Porridge

I thought this week I would share a breakfast that didn’t have eggs in it. I’ll admit I had to rack my brains, I do love eggs.

So I thought a few years back to my best ever porridge (oatmeal).

This happened for me in 2008. I was working as a hiking guide on the Overland track in Tasmania, it’s such a beautiful walk down there. A 6 day bush walk, the clients carried only the clothes they needed for the 6 days, whereas I carried all emergency supplies, my clothes, bedding, first aid kits, fresh food etc. My pack was huge.

The work didn’t stop there, in the evenings one of the guides would run to the hut where we would sleep and start to prepare afternoon tea and a three course meal.

In the morning one of the leaders would stay behind, tidy up the hut and then run (with a full pack on) and catch up to the group.

So to make the mornings easier we would soak the oats over night and then it would be quick and ready to go in the morning.

We would put in enough oats for all the people (about 1/2 a cup per person), the left over sweetened cream from dessert, any dried fruit that we could get out hands on (I’ve been using apricots and currents) and then for some added crunch I put sunflower seeds and pepitas.

In the morning it was a simple as adding a little extra water and putting it on the stove to heat up.

On top I just put a little cinnamon and brown sugar.

What’s your favourite egg free breakfast?

Kids eating vegetables…

I told this story on my last blog, so I’m sorry to those who have already read it, but I love these sausage rolls and I love the story that goes with them!

Winter 2009: I was working as a nanny at Falls Creek (one of the few ski resorts in Australia).  I looked after 3 kids (8, 5 and 10 months old), 5 days a week.

During the day when the older two were at school I would cook dinner and bake treats for the family. This was tricky, as the supermarkets on the mountain were super expensive and only had limited supplies. One day I thought I’d cook vegetarian sausage rolls, I was vego at the time and was sick of not being able to eat what I was cooking for the family.

None of the kids would eat vegetables, well one would but only if they were white (potato, cauliflower etc).

The sausage rolls were made and out of the oven in perfect time for an after school snack! I plated them up, gave the kids some sauce and took a deep breath… Kept my fingers crossed… They LOVED them!

I made them often after that, until one day, one of the kids asked for those meaty sausage rolls.  Their mum laughed and told her kids that they had no meat in them, that they were just vegetables.  They never ate them again after that!

But I still love them and so does J, so they make a regular appearance in our kitchen.

I just mix a tin of lentils, some mashed up pumpkin and sweet potato, then anything else I want to turn it into a sausage like mince, often some bread crumbs, an egg, some tomato sauce and soy sauce to taste.

Then just cut a sheet of puff pastry in two, place the ‘mince’ down the middle long ways of each 1/2 sheet.  I cut each long log into 4, and then do some little cuts in the top and then chuck them in the oven.  Cook until brown.  Serve with sauce.

How do you get your loved ones to eat things they don’t really like?

Back on the bike!

A couple of weeks ago J and I had a bit of a discussion (argument?) about us becoming lazy in our relationship.

Every day we used to do fun things after school, we used to go on dates all the time.  Things like a short walk, a coffee, a backyard picnic but recently, working full time, I’ve been so tired after school and when I finally get home, all I want to do is sit my ass down on the couch and watch some tv.

So we’ve started to make more effort.  We’ll going for a walk, going for a roller skate or an indoor climb.

On Tuesday he picked me up from work on his motor bike, and we went for an after school snack at Lorne, a beautiful seaside town a bit over an hour from where we live.

It’s along the Great Ocean Road, so there’s some fantastic windy bits to scoot around on the bike.

We arrived and found one of the only places that was open for a delicious treat!

The atmosphere was pretty quiet (it was 4pm on a Tuesday), but with a view straight down to the beach we couldn’t pass it up. It was open and airy which would be perfect for a summer evening, snacking on some beer and nibbles.

There is a huge selection of Asian inspired ‘munchies’, meals and beer.  We just ordered two different items off the munchie menu, shallow fried calamari and homemade dimsim.

The calamari was absolutely delicious, came with a fantastically garlicky aoli. The dimsim were huge, so it was tricky to eat them with the only form of cutlery we were give, chopsticks.  J didn’t like the batter so much, and I didn’t really like the filling, so not really a win!

After our snack (along with a beer for J and a wine for me), we went to play on the play ground!

The ride home was great, I tried to take some photos along the way so I could share the experience with you but really, there’s no way to share that.

There’s none of the romantic wind in the hair, but there is a rush when going around sharp corners. It was a fantastic afternoon. The ride home felt pretty long and started to get super cold, these warm spring days seem to be fooling me into thinking it’s actually hot.

Do you an your partner make mini dates to spend time together?

Zesty

Yep, I’m still trying to use all those limes.

Definitely not running out of ideas. I did have a mind block for a little while but now I feel like I can’t think of a meal or dessert that doesn’t ave lime!

I thought it important that I make a lime curd! I mean, surely there’s heaps of stuff I can make with lime cured and I had a couple of ideas in mind already. So I was on a mission. J was at work for the day and I wasn’t, so this meant I had the whole kitchen/house, to play loud music, and bake.

I used this recipe. It work out pretty well, except it seems that the eggs cooked a little when I poured them into the hot lime mix. So maybe next time I would cool it down alittle a use a whisk when pour in the eggs.

It tasted amazing! Super delicious! I can’t wait to eat some spread on toast, and my next plan is to make Lime Meringue Cupcakes. Yum!!!

What do you do when you have the house to yourself? Any excessive ingredients at your place?

Big Breakfast

J’s been working weekends, so I’ve been doing a lot more of the cooking recently.  I used to get a hot breakfast nearly every day, this was when he was only working 1 or 2 days a week.

Life is settling into us both working pretty much full time and we both cook our fair share.

This breakfast was cooked by me, because I was desperate and felt like my stomach was eating itself.

I fried up some bacon, haloumi, mushrooms and poached a couple of eggs each, served on one slice of toast.  Then I played the ‘good wife’ and served it to J in bed.

Saints & Sailors

There’s nothing much better than dinner with your best girlfriend!  I mean don’t get me wrong, I love J (duh, I married the guy), but having a night of philosophising, wine drinking and fantastic food does wonders!

I am super lucky to have a wonderful lady Jade (there’s a photo of us here). Over the weekend she came down and have dinner at my newest favouritest place, Saints & Sailors.

Serving local wines, in a funky, music filled atmosphere is the first of many attractions to this place.  The delicious menu had Jade saying “There’s only four mains, and I could have all of them,” and the prices had me smiling that the end of the pay week, wasn’t a limitation on my choices.

They have a variety of delicious bread options, tapas fusion dishes, mains and a couple of desserts, nothing over $20.

Jade’s dish came out first and looked amazing, beautiful fresh seafood with a fantastic chilli, soy sauce, however Jade has burnt all of her taste buds off, due to her love of chilli and couldn’t taste it in her dish.  So they brought more out, this blew my head off with only a tiny dot on the tip of my finger, she put the whole bowlful in!!!  She said it was a little spicier after that…

Salt and Pepper Calamari Salad, perfect meal for the early days of spring, it really reminded me that the warm weather was on its way!  It was delicious and fresh, a little heavy handed on the pepper but I’d eat it again.

The vibe in there is sweeeet!  There’s this little couch area in the front (in the pic) with a mini stage up by the window, tables and chairs to the right.  There’s vintage bags, coats and jewelry for sale.

Behind where I am standing there is another area with some couches and tall tables to sit at and enjoy a drink or some food.

Out the back there is a beautiful beer garden, which is going to be perfection for our hot long summer nights!

I think it cost us a total of $22 each, for dinner and a glass of wine!  How awesome for a night out! I can’t wait to go back and try some of the other things on the menu and I’m super keen to try the desserts!

Have you had a night out with a girlfriend recently?

Limes

We have a lime tree…

When we moved into the house we thought that it was dying.  There were no limes on it, there were sad branches and it was completely over grown.

Since we’ve lived here we’ve hacked at it and cut a lot of the branches off, and the tree seems to be thriving.

Now we can’t use the limes fast enough! They get squeezed on top of (nearly) everything we eat , avo on toast, eggs, curries, pasta meals, salads, everything, but it’s not enough!  The tree is bowing with the weight of them and they’re falling all over the ground.

So I’ve been looking for lime recipes, we need to use the damn things and I hate waste.

I thought I would share our limey adventures with you.

Lime Slice

I love this slice as something I can whip together super quickly, so that we have some form of ‘baked’ good in our house.

A friend wrote this recipe down for me when I was at uni, on the back of it was this:

This is an actual extract from a sex education school textbook for girls, printed in the early 60’s in the UK, & written by a woman.

“When retiring to the bedroom, prepare yourself for bed as promptly as possible.  Whilst feminine hygiene is of the utmost importance, your tired husband does not want to queue for the bathroom, as he would have to for his train.  But remember to look your best when going to bed.

Try to achieve a look that is welcoming without being obvious.  If you need to apply face-cream or hair-rollers wait until he is asleep as this can be shocking to a man last thing at night.  When it comes to the possibility of intimate relations with your husband it is important to remember your marriage vows and in particular your commitment to obey him.

If he feels that he needs to sleep immediately then so be it.  In all things be led by your husband’s wishes; do not pressure him in any way to stimulate intimacy.  Should your husband suggest congress then agree humbly all the while being mindful that a man’s satisfaction is more important than a woman’s.  When he reaches his moment of fulfilment, a small moan from yourself is encouraging to him and quite sufficient to indicate any enjoyment that you may have had.

Should your husband suggest any more of the unusual practices, be obedient and uncomplaining but register any reluctance by remaining silent.  It is likely that your husband will then fall promptly asleep so adjust your clothing, freshen up and apply your night time face and hair care products.  You may then set the alarm so that you can arise shortly before him in the morning.  This will enable you to have his morning cup of tea ready when he awakes.”

I think that it’s so funny that this is in my cookbook/recipe collection!

Anyways, on to sharing the actual recipe.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (125g) butter

250g sweet biscuits – crushed

1/2 tin of condensed milk

1 cup desicated coconut

Grated rind of 2 limes (OR 1 lemon/orange)

Melt butter, add the rest of the ingredients and mi well.  Press evenly into a 28x18cm slice tin.  Once set, top with icing and sprinkle with coconut.  Cut into fingers.

Icing:

1 1/2 cups of icing sugar

grated rind and juice of 2 limes (OR 1 lemon/orange)

2 teaspoons of melted butter.

Put sugar, juice and rind in a bowl, stir out all lumps, stir in butter and pour over slice.

Enjoy!

Do you have any over abundant ingredients?  Are you local and want some limes?

 

 

Poached Eggs, Asparagus and Bacon

Last Saturday J had to go to work, supervising some adult rock climbers, so I wanted to whip him up something that would keep him going for the day!

I grabbed the hollandaise sauce out of the fridge and had a smell, it was a little on the funky side, so checked the used by date… 23/6/11. Yes that’s right it was a year out of date.

I promptly changed my plans and came up with this delicious compromise.

I served him two perfectly poached eggs (there’s no secret to great poached eggs, just crack them into boiling water), on top of bacon, two asparagus spears blanched and fried in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and a little lime juice, all on top of an English muffin.

What’s on the menu at your place?

The World Best Street Food

I love cooking, hence the food focused blog. J loves cooking as much as me, luckily we love cooking different things! I love cooking sweets and he loves cooking savoury.

So when I spotted this cook book in Big W, I had to buy it. We’ve both done a fair bit of travelling, J practically lived in Nepal for 7 years while guiding in the Himalayas and we both love love love street food!

When we went to Thailand, that’s all we ate and it was fabulous, so the opportunity to cook our own at home was one I had to jump at.

The Lonely Plant, World’s Best Street Food book is fantastic! Throughout the book there is an explanation of the meal, what country it’s from, where the meal is derived from, there is photos of it being cooked locally and then they give you the recipe to replicate at home!

We made this, Balik Ekmek, like a fish sandwich.  J is a pro at it and it has now become one of our staple dinner meals.  It’s a fish fillet (which we buy bags of, frozen from Aldi and eat quite a lot), fried in a fry pan, with a fair amount of oil, until it’s just crispy on the outside.

The take the fish out of the pan and put a Turkish bread, cut side onto the pan, so it can soak up the delicious oils and fish juices, until it’s also crispy.

Serve the fish on the toasted bread, with a squeeze of lime (or lemon) juice, the spices and salad of your choice.

What you end up with is a wonderfully spicey, fresh, fish sandwich.  It’s delicious and makes you feel as though you’ve done wonders for you body.  It feels good for you!

What you’re favourite staple meal, that you revert to on lazy nights?

I can’t do only 1 thing at a time…

I’m really bad at slowing down!  I’m no good at doing nothing! I’m horrible at relaxing romantic weekends!

Even my work situation is in shambles.  I work Tuesday and Friday at a local high school tutoring Aboriginal kids through a program called Wannik, I work as a relief teacher Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.  In my spare time I work for a company called GlobaLinks, who help American students go on exchange to foreign countries, as a liaison person in Melbourne, organising and hosting events that can culturally immerse them in their new country/city, and I blog.

This image shows it perfectly.  On the left I am half way through cooking my second batch of Rice Bubble and Date Slice and on the right I am half way through cooking scrambled eggs for Sunday breakfast.

I love to be busy, even sitting and watching a movie I have my iPad on my lap, trying to keep on top of my blog reading.

I feel like all bloggers have a lot on their plates.  How do you keep the balance between family, life, blogging, work, earning money and still having time for yourself?

Celebrations

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HANNAH!

Yesterday was my younger sister’s birthday.  She was lucky enough to go and spend the weekend on the Mornington Peninsula, wine tasting, vintage perusing and hot bathing.

Last night Mum, Dad, J and I all headed to Melbourne to celebrate with her.  Her first choice, the latest cool new place to visit in the city, Chin Chin, was totally booked out and was going to be about a 2 hour wait for a table of 5.

Certain members in our family tend to get hang-gry (hungry-angry) if we don’t eat at the right times (J, Dad and I), so we decided to search for something else.

Choice number two – closed, which we only found out after we had walked to it, a mexican restaurant which didn’t have it’s opening hours on the website (seriously, who doesn’t take advantage of the smart phone era!).

Finally Dad suggested the Sofitel Hotel on Collins St.  We walked in through the stunning lobby, past one of the 50 life sized baby elephant sculptures scattered around Melbourne to celebrate the Mebourne Zoo’s 150th birthday.

There was no way I was walking 35 flights of stairs, so the lift was our only option.  The lift moves so fast that no numbers are shown for the floors that you are passing, and only shortly after stepping in we arrived at the 35th floor.

My jaw hit the floor as I caught my first glimpse of the breathtaking view!  The first thing we all did was go to our respective bathrooms and take a photo of the view.

Mine and my sister’s reflections. Just to the right you can see the lights of the MCG.

Needing food we all went to find a table.  The bar tender struggled with the fact the were five of us and all night proceeded to bring things out to us in even numbers, strange.

The girls ordered cocktails (the only cocktail I’ve ever had was a Pina Colada) – sadly I can’t remember their names or what was in them, but they were all delicious!

I was worried, looking at the menu, that we wouldn’t get enough food to be content a the end of the night.  There was only really finger food options, between $25 and $30, so we opted to share 5 between us.

The food was delicious, and there was plenty enough to go around.

After the dubious start, the night turned out lovely.  Mum and Dad introduced us to a placed we’d never been before, with an absolutely stunning view!

My overall conclusion was that the Sofitel Atrium Bar on 35 was just beautiful, but I would never go there knowing I had to pay.  Maybe you pay for the view, and maybe that’s worth it, but I don’t have that sort of disposable cash.

Thanks Dad!

Where have you been for a cocktail and some lovely food? Have you had a night where everywhere you wanted to go was full?  What did you do?

Baked Eggs

I love breakfast foods, I could eat them at any time time the day and because of this J and I decided to have brunch for our wedding reception! Croissants, danishes, eggs sausages, bacon, spinach, it really was wonderful!

I’m also lucky to have a wonderful man-friend (I sometimes get sick of saying husband) who loves to cook me breakfast, and last weekend was no exception!

I had recently had the most amazing baked eggs at a cafe in Geelong, and J decided to attempt a replication.  Using this recipe as a base, J tweaked a few little bits and came up with this amazing breakfast!

Served on toast with the delicious sauce, and in the pan each egg was baked on a rasher of bacon, a few spinach leaves topped it all off!

The eggs were slightly over cooked, and didn’t ooze into the sauce like I have expected, but it was absolutely delicious, super easy and something I’m excited to try again!

What’s your favourite breakfast?