sharing recipes from one generation to the next
I almost missed my self imposed posting deadline today, not for lack of ideas or motivation but because like a teenager, I’ve been obsessing about what I’ll wear to our New Years Eve celebrations.
With our friends, we have booked a table for 10 in a swanky restaurant with an uninterrupted view of the Brisbane River. Apparently the view of the midnight fireworks will be spectacular.
My clothing tastes tend towards the quirky; arty and individual. In Melbourne I embraced the layered look in a style that was flattering to my generous womanly proportions. In Melbourne wearing black in both summer and winter was not out of place, but in tropical Brisbane layers are too hot, black is too hot (and immediately identifies me as being from out of town) and for me any fabrics other than fine linen or silk are also too hot.
Generally, what’s on offer in mainstream clothing shops lack appeal to me. I struggle with manmade fibres, bling, large florals, lurid bright colours, caftans, waistlines, hemlines and necklines. My individual style creates expectations that few retailers can satisfy, so the simple solution is to use my well honed sewing skills and ancient sewing machine to create something special for the occasion.
That seemingly simple solution was the crux of my problem. I have a beautiful piece of fine silk, an intricately patterned sari length from India I find particularly pleasing and not wanting to stuff it up, the decision making seemed interminable.
Cutting into that fabric was one of the hardest things I’ve done recently, but after I set my dressmaker self in motion, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and took five minutes to prepare a jar of marinated feta cheese and write this post.
Marinated feta can transform a summer salad from mundane to marvellous, and a jar of marinated feta on standby forms an instant beginning to an antipasto platter.
This is so simple, the most difficult part is waiting a week for the flavours to infuse into the cheese. While there are no hard and fast proportions or flavour choices, strips of lemon zest, fresh herbs from the garden, cracked peppercorns and just a hint of garlic give the most pleasing result. When the cheese has been eaten, strain and discard the aromatics and cheesy detritus from the oil. The oil will then contribute an extra delicious dimension to salad dressings or when sautéing meat and vegetables.
Marinated Feta Cheese
500g feta cheese ( I used Bulgarian sheep’s milk feta)
2 bay leaves
strips of zest from 1/2 lemon
A handful of fresh herbs – small sprigs of rosemary, thyme and sage
1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed or 2 teaspoons garlic infused olive oil
375mls good quality olives oil
Cut the feta into 3cm X 3cm cubes.
Put a small amount of olive oil into the bottom of a preserving jar with a sealable lid.
Add a few peppercorns and a few sprigs of herbs then begin layering the cheese herbs lemon zest and peppercorns. Be extra careful not to break up the cheese.
Once the jar is full, drizzle over the garlic oil if using.
Fill the jar with olive until the cheese is totally immersed. Seal tightly.
Invert the jar a few times to release any trapped air bubbles, then top up the oil level if necessary.
Store in the fridge for one week before using