See you on the flipside

For some time, hidden carefully away from my readers and my family, my health has taken a bit of a knock.

Things have come to a head, with first my doctor then some specialists giving me a stern talking to. They tell me I need surgery.

Now, not later.

While my prognosis is excellent, recovery is long and will be measured in months, not weeks. Most critically, this surgery is will have a significant impact on my ability to eat. Which is the most cruel thing a food writer can endure,

So, with no means to accurately test recipes I have decided the best thing is to put the blog into hiatus for a while.

I’m very optimistic I’ll make a full recovery. Truthfully, having been so under par for a long time, it’s unlikely I will know just how unwell I’ve been until good health returns. But the thought of a restricted diet is dispiriting. My natural inclination is to hide away from everyone and everything until I feel ready.

While I’m recuperating, there is lots I can do. I have a cookbook to finish. I really, really want to update and give this site a new look and provide lots more easy-to-find material for you to use. There are other writing projects elsewhere that demand my attention.

After a couple of weeks when I’m more comfortable I will be back working behind the scenes and you can continue to chat with me on Twitter and Facebook. I hope you keep in touch.

But in the meantime, take care of each other. I’m not going to return until I’m ready, but I will come back, probably in late Spring/early Summer. Promise.


Day 1 – Turkish White Bean and Beef Stew (Kuru Fasulye)

As I explained a while ago, I recently had the very pleasant task of using up corned beef in a week of enjoyable leftover meals.

It was glorious.

While I’ve had this recipe for a while, it called for slices of pastrami and not roast beef. Thick with beans, tomatoes and a rich roast capsicum paste, it seemed to me an ideal vessel for shreds of corned beef. So I tried it and it was good. Continue reading Day 1 – Turkish White Bean and Beef Stew (Kuru Fasulye)

Off My Trolley

Any visitor to Melbourne quickly realises that it is a town of bikes and shopping trolleys. Little Nana trolleys in every colour. The sturdier wire two-tiered ones which are wheeled around Queen Vic and South Melbourne and Preston markets. It’s normalised shopping behaviour. Your don’t have to be an old lady to drag it along.

I am an unrepentant fan of shopping at the markets and it was an act of commitment to my new town when I bought a shopping trolley as soon as possible after moving here.

Mind you it has its share of problems. You have to be a packing ninja to organise heavy food at the bottom, with soft cheese or mushrooms at the top of the pile. You can’t drag too much without it hurting your shoulders. And for someone of my height, I always seem to be bending to get items in or out.

The people at CarryMaster reckon they’ve cracked these problems by building a better shopping trolley. Continue reading Off My Trolley

Desserts – Peanut Butter Pie

After the last four years of a gypsy lifestyle, you would think I would know a thing or two about travelling light. And while it’s true I can now pack a suitcase sparingly, there are some things I just can’t do without.

And chief amongst these indispensables are books.

I have gathered favourite books for the last 40 years and I would never part with them. Some have run away from home, others I have  loaned to friends and family never to return, but there are hundreds and hundreds of books in a storage unit waiting to be reunited to me. In my When-I-Win-Lotto fantasies I dream of a book-lined study with a brass ladder. It’s at the top of my list, only then is it followed by a lovely kitchen. Continue reading Desserts – Peanut Butter Pie

Day 14 – Cabbage and Bacon Soup

It began with the best of plans: To cook some corned beef and ease my cravings for this most familiar of comfort foods.

Inevitably, I had leftovers.

The first day I made a wonderful Corned Beef Hash, because that’s my go-to leftovers meal and I always believe it tastes even better than the original. Of course it does. But while I spent pleasurable hours over the following week consuming a 1kg cut of corned beef  – and you will get a Turkish-inspired meal idea for it in the next few days – I was faced with the challenge of getting through a large under-utilised wedge of cabbage. Continue reading Day 14 – Cabbage and Bacon Soup

Day 13 – Spinach and Fetta Rolls

 Blame my son. He turned up in Melbourne recently with his girlfriend and after introductions were made – and a soothing cup of tea to ease my acute nerves – he gently told me both of them were vegetarian. To which my response was, ‘Yes, and?’

I think we can safely say I have that side of things covered off.  And while I didn’t bat an eyelid, it was a good excuse as any to make a round of these rolls on what turned out to be the first really cold day of the year.  Continue reading Day 13 – Spinach and Fetta Rolls

Desserts – Quick Steamed Golden Syrup Pudding

Hungry days are the most nostalgic. Perhaps my stomach connects to my heart via memory, but it always seems to be the food of memory that tastes the best. Strawberries don’t taste as sweet as those I pilfered in my father’s garden when I was little. They don’t grow tomatoes that taste they way they once did.

And so it goes.

Thank goodness they haven’t messed around too much with the taste of Golden Syrup. Continue reading Desserts – Quick Steamed Golden Syrup Pudding

Day 12 – How to Make Ricotta

Ricotta is a staple in my house. I use it mixed with crushed fruit or topped with jam over toast or muesli. I mix it with spinach and fetta for pies, make a quick 15 minute start-to-finish gnocchi or add it to roasted vegies in a salad. And that’s all before I use it in pancakes, desserts, or cakes.

As easy as it is to buy it, it’s even easier to make and takes just 30 minutes. If you don’t fancy a trip to the  supermarket just so you can make some pancakes, try this next time. Continue reading Day 12 – How to Make Ricotta

Sweet Treats – Vegan Chocolate Cake

Without stating the obvious, there are all sorts of reasons why you should have this recipe handy.

It’s a beautiful soft cake with a tender crumb, with a result not unlike my Legless Chocolate Cake. It’s ideal for any sort of celebration and could easily support thick icing and birthday candles. It keeps well for several days, and freezes beautifully, meaning you can make this in advance and decorate it closer to time. Continue reading Sweet Treats – Vegan Chocolate Cake

Day 11 – Savoury Bread Pudding

There are two types of bread in this world. There is the sort that gets stale. And then there’s the sort that goes mouldy.

You can do a lot of things with stale bread. In fact it’s something to be desired, as any devotee of bread and butter pudding will tell you. Or you can make croutons, bread sauce, a garlicky skordalia to have with vegie sticks or crackers and that’s all before you make breadcrumbs. Continue reading Day 11 – Savoury Bread Pudding