quick meals – lamb souvlaki


I am still totally in love with these oversized plates I got for Christmas!

See this plate. It’s good isn’t it?

It functions so well for us. Because in the world of salad we have two types of eaters at our house:

1. greenophiles – that’s everyone actually. We all eat green things.  As long as there is no dressing involved, and
2. redaphobes – 2 out 5 definitely don’t choose red … they might eat some red capsicum under duress.  And tomatoes only if they’ve been cooked.

So this platter is big enough to keep things nice and separate and covers all bases. Hooray.

We’re having souvlakis for dinner. With bread from the A1 Bakery down on Station Street (we all agree that we love A1.  Their pita bread is the BEST … not to mention their nutella donuts …). And home made tzatziki, along with the tomato, parsley and onion salad dressed with salt, pepper and olive oil, and then the green salad (if you’d call two items mixed together a salad) that consists of rocket and cucumber …

And I bought some vacuum sealed butterflied and marinated lamb that I am cooking in the oven for an hour at 200 degrees celcius.  And will rest for 30 minutes.  Sometimes I also cook it on the BBQ …

And that’s it.

To make our dinner authentic (and reduce the dishes) I will wrap our souva’s in aluminium foil … I like to ensure we get that authentic zing if we accidentally forget to peel the foil away properly.

Welcome to Fairfield at 6pm!  Yes, it’s nearly as good as Brunswick Street at 2am … or Stalictites in the city at 4am …. but much more child friendly.

Oh, and here’s how I make tzatziki.


1 cup greek yoghurt

1 clove garlic (finely grated)

1 lebanese cucumber (finley grated)

salt and pepper to taste

A fine grater makes the process of making tzatziki super simple.  I saw someone use a grater on one of those SBS food safari shows once.  And I took note of this much more sensible idea (than smashing and chopping I mean).  So I just grate the garlic clove and put it in the yoghurt (if you’re really lazy you don’t even need to peel the clove first.  The process of grating does the job for you!).  Then I grate the cucumber, and squeeze out the juice.  And add the flesh to the yoghurt too.  The green makes it look ‘more than yoghurt’.  Which or course tzatziki is!  And I add a bit of salt and pepper.  And leave it sit for a while so the garlic does it’s thing.  Simple.

moroccan fruit tagine

When I run out of new ideas (and haven’t been shopping for ages) I turn back to my trusty friend Claudia Roden for dinner inspiration.

For example, yesterday I only had 2 onions, some chicken, a bunch of parsley and a bowl of fruit in my kitchen. Oh and some tomatoes and fennel – but I didn’t use those …

And a cupboard overflowing with spices …

What to cook?

I just leafed through ‘A New Book of Middle Eastern Food’ until I found a suitable recipe.

A few tweaks, and this is what I made.

Moroccan Fruit Tagine

3 chicken breasts (Claudia suggests a large roasting chicken, jointed, but I just had 3 chicken breasts …)
2 onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
2-3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and pepper
500 grams peeled, cored and sliced fruit.  You can use apples, pears, quinces, fresh dates, raisins or prunes. I chose pears.

Put the chicken, onion and parsley in a saucepan and cover with water. Add the butter and ginger and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour. The sauce should be reduced and the onions disintegrated.


Here we are after nearly an hour with the chicken cooking and the sauce reducing. Nearly ready for the fruit.

Then add the sliced fruit and simmer until just tender.  Only about 5 minutes for the pears.

Serve with rice or cous cous or flatbread to dip in to the sauce.

Sounds good. Looks interesting.  Tastes great.

We ate it with rice.  

Oh, I love Claudia. I really do!


creme brûlée … now I just need to make it

imageRemember I got the white individual dishes and the blow torch thing to make the crispy toffee top for Christmas? Well now I have got a recipe … and I am super, super inspired.

I found this in a Delicious Magazine at our Mt Beauty holiday house. Looks yum huh?


The recipe seems very similar to the creme caramel recipe I often make (which came out of a Home Beautiful or House and Garden magazine … I can’t remember which). I always find it relatively simple, as long as I keep a very close eye on the caramel, because it has a tendency to burn … but that’s the challenge of creme caramel isn’t – the nearly burnt caramel flavour….

And the beauty of creme brûlée – not worrying about this step! You just torch it at the end and it’s done (well, that’s how it appears on Masterchef etc. anyway).

So now I am completely 100% ready. I’ll invite Elise and Nick over for dinner and see if the theory matches the reality. And I’ll let you know.