Mixed Potato Roast | Wandering Spice

Mixed Potato and Rosemary Roast (Vegan)

Mixed Potato Roast | Wandering Spice

No weekend is complete without a trip to our local market. I joke that I’m more 92 than 29, so fittingly, after a morning yoga class I’m wandering the market and often in the same order: coffee, deli hall (for the amazing chicken sausage sample; yeah, I know), the Greek providore for a cabbage roll in the sun, my flower lady and, on my way out, the fruit and veg vendors.

On the weekends, particularly a Sunday, the fruit and veg stalls have $1 tables, loaded with bunches of greens, stone fruit, bananas and root vegetables of all kinds. Last weekend, I scored a big sack of potatoes for a buck, and so followed this tasty little roast. [Read more…]

Friendsgiving 2014 | Wandering Spice

Friendsgiving 2014

Friendsgiving table 2014 | Wandering Spice

Last weekend, we crammed 18 friends into our apartment to drink, chat, and share a meal together. Not just any meal, but a big, warm Friendsgiving meal. For that alone, I am thankful; first that we had 18 people we loved so much they had to be there (and seriously, there were more that we simply couldn’t fit, and a few who couldn’t make it!) and secondly, that our living room didn’t collapse under the weight of three tables full of food and people. [Read more…]

My Vegetarian Kedgeree | Wandering Spice

My Vegetarian Kedgeree

Vegetarian Kedgeree | Wandering Spice

2014 has been a year of resourceful cooking in our home. As often as possible I ask myself, ‘what can I make with what I already have, or that requires minimal spending?’ One recent answer to this question was kedgeree, a British-Indian rice and legume dish based on traditional Indian khichdi. It’s thought that Victorian-era colonials were so enamored by it during their time in India that they brought it home with them to England, to enjoy for breakfast.

Kedgeree is just one example of how, historically, people have made use of what they had; how they creatively repurposed their leftovers, especially in the days before refrigeration (hello, bubble & squeak, fried rice and rich ragus!) One of my favorites is koshari, the beloved Egyptian street food of rice, noodles, chick peas, lentils, tomato and vinegar (recipe coming soon), also born from the need to combine little bits of leftovers. [Read more…]

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Salted Chocolate Ganache | Wandering Spice

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Salted Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake w Salted Chocolate Ganache | Wandering Spice

I’m a bit no-BS in the cake department. Priority #1 is satisfaction. We love to eat the good-for-you stuff in our house: loads of vegetables, lean meats, fruit, fresh juice and smoothies, fish, beans, grains, you know. So when there’s cake around, it has to fulfill Priority #1 immediately. It has to be a real, honest treat like this one, which is full of bittersweet dark chocolate and rich extra virgin olive oil, capped with a swoony full-cream laden icing.

I absolutely appreciate lightening up heavy foods, and do that as a matter of course in my cooking. But when it comes to making dessert (especially for friends, as was the case with this cake), no corners get cut, and everyone gets a piece of something that feels like (and is) a special indulgence. [Read more…]

Home in Australia | Wandering Spice

Going back/Coming back

Melbourne | Wandering Spice

It’s hard to explain what putting on an enormous arts festival is like. It sounds like a lot of fun and glamour, and in many ways, it is. There are parties and some of the best conversations imaginable, especially when you’re lucky enough to work with a team as whip-smart and good-humored as mine. Calling them colleagues feels ridiculous; they are family. But the work is consuming – utterly and completely consuming – of all your mental space, your physical energy, your emotional reserves and, due to these, your time. The pressure is outstanding, knowing that some 55,000 thoughtful people will witness and critique your work. People you idolize will see you perform. But eventually you get there. The festival starts and it’s a hit. Of course it is – it’s a beautiful program. People love it, and you’re floating above your Everest. It’s time to celebrate.

So when you find out, halfway through the program, that one of your old friends passed away under horrific circumstances, you just stop. You don’t crash, you just stop. When you’re not able to thank them again for the indescribable gift they gave you when you were at your lowest, you stop. When you’re trying to carry on a normal conversation with someone you’re supposed to impress, you barely make it through. And when you try to be kind to yourself, because there’s nothing you could have done, there’s nothing left in the reserves. But you have to go on, at least until the mammoth task at hand is complete, at which point you have enough time to finally close your eyes and hope that it never happened. Then, two days after the contract ends, you pack your bags and ship off overseas for a few weeks, to get the hell away.

That’s my story of late.

[Read more…]

Duke of Wellington

Melbourne Writers Festival 2014

Duke of Wellington

Hello, hello!

While speaking about food writing at Emerging Writers Festival earlier this year, I described working in the festival world as “extremely full time.” (Did I mention my boss was there? It’s cool, she tweeted it). Well, that time has come. After many, many months of hard work (and hence many days away from my beloved blog), Melbourne Writers Festival is finally here. Tomorrow is Opening Night! [Read more…]

Sesame bread & kashkaval grilled cheese | Wandering Spice

My Grilled Cheese, Volume 1

Jase and I share a car, but today our little hatchback was all mine. Predictably, the first place I went was the suburban Middle Eastern grocer that I love but can't get to by bike or tram. I'm … [Read More...]

Easy Cashew Baklava Fingers | Wandering Spice

Cashew Baklava Fingers for Eid

Eid marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting (from food and vice, like Lent), reflection, goodwill to others, and togetherness. Each day, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, waking up very early for … [Read More...]

Cozy Mixed Mushroom Fettuccine | Wandering Spice

Mixed Mushroom and Tarragon Fettuccine

When Australian Mushroom Growers said they'd be sending over a box of mushrooms for me to play with, I wasn't sure what to expect. I would have been happy with anything - I adore mushrooms and it goes … [Read More...]

Mixed Berry Rose Milkshake | Wandering Spice

Kitchen Quickie: Mixed Berry & Rose Milkshake

Some of the best recipes are the quickest. This is one of my most loved. Fruit smoothies or milkshakes are a staple in our diets. (We own a juice bar - have I mentioned that? So, I mean it when I … [Read More...]