Category Archives: Food

Make,Do, Mend: Frothy coffee at home

coffee makingYou might have caught on that I like a good cheat recipe or a tip! It makes me feel like I’m beating the system :) Maximum results with minimum effort.

Warning: If you’re a coffee enthusiast you might want to stop reading now.

We don’t own a fancy espresso machine with milk frothers and all.. and to be honest it would probably get used twice a year so there’s no need for us to own one anyway. But every now and then I get a hankering for a good milky frothy coffee, and usually at a point when it would take serious effort to go out and get one from a coffee shop.

So I discovered a way of making super silky smooth foamy drinks at home – with the help of a cafetiere/french press.

All I do is make my coffee a bit stronger than usual – either just in our Chemex or, if we have espresso, in our stove top pan.

cafetiere milk

Then I heat up milk in the microwave (remember it doubles in size when frothing so you only need about 1/3 mug) until nice and hot (not burned though!)

After this I pour the milk in the Cafetiere and pump it few times (try not to do it too briskly otherwise the milk will squirt out of the pouring bit) until I have the right amount of foam. Dead easy.

froffy coffee

Good way to have a nice frothy coffee at home without any expensive machinery!




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Make, Do, Mend: Healthy (fake) ice cream

This is another one in the cuckoo health kick series that I’m still plodding along with (with varying success).

blended banana

After the success of the two ingredient pancakes I decided to give this one ingredient “ice cream” a go. It’s not officially ice cream, it’s frozen-banana-blended-like-crazy-until-it-looks-like-Mr-Whippy. If the real stuff isn’t available or too calorific this is a good alternative!

All you have to do is slice a banana or two and put in the freezer (we had three bananas between two people and the portions were pretty huge – I reckon one banana per person is best). Once frozen, pop the slices in a blender (and add a touch of milk or water just to help the blender along a bit). Now the world is your oyster – you can add coco powder (I added 1 tbsp), peanut butter (I did this but reckon it’s better without), chocolate spread or just have it as it is.


(Excuse my half melted final product, I took my sweet time taking a photo of it).

It’s yummy and dairy free (that is if you don’t add the splash of milk).

- Hanna 

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Make, Do, Mend: Alternative pesto pasta

Nettle pesto

I’ve got spring on the brain. I’m so ready for the sun to start warming these cold bones, however, the weather hasn’t quite co-operated with me yet – C O M E  O N  S P R I N G!

So while we’re waiting I thought I’d share an alternative for the easy weeknight favourite that is pesto pasta. It’s not possible to make this yet in the northern hemisphere, but it’s worth a wait. You see, this pesto is not made with basil, but with nettles. Yes, those stingy little devils that everyone hates.

Nettle pesto 2

But try them in a pesto and you might just change your mind about them! Added bonus is that nettles are packed with all sorts of goodness and taste brilliant in a pesto.

I got the recipe from this website.


So when the sun starts to warm us up and you see those little buggers raising their stingy heads – pick them up (the younger the better apparently), boil and smash into a tasty dinner! (oh, maybe just avoid the ones near sidewalks… other wise you might have dog wee as an added flavour…)

Just remember your gloves, oh and don’t go picking wearing flip flops (proving once again that  i’m never practical with footwear).

- Hanna 

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Make,Do, Mend: In Praise of Craft Chocolate – Mast Brothers


The week before Christmas, I was awoken by the Hub, proclaiming an elongated and loud ‘Yesssssssssssss’ as he ripped open a packet that had just been delivered.  Curious about what could illicit such delight from the man who is rather sedate any time before 2pm, I came out to find sitting him with some  beautifully handprinted, handwrapped chocolate bars from craft chocolate makers:  The Mast Brothers.


Not only does this bean to bar chocolate look beautiful, but is delicious in a dark, strong way  (not, however,  for the milk chocolate lover, our 5 year old nephew declared it was ‘poison)’.  It is so rich that a tiny square will do, so our collection is lasting us a long time and thus far the winner in our house is the sea salt and Almond bar, salty, sweet, crunchy, rich bitter, bright all in a taste.

However, I am as taken by the story of these two Brooklyn based chocolate makers and their great love for their craft, as much as I am taken with the flavour of the chocolate. Watching this video, leaves me inspired by the wonder, enthusiasm, joy & fascination of these bearded brothers for what they have given themselves to – it seems so full of delight it almost looks like playing.  I reckon I can taste that in every bite!

If you are lucky enough in be in Brooklyn, you can pop along to their factory shop, but for those of us separated by the sea, you can find some over here:


“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”  Emerson



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Make Do Mend: Herbert Hedgehog Cake

It’s been a week of Autumnal Make, Do, Mends this week at Tracks, Pumpkin Beer Keg (AMAZING), homemade granola (DELISH!) and here is another fun one!

My housemate Joseph turned 24 yesterday!

Happy Birthday Joseph!!! 

We celebrated with some tasty Indian … set menu for 4, more like set menu for 40, whiskey, cigars and James Bond. I decided after looking at a vintage party cookbook that I wanted to make him a hedgehog cake. This happened to be a very good idea because it seems I may have lost his birthday present so this could replace it. Maybe it’ll show up in time for next year?

So I managed for £7.40 (It was the day before payday… I had £8!) to create him this little treat and in 1 hour. I bought an own brand sponge mix 42p, Betty Crocker chocolate buttercream icing, chocolate buttons, white chocolate buttons and choc chips. It definitely was a ‘cheat’ but some days you don’t have enough time to make it all yourself. In imaginary land where I grow my own veggies, have chickens and always look pretty, I made this all from scratch but in real life it took me an hour.

I baked the sponge in a round cake tin. Cutting the sides and front like below. You could do choc sponge but I wagered it would be rich enough as it was so went with white.

Put icing on the top of the main body of the cake like glue to hold the sides on top to create the rounded shape of the hedgehog bod. Then, while snacking on the front bits, added butt loads of icing. You need enough to hold it in place and also enough so that chocolate buttons will stay when making the spikes. 

Using icing as glue again I added a choc chip to a white button for eyes. It looked like boobies. I chuckled and naturally instagrammed that.

Then it’s the fun bit, making Herbert look like himself. Sticking in buttons as spikes all around and adding the boobie eyes!

Herbert wishes you a happy birthday Joseph! 

- Celeste 

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Make, Do, Mend: Granola

As you may have realised I love my breakfasts and it doesn’t get much better than this granola. This has been a staple at ours for several years now. It’s so tasty with yogurt or just with milk.

The recipe can be found from Design Sponge (written by the uber cool Lauren and Derek).

I like to substitute the honey with maple syrup and usually leave the dried fruit out.

Go on make it – it’s breakfast royalty!

- Hanna

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Make, Do, Mend: How to make a Pumpkin Beer Keg

ImageI am just home from a fabulous weekend, visiting friends who are living in a beautiful space in Normandy.  We spent the weekend, talking, listening, singing, drinking wine, making fires, eating cheese, but saturday afternoon found us turning 21lb of pumpkin fresh from the ground into a beer keg, in preparation for a party in one of the barns on saturday night.

My friend Jon had found this tutorial, which is an easy step by step guide to making one.  We had autumn fun aplenty making this beauty and the party was helped along by a keg full of pumpkin flavoured beer.


The boys had been here awhile!


The apple barn party…

Hope you are enjoying some delicious autumnal fun


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Make Do Mend: Rizogalo

I had a particularly embarrassing moment just the other day. I went to the petrol station and as I handed my card over to the ‘dad’ aged man I said,

‘It may not go through so I have cash in case. That time of the month, you see!’

At that moment I heard myself say that out loud and realised from the horror on his face that it sounded like ‘that‘ time of the month. A verbal panic ensued and I talked as fast as possible, my face as red as possible and making absolutely no sense. All the while the man kept saying ‘That’s rather personal and I’m not sure what that has to do with anything.’ So, thinking about THAT time of the month,and by THAT time I of course mean the end of the month, when all you’re living off is tuna and porridge and you have your toilet paper rationed until pay-day. Here is a cheap, easy and yummy treat.

In Australia we have, or had … I haven’t been back in a while, chicken shops. I happened to have my first job in a chicken shop, Jannali Chicken Spot to be precise. I got fired. Sad times. I got lots of doughnuts though and made some deep-fried mars bars so it wasn’t an entire loss. Probably good I got fired otherwise I would be the size of a house, a happy house but a house none the less.

In these chicken shops they almost always used to sell Rizogalo. Greek rice pudding. It has always been my absolute favourite and I could eat it til the cows come home! (And they take so long!)

My mum made her own version and usually it is around 11.30pm when I decide it is necessary that I make some. Just a few nights ago I made a massive amount and it’s already gone.. Don’t judge me.

You boil it on the stove, add as much cinnamon you like and stick it in the fridge in pretty cups.

Here is the little recipe in case you fancy yourself some lovely greek rice pudding.


1 litre milk

1 litre water

1 cup white rice, med grain  (I just use whatever I can get my hands on… within reason.. still rice)

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla extract (if you don’t have it and have no money, just do it without.. it’s particularly tasty with though! )

2 egg yolks + 2 TBspoons corn flour



1. Get yourself a hefty pan cause there is a lot going on.

2. Boil milk + water.

3. Add rice & sugar and stir on low.

4. Beat egg yolks (separating egg yolks makes me feel like a kitchen ninja) + add to corn flour + 1 TBspoon milk, add to rice, milk, water & sugar.

5. Add as much cinnamon as you like (I suggest all of the cinnamon in the land) + keep stirring on low, you can even watch some tele (I suggest Friday Night Lights) , you are just waiting for it to get good and gloopy

6. Have yourself some lovely hot rice pudding and pour the rest into tea cups or bowls, sprinkle cinnamon on top and then put it in the fridge.

7. Have it for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dessert… basically just smash it right in your face. It is yum!

- Celeste xx


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Make Do Mend: Candied Yams

Candied yams are one of my favourite parts of Thanksgiving and Christmas! Some people put sugar and marshmallows (!?) in/on their candied yams but I am particularly fond of apricot jam on my sweet potatoes! (sounds a bit personal to be talking about my sweet potatoes?)

Slice your sweet potatoes to whatever thickness you like… the thinner it is the chewier they go as the jam caramelises.

I try and only do one and a half layers in a baking tray otherwise the bottom ones don’t caramalise in the same way… But if you prefer them soft and not chewy you can stack them up and do as many as you can fit in!

Place them in the baking tray and toss them in apricot jam. If you are not a fan of apricots do not fear, I HATE apricot jam but LOVE this. Give it a go and see if you like it anyway?

Leave it in the oven between 45 minutes or an hour.. just keep checking depending on your oven. They can go in whatever temperature you have your meat on.

You then will get some beautiful crisp, chewy, sweet and tasty candied yams! Hot dang! There’s something to be thankful for right there!!

Give it a try to see if you like it… alternatively you can put on maple syrup or brown sugar. They are both nice but not as nice as apricot jam!

Now that you know how to do pumpkin pie, hot cider and candied yams you can do your own thanksgiving? Or jump on the American’s Thanksgiving in November… Go on! Be thankful!

Happy Friday!

- Celeste xx


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Make, Do, Mend: Pumpkin pie

I was a stranger to the wonderful pumpkin pie until 3 years ago when I agreed to make one for Celeste’s famous Thanksgiving feast. Little did I know what I agreed to. It’ s a bit of a mission (as there is no canned pumpkin readily available in this country) but totally worth it. This recipe is a combination of many and developed over the last few years.

Here we go, embrace yourselves…

Start by making your pumpkin puree. Best to start this the night before you think of baking as it needs to be left to drip over night.

Pumpkin Preparation 
1. Wash the exterior of the pumpkin with cool water to remove any dirt from the outer surface.
2. Remove the stem from the pumpkin and cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise.
3. Scrape out the seeds and stringy fibers from the center of the pumpkin using a metal spoon. Discard the stringy fibers and if preferred, the seeds can be saved to make roasted pumpkin seeds. (YUM!)
4. Leave the pumpkin in halves .
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
6. Coat the surface of the pumpkin halves with vegetable oil.
7. Place them cut side done in a roasting dish and add 1 cup of water.
5. Place the pumpkin in the preheated oven and bake for 60 to 90 minutes.
6. The pumpkin should be baked until the flesh is very tender. Poke with a fork to check for doneness.
7. When the pumpkin has cooked to proper tenderness, remove from the oven and  allow to cool until it can be handled comfortably.
8. Scrape the flesh out of the pumpkin halves and discard the skins. Place pumpkin flesh in a large bowl.
9. Mash the pumpkin by hand using a potato masher. Mash until all the pumpkin is a smooth consistency.
10. Drain moisture from the puree by placing it in a sieve lined with paper towels. Be sure the sieve is placed in a bowl to catch the liquid as it drains from the pureed pumpkin.
11. Cover the puree with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and allow puree to drain for at least 2 hours. Drain overnight if possible.
Now you’ve prepped your pumpkin you’re ready to get involved with the pastry. I normally make my pastry using this Patee Sucree recipe but you could as easily by it readymade.
Time for filling: (make sure you have blind baked the pastry to avoid a soggy bottom – Yes, I watch The Great British Bake Off :)
1 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. Golden syrup
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
whipped cream for serving
Preheat oven to 180°C.
1. Combine flour in with the brown sugar and stir until they are evenly distributed.
2. Add the brown sugar and flour mixture to the pumpkin puree and heavy cream. Beat until well blended.
3. Add the salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir into pumpkin mixture.
4. Add Golden Syrup and beat until well blended.
5. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla to the mixture.
Beat the eggs and vanilla into the mixture until thoroughly mixed.
6. Pour pumpkin filling into the unbaked pie shell.
Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
7. Check after 30 minutes to see if it looks like the crust is going to brown too much. If so, place a piece of foil over the pie. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking time so crust will finish browning.
10. To check for doneness, insert the tip of a table knife in about 1 inch from the center of the pie. The knife will come out clean if the pie is done.
FINALLY you got yourself a Pumpkin Pie. Now just slab even more cream on top and you’re ready to be even more thankful.


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