Review: The CSIRO Low-carb Diabetes Diet Lifestyle Solution by Professor Grant Brinkworth & Dr. Pennie Taylor

Title: The CSIRO Low-carb Diabetes Diet Lifestyle Solution

Author: Professor Grant Brinkworth & Dr. Pennie Taylor

Published: August 25th 2020, Macmillan Australia

Status: Read August 2020 courtesy PanMacmillan Australia



My Thoughts:


The CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) is a trusted Australian institution responsible for innovations including WiFi, plastic banknotes, the Hendra virus vaccine and even Aerogard. The CSIRO Low-carb Diabetes Diet Lifestyle Solution is the fourth book in a series developed by the health researchers of CSIRO which aims to provide a practical guide, backed by science, for individuals to looking to implement a healthy, low-carb, lifestyle.

This particular volume is geared towards those who have, or are at risk of developing, a diabetic condition. Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes and 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. A large number of those will be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which can be managed, and even prevented, with lifestyle changes that include a healthy eating plan and exercise.

In The CSIRO Low-carb Diabetes Diet Lifestyle Solution the authors begin with an overview of Type 2 diabetes, its causes – including risk factors; and its effects – on both society, and the individual.

The second section presents the science that the CSIRO used to develop the plans and recipes in the book, and the outcome of their trial on individuals health, which is reassuring for those concerned with evidence based success.

For someone newly diagnosed with diabetes, or its warning signs, the changes required to their diet can be overwhelming. Along with information on choosing your optimal kilojoule requirements, and pictorials to help you understand how a diet plan can be built using a units based method, sections three and four aim to assist by providing twelve comprehensive weekly meal plans (plus shopping lists) and 75+ recipes.

Divided into meal periods, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (by protein), each recipe includes ingredients and method along with serving size, preparation time, cooking time and difficulty level, perfect for cooks of all ability. The recipe also provides information about the units per serve, and the number of carbs is highlighted. Full colour, attractive photographs accompany the majority of recipes. A layout example, and sample recipe is below:



Extract from The CSIRO Low-Carb Diabetes Diet & Lifestyle Solution by Professor Grant Brinkworth and Dr Pennie Taylor. Macmillan Australia, RRP $36.99, Available 25th August. Photography by Rob Palmer. Click here to LOOK INSIDE the book.


Physical activity plays an important role in preventing, and managing diabetes. The final section of the book provides information on safely integrating exercise into your lifestyle, and provides photographic examples of several low impact exercises that can enhance your success when paired with the meal plan.

I think The CSIRO Low-carb Diabetes Diet Lifestyle Solution would be an ideal purchase, or gift, for someone newly diagnosed with diabetes, though even if you aren’t affected by the disease, the meal plan and recipes in the book would also be beneficial for those seeking low carb menu options, to lose weight, or improve their general health.



Available from PanMacmillan Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Weekend Cooking: Handwritten Recipes: A Bookseller’s Collection of Curious and Wonderful Recipes Forgotten Between the Pages by Michael Popek



I picked up Handwritten Recipes: A Bookseller’s Collection of Curious and Wonderful Recipes Forgotten Between the Pages when I was at the library the other day, tempted by the description, and thinking it would make a good choice for my regular Weekend Cooking post.

Michael Popek works in his family’s used bookstore, and these handwritten recipes have been found within the pages of books

I tend to use anything close by to mark my page in a book if needed, generally a used envelope (usually with a shopping list or menu plan scribbled on it), catalogue pages, my reading glasses, or even my phone, even though I own (at least) a dozen bookmarks, I rarely seem to have one to hand.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written down a recipe. I’m more likely to type it into my phone’s Notes app or directly into my recipe app – I use Pepperplate.

Honestly, the book was a bit disappointing. There was little in the way of personalisation of the handwritten recipes, I was expecting more context I think, though an image of the cover of the book in which the recipe was found is included. Most of the recipes were probably copied from the book they were found in, since many were cookbooks.

The recipes are fairly ordinary, ranging from breads and cakes, through to main meals and side dishes. It does include a recipe for a Zucchini Bread which is very similar to what I’m planning to make later today, with the addition of choc bits (I ran out of time to make it before this post -recipe here from Sally’s Baking Addiction).



If you want to know what to expect in this book you’ll find plenty of like examples on the website, which Popek continues to keep up to date. I probably wouldn’t recommend you buy the book unless you have a particular interest, add the blog to your feed instead.

Michael Popek has also published Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller’s Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages, and If you are the curious sort, you can follow the blog at


Have you ever left a recipe in a book? What do you most often use as a bookmark?


Weekend Cooking: Margaret Fulton & Mini Pavlova’s


Last month, Australia lost one of its best-known food writers, Margaret Fulton, at age 94.

Margaret Fulton was a beloved national figure, awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1983 for her services to journalism and cookery. Credited with expanding the palette of Australian families, she was p, among other things, the the Food editor for Woman’s Day magazine for twenty years.

It would be rare to find an Australian kitchen that doesn’t include a cookbook by Margaret Fulton, she published 25 over a period of four decades. Her first book, a 1968 best seller, The Margaret Fulton Cookbook was revised and updated in 2017 as a 50th Anniversary edition. Other popular titles regularly reprinted include Margaret Fulton’s Baking Classics, and Margaret Fulton’s Encyclopedia of Food & Cookery.

Her memoir, I Sang for my Supper: Memories of a Food Writer was published in 2001.

Since pavlova is considered a traditional Australian dessert, I though this video of Margaret Fulton making some delicious mini pav’s would be fitting to include here. Enjoy!


Weekend Cooking: Cozy Culinary Mysteries


One of my guilty reading pleasures has always been cozy mysteries.

Cozy mysteries series are generally themed, and culinary/food themes are some of the most popular. Many of the books in a series include recipes, and whether you favour chocolate or chilli, dinner or dessert, you can find something tasty that will appeal.

Below are the covers of the first book in a variety of series, click to learn more.



Feel free to share your own favourite cozy mystery in the comments.



Weekend Cooking: Cake at Midnight by Jessie L. Star


Title: Cake at Midnight

Author: Jessie L. Star

Published: January 15th 2018, Simon & Schuster AU

Status: Read May 2019 courtesy Simon & Schuster


My Thoughts:

An engaging novel of contemporary romance, Cake at Midnight is a story of friendship and love from Australian author, Jessie L. Star.

Giovanna, Zoë and Declan – the baker, the beauty, and the brains- have been best friends since childhood. Now in their early twenties, they have celebrated one another’s successes, and commiserated with one another during times of heartbreak. For years Gio has nursed a crush on Declan who doesn’t mind taking advantage of her slavish devotion when it suits him, much to the growing disgust of Zoe. And after a disastrous not-a-date Gio realises she has let the situation get out of control, and in order to preserve their friendships, decides to cut Declan out of her life for 30 days. It’s not an easy step for Gio to take, not even cake is enough to dull the hurt, but her new neighbour, the enigmatic Theo, might just be exactly what she needs.

I enjoyed the romance in Cake at Midnight, it develops slowly from an odd sort of companionship, to a ‘friends with benefits’ situation, to the beginnings of a real relationship. Despite their very obvious differences, Gio and Theo complement each other well, though of course their path to true love has obstacles to overcome.

But romance is not all Cake at Midnight is about. It’s also about the friendship between Gio, Zoe and Declan and how it has changed over time as they have matured. There is a layer of emotional complexity relating to the family dynamics of Theo, and Declan. It’s also about being true to oneself.

The foodie element of the novel comes from Gio’s love of baking. She works at Pickle, Peach and Plum, an artisanal bakery, as an apprentice pastry chef.

“You’d perhaps think that, working at a bakery, the last thing I’d want to do upon returning home from a gruelling, every-last-swirl-of-ganache-critiqued, constantly-on-my-feet, nine-hour day, was more baking. You’d be wrong. It was like the difference between reading for school and reading for pleasure. I’d certainly always found during my years of education that the chance to chuck aside a textbook and pick up a recipe book had been a welcome one. That was what home baking was like for me.”

The first cake she bakes for Theo, to both apologise and thank him for rescuing her the night her not-a-date with Declan goes badly, is a Dark Chocolate and Rum Cake. She serves him a two-layer Lemon and Cardamom Cake the first time they kiss. The foodie references and metaphors added to the sweetness of Cake at Midnight.


Available from Simon & Schuster AU

or from your preferred retailer via Amazon AU I Amazon US 


Weekend Cooking: ‘Sixty Summers’ in Six Dishes from Amanda Hampson

In my new novel ‘Sixty Summers’, the relationships of three old friends are put to the test when they retrace the steps of their youthful backpacking trip through Europe. I had my own memories of travelling in that era to draw on for the past story. The next task was to research the current day journey through Europe. I set off by train with my characters for company and share with you here a few of my food experiences.

Paris was my first stop in Europe. A city with many fabulous restaurants for those who are not on a tight budget, and know where to eat. I don’t fall into either category and had a couple of meals that were almost inedible. The best was one of my favourite French dishes, salade de chévre chaud. It is so simple it’s almost impossible to mess up. Grilled goat’s cheese on slices of baguette with ripe tomatoes and a little greenery – délicieux!

Next stop was Berlin. Known for wonderful breads and every kind of sausage, they also excel at knocking up a torte or two. Fresh and beautifully decorated, the slices are generous so the tricky part is deciding which kuchen to sample. One of my favourites is the unpronounceable zwetschgendatschi; a sponge cake topped with ripe plums and dusted with powdered sugar.

In Prague they are very keen on all things chocolate. It was 8 degrees below zero when I was there and I did indulge in a delicious hot chocolate to thaw my frozen hands out after a long walk. I didn’t have a chance to sample these rather strange concoctions. Chocolate rum I can understand, but chocolate wine and beer?!

In Vienna, I lashed out on lunch at the historic Cafe Central to check out the classic Viennese architecture. First opened in 1876, some of its regulars were Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler and Sigmund Freud – not sure if they shared a table! The cafe is justifiably famous for its exquisite pastries and gateaux. I had the Himbeer Harmonie – chocolate with raspberry and marshmallow – it tasted even better than it looks!

Bologna has some of the most amazing food shops anywhere in Europe and, after indulging in gateaux, it was time get into some fruit and vegetables. One fruiterer, unimpressed with my pronunciation of mela (apple) took it upon herself to give me some tutoring. Other customers stood around watching with interest as she corrected me and had me repeat the word numerous times until she was satisfied – no extra charge.

Crete was my last stop. There are so many classic Greek dishes that are good and the yoghurt and fruit I had in Chania was the best. This beetroot salad was one of those dishes that, when it arrives, makes you wonder what on earth you ordered. It was beetroot and was cold, so I guess that makes it a salad – but it was also very weird!


If you would like to read more about my research trip jump over to my blog:

BethFishReads invites you to share any food related post in the weekly Weekend Cooking link up.

Weekend Cooking: Slow Cooker Central 2 by Paulene Christie (and me!)


So while I was on hiatus, one of the more exciting things that happened for me was the publication of a couple of recipes I submitted in the book Slow Cooker Central 2 by Paulene Christie.

I joined the Slow Cooker Central community in the search of ways to make more use of my slowcooker. With a large family, whom have large appetites and a busy schedule, I am always on the lookout for easy, economical and satisfying meal ideas.

Slow Cooker Central 2 (HarperCollins AU I HarperCollins US) contains 270 recipes organised into 14 chapters that will help you make meals to match your appetite or what’s in the fridge. They are family friendly recipes from people who cook for their families everyday. You’ll find great ideas for casseroles, curries, soups and roasts; plus plenty of recipes you might not expect, such as those for desserts, cakes, fudge and even face paint and play dough.

The recipes I contributed to Slow Cooker Central 2 are two of my family favourites, Creamy Chicken Fajitas and Luau Chicken.

The website at Slow Cooker Central contains an archive of recipes, hints, tips and more, and the Slow Cooker Central Facebook group is busy and active group. There is even an App It’s membership is primarily Australian so metric measurements are most common, but all nationalities are welcome. Other publications available are Slow Cooker Central 1, Slow Cooker Central Family Favourites, Slow Cooker Central Kids and Slow Cooker Central Super Savers.

One of my favourite slow cooker recipes that I didn’t submit is a tasty fakeaway meal. I’ve recently had to replace my trusty 20 year old 7L Breville Banquet Maker (pictured) with a newer model after it finally gave up the ghost, so this recipe is made in a 7L Breville Flavour Maker.

Homemade Turkish Doner Kebab (Gyro)

1.5 kg lean or extra lean beef mince
500g lamb mince
2 1/2 tbsp Greek Seasoning (I used Masterfoods brand)
1 Tbsp Harissa Seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp all purpose seasoning
1 tsp salt
Optional: 1/4 -1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (omit if you dislike heat)

Measure Greek seasoning, Harissa Seasoning, garlic powder, all purpose seasoning, salt and cayenne pepper into a small container and mix well.
Place beef and lamb mince in a large bowl and mix by hand until well combined.
Add spices to mince and mix well again.
If available add mince mix to food processor and pulse til a thick paste
Line a rectangular container (approx lunch box size) with foil and add mince, pressing firmly with knuckles to expel air and fill. Cover and refrigerate for minimum 2 hours or up to overnight.
Remove container from refrigerator, ensure meat is tightly wrapped in foil, re-wrap if necessary.
Make 6 balls of foil (or use a rack) and place in slow cooker to create a stand for the foil wrapped meat. Add 1 – 1 1/2 cups water to slow cooker, make sure water level is below the level of the stand.
Add foil wrapped meat and turn slow cooker to HIGH
Cook on HIGH for 1.5 hours. This ensures meat will keep its tight shape.
Remove foil wrapped meat from slow cooker, take out balls/rack and pour out water.
Turn slow cooker to LOW, unwrap meat and place directly into the slow cooker bowl.
Cook on LOW for a further 2-3 hours (a meat thermometer should register at least 70c (150F) when inserted into the middle of the loaf)
When cooked, remove meat, wrap in foil and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes.
Slice thinly with a large very sharp knife (an electric or shaving knife would make this easier).
Serve wrapped in warmed pita or tortilla wraps with your preferred dressings
I like lots of shredded lettuce, thinly sliced onion rings, BBQ sauce and a squirt of aioli (garlic sauce). You can also add sliced tomato, shredded cheese, tabbouleh, humus etc
Leftovers still taste great heated in the microwave.

But it happens to be my birthday I’m not cooking tonight YAY!

Weekend Cooking: Prick With a Fork by Larissa Dubecki


Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads is a semi-regular post at Book’d Out.



Title: Prick with a Fork

Author: Larissa Dubecki

Published: Allen & Unwin September 2015

Status: Read from September 25 to 26, 2015 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

Prick With a Fork is a funny, lighthearted expose of the food industry from the point of view of a disenchanted waitress turned restaurant critic.

From almost killing a stripper with a wayward steak knife to staging go slow’s to frustrate obnoxious customers, Larissa Dubecki claims she was the world’s worst waitress, unashamedly sullen, insolent, disinterested, and often hungover, yet she spent over a decade waitering in everything from cyber cafe’s to gastro pubs throughout Melbourne.

In Prick with a Fork, Dubecki details working with psychopathic chefs, hostile customers, drug addled colleagues and bartenders on the take and reveals insider secrets about illicit trysts in coolrooms, cash hidden under registers, and unpleasant uses for carrots. Her anecdotes are hilarious, though often slightly nauseating, you may never be able look your waiter in the eye again.

Salted with confessions and peppered with pathos, Prick with a Fork is a light and entertaining read.

Available to purchase from

Allen & Unwin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

and all good bookstores.


Weekend Cooking: The Messy Baker by Charmain Christie


I’ve decided to make the Weekend Cooking meme, hosted by Beth Fish Reads a semi-regular post at Book’d Out.


Title: The Messy Baker: More than 75 delicious recipes from a real kitchen

Author: Charmain Christie

Published: Rodale Books August 2015

Status: Read on August 09, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

After a sweet introduction, more properly a dedication to her mother, Charmain Christie opens The Messy Baker with ‘The Messy Manifesto’ and proclaims, “Never trust a person with a clean kitchen.”

The Messy Baker is cookbook for the enthusiastic home baker with a mix of over 75 sweet and savoury recipes. Full page photograph’s complement the appealing design, though not every recipe is featured.messy2

The first chapter, ‘Basics’, suggests ‘Can’t-do-without items’, Nice-to-have items, and ‘I’m-a-baker-and-I’ve-earned-it items’, before listing Essential ingredients that every baker should have on hand, their uses, tips for prep where applicable, and proper storage of said ingredients. And if you are still feeling a little lost, the Appendix includes a glossary, a measurement conversion chart, and a list of emergency ingredient substitutions.

Christie then begins with recipes for puff, shortcrust, and Pate Sucree pastry, as well as tips for working with phyllo pasty. The recipes are sorted into seven chapters categorised by texture.

messy1Flaky recipes include Morrocan Lamb Parcels, Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Scented Palmiers and Cherry and Lemon Macaroon Meringues. Crumbly treats include Stuffed Tomato, Arugula, and Cilantro Focaccia, Savoury Pecan and Cheddar Bites and Deep, Dark Cherry and Chipotle Brownies. The Dippable recipes are for dunking in coffee, tea, milk, soups, or sauces and include Rosemary and Black Olive Grissini, and Espresso and Hazelnut Biscotti. If you prefer foods that drip or ooze their filling then the Smoky Mushroom Crepes or Boozy Chocolate Torte (shown on the book’s cover), found under Sloppy, might appeal. The Peppery Pear and Smoked Gouda Dutch Baby and Burnt Caramel and Sea Salt Sticky Buns are two recipes found under Smudgy. Gritty sweet and savoury recipes include Many-Seed Lavash Bread and Citrus-topped Poppy Seed Bars. Drippy recipes include temptations such as Lime-Cilantro Dipping Sauce, Boozy Brown Sugar Whipped Cream and Chocolate Anything Sauce.

I liked the tone of this cookbook, Christie’s notes are encouraging, her tips are useful and of course there is no expectation of perfection, though there is an art to pulling off the ‘messy’ look. What it does lack is an index, and Christie’s timing ‘Commitment’ approach is a little eccentric.

You can get a feel for Charmain Christie’s approach to baking on her blog,

Available to Purchase via

Rodale Press I Amazon US I IndieBound


Weekend Cooking: The Best Homemade Kid’s Snacks on the Planet


I’ve decided to make the Weekend Cooking meme, hosted by Beth Fish Reads a semi-regular post at Book’d Out.


Title: The Best Homemade Kids’ Snacks on the Planet: More than 200 Healthy Homemade Snacks You and Your Kids Will Love

Author: Laura Fuentes

Published: Fair Winds Press: Murdoch Books June 2015

Status: Read on June 13, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

The Best Homemade Snacks on the Planet contains more than 200 recipes designed to tempt toddlers, children and perhaps even teenagers to snack on wholesome homemade treats.

baked-items-best-snacksMy copy of The Best Homemade Snacks on the Planet is a large format softcover. The recipes are generally presented two to a page. Though there are full page colour photographs every few pages, not all recipe results are pictured. Both metric and imperial measurements are provided, as are yield amounts.

In the first chapter you will find time-saving tips, storage solutions, information about allergies, ingredient substitutions, and Laura Fuentes ‘Snacking Rules’.

The Recipes are sorted into seven chapters titled Fruit and Veggie Snacks, No-Bake Bites and Dips, Baked Bites, Reimagined Classics, Mini Meals, Super Smoothies and Drinks and lastly, Frozen Delights and Special Treats.

Simple to prepare and serve, using largely fresh and easy to source ingredients, recipes include Crunchy Berry Salad; Chocolate Avocado Pudding; Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bites; Cheese Crackers; Ninja Turtle Nuggets and Elvis Shakes.

I’ve bookmarked several snacks to try, and plan to my involve my children in making them, starting with this simple

Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Pudding

1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup plain yoghurt

Combine the peanut butter and yoghurt in a blender til smooth. Add the banana slices and blend just until smooth. Refrigerate or serve immediately. Serves 4

The final pages of the cookbook includes a Feedback Chart, allowing you or your child/ren to rate and make notes for each

The Best Homemade Snacks on the Planet offers a practical collection of snack recipes with plenty of appeal for a child’s fussy palette. While this would be the perfect gift for any busy mother, the recipes could also appeal to adults who enjoy healthy snacks and treats.

Visit the author’s website for additional recipes, instructional videos and more.

Available to purchase from

Murdoch Books Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

Amazon US I BookDepository

and all good bookstores.

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