Well I certainly got my Christmas wish this year – and that was for my family to come together and to have a really nice time together.
A lot of work goes into hosting Christmas lunch and it was done in fine style at my brother’s house. His girlfriend, Ash, has a real flair for decorating – the table looked awesome, the turkey, ham and vegies were great, and she made these delicious Christmas trees out of an Oreo and rum mixture. I so have to get that recipe!
I also thought it was a genius idea to ask everyone to bring a meat. We like to have almost every meat on Christmas day, so I cooked a rolled sirloin beef roast with a sourdough breadcrumb crust flavoured with dried porcini mushrooms, parsley, garlic and salt and pepper. I was rapt with how it turned out. Mum came with lamb, and dad, the prawns. It was a great meal and I was sooo full afterwards, although I couldn’t fit anywhere near as much food as I used to, which is actually nice 🙂
Christmas eve also proved to be an awesome day and evening, with a visit from my awesome friends AJ. We met in high school, and have been best friends ever since. We took him down to Anglesea to visit the rest of my family at the shop, Anglesea Fruitz. It was a surprise for my mum and I swear she was so excited to see him that she nearly broke a few of his ribs when she gave him a huge bear hug!
And AJ even came bearing gifts!
Dad and Dave were hard at work – and it was great to be down at the shop and really get into the crazy Christmas atmosphere.
AJ was soon on his way to deliver the rest of his presents, doing a very cool impersonation of Santa 🙂
We spent the night with Matt’s family, watching carols by candlelight and eating party pies and sausage rolls – Matt’s favourite!
The other awesome thing about Christmas is seeing the excitement of kids getting pressies – and our nieces and nephews were having a ball. We really enjoyed spoiling them and we got each of them a Christmas teddy. I was so into getting a stuffed toy every Christmas and Easter, that I thought they’d like them. The girls got white bears, and the boy got brown.
It was really nice to spend Christmas night with Matt’s family too. But after a long day, we were all ready for bed.
It was one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had. How did you spend yours and what made it memorable for you?
Now we head to Adelaide for a few days away. I know food is going to be a challenge because I can’t cook where we are staying, but I will do my best to make good choices. I also have my gym program in my bag and will be hitting the gym a few times while we are away. Seeing my extended family will top off an awesome festive season. Not only that, but I don’t have to go back to work until the second week of January. Woo hoo!!!
See you in the new year with heaps of inspiring and healthy recipes. 2012 promises to be a very awesome year – not only will the blog be growing, and I’ll continue my exciting weight loss journey – but Matt and I will be getting married on November 18! Excited doesn’t even cover it! 🙂
As you can guess from the title of this blog entry, I’m a bit of a fan of Nigella. In fact, she is my number one food hero.
She’s inspiring in the kitchen, doesn’t make you feel guilty for using tinned tomatoes or lemon juice out of a bottle – and always has a yummy short cut to make everyone’s lives just that much easier. What’s not to love?
However, Nigella has become famous for her overzealous use of adjectives and while it seems to annoy the hell out of some people – I find it extremely amusing!
Here are just a few examples of her wordiness, which I came across in just one episode of Nigella Kitchen:
On black olives in a bowl of spaghetti – “I just love how they look like teddy bear’s noses”.
Really? Not too sure that I can ever get a nose out of an olive – but each to their own, I guess.
On biscuit crumbs in a flan tin – “This case of golden crumbs looks like a fairytale crown”.
I think she has a slightly overactive imagination in this case:
And she really seems to have a liking for mini chorizo sausages referring to them as – “…my plumptious beauties”.
I’m not sure “plumptious” is even a word – but Nigella said it, so I guess it is now!!
Nigella may be a little crazy, but I respect the fact she takes a pan of pasta to bed (not even bothering to transfer it to a more manageable bowl) and that as she seductively opens her curtains in the morning, you get a glimpse of a jar of honey and a bottle of tobasco sauce on her bedside table! Now that’s dedication to food!
I’m always fascinated by her endless supply of crazy kitchen devices – not to mention the fact she has a whole entire trunk FULL of cookie cutters – in every shape and size you could ever imagine!
Some of her other devices include:
A brick covered in foil to hold down her quesadillas as they seductively sizzle on the griddle pan (like my attempt at using adjectives, Nigella style?).
A special ring pool opener – to ensure no manicure is harmed during the making of any meal.
The infamous rocking herb chopper – I always wanted one of these – and actually got one for Christmas. I haven’t used it yet – but I’m looking forward to pretending to be the voluptuous Nigella herself when I break it out for the first time.
A stand out Nigella quote for me would be this one – very inspirational, especially for those of us hell-bent on stacking on more flab around our waists:
“There are many eating opportunities in the world and I aim to celebrate as many of them as possible”.
I’m so with you on that one, sister!
And finally, I love how this woman is so down to earth, she even has her own spin on the old-school chip sandwich. In saying that, her version has a twist of lemon … very sophisticated!
“Get some flat bread, lay it out in front of you, slather it with some hommus and put a couple of handfuls of hot chips on top. Sprinkle with coarse salt, a squeeze of lemon, fold it into a package and apply to face “.
Crazy? Yes. Funny? Definitely. Delicious? Absolutely!
Whether you are a Nigella lover or hater – share some of the wordiest things you have heard her say, or the strangest implement you have seen her use in the comments section below. I know there is heaps more than the few I listed above!
P.S – Happy Birthday to my awesome dad, who provides endless inspiration for this blog, and spends so much of his time talking it up to all the customers at his fruit, vegetable and gourmet food store, Anglesea Fruitz (read more about this inspiring foodie heaven here). A girl couldn’t ask for a more amazing and supportive dad!! Love you so much!! XXX
Eggplant is in season and so it’s time to start thinking of some creative ways of serving it.
A lot of people don’t really like eggplant, or aubergine as it is known is some places, all that much. I used to be one of them. It can be bitter if not treated to a nice sprinkling of sea salt, and if you under-cook it, it’s gonna have a funny, squeaky texture.
How do I like it best? Well, while I do love it in curries because its spongy flesh really soaks up all the flavours – You can’t go past it in a dip known as Baba Ghanouj.
It is an Arab dish and in some parts is served as an appetizer while in others they like it as a side-dish or salad.
With eggplants plentiful, why not give this recipe a go. This one is inspired by SBS Food Safari – the Lebanese episode. It’s creamy, delicious and very good for you!
- 2-3 medium sized eggplant
- 1½ tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp paprika
Grill whole eggplant over a gas flame, turning with tongs until the skin is evenly toasted. Soak in cold water for about 10 min to cool.
When cool, completely peel the eggplants and drain for 15-20 min. Place into a food processor with tahini, lemon, garlic and salt and process again until well combined and creamy.
Place the mixture in a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little paprika.
The recipe suggested finishing at the end with a chopped tomato and some parsley. Feel free to add it if you have it on hand.
Remember to also taste the dip before you serve it – the lemon, salt and tahini may need tweaking to suit your tastes.
I’ve also had some trouble in the past actually finding tahini. I always find it in the health food section at the supermarket. I’m sure you can get it from health food shops too. It’s basically a sesame seed paste – very strong in flavour – but very yummy 🙂
Natural disasters, including the floods in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, as well as Cyclone Yasi have directly or indirectly effected everyone in Australia, whether you have battled the water and winds first hand, know someone who has, or been touched by the stories you have read and seen on the news.
Another group of people who have been horribly effected by these tragic events are our farmers – the people who grow our food.
Because of this, we have already begun to notice food prices rising – with 70 per cent of the banana crops in Queensland flattened by Yasi – it’s not unexpected.
The floods have also caused havoc for fruit and vegie growers, and in many cases not only have we seen a change in quality of our fresh produce, but we have also seen the prices climb.
My brother, Dave Foreman knows this first hand, as the owner of a fruit, vegetable and gourmet food shop – Anglesea Fruitz.
He has all the inside knowledge on everything that is fresh produce, and so Dave and I are going to join forces with his knowledge of the industry and my passion for food, cooking and writing, to bring you the latest updates from the markets.
We’ll tell you why your produce doesn’t look quite as it used to before the floods and wind hit, why the prices are high, when the best time is to buy and what is coming into season. I’ll also have plenty of great recipes to help you take advantage of the produce that is best in quality and price. You will see that eating seasonally is not only going to ensure you are eating the yummiest fruit and veg – it’ll also help you save some dollars too.
“At the moment the prices of bananas for me is about $60 a box, a doubling in price overnight and there is limited supply” Dave said.
“It’s not a bad idea that if you find a good price, stock up on the greenest bananas you can find and keep them at between 10 and 11 degrees to prolong their life.”
Dave said other fruit to be effected includes avocado, all melons, pineapple, mango, paw paw and papaya – basically anything tropical.
“Get down to your local greengrocer now and stock up before it gets worse,” he said.
We also want to highlight that supporting your local growers and fruit and vegetable shops is the way to go. With shortages across the country right now due to the floods, and now Cyclone Yasi, large retail chains are looking to import fruit and vegetables from overseas.
Our local producers may be struggling – but this is a time when they need our support the most. So make a stand – don’t buy from large retailers that choose to important. If it’s not in season or in good condition locally – buy something else that is and support our farmers by shopping at your local greengrocer, farmers markets etc.
Subscribe to Uforic Food by putting your email address in the email subscription box on the left (you will then be sent an email asking you to confirm your subscription) to receive regular market updates in your inbox, as well as great recipes to make the best of your fresh produce during these tough times for everyone.
Lisa Foreman is a former journalist, now a passionate lover of food, cooking and writing.
Dave Foreman is the owner of fruit, vegetable and gourmet food shop, Anglesea Fruitz, on the Great Ocean Rd at Anglesea, Victoria. He is also Lisa’s brother.
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