Sunday, 18 November 2007

Indian feast

My sister is arriving this week and I am planning on cooking up Indian food to celebrate our togetherness once again. We both have a love of Indian and whilst there is a good Indian restaurant now opened here in my town, I thought it would be nice to create dishes with love.

Menu so far...

Lamb Pasanda (going to do this one
Vegetable Biryani (again from mamta
A bread of some sort. Not sure what though. I'm not good with bread so any suggestions more than welcome .
Chicken Korma (for the big kidlets)
Dahl..ok there are so many variations out there, I've tried a few and have some ok results, but I want a kick arse dahl recipe if anyone has one and is willing to share????
Plain rice (Basmati)

Monday, 29 October 2007

Thai Chicken Dumpling Soup

Hello stranger! I could see the cobwebs forming on this blog so felt I had better start getting inspired. In honour of my trip to Thailand where I enjoyed Thai food aplenty (favourite being a prawn red curry on a beach restaurant at Bohput Fisherman's village) I give you a brilliant Bill Granger recipe to indulge in.

Cook quickly and serve immediately with fragrant kaffir lime leaves and chilli.

350g chicken mince
1/3 cup tinned bamboo shoots, drained, finely chopped
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 long red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped, plus extra sliced chilli to garnish
2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander, plus coriander leaves, to serve
1 1/2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp red curry paste
800ml chicken stock
350ml coconut milk
2 kaffir lime leaves, plus shredded kaffir lime, to serve
3cm piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
1 tbsp lime juice
Sugar, to taste
1 bunch baby bok choy, trimmed

To make the dumplings

Place the chicken mince, bamboo, ginger, chilli, coriander, 2 teaspoons of the fish sauce and corn flour in a large bowl. Using clean hands, mix all until well combined. Wet your hands and roll the mixture into small balls. Set aside.

Place the red curry paste in a large saucepan and cook stirring over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add chicken stock, coconut milk, kaffir lime and ginger and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the dumplings and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until just cooked through. Add remaining fish sauce, lime juice and sugar to taste. Add bok choy and remove from heat. Ladle into serving bowls and serve immediately garnished with coriander leaves, extra kaffir lime and chilli.

More to come later...

Thursday, 23 August 2007

In other news..there is no news. I've not been very adventurous with my cooking of late as the complexities of life and the commitment to losing weight and the gym have taken precedence. I did however make up some rather nice chicken burgers this evening...served with some devine aged cheddar cheese, relish, bacon, caramelised onion on turkish bread. Yep...buggered up the diet a bit tonight. The chicken pattie was nice and healthy though ;-)

Going to cook up a new dessert this weekend..practicing for when I go and stay with a friend down in Hobart soon. We both share a passion for food and especially chocolate so want to get it perfect. Not sure what I'm going to do yet though. I bought a chocolate recipe book from Anvers Chocolates when we were there last which has some very tempting choices.

I've been tagged

Well it would appear I've been tagged so considering I've been neglecting my blog this past few weeks, I shall oblige :-)

4 jobs I've had
Upmarket ladies shoe seller - sadly given the sack because I was too short but could never prove that this was the case...just heard it secondhand.
Graphic designer - off and on over the years
Editorial assistant at Juke magazine...anyone remember that weekly music mag??? It was tres cool.
Admin person for a very dodgy finance broker who dabbled (well heavily delved really) in illegal activities!!!
4 places I've lived
4 places I've holidayed
Far north Queensland
Extensively throughout South Australia
4 favourite foods
I agree...Only four?
Seafood...mussells, prawns, fish, squid..all of it really.
Chocolate...all of it really!
Potato..for it's versatility and ability to be a brilliant comfort food
Icecream - really good well made's glorious.

4 places I'd rather be
Somewhere warm and sunny.
In a really good strong jet spa nuturing my sore body after going to a full on Pump class last night.
On a plane ... destination unknown. I'd love to go on a mystery holiday!
In a glorious restaurant with my man and no children in a 20 kilometre radius!

4 bloggers to tag
ummmm....any other takers???

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Portugese Roasted Chicken

Just had a potato, sweet potato and caramalised pizza with lots of garlic. Can't lay claim to it's success but the deli down the road from where I live can. Yum. Shall be attempting replication next week as my (generally disapproving of pizza) husband approved greatly.


Portugese Roasted Chicken.

1.6kg chicken
1 red thai chilli
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbsp fresh oregano...

Cut backbone out of chicken and squash it flat..blend all ingredients together and pour over chicken.slow roast at 150 degrees for 1.5-2 hours...(i keep basting with sauce whilst cooking it) is very, very yummy and so easy...

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Cloud Fluff

Life has been fairly bland and boring food wise this week. Just too busy to deal with the complexities that can come with making anything glorious. I did make some lovely bangers and mash with gravy though the other night. Peppered beef sausages and perfect mash.

What is the perfect mash for me? I'm glad you asked. It needs to be smooth and completely free from lumps but still hold a solid consistency and not be too thinned down with milk. I've never been able to achieve this with just the standard masher. I went and visited my mum in Adelaide at the start of the year (who by the way has always made perfect mash potato with a normal masher) and we took a trip to Ikea (something that Tassie sadly lacks). There it was. Glimmering. Shiny. New. Beckoning me. This will make you the perfect mash Tracey. Gleefully I bought it and packed it in my suitcase to take home. It's one of those ones where you put the cooked potato into a cylinder and push the handle down forcing the potato through the holes. It's brilliant. Just perfect. Some heated milk, good dollop of butter (none of that margarine stuff thankyou very much, ewww) and cracked pepper and salt to season. Sometimes cream is nice too. And chives if I have it.

If you asked my husband what the perfect mash was he would say lumpy with lots of butter and pepper. My youngest daughter would tell you she doesn't like cloud fluff from Mt. Fuji and prefers her potato raw. My eldest will complain regardless and usually ends up loving it. My step son will only eat boiled potato.

Of course I'm the one that cooks in our house so I hold the mashing power!!!! mwaaahaaaahhhhhaaaa

Monday, 6 August 2007

Well the dining suite arrived today and the delivery guys proceeded to WRECK it!!! Completely stuffed a $2000 table. Luckily the chairs were ok. Luckily we're getting another table tomorrow morning. Hopefully they won't wreck this one. Hopefully I won't have to ask for a refund if they do wreck it. They pulled it apart you see because they thought it wouldn't fit in otherwise (load of crap though as they didn't even bother to try other entry points)..and then couldn't put it back together again so did what every dickhead male does and try to force it back together!!! Split the wood and had three screws stuck and the heads of them wrecked so they wouldn't come out! Argghhhh.

Wish me luck tomorrow!!!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Ohh and is it here that I admit that in replace of one of the menu planned items we all ate popcorn for dinner instead? oops :-)
Tonight I was making homemade hashbrowns to go with dinner and Molly asked me in passing
"Mum why do you go to so much bother?"
Fastforward to 20 minutes later.
"Mmmmmm these hashbrowns are delicious! Thanks mum"

Thats why Molly. Thats why.

I think for me cooking is not just about satisfying my own palette or desires but also those of the people that I love. In fact I would say that is the major reason why I love to cook successfully. I enjoy the experience so much more when I get the praise at the end. And not praise for praise sake itself, but praise for the fact that they are genuinely enjoyed what they have eaten and appreciate it. I wish I could become more consistent though.

The meal plan last week failed. Not because of the chosen recipes but more to do with the lifestyle we lead. The impromptu nature of our lives. The business and the tiredness that pervades me at 6.00pm. I think I will aim to at least have three meals planned each week and the other four will be "on the day" decisions. I did do three out of the six and the others have now been held over for this week. I'm also planning on doing one of our current faves of Portugese chicken for dinner tomorrow night to celebrate the arrival of our new dining table.
Going here for afternoon tea today. Yummy chocolates and even yummier hot chocolates. Nice drive about 50 minutes from here. Of course this poses the dilema that I was going to go to the gym in the afternoon. Now do I get up and go now or miss it yet again? I will be good I think and go now. After a piece of toast.

Saturday, 4 August 2007


Picture me a little fatter and it's me!

I really really wasn't going to spend any more money. Even though I have been coveting for some new saucepans. For some odd reason I've been obsessed with wanting to upgrade. I withheld my desire and bought a new dining suite instead. Oops. It's big, chunky, solid and lovely. They gave us a good price which still meant an expensive price but good nonetheless. I have been eyeing this off for a good month now and Tyrone came with me this morning and we went for it.

The table we have now is something I bought for $30 odd dollars in a garage sale in Geelong back in 1998. It was old and crappy then and is now even crappier. Has served us well with grubby messy kids and there are well worn memories of their antics etched permanently into the table which is nice for memory sake but not for appearance. The chairs have all broken in some way or another and we are down to three that are actually okish. We have a great big covered deck here so the table will go out there and the chairs to the tip!

Now I must get onto that budget soon. It's on my list of things to do and stick by once we get back from Thailand.

I've decided to cross post some of my entries from here with my lj so if you read both you'll be thoroughly in the know of our dining suite purchasing endeavours. Sorry.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

oops.. I need to do a spell check before i post!!!
You know what I hate?

When you go into a sandwhich shop and ask for a chicken and salad sandwhich on wholemeal or multigrain bread (and as a side note, why the hell don't more shops offer multigrain as a choice???) and they put mayonaise on it!!!!!!!! Argghhh. Did I ask for mayonaise? Did you ask me if I wanted mayonaise? Did you ask me if i wanted to have it drenched in mayonaise????? No the word mayonaise never passed my lips. I was contemplating mustard but thought I would be good and go for plain certainly NOT mayonaise. It's a pity, as it is quite a cute little muffin shop in town that has an old 70's or 80's cafe appeal to it. Perhaps there is my answer. The shop up the road from work does the same. So now with every new shop I go into I will have to appear arrogant and express that my order does not include condiments of any kind unless expressed prior. Especially crappy sloppy fat ridden Kraft condiments.

Monday, 30 July 2007

I set myself a challenge this week. Well aside from trying to stick to a meal plan. This week I am going to cook all my meals from an online source and they have to be 'healthy' meals. Adaptions allowed (as I don't think I could not adapt it in some way these days. I used to follow a recipe strictly, and now I prefer to use it as a base upon which I build on). And they need to be reasonably quick meals too.


Monday: Chicken Sang Choy Bow

Tuesday: Parmesan Crumbed Baked Fish

Wednesday: Frittata with potato and asparagus

Thursday: Chargrilled steak with chilli corn salsa

Friday: Basic Tuna Pasta dish

Saturday: takeaway - Indian I think.

Sunday: Balsamic lamb stirfry

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Haven't been able to log on for a few days for some unknown reason. I think it's the universe's way of telling me to get off my butt and go and do that housework I love to ignore. I still ignored it. Until today. The house is once again fresh, sparkly and clean. Next weekend, the garden will be tackled. We also had a busy few days with Tara's fourth birthday. She had lots of fun and was very spoilt. What fun to be four.

Food stuff: Went out for dinner last night with friends to here...

Ohhh so divine. I had the mustard crusted beef cheek. Tender and cooked perfectly.

Going to start doing a weekly meal plan and hopefully stick to it this time! Will upload my chosen dishes tomorrow.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

In September we are going to Koh Samui, Thailand for some much needed sun, warmth and relaxation. To be honest, we can't really afford such a luxury but we committed ourselves back when I was feeling quite optimistic about our financial situation and savings capability. Of course life doesn't always turn out how we think. It doesn't matter anyway as I'm destined to win Tattslotto this evening so it will all pan out.

Back to the land of smiling people, sun and food....

I'm on a quest to find a great cooking school there. Being a smallish island there aren't going to be many but I have found one that looks quite appealing...

But which day do I choose?? Too many for a person that hates making decisions to handle!! And I want to know it is authentic and not a western adaption of the Thai curries we have here. I might go the red curry option though as that is what we all seem to enjoy the most here at home when I make it.

I can't wait to walk past the street stalls and try bits and pieces. We've been to Thailand before (six years ago now) but not to Koh Samui. It is the street vendors that give you the real Thai food experience. Ohh and they're cheap too!

For me, food is one of the most important aspects of travelling somewhere new and exciting. I'm free from the kitchen and the responsibility for satifsying the masses here and I want my food experience to be a memorable one....hence why something like a cruise with a buffet three times a day just does not cut it for me! My ultimate though? Going on a self guided tour through country Italy experiencing food. I can give Rome the flick (although of course would still love to go there) if I could do that.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Why oh why can't there be good take away pizza in this town????? Drives me nuts. Well not really as we don't often have it but on days when I'm feeling crap and unable to cook even a simple pasta meal and my monthly yearning for all things bad like chocolate and pizza take over I am always bitterly disappointed - not one quality pizza store here. Nothing tastes quite so good as perfect home made pizza though...for me I'm a classic loads of vegetables and a good quality salami (very finely sliced) kind of girl....or a sweet potato and caramelised onion..mmmm. No energy to cook anything though. Ho hum.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

I was tagged...

Here are the rules:

A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.

B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.

C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.


Okelies then...

1. We have quite a large house. It has three toilets (stupid amount really). I only like to use one particular one (the ensuite) and don't feel comfortable using any other. I have no idea why this is.

2. I ate so many Beaumonts pies when I was at uni and living in poverty that I can never ever face another one again. I also consumed large amounts of tinned and frozen food.

3. I have a thing for twirling fabric in my fingers when I'm feeling sad/depressed/stressed...comes from my days of sucking my thumb and having a blankie I think.

4. Every bike I ever owned was green.

5. I once worked for an extremely dodgy finance guy who had lots of 'criminal' types come through his doors. I saw and heard some scary stuff and to this day wonder whether he ended up in jail and could I somehow be implicated in whatever illegal dodgy things he did.

6. Whenever I have vegemite toast I think of my mum. I think perhaps because I associate it with my childhood and her making vegemite toast for me each morning.

7. I have awful teeth.

8. I can't function without one good cup of coffee to start my day. I can drink instant but would rather not and I'm quite the coffee bean snob. My local deli has some deliciously flavoured fairtrade coffee beans that I love to indulge in.


I'm not going to tag anyone. Noone really reads this blog anyhooo :-)

Saturday, 14 July 2007

One of life's greatest joys for me is to go window shopping in homewares shop on my own with no children to watch over and stress whether they are about to break something, no husbands who have no interest in said homewares shop and will 'pretend' to be ok about being there but in reality are bored and dying to get the hell out of there. Both child and husband together and well, I just don't even bother going through the door.

Today after dropping off eldest daughter at work (Maccas chickie) I took the opportunity to meander through town on my own, browsing for bargains, looking out for any possibility of summerwear for our up and coming trip to Thailand and spending a good half an hour or so just pottering in my favourite homeware shop Your Habitat. I don't think it exists anywhere outside of Tasmania. As a side note, I love that Tassie still retains classic old fashioned shopping experiences. Little boutiques, family owned business in quaint little streets and shopping precints. Anyhoo back to dreaming about owning the entire contents of the homeware shop.... I always sell myself short on cooking utensils and quality cookware. I have one extremely good deep frypan, one brilliant knife, great roasting pan and the rest is quite mediocre in quality. It gets me by and I don't really notice at the time of using it. But those shops. They tempt me. They make me dream of having my kitchen filled with every conceivable quality item where my meals would then turn out perfect every time.... just let me dream ok????
I do really want:
A large crueset casserole lidded dish
An extra large soup/pasta/steamer combo
smaller quality frying pan
KitchenMaid mixer
quality ridged grill pan
quality omelette pan or crepe one
a whiz bang-youbeaut-spice rack (preferrably one of those little dish type ones that have magnetic bases to them)
A complete pantry storage system

That is about it. Of course there are things like Tangines, fancy cake decorating thingy-mabobs, a brilliant wok etc that would be nice too. I settle for the others though. Now to convince my husband that these are needs and not just wants.

I had some lovely me time today. Was very rejuvinating.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

I should have mentioned prior to my first post in forever that I am embracing the blogging world and going to use this blog as my record of all things food, wine and beer related. A bit boring for some but I need a spot where I can write down some recipes, set up some links and record favourites. I'll still remain committed to my livejournal but I have shied away from recording the personal for now. I'm not sure why. Perhaps because it is all a bit too hard?
Tonight Molly will be at school until 8.00pm. She is participating in "write a book in a day" with 9 others. This brings with it much excitement for her (participating, eating pizza with friends and going in casual dress) and much excitement for me too. It means I get to cook something that she hates and Tyrone and I love - risotto. But now the question is what type shall I indulge in? I think my old standard tried and tested fave - roasted pumpkin, leek and asparagus might be the go. Meat free night will serve my body well.

Tomorrow night she will be working so I'm tempted to pull out the slow cooker and cook up some comfort food of silverside. hmmmm what to have with it though?