Weekend with Atlas

This week we launched our house sitting adventures
with a lovable Great Dane in Lane Cove.
It was an easy and comfortable sit, the only nervous
moment being when we first arrived, coming face to face with
our drooling fifty kilogram charge – the owners had already
left home for the weekend and we had never met Atlas before…
But it turned out that he wasn’t at all bothered by the arrival
of two strangers in his territory and he welcomed us with his loud
inhalations, sniffing and looking at us nonchalantly like we
weren’t quite who he was expecting. Adorable on a large scale!
His favourite thing was to go to the nearby park where he could
bound off leash with his doggy friends, play fetch and do
herculean poos in the shrubbery – two stomach churning
handfuls in each evacuation.
At home afterwards he would syphon down a bucket of water,
politely request a belly rub and fall asleep on the living room floor.
He was well-trained and obedient, showing affection not just toward
us, but also to Albus, his companion cat.
The weekend passed by in a furry flash, and saying goodbye was
sooooo sad…

Persian omelette

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbls tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tomato, chopped
2 eggs

Heat 1 tbls oil and sizzle garlic.
Add tomato paste and stir 2 minutes.
Add spices and stir.
Add tomato – cover 1-2 minutes.
Add eggs and stir gently until cooked.
Serve with barberi bread and other
accompaniments as desired.

Inspired by chai khaneh in South Saadi Street – Tehran

Sobhune (Persian breakfast)

A typical Iranian breakfast includes as many
or few of the below items as you please…
In order of importance –
bread – barberi or sangak
jams – carrot, mulberry, bergamot, apricot, sour cherry….
eggs – hard-boiled, omelette or kuku
cheese – feta or soft cheese
tea – sweet black or with saffron sugar
fresh seasonal fruits – melon, oranges, grapes…
honeycomb and clotted cream

Inspired by numerous breakfasts across Iran

Keralan Rasam

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 stalk curry leaves
1 dried red chilli, torn
1/4 tsp asafoetida
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tomatoes, cubed
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp tamarind, soaked in a little water
2 tbls coriander leaves

Heat 1 tbls coconut oil and sizzle mustard and cumin seeds,
dried red chilli, curry leaves and asafoetida.
Add garlic, tomatoes and salt – fry 2 minutes.
Add turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, pepper,
tamarind liquid and 1/2 cup water – simmer 5 minutes.
Add 1 to 2 cups water, return to boil, add coriander leaves
and remove from heat. Serve at room temperature over hot rice.

Inspired by meals at Hotel Ariya Bhavan, Kumily – Kerala

Recommended Thai cookbooks

If you’re in tune with this website and are looking for more culinary inspiration I can recommend some additional reference material which will probably appeal.
Rosa’s Thai Cafe, the Vegetarian edition that is, is full of recipes for authentic and original Thai dishes, the kind which you can find in Buddhist vegetarian eateries everywhere in Thailand. Vatcharin Bhumichitr is a great authority on Thai food and it seems that ANY recipe in ANY of his books is guaranteed to please, you can’t go wrong with, The Taste of Thailand or The Big Book of Thai Curries. If you want a exhaustive tome to fill your bookshelf, David Thompson’s Thai Food will keep you entertained and well fed for years, and Sujet Saenkham’s Spice I Am is also a worthwhile addition.
On line, Mark Wiens is a local authority on where to find great places to eat and posts videos and recipes with contagious enthusiasm – you can find him at eatingthaifood.com.



Kerala Fish Fry

300g fish, on the bone
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tbls coconut vinegar
pinch salt

Combine marinade ingredients with 2 tsp water,
rub onto fish and marinate for 1 hour.
Heat enough oil for shallow frying and fry fish
until cooked through and golden brown.

Inspired by Sathram Restaurant,
on the main road at Varkala – Kerala

Paneer Kebab (vegetarian kebab)

200g paneer (Indian cheese)
1 tbls pounded fresh ginger
1 tbls pounded garlic
2 green chillies, chopped
4 tbls besan flour
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup drained yoghurt
big pinch nutmeg
6 cardamom pods, ground
1 tsp dried fenugrek leaves
juice of 1/2 lime
1 green capsicum, cut 2.5cm squares
2 to 3 tomatoes, diced 2.5cm
2 small onions, diced 2.5cm

Cut paneer into 2.5cm dice and rub with 1 tsp of
ginger and garlic paste – set aside to marinate.
Heat 1 tbls oil and saute remaining ginger and garlic paste 1 minute.
Add green chilli and besan – saute 3 minutes, stirring.
Add turmeric and chilli powder – fry 1 minute.
Slowly add milk, whisking until smooth and thick.
Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes, then add
yoghurt, nutmeg, cardamom, fenugrek and lime juice – mix well.
Add capsicum, onion and paneer to gravy and set aside 20 minutes to marinate.
Thread capsicum, onion, paneer and tomato onto metal skewers
and barbeque 10 minutes each side using gravy as baste.
Serve with salad or rice and dal.

Inspired by random vendor in Roopnagar, Punjab.

Mushroom Masala

500g mushrooms, chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 large onions, chopped
1 tsp garlic, pounded
2 tsp ginger, pounded
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbls coriander leaves, chopped

Heat 3 tbls ghee – sizzle cumin seeds.
Add onions and fry until well browned.
Add garlic and ginger – fry 5 minutes.
Add chilli, turmeric, coriander powder and tomatoes
– saute until soft. Add mushrooms – fry 5 minutes.
Add garam masala and stir. Serve garnished with coriander leaves.

Inspired by Sammaan Restaurant, Dehra Doon – Uttarakhand

Malaysian Dhal Curry with Roti Canai

1 onion, sliced
2 dried red chillies
2 stalks curry leaves
2 shallots, sliced
1 tsp fresh ginger, pounded
1 clove garlic, pounded
1 tomato, in wedges
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 small potato, in wedges
1 Asian eggplant, in wedges
1 cup chana dal, soaked overnight
beef curry gravy  to serve
roti canai to serve

Fry sliced onion until brown – set aside.
Heat 1 tbls oil and saute chillies, curry leaves,
shallots, garlic and ginger.
Add tomato – cook until soft.
Add turmeric, potato, eggplant, drained dal and fresh water to cover.
Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Puree very slightly with stick blender (one or two whizzes only).
Add salt to taste and fried onion.
Serve on individual plates with a splash of beef curry gravy
and roti canai (the frozen ones taste okay and are easy to prepare).

Inspired by Indian breakfast stalls across Malaysia.

Menemen (Turkish eggs with vegetables)

1 red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bullhorn chilli, diced
1 tsp red pepper paste
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
ground black pepper
100g feta
4 eggs
mint leaves, chopped

Heat 2 tbls olive oil and saute onion and garlic.
Add pepper paste, chilli, tomato, sugar and pepper –
cook 3 minutes.
Crumble on a layer of feta and carefully break eggs on top.
Cover and steam until soft poached.
Serve sprinkled with mint. Serve with crusty bread.

Recipe from Toparlak family, Selçuk – Turkey