Category Archives: Side dishes

Broad Bean Salad, and Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

Broad Bean Salad

Broad Bean Salad

Last week, we had a busy time catching up with family and friends, entertaining grandsons and (shock, horror!!!) a couple of shifts of work for me.

My youngest son Daniel works at Cafe Aura in Traralgon so with one chef on holidays, and the boss off sick, they are very short staffed and got me in to do some prep work.

The first shift I worked was at really short notice-I had to take up a pair of black pants and get myself organised for a 9 am start after a 7.30 am wake up call from Daniel. I worked just over 5 hours and most of the shift was spent with my fingers either cramping up or threatening to. Not much fun.

Work

Work

The second shift I worked on Tuesday night was much, much better. I had lots of warning and did a nice mix of cooking on the grill and prep.

Saturday, Russ, grandson Rooke and I went to Melbourne for a family get together. Everyone took along either an appetiser, salad or dessert to share and meat for themselves to our Niece Yvonne and husband Stuart’s place. It was a fantastic afternoon catching up with everyone. Russ made us a crab dip using some of our picked frozen crab meat. It was really popular!

Family get together

Family get together

Sunday, we took our grandsons Kobie and Rooke to an open day at the Traralgon fire station. It was great-they got to use the hoses, sit in the fire truck, try on the breathing apparatus, we watched as they burned off a gas fire and saw the Skylift rise 42 metres in the sky. The boys got a free sausage, sticker, tattoos and cardboard cut out fire truck to

Fireman Kobie

Fireman Kobie

make.

This week’s been more of the same.

Wednesday I did kinder duty at Rooke’s kindergarten. I’ve done it once before and really enjoy it. I was in hospital as a new mum (of son Michael) with one of the kinder aides Di, so it’s been great to meet her again after maybe 24 years.

Zeus

Zeus

Thursday, we took Daniel’s beautiful big bull arab pup Zeus(he’s 10 months old) to the local car wash/dog wash for a bath. He was shampooed, rinsed, conditioned, flea rinsed and blow dried til he looked squeaky clean and smelled sweet.

Thursday night we went to a bbq with friends. I made a broad bean salad using our home cured bacon, and another crab dip.

Friday I worked 10 hours and today (Sat 22nd) I’m home now in the middle of my two shifts, so I’ll do another 10 or so hours.

Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

  • 1 cobb loaf (I really love Woolworths Onion and Parmesan one)
  • 1 cup crab meat (about)
  • 250 g block light Philly cheese
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup low fat whole egg mayo
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill leaves
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • a slug of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 400 g can of artichokes, drained, then squeezed really dry, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

    Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 c
  2. Cut a lid from the cobb loaf, then carefully scoop or cut out most of the soft bread from the loaf and the lid.  Slice the scooped out bread into dipping sized pieces and put them and the loaf and lid on a baking tray and place in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile mix the remaining ingredients together and heat gently in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  4. Increase the heat of the oven to 180 c, then pour the mix into the cobb loaf shell and put back in the oven for about 15 minutes or until bubbling and browning on top.
  5. Serve with the dipping pieces, and the lid torn to bits.

Broad Bean Salad

  • 500 g packet frozen broad beans, cooked per packet instructions, cooled in cold water
  • 125g bacon, diced, cooked crispy, reserve rendered fat
  • 200 g feta cheese
  • 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • zest of a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • oil, extra, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Broad Bean Salad

    Broad Bean Salad

Method

  1. Peel the cooled broad beans (gets rid of the tough khaki green outer skin to revel bright green inner flesh)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring gently to combine. I use the bacon fat, making it up to two tablespoons with extra oil.
  3. Chill to allow the flavours to meld.

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Denham, Shark Bay, Monkey Mia

Sunset from our van

Sunset from our van

Yesterday, we arrived in Denham for a 5 week stay. Maybe more of you know it as Shark Bay, or know of its near neighbour Monkey Mia-famous for dolphin feeding.

When we first started travelling, we managed to get here about 6 winters in a row, but haven’t visited in three years now, so it feels good to be back. I have to stop myself feeling sad though about all the people we met in the early years who aren’t here now through death, illness or old age.

The boat and trailer are organised and ready to go, it’s a pity the weather hasn’t cooperated. It was just too windy to take the tinny out. At times like this, we can usually go over to Monkey Mia and crab and fish but the direction of the wind even put paid to that. We used the spare time to catch up on a couple of weeks worth of laundry and make Chilli Jam from the lovely chillies we bought at a farm gate in Carnarvon on Friday. We also bought tomatoes so it’ll be chutney next!

5 Cup Chilli Jam

5 Cup Chilli Jam

After accepting it was too cold and windy to fish, we took a drive out to Monkey Mia to see it’s still there and check out the boat ramp. Our friend Beaty here in the park told us her neighbour caught 34 crabs there this morning so of course WE are off to try and do the same tomorrow!

Shark Bay on the way home from Monkey Mia

Shark Bay on the way home from Monkey Mia

While we were organising dinner, I looked out the window to see the most amazing sunset we’ve ever seen here. I raced out with the camera and found everyone out of every caravan, 5th wheeler tent and motor home out taking photos as well. Then Russ took the camera up to the dunes for a few more photos. We reckon it almost rivaled the sunset at Mt Augusta the other night! Once again, that amazing colour is EXACTLY how it was-not post editing!

Our salad at dinner tonight was made using more of the lovely stuff we bought in Carnarvon-pumpkin, and the best rocket you’ll ever buy-from Morels in town. I know the sauce is the similar to last nights that we had over the eggplant dish, but it works so well with this salad I had to do it. I would add fetta or bocconchini to the salad if I had them but I didn’t! You could use spinach instead of rocket, but I like rocket the best.

Pumpkin and Rocket Salad

  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint (all I have on hand or I’d use fresh)
  • 1 teaspoons runny honey
  • 2 cups diced Pumpkin
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunky wedges, then separated
  • 1 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small can baby beets, washed, drained and halved or quartered (rinsing them stops them bleeding through the salad)
Pumpkin and Rocket Salad

Pumpkin and Rocket Salad

Method

  1. Mix the yoghurt, honey and mint together. Pop in the fridge.
  2. Preheat your oven to 190c
  3. Toss the pumpkin, onion, cumin, paprika and pine nuts in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread on a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender (but not mushy)
  5. Arrange the rocket on a platter, add the roasted veg, scatter the baby beets then drizzle over the yoghurt mix and serve.

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Albany Farmers’ Market

Albany Farmers Market

Albany Farmers Market

Albany Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday in the middle of town. When we first visited it about 10 years ago, it was considered one of the best in Australia. It’s still good, but certainly not one of the best any more-the Kyilla Community Farmers Market market near Blair and Leah’s in Perth beats it hands down these days.

Yesterday, Russ and I, Janette and David drove the 120ks to Albany, mainly for the market but also to have a look around town too. Although the market is not quite as good as it used to be (where were the yabby people, the smokehouse goods, the baked treats?) we still brought home some great produce.

I got some lovely fresh lime cordial, chilli strawberry sauce and strawberry vinegar at one stall, leeks, peppery Farmers Market Saladrocket, local asparagus and cucumbers from another, jersey cow feta from yet another. I’m imagining a rocket, asparagus, feta cheese salad with strawberry vinaigrette beside a steak for my dinner tonight.

Salmon Holes

Salmon Holes

We drove out to Emu point and Middleton Beach to show J&D the parks we’ve stayed in on other visits, then went into the local Woolworths bought ourselves a cooked chook, fresh bread rolls and tomatoes and had a picnic by the water. After lunch we took a look around town, a drive around Princess Royal Harbour, then on to Frenchman Bay for a look at the new botanic gardens, the old whaling station and Salmon Holes.At Salmon Holes (named for the calm, sheltered pools the salmon like), we were almost blown off the lookout platform by the wind! I was thrilled to buy myself a new pair of UGG slippers in town. My last pair died a few years ago after about 23 years of hard wear. Here’s hoping this pair last as long!

Wildflowers Frenchman Bay

Wildflowers Frenchman Bay

We came home and while Russ cooked us a pork loin and roast vegies, I made creamed leeks with those lovely leeks we bought earlier in the day at the market. I also used some of the smoky, fatty bacon off cuts we bought at the Kyilla Community Farmers Market the week before. Without the bacon fat I’d use a couple of tablespoons of butter to cook the leeks. I didn’t get a photo of the leeks so you’ll just have to imagine!

Creamed Leeks

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 rashers bacon, diced
  • 2 leeks, washed sliced into thin rings
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 teaspoons mustard (seeded or Dijon)
  • 40g grated parmesan (or as much or little as you like)
  • Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste (I used Maldon smoked salt)

Method

  1. Heat the butter and cook the bacon for a few minutes or until crispy and the fat is rendered from it.
  2. Add the sliced leeks and cook, stirring until the begin to soften. Put a lid on your pan and cook over a low heat until well softened and cooked.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the cheese is melted, then serve. We had ours as a side dish, but I think this would be good over pasta too.

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Fishing today was fun until we lost a rod, reel, and rod holder!

Leggy Peggy's Chermoula on Spangled Emperor

Leggy Peggy’s Chermoula on Spangled Emperor

Nothing like the loss of some gear to put a bit of a dampener on things. We were up near the north passage for the first time and fishing quite happily when we decided to have our lunch. Russ popped a fairly good rod and reel into the rod holder and started to unwrap his sandwiches. Something took the bait, steel trace and hook, rod and reel and finally ripped the rod holder from the side of the boat. It was over the edge and gone in a millisecond! Russ nearly tipped US into the drink making a lunge for it all but to no avail. It’s not the loss that’s as annoying as the replacing of it. We’ll have to buy one in Exmouth and it’ll be more than we want to pay there.

We didn’t go out for long but managed to come home with 8 fish including one huge spangled emperor, two trevally and 5 Charlie Court Cod.

The spangled emperor  (or some of him) will be cooked tonight using my good friend Leggy Peggy’s Chermoula recipe. You can find it posted on food.com

Peggy Leggy’s Note:
Chermoula is a North African marinade, used especially for fish. It also makes a great dipping sauce or salad dressing. This recipe has plenty of tang and has been adapted from one by Julie Le Clerc. I use coriander (cilantro) rather than parsley and Lee Kum Kee’s Chili Garlic Sauce rather than a small red chili. I like the end product so much that I can eat it with a spoon. Yummo!

Chermoula

  • 1 bunch fresh coriander or 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, ground
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeded (or 1 teaspoon of chili sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Leggy Peggy's Chermoula on Spangled Emperor

Leggy Peggy’s Chermoula on Spangled Emperor

Method

  1. Pound all ingredients together in a large mortar and pestle or buzz in a food processor. You want a rough-textured paste.

Note: I use all the coriander stems.

Chermoula will keep several days in the fridge.

We also had another food.com recipe posted by NurseJaney. Couscous with Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas) and Golden Raisins (Sultanas).

NurseJaney is from the US hence the different measurements and names of ingredients. I’m making this recipe for a swap game I participate in most months. In return, NurseJaney and two other team mates will make a recipe I have posted there.

Couscous with Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas) and Golden Raisins (Sultanas).

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons garlic oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin
  • salt and pepper
Couscous with Garbanzos and Golden Raisins

Couscous with Garbanzos and Golden Raisins

Method

  1. Finely grate peel from lemon to equal 1 1/2 tsp., set aside. Squeeze 2 Tbsp. juice from lemon.
  2. Combine 2 cups water. lemon juice, garlic oil, and ground cinnamon in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous.
  3. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes, until water almost absorbed.
  4. Mix in garbanzo beans, golden raisins, and reserved lemon peel. Cover and let stand 5 minutes longer.
  5. Fluff couscous with fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

And lastly we had an eggplant salad. The eggplant, tomatoes, capsicum and spring onion all came from those stalls at the farm gates last Wednesday. The salad can also be found on food.com and was posted by Middle Eastern by Mag.

Lebanese Eggplant Salad – (Salatit El Batinjan)

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomato
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion (or any kind of onions)
  • 1 garlic clove, mince
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste
Lebanese Eggplant Salad

Lebanese Eggplant Salad

Method

  1. Put the whole eggplant as is, (only cut and remove the stem from the top), on a baking sheet and bake it. You’ll notice when it’s done that the juice came out on the baking sheet and the skin is almost toasted and it becomes soft when you punch it with a knife.
  2. Let it cool for a bit then cut it in half and remove the skin; just cut it roughly into small/medium diced pieces and put it in the salad bowl, add any juices. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix the salad and serve.

This is good with pita bread on the side

Kununurra Saturday Market

Kununurra Market

Kununurra Market

Nothing gets us out of bed and organised quicker than a local market. The last few we’ve been to have been really small, so we weren’t expecting much from this one either. We were pleasantly surprised at the size of it and variety of stalls-a good little market.

As usual we were on the lookout for fresh vegetables and books. I think there’d been a bit of price fixing go on between the second hand book vendors with used novels starting at $5. We generally like to pay about $1 at garage sales, church fetes and op shops so weren’t paying that! I think the food vendors had done a bit of price fixing too, with those containers of market food (Indian curry and rice, red thai curry and rice, pad thai etc.) around $16. It’s time like this when I’m so happy Russ and I can turn out a fairly authentic tasting Asian meal ourselves at a quarter of the cost! Times like this too, when I’m happy I emptied my pantry of spices and sauces and condiment and brought them along.

Pumpkins and cucs Armenian cucumber on top right

Pumpkins and cucs Armenian cucumber on top right

Kununurra is an irrigation area and grows lots of melons and pumpkins so plenty of those on sale. We bought local bananas, dried chick peas (we bought some last time we were here), green pap paw and limes (pawpaw salad in the next day or two!) and a thing called an Armenian cucumber which looks most like a long, pale bitter melon but is most closely related to honey dew melon and is used as a cucumber. The texture is very crisp and the taste great! I’ll let you know what we do with it.

Back at home (well, the van IS home) I decided I better make room in the fridge for my new purchases, so am currently making ratatouille with the stuff I bought to do so at the farm gate the other day.

Farm Gate Ratatouille (my way)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced chunky
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 eggplant (about 600g or so) cut into 1 1/2 cm cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into similar size to eggplant (I used a yellow one this time)
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 1 green capsicum, diced
  • 2 440g cans whole peeled tomatoes, chopped (I like to chop my own as I think they are a better product than the pre diced ones)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Plenty fresh basil
  • Juice of half a lemon (taste and add more if you want)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (we LOVE black pepper)
Farm Gate Ratatouille

Farm Gate Ratatouille

Method

  1. Heat the oil over a medium heat and cook the onion and garlic until the onion is softened but not browning.
  2. Add in the eggplant, zucchini and capsicums and cook stirring for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tinned tomatoes and salt, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add in the remaining ingredients.

We eat ratatouille hot, cold, we poach eggs in it for brunch/lunch, pop little meatballs in it, take it on picnics-we love it!

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