Roasted Sausage and Apple with Sauerkraut: Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients – John Whaite

Perfect Plates“This is an edited extract from Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients by John Whaite, published by Kyle Books. Available in stores now RRP$39.99″

Roasted Sausage and Apple with Sauerkraut

8 good-quality sausages

2 Granny Smith apples

1 large onion

A few sprigs of thyme

2 tablespoons


Olive oil

Sea salt flakes

Coarse black pepper



“A midweek sausage supper is reassuringly simple, and even better, it doesn’t skimp on flavour and the general feeling of being satisfied. The best-quality sausages are always a must: I’d opt for the supermarket’s best own brand or those from an excellent butcher. And, of course, you can quite easily, and absolutely should, customise this dish with different flavours of sausage – a fiery, chilli-flecked banger would do just the trick for me.” (p.89)


Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7.


Put the sausages into a roasting tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cut the apples into quarters – I don’t bother to

core or peel them.

Slice the onion in half through the root, leaving the root intact, and peel it. Cut it into eight wedges

and arrange these, with the apples, in the roasting tray.  Top with the thyme sprigs and season with a pinch of salt

and pepper.

Roast in the oven for 30–40 minutes, until the sausages are bronzed and the apples and onion are quite softened.

You can turn the sausages midway through, if you prefer a more even colouring; though I’m not particularly

concerned. Scatter over the sauerkraut just before serving.


JohnWhaite RoastSausageSauerkraut

Leftover ingredient


The sauerkraut will keep for a while in the fridge. It’s

gorgeous on ham sandwiches, stirred into soups, scattered

over pizzas or stews. It brings its flavour-boosting qualities

to any dish, really, but it’s delicious in its own right, too.


Sweet Potato, Gruyère and Pecan Gratin: Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients – John Whaite

Perfect Plates

“This is an edited extract from Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients by John Whaite, published by Kyle Books. Available in stores now RRP$39.99″

Sweet Potato, Gruyère and Pecan Gratin

“This is a dish that proves you don’t always need meat to make a meal. I’m a devout carnivore myself, so you can rest assured that I’m not trying to indoctrinate you with veg only ways. The nuttiness from the Gruyère and the pecans goes brilliantly with the sweet and earthy potato.” (p.46)



1.2kg sweet potatoes

400ml double cream

sprig of rosemary

100g Gruyère cheese

50g pecans

Butter, for greasing

Sea salt flakes,

plus extra, to taste

Coarse black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.

Grease a 23cm (approx.) pie dish (ceramic is best) with butter. Whatever you do, don’t use a dish with a loose bottom or you’ll be scrubbing your oven floor for weeks.

Peel the sweet potatoes and slice each very thinly – I use a mandolin or a food processor, but it can be done using a knife, with a straight eye and steady hand. After you’ve peeled each potato, rearrange the slices as though you were trying to stick them back together to reform the whole potato. Wedge these bundles into the greased dish randomly and at different angles – treat them as though the potatoes were whole, just pack them tightly into the dish.

Heat the cream in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Add the rosemary with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the cream comes to a simmer, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.

Pour the infused cream over the waiting sweet potato. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes, then remove from the oven and take off the foil.

Coarsely grate the cheese and roughly chop the pecans, then scatter both cheese and nuts over the baked gratin. Return to the oven for a further 15–20 minutes, until the cheese top is bronzed and the sauce is bubbling. Allow to cool and set for 15 minutes before diving in.

JohnWhaite SweetPotatoGratin

Post Script: Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients – John Whaite

A cookbook designed especially for the busy home cook

Perfect Plates

Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients

John Whaite

Simon & Schuster Australia

Kyle Books

ISBN: 9780857833518



John Whaite offers beautiful, innovative, pared back recipes that are simple to cook but stunning to serve. With only 5 ingredients per recipe (plus the essentials of olive oil/butter/salt/pepper), this is practical, fun cooking. The book is divided into Weekend Morning Plates for breakfasts and brunches, Hearty Plates of comfort food, Every Day Plates for easy week-night suppers, Worth the Wait Plates for slow cooking, Posh Plates for easy, impressive dishes, Many Plates for sharing and finally Dessert Plates for simple cakes and sweet treats. John’s departure from just baking shows his striking talent as a cook with clever ideas for home cooking that will inspire and delight.


My View:

A cookbook designed especially for the busy home cook.


This book shares easy to make comfort foods, quick healthy breakfasts that anyone can easily prepare (overnight oats are my new favourite), to lazy weekend brunch suggestions to slow cooked meals and quick mains and desserts. There are vegetarian mains and dishes for meat lovers; there is something for everyone here.


Whaite uses shortcuts like premade pastries, canned beans, batter mixes, Nutella and tin soups to speed up the cooking process and then finishes with flavoursome herbs and spices to really liven up the meal.


Great recipes for those who are time poor.

Carol’s Bircher Muesli With a Trail Mix Twist

Did you know it is National Trail Mix day on the 31st of August?

To honour this auspicious occasion I have created my own breakfast parfait that incorporates a pepita  and hazelnut trail mix (my own special combination), pear, Greek yoghurt and rolled oats.

I have offered this to a few of my house guests and got a resounding thumbs up!  I will be regularly including this on our breakfast menu.

Carol's bircher muesli with a twist

This recipe serves 4.


Carol’s Bircher Muesli with a Trail Mix Twist

2 pears – cored, skin on, roughly grated

100g oats (not quick oats)

100g Trail mix – a mix of hazelnuts, walnuts, pepitas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds

½ teaspn ground cinnamon

200g full fat Greek yoghurt

200ml of cold water



Roughly chop Trail Mix.

Place grated pear, oats, half the chopped Trail Mix and spice into a large bowl.

Mix well.

Stir through the yogurt and 200ml of cold water.

Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

To serve – place in a parfait/dessert bowl etc

Top with leftover Trail Mix.


trail mix



Post Script: You’re Just Too Good To Be True – Sofija Stefanovic

You're Just Too Good To Be True

You’re Just Too Good To Be True

Sofija Stefanovic

Penguin Specials

ISBN: 9780143572121



Sofija Stefanovic visits her eighty-year-old friend Bill and suspects he’s being scammed over the internet – not for the first time. Compelled by Bill’s devastating stories of online dating, heartbreak and bankruptcy, Sofija gets drawn into the underworld of romance scams. Her investigations take her to victims, experts and ultimately to her computer, where she uses a dead relative’s photo to set up her own senior’s dating profile. In the hope of interviewing a scammer, Sofija wades into murky territory as her lies grow and her online relationships get personal. As she moves through this confusing world, Sofija finds herself confronted by questions about loneliness, love and greed.


You’re Just Too Good To Be True is a sometimes very funny and sometimes desperately poignant investigation into the dark underside of love in the digital age.


So well done. Bill’s story is an amplification of the madness and delusion we’ve all gone through chasing love.’ John Safran


My View:

What an interesting quick poignant read. And the truly sad part is – this is not a fictionalised account, this is not a hypothetical situation, this scenario is real and is real to many many many lonely people whose only crime is wanting to be loved.


This account is so familiar – in my case – not the romance scam but the money scam. Who hasn’t had the email or the letter regarding money held in trust? So much money. A few years ago my father (now deceased) excitedly showed me a letter he had received from an overseas solicitor claiming they had millions of dollars in trust waiting for him…all he had to do was give them some personal details…. He was excited, he was hopeful, yet at the same time I knew he thought this was a scam…he just didn’t want to believe it. I looked at the letter, rolled my eyes, and said something like “Really?”   That was enough said- he knew it was a scam, just like I did, discounting it out loud made it obvious, disappointing but obvious. (If it seems too good to be true it usually is – isn’t that the saying?)  Thankfully the scam came in letter form – so was easy to bin and no personal interaction had occurred to draw him in to the web of deceit. When “Microsoft” called him about his computer problem – he was easily duped.  They talked him through the process of putting a Trojan onto his computer (or something like that – that stole his identity, his passwords etc.) He lost all the money in his bank accounts – which although wasn’t a princely sum was irreplaceable. Worse than the theft of the cash from his accounts was the emotional damage of being vulnerable, gullible, of being duped, of being conned.


I recognise these feelings in Bill’s story – no one wants to be seen as gullible, no one wants to admit to being duped, to admit that they misjudged another….and maybe for some the drama of participating in this game is exciting regardless of the outcome?


How can a scammer do this to someone – leave them with nothing? Break someone’s heart? Leave someone emotionally bankrupt? Steal a lifestyle? Apply pressure till suicide is the only way out?   The distance between computer connections seems to take the “personal” out of these crimes. This novella airs important social (and criminal) issues and discusses these problems in rational terms, in an easy to read format – there are lessons here for everyone not just the mature of years. This book struck a chord with me.


Post Script: Killer Look – Linda Fairstein

First Rate!

Killer Look

Killer Look

Linda Fairstein

Hachette Australia

Little, Brown

ISBN:  9780751560381



New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein delivers a heart-pounding thriller that explores the dark secrets of New York City’s Garment District—and centering on its infamous Fashion Week—in her eighteenth Alexandra Cooper novel.


New York City is known for its glamour, and nowhere is this more apparent than in its fashion scene. Sharing the pedestal with Paris, Milan, and London as fashion capital of the world, New York continually astounds with its creativity, daring, and innovations in the name of beauty. Yet high fashion means high stakes, as Alex Cooper quickly discovers when a murder rocks New York City’s Fashion Week. Along with Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, Alex must reveal the grime beneath the glitz to expose the culprit—unless a wolf in model’s clothing gets to them first.



My View:

First Rate!

Fast paced, exciting…great character development, locations that you can visualise, a splash of romance; real relationships are portrayed- not light or fluffy or bodice ripping – as in honest and solid. Add a touch of history and a twisty narrative with a hint of something specular happening in the next book. I really enjoyed this read, in fact I really enjoy this series- it is another for you to add to your Must Read Author list.




Auntie Susan’s Lemon Myrtle Cake: The Natural Cook – Matt Stone

The Natural Cook

 Images and recipes from the Natural Cook by Matt Stone (Murdoch Books)

photography by Matt Roper available from 1st August $39.99


Auntie Susan’s Lemon Myrtle Cake

“For as long as I can remember, my Auntie Susan has baked the most amazing cakes. For years I tried to get her to give me a book with all her recipes. Though I’m still waiting for that book, she shares my passion for native foods and has developed this recipe for me. It’s a super simple cake packed with flavour.” (p.30)



155 g (5½ oz/1 cup) macadamia nuts

180 g (6½ oz) butter

150 g (5½ oz) sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

300 g (10½ oz/2 cups) freshly milled flour

185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) buttermilk

2 teaspoons dried lemon myrtle

edible flowers, to decorate (optional)



3 egg whites

210 g (7½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar

210 g (7½ oz) butter

2 teaspoons dried lemon myrtle

Note: Most supermarkets stock lemon myrtle, and it’s a cinch to order online. You can also use lemon myrtle teabags – just remove the leaves from the bag and grind them to a fine consistency. This icing can be used for any cake or muffin. Substitute lemon myrtle with any flavour you like.

Aunty Susans Lemon Myrtle Cake


Preheat the oven to 160˚C (320˚F). Grease a 20 cm (8 in) round cake tin and line the base and side with baking paper.

Spread the macadamia nuts evenly on a baking tray and roast for 12 minutes, or until golden brown, then set aside to cool. Turn the oven up to 170˚C (340˚F).

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and cream the two ingredients for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time, making sure the previous one is incorporated before adding the next. Beat for a further 5 minutes.

In a food processor, blitz the macadamia nuts to form a rough breadcrumb consistency. Add the remaining ingredients, except the edible flowers, and the nuts to the butter mixture and beat until smooth. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 40–45 minutes, or until lightly golden. Gently press on the top of the cake – if it bounces back, it’s ready. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool further.

To make the icing, fill a medium saucepan one-third full of water and place over medium heat. Bring to a light simmer. Put the egg whites and sugar into a stainless steel bowl. Using a whisk, briefly mix until the sugar has been incorporated. Place the bowl over the simmering water to create a double boiler and, stirring constantly, heat the mixture until the sugar has dissolved.

Using an electric mixer or hand-held electric beaters, whisk the egg mixture at high speed for 10–12 minutes; it will become white, glossy and thick. Keep whisking until the mixture is cool.

Switch to a paddle attachment if you have one, then mix on medium speed, adding the butter in four batches. Beat until thick and creamy, then add the lemon myrtle and stir until combined. Spatula onto the cake with enthusiasm and decorate with edible flowers, if using.

Fermented Raspberries: The Natural Cook – Matt Stone

The Natural Cook

 Images and recipes from the Natural Cook by Matt Stone (Murdoch Books) photography by Matt Roper available from 1st August $39.99


Fermented Raspberries

“Too often berries go off in the fridge before we get round to eating them. They cost far too much to waste or compost, so I made this recipe to avoid that situation.

This fermented purée makes a great summer drink with a big splash of sparkling wine or soda water or both. It’s also great to dress up a fruit salad or to finish a sauce for game meats.”  (p.64)


Use an old 300 ml (10½ fl oz) jam jar



250 g (9 oz/2 cups) raspberries

1 tablespoon raw (demerara) sugar

1 tablespoon water


Note: You can use any type of berry here, not just raspberries.



Put all the ingredients into a bowl and smash together into a big, bright mess. Pour into a sterilised jam jar, cover with
muslin (cheesecloth) or a clean kitchen cloth held in place with a rubber band or string, and leave for 2–3 days out of direct sunlight until bubbly and fermented, giving it a mix each day.


Store the purée in the fridge in an airtight container where it will keep for 2 weeks.

Fermented Raspberries

Roast Chook ‘Bo Ssam’: The Natural Cook – Matt Stone

The Natural Cook

 Images and recipes from the Natural Cook by Matt Stone (Murdoch Books) photography by Matt Roper available from 1st August $39.99

Roast Chook Bo Ssam

Roast Chook ‘Bo SSam’

“This is the ultimate ‘got no time to cook’ dinner. This recipe is inspired
by the bo ssam, an Asian shared meal. You can use up any pickles or vegetables that are in your fridge. It’s basically whatever you like wrapped in a lettuce leaf with sauce and pickles.

It’s a great dish to use up leftover roast meats and other bits lying around. The notion behind this chicken version is to grab a whole roast chook on your way home and have a fresh, healthy meal ready in 10 minutes.” ( p.159)




1 roast chicken

2 small lettuces (I like to use baby cos/romaine but any lettuce will do)

1 avocado, sliced

300 g (10½ oz) Kimchi (see page 63)

200 g (7 oz) pickles

2 handfuls bean sprouts, trimmed

150 g (5½ oz) mixed fresh herbs

Hot Sauce (see page 221) and Mayonnaise (see page 216), to serve


Pick and shred the flesh from the chook (keep the frame for broth-making purposes). Place the flesh in a serving bowl. Pick
and wash the lettuce leaves. Place the lettuce on a platter and top with the chicken, avocado, a pile of kimchi, pickles, bean sprouts, herbs and sauces on the side.


This dish looks great as it’s full of vibrant colours and the part that took the most effort was probably swinging past the shops to pick up a roast chook.



Hot Sauce

My version of Sriracha sauce only has a few ingredients, but the depth of flavour comes from the fermenting of the chilli. Use it as you would Sriracha – that is on a lot of things and particularly leftover pork-belly sandwiches.


Makes about 350 ml (12 fl oz)



1 cup Fermented Chilli Paste

1 large garlic clove

2 tablespoons honey

125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) vegetable oil



Place the chilli paste, garlic and honey in a jug-style blender. Start the blender and gradually increase the speed. Slowly pour in
the oil, season to taste with salt and you’re good.


This sauce will keep for weeks in the fridge. If it sits dormant for a while, the ingredients might start to separate a bit – just give it a good shake and it will come back to life.




The only thing that beats a good homemade mayo is a sandwich made with homemade mayo. I encourage you to double this recipe – it will easily last in the fridge for a week and it’s great to use not only on sandwiches, but in salads and on the side of meat and veg dishes. It can quickly be flavoured with spices or you can add capers, chopped cornichons, herbs and lemon to make a simple tartare sauce.


4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) vegetable oil


Note: Turning your homemade mayo into homemade aioli is a cinch. Finely dice the rind from 1 preserved lemon and finely chop 2 garlic cloves, then add to the mayo at the same time as the mustard and vinegar.



Twist up a tea towel (dish towel) and place in a circle on the bench. Place a mixing bowl in the middle of the towel. (The tea towel should help keep the bowl from moving around too much while
you whisk away with one hand.)


Put the egg yolks, mustard and vinegar into the bowl and whisk together. Slowly pour the oil into the mixture while whisking as fast as possible (use a jug if you have one – it needs to be a slow stream of oil flowing in, and pouring from a jug is an easy way to control it). If the oil is added too quickly, it won’t be incorporated and will split from the eggs. It sounds a bit tricky, but just take your time and everything will be fine.


Once all the oil is whisked in, add some salt to taste. Store in a jar in the fridge. It will last up to 2 weeks.


Spread. Enjoy. Be merry.

Post Script: The Natural Cook – Matt Stone

The Natural Cook

The Natural Cook

Matt Stone

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743365908


A new kind of food revolution – kind to the planet, good for your body and for your soul.

How do you cook irresistible food without harming the planet?


It’s all about adopting new habits – opening your eyes to local foods and making the best of them, reducing waste by using every last bit of each ingredient, and enjoying well-raised meat and fish (while saving the bones to make the best broth ever!).


Try your hand at traditional techniques that have become popular again – yoghurt-making, preserving, pickling and fermenting. The bonus is that you’ll be producing delicious food that just happens to be good for you, too.


Matt Stone, one of Australia’s brightest young chefs, is a passionate advocate of zero-waste cooking and ethical food, and an even bigger fan of a cracking meal. Whether it’s a nourishing breakfast, a quick weeknight meal or a feast for friends, Matt shows how creating sustainable food that’s full of flavour is easier than you think.



My View:

What a great cook book – this one connects with me on so many levels. Matt Stone and I (and probably many of you who are reading this post or flicking through this cook book) share similar aspirations when it comes to home cooking (Matt also weaves some of these principals into his work as a chef)

√ Veggie patch – we have bountiful home grown seasonal fruit and vegetables.

√ Using bone and vegetable broths to enrich and add potent flavour to meals and great for gut health. And Chicken bone broth is our grandson’s first food – a great way to introduce real food to his diet.

√Pickles, fermenting and preserving home grown foods – Kimchi and Fermented Chili paste next on our list to make.

√ Use of wholefoods when possible.

√Drying and making powders – next on the list of how to use up our produce.

√ Great ideas for simple desserts, drinks and make your own spice mixes (flavoursome and budget friendly).


However there is one thing we do not share – a love for edible insects!!   The argument for sustainability doesn’t tempt me to try these sort of recipes  J Whitebait, Ants and Myrtle, Crisp Crickets, Melaworms and Australian Seven Spice….No No No 🙂    Thankfully this makes up just a tiny section of the book. 🙂