Easy Brazilian cheese bread (Pao de Queijo)

Easy Brazilian cheese bread (Pao de Queijo)

JD’s version of another wonderful easy recipe from a rock star of a food photographer, my idol Katie Quinn Davies of What Katie Ate.  The main and most important ingredient is tapioca starch which you can easily find in Asian stores. If you want to make gluten-free cheese bread, you’d love Katie’s Pao de queijo recipe!

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Sweet Potato and Fennel Gratin

Sweet potato and fennel gratin

The Food Network Channel can be addictive. It’s a good thing I don’t have a television set! I never knew who Ina Garten was until I saw The Barefoot Contessa on TV while housesitting for friends in Portland, Oregon.

Ina’s potato-fennel gratin stuck to mind because it was so easy to make. You can prepare it ahead of time, keep it in the fridge then bake it when you’re ready. Which was exactly what I did on several occasions. I adapted her recipe and used what was available: parsnip instead of fennel and for this recipe, sweet potato instead of plain boring potato. The result is that extra sweetness that makes this an ideal companion to the roast turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Not that we celebrate Thanksgiving here in Kiwiland. But there is a lot to be thankful for. Every day that we are alive should be Thanksgiving Day.

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Portobello mushroom burger with caramelized onions

Portobello mushroom burger with caramelized onions

One of the joys of grocery-shopping in America was finding the prices of commodities to be so low compared to New Zealand’s. Take mushrooms for example. It is twice as much here (NZ) if not more. So imagine my delight whenever I saw my favorite mushrooms in the fresh produce section of supermarkets in Portland (seems like ages ago now!)

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Gooey eggplant lasagna with chickpea polenta

Eggpant lasagna

Following last week’s survival kit disaster, I found a good use for one of the rusty cans of chickpeas. If you’ve been following my blog back from the time I made a scandalous confession, you know that I drool over Katie Quinn Davies‘ food photography. I also drool over her recipes. She is a rockstar both as a food photographer and as a recipe developer. [Read more…]

Can’t get enough mushrooms

Baked portobello mushrooms topped with feta, walnuts, sour cream, pesto, tomatoes, mint leaves
Baked portobello mushrooms topped with feta, walnuts, sour cream, pesto, tomatoes, mint leaves

MUSHROOMS AGAIN? I know! I just posted a mushroom recipe two weeks ago. This is the same recipe. Except that it got fancier with the added walnuts and mint leaves and more pesto. The nuts made a lot of difference. Walnuts and mushrooms are like husband and wife. They are meant to be together.

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Can’t get enough tofu

Five spice tofu with sweet and spicy sauce
Five spice tofu with sweet chili sauce
Silken tofu with tapioca pearls and brown sugar syrup
Silken tofu with tapioca pearls and brown sugar syrup

TWO TOFU RECIPES! Who likes tofu as much as I do? Like brussels sprouts, mushrooms and chicken livers (to name a few), you either love tofu or hate it. People who don’t like tofu don’t like its texture and its taste (or lack of it). But the trick is always in what you mix with it.

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Baked portobello mushrooms with herbed tomatoes, sour cream, feta and parmesan

Baked mushrooms with herbed tomatoes and sour cream
Baked mushrooms with herbed tomatoes and sour cream

IT’S ONE OF THOSE DAYS when an inspiration struck and you knew you just have to do it. Ahem, actually I was just cleaning out my fridge before stuff go beyond their expiration date.

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Minted pea custard with kawakawa

Pea custard with Kawakawa
Pea custard with Kawakawa

KAWAKAWA is my new best friend in the kitchen. After the discovery of this super plant in my garden, I have been experimenting with kawakawa. I mix it with anything I cook, bake or drink. I also challenged a fellow food blogger from the opposite side of the world (Seattle WA), lovely Seana of CottageGroveHouse.com, to a ‘cook-off’. Well, it’s not really a cook-off since we’re not competing at all. We wanted to present two dishes using the same main ingredient – PEAS, where she would use mint while I would use kawakawa.

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Making authentic vegetable tempura – the Wabi-sabi way

Vegetable tempura
Vegetable tempura

WABI-SABI is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay. To discover wabi-sabi is to see the singular beauty in something that may first look decrepit and ugly. ~ Wabi-sabi: The Art of Imperfection.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term that has no direct English translation. It is a concept, an ideal, a philosophy, an art. Try asking a Japanese about ‘wabi-sabi’ and they would know instantly what it is but would also tell you that it is difficult to explain. Not that I asked my Japanese friend Mari to explain what ‘wabi-sabi’ is (She knows it is about Japanese art, which is right too.) I asked her more about how to cook tempura the right way. But I’ll get to that later. This blog is, after all, a food photography blog. I picked up the wabi-sabi wisdom from my pottery class instructor. I told her I wanted to make imperfect and odd-shaped props for food photography. She explained the concept of Wabi-sabi and that got me thinking about how it can also be applied to food, photography and everyday life. It is about appreciating things that are simple and unpretentious. It is about embracing happy accidents. It strikes a chord with me. My American boyfriend will agree. I want to learn more about wabi-sabi. [Read more…]