Ethiopian Food

5 Sep

Last night for the first time I visited an Ethiopian Restaurant with two friends.
This colourfully decorated restaurant is at the end of a pretty non-descript row of shops in Hamilton Hill.
We ordered Sambusa (similar to Indian samosas) while perusing the menu and quickly ordered a second portion as they were so tasty and arrived with a lovely sour cream dip!
Not entirely sure what to order we asked for help and the chef came out of the kitchen and suggested she order for us. Although not on the menu she suggested we try Mesob Dining for three people (the options are 2 people or 4 people on the menu)
A large wicker basket similar in shape to a tagine was placed on our table, when the lid was lift there was a metal tray with crumpet like pancakes. One pancake was placed flat on the tray and onto this our lovely waitress spooned out the four hot dishes so that each of us had an over lapping portion of everything in front of us. We were then shown how to use the pancake to scoop the food up or spoon fillings into and use like a tortilla wrap. Eating without cutlery may seem like an adult version of baby led weaning but it was very social and relaxing to all be sitting around sharing from the same plate. We were offered additional pancakes which we accepted, I found these to be light and not as filling as bread or tortilla wraps. There was a lentil daal-like dish, a vegetable dish which included large pieces of potato (always a winner with the Irish girl!) and two meat dishes one beef and one lamb. All were lightly spiced and full of flavour.
After dinner we had coffee served in espresso size cups which was so rich and fragrant I spent more time enjoying the amazing aroma than actually drinking it! I didn’t ask what was in it but the strong aroma of cloves brought back lovely memories for me of hot whiskeys and my Granny’s ever full jar of clove rock. Food memories – you can’t beat them!
Service was prompt and friendly.
Great atmosphere, fun environment and good food.
A good start to my 35th year 

Ethiopian Restaurant

October …. Ireland and Australia swap weather, I cycle and a fab curry recipe!

31 Oct

Being back in the working world is really impeding my blogging but fear not .. I am alive and well!
After what seemed like an impossibly long cold rainy winter, made longer and worser in no small way by the excellent weather Ireland was experiencing and the neverending tweets/emails/texts/fb chats I was getting about it,  Perth is finally starting to heat up. It was 37.2 degrees yesterday which was LOVELY! I was delighted for Ireland getting such lovely weather as I know from living here that nothing lifts the spirits as much as a warm breeze, summer clothes and the abilty to plan outdoor events and we all know Ireland needs a lift  …so I trust you will all be equally delighted for me when I start tweeting photos of my bronzed feet in the white sand to a blue ocean background. No?!

In other news …..
I cycle to and from work now its not very far approximately 3.5 kilometres, but in the morning its mostly uphill. My bike is, much like myself, built for comfort and not for speed! So the hills are a struggle but I’m seeing it as an extra bit of exercise and am fully convinced that any day now I will wake up with Heidi Klum legs. Going home in the evening I revert to being a child and free wheel most of the way, sometimes I even stick my legs out and yell WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! The more serious cyclists in their matching lycra on skinny little bikes don’t seem to enjoy this as much as I do. They don’t know what they’re missing.

My job is going well, I am still enjoying having a purpose and a fortnightly payday! But I have noticed that having a job has brought a whole new set of worries … am I being challenged enough? what will my next move be? should I do a course? what course??? Yes, my never ending pursuit of education is back on the table, I do love a bit of study and would really like to do some here, to experience a different country’s education for one thing but I’m sure some homegrown qualifications wouldn’t do my CV any harm either.  I still have a longing to do a butchering class, it was an idea that I formed before coming to Australia but had to be shelved when I didn’t have an income, so I am going to make moves on that in 2014. Looks like I have one new years resolution already …..

Oh and some big news, although if you follow me on twitter you will have heard all about it a couple of weeks ago …  After 18 months of stress and strain we got our Permanent Residency! This means we can stay and work in Australia as residents for at least 5 years, at which time we can apply to renew/extend it but in reality once we have lived here 4 years we can apply to be citizens and get Australian passports which is more likely what we will do.  We’ve been here almost 2 years now … time flies!

As for what I’ve been eating and cooking? Well lots of Indian food lately as I have had the good fortune to make a great new friend who writes this blog: and spent an afternoon recently teaching myself and the lovely Mel from LipstickHoney how to cook some beautiful Indian dishes.  One recipe in particular from her blog we make at least once a week, Kheema or Mince Curry. Its so simple that its hard to believe its so tasty! Try it! And don’t be scared of the chillies … you’ll see that they cook for a while so there’s no scary heat left in them. This is not a hot spicy dish at all.  Last night we had this served with cubes of fried turmeric potatoes (parboil, cut in cubes, sprinkle with turmeric and fry), greek yoghurt and grated cheese … it was a like a fancy Indian version of Taco Fries! It was as delicious as it was bold. I’m not sure its exactly how purist Indian cooks would serve it but believe it me it was fab.

Here is the link to the original recipe which has some useful photos for making it the first time. I’ve added a few little comments below because that’s how I roll … x

Kheema or Mince Curry

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 bay leaves (fresh or dried work fine)

2 cloves

2 peppercorns

1 large onion finely chopped

3 green chillies

1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste (You can buy this paste in Asian shops/supermarket but I just crush 2 garlic cloves and grate a teaspoon of fresh ginger, mash together)

2 medium tomatoes finely chopped

3 tsp tomato paste/puree

500g  mince (I’ve made with both beef and chicken, the dishes are different but both great. Any meat minced will work!)

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp red chilli powder (if you are very worried about the spiciness cut back on this not the fresh chillies)

1 tsp garam masala (this adds sweetness, if you’re not familiar with this spice mix its really fragrant)

Salt to taste

Handful of green peas

3 tblsp of oil

2 cups of water/stock

Heat oil in a pan add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, peppercorns and cloves.

Once the seeds start to splutter add the chopped onions and green chillies and sauté till the onions turn a light brown in color.

Add the Ginger garlic paste, tomatoes, tomato paste and sauté. This sauce is now known as a MASALA. You need to make sure that the masala is cooked well until the oil starts to separate.

It is very important to sauté the masala well or else the dish will not taste good.

Once the oil in the masala has separated add the mince, coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masasla, salt and sauté again for 5 minutes.

Be careful that it doesn’t burn.

Add the Peas

It is very important at this stage you lower the heat and cook the mince for almost 10 minutes in the masala (chicken will cook faster than beef so use your own judgement as to when the meat is cooked)

The gravy is meant to be dry so be careful not to flood the dish with too much water. It has to be just enough for the meat to cook.  Give it around 10 – 15  minutes to cook properly and then sprinkle some fresh coriander while serving.

You can serve this dish with potatoes, rice, naan bread or other veggies if you are attempting to cut back on carbs. Cauliflower goes very well with curries, I’m still promoting cauli at every opportunity.

Let me know if you try this,


SJ x


27 Aug

I love a good beauty product and I have been known to go totally nuts buying, use a couple of times and leave to gather dust while I continue to use what I already had! I don’t think I am alone in this, am I???

However, my recent long term unemployment put a total and abrupt stop to all purchases of the luxury sort and to my horror I had to survive with what I had plus the extras my lovely sisters would send me … if you don’t have sisters like mine you are missing out, they are amazing (and hopefully reading!). I of course did survive but a little bit of me died not being able to have shiny new things to make me pretty, but I suppose I did have a tan pretty much all the time which helps!

Now that I am once again financially liquid I can have the odd splurge/investment but I have to say unbeknownst to myself I’ve become more risk adverse when it comes to new products … I am researching lots before buying and impulse purchases no longer seem to be in me! It was a shock to me too but perhaps its old age combined with experiencing a recession? Or am I just getting boring? Oh GAWD!

Anyways … I came across this great post from new Irish website Frillseeker yesterday and it really is packed full of great reccomendations for all types of beauty products from Irish Beauty Bloggers. What I really like about this is that you can see the lady in question so for the lipsticks in particular you can judge if you have the same colouring/skin tones and whether that particular shade might suit you.


Some of my own favourite products and brands are listed here such as:

La Roche Posay. You all need to get the Cicaplast Baume its a wonder product for everything from dry skin to chaffing/heat rash from exercise! Also great for nappy rash I believe so a family friendly one.

MAC lipsticks. MAC in general is a love of mine especially their blushes and brushes. I have Rebel and now Lady Danger lippies on my wishlist.

Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks. These are cheap and really good! They don’t make you skeletal like Kate herself which was such a relief😉

Benefit They’re Real mascara. I just adore this product, I always feel my eyes look so much better with it on. The brush took me some time to get used to and I stabbed myself a few times but now I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else.

YSL Touche Eclat foundation. This is a beautiful foundation, it makes my skin glowy and isn’t too heavy (freckles are still visible through it which I like). The bottle is huge and lasts for ages.

Products I need to get after reading this article:

Seche Vite – this is a top coat for nails that dries really quickly so fantastic for silly billies like me that start painting their nails after they have called a taxi or just before they need to find something in a handbag or go to bed hence ruining all the good work!

Cocoa Brown tan – this has been developed my Irish beauty therapist Marissa Carter and everyone is raving about it, I will be picking up a bottle when I am home in December to try next Winter. Its really affordable and can be washed off a couple of hours after application so no need for smelly sleeping! There is an accompanying scrub called Tough Stuff that also sounds right up my street. I love a good scrub and have been body brushing with vigour lately in anticipation of 7 months on the beach. Yes I did that on purpose. Emigrants are soooo annoying aren’t they?

I’ve been using some lovely Australian products lately too so I might do a post on some of them soon too …. give the blog a little break from food!

Ok peeps have a good look at this and tell me what you think? What are your favourite beauty products? What can you not live without? Please comment as I love hearing everyone else’s opinions and I hate missing out on wonder products!



Party Foods Ideas

23 Aug
It must be party season as I’ve had two lovely readers of my blog ask me for some ideas for party food/nibbles in the last 24 hours. I am no expert but I was flattered to be asked so here are some ideas, hope you like them.
I always endeavour to have party food as relaxed as possible .. so lots of helping yourself and different tastes keeps everyone interested and can be good to break the ice without interrupting the flow of conversation!
 – Hummus is always a winner, the recipe on my blog is my favourite and lately I’ve been adding extra smoked paprika and cayenne pepper for a new dimension! Serve with crackers, toasted sourdough or veggies (sticks of carrots, celery, red capsicums/peppers are very appealing on the eye and great to munch on!)
 – Roasted chickpeas are so tasty and crunchy, a great nibble to have with drinks and chats – soak more chickpeas than you need for the hummus, dry them off and pop on a tray in the oven with some oil (I use coconut but olive is good) and spices. Here’s what Martha Stewart says but don’t be afraid to play around with the spices, you can’t go wrong.
 – Creamy Salmon Dip – this is a recipe my lovely Aunty Sally makes for parties & its gorgeous! 1 tin red salmon, 1 foil packet full fat philidelphia – whizz together then add juice of a lemon and 5/6 drops tabasco. Whizz again and serve with crackers!
 – Smoked salmon on brown bread – Always a winner and a stable of the Hurley homestead! Finger size slices of good brown bread (or your favourite type), real butter, smoked salmon with wedges of lemon on the side and sprinkle over some capers if you like those little fellas! Very easy to assemble.
 – Guacamole / Pico de Gallo – The key with avocados is plenty of salt, fresh coriander and lime juice! My Aussie cousin adds cherry tomato halves to her guac and its really good for picnics and parties. There is no definite recipe for this but as a guide try mixing together 2 avocados (mashed), 1 chilli sliced, handful coriander chopped, clove garlic squished, juice of 2 limes, 2 pinches of salt and 5 cherry tomatoes halved! For me, the more rustic the better but its totally up to you. Tip: If making in advance leave the stone from the avocado in the bowl, it will prevent it going brown/discolouring.
 – Cheese board – I use a wooden chopping board, 3 cheeses (don’t stress about the types but a cheddar, a brie and a blue work well. There are no rules!), sliced pear/apple, some grapes/strawberries and some nuts will look fab and there’ll be something for everyone. Place a few knives on the board, some crackers nearby and let everyone help themselves. Its real DIY nibbly food and people will go back time and time again.
Salted Caramel Haloumi and Apple – this recipe is on my blog and is so simple to make its always a shock how tasty it is! Cut the haloumi and apple smaller than usual and serve with toothpicks on the side to everyone can spear a bit of each and get the full yummy effect!
Caprese on a stick! – I love these as they look pretty. On a toothpick put one small mozzerella ball , one cherry tomato and a leaf of basil in between. A mouthful of beautiful fresh caprese salad.

Lots of colour to attract the eyes and simple flavours to satisfy the tastebuds!

What are your favourite party foods?

Enjoy x

Working 9 to 5 …..

20 Aug


So here I am, a veritable Dolly Parton, after 18 months of enforced retirement I am back in the rat race … and it feels good!
Of course it also means I don’t have as much time on my hands …but I barely even notice to be honest, that saying about asking a busy person to do stuff is so true!
I’ve been making lots of nice salads and tasty meals lately that double up as good lunchbox fillers for the following day but I am so hungry after a hard days work (ahem) that I haven’t been taking photos .. that shall ALL change from here on in!

In the meantime here is one of our favourite side dishes of the moment .. sounds unusual when you read it first but really tasty ..go on, try it!

Warm Tomato Salad (from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals)

You Need:

500g tomatoes (I have used both cherry toms and the large ones, all taste good choice is yours)

1 lemon

1 tsp chilli powder (don’t be scared)

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 cloves of garlic

You Do:

Halve the cherry toms or chop the large toms.

Finely slice half the lemon (skin and all)

In a pan over heat: 1 tablespoon of oil (I used coconut but whatever you have is good), chilli powder, mustard seeds and sliced lemon

Squash in the garlic cloves & squeeze over the remaining juice from the lemon. Add the tomatoes and toss around for 30 seconds.

Season to taste and serve.

Delicious as a side dish with meat.

Enjoy x

Cauliflower Two Ways, kind of!

1 Jul

I love cauliflower, always have!

I’ve great food memories of eating it smothered in cheese sauce with mashed potatoes, roast lamb and gravy .. so tasty, a real Sunday dinner!

Recently I’ve been experimenting with roasting cauli in a little coconut oil with cumin seeds and some chilli, it works really well as long as you don’t over do it in which case it becomes really dry.

This recipe from My New Roots solves the over cooking problem as the tandoori yoghurt paste encases the whole cauliflower and it stays really moist and delicious inside. It also looks really cool!

If you don’t have all the spices (nor the inclination) to make the tandoori mix up yourself a pre-made spice mix or paste will work just as well. Pataks are readily available in both Ireland and Australia and are decent quality (Jamie Oliver recommends them doncha know?). Green Saffron is an Irish spice company whose mixes I used all the time when at home, available in Avoca, online and I believe now in some of the large supermarket chains.  I’m not an expert of any sort on Indian spices but I’d imagine this would work with any type of curry paste, I’d give it a go if I was in a hurry anyway.

tandoori cauli

I made this last friday and there was at least two thirds left over so I chopped it up the next day, made a quick cheesy sauce (sour cream, grated cheese, dijon mustard and drop of milk) poured it over and into the oven for about 10 minutes .. it was wonderful! The cheese worked really well with the spices and the result was comfort food at its best.

I often feel cauli is one of those vegetables that people either love or hate, perhaps childhood/school memories of it being over cooked into tasteless mush contribute to this? But its a veg I would reccommend you give another go, it works really well with indian and middle eastern flavours. Its packed full of vitamins, anti oxidants and other healthy stuff .. its cheap, it can be easily grown and its pretty like a flower … have I convinced you yet?

Do you have any other ideas for cauliflower? What’s your favourite way to eat it?

SJ x


*Photo from My New Roots site

Books, libraries, celebs and food!

18 Jun

Last week myself and my friend Donna went to a cookery demonstration in the local library. The two ladies giving the demo had been contestants on the last season of a reality cookery show called My Kitchen Rules. Its a show that I really enjoy and I believe a UK & Ireland version is currently being made with the lovely Lorraine Pascale as a judge.



Daniela and Stefania are cousins (double cousins in fact) and act like sisters, as in they bicker and joke non-stop! So amusing to watch but most importantly they cook delicious Italian food. We got to taste some lovely bites and I even had some cake (not sugar free) it was a chiffon cake and I was so interested in how it was made that I had to taste it. It was the lightest fluffiest texture and most interestingly it has to be made in an aluminium angel cake tin with tripod little legs extending from it to allow for the height that it rises! If the tin was non-stick or greased the cake wouldn’t be able to “climb” up the sides and so would flop. I am bringing this recipe home on my next visit as I know my Aunty Kitty loves trying new types of cake, I must pick up the correct tin too I believe kitchen warehouse is the place to go.

Stefania demontrating how to get the chiffon cake out of the angel cake tin (see the tripod legs?)

Stefania demonstrating how to get the chiffon cake out of the angel cake tin (see the tripod legs?)




How do I have the recipe?? Yes. I bought the book! In fairness to me I don’t have any Italian cookery books and it has been commented on more than once that my pasta sauces are not as good as jars (what an insult!!) so it was needed! But also the ladies were so so lovely that I wanted to support them.


For anyone who has just moved to Australia be sure to check out the local libraries they are really good not just for borrowing books/dvds/cds etc but also for running demos and classes … my next adventure with the library is a Penguin book club, I’ll keep you posted …

I’m also going to another book club meeting that Donna found through MeetUp which is reviewing a book called How To Be A Good Wife with the author Emma Chapman in attendance. I read the book this week and really loved it, its a long time since I have read a book with structure, a good story and beautiful writing so I am very excited to hear what the author has to say.

SJ x