Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

Advice That Certain People Who Write Essays Would Do Well To Note:

1. It doesn’t matter whether a sociological theorist is “pessimistic” or not, or which year s/he was born in. It does matter, though, that you understand that “rationalisation” relates to disenchantment and bureaucratisation, and not to people thinking logically about their life choices.

2. I’d prefer you wrote about Karl Marx and Max Weber, not Kyle Marx and Max Webber. You see, I’m not entirely sure what the latter two contributed to Sociology. Oh, and Emile Durkheim is a man, although it would be nice if one of the “Founding Fathers” was actually a “Founding Mother”. Sadly, we aren’t allowed to change the sex of people born centuries ago.

3. Want to know what helps you, in a grades-affected manner? Answering the essay question.

4. Want to know what helps me, in a sanity-affected manner? When you get my name right on the cover sheet. (Oh, and my sanity also benefits when you answer the essay question.)

5. Last but not least, cookies help inexorably with the essay-marking process. They might even help with the essay-writing process. I therefore suggest you bake and gobble these up at the earliest convenience.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

I don’t often bake cookies. For some reason, cookies are associated in my mind with boredom. Too sweet, too crunchy, and lacking in satisfaction. However, whilst flicking through one of my many rarely-used mini Women’s Weekly cookbooks, I found this gem of a recipe.

Sweet but not too sweet, baked a little under the required time so as to retain a soft and almost-doughy interior without losing the crispier exterior, heady in cinnamon and with the faint nutty flavour of oats and whole-wheat flour, these were exactly what I forget cookies can be.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

That is to say, addictive. Did I eat seven of these between baking them in the afternoon and going to sleep in Skank Bed at night? Possibly. Perhaps. Maybe. Okay, yes.

But they’ve got oats, and fruit, m’kay? So they’re good for me. Possibly. Perhaps. Maybe.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Cookies

Adapted from The Women’s Weekly Biscuits and Slices mini cookbook.
Makes about 15.

The recipe below is for my cut-down-by-a-third-and-adapted version of the original, which purported to make 45 cookies. Whilst I know I could very easily eat 45 cookies over the course of a few days, I also know I’d get horrifically bored by the sameness of them all if I did. Ergo you should be able to double or triple this recipe easily, if you want more cookies in your life. Or if you want to share with other people, instead of sitting by yourself with cookies and ice cream watching old-school romantic movies all afternoon.

  • 1 American tb (15ml) flaxmeal, mixed with 45ml water (or one egg for a non-vegan version)
  • 90g (1/3rd cup + 1tb) brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tb (40ml) canola (or vegetable) oil
  • 2 tsp honey/agave/golden syrup/liquid sweetener
  • 2/3 cup (60g) rolled oats
  • 50g dried apples, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (50g) wholemeal plain flour (or normal plain)
  • 1/4 cup (37g) self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (this was the only part I didn’t cut down, as I used the full tsp of the original recipe for a batter a third the size. Woot cinnamon love!)
  1. Beat brown sugar with combined flaxseed and water with an electric mixer until mixture plumps up a little and lightens a bit in colour (if using an egg, wait for the mix to get significantly lighter in colour).
  2. Stir in (manually, not with the electric mixer) the vanilla essence, oil, and liquid sweetener of your choosing, then the oats, apple, and sifted dry ingredients. Refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 190°C. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place on lined baking trays. I expected mine to spread more than they did, so if you prefer thinner and crunchier cookies, you might want to press the balls down a little bit.
  4. Bake 9-10 minutes for cookies with a deliciously soft core, or a bit longer if you want them crunchier. Though in all honesty, I don’t know how crunchy these would get. Maybe they never would? All I know is that I love the way mine turned out.

Question Time: Do you have advice for someone that would be safer shared here than with the person him/herself? Vent, my pretties, vent.


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Vegan Caraway Cake

Off the top of my head, I can think of one positive and one negative for getting up early after a bad night’s sleep and baking a cake to cheer oneself up.

Positive: Cake batter for breakfast. It’s funny how much batter can be “accidentally” left on the electric beaters, bowl, and two spoons used in the batter-making, isn’t it?

Negative: Finding cake batter in one’s hair hours later.

Vegan Caraway Cake

This wasn’t the cake I was originally lusting after. But when I ducked home to find the recipe for the originally-desired cake, I saw, directly to the left of that recipe, this fella. (What brilliant sentence construction! The essays I’m marking must be rubbing off on me…) My mum used to make this fella occasionally, but nowhere near as often as she made the originally-desired cake. I remember, though, that I used to feel more grown up eating this than the other (the originally-desired cake, that is. Have I lost you yet?), because of the below’s rather unique and non-children’s-party-friendly flavour.

So I forgot about the cake I had initially been craving, and made this one instead.

Oh, and I veganised it.

Oh, and I love it. And it still makes me feel grown-up.

Vegan Caraway Cake

This cake tastes like old-fashioned to me. It tastes like something one of the heroines in my beloved-childhood novels would have eaten whilst sitting in her garden dreaming about the future, or whilst serving afternoon tea to a dear grandmotherly-aged friend. This is the cake I imagine Elnora from A Girl of the Limberlost would have slid into the oven with her soft hair falling in front of her face and her butterflies adorning the wall behind her. This is the cake I imagine Anne Shirley would have shared with Theodora Dix as they listened to the echoes of their voices calling back to them from faraway hills.

It’s also the cake I can imagine I’ll  have polished off in two day’s time, but that can be our little secret.

Vegan Caraway Cake

Caraway Cake

Serves 8 -10, adapted from The Women’s Weekly Cakes and Slices Cookbook. For a non-vegan version, substitute Nuttelex with butter, two eggs for the flaxmeal, and normal milk for the soymilk. My mum used to make this wheat-free with her own mix of cornflour and rye flour, so I assume it would also work with gluten-free flours.

  • 2 tbs flaxmeal (ground flax)
  • 125g Nuttelex (I used the Olive Oil kind)
  • 1 cup caster sugar (I used raw caster sugar)
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour (the original recipe said to sift this, but I didn’t bother. What can I say? I’m a rebel.)
  • 1/4 cup custard powder
  • 2 tbs caraway seeds.
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C, and grease and line a 14cm x 21cm loaf tin.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flaxmeal with 90ml water and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add Nuttelex, sugar, milk, flour, and custard powder to flaxmeal and beat on low speed with an electric mixer until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and continue beating for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture has lightened in colour.
  4. Stir in caraway seeds.
  5. Spread mixture into prepared tin and bake for 50m-1hr. Stand in tin for five minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Question time: Are there any particular dishes you make that remind you of a storybook character? Saying oatmeal makes you think of Goldilocks or beans of Jack doesn’t count…

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Panch Phora Lentil Pilaf

I love cooking. Really, I do. I love the way that cooking is my escape from anxiety and misery; it’s one of the only activities in this world that entirely captures my attention and makes the whirly-burly-thoughts stop their whirling-and-burling. I love attempting to follow recipes then being unable to stop myself from improvising, and I love when the people I care about enjoy what I’ve made for them.

That said, I probably shouldn’t admit the number of times I’ve stood in Smurf Kitchen at dinner-time, peered into my cupboard filled with quinoa, rice, millet, legumes, vinegar, sesame oil, canned artichokes, sardines in tomato/chilli sauce (don’t knock it ‘til you tried it. Unless you’re vegan/vegetarian. Then knock away), coconut milk, canned tomatoes… and made a frown-y face.

You see, sometimes I look at those wholesome, pantry-staple, Make-A-Nutritious-Dish-In-Half-An-Hour items and find myself unable to push away one forlorn thought:

How on earth can I get enough sugar, fat, and processed goodness into my tummy with those stupid ingredients?

More often than not, I’ll succumb to my mother’s voice in my head, which tells me to Make Something Proper That You Won’t Be Ashamed To Tell Someone You Ate.

Panch Phora Lentil Pilaf

Other times, though, the world goes blank and all of a sudden it’s ten minutes later and I find myself, with no idea how I got there, sitting with a plate in front of me upon which is perched a double decker sandwich of wonderment. You know the sandwich I’m talking about, right? It goes: Wonder White bread -> peanut butter -> chocolate chips -> Wonder White bread -> peanut butter -> maple syrup -> Wonder White bread.

And you know what, Mum? The only thing I’m ashamed of is that I never seem to take the final step towards frying such a monstrosity piece of art in butter.

However, for those of you who do like to cook Something Proper That You Won’t Be Ashamed To Tell Someone You Ate, I’ve got just the dish for you. It’s even the dish for me, because when I stopped being lazy and invented this, I couldn’t understand why I’d ever want to eat a sandwich instead.

Also, I want to marry Panch Phora. Just sayin’.

Panch Phora Lentil Pilaf

Panch Phora Lentil Pilaf

Serves 2 (easily doubled)
(recipe from my noggin)

  • 1 American tb (i.e. 3 tsps) Panch Phora
  • 1 tb oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g celery, sliced (or celery and carrot, or whatever vegies you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) rice
  • 100g red lentils
  • 2 cups veggie stock (estimated… I think I started with 1 1/2 cups and then I threw more in…)
  1. Toast Panch Phora in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until the mustard seeds start to pop and the mix is beginning to get fragrant. Tip the spices into a pestle and mortar and give it a quick grinding. Don’t fuss over it, though. I love the flavour burst of whole spices, and none of these are crazy-intense like, say, cloves are. A bit of whole fenugreek isn’t going to kill you, I promise.
  2. Heat oil in a medium (or large, whatever floats your boat) saucepan, and fry onion and vegetables for 5-10 minutes until softened and gettin’ tasty-tasty.
  3. Throw in rice and lentils and stir around, and then pour in stock. Bring to the boil, cover, then turn down to a simmer and let it potter on its own for 20-25 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. (And tabasco, if you’re me. Which you’re not, clearly, but… hmm. Where was I?)
  4. Eat, and be bemused by the thought that you ever wanted to eat a double decker sandwich of wonderment instead. Silly poppet.

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Carrot and Cardamom Muffins

Carrot and Cardamom Muffins

This world of ours is full of contrasts and contradictions.

We’re told that obesity is a prevailing issue of our time and yet, this year, the KFC Double Down came into existence.

Over the past few months, Tony Abbott has cast aspersions on Julia Gillard for usurping Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister without being voted in by the public, yet he himself became Leader of the Opposition through the same process of usurpation, and the public didn’t get to weigh in then either.

In San Francisco, I walked out of the Ferry Building Marketplace after spending an unwholesome amount of money on fancy cheeses, pastries, and fruit, only to see a homeless man pulling food scraps out of a rubbish bin.

Carrot and Cardamom Muffins


The corps de ballet in Swan Lake are presented onstage as ethereal, delicate, and unaffected by physical pain, and yet their ballet shoes hide a myriad tales of blisters, lost toenails, and torn ligaments.

The media presents paedophilia as utterly and incontrovertibly wrong (no arguments from me there), but at the same time teenage celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Taylor Momsen are earning oodles of money dressing like coked-up prostitutes.

Nutrition guidelines dictate that I should eat five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day, but peanut butter, blue cheese, and dark chocolate taste better*.

Carrot and Cardamom Muffins

Post-baking (in my swanky silicone tray)

And a week or so ago, I showed you a holiday-spiced chocolate that I couldn’t stomach because it included orange essence, whereas yesterday I baked a batch of 18 muffins made with orange juice.

More to the point, I’ve already eaten seven of them. Just goes to show that not all contradictions in this world are bad.

Carrot and Cardamom Muffins

It's what's inside that counts.

A few words on these muffins: the best way I can think to describe the taste is Grown-Up. They aren’t particularly sweet, and while neither the cardamom, carrot, nor orange dominate the flavour, there is definitely something interesting and almost-but-not-really-bitter going on. The texture is intriguing, too – more doughy than crumbly, but in a good way. Almost like crumpets, but without the holes, so, really, nothing like crumpets.

I’d never proclaim these to be as splendiferous as my Spiced Sesame Slice or Date and Banana Bread, but they’re unlike anything I’ve made before, and that has to count for something. Plus, I’m an avowed anti-orange lass, and I foresee no problems in finishing these muffins myself. So that’s something else to count for something. What does that mean, anyway? I stopped counting when I quit maths in Year 11.

Carrot and Cardamom Muffins

Smurf Kitchen’s blueness makes me happy sometimes.

Carrot and Cardamom Muffins

Makes 12-18. I made 18 because the original recipe said to use 12×1/2 cup muffins tins but I only have 1/3 cup muffin tins, so I feared the batter would spill everywhere if I made only 12. However, I’m certain you could safely make 12 slightly-bigger muffins than 18 slightly-flatter muffins. I don’t really mind, though. This way, I can eat seven in thirty-six hours with nary a qualm.

  • 1 large carrot, finely grated (mine came to 150g)
  • 1/4 cup (90g) honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or macadamia oil, if you’re wearing fancypants)
  • 1 cup orange and passionfruit juice (or just orange juice. Whatever floats your boat.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (250g) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  1. Preheat oven to 190°C and oil or line a 12-hole muffin tin. (I used my silicone muffin tray for the first time since receiving it over a year ago. It worked like magic! No need for lining or greasing, as the muffins popped out as easily as babies don’t.)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the carrot, honey, oil, juice and eggs.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and cardamom into the wet ingredients, and stir quickly to just combine. Don’t overmix –  you want it to look a bit lumpy.
  4. Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 16 minutes, until golden. (16 minutes worked for me as I was making 18 muffins… if you make only 12 muffins, I’d estimate letting them cook for 18ish minutes.) Cool in tin for a few minutes, then turn out and serve warm. Or, if you are like me and have to eat almost all of these yourself, pop some in the fridge and some in the freezer and eat them at any temperature you see fit.

Question Time: What contradictions or contrasts in the world have you noticed recently?

*Little bit of a fib there. I adore vegetables as much as chocolate, and in fact I’m crankier if I’ve had a day without greens than if I’ve had a day without chocolate.

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Random aside: A few people have reached my blog lately by searching for “Jeanne Bauwens”. This intrigued me, as I didn’t recognise the name myself. Turns out Jeanna Bauwens is one of the ladies in this Wayfaring Chocolate Guided Art Tour; in fact, she’s the one whom I hypothesised to be a murderer-cum-fashion designer. I’ve been giggling on and off ever since at the thought that a) the person searching is a Bauwen descendent who now thirsts for vengeance because I so needlessly cast aspersions on his/her relative, or b) the person searching is a primary school kid writing a project on Bauwen, and is now going to include a paragraph on the woman’s proclivities for practical neck-wear.

Some of you may remember that, a few days ago, I wrote that a simulataneous pro and con of being single is getting/having to eat entire batches of baked goods by yourself. I also gave you a recipe for a delicious Spiced Sesame Slice, which I cut into squares and froze for safe-keeping yet still managed to finish in the space of four days.

Well, folks, the creation below gives the sesame slice a run for its money in terms of sweet delectableness. And you know what’s more?

Date and Banana Bread

Goodness, this batter looks like it’s been cut off at the end of the earth/time/the world. I’m surprised I didn’t fall into an Abyss of Black Doom Nothingness when I ate the last slice.

I pulled this Date and Banana Bread out of the oven at 11:30am on Monday morning.

By 9:30am Wednesday morning, it was all gone. That’s less than 48 hours.

And that’s just how I roll.

Date and Banana Bread

Christening my late Aunt’s beautiful chopping board with banana bread. I hope she’d approve.

I think I’ll mention something that helps explain my high level of enthusiasm for this recipe. You see, I know banana bread is a staple for many cooks and bakers out there, and yet I’m absolutely not pulling your leg when I say I’ve never made one before. How is this possible, you might be wondering? (And even if you’re not, I’m-a-gonna-tell-ya anyway.)

Well, in my experience, every blogger who writes up a banana cake/muffin/bread recipe begins the post with words to this effect: “Today, I realised I had two over-ripe bananas on my counter, and I had to make something with them.”

Date and Banana Bread

A lone slice...

This has never happened to me in my life. No one in my family is particularly enamoured with bananas, and so they were never a fruit we had lying, forgotten-yet-ripening, around the house. (Apples, on the other hand, I was always finding hidden in bookcases or fallen behind the sofa*.) Very occasionally I’d want to make banana cake, but there were never bananas ripe enough at the shops for this purpose, and so I’d give up.

Lately, though, I’ve taken to buying bananas simply so they’ll get overripe and I’ll be forced to make treats.

Turns out this was an awesome ploy leading to delicious wonderment. Enjoy!

Date and Banana Bread

I meant to take better photos of this creation, but then it was all gone, and there was nothing left to photograph.

Deceptively Healthy Date and Banana Bread

Adapted from a free So Good promotional cookbook called “Cooking with Susie O’Neill”. (Yes, the swimmer.) The original recipe used dried figs, not dates, and made two loaves.

  • 100g dried dates, chopped (the el cheapo ones – no need to get fancypants with Medjools for this recipe)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, or 1 tb ground flax mixed with 3 tb water for the vegan version
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tb olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed (mine came to about 150g)
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (375°F) and line and grease a 22 x 11cm loaf tin.
  2. Combine dates, egg (or flax mixture), sugar, oil, cinnamon, flour, and soymilk in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Fold through mashed bananas and pour into cake tin.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and firm. (Mine went for almost 50 minutes because someone called me at an inopportune moment. As you can see in the pictures above, the top got quite crusty. Honestly, though, I didn’t mind at all.)
  5. Enjoy with abandon. And then enjoy with even more abandon. I found that I liked this more straight from the fridge than warm-out-of-the-oven. The sweet moist dates, the undercurrent of subtle banana, the soft inner crumb… I can’t wait to make this again.

* Wait, no, those weren’t apples. Those were the pigs’ ears we used to give my dog as a treat. Apparently, to her, the treat was getting to play Hide The Ear#, not Eat The Ear.

# Maybe that’s what Van Gogh and Chopper were playing, and they’ve simply been woefully misunderstood by society?

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Reasons Why Being 23 and Exceptionally Single is Awesome

  • I have an entire big bed to myself to spread out in.
  • When I bake a batch of cookies or a slice (see below), I get to eat the whole lot myself.
  • I can have enormous bowls of oatmeal topped with ungodly amounts of almond butter, maple syrup, and 85% dark chocolate for both breakfast and lunch if I want to.
  • When I travel, I can go and see and do whatever I want, whenever I want, on the slightest whim.
  • When I travel, I get to meet, innocently cuddle, and laugh with cute boys.
  • I can sing and dance and make a fool of myself in the house whenever I want to.
  • I don’t get my heart broken.
Spiced Sesame Slice

Spiced Sesame Slice

Reasons Why Being 23 and Exceptionally Single is the Antithesis of Awesome

  • I have an entire big bed to myself which I only use a corner of.
  • When I bake a batch of cookies or a slice (see below), I have to eat the whole lot myself.
  • Sometimes I realise I’ve eaten enormous bowls of oatmeal topped with ungodly amounts of almond butter, maple syrup, and 85% dark chocolate for both breakfast and lunch three days in a row.
  • When I travel, I run the risk of going and seeing and doing hospital visits in foreign countries with no one to keep me company during the interminable hours in Emergency.
  • After I’ve travelled, met, innocently cuddled, and laughed with cute boys, I’m still 23 and exceptionally single.
  • Sometimes I don’t feel like singing and dancing and making a fool of myself by myself.
  • I don’t know what it feels like to get my heart broken.
Spiced Sesame Slice

Swirl, my pretties. Swirl.

Now that I’ve made myself feel vulnerable enough to warrant hiding under my doona for a day or so, here’s the recipe for the slice mentioned in points 2a and 2b. In other words: Dramatic Shift of Tone!

This is quite a cake-y slice, and it freezes well. Hurrah! Such a quality is very convenient when you find yourself needing a break from its deliciousness (and it is delicious) after eating eight squares over the course of one day.

Spice Sesame Slice


I can’t recommend this slice enough as a treat for afternoon tea, morning tea, dessert with a scoop of ice cream, or at any moment of the day that feels right. Perfumed with warm spices, it reminds me of a less-aggressive pain d’epice or a more complex gingerbread. Personally, I find the highlight of the slice to be its toasted sesame top, as the jolt of nuttiness against the soft, spiced, sweet underneath makes me all but swoon. This is my kind of creation: not over-the-top or cloying in its richness yet sweet enough to feel like a treat, and sufficiently layered in flavour to keep you going back for more. I’ll be making this again.

(Now that I think about it, I’ll probably double the spices next time. But I’ve kept the recipe below as I made it, because I can comfortably recommend that way.)

Spiced Sesame Slice

You guessed it: post-ovening!

Spiced Sesame Slice

Makes 16 – 20. Adapted from sweet food.

Note: The original recipe used only ground ginger, but also included crystallised ginger. Not only did I not have crystallised ginger, I don’t like it, so I happily nixed it in favour of adding other spices. But feel free to add in 50g of chopped crystallised ginger with the first lot of sesame seeds and leave out the additional spices, if you’d prefer.

  • 50g (1/3 cup) sesame seeds
  • 125g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 140g (3/4 cup) soft brown sugar
  • 125g Nuttelex (or unsalted butter), melted
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) Lightly grease a 18 x 26cm shallow baking tin (or something around that size – no need to fuss) and line with baking paper, so that the baking paper extends up both long sides.
  2. Toast sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium-low heat, for 5-10 minutes, until browning but not burnt. Trust yourself, and don’t worry if a few seeds get a bit dark in colour. Some of mine looked almost burnt, and it was still super yum-times.
  3. Sift together the flour, bicarb, spices, and pinch of salt. In a separate, large, bowl, beat the eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer for 3 minutes, until thick and creamy. Beat in the melted butter.
  4. Gently fold in the flour mixture and half the sesame seeds, gently mixing until there are no pockets of flour hidden in the batter.
  5. Spread into the tin and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes, until slightly coloured and firm, though slightly springy, to the touch. Cool in the tin for ten minutes, then lift out and cool on a wire rack.

Question time! Anyone have anything else to add to the Pros, Cons, or both lists?

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Dear Smurf Kitchen,

It’s okay; I don’t blame you. It wasn’t your fault. How could you know that some doofus in the area would call a plumber at mid-day, without Body Corporate approval, and that said plumber would turn off the water for the entire complex? How could you know that you’d be one of the 50-plus units suddenly stripped of the ability to make coffee, cook dinner, wash hands, shower, or use the toilet?

Sure, it would’ve been nice if you’d let us know, through psychic brainwaves, that our plans for risotto-making, water-drinking, and general, you know, living were off the table. If we’d known that the plumber would leave at 5:30pm without turning the water back on, that ActewAGL would refuse to do so for fear of being sued (but would ask my housemate, on the phone with them, to find the water main and do it herself… erm, we don’t really want to be sued either, thanks all the same), that I would get cornered in the stairwell by our across-the-landing neighbour, Mr.StinkyNeverWashes*, while he talked about the situation and all I could think was breathe through my mouth, breathe through my mouth… well, we might’ve made other plans for the night.

This has nothing to do with anything. It's just rice on my pretty Istanbul plate.

I do understand, though, Smurf Kitchen of mine, that you aren’t entirely sentient and probably don’t know how to telepathically warn me of such things. But maybe you could work on that? Still, thanks for returning water to us at around 8pm. And thanks for having allowed me to cook delicious mushroom pasta in the morning, as I was then able to eat it for a no-cook dinner.

Much love,


*Seriously. He doesn’t even have a washing machine. The smell drifts into the stairwell area even if he’s only left the door open a few minutes. In truth, I prefer the cigarette smell.

Tamari Mushroom Pasta

Tamari and Sesame Mushroom Pasta for One

  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced (I used mushrooms from the farmers markets, and they were fantastic. Buckets better tasting than supermarket mushies.)
  • couple of good shakes of smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • the amount of pasta you’d normally serve yourself. Cooked, that is. No one likes an entire bowl of crunchy pasta, although I used to eat strands of uncooked spaghetti as a kid. Oh, and by the by, I used wholegrain spiral pasta, because I adore wholegrain pasta.
  1. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then throw in the garlic and let it sizzle for a few seconds. Tip in the mushrooms with the smoked paprika and let the mushrooms cook down a bit, maybe 1-2 minutes, until they start releasing their liquid.
  2. Add the tamari and rice wine vinegar, sizzle away until it’s cooked to your liking, then add the cooked, drained pasta and stir around. Eat hot, if that’s your thing, or cold, if you’ve made it in advance and later find yourself in a building bereft of water.
  3. See, it’s hardly much of a recipe, is it? It is awesomeness though. If you want to be fancypants, though, I’d recommend throwing in some chopped spring onions, fresh coriander, ginger, sesame seeds (ooh, sesame seeds!), and/or tofu. Brilliant.

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