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Infused Olive Oil

EDIT: It has come to my attention the below instructable may in fact be a potential biohazard (kinda)! Well, more a health hazard. Plunging raw garlic in anaerobic environments may encourage the growth of botulism spores; a dangerous yet odourless, colourless toxin. To play it safe discard the garlic, add some acid (ie, vinegar or citric acid), keep refrigerated and from my google research these may only keep for around a week. Or just don’t make this, ok? I’ve prepared garlic + herb infused oils before without any problem but the internet now has me all suspicious. Google “infused oil and botulism” for more information. But I’m keeping this post here because I like the pretty pictures despite the irony you’ll discover if you read on. Who knew garlic could be so dangerous? -A

Once upon a time ago making jams, preserving vegetables, baking and growing your own produce was a necessity rather than a trend. The recent rise of grandma-esque crafts is a duel-edged sword for me. On one hand the the popularity of delicious stuff in jars is great. On the other hand Domestic Goddess chic seems to have reared it’s ugly head yet again; “let’s make some jam hahahahahaaa wow so quiant I’m probably never going to eat this though because #iquitsugar hahah”! #DIY guys! In my eyes the return-to-the-provincial mindset should not be synonymous with quaint-for-the-sake-of-quaint. Growing up the art of canning, etc has always existed as an act of preservation; to store food longer, give it a second chance and/or transform it into something a little bit nice. Think caterpillar-butterfly with delicious results. The other day my Yiayia delivered an enormous jar of eggplants suspended in olive oil. My mum questioned as to how they came to be and she simply replied, in her adorable accent, “oh, you know, I had so many eggplants and they were beginning to turn old”. Nice one, Ya. You’re too legit to quit. You’re the pinnacle of grandma-chic but you’re too cool to even understand what that means.

So a few weeks ago my boyfriend’s sister’s boyfriend (deep breath) gave us a bag of thyme, sage and scotch bonnets from their garden. Touched by this act of kindness on a bad day I vowed to do something excellent with the entire bag. However, a week went by, life got in the way. I used a few leaves here and there but today was both startled and horrified upon discovering the herbs lying dormant, patiently, in the fridge. They were so garden fresh (I know this because I found a babby snail having a suckle) they were still incredibly fragrant despite looking wilted as heck. It was time to put my Yiayia’s philosophy into practice, a beautiful, relevant salvage mission.

Infused Olive Oil

Should I write a recipe format for this? Nah. Find some old jars, buy some extra virgin olive oil. Stuff the jars with some herbs, a clove of peeled garlic and a chili. Top the jars with oil and allow to steep; soon enough you’ll have an enjoyable infused oil to use however you wish. Remove the chili if you’re concerned about your oil turning into fire water. Take a photo of it, give it to your friends and bask in the #DIY glory (but don’t be a jerk about it). Just… don’t wrap it in twine, ok? I think we’re all a little old for that.

Infused Olive Oil

Infused Olive Oil

Infused Olive Oil

Infused Olive Oil

Infused Olive Oil

Infused Olive Oil

Here’s to second chances. #quaintlife

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…aka the Three Cheese Delight aka Cheeses of My People Tart aka Baby Don’t Kiss Me. It’s the Ottolenghi recipe so good even Martha Stewart is onto it. C’mon, let’s get quaint with this caramelised garlic tart.

My friend Andrew hosted a potluck birthday party this weekend (HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW!) and this was my contribution. This tart is my first recipe cooked blind (no pastry pun); I’m on a diet due to some near startling health news (nothing serious but from what I recall the doc said my veins were clogged with pure Nutella and I must be cleansed) so I’m keeping to a strict diet for a few weeks/months/who know until I’m better and possibly more attractive-er. With a blindfold wrapped firmly around my tastebuds held together only by fickle willpower I was unable to indulge in the stinky delights of this tart however my friends said it was nice and the minuscule lick I enjoyed over dinner seemed balanced, so, good times? This tart heats up really well too; I prepared it the day before the party and warmed it in the oven at Andrew’s place for around 10 minutes before serving.

The three cheeses of my people element comprises of feta, haloumi and kefalograviera (possibly my fav cheese of all time) to form the cheesey holy trinity of my ethnic background. If you don’t have access to this fabulous array try using one bitey, one mild and one… whatever the heck you like. Or just whack some goats cheese in there, oldschool. Keep it to around 240g and try to include both soft and firm cheeses.

Caramelised Garlic + Three Cheese Tart
(adapted from Ottolenghi)
2 sheets puff pastry
2 large heads of purple garlic, cloves peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
220ml water
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp chopped thyme, plus a few whole sprigs to finish
100g Bulgarian feta
80g haloumi, grated or roughly chopped
80g kefalograviera or kefalotyri, roughly chopped
2 eggs
200ml cream
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a round tart tin with puff pastry and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Once chilled blind bake in the oven for 20 minutes being sure to weigh down the case with pie weights (or in my case some beans). Remove weights and bake for another 10 minutes until begin to golden.
2. Blanch garlic by boiling the cloves for 3 minutes. Strain well, return pan to heat and add olive oil. Once hot add the garlic cloves and fry for a couple of minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and water and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, rosemary, thyme and a pinch of salt and continue to simmer until the liquid has almost entirely evaporated (around 10 minutes).
3. To assemble the tart sprinkle haloumi at the bottom of the tart case followed by the kefalograviera then crumble the feta on top. Arrange caramelised garlic cloves over the cheese. Whisk the eggs and cream with some salt and pepper and gently pour over the tart. Season with cracked pepper and sprinkle with thyme leaves.
4. Reduce heat to 160°C and return tart to oven for around 45 minutes or until the top is golden and set. Remove from tart tin and serve with a whole sprig of thyme to garnish.

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Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

To cut a long and possibly annoying succession of stupid anecdotes short; my weekend, this recipe and this post has been inspired by three things:

  • An enforced philosophy of shopping at farmers’ markets far more frequently and making as much as I possibly can from scratch,
  • Wanting to create my version of Campbell’s “Potato and Leek” soup in a can, my former comfort food as a broke student living out of home (eugh), and
  • Discovering a life beyond LEEKSPIN.

Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

Needless to say this weekend was rather wholesome (with the exception of my frolicking around humming the Leekspin tune); riding my bike around yearning for the organic and simply homemade. And yes, a year ago I would often pine for Campbell’s Leek and Potato soup from a can, undeterred its goopy nature retaining its cylindrical shape as I attempted it pour it from the can into my little pot. It was like something from a cartoon.

Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

Now, if I do say so myself, this leek soup is spectacular; so fragrant and naturally creamy. The garlic is present and rounded but in no way pungent so don’t be afraid to rock two whole bulbs. It’s one of those dishes where the ingredients truly speak for themselves. Whole roasting garlic bulbs is an absolute joy, as is preparing an aromatic chicken stock from scratch. Please note the stock recipe below will make around twice as much as you actually need for this soup; this stuff is golden and whether you refrigerate it for a week or freeze it for months you will always, always find an opportunity to use it. But, as usual, I digress. This recipe, aside from the extra stock, will serve 4 people who aren’t afraid to get their garlic on.

Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup


Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

2 leeks

2 whole garlic bulbs

1L chicken stock (instructions below)

650g potato (around 4 medium sized)

100ml cream, plus more to garnish

1 tbs butter

Olive oil


A few slices of prosciutto (optional)


Chicken stock (makes twice as much as you need, around 2L)

1kg chicken wings (around 10)

2½ L water

2 large onions

3 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

10 peppercorns

2 tbs salt


For the stock (can be made a day ahead)

1. Cut onions in half leaving the skin on. Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil. For the next 15 minutes skim the scum that rises to the top with a ladle. Once it has cleared, turn down heat to a lower setting, pop on the lid and allow to simmer for 4 hours.

2. Strain chicken, onions and aromatics from the liquid. This stock can be kept in fridge or freezer until ready for use.


For the soup

1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Remove the ‘tops’ of the bulbs of garlic with a horizontal slice so that the cloves inside are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in aluminium foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove, allow to cool and, with a firm hold of the base of the bulb, squeeze the soft, caramelised garlic into a small bowl. If you want to use prosciutto as a garnish, place the slices on a tray and bake for 10 minutes.

2. Remove the tops, or the darkest green leaves from the leeks. Slice the stalks in half and wash well (because leeks have many layers  there may be plenty of dirt and soil in there). Finely chop into small pieces.

3. Peel potatoes and roughly chop into 2cm cubes.

4. Heat butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot. Add chopped leeks and stir until softened, around 10 minutes. Add the litre of stock, the cubed potatoes, the soft garlic and a teaspoon of salt. Combine, bring to the boil then reduce heat to medium. Cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables have softened significantly.

5. (The burn mark on my hand says be wary of this step!) In batches, pour the soup into a blender and process until smooth. Alternatively use a stick blender straight in the pot. Return to the pot on low heat and add cream.


To serve

1. Spoon ladlefuls of soup into a bowl. Add a dollop of cream, a piece of prosciutto and garnish with cracked pepper.

Two Leek + Two Garlic Soup

Served with some homemade malt and wholemeal bread this meme-inspired soup is absolutely one of the nicest dishes I’ve recently made. Do try it! I’m so excited by this recipe I wish I could personally deliver a bowl to every single person I know.

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