cooking with jamie: new dinner favourites



What to have for dinner is a conversation repeated all over the country every evening.

There’s a lot of “what do feel like?”, “what do you want?”, “what do we have?”.

Now the only surefire way around this is a trusty meal plan [although it does usually mean we just move that conversation to Sunday afternoon and get it all over and done with for one session!].

Or, I bite the bullet, and take responsibility for the week’s ideas ~ which means a paper and pen and a bunch of cookbooks or magazines and I pick out what looks good.

Last week my epicurean literary companions were Jamie Oliver’s 15-minute and 30-minute meal cookbooks. Now naturally these titles are somewhat of a misnomer ~ it’s more like 45 to 60 minutes and a good half-hour meals. The Mr blames the structure which reads along the recipe, rather than steps it out.

I’ve been a fan of Oliver since his Naked Chef days and there are quite of few of his books on our shelves. The Mr swears by his pasta-making techniques and I cook his Yorkshire puddings recipe without fail every time.

And despite the misleading titles, once you have conquered a JO quick cook, it gets easier second time around. So they are always worth keeping in rotation.

So today, I’m sharing a few of my favourites and ones they featured on the menu at Casa Lime Lane this past week. All were hits ~ plates and leftovers cleaned up.

  • This gorgeous Greek chicken is certainly one of the easier ones ~ and makes for a great lunch, warm [for me at work] or cold [in the smalls' lunchboxes].
  • These satay chicken skewers and noodles are a firm favourite. I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve had it and I often cook the noodles to serve with other dishes. [We skip dessert. But you see our version in this post]
  • Again, these lamb meatballs were surprisingly simple to make but had a great flavour and made for great lunch leftovers. And most of the ingredients are probably in the pantry.
  • And more leftover goodness ~ warm and cold ~ from the cauliflower macaroni cheese, a version of which is here. This was a lovely, homey Friday night meal. Served with tossed salad, it had a lovely but not too rich taste.
  • We also had the black bean burgers last week, although I couldn’t find a recipe online, which included black bean sauce in the burger mixture, tossed with honey [or rice malt syrup] and sesame seeds at the end of cooking. Delicious,

Are you a Jamie Oliver fan? Got a favourite recipe.

you say you want a revolution



Today is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day. I’ve obviously been living under a rock because I didn’t find out about this event until earlier this week.

Food Revolution Day on 17 May is a global day of action for people to make a stand for good food and essential cooking skills. It’s a chance for people to come together within their homes, schools, workplaces and communities to cook and share their kitchen skills, food knowledge and resources.

But timing is a funny thing.

Last week, with no forethought or planning, we had a Jamie Oliver food revolution of own.

On holidays and home for the nightly family dinner, I inadvertently cooked a Jamie Oliver recipe from Monday to Thursday [Friday doesn't count as it was the smallest's birthday party].

We’ve always been the cooking types. I love a new recipe challenge and enjoy cooking for others while the husband likes to fly by the seat of his pants and make it up as he goes along, with tasty results. And even the kids get involved ~ they make a mean steamed dumpling thanks the tutelage of Donna Hay. And we’ve been making our own bread for a few weeks now.

What I don’t enjoy is the monotony of the everyday dinner? So much so I went on strike the other week because I could not think of a single thing to cook to please the masses.

And that’s why I really enjoyed my own revolution last week with Jamie. I broke all the rules and went shopping every day but hey, I was on holidays, I had time and it worked.

Our menu for the week kicked off with satay chicken skewers and fiery noodle salad [pictured]  from the 30-minute book, followed by meatballs and basic tomato sauce from The Naked Chef, Wednesday was Happy Cow burgers [my boys love these, and not just because of the name] and Thursday we tried the lamb kofte, pitta and greek salad [pictured].

The meatballs and burgers we had had before but the other two were new. All were greeted with enthusiasm and chowed down. The community eating aspect of Jamie Oliver’s 15-minute and 30-minute meals really appeals to the smalls and certainly makes things smoother when introducing something new.

But all good things must come to an end and now it is back to work. And the inevitable “what’s for dinner?” returns this week. It’s time to get organised.

So I have a plan. A meal plan to be precise.

This week I wrote a long list of favourite family meals, that at least 75 per cent of the family like [there's four of us] and the other 25 per cent will tolerate. It’s the master meal list.

I’m putting it into Google Drive so I can access it anywhere for inspiration or to add to it. I will also have a meals to try section so we can find some new favourites.

Then it’s just a matter of looking at the list, deciding on meals for the week and writing a shopping list. And if I’m really organised I can do this all from the comfort of my home and get the groceries delivered at the start of the week.

Sounds like a plan, right!

So naturally I turned to my trusty computer and made up a sheet to plan out the week, and the groceries. If it works well I will probably laminate it and use it like a whiteboard, save printing it out all the time.

And naturally I have shared it with you. You can download it here.

Ready for a revolution.

And here I thought they wouldn’t like it …



 Image via

I try a lot of different meals on my children.

The scourge of having shelves filled with cookbooks and food magazines means I rarely cook the same dish twice.

Except when feeding children.

Any parent knows, when you are on to a good thing, stick with it.

And that’s how dahl became a regular feature of our weekly menus.

I had tried dahl once, years ago, which turned out nothing like I had hungrily imagined.

But I stumbled across this recipe and it seemed worth another try.

This recipe is tasty, simple, quick and healthy. Not to mention adaptable.

And the kids love it*.

I’ve tried this recipe two ways ~ the as-is version on the stove or planning ahead by having it in the slow cooker, ready for later. It only take about two to three hours in the slow cooker on high.

I throw in whatever vegetables I have, and pass the smalls’ taste test ~ frozen broccoli and cauliflower are my picks. And it’s a great way of using up all those half-empty jars of curry paste languishing in the fridge!

Make it extra special by serving it with Cat’s naan bread. Remember to start your bread a couple of hours before dinner.

Cook: Lentil and Cauliflower dahl

* Disclaimer: One kid loves it and looks forward to it. The other says “But I hate dahl” then proceeds to have two helpings.

lunch break // bruschetta


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lunch // bruschetta

I’ll be the first to admit lunch would be my most oft-skipped meal of the day. Usually because I have a late breakfast after the kids have gone to school and it would classify as more of a substantial brunch. And I’m a savoury rather than a sweet tooth so it suits me better.

So when Baker’s Delight asked me to contribute something for their recipe bank for lunch, I had to put my thinking cap on.

I love a good pizza ~ margherita please, tomato base with lashings of bocconcini and extra cheese ~ and a good toasted sandwich {my present fave is avocado, baby spinach, goats’ cheese and cheddar cheese!}

But I kept coming back to an absolute staple of mine ~ for any time of day.


lunch // bruschetta

I’m a huge bruschetta fan, starting with the classic tomato and basil. But I thought I’d better take it up a gear for this exercise.

lunch // bruschetta

So say hello to the super salmon bruschetta. Why “super”? Because with this combo, you can partake of up to four super foods in one tasty swoop!

The key to bruschetta is fresh, tasty ingredients. And naturally your bread is the foundation of what it is built.

In this case I used sourdough bread, because I’m on a bit of a sourdough kick at the moment, and hey, super food. But ciabatta, pane de casa or any artisan bread will do just as well. Take your pick. Or make mini ones with a french stick!

lunch // bruschetta ~ classic tomato + basil ingredients list

lunch // bruschetta ~ super salmon ingredients list

Recipe type: lunch, dinner
  • Oil ~ for brushing
  • Your choice of bread, sliced thickly
  • Garlic cloves
  • Classic:
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Red onion
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • Grab what you need to cater for numbers and taste. But don't go too heavy on the onion. For an individual serve, you only want a thin slice.
  • Super salmon + avocado:
  • Avocado ~ mashed for spreading
  • Salmon ~ smoked, fresh, canned {I like the skinless and boneless cans}
  • Baby spinach or rocket
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  1. Quarter your tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and pulp {which I give to my chickens} leaving the flesh.
  2. Dice the tomato flesh and onion, tear up the basil and combine in a bowl. Season to taste. Splash in a bit of extra virgin olive oil if you are so inclined.
  3. Brush your slices of bread with oil and cook on a chargrill. You can also just toast your bread (no oil!) or grill or oven bake.
  4. Smash your garlic with the blade of your knife and rub over the warm bread. That delicious garlic smell should rise up to meet you.
  5. Top with your tomato combo, and serve!
  6. Or top with the avocado, spinach or rocket and salmon, season to taste, add a little lemon or some extra herbs if you like. I added some capers for a salty hit, and serve!


fritters fit for any meal



I posted these corn fritters on Instagram the other week ~ I think they filled the “I made this” prompt for the photo a day challenge.

They are such a simple and quick recipe and perfect for any meal of the day ~ I like them for brunch ~ and as long as you have a can of corn in the pantry, you whip them up in anytime.

Cam asked me for the recipe so have included that below. It’s based on a Michelle Bridges recipe I ripped from the pages of the Sunday Life magazine. Sometimes those clippings come in handy.


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corn fritters
Recipe type: Brunch
  • 1 410g can of corn
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup of milkl
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • cooking spray
  • herbs
  1. Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Add corn, flour, milk and onion.
  2. Mix until combined. Season to taste.
  3. Spray a non-stick frying pan and place over a medium-high heat.
  4. Using a small measuring cup, drop heaped measures of your mixture in the frying pan in batches.
  5. Cook for three to four minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. Don't make them too thick or they won't cook through.
  6. Serve garnished with some herbs and whatever else takes your fancy.


my mum’s chocolate cake



This is my fail-safe chocolate cake – a recipe that exists in an exercise book and filled with hand-written recipes, mostly from my mum.

This was the chocolate cake she made, and still makes, when I was growing up but as I got older I increasingly put more milk into make it moister and now put a whole cup of milk.

When you are a bit heavy-handed with the cocoa anyhow, it makes little difference to the outcome.

It was also one of the first recipes I mastered as a grown-up.

I top it with Vienna Cream, straight out of the Women’s Weekly kids cake book, again cause it works everytime.

And it makes a great afternoon tea treat for these autumn holidays (particularly as the Easter chocolate runs out).

You can also download the recipe here. It is a pdf. Either right-click on the link and Save the target/link or open and click the disc to save to your computer.

my mum's chocolate cake
Recipe type: Baking
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • few drops of vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • ½ cup of milk*
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa*
  • 1 small teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
  • ½ cup of boiling water
  1. Add milk and flour alternately until mixed in. Add cocoa and finally soda dissolved in the boiling water. Mix in well. Bake in a moderate oven (180° Celsius) for 30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
I usually use 1 cup of milk and get a bit heavy-handed with the cocoa. Vienna Cream (from the Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book): 125g butter | 1½ cups icing sugar | 2 tablespoons milk Have butter and milk at room temperature, place butter in small bowl of electric mixer and beat until butter is as white as possible. Gradually add about half the sifted icing sugar mixture, beating constantly, add milk gradually. Then gradually beat in the remaining icing sugar. Mixture should be smooth and easy to spread with a spatula.