Crank out the pasta

Whenever you need some cooking therapy to break the work monotony, settle nerves jangled by irritating neighbours, or sooth away the rigours of, say, dealing with mindless bureaucracy, my strong recommendation would be to crank the handle on a pasta machine.   Embrace your inner Italian soul to make as complex or as simple a sauce as…

(No) rush

On the way to Easter (in both traditions), we’ve had the fun of working our way through various breakfast possibilities in no rush at all, so I thought I’d keep going in that vein by posting the ‘how to guide’ for a few favourites. First up – slow cooked baked beans and rice. The recipe is simple…

Sunday: Cuando una puerta se cierra, ciento se abren.

Spanish: When one door closes, a hundred open. To wind up my look at how we revive each day, so we might try again with the being a good person and making a happy life, I thought I’d share my three part take on slow cooking.  There is something for all moods, whether it’s to…

Saturday: Dywedwch wrthyf unwaith eto y chwedl …

Welsh: Tell me again the tale of … What is it about Saturday that seems to make us morph into hobbits – you know, needing first breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper … ? Well it probably starts with my family’s habit of getting together over a meal – our mum’s side…

Smile (even if just to make others wonder why)

Several years ago I succeeded in making this wedding cake that was a) gluten free because it was made with almond meal and b) able to hold traditional white royal icing and so look like a regular wedding cake.  It absolutely made my day to see the happy couple smile at something all could share when…

Friday: C’est un scandale! Ils ont dit quoi?

French: It is an outrage! They said what? Seriously, when I worked in the big end of town at a nameless international airline, Friday was not the day to chase productivity goals – it just about took surgery to remove people from the water cooler precinct and the coffee shop.  Heading to the weekend, gossip…

The actual bread

In among a bunch of posts about cake masquerading as ‘bread’, I thought I had better pump up my baker credentials by showing that I do make the actual bread from time to time – at least to the extent of setting up the bread-maker! Over the years, I have made bread of various kinds…

Suddenly, alchemy!

There is a whole part of cooking that is not far from alchemy, not least when you suddenly go from whipping cream to butter, or from stirring, stirring a mix over the heat to “eek, that’s a lot of cleaning up now all over the stove”. Those transitions that come up almost between breaths are…

The weight of tradition

Something guaranteed to make me a nervous cook is when I have the temerity to attempt something from another culinary tradition – I can feel the astral plane opening up and all the mothers of preceding generations start to watch me to see if I am doing it right, lol!!  Of course, for some things…

Cavity or black hole?

There are time when feeding a teenage boy feels like a bit like the labours of Sisyphus – cursed to carry water in a sieve – it might be more fun, but it seems every bit as endless!  I swear that our elder son, Alan, actually had not so much a cavity from hunger as…

Food to nourish, not strike a pose

The idea of candid food, appetising and nourishing just as it comes from the kitchen, appeals to me a great deal more than beautiful food posed for the camera that promises to have the taste qualities of cardboard.  I freely admit that it makes me quite sad to be at the park and see a…

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 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…