Why Wednesday?

Wednesday is my favorite day and that’s because when I was a kid my Nana would come over to our house on a Wednesday and cook us up a big feast for lunch. Me and my four sisters would all walk home from school during lunchtime to be greeted by home-made mince pies, butterly cakes and cream and jelly, hand cut hot chips and lots more. Nana was an incredible cook and we were in heaven come Wednesday lunchtimes... read more

    New Eating Adventures

    A blog I follow (Gluten Free Girl) once went AWOL for three months and on her return she confessed she’d fallen in love and had been too preoccupied with romance to write her blog. Another one, Tobie Puttock, took a similar break due to his busy life running the fifteen restaurant  and charity organistation in Melbourne. I swore that if I committed to writing a blog I would never leave my readers hanging for love or busy-ness. Brave words! Here I am trying to work out where the time has gone between updates - one month I was enjoying Christmas 2009 with the family in Central Otago (oh those beautiful, tussocked hills) and the next thing you know it’s April 2010 and I’m in Japan oohing and aahing over the sushi and spring blossom in Kyoto! Here’s the thing – our cooking show World Kitchen got the go ahead for series three so, wait for it, I’ve been to Mexico, Jamaica and now Japan eating some of the most fantastic food and getting so inspired by all the new flavours and dishes I’ve been trying. Favourite food experiences thus far? Being shown how to make my own tortilla in Mexico, eating jerk chicken straight off the fire in Jamaica, slurping ramen noodles in Kyoto. Travelling on your tastebuds really is a culinary adventure. Whether it’s to visit a far off country or just your local ethnic restaurant or even through the pages of a recipe book, trying food outside your usual is a great way to feel refreshed. So go on, try something new this week!

    Cook, eat, enjoy!

    Nici  

    PS The sensational photo was taken by the talented Martha Jeffries aka best director in the world!  

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    added: 30-Apr-2010

    Weekend Wisdoms?

    How comes time speeds up towards Christmas? My weeks are slipping away at an alarming rate  - have you noticed that my  Wednesday Wisdoms are becoming weekend ones instead? So many Xmas dinners to cook, so little time - such is the life of a part-time caterer at this time of year.  But with most of my "jobs" done and dusted I'm keeping a close eye on our own family dinner options for the big day and it's looking good so far. We've decided the camp oven is not going to be big enough to accommodate a turkey so it's a chicken for us this year and how fitting that seems, having had a year of travelling the world in search of the best chicken recipes I can find and documenting these in my first ever TV show and cook book - WORLD KITCHEN .
    Puddings are still being mooted. We could make it easy on ourselves and assemble a fresh berry trifle given our limited cooking facilities (we're camping!) but then why did I spend today researching boiled fruit puddings wrapped in calico and fruit cobblers cooked in camp ovens?? I love a challenge.

    More handy hints for coping with the big day:
    1. Treat the meal like a long lunch or dinner, not a race. Don't worry if you are preparing each course as it unfolds, no-one really cares.
    2. Allocate someone to make you cooling mocktails all day so you stay hydrated. Insist on fresh mint and lots of crushed ice in them!
    3. When people ask if they can help, ask them what they'd like to do. Better to get them doing something they want to do than something you don't!

    Cook, eat and enjoy!
    Nici
    PS I'm researching great stuffings too so if you have a recipe to share, email me!

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    added: 13-Dec-2009

    Forget the stress, get inspired!

    I'm amazed at the number of people who I've heard already beginning to stress about cooking dinner for Xmas. It's meant to be fun remember! I look forward to it like you wouldn't believe. Not that I ever get very organised until right before the big day. Preparation is overrated, it's inspiration that counts so I'm spending the lead-up just the same way as I usually do - reading magazines and cookbooks, watching cooking shows (Rick Stein and Jamie)  hoping that creativity will emerge somehow. And it usually does, just in the nick of time.  I do have a few rules though to make it all flow: 

    1. Make sure there's plenty of food of course - overeating is mandatory.
    2. If there's one or two courses that can be pre-cooked, or better still, that don't involve cooking at all, then make sure they're on the menu.
    3. Get the whole gang to help with the preparation if only to stop them asking if they can help! Last year I got someone (who shall remain nameless) who is slow and clumsy to peel the vegetables - took her forever but kept her out of my way! 

    Watch out over the next few weeks as I post some of what's going to be on our Xmas table this December.  As the inspiration hits,  I'll share it with you!

    Cook, eat and enjoy!
    Nici

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    added: 28-Nov-2009

    Outdoor Kitchens

    I’ve been reflecting on how flashed up our kitchens have got and how they don’t need to be to create fabulous food. On the weekend I was cooking at a local farmers market and my outdoor kitchen was made up of a table, a gas burner and a bucket of water. My backdrop was a paddock of grazing cows, the fence became a great rail for my teatowels and my background music was a babbling stream. With a few bowls, a couple of chopping boards and some utensils my outdoor kitchen was enough to produce a stunningly fragrant Balinese Chicken Curry and a genuine Spanish Potato and Rosemary Tortilla plus some salads to go with them. What a joy to be cooking al fresco. Paddock to plate alright!

    I’m now hugely inspired to set up my own back- to-basics, camping-style kitchen in my backyard and am on the hunt for some good designs and ideas – watch this space.

    Cook, eat and enjoy!
    Nici

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    added: 28-Oct-2009

    TV Show "World Kitchen" is Back

    Series two of World Kitchen starts this Sunday on TV3! This series is even better than the first one I reckon and features some of my all-time favourite locations – New Orleans, Amalfi  and Ubud.
    I also got to hang out with an old friend who now lives in LA and he was great at helping me find amazing food experiences for the LA episode.  Oh the fun we had filming  - Gus couldn't believe how much I could eat and coined the phrase "eating athlete" to describe my new profession.  And yes, that’s fine by me. Travelling the world eating, cooking and writing about food to inspire others to cook feels like the perfect job just now.

    Enjoy the show (TV3 @ 5.30pm Sundays) and I hope it encourages you towards the kitchen – trust me, all the recipes are easy as and delicious beyond belief. 

    Cook, eat  and enjoy
    Nici  

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    added: 14-Oct-2009

    Teenagers Rock!

    What a wonderful week we had last week! 12 teenagers – well some were very young “teenagers” – all cooking up a storm. Teenagers can sometimes get a bad rap -  bad attitude, lack of respect and laziness. I saw none of it. Ok, some of it, but really they are just young people exploring their world, getting overly excited at times, bored and under-excited at others. They came, they cooked, they conquered the mighty task of providing three fabulous courses for 51 hungry diners! Amazing. Thank you teenagers, you make me proud.

    Cook, eat and enjoy!
    Nici

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    added: 07-Oct-2009

    Too busy for the big picture?

    Has it ever happened to you that you get so busy that you lose sight of what’s really important? Well it happened to me this week big time! With the new series of World Kitchen about to hit our screens (yay!) and my first cookbook about to hit the bookstores (double yay!) I’m kinda busy as you can imagine. My schedule is so over-flowing that when people started asking if I was running the Cooking for Confidence program these school holidays it seemed like a no brainer – where was I going to find the time to do that??
    Except that in my heart I knew I had to make it happen because it’s one of the BIG ROCKS in my life. You know what I mean, the goals that you have that are so important that, even though they may seem impossible to others, you know that you need to keep going with them.
    Well for me that’s making sure that the world keeps cooking and doesn’t succumb to convenience food.
    So with some shuffling of dates and enlisting some help, the cooking school will happen these holidays and the big picture remains  - teach the world to cook, one teenager at a time!

    Cook, eat and enjoy!
    Nici

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    added: 23-Sep-2009

    Peaceful Cooking


    "A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety."
    J.M. Barries.

    Such wise words. Too many people I know see cooking as a stressful experience.
    As we start to get busy leading into the last quarter of 2009 and as the season gets busy my advice is to keep it simple when cooking - think nourishment, ease and simplicity.

    Cook, eat and enjoy!
    Nici
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    added: 16-Sep-2009

    When Dreams Come True

    This is going to be a short WW because it's more about a feeling than a string of words or thoughts.  
    Today I feel intense gratitude for having been able to fulfill a lifelong dream to write my own cookbook. Yes,  this afternoon I picked up from the publishers, hot off the press, World Kitchen, the cookbook that records many of my favourite recipes collected whilst we made the TV series of the same name that I've been involved with for the last 18 months.
    I am so grateful to all the people around the globe who shared their recipes with me so that I could bring them back into our kitchens for our cooking and eating pleasure.

    Cook , eat and enjoy!
    Nici
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    added: 09-Sep-2009

    Tempted by Takeaways

    Oh so easy to get tempted by even the nasty chain takeaways after an all too busy day and a late finish eh? All I want is food, nourishment doesn’t even feature and don’t start me on the convenience factor! Instead I head straight past the tempting drive-thru signs, down the motorway and over the hills home. First thing I do when I get home? Put on a pot of boiling water to get my favourite stand-by meal started. Whilst that comes to the boil I unload the car, throw off work clothes and get straight into PJ’s. By now my pot is on a rolling boil, I add salt then spaghetti. In a bowl I whisk together a quarter of a cup each of lemon juice, olive oil (perhaps a tad less of this), grated parmesan and chopped parsley until it’s creamy. My drained hot spaghetti is added to this and hey presto -  I have a delicious dinner that is convenient, nourishing and takes 15 minutes max to get together. Try it, it rocks!

     

    Cook, eat, enjoy

    Nici

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    added: 02-Sep-2009