy which overwhelms the rest of the flavours and I think it would have been better to have been asked about spice preference.

Mr Hive Beef Tartare and sourdough $19 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  beeftartare

Mr Hive Beef Tartare and sourdough $19

The smoked beetroot and goats cheese entree, which both Nathan and his Dad ordered, is also beautifully plated. The beetroot is tender and the goats cheese is tangy. There is a sweetness to the dish that we can’t quite place and which hides the smoked beetroot flavour.

Smoked Beetroot and Goats Cheese $16 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  smokedbeetroot

Smoked Beetroot and Goats Cheese $16

I ordered the pork belly for my main, as I had heard great things and was looking forward to it (I am a sucker for crackling). While the pork is well flavoured, it was surprisingly dry and I was left slightly disappointed. However, the squash and sage that accompany it are beautiful, with the squash mash wonderfully smooth and silky.

Crispy Otway pork belly  lentils squash & sage $35 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  porkbelly

Crispy Otway pork belly
lentils squash & sage $35

Nathan had ordered the ox cheek, which was melt in the mouth tender and broke away when pressed with a fork, with the lack of seasoning being its only let down.

Gippsland ox cheek,  polenta and carrot $40 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  oxcheek

Gippsland ox cheek,
polenta and carrot $40

The lamb chops were accompanied by a slice of bubble and squeak which was a little stodgy. The lamb itself was cooked to a beautiful pink and was seasoned well.

Barnsley lamb chops, bubble and squeak $38 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  lambchop

Barnsley lamb chops, bubble and squeak $38

Although the mains had let us down, I was looking forward to ordering dessert as Mr Hive is well known for having fantastic desserts and when I saw they had a pumpkin pie my mind was made up.

Spiced Pumpkin Pie, pecan and orange $15 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  pumpkinpie

Spiced Pumpkin Pie, pecan and orange $15

The pumpkin pie came with some pumpkin puree and cream and was as pretty as a picture. It was well spiced, light and airy and a lovely dessert to end a meal that we all felt let down by. It may have been that it was a busy Saturday night, but I felt that for the prices Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar should have been better.

 

Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  biglink

Eating Out, Melbourne

Melt Pizza

June 26, 2014
Melt SIgn

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen a photo I took of a delicious looking pizza a few weeks back when Nathan and I popped into the newly opened Melt Pizza. Our pizzas were delicious and since then we have been meaning to return, so when I got an email from Dan, who owns Melt with his wife Elise, I was excited to find out more (and eat more delicious pizza).

Dan and Elise, came up with the concept for Melt as a pizza restaurant that focussed on producing healthy pizzas. They scoured different pizza restaurants and researched all the information they could find, discovering that pizza was originally invented in Naples as a fast and nutritious meal. They jumped on a plane and enrolled in The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, where they learnt all the skills involved in making a traditional Napoletana Pizza, from dough stretching right down to the correct oven shape. As Dan says Melt serves “old style pizza in a new way”. I love the concept of being able to interact with the staff making your meal, and being able to be involved makes the whole experience more personable. 

Located at 171 Chapel Street, Melt was a short walk away for me. It was a freezing night when I visited and the warm lights and friendly greeting were a welcome respite from the chill outside. The first thing you will notice when you walk into Melt is that it not your average pizza place. You get to choose what you want on your pizza from the base sauce (choice of tomato, pesto or garlic) to the toppings and the cheese. Set up kind of like Subway (but oh so much better), you get to see the balls of dough being hand stretched and the staff are more than happy to give recommendations on toppings. For those who may not like decision making, they also have a menu with pizzas like Margherita and Roasted Pumpkin. There are also salad options and meatballs available for those who may not feel like pizza.

Pizza oven {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza Pizza oven

It’s a pretty amazing experience watching the dough being hand stretched, going down the line and picking ingredients. By the time you are at the till to pay, your pizza is in a whopping 400 C wood fired oven and with a cooking time of an incredible two minutes (average bake time for most pizzas is 10-12  minutes), when you sit down it’s not long before your pizza appears in front of you.

pizza in oven  {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza pizza in oven 2

On Dans recommendation I try a pizza with a base of pesto, hot salami, roasted pumpkin, fresh mozzarella and fresh chilli. It is delicious, and though there is hit of heat, it is not overpowering. The thinner crust means that you don’t leave feeling overly full or bloated as some of the heavier thicker based crusts do. Definitely one to try.

Melt Pizza {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza Pizza

The restaurant itself is an amazing space, light and airy with loads of lovely little details like terracotta tiles and hanging lights. They have several spaces in which to enjoy your pizza, including a courtyard and private room, which would be perfect for a group catchup.

Melt courtyard {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza Melt courtyard Melt table {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza Melt tableMelt front of house {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza Melt front of house

I had a lovely evening at Melt, while I ate my pizza I was able to observe others diners coming in and out. There were loads of regulars who popped in (always a good thing) as well as first timers, what stood out for me though was how everyone was greeted with a friendly smile and excellent service. Melt Pizza is  a great addition to the Windsor end of Chapel Street, and with pizzas ranging from $11 – $16 they are more than affordable. We will definitely be returning.

Eating with Katie dined as a very happy guest of Melt Pizza 

Melt Pizza on Urbanspoon {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza biglink

Breakfast, Eating In

Avocado Smash, Salmon and Poached Egg on Toast

June 23, 2014
Avocado Smash, Poached Egg and Salmon on Toast

So you know what happened this weekend? The Winter Solstice (well in the Southern Hemisphere anyway), which now means that the days are going to get longer and lighter, yay! This is a great reason to celebrate and what better way to celebrate lighter mornings than with a breakfast recipe.

Avocado on toast has always been a delicious breakfast treat and it is definitely doing its rounds on cafe menus around Melbourne. I normally love avocado and tomato on toast, but decided as a weekend treat to team it with smoked salmon and a poached egg.

The smoked salmon and egg add a richness to the avocado that makes it a great Sunday lunch option. Don’t worry if you haven’t poached an egg before, it is easily done and you only need to take care when removing the egg from the water. If you aren’t comfortable poaching an egg, a soft boiled egg would also work well.

Did you do anything to celebrate Winter Solstice? What is your favourite ingredient to combine with avocado?

Avocado and oozing poached egg {focus_keyword} Avocado Smash, Salmon and Poached Egg on Toast  avocadosalmononplate2

Avocado Smash, Salmon & Poached Egg on Toast
An original recipe from Eating with Katie

2 slices bread, toasted
1 avocado
50g feta
wedge of lemon
2 slices of smoked salmon
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
salt and pepper, to season

Method

1. Fill a medium saucepan with water until about half full. Add vinegar and salt and bring to the boil.
2. While waiting for water to boil smash avocado. Remove flesh from avocado and place into a bowl along with a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper. Smash with a fork to desired texture. Add in feta and mix well.
3. Spoon avocado mixture onto the toasted bread and lay slices of smoked salmon on top.
4. When water has come to a boil, reduce heat and bring water to a simmer. Place one egg onto a saucer. With a spoon stir the water to produce a whirlpool and gently slide in egg from saucer. Cook for 2-3 minutes for a semi-soft yolk. Gently remove egg with a slotted spoon and place carefully on to top of salmon. Repeat the process with the second egg.
5. To serve, sprinkle with paprika or freshly ground pepper.

Dinner, Eating In

Thai Pumpkin Soup

June 18, 2014
thai pumpkin soup on board

I know I talk about the weather a lot, but with the sun well and truly gone by the time we get home, something warm and comforting is needed for dinner. Soup is one of those dishes that is comforting in it’s warmth and leaves you feeling surprisingly satisfied.

In winter, I find that a more substantial soup is needed. One that is a bit thicker and richer. Pumpkin soup has always been one of my standby winter soups because of it’s thickness and it’s versatility in what it can be flavoured with. The flavours of this Thai Pumpkin Soup meld well together and the spice from the red curry paste adds a depth of heat that is welcome in the Winter months. I used a simple recipe which I found on the Taste website and made a slight alteration to it by adding an onion as well as substituting a cup of water for a cup of stock which I thought added a depth of flavour.

This is an easy week night recipe, for when a hard days work has exhausted you but you still want something home made and comforting. All you have do is chop and onion and some pumpkin, fry it off with the red curry paste and then add the coconut cream, stock and water. Once thats done you can leave it to bubble away merrily for 25 minutes which gives you time to have a glass of wine and put your slippers on ;) {focus_keyword} Thai Pumpkin Soup icon wink

Do you have a winter standby dish and what is your favourite soup?

thai pumpkin soup {focus_keyword} Thai Pumpkin Soup thaipumpkinsoup

Thai Pumpkin Soup
Adapted from taste.com.au

1 tablespoon oil
1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1.5cm pieces
1 onion
2 tablespoons red curry paste
270ml can coconut cream
1 cup water
1 cup chicken stock
coriander, to garnish

Method

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Fry onion, pumpkin and red curry paste for a few minutes, or until the curry paste starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add coconut cream. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
2. Add water and stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft.
3. Blend or process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls topped with coriander.


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