Thursday, July 23, 2009


Tropea, located on the coast of Calabria, Italy, is the birth place of my dad. I first went to Tropea when I was 16 and fell in love with the enchanted little town. To the left is a picture of the famous church, which was actually once surrounded entirely by water. Above is a pic of old tropea, stunning homes built directly on the cliff. The town is a famous bathing place, situated on a reef, in the gulf of St. Euphemia connected with the mainland by a narrow strip in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Many small towns around Tropea produce a particular quality of red onion (picture above). In Italy these onions are so famous that cipolla di Tropea ("Tropea onion" or "Tropea's onion") has become an Italian synonym for all red onions today. They are super sweet to eat.

Vic Market

Victoria Market has to be one of my favourite places to shop for food. It is so inspirational and absolutley loaded with beautiful fresh produce. The market is vibrant and has a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The historic site has been with Melbournians for 130 years. The Market is probably best known for its huge variety of fresh produce. Almost 50% of the Market area is dedicated to the sale of fresh produce, including fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, chicken, seafood and delicatessen products. If you get a chance, book in for a market tour. I recently did this at the market and loved it :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Homemade Big Mac Sauce

I found the following recipe whilst browsing through recipes on the net. I came across a 'Secret Recipe' website, with all sorts of recips for popular take away dishes and sauces, that one can make at home. I am a sucker for Big Mac Sauce, so when I get a chance I will make the following:

Big Mac Sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of French dressing
4 teaspoons of sweet pickle relish1 tablespoon finely minced white onion
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/8 teaspoon of salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well.
Place sauce in a container / jar and store in fridge for 3 hours.
Stir the sauce a couple of times as it chills.

Has anyone made their own Big Mac Suace at home? I would love to hear from you :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Cook Books

I am obsessed with pretty recipe books as you can see. I read them over and over again. At the moment I am reading Lygon Street, which is more like the history of Lygon street and talks about all of the cultures that now have become the face of Lygon Street, and the many changes that Lygon Street has had over the years. There are also some recipes, which have been submitted by restaurant owners from Lygon Street. I have always loved Giorgio Locatelli, I watch his TV show every Sunday on Foxtel, and his book is amazing. The Cook's Book is a book that I haven't really gotten into yet, it's really big and full of knowledge and technique - I will get into this book soon. I am a sucker for the good old Women's Weekly Cook Books, and have also recently been given 'Kitchen' as a bday gift, so now I have Cook, Best 1,000 recipes and Kitchen! As for magazines I have subscribed to Delicious, and look forward to receiving it in the mail on a monthly basis :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Grilled zucchini with pumpkin and couscous

I have never really been a couscous fan - I guess I can say this as I have never really been introduced to it through my experience with food growing up in an Italian family. However, it was not until recently out at an italian restaurant that I had learnt that Couscous is used within Sicilian cooking - which makes sense, as it was introduced by visitors to the italian island from both Africa and eastern Europeon countries.
Trying to cook healthier meals lately, I came across a recipe for couscous with grilled zucchini and pumpkin in the Women's Weekly 1,000 best ever recipe cookbook. The recipe contains lots of spices, and I will definately be making this dish in the future, in fact it has become one of my quick mid-week regular meals, as the left overs are perfect for lunch the next day :)
1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 clove garlic
1 small red onion
2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small red capsicum, chopped finely
300g piece pumpkin, chopped finely
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 medium zucchini or 2 large zucchini, halved lengthways
Lemon Yoghurt:
1 cup greek style yoghurt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Make yoghurt
2. Combine couscous with the water and juice in a large heatproof bowl, cover, stand for about 5 minutes or until water is absorbed, fluffing with fork occassionaly.
3. Heat oil in large saucepan; cook nuts, stirring, until lightly browned. Add garlic, onion and spices; cook, stirring, until onions soften. Add capsicum and pumpkin; cook, stirring, until pumpkin is tender. Stir in couscous and parsley.
4. Meanwhile, cook zucchini on heated grill plate until just tender (or BBQ)
4. Serve zucchini topped with couscous and drizzled with yoghurt.
5. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Over the top organisation

I guess one may say that I am a little over the top with a few things in my life, and food presentation is one of them. I need to be organised when preparing my ingredients, to the point that sometimes the ingredients look more presentable then the finished product! I guess I'm more at ease, relaxed with my cooking when I have all of my ingredients prepared in my little glass bowls that I picked up at a Brunswick hospitality supplier. It is much more of a joy to then throw my prepared ingredients together into a sizzling wok and cook up a quick stir fry or in this case, a Thai noodle salad.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nigella's Peas with buttery lettuce

I can't get enough of Nigella at the moment. Well, I guess you could say I am a little obsessed with her and going through a real Nigella stage. It's funny because I've been watching her shows for a while now (so addicted to the food channel), and I never really have taken an interest in her. However, I have now literally fallen in love with her cooking, and find her shows highly entertaining. I love how she is 'not proper' in her cooking, and defeats all culinary terms one would learn through cookery and hospitality school. I love how she admits to use 'instant mashed potatoes' (although I'm not sure if I'm quite game enough to use this yet), and I love mostly how her meals are quick and tasty.

Of most recent, well the past two days, I have made Nigella's Lettuce and Peas, and let me tell you that they are to die for. Yes, peas, so tasty and delicate with finely shredded wilted lettuce. Pic's coming soon, but for now, here's the winning recipe:
Peas with buttery lettuce

In a pot add a drop of olive oil with one teaspoon unsalted butter
Add four spring onions
Add any soft lettuce finely shredded and tumble onto butter and oil
Stir lettuce and spring onions, wait for the lettuce to wilt
Add frozen baby peas
Add one cup (depending on how many peas) of hot chicken stock
Allow to cook with lid on (low heat) for 20 min or until really soft