SodaStream2

Giveaway – Win a SodaStream Play

I am the first to admit that I’m not much of a drinker of carbonated drinks. The fizziness makes me gassy for one thing, and trust me that’s ALL you need to know about that.

But, this being the start of the long party season that begins with the Melbourne Cup and ends with Australia Day, chances are you will be drinking more sparkling drinks and carbonated beverages than at any other time of the year.

Enter SodaStream Play. Continue reading

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White Chocolate and Macadamia Blondies

Sweet Treats – White Chocolate and Macadamia Blondies

Is it possible to make a butterscotch flavoured cake without the addition of butterscotch chips?

Readers, it is thoughts like this that keep me awake at night.

I try to think about other things – are all the people on The Bachelor actors? Will Sam Smith ever be happy*? How is it that citrus colours are in fashion again?

But mostly my thoughts are about food.

Continue reading

Roast Vegetable Salad with Haloumi and Chorizo

Day 2 – Warm Roast Vegetable Salad with Chorizo and Haloumi

Much as I love a change in seasons, it can be frustrating, food wise. In the mid-morning sunshine I thought I would eat lightly that evening, perhaps a salad. Then the clouds came over and by mid afternoon I was craving a roast dinner.

Why not combine the two?

This is a great way to clear out the vegie crisper before your next grocery shop, and because you can use so many vegetables it’s likely you could make this several times over and never eat the same meal twice.

I added chorizo because there is no excuse not to eat chorizo, but you could just as easily leave it out and have this as a side dish to a chop or steak if that’s what you want to do.

If you have the time, soaking haloumi in milk and lemon juice for a few hours helps to tenderise the cheese and stop it from squeaking. It’s no biggie however – if getting the food on the table fast is your bag, just slice it and fry it as usual.

 

Roast Vegetable Salad with Haloumi and Chorizo

Serves 4

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g block haloumi
  • 1 bunch (about 1 cup) mint
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin or fennel seeds
  • 1 wedge pumpkin OR 2 medium sweet potatoes, about 350g
  • 1 bunch dutch carrots or 5 small carrots
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 2 small red capsicum
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • ½ cup (50g) pinenuts or slivered almonds
  • 1 large chorizo, sliced thinly
  • salad leaves to serve

Dressing

  • mint leaves
  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

Slice haloumi into 1.5cm thick slices and soak for a few hours or overnight in a combination of two tablespoons of chopped mint leaves, milk and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to tenderise it and keep it soft during cooking. Reserve the remaining mint and lemon for the dressing.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a roasting dish with foil and set aside.

Add a tablespoon or two of oil and cumin or fennel seeds to a large bowl. Remove the skin from the pumpkin or potato and cut into 3-4cm chunks. Scrape the skins off the carrots and either leave them whole if they are Dutch carrots or quarter them and dice them if they are larger. Place them in the bowl, together with the peeled and quartered onions and toss them well to combine and coat with the seeds.

Place the oiled vegetables in the roasting dish in a single layer. Cut the eggplant, capsicum and zucchini into 4cm pieces and add to the roasting dish.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until pumpkin is black at the edges and vegetables are soft. Turn the vegetables back into a large bowl while they are still hot and pour dressing over them. Allow the vegetables to cool while you finish the salad.

Heat a heavy based fry pan over medium heat. Add the pinenuts or almonds and stir fry for 5 minutes until the nuts are golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the slices of chorizo. Fry for 2 minutes on both sides until each slice is crisp and browned. Drain on kitchen paper. Drain the haloumi from the milk bath and fry each slice for 2 minutes on each side until crisp and brown.

To assemble: Arrange salad leaves on a large platter. Toss the vegetables with chorizo and pinenuts then arrange on top of the leaves. Place the haloumi pieces over the top and serve at once with some crusty bread to sop up any juices.

 Dressing

Finely chop the remaining mint leaves and place them in a screw top jar with the olive oil, the juice of the remaining lemon, sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake to combine.

COST

$16.95 for four generous serves

Stuffed Capsicum with Baharat Spiced Lentils and Salami

Day 1- Roast Capsicum with Salami and Baharat Spiced Lentils

 Goodness me I love the flavours of the Mediterranean.

If you just read that and your first response was, ‘Ah, but which part of the Mediterranean?’, then GO TO THE TOP OF THE CLASS, YOU FREAKS.

To be honest I love ALL the flavours of the Mediterranean, from Spanish tapas, through to Sicilian desserts through to Turkish mezzes and North African tagines. But right now, I’m thinking of Lebanon and Syria and that wonderful spice mix called baharat. A mixture of cumin, coriander, paprika, cardamom, pepper and cloves, it goes especially well with lamb and onions. Continue reading

Strawberry Crumble

Desserts – Strawberry Crumble

There’s a strawberry glut happening around the country.

I’m not sure why this happy set of circumstances came to be – perhaps farmers thought we would appreciate it if we had more spring produce than normal. Perhaps a milder winter in Queensland played a part. Perhaps an overseas market collapsed, meaning more for locals. But either way, I bought three 500g punnets for $5 at the local markets and I rejoiced. Continue reading

Oliving by Hans 2

Sponsored Post – Oliving by Hans (and a Great Giveaway!)

Within my weekly food budget I make a small allowance for some cold cuts,  which we enjoy for lunch in sandwiches.

I have my favourites. My housemate has his. 

Both conscious of our health, we look for the nutritious as well as the delicious, which when considering cold cuts can throw up a somewhat limited set of options. The very thing that makes them so delicious – saturated animal fats – is what makes them the ultimate sometimes food.  You all know this by now: Unsaturated fats, good. Saturated fats, well, not so good.

Then I was invited to have a look at a new range of items from Oliving™ by Hans and almost overnight my choices have expanded. Continue reading

Day 14 – Tuscan Beef Casserole

When was the last time you ate a meal with known origins back to medieval times?

In this world of fast food and ever-changing trends, it’s easy to overlook the sort of meal that has been around for so long, it’s faded from memory. This is a recipe that is deserving of a wide audience. Continue reading

Lamb and Pumpkin Pizza

Day 13 – Lamb and Pumpkin Pizza

When my children were younger and I was tired, a home delivered pizza fed us all and kept the children quiet, but what it gave in cheap convenience it more than made up for in predictability.

“Two pizzas please – one meatlovers and one vegetarian. Thanks. Yes I’ll have the correct change for the driver.”

I probably could have given this order in my sleep. On more than one occasion, my still-primary school-aged children simply picked up the phone and ordered it themselves, safe in the knowledge they couldn’t get it wrong. Continue reading

Quickie Pizza Dough 2

Breads and Pastries – Quickie Pizza Dough

If you’ve ever told yourself a quick takeaway is better for your sanity than a make-from-scratch meal, allow me to give you this recipe.

It’s the perfect example of how just TWO ingredients can be transformed and ready to cook in less than 15 minutes. As a pizza dough, it’s now the only one I use, meaning any pizza I make can be cooked and on the table faster than one can be ordered and delivered.

Later this week I’m going to give you a great pizza recipe, but for now, bookmark this page. Continue reading

Chang's Noodle Salad

Day 12 – Crispy Noodle Salad

A few weeks ago I was given a gift basket of Chang’s products – lots of noodles and sauces with which to make my favourite stir-fry.

Included in the basket was a packet of fried noodles and I admit to being a bit stumped – I don’t use them as a rule, preferring something that is not pre-cooked. Then a  Facebook reader reminded me of this old stand-by, a crispy noodle salad. Continue reading

Tres Leche Cake

Sweet Treats – Tres Leche Cake

Found throughout Latin America from Mexico to Argentina, Tres Leche cake relies on a thorough soaking in a combination of milks to get an astonishing flavour and texture to an otherwise ordinary sponge.

It really is as simple as that – time and lots of it.  This is not the cake to whip up on the morning of a party – it really must be made the day before you want to serve it up. Continue reading

Veal Casserole with Cheese Dumplings

Day 11 – Slow Cooked Veal Chops with Cheese Dumplings

The problem with a mid seasonal change in cooking is much the same as one has when trying to dress for the occasion – a day can start out as one thing and quickly become another. When dressing for Melbourne weather I quickly adopted the number one rule: Layers. But what of cooking?

When charming spring weather threatens with cold late-winter showers, you could do a lot worse than this casserole. Continue reading

Lemon Buttermilk Scones

Sweet Treats – Lemon Buttermilk Scones

Spring weather. It fools me every year with its first flirtatious promise of warmth, providing as it does a kiss of sunshine. It was a welcoming week of throwing open windows and airing blankets and doonas, of spring cleaning and a gentle reminder to get out of the house.

But then winter came howling back in. Earlier in the week it rainedand squalled and bitched like a grumpy old woman and the windows were slammed shut against icy showers, the heating turned back up.

So I went into the kitchen to bake. Continue reading

Crepes with Zucchini and Pea

Day 10 – Crepes with Zucchini and Pea

Savoury crêpes used to be the last word in fashionable food, and with so much else to dazzle us, it’s very easy to forget that they were once a thing. Still, they are marvellous delivery devices for all sorts of wonders, and especially vegetables that need to get past a picky palate, in say, a 3 year old toddler. Or a 35 year old committed carnivore.

If you don’t feel up to making a batch of crêpes, you can find them already made, in the freezer cabinet in larger supermarkets. Though they are on the smallish side, a couple of boxes will more than do the job. With a spoonful of creamy vegetables in the middle, they are rolled up burrito style and served with some puréed peas and a dollop of yoghurt. They are incredibly good. Continue reading

Kingston Biscuits 2

Sweet Treats – Kingston Biscuits

Somewhere between inspiration and publication, a recipe gets made and tested to ensure you won’t have any mishaps. How many times? Well, in this case, three times.

If you live in the Antipodes, you know Kingston Biscuits. They are small, crisp, butterscotchy biscuity goodness, jammed together with a milk chocolate cream. In a packet of Arnott’s Assorted Creams, they are the first to go. (And if you disagree with me on that, you’d need to have a good reason. Monte Carlos don’t come close.) Continue reading

Salmon, Dill and Asparagus Fettuccine

Day 9 – Creamy Salmon and Dill Linguine

Before making this recipe I would have told you I’m not a fan of dill. I went so far as to say this to my friend Twitchy when we ate lunch last week and she hoed into a dill-laced tuna sandwich, her eyes rolling back into her head with pleasure.

Then I made this and I found myself adding more and more dill until it was just right. I added spoonful after spoonful, until the flavours of salmon, cream, lemon and dill had balanced out nicely – by which time I had added nearly half a bunch of dill. Continue reading

Sausage and Leek Casserole

Day 8 – Sausage and Leek Casserole

I seem to be on a bit of a pimenton kick.  I’ve added smoked paprika to about three dishes in the last week, even sprinkling it over some cheddar for a grilled cheese toastie.

This time it was the turn of some sausages to be given the pimenton treatment, in this case some small chipolatas. Once the sausages are browned this casserole can be finished off in the oven in 30 minutes, which makes it a very useful meal to make during the mid-week mayhem. Continue reading

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The Sweet Swap 2014

The Sweet Swap is a wonderful idea, it really is. Food bloggers from around the country donate a small fee to charity and in return receive the names and addresses of three of those bloggers. They then send out a sweet gift before receiving three in return from all around the country.

It’s wonderful. You meet bloggers you may not have heard of and the treats! Oh my, what a wonderful, incredible array of treats. Continue reading

Salted Caramel Hearts

Sweet Treats – Salted Caramel Hearts

There’s only one thing better than chocolate and salted caramel and that’s when it’s combined in a gift package.

Sarah from BellyRumbles and Amanda from Chew Town run an annual event called The Sweet Swap and this year I participated. The premise is a simple one: Register and receive three names of bloggers and foodies, to whom you send a gift pack of whatever sweet you decide to bake. In return, like an early Kris Kringle, you receive three packages of wonderful sweet treats from all over the country.

Needless to say, deciding what to make was not a simple decision. There was so much to choose from, but in the end I opted for something I hadn’t done before – some handmade chocolates.

I wanted to do it to show you just how simple they can be, and they are simple, but these chocolates do take a little time. It’s the sort of project you should do for five minutes an hour, over three to four hours. But the result? Oh my goodness. Continue reading

Sweet Potato and Bacon Soup

Day 7 – Dave’s Sweet Potato and Bacon Soup

Downloading TV shows off the Net. I’ve never been able to, and as a result, I’ve never really felt connected to, you know, this century. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Wire - these shows and plenty more have aired in their entirety and I’ve never seen an episode.

Not that I’ve really minded, until earlier this year when I stayed with my dear friend Cuppy and we binge-watched the entire fourth season of Downton Abbey in one air-conditioned day while it sweltered outside. It was glorious.

And then came the news that they were going to make a TV show of my favourite book series in the entire world and I started cyber-stalking Twitter feeds and Instagram accounts and I was transported. Continue reading

$120 – A Week of Family Meals – It Can Be Done

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