Cooking from scratch

25 February 2019
I think I'm a little ahead of myself when it comes to the transition from cool summer food over to warmer and heartier autumn meals.  We're in the last week of summer here and I'm longing for my favourite season to start with her cooler nights and warm days. I'm always conscious of the need to create nutritious food for my family and when Jamie is here on the weekends, I love serving him the same kind of food that his father grew up on. So maybe a little earlier than expected, I've been making lasagne, breads, soups, and today - corned beef, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower.

Kartoffel puffer (potato pancakes) also made the dinner table last week. They're one of Hanno's favourites and one of the meals his mother taught me when we lived in Germany in 1979-1980.  It's such a simple dish and something you can put more than potatoes in if you want to disguise vegetables for children who don't like trying new food.  I tend to stay with the traditional pairing of potatoes and onions but you could also add zucchini, cauliflower, sweet potato, carrot etc.

Serves 4
  • 6 large potatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup flour
  • salt and pepper
  1. Grate the potatoes and finely dice the onions, add to a colander and allow to stand for 30 minutes while the juices drip. Add the potatoes and onions to a bowl, squeezing them to remove most of the juices.
  2. Add the eggs, flour, salt and pepper and mix well.
  3. Put about ½ cup of oil in a frying pan, heat up then add ¼ cup circles of the potato mix. When the first side is golden brown, turn it over and cook the other side.  Each one takes about 5 or 6 minutes and you can usually fit 4 into the pan at one time.  If you're making a large amount, use two pans.
  4. Drain on a clean tea towel or paper towel before serving. 
Making two lasagnes here - one to send home with Kerry, one for our lunch with Jamie. 

Sunny is still in Korea and at the end of very busy days looking after his sushi shop on the beach at Mooloolaba and Sunny's in Woolworths at Caloundra, Kerry goes home to cook for Jamie and the two Korean girls staying in their home for a couple of months while they learn English. On the weekends when he comes over after work to pick up Jamie, I like to send them home with a good meal for all of them and a homemade cake or biscuits for Jamie's school lunchbox.  I didn't get around to the lunchbox this week because I was busy with the workshops I'm presenting, but I did manage to make a large lasagne.  The good thing about a lasagne is that the leftovers are eagerly taken to school - for the three students - the following day.

What's in your menu plan this week?  Have you moved from cool to warm food or warm to cool yet?


  1. Oh yum! Your cooking looks so delicious Rhonda. I too am looking forward to cooking up the warming and hearty dishes of Autumn. We actually had soup from the freezer twice last week, as I was sick. Such good comfort food. Thanks so much for sharing the special potato pancakes recipe. I will have to make those one night soon - I have a strong suspicion my family will love them! Cheers, Kelly

  2. Hi Rhonda,

    we have gone from too hot to too cold overnight! I love Autumn, but it is hard going from 34 degrees to 10 degrees so quickly. I've been roasting Potimarron pumpkins from the garden and also doing things like warm potato salad, roasted root veg, hearty lentil soups etc. I plan on taking some of our cherries from the freezer for the first official day of Autumn, warming them and serving them with hot custard.

    But for now I'm heading outside to stack wood :-)


  3. Hi Rhonda, It is still pretty cold her in California. I made a homemade pizza today with Canadian bacon. I've been baking fresh bread, and made a split pea soup earlier in the week. The leftover bread dough made an excellent pizza crust. Salads are a constant here. Your meals always look so delicious. You are such an excellent cook. I prefer cooking in the cold weather. I love to make casseroles, meat, and hot vegetable dishes.

  4. How kind Rhonda, I'm sure they greatly appreciate it and it all looks delicious!

    I have been enjoying the cooler weather too. On Saturday we had a hearty roast pork with veggies and gravy ourselves. I'm very much looking forward to slow cooked, hearty meals myself.

    Corned beef might be next weekend I think.


  5. I am ready, more than ready, for the weather to cool down and moving to traditional favourites. I have two or three meals in the plan for the next week. One is lasagne, then there will be spaghetti and meatballs much later in the week. I cooked beef olives last night and have left overs. There are lamb steaks and sausages in the fridge. I am not sure what they will be yet. I tend to think of the protein and then plan what to cook around that.

  6. Your food looks delicious! We make a kind of potato pancakes too, contents varies according to what we have. A great way of using up vegetables and a very frugal meal. We are having a "fools' Spring" here. Food is still wintry though, just feels right this time of year. March is usually a cold month here, so no Spring food for a little while yet. Have a lovely week, blessings, Pam in Norway

  7. It's still warm here, but we are having cooler nights and mornings which are very welcome. We're mixing up the summer and the autumn food - we had chickpea salad with tomatoes, basil, mint and feta on the weekend, and 'cure a cold' Chinese chicken soup made in the slow cooker tonight. We've recently had pasta with pork and eggplant sauce, kimchi chicken (using my first batch of homemade kimchi), and lots of roasted veg salads with pesto dressing. I love autumn and autumnal food.

  8. I have made both lasagne and corned beef recently. I do a big piece of corned beef in the slowcooker and give half to my elderly parents. Lasts them a couple of evening meals and Dad likes it at lunch too. Otherwise they buy a few slices at the butcher...not the same! We have our piece as a meal or two and also as corned beef fritters. All with chutney of course. That is my goal this make my own I haven't yet.'s to a new season of meals.

  9. Those potato pancakes look amazing! And so simple! I may have to try those next weekend.

    We have finally come out of our dreary, rain-filled winter days and are starting to see the sun again. Here in North Carolina, it is time for veggie planting with peas, beets, lettuce and kale going into the soil. It's an exciting time.
    We are still enjoying cool evenings and mornings, so oatmeal, soup and roasted veggies continue to be on the menu.
    Enjoy the transition!

  10. Thank you for posting the potato pancake recipe. They look amazing and I'm happy to have another vegetarian option to add to my list for guests who are so inclined.

  11. Hi Rhonda,
    We are in Maleny and feeling the cool change too. I am inspired by your potato pancakes! Thanks for sharing.

  12. I am going to try those potato cakes. I can almost taste them - yum! Today we got UP to -2 degrees (-18.89 Celsius). We are still very much in winter here so soups, casseroles, hot breads are still in "style" for a while, I am afraid.

  13. Here we have soup and today it's pork chop on the menu with left over soup from yesterday.
    Here still cold and maybe by the end of the week some higher temperature as minus 8 . Now still colder.
    Looking forward to Spring.
    Will try your potato recipe.
    Greetings from Alberta!!

  14. Lovely potato cake recipe. I have been making these for years too although I have had to reduce the recipe a bit as there are only two of us now. Though they come up well the next day with a salad. My children used to love these when I was making them and had to clamp down when they were taking them from the oven before they reached the table. All of our vegetables are rather dear at present due to the floods and drought. If you have your own vegie patch you are lucky. I did make some naan bread last night which turned out great. It is a Jamie Oliver recipe if anyone is looking for it and makes about 6 which is enough for us. Love your recipes Rhonda Margaret

  15. I can't wait for the cool weather here. We have a cooler day today, so trying to get ahead with some dinner prep for the rest of the week which will be hot.
    I love comforting winter meals far better than summer fair. ~ Becci x

  16. mock fish cakes yummy! i can't eat potato anymore cos of the arthritis but i bet it would be just as yummy using sweet potatoes of all kinds! (not just the golden orange ones) will have to try it for myself soon
    lovely post
    thanx for sharing

  17. Hello Rhonda,
    your Kartoffel Puffer look so good that I am going to fit them in somewhere in this week's menu plan.
    I miss making and eating cooler weather dishes during summer. The weather forecast here in Adelaide is for a week of very hot days and warm evenings and nights. Today was uncomfortably hot but I made a delicious lamb curry for dinner which was enjoyed by the family despite the heat. We are a bit sick of salads and summer meals. Hopefully autumn will bring some cooler weather and much needed rain.
    Best wishes,
    Maria from Adelaide.

  18. Home-cooked food is the best, not only delicious but usually good for you as well. Your pictures of the food you cooked are absolutely scrummy. Still cold winter here in Maine. Yesterday, I made bread, and my husband made a soup from cabbage, carrots, and potatoes along with other spices. Just right for a cold evening.

  19. I just love those Kartoffel puffer, they will be on my winter menu (if we ever get winter here in Brisbane - although these last few days are cooler and tempting me back to the garden).

  20. I tend to do the same at this time of year, we had roast chicken last night with lovely chard and roasted parsnip and carrots from the garden and potato from the market much to one of my sons disgust as it was 29C. He was very polite about it though just saying "Mum I think it might be just a little bit to warm for something like this" lol.

  21. Well, I am not exactly a menu planner Rhonda. I basically see what I have on hand and go for it! But i have to say those Kartoffel puffers look really good so i will have to try the recipe. We are still in the winter season here and i tend to like to bake (to warm up the kitchen) or to use the crock pot, which does add a little heat but more importantly adds a lovely smell to the house. I'm on a low carb diet, and it's a little challenging to make what i would traditionally refer to as a hearty meal.

  22. Yum!!! I grew up with those potato pancakes too. But in the guise of potato patties. I make them now for my children, adding in a bit of zucchini sometimes. I've also experimented with grated pumpkin or sweet potato which make them sweet, and with mixed herbs. Oh, now my mouth is watering!

  23. My mum used to call this mock fish! Whatever they're called they're yum!

  24. Rhonda we love our potato pancakes here too, I often add peas and corn kernals to them, and I always make a few extra for snacking on the next day.
    regards Kat, Gippsland.

  25. Your Kartoffel look delicious Rhonda, and perfect for stretching the budget. I love the way you enjoy feeding your whole family as well, one of the greatest pleasures in life. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I think I will definitely try that one.

  26. That Kartoffel puffer looks SO good I could just about lick my computer screen. It is so sweet and special that you can make Hanno's treat for him, just like mama!

    We're having the second coldest February on record this winter so we're still cooking anything that heats up the whole house and the whole belly! Lots of soups and breads and casseroles.

  27. Your food looks so appetizing and lovely! Nothing is better than homemade food! You have inspired me to make the Kartoffel puffer...

  28. Those look delicious! Here in Florida I think it's spring (we were hoping for maybe one more cold snap, but looks like warm weather and pollen season are here to stay), so we are starting to move away from hot soups and heavier dishes to lighter things. Also trying to enjoy the cilantro in the garden as much as possible as it's trying to bolt now that the heat is arriving (shame that we love it best in salads and warm weather dishes, but it prefers to grow in cooler weather).

  29. Hi Rhonda,
    I hope you and Hanno are both well on this lovely weekend.
    I've been hoping to try this recipe, but have been having trouble getting the page to load in my Chrome browser. I've got it working now in Firefox, but just thought I would mention the Chrome problem to you.



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