Vegetable Paella

Food 2012 062

So 2013, this is happening!

Resolutions are in full force – are you sticking to yours so far?

I took a look back some of my cooking goals for 2012 to see what I actually accomplished.

Making my own yogurt didn’t happen, and I definitely need to learn more of my Dad’s seafood secrets. But I did make frozen things and, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve made a paella that I’m happy to share with you today.

Please please please tell me you’re not on a juice cleanse. Then you wouldn’t be able to eat paella with me.

The thought of a juice cleanse brings back memories of my job as an advertising assistant for the most serious of all fashion magazines. Picture irritable, high-powered women in an underfed, over-caffeinated state. Juice and stress and terror go hand in hand in hand in my brain. Just say no.

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Pan Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad


Merry post-Christmas!

You look lovely today, btw.

I could have brought you a cookie recipe but that just seems wrong now. I can’t be bothered to turn on the oven, let alone throw measuring spoons and flour sifting into the mix. Ugh.

For me it was a Christmas filled with warm days, mangoes, pavlova, prosecco mimosas by the pool and lots of ham. Not too shabby.

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Broccoli and Leek Soup

I’m gearing up to tell some stories. Actually, I’ll just be telling one specific story, multiple times.

This weekend, F’s parents are throwing us our Australian engagement party. It’s going to be a lovely night in the backyard with friends, family, good food and bubbles.

There’s one catch: I’ll be obliged to tell the story of our engagement to many of the guests. While I’ve already had quite a bit of practice in the two months we’ve been engaged, I still haven’t got better at telling it.

Where do I start? One minute, I was on a rooftop in New Orleans’ French Quarter laughing at his pre-proposal speech, not being able to take a compliment and the next I realized what was going on. I think I probably just sound like a jerk when I tell it…I dunno.

It was a perfect night – like, majorly – and we were the happiest couple in NOLA, I just wish I could express the sequence of events better!

It doesn’t really matter though – we’re just excited to celebrate with the people we love.

I wish I had a better story about this soup too, but the truth of the matter is that I found myself on a Monday waiting for my fruit and veg delivery and very hungry. I scraped around the crisper and came out with a head of broccoli and a big leek. Instead of an omelet or some quick stir fry I opted for a simple and silky smooth soup.

Admittedly, you have to be a broccoli fan for this one, but you could try subbing in more potatoes or roasted carrots instead. I like to garnish the whole thing with chives, which add a nice mellow onion-y compliment to the leeks. I also think a little grating of Parmesan or cheddar would go over extremely well in this situation.

The end.


  • 1 medium head of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts sliced thin
  • 1 small-medium white potato, pealed chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 liter or 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped chives, to serve

In a large pot, heat a glug of olive oil over a medium high heat. Add leak and garlic and sauté until the leek is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and cook for another minute.

Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and potato and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 10 minutes until the broccoli and potatoes are tender.

Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes and purée with a stick blender or in batches in the blender.

Pour back into the pot, bring to a boil and and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Serve with chopped chives and extra black pepper.

Vegetable Indian Curry

This is what a Monday night looks like in our house.

Lots of vegetables tied together with some bold flavors. It’s about treating yourself right.

The weekend is my favorite time for trying new restaurants, eating ice cream for dessert (or lunch) and having a couple of glasses of wine. All of these wonderful things mean that I sometimes don’t get the ideal amount of vegetables from Friday night to Sunday night. (Or if I do, they’re accompanied by their bffs bacon and cheese.)

On Mondays, I aim for a vegetable top-up. I like to center meals around veggies with things like soups, salads and stir fries.

Curries are one my favorite ways to incorporate a lot of plant life into my Monday (or any day) – you get tons of flavor and spice with a combination of a few pantry items. They’re often vegan too, which is just a bonus. (Or useful, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to feed a vegan!)

With the help of jarred curry paste, my Thai curries are usually a success. But my Indian curries are always a little more…interesting.

I’ve tried a bunch of recipes using dry spice combinations and EVERY TIME I freak out within the first 15 minutes, thinking I’ve screwed it all up somehow. It’s almost always fine by the time everything’s cooked properly. What the heck was I so worried about back there?

I finally realized that Indian curries are just late bloomers. They need a little extra time for all of the flavors to develop and come together in the way they’re supposed to. Let them simmer or sit for a while and they’ll come good – with the warming, complex flavors that you were looking for. No need to freak. Leftovers get even better too. Another bonus!

Feel free to add or substitute whatever vegetables you’d like or toss in some chickpeas, tofu or shrimp for a protein boost. Curries are endlessly adaptable and a great way of making your daily (or weekend) dose of veggies full of flavor.

South Indian Vegetable Curry
adapted from Bon Appetit

– 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
– 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
– 1 2-inch-long 1-inch-diameter piece peeled fresh ginger (about 2 ounces)
– 3 tablespoons grape seed oil
– 1 tablespoon garam masala
– 2 teaspoons ground cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1/2 serrano chile, seeded, chopped
– 2 tablespoons tomato paste
– 3 cups vegetable broth
– 2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar
– 4 curry leaves
– 2 whole green cardamom pods
– 1/2 cup coconut cream
– 2 medium  russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
– 2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
– 3/4 cup diced canned tomatoes, drained
– 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– 2-3 large handfuls of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Puree first 8 ingredients (onion through coriander) in processor until paste forms. Cook in large pot over medium heat until aromatic, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste. Cook until mixture starts to darken and brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes longer.
Add broth, brown sugar, curry leaves, and cardamom. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. (This part can be made 2 days ahead. Cool, cover, and chill. Bring to simmer before continuing.)
Add coconut cream, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, peas, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mixture in pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Add spinach, if desired, and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard curry leaves and cardamom.
Serve with steamed rice.
If you’re freezing your leftovers, you may want to slightly under-cook your veggies as things like potatoes sometimes get mushy in the thawing process. Try removing the portion you’re freezing 5 minutes early and allowing it to cool completely before freezing.

Greek-style Vegetable Galette


I’m not going to lie, I don’t make pies often. I know that probably makes me a bad home cook, but the task always seems a little daunting with the whole crust-making business. I have, however, been quietly keeping my eye out for The Perfect Crust Recipe. It’s an elusive thing, this recipe. So many claim that they have it but I continually find myself somewhat put off by so many. I’m looking for something simple, versatile and easy  – not too many ingredients, easily adaptable to savory or sweet and the potential to make it with my eyes closed after a couple of tries.

It would be disappointing if I built that up just to tell you I am still searching, wouldn’t it?

C’mon, I wouldn’t do that to you. Thanks to this recipe on the lovely TwoSpoons, my search is over. It’s perfect – crunchy and slightly flaky, and easy to make and handle. I love the texture the wheatgerm brings, too. And no required refrigerating! (If you’ve got the time, go for it – but it’s not necessary if you’re looking to move fast.)

I decided to make a galette with my dough because I like the idea of a free-form tart – its informal and, to borrow my favorite Gordon Ramsay description (in abrupt speech), “simple. rustic. yes.”

I went with some Greek-style vegetables for something summery. (And maybe subconsciously because of all the recent news of Greece’s floundering economy?)

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