Showing posts from August, 2004

Delicious Doggy Dinner

Just briefly, I've had my recipe for dog food published on the Australian Woman's Day website. You can check it out here:

Sultana Scones

Update - March, 2019
I was making scones for a high tea on the weekend, and checked my own recipe to see how to make them.  I was horrified by what I published.  If you have previously attempted to make scones based on the recipe I published, I apologise.  I'm sure they would have turned out like horrible soapy nuggets.  I have corrected the recipe and I hope you can forgive me for leading you astray!


My Grandmother was a prize winning scone maker.  I've been told this from a very early age, and for some strange reason I have felt that this should have ordained me as a prize winning scone maker too. Unfortunately, every time I go to make scones I always have to ring my mother and be reminded of the darned recipe. "What's in scones again?" I ask her. Well you know what? I've decided I don't care what was in Nana's scones or Mum's scones for that matter. Despite my impeccable scone…

Grilled Chicken & Crazy Salad

In the early nineties I was very fortunate to live with a girl called Kristina who taught me a thing or two about the joy of urban living. We lived in a big old apartment in Edgecliff, and when we first moved in Kristina declared we would paint the place from top to bottom in nothing but white. I had never painted a darned thing at that stage of my life. I'd certainly watched my mum do it often enough. But I had always been relegated to the role of chief snack provider, serving my mother copious cups of tea accompanied by all manner of cakes, biscuits or slices.

The first weekend of painting with Kristina, I assumed my normal role, pumping out savoury scones and pots of coffee while Kristina transformed the lounge into a white wonderland.

"When are you going to start your room?" she asked me on the Sunday afternoon.

"Um," I said, stunned that my game was up.

"Look, here's what you do," she said. "You put some paint in a tray, you dip th…

Cheesey Vegetable Pie

I remember the exact moment when my mother acquired a French cookbook. I was in my early teens, and had already been enjoying the benefits of Mum's various forays into international cuisine for some years by that stage.

It was the eighties, and God bless her, she couldn't help but be attracted to the recipe for quiche Lorraine. Quiche was incredibly popular in then - it was available on the menu of every cafe worth it's weight in salt, and was even adopted by the Queen of the supermarket freezer section, Sara Lee. But Quiche Lorraine, the genuine article in Mum's French cookbook, was unlike any quiche I've ever tasted. It was loaded with full fat cheese - and not just one cheese, it had four different kinds of cheese! Add to that was full fat cream and delicious chunks of bacon, all of which were included with every last skeric of their fat left on! And this paradise for the palate sat in a pastry that was to die for. If you've ever been to France you…

Red Velvet Hearts

Several years ago I met a guy from Miami on the internet via a dating website. He seemed like a really decent guy, and according to his profile, was planning to visit Australia the following month. With the intention of meeting him on his trip, I struck up an email correspondence with him, in which I asked him what his favourite kind of cake was. He told me he preferred Red Velvet Cake above all others.

I'd never heard such a thing! So I set about digging up a recipe for this mythical beast on the internet (oh, great library of cyberspace!). I came across several different instructionals but struck one that seemed quite reasonable. I discovered that red velvet cake was a chocolaty-butter cake which was coloured a deep red by no less than seven fluid ounces of red food dye.

Red food colouring, in my opinion (and the opinion of many scientists) can set off an episode of hyperactivity in normally sedate kids. That's why people with ADD kids should keep them away from raspberry cord…

Roasted Beetroot

When I was a kid my nana came to stay quite often. At least once a year - which was often enough for me, since it was always me who had to give up my bed to accommodate her.

Nana was a salad nut in those days (she still might be, but I'm not sure what's on the daily menu at the place where she lives). And the essential ingredient to any salad, as far as Nana was concerned, was beetroot. Now, any sensible Australian know beetroot definitely belongs on a good hamburger. But in salad? Sliced or whole, the beetroot invariably wees it's red juice on everything it touches.

I never bent to Nana's love of beetroot in salad. Never the less, I'm aware that beetroot is somewhat of a superfood. Toss a fresh beetroot into your juicer with a carrot and an apple and you've got a veritable feast, albeit in a glass. But it seems to me that the best thing to do with a beetroot is roast it. Looks impressive on the plate, tastes delicious on the palate!

fresh beetroots …

Chicken Pot Roast

As a teenager there were three major periods when my dad was in between jobs. The first one came at a time when I was very used to cooking the family meal every night, therefore guaranteeing I got to eat something I would enjoy. But when Dad was home, for some reason, he decided he should take over kitchen duty, making major - er - discoveries during each sojourn, which we were subjected to five nights a week until he started his next job.

The first time round, Dad discovered Maggi Cook-in-the-Pot. This was basically a packet mix which you added to your pot roast - albeit it beef, chicken, lamb or whatever (thank God it was never tripe!). At the time I loathed pot roast because all too often it turned out like stew and I simply couldn't abide by the indiscriminate way ingredients blended in stew. I like the foods on my plate to be clearly defined. I wouldn't go so far as to demand that nothing touches on the plate - but I do want to know what's what.

Dad and his darned Mag…

Beautiful Beef Burger

When I was on holidays in Cairns last year, I ate out with my hosts quite a lot. Often I found the most uncomplicated thing on a restaurant or cafe menu was the beef burger. Having become an expert in making beef burgers myself, I frequently chose the beef burger, convinced that the restaurant version would be as tasty and healthy as my own. Instead I was shocked at how many times I was presented with a catering disaster that wasn't fit to feed my dog.

Time after time, burgers came out with oversized, under toasted buns, tough and tastless buns. Sandwiched between the two bits of miserable bun was a rissole - not a burger - made of poor quality (dare I say porky-tasting) beef which sat two inches high, yet failed to reach the edges of the bread. If I asked for cheese on the burger, more often than not I got a greasy piece of tasty cheese caked onto either the top or the bottom of the bun, smeared with tomato sauce, or plastered to a piece of limp lettuce.

Shameful! And I said so e…

Apple Crumble

When I was a kid my mother's culinary speciality, in my opinion, was dessert. She was raised on the Common Sense Cookery Book, which featured such traditional delights as bread and butter pudding, cottage pudding and baked custard. There were also travesties like junket, tapioca pudding and sago pudding amongst her repertoire, which I refused to eat point blank. Blech!

But my favourite of all was apple crumble. There is something altogether comforting about the fragrance of fresh Granny Smith apples, their green skin peeled off in one continuous snake-like coil, sliced, cored then tossed into a pot to stew with three or four whole cloves.

Indeed apple crumble holds a special place in other people's hearts too, as I discovered one time at a dinner party I held a couple of years ago. It was my grandest effort ever - dinner for nine, with chocolate almond cake as dessert. Only my best friend, Jeannette doesn't eat chocolate. So I made a single-size apple crumble especially fo…

Fettucine Bosciaola

Back in the 80s, creamy sauces reigned supreme! I had a friend named Mark who dared to open his own cafe, The Workshop, in Darlinghurst, which featured numerous dishes swimming in creamy sauces. It was in this cafe that I first tasted fettucine bosciaola. What a taste sensation! Having been raised on spaghetti bolognese, I never knew pasta could taste so good.

The Workshop Cafe became a regular hangout for me and my dance party-loving cronies. We congregated there several nights a week, whether it was to dine or simply to grab a coffee and listen to the latest house music release. We were still buying records then - and by that I mean twelve inch wide pieces of shiny black vinyl with little grooves going round and round in concentric circles. We'd snap up the latest dance floor hit down at Central Station Records, dub it onto cassette at home, then arrive at The Workshop, commandeer the tape deck and pump up the volume regardless of whether there were regular customers in the plac…