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?

Saturday Night Roast

My family was never one for The Sunday Roast, I was vegetarian from 16 and then my younger sister was vegetarian only 3 years later (she was also 16).

When I finished high school I moved to a small school camp called Wollangarra (check out the link, it’s a pretty out there place).  It was a big adventure for me, first time out of home, we had to go over a river on a flying fox to get in, and we had sheep on the property that we ate every Thursday night.

I was still vegetarian at this point, but every Thursday night we celebrated the students time with us, with dress ups and a roast lamb, with all the trimmings.  Every week for 12 months.  I learnt how to cook the perfect roast and every now and again I had a taste of that beautiful farm grown meat.

That was 9 years ago, and since then, I haven’t cooked a lot of roasts, however in the last two weeks we have had two!  Last week J cooked a chicken roast, and then this Saturday night just gone, I cooked Lamb.

Now it seems that over the years I have lost my skill for the lamb roast, but it turned out pretty well.

I wasn’t sure how long to cook our 1.12kg roast for, so I found this and it helped.

All I did for the meat was smother it in olive oil and salt and pepper.  With the roast I cooked pumpkin, sweet potato and potato (boiled for just a little first), and whole garlic cloves, still in their skins.

I found this amazing recipe, it’s actually what inspired the roast.  I’ve never had roast brussel sprouts and they were delicious!

Our last vegetable was some boiled some carrots, drained them, then poured over a little sesame oil, some sesame seeds and honey.

All the raw ingredients.

Finally, while the roast was resting (on the wooden chopping board under foil) I deglazed the roasting pan with a little water and red wine, added a little corn flour and stirred to get all the lumps out.  The result was a deliciously thick and rich gravy.

The finished product.

Are you a roast cooker?  What are your little tricks?

Rice Bubble and Date Slice

As some of you know, up until the start of July J was going away every weekend for work.  The first night he was away, I loved.  I had the house to myself, I could laze around, watch chick flicks, not cook – or just eat oven baked yum cha.  After that first night, I would be lonely and instead of relishing in the joy of being alone, I was just lonely.

In hindsight, I should have enjoyed those days more… Now that he has a new job (YAY!) where he is home every night (YAY!) and most weekend days (YAY!), I NEVER get time alone in our house.  Recently watching Sex and The City, I was reminded of their term SSB (Secret Single Behaviour), now I supposed there’s not a lot of that left after you’ve been living together for a few years and are married, but I love my time alone!

So yesterday, when his alarm when off at 5am, instead of cursing it, I was excited.  I knew that I was getting a day in our home ALONE!  I was still in my dressing gown at 5pm, and only had a shower after that because I didn’t think it would be respectable for J to come home and me still be in my PJ’s.  I read both Saturday’s and Sunday’s newspapers.  I didn’t go outside, except to collect that newspaper.

I did however, bake.  Well not technically baking, as I mixed all the ingredients together and put them in the fridge to set.  I love to have a school snack to take to work, so thought if I achieved nothing else, when J got home, I could say that I made slice!

Left over from our wedding, in February, we have two massive boxes of rice bubbles, and I’ve been looking for a way to use them, as neither of us would eat them.  I have cut this recipe from a magazine ages ago and thought I would give it a try.

It was so light and fluffy, and not too sweet, well not this first piece anyway, the second in a row was a little full on.

Rice Bubble and Date Slice.

4 cups of rice bubbles

¼ cup of sweetened condensed milk

1 cup of caster sugar

2 50 g dates

250g butter

Put the rice bubbles into a large bowl.

In a saucepan melt the butter and add the condensed milk, caster sugar, and dates.  Stir for 10-15mins, until the dates are soft.

Add the date mix to the rice bubbles and stir until combined.

Pour into lined slice tin, press firmly, I like to run the back of a wet spoon over the slice to smooth it all out.

Put into the fridge to set for 2-3 hours.

Do you ever have super lazy weekends?  Do you feel as though you should do something to prove that it’s not been a total waste?

Raw Ingredients

The cold and gloomy weather could not keep us inside any more, so yesterday morning we decided to step outside… “shock horror”, you might say, “in this weather?!?!?!” (for those in the Northern Hemisphere, or even just Northern Australia, imagine COLD!)

But there was markets to be visited and yummy food to be eaten, so off we went for a Saturday morning adventure.

It wasn’t a surprise when we discovered (via Mez from Back in G-Town‘s facebook page) that the market had been washed out!  Never mind, we continued on our merry way, as we were on a mission to get the the Falafel wrap, recommended to us by a very reliable source (my mum) at Raw Ingredients in Queenscliff.

Queenscliff is a gorgeous little seaside town not too far from when we live,  there’s beautiful cafes, an amazing independent book shop and some funky clothes shops, as one of my favourite op shops of all time!

We walk into Raw and to me it’s a little slice of heaven.

It’s only a tiny little space, with four tables inside and four outside, half of their usable space is filled with amazing flours, grain, pulses, and fruits that you can buy, and the rest is set up as a cafe.  Fantastic for them, as while I was eating my delicious lunch I was shopping with my eyes, and then after lunch, I shopped with my wallet!

The menu written up on this gigantic black board doesn’t change often, but doesn’t need to, as I would happily eat their delicious winter warming soups and curries all year round.

The menu is reasonably priced as very little meat is used and this keeps their prices down. There’s also no coffee served here, and as someone in the shop mentioned yesterday, “we’re all a little bit deluded thinking that’d you’d sell coffee in here, IT’S BAD FOR YOU!”

We ordered the aforementioned falafel wrap ($9) and the red lentil and azuki bean dahl ($9.50), served with rice and a chai tea ($4). The chai sits and stews all day in a soup warmer and has the most wonderful spicy creamy chai tea flovour!

Our order came out and J and I split it so we could both get a taste!  The wrap, although toasted, was deliciously fresh, with a little chilli and sour cream or yoghurt, and the dahl was so wonderful, with amazing subtle toasted spice flavours!

I was so full after lunch that it was almost time for a nap, but not before indulging in a spot of grocery shopping and a little dessert.

All cakes and slices they have there are allergy friendly, and are still so wonderful and tasty!  I purchased two on the recommendation of the girl behind the counter, these were taken home for an afternoon snack, and they were delicious.  An oat and date cookie and a muesli slice covered in chocolate.

All in all a fantastic lunch experience, which I look forward to having again.  I left feeling healthy, like I’d done something good for my body, with a full shopping bag (full of yummy treats for breakfast), and a wonderful afternoon tea, all for $50.

Have you found a wonderful new restaurant near you?  What was your favourite thing on the menu?