Thursday, 28 February 2008


I made this version the other night and it was fabulous.

serves 4

500g mixed seafood
1Tbl (or less) Thai red curry paste (original recipe said laksa paste)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup water
200ml coconut milk / cream
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
150g organic Jap buckwheat noodles
2 bok choy, roughly chopped
2 large spring onions, thinly sliced
3 or 4 sprigs laksa herb
1 bunch coriander, roots chopped and leaves chopped

Cook the curry paste briefly in a hot pan then add seafood, stock, water, coriander roots, lime leaves and coconut. Bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered a few minutes, until seafood is just cooked.
Meanwhile cook noodles according to packet instructions.
Stir into seafood : bokchoy, laksa herb, spring onion and coriander leaves and cook, uncovered until bok choy is just wilted.
Divide noodles between bowls and top with laksa mixture.

Saturday, 23 February 2008


6-8 large red capsicums
600-700ml white wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
about 300ml olive oil

Cut capsicums in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Grill the capsicums until skins are charred. Peel.

Put the vinegar into a pan and bring to the boil. Place the capsicums into the hot vinegar, cover, return quickly to the boil and boil 1 minute.This may need to be done in a couple of batches. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread out to dry.

Pack the capsicums into clean, dry jars, inserting the bay leaves and covering with oil as you go, making sure there are no air bubbles. You get a lot of capsicums into 1 jar so I use smallish jars.

Put the lid on the jars and leave in a cool, dark, dry place for at least 2 - 3 weeks before eating. They should last at least 1 year but I am sure you will eat them sooner.

Monday, 18 February 2008


I cooked this beautiful soup after reading the recipe on Mas du Diable. It is a much needed alternative to regular pumpkin soup for those of us who have lots of pumpkins to eat!

500g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 - 1.5 Tbl Thai Red Curry Paste (I used 1 tsp so it wasn't so hot)
1 large onion, sliced
500ml chicken stock
300ml cocnut milk
I also added :
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
3 sprigs Laksa herb(Vietnamese mint), chopped

Heat some oil in a large pan, add curry paste and onion and fry for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and the paste is giving off its aroma. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.
Lower heat, cover and simmer until pumpkin is soft.
Puree until smooth and add a little fish sauce, chili oil or lime juice

Friday, 1 February 2008


Here are the ways I bottle some of the summer fruit I gather. I love having it at hand all year for breakfasts or desserts. Some of them are special treats, some everyday foods.

**Nectarines (or figs or plums etc) in white wine syrup

This makes a wonderful dessert to eat throughout the year.

350gr sugar
2 strips of orange peel
700ml dry white wine
about 12 ripe but firm nectarines, (peeled) and halved, maybe more if they are very small

In a pan heat the sugar, peel and wine until sugar is dissolved. bring to a simmer and simmer gently 8 minutes.

Add the nectarines to the syrup and poach for 10 minutes until tender. I have written in my notes that this stage is not necessary with plums as they are softer.

Strain and pack the fruit into preserving jars. Boil the syrup for 1 minute, remove the peel and pour it into the jars. Add brandy to cover the fruit completely. It is really up to you how much wine : brandy you use, just try it and see. You may want to add a bit of water as well but I don't.

Bottle as normal (ie put the jars into the pan of water according to your instructions).

Store for at least 1 month before eating.

**Pears (or peaches etc) in Citrus Sauce

Juice of 1 lemon
Rind of 1 orange
1 tbl honey
1/2 cup water
Juice of 2 oranges (or 1 cup)
6 large pears

Combine all ingredients except pears in a medium saucepan and heat gently.

Peel and quarter the fruit.
Place them in the juice and cook gently 20 minutes or until tender but not completely soft. Omit this step for peaches.

Strain (or not), pack the fruit into the jars, seal and bottle as normal.

**Light syrup

This is fine for all fruit especially if you are going to be eating it for breakfast or using it in a recipe later.
For 8 1-litre jars dissolve 500g sugar or 1 cup of apple or pear juice concentrate in 2 litres (hot) water. Allow to cool to room temp before pouring it over the fruit in the jars.

This is approximate only. Even plain water will do but I have tried it and didn't like it much.

Pears stay pretty hard when bottled unless you cook them first, like in the recipe above. I think all other fruit is fine raw.
**Bottled Tomatoes
I also make all our bottled tomatoes for the year. Just chop the tomatoes, put into a pan and heat gently until they release their juices.
At this point you can either bottle them right away or add salt, pepper, herbs etc. or boil them down a bit more. I just bottle them plain (but I mash them a bit with the bamix to break up the skins) . I put them in various sized jars.
I add herbs etc later when I am using them in a recipe. So quick and easy - no packing carefully into jars or adding extra liquid and all year they are there in the cupboard - better than buying tins from the supermarket.
If I have mountains of tomatoes I sometimes make a really yummy pasta sauce and bottle that too.