Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WOW Write on Wednesdays: Two fat ladies and a dog...

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"...landholdings or even the first in any sense of the concept.  They are pioneers..."

Women of Australia, that is. The women who made this country what it is today. Women arriving from countries all over the world to be faced with harsh weather conditions, without family or friends. Starting out a whole new life, raising families, comforting them, providing for them. They are the backbone of our nation.

I'm in awe of my grandmother, who, like her and the women in her family before her, were without the mod cons that I have. How did they do it? I was always told by my Nanna how it was done, but do you think I can do it, even with the mod cons? No I can't. I don't even know where to begin.

My father's mother, Granny, who came from another country in the 1950's, was deaf from the age of 21 from meningitis and couldn't speak English, lived to the ripe old age of 96. She knitted, cooked, baked, crocheted, sewed, kept chickens and other animals and took it all in her stride. She never wanted for anything, was healthy all the time and was such a lovely, kind woman. I wonder what she, or my Nanna, would think of the mess in my house. I think they'd be proud of my cooking abilities, which I feel I inherited from them. Now to get into that pioneering spirit and get this house clean.

Taken from "Pioneering Women of the Bush & Outback" by Jennifer Isaacs (one of my favourite books).

Grab the 8th book from your bookshelf. Open it to page 8. Scroll down to the 8th sentence. Write this sentence at the top of your page. Set your timer for 5 minutes and write the first words that come into your head after your writing prompt.  Stop when the buzzer rings!

This is a writing exercise is a regular Wednesday feature created by Gill over at inkpaperpen. Check out what the other lovely contributors have submitted this week.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beef & Lentil Pasta Bake and making your meat go further


We're not big red meat eaters. Not for health, money or any other reason. It's just that way. We probably do prefer pork above all meats but also eat chicken, fish, lamb and veal as well as other pork products like bacon, proscuitto, sausages and ham. When I budget for the meat shopping, I usually allow $100 from our local bulk butcher and this will last us 6 to 8 weeks, if not longer.

This is because I have learnt to bulk out a lot of meat dishes with pulses (ie lentils, chick peas etc), grated vegies and bread crumbs. Six sausages to a packet when freezing does our family of four quite well. The kids will have a sausage each and I'll cook the other 4 up into a curry or sausage hot pot of some sort and slice the sausages to serve, which feels like we're having a lot. Meatballs and rissoles (hamburger patties) are usually mixed with grated or pureed vegies and dried breadcrumbs, or lentils like I have used in this recipe.


Tonight, for example, I had a very simple beef mince and vegie pasta bake which was made with about 200gm (or a handful of mince). It was an 8 serve lasagne dish so it really did go a long way because I added half a cup of red lentils to the meat and vegie sauce before mixing with the pasta. My husband, or the kids, didn't notice and it tastes really good (to me anyway, well it was eaten and my husband had seconds).

Beef & Lentil Pasta Bake

200gm (handful) beef mince
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup dried red lentils (rinsed) or 1 can lentils (drained and rinsed)
2 cups vegetables, chopped (I used grated carrot, cauliflower and green beans)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 small onions or 1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup chicken or beef stock
1 tbs dried basil
1 tbs dried oregano
salt & pepper
1 packet dried pasta shapes (I used small spirals)
1 quantity Bechamel sauce
parmesan cheese

Bechamel sauce:
2 tbs butter
2 tbs plain flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated cheese

Boil pasta according to directions, drain and put aside.  Fry onions in olive oil until slightly softened. Add mince and garlic and cook until mince is browned. Add rinsed lentils, tinned tomatoes, stock, herbs and salt and pepper. Add chopped vegies and cook until lentils are soft (approx 15 mins). Combine pasta and meat sauce and put in a lasagne dish.

Bechamel sauce:
Melt butter. Add flour and stir until a roux forms (thick paste). Add milk and keep stirring until sauce forms and thickens. Add grated cheese. Top meat/pasta with bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake in a 180 deg C oven until golden.

Dishes like this are always better the next day and this will take care of my husband's lunches for a few days as it freezes really well too.

Monday, June 27, 2011

5 ways to use up breakfast cereal

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I don't know about you but I have these grand plans thinking that my kids will eat breakfast cereal and go and buy a couple boxes but, as usual, they fail me and prefer toast for breakfast instead. My son is pretty good and will sometimes have Weetbix or Rice Bubbles but he soon loses interest. I think it's more the point that they're lazy and hate lifting the spoon to their mouth! I always end up with 4 or 5 boxes of cereal, taking up room in my small pantry, so I usually use them up in other ways. These are my top 5 ways of using up breakfast cereal instead of letting it go stale and having to throw it out. At least my kids will eat these things.



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 1.  Rolled oats/oatmeal

It's not like these are ever leftover really as I always have them in the cupboard for baking. My favourite recipe of all is Anzac biscuits or my Chocolate Chip Oat Slice or Breakfast muffins but they're also really good to use in a crumble/crisp mix, like my Apple, Cherry & Walnut Crumble. They're great to to make your own granola which can be eaten as a snack or as a topping with fresh fruit and yoghurt.


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Granola Mix

Using whatever nuts, LSA (Linseed Sunflower Almond) or grains you have on hand, mix together with 2-3 cups of rolled oats, 1 tbs cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of maple syrup, golden syrup or honey. Mix well until ingredients clump together. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for approx 30 mins or until golden. Remove from oven and break up any large clumps. Allow to cool. Stir through any chopped dried fruits you have have on hand like apricots, apples, pineapple or banana. Store in an airtight container.


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2. Rice Bubbles/Crispies

This is another cereal I like to have on hand as it's better used in our house for baking rather than breakfast cereal. There's the usual Chocolate Crackles which can be made with copha or just melted chocolate but the Chocolate Crackle mix can also be spread on a slice as a topping. You could do a no bake slice base as I used in my Chocolate Peppermint Slice and then spread the Choc Crackle Mix over the top. Or even mix in some nuts, marshmallows and jellies to create a No Bake Rocky Road Slice. Another great thing to do with them is dip strawberries in chocolate and then roll them in the bubbles, like this. But the easiest and best way to use them up for a great kid's lunchbox treat is LCM Bars (whatever LCM stands for, seems nobody knows). You can top them with choc chips, 100's and 1000's, sprinkles or coconut for a change.

LCM Bars

4 cups rice bubbles (or any other leftover breakfast cereal)
125g butter
3 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup brown sugar

Boil sugar, honey & butter for 3 minutes. In large bowl mix in with other ingredients combining well. Press mixture evenly into slice tin. Cut while warm.

There is also another recipe using store bought marshmallows (or you could make your own marshmallows).

200 g of home-made marshmallows (or 2 x 100g packets of marshmallows)
80 g butter
4 cups rice bubbles

Measure rice bubbles and place them in a large bowl. Line a lamington/ swiss roll tray with ovenbake paper. Melt marshmallows & butter over low heat, stirring so it doesn't burn. Alternatively melt butter in microwave, add marshmallows and microwave on high for another 30 seconds. Pour the marshmallow and butter mix onto the rice bubbles. Mix well. Tip into lined tray and press down. Cut when cooled.


3.  Weetbix

This is another one I love to have on hand for baking. It adds a lovely crunch to slice bases as well as being an excellent thickener for rissoles or meatballs. My sons also likes to eat them as is topped with butter and jam, like I did as a kid. Besides adding them to my Breakfast Muffins at times, you can't go past a basic Chocolate Slice which takes no time at all to whip up, ready for the kids for after school. This was a staple in our house growing up and it's another quick one to pop in the oven while it's on cooking the main meal.


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Chocolate Slice

3 Weetbix, crushed
3 tbs brown sugar
3 tbs cocoa
1 cup coconut
1 cup plain flour
125gm butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients together, pour over melted butter and mix until all ingredients combined. Spread in a slice tin and bake in 180 deg C oven for approx 20 mins. Cool and top with chocolate icing and sprinkle with coconut, if desired.

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4.  Muesli

Muesli is great just on it's own, sprinkled on yoghurt for breakfast or use as a trail mix for snacking on. The best way, I find, is to make them up into Muesli Bars. Ideal for another lunch box treat. (Omitting the nuts if your school or kindy as a 'no nut' policy.

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Muesli Bars
(recipe courtesy of http://www.taste.com.au/)

3 cups toasted fruit muesli
1 cup chopped dried fruit
1/3 cup shredded coconut
125g butter, chopped
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Grease a 3cm-deep, 16cm x 26cm (base) slice pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on long sides.
Combine muesli, dried fruit and coconut in a large bowl.
Place butter, honey, peanut butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Add to muesli mixture. Stir to combine. Press mixture into prepared pan. Smooth top. Cover. Refrigerate overnight or until set. Cut into 12 bars. Serve.
 
 
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5.  Cornflakes
 
Probably another pantry favourite to have on hand as it's so versatile but it's not one that I'm partial to, eaten as a cereal with milk. A great way to use them up is to use a crumb coating. Just put in a ziplock bag and beat until a fine crumb forms (or whizz in a food processor). Flour, egg and then crumb your chicken, fish or whatever for a lovely golden coating. Honey Joys (or Cornflake Crackles) are a great one for the kids to make. The best way I like to use them up is Cornflake Biscuits, a great memory from my childhood.
 
 
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Cornflake Biscuits
 
125g butter
3/4c sugar
1 egg
1c sultanas (and/or chocolate chips)
1c SR flour
cornflakes (crushed) for rolling

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat well. Add sultanas, then flour and mix to combine.Roll into balls of 1-2 tablespoons (small icecream scoop) then roll in cornflakes to coat. Put on tray and bake at 180 deg C for approx 10-15 mins or until golden.

All your 'novelty' type cereals like "Fruit Loops" or "Cheerios" can be used in just about any of the above examples. Waste not, want not is the motto around here. If there's a way to use something up, I'll find it. Make do with what you've got and you'll come across some exciting new treats to create.
 
Check out the Kellogg's web site, for more fantastic ideas.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pinterest To Do List

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I've been on Pinterest for a while now and my 'boards' are starting to get a little full of lovely images and things I need to do. If you're interested in being a follower, check out the link to Pinterest on my sidebar. In the mean time, check out these lovely things I'd love to try.






Source: etsy.com via Anne on Pinterest

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Family Movie Night at the Cinema - Cars 2

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We've not long got back from our first ever Saturday night Family Movie Night at the cinema to see "Cars 2".  We've never really bothered in the past because for one, it's much more expensive than recording a movie from pay TV or hiring a DVD from the the store and secondly, I didn't think the kids would sit still long enough to watch it, like they do at home. At home we can stop the movie if someone needs a toilet break or a drink. They were so well behaved and so excited to see the movie which opened world wide (I think) this past Thursday. There was also the threat that if they didn't behave all week, they wouldn't get to see the movie which made for a couple of pretty well behaved kids all week.

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As far as the movie goes, it was okay. I don't think you can ever beat the original. (Remember "Superman", "Ghostbusters", "Grease" and heaven forbid, they've done a remake of "Footloose"! Why?????) I actually dozed off a couple of times and thought the kids might've lost interest as I thought the storyline was a little complicated for a 4 year old but my son never took his eyes off the screen. (He has to be the biggest CARS fan ever though.) He even got a little teary when he thought Mater might've been hurt, bless him. It took a while to get into the movie to find out the movie's main message.

I sometimes think kid's movies these days are first created with the merchandise marketing plan organised first and the story second. I believe this movie's merchandise was targeted at a world wide audience and I really must get some shares in Disney Pixar because I can see more CARS toys ending up in my house than I care for.

Domesblissity Rating:
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I'm grateful for...sunshine, herbs and holidays

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It's been a busy week, so much so, I can't even remember half of it. I couldn't tell you what I did on each day. It's just a blur. But I've taken time out today to remember what I have been grateful for this week.

  • Warm Brisbane winter days.  I'm so blessed to live in this part of the world. Just the other week I was grateful for cold winter days as it makes you appreciate the warmer ones more and that's certainly the case. It's like you can nearly smell 'Spring' in the air but we're not even into our second month of winter. Just a lovely time of year.
  • Fresh herbs: I have recently bought fresh herb seedlings to start up my herb garden, again. There's nothing like fresh herbs added into your cooking. It creates a whole new taste sensation.
  • School holidays: I must be one of the weird ones who actually do love having my children home on school holidays. I'm only a year and a half into the whole 'school thing' so there's only been a couple of times I've gone through it but it's been over before I can get time to really enjoy it. You've got to love being able to sleep in that extra half hour or so in winter, right?
Head on over to Maxabella loves to read other 'grateful' posts.

Friday, June 24, 2011

T.G.I.F. (or does it really matter anymore?)

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I've never really been bothered with music from Katy Perry as I don't listen to a radio station that plays her songs but I've been really taken with her latest "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)". Gosh, this is exactly what my life was like every Friday night from my late teens right up until my mid thirties (less the braces and being a geek). I just cringe at how much money I spent and how many houses I could've owned! But gosh it was fun! I absolutely loved it at the time and wouldn't have swapped it for the world! Now, I don't want my daughter to follow in my footsteps. My son, I don't really mind. Funny, isn't it? I guess I just know what guys are like, or knew (past tense).

Message to my daughter: "Do as I say, not as I've done!"

Also, Friday, Monday, Saturday? It doesn't matter what day it is. It's the same old, same old 'groundhog day' for me now being a SAHM.

Check out the Youtube clip. Warning:  this is the full version at just over 8 minutes long.

Lemon Buttercream NFFC Cupcakes


If you're wondering what the "NFFC" stands for, it stands for No Fuss Fudge Cake, which I blogged about early this year. To me, it's the easiest, most versatile, adjustable, nicest tasting cake recipe I've ever come across. I got the recipe from a forum I belonged to a while ago and I have made it into so many different combinations. I've made cupcakes, muffins, bar cakes, ring cakes, sheet cake and even a Swiss Roll once. You can chop and change ingredients to make it into just about anything. In my original post, I had made it into a Black Forest Cherry Cake.

I was actually challenged by a girlfriend of mine, after I mentioned to her that I was craving a Lemon Meringue Cupcake. She suggested the good old NFFC and she'd know as she's made just as many, if not more, different combinations than I have. I thought about the lemon meringue and remembered my husband doesn't like it and I don't think the kids would eat the lemon butter. I also am on the last of my apples that I got from the farmer a few months back. I made up some Spicy Apple & Walnut Muffins the other day and they turned out lovely and moist from the use of the apple puree so I decided to use apple puree again in the NFFC in place of the oil that's in the cake.



Here's the original recipe with my adjustments.

No Fuss Fudge Cake

1 and half cups plain flour
3 tablespoons cocoa (omitted)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla (replaced with 1 tsp lemon essence)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
6 tablespoons oil (6 tbs apple puree/sauce) 
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
half teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
 
Lemon Buttercream:
2 cups icing sugar
100gm butter, softened
juice of 1 lemon
 
For cake, heat oven to 180 deg C. Mix all ingredients together well and bake for approx 15-20 mins. For buttercream, mix ingredients together and spread or pipe on cakes.
 
Don't get me wrong. I love traditional cake recipes, creaming butter and sugar together etc etc but when you're time poor (as I always claim to be), this is such an unforgiving, quick, great recipe.


 
I'm linking up with Rhonda from over at Down to Earth today for her regular Friday feature, "On My Mind". These cupcakes are on my mind today and I have enjoyed one for morning tea and lunch. Only made 12 so I've got to get in quick while I can!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Osso Buco with tomatoes & gremolata


Traditionally, Osso Buco is a Milanese dish and not made with tomatoes, contrary to popular belief. Tomatoes are not used in the cooking of northern Italy. The absence of the tomato flavour in Osso Buco allows the more delicate flavour of the gremolata to feature in this classic dish. I just love tomatoes in anything, and more so in slow cooked dishes so I had to use them in my version of Osso Buco plus I can't resist gremolata on just about anything.

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Gremolata is a combination of chopped parsley, grated lemon rind and garlic, used to just sprinkle on top of or mix through the dish once cooked. It's perfect to be used for a topping on just about any savoury dish.


Osso buco translates to "bone with a hole". It's actually the veal shank cut into slices. You could do this recipe with lamb shanks as well. You'll find most recipes the same but I used this one from one of my Italian cookbooks, "The Food of Italy". I served it with penne pasta and it was delicious. It was a cold-ish day and a very cool night. Just what I needed.

Osso Buco with Tomatoes & Gremolata

2 pieces veal osso buco
plain flour for dusting meat (seasoned with salt & pepper)
2 tbs olive oil
60g butter
1 garlic clove
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1//2 celery stalk, fine chopped
250ml cup dry white wine
375ml (1.1/2 cups) veal or chicken stock
400gm tin diced Italian tomatoes
bouquet garni (fresh herbs tied with string - I used flat leafed parsley and thyme - you could also use dried herbs)
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper

(This dish is perfect for the slow cooker or it can be prepared in an ovenproof casserole dish, suitable for the stove top and then cooked in the oven.)

Dust meat with seasoned flour and fry until sealed, in olive oil and butter. Remove from pan and add to slow cooker. Add onions, garlic, carrot and celery on low heat without browning. Add wine and increase heat to high and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes and bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper. Return veal to pan (if using an ovenproof dish) or add vegetable/sauce mixture to slow cooker.

Cook on high for 4 hours or 8 hours on low if using the slow cooker. If cooking in the oven, cook for approx 1.1/2 hours or until meat is tender and sauce is thick.

Gremolata:
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tbs flat parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients together. After removing veal from the pan, add gremolata to sauce, saving some to sprinkle on top to serve.

Oh, and after researching quite a few different recipes on the Internet, I discovered that the correct spelling is 'buco' with one 'c', not two as I originally thought.



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WOW Write on Wednesdays - I remember...


I remember what I did about 5 minutes ago but I really struggle with what I did maybe an hour or 4 hours ago. It seems my memory is failing me in my aging years. Ask me what my Centrelink number is or my tax file number and I'll be able to rattle it off no problem. I was always the one that won at Trivial Pursuit a few years back (before kids that is) or knew the name of the actor or character in an old TV show or movie. But not now. Maybe I killed off too many brain cells in my younger years.

My earliest memory goes back to when I was about 4 years old. It was when my second sister was born and it must've been a very traumatic experience for me.  She's still causing me grief 43 years later! (Not really sis!) I also remember getting my tonsils out about this time, when tonsils were still removed if they were infected and being allowed to eat a whole lot of ice cream. Memories of my childhood are mostly all good. The most vivid memory is playing. I was always playing with my two sisters, kids in the street and eventually team sports. I loved long hot summer days, ice blocks bought from the old couple who came around in their old car ringing a bell and buying a Redskin Split only to have it stick to your tongue and having to run to the laundry tap to try to remove it.

Most of my other memories are all food related. Sunday visits to people we called 'aunty' who weren't related, having to sit still and only speak when we were spoken to. Having cups of tea that burnt our tongues and beautiful cakes and biscuits. Lots of lovely big family gatherings too with lashings of homemade everything.

Now, what was it I was trying to remember? Oh that's it. What to write about for this week's "Write on Wednesday" exercise, I think?

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 3 - I remember: Write "I remember" a the top of your page. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Use "I remember" as your prompt and write down the first words that come into your head for 5 minutes. Stop when the buzzer rings!

Thanks Gill for another great exercise. Head on over to inkpaperpen blog and check out the other submissions.

DIY Chicken Cook in a Bag

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It never ceases to amaze me at the ready made, packet mix, bottled sauces, 'cook in a bag/jar/packet/whatever' that's available at the supermarket. Sure, people are busy but do they want to eat stuff that doesn't taste nice just because they don't have enough time? I refuse to buy any of that 'ready made' stuff out of principle. I always claim to never have enough time (even though I probably do but prefer to be looking at the Internet or watching TV) but I'll never sacrifice taste over convenience.


I had chicken legs defrosted for tonight and wanted to recreate one of the 'cook in a bag' packets I saw at the 'stupidmarket' today. It was a Lemon & Herb one and I thought "how easy is that?". Everyone loved them.


Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken Legs

chicken legs
1 tbs lemon rind, finely grated
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tbs chicken stock powder
salt & pepper

Place all ingredients in a plastic bag and shake to coat seasoning over chicken legs. Remove from plastic bag and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 45 mins in a 180 deg C oven, turning once during cooking process. (Alternatively, you could go to the added expense and buy oven bags to firstly, coat your chicken legs and secondly, bake them inside the bag. I personally like my chicken skin crispy. If you don't eat the skin, bake with it on and remove before eating. It helps keep the chicken moist.)


It beats any packet mix and it took a little amount of time to grate the lemon rind and grab the spice bottles from the cupboard. I served the chicken with roasted cubed potates and sweet potato and steamed green beans.

Some other flavours I'm going to try:

Spicy:
chilli powder to taste
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs sweet paprika
1 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs chicken stock powder
finely grated of 1 lime
salt & pepper

Asian:
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2-3 cloves, ground
1 tbs chicken stock powder
chilli powder to taste
salt & pepper

You're only limited by your imagination. Best bet is when you visit the supermarket and you have the time to have a good look around, look at the flavour combinations of some of these ready made meals and try to replicate them at home. You'll save yourself a lot of money and enjoy the flavour a whole lot more. I also think these spice rubs would work well on whole chickens and other cuts of meat.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Listography - Inventions

Kate from over at Kate Takes 5 has challenged us all with inventions this week. My mind is always ticking over wondering what I could invent that's going to make me a multi millionaire, like the Post It note or the paper clip, but unfortunately they've already been done. Not sure my top 5 will ever be invented but here's to wishful thinking!

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1.  Motivation Pill

If only! I wish I could take one every day and within half an hour I'd be oozing motivation to lose weight, exercise, declutter and organise my house, tidy my kid's rooms (the way I want them to be tidied), have a beautifully decorated home, a vegie patch etc etc. You'd think with all the mod cons of today (compared to the days of my grandmother), I wouldn't need a pill!

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2.  Never Pay Back Credit Card

Not that I've got one but wouldn't it be nice? Just imagine shopping, paying your bills, buying whatever you want, whenever you want, never having to budget. Ahhhhh! Dream on!

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3.  The Couchless Husband

I'd love a husband that wasn't permanently stuck on the couch on the weekend. Now, I'm sure that there are already husbands out there in the world that aren't stuck to the couch already. Maybe I just need to invent some kind of device to prise him off the couch. (Don't get me wrong, He's not that bad. Just doesn't want to do things when I want him to.)

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4.  A Toy Chute

Similar to a laundry chute but one that you can just put all the toys in at the end of the day and they miraculously fall into their allotted bins.

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5.  A Chill Pill

There's always been a lot of talk of taking a 'chill pill'. You know the one that would calm you down when the kids are at each other's throats or you want to give one to the person who is ranting and raving at you from another traffic lane because you cut them off, without realising. It probably does already exist in the form of a bottle of wine, vodka, valium, box of chocolates or cream cake.

There you are Kate. Another good choice for Listography this week. If you happen to invent any of these, let me know because I'll be your first customer!

Spanish Pork Potatoes & Chorizo


Nothing like a warm, hearty stew to warm you at night and this slow cooker meal hit the spot. I used pork forequarter chops, with the bone in, for this. The cheaper cut of meat for the slow cooker or stewing, the better. The meat just falls off the bone and is tender and soft. There's just something about potatoes and chorizo. They nearly go together as well as chocolate and peanut butter (oh no, did I mention that again).

Spanish Pork Potatoes & Chorizo

2 pork forequarter chops (or other cut of pork suitable for slow cooking)
3 medium potatoes, quartered
1 chorizo sausage, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced finely
1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tbs red wine vinegar (or any wine vinegar)
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbs plain flour
1 tbs sweet paprika
6 sprigs thyme (or 1 tbs dried)
green olives (optional)
chopped parsley to serve

Pan fry the pork in the olive oil. Once browned, add to the slow cooker. Fry sliced chorizo in the same pan and once crispy, add to the slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with the wine vinegar, add the flour and stir for a couple minutes, the add the stock. Stir until thickened and add to the slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on slow for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours (or in the oven for an hour and a half on 180 deg C). Add olives and chopped parsley to serve.

Serves 2.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nanna's Walnut & Date Slice


This is another one of my favourites from my Nanna's handwritten recipe book she gave me. It brings back so many lovely memories of morning and afternoon teas at her place. There was also another reason why I baked this today. I'm entering myself into a cooking competition, hosted by the Danish butter company "Lurpak". You have to cook a recipe and upload the photo onto their website for a chance to go into a draw for $1,500. I've never really won anything and I do love to bake. I thought there's no harm in trying. If you'd like to vote me, you can do so by clicking here. I think you're only able to vote once per day. The competition closes on the 17th of July so you have until then to vote. I appreciate it so much if you have.


I love the fact that this recipe is so badly stained. I wonder how many times Nanna referred to it over the years? It make me feel like I'm capturing a moment of time in her life when I look it, like I was there when she was busily making it. Best thing about this recipe is that it's just a quick mix recipe and baked in 20 minutes and you're done. It's so tasty too.

Nanna's Walnut & Date Slice

1.1/4 cups Self Raising flour
2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
125gm butter, melted
1 egg

Combine all ingredients and press into a slice tin (28x18cm approx) and bake in a 180 deg C oven (or 160 deg C oven if fan forced) for approx 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into squares when cool.


Thanks Nanna for another lovely recipe! In your honour, I set the table up outside with one of your lovely tableclothes, your bone china tea cup, saucer and plate and enjoyed a piece of the slice and a cuppa in the sunshine (as well as trying to take a half decent photo for the competition - I feel so stupid 'staging' photos sometimes).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quick Asian Chicken & Corn Soup


This is a great throw together, easy soup for a Sunday night, which is exactly what I did tonight. I was out all day at Mum's celebrating my sister's birthday and not really feeling like cooking, which is usual for a Sunday night. Although not exactly authentic because I omit the egg that's usually added at the end for the 'stringy' effect, it's still a tasty, warming soup.

Asian Chicken & Corn Soup

1 chicken breast fillet
1 litre chicken stock
1 tin creamed corn
1/2 cup frozen corn niblets
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp onion flakes
salt & pepper

Add chicken breast fillet, whole, to chicken stock. Poach until cooked. Remove and shred or dice chicken. Return to pan. Add creamed corn, frozen corn and remaining ingredients. Cook until frozen corn is cooked and serve. Garnish with chopped coriander, if desired.

Serves 4.

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