Fish stew

I made this up on the hoof. It was a dark and stormy night, we were back late from school and although I wanted to cook something fast, I wanted it to be a bit special for our weekend guests. A thick, warming fish stew seemed to fit the bill. Served with crusty bread and butter.

I sliced 1 medium brown onion, crushed two garlic cloves and sliced 2 sticks of celery. Added these to a thick casserole dish with a bit of olive oil and sauteed. I then added small diced potato (about two large baking potatoes, a tablespoon of mixed herbs,a tin of chopped tomatoes and a jar of herb pasta sauce. I simmered all this on low for about 30 minutes.

When the veg were all cooked through, I added 2 filets of salmon I had diced into cubes, 3 filets of cod, a pack of frozen prawns and some mussels I found pre-cooked and vacuum-packed at Aldi. I heated this all through until the fish was cooked, and served.

It was LOVELY. And I am planning to repeat it very soon.


Afternoon tea- Fairy Bread


I have an ongoing mission to introduce Brits to Fairy Bread. THis was a staple of my childhood, and something I resolutely trot out at every single children’s birthday party or afternoon tea party I ever do in the dogged hope that it will ‘take’.

It hasn’t…..Ever.

And the legendary politeness of the English has never been so tested as when they are trying to be vaguely approving of a mad Australian mother who seems to consider it her patriotic duty to share her most beloved national dish.

In short.

Shop-bought white bread, sliced.

Thick smear of real butter.

Generous sprinkle of hundreds and thousands.



*Update: Baby-Gusto did not like it either. .

Afternoon Tea- Asparagus Rolls

A retro favourite. I have fond memories of dinner parties being held by my parents in the 70s and 80s, and asparagus rolls often made an appearance.

My mother had two versions- both equally delicious. I had the uncooked version, just a slice of fresh bread (white traditionally, but I only had 50/50 white and wholemeal bread to hand), spread with butter, two canned or tinned asparagus spears, then rolled up. The other version put the rolls into the oven until the bread became golden. The rolls were then served with a drizzle of hollandaise sauce.

This was delicious and fun. A lovely savoury Afternoon Tea snack.

Afternoon Tea- Scones

I am somewhat mourning the end of summer and the last few days of the school holidays. Wednesday was also and dreary,drizzly day,so scones seemed perfect. These are sultana scones (bought from the bakery) with chestnut jam and clotted cream. Served with black coffee.

The chestnut jam was lovely. A harbinger of our coming autumn. A perfect pick-me-up when served while watching a double session of Real Housewives of Melbourne.

Afternoon tea – cucumber sandwiches.

A wonderful way to share my first ever home-grown cucumber, thanks to cucumber plants kindly given to me by ROD from ROD’s Island Life.

These sandwiches are classically English. Fresh white bread, pure unsalted butter and thinly sliced cucumber. A tiny splash of salt.

Baby-Gusto pointed out that he hates sandwiches and so he had his just sliced with some cherry tomatos. I also added some crisps on the side as a it of a treat for him. This seems to be a peculiarly UK thing….sandwiches with crisps on the side. Very normal here but I had never come across it before. Even now after 12 years in the UK I cannot quite tolerate sandwiches and crisps eaten together.

This was a lovely and relaxed afternoon tea on a sunny Sunday. H-G had Lapsang Souchong tea and I had chamomile. We all just sat in quiet, largely silent, companionship for nearly an hour. H-G perused a gardening magazine; B-G examined the innards of a new board game and I started reading Middlemarch.

Utter bliss.