Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A touch on the naughty side.....

Do you have a go-to "sometimes" dinner - you know the ones, they have the odd naughty element to them? That little extra bit that you just couldn't have every week, coz it's just....well.....naughty.

One of our favourite naughties is Home-made Burgers with some sort of supermarket frozen chip or potato action on the side - I know, I know, super market frozen chips. Their crunchy golden goodness is a whole lot of wrong that just turns out to be a right every now and again!

We had a special "sometimes" dinner last night - the last night of the holidays - the night were the bed time had to be back to somewhere at least within koo-ie of "normal", but dinner was also a bit of a boo-the-holidays-are-over-but-gee-wasn't-that-fun-and-aren't-we-looking-forward-to-seeing-everyone-at-school-tomorrow celebration.

Bacon & Cheese burgers on the menu, a bit of lettuce (token greenery!) and Potato Gems - naughty naughty naughty!

Hope everyone got back to school OK - one of the Alphabet Boys started High School today (where on earth do the years go!!) - big hugs and claps to him and to S!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Last lazy day for a while

It's the last day of the Summer holidays today and wow, it's a soggy, grey old day. What a way to see out the summer, stuck inside watching the rain stream down the window panes.

As a celebratory gesture, we embraced the general dinner-for-breakfast vibe (or to be more precise, dessert-for-breakfast) and served up Crepe Suzette. We had some left over batter in the fridge, as well as some orange syrup so it all fell into place nicely, thank you very much.

Speak of things of the crepe variety, over the break, I read this great post on Cup Of Jo. The post is good little round of of Parenting tips. And while most of the tips are probably skewed to the first few years of life with kids, there are some gems in there that can be work for any age and/or stage....

* Make a double batch of homemade pancake batter at the beginning of the week and keep it in the fridge in a 4-cup measuring cup. Just needs a stir for a delish, speedy breakfast all week long.

 * Create a once-a-week "Doughnut Day" or "Candy Day." Instead of always having to say "No, you can't have a doughnut," you get to say "We have doughnuts on Wednesday," and then it's special that day. My son gets so excited on "Doughnut Day."

* Being there is a huge part of parenting. Not just being physically present, but mindfully and emotionally present, too. When you come home from work, if at all possible, leave your phone in your bag and just be present for your kid for the first chunk of time (10 minutes? an hour? it's up to you). Even if you're stressed from your day and cranky about something, it's so important to put it aside for some quality time with your kids, before you launch into dinner or bedtime or whatever homework you need to do. Ironically, sometimes the kid is too busy for quality time (playing intensely or doing homework) but just knowing that you're there and available is enough!

Have a nice last-day-of the holidays everyone - I think it's going to be snuggled up, tracky-pants kind of day! xE

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Washing trick

Right. So yes this blog is generally about foodie type stuff - well so far...however recently I was taking to a girlfriend of mine about how we hang our washing.

Oh such scintillating conversation I know! Next we'll be discussing which is the best type of mop!!!

Anyhoo..all silliness aside, she thought that the way I hang my stuff was pretty good considering she is a bit space-poor in her place.

Basically, I hang just about EVERYTHING on hangers. Other than socks, undies, towels etc, but all shirts, shorts, pj's get put on a hanger. It makes great use of the space and is also fab for just getting those shirts off the line and sticking them straight into the wardrobe.

This is super for when its raining and you have a teeny amount of space on your wobbly fold up line.

Less folding, less sorting, less ironing - my least favourite chore (probably because it was one of my chores as a kid and I HATED it!!)!

I dare you to give it a will  be amazed!

Do you have any nifty tips?


Monday, January 19, 2015

Little chefs

Both of my boys like to cook and help out in the kitchen. I've always had them in the kitchen under my feet since they were little and have always given them jobs - even if its the last stir of the cake before licking the spoon!

Now my big one is getting even more adventurous with his cooking. We recently spend a weekend up at my mum's place, and he and his cousin cooked up the most amazing meal.

Firstly it was an Adam Liaw recipe from a book that we had given J for Christmas (Adam's Big pot). It was a yummy pulled pork recipe that simmered for 4 hours so was so tender.

But dessert....WOW. The absolutely winner.. Its a Masterchef recipe with 5 different components. Cookies and cream is the recipe. There is a vanilla parfait, a salted caramel sauce, a chocolate mousse, a chocolate crumb and an almond praline.

Seriously? You ask. Yup I say. They did it all without my help. Totes amaze.

Far out it was amazing. Words just cant describe how proud I was to eat this (and how absolutely gobsmashingly yummy it was).

I just hope I can get him into the kitchen more often through the week for more simple fare!

I seriously encourage you to get your kids into the kitchen. We have so much fun when we cook together and now I am getting these amazing masterpieces worth the mess in their early years!

Below is J doing quenelles of the mousse..

Do you cook with your kids? 


Friday, January 16, 2015

Days like these......

Yep - those sorts of days, you know the ones.

The ones when you find your self repeating yourself over and over (and over and over and over some more).

Honey - please don't play with my label maker. It's not a toy and you are wasting the tape just printing your name over and over.

Honey - I mean it, please put it down. No more labels.

H.o.n.e.y......please. I mean it. now.

You pat yourself on the know, you did OK. You kept your cool. The eight year old was really having a go at pushing the buttons, but no, you stayed cool-as-a-cucumber. Well done you.

And then later that evening, tucked discretely under your screen, you find just one more label......

i am not doing anything today that you say

Gotta love it, right?


Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Little prep goes a long way!

With our minds once again turning to the fact that the daily routine of school lunches and work a'day dinners, is just around the corner once more,  I just had to share this Design Mom post from 2013 that I found during a summers, lazy internet noodling session.

It is all kinds of awesome and just the most comprehensive source of info on freezing fresh ingredients that i have ever (ever!) found.

You're welcome!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

School holiday goodness

Kids+Art = Goodness

The Boys getting up close and personal with Chuck Close at the MCA this summer - loved seeing their reactions to the many different techniques that Chuck Close uses in his pieces.

All round goodness!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A camping we will go!

So S mentioned in her post last week that they were about to head off camping, and that reminded me of a short cut that we had stumbled upon for our last camping trip and to be honest, it was an absolute beauty!

We are usually "shoulder season" we usually go in either Spring, or Autumn. This way the days are usually mild, and the nights crisp but not too cold. Also, we are not "epic" campers - we will usually go for around 3 nights - so food and water are relatively simple and the general sandy, gritty, i-need-a-showerness of the whole camping vibe doesn't become too over whelming!

We have large esky and will usually freeze large drink bottles and ice packs to keep it cold. On our trip at Easter time last year, while meal planning for the trip, we decided to make a beef stew for one of the dinners. We had been planning to buy a camp oven (large cast iron pot and handle & lid) and wanted a recipe that would test it out.

The week before we left, I bought a kilo of chuck steak (cubed). In a large bowl I put together all the ingredients that you need for a basic stew - diced celery, tinned tomato's, chunks of carrot & potato, beef stock, herbs etc etc and then mixed the diced beef through it. The mix was quite thick and not too wet. I divided the stew mix between two large snap-lock bags and then laying them flat in the freezer, froze them.

When it came time to packing the food, the two frozen bags of stew contributed to the general "ice-packs" used to chill the esky. We had planned to have the stew for dinner of the second night, and the bags stayed well frozen in the esky until needed.

We allowed the mix to thaw out for a couple of hours before putting in the camp oven. Once we had the fire going, in went the stew mix, with a good slosh of red wine and voila, a couple of hours later, we had a super taste bowl of pipping hot stew, while sitting around the fire - winner, winner, winner, camp fire dinner!

Enjoy! xE

Monday, January 12, 2015

Lazy days of summer

Welcome to the lazy days of there nothing for relaxing than those first few days of January, the what-day-is-it kind days, the laze-around-and-just-be kind of days?

After a pretty crazy led-up to Christmas that included flat stick work, family lunches and a two day hospital stay for the littlest (all good now, but wow, that was one n.a.s.t.y. splinter!) we have been in serious wind-down, feet-up mode around here.

Along with sleeping in and general lazing around, I have been slowly working my way through the crop of summer mags.

Feeling the need for some serious menu inspiration around here.....and boom, found some great (and simple!) ideas in the summer Donna Hay. I think these will be making an appearance in the summer meal rotation pronto!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Camping breakfast Tip for the family

We are generally winter campers, as it allows the boys to build a big fire and toast marshmallows, however we are heading off for a long weekend soon up to Stockton Beach.

When we camp, depending on where we are, we generally try and go for a mix of eating out and prepping our own meals. My boys LOVE pancakes and I am not a fan of those shake it things.

So...wanna know a great tip for a yummy camping breakfast?

Pre-make your pancake mix and put it in an empty drink bottle.

Hey Presto - easy peasy pancakes. Perfect easy breakfast that wont fill everyone up for this lunch.

Here is my fail proof recipe:

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar

Mix. Cook. Eat.

Do you have any easy camping meal tips?


Friday, January 9, 2015

Zucchini flowers are NOT scary

I just love zucchini flowers, especially when stuffed with yummy cheesy goodness and lightly battered. That crunchy outside, the oozy middle, and the little baby zucchini stalk left to munch.

I have stuffed my own from occasion when I see them for sale in our local fruit market, however am always worried about tearing the delicate flowers when putting my cheesy guz inside them. In the past I have used a teaspoon and ended up with messy hands.

BUT...aloha snap lock bags! Just fill one with your mix, snip off the end, and squeeze in! Easy, no fuss and no mess!

You can stuff them with all kinds of things. I made some the other day that had a mix of fresh ricotta, goats cheese, a bit of Parmesan, some chopped basil and some chilli flakes. Make up a batter, coat and fry. I don't deep fry them (to try and stay a little healthy) but shallow fry in Rice Bran Oil. I am going to try baking them next and will see how that goes.

Give it a try and let me know how you go. Any other suggestions for fillings?

Cheese mix:
1 cup fresh ricotta
1/2 cup goats cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup basil leaves 
pinch of chili flakes
8 zucchini flowers

1 cup corn flour
1/4 cup SR flour
Cold mineral water approx 1.5 cups
Extra flour for dusting

Mix the cheese mix together in a small bowl.
Gently use tweezers or your fingers to break the stamen from the inside of the zucchini flower (it ought to just snap off easily). 
Put the mix into a snap lock bag and snip a small bit off one corner. 
Gently open the flowers and squeeze the cheese mix into the flower. Twist the ends together to close.

To make the batter, sift flours together into a bowl. Whisk in the mineral water into the bowl until thick but not too runny. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Dust the filled flowers in the spare flower then dip into the batter. Shallow or deep fry for a couple of minutes until golden.

Serve sprinkled with sea salt and a wedge of lemon.


x Sal

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy 2015!

Welcome 2015, we cant wait to see what fun and exciting things you unveil. We are now chock-a-block full of prawns, ham, cherries and ice cream Christmas cake!

Tune in for more bloggy goodness!