Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tasty Bits of 2009

It's coming up to the last day of the year, a perfect time to reflect on the past by taking a wander through the archives.

It has been a year where we've experienced lots of new and unusual ingredients - from baby beetroot shoots to donut peaches and purslane - it's fitting that this roundup begins with some more examples of these new discoveries.

Baby Broad Beans© by Haalo

Monday, December 28, 2009

Vegetable Frittata

Copious amounts of animal protein aren't the only type of leftovers we're dealing with during this part of the year - there's also usually a surplus of vegetables to be found and this next recipe puts these often discarded items to a very tasty use.

Frittata is one of those truly great recipes and I'll be adding a bit of luxury in this leftover version by delving into my supply of these - Truffled eggs!

truffled eggs© by Haalo


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Croque Monsieur

It's Boxing Day and if you aren't going to the cricket or braving the sales than you're probably at home  trying to take it easy. Unfortunately you'll also probably be confronted with a fridge that's bulging full of leftovers and while cooking might be the last thing on our minds we should be utilising this bounty of excess rather than consigning it to the bin.

So here's a quick and easy - always a bonus - and rather luxurious way to deal with those leftovers, in this case, it's the familiar sight of Baked Ham.

baked ham© by haalo

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Baklava Figs

I know I've either eaten this dish or saw it somewhere - I know this isn't something that has just come to me but ever since the Fig Carpaccio I've been dying to make Stuffed Figs and in particular, these figs stuffed with a baklava filling.

baklava Figs© by Haalo


Monday, December 21, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #214 - Recap


It's the last Weekend Herb Blogging for the year so take a plate and a glass and meander around - there's a bountiful feast in this weeks recap for you to enjoy.

As usual, the entries are listed by main ingredient. If I've missed anyone or details are incorrect, either leave a comment below or send me an email and I'll fix it right up.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Karaka Blackberry and Peach Galette

I do like trying new ingredients so when I first read about Karaka Blackberries they certainly got my attention.

karaka blackberries© by Haalo


Monday, December 14, 2009

Brandy Butter

Hard to believe but Christmas is just a week away and there's still so much to do. At this time of the year, traditions seem to be more valued and for the Englishman in my household, it's a time for mince tarts, plum pudding and Brandy Butter.

I know lots of people will just go out and buy Brandy Butter but once you see just how easy it is to make and just how absolutely delicious it can be, you won't be buying it anymore.

Brandy Butter© by Haalo

Weekend Herb Blogging #214 - Hosting


It's the last Weekend Herb Blogging before Christmas and the last for this year and I'll be your host for this edition.

The rules are simple - post about any herb, fruit, vegetable, flower or plant. Your post can be informative, spotlight a particular ingredient and/or include a recipe where your chosen ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe.

Entries must be submitted by:

* 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
* 10pm Sunday - London Time
* 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
* 9am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) DS Time

Send your posts to whb AT cookalmostanything DOT com
with WHB#214 in the subject line and the following details:
  • Your name
  • Your Blog/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • Attach a Photo: 300px wide

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Bush Honey

Bursaria Spinosa or the Christmas Bush doesn't get its name because it flowers at Christmas, rather the name is due to its white star shaped flowers - now you might be asking what this has to do with food, well, this post is about the honey that is made from the nectar of those flowers.


christmas bush honey© by Haalo


Monday, December 07, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #213 Hosting


There's a fabulous array of dishes in this weeks recap that you won't want to miss - thanks also go to Marillyn for hosting.


This week we welcome back Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska as our host.

Send your posts to tasteslikehome AT hotmail DOT com
with WHB#213 in the subject line and the following details:
  • Your name
  • Your Blog/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • Attach a Photo: 400px wide
Entries must be submitted by:
  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 9am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) DS Time


If you're new to Weekend Herb Blogging or haven't joined in for a while, here's a quick recap of the rules.

You have the week to post about any herb, fruit, vegetable, flower or plant. Your post can be informative, spotlight a particular ingredient and/or include a recipe where your chosen ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Sfinci di San Giuseppe - Sicilian Doughnuts

Sfinci di San Giuseppe are a speciality of Palermo, Sicily and are generally referred to as Sicilian Doughnuts. Traditionally, they would have been made on the 19th March - which is the holy day of San' Giuseppe (St Joseph) but now they are served all year round and are a popular Christmas treat.

Most of the recipes I've seen involve yeast so I was quite intrigued by the latest edition of Italianicious where there version had no yeast whatsoever. To solve this I turned to the pages of the bible of Italian sweets, L'Italia Dei Dolci, published by Slow Food this gives you the authentic and traditional methodology for just about every classic Italian sweet you can think of. Sure enough Sfinci are in the book and surprisingly the recipe from Italianicious is on the mark. The only difference is that strutto would normally be used and this recipe uses butter. If you can make choux pastry, you'll be able to make these.



Sfinci di San Giuseppe© by Haalo


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Mango Upside Down Cake

I'm taking full advantage the amazingly low prices of mangoes at the moment to indulge myself of this wonderful fruit. This time it will be combined with caramel to form a wicked upside down cake.


mango upside down cake© by Haalo

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #212 Hosting



This week it's a warm welcome for first time host Marillyn from Just Making Noise.

If you're new to Weekend Herb Blogging or you haven't taken part in a while, here's a quick summary of the rules.

You have the week to post about any herb, fruit, vegetable, flower or plant. Your post can be informative, spotlight a particular ingredient and/or include a recipe where your chosen ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe.

Post should include the phrase Weekend Herb Blogging and a link to the rules and to your host.

You can post anytime during the week but remember to email your host by the deadline which is:

* 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
* 10pm Sunday - London Time
* 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
* 9am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) DS Time

Send your entries to
marillynbeard AT gmail DOT com
with WHB#212 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 400px wide

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Polka Dot Cookies and Cakes - PR Fail

As bloggers, we all get approached from PR companies, businesses and individuals wanting to use our platform to pimp promote their wares. As you can see, I don't have any advertising and more importantly, I don't want any advertising.

Yesterday, I received one of those typical approaches from a business in Sydney called Polka Dot Cookies and Cakes. Being a Sydney based business I thought it a bit strange they approached a Melbourne based blogger so I took a look at the stats to see how they found my site.

Well, they spent about a minute on this site, enough to land on the home page and move straight to my contact page. What brought them here was a list of Australian Female bloggers, so I don't think it would be too much of a stretch of the imagination to say that if you're on that list and write anything about food you've probably received the same email.

I wrote back to them, the same reply as I give to hawkers - not interested.

This morning, I awoke to find that Polka Dot Cookies and Cakes had replied to my email with this gem


So because I'm not interested in their product or using my site to promote their product, that makes me a goose? The reply was sent to me by someone called Libby which I can only assume is the business owner Elizabeth, so we can't pin this behaviour on an employee.

Apart from being a ridiculous reply, this is a poor display of maturity and very bad business behaviour. It's especially nonsensical when she's written to me in the first place asking that I mention her product and business.

I wrote back thanking her that I now had something to write about to which she replied with this classic:


When I first saw this reply, I had to laugh. Showing it around the office it was met with "Are you serious?" and a shake of the head.

So here's my question for the general public:

If you're a blogger that has been approached by Polka Dot Cookies and Cakes and are considering promoting her products, are you happy to be associated with this type of behaviour?

If you're a customer or contemplating being a customer, is this type of attitude something that fills you with confidence?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pear Strudel

It's easy to be lured by the arrival of nectarines, peaches, plums, apricots and cherries but that doesn't mean we should neglect the everyday fruit, like pears.

With just four ingredients, I've made an amazingly tasty Pear Strudel.


pear strudel© by Haalo

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #211 Hosting

Avocado shake and Cranberry orange scones are just a hint of what you'll find in the recap - many thanks to Winnie for hosting!

This week our host is Lynne from Cafe LynnyLu

If you're new to WHB or you haven't taken part in a while, here's a quick summary of the rules.

You have the week to post about any herb, fruit, vegetable, flower or plant. Your post can be informative, spotlight a particular ingredient and/or include a recipe where your chosen ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe.

Post should include the phrase Weekend Herb Blogging and a link to the rules and to your host.

You can post anytime during the week but remember to email your host by the deadline which is:
  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 9am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) DS Time
Send your entries to
lynnylu AT gmail DOT com with WHB#211 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo:400px wide

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Poached Donut Peaches

Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've found something new to me at the local Farmers' Market - Donut Peaches!

donut peaches© by Haalo

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spicy Salami and Potato Mini Muffins

I knew it from the first moment I laid eyes on these mini muffin cases, that yes, they would be mine and at this time of the year when entertaining becomes a full time occupation, these cases would prove to be quite handy.

mini muffin cases© by Haalo

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #210 Hosting



Many thanks to Astrid for hosting - the recap is now up for your enjoyment and while you are there, please send some good wishes to Astrid and her cats.

This week we welcome a new host, Winnie from Healthly Green Kitchen.

Your entries must be in by the following:

3pm Sunday - Utah Time
10pm Sunday - London Time
11pm Sunday - Rome Time
9am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) DS Time

or you can follow this link to find the corresponding time in your area.

If you haven't taken part or it's been a while, here's a quick summary of the rules.

You have the week to post about any herb, fruit, vegetable, flower or plant. Your post can be informative, spotlight a particular ingredient and/or include a recipe where your chosen ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe.

Post should include the phrase Weekend Herb Blogging and a link to the rules and to your host.

You can post anytime during the week but remember to email your host by the deadline.

Send your entries to
winnieabramson AT yahoo DOT com with WHB#210 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo:400px wide

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Slow Roasted Garlic

garlic© by Haalo

In the last few weeks, new season's garlic has become available and I'm not sure whether it's an effect of the particular variety but I'm finding them to be quite strongly flavoured. To offset this potency, I've resorted to slow-roasting the bulbs.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #208 - Recap


It's been a great pleasure to organise Weekend Herb Blogging for the last year and it's been equally enjoyable to host. Each week, without fail, there will always be fascinating recipes showcasing the creativity and skills of our fellow bloggers.

This recap has been a bittersweet one when I was informed this morning that one of the participants has not only stolen the photos they are using but also stolen the posts. In fact all their previous submissions have been stolen and I will be contacting the various hosts to have them removed from their respective recaps.

I cannot say it any stronger or any clearer, content thieves are not welcome in Weekend Herb Blogging - they will not be accepted in any future WHB events, for me, there is zero tolerance for this behaviour.

I have pondered long and hard as to whether to make a public statement or deal with it behind the scenes but I think that silence plays its own part in allowing this type of behaviour to flourish and continue.

Now it's time to move to something far more enjoyable and what we're all here for - the celebration of four years of Weekend Herb Blogging and a look at the wonderful creations made.

I have presented the offerings in order of main ingredient.

Weekend Herb Blogging #209 Hosting


Our host this week will be Astrid from Paulchen's Foodblog

Send your entry to foodblog AT paulchens DOT org
with WHB#209 in the subject and the following information:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 400px wide
Entries must be received by
  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 9am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time
The complete rules can be found here.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

WHB #208 - Mahlab shortbread

To celebrate 4 years of Weekend Herb Blogging I'd thought I'd try to find something I hadn't used before and the solution came in the form of Mahlab

mahlab© by Haalo


Monday, November 02, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging 4th Anniversary


From ricotta pumpkin ice cream to a basil elixir, you'll find them and more in this weeks recap - many thanks to Katie for hosting.

This week I'm hosting but there's a bit of difference - Weekend Herb Blogging celebrates its 4th birthday and with that it gets a brand new logo

WHB 4 years.jpg


It may have started as Kalyn says, as an accident, an alternative for those who couldn't take part in Weekend Cat or Dog Blogging but it certainly has taken on its own identity and grown to become quite a unique event. A celebration of all those often unsung heroes of the culinary world.

I would like to thank everyone that has taken part this year and in particular a special word of thanks to our hosts -
Wiffy, Heather, Siri, Scott, Ivy, Chriesi, Pam, Rachel, Chris, Marija, Dee, Cheryl, Susan, Laurie, Astrid, Yasmeen, Anna, Prof Kitty, Maninas, Cinzia, Katie, Graziana, Lynne, Dhanggit and Anh

Thank you for offering your time and assistance.

As part of this celebration, everyone that enters this week's WHB is in the running to receive one of my favourite herb books, Ian Hemphill's The Spice and Herb Bible


It's a random draw and the winner will be announced in the recap on Monday.


To join you'll have to send your entry to me by:
  • 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday - London Time
  • 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
  • 9am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time
If you haven't taken part or it's been a while, here's a quick summary of the rules.

You have the week to post about any herb, fruit, vegetable, flower or plant. Your post can be informative, spotlight a particular ingredient and/or include a recipe where your chosen ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe.

Post should include the phrase Weekend Herb Blogging and a link to this hosting announcement.

You can post anytime during the week but remember to email me by the deadline.

Send your entries to
whb AT cookalmostanything DOT com with WHB#208 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 300px wide

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spiced Chickpea Lentil Soup

The wonderful Jeanne from Cooksister is hosting this edition of My Legume Love Affair, the brain child of the equally fabulous Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook and having been extremely slack and missed, I hate to say, all the previous editions I wasn't going to let this one slip by.

When I made this soup the weather was cold and miserable and this was the perfect antidote to warm us up but now that I come to post it, just a few days later, it couldn't be more non-soup weather if it tried.

This soup has been conjured from a raid on the pantry and putting to good use those cans of chickpeas and brown lentils. Spiced with a combination of fresh red chilli, ground cinnamon and ginger, it's a soup that has me wishing for cooler weather.

spiced chickpea and lentil soup© by Haalo


Friday, October 30, 2009

Presto Pasta Night #137 Recap


It's the fun part of the week - recap time. I've had a great time feasting on your marvellous pasta offerings, be they soup, stir-fried, baked or steamed, made with vermicelli, rice noodles, somen, or fettuccine, decadent or nutritious, it has been a delight and I'm sure once you peruse the menu, there's something here that is bound to please and satisfy any cravings.

Thank you all for taking part and sharing your dishes with us. The recap has been presented in the order they were received.

So without any further delay, onto the goodness...


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #207 Hosting

From homemade mustard to fruit grappa, grape sorbet to carrot halwa you'll find something for every occasion in this weeks recap - thanks again to Yasmeen for hosting.

This week it's a pleasure to welcome back Katie from Eat This as our host.

Entries must be received by

* 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
* 10pm Sunday - London Time
* 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
* 9am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Daylight Saving Time

If you haven't taken part or it's been a while since you last joined in, here's a quick summary of the rules.

You have the week to post about any herb, fruit, vegetable, flower or plant. Your post can be informative - spotlight a particular ingredient and/or include a recipe where your chosen ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe.

Post should include the phrase Weekend Herb Blogging and a link to your host and to the WHB rules.

You can post any time during the week but remember to send your email by the cut-off time.

Send your entries to:
knorthc AT gmail DOT com
with WHB#207 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 300px wide

Weekend Herb Blogging is always on the look-out for hosts so if you'd like to give it a go please send an email to

weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail.com

and include your blog name and url, your preferred email address and photo requirements.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Baby Broad Beans

Yasmeen from Healthnut is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've found Baby Broad beans!

baby broad beans© by Haalo

You might know them as Fava beans and if you're wondering just how small they are when compared with the common mature form, then the next photo should answer that question.

baby broad beans© by Haalo

Is there any wonder why I couldn't resist them? You can actually eat the whole thing, no need for shelling, just treat them as you would a regular green or string bean.

If you happen to be growing broad beans in your garden, perhaps you might consider picking them at this early stage and incorporating them into your dishes as a substitute for beans or snowpeas.

Rather than provide a recipe as such, I'll show you two ways in which I've used these beans broad beans.

Add a bit more fibre to your breakfast, replace those toast soldiers with steamed baby broad beans.

baby broad bean soldiers with soft boiled egg© by Haalo

It's a fabulous match, warm runny egg and a still crisp baby broad bean. You can prepare the beans at the same time as the egg.

A more conventional idea - a salad

baby broad bean salad© by Haalo


Toss the warm beans into a balsamic based vinaigrette and then present them with a scattering of shaved Parmesan. The combination of sweet and nutty notes plays well against the fresh taste of the beans.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Presto Pasta Night #137 Hosting


It's a great pleasure to have the opportunity to host Presto Pasta Night again - the superb weekly feast of all things pasta, created by the wonderful Ruth from Once Upon A Feast.

The premise of this event is very simple - just post a pasta recipe on your site - hot, cold, baked, stir-fried, salads, soups, there's even been a few desserts offered in the past. If you've used any form of pasta then we want to see it!

Mention Presto Pasta Night in your post with a link to the Presto Pasta Night website and to this post and then send your email to:

hellohaalo AT gmail DOT com
with a CC to ruth AT 4everykitchen DOT com

Please include in your email:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • a photo: 300px wide
Presto Pasta Night #137 runs from October 24th to 29th and the roundup will be up on October 30th.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #206 Hosting

Flavour is on show and well as fascinating new ideas in this weeks recap - from a gluten free pizza made with potatoes to cabbage spring rolls. Many thanks to our wonderful host Cinzia for putting it all together.

This week it's a pleasure to welcome Yasmeen from Healthnut as our host.

Entries must be received by

* 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
* 10pm Sunday - London Time
* 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
* 8am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Daylight Saving Time

If you haven't taken part or it's been a while since you last joined in, here's a quick summary of the rules.

You have the week to post about any herb, fruit, vegetable, flower or plant. Your post can be informative - spotlight a particular ingredient and/or include a recipe where your chosen ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe.

Post should include the phrase Weekend Herb Blogging and a link to your host and to the WHB rules.

You can post anytime during the week but remember to send your email by the cut-off time.

Send your entries to:
YasmeenHealthnut AT gmail DOT com
with WHB#206 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 350px wide

Weekend Herb Blogging is always on the look-out for hosts so if you'd like to give it a go please send an email to

weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail.com

and include your blog name and url, your preferred email address and photo requirements.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sweet Azuki Bean Paste Wontons

When I recently made the Sweet Azuki Bean Paste I was immediately struck by just how similar in flavour it was to chestnut puree. This started me thinking, always a dangerous occurrence, of just how interchangeable they could be.

One of my all time favourites are my mothers sweet chestnut ravioli and in theory it should work using the bean paste. Having Chinulille at a recent dinner reminded me just how good they were and was a signal that I should go ahead and experiment.

In my mothers original version she uses the same dough as she would for crostoli. For the filling, chestnut puree is mixed with berry jam, cocoa powder and roasted nuts. The dough is rolled out and cut into rectangle and formed into ravioli like shapes. This is then deep fried until golden and puffed.

For this experiment, I'll be using wonton wrappers for my dough, substituting the sweet azuki bean paste for chestnut puree and forming tortellini-like shapes that after deep frying look like this:

sweet azuki bean paste wontons © by Haalo



Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekend Herb Blogging #205 Hosting



Honey Lavender Biscotti, Potato Fenugreek Paratha, Sourdough Bread Pudding just a small sample of what you'll find to tempt you in this weeks recap - many thanks to Susan for great work in hosting.

Weekend Herb Blogging is advancing ever closer to its fourth birthday and this week we welcome back Cinzia from Cindystar as our host.

Entries must be received by

* 3pm Sunday - Utah Time
* 10pm Sunday - London Time
* 11pm Sunday - Rome Time
* 8am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Daylight Saving Time

If you haven't taken part or it's been a while since you last joined in, here's a quick summary of the rules.

You have the week to post about any herb, fruit, vegetable, flower or plant. Your post can be informative - spotlight a particular ingredient and/or include a recipe where your chosen ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe.

Post should include the phrase Weekend Herb Blogging and a link to your host and to the WHB rules.

You can post anytime during the week but remember to send your email by the cut-off time.

Send your entries to:
cmc AT cindystar DOT it
with WHB#205 in the subject and the following details:
  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • Your Location
  • A photo: 300px wide

Weekend Herb Blogging is always on the look-out for hosts so if you'd like to give it a go please send an email to

weekend.herb.blogging AT gmail.com

and include your blog name and url, your preferred email address and photo requirements.
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