Roasted pumpkin with fennel and thyme

Pumpkin is probably my most favourite vegetable, for its natural nutty sweetness and capacity to absorb flavour. I love it in soups, curries, as part of a traditional baked dinner slathered with gravy, and roasted with spices and garlic and herbs as in this recipe. In my part of the world there are a number…

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Charred eggplant with capers

“Gleaming skin; a plump elongated shape: the eggplant is a vegetable you’d want to caress with your eyes and fingers, even if you didn’t know its luscious flavor.” ~ Roger Verge I cannot praise the delights of beautifully cooked eggplant more highly. The flesh is creamy and soft, and slightly smoky in flavour. And in…

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Tomato salad with sumac

As a lover of tomatoes I am always looking for different ways to prepare and serve them that will enhance their already beautiful flavour. This recipe is based on one I read in an Ottolenghi cookbook – it used sumac as an ingredient – a spice I have been experimenting with for some time. Sumac…

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Macaroni and cheese: the ultimate comfort food

When the nights begin to cool, and autumn takes hold there is nothing more wonderful for Sunday night supper than macaroni and cheese. It’s oozy and creamy and warming, and almost universally loved. My recipe includes pieces of crisp bacon, fresh chives and a crunchy topping of cheesy sourdough crumbs. Best of all the sauce…

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Chinese cabbage and crispy noodle salad, and messing with classic recipes

Mrs. Chang’s Chinese cabbage and crispy noodle salad is a staple at Australian bar-be-ques and family gatherings. It is a very simple salad – wombok, slivered almonds, shallots and crispy noodles – but it has a sweet and tangy dressing that makes it an absolute winner. So why mess with it by adding different ingredients?…

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Super seeds

Seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients and have many benefits to our health. They contain healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and they also taste delicious! I like to use seeds (and also some nuts) to make a treat to sprinkle over salads, or to serve with hummus and…

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Chilli linguini with cavolo nero

The secret to this rustic dish lies in the heat of garlic and chilli, and the saltiness of anchovies. If you do not like anchovies do not blanch in horror – they melt away during cooking and underpin the dish with a subtle saltiness and depth, but not fishiness. The cavolo nero is sauteed in…

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Eggplant curry: the miracle meal

A few weeks ago I was catering for a retreat for 150 young adults. They needed to be fed for the whole weekend, which involved some serious cooking and quantities of food that were quite staggering. The friends who helped in the kitchen with me laughed and cried (onions, lots of onions), chopped, peeled, roasted,…

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Carrots and beets and all the good things

It’s a lot harder to get people to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over beets and carrots than it is to get them to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over artichokes or asparagus, and I enjoy being able to take these humble, ‘lowbrow’ foodstuffs up a few notches and serve them with great exuberance. Charlie Trotter Hear, hear, Mr.…

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Warm potato salad with dill and almonds

It is always wise to make too much potato salad. Even if you are cooking for two, make enough for five. Potato salad improves with age – that is, if you are lucky enough to have any left over. Laurie Colwin My mother was  a proponent of the ‘you can’t have too much’ school of…

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