Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cryovac machine: BEST Invention EVER!

A while ago my lovely mum bought us a cryovac machine from Aldi. I was very sceptical at first as to how often it would be used...but LETMETELLYOU!

Its amazing! We use it ALL the time. When we buy meat (incl chicken and seafood) we seal it up before freezing which gets rid of nasty freezer burn. When I have excess of not so frequently used herbs I do the same. Kaffir lime leaves always on hand! Leftover spag bol? No worries - cryovac for later use!

Not only does it help the food, it means Im not using so much room in my freezer.

Woot! Go it..get yourself one~


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

No bake goodness - Part II - Lamington Balls

My boys have been embracing the no-bake goodness of late, and in addition to the Apricot slice, we have found this little recipe, which is proving a winner!

Making a double batch gets us through the week for lunch box treats (plus the odd snack with a cuppa here and there!)

The boys found the recipe on and have dubbed them Lamington Balls, as they have a very appealing lamington-like favour!

Lamington Balls 
(single batch makes aprox 25 - just double all quantities for a larger batch)

1 packet (250g) Milk arrowroot biscuits
1/3 cup (40g) Cocoa powder
1/2 cup (45g) desiccated coconut (plus extra for rolling the balls in)
1 tin (395g) of condensed milk

Crush the biscuits and place into a mixing bowl
Add Cocoa powder and coconut, stirring together to combine well
Add the condensed milk and mix all ingredients well
Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into a ball, then roll in coconut to coat
Continue with the rest of the mixture and then place all the balls on a plate/plastic container and chill for 30 mins.

Will keep in the fridge for upto a week (if they last that long!) xE

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tasty Tip Tuesday - Handy kitchen measurements right where you need them!

(please excuse me a small touch of self-promotion)

 Recently I did a new print run of tea-towels, and a couple of the designs where particularly of the food variety.

One of the designs has a whole run-down of different measurements and conversions, close at hand, just when you need them!

Oven temperatures, tablespoons to grams, cups to millilitres, even the number of litres in a Methuselah - you name it, it's there!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fat Mum Slim - Photo a day

I am just so excited that I can finally share this with you!

The gorgeous Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim runs a fantastic photo challenge called photo-a-day.

Have you ever played along? There is a daily photo prompt that guides your clicking - just follow the prompt and let your imagination run wild. The best part is seeing what everyone else has done :)

This year, Chantelle opened up the weekly lists to designers around the country. I submitted my design and guess what, she liked it! I was so dead chuffed to be given the opportunity to  design and hand stitch (adding a smattering of my all-time favourite little itsy-ditsy daisies) the photo prompt list for next week, August 17th through 23rd,

Pop over to her page, check her out on Facebook or follow on insta, it's an awesome challenge! xxE

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Slow cooked love - Lemony Pork Stew

In this weeks meal plan post, I mentioned one of our go-to winter recipes - Lemoney Pork Stew.

The recipe was originally published in Donna Hay Magazine (Edition 68 / April-May 2013) as Pork and Lemon Ragu with crispy sage.

The lemon balances beautifully with the sage & tomato, and the little kick of chilli brings a lovely element to the dish. And like alot of these sorts of recipes, it is even tastier the next day! We usually serve this with a side of herbed, stock cooked cous cous and have also served it with pasta.

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil (plus extra, for brushing)
1.5kg of boneless pork neck, or Pork Scotch Fillet, cut into 8 large pieces
sea salt and cracked pepper
1 x brown onion, sliced
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup (250ml) dry white wine
1 x 400g can of Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
2 cups (500ml) of chicken stock
24 sprigs of sage

Preheat oven to 180c (350f)
Heat oil in large, heavy based ovenproof lidded saucepan
Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper and cook, in batches, until browned
Remove pork from pan and set aside
Add onion, celery and garlic to pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened.
Add the wine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until reduced by half
Add the cherry tomatoes, chilli. lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon rind, stock and half the sage and stir to combine
Return the pork to the pan and bring to the boil
Cover with tight fitting lid and transfer to the oven
Cook for 2 to 2.5 hours or until tender
Stir through the remaining lemon rind and set aside and keep warm
Quickly flash fry the remaining sage leaves, and drain on absorbents paper
Serve with fried sage sprinkles on top and crusty bread on the side - yum!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Green Rice

I suspect, like most households with junior members between the ages of 8 and 14, we are not alone in the fact that the consumption of green veg can be a hit & miss affair. But I am pleased to report, I recently struck upon a successful combo (well....successful for this week anyway!)

We had Flat Roast chook with veg on the menu that night and to be honest, come 5:52pm, I was still scratching my head as to how best treat the veg. I wanted to ensure that it would not just have a short journey from fridge, to pan, to table and then back into fridge again, to dutifully wait for me to include it in my work lunch the following day, but to actually be consumed, as part of the evening meal, while it was still hot.

The green veg options that night included Brocollini, snap peas, shallots, celery and flat leaf parsley. I realised that we had some left-over rice from the previous nights dinner, so presto! Green Fried rice was on it's way.

A quick saute of the sliced veg in a little oil, then in with the rice. A quick kiss of chicken stock to add a little flavour and boom - that green veg was gone before I could say "eat your veggies".


Monday, August 10, 2015

Meal planning Monday - the Bon Voyage Baby edition

Hello Monday, hello meal plan!

I am away with work this week so my four men (1 x big, 3 x not so big) will have the house to themselves.

Taking one parent out of the equation always ups the anti on the organisational front (total hats off to single parents, such a full-on job week-in, week-out), so our plan for the week ahead looks a little like this:

Quiche with side salad
This is an easy meal to kick off the week - the filling can be cooked off ahead of time and as the smallest has swimming lessons on a Monday, H can prepare and pop in the oven as he heads out the door to swimming, and then ding-ding, when the timer goes off, SonNumberOne can take out of the oven.

Chicken Caesar Salad
Another speedy option and one that is always well received

Lemoney Pork Stew
Again, can be kicked off mid afternoon and popped in the oven. Once cooked, can be placed to one side and re-heated come dinner time. This is super tasty dish and one of my winter go-to recipes - I will post it soon.

Spaghetti Bolognese
We have taken to doing this is the slow cooker - more to come on this later in the week, keep your eyes out for the post!

Sushi Bento box
One of H's specialities, that the boys devour! Home made sushi rolls, japanese salad and a small pork & veggie braise - yum!

Have a great week peeps! xE

Friday, August 7, 2015

Kids are conners!

My big boy, who is about to become a teenager, has finally lost his very last baby tooth. The last molar to come loose in his mouth. Thank goodness it came out on its own as we had to have 3 pulled out by the dentist recently as they refused to let go of that last bit of gum! Now the whole keeping his teeth clean has become serious.

As a boy who is becoming more confident and self assured and independent, he likes knowing that there is a bit of cash flow about so he can buy treats at school, or when he hangs with his mates. So our discussion around the tooth went a bit like this:

J: “mummy I think that since this is my very last tooth, I deserve a bit more money from the tooth fairy”
Me: “really? Why is that?”
J: “well she wont need to come here again, and its my last, so….”
Me: “well that’s not up to me buddy..its up to the tooth fairy”
J: “ok then, I will write her a note”.

Now I don’t know what dollar amount he was thinking, but the usual amount from the TF is a $1 or $2 coin.

So, fairly tongue in cheek, he wrote a note on a torn piece of paper - clearly not taking much stock that the Tooth Fairy may like a lovely note on lovely note paper!  

Despite the torn piece of paper, you will be pleased to know that the Tooth Fairy did indeed up the goods and left him a $5 note plus a few gold coins. Lucky kid…


(this picture from here with thanks)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fritters Rock

I'm a huge fan of fritters. Corn fritters, zucchini fritters, whatever you like fritters. They are quick, easy and tasty.

The easiest of all recipes, and one that is a staple go to and one that the kids love is for zucchini and haloumi fritters.

3 medium size zucchini
250g haloumi (I prefer the Pittas brand)
1 egg
1/2 cup plain flour
large handful finely chopped mint/parsley
Olive oil

Grate the zucchini into a bowl. Squeeze out excess liquid over the sink and return to the bowl. Grate the haloumi and add to the zucchini with the flour, egg, herbs and some salt and pepper. Mix to combine. If the mix seems too runny add a bit more flour.

Warm a fry pan over medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Place large tablespoon sized dollops of the mix into the pan. Fry until golden on each side then keep warm on a plate lined with paper towel until all mixture is used up.

Serve with salad, vegges or your selection of sides. 

I just pop them on the table with a selection of veggies and let everyone help themselves!



Monday, August 3, 2015

Best one pot wonder

You know those nights where you have dinner planned but cant for the life of you find where the recipe is?

Yes, well....I had one of those nights recently. I had planned a pasta dish that uses sausages and some beans, I thought, but could not lay my hands on a yummy recipe that I had used a few weeks before. I don't always cook by a specific recipe, but when I am trying new things I tend to use the recipe as a guide that I then tweak.

Anyhoo..I get home from work in a bit of a pickle. Not only could I not find the recipe, but I had no spaghetti. Needless to say, I winged it.... so here is my recipe:

Sausage, Bean & Spinach one pot wonder.

5 x pork sausages from the deli
1 tin cannellini or butter beans
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 punnet of baby tomatoes
handful of baby spinach leaves
vegetable stock
about a cup of risoni
Sprig of thyme and/or rosemary

Put a large frying pan on medium heat with just a splash of olive oil. Remove the meat from the sausage casings and add to the pan. Fry until golden, breaking up as you go. Add the beans, tomatoes, herbs and stock and simmer. Add the risoni and pop a lid on the pan and simmer until the risoni is cooked (about 10 mins). Mush the tomatoes into the dish a little with the back of a wooden spoon. Stir through baby spinach and serve!

Seriously a good quality tasty meal. All my fellas love it!