Nicoise in a Jar


I like things in jars, and here is another good use for the many jars I have laying around.

Putting salads in Jars is a great way to make things them of time, and to keep the salad fresh, and develop flavors while they sit in the fridge.

The order of the layering is important, as keeping the lettuce away from the moist ingredients keeps it crisp, while allowing some to touch the dressing improves their flavor – in this case the tomatoes and onion.

They also look, really pretty. Depending on how tightly packed the jar is  you may be able to eat directly from the jar (shaking to mix), or as I had, added to a plate or bowl to mix and eat.

Nicoise is a classic French salad, I didn’t use olives as I didn’t have any, and used capers instead of anchovies for a salt hit.

The tuna, egg, potato and beans make a very filling salad. If you wish, replace the eggs and tuna with white bans or chickpeas for a vegan alternative.

You need two large size clean jars for this recipe,  mine where 750mls, but you can add more or less lettuce to fit a slightly smaller or larger jar.


Ingredients: for two large jars (these make a BIG salad for one).

2 tins of tuna slices in oil, drained

2 boiled eggs cooled, and sliced.

1 cos lettuce, washed, spun and torn into pieces

10 cherry tomatoes – halved

1 red onion – diced

6 baby potatoes, steamed, cooled, cut into slices.

250 gs of green beans, steamed lightly and cooled, cut into thirds

2 tsp of capers

2 tbs of olive oil

1 tbs of red wine vinegar

Salt and Pepper


1. Add oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to the bottom of the jar.


2. Add tomatoes, onions and capers.


3. Add tuna.


4. Add the potato slices, carefully so that they are flat and cover the bottom layers completely.


5. Add the green beans to cover the potato.


6. Add the egg, reserving a couple of slices to arrange vertically against the jar for decoration.


7. Place the decorative eggs slice against the glass, add the lettuce to ‘hold’ up the egg and fill the jar.

8. Screw on lid, and refrigerate until you want to eat!




Caramelised onion jam


This is a very versatile condiment. I made here to add to a bacon and egg pie that I will post in a few days, but it will make any burger, steak, tart, hot dog, sandwich or meaty dish extra special.

Cool it, and mix through some sour cream or cream cheese for a homemade french onion dip.

This is not a a true jam, so it does not have a long self life. If you put it in a airtight container it should last up to 5 days in the fridge.

I have used and halved the is recipe from, but halved the recipe,


half a tbs of good olive oil

300gs of brown onions

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tbs of dark brown sugar

1 tbs of balsamic vinegar

1. Heat oil in a small saucepan, on low heat.

2. Add the onions and thyme, cook stirring, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.


3. Add  the sugar. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add  the vinegar and 1/2 cup cold water.

4. Increase heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until thick.


White Winter Soup and a Beautiful Cookbook


I wanted to share one of my favorite cookbooks. Its called ‘She’s leaving home’ by Monica Trapaga. Who Aussies will know as a children entertainer on the TV show Play School.


This book is a collection of recipes  from her family and friends complied for her daughter when she moved out of home. It is a BEAUTIFUL book filled with recipes from around the globe and comfort food. It is beautifully illustrated not with pictures but the collages made from pictures, objects and materials, and photographed.


I brought it a few years ago, so I’m not sure if its still available in stores but if you see it you should buy it! I love looking at it!

As it is winter here, I have shared one of her soup recipes. I have written the recipe as it is in the book however, I made the following change: I couldn’t get marjoram, I used lite cream instead of sour and used a hand blender to make a smoother soup and added Parmesan to serve. This is a lovely change from pumpkin or potato soups.



25g butter

2 tbs  of olive oil

2 large white onions or trimmed and washed leeks, chopped ( I used onions)

3 large parsnips, peeled and  finely diced ( I used four smaller ones)

2 cloves of garlic

pinch of sugar

3 sticks of celery, chopped

4 cups of chicken, vegetable or beef stock

2 large potatoes, chopped into small cubes

Salt and black pepper

2 tbs of fresh marjoram, plus extra to serve

sour cream to serve

1. In a large stockpot with a lid, melt the butter with the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion or leek and cook for about 10 mins to caramelize. Add the parsnips, garlic ad sugar, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 mins or so.

2. Add the celery and just enough of the stock to cover the vegetables, then increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 mins, then add the potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the cauliflower, the rest of the stock and the marjoram, partially cover the pot with lid and simmer on low heat for about 2 hours.

4. Taste and season to taste, then lightly mash with a potato masher chunky texture ( as mentioned above I blitzed mine with a hand blender to make a smooth soup. Serve with some cream, chopped marjoram.

Spaghetti Aglio E Olio – spaghetti with garlic and olive oil


This is as simple, easy and cheap as a recipe can get!

It is also one of my favorites, a real  Italian comfort food!

It great when I’m cooking for myself, or have to come up with a late dinner.

But as it uses so few ingredients you really have to use good quality pasta and olive oil (and cheese if using).

It can be as basic as, pasta, oil, garlic and salt, however can be customized to your taste and to what you have in the pantry.

  • I like to add chilli (I use a fresh chilli, though I read that dry chilli flakes are traditional)
  • I like to add chopped parsley at the end (but you can leave it out, or use another herb).
  • I like to add Parmesan to serve (apparently traditionally cheese should NOT be used)
  • I sometimes use some crisp fried prosciutto to serve, as I’ve done here.
  • At other times I have added tuna, crispy croutons or crumbs, rocket, spinach, baby kale etc, the choice is yours!



Ingredients: (4 t0 6 serves)

500g of pasta (I used Barilla Spagettini)

1/2 a cup of good olive oil

5 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or to your taste)

1 red chilli , finely sliced

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

6 slices of prosciutto


Parmesan to serve

  1. Fill a large pot with cold water, add salt and bring to the boil
  2. Meanwhile, add garlic, chilli and oil to a fry pan. Put on lowest  heat (allow to cook until pasta is ready, if garlic begins to brown take pan off heat).
  3. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to packet directions or until ‘al dente’.
  4. While pasta is cooking, fry prosciutto in a fry pan, until crisp. Drain on paper towel, and crumble.
  5.  When cooked, drain pasta, reserving 1/2 a cup of the paste water.
  6. Return pasta to hot pot, add oil mixture and parsley, stir to combine well, making sure all pasta is coated with oil.
  7. To serve, add paste to bowl, top with a piece of crumbled prosciutto and Parmesan to taste.



Lamb Cutlets with Brazil Nut and Mint Sauce

Lamb cutlets are one of my favorite things! This sauce is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe  ‘Lamb Cutlets with

Special Basil Sauce’

However, I experimented with ingredients I had in hand.



Handful of brazil nuts

Bunch of mint

Small amount of parsley leaves

Good olive oil

Sherry vinegar

8 to 10 lamb cutlets

Lemon wedges to serve

  1. In a mortar and pestle, crush and grind nuts until a paste forms, add a little oil to help this along. Add mint and parsley and crush until incorporated into paste, start to add oil to desired consistency is reached, leave a little thinker than required. Add vinegar to taste. Season.
  2. Grill or Pan Fry Cutlets to your liking (I prefer medium). Serve with sauce ,lemon  and any salads or vegetables to make a meal.

I left it a bit chunky this time, so it was more of pesto.