Luscious Pumpkin Fritters

Warm and filling Pumpkin Fritters

Warm and filling Pumpkin Fritters

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For those particularly chilly mornings, when the warm cocoon of bed keeps you until you are ravenous, you want a hearty breakfast. Something low mess, low fuss and fast. Fritters are a quick, tasty, nutritious fill-me-up. The recipe easily scales up or down for one person or twenty as there is no need to adjust cooking times. Nor are you confined to pumpkin and/or pinenuts if they’re out of season, expensive or unwelcome on your plate. Experiment a little with your favourite vegetables and spices. Peppers, mushrooms, finely shredded spinach, shredded kohl rabi or celeriac, any type of squash, soft cooked asparagus, corn kernels, sweet potato all work in this recipe. Add garlic and/or chili. Don’t save it for brunch either. Served hot or cold, they are a welcome addition to picnics and post-game (or midnight) feasts!

Coconut Curried Butternut

With all the trimmings ..

With all the trimmings ..

I love one pot wonders. They are the epitome of low mess, low fuss cheating .. and none of this sludgy goop you may be imagining. This dish is simple, versatile and delicious. Hearty stay-at-home lazy weekend lunch that won’t break the bank? Perfect. Something really different to offer a potluck or progressive dinner? Steam up some fancy rice, put it in a fancy dish and mound this over the top .. finish it with coriander and you’ve stolen the show. Bored with plain roast veg (don’t look at me like that .. it is possible you know) and want a tasty alternative? This with baked hogget or goat .. divine!

Cheating at Quiche

When I heard that Best Friend was making the journey Down Under again, and (more importantly) coming to dinner, I was determined to be on my very, very best behaviour. On her previous trip I had made a complete arse of myself, opening my mouth wide and firmly wedging in both feet. (One day I may be brave enough to tell you that story). My gentle, forgiving friend eats no meat, so my usual stand-bys and signature dishes were off the menu .. until Gran came to my rescue once more. In common with most folks who lived through the Depression, Gran had a lot of ways of serving cheap, simple and nourishing. Eggs, mushrooms, onions and plenty of mustard with bread’nbutter turned into Savoury Mushroom Custard.  I kicked her recipe up a notch, including seasonal vegetables and herbs to transform “Simple” into “Gourmet”.

The meal was a success, we smiled, laughed and I managed to keep my feet well away from my mouth. I have made this dish many times and in many guises since, never without a fond smile of remembrance.

Turkey “Scotch Broth”

Turkey Scotch Broth

Turkey Scotch Broth

Up until a few years ago, lamb shanks were sneered at as practically offal and sold as dog food. My family sniggered at this ignorance, happily souping (or casseroling) it up and fighting over what we considered the best bit of a lamb roast. Times have changed and the last laugh is on us. With the advent of the Celebrity Chef phenomena came “gourmet peasant” cuisine, and the humble lamb shank was suddenly much sought after. As a result butchers now charge something like 3 – 4000% what they did a decade ago, putting the original of this dish firmly out of my budget. I began experimenting with the much more affordable turkey wings, finding that as long as I skinned them, something wonderful appeared. It’s not quite the flavour I remember with such nostalgia, it’s not lamb after all. It is however, warm, filling and delicious. Who knows? Perhaps a new nostalgia has been born.

The Bookworm’s Turkey

Please think carefully before introducing this dish into your repertoire. Friendships have been strained, and domestic war has been declared over stolen leftovers.

Bookworm's Turkey

Bookworm’s Turkey

Yes, it’s that good.

It played like the script from a Spaghetti Western, all that was missing was the soundtrack by Enrico Morricone. A casserole made of end-of-payweek leftovers was served at a dinner party. Tarted up with garlicy mashed sweet potato, julienne carrots, green beans and herb bread, it successfully impersonated a “gourmet” feast .. and the crowd went wild. Violating several laws of physics (and her mushroom black-ban) Angel tucked away more than her own body weight.