Something a little different

It’s been along time between posts (again).  Lately I’ve been very interested in design TV shows, especially Fixer Upper – if I could only watch Fixer Upper for the rest of my days I would be a very happy lady!  I’ve also found myself spending hours on instagram, pinterest and blogs looking at styled rooms.

I’m still going to create in the kitchen and post but I am also going to take you on the journey of restyling our house.  I will be doing it as cheap as possible and I will not be changing furniture just changing decor etc. to create a new look.

I’ve always struggled to pick a theme, I love so many different styles and have had quite different themes throughout our home.  My first task is to decide on a theme, I realise each room can be different but I would like to have similarities throughout the entire home.  I’m very drawn to bohemian textiles and (what I describe as) cabin style.  My number one aim is to make every room feel really homey and cosy.  I like warm colours.  My favourite stores for homewares are Anthropologie and Pottery Barn.  Below is a collection of pictures that I’m drawn to, to give you an idea of what I’m talking about!

I’m really looking forward to sharing this with you, I hope you enjoy it!

 

Coconut Eton Mess

Mitch was away a few weeks ago and I had a couple of girlfriends over for dinner and a giggle…. so many giggles.  They are both lactose intolerant so I had to really think about what I could make for dessert.  I don’t really have a sweet tooth so I’m usually hopeless when it comes to thinking of desserts to make when we are entertaining.  My go to is usually Eton Mess so I got to thinking about what I could use instead of cream.  I’ve heard the girls talk about Coconut Yoghurt so I thought I’d trying substituting it with that.  I was a little nervous because I imagined it would be a runnier consistency but I tried it and it is thick, creamy and delicious!  It was a complete success and everyone loved it and now I have something sweet to post for you all!  Usually I’d make the meringue myself but it was after work on a week night and I didn’t have a spare 2 hours to make them so I cheated and used store-bought.

IMG_2942

Ingredients

1 punnet strawberries, quartered
1 punnet raspberries
1tsp castor sugar
Natural flavoured Coconut Yoghurt
4 store-bought meringue, crushed (I put them in a ziplock and bashed them with a rolling-pin – make sure you have some chunky pieces)

Method

Place the strawberries and raspberries in to a bowl and sprinkle the sugar over the top, give them a stir and set it aside for a couple of hours.

Get out 4 tall glasses (or whatever you’d like to serve it in).  Layer all the ingredients in to the glasses (you can be as generous as you’d like with the quantities).  I like to do the following order meringue, spoonfuls of coconut yoghurt and spoonfuls of the berries.  I finish it off with some berries and a sprinkling of the tiny crumbs of meringue.

IMG_2943 (1)

I hope you find it as delicious as we did! x

Creamy Mushroom & Bacon Pasta

I like to think we eat pretty healthy most of the time but sometimes I crave something naughty and delicious, like tonight.  I haven’t had pasta for the longest time and I’ve had a weird craving for mushrooms, so much so I plan on using them in everything I make this week.  I went out and bought some fresh pasta and then just raided the fridge for the rest of the ingredients.  I was VERY happy with the results and as you’ll see this is far from a healthy dish but next time you are feeling a little indulgent give this a try, you won’t regret it!  This dish serves two.

Indgredients
200g fresh fettuccine
2 rashers of bacon, chopped
1 large brown field mushroom
1/2 small clove of garlic, crushed
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup pouring cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus a little to serve)
1 green onion, sliced
Salt & Pepper

Method
Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.  While waiting for the water to boil heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.  Cook the bacon and mushrooms until the bacon is crisp.  If the bacon fat doesn’t provide enough “oil” you can add a little bit of olive oil.  Turn the heat down to low and stir through the garlic.  While the bacon/mushrooms are cooking whisk together the egg yolks, parmesan, green onions and cream.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta as per the instructions.  Once cooked, drain the pasta and add it to the bacon mixture.  Mix together and then stir through the egg and cream mixture.  Once completely coated it is ready to go.  Serve with grated parmesan and pepper.

IMG_2810.jpg

Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese

Now I know I said I would post this two Sunday’s ago but…… I forgot to take photos!!  So I have made it again and taken more than enough this time.  I discovered Spaghetti Squash a few months ago at the market.  Spagetti Squash is just that, it’s from the squash family and is made up of noddle like strands.  When cooked you just run a fork through it and it breaks away in to perfectly formed spaghetti!  Friends of ours (from Canada) convinced me to buy one and to cook it with a meat sauce.  So I roasted the spaghetti squash, made a bolognese and filled the squash, I covered it in cheese and baked it in the oven.  We literally could not believe how good it tasted and it’s SO much better for you than pasta.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not swearing off pasta but it’s a good substitue sometimes.  Below is the recipe, it may look like a lot and complicated but it’s not.  This recipe serves 2 people, with a little extra meat sauce leftover.

Ingredients
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
1x spaghetti squash (halved and remove the seeds)
1x onion (red or brown, chopped)
2x garlic cloves (crushed)
Chilli flakes
500g mince beef
2x carrots
1x zucchini
400g tinned diced tomatoes
1 cup red wine
2x cups beef stock
1x bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Fresh basil, chopped
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese

IMG_2711.jpg

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (350 degrees fahrenheit).  Once you have halved the spaghetti squash and taken the seeds out, rub olive oil, salt and pepper all over the inside of each half.  Place them, open side down, on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Bake in the oven for an hour.

In a large pot (over a low heat) add oil, onion and chilli flakes and cook until the onion is translucent.  When it is add the garlic and stir through.  Turn the heat up to medium/high and add the mince.  Brown the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go.  Once browned add the carrots, zucchini, tinned tomatoes, red wine, stock, bay leaf, oregano and fresh basil.  Stir and bring to the boil, once boiling lower heat and simmer for approximately 1 hour (don’t let the sauce completely thicken as you want it a little saucy so that the spaghetti squash absorbs it).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When the spaghetti squash is baked, take it out of the oven and turn it over.  Fill the halves with bolognese sauce.  Grate some parmesan over the top and then cover with mozzarella.  Put back in the oven and bake until the cheese it golden on top.

It looks amazing, but it’s kind of messy to eat.  The best way is to cut it in half and then scrape out the contents with your fork (it should come away from the skin really easily).

IMG_2713.jpg

As you can see above, super messy looking but delicious!  I hope you enjoy!! x

Sweet Potato Soup

I went to the Farmer’s Market this morning and it was absolute mayhem.  I stood in line at one stall for 35 minutes!!!  Needless to say it was worth it.  I got the most deliciously fresh produce including sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash.  Today I’m hoping to do two posts.  Soup for lunch and Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce for dinner.

First up, soup!  Winter is coming, which means the markets were full of all kinds of root vegetables.  This Sweet Potato soup is a favourite of ours, I like to make a big batch of it so we can use it throughout the week.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
20g butter
3 tablespoons red curry paste
1 large brown onion (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1.8kg sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
2 litres chicken stock

IMG_2574Method
In a large pot heat the olive oil and butter over a low heat.  Once the butter has melted add the onion.  When the onion is soft add the garlic and stir for 20 seconds.  Stir in the red curry paste.  When fragrant add the sweet potatoes and stir.  Then add the the chicken stock and bring to the boil.  Once it is boiling turn the heat down and cover.  Once the sweet potato is soft (approx. 30 mins) blend.  Once all the lumps and bumps have turned in to a smooth  soup, season with salt and pepper and serve.  I like to serve it with some warmed through turkish bread.

IMG_2578

Enjoy!! x

Roasted Chickpeas

IMG_2512

It has been an embarrassingly long time since my last post.  Life has been hectic, to say the least, but that is no excuse.  I forgot that cooking/blogging is how I relax and unwind, so I’m back at it!  Every Sunday I will go to the Farmer’s Market, find something that inspires me and hopefully create something delicious that I can share with you.

Seeing as though it’s Easter Monday, the markets were closed yesterday so this week I’ve raided my pantry for inspiration.  The results were:

Chickpeas
Cayenne Pepper
Olive Oil
Salt
Rosemary (from my herb garden)

IMG_2506 (1).jpg

I’ve never roasted chickpeas before so I was a little nervous, but I think the results were pretty darn tasty! I hope you do too!!!

Method

Preheat the oven to 230 degree celsius (450 fahrenheit).  Drain and rinse the chickpeas, pat dry with paper towel.  In a mixing bowl toss the chickpeas in some olive oil, season with salt and mix in the rosemary.  On a baking tray lay down some baking paper, spread the chickpeas on the paper and sprinkle cayenne pepper over the top (use sparingly if you don’t like it too spicy).  Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until golden and crunchy.  Take them out of the oven, let them cool and little then enjoy!!

IMG_2509

Thanks for sticking with me and I promise you will be hearing a lot more from me!

Happy Easter!! x

Another Top Ten…. My Top Ten Kitchen Appliances/Utensils

My last post was very popular and I loved writing it, so I thought I would do another “Top 10” but make it more relevant to this Blog.  So below are my Top 10 Kitchen Appliances/Utensils – I either have them and love them or they are on my wish list. Kitchen Aid MixerLemon Squeezer Scanpan Knife Blocks  Le Creuset Salt & Pepper MillLe Creuset Dutch OvenNespresso Machine  Mortar & Pestle         Kitchen Aid Food Processor           Kitchen Aid Soda Stream

 Le Creuset Garlic Keeper

  1. KitchenAid Mixer – I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not much of a baker so this appliance was mainly about having it on display in my kitchen for aesthetic reasons….. but when I do bake it is my saving grace.  White is timeless and will never go out of fashion but I do have my eye on the copper range at the moment.  Luckily I can’t justify two mixers….
  2. Lemon squeezer – I use citrus quite a bit in my recipes so my lemon squeezer comes in handy most days.
  3. Scanpan Knife Block – I love these knives, they are very good quality and the knife sharpener is really good and easy to use.  Handy tip – don’t put your knives in the dishwasher, it will make them blunt (thanks Mum).
  4. Le Creuset Salt & Pepper Mills – I splurged on these, much to my husband’s horror….. I’m a Le Creuset girl, their products are amazing, the quality is second to none and they last forever so I don’t mind “investing” in their products (that’s my justification and I’m sticking to it!).
  5. Le Creuset Dutch Oven – OK so the salt and pepper mills may not have been a necessity but my dutch oven is!  I cook EVERYTHING in it.  I inherited it from my Mum, she knew how much I wanted one, and lets be honest they aren’t affordable for the everyday person, so she handed down one of hers to me (and I will be forever thankful).  It is amazing to cook with, it holds heat really well and is SO easy to clean.  I make sauces, roasts, soups, stir fry and more.  I barely use my other pots anymore.  If I could have a full range of Le Creuset pots and pans I would be one happy lady.
  6. Nespresso Machine – It took me so long to convince my husband to get a Nespresso Machine, and I now have the satisfaction of saying “I told you so” every time he raves about it.  We love coffee and would both have at least one takeaway coffee a day (spending approx. $4 on each coffee).  While the machine is expensive the coffee pods are really reasonably priced and it has ended up saving us a lot of money in the long run.  If you love cafe quality coffee try the nespresso machine, I would seriously be surprised if you didn’t love it.
  7. Mortar & Pestle – It’s actually ridiculous that I do not have one of these.  I make so many curries etc. where I need to grind spices.  I am just really fussy and I am having a really hard time finding one I like.  I am making a lot more curries now that the weather is getting cooler so I am going to have to bite the bullet and buy one.  Any suggestions would be appreciated…
  8. KitchenAid Food Processor – I bought a Kitchen Aid Mixer before the food processor and I have no idea why…. I cook, I don’t bake…. I love my food processor, it has changed my life (Mitch not so much, as he is usually the one who washes all the pieces).  It has saved me so much time in the kitchen and I use it daily.
  9. KitchenAid Soda Stream – I know there are cheaper soda streams out there but if money wasn’t a problem I would buy the KitchenAid Soda Stream.  We drink a lot of soda water and spend quite a bit of money buying bottles every week so a soda stream is in our future, I’m just not sure I’ll be able to convince Mitch on the KitchenAid….
  10. Le Creuset Garlic Keep – Again, probably not a necessity but I love my le creuset garlic keep.  I use garlic in most of my recipes so to have it nice and handy on the bench is a good thing.

My Top Ten Beauty Products

webres

It’s been a while between posts, I’ve had a lot going on but that is no excuse!  I promise to be better from now on.

I’m going to post something a little different today.  I LOVE cruising the internet looking at suggestions/posts by people on their favourite (favorite) beauty products, so I thought I would share the items I cannot do without!  Below are my Top 10 (in no particular order):

Free Your Mane Hair Oil            Frank Body Scrub

Benetint Rose Tinted Lip and Cheek Stain  Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant      Go-To Properly Clean

EOS Sweet Mint Open   Olivine Atelier Love & Salt MistLucas Papaw

OPIUrban Decay Naked3

  1. Free Your Mane Hair Oil – I apply this to my hair after every wash.  It hydrates my hair and makes it really soft and smooth.  If I am going to use product no. 7 (Olivine Love & Salt Mist) to help with my natural wave, the oil helps keep the frizzy curly bits calm.  It leaves my hair feeling really healthy and it smells good too.
  2. Frank Body Scrub – This product is genius! It is a coffee based scrub made from natural ingredients.  It’s made in Australia and shipped worldwide for next to nothing.  Not only does this coffee scrub exfoliate, it repairs damaged skin and helps with cellulite and stretch marks (I’m serious).   My favourite is the Coconut scrub, it reminds me of the beach.  I have gifted this to a lot of my friends and all of them are obsessed!  I can’t even put in to words how smooth my skin is after I scrub.  I LOVE this.
  3. Rose Benetint – Benetint is a cheek and lip stain.  This product gives me naturally rosie cheeks and a really nice subtle red lip.  The tint dries out my lips so I usually put product no. 6 (EOS Sweet Mint Lip Balm) over the top.  I love Benefit products, most of the make-up I own is Benefit.  The website is really cool too, they have a tab called “Beauty School” where you can find demonstration videos on how to use their products.  I’m not much of a Make-up Artist so I find the tips really helpful.  I don’t like to look as if I have make-up on and Rose Benetint provides a very natural look, it also smells AMAZING!
  4. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant – This daily scrub comes in powder form.  You just wet your face, after cleansing, put a small amount on your wet palms and create a paste.  Then you massage it on to your face.  This product leaves my skin SO smooth and bright.  I know “bright” sounds crazy but Mitch, my husband, often makes comment on how good my skin looks after I use this.
  5. Go-To Skincare Properly Clean – I’ve tried a lot of cleansers and have found that this one is the best.  It removes ALL of my make-up in one wash.  It’s a really gentle product and it is also an Australian product.  The creator is pretty cool too, Zoe Foster Blake is a writer and I believe she used to be a beauty editor for a magazine.  The link to her blog, Zo they Say, is on my “Sites I Love” page.  Check it out if you have some time, it’s a bit of fun!  Back to the cleanser, it really is excellent and smells really good too.  I highly recommend it if you are looking to try something new.
  6. EOS (Evolution of Smooth) Sweet Mint Lip Balm – This lip balm is 95% organic and 100% natural.  I like the sweet mint the best, the mint leaves my lips feeling really cool and a little bit tingly (in a good way), it tastes really good too!  The packaging is super cute and different.  It makes a good little gift too.  I love how smooth my lips feel and as I said earlier I apply it over the top of my benetint rose lip stain to hydrate my lips and to leave a glossy shine.
  7. Olivine Atelier Love & Salt Mist – I have naturally wavy hair but it needs a little bit of help.  Salt water sprays are everywhere right now.  Have you ever been swimming in the ocean and when you are out and your hair has dried off you have an amazing wave?  If you have then you need to get this spray.  After I wash my hair I scrunch dry my hair with a towel, add some of the Free Your Mane Hair Oil and then spray it all over with the Love & Salt Mist and let it dry.  It leaves me with amazing “beachy” hair.  It smells amazing, like summer.  Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray is also a good one to use.
  8. Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment – I use this religiously before bed on my lips.  When we lived in Canada we lived in the Rocky Mountains, so the air was very dry.  I would wake-up in the morning with cracked lips, so I started applying PawPaw ointment before I went to sleep each night and it made such a huge difference.  It can also be used as an ointment for minor burns, sunburn, cuts etc.  Most Australian women have a tub in the house and a tube in their handbag.  If you’re really obsessed you have one in your car and one in every handbag you own (that’d be me).
  9. OPI Nail Polish – Recently I have become obsessed with painting my nails on a weekly basis.  I love OPI Nail Polish because of the quality and the range of colours (colors).  My dream is to have one draw in my bathroom with every colour (color)!  I mostly like the nude and pink colours for my fingernails and I usually get a little more bold with colour (color) on my toenails.
  10. Urban Decay Naked3 – My best friend/bridesmaid, Mandi, bought me this as a bridal gift.  I am hopeless, as mentioned above, at applying make-up and Mandi is the total opposite.  When I lived a block away from her she was my own personal make-up artist/hair stylist.  Now that I live on the other side of the world to her (which SUCKS) I have had to learn how to do my own.  Which is why she bought me this amazing set of eyeshadows.  I have sometimes blue eyes/sometimes hazel eyes so the Naked3 colour (color) palette is perfect for me.  It’s an amazing gift and I love, love, love it!

If you have any questions on the above comment below and I would be happy to answer.

Take care x

Porridge with Muddled Strawberries

The weather is starting to cool off here, which makes me crave winter comforts.  Below is my recipe for our favourite winter breakfast, Porridge with Muddled Strawberries.

IMG_4334

Serves 4 smaller helpings or 2 big.

Ingredients
150g rolled oats
600ml milk (I use full cream/2%, it gives it a much more creamier flavour)
1 punnet of strawberries (room temperature)
1tsp caster sugar

Method
Take the tops off the strawberries and cut them in half.  Put them in a cocktail shaker (or mixing bowl, I just find it easier to muddle in the shaker) and sprinkle the sugar on top.  Take a muddler (or a potato masher if you are using a bowl) and press down on the strawberries so that the juice of the strawberries starts to run.  Set aside while you make the porridge.

Put the rolled oats and milk in to a saucepan, bring it to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Don’t stray too far from the stove, you’ll need to stir it often.  Once it has reached a good consistency (approx. 10 minutes) and the oats are nice a plump, take it off the stove.  Divide the mixture in to some bowls and top with the strawberry mixture.

Bon Appétit! x

IMG_4336

Round One – Cook the Cookbook River Cottage Everyday

As I have already said we spent the weekend with our friends in the Barossa, Ben and Kate.  I practically lived with them during my teenage years (I went to boarding school but during the school holidays you would find me at the Bryant’s house) so I consider them family.  My parents sold our family farm when we were living over in Canada and I have missed that feeling of “going home”.  I get that feeling now when we are driving through the vineyards to Ben and Kate’s.  There’s a familiarity about it.  When I’m there I’m so comfortable,  I don’t have to make an effort and I know I can relax and just be myself. Plus their little people are ADORABLE and I love them!!!  Which is why I wanted to start this challenge with them. On Saturday we went to the Tanunda Show (kind of like a county fair in the US).  It was a beautiful day and nice to be outside.  My favourite part was the produce shed, it was the perfect way to get me excited about cooking that night.

Myself, Jilly, Ben and Hamish at the Tanunda Show
Me, Jilly, Ben and Hamish at the Tanunda Show

IMG_4143 Now to the dinner.  The recipes completed:

  1. Crab Cakes
  2. Mayonnaise
  3. Spiced Lamb Burgers
  4. Flatbread
  5. Macerated Strawberries
  6. Elderflower panna cotta with goose berry compote (minus the elderflower and gooseberries)

It seems like a lot but the good thing about these recipes is a lot could be made in advance. Entree (Starter) – Crab Cakes It seemed easy enough, there weren’t many ingredients.  Unfortunately I didn’t get off to a good start,  I pre-made the crab cakes so the only thing I had to do was crumb them and pan fry them.  As I was making the mixture I did wonder how they were going to stay together, there wasn’t anything in the mixture to bind the ingredients.  When it came time to crumbing them (flour, egg wash and crumbs) they fell apart when I picked them up off the plate.  After a little bit of frustration and a pep talk from Kate I managed to smoodge them together and I CAREFULLY fried them and managed to get them on to the plate!  Luckily they were delicious.  The mayonnaise I served with them, as suggested in the recipe, is also from the book.  Who knew it was so easy to make mayonnaise!?  It was lemony and went so well with the crab cakes.  Even though it started off a little “touch and go” the crab cakes and mayonnaise were a success and I will definitely make them again.  Kate suggested freezing the crab cakes once they are together and then crumbing them, I’ll try that next time and let you know how it goes.

Crab Cakes & Mayonnaise
Crab Cakes & Mayonnaise

Main (Entree) – Spiced Lamb Burgers and Flat Bread This was super easy and really delicious.  Pretty much everything can be made in advanced, so it is a good one if you have people around for dinner.  The lamb patties are basic the are just minced lamb, garlic and a mixture of spices.  The flat bread seemed daunting but was also really easy to make.  It was just three ingredients – flour, olive oil and water.  I will never buy flat bread again!  The toppings were simple as well – cucumber, red onion, lettuce and greek yoghurt with similar spices to the burger stirred through it.  This was so simple and tasty, it will definitely be one of my go to recipes for the future.

Spices for the lamb burger
Spices for the lamb burger
Spiced Lamb Burger
Kate’s Spiced Lamb Burger

Dessert – Elderflower Panna Cotta with Gooseberry Compote – Tanunda (and most likely Australia) is lacking in elderflower and gooseberries, so I substituted the elderflower with vanilla and the gooseberry compote with another recipe from the book, Macerated Strawberries. My first lesson learnt when I was preparing for dessert is don’t believe a thing Ben says.  I asked if he knew of any elderflower bushes in Tanunda and he casually answered telling me they had some in the garden.  Great, that was easy!  When I was expressing to Kate how impressed I was that they had elderflower she gave me a look and pretty much said that I should know better than to trust Ben… there was no bush so I substituted the elderflower with vanilla.  The panna cotta needs to be prepped well in advance as it needs at least 4 hours in the fridge.  It was as easy as combining the ingredients and dividing the mixture in to ramekins.  Another great recipe for entertaining. I knew I was never going to find gooseberries, which is a shame because I had eaten them quite regularly (ok mostly from the top of a cocktail) in Canada and I loved their sweet/sour taste.  Not having them meant I could knock another recipe off the list. The macerated strawberries were really easy and delicious.  The recipe has three different ways you can do them.  I chose to macerate them in sugar, balsamic vinegar and…. pepper!?  It sounds odd and I was a little skeptical about adding the pepper but I’m so glad I did!  The macerated strawberries went beautifully with the panna cotta and it was a really nice/not too sweet way to finish off the meal.  Unfortunately when it came to plating a mixture of wine and being distracted by a game of “Cards Against Humanity” resulted in disaster.  I let the ramekins sit in the hot water a little too long so when I turned them out on to the plates they were a little runny, but they tasted delicious.  Below is my failed attempt at plating them (and this was the best one to photograph).

Panna Cotta with Macerated Strawberries
Panna Cotta with Macerated Strawberries

All in all the night was a success, minus a few presentation issues.  I would suggest all of the recipes I cooked and I am excited to get through the rest of the book.  Thank again to Ben & Kate for having us. IMG_4163 Until next time! xx

Cooking the Cookbook – River Cottage Everyday

If you have followed my blog from the beginning you will know I am OBSESSED with River Cottage.  For Christmas Mitch gave me the box set of DVDs and the River Cottage Everyday cookbook, he is an enabler!

River Cottage Everyday Cookbook

I have SO many cookbooks and I am embarrassed to say I have probably only ever cooked a few recipes from each, some of them I haven’t even cooked a single recipe!  So I am determined to cook every last recipe in the River Cottage Everyday cookbook (even the offal recipes…. I’m not as excited for those ones).

In my own mind I think Hugh, because I feel like I know him so well (I know it’s a little scary and my husband has expressed his concern), would be really pleased to know that I plan on cooking every recipe in his cookbook.  After all his whole series of River Cottage is based on encouraging the everyday person to cook from scratch using seasonal, fresh ingredients.

I will kick it off on Saturday with a three course dinner, we are visiting friends in the Barossa and I couldn’t think of a better place to begin this adventure.  Wish me luck!

*Just to be clear, I won’t be publishing the recipes (if you like the look of them buy the book it is worth every cent!) I will be writing posts on the experience of cooking and eating each meal.  The difficulty level, the grossness of handling the offal (or maybe I’ll find it therapeutic!) etc.

Kale Cocktail… trust me it tastes better than it looks!

This may seem a little weird, but I thought with all the craze around green smoothies why not try it in a cocktail form!?  It doesn’t look amazing but the flavours were really earthy and went well together.  So if you trust me, give it a go…

Kale Cocktail

Ingredients

1 cup of kale
8 large strawberries
1/2 a lime
30ml vodka
1tsp 100% Canadian maple syrup
Ice cubes

Method

Take the stalk out of the kale, the tops off the strawberries and the skin off the lime.  Throw them in a blender with the maple syrup, ice and vodka.  Blend it until it is combined.  Push the liquid through a sieve, to separate the liquid from the pulp and seeds.  Discard the pulp and pour the liquid in to a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a strawberry and enjoy!

Chia Pudding

I have never had chia seeds before and didn’t really know much about them until my husband came home with some.  So I thought I’d have a play with different recipes using them as a main ingredient.  I have to say I was a little skeptical about making a tasty dessert but I can’t believe how easy and delicious (if I do say so myself) my Chia Puddings were!  I’m not much of a sweet lover/baker so I always struggle when it comes to dessert time when entertaining.  I always put so much effort in to the hors d’oeuvres, entrees and mains that I tend to come up with something less than average for dessert.  Not any longer!!!  I hope you love them as much as we did.

Vanilla/Cinnamon Chia Pudding

Vanilla/Cinnamon Chia Pudding (serves 1)

2 tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 cup Almond Milk
1 Cinnamon Quill
1 Vanilla Pod
2 teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup

Place the chia seeds in the bottom of your serving dish (I used an old fashion glass).  Halve the vanilla pod, place the milk in a saucepan with the cinnamon quill, scrape the middle of the vanilla pod in to the milk and add the empty pod.  Bring the milk to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the milk with the vanilla and cinnamon.  Strain the milk mixture and stir in the maple syrup.  Add the liquid to the chia seeds, give it a stir and place it in the fridge for approx. 2 hours.  Top with some chopped up strawberries and serve.  It’s that easy!

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding (Serves 1)

2 tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 cup Almond Milk
1 Cinnamon Quill
1 Vanilla Pod
2 teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons Cocoa Powder (I use organic, next time I am going to try it with Cacao powder)

Place the chia seeds in the bottom of your serving dish (I used an old fashion glass).  Halve the vanilla pod, place the milk in a saucepan with the cinnamon quill, scrape the middle of the vanilla pod in to the milk and add the empty pod.  Bring the milk to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the milk with the vanilla and cinnamon.  Strain the milk mixture and stir in the cocoa powder and maple syrup.  Add the liquid to the chia seeds, give it a stir and place it in the fridge for approx. 2 hours.  Top with some chopped up strawberries and serve.

They aren’t overly sweet (which I like) and honestly they are so easy and fast to make. I really hope you like them too xx

Halloumi and Prosciutto Salad

I made this salad last week.  It is really simple and tastes so fresh.  It would make a great starter for when you are entertaining as it’s really quick to prepare.  Below is the recipe, it serves 2 people.  I hope you like it!

Cropped Halloumi & Prosciutto Salad image

Ingredients

2x slices of halloumi (approx. 0.5cm thick)
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Mixed salad greens (I like to make sure there is rocket/arugula in mine)
2 thin slices of prosciutto
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper

Method

Take 4 basil leaves and press 2 each on to one side of the halloumi.  In a skillet heat some olive oil over a medium/high heat.  When the pan is hot place the 2 slices of halloumi basil side down.  Cook until it is a lovely golden colour, then flip them carefully and fry the other side.  Once they are done place them on to some paper towel and set them aside.

Halloumi

Place the tomatoes and red onion in a bowl.  Finely chop the remaining basil and mix it in to the tomato/onion mixture with a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper (not too much salt as the halloumi and prosciutto are salty).

To serve put a slice of halloumi on a plate, followed by a handful of the mixed salad greens.  Spoon the tomato/onion mixture on top of the lettuce and drizzle some of the juices/oil from the bottom of the bowl.  Finish with a slice of prosciutto on top and a sprig of basil.

This dish is so easy to make and tastes amazing.  It will definitely be a regular in our household.

Enjoy!! x

FIG Crostini

It’s been so long since I posted something and I’m feeling a little guilty…  I have started a lot of drafts over the last few weeks but I haven’t gotten around to finishing any of them.

That’s not going to happen with this one because I am determined to “get back on the horse”! Fig season has started in South Australia and at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market last Sunday Willabrand Australia had the most delicious looking figs at their stall, so naturally I placed them in my basket.  Below is a delicious and fresh hors-d’oeuvre recipe using figs.

IMG_3848

Ingredients

White french bread stick, sliced
Clove of garlic, cut in half
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Walnuts Honey
Cayenne pepper
Goats cheese (which I also got from the markets at the Woodside Cheese Wrights stall)
Prosciutto
Fresh thyme

Method

Heat your oven to 180 degrees/350 fahrenheit and line 2 baking trays with aluminium foil.  In a bowl put a couple of handfuls of walnuts, drizzle some honey over them and sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt over the top. Mix with your hands until the walnuts are coated in the mixture.  Spread the nut mixture out on one of the trays.  Put them in the oven and bake until the nuts start to turn brown.  Once they are done set them aside to cool down.  The honey should create a candied layer over the walnuts.

Slice the figs in to rounds (approx. 1cm thick) and place them on the other lined baking tray.  Put  them in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they start to caramelise.

Place the prosciutto on a baking tray and put it in the oven until it is crispy (I put it in at the same time as the figs and they were done around the same time).  Once they are cooked take them out of the oven and set them aside to cool.

Once the nuts a room temperature put aside some whole nuts and then use the back of a your knife to crush the rest in to small pieces.  Mix the crushed nuts with the goats cheese.  I just used my fingers to mush it all together. Place your sliced french stick pieces under the grill and brown both sides until they are a lovely golden colour.

Now it’s time to construct:

  1. Take a toasted bread stick piece and brush it with some extra virgin olive oil and then rub it with the garlic (cut side down).
  2. Place a fig round on top of the toast.
  3. Crumble some of the goats cheese and walnut mixture on top of the fig.
  4. Crumble some prosciutto on top of the cheese and top with a walnut.
  5. Repeat this until you have used up all your ingredients.
  6. Once you have them all assembled and placed them on your serving tray, drizzle the entire dish with honey and sprinkle some fresh thyme over the top.

I also quartered some figs and wrapped them, and a slice of goats cheese, with prosciutto and baked them for approx. 10mins. Then I placed them on the serving tray and topped with some crumbled candied walnuts, a drizzle of honey and some fresh thyme.

Fig & Goat Cheese wrapped in Prosciutto

I know that this one is a little fiddly and the amount of trays/utensils used is a little ridiculous but I promise it’s worth it.  We had friends around for some drinks and these flew off the plate!

IMG_3860

As always I’d love to hear your feedback!  Have a lovely week xx

Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce

I was feeling creative tonight so I made another dinner from things I found in the fridge/cupboard/garden.  As I type this up it’s still cooking, it smells so good and I hope it tastes good otherwise this post will not make it! (good news it was delicious so it’s going up! The pine nuts in the meatballs made this dish!)

First the meatballs….

Ingredients

500g premium mince (ground beef)
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup pine nuts
1Tbsp dried oregano
1Tbsp dried basil
1Tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
A splash of worcestershire sauce

Method

In a bowl mix together all the ingredients – I use my hands, I find squeezing the mixture in my hands very therapeutic (I know it’s a bit weird!).  Once all the ingredients are combined divide into 4 large balls. Then divide each ball into 4 and roll into meatballs.

Heat some oil in a pan and fry the meatballs until they are brown on the outside, it’s OK if they aren’t cooked all the way through as you will simmer them in the sauce a little later on.  Once they are cooked put them on some paper towel and set them aside.

Meatballs Simmering

Now for the tomato Sauce…

Ingredients

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Sprinkle of dried chilli
800g tinned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
1Tbsp sugar
1Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper

Method

In a saucepan heat some olive oil.  Add the onion, garlic and a sprinkle of chilli flakes, cook on a low heat until the onion softens (be careful not to burn the garlic).  Once the onion is soft add the tomatoes, sugar, balsamic vinegar  and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for 15mins.  After 15mins add the meatballs and simmer for a further 15mins.  Stir in the basil (leaving  a little for sprinkling on top of the finished dish).  Mitch likes his served on top of sweet potato mash, I like mine by themselves or you could serve them on pasta.  Top with grated parmesan, fresh basil and enjoy!!

Meatballs on Sweet Potato Mash
Meatballs on Sweet Potato Mash

Kalamata Olive Tapenade

I’ve mentioned before that I buy THE MOST delicious kalamata olives from the Adelaide Showground Farmers Markets.  I went a little overboard the last time I was there and ended up with excess.  I’ve never tried to make a tapenade before but I’ve eaten plenty…  It took me a few tries but I came up with something I loved, hopefully you do too!

Kalamata Olive Tapenade

Ingredients

1 Cup Kalamata Olives (pit out)
1 Anchovy
1 small clove garlic
1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary
1/2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

Put the olives, anchovy, garlic and herbs in a food processor with a slurp of olive oil and blend.  Add more olive oil while it is going (if needed) until it’s a consistency you like.  It’s quick, easy and a crowd pleaser.

Moscow Mule! (well kind of…)

Another cocktail post….

My brother, Rob, gave me Moscow Mule mugs for my birthday/christmas.  I absolutely love them! I have a thing for copper at the moment…

Moscow Mules aren’t all that popular here in Australia, but I drank a lot of them in America.  I’m not overly keen on Ginger Beer so I switched it out for Ginger Ale, I figure it’s close enough.  Below is the recipe for the way I like my Mule!

Moscow Mule

Tools
Muddler (or a wooden spoon)
Moscow Mule Copper Mug – not essential but it looks good and is lovely and cold to hold on a hot summers day

Ingredients
Half a lime, plus a wedge for decoration
30ml Vodka
Mint leaves
Ginger Ale
Ice cubes

Method
Cut half the lime in to wedges.  Throw the lime and a few mint leaves in to a cocktail shaker (or a glass) and pour in the vodka.  Use the muddler, or wooden spoon, to press firmly on the ingredients in the shaker until all the juice is out of the limes.  Fill the Moscow Mule mug with ice.  Pour the liquid over the ice, use a strainer to catch the lime and mint.  Top the mug up with Ginger Ale and place a lime wedge and a sprig of mint on top.  It’s that easy!

If you ever try one of my recipes I’d love to hear how it went and to see photos!  Just tag #agirlsgottoeatanddrink

 

White Wine Sangria

It has been SO incredibly hot in South Australia over the past few days.  The other day it reached 42 degrees (108 Fahrenheit)!  I’m not complaining though because this time last year we were living in -30 degrees (I’m pretty sure it is the same or close in Fahrenheit).  As the title of this blog suggests I am not only interested in creating delicious recipes with food, I also want to create delicious cocktails.  I’ve been testing out cocktail recipes over the Christmas holidays and I made a really delicious White Sangria on the 42 degree day, hopefully you love it as much as we did!

White Sangria

Ingredients
Half a bottle of a sweeter white wine, I used a wine with a light fizz
300ml Soda Water
A handful of Strawberries, quartered
An orange, sliced in to rounds and then quartered
Half a Red Delicious Apple, sliced
A handful of mint leaves
Ice cubes

Method
Put the fruit and mint in to a 1 litre carafe.  Fill the carafe just under halfway with ice cubes.  Then add the wine and soda water.  Stir and enjoy!!

So easy, so simple and so refreshing on a hot summers evening!

Mango and Avocado Salsa

Happy New Years everyone!  I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday.  Sorry for not posting anything in a while, December was a little bit hectic.

In Australia, in addition to the Turkey and Ham, we also eat seafood on Christmas Day.  My family usually pairs prawns/shrimp with my Mum’s homemade cocktail sauce.  Don’t get me wrong the cocktail sauce is delicious but the point of starting this blog was to start experimenting in the kitchen so I came up with the following recipe.

IMG_0315

Ingredients
Mango
Avocado
1/2 red onion
Red Chilli
Coriander (Cilantro for my North American readers)
Lime

Method
Chop the mango and avocado in to tiny squares.  Finely chop half the red onion and chilli, with seeds if you’d like it hot or without if you’d only like a little bit of heat.  Finely chop about 2 tablespoons of the coriander.  Combine the mango, avocado, red onion, chilli and coriander/cilantro.  Squeeze the juice of half the lime over the top of the ingredients, season with a little bit of sea salt, mix it together and serve in a little dish with a wedge of lime and a few whole coriander leaves on top.

You can use this recipe as a side for seafood or serve it with some corn chips.  It is so fresh and delicious.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

Marinated Kalamata Olives… so easy and so delicious!

I love olives! I could eat them all day everyday, it’s never too early or too late.  I always have them in my fridge.   I get the most delicious kalamata olives from the Adelaide Farmers Markets and then marinate them in a really simple marinade, see below.

Ingredients

Kalamata Olives
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1x Red Chilli (seeds removed)
Fresh Rosemary
1 clove of Garlic

Method

Place the olives in a jar and cover with the olive oil.  Slice the red chilli and garlic finely and add to the jar.  Take the rosemary off the stick and add it to the jar too.  Give it a stir and that’s it, it’s that simple!!  You can eat them straight away but I like to leave them to marinate overnight so they soften up a little and take on the flavours.  I keep them stored in the fridge.

Marinated Kalamata Olives

Baked Salmon with Hollandaise Sauce & Asparagus Hash

Sorry for not posting anything last week.  Mitch (my husband) had an Ironman 70.3 (triathlon) interstate so there was no market visit last Sunday.  The good news is he came 3rd in his age division and qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Austria next year!!  Europe here we come!

I had a huge day yesterday.  I went to the market for my weekly shop and came home with an abundance of beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables AND a Christmas tree!  Growing up we have always had a live tree at Christmas but this is the first time I have had one.  It took me forever to get the tree up and balanced (the needles were everywhere) but it was worth it in the end.  The smell in our lounge room at the moment is so lovely!

Christmas Tree

Now to the recipe.  I really liked this recipe it’s a little naughty but it was delicious and super easy!  I added extra lemon to the sauce so that it would be more of a citrus hollandaise to match the salmon.

Baked Salmon with Asp

Ingredients

2 boneless Salmon fillets
2 large potatoes
2 bunches of asparagus
Salt & Pepper

Sauce
2 egg yolks
80g unsalted butter
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt & Pepper

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees/350 fahrenheit.  Cut the potatoes in to bit size pieces, dry with paper towel, toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 45mins (or until the potatoes are crispy and golden).  Cut the asparagus in to 3s, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and put them in the oven with the potatoes when there is 15mins to go.

Place the salmon in to a baking dish, squeeze some lemon juice over the top and season with salt and pepper and bake in the over for 15mins at 180 degrees/350 fahrenheit.

Sauce
Place the egg yolks in to a food processor and blend.  Melt the butter and pour slowly in to the food processor (while on).  Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and blend.

Warm your plates in the oven for a couple of minutes.  Place the Salmon and Asparagus Hash on the plate and pour the sauce over the top.  Serves 2.