Saturday, September 6, 2014


Ever since I can remember Mum has, at least once a fortnight, fashioned 'pickies' for dinner.  Pickies, in our family, means food that we can 'pick' at.  Cheese, cold meats, bread, olives - essentially antipasto.

This is by far mine and M's favourite way to eat - it's generous, sharing and just fun (especially in front of the TV with a glass of Dad's vino).

Lately I've been trying to get creative with my 'pickies' and turn it into a fun way to use up left overs at the end of the week.  This week, as I've been unwell and not really cooking, I took my feeling-a-little-more-human self into the kitchen to try and use up some of the poor vegetables starting to look sad in my fridge.  

 The results are below...


Onion, Apple and Oregano Focaccia
Panned Fried Haloumi
Grilled Asparagus
Boiled Eggs
Cabbage and Rocket Coleslaw
Pan Roasted Pumpkin with Chilli Salt
Chilli Oil
Tomatoes and Pickled Onions

First step was getting the focaccia going.  I always make up my dough as I've done it enough times to know what to do to get different results, but this time I wrote down exactly what I did!  GASP!  Good blogger.

- 1 dessert spoon of dry yeast
- 1 dessert spoon of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- A pinch of sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water (it must be luke warm or the yeast won't activate - it could be killed!)
- 3 cups of plain flour (I only had wholemeal so that's what I used) + extra flour for kneading

- Mix all ingredients except the flour and stir
- Add flour (using more or less until it comes together as a dough)
- Tip onto a floured bench and knead for at least 3 minutes (adding more flour if needed - you almost always do).
- Put back into bowl, cover with a towel and put into a warm place for half an hour or until it doubles in size (I heat the oven a little, turn it off and put it in there - make sure the oven isn't too hot when you put it in - it needs to feel like a summer's day).
- Take out, knock some of the air out and knead for about 15 seconds, then roll out ready to top.

(I suggest putting breadcrumbs on your tray base as it always gives an awesome crispy base finish and the tray is super easy to clean at the end with no oil!)

- 2 brown onions, sliced
- 1 granny smith apply, cut into matchsticks
- A splash of olive oil
- A knob (about a tsp) of butter

- Small handful of fresh oregano

- Fry everything except the oregano together until caramelised and gooey (if it starts to dry out add some water instead of oil to keep things cooking and keep it a it lighter but make sure it dries out totally before putting it on the dough)

- After putting the topping on the dough, stir through or spray a little olive oil on the oregano and place on top.

BAKE in a hot oven (200-220c) for about 12 minutes.  I finish it under the grill as my oven is useless.

I never understand why people buy pizza bases - they are so expensive and these are so easy and so cheap!  Once you do it a few times it really takes no time at all.

You can buy this yeast at any supermarket.  This tub of mine has been in the freezer for almost a year and it's still fine.


PAN FRIED HALOUMI - cut haloumi into 1cm strips and fry until golden each side.  Coat with lemon juice and pepper.

PAN ROASTED PUMPKIN WITH CHILLI AND SALT - Just raw pumpkin slices tossed in dried chilli flakes, sea salt and olive oil before cooking on the pan.

CABBAGE AND ROCKET COLESLAW - Finely shredded cabbage and rocket with about a tsp of apple cider vinegar mixed with a tsp of mayonnaise stirred through.  

I don't really like mayo, but when I use it I use this one - available in supermarkets.  M is also a fan.  In fact, if it weren't for M, I'd just use Greek yoghurt with some salt & pepper in it's place.

I think the rest is self explanatory.

Do you ever do 'pickies' or an antipasto night?

How do you use the leftovers in your fridge at the end of a week?

I try very hard to never throw out food (I throw something out maybe once a month).  A huge advantage of learning how to cook is knowing how to put everything you've got to use together.  If I see pumpkin going soggy well, we're having pumpkin tonight.  If the eggs are getting old I'll use eggs and so on.  With a few pantry staples it's easy to use the fresh things you have (and I'll share my pantry staples soon).

Happy Weekend!
Nat x


  1. Nat - I was so sure I commented on this post! Maybe not...
    We do this a bit, but it's called 'party night' in our house, as antipasto type plates always make me think of drinks with friends. I try to make sure I have something fun in the freezer to jazz it up if it's a but sad looking - one of the stalls at my local markets makes amazing arancini that freeze really well. Our other leftovers user-upper meal is pizza. A bit like antipasto, a little bit of a couple of things goes a long way - quarter of a capsicum, a splodge of pesto, a couple of olives and the sad scraggly mushrooms and you're done!
    (loving your return to blogging, by the way!)


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