When I started making this recipe I had no idea what I would use the broth for. I figured it would probably be so delicious I would just eat it on its own with a few pieces of additional vegetables added. I also had a bee in my bonnet about making dumplings and then while making them it occurred to me that this broth would be the perfect liquid to poach them in and and serve them with, and it was. I’m currently in Italy in the Emilia-Romagna area and where tortellini in brodo (in broth) is one of their signature dishes so it all kind of felt ‘meant to be’.

This recipe for coffee, chocolate, and Nutella cookie sandwiches comes from Cait McWilliams who was the winner of the second season of The Great South African Bake Off. I’m obsessed with baking so I love this show which sees a set of 12 contestants taken through the baking ringer until one is finally crowned the best baker. Baking is a global phenomenon and The Great South Africa Bake Off showcases the best recipes, bakes and decoration tips from across the country. It is really wonderful to see people from various backgrounds of our rainbow nation put their flair and spin on classic baking recipes.

This roast chicken recipe takes our favourite weeknight dinner down a Greek road with the addition of lemon and oregano and couldn’t be simpler to make. As with most of my roast chicken recipes, I like to make a flavour packed cooking stock to cook the bird in thereby making a delicious pan gravy all at the same time. It also ensures the chicken remain super succulent until the end.

A friend who was flipping through my second cookbook ‘sweet’ remarked at how many recipes I had with oranges in them. I hadn’t particularly noticed this or thought about it at the time, but I do really love using oranges in desserts. I also have an orange tree in my backyard which normally bears an abundance of the most delicious seedless navel oranges. That alone is the inspiration behind many of my orange recipes, so when I heard that Jamie Schler, a talented food writer and blogger at Lifesafeast had written a recipe book all about oranges called Orange Appeal I knew I needed to jump on board. This recipe for mussels steamed in orange with fennel is from her book.

I’ve made madeleines a couple of times before and I know there is an art to making the perfect ones. I’ve read about batter needing to rest in the fridge overnight or as one of my fave food writers David Lebovitz does, he rests it twice for an hour each time. This apparently ensures the perfect hump in the madeleine and I am keen to experiment further. In the meantime, I saw this recipe in the latest Donna Hay magazine (Sept /Oct issue) and it looked so straightforward and I loved the dusting of lavender and lemon sugar. The other little trick to making a good madeleine is melting the butter and adding honey, and her recipe includes both. On the matter of the hump, these looked pretty perfect and ‘humpy’ to me although I’m not an expert. I would say that using a nonstick madeleine pan would be easier and mine clung a little to the mould despite a fairly generous coating of cooking spray. I see David brushes his with melted butter which can only be better, so you decide what method you want to use.

Jacques Erasmus from Hemelhuijs inspired this recipe for salmon and cucumber rolls when he made something similar at the recent Woolworths Christmas preview party. They totally rocked and I knew I wanted to make my own version for healthy party snacking. He used hot smoked salmon, but I opted to use the salmon, which I poached in Lapsang Souchong tea. I drizzled over the soy, ginger & honey dressing I made and they were delicious. Perhaps a little messy to eat, but healthy and delicious never the less.

I think that poaching salmon is a really great way to cook this fish because it keeps the flesh ultra moist and if you add aromatics to the broth, it absorbs the flavours. I have done it in a rooibos tea broth with honey, lemon and peppercorns and it was so delicious but I wanted to try a slightly more Asian profile here and used Lapsang Souchong tea as the base. Both tea’s give off a lovely smokey flavour and poaching salmon is as healthy as it gets. Ginger, honey, lemon, and soy add a very subtle flavour to the fish and a dressing made with the same ingredients finishes it off.

As soon as I spotted this new potato salad with fennel and radish in the most recent edition of Bon Appetit I was in love. I am obsessed with fennel and radish as a salad and this recipe sounded so interesting with many layers of flavour. It comes from Kismet in LA and is featured in the magazine’s RSVP section – the part where readers write in requesting their favourite restaurant dish.

I’m not sure if I love the name Lapsang Souchong or the tea itself more, but these two words conjure up culinary excitement in me. The tea is complex with umami tones and a wonderful ingredient to use in so many recipes. The tea leaves are smoked over a pine fire giving them a distinctive and unique smokey taste. Lapsang Souchong is a Wuyi tea, formerly known by the trade name “Bohea”, and is a category of black and oolong teas grown in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian, China. I’ve used it as the base for this warm cocktail with whisky and lemon cordial, and earthy spices of cinnamon and star anise provide the aromatics in this drink. It could just as easily be made as a hot toddy for medicinal purposes. Either way, it’s an elixir to keep the chills at bay in winter when you need a little warming.

Last year I went on an amazing travel adventure to Bangkok and Vietnam. We traveled from South to north visiting 6 places in 3 weeks. Food was obviously the focus and we ate so many delicious meals along the way. So far I’ve shared my trip – mainly in pictures with 3 photographic posts which can found: post 1, post 2, and post 3. I also wrote about Hoi An in particular and an amazing food tour we did there. These are a few of my images from Hanoi – our last stop on our trip to South East Asia. All these pics are taken in and around the old quarter of the city which is easy to navigate and just more photogenic. If you scroll to the bottom you will find a few of the recommendations on where to eat in Hanoi including the famous egg coffee from Giang Cafe. Enjoy!