Traditional recipes

4 New Packages for Your Wine

4 New Packages for Your Wine

Glass is no longer the only way to bottle your wine

Modern technology has allowed us to break the glass barrier and develop other ways of bottling wine, many of which have benefits for the environment as well as for us.

Move over, glass, there are new bottling materials in town. Modern technology has allowed us to break the glass barrier and develop other ways of bottling wine, many of which have benefits for the environment as well as for us. More and more fine wines are being "bottled" in something other than bottles. Here’s what you need to know about them:

• Aluminum: Light and recyclable, these bottles also offer an impermeable barrier from oxygen (unlike plastic) and can be chilled five times more quickly than the traditional glass bottle. Creative colors and designs make this option eye-catching on the shelf.

• Stainless Steel: Kegs aren’t just for beer anymore. The stainless steel wine keg is becoming a major player in by-the-glass wine programs in restaurants around the country. Restaurateurs love the keg’s ability to keep wine fresh for weeks, and wine fans love the increased by-the-glass options.

• Plastic: Plastic wine bottles are a growing trend because they are completely recyclable, up to 89 percent lighter than glass bottles, and don’t break in transit. The downsides include more oxygen contact with the wine and the as-yet unanswered questions of the health and flavor affects the plastic may have on the wine.

• Paper: The newest wine container on the scene is made entirely from recyclable paper with a plastic lining, and has one-tenth of the carbon footprint of a glass wine bottle. Debuted just last year by British inventor Martin Myerscough, the GreenBottle is only on shelves in the U.K. currently, but will soon be making its way to a store near you.

Click here for more from The Daily Sip.

12 Creative Care Package Ideas That'll Deliver Sunshine to Your Friend's Doorstep

Quarantine or not, these thoughtful gifts are guaranteed to brighten their day.

Whatever the reason, there are times in life when you can't be with the people you love most. But even when you're not physically there to show them how much you care, there are plenty of ways to tell them from afar. Care packages &mdash whether it's for a nurse on the front lines, a college student feeling homesick for the first time, a military member away from loved ones, or a stressed-out friend who needs some self-care &mdash are one of the best ways to do so. Take a look at these thoughtful care package ideas for inspiration, or shop from the pre-packaged options if you don't want to deal with the hassle of packaging and delivery.

As you brainstorm ways to make the boxed gift tailored to the recipient, keep in mind that the cost of care packages can quickly add up, especially once you factor in shipping and delivery. So, be mindful of each item's weight and size as you craft your personalized gift. It'll all be worth it in the end, especially once your box of love, happiness, and well wishes arrives at their door.

Get straight to the point with this sunshine-filled care package. It comes with a pre-potted succulent, jar candle, and matches, but you can add on small gifts like lip balm and bath bombs for an extra cost.

Best Sims 4 Food, Recipe & Cooking Mods (Free CC To Download)

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The Sims 4 is the perfect game to let time float by. Despite coming out years ago, there’s always something new to check out every time you sit down to play – whether it comes from EA or the Custom Content community.

If you’re already familiar with the Eco Lifestyle expansion and can’t wait for the upcoming releases, well there’s nothing left to do but plunge right into the world of mods and CC.

And what a better place to start than by revamping TS4’s food and cooking?

The base game’s systems can feel a bit rudimentary at times, and we all need variety in our diets to live healthy, happy lives – even Sims.

So join me as I take a look at the best culinary mods that’ll elevate your Sim’s foodie experience to the next level.

20. The Grocery Store Mod

Before your Sims can get any cooking done, they must attend to their pantry and fill the fridge with ingredients that’ll open up the culinary possibilities.

In previous installments of The Sims you were allowed to visit the grocery store and similar venues right from the get-go. But The Sims 4 is a bit different in that… well, it expects you to either grow food yourself or find it out in the world by chance.

With this fantastic mod from SmagGeorge, you’ll simulate the cooking experience more realistically by physically going to the store to get all you need for a balanced meal. Just like real life!

19. Shop for Groceries

With my life as it is nowadays, I never actually go to the grocery store. It’s the 2020’s, after all, so now we get our groceries from the comfort of our beds. Welcome to the modern era.

This mod by notorious creator SrslySims allows your Sim to indulge in their sedentary tendencies without sacrificing healthy eating.

Hungry? Just have your sim order groceries from a phone, tablet, computer, or even a cash register if you just want some grub at work.

Thanks to this add-on, every fish, produce item, and flower in the entire game is just one click away.

Also it’s compatible with other mods that add new ingredients too. Nifty!

18. More Servings Options & Better Meal Time Menus

Once you’ve got your ingredients ready, it’s time to call up the family and serve them a warm, hearty meal that’ll hopefully give some positive buffs, rather than send them running to the bathroom.

As the family cook, it can often be annoying to cook every single serving.

And sometimes the default serving sizes are simply insufficient.

This mod by LittleMsSam fixes this issue by letting you choose how many meals to cook in detail.

Whether you want a romantic dinner for two, a special Party Size meal for seven Sims, or just a single cheese sandwich, your Sim will be ready to measure ingredients and cook with precision in mind.

17. Healthy Drinks

The default drink variety in The Sims 4 isn’t exactly extensive.

What better way to improve it than with health-giving drinks that’ll keep your Sim active and energized throughout the day?

Creator LittleMsSam decided to improve her Sims’ lifestyle and make these healthy drinks available at any venue where drinks are prepared and served.

Options include Carrot Juice, Spinach Juice, Lemon Juice and even Plasma Fruit Juice for the bloodsuckers in the family.

And these healthy drinks aren’t all show. They’ll also give your Sims positive, health-related buffs such as a happy moodlet and a minor increase to their fitness skill.

16. Edible Junk Food

Let’s face it. Most of us haven’t had a healthy drink in weeks (or at least our Sims haven’t!)

The only things that are never missing from most of our homes are snacks and plenty of junk food.

The Sims, living the whimsical lives they do, are primed to indulge in the same unhealthy delicacies as humans. Still, their choices are a tad limited.

To expand their repertoire of snacks, CC creator Around The Sims brings us this pack of iconic treats consisting of Nutella, Oreos, and several flavors of Pringles Potato Chips.

Anyone else getting hungry just reading this?

15. Assorted Cookbooks

Junk food is delicious, but we should do our best to avoid it, or that’s what my gym teacher always said.

One of the best ways to keep you eating healthy is learning plenty of recipes for fresh meals.

Creator LittleMsSam makes this much easier for our Sims by providing these diverse cookbooks that’ll teach a Sim to cook a bunch of experimental recipes, seafood, and much more.

All in around 60 in-game minutes.

You can also make NPCs read these books, so they know the best way to cook these dishes too. That way they can make them for you, saving you plenty of time.

14. Custom Food Interactions

One of the most important food-related mods you can download is TheFoodGroup’s Custom Food Interactions, a pre-requisite for most of their recipe CC packs.

After installing this mod, you’ll notice you now have a “Custom Food” option anywhere you have regular food interactions.

You can cook custom food at the stove, feed your toddler custom food, and even make Vampire-friendly food.

This makes it easy to find all of your shiny new recipes, letting your Sim indulge in the custom delicacies you so painstakingly procured for them.

13. Custom Drink Interactions

And why would you stop at custom food when you could enhance this simulation by installing TheFoodGroup’s Custom Drink Interactions?

You want an Apricot Bellini? A Pink Lady?

Maybe some cocoa with marshmallows, perhaps?

Custom Drink Interactions can make it easy for your Sim to get themselves a little bit of flavor in a cup, anywhere that drinks are usually available.

If you’ve been using mods for a while, perhaps you know this mod as IceMunMun’s Custom Drink Interactions.

This is the updated version, maintained by a different group after IceMunMun dropped the project.

12. Food Delivery Service

I’ve been busy with work and other projects lately, so I’ve had to rely on my favorite local restaurants to keep me fed through their delivery services.

Just like I can make my time last more by not cooking my own meals, so should your Sims have the chance to indulge in the wonders of ordering food.

Thanks to LittleMsSam’s Food Delivery Service mod, now they can.

Where originally they could only order pizza, now your Sims have astounding culinary variety at their fingertips 24 hours a day.

They can order single, family, or party size depending on their needs. And the delivery will only cost them 25 Simoleons, plus the cost of preparing the food.

11. Granny’s Cookbook

If you’re interested in easy-to-use mods, Granny’s Cookbook by creator Littlebowbub will not disappoint.

It merely adds a cookbook decoration you can place wherever you find it convenient.

You’ll then be able to interact with it and choose from a wide array of recipes divided into Cold Drinks, Warm Drinks, Quick Meals, and Granny’s Recipes.

These recipes include simple stuff like Chicken and Dumpling Soup, but also experimental dishes such as Beef Patty with Coco Bread, or Thai Mango Sticky Rice.

Whether you want a snack, a drink, or a more substantial meal, just choose a recipe and your Sim will take care of the rest.

And hopefully not burn the house down.

10. Drinkable Hot Drinks

Creator AroundTheSims generally focuses on visual improvements and decorative CC for The Sims 4.

These wonderfully modeled hot drinks started their lives as decorations, before the creator had the genius idea of making them functional beverages too.

This pack includes all kinds of hot beverages with unique looks to keep you warm and stylish through a rainy day. Or just to have your friends over and have a friendly chat over steamy concoctions.

It even includes some lesser-known multicultural options like Japanese Tea and Yerba Mate for our Argentinian and Syrian friends.

9. Drinkable Alcoholic Drinks

AroundTheSims continues the series of re-purposed decorative drinks with another mod: Drinkable Alcoholic Drinks.

This expands the ethylic possibilities of The Sims 4 to reflect better the realities of alcohol consumption in the 21st century.

It includes several staples of bartenders worldwide like the Mai-Thai and the Margarita, along with household classics like Bailey’s on the rocks.

Each of these iconic drinks will have a different effect on your Sim so it’s fun to get them drunk and see what happens.

And of course, please drink responsibly!

8. McDonald’s Custom Food & Drinks

If like seeing McDonald’s in games, you’ll have a blast with AroundTheSims’ McDonald’s Custom Food & Drinks.

These beautifully-modeled colorful treats include desserts, fries, chicken nuggets, and burgers in bright red and yellow packaging bearing the golden arches.

It’s a lot of variety to experience in one sitting. So you’ll probably be ordering McDonald’s for a while.

The pack also includes a lot of themed furniture and appliances to let you create your very own McDonald’s inside The Sims 4. Yes, really!

7. Ask to Cook/Bake/Grill/Mix Drink

We all know someone who’s never had to lift a finger to make their own food. They’re a fact of life!

And so should they be in The Sims 4 if we’re aiming at any level of realism.

This simple mod by LittleMsSam will let you ask other Sims, including NPCs, to take care of your culinary needs by interacting with the same appliances you usually would.

This is ideal for the lazy Sim that never leaves his room, and any Butler/Maid situation you want to setup.

Just keep in mind that the Sim will need to know the recipe before cooking anything for you.

6. Don’t Wash Dishes Where You Angry Poop

One of the most common complaints and occasional memes regarding The Sims 4 has to be the fact that Sims appear to love doing the dishes in somewhat… unusual places, including the bathroom.

This has a lot to do with the fact that bathroom and kitchen sinks are just seen as “sinks” by the AI.

That’s what Scumbumbo’s humorously-titled mod wishes to address here.

It letsyou manually tell your Sims which sinks are OK for washing dishes, and which should be left alone.

That way you won’t be thrown out of your immersion by their bizarre behavior, and they’ll have less uncomfortable encounters in the bathroom.

5. Don’t Prep Food Where You Angry Poop

Just like the previous mod, Don’t Prep Food Where You Angry Poop will allow you to set cooking-safe stoves and surfaces around the house manually.

This saves your Sims a lot of awkward moments with their roommates, family members, and the odd house guest.

These may be simple mods, but they deserve to be near the top for just how useful and essential they are.

Would it really be that difficult for EA to take care of this in the base game?

4. AsteriaSims’ Food Texture Overhaul

One of the most sought-after improvements in The Sims 4 are those that make your game look more realistic… or put simply, prettier.

A great way to achieve this when it comes to food is AsteriaSims’ Food Texture Overhaul, a comprehensive pack of appealing textures to make your Sim’s food look as delicious as you’d see in real life.

This pack features intricate detail, as is evident in its bowls of individually-depicted grains of rice.

That roasted chicken is also among the most realistic I’ve ever seen.

3. UtopiaSims’ Food Textures

Another excellent array of upgraded textures you definitely shouldn’t install if you’re watching your weight is UtopiaSims’ many food textures.

They’re colorful, warm, and delicious-looking.

Best of all, they achieve this without going for a photo-realistic look that forces you to change everything lest the food looks out of place surrounded by the clay-like vanilla aesthetic.

2. GrayCurse’s Cooking & Ingredients Overhaul

If what you’re looking for isn’t an aesthetic improvement, but a robust culinary addition to gameplay, then the Cooking & Ingredients Overhaul by creator GrayCurse is what you need.

This engaging mod makes cooking a more challenging and in-depth endeavor by adding many more ingredients.

You’ll get stuff like cheese, flour, eggs, milk, and sugar. It also makes recipes more complex.

This way you’ll need to procure the ingredients for each dish first.

Don’t worry about the added complexity making your Sim go hungry, though. You can get most of it by buying it from the fridge.

1. Srsly’s Complete Cooking Overhaul

In a similar vein as our previous entry, Srsly’s Cooking Overhaul changes recipes to make them more complex, thanks to more accurate ingredient lists.

Just as in real life, your Sims will now be missing ingredients for their recipes all the time.

To balance this out, Srsly also allows us to order them through the Food Delivery Service covered before, which is a vital part of this larger overhaul.

Ingredients will arrive in a packaged form that’s stylish and appealing as a temporary decoration. Would be nice to have this in real life, eh?

But if you need a single mod that’ll truly turbo-charge your cooking experience in TS4, this is it.

Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.

Are you familiar with new potatoes yet? If not, it's time to pick up a bag: These young members of the potato family are among the most adaptable. Unlike fully grown potatoes, they're freshly dug and brought to market without having been stored for weeks. That means they have a moist texture and a sweeter taste, since the sugar in them has not yet converted to starch. Aside from flavor, they have thin, delicate skins and a crisp, waxy texture.

You'll see new potatoes in a beautiful array of colors, ranging from gold to red to purple. Whichever you choose, look for one that are firm, smooth, and free of cracks or soft brown spots. If you can, it's also a good idea to select potatoes of similar size so they cook evenly. When you get them home, don't refrigerate them. New or not, potatoes should never go in the refrigerator instead, store them in a cool, dark place, and be sure to cook your new potatoes within a week or so of bringing them home. They don't have the same extended storage powers as regular potatoes.

When it comes time to use them, you can leave the skins on new potatoes. Just rinse them under cool water, scrub with a vegetable brush, and cut away any greenish parts (caused by overexposure to light) or any eyes. As for how to use these wonderful root vegetables? The sky's the limit. Although they really shine in salads (potato or otherwise) because they hold their shape well and are delicious no matter the temperature you serve them, they're also excellent roasted, mashed, or boiled.

Here, you'll find our 16 favorite ways to cook with new potatoes. Add these recipes to your repertoire and we promise you won't be disappointed.

Do I have to make a Water Bath for this Cheesecake?

Yes, but I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds. The water bath helps the cheesecake stay nice and moist! And it also ensures a crack-free presentation. The best type of pan to use for a water bath is a roasting pan or any other large baking pan with sides at least 2 inches high. You need a pan with high edges so you can put enough water into the pan without it overflowing. The best way to prepare a water bath is to place the wrapped cheesecake pan into the roasting pan, place the pan into the oven, and then – very carefully – add 2 inches of water into the pan. Since this recipe uses a springform pan, you’ll need to wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan first with aluminum foil to prevent water from coming through the bottom. To quote Mary Berry, “nobody likes a soggy bottom!” lol. So play it safe and use MULTIPLE layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. You’ll want to bring the layer all the way up the sides of the pan, and in a crisscross pattern. I hope that helps!

If you’d like to avoid making a water bath at all costs, you can place the roasting pan full of water on the rack beneath the cheesecake. This work about 80% of the time for me, but occasionally when I do this I still get a little crack or two. But if you plan on covering this cheesecake with strawberry sauce, a few cracks aren’t the end of the world.

How to Make a Cosmo the Right Way

Ah, the Cosmo. Is there any other recipe more emblematic of the terrible excesses of bar culture in the ’80s and ’90s? After skyrocketing success due to its association with HBO’s hit show Sex and the City, the Cosmo has fallen badly out of fashion.

However, the real joke is on people scoffing at what can be a delicious, refreshing, well-balanced drink. Cosmos are firmly in the sour family of drinks, and not too far removed from daiquiris, margaritas, whiskey/gin sours and others that don’t bear the same stigma.

At its core, the Cosmo is just a kamikaze (an equally terrible cocktail name that just means vodka, sugar and lime) with a couple of small tweaks. Simple syrup is swapped out with triple sec for a touch of citrus, and a splash of cranberry is added for tartness. That’s it. No special flavored vodkas or sugary supermarket mixers required here. You could think of it as a vodka margarita with a touch of cranberry. In fact, the basic structure of the Cosmo (spirit, liqueur, lime and a touch of fruit juice) isn’t far removed from that of a Hemingway Daiquiri, a classic cocktail lauded by bartenders and revered by classy drinking types the world over.

So, the next time you’re binge watching old episodes of SATC on your couch, here’s how to fix yourself a proper Cosmo.

  • 1 ½ ounce vodka
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • ½ ounce cranberry juice
  • Orange twist, for garnish

Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled. Double-strain (from shaker through fine mesh strainer) into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.

How To Pitch Yeast

In its simplest form pitching yeast is adding yeast to beer wort or wine must. If you are using dried yeast then you sprinkle it onto the surface of the liquid, if you are using liquid yeast you tip it straight in. That is all there is to it.

In most scenarios, this is fine and will produce good results so why are there all sorts of different methods and processes involved in pitching yeast?

There are still unanswered questions though, and instances where just doing the above may not achieve the best results so let’s answer some of those questions.

Do You Need To Stir Yeast In?

Beer and winemaking involve a lot of stirring at various points in the process so I suppose the natural tendency is to want to stir the yeast in when you add it.

You do not need to stir in the yeast.

Dry yeast can look deceiving when you add it to wort or must as it will spread out in a big layer on the surface. If you are brewing beer it may sit on top of the bubbles and foam on the surface of the wort.

The first instinct is to stir it in but, in fact, leaving it is best practice. Dried yeast take a few moments to rehydrate, by which point they swell and eventually fall into the solution where they reproduce and effectively colonise the beer or wine. The act of fermentation creates gases and the whole vessel naturally mixes itself.

Stirring yeast requires a sanitised spoon or paddle which requires an added step and dry yeast, in particular, tends to clump together and actually make things more difficult to mix.

There will not be a problem if you do stir it in, it is just unnecessary.

Can You Pitch To Much Yeast?

I see this question asked frequently and it does seem a valid concern.

Pretty much all yeast packages have recommended dosage amounts so this is the best thing to work from.

Depending on the size of the batch you are making you may be pitching more than you need. For example a 3-gallon batch and pitching a whole sachet of yeast.

This kind of over pitching is not going to be a problem at all and will result in no real discernable differences.

If you are pitching a whole yeast cake full of slurry from one batch into the next it may be overdoing it and could leave undesirable flavours in the beer but the beer will still be drinkable.

In most cases pitching too much yeast is going to be less of a problem than pitching too little. Underpitching will produce more esters and potentially off-flavours.

The best thing to do is to read the package of the yeast you are using which will have the dosage written on it. This will be the amount you need to pitch for best results. A step further would be to check with a yeast pitching calculator such as this one.

What Temperature To Pitch Yeast?

Pretty much all yeast packaging has recommended pitching temperatures, if not, the yeast lab website will usually list them.

Typically you would have different pitching temperature depending on the strain of yeast and the temperature ranges can vary for each of these categories quite widely depending on the particular strain:

  • Ale yeasts are pitched around 18 – 22°C
  • Lager yeasts are pitched around 9 – 15°C
  • Wine yeasts are pitched around 15 – 25°C
  • Cider and Mead yeasts are pitched around 15 – 24°C

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Serve your pasta straight away – don't leave in the slow cooker on the keep warm setting or you'll overcook it.

Rich, hearty and satisfying. Photo: Supplied

Thick and saucy veg bolognese

This sauce is such a favourite of mine because it's rich, hearty and satisfying, while also being a big dose of vegies. And it couldn't be further from a watery sauce – in fact it's so thick and luscious we had to water it down to make lasagne.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 400g swiss brown mushrooms, diced
  • 200g pitted kalamata olives, diced
  • 500g ripe tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ cup (70g) red miso paste*
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 chicken-style stock cubes or 1 tablespoon faux-chicken stock powder (recipe below)
  • 3 teaspoons ground sweet paprika
  • 700g passata
  • 1 potato, peeled and grated
  1. First, heat oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and saute for 5-10 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. In this order, add carrot, celery, eggplant, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, miso paste, maple syrup, stock cubes or stock powder, paprika and passata to slow cooker. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  3. Four or eight hours later, add grated potato, fold through, incorporating well. Cover and cook for a further 30 minutes on high.

And your bolognese is ready to serve! My favourite option is to ladle the sauce over penne or rigatoni and garnish with a sprinkling of cheese and fresh greens. This sauce is also great as a shepherd's pie base, a pie filling, pasta bake sauce, served over creamy polenta, stuffed in capsicums or inside a jacket potato.

* If avoiding gluten and soy, ensure miso paste is gluten and soy free.

The meaty secret lies in two special ingredients: jackfruit and liquid smoke. Photo: Supplied

Smoky pulled 'pork'

It's very rare I try to imitate meat in a recipe, but this one just turned out so meaty it was impossible not to call it pulled "pork". The meaty secret lies in two special ingredients: jackfruit and liquid smoke. After a few hours cooking, the jackfruit shreds to the stringy texture of pulled meat, while the liquid smoke makes it taste like it's been cooked low and slow over hot coals for days. The hardest part about this recipe is finding those two ingredients – the actual method couldn't be any simpler if you tried. If you're planning your Mexican banquet in advance, the easiest place to get those ingredients is online.


  • 600g jackfruit in water or brine, drained*
  • ¼ cup (70g) tomato paste
  • ¼ cup (90g) golden syrup
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce**
  • 1½ tablespoons Mexican spice mix (recipe below)
  • 3 teaspoons fine salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1¼ teaspoons liquid smoke***
  1. First, place jackfruit, tomato paste, golden syrup, worcestershire sauce, Mexican spice mix, salt and garlic in slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.
  2. Two or four hours later, add liquid smoke, stir to combine. Use two forks to shred jackfruit as you would meat.

Your pulled "pork" is ready. It looks pretty meaty, don't you think? Serve in tacos, burritos, toasted cheese sandwiches, spring rolls or sliders.

* You'll find jackfruit in cans or vaccum-sealed packages from health food shops or online. As it becomes more and more popular, I've also recently seen it popping up in supermarkets. Make sure it's in water or brine, not syrup.

** For this recipe to be vegetarian and vegan, look for an anchovy-free worcestershire sauce, or better yet, make your own.

*** Liquid smoke is essential for this recipe – find it in specialist food stores or online. A 250ml bottle will last you a lifetime because a little goes a long way. My favourite is hickory-flavoured liquid smoke.

Note: This is a great recipe when entertaining a lot of people – set up a DIY taco station with this pulled "pork" as the base and plenty of fresh and flavoursome toppings. You can make up to four times this recipe in a large slow cooker – scale up the ingredients accordingly and follow exactly the same method and cooking time.

No dairy, eggs, soy or nuts. Photo: Supplied

Sticky date pudding for everyone

For everyone! Because firstly, it's so moreish and delicious everyone will want a slice, and secondly, it's free of dairy, eggs, soy and nuts (also making it vegan), and you can happily sub in gluten-free flour. It's one of those desserts you can make no matter who you're feeding, and without any compromise on texture or flavour – promise. This recipe might look on the longer side, but I promise it's really quick and easy.


  • 2 cups (280g) pitted dates
  • 1 cup (250ml) boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal*
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ cup (110g) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light-tasting olive oil + extra for greasing
  • 1½ teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour**
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  1. First, place dates, water, flaxseed meal and bicarbonate of soda in a high-powered blender or food processor, stir to combine. Stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add sugar, oil and spice. Process until well combined and dates are chopped but still a little chunky, 5-10 seconds.
  3. Add flour and baking powder, process on low speed until just combined. Fold any leftover flour in with a spatula.
  4. Grease a 2L pudding basin with olive oil using a pastry brush. Pour in date mixture. Give it a couple of bangs on the bench to release any air bubbles. Cover pudding with lid or foil, sealing tightly.
  5. Place inside slow cooker, then add water until pudding basin is two-thirds submerged. Cover and cook for 5 hours on high.
  6. Five hours later, check a skewer inserted in the pudding comes out more or less clean – not covered in raw mixture. If needed, cover and cook for a further 30 minutes on high.
  7. Once cooked, remove pudding basin from slow cooker and allow to stand for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a serving plate.

It's warm and ready to serve! Cut thick slices and serve with cream, gooey caramel sauce, poached pears, ice-cream or fresh strawberries . or a combination. Just as good served cold, so don't stress if you're struggling to get the timing exactly right – you can make it up to 3 days in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

* Flaxseed meal is simply flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) milled down to a fine powder. You can buy it pre-milled, but honestly, it's often not fresh and frankly not very nice – it's best to mill your own as needed, or mill a couple of tablespoons at a time and store in the fridge or freezer. Use a high-powered blender or coffee grinder, and remember 1 tablespoon of whole flaxseeds will come out as less than 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal.

** Use gluten-free flour for a gluten-free option.

Faux chicken stock powder


  • ½ cup (200 g) fine salt*
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes**
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  1. Place all ingredients in food processor or high-powered blender until a fine powder is formed, approximately 2 minutes.

Store in an airtight jar. Use 2 teaspoons instead of your standard stock cube, or add 2 teaspoons to 500ml water to make liquid stock.

Makes: 2 cups

* Note: Use a good-quality, unrefined salt such as a pink lake salt, never white table salt.

** Note: Nutritional yeast is not the same as instant yeast used in bread baking or brewer's yeast. Available from health food stores and some supermarkets.

Mexican spice mix


  • 3½ tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  1. Place all spices in a large jar and shake to combine, or alternatively place in a mixing bowl and stir.

Store in a sealed glass jar for up to a year.

This is an edited extract from Modern Slow Cooker by Alyce Alexandra, published by Viking, RRP $29.99. Buy now

#DisneyMagicMoments: Conjuring Up the Magic – Recipes for Your #HalfwaytoHalloween Celebration

We are Conjuring Up the Magic for our #HalfwaytoHalloween takeover and treating you to four wickedly delicious recipes – perfect for when you socialize with your own grim grinning ghosts! We have autumnal pumpkin and apple recipes plus Disney villain-inspired deviled dragon eggs and a delicious, healthful smoothie.

Also, check out the scary good limited-time treats offered at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes (Downtown Disney District) and The Ganachery and Gideon’s Bakehouse (Disney Springs) during our Halfway to Halloween celebration! Grab them before they disappear like a ghost!

Bad has never tasted so good! These first two recipes are from the soon-to-be-released Disney Villains: Devilishly Delicious Cookbook, where the iconic villains from Disney’s film library are the inspiration for the recipes.

Hades from Disney’s animated feature film, Hercules, inspired the recipe for Underworld Smoothies. This smoothie plays off Hades’ two moods: blue flames for hair when he’s calm and red flames when angry. You mix a blue and red smoothie separately, then pour both into the same glass for a healthful dose of Hades’ feelings! Click here for a print-at-home version of this recipe.

Even Maleficent would approve of these Deviled Dragon Eggs! Cleverly using red cabbage water to create the unique coloring of these eggs, this recipe takes a bit of time, but the “terrifying” results are sure to impress! Click here for a print-at-home version of this recipe.

You now have the opportunity to pre-order this cookbook featuring these two as well as other devilish dishes. Why not make it a Disney movie night complete with matching your movie choice to a Disney villain recipe? Sounds like a wickedly good time!

Our Pumpkin Muffin recipe comes from the recipe vault at Disneyland Park. Served at past Halloween Time celebrations at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café, these perfectly pumpkiny muffins get a sprinkle of streusel on top for that right hint of sweetness. Happy fall, y’all! Click here for a print-at-home version of this recipe.

Promise this is not a trick but a delicious treat – an exclusive recipe for Disney Parks Blog readers! We coaxed our festival chefs to give us a preview of an autumnal recipe from the upcoming EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival (starting Jul. 15 and running through Nov. 20), and they sent us a recipe for Apple Crumble Tarts. My foodie pal, Katie, made them (you know, for me to make sure they are perfect for this post!), and we both can attest they are REALLY good and REALLY cute! Who can resist a tiny apple pie with crumble topping? Not me!

Here is a sneak peek of the delicious limited-time specialty offerings brewing in our cauldrons for Halfway to Halloween – from pumpkin pie milkshakes to creepy-cool cookies!

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes at Downtown Disney District

  • The Classic Pumpkin Pie Shake – Black Tap’s take on fall flavors with a pumpkin pie shake topped with whipped cream, graham cracker crumbles, and a cherry (available May 7-9)

Gideon’s Bakehouse at Disney Springs

You may already know Gideon’s Bakehouse cookies are mysterious and delicious, but did you also know they are masters of disguise? That’s why, as part of the Halfway to Halloween takeover, a selection of their dreadfully good confections will masquerade themselves as hand pies. Don’t be fooled by their flaky, buttery crusts – once you take a bite, you’ll recognize the rich, decadent flavor of a Gideon’s Bakehouse cookie baked inside!

  • Gideon’s Hand Pies – A handmade Gideon’s Bakehouse Chocolate Chip Cookie baked inside a flaky, buttery pie crust (available May 10-12 while supplies last limit two per person)

The Ganachery at Disney Springs

Pssssst … to get this frightfully delicious treat, check @disneyparks on TikTok throughout Saturday, May 8, to learn the secret, scary phrase to order!

  • Cauldron Cocoa Bomb – Dark chocolate cauldron filled with hot cocoa mix and green marshmallows topped with an edible image of the Sanderson Sisters and a chocolate broom stirrer (available May 10-12 while supplies last limit two per person)

Stay connected with Disney Parks Blog for more delicious Disney recipes, and be sure to share the magic with other Disney fans using the hashtag #HalfwaytoHalloween and #DisneyMagicMoments. Happy Conjuring Up the Magic!

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