Having been firmly on the path of healthfulness and exercise for several weeks, I somehow managed to pull a muscle in my back. The week from hell commenced exactly seven days ago and is thankfully on the mend now, though still not back to 100%. For several days driving was out of the question… sitting upright a total agony… and even now, trying to get socks onto my feet creates the visual appeal of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. A number of close family and friends have suffered with debilitating back pain and surgery over the past twelve months… now I have a tiny inkling of what they’ve had to deal with.
Resorting to comfort food over this past week has seen a lovely fruit and nut slice, of my Mum’s, make an appearance. There’s often a tupperware container filled with this very moreish slice when we go to stay with my parents… ready to be picked up with whichever hand isn’t holding a cup of tea or coffee. There’s absolutely nothing like Mum’s food for a little pick-me-up when you’re not quite feeling yourself. The only thing I’ve adjusted is the amount of sugar… lessened by ⅓ Cup and is still beautifully sweet from the dried fruit within. Continue reading →
The Primary School my youngest son attends has recently released a cookbook. It’s a beautiful compilation of family favourites from our school community, packed full of stunning food photographs taken by a talented local photographer. One of the recipes in this book (contributed by our Principal, no less…) jolted my memory of a biscuit/cookie that I used to make quite frequently many years ago, when we lived in New Zealand.
I’ve adapted her recipe here, almost beyond recognition, to try to re-create the fragrant, mostly healthful macaroon from my past. It comes extremely close to being just how I remember it. Continue reading →
Now that winter is behind us and summer on the way, it’s time for salads to take their rightful place on the dinner table once again. Relinquishing all that hearty, comfort food and embracing a much lighter fare is something my body is already thanking me for. Continue reading →
Hopefully by now you have all heard of my other blog ‘The Dinner Party Collective’ which is a collaborative project with 13 other Food and Wine Blogging friends. Every season, we release 2 new menus, giving you recipes, wine pairings, tips for being organised and hopefully a little inspiration to create your own Dinner Parties with friends and family. Continue reading →
These Cinnamon & Saffron Scrolls would have been much better for my waistline had they been made on a weekend. In that case, they wouldn’t have been sitting there on the bench top, urging me to eat them… with no one around to say “Oi, haven’t you had quite enough of those, young lady?” Perhaps I’ll make them again tomorrow to see if my theory works! Continue reading →
Just when I was really quite sure that I had all the kitchen appliances and gadgets one could possibly need, a conversation one recent Wednesday morning made me decide otherwise. Nancy, who is a Bostonian, spoke rather beautifully about her family tradition of alternating between pancakes and waffles on Sunday mornings. She had me craving a delicious waffle, along with the machine to make them, right there on the spot. Continue reading →
I must admit to being quite smitten by this particular lamb dish… only quite recently plucked from the pages of Elizabeth David’s fabulous book, ‘French Provincial Cooking’. My copy is a fairly cheap Penguin-published paperback, which I’ve flicked through occasionally over the years, but in fact, have never really made anything substantial from. Happy to say that this was put to rights about a month ago. Continue reading →
For a fast and easy no-bake slice (‘bars’ for my American friends), this apricot and coconut version is truly wonderful. Featuring sweetened condensed milk, this style of slice takes me immediately back to my childhood… and strangely enough also to Florida in the USA, where another Australian (who has become a dear friend), re-introduced it into my life… I’ve been making it regularly ever since! It’s citrusy cousin, which also gets made on a regular basis in my home, was featured here over a year ago. Continue reading →
Extremely popular in New Zealand (well, at least they were… about 7 or 8 years ago), cheese scones are an absolute delight! Perfect for a morning or afternoon tea when you’re in need of something a little more savoury, rather than sweet. Plus they’re extremely quick and easy to make – which is always a bonus! Continue reading →
A special dessert, remembered from my childhood… this was one that Mum used to serve on occasions at their very grown-up Dinner Parties. I clearly recall hovering in the kitchen as she made the little baskets, secretly hoping that at least one of them would break or crack as she moulded them into shape, so that I could nibble on the broken bits. Continue reading →
It’s doubtful that I’ll ever reach the stage where creating gels, foams or other Heston-esque kitchen creations becomes part of my everyday cooking repertoire… however now and then, there are days when I’m up for the challenge of preparing or cooking something that might have seemed a little daunting before. De-boning quail for Sandra’s Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes is a prime example… and then making my first ever Rough Puff Pastry to encase this delicious Beef, Rosemary and Red Wine Pie, on this past weekend is another. Continue reading →
A pudding so easy that it almost feels like cheating. If you have access to beautiful, buttery, flaky croissants, then the hard work is all done for you and you can expect grand results with this delicious, wintery dessert. I’ve never been overly fond of Bread and Butter Pudding, but this is Bread and Butter Pudding with a difference… one that has converted me for life… evidently, you just need the right type of bread (or croissant)! Continue reading →
My friends, this is the last of the recipes for a little while on ‘The Dinner Party Collective’ – our fabulous new collaborative food/wine blog. Please come through to have a look at this winter-warming dessert that I’ve prepared to go with our seasonal menu. Thanks so much for your support as we get TDPC up and running! Cheers, Margot
By this stage of the Dinner Party you should be feeling totally relaxed, especially in the knowledge that your beautiful little desserts have been totally prepped and are almost ready to go. So sit back, enjoy the flowing conversation, have another sip of that gorgeous wine… the oven will do the rest of the work for you.
Poaching pears is such a lovely way of celebrating this seasonal winter fruit. The spices I’ve used in the poaching syrup are some of my personal favourites… though feel free to adapt as you wish. Cardamom, cloves, allspice, ginger and citrus peel all go wonderfully too. With a dollop of cream or ice cream, poached pears can be a delicious dessert in their own right, but by taking them that one step further by surrounding them in a rich dark chocolate pudding, it lifts them to new heights.
I mean that literally, not proverbially… life is actually pretty good around here, however it’s well and truly time that I got creative with some recipes for the glut of Meyer Lemons that my 3 little potted trees have produced this year. Since fully ripening, they’ve been waiting patiently in the fridge for the past couple of weeks, until I could find the time to make something wonderful with them. Not just one thing wonderful, but four different delights that can be created in next to no time. Continue reading →
You might think that I’m trying to ignore the fact that winter is fast approaching… and well, you might just be right! One more week and the season of my discontent begins. A tendency to indulge in bear-like hibernation will become intensely strong… with the kitchen, my lair of warmth and comfort.
This cake is far from being considered seasonal right now, however it’s a recipe that shines just as brightly, whether you opt to use fresh or frozen berries… and quite frankly, sometimes you need a little hit of summertime flavours, before you get plunged into the dark, cold days of winter! Continue reading →
How does one get to my age without having made a Swiss Roll? It’s such a classic cake! Rest assured that I’ve already begun making amends for this shameful oversight… I’ve made two in the past week and with the flattering comments flying from the mouths of my boys, you can be sure I’ll be making these regularly in future. Continue reading →