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.  Like butter, dried cranberries now seem to be in everything…

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 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…

December 10, mint spelled h-o-m-a-g-e

Everywhere my family lived, all around Australia, our Mum ended up with mint going feral around the tap in the back yard.  No surprise, then, that a mix of Philly style cream cheese, crushed pineapple and piles of mint was her go-to dip for short notice visitors.  Always on a tight budget, she managed to…

December 9 – vanilla

Today I’m thinking about one of the deep mysteries of being a cook – what the heck does vanilla add to the mix?  Particularly at Christmas, vanilla seems to be in everything but the bath (and there too sometimes!) – but it remains a cooking mystery to me.  The amount in any given recipe is…