Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Slow Cooker Pineapple & Coconut Self Saucing Pudding

Did I mention how much I hate winter? Well, I do and it's not even technically cold here in Queensland, the Sunshine State. It might get down to as low as 8 deg C (46 deg F) overnight (sometimes cooler) and the average temperature during the day is around 20 deg C (68 deg F). I don't handle the cold too well. The only thing I like about winter is the food. Being a warm climate for about 9 months of the year, we don't really 'do' soups, stews and puddings so for these couple of cold months I like to make the most of the more hearty recipes. Any kind of self saucing pudding is great and I had a fresh pineapple so Pineapple & Coconut Self Saucing Pudding it was.

This recipe is a good one to use as a standard for any flavour. Use whatever seasonal produce you have or add cocoa for a chocolate version. It produces a light spongy pudding.

The pineapples are full of juice and extra sweet at the moment. I have to stop myself from eating too much otherwise I suffer from 'furry tongue'. 

Damien's mother gave me all of her appliances once she moved into the nursing home and other kitchen things and even though I do have a slow cooker, I love the size of this little one. It was just perfect for a self saucing pudding. You need to give it a light spray with oil to avoid sticking.

The method is pretty much the same as you would make for an oven or microwaved self saucing pudding.

You put the pudding mixture in the dish and carefully pour over the liquid.

I cooked this one on low for approximately 2 hours. It's just a matter of inserting a skewer and checking that the top half of the pudding has set. You can see in the photo above all the bubbly sauce oozing up the sides of the dish.

Served with ice cream, this was really good. I'm going to remember doing them in the slow cooker from now on as I can just mix it, set it and leave it until dinner time and it keeps warm in the slow cooker. Hope you give this one a try.

Slow Cooker Pineapple & Coconut Self Saucing Pudding
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 60 grams butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh or canned pineapple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 25 grams butter, melted

  1. Combine flour, sugar, coconut.
  2. Add melted butter and milk and gently fold through flour.
  3. Add pineapple.
  4. Place in a greased slow cooker (or dish for baking in the oven or microwave).
  5. Combine syrup, hot water and extra 25 grams melted butter.
  6. Gently pour liquid over pudding batter.
  7. Cook in slow cooker on slow for approximately 2 hours.

Monday, July 6, 2015

"In the Pan" Asian Steamed Fish Parcels

If you know me, you know I love to cook. I could spend 2 solid days in the kitchen preparing for a dinner party or preparing meals in advance and baking up sweet treats. Somewhere, in the last 10 years (since the birth of my daughter), it's been a matter of trying to get something on the table in a hurry without giving up my love of cooking. I'm always looking for quick ways to produce nice tasting meals but in a damn hurry. Why is everything in a damn hurry where kids are concerned? Instead of heating up the oven, I popped these Asian Fish Parcels wrapped in aluminium foil in the electric frypan and they turned out a treat.

I can get 1 kilo of skinless, boneless white fish fillets for less than $10 from the supermarket and they're a great cheap meat option and don't taste too bad. It was just a matter of spraying a piece of foil, topping with a fillet of fish, sprinkling some Asian flavours on top, sealing and popping in the pan, just like that. Within about 10 minutes, they were cooked.

With the lid popped on, there's no need to turn the fish over. The steam generated within the foil cooks the fish completely.

Served with some steamed rice and Asian style vegetables, this is a quick, hearty, healthy meal with little or no fat used in the cooking. Traditionally the fish may have been wrapped in paper and baked in the oven but this is a great alternative. If you're out and about on holidays, camping for example, this would be a great way to serve your freshly caught fish directly on a pan over the fire. Hope you give it a try.

"In the Pan" Asian Steamed Fish Parcels

  • fish fillets
  • oil spray
  • crushed garlic
  • ground ginger
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil

To serve:

  • steamed rice
  • Asian vegetables

  1. Spray a piece of foil larger than the size of fish with oil spray and place the fish fillet on top.
  2. Top fish with a couple drops of sesame oil and soy sauce and a shake of ground ginger. 
  3. Spread with crushed garlic.
  4. Seal fish parcels well and pop in either an electric frypan or stove top pan and cook for approximately 10 mins or until fish is cooked.
  5. Serve with steamed rice and Asian style vegetables.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thriving on Thursdays - Linky Party # 139


Welcome to another week of Thriving on Thursdays and finally, I think I might be back to running on all cylinders. My goodness gracious. I have been lucky to enjoy good health these last couple of years, except for the odd head cold but I really was struck down with something severe last week. The doctor said I had developed bronchitis. It's gone through the house, knocking every one down (except Damien). High fevers, terrible cough, aching joints just to name a few of the symptoms. I was lucky to have Damien around to ferry the kids to and from school and wait on me. Needless to say Mount 'Washmore' needs to be tackled along with the other general household duties. 


We're one week into a two week school holiday break. I was lucky to have a one on one 'date' with each of my children which was something I hadn't done in such a long time. It's so refreshing to interact with them as little people now and listen to their opinions and views on the world. My daughter has an opinion on everything and is quite the expert. (I wonder where she gets that from.) Hopefully it'll be something I can get to do more often. My man Damien is so brilliant that he lets me do this. Now that I'm feeling well, it's back into finishing off wedding craft and the next big job will be to give the garden a good going over. Great time of the year to do it now that it's a bit cooler. Now, onto last week's party. Here's my top three food and non food posts from last week.



Softtoy Pony - Kuschelpferd Lilly

Nine FREE Robot Appliqué Templates, each one representing a different occupation ~ Threading My Way

householdjobs and physical activity final


Thank you so much everyone for linking up each week. There truly is a bunch of gifted talented people out there in the world. I love seeing each and everyone of your posts and wish I could feature them all. If you were featured, please feel free to grab a 'featured' button from above. Now let's see what you've been working on this week and HAPPY 4TH OF JULY to all of my US friends!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ricotta, zucchini & cherry tomato tarts

Sometimes I go back through old recipes I've posted here, to find how I made something in particular to make it again and as I scroll through the recipe list, it looks like I must have this huge array of ingredients at all times, a fully stocked pantry, a refrigerator that resembles a deli and a freezer with whatever your heart desires. Well let me assure you, it's nothing like that. I would say 99.9% of the time, my recipes are created based on what I have left in the fridge, pantry or freezer and it needs using up, like yesterday!

It was one of those lazy Sundays when I needed to do some school baking for the week and we had kinda missed lunch, so while the oven was I thought I'd check what I had on hand to whip up a quick snack. I had one sheet of puff pastry, one tired looking zucchini, the last of the punnet of cherry tomatoes and about half a tub of ricotta cheese that was destined to be something else but I never got around to it. That's how these Ricotta, Zucchini & Cherry Tomato Tarts came about. I never get an urge to make something and rush to the store to buy a particular ingredient just so I can make it. Never. I always just make do and use what I have.

I've got these semi circle pans which are just perfect for tart making. I managed to squeeze out 12 circles of pastry, even joining some of the edges together to form rounds.

The filling is made up of the grated zucchini, the ricotta, grated tasty cheese, an egg, salt and pepper and a bit of garlic. The cherry tomatoes are popped on top.

Bake in the oven until filling has set (or until golden brown). We were starving by then so I took them out a little earlier than I should have. A delicious brunch, lunch, snack or party appetiser. Sprinkle with a little chopped chives for serving if you like. Remember, to only always use what you have. There is a substitute for just about everything.

Ricotta, Zucchini & Cherry Tomato Tarts
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 200gm ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg C.
  2. Cut circles from puff pastry and line either a cupcake pan or similar which has been sprayed with a little oil spray.
  3. Combine, ricotta, grated cheese, beaten egg, garlic, grated zucchini and salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon ricotta mixture into pastry cups.
  5. Top with halved cherry tomatoes.
  6. Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until mixture has set and is golden brown.
  7. Suitable to eat hot or cold and suitable to freeze.
  8. Makes 12.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fake vs fresh wedding flowers

There's no question in my mind that I would prefer fresh flowers for my wedding. This is for my bouquet, my bridesmaid's bouquets, the boutennieres, Damien's mother's corsage and for the tables. We have set ourselves a very strict budget for the wedding and we aren't going over it. I did allow $100 for flowers and going on what I did the 'last time round', I thought it would be more than enough to cover what I needed.


From memory (I could go and look at old wedding photos but I won't), I had plain white Oriental lillies and white roses in my bridal bouquet last time around and the two bridesmaids had small bunches of jonquils. There were only two buttonholes of perhaps one small white rosebud, two corsages for the Mums and small bunches of jonquils for the centrepieces. I'm am positive that whole lot cost me around $50. The florist I found went to the flower market the day before, arranged the flowers and delivered them to me on the morning of the wedding. Admittedly it was back in 2001 but this time around the quotes for very simple purple flowers with a bit of greenery ranged from $490, the lowest, up to $1,000. I just cannot justify that sort of money even if I wanted to extend the budget for the sake of fresh flowers.

The is the type of thing I was wanting for the three bridesmaids.
For weeks I toyed with the idea of going to the flower market myself, the day before the wedding, and buying the fresh flowers and making the bouquets. Because the wedding ceremony and reception will be at our house, I thought it would be one major stress I had to do that I really didn't need. I belong to quite a few wedding Facebook groups and when I saw the beautiful artificial wedding flowers that were being made, I looked into it a bit further.

The boy's boutonnieres.
So after researching prices at local stores, watching Youtube clips on how to make bouquets, digging around in my craft stash and adding a couple of personalised adornments that fit with the theme of the wedding, I had a crack at making my own. I also figured if I made them now, they could be packed away ready for the wedding and one more thing crossed off my to do list.  

The cost of the flowers for 4 bouquets, 4 boutonnieres and a corsage all came to the pricely sum of $15. I purchased them from an overseas ebay seller. The same flowers were available in local stores for triple the price. The twine I had and the cute little handmade guitar brooches came from a German etsy seller. I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. Looking at them, I know they aren't real but it's like comparing oranges and apples. For all the reasons I mentioned earlier, they are suiting me for so many reasons and I think they look nice and suit our personalities and our wedding theme. 


So many people are opting out of fresh flowers for so many reasons and trying to be a little bit individual I guess. Check out the creativity with this boutonniere. Even the the title of the sheet music is "Can't Help Falling In Love". Love it!

The bouquets were a little more effort. I had to arrange them the way I wanted and wind it all with florist tape and then the twine. Really, the whole lot took a couple hours one Sunday afternoon. I added a couple small stems of ivory roses to my bouquet just because.

I used some of Nanna's vintage lace around the handle plus finished with a $3 rhinestone encrusted guitar brooch which is sticking with the theme.


With the money that I saved, I can now go and pick up a few bunches of fresh flowers a day or so before the wedding from a local flower market or even the supermarket for my table centrepieces. It's a spring time wedding so the reception area will be sweet with the scent of fresh flowers. Don't forget I'm growing some myself which will help with the costs. They are coming along nicely with all the rain we've been having. 


If you've got the budget for fresh flowers and that's what you want, go right ahead. I'd love it as well but I'm very happy with what I've decided to do. If you want to do something a little more individual, there are so many talented, creative people out there who are making absolutely gorgeous bouquets with things such as brooches, paper flowers, fabric flowers, buttons and whatever else you can think of. It's your wedding, your choice.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Microwaved Mexican stuffed potato

I'd forgotten how easy it was to make a meal out of one humble potato. I used to do these 'stuffed' potatoes all the time on my own for a quick meal and thought I'd start doing it again when it's only the man and I at home for an easy night's meal. It's done in next to no time and it's a great way to use up leftovers like the Chilli Con Carne I'd cooked the night before.

It only takes a couple of minutes per potato in the microwave to cook it. First, prick all over with a fork, place on paper towel in the microwave and for this medium sized potato, I allowed 4 minutes. After two minutes, I turn the potato over and do the other side for 2 minutes. Better to under cook it and then zap for an extra minute or two. If it's overcooked, the skin will be quite tough. While it's cooking I get the toppings ready.

I had an avocado in the fridge and whipped up my easy, 'no fuss' guacamole which is just mashed avocado, salt and pepper and a bit of lime juice.

Just enough leftover chilli, for two. This gets heated in the microwave too for a couple minutes.

Grate some cheese. Gotta have cheese!

Now that the potato is cooked, time to assemble. Be careful with the potato because it will be super hot. Cut into quarters, not quite cutting all the way through. Top with a knob of butter. Top with the heated chilli, grated cheese, guacamole, sour cream and salsa (if you have it). 

In around 10 minutes, you have a quick, healthy meal for two. The topping ideas are endless. Use any kind of leftovers, cooked meats, salads like coleslaw, baked beans and bacon (for example). I'm going to go back to the humbled stuffed potato more often now. I know this one was well received.

Microwaved Mexican Stuffed Potato
  • one potato per person
  • leftover Chilli Con Carne (or savoury mince, for example)
  • butter
  • guacamole (made by mashing avocado and adding salt, pepper and lime juice)
  • cheese, grated
  • sour cream
  • salsa

  1. Prick potato all over with a fork and place on a paper towel in the microwave.
  2. Cook for 2 minutes (for a medium sized potato) and turn over, cooking for a further 2 minutes. 
  3. Repeat for more potatoes. (You can cook all potatoes at once but will have to experiment with cooking times.)
  4. Cut potato in quarters in serving dish and top with a knob of butter.
  5. Add toppings and serve.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thriving on Thursdays - Linky Party # 138


Welcome to another week of Thriving on Thursday. Oh, woe is me. I feel like I have 'man flu'! My darling son decided he'd share his flu with me so I've been laid up in bed since Tuesday. Feeling all the aches and pains and have an annoying, niggling cough. I guess I've been pretty lucky of late and can't remember the last time I had a cold. It's just hard when you still need to get the kids to school, lunches to be made and the whole regular routine. I've just dragged myself out of bed long enough to write this post and that's where I'll be headed again. Here's my top 3 food and non food posts from last week's party.




Cord Keeper For Tangle Free Earbuds

everything you wanted to know about blogging


Thanks so much to everyone for linking up. Yet another great week of fantastic blog posts and inspirations. If you were featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button from above. Looking forward to seeing what you've all been working on this week. Let's get linking! Have a great weekend!

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