Can I really have just one… well nearly. You all know and agree with my complete obsession with my KitchenAid Standmixer. An obsession I have had for over twenty years now. But it is the attachments that change the mixer (the worlds best) to a complete KitchenAID.
As a very busy food consultant who some how juggles my full working life with a very busy household…. putting a delicious, varied, exciting, economical, quick meal together in 20 minutes – well yes it can even daunt me! Really – well not often but lately I have been racing around with International, interstate and local travel doing demos, TV, food styling and loads of recipe developement – and don’t forget my forever hungry teenage family… so my KitchenAid is yet again my savour.
The MVSA Rotary Slicer Shredder – ‘she’ can do it all! “Various slicing, shredding & grating of just about everything in my fridge helps me create within minutes.
The attachment has a series of stainless steel drums that fit into the housing of the attachment and slice, shred or grate away from speed 1 right up to speed 10 ( I due to time, or lack of often work on speed 10). As the attachment is continuous I find this incredibly fast as you simply keep adding ingredients -
So what delights have I made this week Read the rest of this entry
Hot X Buns
In my family you only ever ate Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday and maybe eat the left overs on Easter Sunday.
However, in these modern times they are literally on the shelves at all supermarkets just after Christmas – oh my Presbyterian grandmother would be mortified!
The history of this lightly spiced fruit bun is a fabulous read – there are some conflicting stories out there – some from ancient Greece and from the Saxons who also ate buns marked with a cross in honour of the goddess of light – Eostre. Christians however, believe the cross placed on the top of the buns signifies Christ’s crucifixion.
Which ever the case they are truly part of most Easter gatherings and can be enjoyed for breakfast, morning tea, after lunch and supper – seems the more the better!
Now the best buns ever in my opinion are from a sensational baker in St. Kilda – Daniel Chirico –wow can he make a fabulous bun. Now as many of you know I am gluten intolerant and if anything makes me ‘break’ my gluten free eating it is a bite of one of his buns (and yes, I will suffer the consequences)!
Gluten free buns are available from health food shops and I have a tried quiet a few– but really, they miss the mark for me…. I have also tried to mark great gluten free versions too, but so far they are ordinary. Sadly I have not yet mastered the art of a good gluten free bun, so more testing is required and this recipe sits on my to do list. Thankfully plenty of good chocolate is easily found and this happily keeps me more than satisfied over Easter.
For the wheat loving and eating ones here is my twist on home made buns… made super easily with my KitchenAid stand mixer – in a method as easy as 1, 2 3 eat! Read the rest of this entry
As many know it can be so difficult to travel and eat the foods you like, want or should it. I my self enjoy a wholesome, varied and for most part very nutritious and exciting eating plan.
But when traveling often you need to compromise and PLAN. The eating planning really starts with the plane trip. Yes, we all hope the airline will supply something delicious and eagerly await each meal. …. hungry or not!
I am presently three quarters the way through a marvelous trip to the USA and not only expect the food I like to eat but insist upon it. But the plane trip is the first caution for me – being on gluten free diet is so simple as long as I mention this to the travel agent and magically my own purpose made meal arrives. And yes this way it is fresh, well prepared and satisfying. I have peeked over the years at other special meals – vegetarian, low fat & kosher meals – they all looked rather good too.
Water – goodness I can’t get enough of it and order 2 bottles or glasses at each opportunity – this of course keeps me hydrated and allows for the much needed exercise taking many trips to the bathroom! Wine with my lunch, maybe 1 glass but on long flights I have to be honest – the more water the better, mixed up with the odd juice or mineral water.
Now I often wonder just how much we need to eat on a long flight – apart from a walk up and around the aisles or a visit to the bathroom, we don’t do much for hours and hours. A great array of snacks…..fresh fruit, biscuits, nuts and icy poles is available if not regularly offered. Of course this all depends on the airline.I can’t say I enjoy these long flights but I am lucky enough to regularly venture overseas and many of flight these flights are 12 – 16 hours plus if not into the 20 hour flight.,
So here is my personal list of survival for the flight:
- Discuss food intolerances with your travel agent or if booking on line write into the comments
- Dress in comfy light yet warm clothes with a light pair of socks (I pack a small bag with ‘arrival’ clothes I pop on as I freshen up before arrival – yes I must always look fabulous and arrive looking fresh)!
- Except and drink as much water and as often as you can – I always ask for two glasses / bottles – not one.
- Limit snacking and high sugar or salty foods
- Don’t eat the meals for the sake of it – if your not hungry why eat. Many nutritionists have told me to limit food intake as much as possible. Overeating and then sitting in a chair for hours afterwards simply makes me even more uncomfortable.
- Walk around and up and down the aisles, stretch and sleep as much as possible.
Smile and always hope for a magic upgrade – yes we all want to be closer to the pointy end.
Stay tuned for more of my American eating travels…
Every great cook, celebrity chef, family cook and ordinary cook I know has their own version. This full flavoured simmered minced beef sauce originally from Bologna Italy and is famous through out the world. There are versions everywhere – from Bologna itself to China and yes definitely a favourite meal in every home I would think here in Australia too.
Versions include beef only, a combination of beef & veal, beef & pork, beef & chicken liver, Chinese slant recipes with Asian mushrooms & ketchup manis and vegetarian styles ( made with eggplant and mushrooms). I also have a recipe I make usually in the cold of winter made in one pot which includes cooking the pasta in the pot with the sauce! A true ‘one pot’ recipe.
Marcella Hazan is known as the mother of good Italian food. Her beautiful Italian Cookbooks, explain the basics and essentials of producing a great Bolognese. I have for years read every detail and eaten many versions in many countries, restaurants and homes. From this I have produced many delicious huge simmering pots and have my own authentic set of rules……
So what does make a great Bolognese? Here is my 12 step guide to my fabulous slow simmer Bolognese – Read the rest of this entry
The response to my last blog ‘egg snobbery’ has been fabulous – yes many of us are confused about the ‘ good’ egg. And it seems my few words helped many make the decision on what to purchase…. I have been delighted with the comments and discussions over last week or so.
The next question and or frustration with eggs are usually around poaching and soufflés – eek. So yes I think we will tackle these queries….. Because once mastered they will so become part of your weekly / monthly success repertoire
So hang onto to your hat (chefs’ of course) and let’s look at the perfect poached egg –
1. Purchase the very best FRESH eggs you can afford either form the market, off the farm (oh that’s really lovely) or from the supermarket. A super fresh egg will sit high and perform well.
2. The pan: you need a good one with a nice high side and heavy base. A good 7 cm plus is required and a base that allows an even heat. Now i have to tell youI use Profiline Pans (look for these at your local specialty cookware shop) – they never let me down on any cooking task.
3. Vinegar – any sort will do… yes it can be very cheap and very plain if you like and add just enough to assist in the egg white in setting quickly
4. The other necessities: a slotted spoon, a bowl of cold water (to pop the cooked eggs into) a small bowl or jug to pour the raw egg from.
5. Have the toast nearby and ready….. keeping warm if possible.
Read the rest of this entry
Are you an egg snob like me ? Goodness I hope so! Eggs are the most wonderful natural product. Definitely my favourite ‘instant’ meal – nothing beats a poached egg or fried egg. But then again a quick scramble or omelette – yep totally delicious and packed with protein and nutrients.
My preference is direct from the farm, fresh as possible and free range- so I buy as often as I can from the ‘egg lady’ at the market. … I love to look at the eggs and select what we decide is the best on the day! I do have my preferences and often choose brown eggs. Various varieties of hens produce brown eggs (I am told they eat more so this can make the brown eggs a little more expensive). Some say its silly really as the colour of the shell in no way reflects the flavour – well a lot say that, but I am one of the ones who believe they do taste better.. And of course they look wonderful.
If you think about it, happy hens have got to make good eggs – it’s that simple. I still adore the rich deep yellow gold orange colour of a good yolk. My scrambled eggs, omelettes and sponge cakes look like I have popped a little food colouring into them! That might make some of you giggle, but it’s the truth.
When I have to, I of course purchase eggs from the supermarket – now this is the worry because it is hard trying to work out what all these ‘cartons’ are promising. There are just too many various boxes, colours and information ……
A happy hen makes a great egg – so if hens can scratch around, merrily pecking at good quality food in a little sunshine they are going to produce better quality and it’s a much nicer existence for them.
My top choices from the supermarket: Read the rest of this entry
Why is this last two weeks leading up to that special day on the 25th December so ridiculously busy! Has everyone I know gone mad? It doesn’t seem to matter how organised you are there just seems to be tooooo much to do.
Everywhere I go from the photography studios, chatting with clients or friends – waiting in a queue at the supermarket, dropping my kids at school ……everyone seems to need a selection of delicious, quick recipes that are made in a wink! So here are a little selection of my favourites that will allow you to eat well with the family or a little last minute entertaining and maybe take a little pressure out of your day? Read the rest of this entry
A crisp yet succulent golden roasted ‘stuffed’ chicken is my favourite bit of Christmas lunch (or yes you could also choose turkey).
The stuffing must be tender, moist and beautifully flavoured and can be placed into the cavity, rolled into small foil parcels or gently pushed in over the breast – underneath the skin. It sounds easy and yes it is once you know the golden tips….. a little tender loving care and plenty of flavoursome bits added to the basic mixture produces a stuffing with a difference!
But first you need to start with a good chicken – buy the best you can – I mean a free range, if not organic bird or you might like it to be corn fed chicken as well. Also produced ‘chemically free’ makes a world of difference to the flavour and texture (yes sadly standard chicken is washed in a chlorine solution). Your specialty poultry shop and even the supermarket will have a selection: chat with the poultry man, the butcher or read the label at the supermarket – the quality in the first instance is really important. Read the rest of this entry
Oh my do you feel over whelmed by it all – I must admit spotting all those Chrissie decorations at the shops does tend to pop me into a spin! A million and one lists start running through my head – I must make that pudding, and the fruit cake, buy the turkey, have I ordered that fabulous double smoked ham – or maybe we should have seafood this year and the list goes on and on.
Number 1 on the list is the pudding.
Simple moist Christmas pudding
Now if you are super organised you will have already made one, so you for organised cooks it’s onto no. 2 and that’s the Christmas cake on my list. Two years ago I was super organised and made my pudding in late October. Last year well it was the week before – however my recipe truly is so delicious matter how early or late you are! Every single person I know who has tried this pudding just loves it – I have adapted it from some lovely old techniques and thrown in a handful of modern twists –
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It really is finally here– yippee. Yesterday I whizzed around the lovely Prahran Market, there they were – rows and rows of peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and cherries. Yes, it is earlyish and the fruit is not yet completely PERFECT – but select carefully and you’ll love every mouthful.
How to select – well, I always like to be able to smell that divine sent and the fruit should be without any bruises, bumps or tears and have a little ‘give’ just around the stem area.
I love the fuzzy down on peaches, smoothness of nectarines, ripe soft succulence of plums and cherries and that burst of divine heavenly sweetness…. Not much can match it.
Purchase stone fruit in quantities you will use quickly– eat just as nature intended or bake, sauté, poach, pickle or make into jam. Purchase freestone peaches & nectarines for ease when you can and store at room temperature.
Read the rest of this entry