Month: April 2020


Katie Bell makes the most wonderful Anzac biscuits. She is very much a seat of her pants cook, though she objects strenuously when I alter one of her recipes. Here is her recipe, more or less verbatim.


‘I never get two batches the same; that is the fun of it. I suppose it has something to do with the amount of golden syrup I use.’

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup sugar

1 cup plain flour

¾ cup desiccated coconut

1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

2 tablespoons boiling water

125g butter

1 tablespoon golden syrup (I use more, sometimes 2 tablespoon-ish!!!!)

Combine rolled oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut. Combine butter and golden syrup, stir over gentle heat until melted.

Mix soda with boiling water, add to melted butter mixture. Stir into dry ingredients.

Spoon dessertspoons of mixture onto greased oven trays. (They spread even more if extra golden syrup is used, so separate them well).

Bake in a slow oven (150C) for 20 minutes or until they look cooked.

Makes about 6 large cookie/biscuits.

Before you begin: Cooking your greens.

Did you know that you should never cook green vegetables with the lid on the saucepan?

Or that vegetables that grow beneath the ground such as potatoes, carrots etc. should always be started in cold water and that vegetables that grow above the ground such as beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage should be started in boiling water?

Green beans

Did you know cutting a cross in the bottom of a Brussel sprout does not help it cook more evenly (unless steamed)? You are better off simply cutting the BS in half to cook.

Before you begin: Freezing stuff

92047481_10158216893007154_3520284757785051136_oBefore you freeze anything at all, think about the quantities in which you may want to use it later. This applies equally to meat, fish, and to such things as demi-glace, jus, gravy, stock and pureed fruit.

Generally speaking less is better.

There have been many occasions when I have had to thaw twice as much meat as I needed, twice as much demi-glace (that really is a waste) and up to four times as much stock.

None of these should be re-frozen, and none keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

Even soup should not be frozen in large quantities unless it is for a specific occasion. Plastic containers with a 2 cup or 500ml capacity are a good investment. Make sure they are stackable. I thought Mrs. Crockett containers were great when I first discovered them, now I realise that they are far too big.

IMG_2167If you get an over abundance of limes or lemons, squeeze them and make small ice cubes. Use them for margaritas, Damascus slings or thai dressings. So much better than fake/concentrate juice.

Survivor tips for newbie chefs in Covid

I have just been laughing at a great YouTube guy who is hilariously teaching you how to cook some pretty simple stuff. And it made me think about mum’s cookbook and some of the really easy recipes in there as well as some pretty nifty tips that might be handy in our time of boredom.

As so many of us are doing, I’m using isolation time to look at the always therelist of things to do given time. Yes I am working from home but I am finding I do have more hours in the day thanks to no commute. One on my Corona list is progressing the Never Ending Cookbook By Mum by a few recipes.

Started before the age of MasterChef and MyKitchenRules, the recipes here are timeless classics. But they are of a style of cooking that doesn’t get the ratings – most ‘reality’ shows expecting Michelin starred sophisticated (performance art) experiences every time.

The recipes here are from 60s-2010 (50 years). There’s one from a CWA (Country Womens’ Association) recipe book which looks post WWII as well as some Ascot Kindergarten ones from the 70s.

They represent the ‘best of home style cooking’ – full of flavour, sometimes a splash more brandy than called for. These recipes they have all been dined on, praised and sometimes burnt by mum, me and my sisters too.

So while I’m not going to spend my free time doing awesome video productions, I will make sure I post a one of mum’s gem tips or an easy peasy recipe.

Anyway, to get on with the show, please enjoy mum’s tips on freezing stuff.