In Uncategorized on June 23, 2014 at 7:42 am



We interrupt this programme to bring you breaking news… I’ve finished the bulghur.

Janine O’Neill’s recipe for a kind of cracked wheat risotto with chicken salad inspired me and I made my own version of it, using what I had.

You can see Janine’s recipe in the comments.

I proceeded as for a regular risotto, softening onion and garlic, adding the bulghur, coating it with oil and then stirring in about 400 mls of chicken stock (which I just happened to have made, so that was handy). I didn’t have any preserved lemons (Janine makes her own – blimey!) so I added the zest and juice of one lemon.

Copious salt and pepper, and when it was finished I added a bulb of fennel, that’s been lurking in the fridge for a while, chopped up, and some torn basil leaves.

I served it with a green salad, a tomato salad, leftover cold chicken (had to do the separate food thing to ensure child would chow down…), mayo on the side and the first broad beans of the season.

It was really good and everyone liked it. I mixed the leftovers together and put it in the fridge to meld into something tasty for my lunch today.

This has given me such a sense of achievement I think I’m going to have to use the polenta up too. Once I’ve started something I find it very hard not to take it to the very final conclusion, although this comment from The Cynical Farmer made me laugh out loud:

“…really Polenta is the kind of food one eats when fasting for Lent. I’m Italian and we don’t even make anything with it. If there was anything delicious to be made out of polenta, Italians would have figured it out.”

  1. Maggie I love your style notes! But disagree re polenta – one of my favourite family’s favourites is shallow-fried THIN polenta squares studded with olive pieces, then smothered in a basil-y tomato sauce and baked – delicious. Even sans cheese for the vegan daughter. And pleeeaase – where o where can I obtain some lovely not-too-high and not too long pointies which you always showcase?

    • Hi Leonnie – sorry I can’t give specifics on the shoes. My favourite ones I’ve had for about 10 years and I so so wish I could buy another pair. You just have to go out hunting. I’ve also found some really good vintage ones in Sydney Antique Market, but I have very small feet, so I’m lucky with the vintage shoes which tend to be diddy. On the up side, the pointy mid heel stiletto is one of the hottest trends right now, so I would be surprised if there weren’t a lot of them out there. Let me know if you find some good ones x

  2. Soak bulgur in water for an hour or two, rinse, drain, squish out water well and lay on clean tea towel to dry out a bit. . Chop lots of continental parsley, plenty of fresh squeezed lemon juice, lots olive oil, season well. Add to drained out bulgur. Stir well. Add a bit more oil, chunks of fetta (firm rather than creamy) and chopped cucumber (remove seeds as a bit wet). It’s a kind of tabbouleh but more bulgar than other ingredients. Delicious! With lamb.

  3. Yum that sounds really good Maggie. I had a similar lurking packet of Aldi bought semolina…..I googled recipes (after about a year!) and found this cake recipe which had semolina, olive oil, lemons and mystery ingredient rosemary and it was absolutely sensational. So good in fact I bought a second packet yesterday – all kinds of crazy going on this Sydney winter xx

  4. Congratulations Maggie. May I suggest lemon polenta cake – Nigella’s recipe, she says if you can imagine what lemon curd would taste like in cake form, this is it. Thanks to your inspirational pantry-clearing notion – am doing the same and, for those items I simply can’t deal with, the worm farm has benefitted. Is that cheating?!

  5. An excellent result. Maggie shows great persistence and determination. A++

  6. Best use of title ‘News Flash’ ever.

  7. Looks like the chooks missed out this time!

  8. I’m proud of you Maggie! It is a very versatile recipe. I have made the full version with all the trimmings for a dinner party. I can post the preserved lemons recipe any time.

    • Guess what? I just found a jar of preserved lemons! So annoying… The family loved it so much, I’m going to have to buy more bulgur when I’ve finished this project – that’s an irony!

  9. I remember in the very early nineties in Sydney and polenta became quite a cool food for bistros to serve on a mezza plate (oh, those heady cosmopolitan days). After one of these meals, we went back to my boyfriend’s parents place (they were Croatian), and when I told her what we ate, she SHRIEKED when I told her we had polenta, and howled laughing. “Why? Why?” she kept saying though tears of laughter.

    • Ha! I hear you on this one! It’s like trendy eateries suddenly serving baby food (farex, rice cereal) as some kind of delicious ethnic dish!

    • That is so so funny – and exactly my Serbian husband’s response to it. In that part of the world it’s a desperation food at the very end of winter when all you have is shrivelled up old corn cobs in the barn… I suppose it might be like serving porridge with great grandeur!

  10. Oh Maggie! Well done. You kept perservering and won. A true champion.

  11. I’m Italian and we LOVE polenta…! I suspect the difference is how you cook it.

  12. Really enjoy your Style Notes Maggie, but really miss your fashion notes. I use them as a guide when buying new clothes. Hopefully there will be another one soon. Main reason I buy the Age on weekend. Well almost the main reason. Keep up the good work.

    Kind regards,

    Diane Sorensen
    Office Administrator |
    T. 03 9886 6900 F. 03 9886 6933

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    • Thanks, Diane – means a lot. Do you mean the style guides I do on here? It’s about time I knocked out a new one… let me know if that’s what you meant! best Maggie xxx

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