Day 295-296, September 28-29 2016


Storm front

The storm front that hit our State on this day was unprecedented. It knocked out the entire power grid and left the whole State without electricity.

Fortunately for us, on this day I was working from home and had lit the fire. I had used my lunchbreak to make a pot of soup, and was able to transfer this to the fireplace when the blackout hit, ensuring we all had food for the evening. Our friends, who live in the neighbouring suburb, were able to come over and share the heat from our fireplace, and we had enough food for everyone. While the soup was not vegetarian, we did have sandwich fixings (not very interesting fixings, I’ll admit).

Our power returned three hours later, but our friends’ power remained off for almost three days, so the next day I made a stew and baked potatoes enough to share.

I don’t have photos, because we were saving our battery power for important things, like emergency calls.

This soup can easily be made vegetarian – just omit the bacon and use vegetable stock. It is also gluten-free, as I use a gluten-free bacon.

This soup would have been improved by the addition of some fresh thyme or rosemary, but there was no way I was stepping outside to pick some.

Blackout Soup

2 onions, finely chopped – 20 cents

2 stalks celery, finely sliced – 50 cents

2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced – 20 cents

2 sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered and sliced – $1

100 grams bacon, chopped – $1

1 cup red lentils, washed and soaked – $1

8 cups chicken stock – free

1 teaspoon salt – 1 cent

2 tablespoons olive oil – 24 cents

Heat the olive oil in a deep, heavy-based pot (fortuitously on this day, I used my Le Creuset cast-iron pot, which meant it was easy to transfer it to my fireplace).

Sweat the vegetables in the pot on a low heat until soft. This will take about ten minutes.

Add the bacon and cook for a further five minutes.

Add the lentils, and stir well.

Pour over 3/4 of the chicken stock, reserving the remaining two cups. You will need to add them as the soup thickens and reduces. Stir well and reduce heat to a low simmer. Allow to slowly cook for the remainder of a wintry afternoon, adding the reserved stock as required to loosen the soup.

When it comes time to serve, mash with a potato masher, leaving some of the vegetables ‘lumpy’ and some pureed by the masher. Add the salt and any remaining stock to loosen the soup, and serve with bread by candlelight with good friends.

Total cost: $4.15

Per person (serves 8 or six with extra helpings): 51 cents

Stormy Stew

1 kg porterhouse steak, trimmed of fat and diced – $10

1 onion, finely diced – 10 cents

1 cup chopped mushrooms – $1

1 cup chopped artichoke hearts in oil or brine – $2

1 clove garlic, minced – 5 cents

4 tablespoons olive oil – 48 cents

1/3 cup tomato paste – 50 cents

2 cups vegetable stock – free

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley – free

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed – $1

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.

Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a deep, heavy-based ovenproof pot. In batches, seal the beef in the pan, taking care not to crowd the pan (otherwise the meat will stew and not seal). As each batch of meat browns, remove to a plate lined with paper towel.

When all the meat is browned, set aside.

Turn down the heat.

Put the rest of the olive oil in the pan, and add the onion. Cook until golden, and then add the garlic and mushrooms and stir well. Put the meat back into the pan, and stir in the parsley and the tomato paste, coating the meat with the tomato paste. Add the artichokes, and stir well.

Pour in the stock and the beans and mix.

Place the pot in the oven and cook for 2-3 hours.

At the 1.5 hour mark, place a tray of scrubbed potatoes into the oven, ensuring you have extra potatoes for vegetarians.

Ensure you check the stew often to ensure it is not drying out. Add some water to the stew if required, and stir well.

At three hours, remove the pot from the oven, and allow the potatoes to continue cooking. Season the stew with salt and pepper and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Serve with steamed broccoli, butter, sour cream and cheese for the potatoes, and bread and butter.

Total cost: $15.13

Per person (serves 8): $1.89


Stir It Up Saturday: Christmas Big Day of Baking

Christmas baking is my favourite kind of baking. I start planning for it several months in advance, by adding an extra bag of dried fruit to my shopping trolley each week. I buy almost any kind: sultanas, glacé cherries, currants, Ye olde mixed dried fruit, dried apricots, pitted dates. Any and all of these things can and will be used when I start Christmas baking season. 

I love the traditional English Christmas flavours of dried fruit, brandy, mixed spice, and brown sugar. I make my own because we are allergic to nuts, and it is tricky finding a good fruit cake without almonds. Plus, funsies.

I always make Christmas fruit cakes. Then I decide if I am going to do mince pies, or some other Christmassy fruity thing. This year I decided to tackle traditional Christmas puddings, which are something I have never made before. These were surprisingly easy; if I had known they were that easy I would have been making them for years.

For the past couple of years I have also been making gluten free Christmas cakes as gifts for family members who are coeliac. This year I decided to also make gluten free puddings. These were just as simple as regular puddings.

I bake large cakes in traditional cake tins, and then I also use recycled large stainless steel fruit cans to make smaller cakes as gifts. I can’t recall where I picked up this idea; I have been doing it for years and the small cakes are the perfect size for gifts. I store them wrapped in foil in our cellar for a month before Christmas, and then depending on how much time I have, I either ice them with white ready-to-roll icing, or just tie them with ribbon and wrap them in cellophane and give them.

This recipe is nut-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian. Not vegan due to the copious butter and eggs of course. We use brandy or sherry because these are gluten-free. Some spirits such as bourbon may contain gluten. If you wanted to avoid the alcohol altogether, you could, by soaking the fruit in a couple of tablespoons of orange juice instead. We don’t actually drink alcohol, but I prefer the flavour of the brandy in the cake so I still use it. Most of it cooks out.

Gluten-free Nut-free Christmas Cake

Start the cake one week before you plan to cook it, and ideally one month before Christmas.

200 grams currants

400 grams mixed dried fruit

400 grams sultanas

1 cup brandy or sherry

Mix the fruit together. Pour over the brandy and stir. Cover tightly with cling wrap and place in a cool place for one week.

Fruit soaking in brandy

200 grams unsalted butter

200 grams brown sugar

2 tablespoons treacle or golden syrup

1 tablespoon marmalade or apricot jam

4 eggs at room temperature 

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

225 grams plain gluten free flour – I used ‘Well & Good’ brand because it has no chickpea flour (we have a chickpea allergy)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon each mixed spice and cinnamon

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the treacle or golden syrup and marmalade or apricot jam, and mix well. Add the vanilla, and begin adding the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. After each egg is added, add a small amount of flour and beat well. Continue until all the eggs are added. 

Mix in the flour and spices and salt.

Fold in the fruit, scraping the bowl well to make sure you have all the brandy and fruit syrup. 

Make sure the fruit and cake batter is properly mixed.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C (130 degrees fan-forced).

Grease and line a 20 cm round cake tin or up to four 825 gram empty steel fruit cans (washed with the labels removed).

If using one large pan, place cake mixture in the tin, spreading so the batter sits evenly. If using the cans, divide batter evenly among the cans.

Wrap the outside of each cake tin with a double thickness of baking paper or brown paper, and secure with a metal paper clip or cooking twine. 

Bake for 2.5-3 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean. 

Cool on a rack in the tin overnight. The next morning, turn out wrap in a double thickness of foil. Store in a cool place. Once a week, pour a couple of tablespoons of brandy over each cake.

Gluten-free fruit cakes

Next post: puddings!

Stir It Up Saturday: Big Day Of Christmas Baking II

Christmas pudding is wonderful (especially with custard), but often contains nuts and other allergens. I want all my favourite people to be able to enjoy the best things about Christmas, including dessert. So in addition to making Jamie Oliver’s ‘Nan’s Christmas Pudding’ (sans nuts), I also set about making a traditional cloth-boiled gluten-free, nut-free and vegetarian pudding for my family members that are allergic to gluten, nuts, and who don’t eat meat (some recipes contain suet, a beef product). 

Pudding cloths are easily available from most supermarkets and cooking shops in the lead up to Christmas. These are just squares of calico, large enough for a family-sized pud, and come complete with cooking twine to tie them up. As you can see from the photo above, the cloths I bought came printed with a jaunty Christmas slogan. These cost me $4 each. I also have a non-stick metal pudding basin with a lid, that I used to make a standard pudding (not gluten-free).

To come up with this gluten-free and nut-free recipe, I adapted Jamie Oliver’s recipe (linked above), replacing non-vegetarian products with vegetarian, removing nut products, and finding gluten-free alternatives. I hope it turns out tasting as nice – I won’t know until the big day!

Gluten-free Nut-free Christmas Pudding

200 grams mixed dried fruit

200 grams currants

100 grams sultanas

100 grams dried pitted dates, chopped

3 tablespoons brandy

Mix the fruit in a bowl, and drizzle over the brandy. Mix well and cover tightly with cling wrap. Place in a cool place for at least a week, stirring occasionally. I’m fortunate enough to have a cellar, so I put my big bowls of fruit in the cellar until I’m ready to use them.

125 grams cold butter, grated

150 grams gluten-free fresh white breadcrumbs (about six slices GF white bread)

125 grams plain gluten-free flour (I use ‘Well & Good’ brand), plus 4 tablespoons extra to flour the pudding cloths

75 grams uncrystallised ginger, chopped finely

125 grams caster sugar

1 egg, at room temperature, beaten well

150 ml milk

Place all ingredients except egg and milk into a bowl, and mix well. Combine the milk and egg in a jug, and mix well. 

Pour egg and milk mixture over the rest of ingredients, and mix well until all the ingredients are wet.

Mix until all ingredients are well combined

Put a large pot of water on to boil.

I made two smaller puddings, but you could make one large pudding. 

Take a pudding cloth and place in a colander. Pour a kettle-full of boiling water over the cloth, and squeeze out well (wearing gloves as it is very hot). 

Drape the cloth over a large bowl, with the centre in the base of the bowl. Sprinkle two tablespoons of the extra gluten-free flour over the base and sides of the cloth:

Floured pudding cloth

The flour helps the pudding to form a ‘skin’ and to prevent the pudding from becoming soggy while boiling.

Place half the pudding mixture into the base of the cloth, and press firmly.

Taking the four corners of the pudding cloth, gather the cloth up, and then begin to tie off tightly in the centre with cooking string:

Pudding ready for boiling

Repeat with the second pudding.

Place carefully in the pot of boiling water, ensuring the puddings are completely covered:

Boiling puddings

Boil puddings for three hours.

When time is up, remove puddings from the water with tongs, and drain in a colander for half an hour.

Tie to a wooden spoon, and let hang to dry from somewhere safe – I hung mine for 24 hours from a laundry rack before placing them in the cellar. If you don’t have a cellar, and you don’t live somewhere cold, put them in the fridge.

You can feed these once a week with more brandy.

To serve, these puddings must be boiled again for another two hours before serving with custard or cream (or both).

Meal plans Weeks 38-39, Sept 23-Oct 7 2016

The first of these two weeks was a doozy known as the Big Blackout Week, in which the whole of our State was without power due to a massive storm. Some areas were without power for up to four days. We were fortunate, in that we were only without power for about  three hours, and we had our fireplace already cranking when the storm hit. We had food on the stove and were able to feed ourselves and some friends, and all in all held up well. Some areas really struggled, including some remote areas that had to cope without power for four days, putting a strain on water, food and medical supplies.

September is also a big birthday month in our tribe, with my youngest daughter and several other family members and friends celebrating this month. We attended a lot of various birthday events over these two weeks to celebrate the birth of some of our favourite people.

Week 38, September 23-30

Saturday: Date night – cheese platter (us), Vegetarian nuggets (known as faux nuggets or ‘Fuggets’ in our house), salad and oven fries for the kids

Sunday: Roast chicken, roast vegetables, steamed veg

Monday: Quesadillas (vegetarian and non-vegetarian)

Tuesday: Pasta bake and salad (vegetarian)

Wednesday Worst Day and Blackout Day: Blackout Soup

Thursday: Stormy Stew

Friday: Birthday dinner at the pub

Week 39, October 1-7

Saturday: Recovery toasties

Sunday: Celebration birthday dinner at my sister’s

Monday: Dinner at my parents’ (bless ’em)

Tuesday: Tacos with beef and black bean chilli

Wednesday Worst Day: Pizza Pasta

Thursday: BLTs

Friday: Chicken Noodle Stirfry

Big Day of Baking Boxed Set

Day 278 was a Sunday, which means it was also one of my Big Days of Baking. It meant I had time to make a Strawberry and Apple Crumble for dessert (Y.U.M), some muffins (the old standby), and try a few new things, like the recipe below that I invented, Chocolate Spice Biscuits. These were a big hit, much to my surprise, as I thought the flavours of chocolate, treacle, and cinnamon might be a bit too ‘grown up’ for my kids. They loved them, and so a new family favourite was born. But first, onto the Crumble.

Apple and Strawberry Crumble

6 small Pink Lady apples, peeled and chopped, core removed – $1

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 punnet strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered – $1

1 tablespoon caster sugar – 4 cents

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon – 2.5 cents

150 grams plain flour – 11 cents

100 grams unsalted butter – 64 cents

100 grams brown sugar – 26 cents

50 grams rolled oats – 7 cents

Spray a ceramic or glass baking dish with cooking spray or grease with butter.

Toss the apples with the lemon juice. Place in a microwave-safe container, and microwave on medium or 80 per cent for three minutes or until you can skewer them easily, but they are not soft.

Place the softened apples on the base of the baking dish and then place the strawberries on top:

strawberry-crumble-1Sprinkle with the castor sugar and cinnamon.

Cut the butter into cubes.

In a large bowl, place the flour and the butter. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, rub the butter into the flour until it begins to resemble breadcrumbs.

Mix in the brown sugar and the rolled oats.

Sprinkled the crumble topping over the top of the fruit.

Bake in a moderately hot oven (about 180 degrees C) until the crumble topping is golden and crunchy:


Cooked crumble

Serve hot with custard, whipped cream or ice cream:

strawberry crumble 3.png

Total cost: $3.14

Per person (serves 6): 52 cents

Chocolate Spice Biscuits

125 grams unsalted butter – 80 cents

1/4 cup black treacle – 12 cents

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda – 1 cent


2 cups self-raising flour – 22 cents

150 grams cup brown sugar – 40 cents

4 tablespoons dutch cocoa – 80 cents

1 teaspoon cinnamon – 5 cents

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In a saucepan, heat the butter, treacle and water together. When the butter has melted, add the bicarbonate of soda, and remove from the heat.

Immediately pour the melted ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well to combine. You may find that you need to add a small amount of water to help them to come together, but this will only be a tiny bit.

Place walnut-sized balls of dough onto lined trays and then flatten with a fork or with the palm of your hand. Bake in a hot oven for ten minutes.

Makes about 24 biscuits.

Total cost: $2.40

Per biscuit: 10 cents

Pineapple and Banana Yoghurt Muffins


1.25 cups milk – 12 cents

1 egg – 26 cents

1/4 cup rice bran oil – 13 cents

1/4 cup natural yoghurt – 14 cents

1/2 cup caster sugar – 22 cents

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract – 5 cents

1 mashed banana – 50 cents

3/4 cup diced fresh pineapple – 50 cents

2 cups self-raising flour – 22 cents

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar for sprinkling – 5 cents

In a jug, combine the milk, yoghurt, egg, oil, and vanilla, and whisk.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar.

Mix the wet ingredients, except the banana and pineapple, with the dry ingredients. Mix gently to combine, but don’t overmix.

Add the banana and pineapple.

Allow to sit for five minutes.

Divide the mix into a 12-hole muffin tray. I use muffin cases because I hate the washing up, but you don’t have to.

Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Bake in a 200 degree C oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown.

These may sink slightly in the middle after they are cooked due to the yoghurt, but they will be moist and yummy.

Total cost: $2.19

Per muffin (makes 12): 18 cents

Day 278, September 11 2016

Gnocchi with Artichoke and Zucchini Sauce


My youngest daughter took some time off from being a vegetarian, and then returned to it after being grossed out by chicken on the bone. I can’t say I blame her, as of all the meats, chicken on the bone is probably the meat most likely to turn a reluctant meat eater to vegetarianism. She is only young but very ethical, and her vegetarianism is fully supported by her family. My mother cooked a lot of vegetarian food when we were young, and we were vegetarian before I became pregnant with our little one (until morning sickness and an overpowering craving for bacon sent me into the arms of omnivorousness again). Therefore I have no issues cooking vego food for her and supporting her in her ethical choice, so long as she does it in a healthy way. In my book ‘the healthy way’ means agreeing to eat a wide variety of foods, including beans and lentils, lots of veg, and no fussing when I serve them up. She has actually become less fussy since she stopped eating meat, and will happily eat anything I put in front of her.

This sauce was served over fresh homemade gnocchi, made using a Jamie Oliver recipe from the Cook with Jamie cookbook (of course – the man is the king of pasta and dough).* My husband made the gnocchi (because he is my king of pasta and dough) and I made the sauce, along with an Apple and Strawberry crumble for dessert (I will post that recipe tomorrow). Our Resolute Omnivore was most unhappy, as she ‘don’ like artichokes or mush-a-rooms’ so she heated herself up something else from the freezer. Her loss, I say, as this was really yum. Of course, she did scoff the crumble.

This sauce is vegan unless you serve it with parmesan cheese, as we did. Gnocchi is not vegan, as it contains eggs, so you would have to serve it over an egg-free pasta if you are a vegan.


1 small onion, finely diced – 10 cents

1 clove garlic, crushed – 5 cents

1.5 cans crushed tomatoes – $1.50

12 roasted artichoke hearts in oil, roughly chopped (artichokes in brine is also ok) – $2**

3 tablespoons of the oil from the artichokes – freebie

3 medium mushrooms, halved and sliced – 30 cents

1/2 zucchini, halved and sliced – 30 cents

Heat the oil from the artichokes in a heavy-based saucepan. Fry the onions for five minutes or until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic, mushrooms and zucchini, and cook for another couple of minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft. Add the chopped artichokes, and cook for a minute, then add the crushed tomatoes.

Cook gently on a low heat until the sauce is reduced and thick.

Serve over fresh pasta and sprinkle with either fresh parsley (vegan) or parmesan cheese (vegetarian).

Total cost: $4.25

Per person (serves 6): 70 cents


*Cook With Jamie is an excellent ‘how to’ book for home cooks. I am biased, but it does have my go-to pasta recipes.

**I bought a massive jar of these from ALDI. If you buy them in the little jars it will cost a lot more to use 12 artichoke hearts. I think I bought 1.5 kilograms for $12.99 so I could afford to be liberal, which is great because I love artichokes.


Meal Plans Week 36-37, September 10-22

This was the week of one of our daughter’s birthdays, so it was filled with celebrations. We love to make a big deal of birthdays in our family, with themed cakes and parties. Birthdays should be special, especially kid’s birthdays, in my opinion: their parents should be excited to celebrate the day they welcomed a new child into their family.

These were also weeks in which we had many kids activities and events, and I had more deadlines and was working late. I was literally running from home to work but we still managed to only eat out twice: both planned. Once was a family celebration for our daughter’s birthday, and once was so we could make it on time to a choir performance. We did rely on the freezer and quick meals a lot, but overall that is not too bad for two working parents and a very busy couple of weeks.

Week 36, September 10-16

Saturday: BBQ Linner at a friends’ (Linner = Lunch + Dinner)

Sunday: Homemade gnocchi with Napoli sauce (vegetarian)

Monday: Working late – Pastizzis, chips and salad

Tuesday: Celebration birthday dinner at the pub

Wednesday Worst Day: Spaghetti Bolognese and salad

Thursday: Working late again – BBQ chicken wings, chips and salad

Friday: Date night – Cheese platter

Week 36, September 17-22

Saturday: Birthday Party – Homemade pizzas, Decorate Your Own Cupcakes, Birthday Cake

Sunday: Chicken and Artichoke Pasta

Monday: Dinner at my parents’ (bless ’em)

Tuesday: Dinner @ Macca’s (Music Festival night)

Wednesday Worst Day: Crumbed Chicken Wings and salad

Thursday: Bolognese Pasta Bake and salad

Friday: Pasties, Chips and salad


Day 273, September 6 2016

Bolognese Pasta Bake

This was a dish I had made ahead and frozen for a night when I knew we would be home late. I made two big pasta bakes the previous weekend, one for us and one for friends that had just brought home their newest baby.

This is less a recipe, and more of an example of how a couple of basic things (bolognese sauce and white sauce) can be combined to make a simple make-ahead dish that you can freeze for another night, take to a shared dinner event, or bring as a meal for someone that needs it. It is a safe choice because most people enjoy a bolognese (I always check ahead to make sure – in our house we have allergies and vegetarians – my daughter switched back to vegetarianism a month ago after a brief hiatus). If they don’t feel like eating it straight away it keeps pretty well, or they can chuck it in the freezer, where it will keep happily for several months. If it is frozen, you can thaw and reheat, or just put it straight in the oven (see reheating instructions below).


(Makes two large pasta bakes)

One quantity bolognese sauce* – $6

One quantity homemade white (bechamel) sauce – $1.91

1 packet pasta shapes – $2

1 cup grated cheese – $1.20

2 sliced tomatoes (optional) – 60 cents

Cook the pasta according to the directions. Toss with a little olive oil, and then pile into two lightly greased baking trays. If I am giving this as a gift, I use a foil tray so the person doesn’t worry about returning it.

Pour half the bolognese sauce over each tray of pasta, and toss gently to combine.

Drizzle the white sauce over the top. Don’t mix it through – the sauce should nap the top of the bolognese noodles.

If using the sliced tomatoes, arrange over the top of the white sauce. Don’t use the tomatoes if freezing, as they will go mushy.

If cooking straightaway, sprinkle with the grated cheese.

If cooking later, allow to cool, and then sprinkle with the grated cheese.

If preparing for the freezer, wrap the baking dish well with foil, and freeze. If you have frozen it in a ceramic or glass baking dish, thaw in the fridge before reheating, and allow to come to room temperature before placing in a hot oven. This will prevent the dish cracking from the sudden temperature change.

A foil baking tray can be placed straight from the freezer to the oven.

Bake in a hot oven until fully reheated.


Makes two pasta bakes: $11.71

Cost per person (serves 8): $1.46


*I just realised while posting this that I don’t have a recipe on this blog for bolognese sauce. This would be in part because I assume everyone has their own recipe, and because the fact is, I make it differently each time, depending on what I happen to have in my fridge and pantry. For example, this weekend I made a big pot of bolognese and another pot of vegetarian bolognese (using vegetarian mince), and used a pile of fresh herbs and kale because I had a lot of it in my garden. Other times I would use celery and carrot, or I grate an eggplant or a zucchini into the sauce, just to add more vegetables. I am also pretty sure that what passes for ‘bolognese’ in Australian culture is not anything like a real Italian ragu. The culture doesn’t really need my spag bol recipe. Just use whatever recipe you cook at home – or any tomato-based pasta sauce.

Day 271, September 4 2016

Father’s Day


But Henwy…

This Father’s Day we were hosting our family with a BBQ lunch. In our family as I have mentioned previously, we have many allergies, including a couple of people with nut allergies, and coeliac disease, as well as a couple of vegetarians. This means that we all have a responsibility to take care when cooking for each other, recognising that it is not just a matter of personal preference: people could die or become very, very ill if we are not careful enough.

In our extended family, it is even more complex. For several years now, one of our family Christmases has even resorted to having an ‘allergy table’ with the ingredients of each dish specified. Only the allergenic can eat from that table. Obviously back in our evolutionary past, our genes were trying to rub us out. Fortunately for us, we prevailed over genetics, and here we are, anaphylactic but still going.

I created two recipes for this BBQ, both of which were gluten-free and nut-free. The vegetarians were catered for with barbecued haloumi and vegetable skewers (yum) and plenty of fresh salads.

Burgers are an easy way to cater for a BBQ. They are also easy to make gluten-free. I rarely add breadcrumbs to them, however if I did want to add a binder and I was making them for a person with coeliac, I would use ground rice cakes or gluten-free cornflakes, both of which are easily available and inexpensive.

Chicken skewers


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon gluten-free Worcestershire sauce (I use Spring Gully brand)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 small piece ginger, grated

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons blackberry jam – most jams are gluten-free but check the ingredients. Also make sure that it has not been used for toast. I used a fresh jar.

For the skewers:

2 chicken breasts, diced into 2cm chunks

1 zucchini, chopped into large chunks

1 pineapple, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks

1 punnet cherry tomatoes, washed

Combine the marinade ingredients, and place the diced chicken into the marinade. Marinade in the fridge for at least one hour.

Soak some bamboo skewers, or use metal skewers if you have them.

Thread the chicken, alternating with zucchini, pineapple and cherry tomatoes. Place in the fridge until ready to cook.

Pork and Apple Burgers

500 grams pork mince

2 pink lady apples, grated

1 small onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons rice bran oil

1 egg

8 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

In a frying pan, heat the oil. Fry the onion gently with the garlic and sage until soft and fragrant.

Set aside to cool.

When the onion and garlic have cooled, combine with the rest of the ingredients, until well mixed.

Form into 8 burgers.

Cook on a barbecue until the pork is fully cooked.

You can skip cooking the onion, garlic and sage if you are in a hurry but I personally hate the crunchy onion and raw garlic taste in burgers if the onion has not been cooked first. if you are cooking for someone with an intolerance to onion and garlic, of course you can omit altogether.





Meal Plan Week 35, September 2-9 2016


More please


This was a busy week in which we went out for dinner, entertained family for Father’s Day, and took a day out to take our kids to the annual Show, where we dined on giant turkey legs like we were Henry VIII himself.

Actually, it is my husband, who is about as far from bluff King Hal as it is possible to be, who enjoys an annual slow-cooked turkey leg at the Show. The turkey leg was almost as large as his head, and came doused in a southern-style barbecue sauce. He was a happy man.

For me, Show food is all about the hot donuts. I don’t like the bakery-style iced donuts – you won’t find me lining up at Krispy Kreme. But I love a hot, cinnamon-encrusted ring of deep-fried pastry, straight out of the fryer. I only buy them twice a year: at the Meadows Easter Fair (where they are superior in quality, and cooked by grouchy-looking old men who always seem outraged when you ask for six donuts at once),* and at the Show. The rest of the year is donut free, unless I succumb to the trays of cinnamon donuts at Woollies. This, I always regret: they never taste like what I really want to have.

The best cinnamon donuts, of all time in all the multiverses, however are to be sourced from the Victoria Markets in Melbourne. There is a van there that serves fresh donuts that are so good that both my husband and I wished we could set ourselves up, Homer-style, with a conveyor belt straight to our gobs.

Saturday: Out for dinner

Sunday: Father’s Day BBQ: Chicken Skewers, Pork and Apple Burgers, BBQ’d Haloumi, Salads

Monday: Dinner at my parents’ (bless ’em)

Tuesday: Bolognese Pasta Bake

Wednesday Worst Day: Tacos

Thursday: Pot-roasted honey soy chicken wings with rice

Friday: The Show



*Not for me alone – for the four of us.