Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

cookbook giveaway

After packing and moving house, followed by several weeks of kitchen renovations, I have never been so happy to be back in the kitchen. There is only so much pizza, frozen meals and toasted sandwiches I can take. I’m craving everything from healthy salads to hearty stews – basically anything that is real food.

Time to pull out the cookbooks and make some old favourites or better yet, try my hand at some new recipes.

Win a cookbook prize pack

If your meals could use a bit of a shake-up, I have a tasty treat for you!

Next week is Bookworld‘s Cooking Week and they have a stack of cookbooks worth $160 to give away to one of you fine folk. The pack includes these new release titles:

  • Fast, Fresh & Unbelievably Delicious by Matt Preston
  • Annabel’s Family Cookbook by Annabel Karmel
  • Simon Bryant’s Vegies by Simon Bryant
  • Community: Salad Recipes From Arthur Street Kitchen by Hetty Mckinnon

How to enter

Simply take a photo of whatever you’re cooking or eating and share on Instagram with the hashtag #BWcookingweek to go into the draw. Each photo counts as a separate entry so get snapping!

Winner must be located in Australia. Entries close midnight Wednesday 21st May and winner will be announced Friday 23rd May.

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This post was a partnership with Bookworld.

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carrot-soup
Carrot & orange soup using ingredients from my home-delivered veggie box

I’ve written about our meal planning before but it is definitely a system that continues to evolve over time.

While I had been consistently been able to come up with plans that were within our grocery budget and were quick to make on weeknights, I’d actually gone too far towards quick’n’cheap at the expense of varied meals with plenty of fresh veggies like we used to have.

To kick myself out of my food rut, I was planning on creating a set of meal plans, ultimately building up to having several weekly plans for each season, plus a few special plans for weeks where the priorities might be super healthy or super easy or super cheap.

I was going to do my research to make sure the plans were centred around seasonal produce – something which I’m quite hopeless at – to keep things as nutritious, cheap and local as possible.

The only problem with my plan was that I was already too slack to go to the greengrocer to get the fresh produce (I’d been buying it at the supermarket), let alone schlepping to a farmer’s market on my already hectic weekends.

I then discovered that a grocery delivery service that I’d been interested in for ages (Aussie Farmers Direct) had finally added a round in our neighbourhood. You can select your own fruit and veg, but I thought I’d give the seasonal box a go.

It’s delivered on a Thursday which means I can still plan our meals around the ingredients in the box in time to do a quick supermarket run on Saturday for the pantry and household items. (They do offer meat and fish as well but unfortunately it’s 2-3 times more expensive than our local butcher so we can’t really justify that at this stage and will still make a trip to the butcher once every week or two.)

It didn’t take any longer than usual to plan the meals, but I’ve ended up with a much more interesting and healthy plan than my recent attempts. And I love that I can set up recurring favourites, such as bread, milk and the fruit & veg box every week which will save a ton of time.

We’re only a week in so it’s too early to tell how it will go long-term. But so far we’ve spent less than normal on our weekly groceries and we’ve been eating so much more fresh, quality food. All because we’re buying seasonally.

What are your tips for keeping your grocery budget in check while still eating well?

P.S. I haven’t been paid to write a review, I’m simply sharing my experience.

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Pie buffet

With the public holiday on Monday this week has simply flown by, which means it’s time for another Polka Dot Bride project.

I’ve already shared the cherry pie and pumpkin pie recipes, so here’s how to pull the whole look together.

Click to read the full post.

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Pumpkin pie

American readers, don’t laugh but I had never even eaten pumpkin pie before (it’s not a ‘thing’ here) but nevertheless I wanted to try my hand at making it.

I had to adapt a recipe a fair bit (for example, using fresh pumpkin because you can’t buy pumpkin puree here) but it worked out well. It looks a little too browned on top but it was the perfect consistency.

It got the thumbs up from the family, especially from those who don’t have a big sweet tooth.

Find the recipe over on Polka Dot Bride today!

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This post is sponsored by Crust Gourmet Pizzas.

Crust Pizza

The Man and I love entertaining (as you may have figured out by now). Sometimes though, during busy times it’s easy to be put off by the time and effort required.

I admit I also have a tendency to get caught up in the menu planning, cooking and cleaning instead of simply focusing on what’s truly important: sharing a meal in our home with friends.

Crust Pizza

Crust Pizza

So when Crust invited me to host a pizza night I jumped at the chance to try out a new style (for me) of entertaining.

Crust Pizza

Crust Pizza

In the spirit of the no-fuss entertaining, instead of setting the table I simply placed all of the servingware and drinks on the table for guests to help themselves. It creates a much more relaxed atmosphere, don’t you think?

Crust Pizza

Crust Pizza

I did pick up a cheap bunch of dried flowers at the supermarket (couldn’t resist) but apart from that I relied on the tried-and-true effect of tealight candles to set the mood.

Crust Pizza

It was kind of strange actually being able to relax and have a drink with our guests instead of fussing around in the kitchen!

Crust Pizza

The food arrived and it looked just as appetising as the pictures – how often can you say that about takeaway food?

Crust Pizza

Crust Pizza

The salad dressing and pasta garnish were in separate little containers so everything looked fresh (and a bit fancy).

Crust Pizza

Crust Pizza

Crust Pizza

Crust Pizza

Crust Pizza

Our friends (who are quite the foodies I might add) agreed the pizzas were really tasty. The favourites were the pesto chicken and white prosciutto pizzas.

The blackforest crumble dessert pizza with salted caramel ice cream (phwoar!) was the perfect way to end the meal.

Crust Pizza

Thanks to the team at Crust Norwood for our awesome instant dinner party!

I can definitely see takeaway gourmet pizza being an excellent option for simple (yet impressive) weeknight entertaining.

What’s your entertaining style? Does all the cooking and work put you off entertaining?

Disclosure: I was compensated by Crust for writing this review. Opinions are my own.

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Cherry lattice pie

We had both of our families over on the weekend for Mother’s Day. Champagne, pie and good conversation – if only every Sunday afternoon could be so divine!

I’ve shared my recipe today over on Polka Dot Bride.

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Irish cream fudge

Looking for a St Patrick’s Day treat without the scary green food colouring? I’ve got you covered.

Mosey over to Polka Dot Bride for the recipe (you won’t regret it).

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Homemade lemon curd favours

So here’s the reason why I had a batch of homemade lemon curd sitting in my fridge last week! It’s a lovely hostess gift or wedding favour, especially if you have your own lemon tree (or know someone who does).

If you want to keep it all to yourself, you can pop it into readymade meringue or tart cases for an easy dessert or even just slather it onto a thick slice of fresh bread and top with quark cheese, cream cheese or cream.

Head over to Polka Dot Bride for the recipe plus the cute tag for you to print.

Photography Mel Boulden Photography

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Easy lemon curd meringues

The Man and I don’t do Valentine’s Day, but it is a good excuse to have a nicer than usual dinner at home and even indulge in dessert.

Being mid-week though, it needs to be simple, plus it’s really hot this week here so a no-cook dessert is definitely the way to go.

I bought these pre-made mini pavlova nests and filled with lemon curd (I had a homemade batch in the fridge – what, don’t you? – but you can buy it from gourmet supermarkets) then topped with blueberries.

Ready in two minutes flat, it’s the perfect dessert for V-Day tonight or for any summer dinner party where you’re short on time.

Whatever your plans, I hope you have a lovely night!

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Valentines strawberry sauce title

This strawberry sauce recipe is really easy, I challenge you to screw it up. It’s super tasty on pancakes or ice-cream. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, no?

Find my recipe and the free printable labels over on Polka Dot Bride today.

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