Herb and Olive Couscous Salad

This is one of my favourite salads to enjoy in the summertime.  I've been making it for years and it's always asked for at family events.  It's perfect for this time of year, when the weather is scorching here in the Southern Hemisphere.  I find it's particularly suited for Christmas lunch as it's such a festive salad.  With hints of red and green, and a liberal sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, it's enough to put you in the Christmas spirit!  It's a vibrant, light and refreshing salad with plenty of flavour.  Serve it alongside seafood, ham, or a roast turkey this Christmas lunch.

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Greek Bean Soup (Fasolatha)

Oftentimes when there is not much at hand, the simplest of ingredients can be transformed into a delicious meal.  There have been occasions where I've had to rise to the challenge of putting together a family dinner from scratch using only a few basic ingredients, and tonight was one of those such nights.  When the larder is looking a little bare, I find as long as I have onion, garlic, tinned tomatoes and a few veggies available, then we won't go hungry.  Another of my essential staples are dried beans.  They add body and flavour to any dish, turning it into something more substantial and filling.  This kind of frugal cooking harks back to the days of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, who created feasts for their family from only a handful of ingredients.  The irony is that whilst they cooked simple, peasant fare, they ate like kings.  A meal would often stretch for days, feed a large family, and be healthy and delicious too.  This is my kind of cooking.  One of the dishes I was brought up on is Fasolatha, or Greek bean soup.  It's wholesome peasant food at its best.  This just happens to be my grandmother's recipe, which I've tweaked with a little stock powder to add some depth to the flavour, but otherwise it remains true to her original recipe.  I tend not to make mine as watery as most soups - I prefer it a little on the thicker side, like a stew or a Greek version of baked beans.  You could even cook it with a little speck to make it even more heartier.

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Rhubarb Clafoutis

This clafoutis is a little take on a classic French dessert, celebrating the best of my favourite winter produce, rhubarb.  I adore rhubarb, and look forward to the cooler months when I can turn it into all manners of delicious things.  Using rhubarb in the place of cherries is a masterstroke, as custard and rhubarb make an unbeatable combination.  The addition of blood orange provides a lovely sweetness to the tangy rhubarb, and takes the edge off its sharpness.

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Greek Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup (Revani)

It has been raining steadily all morning, so I've decided today is the perfect opportunity to stay indoors and bake.  As I'm feeling a little nostalgic, I've decided to make a Greek semolina cake with orange syrup (also known as Revani) using my grandmother's recipe.  It fills me with pride to continue the tradition of baking this sweet for my own family.  When I'm cooking, I often like to think my grandmother is watching over me in the kitchen.  She was a wonderful cook, and I hope that in some small way I have taken after her.

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Warm Brown Rice Salad with Poached Egg

I've been feeling a little under the weather lately.  For the last couple of weeks I've been feeling run down and tired, and have been trying my hardest to hold a cold at bay, but alas I've succumbed to it and have been nursing a dreaded lurgy since the weekend.  Boo!

As the old saying goes, there's no rest for the weary, so I've been soldiering-on and hoping that by eating good nutritious food, drinking lots of fluids and resting whenever possible, I can hopefully get better soon.  In the meantime I still have to drag myself out of bed each day to get the kids sorted for school and myself for work, so by the time the afternoon rolls around, I'm ready to call it a day.

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Apple & Walnut Cake with Caramel Sauce

If there's one thing I look forward to eating when the weather cools off it's a lovely warm pudding straight out of the oven with lashings of caramel or butterscotch sauce - swoon!!  I could eat one morning, noon and night!  Sticky date is one of my favourites; however, since both of my children aren't partial to dates, I've had to be creative and try to come up with an alternative that satisfies my love for all things drenched in buttery-saucy goodness, whilst replacing the offending fruit with something my kids would find more palatable.  So in the spirit of Autumn, I've decided to go with apples.  And in my opinion, nothing beats the combination of apples, cinnamon, caramel and brandy, so why not enjoy them altogether in one delicious cake!

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Peach & Pear Cake with Cinnamon Topping

Last week we packed the car and headed over to my in-laws to enjoy the morning together.  As the kids were on school holidays, it was the perfect opportunity to catch-up with our family, as we don't get to do it as often as we'd like to due to our work and school commitments.

I decided to bake this cake to take over to enjoy together for our morning tea.  I have to confess that I'm always nervous when I decide to bake something for my in-laws, as my mother-in-law is a wonderful country cook who is particularly good at baking, as most country women are.  I always keep my fingers crossed that my cakes and biscuits turn out well as I still love to impress her, even after all these years!

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Chicken with Lemon and White Wine

Today we've been forced to retreat indoors due to the inclement weather caused by ex-Cyclone Debbie making her way down South East Queensland.  Since last night we've had relentless rain and high winds, and according to forecasts, the weather is due to worsen by this evening.  Schools across Queensland have been ordered to close, so there's nothing to it than to stay indoors, stay dry and cosy, pop the kettle on and drink copious amounts of tea.

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Oat Pancakes with Stewed Vanilla Peaches

It seems our Queensland summer has been hotter and more humid than it normally is this time of year.  The windows and doors are flung wide open each day, but there is no respite from the overwhelming heat, as the house fills with warm, damp air.  This type of heat is stifling and oppressive - it drains us of our energy, and makes us irritable and uncomfortable most of the time.  The only way to escape it is to swim in the creek or pool, but of course we can't do that all day, as much as we would love to.

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Coconut Raspberry Slice

Sadly, today is the last day of school holidays, with the kids returning to school tomorrow.  It's been a lovely six weeks spent together.  We've picnicked, swam almost daily in the creek and pool, gone for long country drives, shopped 'til we've dropped, and just relaxed at home content in each other's company.  So I thought I'd spend the afternoon baking them a little lunchbox treat to help them through the next few busy days whilst they settle in to their new school year.

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Moroccan Glazed Chicken

Right now, we're in the middle of Summer.  The days have been long and hot, and the nights muggy.  This time of year I tend to prefer cooking light meals for dinner that are quick and simple to prepare to limit the amount of time I spend by a hot stove, and if it can be cooked outdoors, all the better!

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New Year, New Look

They say change is as good as a holiday, and since I don't get the opportunity to do much of the latter, I'm hoping the changes to my blog will re-energise and invigorate me in order to get the creative juices flowing once again!

So as I welcome the New Year, I say goodbye to my old blog 'Good Tukka', which I created 5 years ago, and hello to my new (and hopefully improved) blog, 'A Country Table'.

I decided to change the name and look of my blog as I felt I needed to make it more of a reflection of who I am as a person - my style of cooking, my home life, my interests, and passions.  I'm very much a country girl at heart, originally hailing from a small country town in rural Victoria along the mighty Murray River.  Growing, sourcing and cooking good food, and sharing it with family and friends has long filled me with joy, pride, and a sense of satisfaction.

So I invite you to take a seat and join me at my country table.  I hope to continue to share my love of food with you, as well as all that a simple life has to offer - living mindfully and meaningfully with my family as I go about tending to my fruit and vegetable garden, foraging in the countryside, and partaking in my favourite pastime, photography.

Thank you for all your support over the years, without you my dear readers, none of this would have been worth it.