Roasted cardamom plums
Cut plums in half, remove the stones and place fruit in a baking dish or lipped roasting tray in a single layer. Sprinkle with sugar and ground cardamom then drizzle with some brandy, orange liqueur or even a dessert wine. Add a dash of water to the dish and bake at 180°C for approximately 30 minutes or until just cooked. Delicious served with ricotta mixed with a little vanilla, thick yoghurt or ice cream.
Panfried beef steaks with tomato & olives
Fry a sliced onion in olive oil until soft, add a couple of cloves of sliced garlic and some marjoram or oregano. Add 3-4 chopped tomatoes and simmer for at least 15 minutes until thickened, adding olives and checking for seasoning. While the tomato sauce is cooking, pound steaks thinly and nick the edges of the slices to keep them from curling up in the pan. Heat a heavy fry pan, oil and salt the beef and cook briefly on both sides to just brown. Transfer to the tomato sauce along with any meat juices and serve at once.
Baby beetroot, spinach and chickpea salad
Boil baby beetroot until tender (reserve any beetroot leaves for the salad), then slip from their skins and cut in half or into quarters if large. Fry garlic with cumin seeds and chilli flakes until fragrant and then add a tin of drained and rinsed chickpeas and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sumac, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and allow to cool slightly. Toss the chickpeas with the beetroot and baby spinach leaves and season generously. Serve with thick Greek yoghurt spiked with plenty of chopped herbs such as dill, chives, parsley, mint or basil.
Crisp fried fish fillets with nuoc cham
Rub skin-on fish fillets with a paste of garlic, lemongrass, turmeric, salt, chilli flakes and pepper and marinate for 30 minutes. Dust with cornflour and fry until crisp. Serve with nuoc cham made of sugar, water, rice vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, chilli and ginger. Serve with a pomelo (or pink grapefruit) salad with dill, mint, coriander, shallots, red chilli and fried shallots.
Bulghur wheat and zucchini fritters
Grate 3 medium zucchini, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and leave to drain for 20 minutes. Squeeze out excess water and combine with 1 cup of pre-cooked bulghur wheat (1⁄3 cup uncooked bulghur if cooking from scratch) or replace with the same amount of cooked rice, quinoa, farro etc. Add 1 packed cup of herbs such as chopped dill, chives, mint or basil. Add 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan, 2 beaten eggs, 1⁄4 cup flour and 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder. Mix to combine, then drop large spoonfuls into a frying pan or hot plate on a medium heat. Cook for 4 minutes on each side.
Roasted lamb rump and red capsicum salad
Roast wedges of capsicums and red onion until tender. Brown the lamb rump then finish cooking in a hot oven. While lamb rests, combine the cooked vegetables with a dressing of pounded marjoram with lemon juice and olive oil and allow the flavours to infuse. Add chopped tomatoes, cucumber and olives just before serving. Crumble over feta. Slice the lamb and serve. You could also use a barbecue to grill the capsicum and onion and brown and cook the lamb.
Soy glazed salmon
Make a glaze of grated ginger, soy sauce, orange and lemon juice, reduce in saucepan until thickened then brush over salmon and bake. Serve with a cucumber and coriander salad with fried shallots.