Guacamole, served with some extras to make a tasty little appetiser

Guacamole

Avocado is a bit of a luxury here, and guacamole is an absolute delicacy. Because of its specialness, our guacamole is really just mashed avocado with seasonings added: lemon juice, salt and pepper, and sometimes onion. That’s about it. If we have a few people, then it becomes a full-blown appetiser with some celery and tomato to…

Tuna, tomato and basil pasta

We have a few standard car-camping meals, and the tuna, tomato and basil pasta is one of them. It tastes great, it can be cooked in a trangia (or over a campfire, but not in summer, alas), and it needs very little preparation. It’s also very healthy and full of calories, which is important when there’s another day of walking to come.

Macaroni cheese, served with iceberg lettuce

A lighter macaroni cheese

Our family’s version of the centuries-old macaroni cheese comes from the one my mother prepared when we were little. I’ve cut down the amount of cheese, and our white sauce is lighter, but otherwise the dish has changed very little. The big innovation (my mum’s) was to go from making the white sauce the old-fashioned way to something that takes only seconds in a blender.

Tabouleh

Tabouleh

I first met tabouleh when it appeared in a local bistro many years ago. Served as part of a chicken and tabouleh sandwich, it quickly became my favourite bought lunch. I’ve since learned how to make it, and it appears a few times over summer, especially at barbecues and parties.

A cute, individual serve of nachos

Nachos for dinner. Yay!

Nachos are a very special dinner. They’re cheap and easy to make, and the kids can get involved in assembling it because each chip has to stand up and stand close: you need to fit in as many chips as possible. And he (or she) who assembles the nachos gets to eat all the broken crumbs of chips.

Our basic minestrone

Sunday soup: Our basic minestrone

Minestrone soup is one of those soups that every student would have learned how to cook. It’s tasty, cheap, and you can make enough to feed a household easily. These same features make it ideal for a family with growing teenagers, or to fuel a committed athlete. My Italian cookbook tells me that minestrone is…

Summer chicken and leek stew

Summer chicken and leek stew

This combination of chicken and leek surprises the first time you make it. The ingredients look like they don’t add up to much, but the flavour of the final is deliciously delicate, and it doesn’t take too long to make. I always think of it as an ideal summer meal: for those evenings when you want…

Mussel, tomato and basil soup

Sunday soup: mussels, tomato and basil

Take some mussels, tomatoes and basil, and you have the perfect Sunday-night dinner. The trick is to use fresh basil and to be very fussy about your mussels. They should be fresh and sourced from somewhere reliable: for us, that’s mussels from pollution-free waters on the south coast of New South Wales.

Pizza with rosemary, potato and zucchini

An entrée pizza: potato and rosemary

An entrée pizza with potato and rosemary isn’t a pizza for consuming between main courses, although you could do that if you want. And it’s not the main course either. No, here it’s a first-course pizza: to refuel hungry teenagers when they get home from school, and to feed hungry guests as they walk in the door.

Traffic-light paneer: three curries for a tri-coloured taste

Traffic-lights paneer

Red, amber, green: three different curries to accompany paneer. Served with chapati, they make an exciting first course for young and old alike. It’s a bit fiddly to make the three separate curries, and it takes the best part of an afternoon. But it’s worth it to get “This is the best ever” from little voices, talking about…

A platter of delicious wild saffron milkcap mushrooms, prepared especially for Saturday brunch

Brunchtime wild mushrooms

This is the brunch that converted our son to liking mushrooms, so it has a treasured place in our family history. This dish also happen to be a thoroughly delicious and filling brunch, but it would also do well as part of an antipasto platter. We’ve been known to nibble away at the cold leftovers, if there are any.

Rogan josh: a rich, spicy Indian meat and tomato curry

Rogan josh

Rogan josh is a spicy meat and tomato curry, tempered with a small amount of cream. You can make it the night before (or more), and some of us argue the flavours improve after a night in the fridge.