Introducing Shuki and Louisa + Brussels spout pasta

Sooo, I never meant to turn things into Cuisine Neglectomatic around here but it seems like it happened. My last post was months ago and I felt like stopping by here to explain a bit about what's been going on lately. So here's what happened; I started a business! It's called Shuki and Louisa and we make Middle Eastern specialities to sell at farmers markets around Melbourne. Our main 'thing' is dips. Here's some right now!

So, here we've got pumpkin, cauliflower, matbucha, babaganoush, hummus, green tahini and red and green chilli sauces. The reason this business went down is mainly due to my friend and now business partner, Shuki. A few months back, he asked me to start a market stall with him and I said yes. Having grown up in Israel with an Iraqi Mum, he made pretty awesome hummus, baba and a couple of other things I'd never heard of, couldn't pronounce but had no trouble eating. So, I got some chickpeas off my farming Dad and brother and we were away.

It's all pretty hectic but in an awesome way. I don't have as much time on my hands to post here anymore but I'd love to get back into the swing of it because for one thing, coming home from the farmers market each weekend with a loot is super inspiring when it comes to cooking and also, I miss it! But in some ways the business has filled  the food gap in my life that the blog previously filled. I always wanted to do something with food and the blog was a nice way to do it while I was only teaching for a living, but now I cook every Friday and Thursday and spend my weekends at farmers markets, so I get my fill of food.

While, I 'm here I also wanted to express a massive thanks to the people who have helped us get going(and whom I'm pretty sure don't read this, but anyway, I'd like you to know how great these peeps are.) We've had some support from some truly awesome people along the way, the people at the Victorian Farmers Market Association who accredited us a few weeks back, Melbourne Farmers Markets, Don Linke who lets us loose at Flemington every weekend and Elwood on the second Saturday of the month. The farmers market network in Melbourne in general is an ace thing to be a part of! If you haven't been to one for a while, can I encourage you to get along? Not just for my sake but because they are seriously rad. Ever since I've been lucky enough to get to them(and pretend I'm working at the same time!) my food life has improved expontentially. I come home every Sunday with the greatest vegetables, fruit, cheese, bread and meat around and I've met some of the nicest, most generous people ever. They really are remarkable things. Finally, not associated strictly with the markets but no less excellent, a big thanks also to the people at Cultivating Community in Fitzroy who we are working with at their ace(never seen a commercial kitchen with so much natural light!) kitchen.

Last but not least, a recipe! As mentioned, coming home from the market with heaps of awesome stuff is pretty great. It's forced me to be a bit more creative with my vegies. Often at the end of the market day we get offered vegies we wouldn't normally buy by the generous stall holders, like Brussels sprouts and parsnips. When I found a bag of sprouts in the drawer on a Saturday afternoon, I decided to make this pasta. It had been an especially grey, windy morning at the market, which seemed to make the pasta even more rad. I'd never had sprouts like this before and I loved it so! You caramelise them a little, mix in some pancetta, chilli, lemon, rosemary and butter and you're done. It's so good. Also good, is writing on this blog again! Hopefully I'll be back soon and if you'd like to come down and try out our goods, we'll be at the Woodend and Flemington Farmers Markets this weekend. Peace out!

Brussels Sprouts Pasta

I would have used penne for this one, had I been able to find any. But I couldn't and rigatoni it was. Adapted from a Melissa Clark recipe.

200g Brussels sprouts, well washed, any tough outer leaves removed, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
80g pancetta, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large sprig of rosemary, leaves removed, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
Good grind of pepper
Pinch of salt
Juice of half a lemon
Pecorino or Parmesan, grated

Boil the pasta and cook til al dente. Meanwhile, heat the oil to medium in a large frying pan and add the pancetta. Cook stirring occasionally until the pancetta is lightly browned. Next add the garlic, chilli and pepper, stir until the garlic is fragrant. Add the sprouts and a pinch of salt next. Press down on them and cook until they are browned. Squeeze the lemon over, add the cooked penne, a splash of the cooking water and stir well. Add a bit of extra oil if it's dry and finish with cheese.

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