Pumpkins are the schoolyard bullies of the garden.

Pumpkin Taking Over

Really, there are no explanations necessary here.  They come up out of the compost and before you know it, they’ve taken over.  At least this one seems to be setting some fruit!  But experience tells me never to count my pumpkins before they’ve hatched…

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Warm potato salad FTW.

Finished Version

My beautiful niece divides her time between her Mum’s place, and her Dad’s (my brother).  Yesterday she started her school holiday stint with us, so we had a belated Christmas barbeque to celebrate.

She’s still in that fussy stage…if it looks vaguely foreign, she won’t eat it.  I keep trying to tempt her with new twists on the old favourites, just to try and expand her palate.  I’m not sure how much luck i’m having! One thing I can say for sure however, is that everyone else at the table absolutely loved this take on a warm potato salad.

For my vego/vegan friends out there, just a warning – this one contains bacon!  But as I was eating the leftovers tonight, I also had some of my smoky marinated tofu cooking in the oven and I couldn’t get over how similar the bacon and the tofu smelled.  So i’m going to fry some of that up tomorrow and see if it would make a good substitute…I shall report back 🙂

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You old smoothie.

Banana Smoothie & Granola 3

Some nights, you just can’t be bothered cooking…I think that’s why the universe gave us smoothies.  Amirite?  They’re just the perfect combination of, well…anything you like…all in a cold, creamy, delicious drink.  Which if you’re lucky, is also good for you. And guess what…this is your lucky day.

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A salad obsession.

Salad Obsession Full Size

Apologies for the slightly wanky shot above…I was making a joke to some friends about how this was my ‘work Christmas party’ this year…sitting on my back porch with a lovely frosty glass of rose and a bowl of this salad I am ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED with, with my feet up and surveying the garden in the midday sunshine.  Doesn’t get more festive than that!

This salad had its genesis in a visit to a cafe in Northcote, the name of which escapes me i’m afraid.  I think because I was too preoccupied with literally forensically pulling apart my lunch mate’s meal, filing away all the different components so I could reproduce my version at home.  I was having serious food envy, so I wasn’t going to let this salad pass me by – I was determined to recreate it for myself.  Here is my version of that meal, which is guaranteed to please your tastebuds, as well as being chock full of healthful goodness and hipster credibility.

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The best fruit salad in the world.

FS in Progress

I’ve always hated fruit salad.  It’s never really been my thing…but like most foods I was subjected to, growing up in 1970s Queensland, i’ve found much of my like or dislike was influenced by the lack of skill or finesse with which it was prepared.  Because, let’s face it…the culinary arts weren’t exactly well developed at that time, and especially not in that place.  Queensland was kind of a cultural dead-zone back then, so gourmet fare generally consisted of something like a mixed grill for ‘tea’, with desserts like jelly and cream, jam roly-poly or apple crumble, if you were lucky.  And that was eating out!  Home fare was far more pedestrian, with the only flavourings anywhere in sight coming courtesy of lashings of salt, pepper (the powdered kind) and tomato sauce.

Good times.

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Breakfast re-jigged.

Cauli Breakfast

So in keeping with the new year theme of going gluten free, i’ve ditched the toast and made some of these delicious cauliflower and spinach ‘flatbreads’ to hold my favourite toppings.  They’re baked then frozen for later use, but I hit my first hurdle trying to figure out how to prepare them after taking them out of the freezer…I tried microwaving but it got a bit mushy, which kind of defeats the purpose…I ended up eating it with a knife and fork and while it tasted DELICIOUS, I want something I can pick up or roll up and pop into my mouth, for maximum convenience.  Next time, i’ll try dry frying one and see how that works 🙂

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Godmother cake.

Godmother Cake Full Size

I made this cake back in September for my beautiful Godmother’s birthday.  It’s such an outdated notion, I know…the godmother part, not the birthday cake!  We often laugh about how she’s completely failed in her mission to see to my spiritual guidance all these years, as neither of us are at all religious…but we do both share a great love of op shopping and very similar eclectic bower-bird home decoration tendencies!  And far more valuable than any religious instruction in my opionion, she has kindly passed on many of her secret Melbourne second-hand shopping locations to me…now that’s my kind of spiritual guidance 😉

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