These are tried, tested and much loved recipes. Our families and friends are always unselfish and devote themselves to taste-testing these delicious creations and demand them repeatedly time and time again.

Our aim is to share with you our favourite meals and the little tricks and tips we have learnt along the way.
Time is precious.
Food is expensive.

Both are resources too valuable to waste.

We want to share recipes that deliver delicious, nourishing meals - making the most of your time and ingredients.

Life is way too short for bland, disappointing food.
So ... Feed your inner cook - and Enjoy!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Salmon with fennel salad and pea mash

Quick, nutritious and packed with flavour.  Despite being autumn, the days here are still very warm - so a light, fresh dinner is a perfect choice. Thanks to Delicious Magazine for the inspiration.

Serves 4

Time:  Prep 10 minutes  Cooking  8 minutes


4 salmon fillets – size depends on appetites – check for bones.  Skin-on portions if possible

500 gram frozen peas.  (note – later -1 cup will be reserved to serve whole in the salad)
Kettle full of boiling water

1 fennel bulb – fresh and young.  Thinly sliced.    Reserve the fronds and chop finely
4 – 6   young fresh radishes – thinly shaved / sliced – depends on how much you love radishes
1 cup celery leaves – only the ones from the heart – from the inner stalks – rough chopped.
1 small red onion – finely shaved / sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice and some fine lemon zest if possible
¼ cup Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil    – may not need all of this.
Handful fresh basil leaves
1 Lebanese cucumber – use a speed peeler and shave into long thin strips, leave out the seed middle
Salt and Pepper
Dollop of Greek yoghurt


Add the boiling water and all the peas to a heatproof bowl.  Stand for 1 minute covered. 
Drain well.       Remove and save 1 cup of the now cooked peas.  Reserve for later.
Add a little of the chopped fennel fronds and dash salt and pepper to the larger amount of peas then Puree in a blender, or with a stick blender or a hand masher.  Does not need to be too precise, roughly is fine.
Keep the pea mash in a warm place til ready to serve.

Heat a tiny amount of oil in frypan and cook salmon pieces, skin side down side for 2 – 3 minutes per side until cooked to your preference.  Remove and keep warm – cover with foil if necessary.

Combine the lemon juice and Olive Oil in a mixing bowl. Don’t use all the oil – you can add a little more at the end if you think it needs a dash more.
Gently toss the shaved fennel, radish, onion, cucumber, celery leaves, chopped fronds, basil, the whole cooked reserved peas into the oil mixture.
Season with salt and pepper.  Because it is seafood – I feel this dish does need a good grinding of salt and pepper.

To serve
Serve salmon fillet with the pea mash and fennel radish salad and teaspoon of Greek yoghurt on top.

You could use mint leaves for a change.
or bulk up the salad by adding some cooked, drained cannellini beans or orzo pasta. 

                                                            Enjoy!     Colleen

Monday, 22 April 2013

Flourless Chocolate and Lime Cake

To celebrate our 50th post - we have baked a cake!

Hard to determine if this is a cake or a dessert? But you won't spend too much time wondering over that issue because it won't last that long. This has been given the tick of approval by my firstborn son's girlfriend, who is a connoisseur of all things chocolate.



150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) roughly chopped
150g unsalted softened butter
6 eggs
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
3/4 cup (90g) almond meal
1 Tablespoon good quality cocoa powder sifted
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
Icing sugar to dust


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Line the base of a 23cm springform tin with baking paper and grease the sides.
Fill a small saucepan 1/3 full with water and bring to a gentle simmer.  Place chocolate and butter in a small bowl, place over pan and stir until chocolate is melted, (Don't let the base of the bowl touch the simmering water).
Beat eggs and sugar until tripled in volume and is pale and moussey.
In a separate bowl mix almond meal with the cocoa and then fold gently into the egg and sugar mixture, followed by the slightly cooled chocolate and butter.
Fold in lime zest and juice.
Pour and scrape this mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes (start checking at 35 minutes).  When done the cake will be just firm on the top, but still have a wobble underneath.
Remove from the oven and sit the cake in it's pan on a wire rack to cool.  Once the first heat has left it, drape a clean tea towel over the top, to stop it getting too crusty.
Dust with icing sugar.

Mamma Marmalade

Monday, 15 April 2013


If you only have one shortbread recipe this is the one.  Given to me by my sister it hands down beats trying different interpretations because this is always a winner.


250g softened butter
110g caster sugar
250g plain flour sifted
125g rice flour

Preheat oven to 130 degrees C


Beat butter and sugar in a small bowl until white in colour, add flours one desert spoon at a time (do not rush this process).

Roll teaspoonful's of the mixture and place on a greased oven tray, press down gently with a fork,

Bake for 10 minutes at 130 degrees C and then 15 minutes at 120 degrees C.  Depending on your oven you may need longer, lift the biscuit to see if the bottom is browned.  The top should remain pale.

Cool and enjoy with a cup of tea.

Mamma Marmalde

Zingy Marmalade

Now the weather has a chill and the citrus trees are relinquishing their bounty, it is the time to make some delicious marmalade jam.  Inspired by the Country Women's Association  Preserve cookbook , a recent birthday gift from a dear friend I have quickly made 5 jars of soul uplifting sunshine.

How easy can it be two ingredients, citrus and caster sugar.

Take whatever type and quantities of citrus you have:

I used Cumquats, Lemonades, Lemons and Limes, cut the fruit into thin slices and discard the seeds, also discard the ends of the fruits if they have too much white pith showing,  Place in a bowl and just cover with water and cover with cling film.  Soak overnight,

Measure the fruit in cups and place in a deep sided pan. Boil for 30-40 minutes until the fruit is very soft.  Add 1 cup of sugar for 1 cup of fruit, I like mine a little more tart so for nine cups of fruit and water I added 7 cups of sugar, you may wish to add another cup of water if consistency is too dense,

Bubble away until setting point is reached, (place a saucer in the freezer, remove drop a teaspoon of jam and then run your finger through if it wrinkles and separates it's ready, or stir jam with a wooden spoon, lift horizontally and see if a firm drop forms at the edge of the spoon,)

Let stand for 10 minutes and bottle in hot sterilised jars (this can be achieved by placing jars on a tray in a cold oven, bring temperature up to 120 degrees C and leave for 30 minutes).

Give only to your dearest friends and family.

Mamma Marmalade

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Paella – almost, kind of, sort of.

Sometimes I have a midweek craving for the fragrant flavours and comforting textures of a Paella.  But, Mary Poppins did not load the fridge with king prawns, squid or mussels.  What to do? 
This recipe is a satisfying compromise that delivers a delicious dinner with the aroma of smoky paprika and saffron wafting through the kitchen - guaranteed to tempt the appetites of even the worst sufferers of Wednesday-night-itis. 

The main focus is the flavour, so adapt it to what is in your fridge or what your family likes – it is a great way to use up a couple of leftovers – maybe there is 1 pork sausage left from the BBQ? Slice it up and toss it in.  This is not meant to be authentic – just a ‘dinner in progress’ type of cooking.  Get the onions on to soften (the smell will make the family happy to know dinner is on the way) and then you can chop the ingredients in sequence, add and toss as you go.  

As you can see from the photo, this time I only had small prawns, no fish, a tiny bit of leftover lamb roast (that actually turned out to be a great addition!) and I had a few chicken wings that needed to be used up – so I only added 2 thigh fillets this time!

Whenever I cook this paella the essential flavour is the same but the ingredient mix varies and subtly changes the dish.  I’m sure you get the idea!

TIP:  The experts recommend steeping Saffron strands for 24 hours in a little water to bring out the complexity of flavours. So, the night before - pop a pinch of saffron strands into a little water (20ml – 1 tablespoon) in a small glass jar with a lid - and the next day check out the amazing colour that develops. 

If you forget, don’t worry – even half an hour steeping will help.

You then use the water and the saffron threads (be sure to rinse jar with another 20 ml of water to catch any hidden threads – and add this water too) – then add all this saffron / water to the Paella.

Serves – 4    plus   leftovers for 2 lunches

Preparation / Cooking time:  30 minutes (including 10 minutes when you just keep an eye on it now and then)

You could even do most of the preparation the night before – the chopping, measuring rice etc.

Ingredients     - this is a guide and quite flexible – adjust to preference / what is in fridge.
The key is the order of cooking – add what takes longer first and be aware that the size of the chunks affects cooking time – so not too big or won’t cook in time, but not so small that ingredients turn to gloop.

NB Fill the kettle and have boiling water  ready to add midway through cooking process

NB Cup of frozen peas – get out of freezer at start of recipe to defrost – add at end of recipe

Chicken wings, Prawns etc  - see NOTE below

Splash of Australian Olive Oil .  The chorizo will release fat so don’t overdo the oil.
2 large red onions – peeled and cut into slivers
1 red capsicum – de-seeded and sliced  AND / OR green capsicum if you like
2 garlic cloves – crushed OR  chopped.     Add more if you like.
1 long red chilli – sliced   OR    just add a few shakes of dried chilli flakes if you prefer
Few sprigs of fresh thyme   OR   generous shake of dried thyme

2 -4 chicken thigh fillets – skinless, boneless, AND trimmed of fat – cut into bite size pieces
Depends on how much of the other proteins you are adding. You can mix this up a bit: chop up the tiny bit of leftover lamb roast, a pork chop, a couple of chicken wings, etc etc. 

You could also add some chunks of boned firm fish fillets – add before the rice if using

1 – 1 ½ chorizo sausages (approx. 150g) –sliced  (add other leftover sausages, roast meat if using)

2 heaped teaspoons smoked paprika
Few strips of charred capsicum – cut into small pieces. Use your own OR the bottled ones are fine.

500 gram rice – Paella rice  OR   long grain rice  OR   ‘CleverRice’

Dry sherry – a splash
Pinch of saffron strands – soaked in dash of water    (refer TIP above)
Pepper – to taste
Boiling Water
Handful of cooked prawns
2 – 3 tomatoes cut into small-bite chunks  (Roma tomatoes preferred but not essential)
Option – can use beans instead of peas – prepare as for peas – see above.
Parsley – good handful – well chopped (reserve some for final garnish)
Salt to taste
Lemon wedges


Have the Kettle full of boiling water ready to add midway through cooking process.

Heat a large wide stove-top pan over medium heat – not too deep – about 8 cm.

NOTE - If you are using King Prawns or raw chicken wings etc – cook these in the pan first – remove and keep warm ready to add at the end.

Heat a splash of Olive Oil in the pan and add the sliced onions, stir and soften gently.
Stir in the capsicum, garlic, chilli and thyme.
Add the chicken pieces, chorizo slices, paprika – stir through and brown chicken pieces. Allow the chorizo pieces to colour and stir through. Add the charred capsicum. (And Fish if using)

Tip in the rice, stir through and ensure all the grains are coated in the golden oil to separate.

Add a splash of sherry and the saffron strands and water mixture.  Mix through. Grind pepper over.
Gently push all the ingredients into the rice and smooth the top – gently.

Using the back of a wooden spoon – slowly pour the boiling water over the back of the spoon (helps distribute the flow) until the rice mixture is fully immersed and covered by about 1 cm water.
Simmer for about 10 – 12 minutes.

Keep an eye on it – you don’t want it to dry out.

Taste a few grains of rice – may need a couple more minutes OR maybe add a dash more water

Don’t stir the base in the final 10 minutes – the ideal paella develops a golden crusty base

Now add the peas, tomato pieces, parsley (reserve some for final garnish) and cooked prawns.
 Taste and maybe add dash salt or pepper to your preference – stir without disturbing the crust.

TIP: The addition of the Lemon juice at the end of the cooking really brings out the flavour – so don’t overdo the salt.

Gently cook a further 2 minutes to heat through.  Remove the thyme stalks – or tell them to do it later.

Turn off heat. Cover pan with a clean tea-towel for a couple of minutes- helps absorb excess moisture

 Please check gas is OFF first!!

Sprinkle over the remaining parsley and a small squeeze of lemon

Place the reserved and warmed King Prawns or chicken wings etc on top of the Paella

If you want -  you could drizzle a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top

Take to table and let everyone dig in.

Serve with lemon wedges

                                                                        Enjoy!   Colleen

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Lime Salt

Limes are in season now! So why not make some of this zingy chilli lime salt.  You can use it straight away and fresh or slowly dry it in the oven to store for later.  It goes beautifully on grilled chicken or sizzling steaks.  Or let your imagination go wild on avocado or baked jacket potatoes. Thanks to Annabel Langbein for the inspiration.


1 large fresh red chilli
Half a cup of salt flakes
Finely grated zest of 2 limes (I use a micro plane)

De-seed chilli and dice into small pieces.  Combine chilli, salt and lime zest in a mortar and pestle (or food processor) and pound until it appears like wet sand.   If wanting to store, place on a tray and dry in a slow oven at 150 degrees C for 30 minutes.  Once cool store in an airtight jar.

Mamma Marmalade.