it started with the artichoke | artichoke dip

If I was to give you my top 5 all time food to share with family and friends – this would have to be up there. Never have I met anyone that doesn’t completely fall head over heels in love with this dip! This absolutely moreish, garlicy, cheesy goodness was introduced to me by Soph’s mum, Mandy Crocker TYS (Tall. Young. Slim) years ago and has been on every one of our party menu’s since.

Mandy taught me a lot about entertaining; the hostess with the mostest – one always felt extremely welcome at her family home in Beecroft. I cannot count the number of times I enjoyed dinner at their place and believe that these years spent with the Shortens have contributed to my love of all things food (and drink).

As well as Mandy, growing up, I was surrounded by some wonderful home cooks. My Mum; Meg, (Meemar to her grandkids) from a young age taught me the fundamentals of home cooking and how to cook for a crowd. Fried rice, Tuna macaroni, zucchini slice, spaghetti bolognese, fettuccini boscaiola, apricot chicken, coconut slice and Nanny’s chocolate cake were just some of the recipes handed down to me that are regular favourites in our household today.

My grandma; Mim has been a massive inspiration to me. Mim, with whom I spent countless hours in the kitchen during harvest time, is a very talented cook and also has a love of good food!  I have fond memories of the many trips to the what was ‘Sidewalk Cafe’ outside DJ’s in Sydney where the bacon, avocado and cheese open melts and iced chocolates are still some of the best meals I can remember having. We are constantly recipe sharing and every second conversation we have seems to be about food and new things that we have discovered. Mim loves Bambini’s, her Yorkshire puddings are to die for and if you have ever had better mashed potato in your life, I will be amazed. (TIP – butter, butter, butter and white pepper).

My gorgeous mother in law; Anne has also influenced my cooking over the past 10 or so years. Anne is a terrific, traditional, country style cook and makes many favourite dishes that I look forward to sharing with you on this blog. Her sausage rolls, Susie Tait’s cake, bow tie pasta salad and birthday sponge cake are a few recipes that you simply MUST try yourself. Anne is so generous with her time and her kitchen can always accomodate one more at a moments notice.

Then there is the gorgeous Cork Daddy. For whom I love to cook for. We love taking our two girls out to restaurants and have done so since they were born. Our favourites in Wagga are Thaigga and Il Corso. Corks is a great guinea pig for any new dishes that I try and we both love nothing more than inviting friends over for a barbie and on occasion, one too many drinks.

I hope to pass my love of all things cooking, eating, and entertaining to my two beautiful girls and look forward to many more hours spent in the kitchen together. You will be sure to find lots of great recipes for the kids as well as kitchen activities to do with your littlies.

I hope you enjoy lo’s kitchen. x

Mandy Crocker’s Artichoke Dip Recipe

1 x tin of artichoke hearts (drain and discard water from the tin and roughly chop with scissors)
1 x cup of whole egg mayonnaise
1 x cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 x large tablespoon of minced garlic (I use the stuff in the jar)
A really good amount of cracked black pepper

Simply mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon and place in a shallow baking dish.
Cover with foil and cook in a moderate oven (180℃) for approximately 30-40 minutes, removing the foil after 25 minutes or so. It is ready once it is nice and golden brown on top.
Serve with toasted Turkish bread and crudities. Dive in quick as it won’t last long.

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