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I’m Ba-ack…(with a bang)!

Did you miss me? I certainly missed you!

My earlier prediction that my blog would likely take a back seat as I became busier with work and study unfortunately came true. I don’t like to make excuses, but over the last couple of months, both have done a monumental job of sapping my time and energy (my creative energy, in particular) and regrettably it meant my blog went untouched…from my end anyway!

I especially want to express my heartfelt apologies to the amazing bloggers who continued to contribute to the I Made It! Monday” event in my absence – I will soon follow up with a round up of their fantastic achievements.

I can’t promise you (or myself) that it won’t happen again, but now that uni’s over for the semester, I have some extra time on my hands…for the time being, at least! I’ve also recently resolved to stop letting work get the better of me – it’s…Just. Not. Worth. It! On a brighter note, during my time away, I have still been doing plenty of ‘food touristing‘ – I even managed to squeeze in a visit to my old hometown of Adelaide, which involved a lot of good food and wine – so I have stacks of tasty anecdotes to share with you.

Already as I’m typing this, I feel so much better – I really, really missed this. And I missed scouring through all my favourite blogs (I haven’t had the opportunity to do much of that either)…I have so much to catch up on!

After all of that, you’re probably wondering what this ‘bang’ I referred to in the title is supposed to be…surely this (a mere whimper thus far, if you will) can’t be it?

Well, it had a lot to do with this morning’s breakfast. Not only did it wake me up in a physical sense, but it provided that ‘kick’ I needed to get my blog-jo back.

I’ve always wanted to try making Shakshouka or Huevos Rancheros, because they always look so delicious and relatively easy to prepare, especially considering the ingredients include items that are pretty stock standard in most pantries and fridges. I skimmed the internet to get some general ideas and ended up formulating my own version from a few different recipes based on what I had on hand:

Spicy Baked Eggs with Chorizo

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs (the larger the better)
  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1 small or half a large onion*, sliced
  • 1 small or half a large red capsicum, sliced
  • 2 tsp paprika (I used 1 tsp smoked, 1 tsp sweet)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (strictly optional – I can’t stress that enough! My eggs didn’t just provide a kick, there were some punches thrown in as well!)
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes 
  • Fresh herbs (parsley or coriander), chopped

* I only had brown onion on hand, which worked fine, but I think red (Spanish) onion would be perfect for this dish.

Method:

Note: this served two of us. You don’t have to be strict with the measuring either – feel free to mix it up to your personal tastes. I’m sure next time I make this I’ll rework it a bit (almost certainly omitting the dried chilli flakes…phwoar!)

*Sigh* – it’s good to be back! đŸ™‚

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Fresh flavours: Prawn Laksa

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Fresh.”

Call it strange, call it convenient, but this week’s “Fresh” Photo Challenge happened to coincide with the very weekend I was considering preparing a Prawn Laksa for dinner.

There is just so much to love about classic South-East Asian flavours such as lime, chilli, fish sauce and coconut – the perfect fusion of sour, hot, salty and sweet. I’ll admit I took a shortcut and used a store-bought paste, but the results were still tastebud-tingling terrific (even if I do say so myself)!

I don’t cook fresh seafood all that often, so in case I don’t do so again for a while, this will also be…

My pick for OhMyGlai!’s Flavour of Month for April: Prawn/Shrimp

A weekend in France

Brits and Europeans are so lucky. The opportunity to simply ‘pop over’ to another country for a few days is a luxury Western Australians will never experience – one of the pitfalls of living in the world’s most isolated capital city (Perth). A girl can still dream though. As they say, “If the mountain will not come to Mohammed…”

A few weeks ago, we enjoyed a taste (albeit brief) of cooler autumn temperatures amidst our seemingly endless summer – it even rained for the first time in 150 days or so (fancy that)! It was the perfect opportunity to dust off the casserole dishes that had been relegated to the back of the cupboard – forgotten – for 6-7 months, and revisit equally-neglected recipes that called for hours of slow cooking.

Enter my trusty French cookbook, which I picked up for under ten dollars through one of those Social Book Clubs at work several years back. It didn’t take long to decide the weekend’s menu – I’ve always wanted to try making a Bourguignon, so all that was left to do was choose a chicken dish that looked tasty (and not terribly complicated). Spotting a classic mix of thyme, tarragon and white wine, I instantly settled on Chicken Chasseur.

As hard as it was to bid farewell to all that wine (it was for a good cause, after all), I took great pleasure in preparing the marinade for the Bourguignon – right down to making my own bouquet garni – while the Chasseur simmered away. And the warm, delicious scents wafting through the house on Sunday afternoon while the wine-soaked beef cooked were to die for! Comfort food, indeed.

While it’s not quite the same as enjoying a weekend in Bordeaux, or a Provencial mini-break, it’s nice to know I can still enjoy cuisine française…without the need to travel for 20 hours!

Bon appetit!