Schools Out! Feed a swarm of hungry kids on a shoestring

On today’s blog, we take a small step sideways from our usual content around gourmet-catered events in the Gold Coast area and our famous Friday dinners to extend a helping hand as the school holiday’s approach.

While the school holidays may introduce a welcome lull in the lunch box and homework routines, they can also introduce some unique challenges for Mum’s, Dad’s and caregivers who can, without warning, find themselves needing to feed large numbers of hungry kids who’ve congregated en masse in their homes following school holiday activities or pre and post sporting events.

Thankfully a little planning and creativity can go a long way to solving this problem.  Here I’m going to share some of my top tips for feeding scrumptious morsels the masses – all on a shoestring!

Planning and Organising:

If your house is where everyone seems to gather during the holidays like my house –  congratulations!  Kids tend to hang out where they feel welcome, relaxed and have fun. And whilst it might have some overwhelming moments, like most things ‘kids’, it’s a phase and it won’t last forever.   And at least if the kids are all at your house, you’ll know what everyone’s up to, rather than wondering……..

Planning ahead for these occurrences can make a big difference to how well the school holidays run and how enjoyable they are for everyone, you included!  Begin with a well-planned shopping list, full of staple ingredients that can be used in a variety of ways.

Here are some of my favourite go-to’s when it’s all-hands-on-deck in the house.


A Classic Gourmet Toastie:

A long-standing favourite, hungry kids love a tasty toastie!  They’re quick to make and relatively simple, so all ages can get involved, (with a little supervision of course).   A warm filler on a cold winter’s day, toasties are a great way to use up bread that’s past its best for fresh sandwiches and one or two loaves in the freezer plus a big bag of grated cheese in the fridge means you’re ready to feed not only your own kids, but to cater for larger numbers too.  Use a sandwich maker or melt a little butter in a frying pan to make a sandwich.  Alternatively, butter both sides of the bread and place under a hot grill.  And don’t forget, whatever your culinary preferences, the tricks to a great toastie are a luscious, flavour-filled filling and some thickly sliced bread.

EGG-CELLENT CHEESE

Beat one egg with a fork, add a handful of tasty cheese and a twist of salt and pepper.  The egg and cheese provide a good protein base, which is filling for hungry tummies, and mixing these two ingredients makes the end result super gooey.  Work on 1 egg and 1 generous handful of cheese per toastie.

TUNA-RIFIC TOASTIES

Make these as simple or as complicated as you like.  For example, combine tinned tuna, a good egg mayo and cheese for a standard option.

THE SPAG BOL SPECIAL

Combine leftover spag bol sauce with shredded cheese.  This is my absolute favourite!


Mighty Mince to the Rescue:

Don’t overlook this gem because it’s a cheaper cut of meat. Tweak it several ways with herbs to serve a variety of delicious offerings. Here are a couple of my school holiday favourites:

BUN-FREE BURGERS

Make up your own the hamburger patties by combining mince with an egg, adding a dash of salt and pepper, some BBQ & worcestershire sauce and then press into patties. Fry up some bacon, drop on some cheese and add a hearty squirt of tomato sauce. Place in between iceberg lettuce cups and serve.  You can also add an egg for those who want one. Everyone loves using the BBQ, so this is a great option for lunch on a sunny day, or after Saturday sport before the temperature drops too much.

MAGIC MEXICALI

How we love Taco Tuesday in our house! Nachos, tacos or burritos are great options to combine with mince. Chop an onion, fry the mince and add some family favourite spices, (I like to add cumin – for a delicious kick)! Shred some iceberg lettuce, chop up some tomatoes, add in corn kernels, roughly break up some cilantro/coriander and chop up some avocado with lemon juice. Serve with some sour cream and grated cheese on the side. It’s a winner every time and a great way to gather friends together.


Binge on Baking:

Use an idle morning at home to bring everyone together to try out recipes in the kitchen. Baking is a great activity if you’re looking to encourage your kids to try new foods. Plus it’s an opportunity to get everyone away from screens in the wet weather. Kids are often keen to make their personal favourites or to find a recipe for an item that caught their eye in a friend’s lunch box during term time. If you’re preparing for the holidays, make and freeze some batches yourself ahead of time. My staples in the ‘make ahead and freeze/store’ category include:

SAUSAGE ROLLS

These little gems are always a favourite in my house!  Place 500g pork and veal mince into a bowl, add one egg, ½ grated zucchini and ½ grated carrot plus salt and pepper.  Mix and place spoonfuls into pieces of puff pastry, cut into bite-sized rolls.   Top with egg wash and freeze between baking paper. Cook from frozen for about 20-25 mins at 200 degrees till crispy and puffed.

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HOMEMADE BANANA BREAD

Banana’s are usually readily available and very affordable. Slice the loaf and freeze, or alternatively store in the fridge. Serve toasted with a scoop of fresh butter on top. Delicious!

APRICOT & CINNAMON MUFFINS

Using apricots tinned in juice not syrup achieves 3 things:

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.  Delicious served warm or at room temperature.

Wet Mix:

Dry Mix:

Method:

Optional Topping:

Place the mixture in the prepared pans & bake for approx. 20-25 mins. until cooked.

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So there you have it.  A few gems from my book of favourites to get you through the school holidays.   Remember to stock up on staple items like bread, cheese, eggs, mince and veggies then go with the flow.  You never know, come the end of the school holidays you may be the new neighbourhood gourmet!

Happy holidays!

3 Magic Ingredients That Bring Food To Life On A Cold Winter’s Evening

Winter is a special time for entertaining.  Cold days, long dark evenings and roaring fires.  These images conjure up a longing for satisfying, heavier meals and for time spent in the company of good friends and loved ones.

At this time of year, I love my slow cooker. There’s nothing more delightful than walking through the door at the end of the day and being greeted by the scent of a delicious dinner – almost ready to serve.  In these moments, not only do I get to pat myself on the back for my organizational skills, I also get to navigate the after school sports commitments, homework and extra curricular activities with more grace than I would otherwise manage.

As these colder months unfold I repeatedly draw on a handful of ingredients to nourish my family and keep the seasonal bugs at bay.

In this post, I’m going to share my 3 favorite ingredients for creating delicious meals.  These ingredients aren’t fancy or expensive.  They are easy to source, cheap to purchase and they provide the great bases for family meals or heat and eat staples you can use to stock up your freezer.  Let’s begin!

Ginger

If you’re a regular purchaser of my Friday meals, you’ll know first-hand how much I love to incorporate ginger into my cooking, and especially into my Asian inspired dishes.

For over 4000 years, ginger has been used to treat a variety of ailments.  And whilst almost everyone is familiar with its ability to treat nausea, ginger also provides a great natural boost the immune system.  This is a tremendous help during the bug infested winter months when work spaces and school classrooms turn into petri-dishes!

During winter I add this little gem to as many meals as I can.  Fortunately, it’s so diverse that its application is limited only by our imagination or our willingness to experiment.

Here are a handful of my favorite ways to use ginger:

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Garlic

Garlic has a long list of admirers and I am a firm fan!   Regular garlic consumption has been linked to reductions in the risk of cardiovascular disease and there are now studies suggesting it can even lower our risk of incurring particular types of cancers.

Whether you’re a huge lover of Italian food, a voracious consumer of Indian curries or a firm fan of Mum’s home cooked garlic and rosemary roast vegetables, this little bulb has endless applications.  Some of my favorite ways of using it include:

Onion

A staple for most of us, the humble onion adds tremendous flavor to food and possesses a myriad of health benefits to boost.  The phytochemicals and vitamin C in onion help boost immunity, while raw onion lowers the production of LDL or bad cholesterol, helping to keep your heart healthy.  As I was considering my favorite ways to use onion, I rapidly came to the conclusion that it’s added to so many of my meals (whether I’m cooking lasagne, soups, curries or pies), you’ll more likely than not find onion amongst my list of ingredients!

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Easy to find and very affordable. Ginger, garlic and onion are my winter staples and you can’t eat at my house without at least one of these delicious ingredients making its way onto your plate.  So to conclude this blog, I thought I’d share a recipe for a fabulous dish of mine that combines all three of these powerhouse ingredients into one magnificent meal that will make your mouth water. Click here to check out my Crispy Shredded Beef recipe.

Recipe: Crispy Shredded Beef

Ingredients:

400g rump or sirloin steak (trimmed)

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 Tsp salt

4 Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)

oil for deep frying

2 carrots, finely sliced

1 small onion finely chopped

1 garlic clove

2 cm finger of fresh ginger

2 red chillies, shredded

4 Tbsp caster (superfine) sugar

3 Tbsp Chinese black rice vinegar

2 Tbsp light soy sauce

Method:

Cut the beef into thin shreds.  Combine with eggs, salt and cornflour, then coat the shredded beef in the batter.  Mix well.

Fill a wok to 1/4 full of oil.  Heat the oil to 180 degrees C (350 F), or until a piece of bread fries golden brown in 15 seconds when dropped into the oil.   Cook the beef for  3 -4 mins, stirring to separate, then remove and drain.  Pour the oil from the wok, leaving 1 Tbsp.

Reheat the reserved oil over a high heat until very hot and stir fry the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli for a few seconds.  Add the beef, carrot, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce.  Stir to combine.

Making Memories: Follow our P.O.D.S rule to make your next event unforgettable!

Here at Fresh Food Friday, we’re famous for our specialised, catered events in the greater Gold Coast area.  Since 2012 we’ve created a reputation for managing the details that make our events memorable for both our clients and their guests.

This is no accident!  As the go-to company for those wanting seamless, professional catering, (large or small), we work with you to ensure we’re covered every detail necessary to deliver a magical experience for you.

On today’s blog, I’m going to share P.O.D.S – the program we use when we’re planning events with our clients.  P.O.D.S gives our Fresh Food Friday team confidence we’ve understood everything important to our clients.  It also helps our clients understand how their special event will come together, just as they expect it to.

Special occasions provide a unique opportunity to create memories that last long after the event is over.  And there’s no greater compliment to you, as host/hostess than an event that truly reflects your standards and individual personality. So let’s work through the P.O.D.S elements, so you know what to expect when you work with us. Or what you need to do, if you’re planning to put something together yourself.


P is for Planning:

Planning isn’t just a ‘good idea’; it’s an essential precursor to a successful event.  And to be candid, there’s a world of difference between thorough planning and a few vaguely thought out ideas on a scrap of paper.  We work with you through all of the following:

At this point in the process, we’re often working with our clients to get the overview of what they would like to see come to life.  We take this information away and return with the final quote.  Once this is approved, we begin the organisation in earnest.


O is for Organisation:

In this phase, our planning comes to life and all of the details outlined earlier are secured and confirmed.  This might include:

For you as the host, if the following are not already finalised, we ask you to secure the venue you want to use (if it’s not your home), and to take care of inviting your guests.


D is for Delicacies Served:

Like it or not, people remember the food you serve.  And the difference between a good event and a truly memorable one can rest on what people eat and drink while they’re in attendance.  While we touch on food in our planning phase, it’s here we break down the detail to ensure you and your guests are delighted and fully satisfied on the day.

If you’re planning a cocktail party, our full-service canapé menu may be the perfect accompaniment?  Select your preferences from:

with many selections more on offer.

Our grazing tables offer an exciting alternative to canapés and usually incorporate antipasto, fabulous cheeses and perhaps an organic baked ham.  Follow it with our dessert grazing tables which include donuts, brownies, lemon curd tartlets and more.  These are an immensely popular choice with both grown-ups and kids alike.

If you have your heart set on a full service, family-style meal, you’ll choose from a selection of canapés to start with, followed by a gorgeous selection of main meals to share and delicious dessert mini buffet to finish.

Canapé options include deep-fried brie with berry sauce, mini cups served with roast beef and horseradish sauce, quails eggs with truffle mayo & black caviar plus many others. Main meal selections are varied and served to be shared amongst 8 people.  Options include slow roasted lamb shoulder marinated in garlic and porcini mushrooms, salmon coloubiac fish pie, assorted sides and much more.  Desserts are delicious, light and varied, with both chocolate treats and lemon curd options on offer.

Finally, when we are in charge, our professional wait and bar staff will be on hand to ensure nothing unexpected disrupts your special event.  Need a special celebration cocktail designed for your guest of honour?  We’ll create it for you with our in-house mixologists.  It’s all part of our commitment to service.

For more details, please refer to our  Catering Page.

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S is for Space:

Well-planned space is essential to a successful event.  Whether you’re hosting at home or elsewhere, we’re always keen to ensure we know how the space works so that food and refreshments remain well stocked, are provided as scheduled, and flow freely for the duration of your event.   In this phase, we’ll review the kitchen space, whether a bar is going to be set up, and where, so that we can keep it restocked discreetly.  Plus we’ll work out whether keeping our preparation and tidy up out of sight will take any special thought or effort on the day.


So there you have it.  Seamless, elegant and thoroughly well planned and organised.  P.O.D.S is our backbone.  And whilst we wouldn’t be without it, the magic lies in how our Fresh Food Friday team brings each of these individual elements to life. And in doing so, transforms an event from ‘nicely done’, into ‘absolutely memorable’.

If you have any questions, or you’d like to know more about what we offer, we would love to help you.  Please contact us.

Welcome to Fresh Food Friday

Our

Welcome to Fresh Food Friday

Welcome to the first of our new series of Fresh Food Friday blogs and newsletters.


For those of you who are new to our journey click on the photo, here is a bit of back story on how we became the number one caterer on the Gold Coast.



Eating is a necessity but cooking is an art”

Fresh Food Friday is a dedicated team to help create the most memorable function for you. We pride ourself on our dedication to your event and take great pleasure in developing an excellent working relationship. 

We work alongside you, throughout the planning process to cover every detail from styling, music, the perfect cocktail and of course the most delicious food. We take away the hassle and stress. On the day of your event we will arrive with everything needed to execute every detail whatever the location, even including the garbage bags.

“Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people eat together “. Guy Fieri.

Catering is an art the requires a high level of skill, love, planning and preparation to ensure a smooth successful event. Fresh Food Friday is coming up to our ten year anniversary catering both private and corporates events we have recently moved into creating amazing weddings and larger sit down events.

Successful, memorable events are the results of many hours of planning. Even the simplest events are throughly planned. All details are carefully structured to work like an orchestra with the peaks and troughs to create an amazing event. 

Fresh Food Friday is a Gold Coast City Council accredited off-site caterer which means that we can operate as a restaurant in any location around SE QLD. We have a GC council approved, COVID Safe approved, commercial kitchen in Bailey Cresent in Southport which is our headquarters and where the magic happens.

Coming up to our ten year anniversary, (Wow it’s been a ride) catering both private and corporates events we have recently moved into weddings and large sit down events.

Our WHY!

Our Why!

We love to create the most delicious food, using the freshest and best quality ingredients on the Gold Coast.

We love to see the look on our customers faces when they take their first bite…. Savoring every yummy morsel.We also love our time out of the kitchen to create new menus and also love to share the love of cooking by teaching our customers about quality, sharing cooking techniques and flavors.

We ‘Live’ for the events - we love to see people come together and have the BEST time.

All our events seamlessly come together each and every time between the chefs, wait staff and bartenders.

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