Was the Easter bunny good to you? Did you gorge on chocolate and coast into the week on a sugar high? I hope so.
I spent the weekend camping with some friends. It was nice a nice relaxing weekend though it would have been nicer if it didn’t rain on Saturday and Sunday night. Overall it was a chill weekend full of fives and not really having to keep to any schedule. Over the weekend I managed to finish two beanies and start a third. That’s possibly the most productive I’ve been all week.
Unfortunately my iron deficiency has gotten the better of me again this week. Many a plan for a productive night has ended up with me asleep on the couch after promising myself it would only be a 15 min nap to gain more energy. Hopefully this will be remedied tomorrow and next week I’ll be back to my less tired & more productive self.
I have at least managed to attend a few meetings I had to go to so I suppose I haven’t written off a whole week due to my excessive tiredness. I even got to go to a lovely dinner with some of my good friends on Monday night to finish off the weekend. It was nice to catch up with everyone and we had some delicious food and wonderful brownies for desert.
This week I’ve gone with something reasonably easy but I hope to show yo that just because its easy doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and have lots of flavour.
Three Cheese Steak Toastie
2 slices Bread (I used soy linseed but use what you prefer)
1 large slice cheddar cheese (could replace with grated parmesan if you don’t eat blue)
2 Tbs onion jam
25g blue cheese
50g -100g steak cooked and in chunks or slices
100g mushrooms sliced
1 tbs butter or margarine
2 leaves cos lettuce
4 slices camembert or brie
In a small pan melt butter and sauté the mushrooms until golden brown.
On a sandwich press (or in a small fry pan) lay the first slice of bread to begin sandwich construction.
Place final piece of bread on top then lower lid of press (or place another pan or tray on top and place in a warm oven)
Now here is the tough bit. Walk away. Don’t touch the sandwich for at least 5 mins maybe longer. Wait for the bred to brown and the cheese to melt. For me leaving it until its ready is always the hardest.
When done remove from heat and slice in half to serve.
Now that’s a toasted sandwich to make sure you’re well fed.
What’s your favourite gourmet toasted sandwich combo? Do you have a sandwich press or do you go old school with toasties? Let me know
No but really. This morning I got to sleep in to a reasonable hour. I got to make breakfast when I was ready and I even managed to catch up on some of my housework.
I did have a brunch meeting this morning but overall it was a relaxed morning.
And now I’m getting ready to go camping for the weekend . My 3rd and 4th batch of banana bread are in the oven and when its ready I’m headed down the coast to spend the weekend with some fellow Rovers.
I’m not the biggest fan of hot cross buns but I like to find ways to enjoy them a little differently so today I thought I’d share some Ideas for how you can enjoy hot cross buns a little differently.
Hot cross French toast.
For my hot cross french toast I used chocolate hot cross buns but you can use any type, , home made or shop bought.
Mix together eggs and milk then sliced up hot cross buns into 3 slices. You’ll need around 1 egg and 1/6th of a cup of milk for every 2 hot cross buns.
Dunk each slice in the egg mixture then fry in a lightly oiled frying pan until browned on each side.
I served mine with whipped cream and stewed raspberries.
Hot cross desert burgers
Warm up your buns the slice in half.
Fill with sliced fruit, cottage or cream cheese and caramel or chocolate sauce.
Or for something savoury
Hot cross sliders.
Slice the bun in half. Place cheese on half then place under the grill until the cheese melts.
Fill slider with tomato lettuce and pork or chicken slices. Top with some caramelised onions or your favourite sauce.
So that’s three different ways you can serve your hot cross buns this Easter.
Do you make your own or buy them? Do you just like them warm with butter or do you have a different way to serve them.
So as it’s pancake day I thought I’d break from my usual format and go straight into my pancake recipe.
The Basic recipe:
1 cup Self raising flour
1 cup Milk (or milk substitutes like almond milk, soy milk, rice milk etc)
Optional: 1/4 cup sugar
Yep that’s it.
Mix your pancake batter together until well combined then scoop 1/4-1/3 of a cup of batter into a frying pan over medium heat. Cook until the top of the pancake is starting to bubble (and the underside is lightly browned) then flip the pancake. Cook for a further 30-60 seconds or until pan side is brown. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter.
Tip: you will need a good non stick pan or you will need to lightly spray the pan with oil between each pancake.
So that’s my basic pancake recipe and if you just want a great ‘breakfast for diner’ pancake then go ahead with that recipe and serve with your favourite toppings.
However If you’d prefer a savoury spin here are a few suggestions for some minor changes to give you yummy savoury dinner pancakes.
1 serve basic pancake batter (no sugar)
3/4 your fave veggies – My favourites for this are zucchinis or corn kernels but most veggies would go well in this.
Small dice or great your veggie/s then mix through your pancake batter.
Cook as above. Serve with your favourite sauce.
Makes 3-6 sandwiches
1 serve basic pancake batter (no sugar)
1/2-1 cup extra milk
Tomato – sliced
Optional – your favourite spice.
Make your pancake batter a bit thinner with some extra milk.
Cook the pancake batter as above. Optional: Before you flip the pancake sprinkle a pinch or two of your favourite spice or spice mix over the top.
Once you have two pancakes put to the side then cook your bacon.
Place one of your pancakes bake in the pan and cover with cheese. Top with bacon then the sliced tomato. Sprinke tomato with salt and pepper. Remove from heat to a plate. Lightly reheat second pancake then place on to of the sliced tomato.
So there is my basic pancake recipe and two savoury twists. The bonus of pancakes for dinner is just make few extra from the basic batter and you have desert ready to go. I hope you enjoy them.
I went straight to the airport from work on Friday to fly to Sydney for RTX AU.
I had a fantastic time and meet some great people as well as getting to catch up with some of my Supanova friends. Though I didn’t get to spend much time with them I even got to catch up with couple of my family members.
The only downsides were it was a lot of late nights and early mornings and I couldn’t get Monday off so on Monday morning it was a very early flight and straight of the plane to work.
On the up side I slept really well last night and as today is a public holiday I even got a sleep in (and a nap).
B and I haven’t done much today to celebrate Australia Day, just enjoyed getting to spend some time together. This is the only day we are both home all day since before the new year and until mid February as he leaves to go overseas on Friday. It’s been a nice relaxing day.
As today is Australia day here I thought I’d go with an Aussie classic. The mighty Sausage roll! Even better this is my super cheats recipe so it’s super easy. Eat them nice and hot from the oven or keep them to take for lunch.
Simple Sausage Rolls
Puff pastry (I use the pre rolled frozen sheets)
Your favourite sauce to serve
Firstly I don’t usually use just regular sausages (though you definitely can if that’s what you like). I like to get some nice gourmet flavoured sausages either from the shops or my local butcher.
Defrost your puff pastry sheet/s on the bench until its just soft enough to cut through. You’ll need around 3 sausages per sheet of pastry.
Cut the puff pasty in thirds then cut those thirds vertically then in half horizontally to make 2 smaller rectangles of pastry. Cut each of your sausages in half.
Place a half a sausage on along one of the long edges of each piece of puff pastry then roll the puff pastry around the rest of the sausage. Press the edges of the pastry together to seal then seal the ends.
Place the wrapped sausages on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 30 mins or until the pastry is puffed and browned.
Remove from oven and serve with your favourite sauce or allow to cool fully and keep refrigerated until your ready to eat them (reheat in microwave if desired).
Sometimes I like to put some cheese in side my sausage rolls. Just put the chees on the puff pastry before you wrap up your sausage. You could also just replace your sausage with cheese altogether if your catering for non meat eater or you don’t like sausages.
So what did you get up to for Australia day? Do you have a favourite gourmet sausage flavour?
We had a half day at work on Thursday and finished with lunch with everyone in the office which was nice.
B and I had dinner with his parents so we could swap presents. Then we FINALLY went and watched Star Wars : The Force Awakens.
I won’t post any spoilers but I will say I enjoyed the movie. I will probably go and see it again before it leaves cinemas.
Christmas morning B and I swapped present then we headed up to my parents for the day. We got to Skype my sister so we could se her opening her presents and just catch up. It was nice but also sad that she was so far away.
B’s parents came up to my parents house for Christmas lunch which was a 5 hour long, 10 course degustation menu. It was all very delicious.
Boxing day was a lazy day for us. We caught up on the second half of season 9 of Doctor Who, as we had missed it when it was on, then we watched the Christmas special. Once again no spoilers bit it was full of feels (as admittedly most of the Christmas specials are).
For the most part we have avoided the sales though I got some nice bath stuff on sale at Big W yesterday and I’m going out to go shopping for a new dinner set (a Christmas present from my mum and dad) tomorrow. I did also buy some planner stickers off Etsy.
Yesterday we went and watched Mockingjay: part 2 so we could escape the heat for a bit. I usually struggle with movies based on books I’ve read but I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t flawless but they did a really excellent job.
Todays recipe is less of a recipe and more of a collection of ideas around a theme:
We always have a ham at Christmas and after Christmas we always have a fair bit of leftover ham.
So I thought I would share some ideas of what you could do with your leftover ham. Most (if not all) of these ideas are not limited to ham. You could definitely use most meats and some vegetables in place of ham in these ideas.
Firstly there is no need to limit yourself to just plain ham (especially if you or someone you know is not a big fan of ham)
Try marinating some.
So far this year I’ve tried a honey soy marinade (equal parts honey and soy sauce) which is wonderful as is or pan fried to warm the ham. I also marinated some ham in Thai seasoning mix then pan fried the pieces. It was delicious.
I also stewed some ham in apple cider with fennel seeds. Apple and ham are best friends and as I had some home brewed cider in the fridge I thought I’d give it a go. I was not disappointed. Well I was but only because I burnt the bottom so I was only able to eat half of what I made and that was disappointing.
Now for what you can do with the ham.
My personal favourite. Ham cheese and tomato toastie are in my opinion the king of toasties and are only improved with ham off the bone. You can also use the marinated ham for extra flavour.
Ok so they are sort of like Mexican toasties but how is that a bad thing. Not that I don’t believe you can’t use any flavours in a toastie but when you think quesadillas you think more of the Mexican flavours. Ham, Cheese, salsa, avo. All delicious.
I just chop up some ham, tomatoes and green onions and use that to half fill each section of a muffin tin then pour in some eggs that have been lightly beaten the bake for 10-20 mins at a low heat (until the egg is cooked). You could use whatever veg you have on hand and a sprinkle of cheese on top is a nice touch too.
Another breakfast option is what I call
(and B calls Crappy omelette.)
Cut your ham into small pieces and fry in a pan until lightly brown with any veggies you might like to add. (I usually do this with tomato but mushrooms would be good to) add in two lightly beaten eggs and keep it all moving until the egg is just cooked then take of the heat. I like mine with some toast on the side.
Its essentially scrambled eggs with extra stuff or (as B’s title suggests) an omelette that fell apart.
So these are just a few of my easy ideas for your leftover ham.
Did you have a good Christmas?
Let me know what do you do to jazz up your leftover Christmas food.
Have you ever had one of those weeks where you make something you haven’t made in ages then you wonder how you forgot how nice it is and you end up eating lots of it over the next week or two? Well that’s happened to me this week with a dish we just call Broth. It a versatile dish and normally involves some form of noodle (this week it’s been Ramen) cooked and served in a flavoured broth with chicken (also usually cooked in the broth) or tofu (crispified) and veg. We’ve probably eaten it 3 or 4 times in the last week and it’s on the menu again a few times this week too.
In other news my mother gave me a Herman the German Friendship Cake. I have been stirring it and feeding it and I’m looking forward to actually baking it (and passing it on to others) later this week. I’ll try and remember to put up a photo of the finished cake next week.
Also his week in the life of Lil I finally finished reading “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. I decided recently it was time to re-read the series and I got through the first book in a couple of days as expected but the second book took me weeks to finish. The third book is already going much better so I think it was just that book.
My top tip for this week would have to be don’t keep plastic chopping boards at the back of your stove or you may just find it melted. I went to move my big plastic chopping board today that I keep at the back of my stove over the oven vent and found the edge all melted. I was quite impressed as it’s a reasonably thick board but I think I’ll only keep the wooden ones there from now on.
This weeks recipe is one we use to serve with our broth or sometimes we are a bit naughty and eat it all by itself as a meal. It’s a great way to cook your tofu if you like it crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and marinated too. You can freeze portions of it and heat it back up in the oven later for a quick snack or to add to your meal another day. I call it “Karaage Style” as while it uses the same technique as Karaage I like to play around with the marinade so its not necessarily the same flavour.
Karaage Style Tofu
1 tsp minced ginger
2tsp minced garlic
2tsp soy sauce
3tbs plain flour
3tbs corn starch or arrowroot (tapioca starch)
Oil for frying
Press tofu for 8-10 mins to absorb excess water.
You can do this by placing paper towel on a plate then the tofu on the paper towel. Put another layer of paper towel on top of the tofu and then a chopping board on top. Weigh down the chopping board with whatever tined items you have in the cupboard.
Chop the tofu into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Create the marinade by mixing together the ginger, garlic and soy sauce and pour it over the tofu. Give the tofu a gentle stir to make sure it is all covered in marinade. Let marinate for at least 15 mins. In a separate bowl mix together the flour and starch and set aside.
To fry the tofu place 1-2 cm of oil in the bottom of a small pot. Heat oil to 160-170C. (use a candy or deep fry thermometer). Just before you start frying gently stir the flour mixture through the tofu to coat each piece.
Fry 5-6 pieces at a time until light brown then place on paper towel to drain excess oil.
Once all pieces are done heat oil to 170-180C. Fry pieces a second time until golden brown. You can fry 8-10 pieces at a time this time as they don’t take as long so won’t reduce the oil temperature as much. Place on paper towel again to drain excess oil.
You can serve you tofu with rice and steamed veg or in a bowl of udon or ramen or just serve it with your favourite dipping sauce for a snack.
TIP: Feel free to play around with the marinade. Other ingredients I like to use include: lemon grass, coriander root, chili paste or sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and Cajun spice. It’s really up to you how you flavour it.
This week has been a long one for me. particularly in an awake time sense. Lots of early mornings and late nights. This led to a lot of napping on Saturday after a particularly early start of 2am to go wake up a big hill and Knight one of our rover squires at dawn. I also did a bit of entertaining so at one point it felt like every dish in my house was sitting in the wash up pile. So my Sunday morning was spent cleaning all the dishes. On Friday night we found a cute visitor in the scout den. The possum happily sat in the craft cupboard the whole night despite all the noise of the kids running around outside. I’m looking forward to this week as I get to find out if I can return to driving with would be helpful for getting around. Today I’m having friends over for lunch which is nice. as I said on my Facebook the other day, I just can help it, I really really really like feeding people.
Todays recipe for you is a simple chicken stew. this is an easy recipe to throw together then walk away and let it do its thing. It’s also great as its very flexible. you can put whatever veg you want or have in it really.
500g chicken thighs
1 medium onion
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp gravy powder
1 glass wine
1-2 cups water
Chop veggies and put them in a large pot. Put pot on a medium heat and let veggies cook as you chop your chicken. Chop chicken and add to the pot. Add in feel seeds and gravy powder (or stock powder)and stir together.
Add a glass of wine and enough water to come to the top of the veggies.
Then cover and leave on a low heat for 1-2 hours. feel free to pour yourself a glass of wine and go relax but try not to then tip it all over yourself before you even manage to have any like I did. Serve with your favourite carbs (cous cous, rice, pasta potato, bread)
As some of you may know I have spent the last two months in hospital.
I was unfortunate enough to get something called Guillain-Barrè syndrome.
I ended up on life support in the ICU as they thought my airways might collapse. Fortunately I was only in the ICU for two and a half weeks but from there its been a big journey. My nerves and muscles were affected in a big way. I had to relearn how to walk and build the strength. Every person who has it has a different recovery time and i’ve been very lucky to recover to the level I have so quickly but there are still many more months of rehab and recovery to get back to where I was. I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by my amazing family & friends throughout this whole situation.
So now I am back home and back in my kitchen and it would seem my ability to cook has not left me though I have been sticking to easy things.
Todays recipe is the first thing I made when I was well enough to get back in the kitchen (other than tea and toast). When asked what I wanted to try cooking in the rehab kitchen this was my go to recipe as it is super easy but also one of my favourites to eat. It came about one day as a “what can I throw together from whats in the fridge” dish and has since become one of our favorite meals in the house.
Moroccan chicken and beans.
makes enough for 4 serves (though B and I usually manage to eat it all)
500g Chicken Thighs
300-400g Green Beans
3 Tbs Moroccan Seasoning
Couscous or Rice to serve
Slice the chicken into strips and put in a bowl. Mix through 2tbs of the moroccan seasoning and allow to sit while you prep the beans.
Remove ends from beans then cut into 2-3cm pieces. Put in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 4 mins.
Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan (spray oil works well). Fry the chicken until sealed then add in the beans and last tbs of moroccan seasoning. Stir fry for another 2-3 mins then lower the heat and allow to cook for a further 2-3 mins stirring occasionally.
Serve with rice or couscous (we like purl couscous). I like to put a handful of dried cranberries or sultanas in the couscous if I have some.