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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Patatas puttanesca: a series of fortunate events

‘Puttanesca.’ It’s an Italian sauce for pasta. All we need to do is sauté olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, chopped parsley, and tomatoes together in a pot, and prepare spaghetti to go with it.” Klaus Baudelaire When my children were younger we read Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, relishing every page, enthralled by the Baudelaire…

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Get stuffed: mushrooms, that is

I am a late comer to goat’s cheese, having been scarred by my first experience, which was an intensely smelly, fiercely flavoured french variety. However, I have been educating my palate to milder versions and now love a subtle, creamy, ash covered chevre. Mushrooms pair beautifully with it, as the cheese seems to enhance their…

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Holy guacamole, Batman!

A perennial favourite, everyone has their preferred recipe for guacamole. and this is mine – smooth and creamy avocado contrasting with tomatoes, chilli, onion and herbs. There’s a tang of lemon, and the earthy notes of coriander in the dukkah I sprinkle on top, as well as a good seasoning of salt and black pepper.…

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Sticky Asian lamb

Sticky, sweet and spicy lamb cutlets, with a slightly astringent dipping sauce is a perfect starter for a dinner with friends – good friends, who don’t mind slurping and eating with their fingers to get every last morsel off the bone. It tastes best if the lamb can be marinated for several hours, or even…

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