Latest Posts

The Aroma Festival – Sydney

So today I went to the Aroma Festival. It was such a beautiful winters day for it and the crowds had flocked down to Sydney’s Circular Quay/ The Rocks to celebrate one of the things that keeps the western world turning. Coffee!

Looking down onto the festival.

Looking down onto the festival.

I know I am not alone in my daily need for this caffeinated beverage, and today I had my pick of some of the best and most unique coffees Sydney could muster, alone with various hot chocolate stalls and tea stalls (though really, tea at a coffee festival? A little ambitious if you ask me…).


The lines for the most popular coffee stalls run by some amazing coffee shops were huge and one could wait up to half an hour for a cup (if you could figure out where the line began). Most places sold small taster sized cups so the coffee aficionado could sample more than one stall’s frothy wares, assuming of course you had all day to wait in line.

image       image

After perusing the entire festival trying to decide where I would source my caffein hit for the day, I decided that rather than go for the traditional coffees, a frothy cap, or creamy late,  I would go for something more unusual. Something I would not be able to get on Monday morning at my chosen coffee shop on the way to work.

I ended up choosing a stall which was selling African style coffee from beautiful coffee pots. The women working there were beautifully dressed in white dresses and wore beautiful bright beads and they were pouring cup after cup of this unusual coffee.


Once I had my coffee I decided to find as much of a quiet spot as possible and enjoy it. And enjoy it I did. It was not your normal coffee shop coffee. It did not have fancy foam art of Barak Obama’s head or the Eiffel Tower on it. In fact it looked quite plain and unassuming, but sometimes the best thing in life do. What this coffee was, however, was thoroughly enjoyable with an earthy flavour to it and something I couldn’t quite pin down. After I had finished I decided not to seek out another coffee stall. This unique brew deserved to stand on its own.

My delicious unassuming coffee.

My delicious unassuming coffee.

Three Cup Chicken


Today, while at my local veggie shop, I came across these. Beautiful Australian purple garlic. Naturally I had no choice but to buy 3 heads (on top of the normal white garlic I already had at home). So that leaves me with the question; what do I do with all this garlic? The answer? Three cup chicken.

Three cup chicken is a Taiwanese dish and is so simple to make. Basically all three cup chicken recipes are based on the 1:1:1 ratio of the three main ingredients, being soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. From there the variations begin. Most recipes contain a few cloves of garlic. This recipe uses a whole head. And I love it! It’s a great dish for those colder months when the family is starting to get the sniffles. My chilli plant is sporting a number of beautiful red chilli’s as well which will go wonderfully.  All that garlic, ginger and chilli will knock any lurking colds right away. Though on the flip side, the amount of garlic used means that this may not be the best dish for a romantic night in. Garlic breath does not always mix well with candle lit dinners.


My chilli plant


1 whole head of garlic (cloves peeled and minced)
1 inch ginger, grated
2 red chillies finely sliceD
1/2 cup scallion finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh Thai basil
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
400g chicken tenderloins



1. Heat the sesame oil in a large fry pan.
2. Once the oil is hot, add the minced garlic, grated ginger and sliced chillies and stir for a minute or until fragrant.
3. Add the chicken and stir for a few minutes until all the pink is gone.
4. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar and bring to the boil, then turn down to a low heat and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the chicken in completely cooked and the liquid has reduced and thickened.
5. Add the scallions and basil and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Serve over rice and enjoy!

Smokey Spiced Eggplant (Indian style)

Charring my eggplant

Charring my eggplant

I love eggplant! But it seems to me it’s one of those foods that needs the right recipe in order for it to shine. This is my absolute favourite eggplant recipe. A friend of mine showed me how to make it a few years ago, and ever since then, I have made it every other week. The friend who showed me this dish has always insisted that he does not believe in recipes, and so it took me a few tries before I was able to recreate it, but I am so happy with the outcome.

The method of roasting/charring the eggplant gives it an amazing smokey flavour and mixed with the onion and spices it creates a very unique and delicious dish which I usually pair with basmati rice.

Notes on cooking the eggplant:
1. You can either cook your eggplant on a barbecue or place it directly onto the element on your stove top. Depending on the type of stove top you have, this will work with varying degrees of success. I have an old electric coil element at home it works like a dream.

2. Your kitchen WILL become smokey. If it doesn’t then you will not get the delicious smokey flavour in your eggplant which is arguably the most important element of the dish. Make sure the area you are working in is well ventilated.


2 medium to large eggplants
1 medium red onion, diced
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
10 fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil/ghee (not olive oil)
Salt to taste
Juice of 1/4 lemon

Charred eggplant with skin peeled off.

Charred eggplant with skin off.


1. Roast/charr your eggplants either on a barbecue or directly on the stove top element (no pan) for approximately 20 mins, turning regularly. Once they are completely soft in the middle (nearly to the point of falling apart) and charred on all sides, remove from the heat and set aside to cool enough to touch.

2. Once cool enough to touch, peel the skin off the eggplant, taking care to leave as much of the flesh as possible.

3. Meanwhile on medium heat, brown the onion in the oil/ghee until soft. Add the curry leaves and all the spices except the turmeric and stir briefly.

4. Turn the heat to low and add the eggplant. Using a fork, break the eggplant into long strips and the stir into the onion and spices. Add the turmeric, sugar and salt to taste then continue stirring.

5. Drizzle the lemon juice onto your eggplant then turn the heat off and serve with rice.

Chicken Saag

I spent a lot of time thinking about which dish I would use for my first post. There are so many recipes I love and would love to share. But in the end I decided on this chicken saag.

This is the dish that began my love affair with cooking and introduced me to a style of cuisine I had never really had much experience with before. These days I love creating dishes with all sorts of international influences, and have experimented with different spices and flavours and cooking styles.

This isn’t as polished a version of saag as you might find in your local indian restaurant. It’s a bit rough around the edges. I think that’s what I love about it. If you want a smoother spinach puree you can remove the stems that run all the way to the top of the leaf, however I tend to simply trim the stems off before blanching the spinach. I use English spinach, but I have seen recipes with other types of spinach and also mustard greens.

This recipe is great because it’s both healthy and delicious. We all know how great spinach is for us. It also tastes just as good the next day. I often make extra and take it to work for lunch. I have had plenty of compliments and curious enquiries from colleagues when I bring this for lunch.


2 Bunches of english spinach, trimmed and washed
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (I use peanut oil)
1 tablespoon of butter
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala
Salt to taste
2 dried bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 large onion, diced
2 long red chillies, seeds removed and chopped
410 gram can of chopped tomatoes
200g Greek or thickened plain yoghurt
900g of chicken breast fillet, trimmed and cut into small pieces


1. First boil a large saucepan of water. Once the water is boiling, blanch the spinach for 1-2 minutes then remove and drain. Make sure you don’t overlook the spinach. You want it to still be bright green. Once the spinach is drained, process it in a blender or food processor to form a paste and then set aside.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan on low heat. Add the cumin and bay leaves and stir for 1-2 minutes until they become fragrant. Then turn the heat up slightly and add the diced onion and cook until it has softened, around 5 minutes.

3. Add the ground coriander, garam masala and salt and stir for a minute, then add the garlic, chilli and ginger and stir for a further 2 minutes.

4. Add the canned tomatoes and stir for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Add the spinach and stir until combined. Remove the pan from the heat and add the yoghurt. Make sure it is completely combined then place the pan back on the heat.

5. Add the chicken, making sure it is well covered by the sauce. Add some water if it’s too thick. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil, then turn the heat back down to low and simmer for around half an hour or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with rice and enjoy!