Custard apple and lime drink

26 May 2015
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

Custard apple and lime drink

In autumn I have a slightly expensive habit, which is buying unusual fruit! I suppose if I didn’t live in a city with great markets and green grocers nearby, I’d have to find another pastime. Moving to the country is definitely tempting, but I think I’d find it too hard to turn my back on all the produce, restaurants and inspiring mix of cultures around us. Read the rest of this entry »

Italian chickpea soup

8 May 2015
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

Chickpea and pasta soup

I’m not one for splashing chicken stock around in the kitchen. I think it has its place in broth-style soups or in dishes that actually feature chicken, but I’ve always found its presence in vegetable risottos or vegetable soups (and in so, so many other recipes you read) just a little bit insulting! Like the poor old vegetables can’t stand up on their own. There are other ways of creating flavour and depth that are much more fresh and vibrant, whether that be for a paella, pumpkin risotto or cauliflower soup. Read the rest of this entry »

Stir-fried zucchini and seasonal greens with soybean paste

23 March 2015
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

We grew a great zucchini in our garden this year – as soon as I saw its first baby fruits in pre-flower stage, like long curved pencils drooping downwards, I knew I liked this fellow a lot! It’s an Italian heirloom called Tromboncino and it appealed because it could climb up a trellis, and also because regular zucchini hasn’t worked for me in recent years … Read the rest of this entry »

Sun-dried nectarines

26 February 2015
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

bowl of sun-dried nectarines

January had a very particular kind of feel for me. Lots and lots (and lots!) of hours were spent on the computer editing a cooking and gardening book. In between sections I was often wistfully staring out our back window into the garden, thinking, thinking, thinking … Read the rest of this entry »

Apricot pie

6 February 2015
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

Apricot pie

Yes, I’m banging on about apricots again. But this time it’s a little different – I didn’t go searching, ladder in tow, for an unloved tree in our neighbourhood, because we had apricots on OUR OWN TREE this year! Read the rest of this entry »

Gado gado with homemade sprouts

18 November 2014
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

gado gado

My five-year-old daughter surprised me the other day and asked for some sprouts in her kinder snack box. I looked at her and said, ‘What, do you mean plain?’ And she said ‘Yes – a container of sprouts, with a spoon please Mum.’ I almost said, ‘Are you sure?’ but stopped myself. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring soup with green garlic

12 November 2014
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

spring soup with green garlic, potato, broad beans and barley

I’ve been watching a bird make a nest in our lemon tree through our kitchen window. First I made sure it wasn’t a nasty Indian myna (it turned out to be a more benign but still imported suburban blackbird), then thought to myself, this is going to be good viewing – a touch of David Attenborough in our own backyard. Read the rest of this entry »

Two favourite pancakes

16 October 2014
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

walnut, honey and cinnamon pancakes

I have a friend who is fanatical about poaching eggs on the weekend. He has it down to an art form not using any mod cons like electric egg poachers (!) or cheating with plastic wrap (!!), but sometimes the eggs themselves conspire against him and don’t want to be poached in that pleasing neat sphere. Ah well, still he enjoys his eggs over the morning paper, then feels ready to get on with the rest of his weekend.

Making pancakes is my thing – it’s a box that needs to be ticked each weekend, a moment of slowing down and taking it easy that makes me feel like all is well with the world again after another busy week. Of course it’s also about enjoying something different for breakfast other than the usual run of weekday porridge, muesli and cereal that we scoff down in a hurry. I have a few different pancake and crepe recipes I rotate, and my husband has a few of his own too, although I have to say I hog the spotlight in this department, such is my enjoyment in the trio that is a bowl of batter, a frying pan and me! Read the rest of this entry »

Baked barley

15 September 2014
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

baked barley

My husband can make a pot of homemade baked beans with his eyes closed – the beans are soaked and blanched; mixed with onion, tomato, spices. After hours of cooking, the end result is tweaked with honey – white beans suspended in a rust-red liquor. These were a breakfast staple at our old cafe and my husband still tends towards making a mega load, filling lots of containers for the freezer. We pop them out every so often at weekends … Eating them on top of melted cheese toast, scattered with plenty of chopped parsley, takes me straight back to having our first baby. Those were hungry, busy, yet beautiful days, and I remember eating this for lunch, sometimes with one of us with our little girl asleep in the Baby Bjorn, the odd bean landing on her head! Read the rest of this entry »

Beetroot salad with spinach, egg and dukkah croutons

20 August 2014
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

Beetroot salad with spinach, egg and dukkah croutons

We got a bag of beautiful organic baby beetroots in our Friday box of fruit and vegetables, and I set to thinking about all the things I love to do with beetroots. Sri Lankan beetroot curry and borsht are on the top of my list. But when it’s a matter of gorgeous baby beets, I think it’s best to keep it simple and do as little as possible, in what has become known in my head as ‘Italian-style beetroot’. Read the rest of this entry »