Tag Archives: books

Styling me, Styling You.

29 Nov

I do believe I drank about 500 bottles of champagne last night.

…or maybe it was 5000. What’s a zero between friends?

I feel surprisingly awesome today, however, so I reckon I still have a little adrenalin rocking the veins.

I wanted to quickly bang up some photos so you could see how it went down.

The police came early, but didn’t buy a book, friends flew in from interstate and the show of support for me was really overwhelming.

I was equally exhilarated and humbled.

A massive thanks to everyone who gave me their support, and and even bigger thanks to everyone who gave me presents!

I wasn’t expecting flowers and gifts and cards. It was like the Oscars. Speaking of which how awesome is my onesie??

a little more used to them coming at the end of the night but I'm open to change.

a little more used to them coming at the end of the night but I’m open to change.

the first air kiss of many…we were wearing the same shade of lipstick, could totally have gotten away with it.

the first air kiss of many…we were wearing the same shade of lipstick, could totally have gotten away with it.

A little word of thanks to my fans…. I got accolades for my least rambling speech to date.

A little word of thanks to my fans…. I got accolades for my least rambling speech to date.

A pair of yummy mummies proudly displaying their new books.

A pair of yummy mummies proudly displaying their new books.

I was feeling the love. Everyone got hugged. There was no escape.

I was feeling the love. Everyone got hugged. There was no escape.

Just a few so you can see how it looked. I’ll do a launch post soon and I’ll fill you in on how goes about pulling off a feat of epic proportion with no team, and no time.

I know today is officially day 13 of Awesome, but when Nikki from Styling You said she had a slot for me I thought it was a cracking way to finish this whole shebangalang off.

If you live in a cave and don’t know Styling You, Nikki has created an amazeballs cyber space for all things stylish and unlocking your style.
The thing I love about Styling You it’s not about fashion, it’s about style, and no matter your personal style, age or shape, it embraces everyone, with many, many  pretty things.

I’ve done a little Festive Cake 3 Ways to get y’all in the Christmas spirit.

Although I’m perfectly comfortable tackling sexy subjects like mojo and bondage on my blog – Keeping Up With The Holsbys  - I did not come to visit Nikki to talk about ménage a trois as such.

I’m actually talking about a trio of cake.

Sincerest apologies if I snagged you under false pretences.

After juggling one simple husband for seven years, I feel a real life ménage a trois probably makes life more complicated than it already is, whereas the aim of this sticky fruit cake is to make life easier.

I’m all for making the most out of one recipe and this easy Christmas Cake is a perfect trick to have up your sleeve this festive season.

To read the rest of this post, pop over here

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier while 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.

Find out more on the Holsbys Facebook page or subscribe to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list. To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All,  head to the Holsby Shop.

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.


It’s here…. Cook Once Feed All

28 Nov cook once feed all book

Here she is…..

Proudly introducing to you -




Cook Once Feed All is a must have book for all families. With food for big mouths and small and laughs to get you through Danielle has nailed a wonderful recipe book with vibrant imagery and wonderful tales. What a joy to read!
-Mouths of Mums

Written by funny mummy blogger Danielle Colley, Cook Once Feed All is full of tasty and easy recipes to tempt little palates, as well as some great back-stories and anecdotes.
-Practical Parenting Magazine

A fabulous collection of healthy treats and meals for small kids, with some hilarious teas along the way. These are the stories missing from cooking books!
-Beth MacDonald, BabyMac


Catch you at the party, homies.

If you want to come along tonight to the launch in Darlinghurst, let me know and I’ll give you the details.

Love to share a glass or ten of bubbles with you all!!


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 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.


 Emily, this post is for you, I really, truly wasn’t doing one ;-)

A Pie in the Sky is Worth Two on the Plate…..Beef & Lentil Pie with Parmesan Pastry

8 Mar

Beef and lentil pie ingredientsI’ve had a really crazy week.

A week of cooking and shooting and I tasted the dream and as I was riding that wave it actually sucked me under and dumped me, complete with sand graze on the chin and pants full of shit grit.

Have you ever started something and it suddenly grew to be bigger than you imagined, so you kinda freaked out and wished you never started, except that you really want to finish so you just hide in a deep hole for a second? Or two?

Or ten.

As you know I’m currently turning my ebooks from cyber books to real booky books, that will smell like books and turn like books and that’s really exciting.

I’ve already done the hard work, right? So, it’s easy right?

I’ve followed my standard formula, which is surround myself with people who are professionals, so no one will actually realise I’m a busker.
It’s a brilliant scheme…..until one of the professionals notices that you have made a rookie error and ALL of the photos you’ve taken from the very beginning are perfect for a blogger, but not for someone who actually wants to publish their images.

Danielle….. You. Muppet.

What exactly does this mean?

Reshooting EVERYTHING.

Except one, measly, image that somehow made the cut.

So, first I tried to blame someone else, but my finger prints were all over it. So I tried to worm my way out of it, and then I squeezed out a few tears that seared my cheeks with frustration.

My ego was bruised. I decided it was all too hard. I’d spend my time in the kids’ sleep eating soft centred chocolates and watching Doctor Oz talk about which groceries are best bought in bulk instead of working on this crazy, pie in the sky dream that I have.

Good plan.

beef and lentil pie with parmesan pastryI gave myself an upper cut, told my ego to take a hike and suggested I stop being such a snivelling wimp and just get on with it. It’s the perfect opportunity to test all of the recipes again.

That seemed to do the trick, which is lucky because I never liked Doctor Oz anyway.

Also, our cover shoot got rained out. We shot something, and that something is perfectly lovely, but it’s not IT. It’s not the image I have in my head, so I must try once more to make it happen.

I have set a date to reshoot the cover and pleaded with the angels to please grant me a weather wish for just a few hours of one day. I can control many things but I can’t control this freaky assed weather we’re having. Begging for divine intervention is about all I have.

So, I guess you could say, I’ve had a little on my plate. It was all a tad overwhelming.

While I was cooking beef and lentil pies tonight, I received a message from one of the very first people to purchase my ebook.

She sent me 2 photos of my food that she and her husband had cooked, and told me she was working her way through my books and she loved them.
She said I inspired her to be a better mum, which is insane because I bet she never left her toddler to watch her baby, who subsequently fell off the bed.

As I put those little pies on the plate I cried and cried.

Mister H came into the kitchen and caught me and when I explained myself he was perplexed.

“But this is a lovely message to receive, right? What’s wrong?”

The tears were because just when I thought I was drowning, the Universe sent me a pair of Floaties. Divine intervention, indeed.

I have a dream, and even though it may be pie in the sky, it’s a damn good dream, and without dreams what do we have?

Do you have a pie in the sky dream? Will you share it with me?

Beef Lentil Ramekin Pies with Accidental Parmesan Pastry

You could use bought puff pastry for your top, like I was planning to, but when I went to grab it I was out…..oh, balls.
I was forced to whip up a quick pastry and I wondered what it would be like if I added parmesan…….OMFG, yum!

parmesan pastry

If you can be arsed, do it. If not, I will judge you not. I served it with smashed cauliflower, pumpkin and peas.

D Man ate this as is, and I gave Kiki a couple of spoons of pie mixture with the vege mash…..food for the whole family, my peeps. Cook once…..not thrice.

D Man eating pie

What you will need :

For the filling -

  • 300g beef mince (I used left over rare roast beef, minced)
  • 1 tin lentils, drained
  • 2 bacon rashers
  • 1 large leek, white only, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh green herbs (thyme, oregano)
  • 1 handful of fresh chopped parsley
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups of beef stock
  • a slug of worcestershire sauce
  • a big splash of red wine
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 tablespooons plain flour
  • salt and pepper

For the pastry – 

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 100g chilled butter, chopped
  • 50g parmesan
  • a good pinch salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons iced water

Make the pastry first as it needs to rest in the fridge for between 1-4 hours depending on how impatient you are…..

In a food processor chuck your flour and salt, add your butter and parmesan and pulse until in resembles bread crumbs, add water one spoon at a time until it comes together in a ball.

Take from processor, form into a cool shape and wrap and fridge it.

cutting the pastry tops

In a heavy based frypan, add your bacon to a little olive oil, and when it’s getting nice and cooked add mince. When cooked throw in your leek, stirring until it’s all broken down and soft. Add your carrots and celery.

Chuck in your stock, worcester and herbage, then add your lemon zest and wine. Season to taste. When your carrots are soft, toss in your lentils and stir. Add more wine if it’s too dry.

beef and lentil pie with parmesan pastryMix your flour into your water and when it’s well combined toss it into your mix. When you sauce is slightly thickened, turn her off and leave until you’re ready to roll.

Spoon into ramekins or pie dish (you could use porcelain cups if you were being cute).

Preheat oven to 200C

Roll out your dough until it’s about 5mm thick. Cut circles using a bowl or something similarly sized to ramekins and pop your tops on.

Stick in heated over until the tops are golden brown.

Steam up some veges to mash on the side and you are good to go!

Im flogging my blog with the lovely Grace today, so check out my fellow floggers if you have a spare mo.

A Christmas Present for all my readers………HO HO HO!!!

23 Dec

xmas card

It has been such a big and exciting year, and I want to thank you all for supporting me and loving me and sharing in my life.

I’ve never said this before, but although this started as a very personal thing, it’s turned into something much more exciting, and you are all very much a part of my journey.
What was simply self-expression has turned into personal growth and endless possibilities, but what I was not expecting was to make a whole load of new friends.

I know there’s many of you out there reading who do not comment (I’ve seen the stats), and I know many of you think what you think is not important to me……but, let me tell you-

It is.

I love hearing your thoughts. I love moving you to comment. I love when you engage.

I put a lot of myself into this blog, so when you engage it’s very fulfilling!

If you just like to watch, I respect that, and I thank you for wanting to know what’s going on in my world, and my kitchen.

Those of you that do comment, thank you. I feel as though we have become friends over the past 9 months, and my cyber Village has become as important to me as my real Village.

So, to each and every one of you I say -

Merry Fricken’ Christmas, Yo!!!

I would love to send every single one of you a bottle of Christmas cheer, alas, you are too far and wide (and plentiful!) for that sort of behaviour, so I am doing a super flash sale on my books.
For the first 25 readers to get in quick, I am selling the second book for only $2.50.
Yep, that’s $17.50 for both books.

You will receive 120 pages of family friendly recipes for a pittance!

For just 12 hours, the first 25 people to get in quick, get this super Christmas deal.
The perfect last minute gift for loved ones, and the ideal way to say ‘I love you’ to yourself this festive season.

two book deal image


If that doesn’t smack of Christmas spirit, then I don’t know what does!!!

Practical Parenting Magazine’s review of the Toddler Friendly Recipes Books….. I’ve hit the big time, Ma!!!

19 Dec

magazine clipWhen Practical Parenting Magazine told me they were going to feature my books in the January 2013 issue, I was proud as punch.

It’s not easy to get a feature in a magazine, so it felt like a little early Christmas present to know that they liked my books…….and I’m not even related to anyone in the office!

They told me it was out on the 15th December so I’ve been lurking around newsagents now for four whole days. Not all day, every day, I do have a life, I mean, I need to check Facebook and stuff, but I think the local shop keeps were starting to wonder if I was casing the joint.
One time, I bought D Man a lollypop because the lady started to look at me funny, but the rest of the time I was just cruising the aisles of motorcycle porn and well, porn porn.

But then, today it was there!!

I tore into it, rustling through the pages at the back of the shop like a 15 year old boy trying to look at a girly mag. I got to the end of the magazine and nothing??????!!!!

I checked the cover once more. January? Yep. Practical Parenting? Yep.

Ok, deep breath, and check slowly…………and suddenly, before my eyes, was the magazine debut of my recipe books. Admittedly, I could have done with a magnifying glass, but it was there in full-colour, by jingo, by jove!

Allow me to share my very first proper, printed book review -


Written by funny mummy (they think I’m funny!) blogger, Danielle Colley, the Toddler Friendly recipe ebooks are full of tasty and easy recipes to temp (sic) little palates, as well as some great backstories and anecdotes.
Toddler Friendly Baking and Toddler Friendly Cooking are $15 each from http://www.keepingupwiththeholsbys.com/holsby-shop

We don’t see my name in print every day, so I knew you’d all be well chuffed for me…….hell, you might even decide that it is, indeed, the perfect Christmas gift for the person who has everything…..or the person that has nothing except a kid that needs to eat.


Proudly Presenting……The Toddler Friendly Recipe Series.

7 Nov

Ok, let’s get this party started………….

Drum roll, please.



Cue dancing bears (politically correct ones only, say, cartoon bears with red tutus.)

Enter white horses with girls in silver sequined leotards blowing trumpets whilst playing harps…….

Laaydiiiiiiiies aaaaaaaand gentlemeeeeeeeen, we at Holsby Inc. are delighted  to present to you, an original recipe book series that will revolutionise your family’s life (or mealtimes, at least).

The ‘Toddler Friendly’ recipe book series is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and fast food for your family. These ebooks are a collection of my most family friendly original recipes presented with stories to brighten your day.

Each book contains three never before (nor ever will be) published recipes, all, naturally, accompanied by my fabulous wit and charm.

These ebooks cater for all-levels of kitchen capability, and I endeavor to encourage you into a new way of thinking for your family’s meals. All recipes have been extensively tested on fussy eaters and little piggies alike.

If you’re stuck in a rut, preparing the same three or four meals for your family, these books are for you, and the stories may just help you belly laugh your way through the mealtime mayhem.

Bon appetit!

‘A fabulous collection of healthy treats and meals for small kids, with some hilarious tales along the way. These are the stories missing from cooking books! Well done, Danielle!’
Beth MacDonald, BabyMac

Well, what a breath of fresh air these books are! I have two very fussy eaters and was always having to make separate meals. After trying a few of Danielle’s recipe’s I now no longer need to do this, we all eat the same thing!  Not having a lot of time on my hands with two little ones plus # 3 on the way plus running my own business I am amazed at how easy the recipes are to follow.  Being in the health & fitness industry it is imperative that my family & I eat healthy meals & Danielle’s recipe’s tick this box also!
 I love the humour & real life stories. I find that I am not only reading a fool-proof recipe, but having a laugh along the way with her humorous & entertaining stories about life.
Thanks Danielle!
Yasmin Tselepis, Owner/Director Yummy Mummys Outdoor Fitness

I’m thrilled to announce some of my favorite peeps and products have shown their support for my ebooks by throwing some great gifts my way to pass on to 4 lucky buyers.

Our very fortunate first prize winner will receive a cheesetastic masterclass with MacIntosh and Bowman Cheesemongers in Sydney. You will receive an artisan cheese education and appreciation class valued at $99 GV. You choose your own adventure according to your tipple of choice;

  • Boutique Craft Beer & Artisan Cheese
  • Whisky & Artisan Cheese
  • Wine & Artisan Cheese

Generally, I will only put people with Sydney postcodes in the draw for this prize, however, if you live elsewhere and want to travel to experience this cheesy goodness then please drop me a comment.

3 other lucky winners will receive gift packs with some of my favorite supermarket items in it. These are things that are always in my pantry, and now I would like them to be in yours.

Red Island Olive Oil is, in my opinion, the best olive available in mainstream supermarkets.
100% Australian owned, the olives grown in our home soil and climate create a distinctly different flavour to their European counterparts. It’s green and herbaceous flavour makes it perfect for salad dressings, drizzling and even just dunking bread.
I’ve paid up to $40 for great olive oil, but Red Island is as affordable as it is delicious.

Marion Grasby became a house-hold name after being a Masterchef contestant, and she now is creating and distributing her own line of Thai and Asian foods, Marion’s Kitchen. I have found these ‘Marion’ boxes a god-send in these last months on those nights that I’m too tired to be fabulous on my own and I need a little helping hand.
Ranging from Thai Curries, to Sang Choy Bow, her whole range can be on the table in about half an hour, but they do not compromise on flavour. I don’t use packet foods, but this is a whole new level of quick cooking. You add fresh ingredients, and Marion brings the flavour.

Lindt Chocolate…..need I say more?

Palmolive is a household name synonymous with saving you from ‘dishpan hands’. Their new Heavenly Hands Raspberry Foam will do just that and leave you smelling like berries. Perfect for keeping by the sink to ensure your hands are always clean!

These are products that I honestly love and I’m thrilled that they’re supporting my launch. Sadly, only people residing in Australia are eligible for prizes…..although international buyers will be gifted with my eternal gratitude……..

But the love does not stop there, my pretties, no, no.

‘I am super blown away by these books- they are divine and it’s so enjoyable to get distracted from what your trying to make… or just consider making, with your quirky, funny tales. I love that you write like you talk! I can hear you when I read!!’
Claudia MacIntosh Bowman, MacIntosh Bowman Cheesemongers

Toddler Friendly Cooking and Toddler Friendly Baking will each be selling separately for $15.oo, but as a thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey, for a limited time, I want to do a launch special of $25.00 for the two ebooks!

That’s an extra fiver in your pocket!!

These ebooks are the perfect gift for Christms as you save on wrapping and postage. That’s even more savings to spend on life’s important things like wine and coffee!

Buy now here!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to send in a review or a comment or love of any kind.

Devour Literature or Trash, Just Read……and Eat Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls.

11 Oct

I read some really frightening statistics this morning, courtesy of Bunny. Eats. Design.

Here they are -

One third of high school graduates will never read another book for the rest of their lives. (THAT’S 1 in 3!!!!)

42 percent of college graduates never read a book after college. (THAT’S ALMOST 1 in 2!!!!)

This is the one though…..

80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year. (WTF!!!!! 80%??????? 8 out of 10………4 out of 5!!!!!!)

This is not referring to a lack of literacy in the slightest, but a lack of love for reading.

My parents read to me all the time, and in turn I read to my kids daily. It’s something nice to do, and it passes the time.

Obviously, they have their books and I have mine, but I get to climb into bed at the end of the day, after hiding the ‘Big Book of Dinosaurs’ in hope of being able to read a different book for D Man tomorrow (I cant be the only one that does that?), and open my book of choice and disappear from my suburban monotony bliss into whichever heady world I choose.
I adore reading. I adore words. I guess that’s why I love the sound of my own ‘type’ so much, but to imagine a life without being able to slide into an imaginary world at the turn of a page, doesn’t bear thinking about.

I just finished Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell. You know, the one they made the Meryl Streep movie out of?
Hardly War & Peace but a very fun and funny read.

Let me tell you, as one would suspect, the book shat on the movie.
The reason for this is because Julie Powell, the author/crazy woman who tackled every recipe in Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 12 months is quite naughty.

She’s candid, she swears like a trucker and she had a gustatory baptism of fire that she is very honest about. Harvesting bone marrow and killing a lobster are not for the faint of heart.

I think it struck a chord due to the very nature of the book (cooking/blogging/eating/drinking). The book was also realistic about the fact that all that butter-laden French food made her arse balloon. I found it unbelievable in the film when Amy Adams maintained her svelte appearance regardless of the lashing of cream and duck fat she scoffed daily.

Anyhoo, read my peeps. Read. It’s better than TV.
It invites your imagination to spark and not be spoon fed imagery.
Don’t get me wrong, TV has a place, but don’t let it be the only form of entertainment in your home.

Reading to your children is proven to increase their intelligence, and comprehension. The experts say that children need 1,000 stories read to them before they begin to learn to read for themselves. Sounds like a lot? It’s just three stories a day over a year (according to Huggies).

Ok, off my soapbox…all that ranting has made me peckish so I thought I’d share another of my Spring To Do List recipes.

I love these fresh spring rolls. We sometimes go to a roll-your-own Vietnamese restaurant in Newtown, Sydney, but making them at home is so simple, delicious and healthy.
Traditionally, the Vietnamese use pork and prawns in theirs, however, I’ve also had lemon grass beef, and sugar cane prawns.

I was making these for a picnic so I kept it quick and easy……..my two favorite ingredients to any recipe!

I’m always disappointed when they have too much noodle action and not enough filling action so you can make your own ratio up to please your palate…..but, trust me, my way is really yummy!

I also put the sauce inside for ease of little people, and big people, eating outdoors, but you can make a separate dipping sauce if you want.

Yield : 14 rolls

You will need :

  • 1/2 BBQ chicken, or duck for extra yum, shredded
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 2 spring onions, julienned
  • 1/2 packet bean shoots
  • 1 good handful of mint leaves
  • 1 good handful of coriander leaves
  • crushed peanuts
  • 100g vermicelli, I prefer green bean vermicelli but simple rice is fine
  • 1 packet of rice paper
  • 2 tablespoons ketcup manis (sweet soy)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

Set yourself up a work station so everything you need is at hand.
Fill a baking tray with hot water, not scalding, just hot, and dip your rice paper in for 5 seconds.
Once upon a time I thought you had to leave it in until it was totally pliable and wet, but you don’t at all. In fact, it still feels quite cardboard-y after 5 seconds but it gets more pliable as it sits, and it’s way more manageable.

Smear a small amount of your sauce on the bottom and then add a little bit of your chicken, then your vegetables, then your herbs, bean shoots and top it with some noodles. Sprinkle some nuts on top and fold the bottom of your rice paper up, creating a semi-circle. Fold in the sides, one at a time and then simple roll the rest into a neat cigar.

Call the first one a practice one, ok?
Repeat, and repeat and repeat, until you’re over it or your ingredients are gone.

If your first one looks dodgerama, maybe try a little less filling……You’ll be a pro in no time.

Why not like my Facebook page right now?
Then you’ll not miss what’s going on in my head or my kitchen.

If you liked this post subscribe via email now to ensure you can always keep up with the Holsbys.

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.

50 Shades of Puttanesca….or Whore’s Lasagne

29 Jun

Holy Sado-Masochism, Batman……are you guys on the 50 Shades bandwagon????

I’d never heard of it until a girlfriend told me there was a Mills & Boon-on-steroids trilogy afloat and if I fancied some trashy ‘clit lit’ (if you’ll pardon the term) she’d lend it to me if I promised not to stick the pages together. I was shocked at the suggestion.
Initially, 50 Shades of Grey made me giggle. The writing is certainly less than amazing, and it has been panned by critics for having a lame plot. The themes are eye-brow raising, to say the least, but before I knew it, I was over half-way through the first one and I can’t turn the pages fast enough.
I’m not laughing any more.
In fact, it’s making me feel all funny in my tummy…..and other places.

Rumour has it, people reading it on public transport are hiding it in the jacket of another book for fear of being branded a filth-bag. With 10 million copies sold worldwide, selling out so fast it surpassed the Harry Potter series in the UK, it poses the question, are we harbouring secret Bondage and Discipline fantasies? I didn’t think I was until Mr. Grey made a jolly good spanking look as sexy as an erotic massage followed by your husband doing the vacuuming.

With the popularity of shows like True Blood, there’s no doubt that we’re all gagging for a bit of sexy escapism, but what are we escaping to? Domination, being ‘owned’ by another……my inner feminist cringes at the thought, whilst the rest of me rushes to finish this post so I can get back to my book!

Another reason that I think it has such great appeal is that so many women will relate to the fact that our heroine, Miss Anastasia Steele, has found a rather broken specimen and desperately wants to fix him. He’s given due warning that he’s trouble (50 kinds of fucked up – verbatim) and yet she’s like a fat kid to a Tim Tam. I know I’ve fallen down that slippery slope, and I sure as hell didn’t lie at the bottom on my own. In fact, I know countless women doing it right now….but who knows what’s going on behind closed doors? They might even be swinging from a harness, trussed up like a Christmas turkey, getting a paddling as I type. I dare say, after 10 million plus read this little eye-opener the sales of cable ties and caribiners may indeed soar.
Apparently, after many women now exploring their sexuality, husbands and boyfriends around the world are high-fiving author, E.L. James….just as soon as their hands are untied from the bed posts.

Anyhoo, enough of the book revue. After receiving some rather fabulous gifts from her smoking hot, young, generous, billionaire Dominant (don’t find many of those around here), Anastasia’s ‘inner goddess’ has branded her a whore. I thought I’d make a Puttanesca inspired dish as an homage to the filth I’m reading.

There are a few elements to this dish, but if you can’t be arsed, just make the Puttanesca sauce and eat with with spaghetti. Throw a dollop or two of ricotta over it before serving and you’ve got the gist of it for half the work. If you can be arsed, it’s yummy.
Don’t be scared by the anchovy. It’s not used as a monster flavour in here, it’s merely umami. If you can’t get passed the hairy fish, just omit it.

Yield : 4-6 adults

You will need :

For the puttanesca sauce – 

  • 1 spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chili (optional)
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 425g good quality tinned tuna
  • 1/2 cup good olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 packed cup of fresh oregano and basil (combined)
  • 1/3 cup white wine (if you can spare it)
  • 1 bunch silver beet, green only, stalks removed
  • 30g cheese, finely grated (I used Colby)
  • 30g parmesan, finely grated
  • fresh lasagne sheets

For the béchamel sauce – 

  • 30g butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 200g ricotta
  • 30g parmesan
  • 2.5 cups milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
Put a little oil into a deep frypan and throw in your onions. Once they’re translucent, add your garlic, chill if you’re gonna and chopped anchovy fillets and give it a stir. Pop your capsicum into the pan and shimmy it all around together for a few minutes.
Next, add your tinned tomatoes, tuna capers, olives, herbs and wine. Add a slurp of water (200ml or so), and season. Leave to cook while you do your other bits……at this point I had a couple of children to attend to so it probably bubbled away for a good hour. The longer you can simmer, the better for a sauce like this. You want most of the liquid to evaporate.
Wash your trimmed silver beet in a sink of water, then chop without removing too much water. Throw it into a large wok or pot over a medium heat. Stir continually until it’s just wilted. You don’t want to cook the crap out of it.
When done, put it aside in a bowl to cool down.To make your béchamel, place butter into a saucepan and allow to melt. Add flour to butter and whisk it around to allow flour to cook. Add milk, whisking as you go. Add your bay leaf and season.
When it starts to thicken, chuck in your ricotta and parmesan….keep whisking until a nice thick consistency then put aside.Place half of your putta sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish. Lay a layer of fresh lasagne sheets over the top.
Squeeze as much liquid out of your wilted silver beet as you can then lay it on top of your pasta. Spread a ladle full of your béchamel over the spinach.
Top with another layer of lasagne, and then spread the remaining sauce over the top. One more layer of lasagne and then top with the rest of your béchamel. Finish it off by gently sprinkling your finely grated cheese over the top. If you grate your cheese with the fine grater, it’s easier to make a little go a long way thereby keeping down your cheese (fat) intake.
Pop it into a pre-heated oven on 190C. Cook for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly and delectable.



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