lamb, dukkah, kale and fetta scrolls....alfresco treats for Lets Lunch July 2014

Alfresco or 'picnic' food needs to be portable, delicious warm, or at room temperature, and suitable to eat with your hands or on paper plates.Something that fits the bill is a pastry....but there are so many combinations....where to start???

Looking around the kitchen for inspiration I found my 'muses'.... that jar of my pistachio and hazelnut dukkah, a box of filo pastry and the lamb shoulder mum brought back from our farm. With a little more hunting and some Middle Eastern insights I created this flavourful filo scroll.

Now all I need is the perfect outdoor spot to sit and enjoy the delights!

Ukrainian Vegetarian Borscht.... a pot full of vegetables! Let’s Lunch August 2013

When the Let's Lunch team posted their topic for this month 'Eat your Vegetables' in celebration of the launch of Joe Yonan's new book I was not sure where to start then Sydney's winter weather suddenly turned cold and what better than create a soup close to my heart.

When I was a young girl winter always meant a big pot of borscht would be it at home or my Baba's place... and it still instills a comfort that no other soup can replace.

Borscht may be a staple national dish in Ukraine every region and every home has their own 'special' recipe. Some are full of beetroot, others more carrots and cabbage, some have lots of tomatoes and only a little beetroot, some add pork, beef brisket, smoked pork sausage or speck, some add beans and others add barley.....though my Baba would always keep beetroot the hero.

A few little tips my Baba taught me were to initially cook the beets separately, then chop them and toss them in vinegar to keep their colour and add a little more vinegar just at the end which gives the soup a little tart zing that lifts the soup to a whole new level.

My baba would make her everyday borscht with her homemade pork rib stock that had been simmering for hours....however in keeping with the Let's Lunch theme, and in the name of speed, this creation is 'purely' vegetarian.

Baba....I hope I did your recipe proud xx

sticky ginger beer chicken wings....a TV food favourite.

I have to admit I am not a TV sports junkie, but Mr G is and  January and February are big months with the mountains of cricket, the Australian Open, the English and European football and the NFL  Super Bowl enjoying many meals at the coffee table.

Though one thing I do know is when your sitting down in front of the TV cheering on your sports heroes it's a knife and fork free zone....finger food only.

There are a number of things I cook  it was hard to know what to choose
be it one of my delectable handmade dips; chorizo, red onion and chilli pizza; homemade fennel and pork sausage rolls, Four cheese pastry bites..... but then I realized the one thing I always do is chicken wings.

I love chicken wings they are so culinarily flexible.... you can pan fry them, bbq them, deep fry them, roast them, stir fry them, smoke them,  coat them in a spice rub, marinate them for hours, make them Chinese style, Southwest style, Thai style, Moroccan spiced, take them to Rio, eat them hot, warm or even cold.

One of my favourite chicken wing creations is slow cooking them in a sweet sauce until their sticky and unctuous and one my most requested, and loved, is Sticky Ginger Beer Chicken.

A new year a new recipe: beetroot & fetta varenyky

A new year has begun. For many this means starting afresh be it saying goodbye to old habits or exploring new adventures.

It's #LetsLunch time (the virtual lunch club among food bloggers around the world) and the first of 2013.

This post's theme was 'new beginnings'.... be it tackling something you've always been scared or intrigued to try ....yet for me it was changing the old and bringing in the new.

Being Ukrainian, varenyky (or to my Polish friends pieroghi) has been a comforting dish throughout my life.

First introduced to me by my babucia it wasn't long before I was in the kitchen with her learning to make them, trying to fill, fold and pinch them into little crescents...I was never as good as her!

We make varenyky fillings of farm cheese, potato, potato and onion, potato and speck, sauerkraut and then topped with lashing or sour cream.  But as I'm now my palate is older and wiser and cook in my own right I’ve always wanted to change the status quo and modernize things.

Walking into my greengrocers I couldn't help but notice the beautiful beetroot that's in season. With their bountiful green leaves and that deep red pink colour. I love their earthy flavour and when roasted how it intensifies them and become sweeter.

Yes I know beetroot is a common staple of Ukrainian cuisine (Borscht ...beetroot soup...the quintessential soup in every Ukrainian's home) it’s not used as a filling for here is my new 'filling' beginning......and what better combination then pairing it with beautiful goats milk fetta and some thick delicious Greek yoghurt.

Smachnoho! (aka Enjoy! Bon Appetit! Dig In!)