I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted up a recipe and told a tale or two about an epic adventure involving food, friends, wine and a wild escape from a gang of bandits…. Well I couldn’t think of a better way to break the silence then by writing about one of the best meals I’ve had all year (and last year for that matter.)
Woodfire Italian Restaurant.
This is my kinda place. It brings a piece of Italy (or rather a ‘pizza’ of Italy) to the suburb of Ellenbrook. A mere 20min car journey from Perth CBD. Not only do they do wood fire pizza and flat bread to perfection, but also freshly made pasta, incredible salads, chargrilled meats and desserts made from locally sourced ingredients. An open kitchen and lots of space for families and large dinner parties.
Woodfire has a culture of making incredible Italian food, accessible to the everyday Perthian and with an emphasis on quality. Chef Lorenzo Schiaffini and Chef Mark Barnett have hit the nail on the head. I’m looking forward to dinner already!
It’s a Saturday afternoon and we’re having a warm winters day in Perth. The rain filled week has left the grass green, the vegetable garden fed and full and the cloudy skies have cleared in celebration of the weekend. My itchy feet were dreaming of a holiday in Greece or Italy or some foreign city full of history, cobbled streets, blue waters and gorgeous men unable to pronounce my name properly.
Who needs to speak English when you have the language of love…
In these moments of passionate day dreaming, I usually feel inspired to use my hands in a creative way.
And by that I mean cooking something to eat, obviously.
Much to the delight of my family (who usually spend Saturday’s working hard in the garden while I toil in the kitchen) and in honour of my wonderful new South African friend, I whipped up Greek tapas, that even Zeus and Aphrodite might have feasted upon.
Paprika spiced meat balls:
250g lean beef mince
Stalk of finely chopped spring onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
Pinch ground pepper.
Mix all ingredients together, roll into little balls and cook on a medium heat for about 10 mins, turning regularly.
Once cooked, serve in a bowl with a dash of paprika and some chopped parsley.
1 tin chickpeas
1 teaspoon tahini
Lug of olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper
With a food processor, combine all ingredients and season to taste.
Zucchini ribbon, feta and spring pea salad:
300g spinach and rocket mix
1 cup frozen peas
handful toasted pumpkin seeds
squeeze of 1/2 lemon, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Grab a flat salad dish and lay on the greens.
With a mandolin (or peeler) peel thin slices of zucchini and toss it into the greens.
Scatter over the peas (cooked frozen peas work well) and crumble over the feta cheese.
Season to taste, sprinkle over the toasted seeds. Drizzle over some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and squeeze of lemon.
Assemble your dishes on a large wooden table, add in some homemade spelt bread, a bottle of crisp white wine, a few friends and let the afternoon roll away in simple bliss.
It took me a while to pronounce this phrase correctly but after tasting this beautiful Persian stew for the first time, the words rolled off my tongue as though I was fluent!
In the last few months I have become good friends with Sami and Meysam who recentlymoved to Perth from Iran. We have been excited to learn more about each other’s cultures and especially each other’s food!
Ghormeh Sabzi is a warm and comforting stew that is usually only cooked when a special guest comes to visit. I felt privileged when they wanted to cook it for me and some friends, when we visited them in their home a few weeks ago!
This is the delicious crusty bottom of the cooked basmati rice – a new method that I’ve discovered!
Serves 4-6 people.
(Use beef chuck, lamb or extra veg for a vegetarian option
200g beef chuck
1 tin red kidney beans
1 large onion
juice of half a lime
2 strands of saffron
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 bunch coriander
1/2 bunch parsley
Finely chop leek, parsley, spinach, coriander and fry in pan with a dash of olive oil. Set aside.
In a cup of hot water, add the saffron and set aside.
Finely chop red onion and fry up insome olive oil, seasoning and turmeric.
Chop the meat into rough chunks about 1cm x 2cm and add to the onion. Cook for 3-5min and then add the cup of saffron infused water and extra water to cover the meat.
Leave to cook on a low temperature for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Add the red kidney beans and the cooked greens. Cook for a further 20min.
Spoon this beautiful stew onto some basmati rice and enjoy around a table with friends!
I’ve got an awesome new job as a chef and I’m part of a fantastic team at a new pop up restaurant in Leederville, Perth called La Linea. Our restaurant is featured on a Channel 7 TV show called RESTAURANT REVOLUTION and it airs tonight at 7.30pm!
It’s been a while since I last posted. The reason is an exciting one! I can’t give too much information away yet… but news and an update are soon to come!
In the mean time, here’s a new simple and fresh salad recipe that is one of my favourites: Orange, feta and spiced zucchini salad Serves 4-6 people
250g mixed leaves
Handful toasted seeds
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper and paprika
Block feta cheese
– Mix leaves together with finely chopped radicchio.
– Thinly slice the zucchini on a mandolin or with a potato peeler, into a separate bowl. Squeeze over the juice of one lemon and sprinkle in a teaspoon of paprika and a dash of cayenne pepper. Once mixed, layer the zucchini over the leaves and drizzle over the lemon juice.
– Crumble in the feta.
– Zest the orange and thinly slice segments of orange. Add to the salad.
– Sprinkle over the toasted seeds and a drizzle of olive oil.
– Enjoy with a beautiful fillet of fish!
New recipes and news to come! Have an awesome week.
This one’s a winner. For the best burger around, look no further.
Family celebrations, noise and chaos, good food, a few Portuguese/Afrikaans swear words, sneaky sips of granny’s Tia Maria and dreams of buying an island where all our extended family retire to… These are a few of my favourite things.
My big cousin Slade was over for a visit from South Africa and he kindly shared this recipe with me. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. And Mrs Ball’s Chutney! Many memories from when I was younger are defined by boerewors and braai’s and always a bottle of Mrs Balls. Thank goodness that local shops here in Oz have a South African section that sells it. If you’ve never tried it… well, it’s the best balls in town!
serves 4-6 people
500g lean beef mince
2 stalks of spring onions
1/2 yellow capsicum
Mince and BBQ Spice
1/4 red cabbage (finely chopped)
2 carrots (finely chopped)
honey mustard mayo
Mrs Ball’s Chutney
Finely chop the spring onion and yellow pepper and mix into 500g of lean beef mince, along with 1 egg.
Sprinkle in a heaped teaspoon of Mince and BBQ Spice. Mix well.
Shape into large flat patties (about the size of your palm) and cook on a medium heat in a frying pan. (Cooking time takes about 4-5min each side of the patty)
While the patties are cooking, finely chop up the red cabbage and carrot, adding a table spoon of mayonnaise (or yoghurt for a healthier version) and a teaspoon of BBQ spice. Mix well.
Spread the mustard and mayo mixture onto the base of your bun and then layer on some rocket and sliced gherkins.
Birthday’s are for CELEBRATING! It was my aunt’s birthday this past week and to celebrate her all round coolness, I cooked a lunch for her and a few friends. Theme?
hot, sexy, smoky and straight off the chargrill.
With these words in mind, I created a wholesome warm winter salad:
Chargrilled chicken and chorizo, tossed into paprika spiced pearl cous-cous with roasted med veg and fresh mint.
Photo by Paul Stone
Serves 4-6 people
Preheat oven to 200’C
400g chicken breast
(preferably marinated over night in olive oil, rosemary and garlic)
2 chorizo sausages, sliced
2 cups pearl cous-cous
1 large red capsicum
punnet cherry tomatoes
2 red onions
handful kalamata olives
small block feta cheese
handful toasted almond slivers
mint, parsley, garlic, chilli
paprika, salt and pepper
Chop the onion and capsicum into rough chunks, place in a baking tray with the whole cherry tomatoes, drizzle over some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roast in the oven at 200’C for about 20min.
Start cooking the pearl cos-cous with seasoning and a dash of paprika (follow the instructions on the packet)
In the griddle pan fry up the chorizo sausages with sliced chilli and garlic (cut 4 cloves of garlic into quarters). Once cooked, set aside.
Turn up the heat and when your griddle pan is nice and hot, sear the chicken breast until they turn a golden colour and are marked with chargrill lines. Place in a baking tray.
Take out your veggies and lower the heat to 180’C. Place the seared chicken into the oven and leave there for about 10min, or until cooked (depending on its thickness). This is the best way to keep your chicken juicy and tender!
While your chicken is cooking, grab a large flat serving platter and pour in the cous-cous. Layer it with veggies and chorizo.
Let the chicken rest for a minute or two and then slice into large pieces, placing it onto the veggies.
Crumble in the feta, scatter over the olives and sprinkle in the fresh herbs.
Drizzle of olive oil and balsamic, season to taste, crusty fresh bread and BHAM! Every birthday girl’s dream come true.
This is the place where it all began! I like to think that Mr Jamie and I share a kitchen – it’s a kitchen full of pots and pans, sliced chilli and roast garlic, chargrilled steak cooked ‘al Mattone,’ Italian swear words, Kahlua drenched tiramisu, hand made bocconcini, the best prosciutto, constantly smelling of Sausage Ragu or dark chocolate fudge brownies or red onion or flame cooked chicken. Late-night, after close-down dancing to Michael Jackson in the office, fake tattoos (an attempt to fit in with the other chefs), cut fingers, coffee and more coffee and ultimately one of the most incredible years of my life. It all began three years ago when I arrived at Jamie’s Italian, Sydney, bright eyed and hopeful, flirted with the manager and convinced him that I was the Naked Chef’s number-one fan and promptly got hired as a waitress at one if the busiest, passion filled, master food restaurant’s in Sydney.
To everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with (and to my big bosses and head chefs): Thank you for letting me into the kitchen. Thank you for (mostly) answering all my questions, thank you for giving me, and Ceire’s Kitchen, a chance!
Here’s to the next thirty years working with Jamie Oliver!
It’s winter and it’s cold outside, but that ain’t going to stop me from eating one of the best foods in the world: salad. I’ve got tomato, eggplant and rocket in the garden, capsicum and feta in the fridge. Standing next to the oven is one of the warmest places in my house, so an excuse to use it is gladly welcomed. You might think that roasted vegetables on cold leafy greens wouldn’t work, but believe you me it works a treat and some recipes coming over the next few weeks will show you just how!
Preheat oven 200’C
4 roma tomatoes
1 large red capsicum
1 small red onion
2 lebanese eggplants
sprinkle of herbs (whatever is going: thyme/rosemary/oregano)
200g rocket and baby spinach
small block feta
handful pan roasted sunflower seeds
Slice the tomatoes into quarters, de-seed capsicum and cut into similar sized pieces.
Slice the eggplants into 1cm thick round pieces.
Put all veg in a baking tray, drizzle over 2 tablespoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle in the herbs. Roast for 20-30 min.
Layer veg over leafy greens, sprinkle in feta and toasted seeds.
Even though I like to think of myself as the Salad Queen who is super passionate about home grown vegetables and has the hope of starting a salad revolution by changing the world one carrot at a time…. Truth is: we all need to cut ourselves some slack and indulge in the ‘less holier foods. Right?
Last week at cooking school we learnt how to make hazelnut and almond praline which was the base of our profiterole cakes! (Profiterole is what the fancy French call choux à la crème and it’s basically a choux pastry ball filled with sweetened vanilla cream. Otherwise known as heaven in your mouth – your hips will love it too.)
I saw a cool YouTube video where The Food Busker makes an Affogato using a hazelnut praline. As it’s a way easier desert than choux pastry – I though I would post a link to his video and the praline recipe below!
½ cup caster sugar
3 TBS water
50 g toasted nuts (almonds and hazelnuts)
a small squeeze of lemon juice
Place the sugar, lemon juice and water in a pot, on medium heat.
As the pot heats up, swirl it a little, making sure all the sugar crystals are covered by the water.
Cook until it starts to colour around the edges. Swirl the pot to stop the sugar burning and gather up any unmelted sugar crystals (about 6-8 minutes.)
Don’t stir the pot!
Watch it carefully and when it turns a dark golden brown, add the nuts
Pour quickly onto a tray prepared with baking paper and careful – it sets very fast!
Spread it thinly and evenly. DO NOT TOUCH!
Let it cool completely before breaking into shards, to top off your Affogato!