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House Curious

Lifestyle and interior shop. Social workshops for the creatively curious.

Sommer Pyne

Since we opened our doors in June 2016 we've had some amazing creative workshops. Along the way I've met so many talented and wonderful people. The original concept of House Curious was to bring like minded folk together with the hope that they form friendships over shared passions. We open our doors to the creatively curious to come and learn a new skill; there's always food involved, and let's not forget the importance of a glass of wine! We always have so much fun and I know that everyone that has joined us has come away feeling refreshed and inspired. 

Lately we've had so many requests about the food we've rustled up in the House Curious kitchen so we thought we would share some of our favourite recipes with you. Our aim is to bring tasty and mostly healthy food (excluding our indulgent cheesecake recipe) to our menu that’s straight forward and delicious.

Superfood salad

This salad is so delicious and healthy its one of my favourites. Whenever I serve this salad people always ask for the recipe. It could be a meal on its own and is great if you have vegetarian guests. I borrowed this dish from the man himself, Jamie Oliver. This salad has a wonderful combination of textures and flavours and is such a beautiful dish to bring to the table; perfect with a slow roast lamb or by itself with some fresh bread and hummus.

Prep Time: 10 minutes & Baking time: 40 minutes 

INGREDIENTS

700g sweet potatoes

1 pinch dried chilli flakes, coriander & ground cinnamon 

Olive oil & extra virgin olive oil 

200g quinoa

320g broccoli

35g mixed nuts

1 pomegranate

2 limes

1 splash of balsamic vinegar 

40g mixed sprouts

1 punnet of salad cress

1 bunch fresh coriander 

1 fresh red chilli 

1 ripe avocado 

20g feta cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Preheat the oven to 200ºC 

2) Scrub and chop the sweet potatoes into 2.5 cm chunks. Place into a roasting tray with chilli flakes, ground coriander and cinnamon, drizzle of olive oil and a little sea salt and black pepper, then toss well. 

3) Spread into an even layer and place in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.

4) Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in boiling salted water as per instructions. 

5) Slice the broccoli into small florets, then halve and finely slice the stalk. Place into a heatproof colander and rest it over the quinoa pan. Cover and steam for 3 minutes, until just tender. 

6) Once cooked, drain/rinse the quinoa under cold water and then leave to cool along with the broccoli. Remove the sweet potato from the oven and leave it to cool. 

7) Meanwhile, toast the nuts in a dry frying pan over a medium to high heat for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a pestle and mortar and crush lightly. 

8) Half the pomegranate and squeeze half the juice into a large bowl. Add 3 times as much extra virgin olive oil, the lime juice and balsamic vinegar. Whisk well and season to taste. 

9) Add the cooled broccoli and sprouts to the dressing, then snip in the cress. Roughly chop the coriander (stalks too!) finely slice the chilli and add to the bowl along with the quinoa and sweet potato. 

10) Toss well and spread onto a serving platter, then scoop out and dot the avocado flesh over the salad. 

11) Finish off with the remaining pomegranate seeds, sprinkle of nuts, watercress and crumble the feta! 

Slow Roasted Lamb

This simple but tasty dish brings a definite wow factor to any dinner party. We've taken our friend Anna Barnett's famous slow roast lamb recipe (as pictured above and below) that was part of our Ultimate Dinner Party Menu workshop and added our own twist. Adding herbs, garlic and lemon juice. The lamb is so tender it literally falls off the bone and has such a wonderful depth of flavour. The great thing about this dish is that you can serve it in so many ways. Serve on it's own with a salad or follow Anna's black rice recipe and either mix the meat in with the salad or serve with soft tacos as pictured below. 

Serving board available at the House Curious shop in the kitchen section.

Serving board available at the House Curious shop in the kitchen section.

Prep Time: 10 minutes & Cooking Time: 5 hours

INGREDIENTS

1.5kg good quality organic shoulder of lamb 

Glug of olive oil

Garlic Bulb (crushed)

Thyme & rosemary (optional)

Sprinkle of sea salt & pepper

Squeeze of lemon 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 160ºC. Place lamb in a roasting dish and drizzle with oil and rub all over the lamb. Add crushed garlic to the pan and sprigs of rosemary or thyme, season well with sea salt and pepper and half the juice of a lemon.

2) Cover with foil and roast for 4 hours. 

3) After 4 hours remove foil and turn heat up to 190ºC to allow the skin to crisp for the final 30 - 40 mins.

4) Once cooked, again cover with foil and least to rest for up to one hour. 

Salad bowl and apron available at the House Curious shop in the kitchen section.

Salad bowl and apron available at the House Curious shop in the kitchen section.

Anna's Black Rice Salad with Green Harissa 

This salad goes beautifully with the slow roast lamb or is delicious by itself. This dish looks so beautiful but is also very tasty. The Green Hariss is pretty special too and again its one of those recipes that everyone wants to know.  The great thing about this salad is that you can make it the night before.

Preparation time: 15 minutes & Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

Servings: 4-6

INGREDIENTS

Black rice Salad:

250g Black rice

Salt salt flakes

½ red onion- finely sliced

½ pomegranate

Handful of fresh mint leaves- roughly chopped

Handful of fresh parsley- roughly chopped

Juice from half a lemon

Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

(Optional: soft tacos to serve)

Green Harissa:

2 shallots

3 tbsp of pickled jalapenos

Handful of fresh coriander

Handful fresh parsley

2 birdseye green chillies (use one chilly if you want less of a kick)

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

zest of a lemon

¼ tsp sugar

Several good glugs of olive oil  

INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Pour 250g black rice into a saucepan with 500ml of water, add a sprinkle of salt and bring to the boil.

2) Once boiled, reduce the temperature and allow to simmer for 35-45 minutes or until the rice is soft but with a little bite to it and allow to cool.

3) Mix in the chopped red onion, radishes, pomegranate and chopped fresh mint or parsley.

4) Add in the fresh lemon juice a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and seasoning to taste.

5) For the Harissa simply blitz all the ingredients together then check for seasoning and spice, adjusting if necessary. You can mix some of the sauce directly in to the salad and also have some to serve. This goes beautifully with the lamb.

Plates available at the House Curious shop in the kitchen section.

Plates available at the House Curious shop in the kitchen section.

Gluten Free White chocolate Cheesecake

This cheesecake is a real hit and is a family fav. It's gluten free and suitably indulgent for a dinner party. 

Prep Time: 50 minute & Cooking Time: 1.5 hours

PORTIONS: 16 portions

INGREDIENTS 

For the Base:

75g Butter, extra to grease

300g gluten free milk chocolate digestives, crushed

2 tbsp demerara sugar (alternative coconut sugar) 

For the Cheesecake:

300g Belgian white chocolate 

900g cream cheese (full fat)

3tbsp plain flour 

1tbsp Vanilla bean paste or extract 

3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk 

200ml soured cream or crème fraiche

Decoration: 

Mixed berries

Icing sugar to dust

Shaved white chocolate

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Preheat oven to 180C, fan 160C. Line base of a round 23cm tin (7cm deep) with baking paper.

2) For the base, melt the butter in a pan then stir in the biscuit crumbs and demerara sugar. Press into the base of the tin in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes then set aside to cool. 

3) Increase oven to 240C, fan 220C and grease sides of the tin with a little extra butter. 

4) For the cheesecake mixture, break the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Don’t let the bowl come into contact with the water, stir the chocolate as it melts until its smooth, then remove the bowl and set aside. 

5) Scoop the cream cheese into a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand held electric mixer/good old fashioned arm power until smooth and creamy. Beat in the flour, a pinch of salt and the vanilla bean paste, followed by the eggs one at a time and then finally the egg yolk. Stir in the cooled melted chocolate and soured cream (or the crème fraiche) 

6) Pour the cheesecake mixture into the tin and bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 110C, fan 90C and bake for a further 40 minutes until just set/still a bit wobbly. Once cooled this sets nicely to produce a cheesecake with a smooth texture. Turn off the oven, leave door ajar and leave to cool inside. When completely cooled carefully run a rounded knife/blade around the side of the tin to release the cheesecake and remove the sides of the tin. 

7) For decoration we love to use mixed berries- sliced strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and dust with a sprinkling of icing sugar and shaved white chocolate. 

We hope you like the recipes we've shared with you today. Please like or comment if you like the post and also be sure to share your creations with us.

Sommer x

Sommer Pyne

I love celebrating Valentines Day so to all the hopeless romantics out there here is my guide to setting hearts on fire this Valentines. Forget about tacky pink hearts and red flowers and over priced meals with thousands of other punters. No that’s not our style at all. We would much prefer to hide away from the world, cook a meal because let’s face it, you can't beat home cooking from the heart. It doesn’t have to be fancy pants either, simple fresh ingredients, mood lighting and music are all winners. The company and setting will set the tone and your lover will be so bowled over with all the effort you've gone to that the food will taste extra delicious.

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Start the day right. Who doesn’t love getting brekkie in bed?? What a way to start the day with breakfast in bed, sweet note and flowers. Just think of your partners fav breakfast or use my go to recipe below. If you have kids its also a great way to get them involved. 

Egg in a nest with a side of bacon, avo.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil or butter

2 large slices of bread (I like to use sourdough)

2 eggs ( I used duck eggs)

2 large pinches of smoked paprika 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional - side of bacon, avo and baked cherry tomatoes. For the cherry tomatoes I toss in olive oil with balsamic vinegar, thyme and bake until soft and a little gooey. Another alternative is to sprinkle truffle oil over the bread and egg at the end. 

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Instructions

Cut out holes in the the bread with a cookie cutter or you can use the top of a glass. You want to make the hole big enough to hold an egg. Place olive oil or butter in a hot frying pan and place one side of the bread down in the pan for a minute or until the bread has turned a lovely golden colour. Crack the egg and place the yolk in the centre of the hole. Try and get some of the egg white over the bread. Let the egg fry a little and then flip over and season with smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Cook until golden for 2min depending on how runny you like your egg. Remove and place on the plate. Add bacon, baked tomatoes or any little extras that  your lover might like.

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Add a fresh smoothie or juice. My fav smoothie is frozen banana, fresh pineapple juice, lime, greek yogurt and a little honey with sprinkling of bee pollen. Or for a juice try beetroot, apple, celery and cucumber. It's delicious, trust me.

If dinner is more your thing then check out some of my favourite places to get inspiration. I like my food spicy and will no doubt have seafood and meat on the menu. For the vegetarians Anna Barnett always has some good alternatives.

Gift ideas

Gifts are a great way to make someone feel special and let's be honest with our workloads and busy social life sometimes we forget to let that someone special know how much we care about them. As soppy as Valentines may be it's a great way to spend a litte more time on the ones we love and make them feel special for a day. For me I love to buy a gift that will be cherished forever or something my hubby can use daily that reminds him of me. I've put together a gift guide from House Curious to help give you some inspiration. One little tip - don't leave it to the last minute get in early. Today is a good day to start planning and getting those pressies ordered.

Our limited addition art prints from Blacklist Studio from Sydney are a lovely keepsake that will be cherished forever. Add some romantic drama to your lovers wall.

These cards are so different from your typical Valentines cards. If you're sentimental like me a handwritten card means the world. 

Our selection of stationery makes the perfect gift this valentines. Pop a little note inside that your loveer can cherish forever. 

Sommer Pyne

We all know how it feels when it's minus 3 outside and the sky is a slab of dark marbled greys. But we say don’t be beaten by the January blues! We reckon it's time to embrace the dark side and indulge yourself. Here are our tips on how to survive the colder months. And to make it even more bearable how about a cosy 10% off from House Curious. Use code *warmup* at the checkout.
 
1.  Switch off the TV and snuggle up with a warm blanket, good book and a glass of vino or for those having a dry January a lovely hot chocolate.

2. Open your favourite cookery book and make a heart-warming meal. One of my fav cookery books at the moment is Indian Made Easy by Amandip Uppal
 
3. Now is the perfect time to write down your intentions & goals for the year ahead. Starting with positive thoughts and looking ahead is the best way to shift your focus to the good stuff and leave those winter blues behind.
 
4. Book a summer holiday. Sounds a bit paradoxical after ‘embrace the winter blues’ but by booking a holiday it means you have something to look forward to. I’ve just booked our Ibiza holiday and it was an instant mood boost. Now I’m dreaming for those beach days and long lunches.
 
5. Take some time to wind down. Most of us run full throttle into the new year, I’m certainly spinning a few plates but remember to take a step back and allow yourself some down time, whether its soaking in a bath and lighting your fav candle or giving meditation a go.  Take some time for you and slow down for a moment and it will do you the world of good, trust me.
 

Click on the images below to shop - Embrace The Winter Blues