Tag Archives: easy

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!

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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.

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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

April cook-a-long: Wrap-up

Wow! What a week. Thank you so much to each and every one of you for participating in our very first My delicious year cook-a-long! I am overwhelmed and humbled by the enthusiasm and support you have all shown towards this initiative.

Thank you 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.

“Yum!! It was a huge hit in our house…” – Denica

“Needed a bit more soy sauce……but yummy!!!!!  Oh and we used a coconut curry paste……more for our taste!!!!” – Melissa D

“I used red curry paste instead of korma (less sat. fat). Advice is to have everything out ready to go, as it doesn’t take long to cook. Yummy!” – Sherry

“Yummy, quick and easy… Thanks for organising tonight’s cook-a-long Brig. So nice not to think about what to cook!! What’s for dinner next month?? Everyone check out my delicious year for inspiration!” – Lisa

“Just had ours, really yummy, even my 14yr old had seconds!!…already started eating before I realised I should of taken a photo. Looking forward to next week Wednesday….thanks Brigitte. This is a really great idea!!!” – Meegan

“Really enjoyed this dish. Very tasty. Added capsicum for colour. Kids enjoyed this dinner …” – Daniel & Jodie

“Thanks for the inspiration Bree…that was yum!!! The only thing I changed was not adding coriander…I’m not a fan.” – Melissa O

“Here’s my version. Have never cooked green prawns before and was pleased it was a success. Was extremely tasty but would tweak it next time to halve the noodles and stock and add more prawns. Looking forward to May’s cook-a-Long.” – Alina

My goal for the cook-a-long was to:

  • give you the night off from planning what was for dinner by providing you with a recipe and a shopping list
  • inspire you to try something you many not have cooked before
  • provide you with a recipe that was flexible, one that could easily be modified to suit all tastes
  • provide a platform to share your experience .

Reading through the feedback I am so thrilled to see people cooking with ingredients that they haven’t used before, modifying the recipe to suit the tastes of your family (lots of different types of curry pastes used) and lots of children who happily ate their dinner. What a winner!

Now April’s cook-a-long is over, it is time to start thinking about next month. The date for the May cook-a-long will be Wednesday 8 May. Lock it in your diaries. I would love to hear from. What you would like to cook? Or maybe what wouldn’t you like to cook? Perhaps you’d like to suggest a “core ingredient” a la Masterchef-style?

Ultimately though, the cook-a-long will always remain affordable, achievable and delicious!

Tell your friends!

X Bree

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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