Thursday, October 25, 2012

Soaking Up The Country Sunshine

I'm here!
Yes, I didn't disappear into the dark abyss of the internet, I am here!
I have recently relocated to a bit of a remote area in country NSW.
It is lovely.
My kids are happy.
I am happy.
I have decided to start work on my cookbooks.
It will take a long, long time to cook, photograph and edit, and then finally they will be available to purchase through here and if Facebook allows it, on my page over there too.
I will divide the book into sections so if you only want one part, you can pick and chose exactly what you are interested in.
Forewarning: There will not be much meat in these recipes, if any at all.
There will be butter, lots of butter.
There will be sweet treats, as well as healthy salads and even a bunch of kid-friendly recipes to get those little ones involved.

For now I will leave you with some photos of the beauty that surrounds me...
See you soon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Another Easy Weekday Dinner, Tomato & Tuna Pasta.

I cannot count how many times I have seen an exhausted mother desperately cry out "What can I cook for dinner tonight?"
I am always on the lookout for new recipes.
Fast and easy, with simple ingredients are a week night winner.
I have a few favourites up my sleeve that I whip out when the occasion arises.
Though I do like to be organized, and have dinner prepared early, sometimes there is just no time.

One of the speedy dinners is my home made pizza, that I wrote about the other day.
Another is this, my super fast (and super cheap) tomato & tuna pasta...

I first made this meal many years ago, out of sheer desperation.
The fridge was empty.
The pantry was close to bare.
I had some pasta, a tin of tuna, tinned tomatoes and an onion.

So I did what I could.
I fried up the onion, threw in the tuna (with brine) and tinned tomatoes, seasoned it and tossed through the fresh, hot pasta.
It was delicious!
Simple flavours that were a perfect match.

Of course now I might sprinkle with a bit of parmesan cheese and parsley, but I still prefer the simple flavours alone.

Have you ever had to whip something up with empty cupboards?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Finally Made A Pie! {RECIPE}

I have a little list in my head of things I want to try.
Baking, crafting, gardening...
A mixture of odd bits and pieces!

One thing I have wanted to try for a long time was to bake a pie.
All from scratch, crust and top.
Another thing I have been desperate to attempt; lattice pastry.

Last night I did both in one super scrumptious meal.
Creamy Vegetable Pie.

I started with the pastry.
Later realizing that I had accidentally added 50g too much butter!
(But it was a good thing in the end)
I weaved my lattice pie top as I juggled phone calls, hungry kids and a puppy dog that wanted to sleep under my feet.

(Please forgive the instagram photos, I had my hands a bit too full to take photos with my big camera)

I was pretty happy with how it looked, not perfect and neat, but let's just call it rustic.
I looked at the recipe and shook my head.
No, I am going to skip that part, change it to this and save myself the extra dirty dishes, thank you!

Basically the recipe said to fry the onions and then steam the remaining vegetables separately.
Instead I fried the onions and added everything else to the same pot and popped a lid on, let it cook on a medium-low heat until it was nice and soft and the pumpkin had mashed into a creamy addition to the white sauce I was making.
I have some fussy quirks.
One is with pumpkin.
I don't like eating it unless it is pureed and in a recipe.
I will happily devour pumpkin soup, but not chunks of baked pumpkin alone.
No thanks!

Anyway, I roughly followed the recipe, though noticed that it never called for seasoning.
A must!!

After all my pie-making efforts I was finally rewarded with this...

Creamy, sweet pumpkin and vegetable filling and a light, flaky crust that melted in your mouth.
Oh dear.
It was perfect.
I was so proud of myself.
This is my first pie.
And it was a success!
Even my meat-eating husband loved it!

So now I can tick these off my list, what next?
I love to challenge myself!

Creamy Vegetable Pie

175g butter, chilled and chopped into cubes
2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup iced water

1 tablespoon oil
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped into small florets
2 carrots, chopped
1/4 butternut pumpkin, diced

50g butter
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing


Place flour into a food processor and pulse for 5 seconds. Add cubed butter and process until mixture is fine and crumbly. Add iced water while processing, slowly. Keep processing until it comes together.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Roll out one half and line your greased pie dish. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

 Roll out the remaining pastry to the same size and cut into strips. Lay half of the strips, spaced apart, onto a baking tray covered in cling wrap. Weave other strips to form a lattice pattern. Refrigerate until firm.
Preheat the oven to 180*C

Blind bake your pastry shell for 20 minutes.
(You can weigh the pastry down with baking paper and beans, lentils or rice. I like to leave it and just pop the bubbles with a small knife)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Fry the onion until soft, then add the other vegetables. Turn the heat down to medium-low and pop a lid on. Keep stirring as it slowly cooks and gently mash the pumpkin as you stir.
Heat the 50g of butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the milk gradually, stirring until smooth between each addition. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat.

Add the egg yolks and cheese and stir until smooth.
Pour sauce over the vegetables and stir to combine.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
(I added some chopped parsley here for extra flavour)

Pour the mixture into the pastry case and brush the edges with the beaten egg.
Gently place the lattice on top and trim to fit. Brush with egg.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Crispy Hot Chocolate Toasted Sandwich

As the title suggests, this is not a healthy food post.
Not even close.
Look away if you are trying to avoid sweet things...

Still here?

I had a silly little craving for nutella pizza.
(Maybe it was because I made pizzas the other night?)
If you haven't had one, then it is a must!
Delicious warm chocolate hazelnut spread on a baked pizza base.
Mmm, delicious.

I had no pizza bases, and no desire to spend time to make any pizza dough.
What can I say?
I like quick and easy!

So I pulled out a few ingredients I had lying around...

Ok, so it's not Nutella, but it's the cheaper alternative...

She doesn't seem to mind!
Neither do I, it still tastes delicious.

So here we have it...
The crispy hot chocolate toasted sandwich...

Complete with warm, gooey chocolate oozing out of the sides.
Such a decadent treat.

Do you have a secret decadent treat?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Quick & Easy Pizza Dinner

Say hello to Sunday evening.
I'm exhausted.
Daylight savings has kicked in and ruined the three-nights in a row record of both of my children sleeping through the night.
I am so tired from lack of sleep I sometimes wonder if those glorious nights of uninterrupted sleep ever happened?

Dinner time was fast approaching.
The kitchen was quiet, but the kids were not.
Daddy had run up to the shops to replace a doggy chewed dummy so I was left alone with two hungry children at that time of the day.
Every parent knows that time of the day.
When the kids turn into monsters, their volume increases and they look so hungry they just might eat you alive.
When you are in a mad rush to get dinner ready with them running around, screaming in excitement as they hype up a little fluffy puppy who rewards them with high-pitched yips.
When you open the fridge and see a chilled bottle of wine and don't even realize you are licking your lips, promising yourself a glass as soon as the mayhem is over.

I immediately went to my super fast and easy dinner...
No making fresh dough this time.
I want fast & easy!

So I opened a few cans and chopped a few things up...

Then started with one for the kids...

Sauce, pineapple, olives, ham & cheese.

Popped in the oven for 15 minutes and started on a pizza for me...

I still had time to whip up a quick little salad...

Then when the kitchen had filled with the scent of fresh pizza, the timer went off and out it came...

Oh yeah, it looked good!
Served up with some salad...

And finally, those hungry little monsters were satisfied!

Do you have a favourite last minute meal?
How do you keep your hungry little monsters happy?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My 3yr Old Watches YouTube More Than I Do

Yes, it is true.
My daughter has discovered YouTube.
Mostly for music videos.

She has some time every day where she can play on my iPad.
Instead of the puzzle, stories or other children's games I have on there, she chooses to go straight to YouTube.

Her biggest obsession?

Gangnam Style.

Oh yes, she LOVES it!
She mumbles the words and dances along.

Her other obsession?

She bounces and grooves along.
(Here's a little video to giggle at)

I am sure that she has contributed thousands of views to the count!

There is one more that she loves...

It's a bit of a funky Disney's Alive in Wonderland mash-up.

Do your kids love YouTube?
Do you?
I know my husband can spend hours on there!
Not me though!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Baking Fail. Yes, They Do Happen!

See this...

This is a lamington.
The cake is light and fluffy.
Not like this...

I didn't bother with the chocolate icing and coconut.
It was a solid, sweet, eggy lump of cake.

It started out fine.
At least I thought so!
I did a lot of whisking...

But it was a disaster.
So what do I do?

Go back to an old classic!
Butter biscuits.
With sprinkles!

I left them a little undercooked so they were a bit gooey inside...