Wednesday, May 30, 2012



250g raw cashews
250g raw macadamias
250g raw slivered almonds
150g raw shelled pistachios

1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon baharat (cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)
2 tbsp salt


Spread all the nuts on a baking tray and bake for approx 8-10 minutes in the oven at 180 C.
Watch them! So they dont burn.
Once cooled, pulse in food processor. Dont do this while they are warm because they are still soft.
Spread out again on the tray with sesame seeds and place in the oven on very low (50 C) heat.
Meanwhile, dry roast coriander seeds till just fragrant. Bash in Mortar and Pestle.
Do the same for the cumin seeds and black peppercorns.
Add the bashed spices and the other ingredients to the nuts and toss together.
Turn off the oven to allow to cool with the door ajar.
Store in airtight containers and use within the month!

Nice with olive oil and any kind of crusty freshly baked bread.

Autumn Meals: Lebanese Cooking at Andarra Farm

Last Saturday I had a lovely autumn morning running Manuka round the Macquarie River bike track that now does a big loop past the zoo and Dundullimal Homestead before crossing back over the river. Before I left I took a bowl of Pain a l'ancienne out of the fridge and left it to warm in the study where Dan was working. When I got home I shaped baguettes, mini rolls and a plaited loaf for dinnertime.

I then travelled to the Farm of Rosie and Richard Hicks named 'Andarra' with a bag of fresh vegies and my camera. Rosie had planned a whirlwind of family Lebanese recipes to teach me over the afternoon.

Our Menu :
Roasted peanut kernels w cayenne pepper & salt
Kibbi – balls and diamonds
Madjudra (lentils & rice)
Cabbage rolls
Lubban (or Leben)
B’learwa (guttural sound – like “Bucklawa”)
Lavendar and Rose Tea

First we started with the dessert! Layers of fillo, butter, cashews, pistachios and cinnamon, with a rosewater sugar syrup poured over the top at the end. This was a lovely subtle flavoured and delicious dessert.

Rosie pouring the syrup over a spoon.

We then started to make Kibbeh. This involved soaking course bourgul in boiling water and then mixing it with raw lamb mince. Then, we cooked minced onion with pine nuts and more minced lamb, with generous amounts of cinnamon. This cooked filling was placed inside patties we made from the courgul mince and rolled to form these torpedo shapes:

We also made a layered meatloaf with the same ingredients, sprinkling a little extra water over the top as the bourgul keep soaking up the water as they cook.

We then fried them in Ghee and roasted them in the oven.

We served these with cabbage rolls which we made by wrapping more cooked lamb mince, onion and cinnamon with medium grain rice in blanched cabbage leaves and baking in a shallow pot covered in tomato puree. The Lentils and Rice were cooked in the canned lentil water with onion salt and pepper, and were delicious in their simplicty (my favourite). Tabbouleh and Labne were refreshing side dishes.

We couldnt wait to try the Baclari!

The Rose Tea was beautiful - we just added rose petals and buds to hot water with a few drops of rosewater.

Thanks for the wonderful afternoon Rosie and Richard.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cambodian Pumpkin Pudding

My sister Julz gave me this recipe. She tried the dessert at a multicultural food event in canberra last week and said it was amazing. I happen to have a glut of pumpkins, so I'm making it.

 - Photo coming soon.


1 Japanese pumpkin that fits in your steamer.

10 cups of water (for steaming)

5 eggs

1 cup of Coconut Milk

1/3 cup of Coconut Palm Sugar

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Cinnamon

1 Tsp. Vanilla extract


Cut out the pumpkin just like you would for Halloween. Cut out the top, remove all the seeds and the stringy insides

In a mixing bowl crack the eggs, add coconut milk, salt , cinnamon, vanilla and palm sugar. Stir well till the palm sugar is blended into the mixture

Pour the mixture into the pumpkin

Bring water to a boil in a steamer. Then place the pumpkin and the pumpkin lid inside the steamer basket. Don’t cover the pumpkin with the lid. Set the pumpkin lid in the steaming basket off to the side so it cooks too.

Now place the basket onto the steamer and cover the basket with the lid.

Steam for about 45 minutes.

When you think it's time, open the steamer and stick a fork into the custard to check if it is done. If the fork comes out all wet and runny you need to steam it a little longer.

Remove the basket from the steamer and let the pumpkin cool down.

When you are ready to serve , take a knife and cut a wedge out of the pumpkin just as if it were a pie. The custard should be firm enough to stand on its own and not be runny.