Archive for May, 2010

Au Revoir

I’m leaving for Paris in a matter of minutes. But I thought I’d leave you with a picture of something I created in the early hours of this morning. It was based on this picture I found on a blog site:

I’m calling it “the Paris hat”.

Au Revoir!


Broadly speaking

Indulge me while I write yet another food post. You see, Spring is not only the time of all things rhubarb and asparagus, it’s also the only time of year to eat broad beans. A lot of people shy away from broad beans because they take a bit of extra loving. Unlike peas, where it’s a matter of ripping in and getting them out, shelling broad beans is quite an art. If you try to rip in, you’ll never get them out. They have too much self-respect. It’s a matter of squeezing the foamy, spongy pod at just the right angle, and popping them out gracefully like the cork of a good chablis. And while you’re standing there popping, take the opportunity to think about life and the cosmos.

Broad beans are another of those things that cause disharmony in the Kelly family. But this time, I’d have to side with Dad. What kind of woman isn’t thrilled by a meal of fresh broad beans? A woman spoiled by thirty years of home grown vegetables, I’d say. Dad, if you cook them this way, she will love them. Promise. The recipe I’m posting below may well be my last meal of choice. Totally worth the podding labour. By the way (if¬†you’re in Australia) now is the time plant broad beans. If you don’t have a garden but are lucky enough to live in Wollongong, buy them from the strawberry man at the markets. They’re grown locally and (if you do feel the need) you can buy them already podded ūüôā

This recipe comes from Jamie’s Kitchen. Frozen peas work just fine.

Broad Bean and Crispy Pancetta Salad with a Pea, Peccorino and Mint Dressing

1 clove of garlic, peeled and left whole
300g/10¬Ĺoz podded broad beans
8 slices of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon
a handful of whole blanched almonds
150g/5¬Ĺoz podded fresh peas
70g/2¬Ĺoz pecorino or Parmesan cheese, or a mixture of both, grated
a handful of fresh mint, leaves picked
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 or 2 lemons
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pot to the boil, half-filled with water, but with no salt as this makes broad beans and peas toughen. Add your garlic and allow the water to boil for a couple of minutes before adding the broad beans. Cook for around 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how young the beans are. Simply taste one to check. If you feel the skins are a little tough, which they can be sometimes, let them cool a little and then you can peel them very quickly by pinching and squeezing the bean out. Throw the skins away, and keep the garlic clove to one side. Place your pancetta on a baking tray, with the almonds spread out next to it. Place in a hot oven at 250¬įC/475¬įF/gas 9 ‚ąí keeping an eye on the almonds to make sure they don’t colour too much. You should be able to crisp up the pancetta at the same time as toasting the almonds, but simply remove one or the other if it is getting too far ahead.

To make the dressing, put your raw podded peas and the soft, boiled garlic clove into a pestle and mortar or a Magimix and bash or blitz until smooth. Add the cheese and most of the mint and stir or pulse to make a smooth paste. You want to turn this into a thick dressing, so add the olive oil and 4 to 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, to your preference. Season to taste ‚ąí it should have an amazing flavour of sweet peas, twangy lemon, fragrant mint and a softness and roundness from the cheese. A balance is good, but you should also trust your own personal judgement. I generally like mine to be a bit more lemony, to cut through the smokiness of the pancetta.

Mix the dressing with the broad beans and sprinkle this over four plates. Crumble the pancetta over, followed by a sprinkling of the almonds, which can be crushed or bashed up a little. Tear a little mint over the top with a little shaved Parmesan if you like.

Recipe credit:

Here comes the sun

There are lots of song lyrics about the sun coming out. I’ve never thought about it until now. I calculated that until Saturday, we hadn’t seen the sun since April 29th, the day Keren arrived in Stuttgart. Twenty. Five. Days. Ice creams, walks and a picnic with some new friends have made our weekend seem like a dream. Impossible to believe that Summer begins next week. Time to bring out the bathers perhaps?

Streusel Friday

One of my favourite German discoveries so far is streusel. A round, flat cake of sweet bread with a spread of creamy custard and a dusting of delectable crumble. The word streusel refers to the crumble itself, often found atop cakes and pastries. When the visit from Keren brought our eating habits into sharper focus, the quantity of streusel consumed in our house became cause for concern. We decided to go cold turkey. I soon realised why I had become so thoroughly entrenched in the streusel habit. That little ritual, the friendly backerei staff and the relief of an afternoon excursion had made streusel a survival thing. When the Paris Diet came into play, I found myself desolate without that regular window of¬†human interaction (and hit of sugar). I confessed all. Keren gave me special dispensation to eat one streusel a week, and Streusel Friday was born. Unfortunately Tony’s generosity/appetite has made this concession all but impossible to comply with. Self-restraint never was my strong point. Anyone who’s seen Rose eat a banana will recognise the trait.

Remembering Frank

Today is a very special day. It’s the wedding anniversary of my grandparents Mavis and Frank Purnell. It’s also one year today since we gathered for Grandpa’s funeral, sixty years to the day after he married Grandma on May 21st, 1949. In their honour, I’m sharing with you some very special photos, taken by Grandma and Grandpa as a young couple living in England. I’m sure you’ll find them as moving as I do.

Thankyou to Mum, Aunty Sue and especially Grandma for allowing me to share these.

Shades of Grey

Spring continues to elude us, and it seems everywhere we look is grey. Once or twice I’ve found myself lying on the floor staring at the ceiling to rest my eyes from the ubiquitous grey of the carpet. I think I’ve started to dream in that colour. Rose doesn’t seem to mind it so much, can grey be a happy colour?

The Paris Diet

Today’s post is a guest appearance by the wonderful Keren Moran.¬†Enjoy…

Does anyone actually believe¬†Mireille¬†Guiliano¬†when she says that French Women Don’t Get Fat? Since¬†Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris arrived on Saturday my Paris day dreaming has been fueled by descriptions of chic gastronomic restaurants, artisan bakeries, cheese, wine, chocolate, outdoor markets, macaroons, pain au¬†chocolat, brioche,¬†cr√™pes,¬†foie¬†gras…I could go on and on. With temptation like this, how come the city isn’t¬† brimming with¬†fatties¬†(I’m assured it is true that Parisians are annoyingly¬†gamine)?

When I visited Ally in Stuttgart the other week I offered her some friendly advice. If you move from Australia to Europe¬†you will get fat. That’s what happened to me, and I am almost certain that the week I spent in the south of France last year was the beginning of the end. But little do we ignorant tourists know that the French don’t actually eat a couple of croissants for breakfast each morning.¬† Nor do they feast on an array of cheeses at lunch¬†and dinner.

What¬†Mireille¬†will tell you is that the French have eating for pleasure in moderation down to a very fine, probably bohemian, art. I know Ally hates it when “moderation” is the answer to anything. But that is what we set out to achieve together with our Paris Diet – me, still on the path to reversing the damage of months of eating my way through Europe, and Ally, a few months into adjusting to¬† her new residency in Germany where carbohydrates and pork reign supreme. With three weeks to go until our week-long trip to Paris, we knew that we wanted to be free to enjoy its culinary delights without walking around feeling like fat tourists. There was also some kind of completely unfounded equation we came up with, that if we were healthy for three weeks prior to the one week of indulgence, then the healthy weeks would counteract the ill-effects of a butter and pastry laden week.

We are up¬†to day¬†14, and our method is simple. We email each other at the end of the day detailing what we have eaten. Food diaries are a tried and tested method of dietary success, and emailing has a – guilt feature – “If I eat this, then I’ll have to tell Ally about it…” We have both read¬†Mireille Guiliano’s¬†French Women Don’t Get Fat and are trying to implement her principles: smaller portions, slower eating, seasonal cooking, food appreciation and indulgence in moderation.

These are the highlights of my cooking week, which I made every effort to eat in moderation:

Pumpkin Pangrattato with Rosemary and Orange Рthis is from the Nigel Slater book. Basically you steam some butternut pumpkin, then put it in a casserole dish with a a few knobs of butter and topped with fresh breadcrumbs, chili,  fresh rosemary, orange zest and garlic, which you first fry in a little olive oil. Bake the whole thing until golden.

The Pia Recipe – actually I don’t think it is actually her recipe, but I found it on¬†her blog. I used Earl Gray tea leaves instead of just black tea bags and it tastes lovely. (Note the lack of fat in the recipe!)

Home-made pizza with my ‚ÄúSpring Topping‚ÄĚ: Fresh asparagus from the farm shop, thyme flowers from my garden, parmesan cheese, bacon and baby spinach on a home-made tomato sauce base. Cook the pizza base with just the sauce, bacon and asparagus. To serve top with baby spinach, sprigs of thyme flowers and shaved parmesan cheese. Drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil. Easy, but so delicious.

About Me

A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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