Reduce your chemical use

Quite a few years ago I invested in a number of Enjo products to assist with minimising chemical cleaners in the bathroom and kitchen. I must say I have been very impressed and was happy to be re-educated. The two big benefits to reducing toxic chemicals in the home are of course; your health and the hip pocket!

Sometimes you just need a little elbow grease and hot water. Other situations call for reinforcements. Take my microwave for an example, the internal walls replicated something similar to a crime scene! So I picked a lemon from the backyard, squeezed it, added a cup of water, microwaved the concoction on high for 5 minutes and wiped it clean. Really little effort! Other natural cleaners include baking soda, salt and vinegar. If you want to get fancy you could look into incorporating essential oils too.

Admittedly I still use a commercially produced laundry liquid and dishwashing liquid called Earth Choice which is Australian made and owned and claims to have a minimal impact on our planet. So our house is not entirely ‘chemical free’ yet.

There are plenty of blogs and websites out there to help you find alternatives too. Who knows tomorrow I may tackle the oven!

Jamie Oliver and Me

Confessions of a foodie.  My ‘not so secret’ love affair.

Intrigued? Jealous? Well don’t be too shocked! My relationship with Jamie Oliver is purely based on my food obsession.  Have you ever made a list of people you’d love to invite for dinner? Well Jamie’s definitely on my list. Rest assured Jools (Jamie’s better half), I’m not one of those crazy stalkers who sends inappropriate gifts.  For heaven’s sake it’s not that sort of relationship. Besides I’m a happily married woman.

Although my relationship with Jamie is purely one sided we do share a love of food, the environment and helping others.  My apologies if my heading misled you, I really wanted to see if my husband is reading my posts (love you honey).

So I’m loving Jamie’s new series based on his new book, ‘Save with Jamie’ (Penguin, 2013). Jamie has such a natural way of engaging with people.  His passion is contagious. His book and the series is dedicated to cooking beautiful  home meals that are  reasonably healthy and cheap. Jamie’s instinctual cooking methods allows home cooks to feel good about being flexible and creative.  YES- it’s okay to not measure everything (lugs of oil, knobs of butter), get your hands dirty and substitute ingredients. More importantly though, Jamie’s committed to showing you clever ways to reduce food waste by snazzing up leftovers, freezing and planning.

Save with Jamie is far from being just another cookbook.  In addition to the 120 money saving meals, it also contains detailed nutrition information, shopping tips, kitchen organisation and plenty of inspiring photos.  What a great team Jamie must have!

So to wrap up my post, I thought $24 for Jamie’s book was a great investment.  I also don’t mind sharing my living room with Jamie on a Thursday night, 7:30pm,  when he brings the pages of his book to life with his TV series.  So Jamie if you’re reading this, feel free to pop in for dinner and we can talk turkey about employment opportunities for an obsessed foodie who wants to change the world with you. Love you Jamie (note to self-okay, that may be a little stalkerish).

For your own copy of Jamie’s book visit:


Food waste is one of my all time pet hates. Did you know that in  New South Wales (Australia), 800 000t of food from households ends up in landfill? This equates to 315kg of food waste or 38% of  household waste or $1036 per year per household. As it is a significant amount, it also contributes to climate change as the breakdown process of food creates methane. ( On a more global scale, according
to a study conducted by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization,
one-third of all the food produced around the world, approximately 1.3 billion
tons a year, is never eaten. I know Jamie would not be happy about that.



A Celebration for Foodies

When it comes to food I am fairly obsessive.  If I’m not in the kitchen creating or in the garden collecting eggs or picking vegies, I’m probably reading a food mag or watching a cooking show.  Let’s not forget the regular practise of consuming food too.  That I do quite well.  So when one of my BFFs (Best Friend Forever) suggested we go to this year’s Causley Fresh Gate To Plate Degustation ( well I did backflips.  What a great foodie challenge to eat through several courses highlighting local products and local Chefs.  Of course this would be deliciously accompanied by some beautiful near local wines.

Helper Dianne Luxton and Chef Antony Perring at the Gate To Plate masterclass on Saturday afternoon. Photo JoJo Newby / The Daily Examiner

Helper Dianne Luxton and Chef Antony Perring at the Gate To Plate masterclass on Saturday afternoon. Photo JoJo Newby / The Daily Examiner

Well did I cry in my pillow and comfort eat my way through a bag of Choc Bits when my BFF informed me that she had been too late to book us a table.  Okay I may have been a little too dramatic with the crying into the pillow scene but I was genuinely upset.  However there was a silver lining on a cloud of pink fairy floss to our dilemma.

BFF had suggested we book in for the Yamba Food Trail followed by a Master Class.  All day taste testing local food and getting foodie tips from experts, “Yeah, count me in!” Locally ground coffee (, a tour of a local fish farm (,  a local deli shopping experience (, lunch at Wato’s Fish and Burger Bar, Yamba, and  let’s not forget to mention the beautiful bottle of Sparkling we consumed( made for an unforgettable food trail experience.

Our day continued on a high with a Master Class at our local Art Gallery. Our host for the day Chef Antony Perring ( , roped me into assisting him to make ricotta.  (Between you and me I was totally loving the limelight). We were also spoilt with some mouth watering BBQ prawn and scallop nibbles.  No one could resist the  dessert presentation ( which was truly a work of art.  On the inside we were all plotting the quickest way to get to the dessert display and which people we would need to knock over (lucky I was in the front row and therefore could throw myself at temptation).  All of this amazing food was perfectly matched with Robert Channon Wines from the Granite Belt and coffee made with love from Espresso Botero.

Alas all good things must come to an end, so I bid my new friends farewell but I was happy in the knowledge that not only do I have all of this amazing produce available to me in my Clarence Valley, I know that I’ll be doing the food trail and master class again next year.  One last word, this obsessed foodie enjoyed herself so much that she has volunteered to help organise next year’s event. Maybe this way we can be guaranteed a table at the Degustation!