Year: 2015

shoyu ramen

ramenomnom…

I’m not ashamed to admit I love ramen. I adore the soupy comfort that can be found in a bowl of steamy broth and noodles cooked to perfection. There’s nothing quite like a hot bowl of ramen to warm you during the winter months. My fascination with ramen first began when I watched a ramen eating challenge. The petite Japanese woman sat at her table with excited anticipation as a steaming mountain of noodles surrounded by a rich hot broth was carried to her from the kitchen. I watched in awe as she methodically began to devour the monstrous 5kg bowl of noodles, beansprouts and sliced chashu. Admittedly it was excessive, but it was intriguing to see someone eat so much in one meal. “How is this possible?”, I asked myself, unable to look away. Perhaps if the noodles were really delicious. Those noodles did look pretty good. And so began my quest to find The Perfect Ramen. To be honest, it has probably been more of a ramen journey than a quest, because I …

pumpkin spice loaf ingredients

pumpkin spice loaf

With summer having come to an end, the cooler weather of Autumn has been a welcome change. I think Autumn has grown to become one of my favourite seasons, since here in Arizona it offers mild, sunny days and warm, temperate evenings. When October hit this year, I was really excited. Seasonals were everywhere – pumpkin ales, spiced candles and lots of delicious baking goodies. I was intent on sharing the joy with Sister P and brother-in-law Mr. T when they came to visit, so being the master schedule-planner that I am, I figured we could squeeze in a pie-bake one late evening. By the time the pie was baked and cooled, it was well after 2 am. We were all very sleepy and tired, but the smell of freshly baked pie crust (thank you Maggie Beer, I love your sour cream pastry) mingling with pumpkin and spice was all too inviting to let us sleep… yes, we stayed up and we ate it. I wanted to share something special for Fall, and so here …

arugula fennel orange salad

arugula, fennel and orange salad

Eruca Sativa. I’ve heard people refer to this distinct salad leaf by a variety of names: Arugula. Rucola. Rocket. Pond weed? Ok so that last one was from a friend who seemed violently opposed to eating the arugula salad I had made for dinner. It seems like people either love it or hate it. When I first encountered arugula, it had been scattered through a mixed leaf salad – the bursts of bitterness throughout the salad and the moorish peppery notes left me searching my plate for more. I had decidedly chosen the love-it camp. When using arugula, I think the key is to use it in moderation and to make sure the leaves are young and not too bitter. Today I made an arugula, fennel and orange salad – a tangle of sweet licorice notes and peppery arugula, highlighted by luscious orange segments and salty bursts of capers and olives. Although Mr. Pepper isn’t a fan of licorice, he enjoyed this salad – I hope you do too! arugula, fennel and orange salad Time: …

whole wheat bread loaf

whole wheat bread loaf

I like sharing experiences about special food – dishes that make me excited and proud about cooking; restaurants that serve life-changing meals. So being one of the most common pantry items, I hardly thought that a loaf of bread would ever be worth writing back home about. Until this week. Being conscious of nutrition and a quasi food-hipster, I prefer whole wheat over white bread. I think it tastes better and I think it’s better for you, but when I bake bread at home, I usually bake a plain white or mixed loaf because my past experiences with full whole wheat were woeful and yielded flat and unappealing loaves. My white loaves have gotten me by for a while – good enough for some PB&Js or my much-adored Vegemite toast, but this week when I was craving the carbs, I thought I’d give whole wheat another chance. I remembered that I had some guar gum left over from a failed ice cream experiment and some gluten that I usually make seitan with. After the first hour of …

chrysanthemum greens

first harvest

It has been quite a busy month, although the deafening crickets and the mammoth tumbleweeds rolling around the pink pepper blog haven’t suggested as much. Going from Ms. to Mrs. Pepper, the last minute preparations left me with little time to cook, photograph or feed my Masterchef Australia addiction. I only just recently caught up on episodes whilst recovering from the most inconvenient cold of my life – yes, I was sick on my wedding day! Nonetheless, it was a beautiful day, and being with such wonderful and caring people almost made me forget about my runny nose. During the chaos, it seems as though some of my garden greens started to flower – an almost desperate cry from my poor plants for attention. I wasn’t able to salvage my Chinese broccoli, but I was able to harvest some pretty lovely chrysanthemum greens – it looks like the warm weather in Arizona agrees with them and they are a pretty low maintenance vegetable to grow. These greens are often used in Japanese dishes such as …

beetroot kale salad

beetroot, kale and tempeh salad

So I had my first ever annual physical this week. I was a little nervous because I wasn’t exactly sure of what sort of tests I would have to do, and unlike all the other exams in my life, I couldn’t cram for this one. As I waited patiently in my stylish blue paper gown for my doctor to arrive, my stomach grumbled. “I’m so cold! I’m so hungry!”, I childishly whined. “I want a cookie! I want a pony!”, jested my boyfriend. He wasn’t far off, I felt like I could have eaten both a cookie AND a pony – fasting for tests is no fun. I started to think about delicious things I could eat later that day, but with all these health tests at the front of my mind, I wanted something that was nutritious, and so I decided on a kale and beetroot salad. When I returned home, I popped the beetroots in the oven and after a few longing stares at the oven door, the torture was finally over. The recipe is inspired by a salad I saw in …

cheese crackers

cheese and black pepper crackers

With the arrival of warmer weather in recent weeks, I have been moving out of my bear-hibernation mode and away from rich, hot foods. Lately I have been craving light and simple foods, such as vegetables and crackers with hummus. Serious snacking calls for some serious crackers of course, like these cheese and black pepper crackers. Since crackers to me are what cookies are to The Cookie Monster, I usually make a double batch of these. If you’re a serial snacker like me, you might like to try baking these. I made mine with a mexican cheese blend and lots of freshly ground pepper (which made me sneeze a lot, but it was totally worth). Serve with dips, crumble over soups or nibble them on their own.

wheat tortillas

wheat tortillas

During my first expedition to a grocery store in America, I was overloaded with excitement. There were many foods here that I hadn’t seen back in Australia. I perused the products in each aisle carefully and with enthusiasm. I was drawn to a parcel of cookies, its shiny white packaging exhibiting cute pink and white animals adorned with hundreds and thousands, all in a conga line. My boyfriend strongly advised me not to look at the ingredients list on the packet of cookies I was clutching. Surely such adorable animal-shaped morsels couldn’t be evil? I curiously turned the bag over and as my eyes filtered through the list, I took note of some of the ingredients. Enriched flour. High fructose corn syrup. Hydrogenated oil. I now understood the warning. I’ll admit I’m no purist – I purchased the cookies in full knowledge that they were terribly unhealthy for me to consume, and I enjoyed them thoroughly. On most days, however, I like to avoid buying unhealthy or highly processed foods, which can be challenging at times – it seems very common for …

cinnamon honey granola

cinnamon honey granola

I always imagined that the opening entry on my food blog would be an epic account of something deliciously complicated to make like macarons or sfogliatelle. I’ve since come to realise, however, that good food doesn’t have to be difficult to make. Good food can be wholesome, simple and full of wonderful memories. My sister used to make such amazing granola that I was convinced she had an elaborate recipe with special ingredients that made those crunchy morsels so addictive and delicious. My mother and I would nibble on it, much to the irritation of my sister who would wake for breakfast only to find a barren granola container, void of any fruits or nuts. She soon learned to cook two batches – one for breakfast and another sacrificial batch for my mother and me. Asking my sister for the recipe one day, I was surprised to find that the ingredients were so simple. She couldn’t remember the recipe exactly, but she did specifically say that the only spice she used was cinnamon. I was skeptical about the results I would …