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Thai green mango salad

March 9, 2011
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A delicious salad courtesy of my sister… though I’m wondering where she gets mangoes in Germany.


This salad is my favourite breakfast on truly hot, baking, blistering summer days – the proper kind of summer, 40 degrees plus, 0% humidity and absolutely no chance of sleeping past about 8 o’clock.
It’s not summer over here in germany (not even close) but last weekend I spotted some mangos at 1 Euro each and grabbed one, even though they’d been flown in from Brazil or South Africa or some other hellishly far away land and were no doubt ridiculously ecologically unfriendly. I think I just needed something to remind me that spring was nearly here.

You’ll need

  • 1 large green or under-ripe mango2 cloves thinly sliced garlic garlic1 tbs sliced shallot
  • 1-2 fresh chillishandful crushed peanutsfinely
  • shredded spring onion
  • 4-5 cooked prawns or handful cooked crab meat (optional)


  • 1tbs fish sauce
  • 1.5-2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs palm or brown sugar
  • fresh coriander, thai basil or sweet basil

* Europe doesn’t usually get the same varieties of mango as we do in Australia, and the ones I cook with over here actually tend to be very fibrous and tough when unripe. The flip side is that even when ripe, they’re much firmer, so stand up better to being sliced thinly. So I usually wait until they ripen before using them, which means I don’t get that same tart fruitiness you would with an authentic green mango salad – it has more of a mild, sweet, mellow flavour. But this recipe works either way!

To cook
– Crush the peanuts, if necessary, and set them in a pan on a low heat to toast. Remove and set aside once they’ve started to brown and release their oil.- heat a tablespoon of high-temperature vegetable oil and sautee the garlic and shallots until brown and crispy. Drain on paper.- Now shred the mango, or cut it as fine as equipment and skill will allow (not very, in my case). – shred a bulb or two of spring onion, finely slice the chillis and roughly chop the prawns or seafood (if you like that sort of thing). – mix everything except the fried garlic and shallots together in a bowl, with a good handful of coriander or thai basil (or in an emergency, I even use rocket)- make the dressing by mixing the fish sauce and lime juice together and allowing the brown sugar to dissolve in the mixture- pour the dressing over, and garnish with the crispy garlic, etc.



Cardamom cake

February 28, 2011

This cake here, this is not cardamom cake. This is sad cake. And yes, it looks quite sad in the photo. Sad cake came about when I tried to make Simon’s mum’s really fantastic cardamom cake, but failed because I used too much freshly ground cardamom. It’s sad cake, not just because we didn’t get to enjoy it, but because I made it with our new kitchen aid (thanks Ma) and I now feel like I’ve done the cake, the kitchen aid and Simon’s mum a disservice.

But, in the expert hands of Simon’s mum,  it is a fantastic cake. I think I may have accidentally added a bit more than a teaspoon of cardamom. I also ground up my own green cardamom seeds, perhaps I should have used black ones or pre-ground. So stick to the teaspoon, and avoid green seeds!

You’ll need

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla/almond essence
  • 3 cups of plain flour
  • 1 tsp bi carb
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon

To cook

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a mixer, sift the dry and then mix together. Bake at 180 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I had to turn the oven down to 150 after about 45mins as the top was getting quite brown.

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Beetroot & goats cheese salad with balsamic glaze

February 14, 2011


Oops! Yeah I disappeared. Getting married conspired with a moment of insanity upon which I promised to write half my PhD thesis in three months (for absolutely no good reason) and it all got a bit much, quite frankly. I’m back now, and here’s a salad I made.


You’ll need

  • Half a tin of beetroot or a couple of fresh beetroot peeled and roasted
  • 100ml of balsamic vinegar
  • a few big handfuls of rocket
  • a soft goats cheese of your liking (about 50 grams ripped up)

To cook

Simmer the balsamic vinegar until it has reduced by 50% and is slightly sticky. Arrange the rest of the salad then top with the glaze (after it has cooled a little) and some cracked pepper.


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Blue cheese and lentil salad

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Smashed green bean & tzatziki burgers

December 11, 2010

This is an adapted Ottolenghi recipe (I really love his recipes but I always want them to have a little more going on, a bit more flavour or punch).

You’ll need

  • 250g of soy beans (or broad beans). I used frozen ones from the asian supermarket.
  • a big handful of diced spinach or baby spinach (wilted with some hot water then drained)
  • 3/4 tsp of cumin, ground coriander and fennel seeds
  • 3 small waxy potatoes (cooked and peeled)
  • a green chilli (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp of tumeric
  • 1 egg
  • a handful of dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 handfuls of diced coriander
  • half an onion finely chopped and lightly fried (until soft and golden)
  • 50g of shankleesh or fetta
  • a squeeze of lemon
  • salt and pepper


  • 1 cup of yoghurt
  • a big squeeze of lemon
  • a pinch of cumin
  • some finely diced cucumber

To cook

Put the breadcrumbs, all the spices, garlic, chilli, soy beans (once defrosted), shankleesh, coriander, lemon, onion and egg in the food processor and give it a good blend. One done, put the mixture in a bowl and mash in the potatoes and add the spinach. Next, mix all the tzatziki ingredients together in a different bowl.

To cook the burgers, form into a patty with your hands and fry until brown in a dash of olive oil.

We found they went particularly well with beetroot relish

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Sweet & spicy beetroot relish

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Cooking scones for Canadians

December 3, 2010



I’ve learnt a lot about the differences in baked goods between the northern and southern hemisphere. Let me see if I can explain (I might still be a little confused)…

An Australian cookie is just a cookie

An Australian biscuit is a North American cookie

A North American biscuit is a dense fattier Australian scone

A North American scone is a bit like an Australian rock cake

An Australian scone, well doesn’t exist…


Yeah you heard me, doesn’t exist. I know, I know, it’s just not right. We had to do something about that.

Straight from the country women’s association of Australia to a Calgary high rise:


The view (that’s the rockies off in the distance there)



Me explaining the finer points of scone baking (they have to be ‘snug’ so they rise)



Deep appreciation for scones from the motherland.



Delicious! Here’s the recipe. So what did the Canadians show me in return?



They showed me how to find secret burgers down snowy alleyways




That good wine is still good when drunk from a paper bag in a snowy alleyway



How to sabre a champagne bottle in minus 30 (that would be chopping the top off)



… and sourdough croissants (which make up for the baking faux pas of not having proper scones)


Homemade gnocchi with pesto & goats cheese

November 29, 2010

To make basic gnocchi

  • 800g of dutch cream potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • salt to taste

Cook the potatoes in salted water then mash until smooth. Mix through the egg and then gradually add in the flour until it forms a dough. Divide into three or four portions and role it out into a big long sausage. Cut the dough into 2cm pieces. You can squish them with a fork so they look pretty, if you choose!

Goats cheese pesto

  • 1 big bunch of basil
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 50g of shaved hard goats cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 30g of pine nuts (toasted)

Pick the leaves of the basil, then throw them in a blender with the cheese, salt and pepper. Blend it all up and add the pine nuts.

Boil up some water and cook the gnocchi, then mix through the pesto.

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Making Bastilla

November 22, 2010


Living in Melbourne, I thought I understood cold. Umm.. no. I think it’s physically impossible to understand -15 to -20 without actually experiencing it. Above is a picture of the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton, where I’m staying with my best friend.


Last night there was a birthday celebration for Thea – Alberta-gastronomy style (read many animals wrapped in animals). We also made Bastilla, which I have always wanted to make but never worked up the impetus. Bastilla is a Moroccan dish of pigeon or guineafowl with egg and almonds made into a filo pastry pie (or fingers in our case) and sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar. Its got that wonderful Moroccan mix of savoury and sweet. I don’t actually have the recipe or a photo of the finished product (I’d drunk too much champagne by that stage and was far more interested in eating it than photographing it).


I have a recipe at home so perhaps I’ll give it a go. Until then, some photos:

Braising the fowl…

Thea using the “walk out freezer” to cool the stock…

The finished product before cooking…