Monday, 23 December 2013

Review from 'Brisbane Kids'

A book for easy family cooking with Food before 5
Written by Ngaire Stirling on September 3, 2013 in Things We Love 

If you are a family short on time then I have found the perfect cook book for you. Its called Food Before 5 and is written Amanda Arnold. So confident in her product, she sent me a free book to review if I wished, and within 3 days I had used her book for every single dinner meal my family had.
What I like about it is its focus on preparing the meal before witching hour. True to their word I achieved this every single time and my biggest food critic- my husband, ate every single meal. Too many times when I open a cookbook I could grab a handful of recipes I might cook and one or 2 I actually would cook. With Food before 5, pretty much every single meal is something I could see myself cooking. Easy, delicious, affordable and ingredients I don’t need to travel to some exotic destination for.
Her website is flooded with similar rave testimonials of mums just like me who were super impressed enough to provide feedback. I also like that its a highly visual book and I took Amanda’s suggestion and let my son pick some meals from the book for dinner. I involved him in the food purchasing and preparation and found the whole process from book to table very easy.
I suggest this is also a great book to pass on to a teen on their way out the door as it offers many of the popular staples but also more modern dinner party type food.
You can buy this book from her website


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Rocky Road - Christmas style

A friend of mine brought this to a BBQ once and I was LOVED it!!  It was rich and absolutely delicious and a recipe that I had to have.  She kindly shared it and now I am sharing it with you - Christmas style.  It is also a great recipe to get the kids involved.

  • 1 pkt Oreo biscuits (150g)
  • 250g white marshmallows
  • 200g lollies (red, green & white)  I used red & green snakes & strawberries & cream lollies
  • 3 x 200g blocks milk chocolate
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut (optional)
Step 1.  Line a slice tin (18cm x 28cm) with baking paper & set aside.

Step 2.  In a large bowl, break up Oreo biscuits into pieces.

Step 3. Using scissors, cut marshmallows in half & the lollies into pieces.  Add to bowl.

Step 4.  Mix with your hands & make sure marshmallows & lollies are not stuck together. 

Step 5.  In a separate bowl, break up the 3 blocks of chocolate.  Melt in microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir.  Repeat until chocolate is melted.

Step 6.  Pour chocolate over marshmallow mixture & stir through.  

Step 7.  Pour into slice tin & push out to edges of the tin.  Top with coconut (optional).  I also cut some of the strawberries & cream lollies into pieces and placed on the top as they look like little santa hats. Refrigerate until set.  Remove from tin & cut into squares. 

 This recipe and many more can be found in my cookbook 'Food before 5'.  Purchase for only $19.95 (FREE POSTAGE) from

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Quick & easy lemon cheesecake

This is seriously the easiest cheesecake you'll ever make. It is a family recipe that we have been enjoying for many years thanks to my Aunty Mel who is known for her amazing desserts.  This one has a surprising ingredient which is 'lemon jelly'.  Sometimes when you make a cheesecake there is always doubt whether it will set properly but not with this recipe - I guarantee it will set every time!

It is a great summer recipe when you are having guests and is perfect over the Christmas period. It is extremely quick & easy to make & tastes absolutely delicious! Put this on your menu for Christmas day and your family & friends will love you for it.

Amanda x

Lemon Cheesecake


  • spray oil
  • 200g plain sweet biscuits (arrowroot, butternut, etc)
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • 2 x 400g tins condensed milk
  • 1pkt lemon jelly crystals
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

1)    Spray the inside of a 22cm springform tin with oil.  Line the base & sides with baking paper as shown in the picture below.

2)    Place half the biscuits in a large zip lock bag & roll with a rolling pin until crushed to a fine crumb consistency.   Repeat with remaining  biscuits.  This step can be done in a food processor to save time.

3)    In a large bowl, combine crushed biscuits & melted butter.  Mix well. Pour into base of cake tin & press down firmly.  Chill in freezer while you complete the following steps.

4)   Rinse out bowl used in step 3.  Add cream cheese & beat with electric mixer until smooth. 

5)   Gradually add condensed milk, beating after each addition.

6)    In a small bowl, combine jelly crystals & boiling water.  Stir until jelly is dissolved.  Add lemon juice & stir to combine.

7)    Gently add the lemon & jelly mix to the cream cheese & beat until combined.

8)   Pour over chilled base & refrigerate to set.  Overnight is best (minimum time is 5 hrs).


This recipe & more can be found in my cookbook 'Food before 5'.  
 Purchase for only $19.95 (FREE POSTAGE) from