Roasted Tomato Soup

A celebration of Summer bursting with the lively flavours of

sun-kissed Tomatoes, tongue-tingling Capsicums & soul-soothing Garlic. 

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This soup is a guilt free pleasure & we feel the goodness pulsating nourishment  throughout our bodies with every fabuliciouz spoonful! I hope your Fam-Bam loves it just as much as mine does.

Begin simply by quartering 1.5 kg of tomatoes & spreading those evenly in a roasting dish. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Season ever so generously with salt, pepper & dried thyme.

Next, squeeze a whole head of garlic into a corner of the pan & just set it aside for a moment.

Grab a baking tray & onto that goes 2 red capsicums which you’ve cut in half & removed the seeds & bitter white pith from. Make sure you place them skin side up on the tray before drizzling with a wee splash of olive oil as well.

Pop both the pan & the tray into a 180c oven for half an hour to roast.

Once done, place the capsicums into a bowl & cover them with cling film to sweat. Set that aside.

Into a big pot or saucepan, place the roasted tomatoes along with all those luscious juices from the pan. Just make sure you take that head of garlic out first!

Meanwhile, return to your capsicums as they should be done by now. Remove the cling film & the skin on all the capsicum halves should easily peel away, then into the pot they go! Remember to pour in any collected juices too – that’s all flavour!

Start to break apart your garlic head & squeeze all that soft yumminess out of the skins & into the pot!

Pour in 1 litre of chicken stock & get that on to the heat. Bring the soup to a boil & then simmer away for 15 minutes.

Finally, drag out good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) to blend your soup smooth before one more go at the salt & pepper, seasoning to your taste.

Tanz Tip ~ To keep my meal completely Gluten Free, I like to serve Mini Pappadum’s alongside my soup so that I still get the crunch factor without the crusty bread.

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Skordalia

This Greek garlic potato dip is simply perfect served with refreshing cucumber sticks or sweet cooked prawns.

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Skordalia is, quite honestly, such an easy & fabuliciouzly different dip to add WOW factor to any table. It’s lovely warm but you can make this the day before you want to serve it & just keep it well covered in the fridge.

Start by steaming 500g worth of peeled & chopped potatoes until they’re lovely & tender before giving them a good mash up.

Then add in 4 teaspoons of minced garlic (or 4 cloves if you’re prepared to crush them yourself) along with 60g of almond meal. Beat that lot really well with your wooden spoon to combine.

This recipe is going to give you a great workout for your ‘angel wing’ arms.

Slowly pour in 2/3 cup of really good quality extra virgin olive oil in a thin stream whilst beating to get a gorgeous thick & smooth consistency.

Finally, add in 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, a tablespoon worth of finely chopped fresh parsley & season ever so generously with salt & black pepper. Keep beating until it’s a beautifully luscious mash-like dip.

Lemon Cream Pie

Lusciously Airy with a Refreshing Citrus Pop,

this is such an easy pie to whip up.

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You are not going to believe just how simple this recipe is & it sure does pack the WOW factor in your mouth! Hubby & Mini-Me both go absolutely nuts over this one, declaring it to be better than Chocolate Cake, now that’s a BIG CALL from those two!

Begin by crushing up a packet of biscuits into crumb. I use a Gluten Free Arrowroot one but previously (before GF), I used the Arnott’s Nice Biscuits. Melt 1/2 cup of butter & add that into the biscuit crumb before mixing it all thoroughly. Press the bikkie base firmly into a pie dish. Pop in a 160c oven for just 5 minutes, then allow to cool.

Meanwhile, let’s make the filling.

In one bowl, decant a tin of condensed milk & add in 1/3 cup of lemon juice gradually so you can incorporate each addition properly. Then pop that aside to stand for a few minutes whilst you do the next bit.

In a second bowl, beat 2/3 cup of thickened cream to a beautifully thick consistency. This is where all the lightness comes from so make sure you beat enough air into it.

Simply fold the cream through the mixture in bowl 1, very carefully to maintain that air.

Pour the filling onto the bikkie base & pop it in the fridge overnight to set.

Sprinkle it lightly with cinnamon just before serving.

Christmas Greetings 2017

2017 has been a particularly challenging year for us. Both Hubby & Mini-Me have suffered with horrendously serious illnesses which has seen me abruptly absent from the blog many times. Whilst we now know that their conditions are permanent, Hubby’s is of greatest concern as it is degenerative, meaning he will worsen.

2017 has taken our health & our wealth but it has given us so very much wisdom for which we are grateful to move forward into 2018 with.

During this time of reflection, I have had to admit that I have always been an Artist searching desperately for my medium. I have tried an extraordinary plethora of different modalities over the years but never seemed to carry any talent for them.

It has now been pointed out to me, in no uncertain terms by my darling Hubby, that my talent lies in what I drive everyone crazy with all the time ~ taking photos.

In 2018 I shall be starting my Diploma of Professional Photography which I am so ecstatically excited about. I will also be continuing to learn Belly Dancing which I simply adore & indulging in my culinary passion in this blog. We also plan to follow through with moving back home to the fabulous Gold Coast & finally putting an end to our nomadic lifestyle.

I’m going to take my Christmas break now to spend valuable quality time with the two gorgeous loves of my life but I will return on Monday 8 January 2018 with reinvigorated gusto! I am already super excited about all the fabuliciouz recipes I’m planning on bringing you!

But for now, from my Fam-bam to yours, we’d like to wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS & a Safe New Year.

Party Punch

Tropically Fruity & Dangerously Drinkable!

This punch is all about Summer!

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What’s a Festive Feast without a refreshing beverage?!?! In sticking with our Budget Theme, this tantalising number will leave plenty of jingle in your pockets & still keep your guests jolly.

I love Aldi Supermarkets for cheap & cheerful booze. They have a large range of award winning wines for under $5 a bottle so it’s easy to pimp them up into a knock-out punch!

Start by decanting 1 litre of pineapple juice into your bowl. Then add 3 cups of apple juice & the entire contents of a 440g tin of crushed pineapple. Stir that lot about to combine, cover & pop in the fridge to chill until you’re ready to serve!

When it’s party time, simply pour in 2 bottles of Moscato Wine, give it a swizzle & away you go!

Now you can also substitute sparkling wine instead of the sweet wine to give your punch some bubble or if you want to make this completely alcohol free, use 1 bottle of lemonade + 1 bottle of dry ginger ale.

If you’re feeling particularly Festive, why not throw in a bunch of cut up fruit as well, like apples, oranges, grapes & passionfruit, they all add to the joyousness of the occasion.

Tropicana Balls & Dip

A mild meatball just perfect for dunking into a vibrant dip!

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My Tropicana Balls & Dip will liven up any party, especially when you’re making a Festive Feast on a budget! Easy to make ahead of time to serve cold or fry off quickly for a pop of hot to be washed down by some bubbles.

Into a mixing bowl goes 500g of veal & pork mixed mince, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, 1 finely chopped red chilli, 1 teaspoon of raw sugar, a splash of fish sauce & then season generously with white pepper. Give that lot a jolly good mix about with your hands before rolling into bite sized balls.

Heat up a wee bit of peanut oil in a frypan & shallow fry the balls until cooked all the way through. Drain them on some paper towel & set aside.

To make the dip, drag out good old Mr. Buzzy (aka stick blender) & into a jug goes 100ml of natural yoghurt along with 1 sliced up banana, 1 sliced up avocado & the juice of half a lime. Blitz that lot until it’s nice & smooth.

This is a brilliantly quick & easy appetiser that keeps your Festive Feast on budget!

Semi-Dried Tomatoes

Fill your kitchen with the intoxicating aroma

of roasting garlic, herbs & sun ripened tomato.

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This absolutely gorgeous addition to my Gifts From The Kitchen series will have the savoury lovers salivating! It’s a wonderfully practical culinary shortcut to enhance pasta & pizza dishes throughout the festive hangover.

Simply start by using an apple corer to cut out all the middle cores of the tomatoes before placing them into a pot of boiling water for 20 seconds only! Remove them immediately to plunge into a bowl of ice & water to cool.

Now I know that doesn’t actually sound like enough time to achieve anything at all, but trust me, it does! This is what allows you to be able to peel the skins off the fruit.

Once you’ve peeled all the skin off, cut the tomatoes in half & place them straight onto a baking tray.

Drizzle them with a wee bit of olive oil, then season with salt & black pepper. Throw on a few garlic cloves that you’ve peeled & ‘squashed’ with either your palm or the flat blade of your knife & sprinkle over some dried mixed herbs, or you might like to just throw on some thyme sprigs if that’s more your thing.

Bake them in a 140c oven for 4 hours before then putting them straight into a clean jar, topping with olive oil & screwing on the lid to seal.

Spice It Up 2017 Advent Calendar

A very special Announcement.

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As promised, I have a BIG announcement for the end of the month & finally the day has arrived!!!!

You all know what an advent calendar is, right, for Christmas?!?!? Where you get to open a wee door every day for a special treat between December 1 to 24 ?!?!

Well, calling all food lovers!!!! This is the ultimate advent calendar for you!

24 Food Bloggers from all around the world have banded together to create a very special advent calendar indeed! From tomorrow, you will be able to use the link below to ‘open’ a new door to a brand new recipe featuring a classic Festive Spice each day! How cool is that?!?!?

2017 Spice It Up Advent Calendar

So, what can you expect from your exceptional culinary line-up this year? Check out each ‘door’ below –

December 1, Jenny, from Jenny is Baking  will feature tonka bean in a sweet bread
December 2, Rachel from   Dishing Up Dinner will feature nutmeg in a cookie
December 3, Jyoti from  The Hungry Belly will feature saffron in a dessert
December 4, Natalie from  Natalie Journeys will feature nutmeg in a drink
December 5, Renea from   Inspire a Creation will feature peppermint in a dessert
December 6, Samira from   Samira’s Recipe Diary will feature cardamom in a dessert
December 7, Markus from  Earth, Food & Fire will feature cloves in a side dish
December 8, Candi from  Make Ahead Meal Mom will feature nutmeg in a dessert
December 9, Rachael from  Coloured Plates will feature star anise in a condiment
December 10, Kori from Irok the Kitchen  will feature ginger in a cookie
December 11, Megan from Life on Paradise Drive will feature pumpkin pie spice in a dessert
December 12, Leslie from  Deliciously Plated will feature cardamom in a beverage
December 13, Tanya from  Food Forage will feature ginger in a dessert
December 14, Ali from  Fix Me a Little Lunch will feature bay leaves in a cocktail
December 15, Daniela from  Dani’s Cookings will feature cinnamon in a cake
December 16, Neha from  Witty Mushroom will feature cardamom in a dessert
December 17, Lizet from  Chipa by the Dozen will feature aniseed in a cookie
December 18, Jillian from  Simple Sassy Scrumptious will feature cinnamon and cloves in a cookie
December 19, Jennifer from  Jennifer Bakes will feature cayenne pepper in a snack
December 20, Angela from  Bake It With Love will feature nutmeg in a dessert
December 21, Kaveri from  Pretty Little Things will feature ginger in a dessert
December 22, Nataliya from  The Friendly Gourmand will feature clove in a side dish
December 23, Myriam from  Milly’s Melting Pot will feature vanilla in a cookie
December 24, Jenny, from Jenny Is Baking will make a roundup

Make sure you mark your favourites in your diaries & remember to check the advent calendar every day to see what incredibly amazing Yuletide Recipe awaits you!

I am so extremely excited to be apart of this GLOBAL project & can’t wait to check out all the fabuliciouz Christmas recipes from around the world!

Strawberry Chips

Celebrate the arrival of Summer in Australia with these 

Sweet pops of naturally healthy goodness.

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With all the excesses of Festive Feasting, this is a lovely wee recipe to let you feel good about indulgence again. Whether you enjoy them on their own as a sweet snack or use them as garnish to punctuate your other luscious treats, they are sure to be a winner!

The beauty of these Strawberry Chips is just how EASY they are to make too! You get a lot of bang for your buck on this one.

Simply chop the tops off your strawberries before halving or quartering, whichever size floats your boat. Then lay them on baking paper lined trays & pop them into a 100c oven for 3 hours.

That’s it!

Told you this one was super easy!

Triple Chocolate Fudge

I want to tell you how fabuliciouzly creamy & decadent my fudge is,

but instead,

this has turned into a post about how to survive a culinary disaster in your kitchen this Christmas to keep you calm & still triumph!

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NEVER has my fudge not set before! I am sure you can imagine my absolute horror this morning as I turned out my fudge to slice for photography to share with you all as my second offering in our Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen series, only to realise that it had not set overnight. Naturally, I felt the panic creep up inside of me as the first time this fails is NOW?!?!?! I had to take a deep breath & retrace my steps in my mind to know what had gone so dreadfully wrong. My mistake was made right at the very start yesterday when I was preparing this. If you learn nothing else from my embarrassment here today, know this ~

TEMPERATURE IS CRUCIAL!

We are having our hottest November in 155 years in Melbourne. I waited until after lunch to begin, which placed me into the hottest part of the day. I am in a new kitchen where I do not know my burners yet so discovered that my usual saucepan is going to be too small with the heat from this cooktop which resulted in my fudge overflowing only 2 degrees before reaching where it should of. I took it off the heat, immediately, as you would, thinking that it shouldn’t really matter that much – it did! I also couldn’t get the fudge to cool to the correct temperature either, the afternoon was just far too stifling!

All of this is going into my memory data file-o-fax for my next fudge making expedition. However, if this happens to you this Christmas, remember to take a deep breath & remain calm! You’ve invested a lot of your valuable time & love in creating something fabulous for people you care about. Don’t throw it all in the bin through heated tears of disappointment. Turn that disaster into a triumph! The easiest way is to always make sure you have a selection of pretty glasses on hand & make use of the popular Chef description of DECONSTRUCTED! HAHAHA you will appear ever so fancy & maintain that tiara firmly on top of your head, without any slippage.

So, here is my Triple Chocolate Fudge recipe, that when followed to the correct temperatures, will result in the most gloriously decadent confectionary worthy of your Festive Hamper!

Ensure you get the correct sized saucepan! Then into it goes 1.5 cups of caster sugar, 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar, 100g of dark chocolate buttons, 2 tablespoons of glucose syrup, 1/2 cup of thickened cream & 1/4 cup of milk.

Gently heat that lot over a low temperature until the sugars dissolve without letting it boil. Once the sugars have fully dissolved, then crank up your heat to bring it up to the boil. Do not stir from this point. Pop your thermometer in & watch it come up to 116c ~ as mentioned earlier this temperature is critical! Once that magic 116c is reached, immediately take the pan off the heat & drop in 40g of butter. Still, do not stir it!

Leave the fudge alone until the temperature drops to 40c. That’s when you can remove the thermometer & finally stir in the now melted butter. Use a wooden spoon. Continue to stir it for about 10 minutes, you’re looking for when a small amount dropped from the spoon can hold it’s shape. That is how you know it will set, unlike my double temperature mistake on this one.

During your wait time, you can prepare a bar cake pan by greasing & lining it with bakers paper so it’s ready for you to pour the fudge into then simply spread & smooth the surface before covering it with tin foil & leaving to stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Once again, my third temperature mistake with this one as it was like a sauna in my kitchen yesterday afternoon.

When the 2 hours is up, remove the tin foil to pour over 200g of melted white chocolate then drizzle over that 50g of melted milk chocolate & using a cake tester or a skewer, drag the two chocolates around to create pretty swirls for a marbled effect.

Replace the foil over the tin & pop into the fridge overnight to set.

The baking paper will allow you to easily lift the set fudge out of the tin & if you heat your very sharp knife, slicing the fudge will be a breeze. Cut the slab in half lengthways before slicing ever so thinly for decadent pieces of melt in your mouth luxury.