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A Travelling Cook: April 2014

A Travelling Cook

A Travelling Cook: April 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Food for thought

Did you have a good Easter?  I had a great Easter sunday lunch and invited friends over for a big boozy meal of roast veg, meat and nut loaf and all the trimmings. Great fun. I also made hot cross buns experimenting with a different recipe of my creation (I try one each year) which used coconut oil instead of Nuttlex and orange water instead of orange juice and zest. Did it work? It was hard to tell as the buns were proofed for far too long after being ready to bake and I had the sense that the variations cancelled out the spices and fruit so they ended up a bit bland really. 


Things that interest me this week:

Love this recipe for vegan 'creme eggs'. I've never liked the original but I know people who are huge fans. 

These big prints by Sophie Hanson of Local is Lovely are just gorgeous. If I had the cash (and wasn't moving)...

Love this creative project of  by designer and writer Dinah Fried, who cooks, art-directs, and photographs meals from nearly two centuries of famous fiction. 

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 1951
'When I’m out somewhere, I generally just eat a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk. It isn’t much, but you get quite a lot of vitamins in the malted milk. H. V. Caulfield. Holden Vitamin Caulfield.'

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, 1963
'Then I tackled the avocado and crabmeat salad...Every Sunday my grandfather used to bring me an avocado pear hidden at the bottom of his briefcase under six soiled shirts and the Sunday comic.'

I love this video Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera y Trotsky from the 1930s.

This post by Underground SupperClub Creator Ms Marmalade about creating food for people undergoing dialysis for renal failure is indeed humbling

"Madonna earns the wraith of Joyce Bana", as reported by Elliot Ross. Great critique by the Malawi President on the great white saviour complex. 

"Why I'm not excited by H&M's Australian Launch" by Maddy Newman is a good summary of all the problems with fast fashion. Don't get me wrong, I don't buy all local produced organically made clothing myself, I just can't afford it and it's difficult to find in plus sizing. But it doesn't mean I can't be aware and make ethical choices where I can. 

Do you like to watch documentaries? I'm a huge fan on a range of topics. Recent ones I've enjoyed include Erasing Hate and Confessions of an Undercover Cop

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Food for thought: DIY (pic heavy)

There's something exciting about starting anew in a new country. There'll be some big shifts besides the obvious ones like language and culture, like living in an apartment. I've lived in a couple of ground floor flats but never an apartment in a multifloor dwelling with a lift! 

The place we are renting is small (55m square) by Australian standards but it's a good start for us. It's cheap, comes with all mod cons (even a dishwasher which I've never had and am looking forward to using for sterilising jars before preserving). 

It's a time of continual decluttering in preparation for small space living. We are of course, selling as much as we can to fund our travels (Mr Pablo's journey is more than ours). We've held two successful garage sales with at least another to follow. I've been selling off my art work including some of my own creations. 

These embroideries  are of lyrics of some of my favourite Smiths lyrics. I've exhibited these a couple of times at different exhibitions. Ive sold the others in the series and I'm selling these for $50 each. 



So this post is not just a selling post of me hawking my wares, here's a few things from around that have been holding my attention.

How amazing is this property, featured on The Design Files? And compared to the before images it just floors me! 

Love this DIY repair of a delapidated wall. Reminds me of one of my favourite DIY jobs ever


The image doesn't seem to be on Kelli's blog anymore but you can read about it still. I'd love to do this to a couch! 

This book by Gabrielle Galimberti featuring children and their favourite toys. 

"Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say" by , The Washington Post.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Egg free quiche

I've never liked eggs but I found myself with a fridge full of veg and a desire to make something different. Based on tofu cheeses I've made previously, I decided to make an eggless quiche.

  • 2 cups flour of choice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
Tofu mix

  • 2 spring onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 leek
  • 1 corn on the cob
  • Chunk of capsicum
  • Handful spinach and wombok
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 450g medium firm tofu
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 veggie stock cube
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds



To make the pastry:
  1. Place flour in a bowl 
  2. Add olive oil and rub in with fingers to make a crumbly mixture
  3. Add water gradually and stir
  4. Knead gently into a ball and place in fridge covered in gladwrap for 30 mins
  5. Pre heat oven to 180c
  6. Remove pastry from fridge
  7. Place on floured board and knead until springy
  8. Roll out to desired size and place in pie pans
  9. Prick inside of pies and place in oven for 10 minutes
  10. Remove and leave to cool

Quiche filling
  1. Fry onions, garlic and vegetables and until lightly browned
  2. Leave to cool
  3. Place tofu and seasonings in a blender and whizz until combined
  4. Leave for 10 mins
  5. Place veggies in pies
  6. Top with tofu mix and stir to combine
  7. Bake in oven for 30 mins
  8. Remove and cool for 10 mins to allow it to thicken
  9. Serve with salad and condiments such as  onion jam

Variations: different vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, mushrooms, olive and sundried tomatoes would also work well. 

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Figs marvellous figs...


Figs are well loved in our home. Before I met my husband he was deliberating between moving to Italy or Australia. He spent time teaching and touring in Italy which included a momentous trip climbing a mountain. During the climb he came upon a fig tree. No fig has ever (or no doubt will ever) match the glory of this mythical fig!

But I was gifted a big box of figs recently that were a bit too ripe to eat uncooked so I decided to make some jam and chutney. I don't really follow recipes unless I'm writing one to teach a preserving class but I had a go at writing one for these figs. It goes without saying that you should use sterilised jars and lids and water bath the preserves or store in the fridge (if you want more info on this, come along to one of our classes ;))

Spiced fig and red wine jam


  • 1 kilo ripe figs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick/1 tspn cinnamon
  • 5 Cloves
  • 8 Cardamom Pods
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  1. Wash and chop the plums into quarters or eighths if they are very large. 
  2. Place in a large pan with1/3 cup water.  
  3. Add sugar, lemon juice & spices, heat the mixture to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Add the red wine.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes. The figs will start to break up as they cook. 
  6. After 10 minutes, bring the mixture to the boil. 
  7. Boil for 10 minutes and then test to see if the jam has reached setting point.
  8. Fish out the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, then transfer the jam to the sterilised jars.

Burnt fig chutney
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced finely
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 kilo figs
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1.5  cups sugar (or two cups if you prefer a sweeter chutney)
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Cook garlic in olive oil until lightly browned
  2. Put all of the other ingredients in a large pan and mix all together well. 
  3. Set over medium heat and simmer for 2.5 hours or until the chutney has thickened and is sticky. If chutney sticks, you can add a bit more water. 

  4. Spoon into sterilised jars

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Recuperation and Pear and almond muffins

I've been a bit behind with blogging of late. I had day surgery on friday so it's taking a little bit of time to recover. I had some work done on the arteries in my legs. I have a weird genetic condition which causes pain when walking (and another associated condition which will need treatment). I've had some rather revolting post-surgery stockings to wear and it's not been fun in hot weather. I took them off a bit too early and ended up with massive bruises on the fronts of my legs. No swimming until they heal me thinks. Off to see the surgeon tomorrow for a check up ultrasound, fingers crossed.

Mr Pablo has been ecstatic at my sedentary behaviour (besides 30 mins prescribed exercise each day) and has been sharing the bed enthusiastically.

Yesterday I did a bit of cooking: lovely lentil soup, an experimental pumpkin loaf which didn't fare all too well and some pear and almond muffins. It's not really hot food weather, I've been impatiently waiting for the real autumn to arrive, it's my favourite season!

Pear and almond muffins


    •  3 cups self-raising flour,
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 pears, diced
    • 1.5 cup almond  milk
    • 1 cup almonds
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Topping (optional)
    • 1/2 cup oats
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup Nuttlex (vegan margarine) 

  • Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 180c
  2. Place flour, sugar, cinammon, almonds and pears in a bowl and stir lightly
  3. Add milk and olive oil and mix gently until combined
  4. Place in greased muffin tins

  • Topping:
  1. Place oats, sugar and Nuttlex in a bowl and rub with finger tips until crumbly. 
  2. Top muffins with a tablespoon of topping each
  3. Cook for 40 mins or until cooked through. 
  4. Allow to cool and store in container or enjoy one with a cup of tea.

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