What’s your weakness?

It’s official.  When it comes to garlic bread, I have no chill.

I always cook more than I need and then the only thing that stops me from eating all that I’ve cooked is manners.

But that doesn’t work if there’s no one else there, or the only one who is has already had enough. Then it’s just me and my certain knowledge that my gall-bladder-less body will punish me violently if I continue.

So far, the fear is winning.  But once my stomach has settled, I make no promises about these leftovers.

What about you? Do you have a food kryptonite?

My toilet smells right again

Toilet pictured not blogger's own.  Because that would be weird.  Apparently I can write about my loo, but not photograph it.  (This pic came from freedigitalphotos.net, as usual.) The baby is just because toilets with babies are much cuter than toilets without.

Toilet pictured not blogger’s own. Because that would be weird. (Apparently I can write about my loo, but not photograph it. This is why I am a writer, presumably!)
This pic came from freedigitalphotos.net, as usual.
The baby is there because toilets with babies are much cuter than toilets without. Natch.

I must begin with a warning.  If you are delicate of stomach, or sensitive about matters scatological, look away now.

Likewise, if you are the kind of housekeeper who can be dropped in on at any time and never found wanting, you will probably not find much to identify with in this post.

If on the other hand, you, like me, think that dust is God’s way of marking the passage of time, stick with me, for I have a tale to unfold.

It all started with the Excel running out.

For many years now, I have been using cleaning product made by an Australian company called Tri Nature.  I discovered them when I was working for a group that promoted environmentally-friendly technology.  This isn’t an ad for them, so I won’t go into raptures about the stuff, except to say that it ticks all of my boxes: it’s Australian, environmentally sensitive, plant-based (organic, wherever possible), safe for babies and dogs, it doesn’t make me itch or sneeze and most importantly, it works.

This last is particularly important when you understand that, as a housekeeper, I am more of your slash and burn merchant than your little engine that could.  I know that little and often is an effective way of keeping the place nice.  But… and I know this may shock the diligent among you, so I hope you have taken my advice and looked away… I don’t really care.

Continue reading

Recipe fails

Muffins, which look similar to mine but probably taste better and are much better photographed, by freedigitalphotos.netToday, I sent the girl and the man off to their several labours with Really Ordinary Muffins.

They contain all natural ingredients and many healthful and tasty things, and yet, the combined total is just… ordinary.  Not terrible, but boring.

In itself, this is not a complete disaster.  Not every recipe works.  They’ll be gone soon.  No harm done and my family is way too well house-trained to complain about home-baking that they didn’t make.

The thing that is getting to me is that I HAVE MADE THIS RECIPE BEFORE AND IT WAS BAD THEN TOO.  And I tried it again, with some tweaking, to see if I could fix it.

Why do I do this?

It’s not as though the world is short of recipes.  The internet is awash with recipes for muffins.  In my own recipe stash I have at least five tried and true favourites, at least three of which are at least as healthy as these (and the other two of which are death on a plate).

And yet, I feel the need to tweak a recipe that was boring the first time.  It’s as if I can’t leave any recipe behind.  I am the Marine of muffins.  I must maintain the faith that all recipes are worthy and can be rehabilitated.

But I’m here to say that this one really can be thrown out.  I will waste no more muffin cases on these Really Ordinary Muffins.  I will move on.

But if feels like a failure.

Am I completely insane, or just a little anal?

Enquiring minds want to know…

(Please note the photo above is not of my muffins.  I didn’t have the heart to photograph them.  I found this photo on freedigitalphotos.net and put it here as a mute testimony to what my muffins should have been and yet aren’t.  RIP best intentions.)

Recipes are just a click away…

I promised you recipes (there was a twitter conversation with at least one person) and I am keeping this promise.  But I’m keeping it over at my fellow wordpresser and RWA sister’s blog.

I’m at Cathryn Hein’s Friday Feast today, talking a bit about food and books and giving recipes for quick hasty tasty Evans favourites: dukkha (as it is not made in the Middle East, I’m sure, but still tasting good), Cajun Rare Salmon, Smashed Potatoes and Greek Salad.

Yes, it is a culturally diverse meal ( I prefer ‘diverse’ to ‘messed up’).  I live in Melbourne, a city which has never met a cuisine it didn’t want to absorb and run with.  To be honest, the same could be said of much of Australia.  In recent years (and apart from the Aboriginal Australians, it’s all recent) we are a country of immigrants so we have a lot of different influences in our kitchen pots.  For which I, for one, am very grateful!

Anyway, to encourage you to hop over and have a look at the post, here are some pictures…

Cajun Salmon with Smashed PotatoesDukkah ready to eatGreek Salad


And now the recipe I promised (and the comp is still open)

On Wednesday I promised you a recipe for chocolate pie and since I would hate to be called a chocolate tease, today I will come good on my promise.  (Update: this should have been up yesterday, I don’t know where my brain is this week!)

I must apologise for my presentation and photography: my food styling is not going to win any prizes any time soon.  But the taste will make up for it.  This pie will silence a table of guests, make you friends and possibly even sway a lover into your arms – and it’s EASY.

Here’s the recipe:

Continue reading

More Sunday Recipe Frolicking…

It’s still school holidays.  So I’m still at the zoo.  Or possibly the Museum.  Or the Art Gallery.  Or playing on the Wii.

So, in lieu of doing anything too strenuous for a Sunday post, I thought I would direct you to my other favourite recipe blog, The Nutrition Guru and the Chef.

These two are a couple and seem quite delightful and have delicious recipes that are also mostly healthy.  Really, there is nothing here not to like!

The picture above is of their tiramisu and if you click on the link you will be taken straight to that recipe.

Or, for all their sweet and savoury goodness, here’s the link to the blog proper:

The Nutrition Guru and the Chef.


Frolic among the recipes

It is school holidays here at the moment, so I have been barred from doing Sunday posts in favour of visiting the zoo and similar places of interest around our fair city.

But in case you are roaming the blogs looking for diversion and delight this Sunday, I thought I would pop in and say that you really must check out Maggie’s One Butt Kitchen (which, to save you asking, is a kitchen only one butt can fit in at a time).

It is a veritable cornucopia of deliciousness.  I want to cook just about everything she posts.  Her store of recipes is apparently inexhaustible and they all look amazing.

Get thee hence and check it out.  Food!


(In case you need encouraging, the picture above is her no-fry doughnuts.  Click on it to go straight to the recipe)

What? You want feeding AGAIN? Another quick dinner

I’m still trying to produce a big word count this month, so dinners still need to be quick.  But lest you think that I ONLY work from the freezer and tinned veges when in a hurry, I thought I’d throw in a mostly fresh example.

This dinner came about because my local supermarket had packs of zucchini, bags of tomatoes and packs of button mushrooms on special.  I had bacon and onions at home and dinner was decided.  This is a very slight variation on a dish invented by my dear mother-in-law, probably in much the same way!

I made a huge pan of this, because I had bacon I wanted to use up, but it’s an almost infinitely variable thing (as so much of my cooking is; not big on precision around here), so I’ll give you approximate ingredient amounts per person and you can adjust as necessary.

Continue reading

Is that the time? Another Quick Winter Dinner

It’s June, which in Australia means winter and in the Romance Writers of Australia means the 50k in 30 days challenge. (For the non-writers, that means trying to write 50, 000 words in a month.)

I’m not doing the full 50k – I’m only(!) trying for 40k.

But this means that other things – minor things, like shopping and cooking – get shoved down the priority list.  At times like these, having some reliable store-cupboard-and-freezer ‘recipes’ (if something this easy can be called a recipe) up your sleeve is very handy.

Here, for your delectation (and speedy hunger satisfaction) is one of our favourites. It is known, in our house, as meatball soup, although it doesn’t contain any actual meatballs.

Continue reading

Gluten-Free Brownies (yessss, Chocolate…)

Last week, I was all about the healthy, dinner food. But it’s winter and we need cheering as well as feeding, so this week, it’s brownie time! Don’t be put off by the lengthiness of the method. I like to explain.  But these are easy and quite quick to make and taste fantastic.

Gluten-Free Brownies

Backstory: (writers please note: this isn’t a novel, so I am ALLOWED to put the backstory up front. Nernerneenerner!)

I had to make food for the child’s birthday celebration at school. Normally I make the Traditional Birthday Biscuits, cut into whatever cute shape is the craze du jour and ice them. But the child had a coeliac sufferer in the class so I went in search of a gluten-free recipe. The following is based on the normal brownie recipe in Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess cookbook, with gluten-free adaptations based on a cruise of the recipes on the net.  It’s a big recipe.  It needs two brownie tins (or slice tins) and you can cut each into 24 pieces. If you are just making them to eat at home, you might want to cut the pieces smaller, as you can’t stop at one, and it helps with damage limitation!

Continue reading