Day 13 – Spinach and Fetta Rolls

 Blame my son. He turned up in Melbourne recently with his girlfriend and after introductions were made – and a soothing cup of tea to ease my acute nerves – he gently told me both of them were vegetarian. To which my response was, ‘Yes, and?’

I think we can safely say I have that side of things covered off.  And while I didn’t bat an eyelid, it was a good excuse as any to make a round of these rolls on what turned out to be the first really cold day of the year.  Continue reading Day 13 – Spinach and Fetta Rolls

Desserts – Quick Steamed Golden Syrup Pudding

Hungry days are the most nostalgic. Perhaps my stomach connects to my heart via memory, but it always seems to be the food of memory that tastes the best. Strawberries don’t taste as sweet as those I pilfered in my father’s garden when I was little. They don’t grow tomatoes that taste they way they once did.

And so it goes.

Thank goodness they haven’t messed around too much with the taste of Golden Syrup. Continue reading Desserts – Quick Steamed Golden Syrup Pudding

Day 12 – How to Make Ricotta

Ricotta is a staple in my house. I use it mixed with crushed fruit or topped with jam over toast or muesli. I mix it with spinach and fetta for pies, make a quick 15 minute start-to-finish gnocchi or add it to roasted vegies in a salad. And that’s all before I use it in pancakes, desserts, or cakes.

As easy as it is to buy it, it’s even easier to make and takes just 30 minutes. If you don’t fancy a trip to the  supermarket just so you can make some pancakes, try this next time. Continue reading Day 12 – How to Make Ricotta

Sweet Treats – Vegan Chocolate Cake

Without stating the obvious, there are all sorts of reasons why you should have this recipe handy.

It’s a beautiful soft cake with a tender crumb, with a result not unlike my Legless Chocolate Cake. It’s ideal for any sort of celebration and could easily support thick icing and birthday candles. It keeps well for several days, and freezes beautifully, meaning you can make this in advance and decorate it closer to time. Continue reading Sweet Treats – Vegan Chocolate Cake

Day 11 – Savoury Bread Pudding

There are two types of bread in this world. There is the sort that gets stale. And then there’s the sort that goes mouldy.

You can do a lot of things with stale bread. In fact it’s something to be desired, as any devotee of bread and butter pudding will tell you. Or you can make croutons, bread sauce, a garlicky skordalia to have with vegie sticks or crackers and that’s all before you make breadcrumbs. Continue reading Day 11 – Savoury Bread Pudding

Old Favourites, With a Twist (Sponsored Post)

You’ve got to admit, it’s pretty special when a product celebrates a centenary. As with anyone celebrating a 100th birthday, it’s natural to ask the secret to their longevity.

So while someone might attribute it to excellent genes and not being a smoker, for a product we look at something else.

Pyrex is celebrating 100 years in 2015 and it’s easy to see why it’s lasted so well and so long. Pyrex estimates that in that time more than 75 million measuring jugs have sold worldwide! (Which makes me think that a lot of YOU might have one, yes?) But of course there’s far more to the range of trusty oven-to-table kitchenware we all know and love. Continue reading Old Favourites, With a Twist (Sponsored Post)

Sponsored Post – Earl Grey and Raspberry Meringues

Eggs. When my weekly grocery budget is so small that meat is out of the question, I always buy eggs as my go-to source of protein. Whether it’s breakfast, a speedy light lunch or a heartier evening meal, there’s always a way I can use them up and even at the top end of the scale, they retail at an average of just 50c.

With 11 essential vitamins and minerals, eggs have long been a favourite of nutritionists and has the tick of approval from the Heart Foundation as well.

Australian Eggs asked me to come up with a recipe for eggs and I said yes immediately, but then spent quite some time thinking about what I would make. After all eggs are so versatile, can be prepared and cooked in hundreds of ways. Continue reading Sponsored Post – Earl Grey and Raspberry Meringues

Sweet Treats – Bakewell Tart

Sometimes I have an urge to bake but my empty-nester status makes this problematic. Do I make a full batch of tarts and hope I don’t eat away my feelings, or do I find a friend to share the spoils with?

I have a new housemate who works very long hours and says he doesn’t have a sweet tooth anyway, so there’s not much hope he will dive right in. But still, I had an urge to make Bakewell Tarts. Not the kind you see here, plainly adorned with a scattering of almonds, oh no. I wanted the full catastrophe, with icing AND a cherry on top. Continue reading Sweet Treats – Bakewell Tart

Dessert – Mrs Windsor’s Apple Pie

I sat on this recipe for the longest time, then included it in my cookbook. This being apple season, it’s worth re-visiting. Use the largest crispiest apples you can find and don’t be too worried when they form a mini-mountain in the middle of the pie crust – they cook down to sweet perfection.

When I look at apple pie recipes, instructions invariably begin with a request to open a tin of apple pie filling and it’s all downhill from there. This being a simple recipe, it requires the very best components. A light and buttery pastry, with filling unadulterated with cinnamon or cloves or excess sugar. Continue reading Dessert – Mrs Windsor’s Apple Pie

Day 13 – Chilli Beans and Lentils

From 2011, this meal may not be the prettiest, but it has been consistently popular since it was first published. I have updated the recipe to include the vital step of rapid pre-cooking of dried beans but if you don’t want the fuss or bother, tinned beans are perfectly fine. 

Is it authentic chilli if it doesn’t have meat in it?

I used up some pantry items, added some spices, stirred through  the remains of some pumpkin and onions that needed using up and then, with a nod to my mate Iain, stirred through some chocolate at the end.

Continue reading Day 13 – Chilli Beans and Lentils

Day 8 – Pumpkin and Chickpea Burgers

First published in 2010, this recipe was a riff on a favourite meal from a local café near my work. Thankfully, you can make a meal for four people for the same cost as a bought lunch for one.  It’s today’s suggestion for Meat-Free Week. 

Oh, come now. Eat your vegies. With a dollop of sour cream and sweet chilli sauce on top, it’s the best good-for-you food you are likely to eat all week.

And besides, with cheap-as-chips chickpeas and in-season pumpkin, this is nourishing, filling and incredibly tasty. Make a few more patties, freeze them between sheets of freezer wrap and have them ready to cook for a speedy mid-week meal the next time around.

Continue reading Day 8 – Pumpkin and Chickpea Burgers

Day 14 – Kedgeree

First published in 2010, this is a family favourite and worth a re-visit. While it’s not strictly vegetarian, it IS meat-free making it a marvellous choice if you want to observe Meat-Free Week (which starts today).

With its origins in British-Raj India, kedgeree is a spiced rice pilaf made with smoked fish. Usually made with the Brits favourite smoked fish such as haddock, it was often proffered as part of a British breakfast, but these days it’s more often served up as a Sunday night supper dish.

For years my mother made this without curry powder, simply basing it on fish, rice, hard-boiled eggs and loads of butter. I was in my thirties before my mother in law advised me that it was best made with curry powder. Continue reading Day 14 – Kedgeree

Day 8 – Chicken with Spicy Yoghurt

This post was first published four years ago, but deserves revisiting – it’s a marvellous way to dress up chicken, but can also flavour lamb cutlets.

Don’t be alarmed by the garish yellow pigment in this finished meal: Yoghurt is a superb tenderiser for meat and adds a subtlety to meat not always associated with spicy foods.

Mix dried spices into yoghurt, then marinate chicken pieces for a delicious change to the everyday. This flavour base is Moroccan-inspired, but you can just as easily add turmeric, chilli, cardamom, coriander and fennel seeds for a curry based spice rub. Continue reading Day 8 – Chicken with Spicy Yoghurt

Sweet Treats – Nutella Weetbix Slice

I’m moving house. Again.

In the last four years I’ve moved 11 times and I have it down pat – I can pack up and box a two bedroom house in two days. Packing up everything in this house will take me three hours. Continue reading Sweet Treats – Nutella Weetbix Slice

Desserts – Blackberry and Apple Crumble Slice

I writing this on Valentine’s Day, and I’m struggling not to be drawn into a passive-aggressive smackdown of the day’s festivities by putting all my grief into this article, or into this recipe, which is baking while I write.

For those who are not in couples, it’s a day of purdah. The single must stay away, away from restaurants with reconfigured Tables-For-Two, lined end-to-end with barely any space to move between, each couple in their own loved-up bubble of perfection, their primal scent of fear – or of keeping up appearances, I’m never quite sure which –  barely contained. Poor bastards.  Continue reading Desserts – Blackberry and Apple Crumble Slice

Day 10 – Veal Goulash

If there is a challenge to this cooking-within-a-strict-budget lark, it is to convince other people to try unfashionable foods. Think lard, veal and anything from the early 1970s.

This recipe is therefore a triple threat. Stick with me now.

Goulash evokes memories of a so-so beef stew washed away by a carton of sour cream, but it’s actually a much simpler dish. Consisting of beef, capsicum and paprika, this is often presented as a soup in Hungary rather than a stew and sour cream is verboten. Continue reading Day 10 – Veal Goulash

Sweet Treats – Triple Chocolate Muffins

Sometimes desperation makes the best meals. In this case, the manic desperation from an intense once-a-month chocolate craving which coincided with a just-before-payday lack of funds is most certainly what caused this recipe.

I wanted chocolate and I wanted it NOW goddammit. With no funds, I turned to the bank, or in this case, the pantry bank, where there was money on the shelves in the form of baking ingredients and several half-empty packets of choc chips, plus exactly eight squares of dark cooking chocolate and a handful of dark chocolate cooking buttons. Seriously, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Continue reading Sweet Treats – Triple Chocolate Muffins

Day 9 – Sweet Potato, Bacon and Haloumi Patties

I have adored cheese and mashed potato, mixed together, ever since I was a spotty teenager with questionable tastes in pop music. I don’t eat it often, but it is my go-to dish for when I’m feeling low, but not quite so low that I could eat my body weight in Tim Tams.

You get the picture: I really don’t need much persuasion. Continue reading Day 9 – Sweet Potato, Bacon and Haloumi Patties

Day 8 – Katsu Chicken with Tonkatsu Sauce

Katsu Chicken – or Tonkatsu, which uses pork – was introduced to the Japanese as an example of western food in the late 19th century, while the country flirted with all things European.  In essence a chicken schnitzel,  it was promptly adapted to local tastes and given a lightness of touch. It is astoundingly good comfort food. Continue reading Day 8 – Katsu Chicken with Tonkatsu Sauce

Desserts – Roast Strawberry Gelato

Recently a cousin from the UK came to stay for three months. She stayed with my sister on the Central Coast, but came down to Melbourne and for the week she was here I had the most delightful time being a tourist in my own town. On her to-do list were trips to St Kilda and the Zoo and the Botanic Gardens and after a couple of days I realised I was weaving my favourite eateries into our wanders. Which is how we ended up at a gelato bar in North Carlton. Continue reading Desserts – Roast Strawberry Gelato

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

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