Our Family’s Spring Commitment

Spring cooking

Our native hibiscus has started to renew, our Spring Herbs are thriving, and the bees are buzzing around the lavender… just like that spring has arrived!

Our family is in that brief lull between winter and summer sporting activities, and so for a change weekend activities are at my discretion. Hats on, we are hitting the garden.

I’ve been inspired by my neighbour who has recently given me a few of her mini cabbages. Simply steamed with a little butter, salt and pepper, it was delicious! The mini cabbages are such a convenient serving size, so it’s straight from the garden, steamed and onto our plates. Perfect convenience food! I’m hoping they will thrive in my garden as well and in a few months, we will be feasting on our own cabbages. I just hope the white moths don’t find out!

Compostapak Caddy

Hopefully many of you now have access to FOGO. Approximately 30% of Australian households can now place their food in their Kitchen Caddy for composting. For the larger cities, it’s coming soon, with new processing facilities being built all over Australia. This small change in so many households is making a real difference, reducing emissions and our contribution to global warming. But we need to do more.

I’m on a mission this season to try to further reduce our food waste. Although we compost, food is scarce, as are the resources used in the production, packaging, and transportation of food. Australian research has identified our top wasted food items, and I’m sorry to say our family is not unique. Bread, Bananas, Bagged Lettuce/ Salad, and meat. Milk does also appear in the research, however with my kids, it’s definitely not a problem.

So here are my go-to tips to reduce our three most wasted food items.


Australia’s most commonly wasted food
#1 Bread
I’ve reduced how many loaves of bread I buy, swapping to wraps for the kids once my first loaf runs out, given their much longer shelf life. I also have fruit loaf in the freezer for toast. The kids love it, and the toaster defrosts and toasts it, so it’s just as convenient.

My favourite recipe when I do have stale bread is Italian breadcrumbs. Perfect as a garnish on pasta, meat or roasted veggies. Amazing on a cheese platter with my favourite goat’s cheese or hummus. It’s so good you will be buying extra bread just to replenish!

Italian Breadcrumbs


Australia’s most commonly wasted food
#2 Banana

It’s common to find really ripe bananas in our pantry which the kids refuse to eat, so we have our banana bread recipe down to a fine art. I actually premix the dry items, so all the kids need to do is mash bananas, melt butter and add eggs and Milk. So easy. Once cooled, I then add it to our ‘recess drawer’ in the freezer, and the kids choose each morning what they are going to take for the day.

Fruit bread


Australia’s most commonly wasted food
#3 Bagged Lettuce and Salad

I rarely buy lettuce. I find it often smells out of date from when you even open the bag. Instead, it’s always sown in our garden. For the times of the year when it might be more difficult to grow, my rocket always gets me through. When I started our small garden I purchased lots of different lettuce seeds, to see what worked best for our location. Now we have a few options which thrive and so as one garden bed is coming to maturity, I start to plant the next. Growing greens is so easy, even in pots all you need is sunshine and a relaxing daily watering routine and you will be eating fresh greens within weeks.Growing lettuce


Enjoy the sunshine and natural spectacle which is spring,



Homemade Banana Bread

Banana Bread – Made with our PreMix

Bananas are one of Australia’s most commonly wasted food items. They certainly do tend to ripen quickly, however during ripening, the natural starch converts to sugar. This process sweetens and enhances the taste of bananas – ripened bananas taste better.

However, good luck explaining the science to kids who simply refuse to eat ripe bananas with brown spots.

This recipe is our go to for Banana Bread. I often premix into the required quantities, so the kids simply need to add Eggs, Banana, Milk and Butter. The Premix helps speed up the prep time and avoid the mess of flour everywhere as the kids measure…well usually 🙂


PreMix – IngredientsPreMix Banana Bread

Can be measured and mixed in batches.

¼ Cup Plain Flour

1 ¾ Cup Self-Raising Flour

1 tsp Cinnamon Ground

½ Cup Brown Sugar


PreMix – Method

Sift the flours into a large airtight container.

Stir in the Cinnamon and Sugar.

Seal the container until you are ready to bake.


Banana Bread – IngredientsBanana cake recipe

To be added once ready to bake.

1 PreMix (above)

2 Overripe Bananas*

½ Cup Milk

2 Eggs, lightly whisked.

50g Butter, melted and cooled.


Banana Bread – Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Grease a loaf tin with melted butter (Approx. 10 x 20 cm). Then line with non-stick baking paper if you like to ensure it doesn’t stick.

Add the Banana Bread PreMix into a large bowl and make a well in the middle.

In a second bowl, mash the Bananas, add the Whisked Eggs and Melted Butter. Add this to the PreMix and stir.

Spoon the combined mixture into your loaf tin.

Bake for approximate 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Let the pan cool for 5 minutes and then remove your loaf to cool on a wire rack or timber board.


StorageHome made banana bread

This premix will last at least 6 months in your pantry in an airtight container or jar.

Once made, I store my Banana Bread well wrapped in the fridge, where it will last for about four days, or in the Freezer, where it will last approximately 3 months.  Slices in the freezer are great to add to a prepacked lunch, as they will defrost through the morning.


A note about ingredients


If you have overripe banana, and no time to bake, simply throw them into the freezer. The skin will discolour, however after defrosting they can be used in this recipe rather the fresh Bananas.

How to make breadcrumbs

Toasted Italian Breadcrumbs

Bread is Australia’s most commonly wasted food item, however this Italian Breadcrumb recipe may change all that. In fact, it’s so amazing as an ingredient alternative or garnish you may find yourself buying bread just to keep your stock up!

Traditionally breadcrumbs are made by simply blending dried ingredients. This is a really easy option if you prefer, however, if you are a garlic lover like our family, and have an abundance of fresh herbs, I believe the extra step of lightly toasting the ingredients with fresh garlic and oil is well worth the effort.



½ loaf of Stale Bread*- Saved from our FOGO Caddy 🙂

Garden herbs6 cloves Australian Garlic**

1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano***

1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme***

½ Tablespoon Fresh Basil***

½ Tablespoon Onion Powder****

Salt and Pepper to taste. (Be generous)

Splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Approx. 1 Tablespoon)



Peel the garlic, crush each clove, and then mince using the side of your knife until it’s blended into a paste like texture. Adding some sea salt will help    breakdown the garlic. This method will release the oils, maximising your flavour.

Blend the herbs and bread to your preferred consistently. I like a little texture.

Add the Olive Oil to the pan over medium heat to coat the pan.

Add all ingredients and continue to stir. It will only take between 5 – 10 minutes. Once you see the breadcrumbs start to go the colour of golden toast, you  can remove from heat. It’s better to pull it off earlier than later, as it will continue to cook for as long as it remains in the hot pan.

Cool and then store in reused glass jars.



Crumbed Haloumi

I prefer to store these in reused glass jars in the fridge. They will last about two weeks. Alternatively, in an airtight container they will last a few months in the fridge.

Then enjoy, the options are endless….

  • Use as a Garnish to add texture to a simple pasta, baked vegetables, or even over marinated goats’ cheese on a platter.
  • Use as a substitute to breadcrumbs on a chicken schnitzel or crumbed Haloumi.
  • Use as a substitute for Croutons in a salad.

A note about ingredients


If you have non-crust eaters like me, a great tip is to freeze all your loaf ends, and then once you have accumulated enough, simply make a batch of breadcrumbs.

**Italian HerbsQuick pasta receipe

I find many of these herbs thrive in the garden. Ours are simply planted in huge pots with our citrus trees. As a result, I’m lucky to be able to grab these herbs fresh from the garden. You can certainly swap these out for dried herbs however, you will lose some of the flavour intensity.


Once you have made this base recipe, get creative and play around with the herbs. Depending on what’s available, I sometimes swap out some of the herbs for Paprika, Sage and Parsley.

***Australian Garlic

We are lucky enough to often have Garlic fresh from Poppy’s Farm Garden, however when we do purchase, I always buy Australian Garlic.

Of course, it’s fresher and supports local farming families, however there are other benefits.

Imported garlic travels long distances, and so needs to be fumigated to control pest and pathogens. It’s commonly treated with Methyl Bromide which is an odourless and colourless gas you can’t detect. It’s toxic when inhaled or indigested, and causes irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. In fact, it’s banned in Australia apart from its use as a fumigant for quarantine purposes. It’s definitely not the type of thing I like on ingredients my family are eating.

****Onion Powder

Powder is an important part of this recipe as it adds lots of flavour and given it’s dry, it stores well. However, it’s also super easy to make from fresh if you have a dehydrator. Simply cut your onions up into thin slices (rings), spread onto racks and dehydrate at approx. 60 degrees Celsius for around 10 hours, or until they ‘snap’ rather than ’bend’. Blend and store. It’s another pantry item you will always reach for!

Italian Toasted Breadcrumbs