Cauliflower and Ginger Soup

A new Farmers’ Market has opened up near my Mum and Dads place in Canterbury in the last month or so. It has been such a treat being able to stock up on fresh organic fruit and veg. for the week. There’s artisan breads, a couple of cake stalls, a few hot food trucks, a fresh flower vendor and even pony rides to keep the kids happy. I love being able to speak with the farmers about their produce and where the farms are. It’s good to know that a lot of my purchases didn’t have to travel thousands of kilometres and most of the produce is harvested fresh for these markets.
My stash from a couple of weeks ago….


Anyway….Cauliflower Soup….

I’ve only recently acquired the taste for cauliflower soup. Can’t believe it’s taken this long…. I tried it with some fresh ginger the other night and it was divine so I thought I’d share….



Cauliflower and Ginger Soup.

30g butter or 1 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 brown onion – thinly sliced
1Tblsp fresh ginger – finely chopped (more or less depending on your taste).
1 medium potato – peeled and diced
1/2 head cauliflower – roughly chopped
Salt, pepper to taste

Melt butter in a medium saucepan then add the onions and cook for a few minutes over medium heat until the onions are soft. Add the ginger and cook for a minute more before throwing in the potato and pouring in enough water to cover them. Bring to a simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Add the cauliflower and a little more water (enough to mostly cover the cauliflower) and allow to steam until mushy.
Carefully blitz the lot and season with salt and pepper.
It doesn’t get any easier than that….


I served the soup with some cheese and avocado bread roll toasties. Perfect for a chilly winters night.

We did….


Breakfast for Dinner – Baked Eggs with Spicy Beans and Tomato

This is a twist on the ever growing popular breakfast dish Shakshuka. A bowl or dish of eggs baked in a spicy tomato sauce. It’s hard to get a straight answer as to the origins of this dish as everyone claims it as their own so let’s just say it originated in the Middle East and everyone has their own version of it.
My sister travelled through Israel a few years back and sampled different versions of shakshuka as she went. Her conclusion – they’re all delicious.
I consider this spicy bean and tomato casserole a base recipe. To it I either add more spice and cook it out longer to serve as a filling for tacos, burritos, nachos etc. or as a topping for baked whole potatoes or as is on crusty toasted bread.

We usually have this for dinner with lots of buttered crusty bread and, depending on the mood, either a glass of red wine or a good cup of tea.


Of course any beans are suitable for this recipe but we love black beans and I added a can of mixed beans as well.



What you’ll need:-

2-3 Tblsps olive oil

5-6 big cloves garlic – grated or finely chopped

1/2 brown onion – finely diced

2-4 red chillies (depending on how spicy you like it) – finely chopped

400g can diced tomato

2 cans or 800g of whatever cooked beans you have or like

1/4C red wine (optional)

1 tsp brown sugar

2 Tblsps balsamic vinegar

1 Tblsp worcestershire sauce

2 bay  leaves

1 tsp each ground cumin, smokey paprika and ground black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper



a little feta cheese (optional)


In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium high heat then add the onion, garlic and chilli and saute for a minute or two. Add the tomato and wine and cook for about 5 minutes.


Add the beans, seasonings and sugar and bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer gently with the lid on for about an hour and half, stirring occasionally.

Once the beans a soft and the sauce has thickened a little stir in the balsamic vinegar and worcestershire sauce and take off the heat. If the sauce hasn’t thickened much then leave on a simmer with the lid off for another 15 minutes or so.

Ladle beans into individual heat proof deepish dishes, crack a couple of eggs on top of the beans and crumble a little feta cheese over the top of the eggs then place on the bottom shelf under a preheated grill for 2 – 3 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your likings.IMG_2142IMG_2143

Serve with crusty bread for breakfast, lunch or dinner.




Avocado Mango Salad

1 nice looking mango? Check.

1 handsome avocado? Check.

A little red onion? Yup.

Okay then….

Well it’s way to warm to cook anything so lets make a summer salad and serve it with a few little open sandwiches for dinner shall we?

This has become one of our favourite salads during the last few summers.

Mangos are plentiful and avocados are everywhere.

I made this for the first time several years back and served it with chicken schnitzel.  It has since made an appearance on the dinner table many times (though we no longer eat meat so it’s now served as the main part of our meal).

It’s really simple:-

1 ripe (but not soft) mango – peeled and cut into bite size pieces

1 ripe (but not too mushy) avocado – peeled and cut into bite size pieces

2 Tblsp finely diced red onion

2 Tblsp fresh lemon or lime juice

2 Tblsp olive oil

a few sprigs fresh mint – finely chopped

a little (or a lot) of very finely diced red chilli

a sprinkle of sea salt

a scattering of pomegranate seeds (optional)


Here’s the difficult part….

Gently toss all the above ingredients in a bowl or on a serving dish.



And because it was 42 o C today, we had little open cheese, tomato, cucumber, beetroot and basil sandwiches (and a chilled glass of white wine).


Dinner was definitely good.




Fun Food Friday – Baked Eggplant Slices


Gotta love a Friday afternoon. After all, for most it means no getting up early for work tomorrow. It’s that wonderful feeling of unwinding and having a drink (or 3) with a simple long lasting dinner.

Then, it’s Saturday. Time for a nice leisurely breakfast in your favourite cafe, on the balcony or in bed. At least that’s our Saturday mornings, especially since we both stopped going to work on them.

But back to Fridays…

I’m lucky enough to finish work pretty early in the afternoon so I get time to think of something fun to make and eat for dinner. Hence the name Fun Food Fridays.

I stopped off at our local supermarket on the way home and found the prettiest looking Eggplants and decided that baked spiced eggplant, fried haloumi and fresh tabouleh in crunchy lettuce leaves was exactly what I felt like (and a glass or two of a wonderful wine we bought back with us from the Barossa in South Australia.)

Eggplant cooked this way is easy, healthy and delicious. You just season it any way you like, bake it and serve it as part of any meal. It goes perfectly with haloumi…

All you’ll need is:

1 medium eggplant
Olive oil

Slice the eggplant into 1cm thick slices. Brush lightly on both sides with olive oil the sprinkle on your fave seasonings.

Place in a single layer on a baking paper lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 200oC oven for around 30 – 40 minutes.


While the eggplant was cooking I made a bowl of tabouleh and I pan fried some thick slices of haloumi.


We grabbed a lettuce leaf each, filled it with some tabouleh, a piece of haloumi and a slice of eggplant then rolled it up and dug in.



Hope you Enjoy…

Long Time No Post but I Did Bring Quiche…


Wow! It’s been 2 whole months since a post from me. I know. That’s pretty bad but when inspiration doesn’t hit it really doesn’t hit. Not that I haven’t been creating and cooking, it’s more like….um…okay….it’s laziness….

I haven’t been writing things down as I do them or taking photos of what I’m doing while I’m doing them.

Part of this here personal laziness stems from having a new job. Most of my creativity is used up between the hours of 7am and 2pm where I’m in someone else’s kitchen baking away so by the time I finish work and get home I don’t have an awful lot of creativity left.

I did however manage to document this recipe (only because I had a couple of days off)

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Quiche.

There they were…all green and bright sitting just so on top of each other. How was I supposed to walk by them. In the shopping trolley they went. Next, the sweet potato. We love sweet potato everything in our home.

Then I thought…

Why not bring these two fantastic veggies together and make one fantastic meal…

So I did.

To make it even more fantastic I added some sheep’s milk feta that we bought home with us from a weekend away at Mudgee in central west New South Wales. What a winning combination.

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Quiche

Shortcrust pastry pie case – blind baked- (recipe here)

4 large zucchini – coarsely grated

1 medium sweet potato – coarsely grated

2 spring onions – thinly sliced

6 free range eggs

100ml cream

salt, pepper – to taste

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

80 – 100g Feta cheese


Squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the zucchini and sweet potato. Put in a large bowl and add the spring onion.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, cream,salt, pepper and curry powder. Pour this over the veggies, give it a really good stir then pour the whole lot into the pre-baked pastry case.


Crumble the cheese over the top and bake in a pre-heated 170oC oven for about 55-60 minutes or until the middle is no longer wobbly.

Let it cool for about 10 minutes before you slice it up and serve.


Here’s hoping it won’t be another 2 months before I manage another post.

As always…


Kale, Spinach and Haloumi Quiche.


I love making pastry and dough. This recipe uses a really simple shortcrust pastry which can be doubled or halved very easily. It’s pretty much half the amount of butter to flour with a few tablespoons of cold water added at the end to bring it all together.

For a 23cm quiche tin I used:-

200g plain flour

100g wholemeal plain flour

150g butter – cut into small cubes

6-7 Tblsp cold water

Mix the two flours together then rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water and mix until combined. You don’t want to over mix or you’ll end up with a tough crust instead of a melt in the mouth crust. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, flatten it a little then wrap and put in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.

Now roll  the dough out large enough to cover the base and sides of your tin. If you’re feeling creative you can crimp the edges.


If not, don’t.

Put it back in the fridge for another 20 minutes to rest again (it’s very tiring being dough).

Next, cover with a sheet of baking paper, weigh down with baking beans or rice and bake for 20 minutes at 180oC then remove the beans and paper, prick the bottom with a fork and bake again for another 15 minutes until lightly browned all over


While the crust is baking make the filling:-

7 free range eggs

200ml thickened cream

2 stalks of Kale – leaves stripped off the stalks

a couple of handfuls of baby spinach

250g haloumi cheese – cut into strips or cubes

2 Tblsp freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional but tasty)

1 tsp sweet paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper

Lightly blanch the kale in hot water, drain well the roughly chop.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and cream together. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and cumin  then add the kale.

Take the crust out of the oven scatter the haloumi over the base, then the spinach leaves and finally pour over egg mix. Flatten down a little with a spoon or palette knife and bake at 180oC for about 50 minutes or until the centre of the quiche is firm and the top a lovely golden brown.


Serve with a fresh salad and a glass of wine.


The combination of texture is great. You have the creamy eggy and spinach bits, the chewy haloumi bits and the flaky, crunchy pastry. Lovely…

Perfect for lunch boxes the next day…


Anise Biscuits

I’ve been through The Cookbook Guru‘s book of choice for July and August, The Italian Baker by Carol Field, and put in little pieces of paper to bookmark all the recipes I want to try. The hard part is trying to figure out where to start.

I’ll definitely be making some of the wonderful breads and trying out the Biga (Starter Dough), but last night I felt like baking some biscuits.

These biscuits are wonderful.

They’re very much like Savoiardi biscuits. So light and crispy with a hint of aniseed.

They’re  also very easy to make too. Perfect with a hot cup of tea or coffee. Hard to stop at one….


You’ll need:-

4 eggs

180g castor sugar

5g vanilla extract

grated zest of 1/2 lemon

200g plain flour

pinch of salt

3g baking powder

5-8g aniseed, crushed

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until very thick, about 8-10 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and lemon zest then gently fold in the sifted flour, salt and baking powder. Now stir in the aniseed.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm nozzle and pipe 10cm long strips onto a baking paper lined baking tray.

Bake in a pre-heated 190oC oven for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 160oC and bake for a further 5-8 minutes until lightly browned and crispy.


Cool on the trays for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Personally I’ll be putting in a little more aniseed next time I make these. But then I love the flavour of aniseed.

Light, crispy and easy to make….sounds good to me…