I’m not a very modern cooker of food, I can’t use a microwave for the life of me and I almost always end up altering recipes because I don’t have every single ingredient on hand, I also don’t have fancy kitchen equipment and if I can’t use one pot or pan, one of my 2 mixing bowls, my hand mixer…then either it is too complex for me or I try to adjust it to suit my limited available ‘stuff.’
I adore old school desserts like bread and butter pudding, creamed rice, pumpkin pie, tea cakes and scones, it’s also pretty obvious I prefer cooking sweets! I also like to make my own pasta, bread and pizza dough from scratch there’s something special about the smell of something made from scratch!
Though I do also love food in it’s simplest forms too.
Just as it is.
Eggs, boiled, fried, scrambeled, soaked in bread and fried.
Vegetables with just a little blob of butter.
It’s ALLLLLLL good.
I’m glad that my cooking bug has returned, but I guess also a little sad.
Food must be tasted.
Every little lick, finger dip or taste contains calories.
My butt’s not thanking me all too much but man my taste buds are in heaven.
A big family means a lot of food.
It’s our number one cost.
I like to keep things super simple, super tasty and super pretty.
No one ever wants to eat an ugly dish. (Especially kids!)
Sooooo anyway…here’s some food and sneaky tips I’d like to share.
Don’t you hate it when you don’t have any pre-made pancake mix? Once I made this a few years back, I’ve never bought that yucky bottle stuff again!
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar.
- (You can easily double or triple this recipe. I normally make this recipe x4 for our family.)
Pour milk and eggs into your mixing bowl first and use and electric mixer to beat eggs into milk. Add dry ingredients and beat again until smooth. Heat your pan to a medium heat. I use a spray oil or a little butter in the pan to avoid sticking. (use your first couple of pancakes to judge temp, also your mix, if you want fatter fluffier pancakes add some more flour and sugar, if thinner and lighter add a little more milk.) Cook until small bubbles rise then flip. We have ours with maple syrup, butter curls sometimes sprinkled with icing sugar and sliced banana. YUM!
180g chocolate (I buy the home brand dark choc chips and they come in 250g bags, I roughly use half or a little more.)
- 300ml cream
- 4 eggs separated. (MUST be at room temperature or your whites will either never, or take forever to beat to firm peaks.)
Using an electrci mixer beat the cream until it’s thick and firm. (don’t over beat or it will seperate and go yucky.) Melt chocolate in your prefered method and add the 4 egg yolks and stir in until smooth and glossy and allow to cool. In another bowl beat the egg whites until firm peaks appear. FOLD the chocolate into the cream. I use a butter knife to kind of sweep around the bowl and FOLD into the cream. (if you just stir all the air and lightness will leave.) Once it’s just combined GENTLY add the egg whites and again FOLD into the cream. Place in a dish or individual cups and stick in the fridge for a few hours until firm. I usually grate some chocolate over the top.
I thought since we were already beating eggs whites and cream I’d add this one next. So yummy, chewy inside, a light crispy-ness on the outside.
4 egg whites. ROOM TEMP.
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornflour
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, add the sugar and cornflour and beat until glossy and really thick. Should look like this –
Once it does, place into a flat pan. I used an oven safe glass platter. When it is firm enough you can mould it and it should stay in place. Bake at 180 degrees for roughly 15 mins, it should get a golden brown crust and be firm. Like this –
Once it’s done and cooled you can add your cream. Again put your cream in a bowl and use and electric mixer until it is firm and thick. I always add some icing sugar to make it sweeter, it’s so yummy. If you’re doing this I’d suggest using a 1/4 cup and then taste it, add more if you like it sweeter. Add berries (I always keep frozen berries for random occasions.) Or banana or passion fruit pulp….whatever you like!
Mini baked cheesecakes.
This is also delicious! I LOVE cheese cake and these are quick and easy to make. Good for parties as they’re easy to handle being small cupcake size.
250g Philadelphia cream cheese (at room temp)
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- (you could also add a tablespoon of some kind of citrus juice if you wanted.)
Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add one egg at a time and beat into the cheese. I usually put 2 patty pans into the holes of a cupcake tray and then spoon mixture into each one. Bake for 20ish mins at 180 degrees. They’ll be done when they’ve risen a little and begin to crack on top. They’ll deflate and cracks will close as they cool. You can add berries or whatever you want ontop once cooled. (You can also add a granita busicut into the pans before the mixture if you wanted a soft and yummy busicut base. I don’t often have these so I skip it.)
Cheese platters. I totally LOVE cheese, I probably shouldn’t but I do. At christmas we have a lot of cheese platters. It’s just simple and affective and relatively healthy if you watch your portions that is! I usually buy the cheap (don’t tell anyone) cheeses, I like blue vein, cambert and brie. occasionally I’ll get the home brand versions that have fruits and nuts in them or sour cream and chives.
- Olive oil
- Pine nuts
- (I don’t have exact measurements, I go off taste, try it out though add more of what’s needed as you go.)
Using a mortar and pestle smash your basil and pine nuts, add oil and smoosh around. Add parmesan. (I once made this and didn’t have any decent cheese, so I used some cheap dried parmesan pre- powdered. Still good.) Tasty on those little bread things, or you could make toast and cut into shapes.
Kids version of a cheese platter. They like to do what grown ups are doing. However I’ve found kids don’t like the flavour of ‘fancy’ cheese.
I use wooden chopping boards, or plastic ones, pretty platters I’ve found in second-hand stores or anything really. Who ever said food had to only be display ON plates?
I lay out my cheeses first and then the (cheap) water crackers. I pour on dried fruit and nuts or fresh fruits. Fruit and nuts either fresh or dried go so good with cheeses. The flavour combos are endless.
At the moment I’m loving blue cheese with sugar plums or strawberries (Thats big for me, because I strongly dislike strawberries!)
I like it to look all delicious and messy.
A pretty food laden pile.
I’ve been doing the same with fruit salads too of late. Perhaps I’m getting lazy and am trying to keep washing up to a minimum, but I actually find eating food with our fingers fun!
I stick our fruit platters out and we all fight over it.
So juicy and colourful!
The melons came from our own garden.
I’ve been trying new flavours in dinner salads too.
This is just garden greens with apple cucumber, tomato, grated cheese, purple onion, with a pomegranate and lime juice dressing.
We ate it with lamb chops and barbecued bacon.
See my brown stone ware bowl thingy? I bought that for 50 cents in a second-hand shop and I love it. I’ve used it for everything from baking chicken and veggie pies to damper in the fire. It’s good for apple crumbles and also salads of all kinds.
I’m keeping my eyes open for my interesting bowls and pots for cooking and serving in.
Just adds a little something.
Being summer it’s been so hot, so dinner cooking has been getting a bit of a re-vamp and I’m slowly learning that not all meals need to be meat and 3 veg. This was a dinner we had a week or so ago. It looked good and tasted good and amazingly I managed to get dairy, protein, lots of vitamins and minerals into my kids without a fuss at all.
And that’s always a bonus!
My brother Matt came to stay and requested spaghetti Bolognese, It’s the one thing he always requests of me (sometimes I think he only comes for the food!) I had the mince, had the pasta, but no sauce. So I decided to make my own. I raided our veggie garden for the tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini, basil and oregano. I added chops carrots, onion and some garlic.
(This would be awesome also to use all those veggies with spots or a bit of squish..you know the ones that you should’ve used already.)
The best thing about making your own sauce is that you know what’s in it, you can add or remove any vegetables that you like or don’t like as long as of course you’ve got the base of tomatoes, garlic and basil.
Oh and don’t forget salt and pepper. Seriously.
I put it all in the oven at around 160 degrees for probably an hour or more, just check it often. Once the veggies are soft and browned remove.
The longer the better.
You could add sliced black olives and jalapeno if you like (we did.) Once you like the taste of your sauce remember to add salt if it’s a little too bland. Cook mince and stir sauce through. Serve obviously with pasta and add parmesan, tabasco (optional, we LOVE IT hot!) sour cream or some grated cheese.
This was a total accident but I’m going to keep making this accident. It’s sooo good and the kids ate all the veggies in it too. I wanted to make friend rice and once I’d cooked the veggies I realised I had no rice!
Vegetables of your choice. I used corn, capsicum, peas, beans, brocoli, snow peas.
- 2-4 eggs lightly whisked.
- 2 tablespoons of oil.
- soy sauce.
- 2 packs of 2 minute noodles.
Place your oil, more or less 2 tablespoons into your pan. Throw in your vegetables, I usually keep heaps of mixed veggies frozen in the freezer, I chuck these in. a couple of cups worth of vegetables. Depends on how much you want to make. This keeps in the fridge and good cold or re-heated for lunch or lunch boxes..whatever..anyway…Once your veggies are cooking away on a highish heat pour in your whisked eggs. Using a metal spoon keep stirring it around, so the eggs cook with the veggies. Boil a pot of water (or kettle) and cook your 2 min noodles. Then drain, throw your noodles into your vegetables and toss around. Pour in your soy sauce. Begin with a tablespoon and add until you like the flavour.
Seriously simple. It’s a big mix so you could make a ordninary round cake then cupcakes as well. Or just a heap of cupcakes. So many endless options!
- 3 cups self rasing flour
- 2 & 1/2 cups caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 250grams butter (REAL butter)
- 1 cup hot water
Mix all of your dry ingredients together. Stir in the eggs. Add melted butter and use electric mixer to mix. Add melted butter and beat again. Bake at 180 degrees for 30 ish minutes.SUPER SIMPLE!!!! (It’s a runny mix, so don’t stress.)
And look at what you can do with it!
To make this cakes, I used mini cake tins and then stacked them on top of each other. This cake I used my whipped cream and food dyed it blue. Again melted dark chocolate and slathered it on top! (I heart chcololate.)
Once it had been in the fridge the chocolate hardened.
MMMM….blue cream, hard crack chocolate cake!
OH! I almost forgot. When you make that thicken cream using an electric mixer and once you’ve added your icing sugar to sweeten, you can also add crushed cookies, or cocoa powder, or chocolate fudge, or mashed banana, or mango, or berries, or vanilla bean, or strawberry sauce…OR whatever you’d like into the left over cream.
Homemade ice cream. Also yum!
So now I’m off to probably cook now that I’ve gotten my taste buds all juicy.
I’m so glad I have a big family to cook for (most of the time)
If you’ve got any hints or tips that could make my cooking life a little easier let me know! I’m always up for life simplifying tricks.
Go play with your food already!
(I always thought it was a stupid rule.)