Mark’s Chicken Dish


Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThis dinner…so simple, yet so delicious. Mark has been on a huge fitness kick this year, and the results are sure showing. He’s been exercising like a demon every morning at our local F45 gym, cut back on the booze and cooking some really healthy meals. The dish above has been a weekly go-to for us, and I asked him to share the recipe. I’ve copy and pasted his short and sweet email:

Basically, you cook diced onion in olive oil (healthier would be coconut oil) throw in all the veggies you want, such as carrot, eggplant, sweet potato and zucchini (withholding some beans/corn /mushrooms for texture until just before serving) throw in 3 tins of tomatoes, once bubbling throw in diced chicken thigh pieces and when that is cooked, add the beans/corn /mushrooms for a short time. Season with salt and pepper, serve in bowls and top with smashed avocado, italian parsley and chèvre (goats cheese).

Tip from me: The smashed avocado, italian parsley and chèvre on top MAKE this dish sing. Weird combo I know, but it’s seriously yummy. If you’re fine not being totally healthy, a nice crusty slice of bread with lashings of Lurpak really takes this dish to another (comfort eating) level.


Briar x

Spinach Cream Soup


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cumin and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until aromatic.

Increase heat to high. Add the stock and cream and bring to the boil. Add potato and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until potato is tender. Add spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.

Place half the spinach mixture in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a clean saucepan. Repeat with remaining spinach mixture. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup among serving bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream and season with pepper and croutons (Mark made his own by stir frying cubes of a french stick with garlic and butter). Serve with crusty bread and lashings of butter.

Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School


IMG_5208I’m a bit guilty of not cooking as much as I used to…It’s only because Mark loves being in the kitchen so much – and, I have to admit, he (gasp)! is a better cook than me. My love for spending time cooking was unexpectedly revived this week after spending a few hours in the gorgeous kitchens at Williams-Sonoma in Bondi Junction. The shop at the front also helped, there are just shelves and shelves of loveliness – from copper pots to good looking scourers, there is everything and anything for a foodie like me.

We arrived and were gifted with fun personalised aprons, and were greeted by the very approachable Masterchef champion, Adam Liaw. Adam was there to talk to us about his wonderful new cookbook, and to casually demonstrate some of the recipes from it. More than just a recipe book, it will teach you about the ingredients and techniques of the Asian kitchen for a complete understanding of how you can create authentic Asian dishes.

To be honest, I’ve often avoided cooking Asian at home as it’s always in the back of my mind that the recipe would be too complicated. Adam completely quashed that myth – his recipes are all really light on in the ingredients requirements, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to prepare the three traditional dishes once we were left to our own devices. I managed to whip up Spinach in sesame dressing and a delicious steamed ginger chicken dish in around 16 minutes – I’m not kidding!

The best part of the day was of course feasting on our creations, and getting even more cooking tips from the very talented Adam.

Below are some photos of the great day, captured by La Tessa Photography.

WilliamSonoma-AdamLiawBookLaunch_8.9.15_7 WilliamSonoma-AdamLiawBookLaunch_8.9.15_39 WilliamSonoma-AdamLiawBookLaunch_8.9.15_73 WilliamSonoma-AdamLiawBookLaunch_8.9.15_56 WilliamSonoma-AdamLiawBookLaunch_8.9.15_1Stunning florals were by the clever and hilarious Holly Hipwell and beautiful calligraphy by The Articulate.

Briar x

Whole Roasted Salmon


Fish2Today we celebrated some birthdays and Fathers Day with a whole roasted salmon at our outside table at home. Jamie Oliver is always my go-to when I want an easy recipe that I know is going to be delicious. I spotted the recipe online this morning, and the real life version was on the table by 1pm – it really is that easy (it also helps that Mark loves tackling a new recipe). We served the dish with a nice garden salad and a loaf  of fresh sourdough.


Jamie Oliver’s Whole roasted salmon stuffed with lemon & herbs
Serves 10

2.5 kg whole salmon, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, scaled and gutted
1.5 kg red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed clean and sliced into ½cm rounds
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 pieces baby fennel
olive oil
1 small bunch fresh dill
1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 small bunch fresh tarragon
2 lemons
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat your oven to 250ºC. Get yourself a large roasting tray that your whole salmon will fit inside – you’ll probably need to lay the fish diagonally across the tray, and it won’t matter if the head and tail drape over a little. Lay your sliced potatoes over the base of the tray and season well with salt and pepper. Scatter your baby fennel over the top and give it all a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Now get on with your fish. Pick half the leaves from each of the herb bunches and put them on a chopping board, keeping the remainder to one side. Grate the lemon zest over the herbs then roughly chop everything together. Scrape this mixture into a bowl and wipe the board down with a piece of kitchen paper.

Transfer your salmon to the board, then wipe it inside and out with a fresh piece of kitchen paper. Make sure there are no scales on the silvery salmon skin – the fishmonger should have taken all of these off for you. If there are any left on there, scrape them with a blunt knife until they ping off. Make vertical slashes in the skin on both sides of the salmon from its back towards its tummy – about 2cm deep and at an angle, so you leave a flap of skin you can stuff your herbs under. Make about 6 slashes on each side of the fish. Sprinkle salt and pepper into each slash, then stuff with a pinch of your lemon-herb mix. Smooth the flaps down again and drizzle the fish all over with a light coating of olive oil. Lay it on top of your potatoes and fennel.

Take the leftover herb bunches and stuff them inside the belly cavity of the fish, then slice up one of the zested lemons and stuff these slices in there as well. Bake the fish in your screaming hot oven for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and cook for another 30 minutes.

To check the fish is cooked, take a clean skewer and push it into the deepest part of the fish, just behind the head. Count to 10, then carefully take the skewer out and hold it against your top lip. If it’s nice and warm, the fish is cooked. Squeeze the juice of your remaining lemon over the top, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve. 


Briar x

Rhubarb + Custard Tart


RhubarbWe’ve just spent a lovely and relaxing week holidaying at my parents house on the south coast of NSW (with a short visit to Canberra in between, more on that on my next blog post). One of the highlights was definitely enjoying my Mum’s fantastic cooking. Les is also a very keen gardener, so when she spotted this recipe in the latest Country Style magazine, it was a perfect excuse to use some of her abundant rhubarb supply in the garden. Here’s the delicious recipe:

Rhubarb Tart with Custard Serves 6
Ideally you want to time your custard to be ready just as the tart shell finishes blind baking, so the hot custard goes into the hot shell–this is how you ensure a crisp bottom of the tart.

1 kg rhubarb, cut to the width of tart tin
1 orange, rind finely grated, juiced
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
2 sheets of Pampas Puff Pastry
1/2 cup roasted pistachio kernels, to serve
Double cream or ice cream, to serve

1/2 cup pouring cream
1/2 cup caster sugar
6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 190°C. Line rectangular tart tin (my Mum used a slice tin which makes a slightly wider version) with pastry, pressing pastry in to corners, trim edges or leave for a rustic look. To blind bake pastry: line pastry case with baking paper and weight it down with pie weights. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sides are set. Remove pie weights and baking paper and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, place rhubarb, orange rind, juice and sugar in a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside to macerate.
To make custard, place cream in a bowl and whisk to very soft peaks. Set aside in fridge. Place sugar, egg yolks and cornflour in a separate bowl and whisk together until thick and pale. Place milk in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat until almost boiling. Pour into egg mixture whisking as you go. Return mixture to pan. Cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly. When custard starts to thicken, reduce heat to a medium-low and keep whisking until custard looks glossy and player, and start to pull away from edge a little. Remove from heat, fold through cream and pour into the hot tart case.

Reduce oven to 170°C. Arrange rhubarb in a line over custard. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until rhubarb is tender. Scatter with pistachios. Serve slices with double cream or ice cream. Delicious!

Briar x

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