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Recipe Rewind – 5 beauties from before you were watching.

11 Mar squid and chorizo pasta

When I first started this shebanglang I went hell for leather and posted every day or so. I remember getting up at 5.30 am all pumped to ping some love in your in-box before you got up (all three of you).

I was alternating between food and thought pieces and I was cooking and thinking my ass off all day every day because I was so excited to have the outlet.

Admittedly, I couldn’t sleep for shit at that time because I was 500 weeks pregnant with a baby elephant who prided herself on sleeping directly on my bladder, but at least I was productive…. and let’s face it, shooting my mouth off is more my style that cleaning like a tornado as some up-duffers do.

I busted out some of my bestest, most go-to, week-day, bang-em-out meals in the first couple of months when only my best friend, my Nana and my Mum was reading.

I’ve thought a couple of times how much of a big fat waste it was so I’m going to treat y’all to the recipe rewind.

Admittedly, my photography was pretty bloody awful when I started, but I’m not ashamed.

Hell, I’ve shown you a photo of my arse, and my cans, so what’s a crappy picture of food between friends, am I right?

I can guarantee that although the images may be dogs, these meals are still on high rotation at the Holsby Bar and Grill, and you should totes get on the bandwagon, yo.

fish and misoFive Spice Fish with Miso Broth

Anyone that eats at my table with regularity has eaten this numerous times. It takes me 10 minutes to from board to bowl, so maybe it’ll take you 20 minutes the first time and you’ll just get speedier after that.

My kids eat this happily, I just give less soupy juice because they’re hopeless and will wear that stuff.

Curried Mince

nana and grandpaThis little ripper has been handed down throughout my family. My grandparents eats this, my uncles eat this, their kids and partners, and my brother and mother, and, and, and,….you get the picture. Speaking of pictures, this recipe comes with my crinklies, Nana and Grandpa’s, love story.

Sticky Mustard & Marmalade Pork with Pears

This rocks. Nowadays, if I’m not using a fillet, I’ll get chops with the skin on. I’ll chop that tasty pork fat and skin off and roast it with a liberal sprinkle of salt and crackle that baby right on up and serve with it.

Everything is better with crackling.

squid and chorizo pasta

Chorizo and Squid Spaghetti

Spicy chorizo simply loves to be married with seafood…. particularly squid. Add some hard core pasta carb action and this is such a delicious meal.

squid and chorizo pasta

5 Minute, 5 Ingredient Lime Pie

I simply had to give you a cracking dessert in the list. You think I would leave you high and dry after dinner???

Not my style.

If you have NO TIME to make dessert, make this baby your biatch, because it couldn’t be simpler or faster, and just quietly, it’s yummy enough to be impressive to boot.


Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now and receive both the hard copy, and the ebook, plus my new mini ebook A Bit On The Side.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

Love in a Time of Internet and Best Ever Cruciferous Quinoa Salad

2 Mar cruciferous quinoa salad

Cruciferous and quinoa salad ingredientsI assisted on a photo shoot today with the amazing Kirsten Cox.

We were shooting the new web and print campaign for a little internet dating company called eHarmony.

I’m sure you’ve heard of them.

The couples were real life poster couples for how successful internet dating can be. They all met on eHarmony and they’re now living in significant relationships or hitched.

I must admit I’ve walked away feeling all mushy on the insides.

Watching these couples gazing adoringly at each other, they weren’t acting for the camera. That shit was so real that people standing five feet away could feel the waves coming off them.

When they smiled at each other, I smiled at them.

In fact, I probably looked a bit creepy standing there, holding the reflector and grinning like an idiot…. but it just felt so nice to witness such affection, such adoration.

Such love.

eharmony photo shoot with Kirsten CoxOnce more I’m left in awe of the power of finding someone who makes you feel like that.

It’s so mindblowingly profound that of all the people we come into contact with all of the time, sometimes, if you’re really lucky, there’s that one person in a million who makes you feel that way.

I had a crack at internet dating once.

The process itself is a little intoxicating and quite exhilarating and I was a little bit shit at it due to a lack of patience.

I ended up juggling a few too many boys at once because I can’t choose a TV channel when I’m watching Foxtel.

I realise that sentence may make NO SENSE AT ALL, but I think it’s a pretty fair analogy of where people like myself may come unstuck whilst internet dating.

When I’m watching pay TV I struggle to find one channel and settle in to watch one perfectly good program. I suffer from FOMO, or fear of missing out.

I surf those 57 channel of mind-numbing crap like Kelly Slater at the Quicky Pro whose life depends on it.

I catch snippets of a multitude of things and end up turning it off due to utter confuzzlement and brain overload.

Do you know what I mean now?

I juggled a few too many boys at once and ended up looking a bit of a twat because my phone would ring and I’d have no idea which of the paramours I was speaking to.

Poor juggling skills aside, I have no complaints about the experience, in fact, I met a lovely man and had a whirlwind 6 months with him. It didn’t work ultimately but it sure as shit wasn’t internet dating’s fault.

Nor ours really, we just weren’t meant to be.

This is an interesting Ted talk about love if you have a spare 20 mins…. if not, just make some salad.

This cruciferous (the vegetable family that broccoli and cauliflower belong to. I just think it’s a beautiful word) salad is not a love potion, nor an aphrodisiac, it’s just my favourite salad at the moment.

Thought I’d share the salad love.

cruciferous and quinoa salad

Yield – Serves 6 as a side or 4 as a main

What you will need : 

  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 12-15 big green olives, seeded and chopped roughly
  • 1/2 bunch fresh mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 1 small spanish onion, quartered
  • 150g fetta
  • 1/2 a pomegranate (not pictured)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed over salad for juice.

What you will need to do :

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Pop your quinoa into boiling water at a 1:3 ratio and pop a lid on it and leave to cook. It is ready when the little tail pops out (15-20 minutes).

Lightly douse your onion and cauliflower in olive oil and season well. Pop into the oven. You want your cauli to be a little brown and caramelised around the edges so leave for a good 25 minutes depending on your oven.

Throw your broccoli into a food processor and wazz it good until it’s all broken down. Chuck it into a large bowl.

Next, toss your chopped mint, fetta and olives into your big bowl. When your remaining ingredients are cooked and good to go, chuck them all in. Add your pomegranate seeds. Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and a good squeeze of lemon juice.

I tossed a tin of tuna through it for the littl’uns, and roasted up a rack of lamb for us big’uns.

Isn’t it pretty??? Tastes damn fine too.

cruciferous quinoa salad

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All  head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

From my Garden to my Table – Chorizo, Silverbeet and Quinoa Pilaf

11 Jan chorizo, silverbeet and quinoa pilaf

chorizo, silverbeet and quinoa pilaf ingredients Let me just state for the record, my thumb is by no means green. Generally I’d put it closer to the brown spectrum.

You could be forgiven for assuming that I have an epically green thumb. This recipe includes not one, not two, but three things I grew myself in the garden.

Firstly, my silverbeet is actually quite bushy. Not quite as hectic as say, my bikini line mid-winter, but it certainly has a lushness to it that I don’t deserve (spinach, not ‘kini line).

My basil is just coming into its own. For once the arsehole caterpillars haven’t ravaged the shit out of it before I can enjoy it’s pungent fresh Italian-ness…. but I reckon it’s just a matter of time. I lovingly check it, like a child’s hair with nits, but those suckers are the exact same shade of green and not easy to catch until they’re big and fat and full of my basil.

My truss tomatoes have been prolific. One child loves them and the other bites and spits it out after the initial explosion in her mouth so I often step bare foot on half chewed, slightly rotten tomatoes but I’m down with that. It’s all the name of the game.

You see, I grew the vege patch in the first place to show my kids where food comes from. As for what happens next, I’m not totally fussed.

I am a 100% bonafide seat o’my pants gardener. I buy a seedling (did seeds once. Fail), stick it in the ground; which in my defence I will toil and mulch and mix with stenchy cow and horse produce that I don’t like to consider too much; and then I water it until something happens.

Or not.

garden 15Let’s say I’m hit and miss.

My beets were like testicles. My lettuces became trees. My garlic was minuscule, if pungent and my recent fennel and beetroot seedlings appear to have, well, disappeared.

And I’m down wit dat.

However, sometimes, my poo brown thumb is a little closer to khaki and we actually get to eat something. This meal is a fine example of gardening success.

Yield – 2 to 3, but it’s easy to double.

What you will need : 

  • 1.5 fresh chorizo sausages per person
  • 1 tin cannellini beans
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 bunch of silver beet, stalks removed and chopped
  • 1/2 a spanish onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 10 olives, squished to deseed and halved
  • 1 whole roasted marinated red capsicum, seed it and chop it
  • a good handful of basil, chopped
  • a generous glug of balsamic vinegar
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • fetta, for serving

What you will need to do :

Pop your quinoa on the stove to cook. Remember to put 3:1 water to quinoa on a low heat with a lid.

Pull the chorizo meat out of the skins in little chunks and chuck into a dry frypan on medium high heat. I like to render out the fat to cook the rest of my stuff in, but today’s sausos were actually quite dry. Add a little oil if you need.

When they’re almost cooked, toss in your onions and move it all around so the flavours marry nicely.

Add your halved cherry tomatoes, and leave them for 5-7 minutes until they start to break down a little.

Throw your spinach in, stir it around. Add your balsamic and keep it all moving until spinach is all nice and wilted.

Bash your olives to get the seed out, chop them lightly and add them. Throw in the capsicum, add your cannellini beans and basil.

Season generously.

Add your quinoa , toss it all together ensuring it’s all beautifully combined and serve.

Sprinkle with crumbled fetta and a good squeeze of lemon.

I also like tabasco…. cos I’m a hot tamale.

chorizo, silverbeet and quinoa pilaf


Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  - A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

2 course Christmas lunch for 4 for under $35

18 Dec table setting

pork finishedI have varying degrees of success with Santa photos. They seem to range from average to absurd.

One year my little man was so anti-Santa that I tried twice to get him on the fat man’s knee before I finally dressed up in a red dress and donned some elf ears. I sat on the throne and Santa, the good sport that he was, stood behind us.

I made a noble elf!

The following year I had two babies to cajole into compliance, the photographer tried to squeeze a rubber chicken to raise a smile.

Not content with simply looking at the rubber chicken, I now have a Christmas 2012 image of my son proudly holding a rubber chicken about a metre in front of Santa while my daughter drooledpon Santa’s arm fluff.

But it certainly marks the years, does it not?

I do love Christmas. The feeling of festivity is always a lovely way to end the year. It’s crazy easy to overspend though, and life just seems to get more expensive when you have a family.

I set myself a little challenge and fed 4 adults and two toddlers on a tight budget in order to share how easily you can still eat like Kings, but not over extend the budget this Christmas.

The menu looked like this –

  •  Apple and Thyme Stuffed Rolled Pork with Crackling
  • Crunchy Smashed Potatoes
  • Lemony Green Beans
  • Braised Red Cabbage
  •  ChocCherry Icecream Bomb

To see the rest of this post pop on over to Mouths of Mums here.

choc cherry bomb


Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  - A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

I’m extending my freebie offer to keep up the Christmas spirit.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now. You will also receive the Cook Once Feed All eBook (worth $15), plus the new eBook ‘A Bit on the Side’ (worth $5) as a bonus gift in your inbox today.

Three for the price of one, and you save $20.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

Facing Fears, and Five Spice Szechuan Roast Chicken

21 Nov roast szechuan chicken

szechuan and five spice chicken ingredientsWhen your child is terrified of something forcing them to do it goes against every fibre of your being.

We started swimming lessons a few times with D Man but he hated it so much we stopped for a year and a half. We started again a few weeks ago.

Hated it. Hated it.

Hated. It.

There was a dude teacher there who was quite simply the ‘toddler whisperer’ so we switched to his class hoping it would be better… hmmmmm, not so much.

D Man liked this guy better, but the crying and clinging like a limpet continued. It was really heartbreaking to watch.

I know you’re thinking that we could have just not done it, but swimming is a pretty important life skill when you’re an Aussie. We spend a lot of time around water. I don’t care if he can’t do freestyle or butterfly, I just want him to be able to not drown.

I took him this morning and we sat by the side of the pool awaiting our turn and he started to get stressed and make a little high pitched keening sound.

Swimming is fun, babe. Once you get used to it, you’ll really love it.

But, Mama, I’m scared.

My heart clenched.

I know, honey, but I promise that you don’t need to be scared because everyone here wants to help you to do this. What’s the scariest bit?

I don’t want to get my head wet. (doesn’t want to mess his hair… get’s that from his Nana)

Cool, we’ll tell your teacher.


I then realised that life is scary, and it’s good to be scared because that means you’re doing something new and pushing yourself. It’s ok to be scared and if you do it anyway, you might get something great out of it.

I told him that. I also told him I’d buy him a chocolate Paddle Pop if he got through the class.

He was a different boy.

Seeing my child conquer fear is not something I’ve had much of yet, but the pride I felt watching him paddle and blow bubbles and smile and laugh without the sheer terror and tears of previous weeks was such a moment of elation for me.

No idea if next week will be as good but a glimmer of the water babe he may one day be was enough to make me persevere.

Brilliant swimming boy!

He earned that Paddle Pop… I earned a sexy roast chicken.

I first experienced the joys of Szechuan pepper at Neil Perry’s Spice Temple. He created chicken that positively made your mouth go numb… mixed with a saketini and my whole head was numb by the end of the night. I haven’t gone that far with this chook.

This level is fine for the kids, in fact, Kiki couldn’t get enough of this, practically crawling onto the table to gnaw the carcass.

That’s my girl.

szechuan and five spice chickenSzechuan Chicken with Crunchy Noodle Salad.

Yield : 4 adults, or three adults and 2 toddlers

What you will need :

For chicken –

  • 1 whole chicken (free range organic is yummiest)
  • 2 tablespoons szechuan pepper
  • 1 tablespoon 5 spice
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 2 wedges of lemon

spices in mortar with pestleFor crunchy noodle salad - 

  • 2 carrots, julienned or grated
  • 1/4 cabbage, julienned
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced diago
  • nally
  • 1/3 cup combined of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and slivered almonds
  • 1 packet of crunchy fried noodles
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Sri Racha chili sauce for serving

Preheat oven to 190C

Stick your spices and salt into a mortar and pestle and give them a jolly good grind. Rub liberally all over your bird and pop the lemon up it’s butt.

szechuan and five spice chickenDrizzle with oil and pop onto a roasting rack. Pour a cup of water into the tray and stick her in the oven. After 45 minutes, turn it over for half an hour before turning it back again. I do this to ensure that the juices stay in, and it crisps evenly all around…. but if you can’t be bothered I totally respect that.

While your chook is roasting, throw your nuts and seeds into a dry fry pan and lightly toast them. Set aside to cool.

Toss all of your chopped vegetables and coriander into a large bowl and mix to combine.

Make your dressing by combining all together and giving a good stir. Add noodles and nuts and dress salad just as you’re about to serve so it retains its texture and crunch.

roast szechuan chicken

I am launching my new book on the 28th November. The countdown is on!

Cook Once, Feed All by Danielle Colley

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. This book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by Danielle’s often funny and charming story telling.
Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’


To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now.

You will also receive the Cook Once Feed All eBook (worth $15), plus the new eBook ‘A Bit on the Side’ (worth$5) as a bonus gift in your inbox today.

Three for the price of one, and you save $20.

HOLSBY TV Iron Chef:Suburbia

17 Nov

I recently met, and developed a little lady crush, on the wonderful Mandy Dos Santos, nutritionist from Little People Nutrition.

It was refreshing in this day and age of hyper-sensitive eating (for which there is an important place – I’m not poo pooing), to find someone who has a very similar food philosophy as myself.

We discussed this sympatico over a schooner of beer and a bowl of fries and we decided we really needed to do some cool shit together.

A pair of busy mums, living a good two hours drive from each other, cool shit was hard to co-ordinate…. and then there was this.

Going head to head in the kitchen two suburban Iron Chefs battled it out over the kitchen bench only to be judged by the harshest critics in the world.

Those Japanese actresses are a piece of cake compared to…

The Toddler.

I present to you


Our guest iron chef was victorious this time, but stay tuned for more opportunities for Mrs H to win the crown.

To see the complete recipe for the brown rice sushi check it out here

To see the complete calamari recipe check it out here

I am launching my new book on the 28th November. 11 days….The countdown is on!

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. This book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  - A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

To pre-order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now and you will be the first to receive the hard copy book after it launches on the 28th. You will also receive the Cook Once Feed All eBook (worth $15), plus the new eBook ‘A Bit on the Side’ (worth $5) as a bonus gift in your inbox today.

Three for the price of one, and you save $20.

Winning :-)

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

school of the world and brown rice sushi

22 Sep brown rice sushi

brown rice sushi ingredientsI think one of the best gifts you can give your 18 or 21 year old is a plane ticket. One way if they’re a turd.


I am super fortunate that I have traveled my whole life. Being born in the Channel Islands to intrepid parents ensured that my childhood had a bit of adventure and I got a few stamps on the old passport.

I think that taste of travel as a child was one of the biggest catalysts to me wanting to travel so much.

The Caribbean on my Dad’s yacht, the foul smelling tannery in Morocco, the oldest bullring in the world in Spain, a full moon in the desert in India, the biggest bird poo ever on my back in Madrid, the food, THE FOOD, everywhere.

The tastes and smells of adventure… so many memories of cultures so different to ours. So many people who live in ways so unimaginable unless you’re sitting on the dirt floor of their hut, playing charades with someone who doesn’t speak your language in order to communicate, getting ripped off, swindled, charmed or wooed, or drinking beer under a palm tree with a kid who has grown up in a parallel universe.

If nothing else, and is there a lot else, you learn to be grateful for this country we live in.

I was pretty clueless, as I’ve mentioned. Did all sorts of dumb shit, but it’s that dumb shit that taught me what I was capable of, and that I, too, am intrepid.

All I know is the more I travel, the more I want to travel. I’d love to trek with the kids on our backs (maybe we’d get sherpas for that), andI don’t know if I’m still up for camping at the end of the day.

Glamping maybe. With good pillows.

Oh, god, maybe I’m not as intrepid as I used to be.

brown rice sushi rice mixBabies and mortgages have temporarily shackled us at this present moment, but Mister H is a bit of a traveler too. It won’t be long before we can go exploring again and instil a love of travel, and exploration and different cultures in our children.

I’ve never been to Japan, and I’ve never really been attracted to it, but I know one thing I would love about it is the food.

I love brown rice sushi and when I recently saw Brenda from Brenda Janschek Health and Nutrition make her sushi rice loaded with goodies, she totally inspired me to push my growing edge and get my sushi on…. Our only regular fast food is sushi, and now that I’ve mastered it, I think it’s fast food at home all the way.

brown rice sushi rollingYield : 20 pieces of sushi

What you will need :

  • 1 salmon fillet, you can use a chicken fillet or tofu if you prefer
  • 2 tablespoons ketcup manis (sweet soy)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 5 tablespoons sushi rice seasoning (I buy all in one but you can make your own with 5 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
  • 1/4 cup zucchini, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup carrot, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of pickled ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frypan
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • 3 teaspoons good quality mayonnaise. I like Thomy.
  • 3 sheets nori
  • one bamboo sushi mat
  • wasabi and soy for serving

brown rice sushiWhat you will need to do :

Pop your rice with 3 cups boiling water in a saucepan on the stove, turn it down low, stick a lid on and leave it until the water is absorbed and your rice is cooked (30-40 mins).
When cooked, remove from pan and place it into a flat dish, pouring over your sushi vinegar seasoning. Stir well to combine and leave to cool.

Roll your salmon in the ketcup manis and cook in a little coconut or peanut oil in a frypan (or BBQ is even better) until just cooked. Remove from heat.

Toss your carrot, zucchini, coriander, chopped ginger and toasted sesames through the seasoned rice and stir well.

Place your nori on your sushi mat and spread a generous layer of your sticky rice over the nori, leaving a bit at the edge bare.

Flake off your salmon and lay a nice chunky line through the centre, along with some sliced avocado and a little smear of mayo.

Using your bamboo mat, roll your sushi quite firmly to ensure it sticks nicely together. Roll until it is a tight cigar and set aside.

Repeat until all ingredients are used. I sometimes have rice leftover which is fab in a salad.

Using a sharp, wet knife, slice your sushi in half, then in half again, and then in half again…. unless you prefer a large roll.

Serve with wasabi and soy… and Asahi beer. Not for the kids.

brown rice sushi

Hooking up with Our Growing Edge over at Sweets and Brains. Thanks for hosting, guys!


If you liked this post be sure to like my Facebook page or follow my twit twaddle @theholsbys to ensure you can always keep up with the Holsbys.

A movie review and a low-fat moussaka

15 Sep

moussaka ingredientsImagine yourself in a world where good health care is for the rich, asylum seekers are treated like criminals and the poor are so oppressed that a chance of escape is almost impossible.

It actually sounds similar to a number of countries right now, and we in Australia are certainly not unaffected, so when I saw Elysium last night it kind of cut close to the bone.

Let’s get one thing straight, it is a big, fat Hollywood blockbuster. Not usually my thing, however, I did love District 9 by the same director, Neill Blomkamp  and I do have a very soft spot for Matt Damon (cue Team:America voice).

Being as it was Neill’s first big budget film, he’s allowed to go all silly with effects and shit, and I couldn’t help but notice a few glaring product sponsorships, but you know what? If Bulgari and Versace want to throw him a few hundred thousand to help get it up, who gives a flying? It wasn’t nearly as bad as a Bond film’s product placement and I felt Neill’s story was actually quite a powerful allegory on the current issues that our world is facing.
There is a people smuggling scene that I felt truly captured the desperation, and smugglers preying on the frightened and displaced.

It actually had moments for me as powerful as The Matrix.

When I saw The Matrix, there were so many messages within the fabric of the film that I carried it with me for a long time. I feel similarly about Elysium.

You don’t really know this about me, but I’m generally a massive movie snob. Mister H mostly dreads when it’s my turn to a pick a film, and I admit I’ve picked some real stinky dogs over the years, but I like movies that make me think and feel. Sometimes I leave a movie feeling like i’ve been hit by a train. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

I like art house, and foreign films and quirky directors.

I also bloody love Zoolander, so I guess there are exceptions.zoolander

I reckon Mark Fennell would probably be shitting his pants now that I’m branching in movie reviews. You think?

This movie review is in no way related to this recipe, but here’s my low fat, super fast moussaka.

moussakaYield : 4-6 serves

What you will need :

  • 1 big eggplant, finely sliced lengthways
  • 2-3 zucchinis, finely sliced lengthways
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • a few sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150g natural Greek yoghurt
  • 150g light ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 40g parmesan cheese, grated with a microplane or very fine grater

What you will need to do:

Preheat oven to 180C

Place your sliced veges on baking paper on trays and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 15-20 mins until just cooked. Remove from oven and set aside.

Cook off your onion in some olive oil, until translucent, add your garlic and when that’s nice a fragrant toss in your lamb mince.

Ensuring your mince is on a high enough heat that it cooks fast, and does not broil, cook until browned before adding your carrot. Throw in your wine and your herbs and spices and give a good stir. Next, chuck in your tomatoes, bay leaves and season.

Turn heat down to a simmer and pop the lid on for about 30 mins. Remove lid for a further 10 minutes to reduce the liquid until it is like a bolognaise. Not too wet, not too dry.

Place a layer of eggplant in the bottom of your oven dish and then spoon over a couple of ladles of your sauce. Repeat with the zucchini, another layer of mince, and then another later of eggplant and the rest of your mince.

layering moussakaMix together in a separate bowl your ricotta, yoghurt and egg, and cover the top of your moussaka with this mix. Add your finely grated parmesan to the top and pop the lot in the oven for 30-40 minutes until it’s golden brown and delicious.


Have you seen Elysium? What did you think?

What else should I see?

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Youthful stupidity in Morocco and Chermoula fish

30 Jul chermoula fish with nutty cous cous

Chermoula fish with nutty cous cous ingredientsBy the time I was 21 I thought I knew everything about everything.

I’ll freely admit I was probably old beyond my years, but with the benefit of hindsight I can say I was still fairly clueless in many ways. Or perhaps I just thought I was invincible, like every 21 year old.

I was on my big world adventure and I was finding Europe too damned cold, so my bestie and I thought we’d head on down to Morocco to seek some winter sunshine, and good hash. I used to be a fairly enthusiastic smoker in my early twenties and I’d heard fabulous reports of the Moroccan produce, namely from my Dad, who may have also been enthusiastic whilst in the sunny climes of Northern Africa.

In many countries where the locals try to rip you off, I’ve always felt it was done in fairly good humor. Just a little good-natured grifting, shall we say. The thing I found about Morocco was there was often a sense of malice involved. I felt threatened on more than one occasion and there was an electric zing of danger in the air. I tried to take a photo of a dirty little urchin child and a man came yelling and threatening me with his fists…

‘Don’t photograph this child. Take pictures of the nice children’ he cried with anger.

Our guidebook said ‘if a local family invites you to dinner, go, and see how the locals live’, so when we were invited to stay with a family we jumped at the chance. The first night was magical. They sang a traditional song, we sang Alanis Morissette. They hennaed our hands for an exorbitant fee and sent us to a local bathhouse where I was scrubbed head to foot by a woman with pendulous bosoms that slapped me around the head as she scrubbed away my desert grime.
The ‘Uncle’ had organised a block of hashish for us, so we giggled our way through the evening.

Fun was had by all.

chermoula fish ready for ovenThe next night things went weird.

Firstly, I’ll admit that the dope was great, so we were not thinking wisely.

Secondly, whenever we were asked for cash for stuff we handed it over. Money for dinner, money for this, money for that. It seemed ok, until suddenly – it didn’t.

Then thirdly, an unidentified nocturnal visitor in my sleep frightened the bejesus out of us so when ‘Uncle’ suggested we leave Fez and head off to his hash farm at the base of the Atlas Mountains we jumped at the chance.

What a pair of boobs.

No one knew where we were or where we were going. We sweet, young fools thought it sounded like a great adventure.

It was like stepping into Twin Peaks.

There was a laughing toothless dwarf, someone from the compound followed us every time we tried to go for a walk, and people would walk into our room whenever we tried to have a moment’s privacy.

I’d say we were fairly interesting creatures for the locals, but being as our paranoia had kicked in royally by, now nothing felt right, and everything had a David Lynch filter.

Anyway, after a sleepless night we made a daring early morning escape. No idea where we were going just found a road that looked slightly less like a dirt track and got on the first bus, loaded with chickens and locals headed god knew where. Thankfully, it took us back to Fez.

I look back now and thing how stupid we were. Crazy fools.

Bloody great memories though.

I’ll be terrified when my kids decide to travel. It’s inevitable, coming from two traveling parents… and don’t even talk to me about educating them about drugs. I just hope they have more of Mister H’s genes than mine, when it comes to that matter. He was much more controlled and sensible than I.

This recipe is inspired by my Moroccan adventure.

chermoula fish with nutty cous cousChermoula Fish with Nutty Cous Cous

Yield  - 2 adults and two toddlers

What you will need :

  • 600g firm white fish (ie blue eye,  barramundi)
  • A good handful of parsley leaves
  • a good handful of coriander, including stalks
  • juice of half a lemon
  • one clove garlic
  • a teaspoon of cumin
  • a fat pinch salt
  • a glug of olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped into wedges
  • 1 roast capsicum, jarred or home roasted, seeds removed, cut into chunks
  • 6 green olives, smashed to remove pips
  • 1 cup cous cous
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • some roasted pistachios
  • 1/2 a preserved lemon

What you will need to do :

Cut your fish into large chunks. Place into a baking dish large enough to house it all.

Throw your parsley, coriander, garlic, lemon juice, salt, cumin and olive oil into a little food processor or mortar and pestle and smash it all together.

Coat your fish and leave to marinate for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 200C.

Add chopped tomato and roast capsicum and place around the fish. Chuck your smashed olives on top and cover with foil and stick in the oven for about 20 mins or until fish is just cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook your cous cous according to packet instructions. Add a dollop of butter to it when you’re at the fluffing stage. Add chopped roasted pistachios, preserved lemon (flesh removed, skin only), and remaining handful of coriander. I also liked to add a good pinch of lemon pepper, but you can season however you like.

Just stay away from hash.

Drugs are bad, m’kay?

chermoula fish with nutty cous cous

Do you have any crazy travel misadventures?

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All  head to the Holsby Shop right now.

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30 Minutes my arse, Jamie Oliver!

19 Jul Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

I love Jamie Oliver. He’s a bit of a dude. He’s the only person in the Universe that can say ‘pukka’ and not sound like a wanker.

He’s done amazing things for food within the UK school system, and indeed made a wonderful empire by cooking simple, wholesome food and being a bit of a boy-next-door, spunk rat at the same time.

I have a small bone to pick with him though.

He tells little white lies.

Alongside many gastronomical adventures, Jamie has a cool series and book called ’30 Minute Meals’. The name is not cryptic, and suggests that in the space of a Seinfeld episode you can have a two or three course meal done and on the table.

I’ve heard so many people saying ’30 Minute Meals’ isn’t true and Jamie pulling our legs. He doesn’t appear to be working at super human speeds in his TV shows, though he does have the beauty of editing to help cut out the bits where he’s flapping around, burning something, dropping something, forgetting something or tripping over one of his 4 lovely, jubbly children.

Which I’m certain he does.

I’m kitchen savvy. I’m fast and can multi-task. I’ve got this, I thought. I’ll show those nay sayers that my Jamie is not full of it. I thought I’d do a little experiment. Can you guess what it is?

Drum roll, please……. dancing bears, dancing bears, and…….

The 30 Minute Meal Experiment.

This post is not about gorgeous food imagery. I did not have time to take lots of shots on different angles with perfect light. This was about speed cooking. Like speed dating but with a happier ending.

I was going to bust out Jamie Oliver’s Peri Peri Chicken with Dressed Potatoes and Rocket Salad followed by easy Portuguese Tarts.

If you’re bored read some of the comments on this link. Apparently, many Portuguese take their tarts and bird very seriously and don’t take kindly to adaption. I have a message for them -

Lighten up, chumps. It’s only dinner.

I’m not really much of a recipe book girl. I have a few great ones, but I tend to look to them for inspiration, rather than actual recipes. I simply don’t think to look at them most of the time, but this experiment made me realise that Jamie has some great time saving techniques that would work in any busy household.

For instance, he nuked his dressed potatoes. I would never normally do that, but for the sake of this experiment I followed to the letter. Not a simple task for a renegade kitchen cowboy.

In reality, where people lose time is reading the recipe and not being properly prepped. He clearly states to have everything at hand, on the counter and ready.

Exhibit A)

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

I did not have utensils out, but they’re all reachable.

Another place people lose time is reading the recipe. It slows you down. When you don’t need to refer to anything you can be way more ‘wham, bam, pass the Piri Piri chicken’, so I familiarised myself with it enough that I would need to refer only quickly. Something Masterchef ALWAYS suggests you do. It was Poh’s undoing in the end.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

Ready. Set. GO!!!

He reckons you can have your chicken cooking and get the next two steps done before you turn your bird, but… I turned my bird in between as I was starting to smell a touch of the burn factor. Didn’t effect things much, I was still going strong.

I couldn’t find creme fraiche in my suburban supermarket, so I took full-fat Greek yoghurt and laid it on a clean Chux wipe over a colander. This drains any excess water and leaves you with an extra thick yoghurt. You should do this overnight, but I only had about 5 hours.

My tarts were tarting, my chicken was spitting, my spuds were nuking…… I was looking good.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

They’re in there, trust me……

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

potatoes getting radiation therapy

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

my only griddle pan was a tad small, but I was sucking it up

Time check?

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

Sweet as….

I still needed to make the Piri Piri sauce and finish the bird off in the oven, fill my tarts and cook, make my orange caramelised orange topping for tarts and finish spuds.

Piece of cake…..

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

tart filling… not officially custard, but bloody yummy. Totes going to adapt this one for my own purposes.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

beginnings of Per Peri…. whizz, my pretty, whizz like the wind

I did love the way my Jamie does his herb chopping on the board, with the fetta, then chuck on the potatoes and just smash them together. Simple, fast and rustic.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

makes messy sexy

Or it should have been, my stinkin’ potatoes needed a precious extra 5 minutes in the microwave as they weren’t cooked after the prescribed 15 minutes of nuking. Jamie practically stole 5 minutes from my time, so next time I see the Jamie Oliver brand of silicone oven mitts I’ll stick them down my pants and leave the shop as pay back.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

highway robbery, Jamie!!!

I smashed my seasoned tatties together, wait for my tart topping to be ready and smother the orange caramel onto their pretty heads. Plate it all up and run like Forrest to get it all on the table……..

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

A large blob fell on the floor and I promptly stood on it, squishing it to smithereens….. but I couldn’t falter. I was so close.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

without caramel….

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

Looks as good as the book, if I do say so myself.


Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

It’s official, Jamie Oliver’s pants are on fire. Or I need a good editor.

PS The kitchen looked like a fucking bomb went off and my Ugg boot treaded sweet potato from one end of the kitchen to the other. It looked like Mister H had been cooking.

Do you find recipes take longer than promised?

Does yours look like the picture?

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Hooking this experiment up as part of Our Growing Edge July edition.

Head on over to the ever gorgeous Veggie Mama blog to see who else is pushing their edge this month.


Hooking up with the FYBF gang at With Some Grace. Any bloggers keen to come along for the next DP Bloggers Drinks on the 27th July at the Argyle in the Rocks, be sure to RSVP here.


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