Tag Archives: quick

Recipe – Cheese scones without butter

This is not a very accurate recipe, apologies in advance, but it is very easy and very forgiving! The only thing to remember is to be quick. This dough does not like to be over worked so rein in the perfectionist!

For non-Australian and UK residents, scones look like this:

Attribution: https://www.kidspot.com.au/kitchen/recipes/easy-pumpkin-scones-1048  The post includes a recipe for pumpkin scones.

Ingredients for Cheese Scones:

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder [yes, a whole teaspoon]
  • pinch of salt [parmesan is salty so don’t over do the salt]
  • about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of parmesan – I used flaked but grated will do as well
  • and cream…


  1. pre-heat the oven to fan bake 160 C [conventional oven 180 C or 350 F]
  2. place a piece of grease proof paper onto a flat baking tray
  3. mix all the dry-ish ingredients in a large bowl, including the parmesan
  4. make a shallow well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add a dash of cream
  5. using a knife, or a fork, NOT hands, start working the cream into the dry ingredients
  6. keep adding a bit of cream until the scone mixture starts to hold together, only then go in with your hands [you want the scone dough to stay cool]
  7. quickly mix the dough into a ball – do not over work!
  8. place on a lightly floured board and kneed just until the dough starts to feel a bit elastic
  9. spread out with your hands [or a rolling pin if you have one] – 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch
  10. cut out scones and place on baking tray
  11. gently kneed leftovers into another ball, flatten and cut out
  12. place the scone tray in the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes

Cooking time will vary according to your oven and how thick you made the scones. They’re ready when they have a nice pale brown blush on top [very much like the photo of the pumpkin scones above].

To serve, spread with good butter and eat. Enough for two medium sized people as an afternoon snack or to have with a bowl of soup as a simple evening meal.

Good appetite. 🙂


My new obsession – #jigsaw puzzles

I play games because I hate being bored, but sometimes the opportunity to be bored only lasts for a few minutes – that’s where these super-small, online jigsaw puzzles come in:

jigsaw fox up the tree

The one you can see in the screenshot above is called ‘Fox up in the tree’, and you can find it at the following link:


The #FREE jigsaw puzzles available on Jigsawplanet.com range from 300 pieces to just 4 [perfect for little kids]. The Fox puzzle shown in the screenshot is made up of only 12 pieces and took me just 36 seconds to complete…and I’m about 3 times slower than the people with the best times!

Another nice thing about Jigsawplanet is that you don’t have to register to do the puzzles. The only time you have to go to any effort at all – and that’s not much – is if you want to create your own puzzles. Yes, your own! My effort is not going to win any prizes but it was fun :

jigsaw alpacas

Basically, you:

  • sign up to jigsawplanet.com
  • click on ‘Create’
  • select a good quality photo from your computer
  • upload it to jigsawplanet.com
  • select the type of cuts you want – i.e. shapes – and how many and…that’s it. 😀

The very nicest thing about jigsawplanet.com, however, is that all the puzzles are created by ordinary people so the variety is never-ending.

If you have a few minutes to spare, try it out.



Lentil stew – a quick, home-alone recipe

The Daughter is away this weekend, so last night I indulged myself by cooking a lentil stew she hates! If there are other lentil haters out there, turn away now. 😀


1 plain Kransky sausage [or Chorizo or salami or even just a couple of rashers of bacon]

1 medium onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 or 2 sad, leftover fresh tomatoes [optional]

1 x tin lentils

a pinch of cayenne [hot and optional]

1 tablespoon of oil [I use peanut or olive]


Slice the smoked whatever and gently saute in the oil.

While the meat is sautee-ing, finely chop the onion and add to the meat.

Allow the onions to cook for 5 minutes before adding the finely chopped garlic.

Allow the meat mixture to cook for another 5 minutes before stirring in the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes [if using] and the cayenne. Do NOT add salt as the cured meats are salty enough already.

Empty the tin of lentils into a colander and rinse under cold water before adding to the meat mix. Stir, add about 1/4 cup of water and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. If the stew gets too dry, or looks as if it might burn, add a little more water, but remember – this is a stew not a soup!

The longer you leave the stew simmering the better the flavour becomes, but if you’re very hungry you can serve up as soon as the fresh tomatoes have softened. Last night, total cooking time was about 1/2 an hour.

You can make steamed rice to go with the stew, or even mashed potatoes, but I just ate my quick stew with fresh, crusty white bread. It was delicious, and I had the added satisfaction of knowing I had well and truly had my fibre for the day. Better still, it was faster than getting takeaway, and cost next to nothing as I keep most of the ingredients on hand at all times. If you had to buy in the ingredients this stew might cost $6 – 7, tops.

Lentil stew will never be mistaken for haute cuisine, but if you don’t mind lentils, it will provide a hearty, delicious meal in a hurry.



Two pot dinner ready to eat in 45 minutes!

I watched an episode of Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals just recently and I was not impressed. The food looked sensational and I’m sure it tasted wonderful too but 30 minutes? Right. For a master chef with everything prepared and ready to go, yes 30 minutes is doable but for you and me? I think not.  And dare I say it? I’d hate to have to face all the cleaning up as well.

So for this first, quick meal recipe I’m going to give you a two pot meal with minimum preparation, fuss or mess. I know because I just cooked it for dinner.

Now, being a writer and an imaginative kind of person I pictured myself rushing home from work. Are you with me so far? Good. I think we both know that preparing dinner is not what I’m thinking about. I’m tired, my feet hurt, I want a cup of something, or perhaps a glass of something but I know that duty calls. I open the front door, dump my stuff and on the way to the bedroom I spend 2 seconds turning the oven onto about 180 celsius fan-forced [365 F]. Then I get changed, have a drink, talk to the dog and wind down for a bit.

Once I’m ready to cook the oven should be ready as well. I put about 2 tablespoons of peanut or olive oil in a roasting pan and then I add 6 – 8 free-range chicken thick fillets to the pan. Skin on or off doesn’t matter but I really wouldn’t use breast meat as it dries out very quickly. Next I sprinkle the chicken with some ordinary table salt and a little white pepper. To complete my preparations I slice one small onion and a nice red capsicum [bell pepper] and toss them on top of the chicken. The pan goes into the oven and I’m 1/3 of the way done.

Potatoes are next. I like those little potatoes [called chats here] but you can use whatever you’ve got just cut them into quarters or smaller so they cook quickly. The potatoes go into a pot with just enough water to cover. In goes a bit of salt and on goes the lid.

While the potatoes are cooking I wash some lettuce or water cress [I love the flavour of water cress plus it’s full of vitamins and anti-oxidants] and tomatoes [or whatever you have in the fridge and like to eat raw]. While the vegetables drain I make the salad dressing. I pour about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the salad bowl – it helps if the bowl is still empty 😉 –  add about the same quantity of vinegar or lemon juice, a pinch of salt and stir. Voila salad dressing is done. Everything except the lettuce can go in the salad dressing right now. Leave the lettuce until you’re ready to serve.

By now the potatoes should be just cooked. Drain. If you used large potatoes cut into smaller pieces the skin may have come off. Discard the bits of loose skin and throw the potatoes in with the chicken. These potatoes won’t go crunchy. Instead they will soak up the pan juices and be delicious!

At this point I [and you] can relax for a bit with that glass of something I promised. In between watching the news on tv and having that drink I’m going to toss the potatoes in the baking dish to make sure they are well covered in the pan juices.

45 minutes after starting to cook dinner is done. AND… I have just one pot and one pan to clean. Not bad if I do say so myself.

Once a week we get takeaway home delivered. It’s my break from cooking and it keeps me sane but the takeaway costs more than the meal I’ve just cooked, isn’t as fresh and healthy and takes about the same length of time to arrive, sometimes longer if they’re busy. I rest my case.



p.s. I’m trying out the scheduling feature!

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