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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.

5 Things I Don’t Miss About Dating and Healthy, Yet Yummy, Date Slice

6 Dec

date slice ingredientsThere are a few people in my life doing the dating thing at the moment.

A widower, a divorcee and a lesbian to be specific.

If they all walked into a bar together it might make for a good joke… As it stands I get enough of a giggle vicariously hearing about their dating antics.

I love hearing the tales of the meets ups and the butterflies, and the possibilities. I’m really quite a romantic at heart.

There is something about those first initial dates that are so full of promise and excitement…. if it’s a good one. If it’s a shit one it’s full of awkward moments, eggy silences and cringing.

With the advent of RSVP and the like you know a considerable amount about someone before you go out with them, but as with Facebook, its really just a representation of yourself and you would obviously sell the best version of you.

It’s pretty easy to look good on paper if you’ve half a brain, and a decent photo.

The scheisse thing about dates is if it sucks it’s a) hard to get away from quickly, and b) a tad disappointing.

date slice doughHere’s what I really don’t miss about dating -

1. Eggy first dates where there is no connection and conversation is painful. You down a drink or two and maybe it improves, but probably not by much. Until you have 10 drinks and pash them accidentally.

2. The moment at the end of the date where you hope they don’t go in for the kiss but you can see their lips looming and you have nowhere to run. Obvs, they get cheek.

3. The moment where you hope that they’ll go in for the kiss but they leave you hanging looking all dewy eyed and tragic before shaking your hand and walking away.

4. The set-up. When friends organise a gathering and surreptitiously try to hook you up with someone. Even if you liked them the sideways glances of your friends are a passion killer.

5. The eternal ‘who pays’ question. I reckon the guy should pay, because I’m old fashioned like that. I don’t mind going Dutch, but it is a mini-strike against him, and if I pay outright its a turn off. Sorry if I set back women’s lib but I can’t help it.

BONUS HATE   -

Will he call, won’t he call? Maybe my phone is broken.

Ever done that? Think maybe suddenly your phone network has inexplicably crashed or you’ve ben disconnected? Checking it constantly to see if there’s a text.

God I hate that.

healthy date slice Healthy Yummy Date Slice

What you will need :

  • 200g pitted dates
  • 100g sultanas
  • 175g spelt flour
  • 175g oat bran
  • 175g butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or you could use honey or rice bran syrup
  • juice of one juicy orange

What you will need to do :

Preheat oven to 190C.

Pop your chopped dates and sultanas into a saucepan on low with the juice of half of your orange. Stick a lid on it.

Into a food processor chuck your flour, oat bran and butter. Add the juice from the other half an orange, 1.5 tablespoons sugar (use all the syrup if you’re not using sugar) and blitz until it comes together as a dough. If it needs a little more liquid add a little water, a teaspoon at a time.

Line a 30x30cm (or equivalent) tray with baking paper and spread half of your dough in an even layer over the tray.

When soft, place your date mix into the processor and blitz until it’s a paste.

Spread the paste evenly over your base.

Lay a piece of baking paper onto the counter, and place your remaining dough on it. Using a rolling pin or a large jar, roll it until it’s about right to fit on top. It’s a little sticky so the baking paper will help you to get it on and peel it off.

Prick the top with a fork, and then sprinkle your remaining sugar over before popping it into the oven for 30-40 minutes until deep, golden brown.

Cut into 12-ish slices and bombs away. So easy and yummy.

healthy date slice

Flogging like a true blog flogger with my homegirl Grace over at With Some Grace.

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. 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.

Keep it together, don’t crumble… Unless it’s Rhubarb Crumble.

27 Nov pear and rhubarb crumble

rhubarb and pear crumble ingredientsToday is day 11 of the 12 Days of Awesome. Tomorrow is the big launch day.

Holy fuck balls. (Sorry Nana, but nothing else quite captured the sentiment)

I’ve had an awesome Awesome so far. Posting every day has been an interesting experiment.

I’ve made new friends, reconnected with old, sold heaps of books and had heaps of feedback and I’m feeling good…. unless you count chronically sleep deprived, butterflies the size of pterodactyls in my tummy, and up to my armpits in canapés for the launch.

I’ve been thrilled to write for some peeps that I admire so a mega thanks to Fox in Flats, My Little Sunshine House, and Life, Love and Hiccups for having me over to play. The sense of support and love I’ve felt from my online community has been both uplifting and humbling.

It’s nice to feel love when you’re doing something that feels so big. It’s imperative to your success, because doing it alone is scheisse.

Someone recently asked me why I put so much pressure on myself and it’s actually quite a hard question to answer.

This whole process has made me feel slightly nude.

Not like that dream where you dream you went to school and you forgot your clothes and everyone laughs at you, but more like I’m at a day spa and no one really cares that I’m nuding but I’m slightly self conscious none the less.

I reckon that’s a good type of naked.

Expanding boundaries. Baring your all.

Anyway, one more sleep. Or no sleep as the case may be.

Today I pick up the books. Nothing like cutting it fine, eh? I do work well under pressure…. but I won’t crumble. I’m too damned excited.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

pear and rhubarb crumbleRhubarb and Pear Crumble

What you will need :

For the fruity bit - 

  • 1 bunch of rhubarb, washed and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 2 pears, cored and chopped
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of water

For the crumble topping - 

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used coconut flour, you use whatever you like)
  • 1/2 ground linseed, sunflower and almond (LSA)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter (I used half & half)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place all of your fruit ingredients into a heavy based pot with a lid over a medium heat.Cook for 10-15 minutes until soft, but not mushy.

Rhubarb and pear crumbleTip it into an over proof dish. I reckon shallow and bigger is better so the covering of crumble is lighter and all gets toasty and yum. Mine was too deep in this instance.

Place all of your crumble ingredients into a bowl and rub with your fingers until it resemble coarse breadcrumbs. You may need a little more butter (fat is flavour, don’t be scared).

Spread your crumble mix over your fruit mix and pop into the oven until it’s golden brown and delicious.

Serve with cream or ice cream for dessert, or I love it for breakfast with yoghurt.

pear and rhubarb crumble

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow. It’s only a day awaaaaaaaaay.

Cook Once Feed All launches tomorrow. Today is the last day to get your three book deal so get in quick if you’re keen.

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lrCook 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.

 

Edible (tightarse) Christmas gifts….

26 Nov

Holsbys rocky roadI make a lot of homemade presents at Christmas because I’m a total tightarse.

Not total. That makes me sound bad, but I do love making and giving away edible gifts.

Do you know Life, Love and Hiccups?

If not, you bloody well should. Sonia is awesome sauce personified. She’s actually the real deal in my eyes and I can’t tell you how amazed I was when she first commented on one of my posts. Not to be a butt-licker or anything.

Down to Earth,  funny and sharp, Sonia never fails to make me smile with her quirky cool sense of humor and always give me lots of pretty for my joy of aesthetics.

Basically, she’s well cool.

I’m a bit chuffed to be over at Life, Love and Hiccups sharing some of my best tightarse edible gift ideas today…

Can you believe I got dumped two years in a row at Christmas time?

Not by the same dude.

Two different dudes.

Perhaps they got cold feet because they were unsure what to get me for Christmas, or maybe they just thought I was a freak.

My mama was worried that I would start to dread Christmas but it never actually dampened my spirits. I’m a massive fan of Christmas.

I like getting together with my friends and family and eating great food and drinking booze, and of course, I’m a big fan of presents.

Some people like to receive big expensive presents, and others like to receive small expensive presents and whilst I’m a huge fan of all kinds of presents there is something to be said for the home made present.

 To read the rest of this, schwing on over here….marinated fetta and homemade muesli edible gifts

I am launching my new book on the 28th November.

2 more sleeps – EEEEP!

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.

 

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.

Ssssscared.

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 lunchbox experiment – Mark 2

20 Nov Lunch box 1 - Holsbys

Lunch box 1 - Holsbys

Some time ago I did a little lunch box experiment over at Heart Mama, who is now writing under her name Zanni Louise at My Little Sunshine House.

She’s just been signed to write children’s books so she’s totes one to watch. Not to mention the mere fact that insanely divine and gentle.

The lunchbox experiment was such a mega smash hit that when Mouths of Mums asked me to do something for them in my 12 Days of Awesome I thought I’d have another crack at it… but make it awesomer and shit, because that’s the name of the game.

The humble lunchbox can be a tricky beast.

I can remember kids at school that ate peanut butter or devon and tomato sauce sandwiches on sliced white bread every day of their school life. I was never a big fan of the sandwich.

In fact, end of term saw a foul collection of them in the bottom of my school bag.

It’s a wonder wild beasts never attacked me on my way home from school.

I’m determined to create interesting lunchboxes for my kids. I don’t send any pre-packaged food, and time is of the essence. They must also be healthy, nutritious and, of course, nut-free.

I’ve had much success and failure over the first year of my child’s lunchbox life.

To read the rest of this article swing over here 

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’

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list now 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 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.

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

IRON CHEF : SUBURBIA

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.

Rainbow Fruity Icy Pops… a feat of engineering.

29 Oct fruity rainbow icy poles

rainbow fruity icy polesWhen my Dad was turning 50 (a decade or so ago) my step-mum – AKA Wicky Steppie –  wanted to throw him the most amazing party ever.

They lived on Waiheke Island, off Auckland, and the plan was a big day of canyoning, followed by a raucous knees-up at dinky yacht club that we’d hired exclusively.

The plan was, well, debauchery. Lots of it. Wicky Steppie wanted an old school, spaghetti-slinging, cream-pie throwing food-fight, and dancing til dawn, but most importantly, she wanted a vodka luge.

I’d worked at some amazing functions with vodka luges that defied the imagination. One in particular you poured vodka into the neck of an ice sculpted torso, and the vodka swirled through in the internals before being slurped by the slurpee at the money end. Front side.

One for the boys. One for the girls.

As we were no ice sculptors, we decided on a large bucket of water that we were going to freeze and my genius idea was to take a length of garden hose, feed a piece of wire through it, bend it into a spiral, freeze it into the water and create an amazing luge through which we could drink frosty vodka until we all had slurry- drunken ice-cream headaches.

The plan was to simply pull the hose out leaving my awe-inspiring spiral. Sadly, once frozen, the hose was not going anywhere and no-one, but no-one, could pull that Excalibur from it’s icy rock.

rainbow fruity icy poles in test tube shot glassesWe ended up unceremoniously gauging a channel in the top and creating a piddly vodka rivulet.

Although the effect as somewhat similar, we decided we had grossly over-engineered the project.

A number of times in the making of these delicious icy poles, I wondered if I was doing the same thing?

Initially, I wanted twice the layers, all of them to be perfectly divided like the amazing ones you see on Pinterest. Alas, who has the time or patience??

Not I, it would appear.

That said, these are by no means difficult. They’re a piece of cake, and totally worth the effort. If you have neither time nor patience, just fill each one with one of the different flavours and be done with it, but if you can be bovvered, you’ll be as popular as I am around the homestead. These were absolute winners.

The long pops were made in test tube shot glasses I found in the party favour aisle of my local supermarket and the sticks were wooden chopsticks. I stood them in a deep plastic container filled with my baking beans (the beans I always use for blind baking my pie crusts, but you could use rice or whatever) to make them stand up. You can also use plastic cups with plastic spoons for handles or the old fashioned icy pole making kits.

fruity rainbow icy poles

Yield : 12 icy poles

What you will need :

Watermelon

  • 2 cups watermelon flesh
  • 1/2 cup lemonade

Pineapple

  • 1/2 tin crushed pineapple in juice

Mango Yoghurt

  • flesh of 1 mango
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla yoghurt (five:am organic all the way)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon almond meal

Blitz your watermelon flesh until smooth then add your lemonade. If you prefer them totally sugar free, omit the lemonade, but I love a little tingle of effervescence in my top layer. Half a cup between all the pops is nothing to stress about in my humble sugar loving opinion… not that I’m an expert.

Divide between your icy pole holders, and pop into the freezer for about 30-45 minutes until the top has hardened.

Blitz your pineapple (you could add some coconut cream if you wanted. I nearly did but decided against it last minute – you could totally do Pina Colada adult ones too…..YUM!!), and add that as your next layer when the time is right. Freeze again for 30-45 minutes.

Blitz your mango with the yoghurt and add the almond meal to give it a little more body. Add that to your pops, and slide your sticks or spoons in, or place the icy pole lid on before sticking into the freezer for a good few hours.

Not indicative of how tasty the pops are. Honest.

Not indicative of how tasty the pops are.
Honest.

Kicking it on Tuesday with the IBOT gang over with the essentially gorgeous EssentiallyJess.

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

Picnics for the uninitiated…. or even those in the know.

26 Oct

picnic13

There are a number of elements that need to align for the perfect picnic. It’s the weather, the people, the location and of course, the food.

When you get it right, picnics are a wonderful thing… get it wrong, and it’s not so fun.

I was recently invited to write a little dummies guide to picnics for Yahoo7 and I thought I’d let you guys in on my handy hints for successful al fresco soirees.

Nothing heralds the coming of balmy afternoons spent with friends than sand in your car or nudie runs under the sprinkler (children only, please) quite like those first blushing blossoms on the trees.

Spring is well and truly in the air and longer days are perfumed with these flowers, sunshine and a sense of community. It’s the perfect time of year to slip your sandals onto your winter-soft feet and hit the great outdoors.

Spring is perfect because it doesn’t have the raw heat yet, and the air is filled with sweet fragrance. It is a time of spring-cleaning, and renewal. It almost carries an essence of hope about it.

The season is also conducive to building community once again – shared outdoor experiences with friends and family are almost an Aussie-spring right of passage. But if the word ‘picnic’ fills your mind with images of sweaty cheese and soggy sandwiches, maybe this is the optimum time to perfect your picnic prowess and dazzle your friends with your delicious al fresco offerings.

To see more of this post, pop over here…

Note the author is Danielle Holsby? Cute. Might run with that one in future!

 

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

When life gives you lemons, make gluten- free Lemon Meringue Pie

6 Oct lemons

lemon meringue pie ingredients

I can remember standing in our kitchen in Coffs Harbour when I was just a wee girl. At that time our kitchen was orange laminate and fake brown woodgrain linoleum on the floor. Interior design 1970′s Oz style.

I was standing in front of the wall mounted oven, on my tippy toes, (probably salivating onto the floor) trying to peer through the murky glass to see the mountain of cloud-white meringue that was inside. I knew that in just mere minutes, my mum would pull out a pie bursting with lemon curd and crumbly pastry topped with the soft, and crunchy meringue that I so adored.

I loved me some lemon meringue pie as a girl. It was my all time favorite.

lemonsAs I got into the full swing of my food nazism, that was the kind of stuff that was the first go. Too much sugar, too much butter, too much joy on a plate. It couldn’t have been good. I’ve learned as I got older that one piece of pie is not the undoing of the human body. It’s an accumulation of things over a day, day after day, after day.

Who ate all the pies?

Have you noticed heaps of wholefood treats out there lately? You no longer need to mindlessly reach for a packet of Tim Tams. You can make your own from raw and organic ingredients.

Except it’s never really quite the same. Let’s be honest.

Although reducing sugar and wheat is important, we also need to remember that substitution treats, are still not exactly salad. We’re reducing the intake of the shitty things, otherwise known as processed stuff and hidden numbers, and that’s awesome.

We are creatures geared towards hedonism enjoyment, and sweet food ticks all our boxes, and makes our brains go all pokie-machine-jackpot bells and whistles. We can substitute till the cows come home, but really sweet yummies are sweet yummies.

The body breaks down different sugars in different ways so some are ‘better’ than others, but if you eat a whole pie, it’s still a whole pie.

I read this great post yesterday, by the gorgeous Alexx Stuart, about mindful eating, which really resonated with me. I’m totally guilty of eating at my computer, and offering the kids food while they’re playing. Are you?

Food rant aside, I wanted to mess with my dear old friend, Lemon Meringue Pie, and mindfully scoff  savour as much of it as possible in one sitting.

More than anything this was a science experiment and this baby worked. It was everything a lemon meringue pie should be.

gluten free, sugar free pie crustThe issues I struggled with was getting the curd thick enough. The extra liquid from the maple syrup, and the lack of sugar messed with the chemistry, but I got there in the end. Also, it needs to be eaten immediately, because the meringue can’t hold the weight of the maple for too long and it weeps a little.

That said, it was still damned tasty the next day, just a little moist with maple goodness around the edges.

gluten free, sugar free lemon meringue pieWhat you will need :

For the base -

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup sesame, sunflower, linseed and pine nut mix
  • 120g dates, pitted
  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil, or butter

For the lemon curd - 

  • 3 lemons, juice and finely grated rind only
  • 8 tablespoons cornflour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 80 g unsalted butter

For the meringue - 

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • a pinch salt

What you will need to do :

Lightly grease a 30cm tart dish with removable base with butter or coconut oil.

Chuck all of your base ingredients into a food processor, and blitz until it forms a sticky paste. Press into your tart dish with wet hands, ensuring it goes up the sides a little.

Pop a saucepan with water onto the stove and place a heatproof bowl over the water creating a bain marie. Add your lemon zest and juice to bowl.

In a seperate bowl, add three tablespoons water to your corn flour and stir to combine. If it solidifies too much add another tablespoon of water until you can make it into a paste. Add to lemon juice and whisk well to combine.

Add one cup of water. This is where things got a little crazy for me. I stirred and stirred and stirred and it didn’t get thick enough, but after four years (prone to exaggeration) of stirring I added more corn flour. You guys should be fine with this quantity as I did the hard yards for you – You’re welcome.

So, stir until quite thick, it will need to be quite hot, and then add your egg yolks and you butter and keep stirring like  mo’fo to ensure your curd comes together smoothly. Keep on stirring until it’s quite thick, ie when you spoon a blob out it sits on top for a minute before joining the rest.

Put into the fridge to cool.

gluten free lemon meringue pie fillingWhen it’s cool, spoon into your pie base and spread evenly. In a clean, dry bowl, beat your egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form little peaks. Slowly, slowly add your maple syrup ensuring it’s well combined. Do not over beat or they will flop like, well, a floppy thing.

Spoon on top, using the back of your spoon to create peaks. You could pipe it on if you could be arsed, but I like it a little more rustic.

trusty blowtorchTo brown the top, I used my trusty blow torch, which I recommend everyone owns, but if not you could pop it under a grill for a few minutes to brown. The grill will melt your base, however, so you’ll need to pop it back in the fridge for a minute.

I recommend you eat immediately to stop any maple weepage. Eat it all. Eat the whole pie.

Just be sure to savour it.

gluten free lemon meringue pie

 

 

 

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I’m hooking this recipe up as part of this month’s Our Growing Edge monthly blogging food extravaganza with Bunny Eats Design and Nom Nom Cat. Check out more about Our Growing Edge here.

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.

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