makdous and filling

makdous recipe

If I was told I had to ditch my uni job and enter full time work immediately, and that I could have any job I wanted, I’d probably choose a food magazine job – like a test kitchen chef or stylist (and I’ll attempt to fill in the photographer’s job when they’re on sick leave, too ;) ) I mean it’s about time one of our food mags brought an authentic middle-eastern blogger into their kitchen to make things not often made… Oh when will we be recognised?! ;)

makdous jar

huh? what’s makdous? click the pic above find out! :)

Well… I mention this as I’ve been itching to try out a couple of things: making magdous & making a Syrian breakfast spread to photograph. Since I haven’t picked up my camera properly for many months now, I thought to combine the two opportunities and give my hand a go at styling and photographing – as though I was doing it for delicious. or Gourmet Traveller.

a typical syrian breakfast spread

…a typical Syrian breakfast spread… and that magazine shot I was aiming for ;)

So the story begins back in June of 2011 when my grandma who’d come all the way from Syria took me through the steps of making magdous. I captured her step by step technique and posted it here, and since then I’ve had so many messages & comments from people who’ve given it a go. (If this is your first time, I’d use that post for reference as my post below is more of a reflection of how I went making them alone.)

Naturally, I felt like it was time I gave it a go myself – to see if I could practice what I preached and if my grandma’s recipe really was as amazing as I’d made it out to be. And of course, over 4 years on, I’d developed a gnarling craving myself.

So, without further ado, here’s how I went solo…

makdous and filling

…makdous & its filling spiced with paprika, drizzled with olive oil & served as a dip with pita bread…

Yields: 12


12 small eggplants

2 large red capsicums (bell peppers)

100g walnuts

2 -3 cloves garlic

~ 3/4 cup salt

~ 800mL olive oil


Begin by lining a saucepan with a tea towel or cotton cloth.

Pop your eggplants into the saucepan and wrap the cloth around them.

eggplants in saucepan

Add just enough water to immerse them – do not overfill as water may spill out while cooking.

Add a plate/small lid on top of the eggplants, enough to cover the entire pot. Bring the water to a boil then add a weight (mine was a smaller saucepan with filled with water; a heavy marble mortar could do the trick, too).

steps 2 and 3

Cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes, or until all eggplants are soft. (Personal note: some of my eggplants were still hard at 30 minutes, so I returned the saucepan for another 10. During cooking, you should keep a close eye on the saucepan as the water level will most likely rise (softer eggplants, more of your weight in the water = water displacement!) You may need to scoop some out and keep your weight in check to make sure it doesn’t move/fall.)

Once ready, drain from the water and leave eggplants aside to cool.

cooked eggplants

Once cooled, remove the green leaves from the tops of the eggplants.

Prepare a plate of salt for dipping. Beside it, line a sieve with a tea towel/cotton material.

making makdous

When the eggplants have cooled, cut a small slit along the centre (vertically).

Push through your index finger and rip any seeds/tissue (inner flesh) so as to make space for the stuffing to come later.

Dip your finger in the salt and spread along the slit (inside and out).

Dip the top of the eggplant in the salt and place it in the lined sieve.

Repeat this for all the eggplants. Be generous to avoid spoiling your eggplants!

Fold over corners of the tea towel/cloth in to cover the eggplants. Place the sieve on top of a plate. Place another plate on top of the eggplants (to act as a platform), and place a heavy weight on top.

draining the eggplants with weights

Here you’ve created a pressurised draining method to get all the water out of the eggplants.

Leave aside for at least 3 hours. You can leave these overnight so long they stay away from direct sunlight and the fridge! (Personal note: I didn’t stuff mine until 3 days later, so after the first night I put them in the fridge).

In the meantime, prepare the stuffing by adding chunks of a red capsicum into a food processor and lightly pulse with garlic cloves until finely chopped but not pasty/creamy.

Drain the excess water from the capsicum through a fine sieve pressing down with a spoon, or drain with cloth, you really want it as dry can be. Use your hands & paper towels to squeeze out any excess water.

eggplant stuffing

Place your filling in a bowl. Add finely diced walnuts and a pinch of salt. Mix, cover and set aside to allow the garlic to infuse.

making makdous steps 10-14

Remove the weight and check on your eggplants – now they should be ready to stuff.

Find the slit but be careful not to rip it any bigger than what it is already.

Stuff eggplants, using your finger to push the stuffing out of the way (left and right) so as to be able to fit in more. It should reach just about the size it was originally! Repeat until finished.

(Personal note: The original recipe calls for the same sieve to be lined with a dry tea towel. Once stuffed, place eggplants inside, wrap, add weights, and let drain for another 2-3 hours max before transferring to a jar. Now I forgot to pressurise my eggplants a final time, but they worked out anyway. Phew.)

Add eggplants into a jar that will cosily accommodate them. You want to stack the eggplants so they’re squashed up a little against each other and not swimming solo in oil.

Once filled, add olive oil to the jar and place in a cool, dark corner in the pantry without closing its lid. In fact, put the lid on the jar upside down!

(Personal note: back in 2011 grandma told me a reaction will take place which will cause the oil to spill over if the lid is on tightly. I managed to ignore her advise and close the lid of the jar. And sure enough within 2 days I had a pool of oil all over my pantry shelf. Put your jar in a bowl first, and check up on your magdous daily. The spill also could have happened to me because I didn’t give the eggplants that final pressurised drain.)

Now relax for a week and let the flavours infuse. Then pick up a bag of Lebanese bread as magdous are “mashed open” with it and eaten with the bread and a hot cuppa tea.

mashing open a makdous

…mashing open and enjoying a makdous…

No waste: once empty, use the oil to add an incredible tangy flavour to your other dishes when cooking. Spice left over filling with paprika, drizzle with oil and serve as a dip with pita bread.

Allergy? My partner can’t have walnuts (or pecans), so I split the stuffing and used almonds instead for his. I infused them in a separate container. If you’re allergic to walnuts but can have pecans, they’re the next best thing to use.

So… will you be brave and give these cured eggplants a go?


Passionfruit Cheesecake

no-cream, no-egg baked cheesecake

Lately, I’ve noticed my shopping habits have changed. Since a young child, I maintained the idea of “more value for money” means you’re a better shopper. I remember seeing this in my mum, too. And I remember when she also started changing her ideas on this.

When everyone was living at home, our family was pretty big, so the concept worked to a degree. But there were just some things that fell out of the rule. The most prominent example to memory is the Kraft jar of cream cheese my mum bought for us in her weekly shopping. She used to buy the larger sized jar, because we ate most of it throughout the week, and bonus: it was more value for money. Then one day we kind of all stopped. Like our tastebuds and stomachs were no longer into the creamy, fatty delight that we enjoyed on toast.

So mum had to throw out the rest of the jar – she wasn’t going to sport a mouldy jar of cheese in the fridge, after all. A few weeks later, the same would happen. And again, and again, until she decided to purchase the smaller jar, although more expensive than the bigger jar!

Mum eventually stopped buying cream cheese all together; but moving into my own place, time proved I was to do the same as her. With everything.  Yet sometimes our purchases are beyond our control – like the size of a head of lettuce, or the smallest package of something still too large. But a smart shopper, I figure now, is the one that ends up using everything they buy, because although they paid more per quota at the end of the shop, they didn’t pay more for things they threw out at the end of the week.

Mini Passionfruit Cheesecake

So why do I mention all of this? Because last week I decided I was going to buy cream cheese to make cheesecake… And most recipes call for 1.5 or 2 packets of the stuff, and some cream, too. But I wasn’t taking any of it. I refuse to throw out left over cream and cheesecake after all my hard work!

And so out of determination came this delicious recipe. An “eggless & creamless” cheesecake – which if I can add, was made with a spare knob of butter and a packet of biscuits waiting around in my pantry!

Passionfruit Cheesecake

Yields: about 14 muffin-sized cheesecakes (I did 12 muffin sized, and one 10cm tin sized)


recipe for 9-inch biscuit base (about 1pkt plain biscuits and 100g melted butter)

1 pkt cream cheese (250g) softened to room temperature

1/2 can condensed milk (just under 200g)

170g can passionfruit pulp, drained with 3tbs juice reserved

1 tbs cornflour



Line muffin tray with 12 paper cases and set aside.

Prepare biscuit base by pulsing biscuits and melted butter in food processor.

Place heaped tablespoon into each case and press firmly with the bottom of a glass.

Place in the fridge for 10-15mins while you prepare filling.

At this point, preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C if fan forced.

To prepare filling, lightly pulse cream cheese, condensed milk and passionfruit pulp in food processor (or whisk together with stand mixer whisk attachment).

Dissolve the cornflour in 3 tbs of the reserved passionfruit juice and stir through cheesecake mixture.

Evenly divide mixture into prepared cases (I made an extra cheesecake in a 10cm fluted pan with remaining biscuit base and filling).

Bake, one tray at a time, for about 12 minutes, until cheesecakes are slightly puffed and risen.

Turn off oven and leave door ajar for 15 minutes before removing cheesecakes.

Cool to room temperature, then place in fridge to cool completely.

Dust with icing sugar and serve with your favourite berries.

Orange Poppyseed Cake

orange poppyseed cake & caramel sauce

I first tried this cake when my sister made it for the family a few years back. We’d only ever really baked vanilla cakes with a brush of orange rind and a sprinkle of coconut for added flavour. This was a fresh take on the usual and we instantly fell in love with it.

Orange Poppyseed Cake

Took this one to a bake sale to fundraise for refugees :)

Fast forward some years to a spring afternoon, it was a warm day but breezy enough to have a nice cuppa with some cake. I still remember our small gathering and our conversations of work, uni, and politics. Since then, this recipe became my home’s staple cake and started to embody so many raw emotions. As my place fills with the wondrous scent of orange and caramel, it weaves through feelings of joy, like that of an expecting mother, feelings of sadness, like a farewell hug and a “see you later”. It reminds me of my sister, half a globe away. It reminds me of the day I met my partner. And it usually signals a “let’s make up” or “welcome home” reconnection.

So who ever said “you can’t eat your cake and have it too” needs to dig in and just bake another. Because it’s well worth it.

Orange Poppyseed Cake

Yields: one 8 inch cake (serves 8-10)



1/3 cup (80g) butter, melted

1 cup caster sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

3 tbs poppyseeds

1/3 cup milk

juice of 1 medium orange

finely grated orange rind, from one orange

Caramel Sauce

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

4 tbs (57g) butter

1/2 cup cream (thickened/single)

1 tbs vanilla

pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 19cm square cake pan, or an 8 inch round pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.

Place butter, orange rind, sugar, eggs, flour, poppyseeds, milk and orange juice in a large bowl. Stir to combine, until no lumps are left.

Pour the mixture into baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean (cover cake loosely with foil if over-browning during cooking).

Remove from oven. Stand cake in pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, place a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat and add all ingredients at once.

Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes.

Turn off the heat and pour into a small milk mug.

Once cake is at room temperature, poke with a skewer (all over the top), and pour remaining hot caramel sauce onto cake. Let absorb. Repeat if desired.

Garnish with fresh orange slices and white chocolate shards if desired.

Serve with caramel sauce so caramel lovers can add more to their piece!

lemon coconut baked cheesecake

coconut lemon cheesecake

Who could ever forget that pesky tune? …Is life in plastic truly fantastic?

Sometimes I stop and ponder why when we cook and bake we demand perfection. How often do you do that? I baked a cheesecake last week. Not any cheesecake… a superbly cracked all the way down cheesecake!

It wasn’t a case of ‘bad beginner’s luck’. I have baked uncracked cheesecakes before – but I do take the blame for all the cracking. It was in and out of the oven before you could say “what’s that amazing smell?” And without proper cooling down time, cracks were aplenty.

It made me reconsider whether I should take the cheesecake to a dinner I was invited to… and whether I should be posting it here at all. I figured we’ll never truly appreciate perfection without embracing imperfection. And I mean smashingly tasty imperfections.

Although I see the cracks as an added personality to the cheesecake, if you should make this and desire no cracks, let it set with the oven door ajar, then cool out on a bench to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 4 hours to enhance the flavours.

lemon coconut cheesecake

the ‘coconut’ part of this cheesecake is optional

Serves: 8-10



175g plain biscuits

130g butter, melted

1/4 cup desiccated coconut (optional)


500g cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup white sugar

2 tsp vanilla essence

3 XL eggs, separated (or 4 smaller, separated)

1/2 cup thickened cream

Lemon flavour:

rind of 1 lemon, and its juice OR

1/2 batch of this lemon curd recipe

Coconut – optional, but feel free to add another 1/4 cup into the filling for added flavour


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (160 fan forced) and spray 20cm spring form pan.

Place the biscuits in a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the butter and process until well combined. Press the biscuit mixture over the inside of the greased pan to evenly cover the base and come 2/3 of the way up the sides. Sprinkle 1/4 cup coconut on base and place in the fridge while making the filling.

biscuit base

To make the filling, use electric beaters to beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the lemon rind & lemon juice (if using), egg yolks and cream. Beat until well combined and the mixture is light and fluffy.

batch of filling

Use clean beaters to whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

whipped egg whites

Add to the cream cheese mixture and fold in the same direction (eg. clockwise) until combined. Do not overmix, do not mix in various directions to keep air in the whites.


If using lemon curd, pour the mixture into prepared pan and dollop the curd and use a skewer to swirl through the cheesecake filling.

lemon curd dolloped lemon curd swirled

 Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until golden and just set in the centre. Turn oven off and keep door slightly open to allow it to set further, about 15mins. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.


Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours – overnight to firm. Remove from the fridge 10 minutes before serving, and dig in!

Grape and Greens Summer Salad

‘grape and greens’ summer salad

Time’s flying by so quickly, and with less than a month until February is finished, summer still feels far from leaving us here Down Under. The weather here is funny: it’s like the patchwork of a crooked sewer, where we experience all four seasons in just one day!

From blazing hot rays through our burnt ozone, to spring time breezes, to gusty autumn winds, and finally some rain and hail (yes, literally, hail!)

For those summer moments though, enjoy this sweet and tangy grape salad… I love fruit in my salad because it gives a burst of sweetness in every other bite! This is something not often palatable in the Middle East however. I’m talking Watermelon Feta, Mango and Chicken, Fig and Blue Cheese… You see where I’m going? Bon appétit :)

Grape and Greens Summer SaladServes: 4-6


2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves

1/4 iceberg lettuce, roughly diced

50g greek style feta cheese, diced into small cubes

1/3 cup canned corn kernels, washed

2 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled and diced

1 cup red seedless grapes, sliced in half

dressing of your choice*


Toss all the ingredients into a large bowl.

Dress with your favourite dressing – mine personally, a few tbs of olive oil, a pinch of dried mint, and a small dash of balsamic vinegar.

Toss to coat, and enjoy!

chicken pad thai

‘one pot’ chicken pad thai

There was a Thai restaurant near my uni which I used to enjoy eating at from time to time. Their Pad Thai in particular was the dish I enjoyed most, with requested peanut sauce on top (unconventional, but delicious!)

I recreated the dish once before with a store-bought sauce. A few years have passed before the craving has found its way back into my palette and I’ve had the chance to make it from scratch once and for all.

Atop the ‘made from scratch’ achievement, I also have the ‘one pot’ achievement for this recipe. Yay for 2 hypothetical medals! ;) I am in a 2 person household, with no kids, and no major commitments but the thought of having to pack extra dishes in the dishwasher is dreadful… Imagine the scrapbooking I could be doing in all that time (hahaha :) )

To my sweet sis, with a toddler, who loves one-pot dishes, and inspired this Pad Thai…

chicken pad thai

Serves: 4


280g – 300g Pad Thai rice noodles (or enough for 4)

1 cup – 1.5 cups of chicken (breast or thigh) diced into strips/large pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp cornstarch

2 tbs soy sauce (I used Worcestershire sauce)

3 cups fresh bean sprouts

2 spring onions, sliced

1/3 cup fresh coriander, chopped

1/3 cup roughly chopped peanuts

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, to serve, optional

1/2 cup chicken stock, if necessary (see method)

Pad Thai Sauce (see tip at end of recipe)

3/4 tbs Tamarind concentrate

2 tbs fish sauce

1 tsp chilli flakes/sauce

3 tbs brown sugar

chicken pad thai


  1. Bring a large multi-purpose frypan/wok of water to a boil and dunk in rice noodles. Turn down the heat to low and cook for a few minutes until softened but still slightly crunchy. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  2. Make the Pad Thai sauce by combining sauce ingredients together in a cup. Stir well to dissolve tamarind and brown sugar, and set aside.
  3. Place chicken slices in a small bowl. Stir together the marinade of cornstarch and soy sauce and pour over chicken. Stir well and set aside.
  4. Warm up the same frypan/wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbs peanut oil plus garlic and chilli, if using. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds). Add marinated chicken. If wok/pan becomes dry, add a little chicken stock, 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, to keep the chicken frying nicely, 5-7 minutes, until cooked is cooked (I did not need to do this).
  5. Add the noodles, and pour the Pad Thai sauce over. Use a gentle “lift and turn” method to fry noodles. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. If you find your wok/frying pan too dry, push noodles aside and add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the bean sprouts and and continue frying 1 more minute, or until noodles are cooked. Noodles are done to perfection when they are no longer “hard” or crunchy, but chewy-sticky wonderful.
  7. Lift noodles onto a serving plate. Top with generous amounts of fresh coriander, spring onion, and peanuts. Add fresh lemon/lime wedges to squeeze over each portion, and serve!

Pad Thai Tip: For even more flavour, I doubled the batch of the pad Thai sauce. Then, as I’m stir-frying the noodles, I’ll add more sauce until I’m happy with the taste. Any leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.


Baked bread rolls

beehive stuffed bread rolls

[repost with revised recipe]

Aahh… the golden beehive in a tray. This heart-warming carby goodness is all the craze in the middle east, especially among my Saudi (and Algerian) friends. Whenever a lady comes to a potluck party with a tray of these, the entire room turns to her and takes a big sniff in… in attempt to have the biggest share of the sweet suckle and tender smell freshly baked hives emanate. Usually portions are one bun per person. Ha, what a joke! But then again, a baking tray can only fit so many buns, right?

Undoubtedly, each woman at the party sneaks two onto her plate, and maybe one in the mouth when no one is looking… diet? What diet? I’ll start that tomorrow (because you don’t go to potlucks everyday, now do you?!) Then come the ladies that missed out, wishing under their breaths that there had been a second tray, and gently cussing the ladies that got 3.

Behive stuffed bread rolls

I’m not overreacting here. The buns are really that good, and if you don’t believe me, you’ll just have to try them for yourself with a cuppa!

The dough recipe I use here is from an old housewife, and good friend. She, of course, does not use measurements precisely, but a dough is a dough, and if you’re a good baker, you will be able to make this dough beautifully. Feel free to use a milk bread dough recipe if you’re more comfortable with that.

Behive stuffed bread rolls

Yields: one 12-inch tray


4 cup plain flour

2 handfuls of powdered milk

1 to 2 cups warm water

2 tbs instant yeast

3 tbs sugar

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup flavourless oil

1/2 tsp honey + water to loosen

1 small egg for an egg wash

1 x 250g tub of cream cheese (or your fave filling)

black seeds (Nigella Sativa) or sesame seeds to decorate


Combine the flour, salt, sugar, milk powder and instant yeast in a large bowl.

Make a well in the centre and add 1 cup water and oil. Combine, adding more water until dough comes together.

Knead with a dough hook (or by hand) until the dough is smooth, soft and elastic.

Oil and allow to rise, covered, for 1 hour.

Split the dough into large walnut sized segments, roll into a ball and flatten slightly.

Place a teaspoon of cream cheese in the centre and pinch dough together to form a ball. Roll between your palms to smooth out the surface. Repeat for remaining dough.

Bread rolls ready to be baked

Arrange stuffed buns in a greased 12-inch baking tray, about a centimetre (1/2 inch) apart.

Brush buns with an egg wash and decorate with sesame/black seeds.

Allow to rise, covered, for another 30 mins – 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (180 fan). Bake buns on the middle rack until golden brown.

Baked bread rolls

In a small dish, drizzle the honey, adding a few drops of water to loosen.

When the buns are ready and still hot, brush over the honey mixture, serve warm from the oven with a cuppa! :)

Polenta Fish and Chips

polenta fish n chips with tartare sauce

Being jet lagged was a classic. Waking up at 2am and sleeping from lunch time til the stars shine. It took a good week to readjust to the climate Down Under after visiting the two Holy Mosques in Saudi for my first pilgrimage ever :)

I had some preconceptions of what the place will be like, and how the people will behave, but despite all my mental preparation the experience was surreal and beyond expectations.

Photo's courtesy of my partner's friends :)

Photo’s courtesy of my partner’s friends :)


You’ve probably heard about “Hajj” – you know, that ritual where 2 million+ Muslims flock to the lands of Makkah in search of soul, faith, redemption. During the ritual itself, the men there dress in two white cloths symbolising two things: their burial cloths, and equality among each other… you could literally be walking next to a millionaire, orphan, or CEO and wouldn’t know it. Because the two of you have brought yourself back to the very basics of human life and the encompassing ideals of “humanity”.

Women cover as Muslim women generally do – wherever you look you cannot judge or compare as women viciously do. You build a kind of self-love because you forget what it feels like to see “the ideal [photoshopped] body image” plastered over billboards that reminds you of everything your body is not.

There, strange things happen. You meet people who don’t speak your language – yet you share lollies and smiles and maybe a goodbye hug. You hussle at the markets and you find yourself blabbering your summarised life story that you’ve craftily learnt to repeat to shop owners and other shoppers you meet.

When your soul searching journey is over and it’s time to head home, you realise how much you’ll miss the place (because bias-ly(?), your origins are from a country so similar!) Then you hit the sands of Down Under and smell the heat of a burnt through ozone layer and good ol’ humidity. Amalgamated with the smell of used canola oil and a freshly fried batch of fish’n’chips.

Polenta Fish and Chips

Only this time, it’s spruced up with a twist on the batter: polenta instead of breadcrumbs. And homemade tartare sauce.


Serves: 4


1 cup polenta

1 egg

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsps finely grated lemon rind

4 firm white fish fillets (about 150g each – I just used Basa)

1 tbs lemon juice

Canola or rice bran oil, to fry (or any oil you like to fry in)

Potato chips, to serve

Tartare Sauce:

1/2 cup quality whole-egg mayonnaise

1 tsp finely grated lemon rind

1 tsp finely chopped capers

2 gherkins, finely chopped

1 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves



First make your sauce:

Place mayonnaise, lemon rind, capers, gherkins and parsley in a small bowl. Season. Stir until well combined and refrigerate.

Tartare Sauce

Next, combine polenta, garlic powder and lemon rind in a plate; season with salt and pepper.

Whisk egg in a shallow bowl.

Dip 1 piece of fish in egg. Coat in polenta mixture. Place on a plate.

Repeat with remaining fish. I cut 3 of my fillets into cocktail sized bites for the kids.

Refrigerate fish for 10 minutes.

polenta fish (pre-cooked)

Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook fish, in batches, for 3 to 4 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

Serve with salad, tartare sauce and chips.

Polenta Fish, Chips, Tartare Sauce

honey teriyaki drumsticks

honey teriyaki drummies & roast potatoes

You need to post more often[1].

Days and days do go by so quickly. Time and time does fly by so swiftly.

Minutes turn to hours to days to weeks to months. I last posted 8 months ago. So much passed since then – your recipes filled my inbox, my blog remained in a subtle hibernation, with the scarce WordPress notification downloading onto my app.

How do you wrap up eight whole months into a few short sentences, to perhaps try and justify your absence from something you once couldn’t abstain from for a day? Maybe you don’t. In fact, you probably just say a big bang hello and I’ve re-arrived at the party. And I brought some drummies and desirees along with.

roasted desiree  potatoes

But at the party my body of experiences doesn’t hold back. I tell you everything that happened in the 8 months I was gone.

From graduating university, to taking a semester’s break off work, to moving into an adorable townhouse and facing the reality of independent living with a loving partner, while missing the warmth of family back home.

But I have my own kitchen now.

Not that I hadn’t claimed the old one mine anyway.

I can cook whatever on earth I want to cook.

But on some days I don’t even want to cook.

That’s why I plan for leftovers from time to time.

Lie – I don’t plan it, I’m only feeding two mouths, yet only have experience cooking for 6.


Okay, enough. It’s a funny experience writing a blog post again after so long. I hope my readers are reading, and my blogging friends still around because I do plan on sticking around this time…


Drummies are on me. And the Desirees.

 honey teriyaki drumsticks

Serves: 4


8 chicken drumsticks, skins on

For the marinade: 
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs honey
2 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 onion, minced
1 tsp peanut oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbs parsley, chopped


For the potatoes:
6 red and 6 white desiree potatoes
2 cloves garlic, skin on, halved
a pinch of sea salt
a pinch of dried thyme
a drizzle of olive oil



Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl with chicken drumsticks.
Marinate for 1 hour (up to ‘overnight’).
Arrange drumsticks in a flameproof baking tray and bake, uncovered, in 190 deg C preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain marinade through fine seive and place in a saucepan on low flame until reduced to 1/2 the quantity (to form a glaze).
Glaze drumsticks by brushing all sides and return to bake for a further 20 minutes or until juices run clear.
Place pan on stovetop to evaporate any excess juices, and glaze drumsticks again (excess juices can be poured out if tray is not flameproof).
Return to grill to char for a minute and dress with sesame seeds.
To roast potatoes, cut larger potatoes in half and place in a separate baking tray.
Drizzle with oil, add garlic, salt, thyme, and toss to coat.
Bake in 200 deg C oven for 30-50 minutes until tender in the middle and crisp on the outside.
Check on potatoes and toss at 30 minute mark.
Serve chicken and potatoes with salad.


peach, raspberry & banana smoothie

peach, raspberry & banana smoothie

The summer’s heat is really getting to us and the poor A/C is barely keeping up. We’re burning up in the heat, but I think we really need to install some insulation to save burning our pockets on the electricity bill, too! ;)

In light of summer, though, I thought I’d share with you a delicious summer smoothie. I’m so obsessed with smoothies, I could have them all year round, not just in summer!


This smoothie is packed with deliciously moist peach, plump raspberries and sweet banana. I add vanilla ice-cream to give it a smooth, creamy texture, but low fat yoghurt would work as a great substitute for the weight-conscious.


Before I move on to the recipe, I want to share with you an eBook. Oh no, it’s not my own one – not yet anyway! I was browsing the cookbooks here when I came across Modernist Cuisine (you can buy it through Inkling). I really loved this one because it’s jam-packed with droolworthy recipes and imagery. eBooks have actually become a big thing on my list of things I love because they’re so nice to flick through and many of them are interactive as well. Perhaps it’s coming from a girl who spent all her uni life behind a monitor, but as much as I love my printed cookbooks, I can’t help but stop at the e- ones. What do you like better? e-s or prints? :)


peach, raspberry & banana smoothie


Serves: about 2 tall glasses


1 ripe banana

1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1 ripe yellow peach, skin on (adds a delicious texture and flavour)

1 cup skim milk (full cream, lite, do as you please)

3 – 4 heaped scoops of ice-cream (might add up to about a cup even!)



Place roughly chopped banana and half the milk into a blender and blend until smooth. This is a perfect little trick to make sure you don’t have any lumps of banana in your drink.

Add in remaining ingredients and blend lightly until smooth (don’t over-blend!)

Pour into glasses and serve with ice if desired, most importantly, cool and freshen up in the summer heat!