Jun 182012

Can I share something with you?

I don’t really warm to cauliflower.  It’s cruciferous cousin broccoli is close to my heart.  I’ve even come around to brussel sprouts and cabbage (preferably slow-cooked, with proscuitto).  But cauliflower leaves me cold.  I bypass it at the supermarket (I mean…farmers’ market…), I leave it in the fridge if J happens to buy it.

Eventually I decided, enough is enough.   Surely there is a way for me to enjoy it. It doesn’t all have to hark back to the oversteamed/boiled cauliflower of my childhood (sorry Mum!).

Consider this the first step in my education.











Spaghetti with cauliflower and proscuitto

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Website Citrus and Candy


  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • 1.2 heads cauliflower (cut into small florets)
  • 30g butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 slices proscuitto
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli (I used sambal but fresh chilli also works)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • zest of 1 lemon (Omitted because I didn't have it - but I recommend adding it)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (finger lime vinegar also works!)
  • flat leafed parsley (coarsely chopped)
  • parm (to taste)


1 Cook pasta according to packet directions.
2 Strain pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
3 Toss the pasta with a little olive oil to prevent stocking and put to one side.
4 In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium high and add in the cauliflower.
5 Season and cook until the cauliflower is cooked and has caramelised.
6 Remove the cauliflower from the pan and set aside.
7 Heat the oil in the same frying pan and add the proscuitto and cook until crispy.
8 Reserve a few bits of prosuitto to crumble on top at the end.
9 Add the garlic and chilli to the remaining proscuitto int he pan and gently fry until the garlic starts to brown.
10 Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce.
11 Add the zest, lemon juice and cauliflower.
12 Add the cooked pasta into the frying pan and toss to combine.
13 Add pasta water if needed to coat the pasta and create a bit of sauce.
14 Season and toss through the parsley.
15 Top with crisp proscuitto and grated parmesan.
Feb 192012

It had been a rough week, and it was only Wednesday.  At times like these, I live by the concept of “comfort food”.  I’m not saying that it is wise, or healthy, to eat like this all the time.  But there is a reason we are drawn to rich, indulgent foods, and it’s not just biology.  It’s the memories they invoke – Nana or Mum’s cooking, overcast and cold days where a big bowl of pasta warmed you through, a time when calories and weight was irrelevant and you just ate because you enjoyed it and you were hungry.

Perhaps it is all in my head, but after I ate this meal I felt comforted.  It didn’t make my problems disappear, but it was a pleasant interlude.  And after all, isn’t that enough?

Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Allergy Milk
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Region American


  • 500g pasta (macaroni or other small type)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets (roughly chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup cheddar (grated)
  • 1 cup parmesan (grated)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs


1 Preheat oven to 200*.
2 Cook pasta on stove in boiling salted water according to directions.
3 Meanwhile, in a large heavy saucepan heat olive oil over a medium heat.
4 Add onions and cook until translucent.
5 Add garlic and diced broccoli and briefly fry, being careful not to burn.
6 Remove from pan and set aside.
7 In the same pan melt butter.
8 Add in flour and mustard and cook, stirring for about two minutes until flour mixture has darkened. Make sure there are no lumps!
9 Gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly. Add bay leaf.
10 Turn the heat to low and let simmer, stirring regularly, until the sauce has thickened.
11 Stir in 1 cup grated cheddar and 1/2 cup grated parmesan.
12 Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Remove bay leaf.
13 Add in onion, garlic and broccoli mixture.
14 Stir through pasta and pour into a greased baking dish.
15 Top with breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan.
16 Turn oven down to 180 and cook for 15-20 minutes until topping is browned and crunchy.
17 Serve with a side salad (because it's all about balance right?!)
Jan 122012

These came from a recent edition of Donna Hay magazine, of course with several adaptations based on what I had in stock.  The dumplings are quite similar to a ricotta gnocchi recipe I have made previously by Maggie Beer.  This is a nice light meal but is still satisfying because of the protein from the ricotta.

I used spinach leaves from our garden – sadly the spinach plant has since been fried by the heat.  The recipe calls for baby spinach but you could also use normal spinach – you would just have to cook it briefly first and squeeze out the moisture.

The dumplings would also work well with a more traditional tomato pasta sauce, or you could do a brown butter sauce (much like Maggie Beer’s recipe).  I recommend serving with a nice fresh green salad – my philosophy is you can never have too many vegetables!

[recipe-show recipe=spinach-and-ricotta-dumplings]

Nov 102011

We’ve launched headfirst back into renovating our “fixer-upper” post war home.  It’s all good fun, but it does mean my creative outlet is occupied elsewhere, and leaves limited time (and motivation) to cook exciting meals.

But then, I was thinking tonight, perhaps I should show some of what we eat on those nights when I don’t feel like going to a big effort?  We still eat well, after all.  And usually the meals are reasonably nutritious and certainly easy.

So, here it is.  Our simple dinner.

[recipe-show recipe=yoghurt-lemon-and-chickpea-pasta]

Mar 162011

I saw this a few weeks ago on Smitten Kitchen.  Never one to follow a recipe down to the letter, I made a few adaptations.  Particularly, instead of cream I subbed natural yoghurt, and I added some peas into the cooking pasta in the last few minutes.  I also threw in a leftover beef sausage, chopped up, for some extra protein and staying power.  It really is a ridiculously simple recipe but it has so much flavour.  It’s like a little lemon party in your mouth.  It’s light, yet still comfort food, and it made me very happy one Friday night.  I challenge you to order and pickup/have takeaway delivered in less time!

The recipe is here.  Make it.  You won’t be sorry.  And have a look around while you’re at it, check out her amazing photography skills and delightful dishes.

[singlepic id=198 w=500 h=333 mode=watermark float=center]

Jan 212011

I’ve been a bit quiet on here for the last few weeks as it seems a bit trite to write about food when so many people in Brisbane, Queensland and the greater East Coast of Australia have been affected by flooding.  My hometown of Brisbane was badly hit last week and some of my favourite suburbs were inundated.  Houses, businesses, and even lives have been lost.  It’s devastating to see this happen to a place you know and love.  If you’re interested in donating, you can do so here:  http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/

However, life does, inevitably, go on.   And through it all, we still need to eat.  This is a quick and easy recipe, perfect for a mid-week dinner.  I hope you enjoy it.

[singlepic id=186 w=500 h=333 mode=watermark float=left]

[recipe-show recipe=chicken-and-tomato-pesto-pasta]