Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Go with the Filo

Filo pastry is my new fave. There are some fantastic recipes out there - more than just the traditional Filo parcel, which means the dishes are much more interesting to cook and eat! What's more is that it isn't (I don't think) crammed with butter, so it is a much healthier option meaning we can pack the filling with cheese and other goodies with less guilt!

There have been a few standout recipes that we have tried over and over that I thought I would quickly share to inspire!

Jamie's Spinach and Feta pie
Whilst we are still battling against the clock to make this in 30mins, it is a quick, mid week meal option and the acidic sides of cucumber with an olive dressing and tomatoes on a bed of basil dressing really cut through the richness of the creamy feta pie. Jamie has a great technique for cooking the Filo pie on the stove top first and then in the oven which makes it easy to cook and serve.

Moroccan Lamb Pie from BBC Good Food Magazine (couldn't find the recipe online unfortunately)
The filling of this pie is cinnamony and subtly spicy which makes it so tasty. However, even though the filling is great, this pie could really be any stew with Filo scrunched up and spread out on top. It makes a plain pie look pretty sexy and the crispness of the pastry complements the soft stew. It's even on the list for a winter dinner party, especially if we can do individual ones!

Zucchini, Haloumi and Herb tarts
These vegetarian tarts were quick to prepare, semi healthy to eat (except with the extra haloumi I threw on top!) and very pretty to serve in the tray, but a bit difficult to remove! It's a great idea to portion with the filo in little tarts, and sit them together when cooking. I am always trying to find low carb vegetarian options, not needing the obligatory pasta or rice that I feel I need when there's no meat, so this was a great alternative and everyone loved the crunch of the filo with the creamy filling!

As summer comes round the corner, I think I'll be cracking out a few more filo recipes as they are always fantastic with a salad, and the filo is so quick to take out of the freezer and then prepare! Do you have any great filo recipes?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Eat Drink Blog 2012: My Top 5 Highlights

Last week was the wonderful Eat Drink Blog 2012 Conference in Adelaide organised by a fabulous South Australia based group of bloggers. The bringing together of like minds for a weekend has certainly been one of  the highlights of my blogging career, as it reinspired and energised me to lift my blogging game. Of course, I could walk through the days one by one, but since we'd all be asleep by the time the plane touched down in Adelaide, I thought I'd pick the top 5 learnings to share.

1. Sydney pulled the market short straw
I don't quite know how I've made it to Adelaide on a few occasions but never been to the Adelaide Central Market. It's a bit like Central Station in Sydney, that is, not quite in the centre, but now that I know about it, it will be the centre of my next visits to Adelaide. What happened to Sydney in all of this? We ended up with Paddy's Market, selling cheap souvenirs, while Adelaide has this great hub filled with hundreds of vendors collected under the same roof selling their speciality products at what seemed like reasonable prices, creating a real community feel whilst supporting the farmers and growers.

2. Don't gush
Diane Jacobs, an expert in food writing who has written the food writers/bloggers bible, Will Write for Food, (which I can't wait to get my hands on) was the keynote speaker. As well as many other nuggets, her key advice was: don't gush... It's boring. I guess I knew that already, but do have a tendency to rave about things I love, and it would be very easy for me to gush about the Eat Drink Blog Conference, but I'll keep that in check. When I receive the book I have on order right now, I'll be putting my new found food writing knowledge to the test!

3. Write the recipe ingredients in the order they'll be used
One of the themes running through a variety of presentations was that keeping it simple for readers is the key. Readers and, more importantly, our recipe triers, don't want things to be too complicated, or they'll just go elsewhere. I hadn't really actually thought that people would really be trying my recipes, but in case they are, I'd better make them clear. One of the simplest ways to do that is to list out the recipe ingredients in the order they appear in the recipe. I can put that one into practice straight away!

4. Email subscribers are like gold
Email subscribers are the loyal friends who have requested blog posts straight to their inbox. Instead of having to go seeking through the facebook feed, competing with their friends wedding pics, the next fun event, they have opted to be sent the posts each week to distract them from work, and therefore I might actually get a look in! I had never thought about it like that till Jules from the Stone Soup's presentation. By thinking about what I am wanting my readers to do when they get to my blog, I can hopefully make it a little simpler for readers to engage when they arrive!

5. There really is too much of a good thing
Who says you can't get enough of a good thing? I love food and tasting everything I can! The Eat Drink Blog Conference 2012, however, actually pushed me to the limit! There were so many tasty offerings provided for us to feast upon by the generous sponsors: Breakfast from Red Door Bakery, Lunch from the market producers who came in on their day off to feed us at Adelaide Central Market, Coffee from Breville, A Mexican feast from the Hilton, Chocolate fountains from Providore, cheese from Barossa Cheese Company, cakes from the Cupcake Table to mention a few that I can remember! I think it's clear that I'll not make the grade as a competitive eater, but I had a great time trying!

Thanks again to Lambs Ears and Honey; The Hungry Australian; Eating Adelaide; Travelling in MaryJanes; She Cooks, She Gardens; The Natural Foodie; Playing House for organising a memorable, insightful but also fun weekend! And the South Australian Tourist Board for showcasing their beautiful state!

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