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Category Archives: Side Dish

Potato and Leek Soup

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In winter we do have sunny days with clear blue skies but Canberra weather can sometimes be a bit deceiving. It has been very cold lately, too cold for my liking but it is definitely the weather for comfort food.

To keep warm this winter, I have a few recipes up my sleeve and this is one of them. This potato and leek soup is deliciously creamy and trust me, by the time you finish your first bowl, you will sigh with contentment.

Potato and Leek Soup


2 leeks
35 gm butter
1 medium size onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
600 grams potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
375 ml evaporated milk
Salt and white pepper


1. Discard the dark green part of the leeks. Cut the leek lengthwise, finely slice the leeks and rinse thoroughly to remove any dirt.
2. Melt butter in a large saucepan and sauté onions, garlic and leek.


3. Add chopped potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.


4. Pour in vegetable stock and stir to combine. Leave it to simmer uncovered until the potatoes are tender.
5. Using a blender, purée mixture until smooth.
6. Return puréed mixture to heat and add milk. Season with salt and white pepper.
7. Bring to boil and serve.

Garnish the soup with some chopped chives or spring onions, this is optional. But I like mine with freshly ground black pepper. Go ahead and make some today.

Do you have a favourite soup recipe for winter?



Blue Cheese and Avocado Dip

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First time I laid eyes on blue cheese, I must say that it wasn’t love at first sight. The blue veins and the strong smell was a bit overwhelming for me at the time. But who would have guessed that I would come to enjoy the taste of blue cheese. Lesson learnt…do not judge a book by its cover. I don’t blame some folks who just cannot stand the look, taste or smell of these blue, veined cheese (does that sound terrible?) but before you say “No”, why not give it a try. If you have not done so, taste it and then decide.

I was watching Nigella Kitchen one night and Nigella’s Roquamole recipe caught my attention. So happened I had blue cheese and avocados in my fridge. Well, why not give it a try. I must say that it’s tasty and I think if you are planning to entertain friends, be it weeknight or weekends why not add this dip onto your list. Its quick and easy, prepare it fresh just as you are ready to serve.

In her recipe, she uses 125g Roquefort or St Agur. When I made this dip, I used Castello Blue Cheese and only a 100gm. If you have an all-time favourite blue cheese, by all means use the one that you prefer. Also, I used Spanish onions instead of spring onions, fresh jalapeño and freshly squeezed lime juice.

Blue Cheese and Avocado Dip

(Adapted from Nigella’s Roquamole)


100gm Castello Danish Blue Cheese
60ml sour cream
2 ripe avocados
35g sliced jalapeño
2 tablespoon spanish onions, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Lime juice to taste


1. Roughly combine blue cheese with the sour cream.
2. Using a fork, mash in the avocados.
3. Add sliced jalapeños and diced spanish onion into the mixture. Squeeze in lime juice, a bit at a time to the taste of your liking.
4. Spoon the dip into a bowl, dust with the paprika and serve it with chips, vegetable sticks or even meat.

I chose to serve this with oven baked sweet potatoes and chicken goujons. It was very nice!



French Bread Rolls


When I first saw the post from Mels Kitchen Cafe on these beautiful French Bread Rolls, I knew that I just have to try to make them. Not just influenced by how appetizing they look but the statement that Mel made in her blog saying that this is “one of the easiest, no-fail roll recipes around”. Well, I know they are just bread rolls but they are not “just” bread rolls you see. If I have found a recipe where I can bake scrumptious bread rolls at home than buying some doughy, store-bought ones, well… have a guess.

I followed the recipe but with a slight change in the ingredients. For example, I used bakers flour instead of all-purpose flour, glucose powder instead of sugar and grapeseed oil. I would remind you to read Mel’s notes about the amount of flour use in the recipe, it is an excellent tip.

French Bread Rolls
(From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)
(Makes about a dozen)

1 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons glucose powder
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups bakers flour, give or take a few tablespoons


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Begin mixing and continue to add the rest of the flour gradually until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and smooth but still slightly sticky to the touch (see Mel’s tutorial on working with yeast here).

2. Using a stand mixer, knead the dough until it is very smooth and elastic (you can knead the dough by hand but it might take a bit longer). Place the dough in a large bowl that is slightly greased. Cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. While waiting for the dough to rise, you might want to watch Mel’s tutorial on shaping perfect rolls.

3. Lightly punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly greased countertop. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form the dough into round balls. Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet about an inch or two apart. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap without pinning the plastic wrap under the baking sheet. This is to allow the rolls to fully rise. Let the plastic wrap gently hang over the sides of the pan to fully cover the rolls but not press them down. Let the rolls rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

As soon as the aroma starts to fill your kitchen, this is the moment when you just cannot wait to take the rolls out of the oven and have your first bite…though it is advisable to wait until it cools down slightly.


It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would have been to make these rolls. Thanks to Mel, I think this could be my new found favourite. These gorgeous, golden bread rolls not just look good but taste delicious.

Do you have a favourite bread roll recipe?


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