Saturday, May 30, 2009

To market, to market . . .

Pictures from here
I love the markets! This is something I declare to my friends at least once a week, and make every effort to stop by the Adelaide Central Markets as often as possible. Whether it's a steaming pho at Charlie's Shack, a chai latte from Tbar or some mixed lollies from the old lolly shop - my senses are alive, and right in the heart of the city! But this post is about markets of a different kind - dare I say better kind.
Farmers markets are making a comeback with it suddenly being cool to wheel around your market trolley and buy odd-shaped vegetables ('organic' apparently means disfugured!). I used to go to Farmers Markets nearly every weekend in London and was thrilled when the Adelaide Showground Farmers Markets opened up just down the road not long ago. It's such a treat and an indulgent start to the morning. I walk home laden with fruit and veg and ridiculously priced heavy bread - seriously, I think you could use it as a door stop but they swear it's full of goodness and all kinds of grains.
Then there's the freshly brewed coffee, the forests of herbs, the glistening pastries and the scrummy smallgoods. Heaven!
Well, another of these fabulous examples of community markets is the Barossa Farmers Markets - best bacon and egg rolls to cure a hangover, trust me! The images above all come from the Barossa weekly event, with locals and tourists alike uniting to celebrate the region's much-famed produce.
With all this farmers markets shopping, I think it's time I invested in a funky trolley. If only I had the pounds for a Cath Kidston special! What markets can you recommend?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Even brunettes can appreciate a good Blond

Picture from here - check out the rest of their media plugs

I'm off to the Barossa for the weekend to visit my dear friend Lib and her new little bubs Lucy. Looking forward to some time out with my feet up. Hope there's time to fit in a visit to Blond Coffee - one of my favourite little eateries around.

Happy weekend xo

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A night with the naan

So on the topic of curries, I had a craving for the hot stuff. Although I'd inspired two friends to try the delish oven baked version below, I couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to cook at home (the fact I've got a kitchen full of unwashed dishes has something to do with it). So Michelle and I headed out for dinner to feed the craving.

Picture from Cork's Facebook page

We started with a cheeky drink at Cork Wine Cafe on Gouger Street which was the perfect escape from the cold outside. A cute little bar, its Facebook page describes it as:

"... the coolest wine bar/cafe on Gouger Street. Our aim is to provide the discerning drinker with the finest wines from Australia and around the world, and a simple menu utilising the best fresh produce the markets have to offer. We’re small, casual and friendly, catering to those who, like us, are a slave to their senses and enjoy a bit of refinement and quality. "

We opted for the sauv blanc flight of three surprise whites - such an exciting way to taste your wines - especially when you can't decide what you want. This was accompanied by a little dips platter with some scrummy toasted turkish bread.

Picture from here

Onward to the Thali Room for some bargain curry - $22 for their traditional Thali tasting plate. Basically - it's perfect for those of us who love a bit of everything (ie Christmas lunch is our favourite meal of the year because it's completely acceptable to have a helping of every single dish on the table!).

The setting is just gorgeous - random mirrors hung on the ceiling, little booths in the window, chalk board scribblings on the wall. And the gold, heavy cups are to die for - makes drinking water such a fancy activity!

I chose the kashmiri lamb, while Michelle played it safe with the butter chicken. Ah-mazing. Beautiful, tender meat, surrounded by generous helpings of naan, rice, vegetable curry, dhaal, mango chutney and chicken tikka salad. Talk about indulgent!

It's not til now, some three hours later, that I've actually realised how much food there was. Ouch. It hurts.

Time for another cup of Lady Grey before bed . . . oh, and those sink full of dishes. Grrrr.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Curry in a hurry

Bride-to-be Michelle has put in a request for a curry I cooked for her a couple of weeks ago - another experiment from the Faking It cookbook I borrowed from Nicole at work. It was delish and super easy. And I love the idea of incorporating the rice into the curry just at the end. The fewer dishes the better, if you ask me! I hate washing up! The end result is a kind of biryani/Indian risotto kind of thing. Really good! I served it with a veggie curry my Mum had made (the seven veggie special!)

Oven-baked lamb curry
Serves 4

600g lamb fillets, cut into cubes
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbs mild curry paste
600ml chicken stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 cinnamon quills
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
12 fresh curry leaves (impossible to find at the shops - Nicole randomly has them growing in her backyard, but I used curry powder instead and it had the same effect)
1 1/3 cups (300g) medium-grain rice
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Season the lamb.
  3. Heat half the oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb in batches for 2-3 mins, then remove and set aside.
  4. Return the pan to medium heat with remaining oil. Add onion and cook, stirring for 5 mins until golden.
  5. Add curry paste and stir for few seconds until fragrant, then transfer to a 2.5litre baking dish.
  6. Add the lamb, stock, tomato, cinnamon, garlic and curry leaves. Season with salt and pepper, stir well to combine, then cover with foil and bake for 20 mins.
  7. Stir the rice into the curry and then return to the oven, uncovered for 10 mins or until lamb is tender and rice is cooked.
  8. Serve with natural yoghurt and pappadums.

Enjoy Michelle xo

Wedding fever replaces possible swine flu fever

Other than 'Would you like a glass of Veuve, my dear', one question that really gets the blood racing, the cheeks sore from smiling and the eyes twinkling is 'Will you be my bridesmaid?'

Me (yes, still in cheeks sore from smiling stage) with the beautiful Emelia getting ready for Bree's stunning wedding last year.
Yes, they're real Chanel earrings.

I am absolutely over the moon to have been asked to be a bridesmaid for one of my besties last Thursday and am still delirious from the high (and the bubbles we popped to celebrate!). I am SO excited and can't wait for the festivities to begin.

I've got no complaints . . .

I was in my dear friend Bree's wedding last year and loved every second - my friends have started calling me the girl from 27 Dresses. Should I be concerned? She ends up with the guy, doesn't she . . . and a HOT one at that!

Inspiration board from A Summer Picnic Wedding

The invites are out for the engagement party (think autumnal leaves, polka dots, orange and stripes - stunning) and we're currently talking wedding reception venues at the moment. Thank goodness for blog heroes like Gabrielle over at A Summer Picnic Wedding and Jen at Green Wedding Shoes.

Bree's kitchen tea - very Ritz of us!

So it's got me thinking about the events leading up to the big day. I'm all for the traditional kitchen tea, hens night etc and thought I'd give you a little peek into the kitchen tea to end all kitchen teas that we threw for Bree last year. Think chicken and pistacchio finger sandwiches, vintage cups and saucers, Cath Kidston napkins, artisan teas, poolside setting. I'm going to have to pull something spectacular out of the bag to top it for Michelle!

The fabulous Amy Atlas

But it's all good - dear old Kim from Brown Button introduced me to the wonderful world of Amy Atlas. What a visionary (am I gushing too much? Are you scared yet?). Check out some of her pics below. Now THIS is what I call a beautiful kitchen tea spread!

Pics from

PS. I don't have swine flu - I'm just being dramatic. But I have been sick for the past two weeks with a bloomin cold, and yes, there was a fever involved. But I'm out of the woods and will try and find the inspiration to blog again. I fear I blew all the creativity and motivation out my nose!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dipping into new territory

Okay, so couldn't find a suitable pic that even resembled something close to hummus soup, so have opted for colour instead!
Cannelle-vanille is really helping me get through winter - FABULOUS blog and flickr page xo

I could live off dip platters - tzatziki, roast capsicum, taramasalata, french onion - you name it, I've dipped it. One of my all time faves is hummus, so you can imagine my delight when I found a recipe for hummus soup. Sounds strange, yes, but it really really works! And just the comfort food I was after to help get over this bloomin cold.

Hummus soup
Serves 4-6
'Faking it'

1L (4 cups) chicken stock
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 Tbs chopped mint leaves
1 Tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
natural yoghurt, to drizzle
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
2 Tbs dukkah
flatbread, to serve

Place the stock in a saucepan with the garlic, lemon zest and chickpeas, and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool slightly, then add the mint, parsley and lemon juice and puree using a stick blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper then reheat over low heat. Ladle soup into serving bowls, drizzle over yoghurt and oil and sprinkle with dukkah. Serve with lemon wedges and flatbread.
Recipe from 'Faking It' - Valli Little

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pad thai for beginners

Photo from here

Popped round to Mum and Dad's for dinner tonight - was in need of some TLC to help get me through this cold - and was treated to 'cheats' pad thai. So easy and so delish.

1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbspn fresh grated ginger
1 little chopped chilli
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 red capsicum sliced
1 carrot, peeled and cut thinly into julienne
150g cooked and sliced chicken or extra-firm tofu
pad thai sauce (1tbsp good quality crunchy peanut butter mixed with 3 tbsp hoisin sauce and about 1/4 cup water)
100g cooked pad thai noodles
handful bean sprouts
1 bunch chopped coriander
a little lime juice
  1. Heat oil in a non stick pan
  2. Stir-fry garlic, ginger and chilli
  3. Add the broccoli, capsicum, carrot and cook for about two minutes
  4. Add chicken, noodles and combined pad thai sauce, bean sprouts, coriander and lime
  5. Serve and enjoy!

It's so delish - and perfect for that quick feed when you get home from work and want something filling, warm and tasty. So much better when your mum cooks it, too!

Thanks to Mel on Sunrise for this awesome recipe

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Caught on camera

All photos from Con Poulos
So I'm sick . . . again. And completely lacking in inspiration and joy. And the ability to taste. I decided I needed to surround myself in pretty things to help get me out of this cold-related frump . . . and distracted from the bag of Cadbury chocolate drops Gem brought over on Friday.
So instead, I immersed myself in the world of food photography. It's not as dull as it sounds! If I can't taste anything, then I need to be entertained by food visually. I'm one of those terribly boring kids in the kitchen who will only attempt a recipe if I can see what it looks like. I have to love the photo to even bother reading through the list of ingredients - it's safe to say I also judge a book by its cover. Guilty.
After my dismal efforts to capture the beauty of Michelle's ah-mazing veal birthday dinner, I decided it was time I did some research and check out how the pros do it. Now, Donna Hay has always been a style icon in terms of food design and I was very excited to track down the name of one of her photographers - Con Poulos.
Wow, what I'd do to have that special photographer's eye and knack of finding the beauty in even the most simple of culinary treats. A cupcake is not just flour and butter when you're looking through Con's lens - it's a work of art.
Now, where was that bag of chocolate drops . . .

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Pic from here

So, I've been AWOL these past few days . . . but I've been BUSY! Friday night was a dinner with all the girls to celebrate my 26th birthday and I had lots to prepare! Had a brilliant night out - champagne cocktails at mine first, followed by pizza up at Jimmies on the Summit at Crafers (it's not just your average suburban pizza house, let me assure you!) and then back to mine for tiramisu. Ah-mazing.

I'll come back to the pizzas later, but for now, let's focus on the heavenly dessert (here's to JC and her seconds!)

Thanks to Gina from work for this recipe - so so so easy and not heavy or too rich like lots of other versions I've tasted.

2 eggs
1 packet of sponge biscuits
150g caster sugar
250g mascarpone
about 1/4 cup marsala
espresso coffee

  1. Separate the egg whites from the yolk. Beat your whites until stiff. Set aside.
  2. Beat your egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy - it shouldn't be too sugary scratchy when it's ready.
  3. Add the mascarpone and the marsala to the egg yolk mixture and stir through.
  4. Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, being careful to keep it light.
  5. Meanwhile, brew your coffee and then quickly dip each biscuit, coating both sides lightly, in the coffee.
  6. Line the base of your dish with one layer of sponge biscuits, then top with a layer of the mascarpone mix.
  7. Repeat with another layer of coffee infused biscuits and then top with the mascarpone.
  8. Cover, and leave to develop overnight in the fridge.
  9. When ready to serve, top with cocoa or Flake.


And for something a little different, I prepared mine in a Wheel & Barrow glass trifle dish - it was gorgeous arranging the layers upwards rather than spreading it out wider - looked so pretty through the glass. I managed to get to three layers high (doubling the recipe) and then just scooped out serves for the girls rather than slices if it were flat.

And for a decadent touch, our receptionist at work suggested grating roast almond chocolate in between each and every layer. Heaven!

PS. I can vouch for the fact the tiramisu got better with age - tasted twice as good the next night (um, does 3am Sunday morning count as night?) when I polished off the leftovers!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I want to be at Jane's French Table

And breathe . . . .

Hello lover! What I would do for a sitting room like this . . .
And these chairs! I don't think K-Rudd's bonus would even cover a leg of one of these beauties!

Oh to fall asleep under one of these trees with a good book and a blanket

Mirror mirror on the wall . . .

Images from The French Table website

The gorgeous girls at work spoiled me for my birthday with the most amazingly beautiful and breathtaking gift of Jane Webster's coffee table book cross journal cross recipe book cross photo album - At my French Table. It's seriously the most stunning book I've ever laid eyes on. Jane is my hero - just your average Melburnian who followed her dreams.

With a passion for all things French, Jane and her husband uprooted their lives and packed up their kids for a new life in Normandy. What an adventure. Each and every page of the book is written with heartfelt honesty and the images behind the text are an absolute delight. It's such a privilege to be able to get this insight into the adventures of the average Aussie family tackling a far from average challenge.

Jane runs a cooking school from the chateau the family now calls home - can you just IMAGINE a weekend in the grandeur of the photos above?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Paperback hero

No, I'm not talking about Hugh Jackman circa 1990s getting jiggy with Claudia Karvan - I'm talking Bill Granger. The cooking girl's man - and my latest bedtime read (in a purely academic way!).

Image from here

Michelle surprised me for my birthday with Bill's latest book - Feed Me Now! It's a work of culinary art - so so so easy yet surprising and innovative. Can't wait to sink my teeth into one of his dishes - Kristy and Michelle are coming over for dinner next week so plenty of time to narrow down my shortlist!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Birthday bliss

Perfect cupcake from here
I love birthdays, I really do - especially when it's my own! Last week we celebrated my Mum's birthday with dinner at Concubine, and then it was my day in the spotlight yesterday, and then my Dad's pops up in a few weeks time. I love that we're all close - means I can stretch out the celebrations over the full month.

It was my birthday ... you can't blame me! Image from here
So yesterday was just brilliant, a beautiful, crisp yet sunny Winter's day. Perfect for the new birthday outfit I'd treated myself to at Country Road the day before. Oops.

Image from here

The day started with bubbles at brunch with my parents and grandparents at Mantra. Ah-mazing breakfast. I had the potato and goats cheese fritters - and if anyone likes mushrooms (ergh!) then you MUST try the mushroom ragout with poached eggs. Mum was beside herself they were that good. Was soon in the festive spirit after Mum and I polished off a bottle of Eliza sparkling - if only every morning started off with such cheer!

Image from here

Then it was off to meet the lovely Bree for a coffee at Cibo - well, make that a mint tea. Have to admit I had serious order envy when she comes back to the table with one of Cibo's signature iced chocolates. Wow.

The very generous and fun Ange and Sam xo

So, the next step in Kate's gastronomic birthday adventures was to head up to the Hills to visit my brother and his fiancee - yes, very exciting - a wedding to plan for! Sam and Ange treated me to the brilliant and indulgent Shaw & Smith wine tasting at their stunning Balhannah cellar door. Wow, now that's what I call stunning. Five different wines (including their incredible Sauvignon Blanc) matched with three heavenly cheeses. OMG.

The culinary roundabout continued with dinner at Michelle and Pete's. Veal cutlets wrapped in parmesan and proscuitto with burnt sage butter. With potato gratin. And broccolini and beans. Ah-mazing. Talk about sensory overload - I'd been in tasting heaven since 10am!

But it doesn't stop there . . . Friday night I'm off to Jimmies on the Summit at Crafers. Have heard the best reviews - just hope it lives up to it!