Singapore Rice Noodles: It’s All Easy – Gwyneth Paltrow with Thea Baumann

it's all easy

It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook by Gwyneth Paltrow ($45), published by Hachette Australia.



Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Under 30 minutes



“These pan-fried noodles are gluten free, full of veggies, and kid-approved (my kids inhale this). The prep does take some time, but once you’re cooking, the dish comes together quickly, so be ready with all the ingredients. Add chicken, shrimp, or beef for a little extra protein, and if you don’t have a wok or a really big nonstick pan, use two smaller pans—these noodles don’t like to be crowded. Pan-frying noodles is not an exact science, so trust your instincts and add a couple more glugs of oil if things are looking dry or starting to stick.” (p. 205)




3½ ounces thin rice noodles (such as Eden Foods bifun noodles)

4 tablespoons peanut oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

½ cup finely chopped broccoli

½ cup chopped green beans (½-inch pieces)

½ cup fresh or frozen peas

7 ounces firm tofu, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 teaspoon madras curry powder, or more to taste

1 large egg

¼ cup tamari

2 scallions, thinly sliced

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt, if desired

Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 10 minutes or according to the package instructions.

Meanwhile, heat a wok or large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat and add

1 tablespoon each of the peanut and sesame oils. When the oils are hot but not smoking, add the onion and cook, untouched, for 1 minute to sear. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes more. Transfer the onion to a bowl.

Add the broccoli, green beans, peas, tofu, and another tablespoon of peanut oil to the pan. Sauté over high heat until the veggies are just cooked through and the tofu is beginning to brown (about 2 minutes); transfer the veggies and tofu to the bowl with the onion.

Add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, the soaked and drained noodles, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and stir to combine. Make a hole in the middle of the noodles, add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and crack in the egg. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon and let scramble until almost cooked through, then mix in with the noodles.

Add the tamari, scallions, and cilantro and stir everything to combine. Taste for seasoning, add salt if necessary, and serve.





Un e x p ec t e d G U ests



Post Script: It’s All Easy – Gwyneth Paltrow with Thea Baumann

it's all easy

It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super Busy Home Cook

Gwyneth Paltrow with Thea Baumann

Hachette Australia


ISBN: 9780751555493


Gwyneth’s fans have been begging her to write a cookbook that will help them get healthy, yet wonderfully delicious meals on the table during hectic weeknights. Well, she listened and she is sharing over 125 recipes that can be made in under 30 minutes that are surprisingly tasty even though they have little or no sugar, are low in fat, and many with no gluten. They will be of the same quality as those in It’s All Good, but can be pulled together in the time it would take to call for a takeaway. And because every family needs some pasta or pizza now and then, Gwyneth will include recipes for easy takes on those favorites too! Everyone knows that takeaway and restaurant meals can contain large amounts of fat and sugar, and can be made with less than ‘clean’ ingredients, so here is the solution to making sure you and your family eat a healthy, yet delicious meal every night of the week. And, since it is so much healthier and economical to bring lunch to work and school, there will be a special section on ‘Lunchbox ideas’ made from dinner leftovers and easy-to-throw-together lunches!


My View:

A versatile, quick to make, collection of recipes that use quality fresh ingredients to produce tasty and interesting meals. There is nothing boring here.  “This book is meant to be a road map: a self-help book for the chronically busy cook….All the food in this book tends to be on the healthier side ( see the gluten free, diary free  dessert section section), we have also included recipes with more standard ingredients ( some cheese, some regular flour) because, well, it’s just easier. And because we never sacrifice deliciousness, some of the recipes might have an extra step or a special ingredient that might not seem easy, but trust us, it is worth it… Our aim is here was to make… a book full of recipes that are beautiful and sometimes times unexpected,  while also comforting, satisfying, and realistic for anyone and everyone to make ”  (pps. ix -xi)


The authors give a useful “pantry” section that includes ingredients and tools for cooking the foods in this book, then divides the book into useful guides for:

First thing (breakfasts)

On the Go

Pick Me Ups

In a Pinch

Cozy Evenings

Summer Knights

Unexpected Guests

Something Sweet

The Basics.


I love the breakfast suggestions here – Blueberry Granola Parfait, breakfast crepes, chocolate cinnamon overnight oats, ginger chia pudding and scrambled eggs with parmesan and arugula (rocket) to name a few.

To impress your dinner guests try this quick delicious main meal; seared scallops with watercress and asparagus – quick, tasty and impressive dish, your guests will think you have slaved in the kitchen for hours!

A beautifully presented cook book with more than a few recipes that will become your all time favourites.

Post Script: The Dry – Jane Harper

The Dry

The Dry

Jane Harper

Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781743548059



Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well…


When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.


And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret… A secret Falk thought long-buried… A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface…


My View:

If you are a lover of crime fiction then you should read this book. If you are a lover of Australian crime fiction you must read this book!


This book is atmospheric, brooding with the tension of the lies, suspicion, bullying and threats that are whispered and shared amongst the inhabitants of this small community.  There is a constant doubt regarding the good character of Aaron Falk that keeps the atmosphere intense – reliable or unreliable…the reader is never quite sure about this narrator, new information revealed tips this see saw precariously from side to side.


Read this book quickly – before the movie of the book is made and screened.  The narrative is so rich and visual I can fully understand why this story has already been optioned by a major movie production company.  The directors will have plenty to work with – small town attitudes and characters (am sure we have all met or known some of the types of people portrayed here), a  community on edge – drought and financial difficulties strain relationships, a local murder pushes people closer to the edge  of an abyss they cannot return from.  Add a few plot twists and turns and an empathetic yet slightly unreliable protagonist and have a cracker of a read and the basis for an excellent film.


This book is already high on my list of best reads of 2016.

Ultimate Sweet Potato Bake: Surfing The Menu Next Generation – Dan Churchill and Hayden Quinn

Surfing the Menu cover

Surfing the Menu Next Generation

Dan Churchill and Hayden Quinn

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925368345

**The show is on ABC TV this Sunday 22nd May 2016 6pm**

Ultimate Sweet Potato Bake – Dan Churchill

UltimateSweetPotatoBake 10138

2 tablespoons olive or macadamia oil

3 lean rashers bacon, roughly chopped

600g sweet potato, cut into 5mm discs

250g ricotta

1 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg



1   Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced) and lightly grease
an 8 cup capacity ovenproof dish.

2   Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the bacon, stirring and turning occasionally, until browned. Remove from the pan. Add the sweet potato slices (in batches) and cook until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer the bacon and sweet potato to the ovenproof dish.

3   Whisk the ricotta, coconut milk and nutmeg until smooth, and season with a pinch of salt. Pour over the sweet potato. Bake for
20–25 minutes, until lightly golden on top.


Serves 4


Chicken & Cheese Jaffles with Spicy Capsicum Sauce: Surfing the Menu Next Generation – Dan Churchill &Hayden Quinn

Surfing the Menu cover

Surfing the Menu Next Generation

Dan Churchill and Hayden Quinn

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925368345

**The show is on ABC TV this Sunday 22nd May 2016 6pm**


Chicken and Cheese Jaffles with Spicy Capsicum Sauce – Hayden Quinn


2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1⁄4 cup whole egg mayonnaise

1 small carrot, grated

1 celery stick, finely sliced

1⁄2 small red onion, finely diced

8 slices white bread

60g soft butter

8 slices tasty cheese



Capsicum Sauce

150g drained chargrilled red capsicum

1 garlic clove, crushed

1⁄3 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice



1   To make the capsicum sauce, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small bowl.

2   Heat a jaffle iron or sandwich toaster. Combine the chicken, mayo, carrot, celery and onion in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper.

3   Spread the bread with butter, then place half the bread slices, butter side down, on a board. Top each one with a slice of cheese, 1⁄4 of the chicken mixture, then another slice of cheese. Put the remaining bread slices on top, butter side up.

4   Lift a sandwich onto the jaffle maker and cook for a few minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Serve with the sauce for dipping.


Serves 4


***My Hint – if you don’t possess a jaffle maker ( and they are coming back into style) use a sandwich press **

These are perfect for lunch or to have  for a lazy super  – kids and adults will love them.


The whole truth about $1 milk: Cass vs Coles

This explains a lot about supermarket shopping and marketing – I think the big chain supermarkets also contribute to this loss of sustainability a the farm gate by reducing choice on shelves- now so many “home brands” and not many branded choices forcing you to select the the shops home brand. Shops are large – choice is disappearing.

The Milk Maid Marian

A clever vet student, Cassandra MacDonald, from NSW has created this fabulous infographic to set the record straight. It’s only five minutes (don’t worry, the 13 minutes on the YouTube counter is wrong) but wow, does she pack a punch! Watch this space for more to come about this remarkable young woman.

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Chilli Chocolate Tart – Surfing The Menu Next Generation – Dan Churchill and Hayden Quinn

Surfing the Menu cover

Surfing the Menu Next Generation

Dan Churchill and Hayden Quinn

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925368345

**The show is on ABC TV this Sunday 22nd May 2016 6pm**

ChilliChocTart 10065

Chilli Chocolate Tart – Hayden Quinn

1 2⁄3 cups plain flour, sifted

2 tablespoons pure icing sugar, sifted

125g unsalted butter, chilled and chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla paste

sea salt flakes, to serve

fresh raspberries and crème fraiche, to serve



150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped

2⁄3  cup caster sugar

1⁄2 cup dark cocoa powder, plus extra to dust

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon ground chilli

250g hazelnut meal

200g unsalted butter, chilled and chopped

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

6 eggs




1   Process the flour, sugar, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor in short bursts until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the egg and vanilla and process, again in short bursts, until mixture just comes together. Gather the dough and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

2   Meanwhile, to make the filling, process the chocolate, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, chilli and hazelnut meal in a food processor until finely ground. Add the butter and orange zest and process until combined. Add the eggs in two batches, processing until combined after each addition. Refrigerate until needed.

3   Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick
and use to line a deep 26cm loose-based fluted tart pan. Trim the pastry edges and rest in freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven
to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

4   Spoon the filling into the tart shell and level the surface. Place the tart on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is firm to touch. Stand on a wire rack to cool.

5   Lift the tart from the pan. Dust the surface with extra cocoa powder and sprinkle with sea salt. Cut into wedges and serve with berries and crème fraiche.


Serves 8