Saturday, 13 October 2012


I have been meaning to post for a while about our favourite local cafe, where the food is amazing, the coffee very good and the service exceptional. Ben, the barista, is very friendly, and always has a smile no matter how busy he is. The girls love going there, in large part because of the babycinos that Ben makes.

They are pretty special. They are also free, which I find amazing given that some places charge $2.50 for ones that are not nearly as good.

It means we go a lot more often than we otherwise would. And that the kids are happy while I drink my coffee. Win win!

Herb update

I have been using herbs as promised, and loving them for myself, though the kids are picking them out. My husband is eying the green bits suspiciously, though dutifully eating them (except the rocket flowers I used as a garnish!).

I have been using parsley a lot - chopped and added on top of dishes for freshness. I've used chives (which I love with eggs), thyme, and rocket. I haven't used oregano this week but I did stop Zoe (3) as she had a handful of it about to pull out the "weed"!

And I remembered that I also have rosemary, growing with my strawberries where I planted cuttings. I should move it into my front garden so it has room to get bigger.

If anyone has any ideas or inspiration for using herbs post a comment and tell me. All ideas appreciated!

Friday, 12 October 2012


Chickpeas are little things that have occasionally appeared in my pantry in tins, floated around for a few months and then been thrown randomly into a "fridge review" dish when I am trying to clean out my pantry. You know what I mean - that strange dish of unmatched flavours you force on your family when you are trying to get rid of ingredients you feel guilty about throwing out. Something you would never dream of serving when you have guests for dinner.

Times are changing, however. I currently have a number of tins of these little legumes in my pantry, bought to make hommus when I realised just how much I was paying for hommus at the supermarket. But I have also started thinking about other ways to use them, too.

Firstly, a little about them. Chickpeas have been around for a long time. There have been archeological remains found (probably in some well-intentioned cook's pantry) from the Middle East dating back to 7500 years ago. They were known and enjoyed by the classical Greek and Romans. Cicero even got his name from them - in Latin they are known as cicer. They are used in many ways in cooking throughout the Middle East, India and parts of Asia. They are a low GI food and a source of zinc, folate and protein.  They are eaten cold in salads, hot in curries and other dishes, ground up into flour, roasted, and some varieties are even popped like popcorn. A very versatile little legume.

I received inspiration the other day from Jules Clancy, who has a great blog called Stonesoup. It has lots of great recipes, including video demonstrations, and her dishes are packed with vegies. She really enjoys using chickpeas, and I found a number of recipes that use them. Her blog can be found here: Stonesoup blog.

One of the great ideas I got from her is to make hommus with other roast veggies. The girls and I made roast butternut pumpkin hommus (with some chickpeas as well) yesterday - a very different taste. I liked it, and so did Ella and Jessica, but Zoe is fairly anti-pumpkin.

I also took inspiration from the general vibe of her recipes, and for my lunch yesterday heated up some chickpeas in a small frying pan with some flaked almonds, and wilted some rocket from my garden through it, then put chopped parsley on top. Very nice.

For dinner, I had some leftover chickpeas, so I dried them on paper towel, tossed them in flour, powdered onion and a little salt, then fried them in olive oil. I was quite impressed with the result.

Another idea I used last night from Jules Clancy is the idea of cooking food on one side only. So I also got some asparagus, and put it in the pan with olive oil, put the lid on so it would steam through a bit, and just cooked it on one side. I liked the way it went soft but retained some crunch. Fresh on one side, lovely and brown on the other.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


I have in my backyard a wine barrel full of herbs, with a few other miscellaneous pots around the place with smatterings of other herb-y things. Taking the sum total of things, I have chives, oregano, basil, Italian parsley, spring onions, sage, rocket, thyme and mint.

These are not in equal proportions - the rocket is growing up between the mint and parsley, and in between the weeds in one of the "garden beds" where it self seeded. I use the term garden bed advisedly - the dog likes to sleep there - it is her "bed", but not much else grows in it besides some hardy weeds and adventurous rocket.

The sage, basil and spring onions are all baby plants and not big enough to harvest yet, but the chives are a healthy tuft, the parsley is going great guns and the mint is trying its hardest to take over the barrel, foiled by me constant pulling out of tufts of it.

This ramble does actually have a point. It is that I was looking at the lush greenery, feeling guilty and thinking that I don't use the herbs nearly as much as I should. So I am setting myself a new challenge: to use herbs in cooking or some food-related activity every day.

Perhaps some chives chopped over an egg for breakfast. Or some oregano in pasta sauce. Some rocket leaves on a sandwich. Parsley chopped over dinner for some fresh greeness. Some basil on a pizza. A mint tisane before bed. There are many many possibilities and I'm not quite sure why I don't already make use of them every day. I am sure my cooking will move to a whole new level with the help of my little culinary friends.

Do you have any herbs in your garden that you like to use? Any favourite ways to cook/eat with herbs? Do you, like me, have herb-guilt? Post a comment and let me know your experience.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Spaghetti face

We had spaghetti bolognese tonight. We have it reasonably often, partly because I have an emotional attachment to it arising from it being the dish I felt most comfortable making when I first moved out of home, and partly because it gives me a good opportunity to engage in some veggie smuggling.

And because it provides a great opportunity for the standard spaghetti photo. Which just goes to show that you're never to young to appreciate good food.

Note: the picture is of baby Ella because it's far less embarrassing than a photo of my spaghetti face!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Magic in the kitchen

I was reflecting yesterday about the way some processes in the kitchen involve transformations of food that seem almost magical.

For example, I made yoghurt yesterday. I took milk, heated it, cooled it a little, put it in a thermos with a dollop of yoghurt, and left it for 6 hours. With bated breath I took the lid off, half expecting to find just milk, and lo and behold, there was yoghurt! My milk had changed into thick, creamy, tangy goodness.

I also made bread yesterday. My bread maker did the hard work of kneading, and the first proving, then I shaped the dough. I put in flour, water, yeast, oil, and a dash of sugar and salt, and got out a soft, pillowy wonder. I absolutely adore the feel of bread dough. It has a consistency which is hard to describe if you have  never handled it before. It gives to your touch, yet has substance too. I find it a joy to work with. I was standing at the bench yesterday, kneading and shaping with a ridiculous grin on my face, happy and content. I have not come across anything else in my cooking days that feels the way bread dough does. And when you consider what the raw ingredients feel like, it is bordering on magic with the result you get. Even more so when you take out of the oven delicious smelling bread with a golden brown crust and a beautiful crumb, and you think "my goodness, this is bona fide bread. This is just like I buy from the shop" - only better, because you made it yourself.

Butter is another example. Cream goes in, you shake/whizz/churn it around a bit, and suddenly you have lumps of butter floating in buttermilk. Wash it and shape it a bit, and you have butter, which is magic in itself, in the way it transforms the flavour of the most boring dish.

Obviously, there is actually cold hard science behind all of these things. I studied chemistry, physics and biology at university. I understand how the properties of food change given temperature, churning, or the addition of microrganisms. But despite this, I still find that there is magic in the kitchen. Not hocus pocus, rabbit-out-of-hat magic. I am talking about the miracle that these scientific processes occur at all. They are full of wonder, the magic that kids feel when they discover something new and say "Wow!". I hope I never lose the wow factor in my contemplation of food. May there be many more grins as I knead bread, and many more moments of bated breath as I open my thermos to see if I have yoghurt inside. It is things like this that make cooking fun.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Homemade Hommus

Here is a picture of the hommus we made the other day. I made it without garlic because Zoe doesn't like "spicy" foods. I also used unhulled tahini, which gave it a yummy nutty flavour.

It was very popular with the kids. My in-laws liked it too - at least, they ate it! I didn't see any surreptitious spits into tissues.
I liked it as it was, but I think next time I will add garlic, though I'll cook it first.

I put one of my homemade crackers in the picture just to prove I made them!

Cooking from Scratch

My husband set me a challenge last weekend - to see how much food I can make from scratch, and how long I can maintain a habit of doing so.

The reason for the challenge is two-fold. Firstly, with eating a largely sugar free diet, it is difficult to eat processed food, as so much has added sugar. Secondly, because I want to cut down the amount of processed food I eat, I am quite tempted by the idea of a Thermomix. However, they are quite pricey. We have agreed to save up for one, however, long that takes. In the meantime, my husband suggested that I should use the time in proving that making things from scratch is actually something I am committed to, by making things the long way round (ie, without a Thermomix).

It is something I have been feeling guilty about for a while anyway, the amount of processed food I eat, and feed my family. It makes sense from a health and a cost point of view to make what I can at home. Time is the only factor - a big factor for me with a 5, 3, and 1 year old. But the kids are getting into it and helping.

So, this week I have made crackers, hommus (which I've made in the past and is so ridiculously easy I should hang my head in shame for buying it) and icecream (our version of the Thermomix sorbet). I currently have yoghurt sitting in the thermos, hopefully stewing away. I also have flat bread in the oven, courtesy of my breadmaker. Last night for dinner I got chicken tenderloins, dipped them in egg then a mix of breadcrumbs, dried herbs and garlic. My husband thought that I had bought them ready crumbed =)

I am planning to make butter today or tomorrow - looking forward to the buttermilk too. I am feeling very pleased with my efforts. I hope I can keep it up - I need to find a quicker way of making yoghurt - the milk took far long to get to temperature. I think I had the stove too low, fearful it would overheat.

Here is to a long and satisfying journey of good food that I made myself =)

Is there anything you like to make yourself? Post a comment and share it! Inspiration is always good!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Back at the dinner table - with no sugar

It has been months since I last posted. I have been so busy that sitting down to write has been quite difficult. I have taken lots of photos of food that I have created/eaten in that time, intending to post it, but haven't got there. Let's see how we go now.

One of the biggest things that has happened in my eating lately has been going sugar free. This was a huge thing for me. I made the decision on Sunday 5th August, after my husband told me about the book "Sweet Poison" by David Gillespie. I have been struggling with my weight for some time now, and also with self control, which obviously has a big impact on weight. So I spent most of that night awake stressed and panicky about all the foods I would have to give up - every time I started to drift off I would think of something else and jerk awake again. Chocolate, shortbread, caramel slice, gingerbread lattes, icecream - it was a very long night! I woke up fairly despondent, and couldn't see how this was going to work.

I have to say, I was fairly skeptical about the impact it would have. I hoped it would help with weight loss - I wasn't sure how much. I had heard that it helped with appetite control - I wasn't sure that this would actually happen. I wanted it too, but didn't think it would. Well, I was astonished. Within two weeks I was losing weight, eating far less, not feeling at all hungry, and not desiring sugar. I used to eat heaps. Now I have a small breakfast, then I'm fine till lunch. I have a much smaller lunch than I used to, then don't feel hungry till dinner. My dinner serving is quite small and I rarely feel like dessert. When I see chocolate, cake, icecream, I don't get tempted to eat it - in large part because I am usually feeling too full.

This is not to say that I am never eating sugar again. I have a few areas of concern with David Gillespie's book. Firstly, I don't think he understands physiology, or clinical medicine for that matter, and some of the research he has taken out of context. Secondly, I don't agree with his idea that you can eat as much glucose as you want, or fat for that matter. I certainly don't agree with the way he seems to think that exercise is at best unnecessary and at worst bad for you. I think that he has developed a bit of tunnel vision, where fructose is the source of all problems and nothing else that you do matters, as long as you don't eat fructose. I also think that he is a bit too fanatical about it all - he calls himself a "recovering sugarholic". I do not take the view that never again shall a grain of sugar cross my lips. Alcohol is bad if you drink too much - a little is okay. The same goes for fructose. The odd slice of cake or piece of chocolate will not make me keel over and die. It is important to stress though that I am talking about the odd slice - not every day. Since I stopped eating sugar I have had one slice of cake (made with stevia, but sugar sprinkled on top), half a slice of mango cheesecake (shared with my grandmother), a tiny bowl of custard (at a thermomix demo), and 2 strawberries and a piece of almond finger dipped in chocolate (at a party with a chocolate fountain). That's pretty much it, apart from what is in fresh fruit (mostly berries) and the odd bits in processed food, though that is fairly limited.

I haven't baked much in that time, but I will - I've just been busy. I'll just give it away to other people. I'm sure they won't mind =)

Christmas will be the test. If I remain basically sugar free over Christmas, I can see it being a lifelong change. We'll see how we go.

Has anyone else given up sugar? Post a comment and let me know how you have found it! Don't want to or don't think you could? Tell me about that too. I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, 27 April 2012


The girls and I made some this morning. Jessica wanted to take some to kinder for lunch. She got lots of oohs and aahs. I love sushi - but since we moved I haven't found a favourite place yet - I'm just not out at lunchtime much these days.

Ella thought it was good too - minus the nori of course!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chocolate tarts

I had people coming for dinner last night. I made a simple creamy bolognese style pasta bake for main course. For dessert I really wanted to do something that involved melting chocolate, but didn't really have time to do much. In the end I grabbed some pastry tart shells from the supermarket, made a ganache with a combination of milk and dark chocolate and added some Kahlua.

Quick dusting of cocoa powder and some whipped cream on the side - yum! Quick and easy dessert. And there's some ganache leftover. Lucky me!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I love my breadmaker

Tomato focaccia. About 7 minutes prep time, then I just have to be organised to start it going early enough. Prep time includes slicing the tomatoes. And the smell while it cooks - mmmmmmm. This time it came out lovely and soft - it sometimes comes out a bit on the dry side. I make pizza bases in my bread maker all the time, too. Definitely worth the investment.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Choc malt slice

Made it again. Still just as good as the first time. For the sake of my arteries, had to give some away - good way to make friends!

Cookies n cream

I had some condensed milk left over from making choc malt slice, so I found a recipe for cookies 'n' cream icecream. The girls and I made it this morning. It was the first time I have made icecream. It turned out pretty well, I have to say, given that it was done without an icecream maker so it only got churned once. The recipe said to use Bailey's but I didn't have any so I made some kiddy style and some with Kahlua.

1 cup sweetened condensed milk
600mL cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g chocolate biscuits
2 tbs Baileys (or liqueur of your choice)

Beat 1st 3 ingredients on high for about 7 minutes until very thick.
Break up chocolate biscuits, add liqueur if using. Stir in carefully to cream mixture.
Put in freezer-proof container, freeze for at least 3 hours.

Tasted pretty good. But then, most things taste pretty good if you add liqueur :-)

Monday, 5 March 2012

Caramelised onion

A delicious, highly under-rated food. Ella, who at 6 months is finding all food an adventure, gave it a 5 star rating. Big smiles :-)

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Lavender's blue, dilly dilly

I have always loved lavender as a flower and for its scent, but I have only lately begun to appreciate it for its culinary potential. I have had as a kid lavender rock and lavender fudge, but I am discovering that it's so much more versatile than that.

For my birthday afternoon tea a month ago, I made lavender shortbread. It was dusted with the most delicious lavender sugar, made by whizzing up dried lavender and caster sugar into this heady grey powder that filled the room with perfume. There was sugar left over, so I have kept it for a special cake or pudding.

Tonight I was cooking rump steak, and I rubbed it with dried lavender flowers crushed with the mortar and pestle and mixed with a bit of ground black pepper. The result was very good - subtle, but added a lovely depth of flavour to the meat. It really is a herb that works with savoury as well as sweet. I'm keen to explore more.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Post-exam food

I had an exam this morning. Sitting here, kids in bed, with salad of mixed greens and herbs (including coriander, mmmm), smoked salmon and peach, as well as homemade margherita pizza (thin crust) with basil from my garden, and a glass of moscato. Nice.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Jelly on a plate

Just for fun - the girls liked it. A bit difficult to get out of the (metal) mold - a fine line between enough hot water to loosen it and starting to melt the jelly.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Chicken stir fry

When I first moved out of home my sister and I were living together on a VERY tight budget. We used to do stir fries, just veggies and the occasional bit of shredded pizza ham. No marinade or sauce, just straight up and dead boring.

I remember one day going to a friend's place for dinner, and he got out his wok, got out some food and started preparing a marinade. What a revelation. It had never occurred to me that you should do this (the only excuse I can make is that I was preoccupied with trying to get the marks I needed to transfer into Medicine).

I love the flavours you can impart in a marinade. The basic principle I work with is oil, sugar of some sort, acid (to break down the meat fibres and soften it) plus any other flavourings. The oil helps when cooking and the sugar just makes it nice and caramelised.
I'm doing one tonight with sunflower oil (I'm out of olive oil which would be my usual choice); soy sauce; garlic; lime and lemon zest and juice; and ginger cordial, which provides not only a nice ginger flavour but also some sugar.

Don't know what it will taste like but it smells good!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Brownies - so good

I was at a local cafe yesterday, and saw that they had cinnamon crunch brownies. They were deliciously fudgy chocolate with a yummy crunchy layer on top, laden with cinnamon and white chocolate chips.

The slice was served with vanilla icecream and oh so good. I am going to have to see if I can get the recipe from them.


Jessica: "Look Mum - Ella's eating lamb for dinner!"

Photo evidence

Here is proof of Ella eating. Pumpkin risotto - tasty :-)

Of course, I got a reminder of how messy teaching a baby to eat is. Pumpkin everywhere, then a
pumpkin-y milk chuck later that necessitated a change of clothes. Hmmm - the things you do as a mum. Not one of the nicer culinary experiences.

Monday, 6 February 2012

First foods

My baby Ella had her first food today. That's if you don't count the sucks on the Calippo icypole, the licks of my apple the other day, and the paper she ingested over the weekend (complete with dark green texta).

But her first bona fide food in mouth was tonight. I made a baked pumpkin risotto, and as she was sitting on my lap during dinner, she looked (as usual) pretty interested, so I thought "Why not?" I gave her a bit of pumpkin and she was not at all displeased, I must say. It was pretty mushy, and she mouthed it quite well.

I will put a post up very soon about babies starting solids - I have done a thing with my older girls called Baby Led Weaning (basically self feeding) which has been very successful and I mean to do again. I'll let you know how it goes. Prepare yourself for photos of baby face smeared with food!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Homemade pizza tonight - quick and easy, and a good way to use leftovers. My girls "don't like" the roast beef and baked potato and sweet potato we had last night, but they ate it on pizza!

My bread maker makes doing the bases so easy, and they taste fantastic. It's as simple as putting the flour, water, oil, salt and yeast in the bread maker, let it do its thing for 50 minutes, then divide the dough in half, roll it out, slap on some toppings, then put in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

I often just do tomato paste, dried herbs, sliced tomatoes, rocket and basil from my garden, shaved ham and plenty of shredded mozzarella cheese. Yummo!

Neat and tidy

My pantry had not been tidied for months, and was getting to that ridiculous shove it in and shut the door quickly before it falls out stage. So I decided today that enough was enough.

I pulled things out and straightened everything, filling up a garbage bag of empty packets and out of date food. I discovered that I have 2 spare packets of icing sugar (plus an open packet), 2 minute noodles (after swearing to Jessica the other day that we'd run out), and some Easter eggs left over from last year.
Things are now back where they belong - and I now have an idea of what I have to cook with.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Kids in the kitchen

We made scones today. Or rather, Jessica and Zoe, my daughters made scones. I stood there and told them what to do - I wasn't allowed to actually touch them.

We started off by reviewing the kitchen rules. These are courtesy of my sister, who has a knack for putting things simply.

Then we put on aprons, collected ingredients and utensils and got to work. We used the "cheat's" recipe with cream and lemonade, because hot little fingers have trouble rubbing butter into flour without melting it. They also get bored very easily, and don't tend to have the staying power needed for rubbing.

The biggest challenge making scones with kids is preventing overhandling of the dough. My high school home economics teacher told me to treat scones as though they were made of GTN. Imagine mixing a bowl of explosives - it gives you a light hand! Given that my kids are girls though, not boys, I didn't think they would understand the concept of things that go bang. I told them instead that they had to be careful not to pop the bubbles in the lemonade. That worked pretty well. Here are some action shots:
Mixing - go gently!

Cutting out the scones

 The dough got kneaded fairly unevenly. I was taught to fold it over, turn clockwise a quarter turn, fold it in half again, turn again - seven times, no more. That didn't quite happen but we managed okay. Then we cut them out and put them on the tray, brushed them with milk, and they were ready to cook. I did do the putting in the oven part - at 2 and 4 they're not quite ready for that!

They did everything else themselves, though. And the scones turned out quite well. I have to admit that I don't often have heaps of success with scones - I've never been the sort who can whip up a batch of light fluffy high scones as I hear the creak of the garden gate. It makes me feel a bit of a failure as a housewife. But my daughters did well. And they did it all without any tantrums or fights, too!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

It's all in the presentation

Here are the choc malt squares that I mentioned in the last post, cut up and presented in cupcake wrappers. I was worried about the wobbly lines, but cut into small squares, as you can see, they look pretty good. In fact, someone at the afternoon tea today thought that they were professionally made!

They were pretty tasty. I got rave reviews - funny because they are very simple :-)

Here is the recipe, for those who asked me for it:

Choc-Malt Slice (from AWW)
250g plain chocolate biscuits
1 cup maltesers
100g unsalted butter, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
400g milk chocolate, chopped coarsely
1 tbs vegetable oil
White chocolate (I used about 50-70g)

1. Grease 20x30cm rectangular pan (I used a 23cm square pan, which worked fine). Line base and sides with baking paper.
2. Process 200g of the biscuits until fine; chop remaining biscuits coarsely. 
3. Crush/chop maltesers (I put them in a plastic bag and got my girls to bash them with a glass). You don't want them powdered - leave some chunks.
4. Stir butter and condensed milk in a saucepan over low heat until smooth.
5. Combine processed and chopped biscuits with maltesers in a bowl; stir in butter mixture. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Then take it out just before you start the next step, or the chocolate will set too quickly.
6. Stir milk chocolate and in a double boiler or heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth. WARNING: Do NOT let the water touch the bottom of the bowl, or the chocolate might seize and be useless. Some people like melting chocolate in the microwave. I don't because my microwave always burns the chocolate, and I like standing over a bowl of melting chocolate stirring it - it makes me happy.
7. Set aside the milk chocolate, and melt the white chocolate as above.
8. Pour the milk chocolate over slice and spread out. Put the white chocolate in a piping bag (I use a snap-lock bag with the corner snipped off), and drizzle the white chocolate back and forth over the milk chocolate.
9. Take a toothpick or skewer and drag it across the slice to create a pretty pattern (see picture in the last post). Do this before the chocolate sets!
10. Refrigerate about an hour. Cut using a knife dipped in hot water. You'll want to cut this into pretty small squares.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days (although seriously I think you'll be lucky if it lasts that long)

Note: You could do as the original recipe says, and omit the white chocolate, sticking maltesers into the chocolate before it sets. Or you could just leave it as plain milk chocolate, but it won't look so pretty. The other idea, which my friend Catherine does with her malteser slice, is to skip the milk chocolate, top with white chocolate (you probably wouldn't want 400g of it - try 200-300), then before it sets, sprinkle crushed maltesers on top.

Then you'll need to find something to do with the rest of the condensed milk, as the tins hold 395g and annoyingly you only need 125mL. If you have a sweet tooth, you could try coffee the way my husband discovered in Vietnam - get a shot of coffee and pour it over condensed milk, stir, drink, and wait for your teeth to dissolve.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Choc malt slice

I made this for an afternoon tea I am hosting tomorrow. I'll post on that later because tea, and the gathering of people to enjoy it, deserves a post all to itself.

This was created with a list of oh so yummy but oh so unhealthy ingredients: chocolate biscuits, maltesers, condensed milk and butter. And chocolate on the top. This recipe came from an Australian Women's Weekly book I have. It's no bake, just melt and mix - how easy can you get? I modified it a bit - the recipe had it topped with plain milk chocolate with a malteser sitting on the top of each square, but I couldn't be bothered mathematically lining up the maltesers before I cut it up, so I did the white chocolate instead.

My good friend Catherine gave me a similar recipe for Malteser slice which uses golden syrup instead of condensed milk, and scotch finger biscuits. It is brilliant and I LOVE it, but I thought I would try this recipe out.

I was actually going to make brownies instead, but I am on an egg-free diet at the moment as my baby Ella has been having strange nappies and we are investigating food protein intolerances. At least I can have chocolate - for a while there I was dairy, soy and egg free. Not so fun, but actually quite good for my snacking habits.

Anyway, here it is - hopefully it will taste good. The white chocolate is a bit wobbly at the sides because the slice was a bit too cold when I poured the chocolate on and it was already starting to set. Oh well - you live and learn.

Later note: The recipe is posted on this blog. Find it here: Choc malt slice recipe

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Salmon dinner

I adore salmon but don't get to eat it very often since we moved last year and no longer live near the salmon farms. It's so expensive at the supermarket. Last night's salmon cost over $19. Still, it was a special occasion - my birthday - and still cheaper than eating out.

I cooked it in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil, some shallots, lime rind and sliced limes. I sautéed the shallots and rind a bit before I added the fish. I served it with boiled baby potatoes tossed with butter and chives. I would have used dill but the chives were growing in my garden and the dill wasn't.

I also made a salad with a bag of leaves, some mango, avocado, dried cranberries and roasted cashews. Rather than faff around with a dressing I just drizzled some balsamic vinegar over it.

The drink was a mocktail I made with watermelon put through the blender, not quite an equal part of soda water with lime, and a good slug of Buderim ginger cordial. I served it in wine glasses because I got rid of my martini glasses when I moved. The kids still thought it was fun. I tried making mine into a cocktail with a splash of moscato. It worked but if you try it go easy on the moscato, as the sweetness will overpower the melon. It would probably work with sparkling wine replacing some of the soda water, but the moscato was open, and while I'm breastfeeding I'm not going to open a bottle of bubbles just to spike a cocktail.

It was an easy dinner, and, well, yummy.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Hi, and welcome to my blog. I am an unorganised person when it comes to things like blogs, but we will see how we go. Actually, I'm unorganised about most things. My husband points out to me that I should say disorganised because unorganised isn't a word. I point out that "dis" implies that there is organisation there to be deranged. I never had it in the first place. So I stick with unorganised.

This is a blog about food. I don't pretend to be an expert on food, nor do I have the time or the money to be extravagant with it. But I like it and so here we go.

I am a stay at home mum with three young girls - currently 4, 2 and 5 months. This keeps me busy, and presents some interesting culinary situations. I like to cook. I find it relaxing when I don't have kids jumping around me needing things. I like to cook with my kids but don't do it nearly often enough since I am so busy that it's just quicker and easier to do it myself.

My culinary passion is baking. I just love making things with butter, sugar, and chocolate. The only problem is that my husband isn't much of a snacker, and I feel too guilty if I give my daughters too many sweet biscuits and things, so it's usually me who eats it all. Not that I complain, but my waistline does a bit. I quite enjoy making yummy dinners but it is baking that really gets me going.

Here then is my food blog, ready to drift out with all those other food blogs. I don't know if anyone will read it, but even if no one does it will serve it's purpose as a place for me to chronicle all the food I eat, make and enjoy.