Cottage pie

Our old-fashioned cottage pie

Cottage pie, shepherd’s pie … it’s just cooked meat topped with mashed potato, then baked. It sounds plain, and it is, but that’s its attraction. It’s quick and easy to make, never fails, and brings meat and three veggies to everyone in one easy dish.

Leftover carrot and ginger pulp

Leftover pulp and other notes

One leftover from yesterday’s delicious orange coloured smoothie is the equally delicious carrot and ginger pulp. It wasn’t something you could just throw away. Two carrots yielded about a cup of pulp: dry and rather fluffy pulp. Options for using leftover pulp are all over the internet: you can make soup, cake, jam, incorporate it into biscuits and breads (just…

An American wartime poster encourages the use of leftovers (1942-45; ARC 515949)

Memories of leftovers

Leftovers have been around as long as we have, but it’s only recently that we’ve had such a focus on leftovers. Apart from the ubiquitous bubble and squeak, which started appearing in English cookbooks in the mid-1800s, the focus has been on systematically collecting excess to salt it, smoke it, dry it, cook it in syrup, or otherwise…

Six tasty breakfasts to try one day

Marked: Breakfast songs

Again, it’s Monday: the day for trying something new. A new recipe, a new idea, or even finding a new song; and it’s so easy to find these great new things through the WordPress community. So rather than bury them in my own list of likes and comments, or as a list of great writing…

Choose your vegemite: vegemite, ozemite, brekkie mite and, on the far left, the ill-fated iSnack2.0

Our national delicacy

If there’s one food that’s uniquely Australian, it would have to be Vegemite. It’s a yeast product loaded with salt and vitamin B. It has the wonderful advertisement that gave us all a way to describe children who are full of laughter and joy. You can now choose from at least three versions, each with their own claim to authenticity, but none of them has kept to the original recipe.

Five gifted cooks give us five desserts to try some time soon

Marked: desserts and collisions

Monday’s the day for trying something new. This past week, I’ve stumbled across five vegan desserts I had never thought to try, thanks to the ingenuity of Lori, Nadine, matchamochi, eatmunchlove and Indu. They look so good. And to top it off, some great reading for those who love dessert + coffee + a good read.

Mrs Grieve's A Modern Herbal

Mrs Grieve’s Modern Herbal

Mrs Grieve’s A Modern Herbal is now online. It’s one of three essential herbal references in this household: the other two are Maria Treben’s ‘Health Through God’s Pharmacy’ and John Lust’s ‘The Herb Book’.

A scoop of laundry washing powder

How to make laundry washing powder

Everyone needs clean clothes, even a home cook. I wouldn’t trade a washing machine for the old-fashioned hard-work way of boiling clothes in a copper, but did you know that old-fashioned soap and washing soda wash your clothes just as well, if not better, than that new-fangled expensive washing powders? It’s easy to make laundry powder that really works.


Why we avoid sugar (and other stuff)

Here’s a list of why we avoid sugar and the other baddies of our Western diet. It’s not an ideological crusade to eradicate sweetness from the civilised world. It’s just a lifestyle of trying to eat well when you can, and sugar is the easiest one to target because so much unhealthy food has sugar in it. You can see the reasoning in the Mermaid’s tresses tagline: favourite family recipes: whole food, most of it healthy.

Broccoli leaves: blanched, sauteed with garlic and ready to eat

The tasty challenge of broccoli leaves

Did you know you can eat broccoli leaves? A disastrous season in the broccoli garden forced us to look past the fleurettes we were never going to get and try eating the leaves.

The larger leaves (that’s the blue-ish ones) can be a bit tough, so it pays to steam them first. The very small leaves might not need the same treatment, but they are all good and delicious.

Spiced green tea: a perfect uncaffeinated tea to share with friends

Spiced green tea to warm up your day

Take a few minutes to breathe: a clear blue-sky day, a snow-chilled breeze, warm sun. Find a friend and chat about the weather, your jobs, your children – some still at home, some with children of their own. Your back soaks up the last of the autumn warmth. A pot of tea sits to one side, brewing for those last few, important minutes.…

Scrambled eggs, the way we did them in the olden days ('70s)

It’s just scrambled egg

Cheese souffle, lamb chops, scrambled egg on toast … all dishes served up in a 1970s Australian country-town home economics (cooking) class. Fast forward to this decade. The fare for high-school students in their cooking class in a different city was now pizza, pasta … and a new style of scrambled egg.

The ghost fungus, Omphalotus nidiformis, glows a ghostly green at night

Our mushrooming adventure

Our mushrooming adventure in a nearby pine forest, and our discovery of glow-in-the-dark mushrooms, mushrooms with sugar on top (avoid eating these), saffron milkcaps, and some strange brown mushrooms that someone thought were slippery jacks.

Poetry is food

Poetry is food

The weekly WordPress writing challenge has been fun: trying to craft a recipe notebook page into the desired format has been a challenge. I chose persimmons; a blog called “y” chose another favourite: Sunday brunch.

Six persimmons

Six sweet persimmons

Persimmons have some fascinating myths around them: warding off Korean tigers, predicting winter. They are also the subject of some beautiful art and some very tasty dishes, the best of which are simple affairs that focus on the persimmon’s juicy sweetness. Here’s six little offerings to celebrate this bright orange little fruit. Why six? The clue is in the verse.

A fresh salad from my garden

Salad from my garden

Just outside the back door, there’s a lawn of self-sown baby spinach, the last lettuce before winter, a cucumber, and tomatoes from the few bushes that survived a hot, dry summer. Add some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. There’s lunch. Simple food can satisfy even the most sensuous of souls. A recipe in a neat 50…

The eggs that sinks is fresh; the egg that floats is not

Are these eggs okay?

It’s the question I get asked all the time when someone else is cooking at home. Fortunately, we can know what to do because two 19th century writers have told us in their household instruction manuals. It’s the swim test that I use; but the two writers tell us that the light test is best. Travel back for advice without travelling through time.