Totally Driven by Food

Totally Driven by Food

Have you ever thought perhaps your life may be ‘driven by food’? Seriously, think about it. Be honest! I think mine is! There is the daily what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the snacks in between. Plus the ‘let’s go out to eat’, ‘Where can we eat?’ ‘Where haven’t we eaten?’ And now, of course, my work is based around food – so when I’m not eating it, I’m shooting food, styling food or blogging about food. Yep, I’m so totally ‘driven by food’ haha! If you follow my work both here and on social media, this will come as no surprise. I’m quite open about my growing love affair with food. But for me it’s more than just the need to eat. There’s something really special about this most basic human necessity, one that everyone from all over the world – regardless of race, gender or sex – has in common. I love the concept of ‘breaking bread,’ sharing food and connecting people. I also love exploring people’s culture through food. What fascinates me most is how different people from different parts of the world eat, how they eat and what they eat. Whenever I travel, one of the first things I think about is, you guessed it, food! Now, let me admit from the get go, I’m not known as the bravest of eaters. By this I mean I’m not known for seeking out and trying bizarre foods. It’s unlikely you will ever catch me eating eyeballs, fried tarantula or a century old egg! Bar that, I believe it’s an important part of my travels to...
Spinach and Beef Stew

Spinach and Beef Stew

This is one recipe I get asked about every time I post to my Instagram. As a mum, having leftovers is the best thing EVER… especially when it's one of your favourite dishes 🙌🏼 Yesterday's dinner plus more as leftovers today is this Lebanese Spinach stew that has a coriander & garlic base. Served with rice & a good squeeze of lemon 🍋 #lebanesefood #spinachstew A post shared by Lina — Sydney Foodie (@thelebaneseplate) on Nov 15, 2016 at 10:09pm PST It’s a popular Lebanese stew (also known as ‘yakhni’ یخنی) which is made with beef and spinach, with a coriander and garlic base. I really really love this dish! It’s one of my childhood favourites that my mother made often and probably one of the first real Lebanese dishes I ever started cooking for my own family. I know this dish can be made differently. There are a few different recipes out there. I’ve seen many who use a ground, minced beef but I much prefer to use cubed beef, which is how my mother made it. I buy a cheaper cut and use my pressure cooker to cook the meat in the stock prior to adding the spinach. I have found this not only reduces cooking time, but also leaves meat soft and tender, just the way I like it in a stew. I use baby spinach leaves and leave them whole in my version. You can use regular spinach, of course, by removing stems and cutting down leaves. You’ll also find my version is ‘soup-ier’ but the addition of rice when serving helps to soak up...
My take on Jack Stein’s Chocolate Pavé

My take on Jack Stein’s Chocolate Pavé

Many of us have probably grown up hearing the name Rick Stein and perhaps flicking through his many recipe books. I would say he’s probably one of the first TV chefs I remember watching.  I love his passion for food and now as an adult (with a tad more food knowledge) I really appreciate and respect his simple style of cooking and his ‘paddock to plate’ philosophy. It’s great to now see one of his sons walking in his footsteps and working to keep his dad’s legacy alive. I’m not sure how many of you already know that his son Jack Stein is now on the TV cooking scene. Jack, who in recent years became executive chef directing the family’s nine restaurants in the UK, has his first very own TV series called Born to Cook: Jack Stein Down Under which is airing on Food Network over the next two weeks. I’m really looking forward to seeing this series, especially after watching him in a couple of episodes of his dad’s shows. When I recently read an article about the Born to Cook series, which explores the produce of the Margaret River region in South Western Australia, I did some foraging to find out more. I came across a number of his recipes and immediately I was drawn to his Chocolate Pavé with cherries recipe! Chocolate and cherries are one of my favourite dessert combos. Fresh cherries especially! But, unfortunately cherries are not in season at the moment (Jack filmed it last November) so instead I decided to take Jack’s recipe and put my own take on it, just in time for me to sit down and enjoy his...
EID Al-Fitr — Let’s Celebrate!

EID Al-Fitr — Let’s Celebrate!

Ramadan is over for another year. And Eid Al-Fitr is just a couple of days away. Eid Al-Fitr translates to ‘celebration or festival of breaking fast’ which you guessed it, is the celebration that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It’s a really special time of year. Perhaps a Muslim equivalent to having Christmas. For so many the day begins at local mosques with a prayer service and the act of alms-giving takes place. The rest of the day is then spent gathering to celebrate with family and friends. Every year at this time I try and make something sweet to celebrate the day because, let’s be honest, when we gather we spend the WHOLE. ENTIRE. TIME. Eating! Last year I made a Gingerbread Mosque (you can find the recipe via SBS Food here). The kids loved making this, in fact we made it a few times. This year I got a bit more ambitious and thought I would make a Mosque Cake. Something I had not tried before. Like usual I make big plans in my head. I visualise it. Decide on what’s needed & whilst in my head it all seems so easy peasy! I was planning on making all these cakes that I would layer and decorate to create this Mosque Cake creation. Unfortunately time has not been my friend (seriously, where has time disappeared this year!?) so I decided to go down the easy road. Instead I bought pre-made rectangle vanilla sponge slabs for the mosque and found a pack of round brioche buns that I thought would be perfect for the minaret. All...
RAMADAN WEEK 4 The Turning Point

RAMADAN WEEK 4 The Turning Point

  We’ve reached the final week of the fasting month of Ramadan. And whilst it always feels like it comes and goes so quickly, there are plenty of times when it feels like you’ve been fasting forever. I’m not sure about you, but I always find I get that ‘run down’ feeling at week 3.  I’m sure most mothers of young kids, especially, have thought this when trying to stay on top of work commitments, on top of household chores, kid’s schooling, sports, other extra curricular activities and of course having a wholesome meal ready for iftar! It’s not easy, I know! On these days perspective must come to play. Perspective is everything when fasting. Perspective of what we have and what we don’t. What we choose to do and what we have to do. What we are exposed to and what we are protected from. Perspective reminds us of what we so often take for granted. You know the simple, negligible stuff that we don’t think twice about. Stuff that so many others spend their life praying for – food, clean drinking water, health, shelter, safety. Perspective keeps us in remembrance of the less fortunate. Those who are forced to fast all year round because that’s the world they live in – whether it be due to poverty, war or famine. When we are at our worst we need to remember these people and be grateful for how easy we have it.  This realisation, this gratitude I find is the turning point of the month. The tough job, though, is to keep it in mind beyond the month of fasting. ...
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