The Bloggers I Love – The 2014 Edition

I’m not sure where I read it but I once saw a comment that went roughly like this: ” Blogging requires passion and authority. Which leaves out most people.”

Quite. Continue reading The Bloggers I Love – The 2014 Edition

Christmas – Colleen’s Potato Salad

Last year I spent Christmas with my daughter, her boyfriend and his mum who made this lovely salad for Christmas lunch.  I’ve been saving it ever since, knowing that now is the perfect time of the year to share it with you.

There is much you can make ahead of the day, including cooking the potatoes and eggs, leaving you only to mix it all together at the last minute. Continue reading Christmas – Colleen’s Potato Salad

Christmas – Jamon and Asparagus ‘Wraps’

Gosh I love asparagus, which is just as well, because it’s crazily abundant at this time of year.

Most of our Australian crop comes from just outside Melbourne around the Gippsland town of Koo-Wee-Rup (which for my money takes the prize for the most splendid Oz town name) – an astonishing 97% of our entire crop in fact.

You’ve heard me bang on before about how imported out-of-season food is bad for your wallet, so make the most of this wonderful crop while you can – another month and it will be all gone. Continue reading Christmas – Jamon and Asparagus ‘Wraps’

Sweet Treats – Choc-Chilli ‘Bombs’

Earlier this year I made a couple of soft-centered chocolates for the Sweet Swap and shared my efforts with a few lucky recipients around the country. At the time, I blogged my recipe for caramel hearts, but I’ve held off on this new recipe, because Christmas is really where it’s at for home made chocolates.

If you’re going to make chocolates, it’s likely you’ll attempt it at this time of year. Continue reading Sweet Treats – Choc-Chilli ‘Bombs’

Christmas – Chocolate Christmas Pudding

This is part of the $80 Family Favourites Christmas Lunch for 6 people.

Links to the full menu and prep guides will be published at the end of the week.

 

Not everyone likes Christmas Pudding. There, I said it.

It can hurt my pride to see people turn their noses up at something I’ve so lovingly prepared, but it happens every year whenever I try to persuade my family to eat Christmas Pudding. They don’t like it, preferring pavlova, trifle or mince pies instead. Continue reading Christmas – Chocolate Christmas Pudding

Christmas – Mark’s Herbed Roasties

This is part of the $80 Family Favourites Christmas Lunch for 6 people.

Links to the full menu and prep guides will be published at the end of the week.

 

Over the last few years I have lost count of friends who have told me they feel nervous about cooking for me. This is a tremendous shame for many reasons: First of all, I would never, NEVER want my friends to feel nervous around me for any reason. Secondly, I cook so much and so frequently that I am pathetically grateful for a toasted cheese sandwich if it means I don’t have to do it myself. Thirdly, I’m not exactly a food snob – I haven’t reached that point where only the very best is good enough and if I ever do reach that point, I hope my friends bitch-slap me back to reality. Continue reading Christmas – Mark’s Herbed Roasties

Christmas – Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin

This is part of the $80 Family Favourites Christmas Lunch for 6 people.

Links to the full menu and prep guides will be published at the end of the week.

 

A simple variation on broccoli in a cheese sauce, this makes Christmas entertaining memorable and just a bit special.

If you want to do as much as possible ahead of schedule, then make this the day before and store it, already cooked and in its serving dish, in the fridge, simply covered with a sheet of foil. From there, it’s a simple matter of heating it back up, covered, for 25 minutes in a hot oven. Continue reading Christmas – Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin

Christmas – Roast Pork with all the Trimmings

This meal is the main meal for the $80 Family Favourites Christmas Lunch for 6 people.

Links to the full menu and prep guides will be published at the end of the week.

 

Roast Pork is everyone’s favourite and many a family enjoys it at Christmas instead of turkey. You can buy both large and small cuts at this time of year and you are bound to find a joint of meat that suits your budget.

From slabs of budget-priced pork belly to fat standing rib roasts, the way you cook pork is much the same: turn the heat up for a half hour to get the crackling crisping up nicely, then turn the oven down to cook the meat slowly to tender perfection. Continue reading Christmas – Roast Pork with all the Trimmings

Christmas – Salmon Rillettes

This meal is the entrée for the $80 Family Favourites Christmas Lunch for 6 people.

Links to the full menu and prep guides will be published at the end of next week.

 

When we think of Christmas in this country, our thoughts are always intertwined with mid-summer eating. While we always give a roast bird some serious consideration because of traditions, the simple fact is that we have acclimatised to the realities of celebrating the occasion – Christmas in Australia is all about the seafood.

Which is all but impossible if you are on a budget. Continue reading Christmas – Salmon Rillettes

Christmas – Alfajores

I can’t remember where I was, but somewhere in my online world I saw a mention of someone baking Alfajores and my curiosity got the better of me.  I’m forever grateful for that.

These lovely caramel sandwiches are found throughout South America with every country claiming their own version. Traditionally served after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, they feature that wonderful treat Dulce de Leche, the famed milky caramel that also has umpteen regional variations. Continue reading Christmas – Alfajores

Ideas for Edible Christmas Gifts

I love receiving edible gifts, even more than I love making them. Give me your citrus curd, your fudge, your shortbread – I’ll gratefully use it all up.

If you are stuck for gifts this year or if your budget won’t stretch to that shiny object of desire, fear not – edible gifts are universally loved. It’s amazing how a little care and some lovely packaging from a $2 shop can make everything alright. Start now and package it knowing you’ve got this part of Christmas all sewn up. Continue reading Ideas for Edible Christmas Gifts

Christmas – Berry Clafoutis

This is the dessert for the $50 Christmas lunch for four.

Click here for the full menu plus step-by-step guides.

If you stick to traditional Christmas desserts, it’s likely you will spend a lot to get something worthy of a special occasion, so when thinking of a terrific but budget-priced dessert for this menu I went with something a lot less traditional.

Continue reading Christmas – Berry Clafoutis

Christmas – Lemony Green Beans

This is part of the $50 Christmas lunch for four.

Click here for the full menu plus step-by-step guides.

This proves that simple is best – green beans need nothing more than some lemon and olive oil to give it a lift, and next to the richness of the main course of duck, or the strong flavours of sweet potato and trout, this is a lighter side dish, a welcome contrast to your multi-layered Christmas meal. Continue reading Christmas – Lemony Green Beans

Christmas – Duck Salad

This is the main course in the $50 Christmas Lunch for Four.

Click here for the full menu plus step-by-step guides

I must begin this recipe with a very important disclaimer: To get in under $50, you MUST find a keenly-priced duck. Luckily, Aldi and Coles have 2.2kg frozen ducks for $12-$15 each right NOW. So go out and get one as quickly as you can, freeze it, and come back to this recipe later on. Continue reading Christmas – Duck Salad

Christmas – Sweet Potato Rosti with Trout and Horseradish Cream

This is the entrée for the $50 Christmas Lunch for Four.

Click here for full details of the menu plus step-by-step guides.

 

This lovely dish is a variation on blinis with salmon, making it kinder to your wallet and easier to make. Also it’s cheap, and don’t we love that.

You can make the rosti ahead of time, freeze them and then re-heat them just before you want them, making this perfect for entertaining. I’ve photographed them as individual portions but you could easily make one large rosti, cut it into wedges and serve it that way. Really, this is the ultimate in fuss-free food. Continue reading Christmas – Sweet Potato Rosti with Trout and Horseradish Cream

Christmas Giveaway

Oh how I love this giveaway. Why? Because it’s huge, that’s why.

I love this giveaway more than any other I conduct through the year: A compilation of products from those companies I’ve worked with throughout the year, for no other reason than to say Thank You for your support and cheer. Continue reading Christmas Giveaway

Some Ideas for Christmas Gifts

By no means the definitive list, this is simply a collation of one-off and unique items that I love and I think you will too. While big-ticket items will always be popular, these suggestions support local businesses, some of them my friends and all can be ordered online. Continue reading Some Ideas for Christmas Gifts

Need some Christmas Meal Inspiration? I’ve got you covered.

Christmas. The TV ads, shopping centre decorations, window dressings and musak has started and before you can say ‘Stocking Stuffer’, the big day will be here.

Gird your loins.

There’s a whiff in the air, a combination of Christmas spice mixed with fear as millions look at their To-Do lists and whimper.

And then there’s you, You lucky things. Continue reading Need some Christmas Meal Inspiration? I’ve got you covered.

Sweet Treats – Pecan Meringue Biscuits

Pecans are now in season and are a tremendous addition to your pantry supplies. This recipe is easy and uses a minimum of ingredients, including a use for any left-over egg whites you may have.

The cookies ‘crack’ as they bake, leaving an uneven surface. This is part of their charm, but the biscuit itself is soft and chewy rather than crunchy and they keep very well in an airtight container. And of course, you can always use walnuts when pecans are scarce. Continue reading Sweet Treats – Pecan Meringue Biscuits

Giveaway – Win a Kambrook Air Chef Airfrying Oven

The good folks at Kambrook have provided me with lots of toys to play with over the last couple of years on the condition that I then come up with a recipe or two that showcases the appliance for everyone to enjoy.

But this time I was a little stumped, not least because up until the new Air Chef Air Frying Oven arrived I had never heard of an air-fryer before. So if you are wondering what it is, you are in grand company. Continue reading Giveaway – Win a Kambrook Air Chef Airfrying Oven

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

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