Summer Lovin’ 

Hey guys! 

It’s been a while… But here I am! So, I just wanted to share with you a recipe that screams summer. It’s just so colourful, crunchy and fresh! It’s lovely with BBQued meats, tacos or mince. 

Summer Salsa 

  • 2 x corn cobs, blanched 
  • 1 x small red onion, diced
  • 1 x punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 x limes, juiced
  • 1/2 bunch coriander 

  
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve with taco shells and mince or whatever tickles your fancy! 

  

Picnic Party

Hello

Today I had a lovely day with one of my bestest friends. I’ve known her for almost 3 years now and she’s one of the only people I can always count on for a laugh and a good time. We had a spring-inspired lunch of fresh bread, roast chicken, Greek salad, watermelon, blueberries and nudie sodas. We talked until our hearts content and then danced and sung to our favourite tunes. My sister and her friend Camilla came along too and shared the lunch. We ended the day munching on buttery Nutella cookies. What a day! 

   
    
   

 

15 hrs in the city of love – what to do?

  
Hey everyone

To finish off our escape to Italy we had fifteen hours in Rome. “What?” was my reply. Such a big city full of thousands of years of history, culture, shopping and most importantly food! I didn’t even think it was worth coming out of the hotel room but I was wrong. These fifteen were quite possibly the best in the whole trip!

Friday 5pm: arrived at hotel, got changed and were in a cab by 5:45. We did a speedy walking tour past the Spanish steps, Trevi fountain (which was being repaired – bit of a let down), the Roman Forum finishing up at the grand Colosseum. By now it was around eight, the majestic arches of the stadium where gladiators once fought lit up with purple lights. Time for us to meet up with our friends for dinner at Santorini restaurant. After getting lost in the wrong Santa Maria piazza (who knew there could be so many in one city), we sat down to dinner at nine. The four kids watched the street theatre in the square and browsed in markets calling out ‘ciao!’ to just about everyone we saw – it was our last night and we were all on a high. We went to get gelato after at a place near the restaurant. They had about forty flavours which some of the picks were raspberry sorbet, hazelnut, chocolate and coffee flavour, basil, honey and walnuts and ‘thought’ with caramelised lemon, horseradish and _____! It really does make you think… Everyone was still full of beans at 12am so we strolled through the light drizzle to our friends’ apartment where we said our farewells. The morning was a blur. Breakfast at seven and off to the airport. I loved Rome – the city bustle, laid back dinners and friendly locals. You can bet on it that I’ll be back there in a jiffy.

Escape to Italy

Hello

I just spent three weeks in the South of Italy with my family and our close family friends and my sister’s godmother. We did lots of swimming, walking, eating, talking and relaxing. We spent most of our time travelling around Sicily (including in a countryside villa amongst lemon and olive groves) and in a small town called Praiano on the Amalfi coast. The food was all based on seasonal produce and family recipes from the region. In Sicily, we ate lots of eggplant – dishes included caponata, an appetiser with eggplant, onions, olives and sometimes capsicum and potato; eggplant parmigiana with mozzarella and parmesan and pasta Norma, a sauce of eggplants, tomatoes and ricotta salata (a salty, drier variation of ricotta, similar to feta). Around the coast of Sicily the seafood is the most popular while in the middle meat is preferred. We ate sardines, anchovies, swordfish (not a fan), tuna, sea bass and sea bream, which were usually served grilled or through pasta. As we reached the shin of the boot the seafood stayed the same, although there was more pasta (think gnocchi, linguini and ravioli) and great pizza (no wonder as Naples is the birth place of the delicious bread). My favourite dish and what I thought was the strong point on the Amalfi coast was seafood pasta. It doesn’t sound amazing but believe me the iconic flavours of olive oil, tomato, herbs and grilled scampi tossed through steaming linguine was delizioso. As far as restaurant recommendations go in both places, local advice is the best, especially if you don’t want to get caught in tourist traps. We discovered Kasai in Praiano, which overlooked a full moon over the Mediterranean Sea, from our driver and looked out for TripAdvisor ratings when we were stuck. I will never forget the welcoming nature embedded in Italian culture. No matter whether it was a sneaky wink from a spunky man or a blessing from the dear Nonna at our hotel in Praiano.

Linguine con Scampi at Amalfi

View from our hotel (The Tramonto D’oro) at sunset

Kasai Restaurant, Praiano

Inside the hotel in Praiano

Natural sun-dried tomatoes

Walk of the Gods path from Praiano to Positano

Enjoying the pool at our villa, La Limonaia

Noto – Baroque village in Sicily

Noto nature reserve

Fountain in Siracusa

Sea bass with tomatoes, celery, onion and parsley

Mount Etna Climb

Greek-Roman Theatre, Taormina

The Perfect Cheese Platter

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while because I absolutely love a good cheese platter. Mum had a couple of old friends over tonight and so I decided it would be a great chance to share some tips that I think make the best platter. 

1. Balance

Everything needs to be balanced especially the tastes and textures. I always include one soft cheese, one hard cheese and some type of fruit,whether it be dried muscats, sliced pear or quince paste. This way you tick both of the boxes. 

2. Quality

Cheese platters are for special occasions and we don’t have them too often (well I don’t anyway) so quality is integral to creating a perfect one. Instead of buying cheese and crackers from supermarkets opt for delis and markets where the cheeses are crafted by individuals who you can learn about. 

3. Keep it simple 

The best cheese platters hero 2-3 cheeses. And one type of cracker or bread is best. This way everyone can focus their tastebuds on the one flavour. 

Cheese platter from tonight ~ organic double Brie, riverine buffalo milk blue cheese (from Stanthorpe), vintage cheddar, lavosh biscuits, sliced pear and fig paste.

  

Cabarita Calling

Hi all!

Today we took a spontaneous trip down to Cabarita to visit the newest addition to this town: Halcyon House! This breeze block, boutique hotel is inspired by an old 1960s surf motel that once stood here. It has a wonderful collection of paintings and bits and bobs that gives it a relaxed, artsy feel which couldn’t have been done better. It is right on the beach and perfect for a weekend or week away. Opened as recently as 10 weeks ago, it already gets a good rap from the Weekend Australian and Gourmet Traveller. 

Their stand out dish was definitely the paper bark fish accompanied by crispy shallots and sea weed. But we also enjoyed the fresh prawn, avocado and crunchy iceberg sandwich on brioche with little bursts of red finger lime. The balance of flavours in the ricotta and seasonal vegetable salad was immaculate – with both raw and preserved radishes, carrots and other root vegetables. We tasted most of the mains but majority agreed that their speciality is seafood. The theme of the menu definitely featured Australian native ingredients such as macadamias, lemon myrtle, finger lime, honey and beach greens. Chef Ben Devlin also mentioned in an interview that he was hoping to start a sustainable garden at the restaurant – very similar to Harvest at Newrybar (in Byron Bay hinterland). 

   Outside Halcyon House

      Paperbark fish with white onion and sea weed   

  Complimentary bikes when you stay at the hotel

 

Find out more at: http://halcyonhouse.com.au 

21 Cypress Crescent, Cabarita Beach 

02 6676 1444

Winter Warmers 

Hello! 

So sorry I haven’t posted in ages but I am doing a bulk post right now. Today I am sharing with you guys a couple of great soup recipes.

1. Thai-style broth with noodles and chicken meatballs 

This soup is slightly sour but very healthy and cleansing. It heroes the lemongrass flavour (which is from our very own garden). It is best served as a starter or entree.  

     
 2. Soupe au Pistou 

After doing a quick Google search, I found out that this French soup consists of a broth with root vegetables and a ‘Pistou’ similar to the Italian pesto. This pesto has no nuts and is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. It is common in the Provençal regions of France. Although the flavours are simple this soup is deliciously warm and comforting, especially with a piece of crusty bread. 

   
 
Recipes can be found on www.taste.com