Monthly Archives: July 2017

Cooking Indian!

Namaste! It’s no secret that here at LFW we just love Indian food, and one of our faves is aloo gobi, a great tasty dish made from potatoes and cauliflower, and which is also vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. The interesting thing about this dish is you can make it a number of ways including dry, wet (with sauce), with chilli, without chilli, and with an added vegetable such as peas. OK, so that’s probably a real no-no but I do have an Indian friend who always includes peas, so there you go.

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The thing to remember when cooking Indian food is that traditionally both wet and dry dishes are served together, and there must be one of each—dry and dry, or wet and wet, is, apparently a no-no.

The secret to a good aloo gobi seems to be getting the right mix of spices to suit your taste. So with some trial and error we came up with one that was just right—for us anyway.

LFW’s dry aloo gobi (serves 4)

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What you need: 1 medium cauliflower cut into medium-large florets*, 2 medium sized potatoes cut into cubes*, ½ cup peas, 1 onion chopped, 1 cup chopped tomatoes, ½ teaspoon crushed garlic, and a handful of fresh chopped coriander. Spices: ½ teaspoon each of garam masala, cumin, ginger, turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of red chilli powder (see note below), and extra virgin olive oil for cooking.

*Make sure the cauliflower florets are larger than the potato cubes so they cook through around the same time, and your cauliflower doesn’t turn to mush before the potatoes are cooked.

Note: if you prefer a more fragrant, rather than a spicy dish, omit the chilli powder, and add a teeny-tiny pinch of saffron which is a sweet spice. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, but fortunately you don’t need a lot!

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What you do: place the cauliflower and potato in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 8 minutes—until the potatoes are cooked, drain and set aside. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a heavy frypan or skillet and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Mix together all the spices—using a mini whisk, and sprinkle over the onion and garlic and toss together. Add the cauliflower, potato and peas and toss together until heated through. Finally add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add a good handful of chopped coriander and mix again.

As this aloo gobi is a dry dish you need to serve it with a wet dish such as dhal, a wet curry, or riata, and traditional Indian breads such as naan or roti.

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Going Nuts for Doughnuts!

The Doughnut Department by Wendy Johnson

My grandmothers loved them. My mum loved them. And I love them. Fritters have been part of my family’s treat line up for decades. A great fritter is hard to find in Canberra, but I’ve cracked the code. They’re now available at the Doughnut Department, which opened a couple of weeks ago in one of the city’s newest hotspots, No Name Lane.

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Photo by Leighton Hutchinson

Doughnuts are popping up everywhere, at markets, in cafés and even in restaurants. But these are very special—artisan doughnuts through and through. Hand cut with care. Yeast-raised and made daily with top-notch ingredients (mostly locally sourced).

Chef Nathan Frost, who spends up to five hours a day making these delicious delights, says this style of doughnut is unique to the capital. “They’re larger than your average doughnut,” says Nathan. “The fillings and toppings are artisan and we really play with flavour combinations.”

I openly confess to road testing a fair few and only wish my grandmother and mum were still here to try one style of fritter—apple, white chocolate and lime leaf. Now that’s an addictive flavour combo. The Doughnut Department has been cranking out more doughnuts as demand quickly grows, breaking their own records as each day passes.

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Image from the Doughnut Department

Some versions are sweeter than others. Think old fashioned buttermilk. Chocolate, cacao nibs and black sea salt. Dulce de leche with toasted almonds. Cinnamon sugar. Vegan raspberry jam. Vanilla bean glaze. Cute doughnut holes in a six-pack are perfect if you want just a ‘wee sweet treat’.

Mostly everything at The Doughnut Department is made in-house, with love. A small but interesting breakfast/brunch/lunch menu is available, with a couple of dishes featuring, you guessed it, doughnuts. “It’s a bit of food trickery,” says Nathan, who dishes up chunks of tuna cured in citrus and lime, with seasonal pickled veggies, bread ends and crunchy doughnut slices. He’s also added doughnut crunch to the popular toasted breakfast granola.

Nathan is working with Barrista Kyra Hansen. The two were joined at the hip at Lonsdale Street Roasters where Nathan was ops manager for three years. Drinks are carefully sourced through hand-picked suppliers passionate about what their produce. Like Love Tea, which is organic, fair-trade, and made in Australia. Kyra says these teas are hand blended and focus on therapeutic benefit. The café serves Ceylon Breakfast, Licorice Love, Tumeric Tea, Rooibos and a French Earl Grey. Coffee is ethical too and sourced from Six8 Coffee Roasters.

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Photo by Leighton Hutchinson

The Doughnut Department is designed as a mixed-use space. The public part of the café is at the front and an office space is at the back where Clint and Andrea Hutchinson of FASHFEST, HAUS Models and HAUS of Artists fame now work (this dynamic duo are also partners in The Doughnut Department). Creatives are encouraged to hang out, enjoy a coffee (and a doughnut or two) and share ideas and collaborate. The vibe is inspirational. So too is the fitout by award-winning Capezio Copeland, a member of the Design Institute of Australia.

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Image from the Doughnut Department

The Doughnut Department is open 7.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday, No Name Lane, 40 Marcus Clarke Street. The shop front is on Alinga Street, and you need to get in early to get the best selection!

Rocking the Casbah with Moroccan Lamb!

Using the lovely lemons off our tree, we’ve come up with another super easy, tasty lamb special. Moroccan lamb with herb and lemon couscous … yum! Check out the recipe below.

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Moroccan lamb—serves 2

This is a really versatile dish and you can use lamb cutlets, steaks, or even a rack or leg of lamb. Although there seems to be a lot of ingredients, this is a really easy recipe. We used cutlets, but if you’re using a rack and leg of lamb you can either slow cook in the slow cooker or your oven, or even on the BBQ or spit. And, if you to go all out with the Moroccan theme, cook it in a Tajine—one you can cook and serve in would be really impressive!

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Colourful Moroccan tajines (or tagines) in the market. Image sourced

What you need: 6 lamb cutlets (three per person), ½ small red capsicum thinly sliced, and extra virgin olive oil for cooking. Spice mix: 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, ginger, and salt, ¾ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, and allspice, and ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves. Couscous: ½ onion finely chopped, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 small garlic clove finely chopped, ½ cup water, ½ cup vegetable stock, ¾ cup couscous, 1 cup of finely chopped parsley, mint, and basil (together), ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice and a little zest for decoration.

What you do: Mix together all the spices using a mini whisk—the type you use to whisk salad dressing or hot chocolate—until well blended, and rub over the cutlets. If you’re cooking a large rack or leg you will need to double the quantity. Heat the extra-virgin oil in a heavy frypan or skillet and sauté the capsicum. Add the lamb and cook to your preference.20170719_174834-1_1500528658457

Couscous: Cook the onion in ½ tablespoon extra-virgin oil until soft, about three minutes; add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds stirring constantly. Add the water and stock and bring to the boil. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let the couscous stand for about 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and stir in the herbs, remaining ½ tablespoon of oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Decorate with a bit of lemon zest and small sprig of parsley. Enjoy!

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Rare Earth with Avi Amesbury

It’s not unusual for Avi Amesbury to whip over to the side of the road when she sees a hole dug in the ground and scoop up clay. Those working on construction sites are often baffled but that doesn’t bother Avi.

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Avi uses materials she forages to create stunning ceramics in her art studio; pieces that celebrate landscape. And that includes the pieces showing alongside Rare Earth: Australian Made 2017, on now at the Courtesy of the Artist Loft in Sydney’s Strand Arcade.The exhibition is about Australian materials, gems, makers and their contemporary work. “The body of work I created to showcase with the exhibition celebrates the raw earth,” says Avi. “The earth is quite dominant even though the porcelain is quite translucent.”

A professional abstract landscape potter, Avi has for years explored her emotional connection to place and people. “I grew up in Western Australia on the edge of the desert and what struck me was the horizon—flat lines, stars, expansive land,” she says. “When I moved to Sydney this was lost for me, and the urban environment took its place. Then came Canberra where the light struck me. I had never experienced that type of light; it’s so different from anywhere else. On the South Coast, where I now live full-time, it’s the bush, which I find healing. And the very tall trees; I have a strong connection to the trees.”

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Rare Earth – Capturing Land And Light Series 6. Photography by Art Atelier

In the works being exhibited alongside Rare Earth, Avi has used material gathered from Barton and Holt here in the ACT. She stops a lot when travelling along the highway between Canberra and the South Coast to uncover material. She gathers material from the creek running at the bottom of her coastal property and she forages when visiting an artist friend in Newcastle and on visits back home to Western Australia.

“I’ve done a lot of research into using these materials and testing to see what colours emerge,” says Avi. “At first I thought I’d only get browns and oranges but I’ve discovered a much larger range of colours, and in all different shades, including whites, reds, greys and blacks.” It’s not just Avi who forages raw earth for her work. Her friends do too, and so does her family. “My daughter lived in New Zealand for 10 years and gathered rock ash from a volcano, which she collected for me. I’ve used it in the Rare Earth pieces and it has produced interesting textures to the work.” The new body of work made for Rare Earth includes small porcelain bowls, still-life installations and larger vessels titled Capturing Land and Light.

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Rare Earth – Capturing Land and Light Series 4. Photography by Art Atelier

Avi became a full-time practicing artist after retiring in 2016 as the Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director of Craft ACT where she launched the Design Canberra Festival. She is an accredited professional member of Craft ACT.

Avi has big opportunities on the horizon. She has just been told, for example, that her work has been accepted for the 2017 Triennial of Silicate Arts exhibition, called Balance, being held at the Hírös Agóra Cultural Centre in Kecskemét, Hungary (80 kilometres south of Budapest). The exhibition (3 to 30 September), is being organised by the Foundation for Contemporary Ceramic Arts.

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Rare Earth – Untitled. Photography by Art Atelier

The Rare Earth: Australian Made 2017 exhibition is on until Saturday 29 July at the Artist Loft in the Strand Arcade (Level 4, enter by way of Pitt Street Mall). If you happen to be in Sydney, make sure you pop by. In the meantime, you can follow Avi on Facebook, or visit her website.

These Boots were made for Walking …

… and photography.

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When you think of a photographer, you think of a camera, correct?  Well Scott Leggo says his most important piece of gear, for more than 10 long years, has been a pair of Raichle (now Mammut) hiking boots he originally bought from Mountain Designs in Braddon.

As a professional landscape photographer, Scott’s boots have taken him across Australia and around the world. They’ve protected him in minus 40-degree weather in northern China, plus 40-degree temperatures in the Top End, and everything in-between. They’ve saved him from a snake biting him and other nasties found in jungles and the Australian bush. They’ve helped him scramble over rocks, climb up ice, secured him as he’s stood in creeks under waterfalls, and done whatever Scott has to do to get ‘that shot’.

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Spring delight – Lake Burley Griffin by Scott Leggo

“The boots have become an extension of me,” says Scott, who owns a business by his own name and photographs through all seasons from the wee hours of the morning until the stars are twinkling at night. “Being a landscape photographer can sometimes be physically demanding—indeed gruelling—and it often requires a lot of patience, but that all fades away once you capture the image. Then it’s all worthwhile.”

Scott will talk about his landscape photography career at the upcoming Design Institute of Australia ACT’s 5×5 Speaker Series, being held on 26 July at the Gorman Arts Centre. The event format is simple—five design professionals speak for five minutes on a design topic of their choice, followed by an interactive question-and-answer session. Each event comes through with its promise to be inspirational and thought-provoking. This is Scott’s first appearance and one never knows; he might just bring his boots.

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Morning fog – Lake Burley Griffin by Scott Leggo

A passionate outdoorsman with a spirit of adventure, Scott travels extensively and always looks to immerse himself in the environment he photographs. He has received more than 100 Australian and international awards, including the coveted title of Master of Photography by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) in 2012. He has also won both the landscape photographer of the year and professional photographer of the year titles in the ACT. Scott’s clients include Australian corporates and large government departments wanting a touch of Australia on their walls. His work has also popped up in marketing and advertising campaigns, on websites and in a wide range of publications. “I most love it when the photos are sold as artworks,” he says, “when they take pride of place in a home or workplace, making a statement and bringing the outdoors in.”

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Colours of Canberra by Scott Leggo

While travelling thrills Scott, he’s equally passionate about taking photos of Canberra, his home, whether it’s sunrises in autumn, early morning fog, reflections of trees in the lake, pink skies or our many iconic cultural institutions. Today Scott’s business is run as a family affair with his wife Phillipa. They’ve joined their diverse business backgrounds to bring unique Australian landscape wall art to homes and workplaces the country over.

Scott has just returned from a trip to the Blue Mountains and is now planning to head to the snow, camping back-country to capture unique photos away from well-beaten trails. After that he’s off to Queensland for a bit of warmth.thumbnail_Scott-Leggo-SCOTT-snow

And what about the Mammut Boots? With a tear in his eye, Scott says it’s time for them to retire. He’s looking for a new pair but couldn’t part with the old ones without snapping a photo of them for posterity.

The DIA’s 5×5 Speaker Series is being held 26 July at 6pm, Gorman Arts Centre, Main Hall, 55 Ainslie Avenue.

Other speakers include:

Colin Haining—Inklab, a creative agency bring brands and people together

Legojacker, a photographer who loves playing with plastic and his iPhone7plus

Goodspeed Bicycle Company run by Myles Chandler

Elliot Bastianon, a Canberra-based furniture designer with a diverse material palette.

Time for winter Wine

Seriously, it is so cold in Canberra at the moment that it’s definitely time to try out some warm, spicy wine. Cold nights are perfect for trying out a couple of recipes for mulled wine or Glühwein. But first, what’s the difference …

Mulled wine is the English name for hot, spicy wine, and Glühwein is the German name for … yep, hot, spicy wine. Wine was first recorded as heated and spiced in Rome during the 2nd century. The Romans then travelled across Europe; conquered most of it, traded with the rest, and brought with them wine and viticulture. Mulled wine was first mentioned in English cookery in the 14th century and  included ground cinnamon, ginger, galangal, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, cardamom, and ‘grains of paradise’ (whatever they may be), all mixed with red wine and sugar, and heated.beverages-mulled-wine-pixabay-972827-4x3

There are many different recipes for mulled wine, and each one may taste totally different, for example, some people may not like, and omit, cinnamon or ginger or one of the other spices. So often the quantity of spice is not noted in recipes, and it’s often just a matter of ‘add a bit of spice and taste test’.

Some recipes suggest full-bodied wines such as Malbec or Syrah, but a red blend—such as a Cabernet Sauvignon—is often a bit cheaper than single varietal wine. And some variations of mulled wine use a white wine such as Riesling or Muscat. But whatever wine you use, mulled wine is basically a matter of heating wine and spices together.

Easy red mulled wine—serves 8

mulledwine2What you need: 1 orange sliced and seeded, ½ cup sugar, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 bottle red wine.

What you do: Heat the spices and water together in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the red wine and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain, and divide evenly among the glasses or mugs. You can add a slice of orange and/or small stick of cinnamon to serve.

Impressive red mulled wine—serves 8

LizEarle_MavellousMulledWineWhat you need: 1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine, 1 orange sliced, ¼ cup brandy (optional), ¼ cup honey or sugar, 8 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, and optional garnishes such as citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise.

What you do: Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminium saucepan, and bring to a simmer on a medium to high heat—do not allow to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes. Alternatively, you can also place the oranges, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise in a cheesecloth. Then simply strain and pull out the bundle when ready to serve.

Mulled white wine—serves 6whie mulled wine

White mulled wine has all the flavour of red but has a much lighter body so the taste of spices may be a little stronger. A Chardonnay works well for this recipe. What you need: 1 orange, 5 whole cloves, 3 star anise pods, 1 piece (about 1 inch) of peeled fresh ginger thinly sliced, 1 cup water, ¼ cup sugar, 1 bottle white wine.

What you do: Peel orange into strips—carefully avoiding the pith, and push the cloves into the peel. Combine the peel, star anise, ginger, water and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring all the time to dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the wine. Stand for 20 minutes to mull. Warm gently over a medium heat immediately prior to serving. Enjoy!

Lamb, leeks and lemons

Despite the icy frosts we’ve been having lately, we’re still getting an amazing crop of lemons off our old tree and apart from bunkering down on a cold night with a VAT and slice of lemon … what else to do with them?

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We’ve been doing a bit of experimenting lately with leeks, and came up with a super-easy, and super-tasty, recipe for Greek lamb with leeks and lemons—you’re welcome!

What you need (serves 2): 6 lamb cutlets (three per person), juice of one small (or half large) lemon (you don’t want it too lemony), 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, handful of finely chopped fresh oregano,  a pinch of fresh rosemary, and extra-virgin olive oil for cooking.

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What you do: Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, oregano and rosemary, and pour over the lamb. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least six hours. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a heavy frypan or skillet and sauté the leeks, add the lamb and cook to your preference. We prefer our lamb slightly pink in the middle, but it’s up to you. If you prefer you can also grill or BBQ the lamb—great for summer! Plate and serve with our special Greek salad or fresh steamed veggies.20170708_180407-1-1_1499554254622

LFW’s Greek Salad (aka Mediterranean Salad)

What you need: 8 baby Roma tomatoes halved, 1 small Lebanese cucumber sliced, 12 pitted black olives, 1 small red capsicum finely sliced, couple of slices of finely sliced red onion (go light on the onion as it can be a bit overpowering), and a small block soft feta. Dressing: 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped oregano.

What you do: Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Place the Roma tomatoes on small, lightly oiled oven tray, drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Whisk the salad dressing so it all blends together. Gently toss the sliced cucumber, black olives, capsicum, red onion, and roast tomatoes in a large bowl with the salad dressing. Crumble the feta over the salad and serve immediately.greek-summer-salad-2

Bon appetit! or if you’re Greek—Kalí óreksi!