Monday, October 24, 2011

Spring has finally sprung!

After some truly miserable weather, and most possibly the coldest and rainiest winter in years, spring is finally here. You can feel it in the air. Days and nights are warming up, and people are just generally happier. Flowers are blossoming and fresh, vibrant spring fruit and vegetables are in season. As the warm weather sets in, our social lives seem to come back to life – BBQs, picnics, beach gatherings, and lazy Sunday afternoon drinks while the sun sets. No more excuses about the rain and wanting to curl up on the lounge with a movie and tea. And the best part – it might be a girl thing - but you can leave the house without a jacket! 

So what fresh produce is available in spring? You will find grapefruit, lemons, blood oranges, blueberries, honeydew melon, new season mangoes, papaya, rhubarb and strawberries are in season. As well as artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, brussels sprouts (for those who dare!), cabbage, fennel, leeks, peas and spinach. 

With this in mind I decided to make a spring inspired asparagus and goats cheese frittata. Here is the recipe.


20g butter
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
8 eggs
1/3 cup pure cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and basil
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 bunches asparagus*
60g goats cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat grill to medium-high. Whisk eggs, cream, chopped herbs and parmesan in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Melt butter in a 22cm non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden.
3. Blanch asparagus in hot water, drain and add to frying pan. Cook, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes or until bright green and just tender. Pour egg mixture over asparagus. Lift and tilt pan to distribute egg mixture. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle goats cheese over the top. Cook for 10 minutes or until almost set.
4. Place pan under grill. Grill for 3 minutes or until set and golden. Stand for 3 minutes. Loosen frittata with a spatula. Slide onto a plate. Serve with salad.

*TIP: The ends of asparagus can be quite dry and woody. Remove these by snapping the ends off. The stems will naturally break where the tough woody part ends and the tender stem begins.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eat, Talk, Laugh @ Hugo’s Manly

A girls day out at Hugo’s in Manly was the perfect way to catch up with my sisters.

We had so much to catch up on, that our plan of attack for the day was to talk, talk, talk until we ran out of things to say to each other (it could take hours or maybe even days before we would run dry in conversation!) and eat to our hearts content.

Hugo’s Manly is located on Manly Wharf, right on Sydney Harbour. The day was overcast but warm enough to sit at a table near the huge open windows, looking right onto the water. What an amazing view! We couldn’t have asked for a better location to start off our girly day.

So in between our conversations that seemed to go off into tangents as we all excitedly pushed each of our stories in, and telling the waitress to come back in 5 mins (about 3 times!), we decided to share gluten free pizzas, (even though sister number 3, Lori, is not coeliac!) a bowl of polenta chips and a nice bottle of red wine.

We chose to share the Fig pizza with fresh figs, pancetta, gorgonzola, tomato & basil, the Prawn pizza with chilli prawns, roasted capsicum, tomato & salsa verde and the Lamb pizza with potato, fetta, olives, capsicum, onion & chilli. Yum, yum and yum!

The pizza base is nice and thin, which made it taste like a “real pizza” – even Lori agrees! My favourite was the Fig pizza with the Prawn coming in a close second.

The polenta chips with truffled parmesan were heaven. They were nice thick pieces, which made them crispy on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside. They were accompanied by a condiment of red tomato salsa, but the truffled parmesan really made the dish.

We enjoyed the long afternoon chatting, eating and sipping nice wine while the rest of the world went by!  And then it happened, maybe it was the wine making us sleepy, but there was a small silent pause.  Have we run out of things to say?? No, never!

As the lights dimmed and the dinner crowd approached, we decided to move on to Lori’s place.

Awaiting us at home was a marathon of the “Barefoot Contessa”. We LOVE that cooking show, so we were in heaven. As the marathon ended, we continued to sloth on the couch and decided to watch Eat Pray Love.

Lori had prepared some baked chocolate mousse desserts which she topped with freshly whipped cream and some chocolate flakes.  Decedent to say the least! It went down way too well, with a nice warm cup of Lady Grey tea.

All in all, today was a great “girls only” kind of day and we can’t wait till next time!

Hugo’s Manly
Shop 1, Manly Wharf East Esplanade, Manly NSW
(02) 8116 8555

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