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A wheat tortilla chucked in a small pan, smeared with pesto (mine was a homemade rocket, parsley, pecan, garlic pesto but whatever you got in your fridge man), dolloped with soft cheese (this is homemade garlic labnah, but you do you, it’s all easy), one beaten egg poured over everything, and the whole shebang tossed under the grill for a couple of minutes until the egg is cooked and the “pizza” lightly toasted.

3/4s were eaten standing at the kitchen bench, this final 1/4 shared with you.

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Spring! The markets are full of crisp and snappy vegetables, like these Asparagus.

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Rinsed carefully in a sink of water (after a mouthful of sand when taking a cheeky nibble on one of the tips), olive oil, salt and asparagus tossed in the pan until the green is vivid and the stems tender. A bit of caramelisation is good too.

They’re different sizes, so obviously the cooking time needs to vary a little – I simply pulled the fattest ones out of the sink first, lopped off the woody end (I’m a cutter, not a snapper – snapping loses too much precious asparagus), and they went into the pan as they were cut. The wee ones were then chopped and added.

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Breakfast at Single Origin, Sydney

Breakfast at Single Origin, Sydney

Sonoma sourdough as french toast, with berries, honey and yogurt at home

Sonoma sourdough as french toast, with berries, honey and yogurt at home

Bretzen, cheeses, bread - picnic at Paddington Reservoir Gardens

Bretzen, cheeses, bread – picnic at Paddington Reservoir Gardens

kurtosh at Kurtosh, The Spot, Sydney

kurtosh at Kurtosh, The Spot, Sydney

Dumplings at Dumpling Noodle, Kings Cross, Sydney

Dumplings at Dumpling Noodle, Kings Cross, Sydney

Salad at my desk

Salad at my desk

all my favourites at Lat Dior, Enmore Rd, Sydney

all my favourites at Lat Dior, Enmore Rd, Sydney

Breakfast at Betty Blues, Townsville

Breakfast at Betty Blues, Townsville

Buying veges at Flinders Markets, Coffee from Coffee Dominion (of course)

Buying veges at Flinders Markets, Coffee from Coffee Dominion (of course)

Plate'o'veges at Iku, Glebe

Plate’o’veges at Iku, Glebe

Young Coconut water, on Coogee Beach

Young Coconut water, on Coogee Beach

Coffee and Cupcake at Laneways Festival, Auckland

Coffee and Cupcake at Laneways Festival, Auckland

Dumplings etc, (The Place With) The Vines, Haymarket/Chinatown

Dumplings etc, (The Place With) The Vines, Haymarket/Chinatown

Picnic at Tropfest, The Domain

Picnic at Tropfest, The Domain

Scones with Jam and Cream, Tropfest, The Domain

Scones with Jam and Cream, Tropfest, The Domain

Red cornchips, guac, coffee, on the balcony at home

Red cornchips, guac, coffee, on the balcony at home

Pub meal, Berry (yes yes, we went to the doughnut place)

Pub meal, Berry (yes yes, we went to the doughnut place)

Still my top-rated Sydney Laksa (penang laksa wonton, BBQ pork, extra wonton, extra egg), at Satay Delight UNSW

Still my top-rated Sydney Laksa (penang laksa wonton, BBQ pork, extra wonton, extra egg), at Satay Delight UNSW

Something rum-filled at Grandmas, Sydney

Something rum-filled at Grandmas, Sydney

Breakkie at Green, Brunswick, Melbourne

Breakkie at Green, Brunswick, Melbourne

Taking a break in our road trip to stop and do some work, at The Milk Factory, Bowral

Taking a break in our road trip to stop and do some work, at The Milk Factory, Bowral

Fishburgers, roadtripping, NZ

Fishburgers, roadtripping, NZ

freshup

Post-mountains dumplings, The Vines, Chinatown

Post-mountains dumplings, The Vines, Chinatown

post-dumpling Emperor's Puffs, Dixon St, Chinatown

post-dumpling Emperor’s Puffs, Dixon St, Chinatown

Fish and Chips, gingerbeers and bargain breadrolls from the IGA, Queenscliff, VIC

Fish and Chips, gingerbeers and bargain breadrolls from the IGA, Queenscliff, VIC

Yum Cha, in Chinatown Brisbane

Yum Cha, in Chinatown Brisbane

Flying in from around the world to have wine at Karin and Ash's kitchen table, Brisbane

Flying in from around the world to have wine at Karin and Ash’s kitchen table, Brisbane

Vogel's and Pic's, in Taupo NZ

Vogel’s and Pic’s, in Taupo NZ

Your coffee comes with Chocolate Fish, in Rotorua, NZ

Your coffee comes with Chocolate Fish, in Rotorua, NZ

I was sent a gorgeous bouquet last week. A Broccoflower!

pretty!

Perfection Fresh sent me this wee baby to try out… It’s a cross between a broccoli and a cauliflower (If you couldn’t already work that one out). It has the tightly-packed smoother florets of a cauli, but is crazy BRIGHT lime green. I’ve seen soething like this in the shops before but with much pointier florets, really alien looking, but this dude was cute and round. Very friendly.

This was a timely arrival. I love cruciferous veges – cauliflower broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel spouts! Bok choi etc etc.. Yum, and autumn is these veges time to shine. Maybe it’s because as it gets chillier I just don’t want a cold salad, but I still want some GREEN on my plate.. and these guys just lend themselves to a light cooking – roasting, steaming – and a drizzle of tasty sauce or just a drop of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice. Warm but not heavy.

chop, toss, roast

So I sadly/excitedly unwrapped my beautiful bouquet and chopped this dude up, snapped/trimmed two bunches of asparagus (yeah, not exactly seasonal, so hello carbon footprint, but they were on sale at the grocers!) in a large shallow baking dish toss the lot through with a drizzle of olive oil, a couple of whole, lightly-bashed cloves of garlic, a sprinkling of salt, and into a hot oven for 10-15 mins.

roasted, green

I love that it stays so brightly green even cooked, and especially lightly roasted like this, it was sweet, flavourful and crunchy. There are more and more of these hybrid and blended or heirloom fruits and veges becoming available in the supermarkets, and I think a lot of them are really great both to eat and look at. Have an adventure on your plate. Even when winter is coming.

(Remains of the stem, and the whole baked garlic cloves if you can manage not to eat them there and then, go into the vege off-cuts ziplock in the freezer, for soup stock making later – yes, I am gearing up for winter!)

thanks for the trial Produce Fresh! Hello puku readers! oh hai! I have such an archive of photos from Spain and other adventures to start posting.. see you back here soon. :)

Also subtitled: Aubergine mit Miso (fur Paul: Substitute miso with Sambal!) und Torte auf Orange (fur Die Switzerland Schnee-Bande)

This is part of the 2010 christmas dinner I cooked for friends in Santiago de Compostela, Spain (LAST YEAR. oops). I was craving Japanese aubergine/eggplants, one of my favourite Japanese restaurant dishes, and while in Sydney I can go down almost any suburb main street to sate this craving, Santi is not so big on multi-culti food availability — to do some catching up, I’ve been living between Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain and Sydney, Australia for the past year and a half, back and forward.

Por que no have Japanese for christmas dinner, while in Spain?  ; )

These aubergines are everything aubergines are good at being – luscious, soft, moreish, the skins go crispy, the sweet miso is foiled by earthy flesh and spiky spring onions, it’s quite simply, que rico. I searched around for some recipes, though it didn’t help a great deal – Asian ingredients in Santi are rare, little gems hidden only if you know where to look, or stumble by accident (a tienda chino in la Zona Nueva had, hidden amongst granny undies and fly swatters, some rice noodles, sambal and fish sauce. choice). I’d sourced some sesame oil and other bits and bobs from trips to Cortes Ingles, or travels to La Coruna or Portugal, but I was winging it, big time.

Bastardised Miso Aubergines

Para bonita Monika y Carlos (con besos!) y para personas que quieren cocinar Japones en Santiago:  Por pasta de Miso marchar/buscar el piqueno alimentos naturales en Rua Nova!  : )

Slice some aubergines – 1/4 or 1/6 lengthways or smaller, depending on the size of the aubergine. Aesthetically pleasing. toss in a little vegetable oil, lay out on a shallow baking dish skin side down, in lovely rows of wedges. chuck them in a very hot oven. say 220 celcius. they’ll be doing their thing in there for about 40 mins, depending on how hot your oven goes and how big your aubergines are. we don’t know this stuff, we’ll just see how done they are when they’re done, ok?

while those babies do their thing, let’s make a miso sauce. I was winging it in a country with limited asian ingredients available – you can too! or you can google a recipe for Nasu Dengaku, go flipando tio at your neighbourhood asian grocer and get your authentic on.. up to you! This is what I did, and I was pretty happy with the bastardised-make do flavour: In a small saucepan mix some (if possible, white) miso paste, water, a dash of fish sauce, some sugar/honey, some sesame oil and some soy sauce. heat, taste, adjust, add and amend ingredients until you have a rich, pleasant, sweet, savoury sauce with a thick but running consistency. Insert usual apology for never giving exact quantities in my ‘recipes’. lo siento.

When your aubergines are deliciously crispy / grilled outside / a little smokey / soft inside, generously pour a thin drizzle of the miso sauce over the slices, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. grill for another couple of minutes, sprinkle with some finely sliced spring onion <scallion/green onion/shallot whatever you call those things where you come from>. Serve hot. maybe on rice. be happy.

que rico!

Flourless! Gluten-free! Orange Cake / Tarta de Naranja – sin gluten!

this is a beautiful cake, and flourless, for all your gluten-unfriendly friends. Instructions sound funny, but it works, and it’s wonderful. I’ve never made this without people weeping with joy and demanding the recipe.. which I’ve been promising to post on this blog for a loooooong time, and here it finally is. lo siento. 

In a saucepan, cover 2 oranges (whole!) in water and boil for 15 minutes, change the water and boil for another 15 minutes. I have forgotten to change the water, and I did not die, but there you go, that’s what you’re supposed to do. Once the oranges have cooled enough to handle, or heck, if you’re impatient in a rush and have asbestos fingers and are being careful, chop those hot beasts up into tiny pieces — i like to cut in half middle-ways, flick out the pips if there’s lots and they’re big, then get chopping — either with a food processor, a stick blender, or a big knife. It’s really ok if you’re not blitzing this to a pulp. yes the whole orange, except the pips, if you wanna flick them out. which you don’t have to.

In a mixing bowl beat 3 eggs and 3/4 cup of castor sugar, then add 2 cups of almond meal, 1 tsp of baking powder and the orange mess. Pour into a springform baking pan, or any other baking vestibule for that matter. Bake in a low oven 170 celcius, for about 1 hour. or until something sharp poked into the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, fun with a few more oranges: 4 or 5 oranges + 1 lime (optional!) will be way sufficient for this — zest 2 oranges and the lime (or a lemon) and juice all the fruit. In a small saucepan, heat these things – zest and juice, with 1 cup of castor sugar. You made a syrup! Life is good.

Once the cake is baked, pour the syrup over the hot cake, if you’re the stabbing type, make some perforations in your cake first. Cool as long as you can wait, serve with soft-whipped fresh cream and slices/segments of various orange and orange-y citrismandarins, tangelos, whatever you like.

of course, eat this with a much bigger dollop of cream. small dollop for photographing of cake purposes only.

Enjoy!

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