Monday, December 29, 2008

Mmmmm Brownies and Christmas

Christmas has come and gone with a wink of the eye. Our little family had an alright day, unfortunately though Little Z was quite unsettled at christmas lunch with the extended family. She got so worked up that she wouldn't feed or sleep - but in the end she settled down and was her happy little self again. Oh well - I'm sure next christmas will be a whole different story.

Mat and I got quite spoilt this year - we received $400 from our parents, which we will be spending on nappies from baby beehinds. We also got $400 worth of Cole Myers vouchers and Mat wants me to spend on it some new clothes and shoes for my wardrobe - awwww! I got Mat a digital scale for his beer home brewing and he got me a lovely dress from Midwest Trader, we may have to return it for a two-piece outfit though since it is almost impossible to wear a dress while you are breastfeeding. We gave Little Z a collection of books, I really want to build up her library so that we have a great assortment of books to choose from. I think that is about it - so pretty spoilt really.

Now time for another recipe...

White & Dark Chocolate Walnut Brownies

Keep up to 5 days, or freeze up to 1 month (thaw in fridge)

Serves 12

Melted butter, to grease
300g dark chocolate, finely chopped
125g butter, chopped
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup plain flour
200g white chocolate, chopped
100g walnut halves, chopped

Preheat oven to 180. Brush a square 19cm cake pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line base and 2 opposite sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to overhang.

Place dark chocolate and chopped butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until chocolate melts and mixture combines. Stir in sugar and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until well combined.

Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in eggs and flour. Add white chocolate and walnuts and stir until combined. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of the spoon.

Bake in oven for 25 minutes (skewer should come out slightly sticky). Remove from oven and set aside for 3 hours to cool completely. Cut into squares to serve.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Digital Camera Research

After doing a bit of research I think I have found the digital camera to save up for it is the Canon IXUS 980 IS.
  • 14.7 megapixels
  • 3.7 optical zoom lens
  • optical image stabiliser
  • face detection technology
  • motion detection technology
  • 2.5" LCD screen
  • red eye correction
Sounds like it is a really good all rounder and it is not overly expensive. It goes for about $500 on Digital Camera Warehouse - so I only have about $450 to save up. At least it is a goal to work towards.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way

It is christmas time again and our first ever christmas as a little family - awwww! We have the christmas tree up with a few presents under it, there are christmas cards pegged up around the house and I've been singing lots of christmas carols to Little Z. So I am definitely getting into the christmas cheer.

Yesterday Mat looked after Little Z for most of the day so that I could do some christmas baking - I made apricot balls, rum balls and truffles all from the wonderful Exclusively Food website. I must say they all turned out wonderfully but my favourite would have to be the delicious truffles. All of them were so easy to make, which is great when you have a 9 week old and not much spare time. Now I just need to wrap them up in some cellophane, tie them with string and pop them in my little christmas baskets to make them into presents for the relatives and my work. I love giving yummy home made gifts for christmas and most of the time people love receiving them.

Here is a photo of the yummy christmas goodness....

Speaking of photos I really want to get a new camera - I have decided that ours is too old and dodgy. Now I just need to research what camera to get and of course find the money to actually buy one. Or I could just dream about buying one for a while ... damn money!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pork Balls

Pork Balls with Salad and Satay Sauce
Serves 4

850g pork mince
5 spring onions, sliced
1 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup breadcrumbs
olive oil cooking spray
350ml satay sauce
handful of green beans, trimmed
1/2 cabbage, finely shredded
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 cup beansprouts,
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Combine the mince, onions, ginger, garlic and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Roll spoonfuls into balls, place onto a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Thread 3 meatballs onto each skewer, place on a baking tray and spray with oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Meanwhile, heat the satay sauce until hot. Also steam the beans and cabbage until just cooked.

To serve, arrange bean sprouts, beans, carrot, cabbage, eggs, pork balls and satay sauce on a plate.


Long time no see....

Well after disappearing for a good two months I am finally back on the blogging wagon :). First of all my disappearance was for a very good cause...

The ray of sunshine in my life - Zoe Lynne McCarthy. She joined us on the 17th of October in a relatively quick delivery and she has been keeping me very busy ever since. So far I would say that we have been incredibly lucky with little Z, no major dilemmas and in general she is a happy little girl (although lets not mention the arsenic hours :P). Since that fateful day life has been very different for our little family. We have definitely all been a lot more busy, but I think also we have found that we concentrate now on the more important things in life. It is amazing how a little one can help you forget about all the little things. And speaking of the little one I better get a move on before she wakes up from her morning sleep.

Time for a new recipe methinks...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chipolata Hotpot

Chipolata Hotpot
Serves 4

1 tbs olive oil
500g beef chipolatas, halved
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, diced
1 green capsicum, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
420g can diced tomatoes
1 cup water

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and onion and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the sausage and onion starts to brown. Add the diced tomato, capsicum and garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the canned tomato and water, cover and bring to the boil. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Meatball Soup

Meatball Soup
Serves 4

500g beef mince
1 red onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup basil leaves, chopped
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten
720g bottle of tomato pasta sauce
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup risoni
2 zucchinis, diced
150g green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds

Combine the mince, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, basil, parmesan and egg in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well, then roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on a plate.

Pour the tomato sauce, chicken stock and water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Skim the froth from the surface, add the meatballs and return to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the risoni and cook for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and beans, and cook until the vegetables and risoni are tender.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lamb Korma Curry

Lamb Korma Curry
Serves 4

2 tbs vegetable oil
1kg lamb leg roast, cut into 3cm cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped
420g jar tikka masala simmer sauce
120g natural yoghurt
80g baby spinach

Heat 2 tsp of oil in a large saucepan over high heat, add a third of the lmab and cook until browned. Transfer to a plate and then repeat in 2 batches.

Reduce the heat to medium add remaining oil and onion to the saucepan and cook until the onion is soft. Return the lamb and juices to the pan, stir in the simmer sauce and yoghurt and bring to the boil. Simmer the curry, uncovered for 45 minutes.

Stir through the baby spinach leaves and cook until wilted. Serve with rice and pappadums.

Chorizo and Eggplant Risoni

Chorizo and Eggplant Risoni
Serves 4

1 tbs olive oil
200g chorizo sausage, quartered and thickly sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 large eggplant, diced
1/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups risoni
420g can diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
50g baby spinach
parmesan, grated

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chorizo, onion and eggplant and cook until the eggplant is soft. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Stir in the risoni, tomato and stock, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until the risoni is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the spinach and stir to combine. Serve with grated parmesan.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Serves 6

1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
500g beef mince
200g mushrooms, sliced
500ml pasta sauce
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1 egg, beaten

250g macaroni
150g broccoli, broken into small florets
150g light ricotta
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 egg

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Heat oil in a large saucepan, cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add the mince and mushrooms, and cook until the mince is browned. Stir in the sauce, oregano and cinnamon and cook on medium for 10 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates. Cool the mixture and then add 1/2 cup of parmesan and the egg. Transfer the mixture to a 8-cup capacity ovenproof dish.

For the topping cook the macaroni until al dente, in the last 3 minutes add the broccoli. Drain and then stir through the combined ricotta, sour cream and egg. Spread over the meat mixture and sprinkle over the remaining parmesan.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Chicken and Sour Cream Penne

Chicken and Sour Cream Penne
Serves 4

500g penne pasta
1 tbs olive oil
4 chicken thighs, fat removed
1 leek, pale section sliced thinly
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
2tsp lemon rind, finely grated
1 cup peas
Shredded parmesan to serve

Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente, drain and return to the pan. Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, transfer to a plate and cover. Add the remaining oil to the pan, add the leek and garlic and cook until soft. Stir in the sour cream, add the stock and stir until combined. Add the lemon rind and peas and bring to the boil. Thickly slice the chicken, add to the pasta along with leek mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle shredded parmesan over it to serve.


I have been incredibly slack for a month now - no posts at all!!! The tiredness and exhaustion is really settling in from the pregnancy, and each night when I used to post I am just too tired to even turn on my laptop. I will be 37 weeks tomorrow, so it isn't long now until I get to meet my little baby girl. I think it is safe to say that I am incredibly excited and getting ever so slightly impatient. Everything is ready - now we just need the baby, the countdown is on.

And with that been said I think it is time to post up some more recipes...

Lamb Chops with Tomato Sauce Served on Polenta
Serves 4

1 tbs olive oil
4 lamb forequarter chops
1 brown onion, finely chopped
400g tin diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp caster sugar
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup instant polenta
60g butter

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until soft. Add the tomato and sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook for 8 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Season to taste. Meanwhile heat a frying pan over medium-high heat add the lamb and cook for 3-5 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Bring the stock and water to the boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, add the polenta and stir until combined. Cook, stirring for 4 minutes. Stir in the butter and season to taste.

Finally divide the polenta among the serving plates, top with the lamb chops and the tomato sauce.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Chicken and Vegetable Curry
Serves 6

2 tbspn vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup thai red curry paste
600g chicken thighs, sliced into 2cm lengths
800g cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
150g green beans
1 cup peas
1 tbspn lime juice
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/4 cup chopped mint
200g natural yoghurt

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft, then add the curry paste and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until all sides of the chicken are sealed. Add the tomatoes and stock, break the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 or so minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked. Add the beans and peas and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lime juice, coriander, mint and natural yoghurt - stir to combine.

Serve with steamed rice.

Cooking, Slings and Nappies

Yesterday was a wonderful day at home. I spent most of the day cooking and cleaning - basically just nesting. I also did some online ordering for bubs and got a great sling from Etsy from babeagogo, 24 fitted nappies and 6 inserts from a seller on ebay, and some bamboo fitted nappies, PUL covers and wool covers from babybeehinds. I can't wait for all of my purchases to arrive :).

Now to the recipe from today, my french inspired meal...

Beef Braised in Red Wine
Serves 6

1.5kg beef casserole steak, diced
2 brown onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1cm thick slices
2 celery sticks, cut into 1cm thick slices
6 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs thyme
8cm strip orange peel
750ml dry red wine
2 tsp olive oil
4 bacon rashers, chopped
4 cups beef stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Place the beef, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, cloves, bay leaf, thyme, orange peel and red wine in a large glass bowl, stir to combine. Cover and marinated in the fridge overnight.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a plate. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onion, carrot and celery to a bowl, reserve the marinade. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over medium-high heat, add the bacon and cook until lightly golden. Transfer the bacon to a heatproof bowl.

Brown the beef in 4 batches and transfer to the bowl. Add the marinade to the pan, bring to the boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, skimming the surface occasionally. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer for 12 minutes.

Return the bacon, beef, onion, carrot and celery to the pan, season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake in the oven for 2.5 hours. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the solids to a heatproof bowl and bring the marinade to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes to reduce the marinade by half. Return the bacon, beef, onion, carrot and celery, add the tomato and parsley and stir to combine.

We had this with some nice home made bread - very tasty!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Busy busy busy

I feel guilty for not putting up a post for so long - but it has been rather busy around the house lately. First of all my mum came over last Saturday and put in a mammoth effort to finish the curtains for the nursery, here is how they turned out...

Quite cute if I don't say so myself! The next day I had a good friend (Vivi) and her partner (Caesar) over for lunch. I made a yummy lasagne with salad and crusty bread, and then for dessert an orange and poppy seed syrup cake. It was great to catch up over a nice lunch and have a good conversation. Then later that day we had some surprise guests - Mat's parents came to stay after their long caravan trip in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. And this is pretty much the reason that I haven't posted for so long - my mother and father in law stayed for the week so I didn't get much of a chance to pop on to the net.

This week has gone flying past as Mat and I have been quite busy, not only have we had the parents over, but we also had our antenatal class on Tuesday, went out for drinks and dinner on Wednesday and then Friday I had an annual leave day to get my hair cut and give a talk at my mum's school on being pregnant. I also bought some supplies for lino printing from an art and craft shop - so now I have to think of what I want to print and give it a go!!

Luckily there isn't too much planned for the weekend so I can get some relax time in. In fact I think the only thing I do have planned is to finally meet one of my online friends in person for lunch today - so I better get a move on and get ready!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Easy Beef and Lentil Curry

At the end of a tiring day at work it is good to home and cook something nice and easy. This is a really simple, yet tasty curry that always goes down a treat.

Beef and Lentil Curry
Serves 4

2 tsp olive oil
500g beef (any cut will do), cubed
1/3 cup curry paste
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 cup red lentils
1 1/2 cups beef stock
400ml coconut milk
1/4 cup coriander, chopped

Heat half the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the beef and half the curry paste, and cook until the beef is browned. Transfer the beef to a plate.

Heat the remaining oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and remaining curry paste, and cook until the onion softens. Add the lentils, stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Return the beef to the pan and simmer for a further 8 minutes. Stir in the chopped coriander.

Serve with jasmine rice and pappadums.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Corned Beef

This is more just a note to myself - to remember how to cook my corned beef...

Corned Beef with White Sauce

1 tbs brown sugar
12 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tbs vinegar

White Sauce
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp seeded mustard

First rinse the silverside under cold water. Put the silverside in a deep saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the brown sugar, peppercorns, bay leaf and vinegar. Simmer the beef - 40 minutes for each pound of meat. Allow to cool in the liquid.

To make the white sauce melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the flour and whisk to combine. Gradually add in the milk, whisking as you go until the sauce is thickened. Add the mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Nesting and Muffins

This weekend I have been nesting like crazy. Washing all of bub's towels, blankets, sheets, wraps and clothes. Ironing all the tiny little body suits (soooo cute) - and tidying up the nursery. I've also gone on a mad cleaning spree, which has made me incredibly happy. Nothing like a lovely clean and tidy house - especially the kitchen, I love having a super organised kitchen. Unfortunately the weekend is over now - back to work tomorrow. But for now enjoy the recipe for yummy carrot and almond muffins...

Carrot and Almond Muffins
Makes 12

5 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 tsp orange rind, finely grated
5 small carrots, peeled, finely grated
200g almond meal
1/2 cup self raising flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and put muffin cases into a 12 muffin tray. Use an electric beater to beat the yolks, sugar and orange rind until thick and creamy. Add the carrot, almond meal and self raising flour and stir until well combined. Beat the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Fold through half of the egg whites into the carrot mixture until just combined. Fold the remaining egg whites into the carrot mixture. Divide the mixture amongst the 12 muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes - or until a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Birthday Time!!!

Well it is a bit of a late post but it was my birthday last week - I am now 26 years old!! It was a really good birthday this year, I had all of the family call me at work, it is always nice to know that everyone is thinking of you on that one day a year. My bosses at work also took me out for a pub lunch - can never so no to that on a Friday afternoon, the rest of the work day was quite lazy while we all tried to digest our lunch. That night we had a booking for 20 at the Vietnam restaurant on Addison Road in Pennington. The banquet was divine - excellent, excellent, excellent food there. It was also great to catch up with all my friends from uni and old work place.

I was also extremely spoilt this year ...
I got some lovely flowers from my best friend ...

Hubby got me this great print from kozyndan ...

That will be going straight into the nursery. Hubby also got me three great books on some of my favourite artists - Tattoo Darling by Angelique Houtkamp, Scarygirl: Art by Nathan by Nathan Jurevicius (oh and by the way my maiden name is Zakarevicius so I feel like I have a connection with Nathan :P) and Fushigi Circus, Second Edition by Mark Ryden. Now I am feeling all inspired again to get into some art and craft work - just need to stop procrastinating!!

Parsnip and Bacon Soup

Parsnip and Bacon Soup
Serves 5

1 tbs olive oil
4 bacon rashers, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
500g parsnip, cut into 2cm pieces
500g potatoes, cut into 2cm pieces
1/3 cup thickened cream

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, garlic and thyme and cook until the onion is soft. Add the stock and the water, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, add the parsnip and potato and simmer, partially covered for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

Blend the soup mix until smooth and return to saucepan. Heat the soup over a low heat. To serve ladle soup among bowls and drizzle the cream over the top. Sprinkle some extra thyme leaves on top if desired.

Chicken and Mushroom Stew

Chicken and Mushroom Stew
Serves 4

1 tbs olive oil
700g chicken thighs, chopped into 3cm cubes
4 bacon rashers, coarsely chopped
200g mushrooms, quartered
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
2 tsp thyme
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
300g risoni
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
10g butter

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden, transfer to a plate. Add the bacon, mushrooms and garlic to the pan, and cook until the mushroom is tender. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add in the stock and wine and cook until the mixture thickens. Add the chicken and thyme, simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Stir in half the parsley and season.

Meanwhile cook the risoni, in the last 2 minutes add the peas. Drain, return to the pan and stir in the butter and remaining parsley.

Serve the chicken stew on top of the risoni and pea mixture.

Pumpkin Gnocchi Bake

Pumpkin Gnocchi Bake
Serves 4-5

1 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
750g pumpkin, coarsely chopped
200g bacon, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup basil pesto
500g packet of potato gnocchi
1 cup tomato pasta sauce
1/2 cup water
350g fresh ricotta
1/3 cup grated cheese

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic, rosemary, pumpkin and bacon. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the pesto, gnocchi, pasta sauce and water. Transfer to an ovenproof dish (10 cup capacity), top with ricotta and grated cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 celsius or until cheese is golden.

Moroccan Lamb

Moroccan Lamb on Rice
Serves 4

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tbspn moroccan spice mix
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup water
4 large lamb chops
2 tbspns fresh coriander, chopped
200ml natural yoghurt

Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until the onion softens. Stir in the moroccan spice mix.

Add the rice, stock and water - and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and cook the lamb until tender. Combine the fresh coriander and yoghurt in a bowl.

To serve divide the rice among 4 plates, top with a lamb chop and put a little yoghurt dressing on the side.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mmmmm Soup!

With the cost of food on the up and up I have been finding that incorporating a few vegetarian meals in the week really helps to reduce our grocery bills. This recipe is super cheap and really yummy with a few slices of toasted home made bread. I found that this tasted even better the second day for lunch (hence the take away containers).

Lentil and Vegetable Soup
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 x 400g cans brown lentils, rinsed and drained
400g can diced tomatoes
500ml vegetable stock
500ml water
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt & pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until the vegetables soften and turn gold.

Add the lentils, tomato, stock, water and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially uncovered, for 10 minutes or until tender. Add the parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

Serve up with some toasted home made bread and enjoy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Goulash, Fire and Cats

Another wintery day here in Adelaide making it an absolutely perfect day to relax in front of the fire with our cats Logan (the spotty oriental) and Harry (the chocolate burmese). They both get extremely spoilt in winter cuddling up by the fire.

Last Thursday I also made a very quick and easy Goulash that was quite yummy and again perfect for a cold winter's night. My large soup pot is certainly getting a work out this winter.

Beef Goulash
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
500g beef, chopped into 2cm cubes
1 onion, sliced
200g mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tbsp paprika
400g can condensed tomato soup
400g can diced tomatoes

Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, stirring often. Transfer the beef to a plate.

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the saucepan and cook the onion and mushrooms until tender. Add the paprika and cook for another minute. Add the tins of soup and tomatoes, stir until combined and then bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to low, add the beef to the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Finally serve with steamed rice and enjoy!!

It is still extremely cold and therefore a nice tummy warming Goulash is always a good idea. We have been keeping the fire going here all weekend and the cats are loving it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Soup and Ragout

Well it is an extremely cold week here in Adelaide - so I think more yummy winter recipes are required. So this week has seen me cooking a very tasty chicken and corn soup, and an excellent mushroom and tomato ragout.

Chicken and Corn Soup
Serves 4

2 cups water
1 chicken stock cube
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 onion, chopped
4 parsley sprigs
4 chicken thighs
410g can of creamed corn
1 tsp extra ginger, grated
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp water
100g double smoked ham, sliced
2 green shallots, chopped

Combine the water, chicken stock, ginger, onion, parsley and chicken in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is just tender. Strain the stock and put the chicken aside (throw out the onion/ginger/parsley or put in your compost).

Return the stock to the saucepan and add the creamed corn and extra ginger. Bring this to the boil and then add the cornflour (blended with the 1 tbsp of water). Stir constantly until the soup boils and thickens.

Chop the chicken, add the chicken, ham and shallots to the soup. Heat through before serving.

Mushroom and Tomato Ragout
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
500g mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size
800g can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
2/3 cup rissoni
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are tender.

Add crushed tomatoes, water and rissoni and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rissoni is al dente. Stir in the basil and season to tasted. Voila!!

Bok Choy Roses

A few days ago when I was cooking up a stir fry I noticed that when you cut the ends off of your bok choy bunches they look remarkably like roses. Just thought I would share that moment of realisation with the world.

Baby Shower Invitations

Check out my handiwork! I am having a baby shower in early September - so thought I better get my act together and get some invitations organised. Now I just need to talk my boss into letting me print some off - handy working for a printing company.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Awesome Pork Stew

Well it is cold and wintery here in Adelaide, Australia - so of course it is perfect weather for a lovely warm stew. I was planning on making a beef stew - but it turns out I am not very good at reading labels in the freezer so we have a lovely tender pork stew instead.

Pork Stew
Serves 6

600g Pork Scotch Fillet, cubed
2 tbsp Wholemeal Flour
2 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Onions, diced
4 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
2 Stalks of Celery, diced
2 Small Carrots, diced
750ml Beef Stock
200g Mushrooms, sliced
140g Tomato Paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
410g Can of Butter Beans
150g Green Beans, chopped

Combine the flour, oregano, salt and pepper on a plate - and toss the pork in the flour mixture. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over a medium-high heat and brown the pork in batches. Remove the pork and set aside on a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions, garlic, celery and carrot with any remaining flour mixture until the vegetables start to turn golden. Add the stock, mushrooms, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the pork and simmer for 1 hour or until the pork is tender. Add the butter beans and green beans to the pot and cook until the green beans are just tender.

Serve with some yummy crusty bread and enjoy!

Setting Up The Nursery

This week Mat (my husband) and I have made leaps and bounds in our nursery decorating progress. We managed to finish the paint job and I am quite happy with how it all turned out. It is warm, clean and neutral - just perfect for future babies as well. We also finally got around to constructing our cot and change table. I love the white finish, for such a tiny room I think it is necessary to brighten up the room a bit. So it is all starting to come together, and all of sudden it feels like we really are having a baby girl in 3 months time!

Here you can see the new paint job, change table and rocking chair. One day we will change that awful carpet.

And here is the cot - soooo cute!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Baking Date and Walnut Biscuits

I made these Date and Walnut biscuits today as a snack for morning tea at work - they were easy enough to make, but the final result is a not-so-sweet biscuit. Probably a good thing to not be having too much sugar - but they just taste too damn healthy! So without further ado here is the recipe for not-so-sweet date and walnut biscuits....

Not-So-Sweet Date and Walnut Biscuits
Makes about 3 dozen biscuits

120g Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg
120g Dates, chopped
1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
2 cups Self Raising Flour, sifted

Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg and beat well. Fold the walnuts and dates into the butter mixture. Add the flour and lemon juice and stir until all the ingredients are combined. Roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place them on lined baking trays, flatten them slightly to get a nice shape. Bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes, or until golden.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Nervous First Post

Well here goes nothing…my first ever blog post. This is something that I have been planning to do for some time now, but like many things it has been pushed aside when life continually gets in the way. Primarily I want this blog as a central place for me to collect my thoughts, ideas and projects on everything from cooking, baking, arts, crafts and anything else I am up to at the time. Hopefully it will serve as a way to keep myself motivated and busy so that I can keep on creating new and wonderful things each and every day. Well that is dream anyway.

Before I get carried away though, I think a short snippet about me is in order. I am a happily married 25 year old woman living in Adelaide Australia, with her husband and two lovely cats. We are currently expecting a new addition to the household in late October, which makes me 26 weeks pregnant and an expectant mother. I am currently working full time at a printing company in an administrative role, but will soon be heading towards maternity leave – which may even lead to a full time stay at home position if finances permit.

Well that is it from me and my first ever post, hopefully there will be many more to come!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Something Sweet...

French Toast

Double-Choc Marble Brownies
White and Dark Chocolate Brownies

Banana Caramel Cake
Burnt Sugar Cake
Caramel Layer Cake
Fruit Mince Crumble Cake
New York Cheesecake

Christmas Goodies
Chocolate Puddings
Christmas Wreaths
Cointreau and Sponge Finger Balls
Fruit Mince Crumble Cake
Fruit Mince Pies
Peppermint Bark
Rum and Raisin Truffles
Rum Balls
White Christmas
White Rocky Road

Apple Sauce and Blueberry Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
Chocolate Freckle Cookies
Christmas Wreaths
Cornflake Cookies
Date and Walnut Cookies
Ginger Nut Cookies
Iced Lemon Cookies
Jam Cookies
Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies
Rock Cakes
Slice and Bake M&M Cookies

Anzac Cupcakes
Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes
Baileys Cupcakes
Banana Cupcakes
Carrot Cupcakes
Chocolate Almond Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Cupcakes
Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes
Coconut Lime Cupcakes
Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Death by Chocolate Cupcakes
Doughnut Cupcakes
Eskimo Pie Cupcakes
Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes
Guiness Chocolate Cupcakes
Hazelnut Cupcakes
Irish Coffee Cupcakes
Jubes Cupcakes
Lemon Cupcakes
Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Lemon Yoghurt and Blueberry Cupcakes
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
Mint Chocolate Kit Kat Cupcakes
Mississipi Mud Cupcakes
Neapolitan Cupcakes
Nougat Cupcakes
Orange Cupcakes
Oreo Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes
Peanut Butter and Honey Cupcakes
Pina Colada Cupcakes
Pumpkin Spice "Graveyard" Cupcakes
Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Raspberry White Chocolate Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Rocky Road Cupcakes
Snickers Cupcakes
Snowball Cupcakes
Spice Cupcakes
Toblerone Cupcakes
Vanilla Raspberry Cupcakes
Waffle Cupcakes
White Chocolate Cupcakes
Zebra Cupcakes

Apricot and Coconut Muffins
Carrot and Almond Muffins
Pineapple and Carrot Muffins 

Apple Pie 
Banana Cream Pie

Apple & Cinnamon Slice
Mars Bar Bubble Slice

Golden Syrup and Chocolate Buns
Banana Sundae
Cherry Pavlova
Cointreau and Sponge Finger Balls
Cookie Dough Truffles
Cupcake Pops
Frog in the Pond
Peanut Butter Cups
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Strawberries and Cream Tart
White Rocky Road