Tag Archives: menus

Living Below the Line: Menu!

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far.  Together, we have raised over $1,000 to help alleviate poverty in East Timor!  I’m thrilled with this result – and I’m hoping to do even better by the end of the week…

And now, for the post you’ve all been waiting for!

(OK, probably not, but I’m trying to infuse a sense of excitement into this situation…)

So, $19 dollars, and 29 meals.  What are they going to be?

Well, as you probably guessed from my shopping list, mostly pasta…

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A couple of menu posts…

I’m out practically every night at present, so in lieu of actually useful content, here, have a few menu plans…

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A little bit of a brag…

There is a market post in the works, mostly speculating on why on earth it suddenly seems to be autumn in the marketplace – seriously, pumpkins, venison, kale, more pumpkins, carrots, pumpkins again, mushrooms – hasn’t Melbourne noticed that spring is only a few weeks away?  Our seasons aren’t just upside-down from the Northern Hemisphere, they are sideways and kind of weird.

Anyway, in lieu of actual content, last night’s Birthday Dinner menu:

Olive bread

Chicken in a pot with Aioli

Excellent Ratatouille

Roasted Potatoes, for which I really must write the recipe sometime, since I can make them in my sleep and everyone loves them (except Andrew who doesn’t like potatoes.  Odd man.)

And, the pièce de resistance – with resistance being the key word here, because it certainly resisted all over the inside of the oven in a spectacular and fairly appalling fashion – gingerbread brownies with strawberries, cream and caramel coated hazelnuts, plus gratuitous toffee, because I couldn’t just sit there and let it set in the saucepan, now could I?  That would be wasteful.

Is this dessert not a thing of beauty and a joy forever? Or at least, a joy as long as it stays on the plate and the palate, which wasn’t all that long, really…

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Wedding cake planning

I’m making a wedding cake for two of my colleagues on Thursday.  Well, on Wednesday and Thursday, really, though Wednesday is just the baking phase and shouldn’t be too tricky.  I’ve been asked for a chocolate and raspberry cake, a big cake rather than cupcakes, because they want something that looks ‘weddingy’, and if I could make some cupcakes or something that are egg-free that would be really good.

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Preparation time…

For the past few years, it has been my personal tradition to go vegetarian for Lent.  This is a slightly odd thing to do, because I am not, in fact, all that sure what I believe, religion-wise.  Continue reading

Coriolanus Cookery – thinking out loud

I’m trying to figure out my menu for Sunday’s Shakespeare, and finding it unusually difficult (it doesn’t help that I’m a bit under the weather this week.  I actually have a really impressively revolting Shakespearean euphemism for my current condition, but I’m going to spare those of you who don’t already know it.  Believe me, you’d rather not know.).   Coriolanus is a Roman play, which gives me a nice, clear Roman theme, and I do have some excellent recipes along these lines… until you consider the fact that it’s going to be 31°C tomorrow and 33°C on Sunday, and if I do any baking at all, the house will be unbearable once we get 12 people around the table.

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Menu notes for the next few days

Probably only of interest to me.

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Quiet New Year’s Eve…?

I wasn’t *having* a New Year’s Eve Party this year, on the grounds of exhaustion and really evil hormones.

So why is it that I have somehow spent today making chocolate ice-cream and marshmallows and honeycomb and meringues and spiced praline almonds and raspberry sauce and caramel sauce…?

(but nobody else was holding a party, and it seemed wrong just to sit at home by ourselves…)

Apparently, the absolute minimum amount of food when we have invited two guests around for New Year’s Eve desserts is three kinds of ice-cream, plus every imaginable topping or mix-in (we also have sprinkles and glacé cherries and waffle baskets, not to mention pectin jellies, oh yes – it’s a veritable ice-cream parlour around here I tell you), and fresh fruit and panettone, because these are also compulsory for a hot New Year’s Eve.  And now it looks like we’re having about six people around, actually…

But absolutely no more!  None!

(why do I suspect I’ll be visiting people handing out sweets for the next week?)

Honestly, I just planned to have ice-cream and pannetone and fruit and maybe a topping or two.  I think things got out of hand.

Anyway, whether your New Year’s Eve is at home or abroad, quiet or raucous, optimistic or melancholy, I hope it is a good one, and I wish you, O my readers, all the very best for the year to come.

Much love,


Menu notes, probably only of interest to me

I keep writing menu lists for tomorrow and putting them down in silly places and not being able to find them.  I won’t lose this one.

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Another Shakespeare Feast…

We’re doing Henry VIII (which also goes by the highly inaccurate name of ‘All is True’) on Sunday, so it’s time to go hunting for appropriate recipes.

(Is it just me, or do recipes disappear out of cookbooks when you aren’t looking?  I could have sworn I had at least three recipes for Maids of Honour [absolutely de rigeur  for this play, even though our Anne Boleyn isn’t going to be able to eat them] and one for Bishop Cake, but half an hour of hunting through likely books has failed to turn them up.)

Fortunately, the internet has come to my rescue with a very plausible-looking Maids of Honour recipe, and a Nigella recipe for Cardinal Cake, which is even better than Bishop’s Cake – for one thing, Cardinals outrank Bishops, if I understand correctly.  For another, Wolsey is a Cardinal, and I don’t think he’d be appreciate being demoted.  And then there’s the fact that Cardinal cake looks like a deliciously light lemon cake with a little jam on it, whereas Bishop Cake is full of glacé fruit and nuts which are both expensive and not something I like in this context (I do like fruitcake.  Just not this one).

Then, of course, there are Queen Cakes, which do sound rather a lot like Cardinal cakes, but I’m not going to let that stop me, because I want to decorate them in sets of six – divorced (or rather, annulled), beheaded, died, divorced / annulled beheaded, survived.  Beheaded will be a little axe, of course, and died a little cross.  Survived will have a crown.  I’m not sure about annulled.  A pair of broken entwined rings, perhaps?  I know it’s tacky, but this is Henry VIII we’re talking about, and the play does deal with his annulment of the marriage with Catherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn.  It’s necessary.

For Henry himself, I’m thinking about a Galette des Rois, or maybe a Gateau des Rois if I can figure out how to make it without egg yolk (I need to have something among the sweets that isn’t full of eggs and nuts).  Or maybe I’ll just get King Island cheese or make Chicken à la King – you may have noticed that there is a distinct lack of savoury recipes on this list so far.  This is because the play is giving me no help at all in that department, despite the fact that the historical Henry VIII actually passed laws limiting the amount of sugar you could put in cakes, so you’d think this feast would be all savoury, all the way. (Then again, I’m playing Queen Catherine, so I don’t feel all that obliged to obey His Majesty’s strictures on this point.  It’s not like he was a very good husband.)

Other than that, I’m looking at recipes that have cherries in them, biscuits shaped like hearts, suns, moons, stars, and a variety of other things, and anything containing spices.  It’s not an especially illuminating mix (if you leave the heavenly bodies out of it, at least).  I haven’t the faintest idea what my savouries will be yet, which is a problem, since I have to start making them tomorrow.  I’ve been eyeing off my Renaissance recipe books, and everything is either full of onions (not an option for one of my guests), full of eggs or nuts (not an option for another of my guests), or else it contains a mix of sweet and savoury flavours, which is something I like very much but which not everyone else does.  And anyway, we definitely look like we’ll have enough sweets.

I’ll be doing the Elizabethan Garden Salad, of course, and probably little risotto balls and meatballs shaped to look like apples and pears, and Chicken à la King is looking increasingly irresistible, but I really don’t know what else.  More vegetables, certainly, but what kinds?

What I really need to do right now, though, is sleep.  I’ll be cooking for at least 12 hours tomorrow, I expect, and probably six more hours on Sunday, and it’s been a very long week at work.

See you on Sunday, with photos!