New followers to The Kitchen Bench formerly The Everyday Cook Network

New followers to The Kitchen Bench formerly The Everyday Cook Network

For all of you who have joined The Everyday Cook Network recently I need to say a big thank you. I have had quite a few people subscribe to The Everyday Cook Network however I have had to render this site inactive a few months ago due to a name change. The site now operates under The Kitchen Bench and I would hate for you to not get my recipes and book info that you have subscribed to. So, to ensure you do not miss a thing please go to and subscribe in the box down the bottom right hand side of the home page.

Thanks and my apologies for the inconvenience

Important Information

Just a reminder for those of you who have recently subscribed to The Everyday Cook Network, this site is no longer active and due to a name change required a few months back the website to subscribe to is To ensure you are kept up to date with book information and recipes please click on the link provided and subscribe.



Important Information – Change of Website

Here is some important information for those of you who have been following The Everyday Cook Network via email subscription. The website and name has now changed to The Kitchen Bench, unfortunately those of you who are following the site via email will need to log in to The Kitchen Bench through this live link and re subscribe.

At the top of the page on the right hand side you will see a follow me email subscription please pop in your email address so you can ensure you are still receiving all post updates from The Kitchen Bench.

Thanking you for your patience during this change


We are Live – The Kitchen Bench

The Kitchen Bench Website is live

As you are all aware we have been busily working away here at The Kitchen Bench (previously The Everyday Cook Network) on our name change. Well I am happy to report that thanks to the team at Online Visions we have now gone live with the new website for The Kitchen Bench. The site is the same site you have all come to know and love and follow but with a few enhancements with more to come to help make your recipe search so much easier.

What to do next

Make sure you go to and then click on the little orange logo on top left hand side which is called RSS Feeds. This will ensure that you stay up to date with all of the latest recipes sent into The Kitchen Bench.

Thanks for your patience during this time of change.

Tanya Bartolini

Mini Chicken and Fennel Pies – freezer friendly


These gorgeous little flaky crust pies have been kindly shared with us by Danni and Mel owners of the very popular site Honey you baked . These delicious looking pies would be a great addition to any lunch or picnic with family and friends or for a quick and easy weeknight meal. As advised by the girls once assembled the pies freeze really well so they are perfect for most of us who have those nights where we just don’t feel like cooking or just haven’t had the time to prepare anything. I hope you enjoy! Thanks again Danni and Mel.

Mini Chicken & Fennel Pies

Makes 12


  • 1 x large Chicken Breast, diced
  • 6 x slices Pancetta, chopped (a little reserved for garnish)
  • 2 x cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 Large Fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 x teaspoon Thyme
  • Approx. 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt & Cracked Black Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil for frying
  • 3 x Puff Pastry Sheets


  • Preheat your oven to 200Deg C
  • Grab a big frypan and add your oil, garlic and Fennel.  Fry well for a few minutes and then add your Pancetta. Fry until the Pancetta renders a little;
  • Add your chicken and cook until browned;
  • Sprinkle in your Thyme and Flour and mix well for a few minutes till the flour is cooked out;
  • Add your wine to deglaze, making sure you get all the yummy sticky bits off the bottom of the pan – its great flavour!!;
  • Take your pan off the heat, add your milk and mix well till you have a thick sauce;
  • Season to taste and set aside to cool;
  • Grab yourself some silicone cupcake trays and give them a liberal coating with spray Olive oil;
  • Cut your Pastry Sheets into 4 (so you have 12 squares in total) and carefully mould each one into the cupcake pans.  You may need to fold over the edges a little so it fits;
  • Prick the bottoms of the pastry cups with a fork a few times, before dividing your chicken mixture evenly between each one;
  • Make a little swirl of the extra Pancetta and place on to the top of each pie;
  • Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until your Pastry is lovely and golden.

Semi-dried Cherry Tomatoes – Homemade




Mums Homemade Semi-dried Cherry Tomatoes

A little while back when on the phone to dad one day he could not stop talking about how good my mums semi-dried tomatoes had turned out. Apparently they had a whole heap of cherry tomatoes that my grandparents had given them from their farm. Not sure how many more salads they could throw them into mum decided to pull out the old food dehydrator and make some semi-dried tomatoes. “Next time you are visiting you have to try your mothers tomatoes” said dad on the phone to me, ” that is if they last that long”.

Well I am happy to report there were some lift in the back of the fridge for me to taste test. These beautiful red, incredibly sweet dried tomatoes had actually lasted long enough in the fridge for me to be able to brag about them to all of you. More importantly for me to be able to share the recipe with all of you. Very simple to make especially if you have a food dehydrator these gloriously sweet red delights will have you longing for more after the first time you taste them.

Great to add to pizzas, pastas or antipasto platters I recommend you put this on your rainy day must do list.


– 1kg of cherry tomatoes

– 2 whole garlic cloves

– rosemary sprig

– handful of sage leaves

– enough oil to cover (submerge) the tomatoes, rice bran oil is best to use as it does not harden like olive oil does in the fridge

Lets start cooking

Using a home food dryer is the best way to make these as it speeds up the process. The other way to do this would be sun dried but given the flies and creepy crawlies that inhabit North Queensland mum prefers to use the dryer. You can buy these good dehydrators from electrical good outlets.

Cut the tomatoes into 1cm pieces, if you are drying cherry tomatoes then you would probably cut in into 3, 1cm pieces. The tomatoes need to be able to lie flat on the dryer.

Once cut place the tomatoes on the dryer racks and then turn the machine on and allow to dry for about 24 hours or until most of the moisture has gone from the tomatoes. Mums preference is to have them semi dried as opposed to letting them dry out too much of their liquid. This takes 24 hours in her machine.

Once dried to your desired texture transfer the tomatoes to a sterilised jar, any old coffee jar or proper sterilised jam jar will do the trick.

In with the tomatoes place the rosemary, garlic, sage and enough oil to cover the tomatoes completely. It is essential that the tomatoes are completely submerged in the oil otherwise they will not last in the fridge long before they spoil.

It is possible for these tomatoes to last in the fridge for at least 3 months when done properly, well that is if they don’t all get even before then.

Note – If you don’t have a food dehydrator you can dry these out in the sun but this is not always practical due to natures creepy crawlies. The other option is to dry them in your oven overnight. I have not tried this myself but have read that you are able to dry them in your oven by placing them in the oven on baking trays on a very low heat, say 50 to 100 degrees celsius, you then allow these to cook slowly overnight but I would watch them closely.


Dads Pizza – friday night meal with the family


Ricks (Dads) Pizza

This weekend I am home visiting my family in North Queensland for a few days and with that comes much excitement. Not only because I get to spend some quality time with my family or I have babysitters for Mitch for a few days but also because I get to enjoy cooking with my parents and eating their amazing food. Last night was our first night here and a part of that was enjoying Friday night pizzas. Dad and mum are well known in our family for their pizza making skills and it is always interesting to see what dad is doing these days with his pizzas. Never one for routine or following instructions when it comes to cooking, I always get good ideas from dads experiments in the kitchen. Last night I noticed he was actually doing something different with his pizzas, I’m not sure if you have noticed from the picture but it involves rolling the edges on the pizza base to create high sides (crust). This really was a great idea, not only did it provide a crunchy edge to the pizza it holds the filling really well, plus if you were feeling creative you could always make your own crust stuffed pizza (using cheese) if you wanted to.


Ingredients and instructions to make the pizza base

Ingredients for the topping

– 1 tbsp of olive oil

– 1 tbsp of tomato paste

– 10 cherry tomatoes sliced in half and crushed in a bowl using a fork with a little salt and pepper added

– 5 fresh oregano leaves

– 5 fresh sage leaves

– 5 fresh basil leaves

– 5 rocket leaves

– 2 anchovies diced finely

– 2 handfulls of mozzarella cheese, grated

– 1 handful of parmesan cheese, grated

Lets start cooking

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius

Once you have prepared the pizza bases as instructed in the link above place the base onto the cooking stone or tray

Roll the edges of the base inwards a couple of times until you have created rolled high sides

Using a pastry brush, brush each pizza base with the olive oil

Then cover the base with the tomato paste and then the cherry tomatoes

Add the anchovies and then place the herb and rocket leaves over the pizza base

Cover the pizza with the cheese and then bake in an oven at 180 degrees celsius until cheese has melted and base has browned

Herby Lemon Quinoa Salad – featured blogger contribution and my lunch


I’m feeling really hungry this morning and even though I had my usual breakfast I am already thinking about what I am going to have for lunch. Given my recent sugar overload between Banoffee Pies and the odd snack of my Crostata di Marmellata I am thinking I need to keep lunch healthy. However, the thought of plain salad pains me. Fortunately for us, Stacey from Veggie Mama has been kind enough to share with us her Herby Lemon Quinoa Salad.

Owner of the site Veggie Mama, Stacey is a vegetarian, mama, crochet lover, vintage collector, and a tea enthusiast. Fluent in sarcasm and a solid appreciator of dry humour has been known to compare herself to Darlene from the much loved 90’s TV sitcom Rosanne. Thank you Stacey for contributing this recipe and for being a featured blogger on our site, please go to Veggie Mama to check out her site folks.


  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 punnet of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small lebanese cucumber, sliced in half and then in small pieces
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 150g danish feta
  • 1 handful each coriander and flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 large lemon, juiced and 1/2 rind zested
  • 2 tablespoons flax oil
  • 1 pinch each salt and pepper (be generous here!)


Step 1

Mix all salad ingredients with the lemon zest together, shake over the salt and pepper. Drizzle with the lemon juice and flax oil, then stir to combine.

Carrot Muffins – great lunch box ideas




Another great lunch box idea was sent into The Kitchen Bench, Carrot Muffins, healthy ones too. Great for kids and adults and super moist. Sarah actually dropped a few of these around to my house for me to taste before I posted the recipe and I have to say given these are a healthy alternative to the traditional muffin I was a little sceptical on flavour and moistness but they proved that I should not have worried, especially when Sarah Bryden was baking them. Super moist and very tasty kids will love them and the great thing about it is you know that they are getting their vegetable intake.

Happy Baking.

Carrot Muffins – recipe contributed by Sarah Bryden


1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2-3 tsp cinnamon

4 eggs

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 1/2 cups grated carrot

1/2 cup raisins / walnuts

Lets start cooking

Preheat oven to 150deg. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners
Stir together almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, vinegar, honey and coconut oil.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Don’t overmix or muffins will be too dense
Fold in grated carrot, raisins and walnuts.
Gently fold mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 25-30 mins.


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