fattoush inspired salad with spiced fish kebabs

Fattoush is a lovely fresh Arabic salad made with toasted pita bread, salad and vegetables – which makes a colourful meal with great crunch! My version makes for a quick, easy and healthy weeknight dinner, with or without the bread.

fattoush and fish kebab salad1 lebanese cucumber, peeled, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large fennel bulb ‘leaf’, thinly sliced
5 small radishes, thinly sliced
1 yellow (or red) capsicum, diced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
bunch mint, chopped
½ lemon, juiced
olive oil, a decent dash
salt, pinch
sumac, pinch or 2

1 salmon fillet, cubed
1 ling fillet, cubed (Ling is a firm white fish)
spice mix: smokey paprika, chilli, garlic, salt and pepper
olive oil, drizzle

greek yoghurt, a good dollop
lebanese flat bread, grilled to crisp, sprinkled with zaatar and olive oil

method salad:
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl an give it a mix.

method fish kebab:
Preheat the oven to 200c
Thread alternate pieces of white fish cubes with salmon cubes onto a skewer.
Combine the spices or use a prepared mix (for example, Harissa, or just use smoked paprika) and sprinkle over the skewers.
On a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking paper (to save some elbow grease later), place the skewers and drizzle with some olive oil.
Bake for 10 mins or until the fish is cooked and the top looks golden.

Tip: If you prefer your salmon towards medium-rare, make the salmon cubes a bit bigger than the ling cubes. 


corn waffles

We all know about corn fritters, but how about corn waffles? Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Corn waffle with cheese chives1 cup self raising flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup creamed corn
2 eggs, seperated
½ cup milk
butter to brush iron
Chives and grated cheese to serve as pictured

In one bowl, whisk the egg whites until fluffy and forming peaks.
In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, milk and creamed corn.
Then add the flour and salt, mix well to form a batter.
Fold the egg whites into the batter.
Brush the waffle iron with butter and spoon about ⅓ cup of batter into the iron, in about 2 mins remove and repeat with remaining batter.
Keep waffles warm in a low oven until serving.

more topping ideas:
Crispy bacon and a poached egg, roasted tomatoes and rocket, tomato salsa and avocado, smoked salmon and dill yoghurt.

corn waffle pile

apple and cinnamon whisky toddy

When it feels like it might snow outside, it’s time to warm the cockles of your heart with a hot toddy.

30 ml whisky
1 tsp honey
cinnamon stick
dried apple ring
boiling water (I like about ⅓ cup)
sage leaf (optional)

Put the honey in a tumbler glass and add a little hot water, stir to melt the honey.
Add the whiskey and give it a little stir.
Garnish by placing the cinnamon stick through the centre hole of the slice of dried apple and place in the glass with the sage leaf.

whisky apple hot toddy

bigoted about bigots

It’s true, I can’t stand bigots.
I’m narrow-minded about narrow-mindedness.
I’m intolerant of prejudice.
I’m opinionated about the obstinate.
I’m small-minded about the unfair.
I’m bigoted about bigots.

Oliver Wendell Holmes described bigots with the quote: “The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.”

My mind contacts and my ears shrivel up when I hear a bigot speaking about their intolerance. Somehow I’ve become a bigot to bigots.

Félix Julien Jean Bigot de Préameneu who, despite his name, was probably not a bigot due to his involvement in developing the Napoleonic Code, which forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified.

If only the bigoted were all bigots for rights, freedoms and justice. But, I have found, sadly, they are not. And so, I become bigoted toward these bigots.

It’s the cycle of bigotry.

Bigot de Préameneu (1747-1825)

quote, facts and image: http://en.wikipedia.org/

berry parfait

berry parfaitLactose intolerant? Look away now. Love creamy cheesecakes or mousse and berries? You’ll be into this! It’s easy. It’s yummy.

125 g (light) cream cheese
¼ cup icing sugar
1 tsp orange rind, grated
¼ cup (light) sour cream
300 ml thickened cream
250 g strawberries
200 g blueberries
2 tbsp pistachio nuts, chopped (optional garnish)

Beat cream cheese, icing sugar and orange rind until creamy.
Beat sour cream into mixture.
Add cream and beat until soft peaks form.
Layer strawberries, blueberries and cream mixture in a serving glass.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but overnight is good too.
Top with nuts to serve.

Substitue: Berries for mango. Nuts for chocolate flakes. Nuts for cookie crumbs… the possibilities are endless but the pleasure lasts about 5 mins, depending how piggy you are.

berry parfait detail

weed control (at all costs)


Step 1: Buy black plastic (or collect a lot of newspapers if you’re someone who still reads them… who does that?!)
Step 2: Cover all the weeds so no light gets to them
Step 3: Wait for the weeds to suffocate to death
Step 4: Employ someone to weed for you

So I have this problem with my neighbour’s jasmine vine. It doesn’t understand that I don’t want it here. When we moved in, it had been left to free-range and had gone beyond manageable. We had to take a tree out because it was so overcome. A year on, the ground is a mat of vine and it still keeps coming through the fence. It’s straggling my treasures. I’d lost all hope for the submerged Camelia. But the moment it touched my Japanese Maple it was war. A war I would win. At all costs. Well, at a very specific cost, a per hour cost. But we’re winning.

suffocating weeds

prawn watermelon feta and mint salad

I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not yuck at all. I really liked it. It’s cool and fresh. It tastes like summer. And it’s very quick and easy.

prawns, cooked, peeled, deveined
watermelon, chunks
mint leaves, chopped
feta, cubed
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of caster sugar
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine the lemon juice, sugar and olive oil to make a dressing.
Combine the above in a bowl, drizzle the dressing over it and gently toss.
That’s it.

prawn watermelon feta salad

homemade toasted muesli

muesli raspberries detailI don’t like a sweet muesli, I’d rather add fresh fruit than include dried. So here’s a very simple and healthy toasted muesli recipe that you can use as is, or jazz up with your favourite flavours. This will make a big batch of toasted muesli. Keep it in an airtight container for up to a month (some say 2 months but ours is eaten before that).

1 kg rolled or quick oats
500 g shredded coconut
500 g almonds (I like to use a combination of slivered and whole)
200 g sunflower seeds

Set the oven to 170c
Divide the above over 2 deep baking dishes and give it a mix.
Bake for 15 mins then stir (you’ll notice that the stuff on top and edges is going golden but the bottom isn’t, so mix it up every few mins as outlined)
Bake for 10 mins then stir.
Bake for 5 mins then stir.
Bake for 5 mins more, stir… essentially I’m saying, keep an eye on it. Once it starts toasting it seems to brown quickly.
Remove from the oven. At this point it should all be a light golden brown.
Leave it to cool completely before you put it in an airtight container.

I like my toasted muesli with plain yoghurt and fresh or stewed fruit.

Optional additions: pepitas/pumpkin seeds, nuts (walnut, macadamia, hazelnut, brazil), dried fruits (apricot, sultana, papaya, apple), bran, honey (if you use honey I believe you need to add some oil as a carrying agent… I just add honey in the bowl).

golden toasted muesli

life’s little injustices

The world is full of injustices. Apparently Plato said he doesn’t know what justice is but knows what justice is not.  Huh? It’s too late in the day for Plato… Here are some injustices, in no particular order:

– Scarfing down a marshmallow topped chocolate cookie at the end of a very bad day, only to require a nightcap of antacid.

– Getting a stomach bug the night you manage to score a babysitter.

– Having an umbrella in the car all the time, except the day it’s raining.

– Realising that you can’t lord it over your neighbours about their yappy dog because it turns out your dog has been escaping when you’re away and coming back before you get home.

– When the high sugar content in your last two slices of raisin toast causes the usual toaster setting to turn them into charcoal.

– When the batteries in both of your wireless mice (or is it mouses?) go flat at the same time. I’m not kidding, this really happened to me. I had to take the only AA batteries I could find out of a small torch with a dim light. It was very stressful. It was only 8pm. A long time before bed and even longer before I would go to the shops again.

– Oh yeah, and there’s that one about world peace. But let’s keep it real.

marshmallow cookie

the challenge of not being a movie-goer in the modern world

It’s a wonder I know who Brad Pitt is. Don’t ask if I know anyone else though. I used to watch movies but now I couldn’t be bothered. I don’t really want to feel challenged. Mentally and physically. I feel like the world is complex enough without having to endure the fictional trials and tribulations of someone I don’t even know. And my arse can’t take the length of a feature film.

Movies have got longer. The average film length in the 1950’s it was 137 mins, 1970’s was 141 mins, 1990’s was 154 mins and now 2010’s it’s at 140 mins. Is it about value for money? They can’t fit enough features and effects into 90 minutes?! Movies and I on a trajectory, the longer movies get the shorter my attention span has become.

But it creates hurdles in social settings.

“You know Brad Pitt! He was in Happy Together”. Internally I’m thinking, “Nah, I don’t”, but  out loud I say, “…his name is familiar…”. Perhaps a poor choice because now it continues. “He was in The Favour too, did you see that?”

My hole is getting deeper. I need to get out of here. I’m looking for an out. Can I put a hazy face to that name? There must be something he was in that I’ve heard about if he’s that good. Damn, my drink is too full to feign refilling. “Oh that, yeah, it’s about that guy that needs some help with some thing, yeah, anyway…”.

Ok, I can see some light again. I’m going to get out of here with my credibility and my arse intact.

Brad Pitt

stats: http://www.movieforums.com/community/archive/index.php/t-16296.html
Calculated from the average length of the 10 Best Picture Oscar winners each decade. Thank goodness someone called “Holden Pike” did the calculations because I definitely wouldn’t.
image: http://www.celebritywallpaper.co/