Christmas craft gifts – ahead of the pack

In an attempt to be uber-organised this coming Christmas (with a toddler and a what will be 3 month old) – that should be an achievable goal, right?

So I have thought of some frugal, alternative craft gifts for friends and family:

  • Rosemary salt
  • Rosemary and Parmesan biscuits
  • Lavender pouches
  • Tomato and oregano sauce

The idea being that most of the ingredients are from my very own collection and cuttings that my daughter helps cultivate (well digs with her spade and pours dirt all over the pathway)- but practically the same!DE9oJIcW0AEm-sB

Here we go…


The true comfort of memories

I could eat Hungarian Palacsinta on a daily basis. I’m sure it isn’t fundamentally nutritious but my word, once you’ve gone to the world of European savoury stuffed thin pancake, you never look back.

I remember my late grandmother cooking them in her dark mission brown wooden boiling hot kitchen by the seaside when we visited her, the house wafting of various other odours like sauerkraut, cigarettes and whiskey.

But these pancakes were the business.

Then I remember my late mum taking over duties in the later years of our visits, creating the stewed meat ones for main course, followed by a jam filled one for dessert.

Then I had a 20 year gap between her last one and my first one. And upon rediscovering them, it was like welcoming my mouth to the best memory EVER.

Luckily my English husband adores them (and he grew up in the retrospectively and slightly stereotypical Irish meat and two veggie home). His pallet is much more eagle-eyed then it ever was thanks to moi!

So my pancakes are my love, the introduction of soda water has defined them in my books, as has the cheapest but best frying pan a girl could ask for, which holds the exact size of a decent pancake and which I think will become a member of the family when we go on holidays!

Next we try Lángos!




Kitchen garden revisited

Although I’m happy to see the end of the rain for now (the weeds think it was just divine), it has meant a significant bloom in my garden which I’m wishfully hoping will encourage my veggies to leap into action.

And thankfully my herbs have heeded to that plea and headed skywards.

I’m sure I’ve waffled on before but I am passionate about my desire for an extension in some way, of the kitchen into the garden, creating a continuous unbroken road of food from earth to table and table leftovers to replanting in the ground.

From something that can start as mere seeds from last years crop, to snippets of existing plants (and delighting in my neighbour’s wayward rosemary hedgerow), the kitchen garden can be whatever and however big and grand or tiny and surprising as you wish to make it.

So I’m thinking of some delectable, desirable dishes to use up the flurry of oregano, rosemary, coriander, parsley and basil playing home to my garden for this year.






A fish dish

I have never been able to eat fish. End of. Except tuna in brine from a tin. That counts I’m sure.

When I was three I visited the Victorian Markets in Melbourne with my family and was so overcome by the immense and overpowering odour of fresh seafood from the market stalls that the smell to this day, some 30 odd years later, brings a nausea and uncertainly to my nose.

Except I want to change that.

I want to change that because of the introduction 20 months ago of a little person we welcomed into our house (and now the impending introduction of another in a few months).

She loves fish and tuna and food in general (so all in all no complaints from this mumma). I also feed my husband salmon and fish weekly due to an omega 3 deficiency, so I can cook and breath calmly and get through the smell best I can frequently and much better then I ever did due to necessity.

So I’m calling to arms some fish introduction tasting ideas. My pallet of interest so far stems from a tolerable battered cod to a grilled white fish (Australian fish and chip shop style of course).

This will also I hope, rapidly accelerate my passion and desire for a Mediterranean lifestyle in the lull of the home counties and an eventual move  to the Med so I can pretend to be cultured and eat olives and sundried tomatoes all day (one that money tree grows into life).

Fish was a cause for concern, I now want it to become my hunger for the taste.

Watch this space.

Clean Eating  (add another fad to the list)

I just shared this on Twitter – the part I’m hung on (& agree with) is the elitist part; ‘whole’ foods, au natural, is expensive, making the craze impossible for many… what are your thoughts. Can you eat well without breaking the bank…

Love love love this article: Why “Clean Eating” Is Total BS via @goodhousemag #eathappy #foodisamazing