Cook’s day off

As the temperature climbed past 35°C again today, with humidity in the 90s, we went with having a day off, binge-watching our favourite genre shows and having lazy meals – so brunch started to look a lot like linner (when breakfast has gone past lunch, heading towards dinner!). Pancakes are quick to prepare and so perfect…

Exiting kitchen now

When our backyard weather station went north of 40°C a couple of days ago, I went literal not metaphorical on the old saying: if it’s too hot, get out of the kitchen!!!  But there is a limit to how many scratch meals you can have before that starts to take a toll, so I have…

Another year, another experiment

  Part of my schtick as a cook is not be limited by the tried and true winners, and to make real food that may not be picture perfect like the show cooks, but it gets eaten enthusiastically – leaving the pattern on the plate is fine, but otherwise love to see it cleaned up!…

‘Tis the season – to harvest lavender (in Oz at least!)

When a colleague visited New York City a few years back, a bus driver was thrilled to have Aussies on board in a very wintery January, during the slower post-new year tourist season.  Asked how it was in Oz just then, my colleague said ‘Lovely, it’s pretty warm since it’s summer there’ – no word…

December 24 – pudding

I suspect that there is actually a law somewhere that defines Christmas dinner without pudding as a cruel and unusual punishment – but here in Oz it often represents a bit of a challenge when dinner time not unusually clocks in at north of 35°C.  Over the years, we’ve done them all from ice cream…

December 23 – hot chocolate

Drinking hot chocolate is another Christmas moment etched on our memories by seeing it in endless numbers of Christmas movies – although, to be fair, I don’t remember seeing anyone drink hot chocolate in Die Hard.  When we originally did the list of ingredients in 2012, I didn’t give in a thought until it came…

December 22 – cranberries

Cranberries in many forms are an indispensable part of Christmas now – but when I was young, back around the time of the last ice age, the token bowl of cranberry sauce was the limit – and then only if turkey was on the menu.   Dried cranberries now seem to be in everything but…

December 21 – butter

Has anyone else noticed the effect of the world-wide butter shortage?  It’s hardly a drought but it has impacted availability and price for butter in many parts of the world – who’d ha thunk it, eh?  One of the staple ingredients of so many treats on a Christmas table, this year it gets its own…

December 20 – fudge

It has been seriously stinking hot here today, breathtakingly humid, then an armageddon quality storm this afternoon and instantly 10 degrees cooler.  Cooking really rather lacked appeal until then, and having the oven on for long still looked more than a bit dodgy. What’s a girl to do?  Go with something that only needs a…

December 19 – elf snacks

Between several different work incarnations being active today, as well as mum, sister, neighbour and a few others, one definitely gets the feeling of being an over-worked and really quite weary elf.  So I am going back to an old favourite that has uses on many, many occasions as both a treat and a reviver…

December 18 – silver cachous

There are two things to know about today’s Advent treat – a wee Christmas tree made of biscuits that has gone to the lovely little girl who lives next door. Make your own (see also step by step below) First, given time and an oven-friendly break in the weather, at Christmas Mum always made Shrewsbury…

December 16 & 17 – orange or coal?

Yesteryear’s traditional anxiety for children at Christmas was (among Anglophones at least) – would they find the reward of an orange or the remonstrance of a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking?  Well, I’ve gone with both in this little bevy of treats, after facing the anxiety-producing presence of possibly the longest-legged huntsman spider I…

December 15 – something green

According to the junior cooking oracle, one simply must have something green at Christmas!  So today we have gone with the zero spoon iced biscuits – and used bought biscuits so we could also do things like conquer the remaining corners of the known universe in our city building game, wrap Christmas presents, watch a…

December 14 – Santa snacks

Looking for a low maintenance effort today after epic Christmas shopping with James and an outing to the great playground at the National Arboretum, I went with these cheese snacks that only have three ingredients and take about half an hour to make. We also think that after all the sweet treats at every house…

December 13 – arrowroot(s)

I am back to solo-ing today as nephew James is busy conquering the entire known universe in our favourite city building game, so I decided to share one of the great discoveries of the Advent-ure 2012. When I put ‘arrowroots’ in the ingredient pool back then, I was thinking of arrowroot biscuits – which our…