Quickie Pizza Dough 2

Breads and Pastries – Quickie Pizza Dough

If you’ve ever told yourself a quick takeaway is better for your sanity than a make-from-scratch meal, allow me to give you this recipe.

It’s the perfect example of how just TWO ingredients can be transformed and ready to cook in less than 15 minutes. As a pizza dough, it’s now the only one I use, meaning any pizza I make can be cooked and on the table faster than one can be ordered and delivered.

Later this week I’m going to give you a great pizza recipe, but for now, bookmark this page. Continue reading

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Chang's Noodle Salad

Day 12 – Crispy Noodle Salad

A few weeks ago I was given a gift basket of Chang’s products – lots of noodles and sauces with which to make my favourite stir-fry.

Included in the basket was a packet of fried noodles and I admit to being a bit stumped – I don’t use them as a rule, preferring something that is not pre-cooked. Then a  Facebook reader reminded me of this old stand-by, a crispy noodle salad. Continue reading

Tres Leche Cake

Sweet Treats – Tres Leche Cake

Found throughout Latin America from Mexico to Argentina, Tres Leche cake relies on a thorough soaking in a combination of milks to get an astonishing flavour and texture to an otherwise ordinary sponge.

It really is as simple as that – time and lots of it.  This is not the cake to whip up on the morning of a party – it really must be made the day before you want to serve it up. Continue reading

Veal Casserole with Cheese Dumplings

Day 11 – Slow Cooked Veal Chops with Cheese Dumplings

The problem with a mid seasonal change in cooking is much the same as one has when trying to dress for the occasion – a day can start out as one thing and quickly become another. When dressing for Melbourne weather I quickly adopted the number one rule: Layers. But what of cooking?

When charming spring weather threatens with cold late-winter showers, you could do a lot worse than this casserole. Continue reading

Lemon Buttermilk Scones

Sweet Treats – Lemon Buttermilk Scones

Spring weather. It fools me every year with its first flirtatious promise of warmth, providing as it does a kiss of sunshine. It was a welcoming week of throwing open windows and airing blankets and doonas, of spring cleaning and a gentle reminder to get out of the house.

But then winter came howling back in. Earlier in the week it rainedand squalled and bitched like a grumpy old woman and the windows were slammed shut against icy showers, the heating turned back up.

So I went into the kitchen to bake. Continue reading

Crepes with Zucchini and Pea

Day 10 – Crepes with Zucchini and Pea

Savoury crêpes used to be the last word in fashionable food, and with so much else to dazzle us, it’s very easy to forget that they were once a thing. Still, they are marvellous delivery devices for all sorts of wonders, and especially vegetables that need to get past a picky palate, in say, a 3 year old toddler. Or a 35 year old committed carnivore.

If you don’t feel up to making a batch of crêpes, you can find them already made, in the freezer cabinet in larger supermarkets. Though they are on the smallish side, a couple of boxes will more than do the job. With a spoonful of creamy vegetables in the middle, they are rolled up burrito style and served with some puréed peas and a dollop of yoghurt. They are incredibly good. Continue reading

Kingston Biscuits 2

Sweet Treats – Kingston Biscuits

Somewhere between inspiration and publication, a recipe gets made and tested to ensure you won’t have any mishaps. How many times? Well, in this case, three times.

If you live in the Antipodes, you know Kingston Biscuits. They are small, crisp, butterscotchy biscuity goodness, jammed together with a milk chocolate cream. In a packet of Arnott’s Assorted Creams, they are the first to go. (And if you disagree with me on that, you’d need to have a good reason. Monte Carlos don’t come close.) Continue reading

Salmon, Dill and Asparagus Fettuccine

Day 9 – Creamy Salmon and Dill Linguine

Before making this recipe I would have told you I’m not a fan of dill. I went so far as to say this to my friend Twitchy when we ate lunch last week and she hoed into a dill-laced tuna sandwich, her eyes rolling back into her head with pleasure.

Then I made this and I found myself adding more and more dill until it was just right. I added spoonful after spoonful, until the flavours of salmon, cream, lemon and dill had balanced out nicely – by which time I had added nearly half a bunch of dill. Continue reading

Sausage and Leek Casserole

Day 8 – Sausage and Leek Casserole

I seem to be on a bit of a pimenton kick.  I’ve added smoked paprika to about three dishes in the last week, even sprinkling it over some cheddar for a grilled cheese toastie.

This time it was the turn of some sausages to be given the pimenton treatment, in this case some small chipolatas. Once the sausages are browned this casserole can be finished off in the oven in 30 minutes, which makes it a very useful meal to make during the mid-week mayhem. Continue reading

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The Sweet Swap 2014

The Sweet Swap is a wonderful idea, it really is. Food bloggers from around the country donate a small fee to charity and in return receive the names and addresses of three of those bloggers. They then send out a sweet gift before receiving three in return from all around the country.

It’s wonderful. You meet bloggers you may not have heard of and the treats! Oh my, what a wonderful, incredible array of treats. Continue reading

Salted Caramel Hearts

Sweet Treats – Salted Caramel Hearts

There’s only one thing better than chocolate and salted caramel and that’s when it’s combined in a gift package.

Sarah from BellyRumbles and Amanda from Chew Town run an annual event called The Sweet Swap and this year I participated. The premise is a simple one: Register and receive three names of bloggers and foodies, to whom you send a gift pack of whatever sweet you decide to bake. In return, like an early Kris Kringle, you receive three packages of wonderful sweet treats from all over the country.

Needless to say, deciding what to make was not a simple decision. There was so much to choose from, but in the end I opted for something I hadn’t done before – some handmade chocolates.

I wanted to do it to show you just how simple they can be, and they are simple, but these chocolates do take a little time. It’s the sort of project you should do for five minutes an hour, over three to four hours. But the result? Oh my goodness. Continue reading

Sweet Potato and Bacon Soup

Day 7 – Dave’s Sweet Potato and Bacon Soup

Downloading TV shows off the Net. I’ve never been able to, and as a result, I’ve never really felt connected to, you know, this century. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Wire - these shows and plenty more have aired in their entirety and I’ve never seen an episode.

Not that I’ve really minded, until earlier this year when I stayed with my dear friend Cuppy and we binge-watched the entire fourth season of Downton Abbey in one air-conditioned day while it sweltered outside. It was glorious.

And then came the news that they were going to make a TV show of my favourite book series in the entire world and I started cyber-stalking Twitter feeds and Instagram accounts and I was transported. Continue reading

We have a winner …

Baker's Secret 2

 

We have a winner to our Baker’s Secret bakeware giveaway.

After dozens and dozens of entries, wonderful comments about the joys of baking – that sounds like a great name for a book, I must remember that … – it would have been difficult for me to select one winner on the basis of awesome and clever comment.

So I got a random  number selector thingy to do it for me.   And I sent off an email on Monday evening to the lucky winner.

I haven’t heard anything back from her yet.

So, this is a special request for everyone who entered to PLEASE look in your emails to see if there’s one from me with the headline ‘WINNER’. It may well be in your junk mail or spam files.

This lovely gift is valued at $170.00. I want desperately for the winner to claim it.

If I don’t get a reply by 5pm AET Friday 12th September, I will re-draw the prize, which would be just a little awkward, because I would hate to deprive you of that.

So please, all of you, look for that email. It’s in there somewhere.

Ginger Shortbread

Sweet Treats – Janine’s Ginger Shortbread

About the only thing I love more than ginger is shortbread. When my friend Janine told me she was making a combination of the two I couldn’t resist asking her for the recipe and she very kindly sent it to me. Janine is a dog lover like myself and also has the happiest chooks I know. The eggs they produce are the most brilliant yellow you will see.

Continue reading

Salmon with Wasabi Avocado Mayo

Day 5 – Salmon with Wasabi and Avocado Mayonnaise

Somewhere in the last week, I saw a photo on Instagram that showed a pretty rural scene and underneath declared that spring was on the way. “You can tell by the light,” said the caption and it forced me to look up and out the window.

The light around here has changed. It’s not as flat, not as washed out, it somehow feels fuller, rounder, even if the cold wind still blows here more often than not and I won’t be putting away my gloves any time soon. Nor will I be eating loads of salads in the next couple of weeks, but I will be eating lighter, just the same. Continue reading

Classic Lamb Shanks

Day 4 – Classic Braised Lamb Shanks

It’s not often I have lamb shanks but recently I’ve had a yen for them. With so many ways to cook them (lamb will after all adapt nicely to just about any regional cuisine in the world – with the possible exception of Thai or Mexican), I have instead opted for the basics – rosemary, garlic, wine, and lots of time.

This is the very best of winter food, using your trusty slow cooker to ensure a wonderful meal waiting for you when you get home. Really, why would you want anything more? Continue reading

Baker's Secret 2

Giveaway – Win a Baker’s Secret Kitchenware Pack

This weekend I am going to a wedding, the first in years, and the first in our family for over twenty years. Much as I love weddings, it’s now something I view as a young person’s game. I’ll be sitting with the older folks at the reception, and I don’t mind admitting that this leaves me perplexed that such an arrangement happened so fast. I still feel 15 years younger, at least on the inside.

But I digress. Back in the day it was quite the thing for women to collect household items in anticipation of getting married. Such a collection was put aside for the quite splendidly named Glory Box, up on the top shelf away from everyday use until the Happy Event arrived. Continue reading

Beef Cheek Ragu

Day 3 – Beef Cheek Ragu

Once upon a time, I would have to nervously ask a butcher to order beef cheeks in. Then, I saw them (briefly) appear in Aldi and thought that at long last they would be a regular item.

Now, my local butcher routinely stocks them. He calls them Ox Cheeks, but they are one and the same. He sells them at $8.99 a kilo, a little cheaper than chuck steak or gravy beef. I almost wept with joy. Continue reading

Whiting Escabeche

Day 2 – Whiting Escabeche

Fish can be expensive, yes, but even more worrying is when we stick to our favourites and in the process damage the sustainability of fish stocks. Tuna, I’m talking about you.

It is a truism, more relevant than ever, that ugly unloved fish are also likely to be in greater stocks in our domestic waters, and they will always be cheaper than the piscatorial glamourpusses. Red mullet, bonito (sometimes called snook) and the humble sardine are routinely good value. As is whiting. Continue reading

Spinach and Haloumi Pancakes 2

Breakfast – Spinach and Haloumi Fritters

It’s a huge irony, to me at least, that English spinach seems to grow best in Australia during the cooler months, which is why it’s frequently cheaper to buy at this time of year than say, summer.  Feel free to insert your own joke about the English and cold weather at this point.

Full of iron and vitamin C, these nutrients diminish rapidly if spinach is over cooked, which is where fritters and pancakes and the like are so handy. It makes for a speedy meal, which you can enjoy just as easily at the other end of the day to this breakfast. Continue reading

$120 – A Week of Family Meals – It Can Be Done

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