17 April 2015

5 things Friday

1.  Life as a family of four is proving quite the logistical challenge at the moment, but is also so very very rewarding. Actually I’ve been meaning to write a post about the newest addition to our family and how she is settling in – next week perhaps? For now, let’s just say she is giving us gummy smiles, is rocking tummy time and even rolled from back to front!!!

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Oh and her big sister  continues to be full of well-intended affection Winking smile 

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2. Speaking of C, she has become quite the little helper in the kitchen and we’ve shared many a cooking session recently.

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When she sees me start dinner, she will run and grab her blue stool and quickly join me.

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Too cute!

3. On that note, I’m thinking of investing in a slow cooker for the cooler months. Any thoughts?

4. We are working our way through a new series – Sons of Anarchy…

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We are currently on season 2 – and while I am enjoying the series – I can’t help but feel a little uneasy about the apparent glorification of a bikie gang??

5. This product…

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? I am both intrigued and horrified????

What about you? Do you have a slow cooker?

14 April 2015

Let them eat….soup!

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I’m always a little hesitant to put soup on the menu for dinner, perhaps because it seems too ‘light’ and not hearty enough to satisfy hungry appetites at the end of the day. But there is no denying that it is healthy and quick to prepare, and rather comforting when the cool evenings arrive.

Then I came across a recipe for broccoli and lemon soup in a recent edition of Taste magazine (you can also find the recipe online here) and had a bit of a light bulb moment. For this soup was more than just blended veggies (although it had its fair share of those too) – as it was ‘beefed’ out with the addition of quinoa.

Brilliant!

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And, true to form, the soup was quick and easy to throw together. Onions, broccoli (stalk and all), garlic and potatoes, chopped and cooked in chicken stock until tender.

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Finished with an entire tub of baby spinach, lemon juice and a big handful of fresh mint.

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Blended until smooth, and served with quinoa (prepared separately), marinated feta and some lemon zest.

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Friends, I’m not kidding when I say this was one tasty little soup – made all the more special with the zesty lemon and creamy feta.

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It has immediately been added to ‘the list’ – ie the ever-growing collection of  dishes that would be perfect to serve when guests are in town!

What about you? Made any nice soups lately?

08 April 2015

Dark and white chocolate cardamom swirl tart

IMG_3454This year, it took me quite a while to decide what to make for dessert for the family’s Good Friday lunch.  I trawled through many cookbooks and websites, as I normally do, but my mind keep wandering back to a recipe I had printed off early in my search.

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And, while I usually lean towards a lighter dessert at Easter (owing to the expected richness of the other menu items), this this dark and white chocolate cardamom swirl tart captured my imagination.

Or perhaps it captured my ‘newborn-induced-sugar-cravings’??

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Either way, I decided that it would be the contributed dessert this year. And luckily for me – I had my trusty sidekick on hand to help put the tart together…

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(Brushing one’s hair is discretionary in our kitchen lol)

The tart base was made with crushed chocolate coated digestive biscuits, mixed with melted butter then pressed into a pan and cooked for 10 minutes.

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While the tart filling was little more than two rich chocolate ganaches (one white, one dark), poured atop the cooled base, and swirled for effect.

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When I say that this tart is rich, I mean RICH! But then again, with ingredients such as double cream, 90% cocoa, lindt white chocolate, egg yolks and sugar ….well there is no surprise that a small slice was more than enough to send our sugar senses into overdrive.

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Served with berries to try and cut through some of the sweetness – and overall a tasty end to a lovely lunch with family.

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You can find the recipe here.

What about you? Bake anything fun over Easter?

07 April 2015

Easter 2015

This past Easter long weekend was rather wonderful. Sure there was a slight hiccup in the middle (namely a random 30 hour stomach bug that arrived out of nowhere), but for the most part our weekend was filled with family, food and frolics.

A favourite trio of mine!

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Good Friday was, as is tradition, spent with Mr BBB’s family for their annual seafood feast (see past years: 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014).  The celebration kicked off late morning, and continued for most of the day, with everyone spending time in the kitchen working on their various dishes and seafood contributions.

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And, while the menu follows a similar pattern each year – think prawns, calamari, oysters etc - it is always a great opportunity to try out some new dishes too.

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This year, for example, we contributed some slipper lobster (ie bugs) to the seafood line-up – served with a lovely sherry / cream sauce.

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And – for dessert – we made a chocolate cardamom tart – that was oh-so rich and indulgent. Because there is never too much chocolate at Easter right?!

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Food aside, the Good Friday lunch is always a perfect opportunity to reflect on just how much our little family has changed in years past…

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For here we are, 3 years later, with another little girl in our midst, and that sleepy bunny from 2012 is now a chocolate-loving-energetic- pre-schooler!

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And as for the rest of the weekend – well it involved more food, a steam-train ride, cooking, running and an Easter egg hunt.

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I think we almost need a holiday from our holiday!

What about you? What did you get up to this Easter?

01 April 2015

My 6 “must have” items for the second baby

Truthfully, there weren’t many things that we needed to purchase in preparation for little J’s arrival. Sure, I gave the nursery a makeover, and dug out all C’s old newborn clothes and gave them a wash, but there was no need to scour the baby shops in the same way we did before C arrived.

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Feeling a little ‘wiser’ this time around, there were still a few specific items that I wanted to purchase in advance. Ones that I knew would come in handy, and others that I perhaps just wanted.

And here are my top 6.

1. A feeding journal.

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I go completely bonkers when sleep deprived, and could not tell you what time the last feed was – or on which side (even if that feed was only half an hour beforehand). With C, I used a scrappy old notebook to keep track of such things, and was delighted to come across this cute little Feeding Journal at Kikki K.

It has, as expected, become my ‘memory’ for all things feeding with J – and comes with me everywhere.

2. Baby Book

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Another Kikki K purchase – was this cute Baby Book for recording all the important first year milestones. I was really good at blog-journaling with C – but I never really recorded everything in one place. So,  I bought two of these baby books and am determined to complete one for each of the girls. At some point before they turn 15 Winking smile

3. Ergo / Bubba Moe wrap

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With an energetic three year old to run after, I knew that a carrier / wrap would be a god-send. We are yet to use the Ergo (its been a bit hot with the newborn insert) , the Bubba Moe wrap has been perfect while J is so little. Expect to see a lot more babywearing in the future!

4. A new nappy bag

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Before J arrived, I’d become a little slack in having a designated bag for all things baby. Basically I’d grab whatever bag I could find as we headed out the door, and stuffed it full of snacks, nappies etc but inevitably forgetting something.

Well, this time around, I purchased a designated bag to keep appropriately stocked and ready to grab whenever we leave the house. The added bonus being that it has in-built compartments, a change mat and insulated food bags – along with clips to hang it off the pram.

5. Baby monitor

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A ‘must have’ item for us is definitely a baby monitor. Our last one was starting to lose charge, and we only had one handset – so we decided to upgrade to a two handset version. The temperature reading and ‘two way’ microphone being big advantages with this version also.

6. A new camera

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Last, but certainly not least, I treated myself to a new camera – a Canon 6D. Something that was by no means ‘essential’, but something I had had my eye on for quite some time. The family jokes that I have the most photographed children they know, so I figured that I might as well live up to the name and at least make them good photographs Winking smile 

What about you? Any must-have items for baby the second time around?

30 March 2015

Finding one’s rhythm (and a pistachio and raspberry cake)

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There’s a lot to be said about going from a family of three – to a family of four.  Particularly when the littlest member is only a few months old (and the general lack of routine and sleep that comes with such an age). Making sure everyone is fed and dressed are at the top of the daily list, along with all the other things required to keep a household happy. And healthy.

Draft blog posts pile up, as does laundry and other such things. The days have a sense of monotony, and while they are not perhaps ‘action packed’ in the traditional sense, they are by no means quiet. And certainly not boring.

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I may not yet have found my rhythm, as such, but I can feel that things are starting to slowly move in the right direction. And when I find myself with a moment, time spent baking in the kitchen is a lovely reward. Especially when a new recipe is being trialled – and we have guests to bake for!

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While this raspberry and pistachio cake was being made, Miss C up-ended her toy basket left a trail of destruction throughout the house. She stubbed her toe shortly after, and could only be consoled with a Dora band aid (a regular band aid not being sufficient). Little J slept, mostly, although with her energetic 3 year sister running amok,  her sleep was far from unbroken.

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Yet despite the chaos, the cake turned out beautifully – albeit a little rustic in parts. And we could only laugh at the new ‘normal’ we find ourselves in.

And besides, cake makes everything better….right?

(Recipe for the cake here)