We’ve had something of an Indian Summer here in Canberra this year and it’s been absolutely glorious. For the first time ever, we may actually make it through to Anzac Day without having to turn the heating on… something Canberrans strive to achieve each year.
With the early evenings still warm enough to sit outside, this Prawn Paté worked a treat the other night. It was accompanied by a chilled glass or two of Bandol (Provençal) Rosé which, I’ve got to say, complemented the rosiness of the prawns perfectly. Continue reading →
Being aware of how many Ottolenghi fans are out there, I’ll be surprised if there aren’t at least a few of you who have tried this dish already! It’s a delicious, saucy dish that feels suited to any and all of the seasons, packed full of seafood… and flavour!
In a comforting kind of way, it reminds me very much of a Greek dish that my Mum often makes, called ‘Gharithes Me Feta’ (translates to ‘Prawns with Feta’). She’s been cooking it for years… I think perhaps it was a recipe passed on to her from our Greek neighbours who were (and still are…) fishmongers in Adelaide. Continue reading →
Yesterday afternoon I spent a very pleasant hour or so sorting (and at long last, filing!) an ever-growing pile of recipes that have been ripped out of cooking magazines over the years. Often there are only a few recipes inside that truly appeal, so with each move we’ve made around the country or world, I’ve found it difficult to justify the continual packing and unpacking of so many magazines… plus I’m loathe to stack them onto our bookshelves, which quite honestly deserve a finer quality of literature. For the most part though they are all recipes that I would still like to try out at some stage in the future and finally having them in some sort of order will make this much more achievable. Continue reading →
Some dishes remain etched in our minds… often linked to fond memories of the people who we ate them with or the places where we sat to savour and indulge in them. We may not cook them all the time… in fact years may trickle by before we find them on the table once again. In some ways comparable to beautiful, strong friendships that are created over the years. The ones that not only survive, despite the distance and life keeping us busy, but grow stronger… with no need of daily text messages or phone calls every week. The absolute joy of seeing these friends, after months or even years is like waking up on Christmas morning!
Seafood Filo Bonbons were something my mother used to make on occasions for grown-up Dinner Parties with their friends. They were usually served as an entrée/starter before the main meal came out. In the days where the table was beautifully laden with tablecloths, fine china and crystal glasses. Continue reading →
With somewhat ulterior motives, I began not so long ago, to trace some of our family history. Knowing that predominantly my ancestry winds it’s way back to English and German origins, I was actually secretly hoping to uncover that gem of a find that I had a drop or two of Italian blood coursing through my veins. Not just because so much of the country is jaw-droppingly picturesque and packed full of history and culture, or that the deliciousness of their food and wine leaves me so constantly in awe… but mostly because I would love dearly to have grown up with an Italian Nonna in my life. Complete with her opinionated wisdom on all facets of life and her deep sense of family and love to knit everyone together. Countless stories she would have told of people and places from her past long ago and while she was telling these stories her hands would be busy kneading dough, rolling pasta, or stirring a pot of the most aromatic ragu ever to grace a cucina. The sights and sounds and smells would have seeped into my very being, guiding me and staying with me right the way through life.
Alas, I found nothing surprising except an English convict or two to colour my family tree, so I’ll leave you with something of an aromatic recipe which unfortunately comes not from my Nonna, but with love and essence of Italy all the same. Salute!
400g Boneless White Fish Fillets (cut into bite-size chunks)
12 Raw Prawns (shelled and deveined)
1 Calamari/Squid Hood (cleaned, hard quill removed and thinly sliced into rings)
Zest of 1 Lemon
Handful of Fresh Basil (or Flat-Leaf Parsley) Leaves (chopped into thin ribbons)
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low/medium heat. Add the onions (with a good pinch of salt) and fry gently for about 8-10 minutes until softened. Next, stir in the garlic, parsley, dried chilli, capsicum and fennel, continuing to fry gently for 5 minutes or so. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and tomato paste and continue to cook another 10 minutes. Pour in both the wine and stock, bring to the boil and then reduce heat to simmer for another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper while the soup is simmering. Add the fish pieces and partially cover the saucepan with a lid, simmer for about 4-5 minutes, before adding the prawns for a further 3-4 minutes until cooked. The calamari rings should go in for the final minute or so of cooking.
Top with lemon zest and basil and serve immediately. Absolutely perfect with a loaf of fresh, crusty bread on the side.
Notes on Cooking:
Feel free to use boiling water instead of the wine and stock, though be sure to check the seasoning, as more salt and pepper will most likely be required to balance the dish.
This soup is beautiful with all manner of seafood added to it – try adding some cleaned mussels, clams or scallops. Be thoughtful of the required cooking times for each…
My thanks to a dearly-loved friend in New Zealand who first introduced me to this soup – her recipe has been altered somewhat over the years, yet still makes me think of her each time I cook it… xx