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 »

Chilaquiles

29 July 2014
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

Chilaquiles

Working on an introduction to a Mexican cookbook a few months ago has sent me off on a new cooking adventure. The world of Mexican food is big and there’s a lot to cover, and the cookbooks I now have in my collection are hardcore – full of exotic, hard-to-come-by ingredients and strict cooking techniques. Mexican cuisine has always seemed interesting, but also a bit difficult and daunting to really do properly – so much easier for me to ramble into Asia, the Middle East, Europe, even Africa, for endless inspiration … But slowly I’m wrapping my head around Mexican food, cooking some great new things. I’ve realised I’m not just adding a new dish to my big list of favourite things to cook, but a whole new category. It’s been so exciting and I’m not nearly done yet. Read the rest of this entry »

Easy lime (or lemon) ice-cream

22 April 2014
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

lime ice-cream

Lime season should be summer, you’d think. Then the weather feels perfect for lime-spiked drinks on ice and Asian salads, but it’s not until a few months later that limes really come into their own. Our backyard lime tree, a dwarf Tahitian, starts fruiting around the end of March. When the limes turn from deep green to a slightly more yellow, ‘limey’ colour, and they yield a little when squeezed, it’s time to start picking. Unlike lemon trees that keep giving for much of the year, limes are a special autumn treat. Read the rest of this entry »

Smashed cucumber salad

27 March 2014
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

smashed cucumber salad

My vegetable garden seems to have a mind of its own. This summer it decided that tomatoes and basil would not be the frontrunners. Instead it’s been the cucumbers and spring onions, and just when I was about to give up on them, our super slow beans finally started producing. While technically this is my garden, I feel like I’m really just along for the ride and am happy with any result – as long as there is one! Read the rest of this entry »

Pumpkin and quinoa patties

27 February 2014
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts
Illustrations by Katherine Bird

Smoking trout by Katherine Bird

Fritters and patties are big at home right now. It seems a quirky developmental stage our children go through; a unique thing that happens in our house like bum-shuffle crawling and oh-so-late walking! (Our little boy is 20 months old and has just taken a few steps! But he generally prefers to scoot about on his bottom, wearing all his pants to threads.) Read the rest of this entry »

Vietnamese pancakes

23 January 2014
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

Vietnamese pancakes

My four-year old daughter is learning the sounds that letters make. L – luh – is for ladybird. D – duh – is for dad. V – vuh – is for Vietnamese pancakes! I grinned from ear to ear when she said this. I love that she worked it out by herself, but even more so that she’s as enthusiastic as her slightly nutty mother for this delicious meal that we’ve started eating at home. Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas pudding

14 December 2013
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

two christmas puddings

I adored my nana’s Christmas cake and pudding. A few days before Christmas her cake sat upon our sideboard wrapped in a fancy red tinsel cuff, my brother and I just busting to eat a piece. Her pudding was not on display but we knew it was coming … With custard and thick cream after our Christmas lunch, it was almost an otherworld experience. I remember my brother and I had three helpings once – and nana’s pudding didn’t even have money in it!  Read the rest of this entry »

Parsnip and orange pudding

19 September 2013
Words and photos by Rachel Pitts

parsnip pudding

One of my most cherished cookbooks is a small beige hardback called German Cooking. I love its browned pages with marks and fingerprints, the lack of photos, and the not very inventive recipe titles that hail from an era of plain speaking. I even love the not very helpful index, which means that to find anything you have to go through recipe by recipe, scanning the ingredients like hunting for treasure. Read the rest of this entry »