Pecan Syrup Tart

Desserts – Pecan Syrup Tart

Pecans are a special treat for me, with a finer texture and more delicate flavour than walnuts. Luckily, we get a lovely local crop in this country and the good news is that they are in season right now.

If you find them, do consider using them in this lovely tart, a variation on an old-fashioned treacle tart, using a pantry staple you’re much more likely to  have: golden syrup. Continue reading

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Twice-Cooked Spicy Plum Chicken

Day 4 – Twice – Cooked Spicy Plum Chicken

Thousands of people discovered this website last week, thanks in  part to a couple of media interviews. Everyone arrives here wondering how on earth it is possible to make a crazy small amount of money do so much.

If you’ve just discovered The $120 Food Challenge, Hello and Welcome.

This dish embodies much of my philosophy – it’s the sort of food you’ll find here  and it makes the most of everything I have at my  disposal. Continue reading

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Sweet Treats – Pineapple Upside Down Cake

My housemate is good on the tooth but lousy with a good sharp knife, so when he took to a fresh pineapple intending to slice a bit for himself, the poor fruit came off the worse for wear.

Left with just a third of the original fruit, and with bits missing from odd places, I thought it best to redeem what was left by giving pineapple a bit of a makeover. Fruit has feelings too I guess. Continue reading

Pain Perdu

Desserts – Pain Perdu

Pain Perdu means ‘Lost Bread’ and it’s a favourite way to use up day-old bread. Best described as French toast on steroids, this is not your everyday breakfast treat – it’s full of cream for a start.

No – this is a quick and easy dessert, a glamour version of bread and butter pudding. Continue reading

Sausage Crostino

Day 3 – Sausage Crostino

Sausages can be boring, but when you’re on a tight budget, they do become a regular fixture in many a kitchen.

So, if you do have sausages regularly, it’s sometimes easier to change things up and have them in a way you may not have expected. These crostinos – fancy-speak for thick slabs of toast – may be the perfect way to use up Saturday’s leftover barbecued snags for a light Sunday dinner in front of the telly. Continue reading


Giveaway – Win a SodaStream Play

I am the first to admit that I’m not much of a drinker of carbonated drinks. The fizziness makes me gassy for one thing, and trust me that’s ALL you need to know about that.

But, this being the start of the long party season that begins with the Melbourne Cup and ends with Australia Day, chances are you will be drinking more sparkling drinks and carbonated beverages than at any other time of the year.

Enter SodaStream Play. Continue reading

White Chocolate and Macadamia Blondies

Sweet Treats – White Chocolate and Macadamia Blondies

Is it possible to make a butterscotch flavoured cake without the addition of butterscotch chips?

Readers, it is thoughts like this that keep me awake at night.

I try to think about other things – are all the people on The Bachelor actors? Will Sam Smith ever be happy*? How is it that citrus colours are in fashion again?

But mostly my thoughts are about food.

Continue reading

Roast Vegetable Salad with Haloumi and Chorizo

Day 2 – Warm Roast Vegetable Salad with Chorizo and Haloumi

Much as I love a change in seasons, it can be frustrating, food wise. In the mid-morning sunshine I thought I would eat lightly that evening, perhaps a salad. Then the clouds came over and by mid afternoon I was craving a roast dinner.

Why not combine the two?

This is a great way to clear out the vegie crisper before your next grocery shop, and because you can use so many vegetables it’s likely you could make this several times over and never eat the same meal twice. Continue reading

Stuffed Capsicum with Baharat Spiced Lentils and Salami

Day 1- Roast Capsicum with Salami and Baharat Spiced Lentils

 Goodness me I love the flavours of the Mediterranean.

If you just read that and your first response was, ‘Ah, but which part of the Mediterranean?’, then GO TO THE TOP OF THE CLASS, YOU FREAKS.

To be honest I love ALL the flavours of the Mediterranean, from Spanish tapas, through to Sicilian desserts through to Turkish mezzes and North African tagines. But right now, I’m thinking of Lebanon and Syria and that wonderful spice mix called baharat. A mixture of cumin, coriander, paprika, cardamom, pepper and cloves, it goes especially well with lamb and onions. Continue reading

Strawberry Crumble

Desserts – Strawberry Crumble

There’s a strawberry glut happening around the country.

I’m not sure why this happy set of circumstances came to be – perhaps farmers thought we would appreciate it if we had more spring produce than normal. Perhaps a milder winter in Queensland played a part. Perhaps an overseas market collapsed, meaning more for locals. But either way, I bought three 500g punnets for $5 at the local markets and I rejoiced. Continue reading

Oliving by Hans 2

Sponsored Post – Oliving by Hans (and a Great Giveaway!)

Within my weekly food budget I make a small allowance for some cold cuts,  which we enjoy for lunch in sandwiches.

I have my favourites. My housemate has his. 

Both conscious of our health, we look for the nutritious as well as the delicious, which when considering cold cuts can throw up a somewhat limited set of options. The very thing that makes them so delicious – saturated animal fats – is what makes them the ultimate sometimes food.  You all know this by now: Unsaturated fats, good. Saturated fats, well, not so good.

Then I was invited to have a look at a new range of items from Oliving™ by Hans and almost overnight my choices have expanded. Continue reading

Day 14 – Tuscan Beef Casserole

When was the last time you ate a meal with known origins back to medieval times?

In this world of fast food and ever-changing trends, it’s easy to overlook the sort of meal that has been around for so long, it’s faded from memory. This is a recipe that is deserving of a wide audience. Continue reading

Lamb and Pumpkin Pizza

Day 13 – Lamb and Pumpkin Pizza

When my children were younger and I was tired, a home delivered pizza fed us all and kept the children quiet, but what it gave in cheap convenience it more than made up for in predictability.

“Two pizzas please – one meatlovers and one vegetarian. Thanks. Yes I’ll have the correct change for the driver.”

I probably could have given this order in my sleep. On more than one occasion, my still-primary school-aged children simply picked up the phone and ordered it themselves, safe in the knowledge they couldn’t get it wrong. Continue reading

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

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

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


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