Friday, 9 February 2018

January, perspective + Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter.

Blogs are a funny one. You share a part of your life but not all of your life because who wants to read about the crappy stuff. It’s the same with social media, who wants to see a filtered photo of a too cold, sad sandwich (yes sandwiches can be sad) balancing on your knee in a hospital room? The answer is no one. But life does have it’s crappy moments and January, boy oh boy did you have yours. Everything’s different now, for not so great reasons and also, for the best.

We knew it was coming, it just snuck up on us all a little quicker than expected. About two weeks ago we moved my dad into a nursing home to live. He has alzheimer's. He was diagnosed 5 years ago, just before his 63rd birthday. He was too young then and still is. It’s shit. It’s not fair. But it is life I guess. 

I know how lucky I am for everything and everyone I have and I could have kept this to myself and there are things I have kept to myself over the years. It is just part of life now and if I didn’t share it I’d feel weird going on and on about, what sometimes feels like nonsense here, when really some days are just plain shitty. I do also feel weird sharing it but I think it’s good to see both the good and crappy. It’s real. It’s life. And I don't think it's talked about enough.

But in saying that, I scrolled through the photos on my phone last night and it made me realise you’d never have known the year didn’t have the most joyest of beginnings. We just don't take photos of the ok days, it’s the good ones which you find yourself blurting ‘SMILE!’ out at someone and also grinning like an idiot in hopes the other person smiles too. Yes, some days were sadder than others but not every day was bad. January also included a mini-break to Cottesloe in WA for a cousin-in-laws (is that a thing?) wedding where we met up with family who we don’t see nearly enough and I rode a bicycle. Now this may not sound like a big thing for the average joe but I’m so so bad on a bike and it was my idea to hire them. As soon as I said it and everyone agreed I instantly thought, oh crap what have I done!? But I’m getting better and it was so worth the sore bum and all the weird squarks I made trying not to ride into people and parked cars. The views and beaches along the costal bike track are beautiful but pretty sure the cold beer and chicken parama at the end helped too. Oh and there are so many dogs along the way!! I couldn’t appreciate them as much as the others or I’d have fallen off and face planted the path but why doesn’t Sydney have more dog beaches? They should.



And you know what... everyone has to eat. I haven’t cooked much recently, although I did make pizza from scratch in Cottesloe because the amazing Airbnb had a pizza oven that we could not not use but that’s about it, people have mostly fed me which has been great. But when it was just me, all I wanted was a huge bowl of pasta, surprise surprise! I would make this tomato based sauce that has been floating around the internet for years and falls into the category of ‘genius recipes’ because well, it kind of is. I’m also a little late to game because there are about a hundred food blogs that have already shared the recipe but it’s comforting and rich, requires minimal effort and is darn delicious so why not add another version in the world. 



If you’re like me and carbs are your comfort then this recipe has your name on it too. It’s one of the simplest sauces I’ve made and one I keep coming back to. You pretty much empty a can of tomatoes into a pot, add a decent amount of butter, salt, a halved onion (yes really!) and leave it to simmer for a while and it’s done. You want to try it now just to see if it works, am I right? 

The photos are from last year when I made it the first time but never got round to writing about it. To be honest, I never thought it’d become a regular recipe, just one I had a go at because the internet was crazy over it and I wanted to see what the hype was all about. But for some reason, it’s stuck. 

And now onto you, February. So far you have brought weddings (yes another!), besties to Sydney, sun-kissed shoulders and puppies and it’s only the start of the month. Keep up the good work!




Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Originally from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Recipe (ever-so slightly adapted) from Food52 Genius Recipes.

Serves 4, using roughly 500g pasta

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes or whole tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt to taste
Parmesan cheese, to serve

Put the canned tomatoes in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered on a low but steady simmer for about 45 minutes or until it’s thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato.

Stir from time to time, smooshing any larger bits of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. 

You can remove the onion (as Hazan recommends) before tossing with your pasta and save for another use, but I left it in. It turn sweet so a little left in goes a long way.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

2017 and Gin Pickled Cucumbers.

2017. You had some epic highs and some tough spots. Thank you and good riddance.

I turned 29 just over a week ago. I’m now officially into my last year of my 20’s and in my 30th year of hanging around this world. My birthday is a bit of a non event and I enjoy other people’s birthdays much more. But, I have these lovely, beautiful and pesky friends that organise things for me each year and spoil me so I can’t skip it. I end up having the best time and realise birthdays aren't so terrible in the end. This is a message for future me.

Also, does anyone know where December went??? It came, and is nearly done and I’m still not sure how it all happened. It has flown. I normally bake my little feet off and gift cookies and toffee but this year it seemed hard enough to get a batch of mince pies baked, let alone cookies. I’m still not sure what went wrong except that it has been the most unorganised Christmas/December ever. We didn’t even have a tree up or lights... go on say it. Grinch! Grinchy Grinch Grinch! Yep I am. Instead of baking for people, I made gin pickled cucumbers from The Modern Preserver cookbook that I borrowed from the library. I’m sharing this recipe with you all because I wasn’t organised enough to gift everyone some and they are freaking amazing so you should make them yourself but also for me, to note the recipe down so I can make them again and again. They are sharp, pickley, spicy, zingy and go so so great with cold smoked salmon. If you love pickled things, you will LOVE these.


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Summer Panzanella, the only salad recipe you need this summer from Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat | #GIVEAWAY

Welcome summer, you stinker you!!

I don’t know about the oven in your kitchen but when it’s a stinker like it has been for the past few days the last thing I want to do it turn my oven on. In winter we turn it on and use it as a heater, why on earth would we want that in summer?! Ok, I can think of two reasons. One, you promised mince pies to the office (totally regretting this one) and two, you get sent a lovely new cookbook. Tuesday was one of those days where both exceptions happened. And now we have a new rule in our home; I'm not allowed to turn the oven on throughout summer.

Ok so what recipe and book called for the oven to be turned on on a 30C+ day? First, the recipe, torn croutons of course. Yes dear readers, torn croutons. And I’m going to say you should do the same and get that oven cranking. It was totally worth it. No I didn’t just eat torn croutons, although they were delicious to snack on, they were for a Summer Panzanella Salad. This time of year, when it’s hot and you don’t want to eat steamy foods is the perfect time of year for this salad. The tomatoes make up a big portion and are beautiful and fragrant and just taste like summer right now but you also get the combination of dressing soaked croutons and the crunch from the croutons you add last minute. It’s a salad with the best kind of carbs and it’s delicious.



Monday, 4 December 2017

banana, fig and walnut loaf cake from The Tivoli Road Baker

I've started this post I think about ten times by now. What I want to say is just not coming out right.

But here goes... for the eleventh time now...

I've been in a cooking funk for a couple of weeks. My mind has been elsewhere. When this happens I find I go elbow deep in a project. At the moment, it's sourdough and for the past few weeks I've been trying to master a simple loaf, I think I've got it but sourdough is a labour of love. It takes planning and time. You put so much effort in, folding, proving, shaping, proving, preheating your oven to very freakin' hot, turning your apartment into a sauna and then, to find a flat, very dense, pancake looking blob. It's like a stab in the guts. Although in saying all this there has been one recipe that has given consistent results each and every time, the Basic Sourdough recipe from The Tivoli Road Baker Cookbook. It's simple, reliable, clear, not too wordy and I like that it uses both white and wholemeal flours. Now, for those sourdough bakers out there, I am sorry but I am not sharing a sourdough recipe here today. Even though I think I've got it down pack now (touch wood) I am no way confident enough to share sourdough on the space just yet, I still cross my fingers and pray to the sourdough gods each and every time.


banana, fig and walnut loaf cake from Tivoli Road Baker | salt sugar and i

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Geng Gari Curry from Thai Food Made Easy

I'm coming to you with a problem dear readers. My husband and I are funding our local thai restaurants rent with the amount of takeaway we order. We actually (embarrassingly so) order so much Thai take-away week to week that the driver now knows us and our broken apartment buzzer. And whats more embarrassing... they have an app that records your orders so that every 10th order is free... we've had a few free orders.

Geng Gari Curry | Thai Food Made Easy | salt sugar and i

I can't help it, I freakin' love Thai food. It's one of my all time favourites. The freshness and variety of dishes mmmm just yum. As of last year, it also reminds me of our holiday in Patong where we ate fried rice topped with the perfect fried egg... runny yolk... crispy bottom, every single day. I wish I cooked more thai food at home than I do because as much as I love our takeaway place it's just not as good coming in those plastic boxes as it is piping hot, straight from the wok. But there is a reason for our takeaway problem. I find thai cooking somewhat intimidating. Yes, I'm a food blogger and I just admitted that. Bite me. But honestly, I do and I don't think I'm the only one. I mean, I'm pretty good with the pre-made curry pastes from the supermarket but other than that my thai cooking skills usually involve me botching up a salty stir fry by adding every asian sauce and condiment from the fridge. Sometimes it's great and others... well let just say I don't go back for seconds.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Salad Pizza

Salad Pizza. Yep. Salad on pizza. And spoiler... it was freakin' delish.

Firstly, I love a crisp zingy salad to go with my pizza. It cuts through all that decadent melty cheese but most of the time I never end up making a salad and just devour the pizza as is. But this whole Salad Pizza, salad on the pizza. It's a revelation. Fresh, satisfying, zingy, cheesey, even healthy and it's pizza. Who doesn't love pizza?

Salad Pizza | Los Angeles Cult Recipes | salt sugar and i.JPG

You start off by brushing the base with a sort of egg-wash to make the sesame and poppy seeds stick, then smother the base with garlic, onion and mozzarella. Bake until golden then allow to cool, I couldn't wait as usual so mine was still warm. Smoosh over creme fraiche (I used greek yoghurt as thats all we had and it was still delicious) and top with your salad mix thats full of tomatoes, mixed lettuce leaves, feta, onion and dressed in a lemon vinaigrette. Top with avo and there you have it. Salad Pizza.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Lemon and Poppyseed All-Day Cake... for baby George.

When a friend delivers a scrumptious baby boy you make cake. Just a simple cake. The kind of cake you can eat no matter what time of day it is because I'm told, the days and hours all meld into one.

AND cake is for celebrating and what better reason to celebrate than welcoming a new baby??!

lemon and poppy seed all-day cake | salt sugar and i

When I went over to visit the brand spanking new parents and bubba I brought lemon and poppyseed afternoon cake, still warm from the oven. I knew that morning while I lazily lazed in bed dreaming of food that I wanted to take something, some sort of food as a gift. You see, it's important to always have snacks, and tasty ones at that. I was also sure that the new little one had been keeping them pretty busy so it was something I could do while their arms were newborn full. Never having made this recipe before I was in somewhat risk of turning up empty handed but I was quietly confident (the only one home was Arty so yes... quietly confident) as it's a Julia Turshen recipe and, touch wood, hers always turn out delicious and without drama.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Risi e Suca (Pumpkin & Rice Soup) from Veneto.

A good few weeks ago while everything seemed a little mad I was sent this beautiful book Veneto by Valeria Necchio of the blog Life Love Food. It a beautiful Italian cookbook filled with stories and traditions from the Veneto region in north-eastern Italy. After just flicking through the book I was already making mental notes of everything I wanted to cook and after what feels like a lifetime, I finally got around to sitting down, having a read and making a couple of recipes.

The book is split up into two sections. Part I: 'then' and Part II: 'now'. The 'then' explores family recipes cooked in Valeria's childhood home, the Venetian Countryside by Valeria's grandmothers and mother, some recipes are three generations passed down. The 'now' is all about the foods she makes in her modern Italian kitchen. You'll find recipes where she has drawn from tradition but also modern influences from her travels and current home, London. You don't see the obvious dishes of Italy in this cookbook, instead it explores a region I think that is less well known.