Archive for the 'Food ramblings' Category

Borough Markets – why is there not one in Scotland!!!!!

June 23, 2010


I have heard about Borough Markets and surprisingly had never been until last Friday. And may I say I was not disappointed. Not good but great!!

Beautiful fruit and veg, fabulous cheeses, breads, meats, fish and also olives, spices, vinegar, oils and the list goes on.

Borough markets is right beside the London Bridge tube stop, very easy to get to. It is lovely, set in an old market place with inside and outside areas, cobbled streets, wrought iron work and generally a real foodie feel (but most importantly not pretentious!)

There are lovely food stalls that you can get ready to eat meals for example I had fresh pasta, mushroom filled ravioli, with a tomato sugo. They had been imported from Italy the previous day. They also sold fresh pesto from Genoa which was fantastic!

Other things on offer included huge Paellas brimming with wonderful seafood, roasted meats on lovely bread, fresh oysters shucked in front of you, vegan and vegetarian meals, organic food, fresh juices/smoothies, seafood, burgers, pies, pasties, mexican empanadas. There are also lots of lovely restaurants, bars and cafes in the streets surrounding the markets. I could have been there for hours but I only had 2 hrs!!

I bought wonderful bread – real bread – and great cheese from Neil’s Yard.

I will definitely be going back and recommend it to anyone visiting London.

Here are some photos:


The cookbooks and Tupperware has arrived….

May 18, 2010

Well today was a big day for me, my boxes have arrived from Sydney.

My ma and pa kindly offered to assist me with the collection of all my worldly belongings (condensed to 7 large boxes) which is mainly made up of kitchen equipment. I know you are surprised at that….tee hee.

I just don’t know where to start with how excited I am about the arrival of this bounty.

For anyone who knows me I suppose I should start with the Tupperware. I have A LOT of Tupperware which I am fiercely protective of. Now I don’t mean “plastic boxes” I mean the real deal old-fashioned pyramid selling stuff. Trademarked and everything!

My passion for Tupperware runs very deep. A friend on mine hosted a Tupperware party at her home a few years ago desperately wanting the “free gifts” promised, unfortunately she would only receive these free gifts if she could get two of her guests to agree to also host a Tupperware party. Me being a total sucker agreed to host one, however at the end of the day she hadn’t managed to get anyone else to agree to having another party so I was strong armed into having not one but two Tupperware parties – double sucker!!

The parties turned out to be great fun, a fantastic excuse to invite all my favourite people to my place and cook for them. I managed to sell so much Tupperware I ended up being the largest party in NSW during record breakers week. I am not sure whether to be proud of that or embarrassed (that won’t be going on my CV).

Due to my Tupperware success I received a ton of free Tupperware (and I bought a lot too).

So now I cherish my extensive collection of Tupperware, and much to Adam’s distress I brought the majority of it with me. Hence the excitement regarding the arrival of my boxes.


My sis will be equally excited as I have promised to lend (yes that is lend NOT give) my Tupperware to her until I need it. I have also agreed to re-organise her kitchen so that you can open her cupboard doors without fear of cracking your skull with falling tins, jars or packets (using the Tupperware of course – Modular Mates for those in the know).

The excitement continues with my fabulous selection of cookbooks. I really am VERY excited about them arriving. Even though my mum and dad have a lot of recipe books they are not very good (that is me being nice!)

My two favourite cook books are:

Stephanie Alexander’s “The Cooks Companion” – this is the cooking Bible and I really recommend anyone interested in cooking to invest in this. It is not cheap, around AUS$130, but well worth it.

Kylie Kwong “Simple Chinese Cooking” – this book is exactly what the title suggests apart from it doesn’t say delicious and fresh (which it is). Additionally it is important to note the food is nothing like the scary stuff that comes from your local Chinese. There is not a prawn cracker in sight and no slime sauce (sauces thickened with corn flour).

I have lots of other fab cook books but these are my favourites.

So many recipes so little time!

Roasted veg, Mexican beans and tahini sauce (a fridge scrape)

April 26, 2010

Can I just say how ridiculously good roasted veg is!!!!

Tonight was a fridge scraper dinner – not much in the fridge. So you end up cooking up a totally random selection of things.

I am a little bit of a saddo as I actually really enjoy the challenge.

My random selection consisted of:

1 bunch of baby beetroot
1 bulb of celeriac
2 small carrots
4 red potatoes
2 courgettes
1/2 punnet of cherry tomatoes
Red onion

I also had whatever the store cupboard had to offer which was tinned tomatoes and a selection of tinned beans (chick peas, pinto, etc etc).

The most sensible thing to do in a situation like this is bung it all into the oven to roast!!!!

I chopped up the potatoes (skins on), celeriac and carrots into approx 1″ pieces and put them in a large ceramic dish, tossed in some chopped up fresh thyme and rosemary and good pinch of sea salt and a good whack of course ground black pepper. Then good glug of olive oil and tossed it to cover all the veg in the tasty herby oil.

I popped it in the oven at about 200 – 210 degrees centigrade.

In another ceramic dish I put the beetroot which had been scrubbed and cut into wedges. I put a little oil in, some salt and pepper and a splash of water. Then covered with aluminium foil. Into the oven too.

Every 20 mins of so I stirred the veg to stop it burning and so that it would cook evenly, After about 45 mins I added thick rings of courgette and the whole cherry tomatoes (and stirred them through so that they would coat in tasty oil).

The beetroot was also checked, tossed about a wee bit more water here and there then a wee splash of red wine vinegar to balance the sweetness.

In total I baked both veg and beetroot for 1 – 1 1/2 hrs until the beetroot was cooked but still firm and the veg was golden and cooked through The carrots still had a wee bit of a bite to them though.

I also cooked up some spicy Mexican beans.

1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tin of tomatoes
dried wild oregano
sweet paprika
Kecap Manis
Tinned mixed beans (pinto, kidney, black)

Sauteed the chopped onion and garlic in some olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft, added in the cummin and cooked for another minute. Added in the tomatoes, a large teaspoon of oregano and a level teaspoon of paprika. I also added a large dash of Kecap Manis which is a sweet soy. This is EXCELLENT for giving spicy sauces a little bit of depth and sweetness. Sometimes tinned toms can be a little acidic.

Cooked the sauce for about 15 mins then added the beans. Cooked beans on a low simmer for about 1 hour then added seasoning to taste. (Throughout cooking I kept adding little splashes of water to keep the beans moist).

I served the spicy mexican beans on top of a pile of the roasted veg and beetroot – gave it a good squeeze of lemon and topped it off with some freshly picked and chopped Italian parsley and tahini and yogurt sauce (1 table-spoon or tahini mixed into about 2/3 cup of natural yogurt).


*Sorry this is not in proper recipe format but I think it is a “bung it in” affair and not really a follow the recipe kind of thing.

Wild Garlic update!! (and stir frying tips)

April 22, 2010

I am still very excited about Wild Garlic!!

After a few more trips down to the “veggie patch” I have collected a lot more of the fabulous stuff to play with.

I have now used it in 2 dishes.

Firstly I used it in some smoked haddock fish cakes – and a veggie “fish” cake with no fish for my dad.

Both were fab.

I also cooked a cheeky wee veg stir fry and chucked in a handful of finely sliced wild garlic at the end – winner.

Just a few wee hints for all those out there that have disappointing stir fries on a regular basis:

1. Keep it simple – stick to 2 or 3 main ingredients e.g. Snow pea, tofu and Bok choy

2. DO NOT use scary supermarket “Stir fry sauces” – YUCK!!

3. Take a trip to your local Chinese supermarket and buy some light soy, Shoaxing wine (Chinese rice wine for cooking), Oyster sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, fish sauce and Hoisin sauce. In my opinion the essentials are the light soy and Shoaxing wine.

4. Get the best quality sauces – they will last for ages and they are relatively cheap anyway. Lee Kum Kee is great,

5. A good base for a stir fry is a couple of fresh garlic cloves cut into match sticks, a thumb size piece of fresh ginger cut into match sticks (don’t use the wrinkly old piece of ginger from the bottom of the fruit bowl!).

Add a good glug of peanut oil to your wok, heat it up until it is almost smoking. If you don’t have peanut oil you can use sunflower or vegetable – do not use olive oil it will burn.

Pop in the garlic and ginger and quickly fry for about a minute (it should be starting to colour but not burn). Add a teaspoon of white sugar and fry for 30 seconds to a minute making sure the garlic/ginger is not getting to scorched. Add a good splash of Shaoxing wine (about 3 table spoons).

Cook down for a minute or two then add your chosen ingredients.

After 2 or 3 minutes add light soy (add to taste).

Easy – these flavours enhance you ingredients and do not overpower them. That is the key to stir frying.

6. Do not over cook your veg

7. Make sure your rice or noodles are ready to rock and roll – stir fry must be cooked and served immediately

8. Tofu and meet should be cooked removed from wok, then veg stir fried, then add meat or tofu back in to warm though. Do not cook altogether – it will not work.

9. Some veg cooks quicker than other veg, what I do is I add the veg which will take longer first and then add in stages taking into consideration the cooking time. Additionally think about how long the ingredient will take to cook when you cut it e.g. cut carrots very finely and add them at the last-minute. I use a speed peeler and peel strips then pile the strips on top of each other and cut into thin match sticks. Carrots cut into discs will take forever to cook.

That was a wee bit of a tangent from Wild Garlic – I think I will update the heading to include stir fry tips….