Wednesday, 28 March 2012

feast magazine

It is impossible for me to cook from a recipe without a picture.

Food styling is ever so popular at the moment and it is no longer impressive to have food presented immaculately on a large white plate. Wooden chopping boards, mis-matched dinnerware, jars, tins or even straight onto the table! Jamie Oliver is the true mastermind behind imperfect food styling and his food always looks rustic, home cooked and real. Piled onto the plate and left to fall naturally out of place. Well, there might be a slight arrangement of a crumb or two!

SBS's Feast Magazine is my favourite foodie read; taking me on worldwide journey each month through creative food styling, beautiful photography and captivating stories; not only about the food but the cutlure and traditionas behind it's creation. You'll find recipes for lebanese baklava, vietnamese pho, spanish paella, singapore chilli crab, japanese sukiyaki, italian tiramisu, american hot dogs, moroccan tagine, thai tom yum, chinese dumplings, indian dhal, mexican enchiladas and greek easter bread. A story about a traditional indian wedding next to an interview with a famous brittish chef. Photographs of families at dinner tables, ecclectic kitchens and exotic ingredients. A multicultural cocktail of flavours, colours and traditional delights; it's a feast for the eyes and I can't get enough of it.

Subscribe here and travel through food.   

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

i love zumbo

The first time I tasted a macaron was at the famous Laduree in Paris. I was mesmerised by the petite little morsel, and will always remember that first bite of .... perfection.

It wasn't until a few years later that Adriano Zumbo landed on my television screen and re-introduced me to the colourful french treat made of almond meal, eggwhites, sugar and sexy fillings. He made it look so easy, so I got straight to baking; excited by the fact that I would be able to make my favourite flavours and have them whenever I liked.

But macarons are not easy to make.

Obviously, a lot of other people figured this out and there was a hype, a craze and a huge demand to get inside Zumbo's tiny little patisserie in the heart of Balmain's Darling Street. Everyone wanted to get their tastebuds on a Zumbo macaron and sample the unimaginable flavours akin to what you'd find in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. There was a queue outside the shop for months and my girlfirends and I joined it one Saturday morning, drooling over pastries in the window for over an hour.

A Zumbo breakfast is always the perfect girlie date. We have re-visited his patisserie many times, each time feeling more satisfied than the last and not one bit guilty about having dessert for breakfast. A few weekends ago on a very rainy Saturday, we decided to check out Zumbo's cafe in Rozelle, hoping to find a cosy nook to curl up in and watch the rain. Of course the cafe was tiny, with only a few seats. Instead of watching the rain, we watched the pastry chefs in the kitchen (zumpa loompas?) through a huge glass window. We decided to sample some of Zumbo's savoury treats this time round and I went for a leek and goats cheese quiche. Served at room temperature on a wooden chpping board, it was the perfect meal to start my weekend and the coffee was extra strong.

One fellow Zumbo lover ordered a berry tart and then an African spiced sausage roll for dessert.

I love Zumbo. I love the macarons, the desserts, the pastries, the coffee, the colour, the flavour and the little white boxes with pink writing. I love the brand. I love that you have to wait in a line, squish into a tiny space and be forced change your mind of what you want a hundred times before finally deciding on something and never being disappointed.

 Macaron flavours this month: watermelon & orange, cola, lychee, salted butter caramel, milo, fingerbun and cherry & banana.

I chose a milo and a salted butter caramel to take home for the boy. Well, one bite each. Yum.

Monday, 5 March 2012

moroccan beef keftas

Moroccan flavours are always welcomed by my tastebuds.

Similar to the Middle Eastern kofta, these keftas are meatballs bursting with flavour and the flatbread is a must for wiping the sauce clean from the plate!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tins diced tomatoes
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

600 grams beef mince
1 onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped corriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teasppon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over low-medium heat . Add the onion, garlic, sugar & spices and cook until golden and fragrant . Add the tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil . Reduce heat and let simmer . Add salt & pepper . Meanwhile to make the keftas, combine mince, onion, herbs, spices, salt & pepper in a bowl and form into compact balls . Cook the keftas in a medium-high heat fry pan until brown . Spoon half of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a cast iron pot or large frypan . Arrange the keftas on top and spoon over remaining sauce . Sprinkle with parsely, cover and cook over low-medium heat for 10 minutes until the keftas are cooked through .

Serve with cous cous (my favourite is Ainsley Harriot's Lemon Mint & Parsely Cous Cous) and charred flatbread (I used Lite Mission Wraps toasted in a hot frypan with a little oil).

Friday, 2 March 2012

chè (vietnamese fruit shake)

Since our trip to Thailand last year, my girls and I have been obsessed with Asia and in particular - Asian food. Last Sunday we had the afternoon free and decided to head to Cabramatta to check out what Asian delights we could get our hands on without having to jump on a plane.

As soon as we got out of the car we felt the familiar feeling of being a tourist. Street stalls with old ladies selling home grown weird shaped vegetables, sticky rice wrapped in bananna leaf parcels, BBQ ducks hanging in windows & huge pregnant bellies - everywhere! Plus it was an extremely humid, sticky day!

The fruit shake stalls caught our eye with their colourful selection of fruits, jellies and beans presented in their windows. Different to the Chinese Bubble Tea such as Easy Way (which I don't particularly like) you are allowed to choose 8 different fresh ingredients and they are topped with coconut cream and ice. I could identify the lychees, but that was about it! We had no idea what we were eating or even what it was called. There was a chunk of jelly, followed by a bit of mush and then a bit of crunch!

Googling the drink afterwards I discovered that the Vietnamese drink / dessert is called Chè and that ingredients can range from fresh fruit, tapioca, beans (black, red, mung), jellied sweets and even sweet corn.

We sat on a bench in the middle of the main street and people watched, sucking unknown objects through chuncky straws. It may not sound too appetising, but it really did taste amazing!

Will definitely have to pay another visit to Cabramatta soon for a big bowl of pho!