Linden Font

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The best man speech

I'm hoping Matt's mate Wal will spin a yarn like this:

But we'll probably end up with this:

(Kidding, Wal's actually got quite the funny bone)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The first kiss

How I hope we appear for the first kiss (complete with Lindsay Lohan applause and Hilary Duff giggles):

Notebook VMA kiss from Emma Bennetto on Vimeo.

How we'll probably look:

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Dancing at our wedding

How I hope people will dance at our wedding:

How I suspect people will dance at our wedding:

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A birthday run

Hey dudes. I wrote this a week ago on my birthday and never shared it. Better late than never!

No baking today babes.  Matty's cooking me dinner (a surprise - he's totally keeping me in suspenders right up until the first mouthful). It's my birthday today and I have to say, nothing has changed. I still wake up clapping my hands with glee. I jump around the house squealing, "It's my birthday! It's my birthday!" I may or may not have run into our bedroom after a shower yelling at the top of my lungs "I'M IN MY BIRTHDAY SUIT". Yeah, birthdays never get old in my book.

I have a birthday tradition. Organise the day off work, for starters. Who needs meetings and filling out forms in triplicate (or processing those forms) when you can lay about and do sweet FA? I'll normally saunter down to the local coffee shop for a lingering breakfast and a couple of strong coffees. One may or may not be Irish. Lunch follows along the same line: eating steak frites, drinking red wine, reading foodie magazines until I burst. Wander home past some shops, buy a dress or a top or some jeans. Just because. Dinner is organised by my one and only. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

This year, I veered totally off course. I went to work, for starters. Why on earth would one choose to attend work on their birthday? I'll tell you why: I genuinely like my job. I've got a great team, great manager, hilarious colleagues and fascinating work to do. My everyday tasks wouldn't keep the average Joe entertained for too long, but I've got to say, I've never been this into a job before. Love it.

My breakfast was scrambled eggs on asparagus with a hit of green chilli sauce. I'm a little obsessed with this situation. Green chilli sauce and scrambled eggs has got to be a gift from God, sent to wake me up and fire me into the city with crazy force. Or maybe I just like the vinegary taste.

Before brekky? I chose to lift the covers at 5:50, throw on my sneakers and venture out of the house for a run. I've been getting out there three times a week of late and I have to say, I've never felt better. Running, personal training and cycling has made me feel healthier, stronger and more clear-headed than, well, ever before. And today I left my one mile and one kilometre record lying in the dust. Killed it.

It's taken me 33 ripe old years on this fine planet to finally get to a place where I feel centred, content and totally at ease with what's going on in my life. It's not one single thing either, but a culmination of a few different aspects of my life that just seem to work right now. Matty's a fine, fine man who has given me calmness, laughter and love. I have friends, old and new, who support me in my darkness but honestly, really inspire the light. My family are the only ones that will ever truly understand what it's like in a Bennetto's crazy brain (hint: crazy like a fox. A fox that see the humour in almost every situation, like someone saying "erect" in a business meeting).

The thing is, nothing's really changed. Matt and I have been together near on five years. I've been in similar jobs for that time and my friends have always been the variety that inspires a giggle at the drop of a hat. Maybe I'm just looking at it all differently. Maybe it's the birthday glow. But I think the secret's in the fitness. Getting out and running or lifting weights or pedalling like a trooper in the rain, I just feel strong. There are abs peaking out from under my soft little belly. And I'm determined to keep this shit up. If I can feel like this at every birthday, I don't see why you'd quit.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Roasted chicken breast with corn, potatoes and green garlic sauce

Roasted chicken breast with corn, potatoes and green garlic sauce

My ugliest habit in this world is talking over people. More specifically, finishing sentences for people that are perfectly capable of wrapping it up for themselves.

The worst thing is, 99% of the time I get it totally wrong. Like, radically wrong. "So I went out on the weekend and bumped into my friend from school. She told me she's...." I jump in: "Pregnant and has cancer and is deciding whether to have chemo because it's risky for the baby?" (All my guesses are Steph Scully storylines from Neighbours). "No, she's starting a new job on Monday". Oh. Right. Sorry.

Most people are pretty patient with me in this regard. But to be totally honest, I wouldn't blame them for getting a bit ticked off. I'm displaying total impatience for people just trying to finish their thought, and total arrogance to think I am soooo insightful I can glean every piece of information they were hoping to express from the first three words of a sentence. Like I said, pretty ugly.

My second ugliest habit is being fairly inflexible when it comes to cooking techniques. I remember have a conversation with my buddies Nellie and Nadia. Nell and I were saying we thought chicken thighs were the best eating, but Nadia insisted a quick pan fry and bake for a chicken breast was the bee's knees. "Hurumph! Outrageous! Never!" was my response. (Now I've morphed from Steph Scully into Harold Bishop. And over cuts of chicken.)

Roasted chicken breast with corn, potatoes and green garlic sauce

I now have to eat my words. And my chicken breast. These babies were out of this world. I picked them up at the Coburg Farmers Market one fine Saturday morning from a mob out in Mirboo North (in Gippsland). It was their first pass at the market in Coburg, and I'm pretty glad they took the leap. This was some seriously good chicken - moist and tender, but a beautiful deep chicken flavour that you just cannot get in a supermarket bird.

Right nextdoor to the chicken stall were some fabulous looking veg. One pile caught my eye. Long, grassy, green stems attached to slim white and purple bulbs. I thought I'd seen these on some food blogs from the States. Ramps, maybe? I asked the friendly chap across the table and he advised they are similar to ramps, but really, they're just young garlic. They hadn't formed bulbs yet and were still quite sweet. You could simply chop them raw (but pretty finely) in salads. I chose to roast them instead and make a brilliant green sauce from the full plant. There'd be no smooching in our house that night.

Roasted chicken breast with corn, potatoes and green garlic sauce

I haven't totally overcome my interrupting habit. I'm working on it though. This weekend, I listened to an old man tell a story about his family and it went for at least 5 minutes and I didn't say a word. The intolerance for alternative cooking techniques? Well, today I told Matt he was stirring the pot of bolognaise wrong. Seriously guys. He was stirring. There's not that much that can go wrong. Let's just say I'm a work in progress.


2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp duck fat
3 nicola potatoes
3 corn cobs
2 stems of green garlic
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch coriander
1/2 bunch mint
1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Roasted chicken breast with corn, potatoes and green garlic sauce

Preheat oven to 200ÂșC. Scrub and wash potatoes well to remove all dirt on the skins. Chop into even sized pieces, around 2cm square. Add to a roasting pan with the corn cobs and green garlic. Roast for around 45 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

In the meantime, season chicken breasts and rub with a little olive oil. Heat the first quantity of olive oil in a heavy based pan and add the chicken breasts, skin side down. Cook on each side until a deep golden brown in colour. Add to cook for around 10 minutes in the oven, on top of the potatoes and corn. Remove and rest for around 10 minutes in a warm spot.

To make the green garlic sauce, remove the green garlic from the oven around 20 minutes before the potatoes and chop roughly. Add to the food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend until roughly combined and saucey-like.

To serve, remove kernels from the corn cobs and mix with the potatoes. Slice the chicken in 1cm thick slices and fan over the top of the potatoes and corn on a plate. Top with a drizzle of the green garlic sauce.

Roasted chicken breast with corn, potatoes and green garlic sauce

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Batten down the hatches Melbourne

Thai pork salad

It's not spring in Melbourne if you don't spend at least one night awake, willing your roof to stay attached to your house. Monday night was particularly nutso. So nutso our garage door was blown off its hinges. It was just as spectacular as it sounds.

Between giant metal doors flying through the air and the finale of Breaking Bad, it's safe to say I was more than a little rattled. Matty and I attempted to fix the door in the howling wind: he, with hammer in hand, me, with a 50kg door held above my head. Use your core, Bennetto! This is what all those hours of pilates has culminated to! And they say the hundreds are useless.

I climbed under the covers well after my usual bed time and closed my eyes. Do you think I could sleep? No. It really felt like they were filming Twister right outside our window. Sleep was not on the agenda. Kitty clawing my toes didn't help much either.

Thai pork salad

So how does one soothe the soul after a night of such adventure? Probably not by waiting around for a tradie to come and fix said door, but by whipping up a Thai pork salad. That's this weirdo's meaty kinda pacifier.

This salad is a quadruple threat (like if Beyonce could crochet). It's hot, sweet, sour, salty all in one manic mouthful. It's up to your own personal taste to find the balance of those flavours that work for you. I'm big on the salty kick from fish sauce, so I go pretty hard on that. But you might dig the tang a squeeze of lime gives the salad. Whatever floats your long tail boat.

And as always, there's any number of substitutes you could make with this recipe. Snake beans not stocked nearby? Regular old green beans will do. No galangal? Try ginger. Pork can be mixed up with chicken or even sliced beef. In fact, I used the paste the next day with sliced pork cutlet, and I gotta say, it knocked my knee-highs off.

So the wind in Melbourne isn't due to die down any time soon. Expect more broken tree limbs and dilapidated garages in the coming days. And know that somewhere out there in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, there's a terrified young lady fear-gorging on Thai pork salad. It's good for what ails ya.

Thai pork salad


2 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
4cm piece of galangal, chopped roughly
1/2 piece lemongrass, chopped roughly
1 shallot, chopped roughly
1 chilli, chopped roughly
1 green mango, shredded
6 snake beans, cut into 10cm lengths
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 spring onion, chopped into 1 cm pieces
1 handful of bean shoots
2 limes
1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp peanut oil
200g minced pork
1/2 bunch thai basil
1/2 bunch coriander

To make paste, pound the lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallots and chillies in a mortar and pestle. It helps to pound one ingredient at a time, adding the next once they're properly pastey. 

Add the paste to a hot wok with the peanut oil. Stir fry gently for a few minutes, then add the mince. Cook on high until the meat has browned. Add the beans and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the palm sugar and fish sauce and remove from heat.

Add the mango, lime juice, bean shoots, herbs and spring onions and serve.

Thai pork salad

Monday, 30 September 2013

Egg flip fantasy

Egg flip fantasy

I've had something of a Pavlov's dog experience with alcohol this year. The last few times I've had a tipple, I've come down with some freaky-deaky illness. 

We're not talking the two day vapors, but 7 days of cold sweats, body aches and weight loss. And not the good kind of weight loss, just pure lean muscle. Thanks illness - so thoughtful!

So you'd understand that since my last bout of craziness, I've laid off the booze completely. Not even a cheeky sip on my own in the dark of night ( or especially?!). It's been so long now I'm starting to get judgemental. I'm just the kinda person to liven up your next party. I'd sit in the corner and sulk, spitting advice at people who don't want or need it. Delightful!

But some things haven't changed in the least. As a part of my egg series recently, I thought I'd whip up an egg flip of fantastic proportions. One to knock Big M off its perch. So calorie-laden it's like we're surgically removing all goodness that ever existed in the egg. And so fiddly you'd almost never choose to make it at home - cos that's the kind of recipe you want to see on a food blog, amirightladies?

How did I know that, deep down, my old-lady-screaming-at-passers-by-surrounded-by-cats-pushing-a-trolley-filled-with-crap alcoholic tendencies still lurked beneath the surface? Because everyone knows a good egg flip has a nip of something strong included. And my pouring arm has not weakened. 

I had a sip of the flip (yep, been trying to work that line into a post for a while now) and it packed serious punch. So much punch my eyes rolled back into my head. I may have started krumping on the spot. But I knew this one had to go down the sink and whip up a new batch. The recipe below is the safe version. Depending on your definition of safe.

Egg flip fantasy


2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water
1 shot brandy or your poison of choice
1/4 tsp vanilla paste

Mix the sugar and water in a small saucepan and dissolve over low heat. Bring to the boil and heat to the soft ball stage (once a few drops of the syrup are dropped in a glass of cold water, they should form soft balls).

Meanwhile, separate one egg and beat the white in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks have formed. Slowly add your sugar syrup and beat until cool.

In a blender, combine the remaining yolk, the extra egg, milk, vanilla and alcohol. Blend for 20 seconds and pour into a glass. Top with your meringue mixture and serve.

Egg flip fantasy