Archive | November, 2011

I like to share…

30 Nov

I just thought I’d share this link with you where a gentleman named Mark Crick has imagined Virginia Woolf, Geoffrey Chaucer and Raymond Chandler as food writers. It’s well worth a look!


Mango and brandy-oh

21 Nov

It’s mid November, which means that , apart from being my mum’s birthday (Happy Birthday Mama!), it’s getting close to Christmas.
And when it gets close to Christmas that means it’s preserving time!
For the last few years I have been giving my family jars of my homemade preserves as presents. The first year I did this, I spent the last week leading up to Christmas cooking frantically until all hours of the night, before getting up, going to work and beginning all over again.
Now I am a bit more prepared. I collect jars throughout the year and begin cooking in November.
Preserving seems so old fashioned, but I really love it. I keep jars in the cupboard for emergency gifts and they always come in handy for impromptu barbeques.
I’m delightfully happy that there appears to be a mango glut this year; they are already so ridiculously cheap! I picked some up for a dollar each, so I have a dozen of the sweet fruit just waiting for me to start cooking and eating. Mangos have a beautiful pine-needle aroma and the scent just screams summer and Christmas to me, so it feels fitting to include them in my Christmas hampers.
So this week I’ll be wearing one of my vintage aprons (yes, I collect them) and dancing around to Rosemary Clooney – “Mangos” while I make the first preserve of the season:

Mango and Brandy Chutney

Olive oil

1 1/2 tbs of mustard seeds

3 red onions, chopped finely (I use a food processer)

A thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped into sticks

1 1/3 cups of brandy (the nicer the brandy the nicer the chutney!)

6 large mangoes, peeled and roughly chopped

2 1/2 cups of caster sugar

1 1/3 cups of apple cider vinegar

Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop (a couple of minutes)

Add ginger and onion and cook, stirring until soft.

Add brandy and cook for about a minute before adding the mango, vinegar and sugar.

Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until it has thickened.

While chutney is hot, divide amongst hot, sterilised jars and seal tightly – it will splutter as it hits the jars, so be careful you don’t burn yourself

Turn them on their lids for a couple of minutes before turning them right side up to cool.

Label them and store in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months. Refrigerate after opening.

I covered the tops of mine with brown paper and wrapped some kitchen twine around the lids. I used a decorative stamp on the top and hand wrote the name and date on in a black pen. I found small wooden spoons at a local shop and attached them witht the twine. I think they looked quite pretty, but I’m not sure what I’ll do this year!


I made my chutney and it turned out perfectly!

I made six jars and it yields about 2 litres.


17 Nov

Here’s a quick delicious snack reminiscent of honey joys:

Caramel Popcorn

Take about a  1/4 – 1/3 cup of popcorn, pop it and put it aside in a large bowl with 1/4 cup of flaked almonds and a liberal sprinkling of seseme seeds.

In a saucepan melt together 90g of coconut butter and 2 tablespoons of honey. Once combined pour over popcorn and stir until it is coated.

Lay the popcorn on a tray or place spoonfuls in cupcake papers and bake for 10 minutes in a 160 degree oven until it starts to go a lovely caramely colour.

Allow it to cool and harden before eating. It will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days.

Go Nuts!

15 Nov

I am currently on a detox to give myself a good cleanse before summer. Apart from tea and coffee, I really miss treats, so I invented myself a healthy little snack that I can keep in the fridge for when the cravings get too strong. This recipe is made mostly of nuts and is vegan friendly. The measurements are approximate as I freepour the ingredients until I get the flavour I want, so use this as a guideline. You may want to add more agave syrup to make it slightly sweeter, or use different kinds of nuts. I am going to try using date paste next time and for a non-vegan recipe, you could add some honey. I sometimes use coconut butter and tahini; whatever happens to be in my cupboard. Just make sure that you make the mixture firm enough to form the balls.


This should make about 26 balls.

140g nut spread (I use macadamia)

90g almond meal

20g seseme seeds

30g dutch cocoa

4 tbs agave syrup

20 g dessicated coconut (plus another 30g for rolling the balls in)

130g crushed, roasted almonds

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until it forms a mixture that is firm enough to roll. If it is too wet, add some more almond meal or coconut. If it is too dry, add a bit more nut butter or agave. With damp hands, roll the mixture into 20g balls and then  roll them in the extra coconut. Put them in the fridge until firm and they’ll keep in an airproof container for about a month.

The Seaside

13 Nov

I escaped to the seaside this weekend.

I stayed in an old weatherboard beach house with my nana and  her boyfriend and my cousin and  fiance and their little boy.There was no TV, just the sound of the waves and our voices as we chatted and reminisced over tea and beer.

We went to sleep with the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore and woke to  rain in the morning which cleared for a beautiful warm day. We picnicked on the beach and I went for my first swim of the season, and briefly washed away the bustle of the city and the stresses of work.

The house we stayed in did not look as if it had changed much since the ’70’s, which is why I chose to use the sepia filter to relfect the nostalgia and the  feeling of being transported back in time.

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Springtime makes me happy when the flowers are in bloom

10 Nov