November cook-a-long: recipe reveal

Hello friends!

Here is the recipe you have all been waiting for – the November cook-a-long is here!

This time of year is just busy, busy, busy.  With Christmas just around the corner, the last few weeks of school playing out and the silly season already upon us, I am really looking forward to a couple of quiet weeks.

The recipe this month is for Chilli beef on avocado. Given most of us are time poor (and generally just poor!) this time of year, I have chosen something that is quick, easy and cheap to make. Not only that, I highly recommend that you double the recipe and freeze half. That way you will have another dinner sitting in your freezer over Christmas for one of those nights when you don’t feel like cooking and your kids still insist on eating dinner!

The full recipe and shopping list for the November cook-a-long can be found here.

Don’t forget to mark Wednesday 20 November in your calendar and invite your friends.

Once you are finished cooking, take a moment and capture a photo of your meal. Post your picture and comments on the My Delicious Year Facebook page or share it on instagram using the hashtag #cookalong and tag @mydeliciousyear.

Happy cooking,

X Bree


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Filed under Cook-a-long, November

October cook-a-long: Recipe reveal

Hey, hey, hey!

October already…which means it’s cook-a-long time!

The recipe this month is for Thai Chicken Skewers with lime. It’s a simple, tasty recipe, one that I am sure will become a regular in your house.

There is no sides listed in the recipe so be adventurous and let me know what you are going to serve with your skewers. I’m planning on serving coconut rice and a simple salad.

Full recipe and shopping list for the October cook-a-long can be found here.

Don’t forget to mark Wednesday 16 October in your calendar and invite your friends.

Once you are finished cooking, take a moment and capture a photo of your meal. Post your picture and comments on the My Delicious Year Facebook page or share it on instagram using the hashtag #cookalong and tag @mydeliciousyear.

Good luck,

X Bree

What would you like to see for cook-a-long in November? Meat? Vegetarian? Dessert? BBQ? Slow-cooker? Make-a-head? Send me a message or leave me a comment with your suggestions.

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Filed under Cook-a-long, easy, October

August cook-a-long: Recipe reveal

Welcome to August, friends!

In another 15 days my baby is turning 5. B4 will become B5. Goodness gracious me. This year is absolutely flying by. And here we are at our fifth cook-a-long…already!

This month I really umm’d and aahh’d about which recipe to choose. I even “phoned a friend” (thanks Denica!) to get a second opinion, so I really hope you enjoy the recipe I (we) have chosen.

The recipe this month is Pork Schnitzel with apple salad. Something to keep the carnivores in our lives happy.

Full details for the August cook-a-long can be found here.

Don’t forget to mark Wednesday 21 August in your calendar and invite your friends.

Once you are finished cooking, take a moment and capture a photo of your meal. Post your picture and comments on the My Delicious Year Facebook page or share it on instagram using the hashtag #cookalong and tag @mydeliciousyear.

Good luck,

X Bree

If you have any themes, cuisine’s or key ingredients you would like to see in future cook-a-long’s, make sure you either leave a comment below for me or send me a message through the Facebook page. I love to hear from you guys.


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July cook-a-long: Recipe reveal

Hello friends,

Well here I am on the 12th of July posting the July cook-a-long recipe. Goodness me! Slack hey?

I’m the first to admit that life is a bit hectic for our little family. Huge kudos to those of you out there working full-time and raising a family. I don’t know how you do it…

So the theme for this month is “keep it simple”. This month’s recipe is a very simple Savoury Lamb Pie. If you would like to take it to the next step, have a go at making your own shortcrust pastry.

All the details for the July cook-a-long can be found here.

Don’t forget to mark Wednesday 17 July in your calendar and invite your friends.

Once you are finished cooking, take a moment and capture a photo of your meal. Post your picture and comments on the My Delicious Year Facebook page or share it on instagram using the hashtag #cookalong and tag @mydeliciousyear.

If you have any themes, cuisine’s or key ingredients you would like to see in future cook-a-long’s, make sure you either leave a comment below for me or send me a message through the Facebook page. I love to hear from you guys.

Good luck,

X Bree

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Filed under budget friendly, Cook-a-long, easy, July

June cook-a-long: Wrap-up

Hello my beautiful friends!

Here we are. Another month gone by in a blink of the eye. Goodness gracious me! We are almost half way through the year already!

As the nights are getting cooler and the days are getting shorter, all I can think about is what to cook that will warm me up! The answer? Soup, soup and soup!!!

Fortunately, thanks to the June issue’s of ABC delicious. Magazine, there has been no shortage of fabulous soup recipes.

Having made at least six different soup’s this month (much to the disgust of B4), I can honestly say that THE BEST one was the Vietnamese chicken, lemongrass & rice soup from the June cook-a-long. So much so that I actually made it twice in one week!


I just love the combination of spring onion, ginger, lemongrass and chilli. In fact, I often have to hold myself back from cooking Asian food every night of the week. I seem to be drawn to those flavours.

It seems though that I may have put a few of you off with the recipe I chose this month, which resulted in a bunch of you not getting time to cook-a-long with me this month. (sad face)

For those of you who don’t have time to make your own stock, I can only encourage you to just try it once. In actual fact, it cooks itself. Just pop all the ingredients in a pot on the stove and let it gently simmer for a few hours. Until you taste it, you won’t realise just how much better homemade chicken stock is. Comfort in a bowl…


As a huge chocolate fan, I have to confess to not actually loving the dessert this month because there was too much chocolate in it!!! Here’s what I DID love about Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate & orange croissant-bread-and-butter pudding:

  1. I didn’t actually have to make it. My little sister Beck whipped up dessert. It was that easy! (Thanks Beck!)
  2. Croissants.
  3. Butter
  4. Cream
  5. Need I list any more?

Thank you so much to those that did actually participate in the cook-a-long this month. I really hope that you and your family enjoyed the recipes as much as we did.

Just a reminder that cook-a-long will now take place on the third Wednesday of the month. The July cook-a-long will take place on Wednesday 17 July. The Facebook event is now open. Don’t forget to head over and join in and invite your friends!

Until next month.

Take care,

X Bree

Stay tuned: Next month we have a fab new recipe to cook and a GIVEAWAY! Yay!


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June cook-a-long: Recipe reveal

Hello friends,

So I’m running a bit late this month. Ok, so I’m actually running a whole lot of late this month. So sorry peeps.

This year is rapidly getting away from me. Anyone else feel the same way? June already…

Firstly I need to let you know that I need to change the date of the cook-a-long. I have a regular commitment at night at B4’s school on the second Wednesday of each month, so with that in mind, I would like to shift the cook-a-long to the third Wednesday of the month. That would make this month’s cook-a-long Wednesday 19 June. Hope you don’t mind…

Anyway, back to the big recipe reveal!!!

After finally getting a free night to look through all the June magazines, one thing really stood out. June arrives and there is a whole lot of soup recipes. Winter has arrived so I am officially declaring June soup month! Make it. Freeze it. Share it. You will see this a bit this month. More on that later…

For this month’s cook-a-long I have chosen a soup recipe that is a little bit different – Vietnamese chicken, lemongrass & rice soup. It’s a recipe from an old favourite of mine, Rick Stein. I hope you like it.

And as an added bonus I have included a recipe for dessert too! Chocolate & orange croissant-bread-and-butter pudding. If you’ve got the time, and you feel that way inclined, spoil yourself!

Once again I have also included some notes to hopefully make the recipe a little easier for you.

All the details for the June cook-a-long can be found here.

Don’t forget to mark Wednesday 19 June in your calendar.

Once you are finished cooking, take a moment and capture a photo of your meal. Post your picture and comments on the My Delicious Year Facebook page or share it on instagram using the hashtag #cookalong and tag @mydeliciousyear.

I can’t wait to see what sort of creations you all come up with.

Get cooking!

X Bree


Filed under Cook-a-long, easy, June

Celebrating 100 recipes!

Pop the champagne cork! I’ve cooked 100 recipes!

Actually, I’ve officially cooked 107 recipes (if you count tonight’s dinner).

The 100th happened a few weeks ago, on the second of May, and honestly, I didn’t even realise until just a few days ago. Things have been a bit crazy lately.

So who wants to know what the 100th recipe was?

It was Roast lemon chicken with Sicilian olives, the cover recipe from May 2008.

I’ve made it before, back in May 2008 probably. It was yummy then and it was still yummy now.

There is something about the smell and taste of slow-cooked onions. Add thyme to the equation and I am in heaven.

Keeping with this month’s Italian theme, I served the roast lemon chicken on spaghetti which had been lightly tossed in butter. A little bit extravagant, but indeed delicious.

If there is one piece of advice I can give you when making this recipe, it’s make double. You’re gonna want to eat this meal again!


X Bree


Roast lemon chicken with Sicilian olives 

Serves 4

delicious. magazine, (May 2008, p. 125) – Cover recipe

1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
4 large onions, halved, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 heaped tbs fresh thyme leaves, plus 8 small thyme sprigs
8 skinless chicken thigh cutlets
Plain flour, to dust
1 – 2 lemons, scrubbed, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 1/2 cups (375ml) chicken stock
1 tbs chopped preserved lemon rind* (white pith and flesh discarded), optional
24 Sicilian olives or other large green olives

Heat 2 tbs of the oil in a large frypan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 20-25 minutes until soft and pale golden. Season, then stir in thyme leaves. Spread onion over the base of a roasting pan that will fit the chicken snugly in a single layer. Sprinkle over the thyme sprigs, then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celcius. Heat remaining oil in the same frypan over medium-high heat. Dust chicken in flour, shaking off excess, then cook in 2 batches for 3-4 minutes each side until golden-brown. Arrange chicken over onion, then overlap 2 lemon slices on each. Squeeze over the juice from any remaining lemon slices.

Meanwhile, bring stock to the boil in a saucepan, stir in the preserved lemon rind if using, then pour around the chicken. Cook in the oven, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes – adding olives after 30 minutes and basting with stock 2-3 times – until chicken is golden and cooked. Stand in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer chicken, onion, olives and juices to a deep platter to serve.

* From delis and gourmet food shops.

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Filed under easy, family friendly, May, Pasta

May cook-a-long: Wrap-up

This month, first of all, I owe you an apology. Last week was one of the busiest weeks I have had in a long time, which meant I wasn’t around much on cook-a-long day. I am so sorry. As it turned out, you didn’t seem to need me much. You all did such a great job!

After nearly five years of staying at home with my kids, I have recently returned to work three days a week. I am absolutely loving it, but it means I am out of the house at 5:30am each morning, and only get home in time to pick the kids up at three o’clock. Then I was out three nights, which is completely unlike me. I am such a homebody, especially at night. Needless to say, by Saturday I was a zombie…

Being so busy this week has meant that I have hardly had  a moment spare to keep in touch with the Facebook page. This has been so disappointing, especially as it has been my favourite time of the month – cook-a-long! There is always such a buzz around when people are busy creating their meals. I just love it!

Because of that crazy little presentation I had to make on Wednesday night at Pecha Kucha Night, I ended up making my cook-a-long recipe on Tuesday and eating it Tuesday night. Mr Picky Palette was out for work, so it was just me and B2 and B4 for dinner.

I think I had my meal prepared and ready in the slow cooker by about ten o’clock as I had to duck out and do a few errands in the morning.  By the time I got home, the smell coming from my house was AMAZING! I hope my neighbours were jealous!

IMG_20130513_133518 IMG_20130513_133549 IMG_20130513_133627

Once the meat was all soft and tender, I removed it from the sauce. In the interests of increasing my chances of getting the kiddies to eat their dinner, I then pulsed the sauce in my blender to break up any big pieces of vegetables. Once I had removed all the meat from the bone, I mixed it with the now blended sauce. At this point, I stood at the stove with that 100 grams of unsalted butter and hesitated. I just could not bring myself to add all that butter to the sauce. It seemed like a lot! In the end I added about half. And yes. It made the sauce shiny and rich, but I think the full 100 grams was excessive.


I’m not going to bore you with my usual “make your own pasta” rant! But what I will say is that, making your own pasta is so easy that my friend Carolyn and her five year old managed to whip up a batch with their bare hands and a rolling pin. In her words, she “tasted the love”. So very awesome!

I love that the cook-a-long has become more than just one day. I love that you all feel comfortable enough to just go with the flow, give it a go, and cook it when you have the time. I love that you feel comfortable enough to adjust the recipe to suit the tastes and dietary needs of your family and friends. I’m so happy to be amongst such an enthusiastic, encouraging and supportive bunch of people!

Thank you once again to those who had the courage to share your dinner with us on the Facebook page. What a great effort! In honour of braving the social media critics, I wanted to share a summary of some of the pictures and feedback shared.

Delicious! Absolutely loved the flavours… Will have to make again as our leftover’s won’t last long! By the way, I unintentionally cooked this with diced lamb (was frozen so didn’t notice) and the flavour was great! – Melissa E

Yum, yum!!! I didn’t do the sauce but added peas. – Denica

Well after preparing everything yesterday so I could just pour it into my slow cooker this morning before work, my pregnancy brain forgot to turn the slow cooker on!!!! So after some damage control and dinner a little later than normal, here is my dish and it is yummo!!! I was a little worried about the butter but it really made the sauce very smooth!! Will do again for sure but will remember to turn the slow cooker on next time ;)) – Leah

Here is my version – the whole family loved it! – Kara

So here is my efforts – with pasta I made myself, with a rolling pin & a 5yr old… Tasted the love.
Only thing I would do different is use meat on a bone, diced beef was a bit meh… Definitely will do again, thanks for the inspiration Brigitte xx – Carolyn

Here’s mine attempt (a bit slap-dash!). Was pretty happy with it the end. All bowls looked clean in our house! So I guess that’s a pretty good sign. – Jacinta

No alterations here, and it was Yum!! Oops, I lied. I did omit the butter. – Melissa O

Added pumpkin, broccoli and lentils- no pasta….so kinda a casserole in the end with a dollop of natural yoghurt. Eating as I type! – Sherry

Yum! Used lactose free cheddar for the sauce not quiet the effect it was after but was still yum!!! – Rebecca

I also wanted to take a moment and thank you all for sharing the event with your friends and getting them involved. I was thrilled to see so many new names amongst the group this month.

Now that May’s cook-a-long is over, it is time to start thinking about next month. The date for the June cook-a-long will be Wednesday 12 June. Lock it in your diaries.

Next month I have a little surprise for those who participate. So make sure you sign-up to the June event on the the My Delicious Year Facebook page.

Don’t forget that the cook-a-long will always remain affordable, achievable and delicious!

Until next time,

X Bree

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Filed under Cook-a-long, May

Sufferin’ succotash, we’re eating succotash!

When I saw the recipe for Bacon-wrapped chicken with succotash I immediately thought of watching Looney Tunes as a child and Sylvester spluttering all over the place “Sufferin’ Succotash”.

Succotash is no meal to suffer over though.

It’s a frugal combination of beans, corn and bacon brought together with a dash of cream.


For a quick, tasty, mid-week dinner you can’t go past this recipe. And if you’re like me, you’ll probably find most of the ingredients already in your pantry or fridge.


X Bree

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Filed under April, easy, family friendly

Good riddance April!

Oh me, oh my. Thank goodness April is over. What a month.

I have to confess. I really struggled to stay motivated this month. REALLY struggled. Fussy kids and unappreciative husbands nearly made me want to quit. It made me think “why? why? why?”

The other thing that I was overwhelmed by was my need to cook every single cover recipe. What was I thinking when I set that as a ground rule? This month I was good – I didn’t leave them all to the last two days. But I was totally overwhelmed by all the chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE chocolate as much as the next person. But out of the twelve April cover recipes to cook, nine were sweets and eight of those included chocolate (the other one was caramel). Blah!

Here’s a little secret. I’ve taken to halving the dessert recipes. Why? Because the cover recipes are often so decadent (cream, chocolate, sugar etc) and I am very conscious of only consuming these types of things in small quantities. Otherwise my hips and my health can’t handle it! They also often have a very short shelf life and as a family, we just can’t get through them quick enough, even after sharing the leftovers with our extended family.

And here’s a confession. I actually didn’t cook all twelve covers this month! I know. I know. What a disappointment. But I really couldn’t bring myself to do it. (I only skipped one) Please forgive me? It won’t happen again…

Here's the cover I skipped this month...

Here’s the cover I skipped this month…

On to the fussy kid saga…

Pretty much every night B4 asks me “what’s for dinner?” His usual response is either tears, or hysteria, or running screaming from the room, or a combination of the three. It turns out he’s more of a meat and no veg kind of guy. Like that is ok… Yes, there are nights that he goes to bed hungry.

After more than my fair share of these shenanigans this month, I took him aside one night and asked him what he really wanted to have for dinner. Turns out it was lasagna. A simple request, and one that I will fulfil sometime in May. Until then, he has to keep trying the new stuff I am making.

On another occasion, after a week of very poor dinner eating on B4’s behalf, I was driving to my parent’s house where B2 and B4 were to have dinner and a sleepover. Around the corner from my parents house B4 piped up with “I wonder if grandma is going to make me something yummy for dinner?” I replied with something like “well of course honey. Grandma always cooks yummy dinner.” B4 then replied “yes and I will love it and eat it all up!” (Because I never cook anything you love. And breathe…)

Sure enough, grandma produced the trifecta – roasted chicken, roasted lamb and roasted potatoes. The boys proceeded to inhale their dinner like they hadn’t eaten for a week. (sigh)

So, in honour of the sh#ttiest month ever, I present you with my high’s and low’s – what I loved to eat, what I didn’t and what I’d make again:

The High’s

  1. The cook-a-long. How freaking awesome was it? I was completely overwhelmed by how much people really got into it. I can’t wait for May. Thank you so much, everyone!
  2. Meat-free Monday – I have really enjoyed going meat-free on a Monday and have found that it is a pleasure to create delicious, flavoursome, meat-free meals. My children may disagree!
  3. Huevos Rancheros (Apr 2008, p. 86) – definitely recipe of the month. Simple. Tasty. Delicious. A great Saturday morning brekky. Give it a go.


The Low’s

  1. Chocolate fondants – COVER (Apr 2008, p. 74) or as someone so politely commented on Facebook “steaming poo”. Thanks Paul. LOL. Something went terribly wrong. Not sure I care enough to try to correct it and make them again.
  2. Pear & ginger crisp (Apr 2002, p. 114). Another dessert disaster. Curdled, eggy, grossness.  May we never speak of it again.
  3. Pearl barley risotto with roast pumpkin, capsicum & rocket (Apr 2009, p. 126). There was a huge uproar in the house when I served this up for meat-free Monday. I think the concept is good, but the execution was not so good.


More please…

  1. Mascarpone, prosciutto & rocket pizza – COVER (Apr 2007, p. 12). Homemade pizza. Yum!
  2. Roast pork steaks with tomatoes and pine nuts (Apr 2005, p. 139). A few simple ingredients packed with flavour. It was a winner.
  3. Mushroom carbonara (Apr 2012, p. 84). Another recipe with a few simple ingredients that translated to a delicious, easy, weeknight dinner.

Did I mention that neither B2 nor B4 ever complain when offered dessert, or pizza?

Here’s a link to the full list of what I cooked in April.

And to end the month of April, here is the most memorable piece of feedback I got from Mr Picky Palette during April, which pretty much sums up the month:

Me: How was your dinner honey?
Mr Picky Palette: I ate it didn’t I?

The end.

X Bree


Filed under April

May cook-a-long: Recipe reveal

Hello friends,

This month we are stepping back a gear and putting on our slow shoes.

Autumn is here. The nights are getting cooler, the sun is setting sooner, and our tummies are looking for something warm and comforting to fill the void.

This month I have chosen a Jamie Oliver recipe for Pappardelle with amazing slow-cooked meat. It’s clearly a winner. In fact, one of the downsides to immersing yourself in ten years of delicious. Magazine’s is that you come across certain recipes that have popped up on more than one occasion. This is one of those. It was first printed in the May 2004 magazine and again reproduced (word for word!) in the May 2006 magazine. Worth cooking don’t you think?

I have included a whole bunch of “tips” in the recipe and shopping list this month including instructions for preparing this recipe with your slow cooker.

All the details for the May cook-a-long can be found here.

Don’t forget to mark Wednesday 8 May in your calendar.

Once you are finished cooking, take a moment and capture a photo of your meal. Post your picture and comments on the My Delicious Year Facebook page or share it on instagram using the hashtag #cookalong and tag @mydeliciousyear.

I had so much fun with the April cook-a-long and was thrilled by how many people joined in. May is going to be even better. I can’t wait to see what sort of creations you all come up with.

Get cooking!

X Bree

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Filed under Cook-a-long, easy, May, Pasta

When life gives you lemons…

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” – Dale Carnegie

It’s a simple message, and such an optimistic one. But when faced with a HUGE surplus of big, fat, juicy lemons from the tree in my backyard, it’s a message I take quite literally. It’s something I have never done before, but I decide to make lemonade. Hooray!


The lemon tree in our yard is not the prettiest tree. It has met with a variety of creepy crawlys and other citrus pests over time. But it is organic. And it seems to have thrived from all the rain we had over summer. In fact, we have been picking some of the biggest, juiciest lemons I have ever seen. The skins imperfections have not affected the juicy goodness inside. But it does mean the lemons are no good for zesting.


So back to lemonade…

The day I decided I was going to make lemonade I was back flicking through all the April delicious. magazines as I had found myself a bit short on recipes this month. Sure enough, I came across a recipe for lemonade – not that a recipe is really needed. It’s as simple as adding sugar to lemon juice to suit your tastes and heating to dissolve the sugar. Not exactly rocket science. But in my attempt to make a healthier version I replaced the caster sugar with organic rapadura sugar and reduced the amount of sugar by about half. The end result was a brownish coloured syrup that was sour, sour, sour. Borderline undrinkable. Oops…  So I just added more sugar. Second attempt, result? A brownish coloured syrup that was a nice balance of sweet and sour.

Now where’s the vodka and soda?

X Bree

P.S You can read more about rapadura sugar here if you are interested. (It’s not a plug to buy this woman’s product, just a great Australian reference)

P.P.S If you want some lemons, just drop me an email… 🙂

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Filed under April, easy

Roast pork steaks with tomatoes and pine nuts

Roast pork steaks with tomatoes and pine nuts

Love a quick weeknight dinner. This one is a winner. Only five ingredients: lean pork steaks, a punnet of cherry tomatoes, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a handful of pinenuts and a handful of basil. So much flavour from just a few ingredients. So easy to adapt for one person or ten. Serve it with your chosen carb. Here’s a link to the recipe.


04/04/2013 · 9:37 am

Moving on from March

Moving on from March

Moving on from March

And so here we are, another month down. Where is this year disappearing?

Another month of cooking fabulous, delicious things, without too many failings or freak outs!

Here’s a quick recap of the highlights:

Top 3 sweet treats

  1. Plum tray bake (Mar 2012, p. 66)
  2. White & dark chocolate jaffa swirl cake (Mar 2007, p.93)
  3. New York vanilla cheesecake with blueberries – COVER (Mar 2005, p. 25)

Top 3 easy weeknight dinners

  1. Stir-fried rice with chilli tuna (Mar 2004, p. 72)
  2. Beef and vegetable stir-fry (Mar 2006, p. 40)
  3. Chilli salmon noodle salad with lime & herbs – COVER (Mar 2009, p. 89)

Top 3 cheap and cheerful and vegetarian!!!

  1. Greek bean & silverbeet stew (Mar 2007, p. 138)
  2. Root vegetable & chickpea tagine (Mar 2012, p.70)
  3. Pasta puttanesca (Mar 2003, p. 146)

I feel like I am starting to get my groove on with this whole little challenge now. It feels really comfortable.

Some people have asked me how I go about choosing what I make so as I start a new month, I thought I might give you a brief insight into how I approach each month:

  • In the last week of the month prior, I pull out all of the magazines for the next month. (of which there are twelve)
  • Starting in 2002 I start looking through each magazine and tagging the recipes that catch my eye or appeal to my tastes. I do this fairly quickly, so as not to get too caught up in the stories or other bits and pieces in the magazine. (otherwise you can imagine this would take me a week!)
  • The next step is to write a list of all the recipes I have tagged and where they come from. I do this by year.
  • Once this is complete, this is the list I go to each week to create my menu plan. It is a quick glance system where I can choose a good balance of sweet or savoury, easy or difficult recipes to cook based on my time and other commitments that week. For example, I save complicated or time consuming recipes for the weekend when I have more time.

I hope that this gives you a little insight into how I find the time to cook my family a delicious meal every night.

I would really like to thank each and every one of you who have taken the time to read the blog, leave a comment or like what I am doing.

I am particularly chuffed by how many of you have already signed up to take part in the very first My Delicious Year cook-a-long. In case you are yet to sign up, the recipe and shopping list is out now. Head over to the My Delicious Year facebook page to be kept up to date with what is going on. And mark your calendar for Wednesday 1o April.

I look forward to continuing to share My Delicious Year with you!

X Bree

P.S You can find a full list of what I cooked during March here


Filed under March

April cook-a-long: Recipe reveal

Hello friends,

Here is the moment you have all been waiting for. The details for the April cook-a-long are here.

I have chosen a recipe that I hope you will find easy, fast and affordable.

The possibilities are endless. If you are not particularly fond of prawns, feel free to swap them for something you enjoy. Try chicken or a firm fish fillet or even fried tofu.

Don’t forget that this month’s cook-a-long will take place on Wednesday 10 April.

Once you are finished cooking, take a moment and capture a photo your meal. Post your picture and comments on the My Delicious Year Facebook page or share it on instagram using the hashtag #cookalong and tag @mydeliciousyear.

I can’t wait to see how you all go.

X Bree


Filed under April, Cook-a-long

Eat your vegies, please?!?!?!

As a mother of a 2 and 4 year old it is a constant battle to make sure my children are eating a balanced diet. When it comes to vegetables, that battle is far from won.

My children are very much routine kids. They like to know where we’re going, when we’re going, for how long and who else will be there. When it comes to dinner it’s pretty much the same. When is dinner? What’s for dinner? What’s for dessert?

We are almost at the start of month three of the My Delicious Year challenge. During the past two months I have abandoned all the tried and tested family favourites in lieu of cooking my way through the more than ten years of delicious. Magazines I have been collecting. This means the kids have been served something different for dinner every night for the past sixty days. For kids who love predictabilty, this has been a challenge. So of course there have been some highs and some lows. But I am regularly suprised by what they actually eat versus what I think they will eat.

Greek bean & silverbeet stew

Last nights dinner, Greek bean & silverbeet stew was a good example. It ticked all the boxes for a meal the kids probably wouldn’t eat. It had:

  • green stuff (silverbeet and zucchini)
  • cannelini beans / lentils
  • everything was mixed together (my kids like things served separately which makes all the “yucky” stuff easily identifiable and avoidable)

Prepared for the usual bribery negotiations required to get the kids to even try it, I was surprised to watch B2 tuck in with absolutely no fuss at all, and ask for more! What the?

B4 on the other hand commenced his usual “ew it has green stuff” meltdown. Fortunately, being the Easter long weekend, we had an abundant supply of chocolate bribery available.

But before we bring out the chocolate, we put in place the “mouthfuls” rule.

What is it? Well it became very clear to us that our children are far smarter than what they make out. So we have implemented a “mouthfuls” rule for B4. As he is four years old, he needs to eat four mouthfuls of what is served before he can leave the table. The rules are:

  • you can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it
  • you can say you don’t like it if you have tried it
  • even if you don’t like it, you still  have to have your “mouthfuls” to try it (one for each year of their life)

Sound mean? Well in my defence, this approach has really worked on B4 who in the past has been stubborn, emotional and fussy when it comes to trying new foods, particularly vegetables. He understands numbers and what four means and now he understands the “mouthfuls” rule. More often than not he eats his four mouthfuls before complaining that he doesn’t like what he’s eating. And then, on the odd occasion, he turns to me with a look of surprise on his face and says “mummy this is actually yummy”. Small victories…

X Bree

Leave a comment to share what strategies you use to get your kids to eat their vegetables or to try new foods?

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Filed under March

Introducing the My Delicious Year monthly cook-a-long

What is it?

Join in for a once a month cook-a-long. On the first day of each month I will provide you with a recipe and shopping list. The recipe will be affordably priced and of easy to moderate difficulty.

When will it take place? 

The cook-a-long will take place on the second Wednesday of each month. An event will be created on the My Delicious Year Facebook page at the start of each month. Please join the group to stay up to date, and don’t forget to invite your friends to join in.

Where will the cook-a-long take place?

The idea is for you to cook the recipe in the comfort of your own home. Cook the selected recipe for your family, friends, neighbours or someone special. Once you are finished cooking, take a moment and capture a photo your meal. Post your picture and comments on the My Delicious Year Facebook page or share it on instagram using the hashtag #cookalong and tag @mydeliciousyear.

Why a cook-a-long?

One of the main goals I set when starting out on this blogging adventure was to inspire others to cook. The idea behind the cook-a-long is to encourage you to try a new recipe each month by making it accessible to all and as simple as possible. After the cook-a-long we can then come together as a group to talk about the recipe – like a virtual book club, but for recipes.

The first cook-a-long will take place on Wednesday 10 April.

I’d love to hear what you think about this idea and whether you will be participating.

X Bree


Filed under Cook-a-long, March

Pizza + cake = amazing pizza cake!

“Oooooh, I love a bit of cake. Oooooh, cake. Oooooh, cake. Cake. Cake. Cake. Cake. I’m just one of these people. I come home and I need a piece of cake.”Marjorie Dawes, Little Britain.

There’s no secret, I do love a bit of cake. I do love a bit of Little Britain too. Eating cake while watching Little Britain? Now you’re talking.

I have been known to be a bit partial to all things sweet when it comes to cake.

  • Honey sponge roll (a classic from my late grandma)
  • Chocolate cake for a crowd (the cake I’d make most weekends when I still lived at home with my parents)
  • No-bake cheesecake (which I perfected, and then somehow forgot how to make, much to my father’s disappointment)

But now, the greatest invention to arise from my kitchen is the pizza cake, the savoury alternative. 

But of course it’s not actually called a pizza cake. It’s really a wonderful, easy, upside-down tomato & basil pie from the March 2007 delicious. magazine. A recipe from Belinda Jeffrey’s.

Clearly my taste buds have changed over time.  Back in 2007 when this recipe was printed, I was not drawn to it nor its author. But now, some six years later, I came across this recipe and knew I had to make it! It was something about the simplicity of the ingredients – tomatoes, basil, cheese. I instantly knew it would be a winner. But what I didn’t realise was how awesome it really was or the endless potential for this cake.

Let’s begin. This cake, in all its rustic beauty, is only as good as the ingredients you use. My suggestion is buy your tomatoes a couple of days before you are ready to use them and leave them on the bench to ripen further. Smell them. If they smell like tomato, use them. I also like to use organic tinned tomatoes. Don’t judge me. I think they are affordable and that you will taste the difference. As for the basil, grow your own. Or not. Basil. Yum. I can almost smell it while I am typing this.

Of course, in the pursuit of shortcuts in the kitchen, I broke all the rules, and chose to ignore Belinda’s carefully written instructions by placing all the “cake” ingredients into the food processor at once. No harm done. Amazing pizza cake!

Once you have carefully sliced your roma tomatoes and made a pretty pattern on the base of the pan you have chosen to use, carefully spoon the tinned tomatoes over the top. Next time I think I will actually mix the basil through the tinned tomatoes rather than sprinkling it on top. I think it will only improve the flavour.

When choosing your pan, don’t do what I did and use a springform pan. Big mistake. All the juicy goodness from the tomatoes kind of oozed out of the bottom of the pan and out into my oven. What a waste. Use a pie dish or something similar, but don’t forget to grease it and line the base with baking paper. Even if it is non-stick.

Spread the cake mixture over the tomatoes and bake in the oven as suggested. Check it after the cooking time is up to make sure it is completely cooked through. Bring it out of the oven, flip it onto your serving plate. Slice it up and devour! Amazing pizza cake!

After consuming more than our fair share of our newfound favourite amazing pizza cake, Mr Picky Palette and I slothed on the couch devising a list of the endless possibilities and potential for improving the already amazing pizza cake. Some of the combinations we thought of to stir through the cake mixture before baking included:

  • shredded ham and pineapple
  • shredded hot salami, sundried tomatoes and olives
  • jalapenos  (Mr Picky Palette’s idea, not for me thanks!)
  • small chunks of fetta and dried oregano
  • anchovies and oregano.

Let it be said that you will see this cake again this month.

When you make this cake it will be the most amazing, mind-blowing, wonderful, easy, amazing pizza cake you have ever tasted!

And I owe it all to Belinda Jeffrey’s. Thank you!

Eat it!

X Bree

Amazing pizza cake!!!

Amazing pizza cake!!!

A wonderful, easy, upside-down tomato & basil pie

Serves 6

delicious. magazine, (Mar 2007, p. 79)

This is one of my great stand-bys when I want something delicious that looks special but doesn’t take forever to make

800g can diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups (225g) self-raising flour
1 tsp dry mustard powder
100g parmesan, freshly grated
50g good cheddar, finely grated
125g cold unsalted butter, chopped
2 eggs
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
A couple of shakes of Tabasco sauce
6 ripe tomatoes (preferably roma), thinly sliced
1/3 cup finely shredded basil
Basil leaves, to serve

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Butter a shallow 26cm round ovenproof dish and line the base with buttered baking paper. Set it aside.

Pour canned tomatoes into a sieve over a bowl. Leave to drain for 5-10 minutes. Give it a stir occasionally to make sure as much liquid seeps away as possible.

Meanwhile, whiz flour, mustard and 1 teaspoon of salt in a food processor. Add cheeses and whiz to just combine. Scatter butter over the top and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. (if you don’t have a food processor, you can do this in a bowl and rub the butter in by hand.) Tip mixture into a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and Tabasco. Make a well in the cheese mixture and pour in the egg mixture then stir to make a fairly stiff batter.

Lay the sliced tomatoes in overlapping circles in the base of the buttered dish so the bottom is completely covered. Spread drained tomatoes evenly over the top and sprinkle with the shredded basil. Dollop spoonfuls of the batter over the tomatoes, then, with lightly floured hands,pat it out with your fingers to spread it evenly. (Don’t worry if there are a few little gaps – they will fill out as the pie cooks.) Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pie is risen and golden. (The time will vary a bit depending on how thick your dish is.)

Test it by inserting a fine skewere into the pie, if it comes out clean the pie is ready. Remove teh pie from the oven and leave it to settle in the dish for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a warm serving platter. Mop up any juices that seep out onto the platter and scatter over basil leaves.

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Filed under easy, March

The versatile chickpea

Who would have thought it. Chickpeas in a cake. Well actually James Reeson did. James who, you ask? Well back in 2002 he was the “celebrity chef” featured in the March delicious. magazine. Famous for his pony tail and a show called “Alive & Cooking“. No, still don’t remember??? Not so much a celebrity anymore. But he did come up with this genius idea to combine chickpeas and apricots into a cake. The combination intrigued me so I had to give it a go.

The chickpeas are blended with dried apricots and apricot nector so you can’t really pick up on their flavour. In fact, if I did a blind tasting with you I am sure that you wouldn’t even know that there was chickpeas in the cake.

The end result is a very mild tasting, beautifully moist cake. The next time I make it (and I will definitely make it again!) I might pimp it up a bit and add the zest of an orange and maybe replace the apricot nectar with fresh orange juice to reduce the amount of sugar in the cake.

Chickpeas are so incredibly versatile. Adding them to a cake was just a genius idea!

X Bree

Chickpea & apricot cake

Chickpea & apricot cake

chickpea & apricot cake

Serves 6-8

delicious. magazine, (Mar 2002, p. 127)

125g dried apricots
350ml apricot nectar
2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned are fine)
3/4 cup brown sugar
250g self raising flour, sifted
100g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
50ml olive oil (coconut oil would be nice too!)
4 egg whites
Icing sugar, to dust
Thick greek yoghurt and honey, optional, to serve

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. Grease and line base of a 10 x 23cm loaf pan.

Place apricots and nectar in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes to soak. Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Place in a food processor and blend until a smooth puree. Add the sugar and blend for a few more seconds. Tip into a bowl and fold in the flour, coconut and a pinch of salt. Add the oil and 100ml water and stir to make a smooth batter.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into batter until combined. Pour in the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (If it browns too quickly, cover with foil.) Turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Dust with icing sugar and serve with thick yoghurt and a drizzle of honey, if desired.


Filed under cake, March

This little piggy went in my oven…

Pork. Not something I cook often. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I cooked it. Maybe a bit of mince in a spag bol or a chop to appease Mr Picky Palette’s demands for a taste of his youth. But here I go – pushing my culinary boundaries.

I confess to being a little bit confronted by the 1.5kg of pork shoulder, on the bone, which I purchased from my local meat man. I was a little bit overwhelmed by that kind of porky smell that pork has (funny that!). Fortunately, the recipe I had chosen to make, Katie Quinn Davies Slow-roasted pork & red wine ragu with pappardelle from the March 2013 issue of delicious. magazine, required very little preparation. A good season with salt and pepper. Pop it on a rack. Underneath, in a roasting tray, place a couple of roughly chopped onions, a whole head of peeled garlic, a cup of water and half a bottle of red wine (preferably shiraz). It then goes into a slow oven (140 degrees celcius) for six hours!

This is a recipe you definately want to get started first thing in the morning if you want to eat your dinner sometime before midnight!

Ready to go into the over for 6 hours

Ready to go into the over for six hours

After four hours of cooking, the recipe asks you to put eight large roma tomatoes onto a separate tray in the oven with the pork. My little oven wouldn’t fit another tray so I just added them to the onions and garlic underneath the pork. No harm done. One less tray to wash up though! Win!

I was surprised by how crispy the outside of the pork got even from being cooked at a very low heat. Not sure if this was supposed to happen. Fortunately, a special friend of mine (hello Leo!) had coincidently cooked this same recipe the day before me, so a quick text to her to find out that she too had ended up with crispy pork. Good.

Crispy skinned pork...

Crispy skinned pork…

When the six hours is up, everything comes out of the oven.

The tomatoes, onion and garlic get blitzed in a food processor along with the basil (which I didn’t have – oops! I replaced it with a handful of parsley.) I admit that basil would have tasted better though. Tomato and basil are meant to be together! This tomatoey mixture then goes into a clean saucepan with two tins of canned tomatoes, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, the zest of one lemon, two tablespoons of chopped oregano (from the garden of course!) and the other half of the bottle of wine. It gets simmered for 45 minutes until the sauce is thick.

Once the shoulder of pork is cool enough to handle, shred the meat and discard any skin, fat or bones. I also put aside any meat that was too crispy for a sneaky treat for Mr Picky Palette later. Best wife ever, right?

Pulled pork

Pulled pork

Once the sauce is nice and thick, all the pork goes into the saucepan for a few minutes to heat through.

Red wine ragu ready for the pasta

Red wine ragu ready for the pasta

The recipe called for packet pappardelle. You know me. I made my own pasta using my fool-proof Jamie Oliver basic egg pasta recipe which I’ve shared with you before. There is something about fresh pasta. It just tastes so much better. Do it! Do it! Do it!

Once you’ve cooked the pasta, stir it through the sauce and serve it up with freshly grated parmesan. Delicious!

The finished product

The finished product

But you know the whole time I was shredding the pork all I could think of was crusty bread and creamy coleslaw.

Note to self: next time one decides to spend the whole day with the oven on roasting a shoulder of pork, save some for a sandwich!

X Bree

P.S I lied – I actually have cooked pork before. I just remembered. I roasted a ham last Christmas and the one before that. Obviously not memorable!

slow-roasted pork  & red wine ragu with pappardelle

Serves 6-8

delicious. magazine, (Mar 2013, p. 94)

2 onions, quartered
1 garlic bulb, cloves separated, peeled
1.5kg pork shoulder (bone in)
Olive oil, to drizzle
750ml bottle shiraz
8 large roma tomatoes, halved
1 cup (80g) basil leaves
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs finely grated lemon rind
2 tbs chopped oregano leaves
600g pappardelle* MAKE YOUR OWN! YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!
Grated parmesan, to serve

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees celcius.

Scatter the onion and garlic over the base of a large roasting pan. Sit a roasting rack over vegetables and place the pork on the rack. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and drizzle liberally with olive oil. Pour half of the wine (375ml) and 1 cup (250ml) of water into the base of the pan, over the onion and garlic.

Slow-roast for 6 hours, checking every hour to make sure that the liquid doesn’t fully evaporate (if necessary, add extra water to the pan). I needed to a couple of times.

Place the tomatoes on a baking tray, then season and drizzle with olive oil. Roast with the pork for the final 2 hours of cooking time.

Remove roasting pan and tomatoes from the oven. Place the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves in a blender, along with the basil. Whiz until a smooth sauce. Place tomato sauce in a large saucepan, along with canned tomatoes, vinegar, lemon zest, oregano and remaining 375ml wine. Season and simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes or until well reduced.

Shred the pork, discarding the skin, fat and bones. Add the meat to the saucepan and cook for a further 15 minutes or until reduced and thick.

Meanwhile, cook pappardelle according to packet instructions. Drain and divide pasta among serving bowls. Ladle pork over pasta and scatter with parmesan before serving.

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Filed under budget friendly, March

Let’s talk about “that” sandwich

Before I can put February behind me, we need to talk about “that” sandwich.

When I began this challenge, one of the ground rules I set myself was that I would cook every cover recipe. I didn’t realise how hard that would be. It meant, no matter how difficult the recipe (e.g. the cake that nearly broke me) or how gross the ingredient (e.g eggplant…erggghh) I had to cook it.

On the last day of February I still had three cover recipes to cook:

  1. Figs with honeyed yoghurt, prosciutto & mint (Feb 2005, p. 14)
  2. Baby bocconcini & roast tomato tart (Feb 2002, p.181)
  3. Fontina cheese & basil toastie (Feb 2007, p. 89) aka “that” sandwich

Why was it that on the last day of February I still had three cover recipes to go? Because I was procrastinating. I was doing everything I could to avoid making a silly little sandwich. And why? Because it involved three ingredients. Anchovies. Sage leaves. Fontina cheese. Wrong! Right?

When I put out a plea on the My Delicious Year Facebook page community for permission to break the ground rules and not make this sandwich, one of my friends from my school days rightly pointed out that no where in the ground rules did it say I had to eat it. Thanks Rebecca. You are right!

So after a busy day of cooking on Thursday (three recipes in one day!) I made “that” sandwich. I had absolutely no confidence in the recipe. Nor did delicious. magazine. In fact the picture on the cover was actually a different recipe to what was printed in the magazine! What the? Skye Gyngell’s original recipe was sage leaves, sourdough bread, fontina cheese and anchovies. delicious. magazine altered the recipe to include basil instead of sage and added fresh slices of tomato. In my eyes, even they doubted the combination of sage, anchovies and fontina.

Of course when I went to the shop I couldn’t find fontina cheese anywhere! Far out… Another reason to try to get out of making the recipe. A quick question to Dr Google on my incredibly smart phone and I found a suitable alternative, Gruyere. No more excuses. Just make the damn sandwich.

The hairy sandwhich assembly

The hairy sandwich assembly

And there it was. A quick assembly of required ingredients. Into my sandwich press. And five minutes later the most revolting toastie in the entire universe was ready.

But, the thing was, it wasn’t revolting! Yes, I took a bite. I did it for the team. I did it so I could honestly report back to you on what it was like. It was only one bite, but in all honesty I could have eaten the lot (except that I couldn’t actually get it back off Mr Picky Palette after I had offered it to him).

I took a bite, I promise...

I took a bite, I promise…

I had convinced myself it would be this fishy, hairy, greasy, revolting sandwich and it wasn’t. Sure it was salty. But I like salty. It was cheesy.  It was crunchy. It was moreish. Where’s the beer?

And now I can sit here honestly and tell you that I cooked and tried all twelve February cover recipes and lived to tell the tale.

But I will never be making that sandwich again.

The end.

X Bree

What food combination would you completely freak out about if you were forced to eat it? Leave a comment for me.

Fontina cheesee & herb toasted sandwiches

Serves 4

delicious. magazine (Feb 2007, p. 88)

To make these sandwiches as per the cover, replace the sage leaves with basil, and add sliced tomato with the anchovies.

14 fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup (60ml) mild-tasting extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to grease
8 slices chewy peasant-style bread  (preferably sourdough)
125gm fontina cheese*, coarsely grated (I used gruyere)
6 good-quality anchovies in oil, drained

Tear 10 sage leaves. Place in a small saucepan with oil and 1/2 tsp pepper and heat over low heat for 1-2 minutes until just warm to the touch. Turn off the heat and stand while you assemble the sandwiches.

Tear remaining sage leaves. Cover half the bread slices with cheese, taking it all the way to the crust. Chop the anchovies roughly. Sprinkle over the cheese and top with torn sage leaves. Top each with a second slice of bread, then press firmly with the palm of your hand. Brush the sandwiches on both sides with sage oil, making sure you go all the way to the edges. Season with pepper.

Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron or other heavy-based frypan over low heat and sprinkle with a little extra oil. Add the sandwiches, in batches if necessary, and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and cheese melts. Wrap in napkins and pack in the picnic bag or eat on the way there while the cheese is still soft.

* Fontina is a melting Italian cheese from selected delis and gourmet shops.


Filed under February

Farewell to February

Some of my February favourites

Some of my February favourites

It’s official. I have made it through the first month of the My Delicious Year challenge! Round of applause please?

In the end I managed 31 recipes in 28 days. Not a bad effort for the first month of the challenge. In all honesty though, it has been a whole lot of fun.

Here’s a quick recap on some of my favourite recipes from the month:

Top 3 desserts

Real strawberry jelly (Feb 2011, p. 44)
Vanilla panna cotta with roasted plums – COVER (Feb 2003, p. 10)
Strawberry & almond crumble with crème fraiche (Feb 2004, p. 81)

Top 3 easy weeknight dinners

Minced chicken with Thai basil (Feb 2006, p.76)
Prawn, zucchini & mint tagliatelle (Feb 2011, p. 52)
Honey lemon chicken wings (Feb 2004, p. 104)

Top 3 fancy weekend dinners

Smoked salmon & pea risoni with a coriander mojo (Feb 2007, p. 80)
Ravioli with roasted pumpkin & herbs (Feb 2002, p. 128)
Roasted vegetable strudel with pesto sauce (Jan/Feb 2002, p. 86)

Top 3 cheap and cheerful

Tuna-stuffed capsicum (Feb 2004, p. 74)
Stir-fried pork and pickled cucumber on rice noodles (Feb 2008, p. 96)
Chicken dumplings in broth (Feb 2005, p. 62)

This whole little project has been good for me. I used to be a disorganised cook, often waiting until mid afternoon  before I would start to think about what I would cook for dinner. Now I sit down at the start of the week and plan my meals out for the week and only shop once or twice.

It has also been good for the rest of the family. B2 and B4 are your usual fussy eaters. But they have been really great. Trying lots of new things. Finding new things that they like. Generally being awesome little dudes – except for the one or two times I have had to spoon feed them or threaten to send them to bed without any dinner!

Even Mr Picky Palette has been awesome. He is the first to remind me that I am a quitter or that I never finish what I start. But I have proved him wrong so far. He happily wolf’s down the food I make, offers his two cents on what I should or shouldn’t have put in it, and then asks for seconds. I’m happy with that…

I would really like to thank each and every one of you that are reading my blog, leaving comments and liking what I am doing. That is really what keeps me going each day, knowing that I have your support. If I have inspired just one of you to try something new, then my job is done! Thank you so much! 

Now that March is underway, I can’t wait to get into some delicious Autumn food! I look forward to continue sharing My Delicious Year with you!

Take care,

X Bree

P.S You can find a full list of what I cooked during February here.

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Filed under February

I made an ugly cake…

So I made this ugly cake.

Well actually it was a brownie – a chocolate cheesecake brownie.

I should have known better.

You mix together the ingredients for the brownie base and then you mix together the ingredients for the cheesecake.

Two thirds of the brownie mix goes in the bottom of the cake tin, followed by the cheesecake, followed by the last third of the brownie mix. Then you swirl it all around and bake it.

Here's where it starts to get ugly

Here’s where it starts to get ugly

Here’s where it got ugly. There was SO much cheesecake mixture. It involved almost a kilogram of cream cheese after all! My gut told me that it wouldn’t all fit in the 24cm square cake pan suggested. I ignored my gut and just followed the instructions.

So I spent the next hour nervously watching it bake in the oven.

And as I expected, it slowly rose up, up, up and over like warm chocolatey lava. Disaster!

It didn’t help that I was in a hurry too. I had planned on taking the brownie out to my parents house for morning tea, but I was running late. After it broke its banks and oozed up and over that stupid little pan I switched off the oven and left it there. I would deal with whatever was waiting for me when I got home.

When I got home and opened up the oven, the brownie had kind of sunk violently in the middle with some serious chocolate hanging over the baking paper and cake pan.

Cracked, sunken and overflowing - sigh!

Cracked, sunken and overflowing – sigh!

I left the cake to completely cool in the pan and then dragged it out. Things just got uglier…

Every time I tried to cut a nice piece to photograph and share with you lovely people, the cake cracked more, bits fell off, oh it was just a disaster! U-G-L-Y!

But, those little bits that kept falling off the cake kept falling in my mouth and, oh my goodness, they were yum! Chocolatey, gooey, chewy, sweet, cheesy, deliciousness!

In the end I hacked it into square like pieces and sent it off to work with Mr Picky Palette for his co-workers to enjoy. They didn’t seem to mind ugly cake.

Moral of the story:

  1. Go with your gut instincts
  2. Use a bigger cake pan
  3. Or halve the cheesecake mixture
  4. Ugly can still taste delicious

X Bree

At this point I gave up trying to cut a piece pretty enough to share with you...

At this point I gave up trying to cut a piece pretty enough to share with you…

Chocolate cheesecake brownies

Makes 16

delicious. magazine (Feb 2009, p. 101)

250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
250g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (440g) caster sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup (110g) plain flour
750g cream cheese, softened

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius. Grease and line a 24cm square cake pan.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). I melted mine in the microwave – it’s much quicker and uses less dishes!

Meanwhile, place butter and 1 1/4 cups (275g) sugar in a bowl, then beat with electric beaters until thick and pale. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well between each. Add melted chocolate and flour, then continue beating until well combined.

Spread two-thirds of the chocolate mix in the pan. Set remaining mixture aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and remaining 3/4 cup (165g) sugar with electric beaters until smooth. Add the remaining 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Carefully spread cream cheese mixture over the chocolate in the pan. Dollop the remaining chocolate mixture over cream cheese layer, then use a fork to swirl the chocolate through the cream cheese.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the centre is just set. Cool completely in pan, then carefully remove from the pan, transfer to a board and cut into 16 squares.


Filed under cake, February

Stretching the pennies for a cheap weeknight dinner

I was surprised to receive a bit of backlash during the week about how much money (and time) people assumed I was spending feeding my family on this new “delicious” diet.

The thing is, from Monday through to Friday I am drawn to recipes that are quick and simple to prepare and only require a few ingredients. On the weekends, when I have a bit more time, I like to go all out and try out the more lavish recipes that require more time and more money. The weekend is also the time when I might bake something special for morning tea and try out something a bit extravagant for dessert.

Chicken dumplings in broth

Chicken dumplings in broth

Take for example last week’s Chicken Dumplings in Broth. The list of ingredients were:

250 gm chicken mince
1 garlic clove
1 tbs chopped coriander
1 eggwhite
4 tbs light soy sauce, plus extra to serve
1 L chicken stock
1 lemongrass stem
2.5cm piece ginger
2 small red chillies
2 star anise
2 tbs lime juice
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs fish sauce
1 /2 bunch garlic chives (which I didn’t use)
chilli bean sauce, to serve

Out of everything on the list, the only things I didn’t already have  in the fridge or pantry was the chicken mince and lemongrass. A quick check of Coles online and 500g chicken mince is currently $5.90 (and you only need half of that) and one bunch of lemongrass is $2.48. I also threw in a few rice noodles to bulk out the meal which are very cheap at my local Asian store. So really, in order for me to put this meal together for the four us, it cost well under $10.

What i’m trying to say is that it doesn’t cost a lot to feed your family fresh, fancy looking food, if that is your thing. Looks can be very deceiving!

Maybe I have Instagram to thank for making my food look fancier than what it really is…

X Bree

P.S You can find the full recipe here.

Whats your family’s favourite cheap, but a little bit fancy, dinner?


Filed under budget friendly, February, low fat

The cake that nearly broke me

Under normal circumstances I would never attempt a cake like the Summer layer cake, the cover recipe from the February 2012 issue of delicious. magazine. However, you may recall that when I started this little project, one of my “ground rules” was that I would cook every single cover recipe. This whole exercise was designed to push me out of my comfort zone and cook things I would ordinarily deem too hard.

The plan was to make the cake for my birthday, a Wednesday. But the night before, during a quick scan of the recipe to ensure I had all the necessary ingredients, I came across the dreaded words “Begin this recipe a day ahead”. I was not off to a particularly good start. There would be no birthday cake.

As it turns out, I got busy and I didn’t end up starting the cake until Friday.

The first stage was making the cake and berry mousse which would be sandwiched between each layer of cake. This stage was pretty straight forward, except that I don’t own two springform pans. And the one I borrowed from my mother was a different size to mine. This is kind of critical when you are making a multi layered cake that would set overnight in said pan. In the end I made do using three pans almost the same size and hoped for the best.

Having had a terrible incident with smoke and electricity (and a trip to the bin) with my own mixer late last year, I borrowed my mother’s beautiful vintage Sunbeam mixer. I would say it is over 40 years old, but it is still working as new. They certainly don’t make them like they used to.

My mother's vintage Sunbeam mixer

My mother’s vintage Sunbeam mixer

The cake is the usual cream butter and sugar blah blah. No drama there.

While the cake was baking I got on to making the berry mousse. It’s quite a simple process of mixing together strawberries, raspberries, cream and gelatine. The trick is to gently fold the whipped cream into the berry puree and keep the mixture light. This was so good. I could actually have eaten it on its own. No volunteers required for bowl licking here!

What came next was a whole lot of cutting, trimming, glad wrapping and finger crossing. I had to cut one cake in half and slice the top off the other two to make them all about the same size. I glad wrapped the cake pan I baked one of the cakes in and then put the first layer of cake into the bottom, topped it with a third of the berry mousse mixture and repeated to make four layers of cake and three layers of mousse. It was then sealed with more glad wrap and tucked up into bed in the fridge over night.

The next afternoon I finally got the courage to finish the cake off. In my eyes this was the hard part – making the marshmallow icing and assembly.

I have never come across a marshmallow icing recipe before, but this is a revelation. Since I made it I have been trying to come up with other uses for it (I’m thinking cup cakes!!!). It is a bit of a process to make it, but well worth it. Over a double boiler on the stove you whisk the egg white, sugar and cream of tartar until the mixture kind of doubles in size and becomes frothy. You then add the chopped up marshmallows and transfer it over to your mixer and beat it at top speed for about ten minutes until it becomes thick, pale, shiny, cool and DELICIOUS!!!

Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3

As for the final stage of assembly, well, um, it tasted good!

I wasn’t thrilled with how it looked in the end. It wasn’t anywhere near as pretty as the original in the delicious. magazine.

I think each of the layers were quite even, I was happy with that. I found that I had to work pretty quickly to get the marshmallow icing on as I noticed it starting to slide off the cake. I also failed to get the dessicated coconut onto the sides of the cake. Not sure how they managed that one…

Before the marshmallow icing

Before the marshmallow icing

The end result

So four days after originally planning to be eating cake, we finally sat down and tried it.

The cut

The cut

My piece!

My piece!

It may not have been that pretty. It may have taken two days. I may have had to adapt the recipe a little to fit in with the equipment I had. But I did it! It didn’t break me! But it was hard work!

I’ll leave it up to B2 to sum up for you how the cake actually tasted. A picture tells a thousand words…

Finger licking good

Finger licking good

X Bree


Filed under cake, February, ground rules, special occasion

Pasta and Panna Cotta – A fancy Sunday night dinner

In our house Sunday night dinners are not flash. They usually consist of scrambled eggs or fridge leftovers. But since I embarked on this cooking extravaganza Sunday nights dinner have been a bit more fancy.

Tonight we took a trip back to 2002 and 2003 and enjoyed Ravioli with roasted pumpkin & herbs and Panna cotta with roasted plums. One word = yum!

I have made fresh pasta before, and in fact, the recipe calls for fresh, shop bought lasagne sheets a la Latina style. But I chose to make my own using my faithful Jamie Oliver basic pasta dough recipe. It’s a simple recipe – 100gm of strong “00” flour to each egg. Make as little or as much as you like. I use my food processor so it is whizzed together in a moment. I make enough for six so I can freeze half. Once you’ve made it a few times it is simple. The hardest part really is the rolling out and getting the texture smooth and silky.

Rolling out the fresh egg pasta

Rolling out the fresh egg pasta

The filling for the ravioli is a simple mix of roasted butternut pumpkin, ricotta, egg yolk, parmesan, toasted pine nuts, fresh herbs (I used sage, basil and thyme) and a pinch of nutmeg (which I forgot – whoops!). I’m not a fan of butternut pumpkin. I find it kind of stringy. I prefer the blue or jap and would probably use that next time. Any herbs will do. Whatever you like to eat. Fresh from your own garden is even better!

The ravioli filling

The ravioli filling

Next is the most difficult part – rolling and filling the ravioli. The secret is not to overfill the ravioli and to make sure that you get all of the air out before you seal each one. I made little round ones because that is the only cutter I had, but you could also cut them by hand into squares or use a fancy crimper cutter. Whatever…

Even little mounds are best

Even little mounds are best

Perfect little packages

Perfect little packages

While you are boiling your ravioli in salted water (4 or 5 minutes until they rise to the surface) you can make the sage flavoured oil by warming your extra virgin olive oil and dropping in a dozen sage leaves till they sizzle and crisp up.

The result is perfect little pillows with a sweet and savoury pumpkin and cheese filling. Really delicious. Give it a go!

The end result

The end result

Now for the panna cotta. Confession! This recipe is SO easy I actually whipped it up 15 minutes before I went to bed on Saturday night. I’m not sure why I thought it would be more difficult. Maybe it’s Masterchef’s fault. Or Matt Preston. You’ve got to get your “wobble” right. Miraculously, I did.

This recipe is NOT low-fat. It consists of cream, cream, vanilla, sugar and more cream. It is very rich, very sweet and very much a sometimes food! But so, so good.  You simply heat the two types of cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a pot and bring it to a simmer and switch it off. Let it cool for a few minutes then add your softened leaf gelatine. Strain it and pour it into little dariole moulds, or if you don’t have them, just pour it into whatever you want to serve it in. Leave them in the fridge over night to set. The recipe said it would make six. I made eight. Any bigger and I think I would have had a sugar convulsion (did I mention this recipe is rich?)

While I was cooking dinner last night I made the roasted plums, which is pretty much that. Plums, sugar, more vanilla bean roasted in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.

The trickiest part of this recipe is getting the panna cotta out of the dariole moulds. The easiest way I found was to run a knife around the edge of the mould to break the seal, dip the mould into warm water for a minute, turn it upside down onto the plate you want to serve it on and give it a little bang. Ta da! Magic! All the little seeds from the vanilla bean have now settled on top of your panna cotta which makes it look pretty. Add a couple of plums and you have a very good-looking dessert.

Vanilla panna cotta with roasted plums

Vanilla panna cotta with roasted plums

These two recipes were published in delicious. magazine more than ten years ago, yet they have not dated a bit. If you want to impress somebody, without going to a whole lot of trouble, you must give them both a go.

However, after such a decadent dinner last night we are one fruit and salad today! Until dinner of course, where I am planning on using the rest of my fresh egg pasta to make another delicious dinner!

X Bree


Filed under February, special occasion

Dinner for the kids

February 13 is all about me! T’hat’s right, it’s my birthday! You’d think i’d get the day off cooking, but alas, no.

Mr Picky Palette kindly offered to take me out to a place for grown ups (yay!) while B2 and B4 are left supervised by their Aunty Beck.

But before the grown up fun can commence, I made dinner and dessert for my three lovelies. Thinking something quick and kid friendly I opted for Bill Granger’s honey lemon chicken wings from February 2004 and for a special treat Real strawberry jelly from February 2011.

Chicken legs are very popular in my house. Actually, any food that does not require a knife and fork is pretty popular in my house. Knowing this, I swapped wings for legs and went ahead with making up the honey lemon marinade. Chicken legs go in the oven in their nakedness with a good sprinkle of salt  for 30 minutes at 200 degrees celsius. Then you whip them out. Pour over the marinade, swirl them round and throw them back in the oven for another 20 minutes. During the last 20 minutes I checked on them every 10 minutes and turned them over in the marinade to ensure an even coating of sticky, sweet, savoury, lemon yumminess! The legs do take longer than wings to cook so you just need to keep an eye on them. I cooked them an extra ten minutes, then they were ready to devour. Finger licking goodness!

Honey lemon chicken legs

Honey lemon chicken legs

Honey lemon chicken wings

delicious. magazine Feb 2004: Issue 24, p 104

Serves 8

16 free-range chicken wings, tips removed, jointed (or 6 – 8 legs, I used organic)

1 tbs olive oil

1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tbs (1/4 cup) honey

2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

Lemon wedges, to serve

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Place chicken in a large baking dish. Toss with oil, season with salt and roast for 30 minutes

Place lemon juice, garlic and honey in a bowl and stir to combine. Pour over chicken and stir to coat well. Cook for another 20 minutes or until tinged golden and cooked through. Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon.

– – –

Up next, jelly. Not just any jelly. Real. Strawberry. Jelly! Jelly where you know exactly what made it go that glorious pink colour. Jelly with only five ingredients, none of which are scary little numbers. Real. Strawberry. Jelly!

Until now, I didn’t realise how simple it was to make jelly. Why hadn’t I done this before? Why on earth, had I given my children green jelly from a packet, that 20 minutes later made them a little crazy? Never again…

This recipe is so versatile. Swap the strawberries for any seasonal fruit. Or any juice in fact. It is after all the juice or flavour of the fruit that you combine with a simple sugar syrup and gelatine that ends up as your jelly. I can’t wait to experiment with my juicer and make apple jelly or carrot jelly or pineapple jelly! My only criticism of this recipe is that it is super sweet (probably why the kids loved it!). The strawberries have a natural sweetness to them when they are really ripe so next time I would definately halve the amount of sugar I used and just double-check the gelatine packet to make sure that my liquid levels match up with the amount of gelatine required (the recipe calls for 3 tsp).

The method for the jelly is lengthy, but is not a true representation of how quickly you can pull this together. Don’t be put off by all the words. I had the mixture made and ready to eat in about 4 hours (including setting time.)

Fortunately, there was one left over, so I am off to enjoy it now. Jelly for lunch? Yes please! It is Valentine’s Day after all, and this is my gift to myself.

X Bree

Real strawberry jelly

Real strawberry jelly

Real strawberry jelly

delicious. magazine Feb 2011: Issue 101, p 144

3 x 250g punnets ripe strawberries, hulled

180g caster sugar

1 tbs lemon juice

3 tsp powdered gelatine

300ml thickened cream, lightly whipped

Halve 500g strawberries. Place the sugar and 1 1/2 cups (375ml) water in a large pan over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes until slightly reduced. Add lemon juice and halved berries to the pan, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until berries are soft. Carefully transfer berry mixture to a fine sieve set over a bowl, and stand for 40 minutes or until most of the liquid has drained from the berries. (Don’t push down on the berries or the jelly will be cloudy.) Discard solids.

Return the berry syrup to the pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until hot but not boiling. Transfer 1/2 cup (125ml) hot syrup to a large bowl, then sprinkle over gelatine and stand for 2 minutes. Whisk to completely dissolve gelatine, then stir in the remaining syrup. Transfer to a jug and chill for 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly, until jelly is thick, but not set.

Pour the jelly into four 150ml serving glasses and return to the fridge for a further 10-15 minutes until starting to firm up.

Meanwhile, slice the remaining berries.

Gently press most of the berry slices into the jelly – being careful not to disturb the jelly too much. Return to the fridge for 6 hours to set. (Jellies can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days at this point.)

Just before serving, spoon a dollop of whipped cream over each jelly, then top with remaining berries and serve.

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Filed under family friendly, February

Monday night dinner, fast and fresh

These are the kind of dinners I like to cook. You know the ones? It’s Monday night. Fridge is near empty after the weekend. Too tired to go shopping. What to cook? Enter Minced chicken with Thai basil. And it’s low-fat!

It turns out my fridge was emptier than I first thought. The basil I had bought on the weekend had seen better days so I substituted it for some of that herb in a tube stuff. No harm done. The lettuce I bought seemed to be flood affected and was in no way going to form the perfect little cups it was supposed to (a la san choy bow style). So in the end I formed a kind of warm salad.

Minced chicken with Thai basil

Minced chicken with Thai basil

The lettuce is a crucial ingredient, don’t be tempted to replace it or leave it out. The combination of fish sauce, oyster sauce and kecap manis makes the mix really salty and the lettuce somehow cuts through that. It also benefits from the addition of the (optional) jasmine rice. I stirred it through the chicken mince mixture which helped bulk out the meal.

Of all people, B4 proclaimed dinner “yum”. I was shocked as he is always the first to complain when there is visible green things in his dinner (in this case, thinly slice kaffir lime leaves). He must have been hungry!

This is a cheap, quick, family friendly meal. Try it.

X Bree


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Filed under February, low fat, Monday night

A delicious breakfast

I am so thankful to have such a wonderfully supportive family.

When I first toyed with the idea of starting a blog, they were the ones who encouraged me to take a leap of faith, providing me with the confidence I needed to get started.

However, when my older sister asked me to cater her boardroom breakfast last Friday morning, my initial gut reaction was to say “no”. But if there is one thing I have learnt since starting this blog, it is that every time I post something here I am forcing myself out of my comfort zone. And that is why I actually said “yes”!

For the purposes of keeping it simple but still delicious, I ventured a little bit outside of “February” in order to come up with my menu. Please forgive me for breaking “the rules”.

A Delicious Breakfast

A Delicious Breakfast

Here it  is :

I spent Thursday shopping and preparing for Friday morning. The omelette’s and fruit salad I would need to make fresh on Friday morning before delivery, however the rest I made in advance.

This was the first time I had cooked rhubarb. I was a little bit nervous. I found that the rhubarb needed to be cooked twice as long as what the recipe said. In the end, it didn’t hold its shape well, but it was sweet and cinnamony with a jammy consistency. Allowing the flavours to infuse overnight certainly didn’t do any harm. 

The bircher muesli was simple. Combine the oats with the freshly squeezed oj. Add the yoghurt and grated apple in the morning and spoon into the jam jars. I cannot believe how creamy and lush the end result was, with only the use of greek yoghurt. It tasted far naughtier! As for the sweet dukkah. Yum! Yum! Yum! I still have a little secret stash and have been trying to find excuses to sprinkle it on everything! You must try it. Even if you don’t make the bircher muesli. Sprinkle it on yoghurt, fresh fruit, poached fruit. Put a spoonful onto sweet muffins before you bake them. Whatever you can find. It is just so yummy. This will become a staple in my pantry.

For the fruit salad I just went out and bought the best seasonal fruit I could find – green grapes, red paw paw, raspberries, blueberries, passionfruit, pineapple, yellow nectarines, bananas, freshly squeezed orange juice. The result? Summer in a cup. I served it with more of the plain greek yoghurt and of course, sweet dukkah. The secret was to select perfectly ripe fruit. I am one of those weird people who sniff my fruit before I buy it. It has to have the smell of what you’re buying. If it doesn’t, don’t bother.

Ginger and almond slice

Ginger and almond slice

The ginger and almond slice was very easy. Except…I am currently without a mixer. My last one smoked up before Christmas and since then I have been avoiding all recipes that include “cream butter and sugar”. I don’t know what I was thinking when I emailed the confirmed menu through to my sister, but once I read the recipe properly and saw those four words “cream butter and sugar”, I panicked! So with nothing to lose (I had all the ingredients and I wasn’t about to change recipes) I made it in my food processor with the pastry blade. Surprise, surprise it turned out great. It rose like it should. It browned like it should. It tasted oh so good. Chewy, gingery goodness.

I can’t remember the last time I voluntarily got up at 4:30am in the morning. In actual fact I was awake at 3:30am! I was excited and nervous. I was about to cook something I had never cooked before for eight strangers. That’s how much confidence I had in the recipes in delicious. magazine.

I cooked the individual potato and chive omelette in muffin pans which meant they cooked quickly but would still be warm when I got to the venue. I sliced all the fruit and placed it in a bowl, ready for gentle tossing when I arrived.

Individual potato and chive breakfast omelette served with smoked salmon and crème fraiche

Individual potato and chive breakfast omelette served with smoked salmon and crème fraiche

In some kind of miracle I packed my esky, without actually forgetting anything, and headed off to Chelmer at 6:00am.

When I arrived I quickly assembled everything and presented it on the boardroom table, leaving quickly before all the guests arrived.


If there is one thing I learned out of this exercise it is to push myself more often this year. Say yes more often. When my gut says no (because it could be too hard or because I might fail or embarrass myself), say yes and just do my best. Because my best can be good enough!

X Bree

What is your favourite special breakfast recipe?

When was the last time you forced yourself out of your comfort zone and achieved success?


Filed under February, ground rules

When one little thing ruins a perfectly good plan

Hello friends,

It’s funny how one little thing can ruin a perfectly good plan.

There I was on Wednesday, all ready to make the February 2010 cover recipe, Bill Granger’s cumin-spiced lamb with fresh mango chutney, for dinner. I’d carefully chopped the green chilli, ginger and garlic as finely as I could. I’d measured out the garam masala and turmeric and squeezed the lime juice. I mixed it all together to make a delicious marinade. So far so good.

Off to the fridge I went to get out my lamb cutlets. When I opened the plastic, I knew straight away – rotten!! Now I don’t know about you, but lamb cutlets are a luxury in my house. My kids love them! But with a $30/kg + price tag, they are a rarity. I was foul! Furious!

In a frenzy I rummaged through my handbag to find the receipt. Having only bought them on Monday, I was hoping that for one time in my life I had somehow kept it. Yes! Next, a phone call to the store manager to voice my anger and request a refund or return. No problem she says. Just bring it back as soon as you can. Next, a quick phone call to Mr Picky Palette and a plea to him to visit the big red supermarket chain and replace them for me. Yes dear.

By now, it was too late. B2 and B4’s dinner cries were reaching a crescendo! What to do? So I bailed on the idea of cooking the lamb cutlets as planned. I was out of time and out of lamb! Dinner was saved by a frozen salmon fillet and a few salad items hiding in the fridge. Kids were fed! Phew…

Mr Picky Palette arrived home soon after. Replacement lamb cutlets were put in the freezer to be served another day.

X Bree

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Filed under February

Dinner and dessert: a day of cooking highs and lows

It was a usual kind of Tuesday. In the morning, B2 and B4 took a drive with me to visit my mum. We came home mid afternoon so I could begin dinner preparations.

Recipe number two is Smoked salmon & pea risoni with coriander mojo. 

delicious. magazine Feb 2007: Issue 57, p 80

Smoked salmon & pea risoni with coriander mojo

Smoked salmon & pea risoni with coriander mojo

Now for a confession. Back in 2007 I actually made this recipe. At the time it ticked all the boxes, so I was happy to be able to make it again under the excuse of my delicious year.

It’s not a cheap meal, as anyone who lingers over the hot and cold smoked salmon section of the supermarket hoping for specials and mark-downs, will know. I actually paid $9.99 for 150g of hot smoked salmon. The recipe called for two 175g portions. I ended up buying two 150g portions (costing $19.98 – don’t tell Mr Picky Palette!) and it was plenty.

The highs? It was delicious! As delicious as I remember it being. Serve it at room temperature. It has that delicious zing that the combination of garlic, lemon, fresh herbs and chilli give a dish. Mr Picky Palette announced he wanted more (his way of complimenting me), but I reminded him of his comment to me when I started this blog “I better not get fat while you do this!” You won’t if you don’t have seconds dear. It also made a lot of food. The recipe serves 4 – 6 but that is 4 – 6 good size serves. Yay for leftovers!

The lows? Sitting on the floor spoon-feeding B2 and B4 whilst bribing them with the promise of being able to watch ABC3 as I shoved each mouthful into them. Initially, upon seeing what was for dinner, B4 ran screaming from the room yelling “I’m never eating dinner ever, ever, ever again!” (as you do when you’re 4 and your mother serves you green stuff). B2’s initial response was more promising “Mmmm yummy prawns”. Yep, not prawns mate! He then proceeded to NOT eat it until I sat him on my lap and clapped like a crazed woman every time he took a small mouthful. Yay! That lasted for two spoonfuls. Not yay!

So grownups, if you like hot smoked salmon, you like coriander, you like pasta, you like a quick dinner, make it! Thanks to the interweb thingo, you can find the recipe here.

I’ll save the highs and lows of dessert for another time…

X Bree

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Filed under February

Getting fishy with Rick Stein

When you think Rick Stein, you automatically think seafood. He really is the godfather of seafood in my eyes.

Ever since I developed my passion for all things food, Rick Stein has been a big part of this love affair. A kind of foodie crush, but not in a kissy kissy kind of way. More like a relationship of respect for his ability to cook something just plucked from the ocean and transform it into something delicious with a few simple ingredients.

So recipe number one (drum roll please) is Chargrilled snapper with mango, prawn & chilli salsa. Yum right? Well here is where it all went wrong…

  1. Usually excellent local fishmonger didn’t have the delicious snapper with skin-on that I was looking for. Very average alternative fish selected. My mistake!
  2. I should have known right from the start that Mr Picky Palette would protest eating a meal that included both sweet (mango) and savoury (avocado). In principle, in my opinion, this would be a fabulous pairing, especially with the inclusion of chilli (we are big fans!). However, my mistake was selecting a rather average mango. Had it been one of those luscious, juicy, ripe ones that they use in those large supermarket chain ads proclaiming “we’re the freshest supermarket in the whole world” then it would have transformed the dish into that beautiful combination of sweet and savoury that actually works. Needless to say, Mr Picky Palette’s feedback on this recipe is not printable! It went along the lines of “don’t ever make that again”.

The salsa recipe calls for cooked green prawns. Huh? Don’t ya just mean cooked prawns? Anyway, I bought green prawns and cooked them in a good knob of butter and a pinch of salt and they were a delicious addition to the salsa. You could easily just buy your prawns cooked and slice them thickly.

In summary, this is a simple, quick and healthy recipe which I will definately attempt again with a few minor adjustments and more chilli!

Chargrilled snapper with a mango, prawn & chilli salsa

Chargrilled snapper with a mango, prawn & chilli salsa

Chargrilled snapper with a mango, prawn & chilli salsa

delicious. magazine Jan/Feb 2002: Issue 2, p 62

Serves 4

4 x 175g pieces of uncooked snapper fillet*

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Coriander sprigs, to garnish


2 large medium-hot red chillies

100g peeled, cooked green prawns, thickly sliced

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1 ripe but firm avocado, peeled, cut into small dice

1/2 ripe but firm mango, peeled, cut into small dice

Juice of 1 lime

A pinch of salt

If you are using a barbecue, light it 30-40 minutes before you want to cook the fish. For the salsa, cut the chillies in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with teh tip of a small knife but leave the ribs behind to give the salsa a little more heat. Cut them crossways into thin slices. Then simply mix all the ingredients together.

If you are not cooking the fish on a barbeque, put chargill over a high heat or preheat the grill to high. Brush the snapper fillets on both sides with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Cut each into 3, slightly on the diagonal.

Cook snapper either skin-side down on barbeque, or skin-side up under grill, for 3-4 minutes.

T0 serve, spoon salsa on to 4 plates and arrange the strips of fish on top. Drizzle a little oil around the edge of the plate and garnish with coriander.

* Alternative fish: Red or grey mullet, bream, John Dory

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Filed under February, Rick Stein

And so it begins with a goodbye…


My collection of twelve "February's", ready for my first month of delicious cooking

My collection of twelve “February’s”, ready for my first month of delicious cooking

Today I farewelled Jamie and Donna, Bill and Kylie, David, Madhur and Thomasina, and a whole bunch of ‘old friends’ to make room for my delicious year. That’s right. I’ve packed up my rather large recipe book collection to make room for the 123 issues of delicious. magazine that have been lying low in my garage for the past 11 years.

I have set myself a very serious foodie challenge for 2013: 365 days of delicious cooking from my delicious. magazine collection. But as with all random/crazy/ “what was I thinking” challenges, I have set myself some ground rules:

  1. Every cover recipe must be cooked (No exceptions. Even if it involves eggplant…ugghh!)
  2. I must attempt one recipe a day. I’m a realist – I won’t be cooking three course brekky’s when my kids are very happy eating cereal and toast. But if I spy a yummy brekky recipe, it shall be cooked, and you shall hear all about it.
  3. As new issues arrive, they too shall be cooked from.

In order to keep it seasonal and relevant, I will be collating my magazine collection by month and cook from all the February’s in February, March’s in March and so on. Given that most of the issues include a December/ January combined issue I will feature the Christmas-type recipes in December and save the rest for January. Now there is something to look forward to.

Now to keep things interesting, I will include a food rating from the most feared food critic in Australia. No, not Matt Preston, but my dear husband, Mr Picky Pallete (MPP). From time to time I will also include an out-of-the-mouth-of-babes score from my two darling sons to be known as B2 and B4. As most parents know, kids are hard to please. And its even harder to get kids to try new things.

Are you with me?

I hope that along the way I might inspire you to try out a recipe or two or dust off your old recipe collection that has been sitting idle for a decade or more. If nothing else, I hope I either make you drool while you are reading this or have you banging at my door (or filling up my inbox) with demands for dinner invitations.

Let the games begin.

Stayed tuned for recipe number one – an encounter with a foodie crush of mine, Rick Stein. We all know what that means…seafood!!!

X Bree

Who is your favourite chef – celebrity or other?

What is the one cookbook that has been sitting on your shelf gathering dust that that you might try to cook from this week?

Four 46L containers no securely hold my significant cookbook collection. See you in 12 months!

Four 46L containers now securely hold my significant cookbook collection. See you in 12 months!


15/01/2013 · 9:38 am