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Weekend Herb Blogging Roundup!

>> Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Summer Flowers


It’s finally here, the round up for an exciting Weekend Herb Blogging. Before continuing with the roundup, I would like to thank Kalyn and Margot for kindly helping me out last week! You, and all of the food blogger community, are totally awesome!

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For tempeh lovers, the first entry is a must-read. Making tempeh at home is an impressive task, and Afri from Homemades did it all. A delightful entry with step-by-step photos, you may end up making tempeh in the near future, too!

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Walking down the memory lane, Srivalli from Cooking 4 all Seasons shares with us her unforgettable dish - Punjabi Chhole. Using black cardamom among other spices, the result is a dish that worth the wait after so many years. I am sure this dish will be a frequent at Srivalli’s home, and it will be tested and tried in mine, too.

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Still emerging ourselves in the mysterious spicy notes from India, Sra of When My Soup Came Alive turns a beautifully looking melon cucumber into something spicy and exotic. Served with some yoghurt on the side, melon cucumber curry (dosakaya koora) is mouth-watering and healthy.

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The fourth entry from Divya Vikram of Dil Se continues to remind me of how delicious Indian cooking is! Indian cooks really can transform simple vegetables to the next level. Here, chayote is braised with other spices and becomes a delicious Chaypote Kootu.

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Lisa from Lisa’s Kitchen helps me to learn a new fantastic vegetarian dish – Shakshouka. The finished dish is really beautiful with different arrays of colors from the bell pepper, tomatoes and the cracked eggs on top. Savouring it hot from the oven, this is no doubt a perfect dish to start the day.

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The talented Bee and Jai from Jugalbandi bring us a delicious and healthy snack – Baked Plantain Chips with Coconut and Curry Leaves. The two authors also have at least two confessions related to this dish. Want to know? Head out to their beautiful blog to check out.

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If you love Italian food and risotto like me, then you can’t miss the next entry from the gorgeous Susan from Food Blogga. Featuring baby artichoke as the main ingredient, Susan cooks up the delicious baby artichoke and asparagus risotto. But let me tell you, the recipe has more luxurious ingredients. All combined together, they make a risotto to die for.

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What would you do with tomatillos? Mike of Mike’s Table decides to make a delicious salsa to accompany with chicken burrito. The final dish is something magnificent. In Mike’s words, “they were light, just the right level of spice, peppery, citric, creamy, tangy, and surprisingly complex tasting”.

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The next entry is from our beloved Kalyn, the founder of Weekend Herb Blogging. This week Kalyn helps us discover a new salad combination - mango and heart of palm. The salad also features the all time favourite cilantro and the zing from lime juice. Kalyn also has the most wonderful salad idea around, ad this is no exception.

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Whenever I visit Ronell at Myfrenchkitchen, I always feel like entering an artistic world of color, peace and lazy days (if that makes sense at all!). Her dish today, ham spring rolls, has that sentiment – creative, colourful and undoubtedly delicious. Wrapped in ham slice are the nicely crisp seasonal vegetables. Tied with flowering chives, these would be a hit for your summer meals.

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Ms. Tigerfish from Teczcape is celebrating her love of mushrooms on her blog. I have particularly paid attention to some love Asian type mushrooms, especially the types I can’t get here in Melbourne. Come over and discover some lovely mushrooms around! You won’t be disappointed.


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Reading Andrea’s from Andrea’s Recipes entry, I secretly with that summer is here again. Summer is a perfect summer for outdoor eating, and the lovely grilled potatoes with garlic and herbs are excellent choice.


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Mansi Desai from Food and Fun is having a lot of fun with making pesto. Departing away from the traditional basil and pine nuts, her Cilantro and Walnut Pesto also features the sweetness of corn and a spicy kick of chilli. Very different and what a strong statement for the meal!

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Kelly from Sounding My Barbaric Gulp was having a lot of fun making ravioli from scratch in a cooking class. And she was successful in making really lovely ravioli with fresh morels! How delicious the dish can be! Join her post for more instructions on how to make ravioli at home.

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Summer must be heating up in the northern hemisphere since the lovely Margot of Coffee & Vanilla is making Bramble Sorbet Icicles. They look so good and damn cute. A summer must try (since they seem to have lower calories than ice-cream, too!!!)

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From Brasil, the talented Patricia of Technicolor Kitchen shares with us her love for Martha. In defence for Martha, who I really like, Pat whips up a simple but yummy Linguine with olives, thyme and lemon.

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Everyone, please welcome the newest member of WHB community – Heart from Heart and Health. She chooses to feature a dish close to my heart, Sesame Spinach with Oyster Sauce. Her post has a lot of useful information on the benefits of this dish according to Eastern belief. Interesting read for a lot of you I am sure.


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Pille of Nami-nami always surprises me with a lot of wild and unusual ingredient. This week is no exception when she whips up some Wild Garlic Pesto. She also has some other suggestions for wild garlic, so her post is definitely worth looking. (And the photos are nice, too!).

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Growing up in a Chinese-influenced culture, I have learnt to love Buddha’s Feast, which is a popular vegetarian dish. I have, however, made it once. But the recipe from KC of Kits Chow will change all that. Her clear and precise recipe should be the start for anyone who adores Asian flavours!

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Bhawna from Bhawna Loves Cooking prepares a nice Dal Makhani. According to her, the dish is cooked in jain style, without onion.

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The next dish is something I will definitely try very soon. Burcu from Almost Turkish shares with us a family recipe – Pressure Cooker Steak. It’s almost like one pot meal with lots of goodies inside. I already dream of some juicy and herby steak for dinner tomorrow. Thanks Burcu!

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The next dish is a potato salad with an interesting twist from Michelle of Greedy Gourmet. The twist here is from the use of dill, a lovely herb that I always love!

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Sage is the main herb featured in Chriesi’s post this week. Her post details a lot of benefits for this favourite herb, and includes detailed instructions on how to make Sage Involtini.

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How to make the perfect Rolled French-style Omelette that is still creamy inside? Siri from Siri’s corner has all the answers for you.

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All the way from Greece, Ivy sends us a colourful chicken and vegetables salad. It sounds really great, and what a great way to start a healthy diet!

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Summer is coming to a lot of you so no surprise we have another salad dish right here. This time is from Victoria at Flavours of the Sun. The recipe is her adaptation from the famous Cobb Salad. So here it is, let me present you the fabulous Shrimp and Gruyère Cobb Salad with Low-Fat Green Goddess Dressing.

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I just have recently rediscovered my love for millet. And the new recipe from Moriah of Where I am Cooking From is such an inspiration. Pairing the nutty millet with preserved lemon and spices is just wonderful. A great way to start enjoying millet in my opinion.

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The ever cheerful and sweet Anna of Morsels and Musings send us an original recipe which I am sure a lot of you will love. This versatile Zucchini, Mint & Feta Bake is great not only for breakfast but also as a side dish for lunch/dinner.

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Rhubarb can be a strange vegetable for a lot of us. But once you make something with it, rhubarb is actually a wonderful ingredient. That is exactly the sentiment in Jennifer from Do You Like to Cook. Check out her Rhubarb Crumble recipe, you will understand why.


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Susan from the Well-seasoned Cook is always so charming in the way she posts. And her photos are always so sweet. This week she creates a delicious Asian salad which features all the ingredients I love – napa cabbage, enoki mushrooms, daikon radish etc. The dressing is worth mentioning, too with the hit from wasabi and the warmth from star anise. Just lovely!

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If you haven’t been to Katie’s Thyme to Cook blog, you are missing out on something really unique. Katie is always full of lovely stories that leave you with a sweet smile. And further, she always has wonderful ideas to share. For this week, the dish she brings is Spinach Salad with Chicken and Quiona.

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Pam from the Backyard Pizzeria is dying to use her slow cooker and so do I. This equipment is damn good for winter stew dishes. Today Pam provides us with new ideas for the slow cooker. She uses it to make Thai Red Chicken Curry. Fabulous and simple, I love it.

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The gorgeous Haalo of Cooking Almost Everything At Least Once features a lovely ingredient this week - Medjool Date. She uses Medjool Date to make the most perfect looking clafoutis I have seen. Haalo remarks this as a simple yet totally satisfying dessert and I totally agree with her.

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Leaving Melbourne, we are heading to visit Wiffy in Singapore and learn about different health benefits of chrysanthemum tea and liquorice root. Both of these ingredients are used to make a really refreshing tea, which is what you need for a hot summer day.

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My friend Y from Lemonpi brings us a lovely dish - Pepper Chicken Chettinad. The black peppercorn adds both warmth and depth to the dish. Served it with brown rice and steamed broccoli as suggested, who said winter food couldn’t be healthy?

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This is the second time rhubarb makes an appearance in our roundup. This time, it is pared with an unusual partner – basil. And it works, according to the lively Ulrike of Küchenlatein. Indeed her rhubarb compote with basil sounds wonderfully refreshing.

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Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce! This must be one of my favourite dishes so I am really happy to see Jerry brings it up to our roundup. In this recipe, inspired by Jamie Oliver, marjoram is used to add aroma and freshness. Jerry also lets us know about other use of marjoram, too.

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Time for another luxurious treat! Susan from Wild Yeast is bringing a very unique dessert - Strawberry-Rhubarb-Kumquat Galette. Three beautiful fruits and vegetable in one fantastic looking galette. I am so curious to try it out, once I get my hands on some fresh kumquat!

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Zucchini chips? Do they sound unusual to you? For me at least, this is the first time I see zucchini chips. And you know what, it sounds wonderful with the flavouring from parmesan and other spices. The possibilities are endless here. Many thanks to Gretchen Noelle Jones for bringing it up!


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What can you cook with one zucchini, a quarter head of cauliflower, 1-2 carrots and a few pods of okra? The talented chef Rinku manages to whip up an impressive Cashew Coconut Vegetables to accompany her fish. Great way to use up veges in the fridge for sure.

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Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska joins us with the mouth-watering Pastitsio with Greens. Although it is known roughly as “Greek lasagne”, I think it deserves a place of its own in culinary world. It must be lovely, as Laurie’s husband really loves it!.

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“Sometimes, the simplest things are the best!”, Jeanne from Cook Sister acclaims and I can’t agree more! And her dish, Cumin and Caraway Honey-Roast Carrot, is something so simple yet so beautiful and unique.

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Now, back to Melbourne with love, we will visit the talented Neil from At My Table. He introduces us a rather unique food from PolandFermented Cucumber Soup. His post details a lot of interesting facts surrounding this dish. Not to be missed!

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I am so happy to see that Ms. Wandering Chopstick is making one of my favourite childhood food - Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad with Beef Jerky. In fact I want some right now. And with her recipe, I can make my own version and don’t have to wait until my August/September trip to Hanoi!

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If you are into funny ghost stories, you might want to ‘chat’ with the lovely Dhanggit. I think the ghosts, if they really exist, should be interested in the really nice looking Strawberry and Basil Gazpacho that she makes.

Avocado Smoothie with Tomato Salsa

And lastly, this is my entry for this week – the savoury Avocado Smoothie with Fresh Tomato Salsa and Lemon-flavoured Ice Cubes.

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That’s all! 46 colorful entries for this week WHB. It takes a bit of time to compile and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did! Thanks again and see you all next week for another edition of WHB, which is hosted by Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska!!!



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Missing Summer

>> Monday, May 05, 2008

Avocado Smoothie with Tomato Salsa

It seems like my disappearance in the blogging world has become something usual nowadays. While I still have a lot of ideas for cooking, the time factor is not on my side… And now, having some spare time on hand, I will start writing about something new to share with you all.

The dish today, refreshing as it is, is perfect for summer entertaining. As you might have guessed, I made it ages ago, on a hot summer night. It is now winter here in Melbourne. So, the entry is a bit out of season for Melbourne. Nonetheless, for all my friends in the northern hemisphere, this is something you will love…

What not to love? The creaminess of avocado is just perfect for an unusual savoury smoothie offering. No cream needed, hass avocado is definitely the best choice here. Team this beautiful green creamy texture with some lemon juice, a bit of cayenne pepper for a spicy kick, then, the base is ready to chill in your fridge.

But of course, the dish has more to offer! Few hours earlier, remember to make some lemon-flavoured olive oil ice cubes. These tiny ice cubes will keep you and your guests satisfied, blowing away the heat of summer.

Just to finish it off, get some ripe and flavourful tomatoes and make a really simple salsa with fresh coriander. Layer the red tomatoes salsa in a small glass, then, the avocado smoothie. Top it off with some ice cubes and the party should start!

I served this beautiful smoothie with home-made bread stick. To be healthier, try some raw vegetables and serve this as a dip. Whichever way, this is a must try for avocado lover.

This is my post for Weekend Herb Blogging. I am the host for this week, but the slowly dying internet connection at home during the weekend resulted in a rather late entry. Not a good host, but I promise the beautiful round up will be here no latter than tomorrow (Tues in Melbourne). Thanks for your support and understanding!

Avocado Smoothie with Tomato Salsa


Avocado Smoothie with Fresh Tomato Salsa


Based on a recipe from Pourcel Brothers Cookbook

Ingredients (to serve 4 as a huge first course. Serve 8 as an appetiser)
4 hass avocado, peel and remove the stone
500ml vegetable stock, chilled
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly grounded pepper

For the lemon-flavoured ice cubes:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt
For the tomato salsa
1 large ripe tomato, blanch and dice
Some coriander
A bit of coarse salt (I used Maldon) & pepper
Method
Make the ice cubes first by combing all ingredients together. Add some salt to taste. Pour into the ice cube tray and freeze.
Process the peeled and stoned avocado with veg stock, lemon in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Chill.
Prior to serving, gently mix the diced tomatoes with chopped coriander. Sprinkle with salt.
Select 4 (or more) glasses. Layer some tomato salsa in the glass first. Top with avocado smoothie. Add some ice cubes. Serve immediately with fresh bread or raw baby vegetables.
Avocado Smoothie with Tomato Salsa

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