Cherry Gin Spritzer

It feels so nice to finally get back into a routine.

The holidays were fun and memorable, but the ‘flu-on-arrival’ not so much. And our bodies felt so drained and deprived that it was begging for nourishing home cooked food, rest and the monotony of everyday routine. As boring as it sounds, it’s the routine of our everyday life that keeps us sane.

While we missed a large slice of summer this year, glad that the days are still warm and long for us to laze around in the backyard, sip on a drink or two and relax. The days ahead look promising for a backyard party too…

Late last year I had the opportunity to visit the magnificent Yarra Valley Cherry Orchard. They had kindly gifted all of us with a box of the most delicious fresh cherries of the season which I admit pretty much were gobbled up on its own. But I did try out a couple of recipes and this Cherry Gin Spritzer was one of them.

Cherry Gin Spritzer - thespiceadventuress.com

Cherry Gin Spritzer - thespiceadventuress.com

I know cherries are slowly going out of season but this recipe is a keeper, one that you can return to next summer. Or you could take the general idea and replace the cherries with whichever fruit is in season at the moment.

This cocktail is all about refreshment at the end of a long day or on a really warm afternoon. Perfect for parties too; just assemble on the ingredients on a tray with different kinds of fruits and people can make their own drink.

The cherries are muddled with sugar syrup, mixed up with lime juice, gin and topped with soda…that’s it. Just omit the gin if you prefer a non alcoholic version which tastes great too especially if you have children around.

Cherry Gin Spritzer - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you get around to making this Cherry Gin Spritzer, do tag me (#thespiceadventuress) so that I get to see it too.

(Adapted from this website)

Ingredients:

(Makes 1 drink)

  1. 5 fresh cherries; pitted
  2. ½ ounce sugar syrup
  3. ½ ounce lime juice
  4. 2 ounces gin
  5. Soda/sparkling water
  6. Crushed ice
  7. Lime slice and whole cherries, for garnish

Method:

  1. In a tall glass, muddle the cherries with sugar syrup and lime juice.
  2. Add the crushed ice, gin and mix. Top with soda water.
  3. Garnish with fresh cherries and lime slice.
  4. Enjoy responsibly

Cherry Gin Spritzer - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

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January Favourites

What a memorable month it has been!

Those who follow me on Instagram would be aware that I was away on a family holiday to India last month to attend my little brother’s wedding. Well, not so little in the eyes of the world, but for me, he’s always going to be the little bro as there’s a good ten year age gap between us. So for me, it was not a sisterly affection but rather a maternal instinct that has always been the predominant emotion at the base of my relationship with him.

I remember being totally besotted with him when he was born, spending hours staring at his innocent face. He was such a happy baby and according to me, the most beautiful one I have laid eyes on. So to have that boy all grown up and getting ready to embark on the next chapter of his life has been quite a bit of an emotional one.

Emotions ofcourse ride high but a wedding also means lotsa shopping which is very enjoyable though hard on the pocket. So I did splurge a bit……after all, have to play the eldest sis role to perfection.

For the engagement, I chose to go Western in a full length couture gown from Jadore Australia, purchased from Demile boutique based in Brunswick. I had to research and spend a lot of time getting this outfit simply because I didn’t know where exactly to look.

For the initial part, I kept looking in shopping centres; while there were plenty of choices for wedding guest outfits, there weren’t many options for full length couture gowns. But after much searching, I realised that I was looking in all the wrong places. One of the best places to go wedding shopping in Melbourne is Sydney Road, Brunswick which has so many boutiques with all kinds of price points. Whether you are a bride, bridesmaid or a guest, there are so many options here. I particularly liked my experience at Demile, because of the customer service and the staff went out of their way to get me the size and colour I needed even when I had very little time.

Jadore gown - thespiceadventuress.com

The best thing about Jadore was the designs were beautiful, plenty to choose from and reasonable priced. If you are looking out for formal wear, then check out their website for designs and then find a stockist that’s nearest to your location as the brand does not sell directly to public.

For the wedding, I decided to go traditional and wore a saree after such a long long time. And also a shot with my boys in too….

It was the first time after so many years that my whole family came together for a holiday. Usually it’s difficult for my siblings and their families to take a holiday at the same time as us since we live in different countries and the vacations never match. But this time owing to the wedding, all of us were there with our kids in tow which made it one of the most memorable holidays ever.

Getting back to life here, I was down with a really bad bout of flu after reaching back which meant that my best laid work plans all went haywire. Finally after a hiatus of about 1.5 months, got back into the kitchen for the first proper homecooked meal of 2019. And I wanted to indulge in a comforting Indian meal

Indian meal - thespiceadventuress.com

Also on the menu for the week ahead is Baid Mutajjan – a Middle Eastern style of fried hard boiled eggs coated with sumac and sesame seeds. It’s a simple dish but works brilliantly as a side to most meals and also as an after school snack for Adi.

Baid Mutajjan - thespiceadventuress.com

2019 is for experimenting and learning more about ancient grains. Starting with this Bajra Khichdi.

Kaima idli….breakfast, snack, lunch box or even a party starter!

A vegan one pot taco spaghetti….sounds unique and delicious.

Korean egg rolls; this is the humble omelette gone gourmet.

A veggie loaded butter chicken curry. Interesting!

I love couscous and forever looking for interesting ways to make it; this recipe definitely on my list.

Have you ever tried the Bohri style Dal Gosht (mutton with lentils)…it’s simply heavenly!

If you have a sweet tooth, then you must definitely check out my Pinterest board for loads of delicious inspiration and recipes.

Continuing on the sweet note, this raspberry pistachio chocolate is to die for….

Eco-friendly steel art for your home! I can’t wait to splurge on some of Lisa’s designs; do check out her IG account.

Time to go knitwear shopping!

 

 

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter)

Food, art, culture…intertwined in a way that is both enjoyable and informative. One of the best culinary themed books I have read in 2018.

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan explores the extraordinary lives of Mirka and Georges Mora, their invaluable contributions to the art and culinary scene of Melbourne.

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Lesley and Kendrah are senior curators at the Heide Museum of Modern Art (Heidelberg, Melbourne) who have previously co-authored the books, ‘Sunday’s Kitchen: Food & Living at Heide’, ‘Sunday’s Garden: Growing Heide’ and ‘Modern Love: The Lives of John and Sunday Reed’.

I have always been a fan of Heide Museum, visiting whenever time allowed me. It all started when I first took Adi for a holiday program at the museum but it would be fair to say that I fell in love with the space. It’s more than art at Heide; the beautiful expanse of greenery around, the vegetable gardens, the café serving absolutely vibrant delicious food, all of it inspires me to keep returning to the Museum.

The first time I came across the name, Mirka, was also at Heide. There was an exhibition featuring her art works and also copies of this book at the store inside the museum. But I initially dismissed it thinking the book is going to be all about art, not even paying attention to the word ‘culinary’ in the title. Little did I know that ‘A Culinary Affair’ is not just a glorious illustration of Mirka’s works and their life story but also contains lots of classic French recipes that are absolutely brilliant.

A beautiful sky blue hard bound book filled with the most beautiful drawings and illustrations, mostly by Mirka along with many personal photographs adorns the pages. The narrative begins with a brief introduction to Mirka’s childhood in France, growing up during the period of the Second World War, the perils and tragedies faced during the Holocaust, meeting Georges and finally moving to Melbourne in 1951.

‘Bohemian’ is perhaps the best word to describe Mirka’s and Georges’s way of life. Both of them led a very colourful, enterprising, creative, free-spirited lifestyle peppered with sophisticated food, sexual intrigue and artistic endeavours.

Their contributions to the culinary landscape of Melbourne are immense with the Mirka café, Balzac Restaurant and Tolarno French Bistro. The book tells us about their journey into opening each eatery, how it became the hub for rich and famous including the likes of Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck etc…. to name a few.

Mirka and Georges also contributed immensely to the artistic scene of post war Melbourne. Their apartment was often the den for artists and artistic discussions. Today, the name Mora is much revered amongst the culinary and art circle of Melbourne and imprints of it can be seen at Heide Museum, MoMA etc…

The authors have done an excellent job in giving us a glimpse into the culturally rich and vibrant life of the Moras. For a relatively new migrant like me, the book is a peep into the stories of some of the people who have shaped Melbourne as we know today. And the Moras led such an exciting life than parts of it almost feels like fiction to me. I now understand that the post war Melbourne was anything but boring; it was grand, exciting and full of adventures. The only thing similarity that I can draw to the modern times is that this beautiful city that I now call home was welcoming to people from all walks of life from all over the world, just as it is today.

Coming to the recipes outlined in this book, I intend to try out each and every one. But the one that caught my attention was a recipe for Huitres Grillees Aux Amandes or Grilled Oysters with Almonds and Butter.

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 12 fresh oysters
  2. ¼ cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  3. ¼ cup almond meal (or ground almonds)
  4. 1 ½ tsp Grand Marnier (optional or replace with brandy as in original recipe)
  5. 1 small garlic clove; grated
  6. Cayenne pepper
  7. Lemon wedges, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan forced)
  2. Cream the butter and almond meal; grate in the garlic and add the Grand Marnier. Also add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine.
  3. Pour off the extra liquid from the oysters and cover each with a tsp of the almond mixture.
  4. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately garnished with a pinch of cayenne pepper

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter)

Mirka & Georges – A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan (+ a recipe for Oysters roasted with Almonds and Butter) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary)

I have never been a huge fan of Gin & Tonics. But in the last year, I had the opportunity to experience some well crafted gins that opened up the world of delicious G&Ts too.

And one such gin was the Tanqueray Rangpur. Crafted using the rare Rangpur limes, this gin has a distinct flavour with the zesty freshness of the limes and the sweetness from the mandarins. Makes it an excellent choice for a G&T.

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

Most of the time, I enjoy the Tanqueray Rangpur simply poured over ice, but it works brilliantly as a G&T and in cocktails too.

Recently at a Food and Wine event, I had a G&T infused with rosemary. It was delicious; I loved the combination of the herby flavour of the rosemary with the citrusy zing of the lemon. Plus the addition of rosemary only intensifies the herbaceous undertones of the gin. The Tanqueray Rangpur also has that distinct lime flavour, so I decided to try a G&T infused with rosemary this time.

A premium tonic water is best suited to a G&T like this as it has a subtle flavour that lets the gin shine unlike the standard ones that are unnecessarily sweet. Since this gin has a distinct lime flavour, no extra lime is necessary except as a garnish.

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

Especially refreshing on a warm summer day…….

Ingredients:

(Serves 1)

  1. 40ml Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
  2. 2 sprigs rosemary
  3. Lemon slices
  4. Premium tonic water
  5. Ice cubes

Method:

(Best served in a Collins glass or Stemless wine glass)

  1. Pour the gin and one sprig rosemary to the glass. Crush lightly using a muddler to infuse the flavour of the rosemary. Remove the rosemary sprig after muddling.
  2. Add a few ice cubes and fill the glass with the tonic water.
  3. Garnish and serve with a sprig of rosemary and lemon slice.

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne)

Apart from discovering delicious food, the other great aspect of being a restaurant reviewer is getting to hear the stories of how each restaurant starts its journey. Sometimes it’s a Chef who wants to showcase his signature style of cooking, but sometimes it’s just ordinary people with an incredible passion for good food.

When I got an invite from Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) and Burger Shurger, I was positive there was going to be an interesting story behind this one venture. How else would anyone start an Indian cuisine inspired burger joint!

The brainchild of a young Indian couple (Payal Bisht and Prasuk Jain), Burger Shurger is all about putting a twist on classic pub food like burgers, fries and the like with familiar Indian flavours. Don’t expect any classics here, it’s all about fusion and hence you need to go in with an open mind.

The first thing that catches your attention as you walk into the restaurant is an art mural (see below) by artist Cassie Stevens (soggysavoy). If you are an Indian or remotely familiar with the many religions of India, then you will recognize that all the figures depicted are Indian Gods or religious figures. The mural is a true indication to the fusion cuisine offered at Burger Shurger; the different Gods having a great time over burgers and beer in a ‘Last Supper’ setting.

I had to ask the owners if there has been a backlash over this rather modern artistic mural but surprisingly there hasn’t been many. Most people have accepted it as art and an artist’s interpretation which is rather commendable.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Getting to the menu, it’s a burger joint so obviously there are different styles to choose from including vegetarian options. There are also a good selection of interesting sides and small bites, all with an Indian twist to it. Beers and burgers go hand in hand so there’s a small selection of craft beers apart from wines and other spirits. A small selection of unique cocktails is also on offer, which I strongly recommend ordering from.

The first cocktail we tried was the Shaitan (Naughty) Mojito – a classic Mojito with a twist of curry leaves and a special Indian masala. It was a really refreshing drink just as a Mojito should be and the addition of the spice blend did lift up the flavours and it reminded me of the masala sodas that are sold in India.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The second cocktail we got was the Corona-Sita – a beer based cocktail made with Corona, tequila, rose water and lime juice. This was my favourite one; while I do like beer, I do not enjoy its bitter aftertaste. This cocktail was just perfect because the addition of tequila and rose water neutralized the bitterness yet the flavour of the beer shone through. Highly recommended if you are a hesitant beer drinker!

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

For starters, we got ‘The Bun Pakora’. And that’s their take on the classic bread pakora. So what they have essentially done is taken the spiced potato patty, placed inside a brioche bun, dipped in a chickpea batter and deep fried. The final drizzle of sweet and sour tamarind sauce seals the deal. And in my humble opinion, this is way better than the regular bread pakora.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next starter we ordered was the Pataka Ribs; essentially chicken ribs glazed with a spicy sauce. If you are familiar with the Indo Chinese cuisine that’s extremely popular in India, then you will love these ribs. It’s spicy yet sweet and tangy; basically fingerlickin deliciousness. Another must try here.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Butter Chicken Poutine – the dish I am most excited to talk about. Even though the place is about the burgers, this was hands on ‘dish of the day’ for me. Usually I am known to run a mile if asked about butter chicken, but this is one that I am extremely pleased to talk about. A huge bowl of fries loaded with the most delicious butter chicken gravy I have had and topped with shredded chicken. Yes, I think butter chicken has finally arrived in Melbourne!

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Of course we had to try the burgers, so we started with the Keema Pav – a spiced lamb mince patty with picked veggies, mint and pea mash, topped with an egg. A classic flavour combination from India, but in a burger format which works really well. Everything was perfect right from the bun to the mince patty and the fillings; a really delicious fusion burger.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The second burger we tried out was a twist on another classic Indian flavour – Mr. 65. Deep fried, crunchy chicken coated with a spicy batter served with a special sauce and cheese. The chicken was fried to perfection, juicy and tender. Really delicious and especially a favourite with my son.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And for dessert, we finished with another fusion dish – Masala Chai Crème Brulee. I love the idea of masala chai flavour in desserts having experimented with quite a few myself. So I was quite eager to try this one; didn’t disappoint at all. The perfect caramelized burnt sugar crackle and a good hit of masala chai without being too overpowering made this a really delicious fusion dessert.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

To conclude, Burger Shurger is a must visit if you would love to experience fusion Indian food. The underlying flavours are classic Indian, yet there are elements borrowed from other cuisines that make everything on the menu super interesting. It’s good fusion, which means that everything on the menu is delicious too.

I am definitely going back….especially for that poutine and ribs!!

Burger Shurger

297 Glen Huntly Road
Elsternwick
VIC 3185

Phone no: 03 9532 8995
https://burgershurger.business.site/

Timings:

Mon: Closed
Tue: 5:00 – 9:30 pm
Wed: 5:00 – 9:30 pm
Thu: 5:00 – 9:30 pm
Fri: 3:00 – 10:00 pm
Sat: 3:00 – 10:00 pm
Sun: 3:00 – 9:00 pm

Burger Shurger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of AGFG and Burger Shurger. All the opinions provided are entirely mine and unbiased.

Adieu 2018, Welcome 2019…..

“Rest when you are weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work” – Ralph Marston

This is my goal for 2019….

As I mentioned on my social media pages yesterday, I do not believe in resolutions but smaller goals that are motivating and achievable. And my biggest goal for 2019 is to listen more to my body, rest and refresh when necessary and then get back to work because I realised that I am not productive nor is my work any good when my physical or mental self is tired.

2018 was a great year for work with so many interesting and meaningful collaborations with brands. And I also got to develop some amazing recipes that so many of you have loved and tested out. Do you have a favourite recipe from my blog or did you try out any for the first time last year? I really would love to know….

And even though it’s really hard, I would still like to pick out my Top Ten favourites from the year gone by;

  1. Banana bread with Vegemite and Almond flakes
  2. French green lentil salad
  3. Chicken Wonton soup
  4. Risotto with Dried Mushrooms and Bacon crumbs
  5. Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens
  6. Asian style Chicken fried rice
  7. Pan fried Salmon with Peperonata
  8. Fiji style Crab Curry
  9. Kerala style Prawn Curry
  10. Slow cooked Lamb Shanks with Srilankan curry powder

Banana Bread (with Vegemite and Almond Flakes) - thespiceadventuress.com

This Khichdi photograph also made it to Indian Link’s Top Photographs of 2018. Especially pleased about this one because not only is it a dish so close to my heart, it is also a style of photography that I started practicing last year.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Your opinions, feedback and suggestions mean a lot to me; it has always helped me create content and also focus on improving this space. So do let me know your feedback  and also what’s the kind of recipes/content that you would love to see here this year.

Finally it’s time for all my favourites for the month of Dec.

The most beautiful Pure linen French blue tea towels….

This Antique silver 5-piece cutlery set is on sale; I am getting one to add to my prop collection.

Totally investing in a Staub French Oven this year.

My big project for 2019 is to set up a home office.

Love greens and this is just another delicious way to eat it.

Chickpea and lentil taco salads; this would be perfect as a work day lunch.

Bookmarking this vegan soup for autumn and winter.

I have never used tahini in a noodles dish before. How interesting!

Roasted vegetable lasagna; I am definitely trying this out. How about you?

Are you a zoodle lover? Then this article is for you.

I am a huge fan of sheet pan dinner for weeknights, and this chicken recipe  looks absolutely fabulous to try out this year.

 

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto)

A Christmas feast for two!

Or three, as in our case…..

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s not always possible to prepare a huge feast especially if you are a small family and want to spend the day just with yourselves, by choice or circumstance. And today’s dish is just perfect for that; it’s indulgent yet easy to put together with limited portions that you are saved the headache of addressing leftovers.

Back in India, Christmas was always with the extended family and that meant a large feast that the whole family would pitch in to prepare. But when we moved to Melbourne, we hardly knew anyone and the first two years, spent Christmas just by ourselves. Well I am not complaining at all because we love our company; the three of us together can make any meal festive.

But I always felt challenged about the menu.

While I would desire to roast a whole turkey or chicken or perhaps a leg of lamb roast, the thought of eating leftovers day in and day out already made me shy away from the idea. And that’s when I started to put together meals like this that had the classic elements yet portioned for our family’s needs.

I have also used sage extensively in today’s recipe as my herb garden is doing well this summer and I have a lot of sage growing currently.

Sage has a warm, musky and earthy essence, which makes it perfect to be paired with cured meats, veal, pork, lamb etc…. It also has many medicinal properties, the best of which is its antioxidant capacity. Grows easily in pots especially during the warmer months, sage is definitely a great herb to grow in your garden.

Sage - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Herb garden - thespiceadventuress.com

In today’s recipe, I have used sage as part of the marinade to flavour the pork fillets and also added it to the burnt butter for the mashed potatoes.

There are so many different styles of making mashed potatoes but this one adapted from Half Baked Harvest’s blog uses crème fraiche and sage brown butter. I loved the flavour that crème fraiche imparted to the potatoes, creamy and slightly tangy and not as heavy as using regular cream. And that final addition of brown butter made these mashed potatoes so luxurious and decadent.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

One of our favourite vegetable sides is grilled asparagus and this time, I decided to grill and then toss it through some parsley pesto that I had in the freezer. Finished off with crushed walnuts and it turned out to be one of the most delicious sides ever.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

I guess that’s enough explanation; let’s get on with the recipes for Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto)

Ingredients:

Pork fillets:

  1. 1 large pork fillet; cut into 2 cm medallions
  2. 10 large sage leaves; finely chopped
  3. 2 medium garlic cloves; grated
  4. 1 lemon; juice and zest
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil + extra for grilling
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season

Mashed potatoes:

  1. 800gms potatoes (choose a variety suitable for mashing); peeled and cubed
  2. 2 medium garlic cloves
  3. 1 cup whole milk
  4. 1 cup crème fraiche
  5. 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season
  8. 6-7 fresh sage leaves

Grilled Asparagus:

  1. 2 bunches asparagus; ends trimmed
  2. 1 ½ tbsp parsley pesto
  3. Chilli flakes
  4. Salt, to season
  5. Olive oil, for grilling
  6. A handful of walnuts; crushed

Note – To make the parsley pesto, simply substitute basil with parsley. But if you would like to have a recipe for the same, please comment below.

Method:

Pork fillets:

  1. In a glass bowl, mix the sage, garlic, juice and zest of 1 lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix and marinate the pork fillets for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. Heat a pan (I used a cast iron pan but you can use a stove top or bbq grill for the same) and add olive oil. When the pan’s smoking hot, place the pork fillets (reduce heat to medium) and cook for 4-5 minutes on one side before turning. Cook for another 1-2 minutes and remove. Rest for 5 minutes before serving. Take care not to crowd the pan and cook in batches.

Mashed Potatoes:

  1. Cook the potatoes and garlic in salted boiling water till the potatoes are cooked well and tender enough to mash.
  2. Drain and add the potatoes back to the pan. Mash and keep aside.
  3. In another pan, melt butter and add the sage leaves. Cook the butter on low heat constantly stirring till the butter has taken on the golden brown hue. Keep aside.
  4. Return the mashed potatoes to heat and add the milk and crème fraiche. Stir through and mash well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Once you have got the desired consistency (add more milk if necessary), add half of the brown butter with sage and mix through.
  5. Remove to a serving bowl and pour the remaining brown butter with sage on top.

Grilled Asparagus:

  1. Brush the grill pan with olive oil and heat till smoking hot.
  2. Grill the asparagus for a minute and remove to a bowl.
  3. Add the parsley pesto and season with salt if necessary. Toss well.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and crushed walnuts on top.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms

Of course pasta has to make its appearance into my weekly menu. But this is the first time I am trying out a mascarpone based sauce.

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

A no-brainer recipe and a great alternative to Bechamel sauce especially if you want a creamy one without the heaviness of a Bechamel. Also the process of making the Mascarpone sauce is much easier in comparison.

This dish could just be spaghetti and mascarpone sauce without the addition of anything else. But I wanted more flavour, something more meaty yet nutritious so mushrooms were the natural choice. And mushrooms lend itself very well to a creamy sauce like this one. Perfect for a busy day or when you need to feed a crowd with minimal fuss!

Do you make pasta often? What’s your favourite way to eat pasta?

Here are a few other suggestions if you are fond of pasta like my family….

  1. Pasta with Spinach and Goat’s Cheese
  2. Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms
  3. Penne with Tuna (in Chilli Oil)
  4. Spaghetti with Chicken Sausages in White Sauce
  5. Pasta stir fry with Asparagus, Broccoli, Peppers and Snow Peas

So let’s jump straight in to the recipe for Spaghetti, Mascarpone sauce and Mushrooms…

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 200 gms spaghetti
  2. 15gms unsalted butter
  3. 250gms mascarpone cheese
  4. ½ cup milk
  5. ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season
  8. 3 tbsp olive oil
  9. 1 ½ cups assorted mushrooms
  10. 1 garlic; grated
  11. 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  12. ¼ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  13. A handful of walnuts; coarsely crushed
  14. Grated parmesan; to serve

Method:

  1. Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water as per packet instructions and keep aside.
  2. In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the grated garlic followed by the mushrooms. Stir fry on high heat and season the mushrooms with salt and chilli flakes. Keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, melt butter and add the mascarpone cheese. Mix well; add the milk to loosen up the sauce followed by the Parmesan. Season with salt and black pepper; cook till all the ingredients are combined to get a smooth sauce. Add the spaghetti, mushrooms and parsley; toss well to combine.
  4. Serve hot with chopped parsley, crushed walnuts and grated parmesan.

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms

 

 

 

November Favourites

As I typed in the title, I realised that a year has sped by so fast. We have reached the end of 2018 and the next time I publish a favourites post, it’s most likely going to be 2019. Wow!

November is always a crazy month filled with lots of work as food is the most popular subject during this time of the year. Lots of preparations to welcome the festive month ahead leading up to our summer holidays.

And buying gifts….I think most of my energy is spent just deciding on that perfect gift for friends and family. I am not a huge gift buyer but in spite of that I put in so much effort in the whole gifting process since I don’t want to get carried away and buy stuff that has no value for money. Most of the stuff are just packaged beautifully (costs a fortune just for that reason) but absolutely not worth it. Instead I prefer to buy things that have a lasting value and mean a lot to the person who receives it.

Edible gifts are definitely high on my list especially for those who appreciate the quality and craftsmanship of the product. Spices, spice blends, fruits, wine, cheese, coffee beans, rare tea blends etc… are all high on my list of edible gifts.

Do you shop a lot during this season? What kind of gifts do you like to receive?

One of my top recommendations for edible gifts would be a box of premium Yarra Valley Cherries.

I was lucky to spend a beautiful afternoon at their boutique orchard in Seville. We picked and feasted on the most delicious, sweet, ripe red cherries followed by an epic lunch laid out in the orchard. Dedicated to top notch quality, Yarra Valley Cherries are able to guarantee the freshest, delicious cherries due to their unique advantage of growing, picking, grading and packing their cherries on their orchard in Seville making it available to us on the very same day.

A delicious gift to give yourself or anyone for Christmas. You could either place an online order or purchase directly from their Farmgate at Seville.

Yarra Valley Cherries - thespiceadventuress.com

Yarra Valley Cherries - thespiceadventuress.com

As part of my final collaborative project with ALDI for 2018, I threw an early Christmas party for friends and family last week. Took the whole roasted ham/turkey route this year with plenty of help from ALDI’s premium Christmas range.

On my Christmas table were;

  • Premium triple smoked leg ham portion (glazed with orange juice, maple syrup, honey, Dijon mustard, cinnamon, all spice and dried ginger.
  • Stuffed turkey breast roast (with cranberries and apple)
  • Pan fried scallops with herb butter (sprinkled with dukkah)
  • Potato and cauliflower mash
  • Roasted baby potatoes (with garlic and rosemary)
  • Grilled Asparagus (with garlic and chilli flakes)
  • Kale Slaw
  • Rocket, Spinach and Pear Salad (with feta and walnuts)
  • Cranberries in red wine sauce

There are lots of goodies in store this season so stock up early if you are going to be throwing a Christmas party at home.

• Premium triple smoked leg ham portion (glazed with orange juice, maple syrup, honey, Dijon mustard, cinnamon, all spice and dried ginger - thespiceadventuress.com

Sparkling wine - thespiceadventuress.com

The rocket, spinach and pear salad that I made for our Christmas feast was an excellent side especially for our warmer days and nights. It’s so quick to put together, really refreshing from the crunchy pear slices, creamy from the crumbled feta and to finish off, that nutty texture from the walnuts. A beautiful salad that you must definitely try out.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups baby spinach
  2. 2 cups rocket
  3. 1 large green pear; sliced into wedges
  4. 50gms feta
  5. A handful of walnuts
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper, to season
  8. Extra virgin olive oil
  9. 1 tsp honey
  10. 1 tsp verjuice (or replace with vinegar of choice)

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, add the spinach, rocket and pear slices.
  2. To prepare the dressing, add olive oil, honey, verjuice, salt and pepper to a small container with a lid. Shake vigorously to make an emulsion.
  3. Just before serving, add the dressing and toss the ingredients well.
  4. Top with feta and crushed walnuts.

Rocket, spinach and pear salad (with feta and walnuts) - thespiceadventuress.com

Other favourites for November:

These salad servers from Country Road with the brass finish are so chic.

Love serving ware with a matt finish and these graphite platter set from Aura Home are so understated yet beautiful.

Vintage Santa dinner plates! So nostalgic….

Lusting after this copper wine bucket!

I have a bit of an obsession with wooden crates and storage baskets.

Have you been to the Cellar Door in Ringwood?

These starry brown sugar cookies are so delicious.

This Japanese potato salad will be a fabulous replacement to mashed potatoes.

Chocolate and Cranberry Goat’s Cheese Truffles. Enough said.

How delicious are these meatballs!

Mozzarella and Jalapeno Croquettes – always a hit at my parties.

The best homemade chocolate fudge

This passion fruit and mint cooler is just perfect for our warm days.

 

 

Fiji style Crab Curry

Some days the words just don’t come….

And it’s usually when my mind is overwhelmed and I am so busy trying to achieve a zillion things in a short period. Pretty much how I feel currently with the holiday season coming up soon.

I hardly get overwhelmed or stressed over personal and emotional happenings; pretty sorted that way. But when it gets to physical things like working, events to attend, parties to plan etc… that’s when I feel so beat up and tired. And that’s exactly the current state of affairs. There are so many recipes to test, shoot and write, so many events to attend (in spite of saying yes only to a quarter of the invites), Christmas parties to plan, a trip to India early next year for my brother’s wedding which means a whole lot of wedding shopping to do…the list goes on.

Since I have nothing more to say apart from how crazy things are at the moment, I will just get on with today’s recipe – a Fiji style Crab Curry.

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

With Fiji being so close to Australia in terms of geography, there are so many people I know who are from the island. But when it comes to food, I am totally clueless. I do know that Fiji cuisine is heavily influenced by the various migrants and settlers so it’s totally normal to see an Indian curry sitting beside a native dish. And seafood is an integral part of the diet due to the coastal topography.

I found the recipe for this Fiji style crab curry in my recipe journal (basically a bunch of recipes torn from magazines and newspapers that I used to collect way before the food blogging journey). And so I have no clue whom to credit the recipe to. In fact I am not even sure if it’s the most authentic or traditional way of making crab curry in Fiji.

The original recipe called for large mud crabs to make this curry, but I decided to use blue swimmer crabs as these are in season and also because I love the flavour of these..so sweet and delicious.

Blue swimmer crab - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Medium thick milk from freshly grated coconuts is the best to make this Fiji style Crab Curry, but canned coconut milk will work just fine too (tends to be slightly more sweet than fresh coconut milk). The crabs are broken down so that the flavour from all the spices and aromatics seeps into every nook and crevice of the claws and body which makes this curry a delicious delight. And of course, ensure there are plenty of napkins around, there’s no neat or demure way to eat crabs.

In traditional Fiji cooking, a hot masala powder would be used but sourcing that would be difficult for most people, hence I used garam masala  which is quite similar to the hot masala. If you live in Australia, there are plenty of stores that stock Fijian products so you can use the hot masala itself.

In spite of all the spices, this is a very mild and light curry that’s perfect for the warmer days. It’s creamy yet light and soupy, sweet yet with a hint of spice that’s best enjoyed over a bowl of steamed white rice.

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Fiji style Crab Curry

So let’s get cooking a delicious pot of this Fiji style Crab Curry…

Ingredients:

  1. 3 blue swimmer crabs
  2. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  3. ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  4. 1 inch ginger; julienned

Recipe developed for Supreme Seafood, so find the full recipe on their website..

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

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