28 October 2014

“build your own” Pork Tacos

With the warmer weather on our doorstep, I am leaning towards the ease of ‘build your own meals’ . Simply, an abundance of tasty ingredients, prepared and laid out, with the resultant meal being whatever takes your fancy.

On this occasion, it was pork tacos. Inspired by this book, with the recipe modified slightly to keep the little one happy.

A spicy salsa was created – using tomatoes, coriander, garlic, apple cider vinegar and onion…

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And pork fillet was marinated, then baked to perfection (why dirty a frypan!)

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But that’s all I had to do, really. For the rest of meal was simply laid out for assembly.

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Salsa, avocado, grated cheese, lettuce, sliced pork and pineapple. With a side of wholegrain tortillas that I had warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds or so.

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Then it was create, and enjoy!!!

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Yes, my friends, this is a great way to eat when the warmer weather strikes!

What about you? Are you a fan of ‘build your own’ meals?

24 October 2014

5 things Friday

1. I miss running. Like reeeeeaaaaaaaaalllly miss running. Only 100- something days until I get to run again!!!!

Not that I am counting…..

2. But self-wallowing aside, this week was a big lesson in how things can change so very quickly - with the news that our friends’ young daughter will need to spend at least 4 weeks in hospital ?! We got our thinking caps on, and send over a care package for dinner.

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For I really doubt that home cooked meals are at the forefront of their minds right now.

3. As for our meals – well this was a favourite from the week…

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A “build your own” pork taco evening. With a favourite ingredient….pineapple!

4. A favourite of C’s at the moment…..

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Tinkerbell!! She’s obsessed!

5. And, finally, C’s big girl room is coming together. With some evenings spent turning a flat pack into this…

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To be revealed in due course!

What about you? What are you up to this weekend?

22 October 2014

Roast lamb dinner

One meal I should really make more often is the classic roast. For although it seems like it would take a bit of effort, the truth is it doesn’t. Rather, it is all about getting a good cut of meat (for which our lovely butcher never fails to deliver), adding a few extra ‘flavours’ then leaving it to roast in the oven for a couple hours.

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Over the weekend, I was so inclined, turning to Jamie Oliver’s “Save with Jamie” and his mothership roast lamb.

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I picked up a lovely lamb shoulder from our butcher…

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Then turned to our backyard rosemary bush for the ‘flavour’.

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Garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary – muddled….

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And spread atop the lamb, then covered and roasted slowly for 4 hours.IMG_1318

The result? Tender, falling off the bone lamb, and caramelised onions that we soon turned into gravy.

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Finished with a pile of roasted vegetables and peas, some fresh sourdough…

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And our Saturday night roast dinner was complete.

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Yes, my friends, I do love a good roast dinner!

What about you? Are roast dinners a regular in your household?

20 October 2014

Satay chicken noodle salad

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Happy Monday lovely people! We had a rather relaxing weekend – no great plans – just taking each moment as it came. There were chores (including  a much needed clean out of the spare room), but also brunch and swimming. And sunshine.

There was also food.

A roast lamb dinner with all the trimmings – but I’ll get to that another day. For today I would like to share with you a little dish from the photo archives that is yet to make its way onto the blog. And call it pregnancy brain, or perhaps just a general sense of ‘scatty’, but I can’t for the life of me find the recipe inspiration / source.

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So you’ll have to forgive me for the lack of recipe.

I do know that it was delicious. And easy to prepare.

With the main effort going into preparing a luscious ‘satay’ sauce – made with light coconut milk, a splash of kecap manis, peanut butter (of course!) and lime juice. Whisked until smooth.

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Then – the vegetables. Red onion, carrot and celery, wok-fried with a little diced chicken, before adding in some wholegrain noodles and, of course, the satay sauce.  

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Finally – the trimmings – fresh cucumber, coriander and red chilli. Plus a little extra fresh lime.

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Piled high on a big bed of salad leaves – and our rather random dinner was complete.

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Combining the best of two worlds – peanut-noodles and a crunchy salad! So simple to prepare, and so simple to slurp up after a long day at work.

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It may not have been the most traditional satay around, but it was a tasty little dinner nevertheless.

What about you? Are you a fan of satay?

15 October 2014

Panko crusted tofu (baked) with noodle salad

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This meal, was inspired by a Taste magazine edition. I had some ingredients on hand, not all, and a few extras to throw in. It was meant to be served on a nice warm evening, but Canberra had other ideas. Instead, we dined on this dish while the wind howled outside and our gardens got a good soaking.

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For the tofu, it was sliced and then dipped in a mixture of soy, rice wine and kejap manis. Then covered with panko crumbs – that had been given an extra kick with the addition of dried chillies.

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Instead of pan frying, I opted to bake the slices. So I placed them on a baking tray, lightly sprayed with olive oil spray, then put them into the oven at 180C for 20 minutes (flipping half way through).

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As for the ‘salad’, well that was pretty simple too.

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Carrots, snowpeas, mushrooms, spring onions. Cooked in the reserved soy mixture until starting to soften. In went some wholegrain hokkien noodles, and our meal was pretty much done.

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All together now!

We both really enjoyed this ‘meat-free’ meal, and the little one (who had lasagne for dinner this particular evening) couldn't resist pulling the carrots and ‘spaghetti’ from our plates.

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The tofu was beautifully crispy on the outside, but stayed nice and soft on the inside, just lovely really.

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Panko crusted tofu (baked) with noodle salad (serves 2)

  • 300g firm tofu, cut into slices and patted dry
  • 2 tbs rice wine
  • 2 tbs soy sauce / tamari
  • 1 tbs kejap manis
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 pkt fresh wholegrain hokkien noodles, warmed in boiling water for 2 minutes then drained
  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 100g snowpeas, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine the rice wine, soy and kejap manis in a bowl, and set aside.  Combine the panko crumbs and chilli on a plate.
  3. One at a time, dip a tofu slice into the soy mixture, then into the panko crumbs, turning to coat well. Place on the baking tray. Repeat. Spray lightly with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the slices halfway through. Reserve the remaining soy mixture.
  4. Heat peanut oil a large pan over a medium heat. Add the vegetables and remaining soy mixture, and cook (stirring) for a few minutes – or until the vegetables start to soften. Add the drained noodles, tossing well to coat.
  5. Divide noodle salad amongst plates. Top with tofu slices, and extra spring onions.

What about you? Do you like tofu?

14 October 2014

Brunch

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Brunch, that little meal squeezed in between breakfast and lunch, is fast becoming a weekend favourite in our house.

Sure – long gone are the days when we could sleep til noon. In their place, a fairly rigid schedule with a certain little toddler that sees us up and moving by 7. At the latest. 

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But our weekend mornings tend to be lazy, nevertheless, lingering over that first cup of tea or coffee - our appetites taking a while to fire up. On Sundays we also head to a morning swim class (for C) – where I make the most of an extra set of parental hands, and fit in some laps of my own.

So brunch, has been the perfect weekend option for us lately. Yum cha is always a favourite, and the all-day breakfast cafes are also a hit when a craving for eggs strikes. Actually, it has been our goal to try lots of new places before the newest addition to our family arrives, and we still have quite a few more to tick off our list.

But on this particular occasion, we were at home.

After a jam-packed long weekend the weekend before, we found ourselves pottering around the house attending to the chores that had been put off for too long. The deck was oiled, the garden watered, and wallpaper was hung…

And French toast was cooked.

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I used 4 eggs, with a splash of milk and lots of pepper, then let slices of freshly baked sourdough work their magic and soak up all the mixture. 

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Then it was into a pan – and cook for 3 or 4 minutes each side – until golden.

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Made into a meal with some grilled bacon and tomatoes, avocado sprinkled with lemon pepper, and fresh strawberries. Oh, and maple syrup for the man of the house Winking smile

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The little Miss was a big fan of the ‘eggy toast’ and dived in with gusto. Her favourite will, however, always be the bacon, and we were lucky to get any!

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As for me? Well my love for the avocado + lemon pepper combination was rekindled, as was my love for French toast. Such a simple meal, all things considered, but a delicious food start to the day!

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What about you? Are you a fan of brunch?

10 October 2014

5 things Friday

Happy Friday lovely people!

After the few short weeks we have had recently, I guess it is no surprise that this week feels like it disappeared in the blink of an eye…

Time for a long-overdue 5 things Friday I think

1. This is our little companion when we make coffee each morning. Yes, she insists on sitting next to the machine and watching it do its thing in order to sufficiently caffeinate her parents!

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2. A recent favourite breakfast? French toast.

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And yes, it hit the spot just perfectly!

3. We’ve hit ‘nesting’ mode somewhat early (or perhaps we are just well aware of how quickly these weeks are slipping by) and are currently working on C’s big girl room. A little sneak peek for you….

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And, as you can probably tell from the picture above,  C loves the forest on her wall.

4. Let’s just not talk about the state of our guest room. Which has become the dumping ground for everything we took out of C’s soon to be new room.

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Oh the shame!!!!

5. Also on our minds lately…

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Camping!! Our camper-trailer arrived and is waiting its maiden voyage! Time for us to collect  all the other camping essentials before our first trip away next month!

What about you? Are you a fan of camping?