So nice to be back into COMMUNITY KITCHEN mode

Missed the preparing and thinking about the show but at the same time caught up on some big tasks.

Back in the saddle, for want of a better phrase and today we are looking at the following:

  2. USING LEFTOVERS – something I love  – there are so many options out there to create, save the waste and enjoy being FRUGAL
  3. KEEPING UP WITH THE FRESH FOODS –  the intake and the waste
  4. FEATURE RECIPE – FISH CAKES –  go the to recipes for the details

1. We have all felt that adrenaline in this harrowing time, worrying whether we have enough food for our family. Born into a family of food lovers I instinctively think of meals I can cook with limited ingredients and have asked the question many times – IF I HAD A CHOICE OF ONE INGREDIENT WHAT WOULD IT BE??

RICE FOR ME –  with a few added base ingredients – onions, garlic, ginger, chili, stock (fresh or powdered), frozen veg/or fresh, tinned beans and meat proteins YOU HAVE MEALS GALORE

Fried rice, stuffed capsicums, rolled cabbage leaves, risotto, congee, paella, nasi goreng, sushi, pilaf, salmon pie, creamy rice pud, rice salad, ++++++

But come back to the PANTRY – I have a small pantry but being an organized freak (apparently) I have a broad selection of spices, tinned goodies and a few cheat ingredients to make my food tasty and most importantly – the less processed the better for me.

I have the usual top ups, flours, sugars, icing sugar, cooking chocolate, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, vinegars, Worstershire sauce, cornflour, anchovies, vinegar, tinned tuna & salmon, pastas – macaroni, lasagna sheets, regular pasta, asian rice noodles, corn kernels and your family regulars

THEN I add

Tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, capers, peppers, tinned peppercorns, rice- brown basmati and regular basmati, Jasmine rice, vinegars – apple cidar, Japanese inspired,  ABC sauce, fish sauce,  capers, olives, oils, tinned sardines (the basis for a great fried sandwich) and the list goes on. I often suggest that you put 1 new ingredient in your shopping cart each week – try it and if you don’t use it gift it on to a family member.  You will be surprised how many new flavours will show up on the family table.

SPICES and herbs add that extra to any meal. Fresh herbs are so easily grown in a pot and spices store well. If you are not interested in mixing and blending your own there are so many options on the shelves that will deliver great flavours and inspiration. As simple as dusting off your roast pumpkin with ground cumin and coriander for a Middle Eastern flavour boost.  BE creative.

MENU planning before you go shopping really helps – even if its as simple as knowing that you will be having a mince based dish, a casserole, BBQ, as roast, as curry or a bake. These key points just get your head into planning space and I know it helps me to focus on my shopping needs.

LEFTOVERS are such a favorite of mine. Cooking that little extra not only takes time off the next cook but once again you get the creative drive going.

  • making meatballs, make extra mixture for a meatloaf
  • Casserole, make extra for a pie
  • double the steamed beans for a Nicoise salad
  • extra boiled potatoes for a potato salad or hash cake
  • triple the baked pumpkin for a soup or salad
  • extra steamed rice is an easy fried rice dinner or lunch
  • white sauce is so easy to keep and a great base for mornay, a pie, lasagne
  • double the pasta for mac cheese, pasta salad, pasta bake
  • mash potato for FISH CAKES (our showcase recipe this week ) potatoes croquettes, cottage pie
  • stale bread into croutons for panzanella salad, caesar salad or wonderful on top of soups with a little grated parmesan cheese


I really understand that sometimes its just easier to do it yourself BUT I thought I would share a few ideas to make life in the kitchen easier

  1. Let them Help
  2. Perfect time for them to help with the menu planning – they will own that food and eat with relish
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Introduce new ideas to the palette
  5. Get them to write the shopping list
  6. Make allowance for a treat or two
  7. Present your food on platters – this is wonderful on TACO or BURGER nights
  8. Learn the countries of the world with food – bring geography into the kitchen
  9. Always remember when the day has been long – a grilled sandwich or a boiled egg is good enough
  10. Remember to plan ahead – children get hungry earlier than us adults and late snacking kills the appetite

Bon Appetit


  • Statistically speaking more fruit is consumed if it is prepared
  • Great job for the children to get creative – skewered fruits are colourful and delicious
  • Make extra vegie sticks when preparing dinner – wonderful snack food
  • Stewed fruits are a great way to use fruit that has been left – turn it into crumbles, or sprinkle granola on top with yoghurt for a tasty snack or breakfast
  • Taking that extra time when you come home from shopping will put days on your fresh produce – fill the sink, wash and drain in a colander and store. This is a sure fire way to make the lettuce last, know the children can just grab and eat