In The Kitchen With: What To Cook’s Sophie Thompson

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All images via What To Cook

Sophie Thompson is one-half of the father-daughter team behind What To Cook, a subscription based cooking website. Soph and her dad, Andrew, turn out incredible recipes (we’re looking at you Vietnamese prawn rice paper rolls!) each day to help you avoid the dreaded 5pm ‘what should I cook for dinner’ panic. Here’s what she has to say about food.

Who are you, where are you from and where do you live?

Hello!  I’m Sophie and I’m a born and bred Sydney girl. I live in Sydney’s North Shore with my husband, George, & my puppy, Winston.

What led you and your dad to start What To Cook?

It was an extension of these Saturday Lunches we used to throw for friends and family. Dad and I would go to the market together, collect all the produce, come back home and cook up a delicious lunch for everyone. I would always be documenting these lunches through photography for my blog, The Littlest Things. It wasn’t until I moved back home to Sydney (after living in the UK for 4.5 years) in September 2013 that we decided to start a blog/website together sharing all his amazing recipes! It was actually Dad’s idea to start it and I thought it was an amazingly fun idea from the beginning.

Is your professional background in cooking? Is his?

Not at all – for both of us. Dad’s background was in real estate and I was actually dying to be a PE teacher (or a lifelong snow bunny) until my 21st birthday when I got a DSLR and then became obsessed with photography. Mum was the cook of the family until I was around 12 years old and my brother was 10. She wasn’t very inspired by home cooking so Dad decided to take over and absolutely fell in love with it. He’s incredibly intuitive & creative in the kitchen even though he’s self-taught and has only ever taken one cooking class. Everything I know about cooking is from watching him cook through taking the photos for the website.

What are your favourite childhood memories?

Oh so many! I feel so lucky whenever I think of all the fun childhood memories I have. I grew up living next door to two of my oldest friends – twin girls who are the same age as me. Their brothers were around the same age as my brother so there were so many fun times with that family! Annual family holidays to Thredbo were also a major major highlight!

My parents also seemed to have these incredibly fun dinner parties every other weekend so Eddy (my brother) and I would always fall asleep listening to Crowded House albums and all the adult banter. In the morning, we would get up super early to see if there were any left over chocolates. There was always heaps as everyone seemed to always bring chocolates over for dinner parties. I guess it was because mobile phones weren’t really a thing so it was harder to work those things out haha. I miss that!

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What does your average day look like?

My average day is usually; up between 6am-7am. Earlier the better but it’s always so hard to remember that when bed is so cosy! I’ll then head to the gym or take Winston for a walk before coming home to make breakfast & coffee. Then the day either consists of computer work (emailing, editing photos, research/procrastination etc etc), photoshoots for What To Cook which is mainly shooting recipes but can also be ‘lifestyle’ shoots at restaurants etc (on a cooking/shooting day we like to do only 1-2 recipes as it produces the best work when we limit it), or sometimes photoshoots for a client. At 6pm-ish I’ll usually need to stop whatever I’m doing and head outside for some fresh air – it’s so nice at this time of year with daylight savings, so evening walks have become part of the daily routine. Then it’s dinner and some really shameful reality TV haha!


Give us your day today on a plate?

Today has been quite a fun food day! For breakfast I had 2 fried eggs (seasoned with smokey paprika, chilli flakes, salt, pepper & fresh coriander) on rye with a little avocado on the side. Coffee was involved as well (obviously…don’t know what I would do without it). I had a berry smoothie for mid morning snack type meal. Lunch was what we cooked for What To Cook – it was quinoa, oregano & lemon-thyme crusted chicken with a super delicious warm asparagus salad! SO good! We even enjoyed it with a glass of Rosé. This afternoon I’ll probably have some hummus & crackers before dinner which is Chilli Con Carne. But takeaway from our local Indian restaurant sounds like it’s now on the cards which is a little cheeky…but super delicious!

What is your favourite season for produce?

This one is tough because I like every seasons produce! With it being spring at the moment, I am loving having beautiful asparagus, broad beans & spring peas. All greens really. Mangos are also super delicious at the moment. But then as soon as proper summer comes around I won’t be able to get enough of tomatoes! During autumn & winter, I go root-veggie crazy! It’s hard to choose, but I guess I love spring/summer produce the best as it’s the most vibrant and makes it feel a little easier to eat a bit healthier and balanced.

Are there any types of cuisine you tend to gravitate towards?

Mexican cuisine comes to mind first when I think of weekend entertaining with friends. It’s fun, easy, super tasty and everyone loves it. If it’s during the week and for myself and my husband, I love to cook Italian. Pasta is his favourite and I find the cooking process of making a pasta therapeutic and quite romantic!

What ingredients can’t you live without?

Olive oil, butter, sea salt, lemons (& limes), onions & garlic! Without these ingredients…most recipes would taste hideous.

Your last meal. What is it?

Ohh tough one…pre What To Cook, I would have said my Dad’s Chicken Stir Fry. But now it’s really hard to choose – maybe a banquet of all my favourites…sausage pasta & guacamole would be there. Also a big beef burger and some deliciously fresh grilled prawns! Plus lots of wine! Of course.

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Tara’s Tips for Feeding Babies

(Photo via Nutrition Guru & The Chef's amazing instagram account)

(Photo via Nutrition Guru & The Chef’s amazing instagram account)

We recently had a chat with Tara, the university-qualified nutritionist and all round wonder-woman behind The Nutrition Guru and The Chef. Between being a mum to her adorable Lucy-Belle and setting ridiculous food myths straight, we’re not quite sure how she finds time to sleep, let alone turn out delicious recipes. Tara’s approach to health is refreshingly straightforward; food guilt, superfood fads and restrictive diets have no place on her site. She’s all about getting back to basics, and just eating real food, an idea we certainly can get behind.

Here’s her top tips for feeding your little ones and an easy-peasy baked quinoa recipe that’s sure to become a staple on your dinner table.

What advice can you give to first time mothers when it comes to introducing new foods to babies?

Let them make mess. Children who are allowed to explore their food using their hands, develop many skills including fine motor skills and a love of food and the act of eating. If a mother is hovering over baby while eating and getting flustered or angry every time pumpkin ends up all over the baby’s face or on the floor, the child can become fearful and anxious around meal times. Those that are left to explore their food (which includes smooshing pumpkin all through their hair) are less likely to become picky eaters.

What advice can you give mums of picky eaters?

Don’t stress, it might not last forever. A lot of children grow out of the picky eating stage if the parents continue to offer different foods, which is key. Although it is easy to keep offering the same food that you know they will enjoy, keep offering new foods without putting pressure on them that they must eat it. Instead, put it on their plate and tell them that all they have to do is describe the colour and shape to you without having to eat it. After several times doing this, tell them that it’s on their plate to try it if they would like to, but they don’t have to eat it. Get them to pick it up and tell you what it feels like when they squash it and what it smells like. Get them to tell you what they THINK it will taste like – sweet, salty, crunchy, soft?

Over time, exposing the child gently to foods they normally refuse will help break down a lot of the fear of the unknown that they experience with some foods. Hopefully you will find one day, they will just pick it up and eat it without you even having had to ask.

Do you have any tips for mums who are short on time but still want to cook from scratch? 

Make big batches of food, don’t just cook for that day. Chop loads and loads (more than you think you need) of pumpkin and sweet potato and roast in the oven with a dash of olive oil. Use this to puree for babies, finger foods for older babies and as a side dish for the adults. Throw into a salad, or add stock and blitz into a soup. Freeze extras for baby meals throughout the week.


On that note, here’s a fantastic recipe for little and big mouths alike. It goes very well with a piece of grilled fish, slow cooked lamb shoulder, spooned into a baked potato or roast chicken. It’s also delicious served with grated cheese or hummus on top

Baked Quinoa and Vegetables

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups The Stock Merchant Chicken, Mushroom or Vegetable stock.
  • 2 zucchini sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (optional)
  1. Place quinoa into a deep baking pan (such as a cake pan) and cover with the stock. Place the sliced vegetables evenly on top of the quinoa
  2. Wrap the pan in foil to prevent the quinoa from drying out.
  3. Bake in a 180 degree oven for 45 minutes, checking after 20 minutes to see if the quinoa has dried out. If so, simply add 1/4 cup of stock
  4. Remove from the oven and place the butter on top, using a fork to stir it through the quinoa and veg mix.

For younger babies, place in a blender to form a puree For adults and older children, serve as is.

Want more recipes for your little ones? Check out our baby recipe section. 

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Stock and Bone Broth – what’s the difference?

Beef Bone Broth vs Beef Stock

Stock. Bone Broth. Kissing cousins. Similar. Interchangeable, yet still not quite the same. What is the real difference between the two?

Whilst there’s no huge contrast between our Bone Broth and Stock varieties, there are a few significant differences that venture beyond the obvious packaging and price tag. But first, let’s look at what they have in common.


  • Both our stocks and bone broths are made the traditional way with high quality Australian ingredients. Real food. Our beef bones are always grass-fed, our chicken bones are always free-range.
  • Both our stocks and bone broths are gluten free and paleo friendly.
  • Neither contain any gluten, preservatives, colours, yeast extracts or other flavour enhancers (like “vegetable powders” or “vegetable extracts”).
  • Neither contain any added salt, meaning you control the seasoning.

Bearing such a striking resemblance, it could be tricky to see where one ends and the other begins. Here’s where our broths and stocks go their separate ways:


Chicken Stock vs. Chicken Bone Broth


Our stocks are simmered with market fresh vegetables and herbs for incredible depth of flavour, which makes them great and flavourful base for home cooking.

Our bone broths, on the other hand, are made with bones and bones alone, with no added vegetables or herbs. The lack of onion in our bone broths makes them ideal for those on low fodmap diets or with allergies.

Chicken Stock Ingredients: water, free range whole chicken and bones, onions, carrots, celery, rosmarinic acid (natural antioxidant), bay leaves.
Chicken Bone Broth Ingredients: water, free range chicken and chicken bones, apple cider vinegar, rosmarinic acid (natural antioxidant). 

Beef Stock Ingredients: water, grass-fed beef and beef bones, roasted carrots, tomato paste, roasted onions, celery, rosmarinic acid (natural antioxidant), bay leaves, black peppercorns.
Beef Bone Broth Ingredients: water, grass-fed beef and beef bones, apple cider vinegar, rosmarinic acid (natural antioxidant).


Our range of stocks are simmered between ten to twelve hours, resulting in a product with incredible depth of flavour and remarkable purity.

Our bone broths have super (super, super) long extraction time – 24 whole hours. This makes them extra-potent and chock full of minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and potassium. Its high concentration of collagen means our beef bone broth turns to jelly when refrigerated. This long extraction time, coupled with an increased ratio of meat and bones to water, is the reason behind the price difference between the two stocks.

So, when should I use each?

We recommend enjoying our bone broth by the mug full with a pinch of salt to bring it to life. It’s high concentration means it’s great for very simple recipes such as soups and adds a huge nutrition boost to any meal.

Our stocks, while interchangeable with our broth, are great for any cooking application. The herbs and vegetables add a deep flavour suited to any savoury dish.

We hope this helps you understand the difference between our stocks and bone broths. However, while there are some differences, both are products of a philosophy we take very seriously at The Stock Merchant – integrity, authenticity and flavour. It’s real food, made from real ingredients.

Enjoy using our stocks and bone broths in abundance!


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Ginger and Miso Poached Salmon

Ginger and Miso Poached Salmon with Mushroom Stock

Shiitake and salmon fillet are a match made in heave. According to The Flavour Thesaurus, it’s something about that ‘forest floor mustiness’ of the ‘shrooms that brings out the earthy flavours of oil fish. All we know is that this tastes great. Throw in some miso, garlic and ginger, and you’ve got a fairly spectacular dinner on your hands. Substitute zucchini noodles in for a grain free version and a boost of greens.


2 people


  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small bok choy, sliced lengthways
  • 2 tbs of miso paste
  • 2 fillets of wild caught salmon
  • 100g of shiitake mushrooms
  • a dash of tamari
  • 100g of dried noodles (Udon, Soba or whatever floats your boat)
  • 500ml of The Stock Merchant Mushroom Stock


  1. Heat the sesame oil in a medium saucepan. Saute the garlic, ginger and miso paste. Add the stock and tamari and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and add the salmon. Poach for 8 minutes or until cooked through.
  2. Remove from the broth and bring back to the boil. Add the noodles and shiitake mushrooms and cook until tender. Stir in the bok choy to wilt.
  3. Divide between bowls and top with the salmon. Garnish with whichever herbs take your fancy.
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Three Steps to Understanding Umami

Mushroom Risotto

We’ve got a new stock in the family. You might have heard; it’s our Umami Rich Mushroom Stock and it adds remarkable depth of flavour to any dish in which stock is called for. But what even is umami, and why does it matter?

A delicious savoury taste which translates as literally just that. Umai (うまい) “delicious” and mi () “taste”. The phrase was coined by Japanese scientists in 1908.

1. Umami one of the five basic tastes along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty.
for a long time it was believed there were just four tastes. When the term was coined, naysayers brushed off this magical fifth taste a figment of imagination. In the 1990’s science proved otherwise; the savoury kick in umami, comes from the presence of glutamate (amino acids), in which our taste buds have special receptors to recognise. Four basic tastes became five and old mate umami was finally invited to the table. Take that, haters. Case closed.

2. The concept of Umami is not limited to Japan alone.
Escoffier, the legendary French chef who invented veal stock credited his success to an extra savoury fifth taste. You can find umami in essentially all the greatest foods; the deep savoury tones of Parmesan cheese, the yeasty deliciousness of Vegemite. Mushrooms. Anchovies. Excellent meaty stock. The caramelised juices of a roast. The list goes on.

3. It’s a handy alternative to salt.

Everybody knows that a dash of salt can improve a dish drastically. Similarly, a few well placed umami ingredients can up the savoury flavour of a meal without the need for as much extra sodium – a few anchovies, a lump of Parmesan, a dash of soy sauce. The deep savoury richness in our Mushroom Stock is thanks to the umami in the Tamari Soy sauce and local Melbourne-grown mushrooms.

Are you ready for a king umami hit? Of course you are. Have a gander at our Mushroom Stock recipes to get you started.





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Garlicky Rainbow Chard with Lemon and Parmesan

Garlicky Rainbow Chard with Lemon and Parmesan

A quick and easy stovetop side dish that’s at home with nearly any meal and a great way to use up leftover stock. Throw an egg on top for an quick and delicious breakfast.

Garlicky Rainbow Chard with Lemon and Parmesan

1 bunch of rainbow chard (leaves and stems chopped)
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 a small red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup of our Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

1.  Melt the butter and oil together in a pan on medium heat. Saute the garlic and onion until aromatic and translucent.

2. Add in the chopped stems and the chicken stock. Allow to soften for 3-4 minutes

3. Add in the chard leaves and wilt. Stir in the Parmesan and lemon. Season with salt and pepper.

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What To Do With Leftover Stock


What to do with leftover stock

Food waste. If there’s one thing that grinds our gears, throwing out perfectly good food that could have easily been re-purposed would have to be it.

Buying stock also be tricky because required amounts are so inconsistent across recipes. Does 750ml of chicken stock sound familiar? Our roasted pumpkin, quinoa and orange salad demands a cheeky 375ml of vegetable stock. What on earth are you supposed to to with the other 125ml?

What you shouldn’t do is throw it out, and what you can do is any of the following.

Freeze it

    • Befriend your ice-cube trays and never look back. Frozen stock lasts for up to a year and by freezing it into small portions, you’ll have a supply of flavourful cooking liquid that can defrost quickly.

You can also freeze your stock in larger portions in Ziploc bags or tupperware containers. Just be sure to clearly mark the date.

Get Creative

Wondering how to use your stock ice-cubes? The options are endless. A great option for when you need just a small extra splash of liquid and don’t want to open an entirely new stock packet. Simply pop them in the pot and allow them to defrost in with what you’re cooking.

  • Mashed potato. Use stock as you would any other liquid. Chicken stock is a real winner here.
  • Have you ever used up your two packages of stock in a soup and wished you had just a little teensy splash more? Catastrophic. Instead of water, your newly stored frozen stock will save the day. Pop as many in as needed and thin your soup without diluting the flavour.
  • Sauteeing vegetables. One or two cubes is often the perfect amount to add liquid and flavour.
  • Baby food. Single cubed portion of stock are a handy choice if you’re making just one meal at a time. Perfect for mashing into vegetables for great flavour without any added salt.
  • Reheating food. When reheating risottos, pasta dishes or stews, throw in a cube or two of leftover stock to prevent it drying out.

Have you got any tips for storing or using up excess stock? Tell us! We’d love to hear.

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12 Delicious Ways to Support Small Businesses This Christmas

Alarmingly, 70 cents of every dollar spent in Australia ends up in the pockets of Coles and Woolworths. We’re under the impression that we need to shop in supermarkets and their affiliate stores for reasons of convenience, variety and price.

The thing is, it’s not true.

We’ve compiled a list of Australians who make incredible products, that deserve a place in your holiday festivities. Many are conveniently available online, none are prohibitively expensive, and there’s something for everyone. Supporting independent producers has never been more important, more affordable or more delicious. From what to give, what to serve and what to serve it on, here’s twelve ways to support local Australian businesses this holiday season.

The Assembly Home Holiday Boxes

1. Serve things up

Cracking out the fine porcelain at holiday times can be risky at best (and catastrophic at worst). At the same time, it’s Christmas, so you don’t want to be passing the roast around on paper plates. Sydney couple Nia and Johan’s brainchild, The Assembly, provides the ultimate happy medium; acacia serveware that is as strikingly beautiful as it is robust. Available Australia wide from their swish new online store. Unsurprisingly, they also make for very well received gifts.

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2. Stocking Stuffers

Christmas; a time of raging disappointment. There’s nothing like opening a particularly lackluster present and having to scramble for faux excitement. We’ve found the best ways to avoid such awkwardness is giving gifts that can be eaten. Everyone likes food. Or at least, everyone worth being friends with likes food. Our favourite stocking stuffers include The Jam Bandits (Grapefruit and Bourbon Marmalade! Pear and Wasabi Paste! Berry and Lavender Jam!), Maya Sunny Honey (Macadamia Crunch Raw Honey!) and the Orange Blossom Marshmallows and Passionfruit Cordial from local online provisions store The Floury Baker. All lovingly and independently made on Australian soil.

3. Presents For People You Really, Really Like

If you’re looking for a gift a bit more substantial (read: bigger), here’s our top three picks for seasonal hampers. Aforementioned The Assembly has put together a special edition Holiday Box, filled to the brim with goodies from the Jam Bandits, Fog Linen and ChuChu ceramics, for a sweet $70 (worth over $150!) to sort out your gift giving dilemmas once and for all.

The Sydney Hamper Co. has put together a number of (surprise!) fancy hampers, filled with anything from Falcon enamelware to local Sydney goodies from The Westmont Picklery, The Urban Beehive and Lark Hill Wines. Hampers are priced between $185 and $195 and make for an impressive gesture.

The Floury Baker also has a Christmas Hamper on offer; a handcrafted wooden box packed with ginger cordial, mince tarts, salted caramel marshmallows, a Christmas cake and more.

4. Entertaining Made Easy

We’ve talked about gifts. You can’t eat flowers. Or socks. Or decorative soaps, for that matter. That’s why Pie Society also encourages a more practical approach to gift-giving; food. This Christmas, they’ve branched out to a whole variety of festive treats that are perfect for both gifting and catering events. Seasonal goodies include Turkey and Cranberry Pies made with shallots, white wine, onion, parsley, orange zest and cranberries as well as traditional handmade mince pies; studded with ginger, cranberries and cherries, enrobed in an all butter pastry. Available in different sized boxes containing from 6 to 40 pies, they’ve got any event covered and will even pop a personalized message on for you.

5. Cookies for Santa

Frozen Dough Co

‘We Make ‘Em, You Bake Em’, is The Frozen Dough Co’s motto, which means you get the best of both worlds; beautiful homemade cookies with real high quality ingredients fresh from your oven, and no mess or preparation time. The Bondi company has two delicious Christmas specials on offer this year; Ginger Choc Chunk – a ginger molasses cookie, with fresh ginger and spices studded with chunks of dark chocolate; and a fudgy Chocolate Peppermint Crunch cookie sprinkled with candy cane.

6. With Milk, of course

What is the point of leaving freshly baked cookies out for the big jolly man without something creamy to dunk them in? In true millennial style, we’ve expanded our view on milk to include the non-dairy variety. Our pick? Inside Out Nutritious Goods. Made fresh in Sydney and available in over 200 locations nationwide, Inside Out Almond milk contains a whopping 12% almonds, making it absurdly rich and creamy. Recent flavour additions Spiced Vanilla and Salted Caramel make for the ultimate cookie-pairing treat.

7. Christmas Breakfast

Brookfarm Toasted Cranberry MuesliChristmas breakfast needs to tick a few boxes. Firstly, it needs to be simple enough to be prepared amid the frenzy of unwrapping, it also needs to be light enough not to spoil a big lunch ahead, and lastly, it still needs to have an element of decadence. It is Christmas, after all. Brookfarm’s Toasted Macadamia Muesli with Cranberries is our pick; an obscenely delicious blend of eighteen premium ingredients, including macadamias from the Brook’s farm and Australian bush honey. Serve with fresh fruit and yogurt. And if you’re catering for intolerances on Christmas morning, there’s also a gluten free version that rivals the original in popularity.

8. The Roast

The Stock Merchant was born from a passion for free-range, sustainable meat products, whose provenance can be easily traced. Aside from the obvious benefit of supporting your local economy, by sourcing your Christmas meat at a high quality butcher as opposed to a supermarket, you’re guaranteed to not only have a better cut of meat, but you’re also more be able to trace it’s origin and avoid antibiotic-laden factory farmed animals. What’s more, is a local butcher will be able to advise you on the best type of meat to suit your Christmas celebrations based on your budget, family size and time to prepare. We love Canning’s Free Range Butchers in Hawthorn and Kew, Victoria, who make all their own Christmas hams in store. They are home smoked, low nitrate and 100% free range Berkshire or Valenca pork. Their free range turkey comes boneless, whole or as a breast roll seasoned with cranberry and roasted chestnut and is all sourced from Judy Leadoux in Bairnsdale. Their range also includes top-notch Australian seafood including crayfish, prawns, whole salmon and smoked salmon, that is delivered to their door the very morning of your order pick up day.

9. All the Sides

Unless you happen to particularly enjoy braving furious crowds, being violently rammed by shopping trolleys and enduring the piercing shriek of screaming infants; there’s a good you’re already open to the idea of avoiding supermarkets this holiday season. Aside from this blatant hell, when we consider that 70 cents of every dollar spend in Australia ends up in the pockets of Colesworth, all signs point to spreading the love around and shopping independently for your veggies this Christmas. Venture beyond the duopoly and embrace the little guys; your local greengrocers, farmers markets and produce delivery schemes to tuck into the best locally sourced produce. Not only will you be helping make Christmas easier on fellow Australian families and farmers (as opposed to the CEO’s of Coles and Woolies), you’ll also get fresher, better quality goods. If you’re in Sydney, take a gander at Collective Harvest , who deliver spectacularly fresh produce (includng Brickfield’s sourdough, flowers and pasture raised eggs) to your door. Their Green Wonderland Box ($110) is jam packed with enough seasonal goodness to throw together a stellar Christmas feast.

10. The Trimmings

Our Old Fashioned Gravy. Are we above a shameless plug? Not at all. But in all seriousness Christmas day is busy enough as it is. You’ve probably already got your hands full roasting things, diffusing family bickering and pretending to like pointless gifts.  Let us take care of the gravy. The perfect accompaniment to Christmas lunch, we slowly reduce our Free Range Chicken Stock down with fresh vegetables and herbs to make our Old Fashioned Gravy. The result is an all-natural gravy, free of all additives with remarkable depth of flavour. Best of all? It’s gluten free, which means everyone can enjoy and you don’t need to worry about making two separate gravies.

For all the other trimmings, Canning’s  sell an excellent range of condiments such as cranberry relish, apple sauce and onion jam.


11. The Pudding

 The best kind of pudding is a homemade one. And an even better type of pudding as a homemade one that you don’t actually have to make yourself. PUDinc makes all fo their puddings in Sydney to a secret formula adapted from a 60 year old traditional English recipe. The puddings are chock-full or organic dried fruits, French brandy, Coopers “Extra” Stout and contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Choose between a 4 and 10 person pudding, wrapped in your choice of 100% linen tea towels. You can also request specific sized puddings as well as a vegan, gluten free version. They ship nationwide, so again you get to avoid running around the supermarket like a lunatic in search of a million different types of dried fruit. The gift that keeps on giving.

For a luxurious alternative to custard, serve your pudding with luxurious Pepe Saya crème fraiche or Pat and Stick’s Traditional Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.


12. Boxing Day treats

Boxing Day in the southern hemisphere typically involves a body of water and a well deserved break. Take a moment to cool down from all the festivities with Sydney made Pat and Stick’s ice cream sandwiches. Our pick of flavours for the summer? Their newly released special edition anniversary sandwich; roasted banana ice cream with swirls of dulce de leche squished between Belgian chocolate fudge cookies.


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Roast Beet, Red Wine and Parmesan Risotto

The Stock Merhant Beet, Red Wine and Parmesan Risotto

Rich, earthy beets mingle with sharp Parmesan in this speedy weeknight dish. Whilst risotto does tend to monopolise attention in the kitchen, what you give in twenty minutes of monotonous stirring you gain in a gloriously creamy, tender finished product. Worth it.

Roast Beet, Red Wine and Parmesan Risotto
Serves four


  • 5 small beets, peeled and cubed
  • A good glug of olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of Aborio rice
  • 750ml / 3 cups of The Stock Merchant Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock, warmed
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 a cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (we love Pepe Saya)


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Toss the beetroot together with the olive oil, salt and pepper to coat. Roast at 200 degrees for approximately 4o minutes, turning halfway through to ensure even cooking.
2. In a heavy based pan or pot, cook the garlic and onion in olive oil, stirring occasionally until softened. Add the rice and stir continuously, until it becomes translucent.
3. Add the wine and stir through the rice until it is absorbed and evaporated.
4. Add enough stock to just cover the rice, and stir until it is all absorbed before adding any more. Add the hot stock, half a cup at a time, always ensuring that the liquid is totally absorbed before adding the next half cup. Continue until the risotto is soft and creamy.
5. Stir in the beets, butter and parmesan until the risotto turns a deep crimson hue. Season with salt and pepper. Add a splash more liquid if necessary. Garnish with extra thyme leaves and goats cheese if desired.


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Cheddar Polenta with Wilted Greens, Eggs and Pesto


This is the perfect sort of thing to make when you’ve invited your gluten intolerant and/or vegetarian friends over for brunch and are trying to reconcile the idea of a weekend breakfast sans bread or bacon. Cook the eggs however you (and your dining companions) like. If you’re going to poach or boil them, do so after you’ve made the polenta, and before you start wilting the greens. If you feel like frying, pop them all in the same pan as the greens. You can even throw some mushrooms in there too. Your options are endless. Happy brunching.

Cheddar Polenta with Wilted Greens and An Egg
Serves 4


  • 1 ½ cups of polenta
  • 6 cups of The Stock Merchant Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock
  • ½ cup of good quality cheddar or compte, grated
  • 2 tablespoons of good quality butter (we like Pepe Saya)
  • 4-8 organic free range eggs (depending if you’re a one or two egg kinda person)
  • A few good handfuls of spinach
  • Olive oil
  • About ½ a cup of good quality fresh pesto
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper, wedges of lemon if you fancy


For the polenta

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to the oil. Once boiling, add the polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly. If the polenta starts to get too thick, add in an extra splash of stock, water or full cream milk as needed.
  3. When the polenta is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot to keep warm.

Now is the time to decide how you’ll have your eggs, and crack on with those.

 For the greens

  1. In a large frying pan, heat a good glug of olive oil until hot. Sautee the spinach until just wilted.
  2. Divide the polenta between plates, top with the spinach, eggs and drizzle with pesto and plenty of cracked pepper.

*for very creamy polenta, feel free to substitute one of a cup of stock for a cup of full cream milk. Add the milk after the stock has come to the boil, when you add the polenta and turn the heat down to low.









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