Election Day

Today is Election Day here in Australia.

Being the good Aussie I am, I got to the polling booth early, yesterday afternoon. Missed out on the sausage sizzle today. Arrgh! If only I knew… Must remember for next time.

Archie came with me and received plenty of attention from all the volunteers shoving all the propaganda in your face.

There was a young girl next to me in the booth yesterday. She asked me in a shaky voice if she’s allowed to phone her mum to help her with filling of the ballot paper. Poor thing, didn’t have an idea. I asked her who she wants to vote for, her answer “for the Sex party” didn’t surprise me. I just laughed to myself and remembered how confused I was when I at barely 18 had to vote for the first time, all by myself. I think I went for the Greens back then.

Well, that’s how it is. Will see what the future brings and which party will get the leadership for the next 3 years.

Not that I’m into politics or anything.

I just went so I don’t get fined. Hehe.

Today is also the first day of fermentation of my sourdough starter. I purchased a dehydrated starter pack on eBay. I tried to grow my own sourdough bacteria a while ago but failed miserably.

This time it’s a proper, functioning starter, I hope. First promising bubble appeared on the surface today, yay.

I’m sure I’ll be baking my own sourdough bread in no time! Fingers crossed.

We’ve been baking our own bread for at least three months now. None of the preservative-laden commercial bread for us anymore.

I’ll post the recipe for my home-made bread very soon. It’s so easy. All you need is time. And flour 😉

Day 1, first bubble

Day 1, first bubble

TV is full of the Election stuff tonight. Boring.

Weather turned cold and rainy again. I was so stoked to wear t-shirt on our walks with Archie last week. Spring is my favourite season I think.

Time for a glass of wine and some of my comfort food red pasta dish.

Good night



Cream of Artichoke Soup

We’ve been lucky enough to grow and harvest some artichokes this spring.
I’ve never cooked with fresh artichokes before, so some internet research was needed regarding cleaning and trimming these beauties. Use this  video if you need some help.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups  chicken or vegetable broth, plus extra, as needed
  • 3 – 4 whole artichokes, trimmed, cut into quarters
  • 2 – 3 heaped Tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream or Philadelphia cream for cooking
  • 4 Tbsp garlic or onion chives, chopped finely, to garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. 
Sweat the onion for about 5 minutes without browning it. 
Add the celery, carrots and potato.
Season with salt and  pepper.
Cook the vegetables until just tender, about 4 minutes.
Add the broth and the artichokes and bring to the boil.
Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the artichokes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Take the soup off the heat and puree using a blender stick, until very smooth. 

Pass the soup through a mesh sieve for extra creamy result.
Warm the soup over low heat again, thinning with the additional broth by 1/4 cupfuls if the soup is too thick. 
Turn the heat off and stir in the creme fraiche.
Ladle the soup into bowls. 
Sprinkle with some chives before serving.
I enjoyed mine with some buttered sourdough toast for lunch.
Let me know if you try this recipe.


Spiced cous-cous

It has been really cold today and I decided to make some braised lamb shanks for dinner.
A hearty meal to warm us up from the inside.

And there is no better accompaniment than a nice fluffy yellow bowl of spiced cous-cous
served with a dollop of greek yoghurt and coarsely chopped fresh mint or coriander.

Spiced cous-cous

2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
2 Tbs olive oil
50 g butter
1 small brown onion or shallot, chopped finely
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 cups cous-cous
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sultanas ( I prefer dried black currants – smaller and less sweet)

1/2 cup dry roasted pine nuts

Greek yoghurt and chopped mint to serve
lemon or orange juice to taste, optional

Bring stock to boil in medium saucepan, cover and remove from heat. Set aside.

Heat oil and butter in a small saucepan.
Add onion and cook until softened.
Add garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds.
Add all spices, cook stirring for 1 minute or until spices are fragrant.

Add the hot stock.

Place cous-cous and currants in a heatproof bowl.
Pour spicy stock mixture over cous-cous.
Gently stir and cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand 5-10 minutes.

Use a fork to fluff up the cous-cous.

Dollop yoghurt on top, sprinkle with pine nuts and mint.