Easy Moist Lemon, Rosemary and Cider Roast Chicken Recipe

“If the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating centre, the sustainer of life and health.” 
Shauna Niequist

 

I’m still getting over the flu, so I’m tired and useless and have no energy or brain for anything much at all. But we had friends arriving home to our village who’ve just been away at a family funeral. The thought of them arriving to a cold dark house and an empty fridge was just wrong. Anyway, they’re the kind of friends who don’t mind if I’m in my pyjamas or if I served them toast for dinner. Don’t you just love friends like that!

So I roasted some chickens and teamed it with baked vegetables and coleslaw. A simple meal. Easy to prepare and delicious. It also has the added benefit of giving me leftovers, and chicken frames to make stock tomorrow. Here’s my easy chicken stock recipe. I love cooking more than we need. That way the leftovers give me easy meals for days without much effort. I can have a plate of cold roast vegetables, chicken and salad for lunch, or put them in a wrap or sandwich. I can use the chicken meat in curries, pasta, soups and stir-fries for dinner. I can even use the leftovers in an omelette or frittata. Sounds good, doesn’t it!.

The butter, herbs and cider in this recipe keep the chicken moist and tender, and the flavour is fantastic. (So is the smell of the chicken roasting!)

Confession – my coleslaw is a packet of shredded raw ingredients from the supermarket tossed with some dressing, and Ben has chopped up the vegetables for me. But easy is good and if it means healthy eating I’m all for that! Prep time for the entire meal was ten minutes.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and this meal is easy enough for non-cooks to create with confidence. Maybe you can bake it for your mum, or for you!

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 whole chickens – preferably free range (I used two 1.5kg birds)
  • fresh rosemary – enough for a tablespoon of chopped leaves and a sprig to place in the cavity of the chicken (Want to use another herb? Try Thyme, Sage or Parsley)
  • 1 large lemon or two smaller ones – juice half and chop the other into quarters
  • 1 small onion cut in half (I used half an enormous onion and cut that in half again)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter per bird
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small bottle of cider (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
  • olive oil

Method

1.Preheat your oven to moderate (180 degrees celcius or 350 degrees fahrenheit) – a little less if fan-forced.

2. Estimate your cooking time. You need 30 minutes for every 500 grams of body weight so a 1.5kg chicken will take 90 minutes to cook.

3. Lightly grease a large baking pan big enough to hold your chicken/s with olive oil

4. Wash the chickens well under cold running water, including the cavity and pat dry with a paper towel

5. Place chickens into the baking tray. Add the lemon, onion and sprig of herb to the cavity.

6. In a small saucepan (or you can microwave!) place the butter and lemon juice and gently melt together. Throw in the chopped herbs, mix well and then spoon over the chicken.

7. Season the top of the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper.

8. Pour the bottle of cider into the bottom of the pan and place in the hot oven for thirty minutes.

9. After thirty minutes baste the chicken liberally by spooning the pan juices over the bird. Add any vegetables to the oven if you’re baking them.

10. Continue to baste the chicken at intervals of about fifteen minutes. This helps keep the meat moist and flavourful.

11. If the top of your chicken is browning too quickly cover with some aluminium foil and return to oven. (No need to baste further of you do this.)

12. After your cooking time is up check the chicken is cooked by seeing if the juices run clear when a knife or skewer inserted into the part of the chicken where the thigh meets the body. You can also test by gently easing the drumstick and thigh away from the body of the chicken and looking at the juices. There should be no pink at all.

13. Let the cooked chicken stand for ten minutes, and then serve. This helps the juices settle back into the meat so they don’t run everywhere when you carve the chicken, and it keeps the meat juicy and tender.

14. You can make a simple gravy with the pan juices if you want.

Easy Stewed Pears Recipe

“It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption.”
~ Edward Bunyard

After the excess of Easter it is a relief to be back to simple food again.

One of Autumn’s great pleasures for me is pears. This easy dish is low in sugar, and the cooked fruit can be eaten warm or cold.

They are wonderful on their own, spooned over cereal or porridge or made into a layered parfait with some fresh yoghurt and a sprinkling of chopped nuts or some crunchy granola.

I also like them with a drizzle of fresh cream or a dollop of coconut yoghurt.

Pears are a great source of fibre and are high in anti-oxidants. Plus they are delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 12 ripe pears, sliced and the cores removed. It’s fine to keep the skins on.
  • Enough water or unsweetened apple juice to just cover the fruit in a large saucepan. If you use apple juice you won’t need sweetener.
  • 1 to 2 cinnamon quills (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon for each quill)
  • 6 dried cloves
  • a peeled and sliced 1 inch piece of root ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of dried ground ginger
  • You can also use a little sweetener if you are using water to cook the pears. A few drops of stevia, or a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup or honey will work well.

Method:

  1. Slice the pears into halves or quarters.
  2. Place in a saucepan and barely cover with water or juice.
  3. Add the spices.
  4. Gently bring to the boil and then turn heat to low and cook for fifteen to twenty minutes or until pears are soft.

Stewed pears will keep for up to one week in the fridge.

Cadbury Creme Egg and Salted Caramel Cheesecake Recipe

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!” 
Mae West

Easter’s almost here. A while ago a friend and I were throwing around ideas for an Easter Dessert. We wanted something decadent but easy to make – one that was seasonal and delicious and a bit over-the-top.

Welcome to the Cadbury Creme Egg and Salted Caramel White Chocolate Cheesecake.

No. Really. It’s a thing.

A once-a-year thing, or perhaps even a once-a-decade.

This cheesecake has a few steps but it is completely easy to make. And yum. Oh, so yum! It’s a white chocolate no-bake cheesecake with a bottom layer of gooey salted caramel, with nuggets of Cadbury Creme Egg and pockets of more caramel strewn throughout, and topped with more large Cadbury Creme Eggs and drizzles of white and dark chocolate. Please, don’t ask me to make this one sugar-free, dairy-free etc. Sometimes you just have to face the fact that a treat is a treat. This one won’t work with healthy substitutions.

Cadbury Creme Eggs are chocolate eggs with gooey fondant filling made to look like the white and yolk of an egg. If you can’t get hold of any feel free to substitute any of your favourite soft chocolate bars. I’m going to make this next Easter with Turkish Delight. I reckon that would be crazily good as well. 🙂

Happy Easter!

Lots of love, Nicole  xx

PS – Excuse dodgy food styling. I am a psychic and metaphysical mentor, not a food blogger. Also, it was almost impossible to stop Ben attacking cheesecake before I had taken a pic. Yes, it’s that good. 😀

INGREDIENTS

You’ll need a greased 23cm springform pan with the base inverted so that the bottom is flat with no lip (or it’s too hard to get the cheesecake out).

Base

  • 250g plain chocolate biscuits, crushed
  • 125g of melted butter

Method – crush biscuit and add melted butter. Use the back of a spoon or a straight-sided glass to push the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the tin. Place in fridge for 30 minutes

Salted Caramel

  • 1 x 380g can of Nestle Caramel Top and Fill
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt flakes (or equivalent)

Method: Beat the caramel and salt together until smooth. Set aside. When base has chilled add 2/3 as a layer at the bottom of the shell and then return to fridge.

Cheesecake Layer

  • 500g full fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup of thickened cream
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 200g white chocolate, melted
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water

Method: beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together on low speed until soft and creamy. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat again. Finally add the cooled gelatin mix and cream then gradually increase to high speed. Whip for five minutes. Pour into shell.

Extra

  • 6 Cadbury Creme Eggs plus two more or 8 mini eggs.
  • White and dark melted chocolate to drizzle on the top (about 50g of each)

Method: Chop two large eggs or 8 small ones and sprinkle over cheesecake and then use a spoon to mix gently into the cheesecake layer. Dollop the remaining salted caramel around the top of the cheesecake and then use a knife or the handle of a spoon to swirl it into the cheesecake. Slice the remaining Creme Eggs and place them around the top of the cake. Drizzle the chocolate over the cake in decorative swirls. Return to fridge and chill for 8 hours or overnight.

To serve carefully remove the outer ring of the springform pan and cut the cake into slices. This is a rich dessert so it will give 12 serves, or 8 colossal serves if you want to go straight into a  carb and sugar coma. If you must, I recommend serving this with unsweetened whipped cream or a good vanilla ice-cream.

 

Healthy Bounty Bar Easter Eggs!

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
Charles M. Schulz

Easter is only a few weeks away and it can be a real drag for chocolate lovers if you are on a restricted diet or a sugar-free diet.

Bounty Bars are one of my favourite chocolates. Ben’s too. They have a creamy coconut centre covered in chocolate. Who can resist that kind of flavour combo? But they are full of sugar, so I decided to have a play around in the kitchen and see what else I could come up with that might be a bit healthier.

This version is refined sugar-free, and can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free or vegan depending on what kind of chocolate you use.

It’s still a treat, but it’s a yummy one. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Yep, we ate them already! 🙂

You can halve this recipe to make just a few treats, or make enough for a crowd.

PS – Please forgive the sweaty pics. I made these little treats in the middle of a heatwave where a block of chocolate left on our kitchen bench turned to liquid from the heat! So as soon as I took these choccies out of the fridge it was condensation city. Which meant we needed to eat them faster – obviously!

 

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • Either 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, rice malt syrup or agave OR 4 tablespoons coconut cream and your favourite liquid sweetener (eg Stevia drops) or powdered sweetener to taste

Plus 200 to 400 grams of dark chocolate and 100 grams of white chocolate to cover. I also used a couple of drops of beetroot juice to give that pretty pink colour in the chocolate drizzle.

Method:

  • Place the coconut in a food processor and add the vanilla, salt coconut oil and sweetener. (Hint, if you are using a granular sweetener heat the coconut cream slightly and dissolve the sweetener before adding)
  • Blitz until the mixture is well combined and sticky, and the coconut is in small pieces.
  • Roll into balls and place on a silicone sheet or some baking paper. Or for a better Easter Egg shape use a mould OR use spoons from your kitchen that have an egg-shaped bowl and press a mounded ball of coconut firmly into the bowl of the spoon.
  • Place the coconut shapes into the fridge for fifteen minutes to firm.
  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (place a bowl over a simmering pot of water) or in a microwave on low heat.
  • Press your shapes out of the moulds or remove from the tray and dip into the chocolate. Replace in fridge.
  • For a thicker chocolate coating do a second coat of chocolate.
  • To finish drizzle some chocolate over the top of the dipped eggs. For a pretty effect use a little melted white chocolate. To colour the chocolate pink add a few drops of beetroot juice.
  • Store in the fridge if you live in a tropical environment. But they will keep well out of the fridge if your home environment is cool.
  • Share and enjoy!

I love these measuring cups that my Nana gave me!

Whizz away.

I am totally convinced this spoon is egg shaped!

Here are all my coconut spoons.

Unmoulded and ready for dipping.

Dip in melted chocolate.

Ad an extra drizzle for decoration.

Share with friends or give as gifts.

Eat and enjoy. Happy Easter!

 

 

 

Healthy Summer Fruits Rice Pudding

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” 
~  Charles Bowden

It’s summertime in Australia right now, one of my favourite times for fruits and simple foods. This rice dish is a firm favourite – it makes for great breakfast eating, but can also serve as a dessert. The one in the picture is dressed up with some extra flavours but the pudding is delicious on its own too. I use coconut cream or coconut yogurt so this is a sugar-free, soy free and dairy-free meal.

I make this pudding with brown rice and no cane sugar, but I’ll give a few variations in case that kind of eating is not your thing.

The pudding will keep in the fridge for one week, and can be eaten warm or cold. Not summer in your part of the world? Use good quality frozen or canned fruit instead!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of brown rice and quinoa mix (or use 3/4 cup brown rice and 1/4 cup quinoa)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 to 3 cups of stonefruit, berries or a mixture of both. Cut stonefruit in halves or quarters. If the stonefruit is a clingstone (ie won’t separate easily from the pit) score the fruit into halves or quarters but leave intact. The fruit will cook beautifully and you can just remove any pits later.
  • a few drops of stevia or your favourite non-sugar sweetener, or a couple of tablespoons of cane sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon or lime (optional but it really freshens up the flavour)

Substitutions – use white rice and cut cooking time by ten to fifteen minutes

To Serve:

I often throw on any or all of the following

  • Coconut cream
  • Yogurt or coconut yogurt
  • Maple syrup
  • Fresh berries
  • Pepitas, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, almonds, cashews or your choice of favourite seeds and nuts

Method:

  1. Place the rice in a large saucepan that has a close-fitting lid and then add the water. Add any sweetener you are using. If you are using stone fruit place the fruit on top of the rice.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil
  3. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until rice is soft and well cooked.
  4. If using berries, add these ten minutes before final cooking time.
  5. To finish add the lemon or lime juice and stir well.

Place into bowls and add your choice of topping. Eat and enjoy!

Top 5 Christmas Sweets Recipes For You!

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more! 
~  Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

 

Hello, Lovelies!

It’s me again Chelsi, Nicole’s VA!

As Nicole gets stormed in her farm with internet and electricity cut off, she sends her love by giving us a list of Top 5 Christmas Sweets recipes! We hope you enjoy making some of these!

1. Homemade Rocky Road for life’s bumpy bits

It’s so easy even non-cooks can make it, and it’s a wonderful treat to spoil yourself with, or to give as a gift. It’s a simple combination of chocolate, nuts, marshmallows and jubes/jellies.  You can create endless variations as your confidence grows, and to suit your own taste.

 

2.Easy Moist Boiled Fruit-Cake Recipe

“My easy Boiled Fruitcake is a wonderful treat to serve with a cup of tea, or heated as a dessert with fresh cream, custard or ice-cream. Even non-cooks can make this cake!

I love this recipe because I can whip it up with ingredients I have in the pantry. It keeps well, and freezes well too.”

 

3.Easy Christmas Fudge Recipe

“This recipe is simple to make, even for beginners in the kitchen, and it tastes creamy and wonderful. The colours look very festive too!

And the best thing is, it only takes five minutes to whip up.”

 

“This is a super recipe. It’s rich and buttery, and the lovely crispness of the shortbread goes perfectly with a cup of tea. I like their rustic style too. It speaks of kitchens and aprons and being made with love. 

This shortbread makes an easy and thoughtful home-made Christmas gift and is good to have on hand when friends pop by for a visit.

The recipe can also be made gluten-free or vegan very easily – simple substitutes are listed”

 

“This Christmas cake tastes just as good as the one that takes me a whole week to make, and the ingredients list is only a quarter of the length of my traditional one. But that doesn’t matter. No-one will know. They’ll just be impressed that you made this yourself. Santa will be happy with the slice you leave out for him (don’t forget some carrots for the reindeers – although Harry and Bert tell me reindeers adore dog treats!) and this cake makes a thoughtful gift for friends and family too.

You can also reheat slices to substitute for a traditional Christmas Pudding.

Yes – fast, versatile, simple and yummy. This recipe is a clear winner!”

 

If you get to make one of this, take a picture and share it with us on our Facebook page!.  

 

Chelsi (Nicole’s VA)   xx

Poached Pears with Honey and Turmeric

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” 
~  A.A. Milne

 

Here at the farm it’s been unseasonably cold and rainy as we head towards summer. That’s okay. It’s the perfect weather for poached pears.

This is a very simple dish to make, but the results are fancy enough to grace your table at a dinner party or special luncheon. Or you can eat them anytime! They are super when served warm but are also delicious cold. They are sweetly spiced and they turn golden from the turmeric.

Make extra. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Ingredients:

4 to 6 large firm ripe pears (Bartlett or Bosc are good varieties), 3 cups of water, 1/2 cup of honey, 1 large cinnamon stick, 6 to 12 cardamom pods crushed with the back of a knife or a mortar and pestle, a 2 inch piece of ginger cut into slices, 5 cloves, a 2 inch piece of turmeric cut into slices, pinch of salt

(If you’re sugar-free use natvia or stevia instead of the honey, or just cook the pears in unsweetened apple juice instead of the water and honey mixture. No fresh ginger or turmeric? Just use a 1/2 teaspoon of each as dried powder)

Method:

  1. Peel the pears and find a saucepan that fits them snugly.
  2. Add the water, honey and spices to the pan and bring the liquid to the boil.
  3. Reduce heat and add pears.
  4. Poach the pears in the liquid for 20 minutes or until soft all the way through when pierced by a fork or skewer.
  5. Remove pears from liquid to serve.
  6. If you want a thicker syrup return the pan to the stove and boil the liquid until it is reduced by half. This syrup can then be drizzled over the pears.
  7. Serve with a spoonful of poaching liquid or reduced syrup. Excellent with yogurt, ice-cream or creamed rice pudding.

Fanny’s Whist Cake – A simple and delicious treat!

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.” 
~  Ray Bradbury

On Wednesday we mustered and did cattle work here at the farm. It’s always incumbent upon me to provide cake for smoko when the workers break for a cup of tea, and I have a host of favourite recipes to choose from. But our friend and her little boy were visiting later in the day. Eli loves cake, but mum was hoping it might be low sugar, so I decided to go through my old recipe folders and there I found a recipe I’d never made, one that was copied from my Nana Cody. My beloved Nana passed away in 2012, but she’s still a strong presence in my life – especially in the kitchen! Nana was always good for recipes and simple life wisdoms. This particular recipe was called Fanny’s Whist Cake. It was lower in sugar than most other recipes and seemed worth making. Well, I thought, why not?

The name of the cake was quite curious. First I googled Whist Cake but there is no such thing. There is a card game called Whist though – it’s a simple trick taking game that was a popular parlour game in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

Perhaps it was a cake that Fanny liked to bake and take to her Whist games? Seems logical to me.

But who was Fanny? If she had been a friend of Nana’s I didn’t recall her ever being mentioned. I rang my sister, who is the family’s genealogy sleuth. Fanny Wheaton, Simone declared. She was Nana’s (our Dad’s mum, Joyce Cody, nee Heppell) grandmother. So that makes Fanny Wheaton my second great-grandmother. Here’s a photo of Fanny, circa 1915, courtesy of Jon Heppell who uploaded it to Ancestry.com. She’s the lady in black in the middle of the picture, holding the baby. Nana’s parents are Doris Minta Parish & her husband Frederick William Heppell, Fanny’s son (back row, right). Isn’t it wonderful to think that I am now baking her recipe, one that she was making over one hundred years ago!

So, is a cake made to a recipe that’s easily over 100 years old any good? My word it is! It’s a light and buttery cake, made interesting with the addition of dried fruit and a simple cinnamon-spiced crumb topping. It is quite firm to slice. We found it excellent served plain with a cup of tea, and our young friend Eli found it even better served with lashings of vanilla ice-cream.

I don’t think it will have very good keeping qualities so I advise that it is best served on the day it is made. We did eat the last of it the following day and found it a little drier, but still acceptable and very good buttered!

I hope you enjoy Fanny’s Whist Cake as much as we did. I’ll certainly be making it again.

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter (115g or 1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup sugar ( 170g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups self-raising flour (300g)
  • 1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins – 88g)
  • 1/4 cup sliced glace cherries (40g)
  • good pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup warmed milk (58ml)

Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, chopped (30g)
  • 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar (30g)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour (20g)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder ( 12g)

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to moderately slow (160 degrees Celsius or 325 Fahrenheit)
  2. Grease and paper line a 20cm round baking tin
  3. Make the crumble first by rubbing the butter, sugar flour and spice together with your fingertips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Note: Make sure the butter is cold!
  4. Warm milk (Warm, not boiling!)
  5. Cream butter and sugar until soft and fluffy – sugar is dissolved
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating slowly after each to combine
  7. Add pinch of salt
  8. Alternate the flour and milk in small amounts, gently folding in to the mixture.
  9. Add the dried fruit and fold through.
  10. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.
  11. sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter
  12. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until top is golden and cake springs back when lightly pressed in centre.
  13. Cool.
  14. Best served on same day.

 

Easy Sweet Potato and Apple Bake – Savoury

“I’m eating’ it quick… but I’ll remember it a long time.” 
~  Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

 

I would love to say that I had a picture of this awesomely delicious little bake intact and looking as amazing as it did when it was still in one piece. But I don’t because we gobbled it up for Sunday lunch with friends, and it was only after the initial feasting frenzy died down that I remembered I hadn’t taken a photo when it was fresh from the oven. Still, this image will suffice. You can see the apple, the onion, the sweet potato and the spices. You can see how tasty it was. In fact I’m glad I took a picture when I did because even though we all declared ourselves groaningly full ten minutes later this bowl had been picked clean!

This bake will go well with any kind of roasted or barbequed meat or seafood or would make a great vegan main course. The layers of red onion, apple and sweet potato meld together into total deliciousness. We teamed ours with lamb chops and a fig and roasted tomato salad.

This bake would also make a lovely Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner addition.

Ingredients:

Choose enough ingredients to fill the sized bowl you’re going to bake in. Truly!

Sweet potato, apple (I used Pink Lady apples), red onion, butter or butter substitute, salt and pepper, nutmeg, one cup of stock, bone broth or a stock cube with water (I used some homemade chicken stock but use whatever you have to hand!

The ratio of sweet potato to apple is 2:1.

Method:

Peel the sweet potato and cut into slices no more than 1cm thick.

No need to peel the apple but cut into slices (not the core!).

Thinly slice one red onion.

Lightly butter your dish and then arrange layers of sweet potato, onion and apple to the top of your baking dish. Add a few extra dollops of butter to the top. Sprinkle salt and pepper and add some freshly grated nutmeg. Carefully pour in the stock.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees c) for one to one and a half hours or until well done – soft vegetables and browned on top. Cooking time will be less for a dish with only a few layers of vegetable, and more for a dish with deeper layers. You’ll figure it out. Enjoy! If you ever get leftovers of this it is also delicious served cold.

 

Fry-Up Bowl – An Easy Meal For Anytime!

 

“If you can eat with mates or friends or family, I mean, it’s such a brilliant thing isn’t it? If you feel really rubbish and you have a nice bit of food it makes you feel good, you know?” 
~  Jamie Oliver

 

Fry-Up Bowls are a favourite easy meal in our house.

To be honest they are not always 100% fried, and the ingredients often change, but they are always served in a bowl, so that’s something consistent I guess.

We eat this kind of food when a decent breakfast is called for. But it also works well for lunch and dinner, and is a fabulous way of using left-overs. In fact I often cook more food than can be eaten in one meal just so that I have left-overs to use at another. Don’t you?

Also, those potatoes? Totally worthy of being cooked ON THEIR OWN for immediate consumption when comfort food is called for or when the football is on!

Here are the basic ingredients:

Cold boiled potatoes or any leftover roast vegetables

Some chopped up green vegetables that I can quickly boil or fry

Salady things – chopped or ripped

Protein – This could be eggs; cold cooked meat from a previous meal; sausages, bacon, or any other meat that suits a quick fry-up.

Fermented Vegetables and a dab of butter to finish.

*Use variations of any of the above based on what you have to hand.

Method:

Squashed Crunchy Potatoes – Oh, we love these! I often boil up a heap of spuds, have some for dinner and then use others to chop into pasties or pies, to mash and add to the top of some savoury thing I’ve whipped up and some for fry-ups or as Squashed Crunchies. (Did I mention I’m the Queen of Leftovers?)

So, start with some boiled and well-drained or cold potatoes. Turn your oven up to HIGH and get out a heavy baking dish. Pour a good slug of oil into the pan and rub it around with your fingers to coat the bottom. Dump your cooked potato pieces into the oiled pan and then squash them down with your hand, the back of a spoon or a potato masher – whatever is closest. The potatoes will flatten and break up. Great! Now drizzle more oil over them and sprinkle with salt and a bit of herb (fresh or dried rosemary or oregano is good) and chuck them in the hot oven. Turn after ten minutes and cook again for another ten. You’ll end up with nice hot crispy potatoes that are still fluffy and soft in the middle.

While the spuds are baking put some hot water into a saucepan and bring to the boil (only do this if you aren’t frying everything – but know that frying everything is an option…) and get your frypan on. Add a little fat/oil to the frypan and then add any meat you are going to cook up or reheat.

Chop up any vegetables you’ll boil. I often use broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, brussel sprouts, carrots, green beans or asparagus. If you already have these as cooked vegetables from a previous meal you can reheat in the frypan. Put the hard texture vegetables in first – eg carrots and brussel sprouts (chop these dudes into halves or even quarters to speed cooking time) to give them a head-start with cooking. Add the broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini next and things like asparagus and beans just a few minutes before the rest are done. Drain when cooked and dump back into saucepan with a lid to keep warm. (Hint – I will often put an egg or two in their shells in with the vegetables if I couldn’t be bothered doing a fry up. When the vegetables are done just use a spoon to halve the eggs and scoop contents out onto your bowl of food. Three to four minutes for a soft yolk, longer for a hard yolk.)

Fry-up – your sausages, bacon or cold leftover meat will be well on its way to cooked or hot. Now you can add tomato, onion, mushroom, an egg or whatever else takes your fancy – or any vegetables that are pre-cooked and which need reheating. Turn occasionally to prevent sticking and allow even cooking.

To assemble:

Place some potato in bottom of bowl. Add some cooked vegetables and whatever you’ve fried up. Dab that butter on if you’re a butter kind of person. (Hint – pre-slicing cooked sausages or other meat makes eating it a whole lot better!) Add any salad items or chopped fresh herbs to the top, and a spoonful or two of fermented vegetables like kimchi or sauerkraut. Salt and pepper if you want. Eat!