Cooking just4Me

The conversations about “What are you doing for Christmas?” seem to start earlier and earlier every year. “Oh, it as my place and I’ve got, 12 for brunch or 20 for lunch or as one of my friends has 35 coming for dinner!”

It is overwhelming to me who this year has two for lunch, just my 90-year-old Mum and I.

The balance of our family lives interstate. No cast of thousands for us, just Mum and Me.

In the recent past, Mum and I have gone to a restaurant for our Christmas celebration as we’ve both wanted a special day, a lunch worthy of two months of conversation and planning.

However, I’m someone who loves to cook; I’m inspired to make a few of the special dishes that have been paraded across TV cooking shows for the last two months, or some of the wonderful delights that are featured in every glossy magazine at the supermarket checkout.

I’d also like to include some of the dishes from previous Christmases, ones my memory associated with my family Christmas.

Sadly when I pulled out my faithful folder of festive recipes, torn from previous years Christmas food magazines and handwritten recipes from friends of dishes I’ve cooked in past Christmases, I was hit by the fact that they feed 8 to 12 or more. They will create so much more food than Mum, and I need, even if I build in the ritual leftovers for Boxing day.

It’s time for a rethink on Christmas lunch and festive celebrations….

….time to claim them back for the Hidden Majority…

…time to design celebration menus for small households! Afterall we are the majority of households in Australia.

With that vision in mind, I’ve been thinking, planning and testing menu ideas for the big day for the last two months. In this time I’ve talked to lots of people about their Christmas day meals, and I’ve been struck by how many others are just two or three for lunch.

After much thought  and taking Mum’s and my wishlists into consideration my final menu is:

Smoked salmon salad
Smoked salmon salad

Starter: Smoked salmon with a salad of asparagus, cucumber, capers and green leaves with mustard and dill creme fraiche, with rye bread

This is a classic combination of flavours that both Mum and I love. It looks summery and tastes of luxury. Easy to prepare, not a big hit on the budget as you only need one bunch of asparagus and one pack of smoked salmon. I think this is a winner.

Turkey, sage and pine nut meatballs
Turkey, sage and pine meatball with lingonberry sauce for a celebration meal.

Main: Panko crumbed turkey, sage and pine nut meatballs with cherry and rhubarb chutney, mashed potatoes, honey carrots and buttered snow peas.

These meatballs are amazing! They taste like a classic roast turkey meal, stuffing included. They are wonderful hot and even better cold. I’m going to serve them hot, but my recipe makes 12 large meatballs (3 each on Christmas day and 6 for leftover for Boxing Day. They make great sandwiches in rye bread).

The flavour of the stuffing is important in this recipe. I love pine nut and sage stuffing and used my old recipe as the basis for the meatballs. Pine nuts really make the meatballs sing Christmas to me and are worth the expense and effort. You only need two tablespoons full for the meatballs, Using only 500 g of turkey meat, so much less expensive than a whole roast. The panko breadcrumbs are available at most supermarkets and give a beautiful crunch to the meatballs.

Add vegetable sides of your choice here. You need about 350 – 400 g of vegetable per person for a generous amount of side dishes. I did one large potato per person, and it was plenty but if you love mash feel free to do three large potatoes for two people.

The jam element could be cranberry, redcurrant,  lingenberry or your favourite chutney or fruit jam. The tart-sweet jam lifts the dish and saves the need for gravy – not something Mum and I are into.

Honey ice cream frozen Christmas pudding
Honey ice cream frozen Christmas pudding

Sweets: Honey ice cream and rum fruit mince frozen puddings with praline crumb

This is so easy and tastes even better than it looks if that possible! Whipped fresh cream with honey and liquid glucose, frozen in a mould with a booze-infused fruit mince from a jar.  Mine has rum as Mum like the taste of rum and raisin ice cream. And after all its Christmas.

Afters: Coffee and Boiled fruit cake and slices of my 5 treasure style panforte

The Boiled Fruitcake, as we always have fruitcake at Christmas and Mum and I like a light one.  I’ve sized it just for us in my Bake Club. See here for more information.

My version of a panforte – 5 treasure cake is a recipe I make each as Christmas as gifts and keep one for me to share with my coffee.

So, there it is after months of planning and testing (I made the full menu for the friends the other week for a final test and to take the photos) my menu for a small household on Christmas Day.

I’m really looking forward to it.

What are you planning to have for Christmas day? What’s your menu for your New Year’s celebration?

What are the dishes/flavours that for you represent the festive season?


Turkey, sage and pine nut meatballs

Turkey, sage and pine nut meatballs

Turkey, sage and pine nut meatballs served with mashed potato, cranberry sauce and vegetable makes a great Christmas lunch for a small household.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12
  • Category: main meal
  • Method: oven baked
  • Cuisine: Modern Australian


50 g (1 sliced) wholemeal/rye bread, in 3 cm in pieces

100 g water/milk

1 onion peeled and cut in half

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp dried sage leaves or 1 tbsp fresh leaves

2 tbsp of pine nuts

2 strips of pancetta, dice in 2 cm pieces

500 g turkey mince (or make your own with turkey meat 7 sec/speed 6)

4 tbsp plain flour

salt and pepper to taste

100 g panko crumbs for coating


Place bread in mixing bowl and crumb 10 sec/speed 5.

Place breadcrumbs in a bowl with milk/water and allow to sit to soften for a few minutes.

Place onion, garlic, sage, pine nuts and pancetta in mixing bowl and chop 7 sec/speed 7. Scrape down sides.

Add turkey mince and soaked bread with water and mix 10 sec/speed 6.

Add flour and mix 10 sec/speed 6.

Use a spoon and one wet hand to shape into 12 large round balls.

Place panko crumbs in a bowl. Roll each meatball to fully coat. Place on a tray and cover. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or till ready to cook. I leave them overnight to develop a better flavour.

Pre-heat oven to 180C non-fan (160C) fan. Line an oven tray with baking paper.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the meatballs, a few at a time till golden in colour. Transfer to a tray and place in oven to finish cooking for about 15 minutes.

Serve hot with mashed potato, cranberry sauce and vegetables of your choice. I work on about 400 g of vegetables per person.

Or serve cold with salads of choice.


  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 336
  • Sugar: 3.4g
  • Sodium: 256.2mg
  • Fat: 19.5
  • Carbohydrates: 11.5g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Protein: 29.3g
  • Cholesterol: 98.3mg

Frozen honey ice cream fruit mince puddings

Honey ice cream frozen Christmas pudding

A light icecream pudding with the taste of traditional Christmas pudding. Easy to make and refreshing on a hot Christmas day.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Category: Pudding
  • Method: Freezer
  • Cuisine: Modern Australian


5 tbsp premade fruit mince (from the supermarket)

2 tbsp booze of choice (brandy, rum, orange liquor or port)

400 g good quality high fat (35%) fresh cream with no thickening in it

2 tbsp runny honey

1 tbsp liquid glucose (from the baking section in supermarket)

Toffee nuts, milled to fine powder for garnish (optional)


Make Ahead

Place fruit mince and booze in a small bowl and mix with a fork to incorporate. Set aside to allow flavours to mix. (if I’m organised I do this the night before I make the puddings when pushed for time it has about 30 mins)

Inset butterfly into mixing bowl and add cream, honey and liquid glucose and whisk on speed 3 till cream is at firm peak stage.

Place 2 tsp of the booze flavoured fruit mince in the bottom of each mould. Using a spoon half fill with whipped cream. Tap mould on the bench to ensure no air pockets.

Add a tablespoon of fruit mince to the centre of each mould and top with more cream. Again, tap on the bench to remove air pockets. Cover top of mould with foil or cling film and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Take moulded puddings out of the freezer about 10 minutes before you plan to serve. To un-mound, wrap a wet warm cloth around each mould and tap on the plate.

Spoon a little remaining mince mixture over the top of each pudding and dust with crumbed toffee nuts that have been milled to a fine crumb.


The recipe makes 4 x 100 g moulded puddings. I have little jelly mould I use but you can use any container you can freeze. I make the boozy fruit mince the day ahead if I’m organised. If not 30 minutes soaking will be ok.


  • Serving Size: 100 g
  • Calories: 419
  • Sugar: 17.1g
  • Sodium: 39.2mg
  • Fat: 37 g
  • Carbohydrates: 137 g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Protein: 2.1g
  • Cholesterol: 137mg

cropped-cookingjust4me-logo 1Since launching this site in 2012 and writing ‘Cooking for Me and You’ cookbook for Thermomix, I’ve meet so many people who are working through the unique challenges that small household managers face.

This made me realise it’s so important to give voice to our needs, as small households managers, and for me to continue to create recipes, share tips and create a place to share small household management wisdom. So I’ve redesigned my site. I trust you like the changes.

 Whats New?

More recipe methods – I’ve had lots of requests for recipes and tips for conventional as well as Thermomix cooking. And while I’m madly in love with my Thermomix  I do understand not everyone has one and not every dinner is cooked in one… I do love a BBQ.  Yes just4Me but more on that soon…

In this new site I will be sharing both Thermomix and conventional methods for the recipes.

Curried roasted cauliflowerHealthy ME – Like many of you, I’m currently focusing on being more healthily in my food choices. to help you and me in doing this I’ve added nutritional information for recipes going forward.

I also am using a new recipe app, so you can easily print recipes. I’m a ‘hard copy kind of girl’ at heart and have lots of little note books with pages stuffed in them with my precious adoptions of recipes.  so if that you my recipes will now be easy  to print recipes.

 Just4ME  – Baking- Not long after I finished the cookbook for Thermomix I realised that while I was  good at savoury cooking I was terrified of baking. why did I go walk at the knees when I had to make a cake for an event? Lack of knowledge, lack of practice, lack of skills?

I loved bake goods but just didn’t bake. It was for a mix of the reasons above. I thought about this and decided to learn to be a baker.

I set off on an adventure to discover the perfect cake to have with a cuppa (as that’s when I wanted  a little bit of cake) that journey for the last 3 years has lead to the creation of a site site to Cookingjust4Me…. the just4Me Bake Club.

If you like baked goods but don’t bake as there is just you or its not healthy or you can’t be bothered… check out my just4Me Bake Club which is an online cooking school that will show you how to make just4Me sized cakes (15cm /6 in) that are healthy treats and easy to make, even if your not a bake.

Me and youDinner for Two – Finally on this new site I’ll be sharing recipes for two.

Or as I say ‘Me +  You.

These recipes are mainly dinners, as that what we need to cook most often, designed for two people as one meal or for Me – a meal that can be cooked once and eaten twice but not in a boring way… I get bored with food very easily. So bring on variety!


I trust you enjoy the new look site and I welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Happy cooking just4 You…. because You matter!


September 2017



empty muffin cases A quick update on these delish crustless

quiches…I found these paper muffin case in a regular size in my supermarket. ( I’d only ever seen them for super sized muffins before).

They are perfect to bake individual crustless quiches. The recipe on the website makes 6 of these little beauties.

The paper casing makes them easy to pack into a storeage container in the fridge and handy to grab for breakfast/ snack on the go, all pre-packed.

And a big plus the baking tray is much easier to clean.

I’ve also made an addition to the recipe… a few tablespoons of rolled rye oats. They give these little ones a bit more of a bakegood taste and are a bit more filling and a bit less eggy.

I think this will be my new go to option.

What are your go to ways to prevent baking sticking in muffin tins?


crustless spinach quiche two waysHelp! I need to know if fellow just4Me cooks feel the same. Why are recipes always for 4 or more?

I’m on a little health kick at present which means I’m being very mindful of what I eat. While I can workout how much of what ingredients I can have to achieve my goals, it does require a bit of brain power when looking to eat differently ( read ‘more healthy’ here).

It means my usual go-to dinners are not suitable and I need to try some new recipes. To get inspiration for some healthy dishes to make I checked out some of the latest diet recipe books.

Some wonderful idea, healthy, tasty, using ingredients I like and have in the house.

Yeah! Let’s get cooking!

Well not so fast… when I read the small print the recipes are all for 4! Way more than I need for my household of one.

That’s 4 meals of the same stuff for me…. boring…. wasteful…. plus ever so tempting to over eat as the food is there.

Yes I know you can just cut the recipe in 4….but sometimes that doesn’t work.

Also trying doing the maths on a Friday night after a busy week when you are really tired and hungry… not that much fun.

Freeze the rest? I don’t see freezing as the answer…. it still the same stuff (read ‘boredom’ here) and for me it is never as nice as the fresh version when I finally defrost it weeks later.

Plus I need to remember to defrost it few days in advance, which I never do.

No, to me the answer is healthy recipes for one!

So fellow just4Me cooks as I’m need to the work for my own health program I’m planing to share my healthy meals with you.

The first recipe I have adapted is a yummy crustless quiche. I have quiche often and this version works as a dinner  on its own or 1/2 a sever with a side of veggies or salad is a good lunch which is my favourite way to enjoy it.

The bonus is I have a healthy breakfast  for when I’m pushed for time I the morning. A big win win in my book.

Do you find it frustrating how us just4Me household or overlooked by the popular healthy cookbooks?

Do you have some trick you use to convert recipes quickly?

I’d love to hear you thoughts. I then meantime enjoy this yummy, fast crustless quiche.

crustless spinach quiche

Crustless Spinach Quiche two ways

Number of servings: 2


75 g chopped spinach (I use frozen and thaw it in the oven while it is heating up.)

50 g strong hard cheese (like Cheddar), diced 2 cm cubes

50 g crème fraiche

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste


2 tbsp roasted capsicum (I used the ones in a jar, drained)

1 tsp mushroom powder (See tip)

Tip: Mill dried porcini mushrooms and shitake mushrooms to a powder and store in a jar. I use equal quantities of both in the mix.


Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line 18 cm pie tin or a 6 hole regular muffin tin.

Place frozen spinach in a heat proof dish into oven to defrost while oven is heating.

Place cheese into mixing bowl and grate 10 sec/ speed 7. Scrape down sides.

Add crème fraiche and eggs mix 10 sec/speed 4.

Remove spinach from oven spread evenly into pie dish or divide between 6 muffin cups. Sprinkle nutmeg evenly over the top. Set aside.

Pour cheese and egg mix over spinach and top with roasted capsicum strips and mushroom dust, if using.

Bake for 20 minutes (pie dish) and about 15 minutes for muffin tins. They are cooked when lightly golden brown.

Eat warm or cold.

Crustless quiche will keep for several days in the refrigerator. Re-heat in oven.

Crustless spiniach quiche label
Crustless spinach quiche per serve. Quiche makes two servers.
crustless quiche muffins label
Crustless spinach quiche muffin per muffin




cooked chicken and stock
Fast chicken stock, cooked chicken meat and chicken soup

One chook so many options.

This classic chicken dinner is an example what I call a progressive ingredient adventure.

An ingredient that can reappear multiple times during the week in vastly different guises eliminating the boredom factor plus it prevents me from wasting food.

There were two guidelines to working the progressive ingredient:

  1. The ingredients are ones that can’t be bought in small quantities, but can work in multiple ways but look completely different each time and
  2. The recipes that are based around foods that don’t go off quickly or are enhanced with store cupboard/ frozen ingredients.

The start of my chook adventure is a healthy “roast” chicken that is steamed. The steaming water becomes the start of my chicken stock. Recipes below.

I often cook this part of the adventure on weekend when I have a little more time to cook the chicken and play with the stock.  I see it as an investment spending a little time cooking now sets me up for a whole range of fast meals later in the week.

The quantity in the recipe below, is based on a whole chicken, which still leaves plenty of chicken and vegetables to become my progressive ingredients to the coming week. however I have done it with a pack of chicken pieces.

After a chicken and veggie dinner, when the chicken has cooled, I stripped the moist chicken meat off the carcass and set it aside. I then use the water that is in the TM bowl from steaming the chicken to be the beginning of the chicken stock.

To this I add a few aromatic ingredients and a little more liquid with the chicken bones in the steamer basket and cook for about 20 to 40 minutes ( depending on my mood and the hour of day) to create a simple chicken stock that will be the basis for other dishes later in the week.

Currently I have at least 11 favourite dishes that I make from the leftover chicken stock or meat. This gives me lots of choice as to what I can have later in the week. no waste or boredom!

My current dishes:

  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Chicken Salad with Ferment Veggies and Avocado
  • Pho Style Bowls
  • Chicken Pasta Bake
  • Homemade Chicken Nuggets
  • Chicken Rissoles
  • Chicken and Veggie Sausage Rolls
  • Chicken sandwiches
  • Chicken toasty
  • Chicken Stir fry
  • Chicken Risotto

Recipes for my versions of the about are coming soon, but I’m sure you will have your own versions of may of the above.

In the meantime enjoy a healthy roast chook and quick stock.

My Steamed ‘Roast’ Chicken and Stock

Number of servings: 4 or use as the cooked meat in other dishes

Ingredients – Chicken

1.5 kg whole chicken

2 tsp garlic infused olive oil

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 carrot, cut lengthwise

1 onion, peeled and quartered

tops of several stalks of celery

1.8 litre of water

Method – Chicken

Place chicken in Varoma bowl, rub all over with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Add carrot, onion and celery leaves in and around chicken.

Place water in TM bowl and set Varoma in place. Steam chicken for 60 minutes / Varoma / speed 2.  Using a food thermometer check if chicken is cooked (74°C or when juices run clear). If not cooked, check water level, top up if required and cook for extra time (10-15 mins).  Keep cooking water for stock.

Allow chicken to cool, then shred meat keeping all the bones and carcass to make stock.

 Tip for Crispy roast chicken

About 10 minutes before chicken is finished, heat oven grill and a roasting pan. When chicken is cooked, pat it down with paper towel and place on hot baking tray and grill until golden – 10-15 minutes.

Ingredients – Stock

Cooking water from steamed chicken (above) topped up to be 1.5 litre.

1 tbsp vinegar

Bones and carcass of cooked chicken (above)

salt and pepper to taste

bay leaf

Method – Stock

Add cooking water and vinegar to TM bowl and top up to 1.5 litre.

Place chicken bones and carcass into steamer basket and insert into bowl.

Season with salt, pepper, bay leaf and then cook for 30 minutes / 90°C / speed 2.

Remove steamer basket with bones and discard.

Pour stock into storage container and chill in fridge.

When it is chilled, the fat will rise to the top and can be removed by placing paper towel onto it.

Stock can then be frozen or kept in the fridge for a few days.

Progressive Ingredient Chicken A steamed chook can provide up to four meals for one person plus 1.5 l of home made stock.

The meat from this recipe is used in the other dishes in this collection.



Do you feel like you are the only person who cooks for themselves?
I did…
…as most of my friends are couples or families it felt as if I was the only one who cook just for Me.
That was until I saw the census data a few years ago and discovered that a significant number of Australian households were ‘lone person’ household.
In the 2016 that figure is now 24.4%. That’s nearly 1 in 4 household are like me, cooking and baking for themselves. I’m not alone.
In 2016 the average household size is 2.6 person decreased from 2.8. The average household size is getting smaller with one or two persons household making up the majority of households.
So why is it that food is alway in family size pack, and recipes are for 4 or 6 servers!
I’m tired of food always being about others and the many… why can’t it be about what I like, need and want?
Why can’t the focus be on ME size.
I don’t see this as selfish and uncaring. I see it as showing love and valuing ME.
After all if I don’t look after ME who will? But is still doesn’t seem to be a topic to talk about .. I cook for just me. conversations are about cooking for family and sharing with others. which for me is fine every so often but not on most week night!
I’ve decided to stop hiding as a household of one and shout from the rooftops that it’s ok to be a ‘lone person’ household and that my needs are important and I am looking after them.
That’s why I’ve created my recipes and videos in the just4Me Bake Club.  Why I’m working on more recipes for cookingjust4Me and convinced  Thermomix they need the cooking for you and me book.
I’m a just4ME baker and cook  ’cause the ME matters!
How do you feel about just4Me household management?
What are your strategies and tips for dealing with the world of supersize?
I’d love to hear your views.

Torta Caprses cake. on trayLove a little bit of cake with your cuppa?

But you don’t bake as there is just you and most recipes make super sized cakes?

I know the feeling.

I like a little taste of cake with my cuppa but don’t bake as I’m a household of one.

After completing the highly successful  ‘Cooking for you and me’ cookbook for Thermomix, which is mainly weeknight dinners, I turned my attention to cakes.

I realised that I had few baking skills even was a bit intimidated by he thought of baking. I was great at cooking but not baking. My mum wasn’t a baker so I never learnt the skill when I was young.

So with a desire for cake, a thirst for baking knowledge and a willingness to learn new skills, I set off on a journey to find the perfect cake to go with a cuppa and bake it in a size just4me.

Three years on I’m quite a good baker, I’ve learnt lots a skills and tricks plus I have developed dozens of beautiful cake recipes sized just4Me.

I’d like to share what I have learnt and created, as I’ve discovered there are a lot of other people who would like just4Me sized recipes.

That’s what I’ve created the just4Me Bake Club. An online club where I share recipes and knowledge. My recipes are for both Thermomix and non-Thermomix methods of cake making.

Like to know more? Visit

Like to try one of my recipes for free? Click here.

I’m excited about my Bake Club and would love you to join. Click here for a $1 two week trial.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Watch out as I’ll be upgrade the site very soon. With lots more to come.

Happy cooking and baking just4You!


IMG_1942Update: This little book was republished in 2014 by Thermomix as a cookbook and chip for the TM5, the first cookbook and chip for Australia. It has gone on to be one of the best selling cookbooks for Thermomix. Plus it has more recipes!

To purchase the book visit Thermomix  here.

This great recipe booklet contains 53 wonderful recipes for those who cook for one and two, all designed for your Thermomix. It includes breakfast ideas, quick lunches for home or to pack to take on the go, dinners and beautiful desserts.

How do I know they are wonderful, when the book is not yet available I hear you ask. I know as I spent much of the last 12 months creating and testing the recipes.

Check out your chance to win a Cooking for One and Two prize pack visit Thermomix in Australia’s Facebook page. Hurry the competition closes on February 4.

I’ll be posting more about the recipe book next week.

In the meantime good luck in the competition.

It was great to meet everyone last night at the second Cookingjust4Me + You class. Again a full house.

Thank you to all those who came and  for your wonderful feedback. The buzz on the night was folks were keen to try my recipes for themselves. Number one was the Steamed Chicken with the green sauce and closely followed by the Spring Slaw.

The recipes are available here:Early Spring class recipes V6

I’ll be posting the stories behind the spring recipe collection over the coming weeks, with more pictures.

In the mean time I’d love to hear what  your favourite recipe in the collection is!

Happy cooking!


My Cookingjust4Me + You class on 26 November is now fully booked.

Caroline presenting at the October Cookingjust4Me+you class
Caroline presenting at the October Cookingjust4Me+you class

Thanks to everyone who has booked for the 26th. We have a very full house for next week’s class at Prospect.

The reaction has been so positive to the classes that I’m now organising a series of classes for 2014. As soon as I have a venue sorted I’ll be posting more details, so what the blog.

Recipes that will be cooked on the night are available here: Early Spring class recipes V6

Happy cooking!

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