A Mother’s Day Reflection for ALL Women


by Miriam Jessie

A reflection that is for all women as we approach Mother’s Day.

As a mother the idea of Mother’s Day delights me, but in a church context I both love and tremble at bringing this celebration through the doors and into the church.

In every ‘Happy Mother’s Day’, I am reminded of a time I sat with a friend who cried at another period announcing her hope for motherhood was dashed again.

I think of the single friend who has such a great capacity for love, who longs for motherhood and sees no answer to that longing.

I think of the women who fill pews and live silent about abortions they have had because they already feel condemnation and no space to be loved and grieve their loss.

I weep for the women who have been rejected and hurt by the adults they once rose to tend in the midnight hours.

I feel the silent crushing weight of the myriad of women who feel they are failing to mother ‘as they ought to’. Continue reading “A Mother’s Day Reflection for ALL Women”

to love and to feed them



It has occurred to me that when it comes to raising children, nothing can actually prepare you for each new season.

I don’t like this.

If at all possible, I would prefer 12 months notice on All Issues That Will Arise with each of my children. Then I could plan, research, study, hold focus groups and interrogate All Those Who Have Gone Before and demand their wisdom and insights. I could search for the people who have experienced the exact same thing that my kids will and ask them “What do I do?” Continue reading “to love and to feed them”

Live simply, love deeply and the principle of the oxygen mask

by Emma Crauford

I have recently said “No” to a few things.

Good, worthy and lovely things.
“No” isn’t my normal default position and it tastes a bit gritty in my mouth when I say it. But with it only being February and a couple of my warning lights already flashing, I knew I needed my answer to be “No” this time.

A good old-fashioned breakdown 9 years ago taught me how to recognize my warning lights before I was at the point of a full CODE RED. Continue reading “Live simply, love deeply and the principle of the oxygen mask”

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Slice

by Emma Crauford

Our eldest son recently had a birthday and being a summer baby, he chose to celebrate with some close mates coming over for a pool party.

‘Pool party’ is probably stretching it. In reality, it was some ‘cool pre-teens’ swimming all afternoon, and every now and then jumping out of the water to eat or drink something.

When it came to the birthday cake, this Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake was requested. Continue reading “Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Slice”

The Year That Was


It’s 6am and I can’t sleep.

My mind is a jumbled mess of Christmas to do lists and random thoughts and although I feel bone weary, I decide to get up. Maybe if I start writing my mind will quieten down?

It’s rare I am up before one of my sons, so there is something special about a quiet house, where everyone else is snug and sleeping and I have the lounge and the peace all to myself.

Staring at my Christmas tree and watching the rain outside I can’t help but wonder what next year holds? What’s around the corner that I can’t see or plan for yet? Continue reading “The Year That Was”

Raspberry & Pistachio Refined Sugar-free & Gluten Free Semifreddo



A semifreddo is a fancy word for a ‘semi frozen’ dessert. It almost always has a base of cream, eggs and sugar, but when it comes to flavour, anything goes.

My boys and I agree that eating this one tastes like eating a frozen Creme Brûlée.

Another simple recipe that’s perfect for summer time entertaining, it only has 3 main steps – whip, fold and freeze and can be made many days in advance.

You will need electric beaters for this recipe, hand whipping won’t get you the desired thickness you need when it comes to whipping the egg yolks and honey.

This has made it to the top of our dessert menu for my family Christmas gathering – alongside my Mum’s Pudding of course.

A shout out to one of my fave’s, Bill Granger, for this recipe. His simple approach to cooking is one I love. I come back to his recipes time and time again. This is my version of his recipe from ABC Delicious magazine, November 2006.

Raspberry & Pistachio Semifreddo (refined sugar free, gluten free)


  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 6h
  • Total Time: 6h 15m


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 250 milliliters thickened cream, whipped (1 cup)
  • 150 grams fresh raspberries, plus extra to decorate
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted, shelled pistachios, chopped, plus extra to decorate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract


  1. Beat the egg yolks and honey together with an electric beater until very thick, pale and double in volume. This will take at least 5 minutes.
  2. Fold in the whipped cream and vanilla.
  3. Line a loaf tin with plastic wrap, leaving enough to hang over the sides of the tin. You will use this to wrap over the top of the semifreddo.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin, fold the wrap over the top and place in freezer for 2 hours, until semi-frozen.
  5. Remove from the freezer and carefully stir through the raspberries and pistachios.
  6. Cover with the wrap again and place in the freezer for another 4-6 hours, or overnight, until completely frozen.
  7. 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, invert the semifreddo onto a platter, remove the plastic wrap, decorate as you wish and leave to sit in the fridge to soften a little before cutting and eating.
Emma is from Sydney, Australia, where she is raising 3 beautiful boys alongside her husband.  Her happy place is her kitchen, and cookfasteatslow.com is her blog about her everyday simple food, her faith and her family.

Continue reading “Raspberry & Pistachio Refined Sugar-free & Gluten Free Semifreddo”

Recipes for a crowd: Panzanella Salad

Recipes For A Crowd is a new category on Esther & Friends.  These are tried and true crowd-pleasers that look great on a platter and, most importantly, don’t stress out the host.  Who better to kick this off than our resident foodie, Emma Crauford.   For our lovely friends in Europe and the US, we will try to incorporate some winter-style recipes in coming weeks.  Forgive us our Antipodean summer Christmas and our need for BBQ’s and salads at this time of year…..it must seem very odd!    Bon Appetit!



This is the first of a few posts I am going to dedicate to the Christmas season. Whether you need inspiration for a relaxed summer BBQ with friends or a formal Christmas gathering, over the next few weeks I will post some simple and achievable recipes suitable for those occasions. I can’t wait to hear if any of them make it to your menu!


There are many reasons why this is one of my favourite salads.

Firstly, it’s from Tuscany, Italy. A place I dream of visiting one day.  I long to soak up the history, food and culture. I dream of spending a day in an Italian mumma’s kitchen, learning all that I can. I dream of olive groves, foraging for herbs and eating lots and lots of cheese!

The Italians are well known for being wise with their food and never wasting a thing. This salad was born as a way of using up stale bread. Pure genuis, to combine stale bread with some of summers best produce and finest herbs.

Secondly, it is colourful and so pretty on a big white platter. The red, green and white theme make it a perfect Aussie Christmas salad, especially when tomatoes are at their best and full of flavour.

Thirdly, it’s SIMPLE. A little chopping, a little toasting and a quick dressing, this salad is perfect to add to your Christmas menu, which like me, you are probably trying to keep as simple, yet as tasty, as possible.

My version of the Panzanella Salad is based on one I read about in the Quick Smart Cook recipe book, from the ABC delicious magazine.

Panzanella Salad

  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 20m
  • Total Time: 28m
  • Serves: 6


  • 1/2 loaf sourdough bread, torn into small chunks
  • 50 milliliters extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for the sourdough)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, to give 3/4 cup (plus extra whole leaves for garnish)
  • 600 grams cherry tomatoes, halved (look out for yellow, orange and green tomatoes to make the salad more colourful)
  • 1 large lebanese cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup pitted olives, halved (more if you like olives!)
  • 150 grams fresh buffalo mozzarella or bocconcini, torn into chunks


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Drizzle the torn bread chunks in some olive oil, season with salt and place in a single layer on a baking tray.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes till golden and crispy. Set aside.
  4. Combine 50ml olive oil, red wine vinegar and finely chopped basil leaves in a jar with a lid and shake to combine.
  5. Place cut tomatoes, olives, cucumber, toasted bread and mozzarella in a large bowl and pour the dressing over. Mix well with your hands.
  6. Place on a serving platter and garnish with whole fresh basil leaves.


Emma is from Sydney, Australia, where she is raising 3 beautiful boys alongside her husband.  Her happy place is her kitchen, and cookfasteatslow.com is her blog about her everyday simple food, her faith and her family.