Day 8 – Minestrone Soup

This is a great way to use up vegetables that are looking past their best, not to mention the old heel of parmesan cheese you were about to throw out. You don’t keep them? Do reconsider it and store them, in a ziplock bag in the freezer, for just such a time.

Not just for minestrone, any vegetable soup will improve immeasurably if you chuck it in.It’s a brilliant example of doing more with less.

This soup is filling and will easily sustain six hungry people. Or four teenage boys, whichever comes first. Continue reading Day 8 – Minestrone Soup

Day 7 – Caramelised Pine Mushroom and Cheese Tarts

God bless the recent heavy rain – it’s bought out Pine Mushrooms by the truckload, and this year is the best season in ages for these massive yellow beauties. Try not to think of them as toadstools – they are gorgeous and worth treating nicely. I bought some at $6 a kilo (about 400g, enough for 2-3 meals) and some emmental cheese on special for just under $3.

Based on a recipe by Gordon Ramsay. Continue reading Day 7 – Caramelised Pine Mushroom and Cheese Tarts

Day 6 – Moroccan Meatballs with Couscous

I bought veal mince that was one day before its use-by date and was marked down as a result. I promptly froze it. I had practically all the other ingredients in the pantry.

If you don’t have, or don’t like prunes, then don’t worry too much, however they really are a great addition and amp up the flavours. This is a great tasting dish, and as it can be frozen, you can make it on the weekend and serve it up midweek. Continue reading Day 6 – Moroccan Meatballs with Couscous

Day 5 – Chicken and Pumpkin Risotto

Chicken and pumpkin are such a good combination and risotto makes the most of leftovers or those small amounts of food that need using up before your next shop. What’s not to love? Continue reading Day 5 – Chicken and Pumpkin Risotto

Day 4 – Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna

There are a number of people who refuse to eat their vegetables, and I’m not just talking about toddlers. Grown men have been known to say, “I’m not eating THAT”. Maybe this will help convert the nay-sayers. Continue reading Day 4 – Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna

Day 3 – Pumpkin Soup with Cheese Toasties

One of the very first recipes I ever published, I foolishly thought everyone had their own recipe.

Silly, I know.

Many reading this from Britain will be a little unsettled by the thought of eating a vegetable (it’s actually a fruit) normally reserved for pig food or for carving into lanterns, but this is a winter staple here in Australia. And rightfully so. Once you have the basic recipe down pat, try it with ginger, with cumin, with a hint of curry.  It’s a marvellously adaptable and obliging soup. You’ll never reserve it for lanterns again. Continue reading Day 3 – Pumpkin Soup with Cheese Toasties

Day 2 – Spaghetti Bolognese

At first I didn’t add a recipe, thinking everyone had their own take on this much loved meal. Then I got a request, so have added it below. It’s enough for you all to know that, using 500g cheap mince, a 250g packet of No. 4 spaghetti, a 600ml bottle of passatta di pomodoro (tomato puree)and some turkish bread sliced to make sensational garlic bread, this meal fed five hungry people with enough leftovers for lunch the next day. Continue reading Day 2 – Spaghetti Bolognese

Day 1 – Chicken and Tomato Braise with Steamed Rice

EDIT: This is the very first recipe I ever posted on this site, and I thought it was worth bringing to your attention again. In this mad month of end of year exams and pressing – very pressing – deadlines, I will be re-posting some of the earlier recipes, from six months ago or more. Some of them, like this one, became instantly popular. Others are deserving of your attention again, having been missed the first time around.

Besides, this is a very popular recipe in our house and my daughter, recuperating from illness, would like this to be tonight’s meal. I can’t say fairer than that.

I first got this recipe from a Coles food card that was in the supermarket and I was lost for ideas. I have used this ever since the kids were tiny and they have loved it. It’s a very good family dish for fussy eaters. Continue reading Day 1 – Chicken and Tomato Braise with Steamed Rice

Hello World!

Two weeks ago, I quit my job. I did so with $15 in my purse and no new job lined up. I made my decision at 4.50pm after a particularly nasty day – by 5.15 I had cleared my desk, taken down photos of my kids, packed up my coffee cup, box of earl grey tea and some two minute noodles out of a drawer and cleared the computer cache of all my private emails and a bunch of recipes I had drafted.

Yes, recipes.

I am a foodie from way back. I cook so well, people have moved to the other side of the world to live with me so they can eat my food ( this is true). I am the one my friends ask for a recipe when they don’t have one. I write about food elsewhere, I study new recipes, I share my meals with those I love.

But,  I had $15 in my purse and an empty pantry and fridge. My last payday was two weeks ago, and my immediate needs were to pay the rent. So, with a heavy heart, and still no job lined up, I went to Centrelink, as mendacious and Kafkaesque as any bureaucracy in the world, and signed up for social security, or as it is known in Australia, a Newstart Allowance.

It became quickly apparent that the allowance was barely enough to cover my rent and utilities. It left me with just $120 per fortnight with which to feed my family.

And with that, this project was borne. The Challenge is a straightforward one – I must feed a family for 14 days and nights for $120. I refuse to resort to frozen meals, highly processed foods or calorie-dense, nutritionally poor meals. I don’t do margarine.

Continue reading Hello World!