It’s Boxing Day and I’m sitting on a picnic rug in the Botanic Gardens overlooking the beautiful Sydney Harbour. We’re here to catch a glimpse of the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race – one of the most dangerous yacht races in the world. Helicopters buzz overhead while a myriad of vessels laden with well-wishers swarm around the racing yachts as they sail up the harbour and out to sea. We’re also here for a picnic of Christmas leftovers – prawns, baguette, cherries, Christmas mince tarts, chocolates (Santa was overly generous with the chocolates this year), and terrine.
Terrines look like hard work but are really quite easy to make. You make it one or two days in advance and on the day, simply take it from the fridge, slice and serve – ideal for a warm southern hemisphere Christmas.
Last night I marinated some lean lamb back straps in caramelized balsamic vinegar and orange juice, then pan-fried them and served them over rocket leaves accompanied by hummus, tomato, cucumber and mint salsa, and flat bread.
It was my attempt to honor the night before Good Friday when the Jewish people celebrate Passover. Lamb, bitter greens (rocket), vinegar and flat bread (no yeast) are just some of the foods that remind the Jewish people of their miraculous escape from Egypt thousands of years ago.
It is also a significant meal for people who celebrate Easter because Jesus would have eaten similar foods as he celebrated Passover with his friends on the night before he was arrested and killed.
Religion aside, this Middle Eastern food combination is a lovely, relaxed way to start the Easter weekend. Enjoy!
2 lamb back straps
Juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup caramelized balsamic vinegar (If you use plain balsamic, add 1 tablespoon brown sugar)
Eating cake is naughty – right? Not always. To my mind there are varying degrees of naughtiness with cakes and to keep to the least naughty end of the spectrum I tend to make cakes that contain nutrient rich fruit, vegetables and nuts.
This carrot cake is one of my favourites. It is packed full of beta carotene rich carrots, and omega-3 rich walnuts and chia seed. The fat is mostly unsaturated from the nuts and canola oil, and the flour is wholemeal. Best of all it is easy to make – just throw all the ingredients in a food processor. Everyone who tastes it will want the recipe. Forget the heavy cream cheese icing; a dust of icing sugar is all it needs to make it look wonderful.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2-3 carrots, grated
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 2-3 tablespoons chia seed (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
- 1 small cup wholemeal flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend for 3-4 minutes. Pour into cake tin lined with baking paper. Bake at 170-180C (350F) for 1 hour.
I have spent the past month in New Zealand at the beach, cycling, rafting over the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall at Rotorua, walking on the beach, seeing friends and family – and eating some great food, not necessarily all healthy. We discovered arguably the best croissants in New Zealand at Oliver’s bakery in Whangamata. Each morning we cycled down to buy these buttery treats, eating them at the nearby wharf with a take-out coffee or carrying them home for a leisurely breakfast. Not exactly healthy but oh so delicious! And our weight didn’t sky-rocket because the rest of our meals included lots of fish, vegetables and fruit.
We had fresh silver beet, kamokamo (a type of marrow), tomatoes, corn and basil which I layered in a dish with canned tuna, then grated a little cheese on top and baked. We had freshly dug new potatoes boiled and served with mint from the garden, or par-boiled and then crisped on the BBQ. A few times I used the silver beet in lasagna. This low fat version has extra vegetables