Egg, Avo salad

Rough notes.

I mashed an avo, added a bit of plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves.

Chopped up some lettuce leaves (from the garden!) and two hard boiled eggs. Cubed some Paris Creek fetta. I mention the brand because it’s quite different from a lot of fetta. Drier, slightly rubbery. I love it, and wouldn’t normally eat fetta at the fridge door, if you want the full ad. I don’t know that I’d add what I think of as normal fetta to this.


Served with toast.

Variations are no doubt infinite.


Two things you need to know about Swiss Chard before you die

1)  It gives wonderful depth of colour ranging from a delightful pink tinge to spaghetti sauce or something more polished to stock.

2) The stalks taste lovely raw. If they are too ropey, finely chop and add to stock.

Things I’ve done with it lately:

  • Started off with plain chicken stock made from wings (of course). I keep that in the freezer. Defrosted, added fairly finely chopped vegetables: some ordinary cabbage, peas, a bit of broccoli, parsley – to taste and according to what you have to hand. I included all the chopped stalks of a bunch of chard, having used the leaves for other things. Just before serving, I added a bag of tortellini, spinach and cheese which serves two. A few minutes later, serve. You might want to put parmesan on the table, but I don’t think this needs it.
  • risotto with prunes and pinenuts and lots of the leaves finely chopped. My base is olive oil, shallots, and white wine. Love the colour of this.
  • spaghetti sauce consisting of tin of tuna, finely chopped leaves, garlic, shallots, olive oil, served with parmesan.

Channa dahl, kitchen cupboard version

I was intending to do a red lentil dahl,  but discovered I had practically every other dried pulse but this in the cupboard. Okay.


  • one cup of channa dahl (aka split chickpeas)
  • water
  • ground cumin, coriander and tumeric
  • chopping onion
  • some garlic, chopped
  • tin of chopped tomatoes
  • dessicated coconut around 50g
  • ghee


Wash the dahl, put in pot with maybe 4 cups of water, bring to the boil and then keep at a vigorous simmer, lid of the pan ajar.

When the dahl is becoming soft, still has a little bite in it, fry the onion in the ghee, when quite brown add the garlic and dried spices. Don’t burn! Thoroughly mix and temper the spices. Put all of that in with the dahl, as well as the coconut and the tomatoes. Bring back to a simmer and cook until the dahl is soft enough for you. No particular rule here.

This is a bit sloppy tonight as I put it in the fridge, but I expect tomorrow it’ll have thickened up just enough.

Planning to serve it with basmati rice, not sure in which way I’m going to cook that yet. We tried it tonight, it’s going to be really good tomorrow!


Carrot soup

I’m not going to give this the hard sell. Frankly, the only reason I eat cooked carrots at all is so that I can tick the ‘adult’ box on the internet. Don’t try that at home, children under the age of fifty.

But let’s say you are trying for a more orange coloured skin and you’re sick of all the ways you’ve been eating too much carrot. You could try this.

Ingredients for 4 serves or so as a meal

  • 6 carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 potato peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion peeled and chopped
  • one inch cube fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • one clove garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • butter or, even better ghee if you have it to hand
  • 1 tblesp cumin seeds
  • 2 teasp ground dhanna jeera mix* coriander-cumin mix, 60% coriander 40% cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • tabasco
  • water

plain yoghurt for serving
toast for serving and table butter

*theoretically, mixing these and leaving to sit changes the taste compared with simply grinding and mixing on the day. I have some sitting in the cupboard, so in it went.


  • In a pot fry the onions in the butter, gently, until softened somewhat.
  • Add the ginger and garlic and keep stirring for a minute or so. DON’T burn!
  • Add dry spices and be on high alert for signs of burning activity.
  • Add the diced vegetables, mix, add perhaps a litre of water. Bring to boil and simmer until vegetables are soft.
  • Take off the heat and puree.
  • Back on the heat season with the salt and pepper and tabasco.
  • Add water to make it the preferred thickness. I like these soups to be thinner than most people. I don’t want them to be sludge.

Needless to say, you could change this many ways. For a start, if you love carrot more than I do you might leave out the potato. Fresh chili instead of tabasco, though I thought that the tabasco added a little depth. I was wondering about adding a dash of soy or worcestershire, but didn’t. Maybe with the leftovers. A lot of Indian spices would have done. Mustard seeds at the end? Perhaps with fried onions? Fresh coriander and lemon. Coconut milk?

Having tried it with and without yoghurt, we voted for the latter. Expectation: that the leftovers are bound to be better when they are wheeled out for lunch tomorrow.

Verdict? Definitely worth a guernsey in the ‘how are we going to cook the damn things today?’ list.

chickpea and vegetable soup

Nothing special here, just what was in the cupboard.

  • onion, peeled and chopped
  • carrot, peeled and chopped
  • potato, peeled and chopped
  • garlic, peeled and chopped
  • ghee or oil for cooking (I used grapeseed oil this time)
  • tin of chickpeas, hulled
  • ground cumin, coriander and chilli
  • water or stock
  • plain yoghurt, lemon and freshly ground pepper at the table

Obviously you can vary this at will or convenience. I used two medium carrots, maybe half a kg of potatoes, one onion. The key question may be how sweet you want it – and what colour.

On medium heat sauté the onion until it is softening, add the other vegetables and fry stirring for maybe 5 minutes. Turn heat down and add the garlic – no burning the garlic – and the ground spices. When the spices are thoroughly mixed in, add the water or stock along with the chickpeas. It doesn’t take long to take the skins off, you can do it while the vegetables are frying. It makes a big difference to digestibility, which is a literal pain for some people.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes covered. After the mixture has cooled a little you can puree it. It won’t be best on day one.

Serve alone, with toast or maybe a Middle East bread and with the accompaniments listed in the ingredients.

Noodle soup as an Australian might make it.

My meddling with a Jaffrey recipe. She calls it Thai, but it is way too simple to be that. It is, nonetheless, a wonderful soup which can be eaten often without tiring of it.


Chicken stock maybe 1 litre per two people
Just cooked thin rice noodles, rinsed while draining to cool them down (stops overcooking)
Green beans topped and tailed and sliced into two, half a cup or more per person
Bean sprouts topped and tailed, yes, tedious, isn’t it? Maybe a cup per person


While the noodles are first cooking prepare everything else, including the things to be served at the table (see below). After noodles are drained, put chicken stock in the same saucepan, or water if you are simply adding a stock cube – a good quality stockcube isn’t a disaster, given the other flavourings to be added. If lucky enough to be in Australia you can get those Massel vegetarian gluten free chicken stock cubes, so it is servable to everybody. After the stock has come to the boil, throw in the beans and cook to taste, for me that’s a couple of minutes. Place a cup of prepared beansprouts at the bottom of each bowl. When beans are almost done, return the noodles to the stock. Give them a moment to warm and then put the noodles, beans and stock over the beansprouts in each bowl.

For serving.

Prepare small bowls of:

rice vinegar with fresh chopped chilli added
fish sauce
coriander leaves
mint leaves torn or bruised
Unsalted roasted peanuts crushed coarsely maybe half a cup per 2 people

At the table each person adds the various seasonings to taste. I’ve only ever tasted this with some of everything, so I have no idea of the impact of being picky.



Put the chilli in a separate bowl so that people can avoid it without avoiding the vinegar. If you have made real chicken stock, you probably have some chicken you can add on your non-vegetarian days. Obviously beef stock is an option. And needless to say, the basic vegetables of beansprouts and beans could be replaced with many other options. I could imagine any Asian greens, not to mention very fine long slivers of carrot.