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Maggie Beer

Summer Salad Essential

December 13 2016

Cucumbers are perfectly timed for their regular appearances across Summer, making a great addition to a simple salad, used as an essential part of crudites, or grated into a thick set yoghurt for a more traditionally Greek take on things, but it’s quite a rare occasion when a recipe really makes cucumbers the star of the dish and I’ve often wondered if that’s because the cucumbers that eventually make their way onto our plates via transport and storage aren’t a pinch on what comes out of a home garden. The difference with a homegrown cucumber, besides the unparalleled freshness, is the water content is at its maximum when just picked and that makes for the very best crunch, and flavour - well worth any gardener’s effort to have on hand in the heat of Summer. -MB Read the rest...

Deliciously Ripe

December 10 2016

When it comes to any fruit, my catch-cry is always to trust my nose and wait for the fruit to be perfumed, then flavour will follow. I can’t remember how long I have been on my soapbox about this but I do know it was a batch of ‘beautiful looking’ apricots that got me on that box in the first place. I remember being seduced by the first apricots of the season, large and deep orange, only to discover when my jam making was done, that apricots picked under ripe will still develop colour but only a smidgeon of flavour, and I had no choice but to throw my efforts away. It was then and there I made a mental note to myself never to base my choice of soft fruit on appearance alone, it absolutely must smell deliciously ripe! -MB Read the rest...

Maggie's Christmas Menu

December 08 2016

I always love making things from scratch, especially for Christmas, and so when I’m setting out to make my own mayonnaise, I’m already planning what I’ll do with the leftover egg whites. Pavlova! Pavlova was the first dessert I ever made whilst still in my teens, and today I still love it, although my tastes have become more ‘grown up’ as I often mix some creme fraiche into the whipped cream to add a little tang. My pavlova will be part of our Christmas Day lunch, but to start I’m thinking of Avocado & Verjuice Jellies, such a fresh flavoured beginning, and easy because they can be made ahead of time. To make good use of my homemade mayonnaise; Kingfish Sashimi, another great make ahead option. Then we’ll have our traditional Goose with Apple, Onion and Sage Stuffing, and perhaps a Glazed Ham too depending on how many of us will be at the table. I love having a decadent choice of side dishes, so I’ll do my Christmas Salad of mango, avocado, rocket and papaya, a big bowl of freshly steamed green beans with lashings of butter, and roasted potatoes are a must, with lots of herbs and plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Along with the pavlova will be Christmas Pudding and Brandy Butter, but we all know even as I put it out, that dessert will be pushed back well into the evening, if at all, and the pudding will most likely become a treat for Boxing Day with a pot of tea. -MB Read the rest...

Summer Is Upon Us!

December 01 2016

Fresh cherries are in season for such a short time that I relish eating them with no adornment. The sweet, dark, very juicy varieties are my favourites for eating in this way, and they seem to get better and better each year. If you live in a cool climate I couldn’t encourage you more to find space for a cherry tree in your garden. I mention the requirement for a cooler climate because the sweeter varieties of cherry trees are notoriously picky about their environment. My love of sour cherries solved that problem, which is why, if like me you don’t live in a cool climate, I’d suggest buying a morello tree because they are far more forgiving to grow and begin fruiting almost immediately. Might I add while I'm on the topic of cherries, if you're looking for a new dessert to add to the menu on Christmas Day, this Sparkling Ruby Cabernet Jelly with Cherries is always a hit with my family! -MB Read the rest...

Brain Food

November 24 2016

As we age our ability to absorb and utilise nutrients can change. Because of this, along with many others, I have been particularly interested in how we go about accessing the most nutritionally dense foods for those in aged care. As their name would suggest, superfoods carry higher concentrations of available nutrients and as the body ages and our ability to uptake nutrients is affected, the idea of nutrient dense foods becomes even more important. There are many foods that fall under this banner, but one that I’ve been particularly interested in is the blueberry. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which help guard our bodies from damage by free radicals that contribute to ageing and diseases such as cancer, heart disease and other neurological diseases. They're also a great course of Vitamin C and fibre. -MB Read the rest...

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