Australia Day means a lot of different things to everyone – even what we’re cooking up – but if there’s one thing that’s common, it’s firing up the barbecue or grill. Take Cle-ann Stampolidis, the Melbourne-based, ultra-cool stylist, recipe developer and food blogger to boot, who taps into her Greek heritage when dreaming up Oz Day fare, then cranks up the barbie’s flames. She also borrows flavours from around the world – ’cause that’s the beauty of Australian cookery these days – and keeps her dishes light, casual and produce-driven – ’cause that’s how we like and are lucky enough to eat. Over summer, follow Cle-ann’s lead with Aussie-Mediterranean flair: grilled meats, tangy dressings and garden-fresh salads. Better still, her blog is brimming with quick-to-prepare, few-ingredient recipes that burst with flavour (Jamie Oliver, watch out) and her light, bright images, photographed by her partner Hugh Adams, are just as appealing. Save this blog in your Favourites, or find more inspiration via Instagram at @cle_ann and Facebook and Pinterest at @cleannmelbourne.
“I often think my body consists of 50 per cent water, 20 per cent extra-virgin olive oil, five per cent garlic and the rest all that other stuff! My Greek heritage taught me the importance of sharing and growing food, eating seasonally and, most importantly, cooking with love.
Today, I still grow a lot of my own produce and it inspires my recipes. You will often find me smiling as I’m watering the veggie patch or picking what will be turned into my meal.
During the summer months, I often invite friends and family over, particularly for Australia Day, which is a great time for entertaining – I love a good barbecue! We sit outdoors on our big wooden table next to the vegetable garden, admiring this year's tomatoes, and celebrate a multicultural feast. I like starting off with some fiery stuffed jalapeno, followed by the cooling sensation of minted yoghurt with grilled sumac chicken with grape molasses. Then, the big guns: grilled meats paired with pickle salad – it’s so yummy! Another favourite is my date-and-apricot stuffed lamb, which can be prepped ahead of time and cooked at the last minute. Good food, good company and good wine. The simple things…”
I started my blog to… Stop people telling me to start a blog.
The must-cook recipe on my website is… Kimchi pancake. The kimchi is made from a glut of zucchini I grew last summer. I also used eggs from mum’s chooks and serve it alongside homegrown and homemade Mexican cucumber pickle.
I can’t wait to get back to… Ubud to be woken up by the noise of ducks and roosters nearby.
My current food obsession is… Summer fruit. It’s the one time of the year I can eat as much stone fruit, berries, cherries and melons as I can every night after dinner. Not to mention using it as a topping for desserts, including a good old pav.
Nugget of cooking wisdom… Eat seasonally as much as possible. It’s the way I grew up. We grew it, we enjoyed it at its best and it was all the more special having to wait for it to be in season again.
One of my occasional sneaky treats is… A chunk of kefalotyri (salty Greek hard cheese) with a very strong, small, sugary coffee.
I learnt to cook from… My mother and yaya [grandmother] mostly and The Naked Chef when I was in my teens. The most exciting thing is that I’m still learning everyday from amazing chefs I work with.
Friends always ask me to cook my… Twice-cooked ginger pork spare ribs. It’s becoming a tradition; every time we get together we cook up some ribs and other great sharing food. Who doesn't love eating with their hands?
I always have… Garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and salt flakes on my bench, and vino under the bench; a really well-stocked pantry of various flours, nuts, dried herbs and spices; and yoghurt, anchovies, homemade preserves, eggs from mum’s chooks, butter, a whole shelf of chilli sauces and way too much cheese in my fridge.
My most sauce-splattered cookbook is… My recipe notebook that lives on my bench, which I write my creations in as I cook.
The most difficult food to shoot/style and make look tasty is… Anything brown.
Collaborating with my partner, Hugh Adams, is… A gift. He is a photographer, my best friend, my inspiration and the reason all my recipes are gluten-free (he’s celiac). We love to work together, eat together and drink together – we make a good team.
Beyond my own blog, some of my favourites reads are… Whole Larder Love’s Instagram page for blogger Rohan Anderson’s sense of humour and beliefs; and Extraordinary Routines, where Madeleine Dore explores the daily lives of creatives, artists, writers, entrepreneurs and extraordinary individuals. I’m a visually stimulated type of person, so I get most of my inspiration from my Instagram feed.
Top picks from Cle-ann
Blog Appétit Editor Yasmin Newman
Blog Appétit is our curated list of go-to food blogs we love, with a focus on high-quality photography, trusted recipes, strong editorial themes and a unique voice and personality. View previous Blog Appétit entries.