Saturday 29 March 2008

salak: snake fruit

Salak, Salacca zalacca

During our honeymoon in Bali, Jonas and I managed to try this strange little fruit.

One of our drivers bought a whole bag and I watched him munch through them, one after another. I wasn’t surprised when he confessed they were his favourite fruit.

Before going to Bali I had never seen nor heard of salak before. In English, they are known as snake fruit and it’s easy to see why: their coarse skins look very much like the scales of a brown snake.

Apparently salak means bark in both Indonesian and Malaysian where the plant, related to palms, originates.

Trees take four years for their first fruit and although that’s a long lead time to yield results, the fruit has its own protective “wrapper” which prolongs shelf life and prevents bruising.

Each fruit weighs around 90g and the protective casing peels off to reveal three segments of firm-fleshed, creamy-white coloured fruit.

Usually eaten fresh, it can also be pickled or candied in syrup.

There are around 30 cultivars but the two most common types of salak are salak pondoh from Yogyakarta and salak Bali from (yep, you guessed it) Bali. Salak Bali smells a lot less punguent than salak pondoh and is therefore more popular with foreigners.

Salak had a beautiful flavour that reminded me of a combination of pear and pineapple, with a slight tang. Unfortunately it lacks juiciness and has a dry-mouth feel, which is apparently caused by high levels of tannin. I’m not sure I liked salaks because I felt it needed more juice to be pleasing.

All over the internet I have seen comments about people outside South East Asia buying salak and having awful experiences but from all the comments and photos it seems they have bought soft, rotten fruit that has become translucent and pungent. The salak I tried was white and hard while the scent was like delicate pineapple. In fact the hotel used the fruit to scent our room.

Although there is no recipe attached, I thought it might be interesting to share a fruit rarely seen outside its native South East Asia. That this is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging: hosted by Ramona from The Houndstooth Gourmet.



Friday 28 March 2008

sharba libiya

In Autumn and Winter I love to eat hybrids between soups, stews and pasta dishes.

This particular recipe, Sharba Libiya, is common all over the internet and translates simply to “Libyan Soup”.

The main flavour basis is the Libyan five spice Hararat. Despite my searches all over the place I couldn’t find a reliable source so I had to invent my own version. I used cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chilli and allspice. Who knows whether my ingredients and measurements come close to the real thing!

The recipe calls for orzo or risoni, but you could go for any small shapes that suit you.

It’s a really hearty, flavoursome meal that I highly recommend, especially when the weather is cool.

Sharba Libiya (Libyan Soup
Anna’s very own version of a popular internet recipe. Serves 4 as entrée or 2 as main.Ingredients:
300g lamb mince
1 litre beef stock
1 medium onion
½ cup tomato sauce (passata)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup orzo (or risoni)
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
1 batch Hararat
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil, for cooking
Pinch of salt
1. Sauté the onion and garlic in oil.
2. Add meat and cooked until browned.
3. Add spices, dried mint leaves, salt and chopped tomatoes and stir.
4. When tomatoes have started to break down a little, add tomato
tomato sauce and beef stock. Add a little water if there’s not enough liquid.
5. Bring to the boil then add orzo and simmer until cooked.
6. Before serving, squeeze over fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with fresh coriander and parsley.
Note: chicken or beef can be used instead of lamb and potatoes, chickpeas and lentils may be included also.

Anna's very own recipe.
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Dry fry in a sauce pan and combine.

This is my contribution to Presto Pasta Night, hosted by Ruth from Once Upon A Feast.


Monday 24 March 2008

apricot & chocolate tart

On the last day of the Sydney Easter holidays I wanted to share this delicious chocolate tart that I made for my family on Easter Friday.

Not too many are aware, but in Northern Europe the celebrations of the death of Jesus coincided with the pagan spring equinox festivities, marking the end of the winter and celebrating an increasing amount of sun as the days grow longer.

The clever early Christians simply adopted the pagan festivals and absorbed them into the resurrection celebrations in order to make Christianity more widely appealing. Makes sense and you have to give it to those missionaries, they were very good marketers.

In fact the etymology of the English word Easter comes from Anglo-Saxon festival for the goddess Eostre, who symbolised the dawn and sun rising from the east. Eostre was similar to other more well-known dawn goddesses such as Eos (Greek) and Aurora (Roman).

I’m not Christian, but I do see Easter as a time to celebrate with family and reflect on new beginnings. Chocolate just makes that symbolism a little sweeter.

I first discovered this tart recipe in the March 2007 edition of delicious magazine (Australian version), but since found the same recipe listed on this website. It comes from the team of Sam and Sam (!) Clark, the chefs of London’s famous Moro Restaurant.

Like most of their dishes, this tart is a contemporary take on Moorish cuisine. For the uninitiated this means the flavours of the Muslim Mediterranean, which strongly influenced the food of southern Spain.

The recipe uses vibrant flat sheets of dried apricot called qamar el-deen or amardine. Also known as fruit leather, these are dried apricots flattened into flexible sheets that can be melted down. Above is the qamar el-deen cut into strips and moistened with a little lemon juice.

In the Middle East qamar el-deen is often used to flavour ice creams or mixed with boiling water to make a sweet drink taken before and after fasting during Ramadan.

Qamar el-deen was an ingredient I challenged myself to cook with for my 2008 Food Resolutions.

If you can’t find qamar el-deen (in Middle Eastern speciality stores), then you can substitute with good quality dried apricots.

For the tart shell, I used cookie crumbs mixed with melted butter to form a mixture that I pressed into the tart base, however the original recipe calls for your own pastry, which is listed below.

Apricot & Chocolate Tart

Recipe by Sam & Sam Clark of Moro Restaurant. Serves 8.

180g qamar el-deen (or dried apricots), cut into strips
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
125g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
2 eggs
50g caster sugar
creamy yogurt, or crème fraîche, to serve
200g plain sweetened cookies
80g butter, melted

1. In a food processer, turn the cookies into crumbs.
2. Transfer to a bowl and mix with 80g melted butter to create a loose mixture.
3. Tightly press cookie crumbs into a tart tin and refrigerate until needed.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.
6. Put the apricot paste in a saucepan over low heat with the water and the lemon juice, and stir until a smooth paste is formed. The mixture should taste slightly tart.
7. Spread the purée over the base of the tart shell and leave to cool for a little while until a slight skin is formed.
8. Meanwhile, melt the butter and the chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water, stirring to blend.
9. When the chocolate has melted, whisk the eggs and sugar for 3-4 minutes until pale, light and fluffy.
10. Fold the eggs and chocolate together and pour into the tart shell and even out with a spatula. Bake on the middle shelf for about 25 minutes. The filling should be a little wobbly when you take it out and have a very thin crust on top.
11. Serve with creamy yoghurt or crème fraîche.
Note: The original recipe uses the below pastry recipe instead of a cookie crumb base.
You can substitute qamar el-deen with finely chopped dried apricots, which you simmer for 5 minutes with the same amount of water and lemon until soft, then blend to a purée in a food processor.

Sweet Pastry

140g plain flour
30g icing sugar
75g chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1. Sift the flour and icing sugar together.
2. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3. Add the egg yolk and mix with a fork until the mixture more or less comes together. If the pastry seems too dry, add a splash of milk or water.
4. Form into a ball and flatten slightly. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 220’C
6. Grate the pastry (it can be quite hard) on a coarse grater and press it evenly around the edges and base of baking tin, to a thickness of 3-5mm.
7. Prick the base and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
8. Bake the tart shell on the top shelf of the oven for 10-15 minutes until light brown. Remove and cool on a rack.

Since I made this tart for my family's Easter Friday dinner, I thought I'd enter it into the Easter Cake Bake event over at Slice of Cherry Pie. It's Julia's second year hosting this event, so I think it's safe to say it's an annual affair.

Saturday 22 March 2008

ethiopian sautéed fish

This delicious Ethiopian dish is my initial forage into East African cuisine for my Food Resolutions for the year.

It seems I really enjoy the spicy, fresh flavours of East Africa, and berbere, the fiery spice of Ethiopia.

Since I have been reading up on Ethiopian stews and sauté dishes, I was able to create my own moreish sautéed fish. I used blue eye cod and marinated it in lime juice before wet frying in spices and a little stock and tomatoes. I highly recommend this as a mouth-watering, tangy and spicy dinner or lunch.

I even created my own recipe for berbere, but I must warn you it contains less chillies than an Ethiopian cook would use (I used 4 and I suspect they’d use between 10-20, or even more!).

I’m now setting my sights on a spicy beef recipe from Ethiopia’s neighbour, Eritrea.

Yasa Tibs (Ethiopian Sautéed Fish)
Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 2.
500g blue eye cod fillets, boned & cut into chunks
Juice of 4 limes
1½ teaspoons berbere spice (see below)
3cm piece ginger, peeled & grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons niter kebbeh (spiced butter)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ cup passata (tomato sauce)
¼ cup fish stock
1 tablespoon chopped coriander, leaves & stalks
1. Marinate fish in berbere spice and lime juice for 1 hour.
2. Heat niter kebbeh and sesame oil in frying pan.
3. Add grated garlic and ginger. Fry until soft.
4. Add fish chunks with marinade liquid, passata and fish stock. Cook for 2 minutes.
5. Turn fish and cook for another 2 minutes.
6. Remove from heat, plate and garnish with coriander. Serve with injera (flat bread) and eat with your hands!
Note: If not using niter kebbeh try 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 2 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon smoky paprika instead.

Anna’s very own blend. Makes ½ cup.
2 dried long red chillies
2 dried small red chilli
1 tablespoon smoky paprika
2cm piece of cinnamon quill
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon whole black pepper
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground ginger
4 whole cloves
3 allspice berries (pimento)
2 cardamom pods
1. In a frying pan, dry roast the all the spices (except the salt) until fragrant, approximately 3-5 minutes.
2. Cool spices then add salt.
3. Blend to powder in a spice grinder. Mixture can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Note: Ethiopians would most likely use 5 times the amount of chilli listed here!

Although this recipe is garnished with fresh coriander, my focus WHB ingredient this week is the wonderful lime, since it’s such a prominent flavour in this recipe.

There so many types of limes, and I have to say I haven’t never found a type of lime I didn’t like. My favourites would be the highly acidic Mexican or Key limes (Citrus aurantifolia), fragrant, leafy Kaffir limes (Citrus hystrix) and the beautiful and delicious finger lime (Citrus australasica) which is native to Australia. The dark green Tahitian/Persian limes (Citrus x latifolia) are also pretty good.

Limes are an important ingredient in many world dishes, such as ceviche in Latin America, Key Lime pies from Florida, Aceh Limeade in Indonesia, a myriad of spice and curry pastes in South East Asia and in Iran dried limes are used in many dishes. And let’s not forget all those cocktails where lime is critical!

Perhaps I’m just a sucker for anything acidic and tangy, but I just adore limes and crave dishes where their flavour shines through.

This episode of Weekend Herb Blogging is hosted by the lovely Katie from Thyme for Cooking, a great blogger based in Vendée, France.


Lime photo:

Wednesday 19 March 2008

cassata gelata

This is a simple and delicious end to any meal.

The flavours are very pure, so make sure you use high quality gelato or ice cream as well as rich chocolate and good glacé fruit.

The recipe is inspired by a traditional Sicilian dessert, first created in the Middle Ages. Liqueur soaked sponge is topped with ricotta cheese, enriched with nuts and candied fruit, and finished with a layer of marzipan.

I much prefer the ice cream version instead.

Cassata Gelata
Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 5.
¼ cup flaked almonds, toasted & chopped
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), grated finely
200g mixed glace fruit, chopped into tiny pieces
1 litre excellent quality vanilla gelato (or ice cream)
Chopped, toasted almond flakes for garnish
1. Soften gelato for 10 minutes
2. Mix ingredients together until complete combined.
3. Return to container and refreeze for 1-2hrs before serving. Garnish with some chopped, toasted almond flakes.
Variations: you might like to add a pinch of cinnamon or 35ml Cointreau. You could also use chocolate gelato instead of vanilla.

This recipe is my contribution to Festa Italiana, an event hosted by Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita and Maria of Proud Italian Cook.

Bloggers are invited to submit their favourite Italian recipes for this event, but I think that's impossible because there are just too many wonderful Italian dishes to play favourites!


Monday 17 March 2008

st patrick's cheese soup

This recipe is apparently called St Patrick’s Cheddar Soup. I don’t know whether it’s a traditional Irish recipe, but if you Google Irish cheese soup very similar recipes pop up all over the place so the chances are high that it is.

Since today is St Patrick’s Day, I offer up this soup. Tasty, herby and a great entrée (starter) to a winter meal.
Happy St Paddy's Day!
St. Patrick's Cheddar Soup
Recipe from Food Down Under. Serves 4.

2 x leeks, chopped
2 x potatoes, peeled and diced
4 x shallots, finely diced
4 tablespoons butter
8 cups vegetable stock
3 x garlic cloves, crushed
¼ teaspoon thyme
1 cup heavy cream
6 oz Kerry Gold (Irish) cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot, sauté the chopped vegetables in melted butter for about three minutes over medium heat. Stir frequently.
2. Add the stock, garlic, herbs and seasonings. Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Put the soup in a blender - in batches if necessary - and add the milk and cheese and blend.
4. Return to the stove and reheat. Serve hot.


Saturday 15 March 2008

double chocolate cookies

I saw these cookies on Milk & Cookies and started drooling.

JenJen always make me crave cakes and cookies and her recipes have never let me down yet.

JenJen does tell us to use Dutch-process cocoa, but you can see from the colour of my cookies (compared to JenJen's) that I used regular cocoa. I would have used Dutch-process but I forgot to buy some and had to resort to the general store near my house which only stocks regular cocoa.

The cookies turned out beautifully. Chewy-soft and salty-sweet. Perfect!

You can store them for a day or two, but they are best a few hours after baking.

Double Chocolate Cookies
JenJen’s recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s. Makes about 36.
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ tsp baking (bicarb) soda
½ tsp coarse salt
110g bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cacao)
110g milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
110g cup unsalted butter
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 180°C degrees.
2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. Melt bittersweet chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; let cool slightly.
4. Put chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl and mix until combined.
5. Gradually fold in the flour in two batches until just incorporated.
6. Fold in chocolate chunks.
7. Using a 1½-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.
8. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces crack, about 15 minutes (cookies should be soft).
9. Let cool on parchment on wire racks.
Note: If needed, cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Thursday 13 March 2008

food porn meme

I’ve been tagged by Kazari with a cute meme combining romance and food.

Don’t they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?

Food Porn Meme

1. What food do you consider the best “date” food? In other words, what meal or food item do you think is sexiest to eat in the company of someone you would like to look sexy around?
Mangoes. All those sweet juices! And there's a lot of sucking and licking involved in eating a mango. It's very messy.
Besides, you’d be surprised how cute your loved one can be with mango dripping from their chin.

2. What well-known person would you like to share a meal with—with or without clothing. (saying whether or not clothes are involved is optional).
I have been thinking this over for about an hour now and no one comes to mind. I can think of lots of people, but no one famous.
Maybe Henry VIII. He liked a good feast and it would be interesting to hear how he juggled all those wives. If it's the young Henry VIII, without clothes could be considered. But based on those portraits from later in his life I'd say clothes would be a MUST.

3. What does your perfect breakfast-in-bed look like? (Food AND the details, please. Candles? Music? Flowers? Hot tub? Dancing girls?
Yeah. I’m just not sold on breakfast in bed.
I mean it all sounds great in theory but once it arrives and I’m sitting there it just feels uncomfortable and I’m paranoid about crumbs going under the blankets and . . . . eeewww! Just thinking about it gives me the heebie jeebies.
Best breakfast in bed? No such thing.

4. What do you consider the best application of whipped cream to be?
Dairy and body parts do not mix people!
Do not abuse your cream. Cows work hard to make it!
Cream is best on trifles and strawberry shortcake.
Wow, I’m sounding like a real prude here but all these questions seem to land squarely in my gross-out areas.

5. Oh-God-No, Biff, the yacht is sinking! You are sent to the galley to retrieve the food. What luxury food items do you snatch first? The champagne? The caviar? Smoked Salmon? Truffles? Chocolate? Or something else?
Food? This is an emergency! Biff can go down and get it himself if he’s so bloody hungry. I’m getting that life jacket on and doggy-paddling to safety. Out of my way!

Now I’m supposed to tag five other bloggers but I know a lot of people don’t like to do memes, and given this one could be a little raunchy, I’ve decided to open it up to anyone who feels game. If you do the meme, leave a comment with the link to your own response.

Now I leave you with some fantastic pictures I was emailed today at work.

I have no idea where these came from so please forgive me if there’s some copyright infringement but I just thought they were worth spreading around.

Click on each one to enlarge because you'll see they are all made entirely from food items. Can you believe it!

Tuesday 11 March 2008

peruvian quinoa stew

I like this recipe. It was a warm, heart dish but on top of it all, it covered off three ticks from my list of 2008 Food Challenges:
- cook with quinoa
- cook a recipe from the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
- learn about food from the Andean nations

Quinoa is an ingredient I had never used before. Now I have made a couple of dishes and I'm loving it. I bought Fair Trade red quinoa which is chewy in texture, nutty in flavour and is aptly named "Incan power fuel". You can a lot about quinoa by reading Wikipedia, World's Healthiest Foods or Canela y Comino.

The Moosewood Collective seems to be an American sub-culture and put more emphasis than most on healthy eating and vegetarianism. Our friend Ashlee bought us the book for Xmas or a house warming or Jonas' bday. Don't know when, but we know it's been a good read.

The recipe I chose to cook first from the Moosewood Collective was this Peruvian stew contributed by a Peruvian chef who worked at Moosewood.

I also found a Chilean stew so you might see it pop up later on so I can cover off yet another Andean nation.

Guiso de Quinoa (Peruvian Quinoa Stew)

Recipe by Faustino Cutipa from Moosewood. Serves 4.

½ cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 cups onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped finely
1 bell pepper (capsicum), chopped finely
1 cup zucchini, cubed
2 cups undrained tomatoes, canned or fresh
1 cup vegetable stock (or water)
2 tablespoons chopped coriander stalks
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons fresh oregano (1 teaspoon if dried)
Pinch of cayenne
Salt, to taste
Chopped fresh coriander, garnish
Grated cheddar, to serve
Sour cream, to serve

1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve.
2. Place in pot with water and cook, covered, on medium low for 15 minutes until soft. Set aside.
3. While the quinoa cooks, sauté the onions and garlic in a deep pot in oil for 5 minutes on medium heat.
4. Add celery and carrots and cooked another 5 minutes, stirring often.
5. Add the bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and stock.
6. Stir in cumin, chilli powder, ground coriander, coriander stalks, cayenne and oregano and simmer for 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender.
7. Stir cooked quinoa into the stew and add salt to taste.
8. Serve topped with your choice of fresh coriander, grated cheddar and sour cream.

This very tasty and healthy vegetarian stew is excellent hearty meal for winter. Perhaps I strayed from the original chef's flavour concept for the recipe, but I added in tablespoons of fresh coriander stalks to the stew to give it a fragrant, almost summery feel. It really lifts the flavours.

Since the recipe has a heavy emphasis on coriander, as well as a little oregano, I'll like to submit it to Weekend Herb Blogging, being hosted by Kel from The Green Olive.


Monday 10 March 2008

weekend herb blogging recap

Sorry it’s taken me a little longer than expected to get this up!

We had 30 entries from 10 countries and a diverse range of herbs and veggies.

Spring must be in the air in France, with herbes de Provence the feature ingredient of two out of three of our French bloggers. Snow storms in Canada brought us hearty soups and rich chicken and the end of summer in New Zealand saw homage to stone fruit.

We’re a creative bunch!

V = vegetarian and any dishes that could easily be made so.
Enjoy the round-up.

Walnut, Kohlrabi & Apple Soup V
At My Table: Neil in Melbourne, Australia
I’m sure it’s not just my soft spot for Neil (after he organised an amazing Menu for Hope prize I won) that makes me think this soup sounds wonderful. Better still it’s his own Autumnal creation and although he uses rich, homemade chicken stock you could easily switch to vegetable stock for a vegan version.

Nethi Beerakaya Pachadi (Spicy Silk Squash Chutney) V
Curry in Kadai: Kalva
This spicy silk squard (or ridgegourd) chutney is flavoured with sour tamarind, onion, green chillies, coriander, cumin and mustard seeds. Serve with hot rice or chapathis.

Chinese Winter Melon Soup
A Suitable Spice: Minti in Massachusetts, USA
Flavoured with ginger, dried black mushrooms, ham and green onions, this Chinese soup makes good use of winter melon which floats within as opaque white cubes.

Dhania Chutney V
365 Days of Pure Vegetarian: Priya
This verdant relish is made with coriander, ginger, cumin, lime and green chillies and I’m sure its flavour is as vibrant as its colour.

Quinoa Flan V
Canela & Comino: Gretchen in Lima, Peru
Although often only seen in savoury cooking, the herb seed quinoa was the main grain of the Incas and is easily employed in sweet dishes. Gretchen’s flan is simple to make and looks amazing, flavoured with vanilla and served with a runny caramel sauce.

Teczcape - an escape to food: Tigerfish in Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Who knew an all-coriander restaurant was possible! I guess anything is possible in Tokyo. While you’re waiting to head to Nippon for the experience, try one of Tigerfish’s recipes: Mango Salsa w Cilantro; Steamed Halibut w Cilantro; Lemon Linguine w Cilantro; Cilantro & Pork Omelette; Potato Patties w Cilantro.

Black-Eyed Pea Soup w Corn & Dill V
Food and Spice: Lisa in London, Ontario, Canada
This recipe comes straight from Lisa’s favourite cookbook which was written by one of India’s (and the UK’s) most celebrated Asian food authors: Madhur Jaffrey. The hearty soup of black-eyed peas is spiced with cumin, mustard seeds, chillies and dill. A perfect vegetarian supper.

Kiwifruit Mousse V
The Art and Science of Food: Pepy in Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Here we have a very pretty dish made from vegetarian gelatine and flavoured with the sweetly acidic kiwifruit. While fruit mousses are common, Pepy has certainly come up with a unique twist by using the kiwi.

Broiled Butterflied Chicken
Kits Chow: KC in Vancouver, BC, Canada
Before this chicken was grilled to perfection, it was left to marinate in ginger, garlic, pepper, lemongrass, lime juice and coriander. Sounds heavenly to me.

Braised Sunchokes w Herbes de Provence V
Thyme for Cooking: Katie in Vendée, France
I have just rediscovered sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) myself so this recipe is high on my list of “must try”s. And who in their right mind would overlook a recipe that uses only three ingredients: sunchokes, stock and herbs. Too easy!

Bernaise Sauce V
Sounding My Barbaric Gulp!: Kelly in Illinois, USA
Overcoming the liquorice smell emitted from the tarragon, Kelly forged ahead with her sauce using champagne vinegar, white wine, minced shallots and fresh tarragon. A classic accompaniment to steak.

Nectarine Tart V
HomeMadeS: Arfi in Tuakau, New Zealand
This lip-smackingly-good tart contains one my favourite fruits: nectarines. Here they’re roasted with sugar and set atop a pastry shell filled to the brim with luscious vanilla custard.

Beet & Fenugreek Dip V
Absolutely Green: Virginie in Nantes, France
Vegan virtuosa Virginie (aliteration!) makes good use of beetroot and whips up a colourful dip flavoured with ground fenugreek. She also used garlic, soy yoghurt, tahini, lemon and a little Sichuan pepper and serves it on blue corn tortillas beside spirulina-tarragon sauce and popcorn.

Roasted Italian Sausage Soup w Garbanzos, Lentils & Roasted Tomatoes
Kalyn's Kitchen: Kalyn in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Herb Goddess Kalyn brings us this chunky sausage soup filled with hearty winter warmers to stave off the cold. It’s still summer in Sydney but this photo makes me wish it were howling outside and I could snuggle up with a bowl of soup.

Mixed Bean Vadai V
Dil Se: Divya in Glendale, CA, USA
These crunchy fritter-like snacks are packed full of legumes and can be eaten in the afternoon or around dinner with your choice of sauce. Divya uses 6 different beans and dhal as well as onion and green chilli.

Marinated Feta w Olives & Roasted Red Pepper V
Closet Cooking: Kevin in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sweet roasted peppers paired harmoniously with salty feta, bitter olives and acidic balsamic vinegar. I’m sure one bite of this Greek mezze is just not enough.

Chinese Beef Stew w Daikon
Fresh From the Oven: Mandy in St Louis, Missouri, USA
Daikons (a type of radish) are stewed with beef and accentuated with Chinese spices, anise, dried shitakes and wine. Rich and flavoursome.

Baked Salmon w Seaweed Salt & Lemon Thyme
Coffee & Vanilla: Margot in London, UK
Using seaweed flavoured salt (Australian!) and the gorgeous aromatics of lemon thyme, these salmon steaks are baked to perfection. Simplicity at its best.

Herbes de Provence Lentil Salad w Goats Cheese V
Like to Cook: Jennifer in Cesseras, France
I think this would work in both winter and summer. Puy lentils are infused with garlic and Herbes de Provence then tossed with tomato, green onions, parsley and capers and moistened with a Dijon vinaigrette. Serve with bread and luscious goats cheese. Yum!

Homegrown Garlic V
Almond Corner: Chriesi in Zürich, Switzerland
Garlic is one of those ingredients that most people just adore. Here you can get some great tips on multiplying your Allium sativum so you can have your own fresh, green garlic.

Za'atar V
More Than Burnt Toast: Bellini Valli in Canada
Working three jobs hasn’t stopped Valli from offering up three different za’atar recipes. The spice blend is based on powdered dried thyme and a combination of other ingredients according to your taste. Valli mixes hers through goats cheese or sprinkles it over hot naan bread.

Salmon, Pomegranate Agar Agar & Onion Sprout Tofu Puffs
Kitchen Unplugged: Gattina in Barcelona, Spain
This inventive recipe combines sweet tofu, tart pomegranate, salty fish and pungent onion herbs for a balanced creation. Tiny tofu puffs cup the precious bounty and those pretty onion sprouts decorate nicely, but also add flavour. Another brilliant creation from Hong Kong's food kitten.

Bacony Barley Salad w Marinated Shrimp
Sidewalk Shoes: Pam in Soddy Daisy, TN, USA
As one commenter wrote, this salad has a south-west feel to it. Lime juice infused prawns (shrimp) and barley tossed with tomatoes, coriander, bacon and avocado: it sounds wonderful to me!

Frisée aux Lardons
Cook (almost) Everything At Least Once: Haalo in Melbourne, Australia
A tribute to a French bistro classic, this salad is made of fresh frisée, lardoons (bacon) and poached egg with a soft, oozing yolk. And, as usual, Haalo offers up gorgeous photos for your drooling pleasure.

Balsamic Chicken w Mushrooms
Jerry's Thoughts, Musings & Rants: Jerry in Ontario, Canada
Dinner is easy to throw together after work if you use this recipe combining the sweet acidity of balsamic vinegar with mushrooms. It impressed Jerry’s mother a lot! To season the chicken breasts Jerry used thyme, loads of garlic, grape tomatoes and basil.

A Scientist in the Kitchen: Gay in Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines
This is a traditional Filipino dish made by grilling tilapia fish with greens and developing a delicious smoky flavour to blend with the rich coconut cream and a touch of chilli. Pinoy delight!

Spring Onion Pancakes V
Jugalbandi: Bee & Jai in Northwestern, USA
You simply must take a look at the photos of these delicious South Indian breakfast flapjacks, made with wheat and rice flours. They are spiced with fresh ginger, cumin seeds, crushed peppercorns, green chillies and of course spring onions.

Mango-Basil Shrimp
Cooking in Westchester: Rinku in Valhalla, NY, USA
Sweet mango flesh is combined with fresh basil, ginger, garlic, chilli and orange juice to make a sauce for shrimp. This recipe also comes with a lovely story and symbolic message that hit home for me and my own work-related issues at the moment.

Garlic & Herb Aioli V
Christine Cooks: Christine in Trinidad, CA, USA
Surprisingly this aioli is a vegan creation! First she roasts, peels and mashes the garlic with fresh herbs and coarse salt and then Christine adds tangy lemon juice and vegenaise. Delish!

Nelum Ala Uyala (Sri Lankan Lotus Root Curry) V
Morsels & Musings: Anna in Sydney, Australia
This is my own contribution. If you're not too keen on curries, this is light on spices but still strong in flavour and the crunchy lotus root cools you down. I also included some information on lotus roots, if you're interested.

THANKS for participating this week!

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