Spring So Far

October 11, 2014

During the school holidays this little town we now call home swelled in the heat. It’s starting to really feel like summer. The shops are crowded and it takes five minutes longer for my coffee order to reach my hands. I use that time to engage in people watching, particularly as they linger over the ice-cream counter. I like to guess what flavour they will select. More often than not I’m correct…strawberry for her, coffee for him, definitely hazelnut for this guy. After five years working as a Dietitian (and before that a good few years in hospitality), these “what will they order?” skills have surely sharpened. Though I have always loved inquiring after people’s favourite cake variety/breakfast dish/coffee or cocktail order/pasta shape. These preferences say a lot about a person, perhaps no more so than their choice of ice-cream. It’s food psychology of sorts… “Tell me about that”….no really, please do, I find this stuff fascinating.

With our footpaths full of people too distracted by their ice-creams to walk in an orderly fashion (or at all), I am being forced to slow down and notice the sun. We’ve been reading more. I’m walking, not running, and watching the clouds. My gumboots by the door have been replaced by flip flops. It’s happy days, folks. Here are some pictures of spring so far, from our corner of the world…

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I have made seven batches of ice-cream these past two months (a personal best), five of which were of the salty honey variety. There was hence ample opportunity to photograph this most beloved flavour, yet we somehow managed to eat it all without stopping for a single click. I will rectify that soon but for now, go forth and make extra virgin olive oil and coffee ice-cream. And then perhaps try something more fruity, like this cantaloupe sorbet (recipe link) by David Lebovitz. My first venture away from creamy churns to fruity turned out more like a granita, however on this warm Saturday evening is was perfectly refreshing and delicious.

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Last month my brother and I visited Il Melograno in Northcote, and I shall henceforth be requesting all summer dates take place in this charming shop. Their artificial colour and preservative-free gelato is simply brilliant. p.s. I’ll order the Iranian pistachio flavour, always and forever.

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Back home, we’re drinking iced coffees like there’s no tomorrow.

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“Hey Edrolo! You work so hard. Well done! Have a cookie. ♥ Heidi”

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– a batch of nut butter, oat and chocolate chip cookies (recipe link) for Ben and his work colleagues.

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Our beach. Blessed.

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Before.

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After.

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As well as ice-cream, sorbet and gelato, I started experimenting with greek yoghurt + berry popsicles.

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Dipped in a cacao + coconut oil + maple syrup + coconut concoction.

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Last week I came to the realisation that an uncomfortably long time had passed since I’d baked a pie. On Sunday I rectified this lack of pie situation, which was the same day as KCRW Good Food‘s 6th annual pie contest, which was taking place in LA. Good Food is one of my favourite podcasts, so it felt right to bake a pie that day.

Working with our present season in Australia, I made a rhubarb and apple pie with a rye flour crust. I used my basic recipe but halved the crust ingredients and employed a smaller dish as it was just us two. I was more than delighted with my 100% rye flour dough, though *humph* I burnt the top outer edge of the crust (I should have covered it better when blind baking). Fellow pie geeks might appreciate the other thing I did differently this time around, which was to roll out and cut the lattice top while the crust was blind baking, and then place the strips back in the fridge, covered, until required. This may be common practice for many but it was new to me, as usually I roll the dough out and place the lattice top directly over the fruit then pop it all in the oven. In the future I will always re-chill my lattice lengths, as the top part of the crust (i.e. the part that wasn’t burnt!) was super crisp, flaky and fabulous.

For the filling I used two granny smith apples and 3 stalks of rhubarb, though that was a tad frugal. With the fruit I added lemon juice, corn flour, maple syrup and raw sugar and the end result, despite the burnage and too little filling, was just beautiful. I mean, it’s homemade pie…it’s perfect in its imperfection.

As we sat on the couch eating our slices with heavy spoonfuls of creme fraiche, Ben shared some thoughts pertaining to the frequency with which we should eat dessert. At least every Sunday, he said. Yeah, I agree. More pie, please.

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But the thing is, Ben and I are both kind of…how do I put it…frustratingly lame in our ability to comfortably consume two courses. That is, we don’t regularly have dessert as we end up stuffed. Oh, flash back to our early twenties and we’d put away two plates of pasta (each) and a small tub of ice-cream like it was no big deal, but these days our appetites, while still keen, do not allow us to pocket such heavy portions without wanting to roll to bed. And our bedroom is now upstairs, so logistically that just won’t work.

Therefore, on those days when I have a desperate need to bake and eat pie/cake/pudding we have a light dinner. Something like this egg and greens dish below. It’s both nourishing and appropriately portioned to welcome a keen slice of pie. This is the type of food we eat during the week, often over rice or perhaps pasta. Anchovies are a common feature and might sneak in just after the garlic hits the pan. And pinenuts are always welcome.

I thought I might share more of these “every day” recipes around here, what do you think?

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Garlicky Greens and Eggs in a Pan

Serves 2

Ingredients
1 small Leek, thinly sliced
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 very big handfuls Silverbeet, cut into ~6cm pieces (spinach will work)
A few dashes of Chicken Stock, preferably homemade (I always try to have some on hand to add lovely flavour and depth to dishes)
4 Eggs
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Optional: a small knob of butter
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
To serve: Parmesan and freshly Basil

Method
1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and a small pinch of sea salt, reduce the heat and cook for ~5 minutes until soft and sticky.
2. Add the butter (if using) followed by the garlic, and cook for a minute before adding the silverbeet. Turn the heat up a little higher and cook for  ~3 minutes, stirring as required to ensure even cooking and adding the stock mid-way through (or a dash or two of water) to allow the greens to steam and absorb some of the stock flavour.
3. Create four gaps in the pan to allow for the eggs. Crack them into the gaps one by one and cook over medium heat until the eggs are cooked to your liking. If you want the yolk more cooked place a lid over the pan for a minute or so.
4. Serve the greens and eggs on your plates, then freshly grate some parmesan, scatter some basil leaves and go to town with freshly cracked pepper.

 

 

Heidi xo

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  • Alex October 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Great post Heidi! Really lovely.
    I can see quite a few great cookbooks in your bookshelf.
    I would love to hear what some of your favourites are!

    • Heidi October 15, 2014 at 9:25 am

      Thank you, Alex 🙂 Lately I’ve been loving Georgio Locatelli’s Made In Sicily. Anything by Ottolenghi is fabulous for flavour & dish inspiration. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cooks simply and I like his books for everyday eating well. & for classics, I adore anything by Marcella Hazan. Oh & David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop for ice-cream x

  • Cal October 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Heidi,
    Just popped by to say hello. I’ve been reading your blog quietly for a couple of months now and I just wanted to let you know that I just love it. I enjoy the recipes, the pictures of your food adventures & snippets of your life in general.
    Would definitely love to see some pics of your more ‘everyday’ suppers.
    My husband & I are very similar to you & Ben when it comes to not being able to comfortably roll 2 courses anymore. This is particularly frustrating when I’ve already picked a dessert at a restaurant, only to have to ‘honestly’ assess the situation post-main-course & skip dessert hahaha. Happy Sunday!

    • Heidi October 15, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Hi Cal, thank you so much for your lovely comment, how sweet. How frustrating is the dessert situation?! We had so many great opportunities overseas to try incredible desserts but the savoury dishes always won our hearts, leaving no room. Oh well. Tough life 😉 x

  • Hannah October 12, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    You are just everything. Everything that is wondrous and courageous and shining and real and breathtaking and pause-to-take-a-breath-taking and I am so sorry my body collapsed on my this past week but I know we have so many Iranian Pistachio Gelato adventures ahead of us xoxo

    • Heidi October 15, 2014 at 9:27 am

      I cannot wait x

  • Ros October 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Lovely post. I would love more of your everyday recipes. Even the weekends here are often too full for long days of cooking so I’m always on the look out for quick, nutritious meal ideas.

    • Heidi October 15, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Fabulous, Ros. I shall deliver! x

  • Mariam October 14, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Adore this post Heidi! Amen to making batches and batches of ice-cream (my bowl has been sitting in the freezer waiting for several months now!) and the eggs looks delish! I’m THAT indecisive person whenever I get ice-cream, I try a few new flavours but usually tend to stick to old favourites – my current flavour is the most delectable mastic ice-cream sold in small overpriced tubs at Arab shops and speciality shops (the brand is called Booza) the halawa flavour is just divine and don’t even get me started on the texture! Mint chip is my favourite as of last summer (ahem, we got it every night while on holidays at Port Macquarie for a week, Baskin and Robins has the best mint!) and hazelnut is always welcome.

    • Heidi October 15, 2014 at 9:34 am

      Oh I NEED to try that Booza ice-cream, thanks for the tip! Hazelnut is always welcome, right? Ben’s a mint chip fan too x

  • laurasmess October 14, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Oh yes… pie nerds unite! I’m definitely the same, I lamented bitterly last time I forgot to properly cover the pie edges. A little burned crust never hurt anyone though (the rest looks beautiful and I adore the idea of rye flour!). As for two courses? Yes indeed. I tend to eat smaller bits throughout the day these days, more thoughtfully nourishing things. I love the look of that beautiful plate of eggy greens. I would happily scoff the with some toasted, buttery sourdough (but then probably not fit in dessert. Sourdough vs pie. Ah, dilemmas!!) xoxo

    • Heidi October 15, 2014 at 9:35 am

      SUCH a dilemma, hehe. You’re right, sourdough with this dish is bonkers good x

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