Archive for the ‘Condiments’ Category

Sometimes I find a recipe that looks too simple and easy to be true. So few ingredients, such basic technique – surely it couldn’t yield a sauce with so many flavour layers, a sauce that inspires a desire to shove my head right into the blender and lick any remaining drops from the blades? You know you’re onto a winner when possible mutilation becomes secondary to having just one more taste… Although we ate the sauce simply on spaghetti with parmesan, I also thought that this would make one of the best pizza sauces I’d ever had. It’s got the sort of flavours that inspires you to think what else you could use it for – I’d recommend doubling the recipe at the very least – after all, its not every day you make a Napoli sauce this good.

The recipe is from an upcoming cookbook to be published in April 2010 called Just Add Spice. The book not only looks lush and stunning but actually has recipes in it that you’d want to make – an unusual combination in cookbooks these days. When I first mixed up the spices that went into this amazing sauce, I was doubtful – the mix just didn’t smell ‘right’ for a tomato sauce. But I don’t mind being proved wrong by a delicious end result! (more…)


Read Full Post »


Everyone likes reading a good cookbook


So, what would your last meal would be if you knew you were about to pack it in? Much as I love eating out, I think mine would have to be something home cooked, and would have to involve pan fried dumplings with chilli oil dipping sauce as entree. Resigned Husband agrees with the dumpling part of the equation, but would prefer his dipping sauce to be soy-vinegar with ginger and a hint of chilli. Hey, I’ve just realized that if (for example) I was going to be shot right after eating my last meal, then I wouldn’t have to worry about how much mess I made – I wouldn’t have to wash it up! Bonus! Plus no worries about calories either! But on the flip side I’d be dead, which would mean no more food adventures ever. Bogus. Might suck up the cleaning and live to eat another day, methinks.

My most bestest chilli oil dipping sauce comes from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Sichuan Cookery and is simplicity itself. This is the book that first taught me to make dumplings at home and introduced the joy of a meal composed entirely of wontons. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Simple and oh so tasty - our Ploughman's spreadMelbourne Cup day; the day of the “race that stops a nation”. Or, in my case, the day of the “race that I am supremely indifferent to, but harbor considerable gratitude towards because of the public holiday that accompanies it”. I had arrived back from a wedding in the early hours of the morning, and instead of pouring myself into bed (which I can assure you was what I really wanted to do) I instead had to madly slice a few kilos of tomatoes and onions so that they could be tossed through with some salt and left overnight to draw out moisture. But it was all worth it when our Ploughman’s lunch came together later in the day! According to Wikipedia, a Ploughman’s lunch is traditional British fare, comprising of bread, butter, cheese and pickle (relish) at a minimum. It’s especially tops when the goodies are home made, which is what we were bringing together today – there really is nothing like freshly made bread. Hosted by two crazy friends who contributed smoked and tasty cheese, boiled eggs and home brewed lager and stout (and a hazelnut slice for afters), we were lucky enough to lure in two new friends for our feast, one of whom is passionate about making his own bread. We had French, Ciabatta and a wholewheat on offer and they were truly excellent.

Mmmm, food...

Mmmm, more food...


Another crazy friend brought a whole ham and generous salad and a pumpkin bread for afters; Roger brought nothing. Bald people are like that sometimes. Please note: this is what happens when I am nagged to mention you on my blog. I was on relish duty (hence the grumpy produce-slicing of the night) and turned to my favourite recipe, which I had found some years back on the net – I have no idea where it is from anymore, so my apologies for the lack of acknowledgment. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Home made chilli oil

This is one of the most indispensable items in my pantry – I use it so often in my Chinese cooking, not to mention that it’s really ace tossed through just about anything to give it a bit of a ‘kick’. Use as much or as little as you like, just remember that more sediment = more heat!

Chilli Oil

1 cup oil – preferably peanut, but lets be honest: vegetable works fine

50gm chilli flakes

  1. Pour oil into small saucepan and place over high heat. Once it’s just started smoking, remove from heat and leave to sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whack the chilli flakes into a glass jar. After the oil has sat for 10 minutes, carefully pour it into the jar. It’ll sizzle like mad and then calm down. Give it a stir with a chopstick and leave it to cool completely. You can use it immediately, but it does improve with time.

Read Full Post »