10 Nov 2012

Fancy Mushroom Pasta - a Birthday Foodie Treat

Making Decisions!
It's almost my birthday, so today we went on what has become a bit of a birthday tradition in the family - a trip to Everleigh Farmers Market at Carriageworks. It's foodie heaven. We take $50 each and a few bags and taste and buy our way though as much as we can manage.
Tasting highlights included:-

  • fantastic sweet strawberries
  • Trout sausages (sadly sold out)
  • The creamiest Yoghurt 
  • Middle Eastern Ice Creams - we bought a halva one and a turkish delight one.
  • Blackberry, Blueberry and almond Jam
  • lemongrass chicken
  • salted caramel sauce
  • Pear, Pecan and Ginger Museli - bought
  • lemon myrtle cheesecake
  • Amazing Goats cheeses - bought a goats curd maninated in garlic.
Lunch (which was a little obscene after all that tasting) was a shared combination of a "Billy Kwong" Pancake with asian vegie salad and organic egg (and we actually saw Kylie Kwong - one of my favourite chefs),  a fancy Toasted cheese sandwich (Croque Madam) from "Bird Cow Fish" (Alex Herbert was there too!!) and some Indonesian Vegetarian Spring Rolls. YUM.

Our Combined Haul!
Tonight we used the first of our haul for dinner - a fancy creamy mushroom pasta made with the amazing mushrooms we bought and an awesome Cherry Pie Ian chose. Sadly I didn't photograph the pasta - out of the blogging habits - but you can see the mushrooms and the pie in the photo of all the things we bought.

This is the way I made the pasta.

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients
2 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil
40g butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large red onion, diced
500g mixed mushrooms, sliced (we used 300g Portobellos, 100g fresh shiitakes and 100g Black Cloud Fungus)
125ml red wine
100ml fresh cream
1 tspn truffle oil (optional)
500g Pasta of your choice (we had little elbows)
Pepper & Salt

Method
Put a large pot of water on for the pasta
Heat the oil and half the butter in a heavy based pan.
Cook the onion and garlic gently til soft.
Put the pasta in to cook
Add the remaining butter and the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they are all soft.
Add the red wine, letting it bubble and reduce a little.
Stir in the cream, truffle oil and a generous grind of salt and pepper.
Simmer for a few more minutes, while pasta finishes cooking and is drained.
Stir pasta through the sauce.
Serve sprinkled in chopped parsley and with a green salad on the side (Cos and Cucumber with balsamic vinegarette today)

Very simple - but delicious because they were fantastic fresh mushrooms!


In the coming days we have the following market treats to make and/or eat to look forward to:-

  • tasty museli for breakfast
  • Mia plans to make kale chips and stuffed zucchini (courgette) flowers tomorrow
  • A busy monday evening with no cooking time we'll have a meal of pumpkin felafels, greek pitta, tabouli, baba ghanoush and dolmades.
  • the lovely ice creams
  • the hazelnut and coconut butter (Mia made today with the market hazelnuts) on the 2 sourdoughs Ian chose.
  • a salad with my new pot of french tarragon growing on the window sill.
  • smoked salmon and dill muffins and dried fruit and vegetable "Flats" in our lunchboxes
  • something yummy with the Goats curd.
  • Pizzas this friday night with the very tasty roasted tomato and basil sauce Ian bought
Days of treats still to look forward to. A fabulous Birthday Outing!

Nicola
Playing with the dry ice from  the ice cream packaging.









23 Sep 2012

Cauliflower and Spinach Curry in Creamy Tomato Sauce


There have been a few cauliflowers in our fruit and vegie bag in the last month or so. I do love cauliflower but past cauliflower cheese and roasted cauliflower it doesn't come naturally to me what to do with them. But now I have this great curry! I found this one first - and since then have made it and altered it a few times and now have something the whole family loves and it is pretty quick and easy - very achievable on a weeknight.





Ingredients
A Cauliflower Florets separated into florets

A bunch of English Spinach, stalks removed and rinsed
an Onion sliced
a Tomato diced
one tin (425g) of diced tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2cm piece of ginger, grated
1 tspn mild curry powder
2 tspns  Garam Masala
1/2 tspn ground Turmeric
1 tspn Chilli powder
1 tspn ground Coriander 
2 Tbspn Oil
Salt – to taste
1/2 cup Water 
1/2 cup Cream

Method 
Heat a heavy based pan and add 2 tbsp oil. 
Saute the sliced onions until translucent.
Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring
Add both types of tomato with salt to taste and cook until soft.
Add the spices (curry powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, chilli and coriander. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
Add the cauliflower florets along with 1/2 cup water and mix everything well. Cover the pan and cook for around 10-15 minutes on medium-high heat.
When the cauliflower florets are almost cooked, reduce heat to medium-low and add the cream and spinach. Cover and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, until the spinach has wilted. 
Serve this creamy cauliflower curry on brown rice with pappadums, a yoghurt raita and perhaps some mango chutney.

13 Sep 2012

"Raw" Chocolate Nut Balls

My favourite aunt has a lot of allergy issues and has adopted a largely raw food diet to help her sleep and feel OK. I have had some delicious things at her place, but had never made any myself until this week. She heard I was doing sugar-free September and gave me one of her "chocolates" to try. These are her treat to replace the commercial chocolate she can no longer eat. It was delicious. I took the recipe to make my own batch to help me through the month. Finding all the ingredients in suburbia was the trickiest part - but making them was easy. They are certainly helping with the after dinner cuppa which has always been accompanied by a small sweet treat. I'm sure I'll make them again after September finishes!

Raw Chocolate Nut Balls

Ingredients
300g raw cashews
85g raw almonds
30g  walnuts
30g raw sunflower seeds
4 Tbs golden flax seeds, ground
400g dates, pitted
60g raw unsweetened cacao (or unsweetened dutch cocoa if you can't get it)
2 tsp vanilla

Method
Place nuts, sunflower seeds and ground flax seeds in food processor.
Mix well to finely chop the nuts and seeds.
Then add the dates gradually.
Then add cocoa and vanilla and process until well mixed.
Form into bite sized balls

Makes approx 50.


4 Sep 2012

Sugar Free September

The weather is slowly getting brighter, the end of term is approaching, the mind-numbing busyness has a light shining at the end of a tunnel and I just cleared enough mental space to remember I have a blog!

I have just started "Sugar Free September". I have given up refined sugar for 30 days. Four days in I am not finding it too hard. It is good to read labels and remind yourself just how many things have sugar in them and how much. I have noticed some bad habits that have snuck in over the last year or so - BBQ sauce on breakfast eggs, Mango Chutney on curries, chocolate nightly. The mindfulness of the food choices shows you these things, but I have had perfectly good poached eggs, curry and nightly cuppas without the sugar.

I will start posting recipes again in the next few weeks (2.5 weeks til holidays!!) and will share my findings from the sugar free experiment in the coming weeks.
Nicola
    

23 Jul 2012

Camembert wrapped in prosciutto on a bed of braised cabbage and apple - A wintery Escape from the everyday!




Cabbage is one of those vegetables that I like when I eat it, but never think I’m going to,  so I have never used it very much. When we travelled to Taiwan a few years ago, where they love cabbage, I discovered that I enjoyed it and that Ian loved it so I am trying to use it more. From years of underuse ideas just don’t pop into my head the way they do with other vegies though. So when a cabbage turned up in our co-op bag while the girls were both away I had to google. I came across this wintery treat on taste.com.au. It was certainly in the category of occasional food from a health point of view but it was a delicious wintery change from the every day!

Ingredients (serves 4)
·             200g whole camembert
·             10 long thin slices prosciutto
·             50g unsalted butter
·             1 tbs olive oil
·             1 onion, finely chopped
·             1 garlic clove, crushed
·             1 Granny Smith apple, grated
·             1/2 (about 500g) Savoy cabbage, finely sliced

  Method
      Preheat the oven to 220°C.



    Cover Camembert with enough prosciutto slices so they slightly overlap and completely enclose the cheese. Freeze for 10 minutes, then transfer to a baking dish and bake for 6-8 minutes or until prosciutto is just crisp.
    Meanwhile, finely chop remaining pancetta slices. Melt butter and oil in a large pan over medium heat, and then add onion and prosciutto. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and then add garlic and apple and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add cabbage and cook, stirring, for 5-6 minutes. Divide between plates


     Slice Camembert and serve on a bed of the cabbage with a slice of rye toast.


I hope you enjoy this treat as much as we did.
Nicola


4 Jul 2012

Vegetable Pakoras

It's Back! I have "Vegetarian" by Alice Hart in my possession again for a few weeks.


I picked up where I left off (see earlier post) and made her "Spring Vegetable Pakoras" last night. I intended it to be a nibble before dinner, but it made a lot and we scoffed them all down and didn't actually need a dinner after that.
I have made very minor modifications to her recipe.
* I used cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas and Spanish/red onion because that's what I had - she used broccolini (tenderstem broccoli), shelled peas and spring onions.
* I made the batter her way but have now quadrupled the cumin seeds for next time as they were the highlight flavour and I love them.



Ingredients


2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
200g chickpea flour (also known as gram or besan depending where you are)
1 litre vegetable oil for frying
1/2 a cauliflower, separated into florets
1 head broccoli, separated into florets
1 Spanish onion, cut into small wedges
100g Snowpeas, tops and strings removed


Method


Quickly Blanch or microwave the broccoli and cauliflower to par-cook it a little (about 30 seconds in boiling water or 1 minute on high) 
Mix the cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, salt, baking powder and flour together in a large bowl and gradually whisk in 200g cold water to make a batter.


Heat the oil in a deep saucepan or wok until it reaches 180C/350F. If you don't have a thermometer try a little batter in the pan and it should sizzle, but not burn, immediately if it is around the right temperature.


Add the chopped vegetables to the batter, stirring to coat well. 


Gently drop pieces of vegetable (or tablespoonfuls of any little bits) into the hot oil a few at a time, being careful not to splash yourself or overcrowd the pan. 


Deep fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Lift out with a spider or slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.


Serve immediately.


Alice suggested an optional fresh herb chutney to serve with them.  (mint, coriander/cilantro, red onion, green chili, lime juice and a little water) We simply squeezed lime on them and were very happy!!





 Enjoy!
 Nicola


1 Jul 2012

Photo a Day July

I'm on Holidays!


It's been an incredibly busy term and my blog has been sadly neglected, as has my cooking. But now I have 2 weeks off!


I'll cook, I'll Blog, I'll de-clutter this house, plan next term, make stuff, sleep in, read, exercise and to add to the fun I thought I'd have a go at a photo a day challenge. I'm new to these bloggy sharey things but here goes! I have opened a shattercal page to load them onto and I think I'll post them too.


Here's Photo Number 1!
Self-Portrait (reluctantly)




Nicola 


Update: - What a poor effort! There were extenuating circumstances - serious illness in the family and less serious illness in me - but altogether a very poor effort! Will try again in August!! 



30 Jun 2012

Winter Vegetable Gratin

I had a pile of winter root vegetables on hand and a mother-in-law coming to dinner at short notice. Just roasting them didn't seem quite fancy enough, soup didn't seem substantial enough so I googled sweet potato and parsnip and found my solution - gratin. I found a recipe which inspired me - then I made one up with what we had on hand.
Everybody (including me) loved it, and most had seconds (not including me).
Here's how I made it.


Ingredients
4 small Sweet Potatoes
2 Parsnips
3 Small Potatoes
1 large Carrot
2 brown onions
100ml cream
400ml milk
Salt & Pepper
Few sprigs of Thyme
a long stalk of Rosemary
a little butter for greasing pan
150g gruyere cheese


Method
1. Finely slice all 5 vegetables (a mandolin makes this much easier if you have one.)
2. Combine Cream, Milk, a good grind of salt and pepper and the leaves from the thyme in a jug and stir well.
3. Start layering into a large baking dish. I went sweet potato, onion, a little cream, parsnip, onion, cream, potato, onion, cream, carrot, onion, cream and then repeated til I ran out of things.
4. Top it all with gruyere and sprinkle the rosemary leaves over the top.
5. Bake in a moderate oven (180C or 350F) for about 50 min. - I needed to cover in foil for the last 15 min to stop the browning.


I served this with a salad of cos lettuce, cucumber slices and avacado dice with a lemon mustard salad dressing. (lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey and extra virgin olive oil). They were good together as the lemon and freshness of the salad balanced the richness of the gratin.


 I used Heirloom Purple Carrots in my gratin. They looked beautiful when I sliced them (like little tie-dye splotches) but the colour permeated the whole gratin in a slightly odd way. I think I would use orange carrots next time.


Enjoy
Nicola

25 Jun 2012

New Dogs!! and what to feed them!

After many years of discussion and pleading and many months of planning we adopted 2 dogs on the weekend!


Lady and Rowan
Meet Lady and Rowan. 
They are a pair of Shih Tzu crosses from a rescue shelter (Monika's Doggie Rescue) and we think they are a mother and son.
As I write both of them are asleep on my lap and my laptop is precariously perched on the arm of the chair. They've been here just over 24 hours and are looking pretty settled.
We're new at this and trying to get our heads around it. We have been on one short walk and have given them a bath and fed them twice. We are devoting most thought to some basic training (toilet training being high priority) and the what and when to feed them dilemma.  
We are almost vegetarian mainly because we have issues with how meat is produced - factory farming etc. So the little meat we do eat is organic or at least free-range. Pet foods seem to be produced at the other end of the farming spectrum. We don't really want to be part of that. So we're trying different things (a fish for dogs brand, some dry dog food from an ethical brand, leftover fried rice, vegetables and I'll buy some meat tomorrow). We're reading a lot and planning to make a supply of our own dog meals when the holidays start next week! So far they don't seem to be fussy eaters - they're very keen to eat anything - so that will help with trying new things.
It's going to be an adventure!


Nicola 
Rowan asleep on his favourite bit of couch!

3 Jun 2012

Moroccan Family Feast

Yesterday was a busy day around here. The kind of busy-ness that can only come with the under 5's. My brother and sister-in-law are about to move and have a lot of packing to do. Apparently little Miss 2 and big Mr 4 are not the most helpful packers in the world - who would have guessed! So they came here for the day and their parents packed furiously and then came here to join them for dinner. Chaos and cuteness ensued. It poured with rain from the moment they arrived so all backyard and park plans evaporated and lots of toys, games, puzzles and leaping off furniture occurred. 
In amongst that (and when their parents arrived) we cooked a moroccan-ish dinner to share. It was inspired by the pomegranate sitting in my fruit bowl (which is strangely still there!!!)


The meal was a number of different dishes down the middle of the table to cater for all the different tastes, ages (2 - 40ish) and dietary requirements (celiac, vegetarian and meat lovers) and everyone self served.


Roast Free-range Chicken with preserved lemon and ras-el-hanout marinade.
Roast Hard Tofu with preserved lemon and ras-el-hanout marinade.
Haloumi, chickpea, Kale & tomato stew
Roast Sweet Potato & Asparaus
Roasted Cauliflower with apple, Red Onion and balsamic vinegar 
Pearl Cous Cous with flame raisins and pistachios
Greek Yoghurt with lemon & cumin


I think we found something for everyone in there. The recipes and notes about where each dish came from are detailed below.


Roast Free-range Chicken with preserved lemon and ras-el-hanout marinade.
The chicken was based on a Jamie Oliver recipe. I simplified a little. It was very tasty and a satisfying brown when it came out.

Ingredients
  • 3 Preserved lemon halves (I keep some in the fridge I made years ago from Stephanie Alexanders "The Cooks Companion" Cookbook)
  • 1 Tb of Ras-El-Hanout (I didn't have any so made up a tablespoon of Cumin, Corriander, Chilli, Clove, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Turmeric and Cinnamon roughly in the proportions I like them)
  • 2 Tb olive oil (colavita)
  • 1.8kg free range chicken

Method 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 
2. Remove the flesh from the preserved lemon and discard. Chop the lemon rind into fine dice
3. Bash together the lemon and ras-el-hanout into a paste using a pestle and mortar. 
4. Stir the oil into the lemon mix. 
5. Rub  the marinade into the chicken.
6. Roast for about 80 min.

Roast Hard Tofu with preserved lemon and ras-el-hanout marinade.

We made this variation up, based on great plain roasted tofu my Aunt served up last weekend as part of a family buffet. It worked well.

Ingredients
  • 1 Preserved lemon half (I keep some in the fridge I made years ago from Stephanie Alexanders "The Cooks Companion" Cookbook)
  • 1 teaspoon of Ras-El-Hanout (I didn't have any so made up a tablespoon of Cumin, Corriander, Chilli, Clove, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Turmeric and Cinnamon roughly in the proportions I like them)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (colavita)
  • 400g pack hard tofu 
Method 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 
2. Remove the flesh from the preserved lemon and discard. Chop the lemon rind  into fine dice
3. Bash together the lemon and ras el hanout using a pestle and mortar. 
4. Stir the oil into the lemon mix. 
5. Rub  the marinade into the tofu.
6. Roast for about 15 min.
Haloumi, Chickpea, Kale & Tomato Stew
This recipe was found on one of my favourite blogs - Finski's - (I know Bella & Blondie a little through the  school I work at.) They called it Spiced Chickpeas and Haloumi. I changed it a little to fit what I had. This was surprisingly easy and I think we will have it with Brown Rice or Cous Cous and yoghurt as a fairly regular weeknight dinner over winter.

Ingredients

2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp fennel seeds 
400g chickpeas – rinsed and drained
200g cypriot-style haloumi cheese – cut into 1-2 cm chunks
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp brown sugar
400g can cherry tomatoes in juice
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 bunch of Black Kale, stalks removed, leaves shredded (You could use silverbeet)
Method

1. Blanch the kale very briefly until it is just slightly wilted. You want the leaves to hold some texture. Drain and wash under cold water to set the fabulous green colour. Set aside for later.


2. In a sauce pan heat the oil, then brown the garlic, cumin, fennel seeds and chilli until fragrant. 
3. Add drained chickpeas and haloumi and cook stirring for 2-3 minutes so that the spices infuse through.
4. Add the tomato paste, brown sugar and canned tomatoes with the juice. Season with salt and pepper and simmer very gently for another 3-5 minutes.
5. Just before serving add in the blanched Kale, cook for another 1-2 minutes until warmed through.




Roasted Cauliflower with apple, Red Onion and balsamic vinegar 
I found this by Google, having wanted to try a roasted cauliflower dish, but the one that had inspired me was not at all Moroccan. This was on a blog called Family Favourite Foods . It isn't so Morroccan either, but I have a glut of apples and plenty of red onions and dried cranberries so I gave it a try. As I was cooking so may things in the oven I had to do this at a lower temperature. I think the higher temperature would have improved it.
Ingredients
1 cauliflower, core removed and separated into florets
1/2 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch think slices
1 large unpeeled apple, cored and coarsely diced
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dried cranberries or currants
1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
1 Tb Balsamic vinegar 
Method
  • Preheat the oven to hot - 230C degrees.
  • Toss the cauliflower, onion, apple, olive oil, and salt together in a baking dish and spread out into a single layer.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the edges of the cauliflower begin to brown.
  • Add the cranberries/currants and continue to bake for about 10 minutes longer, stirring halfway through.
  • Remove from the oven, toss through balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Pearl Couscous with flame raisins and pistachios
I found this pearl couscous next to the regular couscous at the supermarket and thought I'd try it. Mia had ordered something similar at a Middle-eastern restaurant a few months ago (though it had a different name I can't recall) and loved it. Well, I'm so glad I did - everyone loved it and we'll definitely do it again.

Ingredients
250g packet Gourmet Pearl Couscous. (Mine was a Blu brand box)
1 small onion
1 Tb olive oil
2 cups of vegetable stock
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup flame raisins

Method
  • saute the onion in the oil
  • stir the couscous through the onion until lightly browned
  • add stock, salt and pepper
  • cover pot and simmer for 8-10 min stirring a few times
  • remove from heat, stir through pistachios and raisins

I did this quickly and it was good - but I think lemon or orange zest, pommegranite seeds, many dry spices and fresh corriander, parsley or mint would be fabulous through this too and will vary it next time. 

Greek Yoghurt with lemon & cumin
I simply stirred 2 teaspoons of cumin, juice of 1/2 a lemon and a tiny bit of sugar through a cup of greek yoghurt and put it in small bowls at each end of the table.

We had a great relaxed meal, full of flavour and news. We finished with an apple and cardamom cake that Mia very patiently made with big Mr 4 (and even some stirring assistance from little Miss 2). There's a good chance that recipe may finish up on The Little Blue Bicycle sometime soon (when she gets past a homework mountain which she's currently climbing)

Now I have added the photos I see this is something I have to seriously work on. A couple of poor light iphone snaps as everything hit the table all at once looks really disappointing now I look at them. Oh Well - I'll just have to hope my words have painted the remainder of the picture and to allow more time (or enlist family help) next time!!!
Nicola 

23 May 2012

Mexican Corn Soup

I've become slightly addicted to Pinterest! It is perhaps slowing down my actual blogging (and my actual life) but I have so many ideas floating around my head!


One of the many recipes I have pinned waiting to try was this Mexican Corn Soup from the Vanilla Bean Blog. The picture in the Pin had gorgeous subdued autumnal colours - I was a bit surprised when mine had an incredibly bright vibrant summertime yellow. (Perhaps different corn? We don't seem to have the varieties I saw in the US here in Australia.) In any case it was still a beautiful colour.
My next surprise was how quick and easy it was to make - the cooking time is a fraction of many soups. (So on an evening with a dentist appointment, a long wait at the doctor for a sick child, some last minute shopping for school cooking tomorrow and some homework I still managed to get this on the table by 7pm.) 

The final surprise was how delicious it was and that the whole family felt the same!
This one will definitely be made again.



Mexican Corn Soup - served 4 (just)


Ingredients
4 1/2 cups corn kernels (This was 8 fairly small cobs of corn)
1 cup vegetable stock
60g (4 Tb) butter 
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cups milk 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
1 large green chili, seeds removed, finely sliced
a dash of Tabasco sauce
1 cup tasty cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste 
1 large avocado, diced  
1 lime
few sprigs of coriander (cilantro) Optional


Method
In a blender or food processor, puree 3 1/2 cups corn and the stock, thoroughly, until smooth. 
Melt the butter in a stockpot. Add the corn puree and simmer over low heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Stir in the milk, cumin, and garlic. 
Heat to boiling, reduce heat and stir in green chili and Tabasco sauce. 
Add shredded cheese and remaining 1 cup of corn to the simmering soup, and stir until the cheese melts. 
Add salt and pepper to taste. 
Top soup with avocado which has been tossed in the lime juice and some coriander leaves (cilantro). 
Serve with Tortillas.

Enjoy
Nicola 

14 May 2012

Gorgeous Mother's Day

I had a gorgeous Mother's Day.


Mother's and Father's Days around here normally concentrate on sleep-ins and breakfast in bed made by the kids.


This last year both girls have done a lot more cooking and it really showed how much their skills have improved in the meal they produced yesterday. Makes me wish I'd kept a record of what they made each year. I do remember a few tea and toast years, some french toast, and quite a bit of Dad help but can't remember much more.


Anyway this year there was a cup of tea followed by a delicious banana and oat smoothie in bed. 
After leisurely getting up and ready there was a brunch of pumpkin, fakin (vegetarian bacon) and caramelised onion mini quiches and salmon, dill and cream cheese finger sandwiches,    










lemon and cardamon bun and chocolate pastry swirl with a latte to go!




Finally an early afternoon sweet course of lemon and cardamon buns and chocolate pastry swirls with coffee. 


Fabulous! 


And done with no help - (and all went smoothly except the spilling of milk all over the laptop with the recipe on it which was sitting on kitchen bench!! We need to rethink this habit!! Insurance claim in, fingers crossed!)






I suspect you may see their recipes if you follow Mia's Blog. 


In the afternoon friends lent us their season passes to the netball and we saw our first professional level netball match - NSW Swifts vs Melbourne Vixens. What a game! Swifts won - just - and it was very exciting with a great atmosphere. Always good to try something new. Ian even one a lucky door prize at the after match members event. 







Thank you Gorgeous Girls and Lovely Husband. It was a great day!
Nicola / Mum

Brunch for a cool Autumn Morning

Do you know the "Australian Crawl" song "Beautiful People"? It's a classic piece of Australian 80s Rock from my formative years. It has 2 lines that come back to me from time to time - "Beautiful People - their garden's full of furniture, their house is full of plants" which I just like and "They've got friends who just flew in from L.A." And I sometimes do have those friends - 2 of my very favourite people came for breakfast on Saturday morning - fairly fresh off the plane from LA - Merran, a friend from high school and her nearly one year old baby, Oliver. We feel a special bond with him because we were staying with them when he came home from hospital and for those first few days which was very special.


They came early (due to jet-lag body-clocks and a busy schedule of people to show Oliver to on his first trip to Australia) so I guess it was actually breakfast.


We started with freshly squeezed orange and pineapple juice (well really we started with a round of enthusiastic hugs - but you want to know about the food I expect)




Then we had a fruit and yoghurt breakfast entree.

Honeydew melon, kiwi fruit and fresh figs with greek yoghurt drizzled in honey, whilst playing with Oliver on the rug. 










Next was breakfast main - Eggs Florentine with fried roma tomatoes. I haven't made Hollandaise Sauce since catering college - but will definitely do it again. Found a very detailed recipe on taste.com.au which worked really well. Had one dash to the sink for cold water as the eggs appeared to begin scrambling - but rescued it! So there were:
* toasted wholemeal english muffins, 
* 2 bunches of English Spinach washed and very quickly wilted in melted butter while still a little wet - (I love the colour of the spinach) and then put in a seive for a few minutes to drain)
* poached eggs from our chickens
* lashings of Hollandaise Sauce on top! I used the recipe above, except that I used a white wine vinegar reduction instead of water as the base.


There was also some Roma tomatoes, diced and slowly cooked with salt, pepper and olive oil for the side. 


We took a break to introduce Oliver to chickens and a trampoline - both of which were a hit and then he fell gorgeously asleep on the rug.


Finally Mia made fabulous Ginger Scones for Breakfast dessert with a pot of T2 French Earl Grey Tea. Delicious! I think you'll be able to get the recipe for them on her blog some day soon.





A great way to start the weekend!!


Nicola