Monthly Archives: August 2012

Father’s Day 2012

It’s Father’s Day here in Australia this’s some pictures of my dad William before my girls and I took him out for an early Fathers’ Day dinner.  We’re going on a road trip to Adelaide tomorrow to visit my Mother In Law so won’t be around on Sunday for Father’s Day.  It’ll be good for my daughter Emma to get more driving practice, she still needs sixty more hours before she can go for her licence..we’re half way there.
My dad loves his food, he measures a good meal by quantity..big serves are good, he walks alot so doesn’t tend to put on weight.  My dad immigrated to Australia from Belfast, Northern Ireland fifty odd years ago and spent the majority of his working life here at Kodak, he was a keen photographer and used to develop his own pictures, black and white then he learnt how to do colour.  I think this is where my late love of photography has stemmed from.  There is so much more I could say about my dad but I like to be humble and just wanted say he has been the best father my brother, sister and I could have wished for.  Happy Father’s Day Dad.
Look forward to talking to you all mid next week when I return from the City of Churches..Adelaide.

Take care,

Catherine x

Fetta Cheese & Chutney Recipe

Today I’ve got some more preserves for you my family have been really enjoying.  Easy Tomato Chutney and Marinated Fetta.  It’s been great having Tomato Chutney for sandwiches (we seem to eat it by the gallon at our house) and marinated fetta on hand to sprinkle over our pizza’s along with this beautiful salami our neighbour surprised us with the other night.
He’d been given two by his butcher so thought he’d give one to us….and oh my goodness I’m glad he did because the salami was so good.  It made one of the best pizza’s I’ve ever tasted on Saturday night before going out.  The pizza went like this..spread pizza base with tomato pizza sauce, grated cheese, ham, the salami, little boccocinis and crumbled marinated fetta.  Cook pizza and top with rocket (arugula).
I’ve had a few false starts with chutney, to vinegary, to jammy, “that doesn’t look like tomato chutney”…frustrated I typed “foolproof tomato chutney” into google and came up with this great
Jamie Oliver Magazine recipe called Easy Tomato Chutney and boy is it easy and very good…so glad this chutney and I finally found each other!
The Marinated Fetta recipe is from an Australian Chef called Adrian Richardson.  Adrian is an expert/specialist on meat and owns a restaurant called La Luna here in Melbourne.  Every cut of meat at his restaurant has been dry aged on the bone for 7 to 8 weeks and is butchered on the premises.  He’s written a book called “Meat” which provides readers with a simplistic guide on how to buy, cook and enjoy meat.  
You must check out his website it is very novel and expresses his personality perfectly.

Easy Tomato Chutney

Put everything in a pan, season to taste and stir well to combine.

Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until jammy.

Pour into a sterilised jar and leave to cool before transferring to the fridge

The chutney will keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks (if it lasts that long!)

250g red onions, finely sliced, 500g mixed tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 red chilli, deseeded, sliced, 75 ml red wine vinegar, 140g brown sugar 

Note:  I made a double batch, so doubled the ingredients and simmered it for about 50 minutes.  It made about three jars.

Recipe:  Jamie Oliver Magazine


Marinated Fetta with Thyme, Sage and Garlic

I’ve used soft, creamy Danish fetta in this recipe.

Place fetta in jars.  Add the aromatics and pour on enough oliver oil to cover.  Seal the jar

and store in the refrigerator for two weeks before using.  Once opened, use the fetta within 

two weeks.

500g Danish fetta, cut in 3cm cubes,  1/4 cup thyme sprigs, 1/4 cup sage leaves, 3 garlic 

cloves sliced into quarters, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, good quality pure olive oil.

Recipe:  “The Good Life”, Adrian Richardson


Here’s a great video from You Tube with one of Jamie Olivers food team showing us how to 

sterilise jars.

In Australia you can buy Ball and Weck jars from The Red Back Trading Company.  Out of Australia,  from Terrain one of my favourite stores on the web.
I hope you’ll give both or either of these recipes a go…they are so easy and there’s something so satisfying about making your own preserves..they also make great Christmas gifts.
Catherine x

Lemons & Lethal Chillies

I still have so many lemons left on my lemon tree I’ve been busting my brains trying to think of what to do with them!  My family don’t want me to cook any sweet food for a while as we are all trying to be healthier so can’t make any cakes or tarts.  The next time I’ll be able to make something sweet is in a fortnight on Fathers Day.  So preserved lemons it is!

preserved lemons is a form of:
pre·served lem·on

noun /priˈzərvd/
preserved lemons, plural
  1. Lemons or lemon slices preserved in salt and lemon juice, used as an ingredient in Moroccan cooking

Preserved lemons are mainly used in Moroccan and Middle Eastern dishes.  They can be added to soups, stews, fish, paella, chicken dishes, tagines, cous cous and vinigarettes for salads.  When you want to use one discard the flesh and pith..give it a good wash under cold water to remove excess saltiness it’s the rind you want and finely slice or dice. A little goes a long way so don’t add to much to begin with.  Keep adding and tasting until you reach a flavour you’re happy with.


  1. A small hot-tasting pod of a variety of capsicum, used chopped (and often dried) in sauces, relishes, and spice powders.
  2. A spicy stew of beef and red chilies or chili powder, often with beans and tomatoes.
My husband Nick doesn’t cook but on a recent flight to America he flicked through a Gourmet Traveller Magazine to find this chilli recipe which he’s been wanting to make since he got back months ago.

He finally decided last weekend was going to be the time so went out and gathered his ingredients..
1 kg chillies, garlic, anchovies and olive oil which had to be put into these glass jars and simmered for 24 hours!!!

He set his alarm to go off every two hours on Saturday night so he could check on the water level..they finally finished simmering at 9pm on Sunday night..we’re going to open one tonight and give it a mix to see what it tastes like…the recipe says more lethal than a chinese chilli oil…omgosh can’t breath and eyes have just started watering thinking about it.  I haven’t included the recipe for the chillies as the jury’s still out as to whether the recipe actually works but have included a link to the preserved lemon recipe.

I’m going to start experimenting with my own recipes now for the blog as I feel it’s the next step in moving my blog forward..I’d love to know what recipes you’d like, I’m guessing readers could be more interested in healthier recipes than sweet.  I’m looking forward to the end of winter as I’m going to re-establish our veggie patch which will be fun to cook from.  I have more preserves for you on Thursday.

Update:  I’m going to Sydney for the day on Saturday 6th October to attend the Crave Sydney International Food Festival a month long festival with an amazing line up of local and international chefs, food writers, food photographers, cooking lessons and much more.  

I’m going to the Talks & Thoughts, Masters of Megapixels session where photographic experts Katie Quinn Davies (What Katie Ate), Jennifer Soo and Nick Moir will show off their shots and a few techniques.  Here is the link if you’re interested Crave Sydney.

Catherine x

Preserved Lemons


Moroccan Orange and Almond Cake

I have a new food’s someone we haven’t seen on our tv screens before here in Oz until now with his show Simple Cooking and  I think he’s wonderful..I’ve fallen for his house, his veggie patch which he picks ingredients from regularly and his homely comforting cooking in a big way.  Can you guess who it is?  His name is Nigel Slater.  I had to dig further to find out more about Nigel so went to the library and borrowed all of his books that weren’t already on loan, amongst them was his novel Toast.
I’ve enjoyed Toast so much, some parts of it remind me of my family when we were young.  I haven’t finished it yet but so far it has taken me from laughing out loud reading it in the car with a torch when I took my daughter to her evening piano lesson to reading it in bed until late at night with a “no laughing out loud” tongue in cheek warning from my husband.
We have lots of fruit trees in our backyard, apple, peach, orange & lemon.  The lemon and orange tree are in full bloom at the moment so encouraged by Nigel I picked a couple of oranges to make this moist orange cake.
The cake is a popular one by food author Claudia Roden who is best know for her middle eastern cookbooks.  It’s an unusual recipe as you boil two whole oranges in a pot for two hours and then whizz them up whole (skin and all) in the food processor with the other ingredients.  There is no flour just the whole oranges, eggs, almond meal, sugar and baking powder.  Don’t do what I did though..after I put the cake in the oven I had a horror moment when I realised I’d only used one of the oranges in the recipe instead of two.  The cake still had a moist orange flavour that would be more intense if both oranges were used!
Here’s a very quick video (a minute and a half) on how to make the cake from Food Safari where I got the recipe.


2 oranges
6 eggs
250g caster sugar
250g almond meal
1tsp baking powder
Extra caster sugar for dusting before baking
Icing sugar for dusting after baking
Margarine or oil spray (for greasing the pan)


Wash oranges and place unpeeled, in a pot of boiling water for 2 hours. Drain the water and allow the oranges to cool. This can be done ahead of time.
Preheat oven to 190°C.
Break 6 eggs into a mixing bowl or blender. Add caster sugar and beat or blend together.
Place the two oranges into the egg mix. Break up the oranges and then blend together to a smooth consistency. Add the almond meal and baking powder and blend.
Grease a 20 cm spring form baking pan with margarine (or vegetable oil spray) and dust with caster sugar.
Pour batter into the pan and sprinkle caster sugar on top and bake for 1 hour to an hour and a half or until the top is golden brown.
Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Here’s a link to a recipe from the New York Times for my American readers.
Catherine x

Colour Of Maroc

A couple of weeks ago I discovered Colour of Maroc, Sophia and Rob a husband and wife team who have travelled to Morocco to produce, write and photograph a food and travel book about Morocco.  I immediately became fascinated with their project and have been following their journey on facebook and their blog Colour of Maroc ever since.

Sophia is French/Moroccan so her roots are in this country and Rob is Australian and a professional photographer, check out his website his photography is fabulous.  They were married in Morocco and have said this picture below is the moment that inspired their book.

They have been exploring Morocco gathering recipes and a deeper understanding of Moroccan cuisine from people from all walks of Moroccan life.  Some of the recipes shared with Sophia have been written in Arabic, the trip presents many challenges..long days writing and poor internet connection being just two of them.  These boys below are carrying trays of bread to the local bakery before school and the other gentlemen sell donuts on the beach.

Filming a talented Moroccan Chef going through a recipe…all the cameras are out as they don’t want to miss a thing.

Taking a break to gather their thoughts, a beautiful decorative front door, chicken tagine and mint tea.  The tea ceremony is sacred in Morocco and there is quite an art form to the pouring of the tea. The higher the pour the better, which takes a bit of practice. 

Sophia had to wash two carpets in exchange for the family recipe.

They were invited to shoot this birthday dinner by an interior designer and owner of Jnane Tamsna, a boutique riad set amongst the Palmeraie on the outskirts of Marrakech, it was her sisters birthday dinner…what a beautiful setting.

I can’t think of a richer experience..going to a country getting out amongst the people and talking to them about their recipes and way of life.  I can’t wait for the book to come out.  If I’ve whet your apetite you can follow Colour of Maroc on their Facebook Page or their blog Colour of Maroc.

Thank you so much Sophia and Rob for giving me permission to use your wonderful photographs and I wish you well for the rest of your trip.

(excerpt copyright Colour of Maroc. Images copyright Rob Palmer)

Catherine x

a little drink & a bite to eat

I missed my Monday post as I hurt my foot and have had to do lots of stretching, hot & cold packs, massaging of my foot with a tennis ball!!!  It’s taken up so much time, I want to do everything the podiatrist says so it can heal quickly and I can start running marathons again (just kidding!!!)
Has everybody been enjoying the Olympics?  Here’s a nice little drink and a delicious little sandwich to nibble on whilst you’re watching it on tv cheering for your country.  It’s Chambord and Champagne and a Chicken, Avocado and Pancetta sandwich.

Chambord & Champagne
Pour 8ml chambord liqueur into a champagne glass, top with champagne & garnish with a raspberry

Chicken, Avocado & Pancetta Sandwich
Butter two slices of bread, spread with mayonnaise, top one slice with sliced chicken, avocado slices, salt, pepper & pancetta which has been cooked in the pan (like bacon).  Top with other piece of bread, cut in half and enjoy!

Chambord is the most delicious liqueur and the bottle is beautiful.  It’s really nice drizzled over ice cream and when you finish you can use the bottle for flowers.  Enjoy your weekend everyone and talk Monday.

Catherine x