Kitchen News 8th March 2016

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These next few weeks mark my 5th birthday at Bondi! How fitting that today Mr Forbes brought me in some popping corn that they had just harvested. ‘Our Very Own Popping Corn’ recipe – with one part with rosemary and thyme-infused olive oil, and the other a sweetened cumin, paprika and cinnamon butter topping – was on my very first menu! Also featuring was a recipe for ‘Juicy Juice’: preparing and peeling a combo of beetroot and carrot chunks, spinach, silverbeet, cucumber, celery, apples, tomatoes, oranges, strawberries, ginger and soft herbs. And also on the extensive menu of three dishes (!) Insalata Caprese, with tomatoes, bocconcini, basil and rocket… (a surefire winner of a salad that we’ve repeated lots of times, no less in the last menu!). The littlest cooks at the time, the Year 2 kids, are now in Year 7 and flown away, and that for me is the biggest sign of change, when children grow so quickly but everything else remains the same…

Fast-forward to 2016 and it’s pounding our paste and bruising the lemongrass stalks for Tom Yum soup, and scooping, mouli-ing and microplaning nutmeg for Potato gnocchi with burnt butter and sage, and also tossing the remains in olive oil with rosemary and flaked salt to make the crispiest Potato skins ever – an original Harry C-N idea..! We’re soaking, boiling and blending for our old fave: Ottolenghi’s hummus, and carefully refreshing heat-wilted leaves, in Rocket salad with poached eggs, and an initially stinky but ultimately delicious and savoury anchovy, lemon and olive oil dressing… and talking of recipes past, we revived the Brazilian Pao de queijo cheese balls that Ligia – our gardener from 2011 to 2103 – inspired from back in the day… And yes it does sound like a crazy menu but somehow it all works – chilli, cheese and all…

And thanks to all who responded to this column and came along to the tasting on Saturday 5th. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of dirty glasses! Watch this space for the next event.

And so happy Bondi birthday to me 🙂

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