Tuesday, 18 December 2012

summer reading

This is the list of my summer reading.
Of course I will not read them all, but I will give it a good go.  I never know what I feel like reading so I like to have a big selection.  Variety is important and nothing too strenuous over the summer break.  I have mostly sourced the books from the library that I have requested over the last few months.  I have compiled my books from recommendations, book reviews, some old, some new, fiction and non fiction.

The elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery

D.V - Diana Vreeland

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

Birds of Paradise - Diana Abu- Jaber

Scandalous Women - Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

Me before you - Jojo Moyes

A tree grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

Stiff - Mary Roach

Defending Jacob - William Landay

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt - Beth Hoffman

The bungalow - Sarah Jio

11/22/63 - Stephen King

Prayers and lies - Sherri Wood Emmons

Bel canto - Ann Patchett

Audrey Hepburn, an elegant spirit - Sean Hepburn Ferrer

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

cheap easy lazy chicken dinner

 I was working yesterday so I just grabbed some vegetables and some chicken drumsticks from the butcher in greenlane on my way home.  This is
just a throw together dinner and I know it looks like it too.

For this dinner you will need - feeds 5

  • 2 kg of chicken drumsticks (that equates to about 15)
  • 10 carrots ( at least, peeled and split in half)
  • 5 onions (red or brown will do chopped into quarters)
  • a bunch of asparagus
  • a bag of beans
  • lots of salt and pepper

Put the carrots and onions in the bottom of a large roasting pan with lots of salt and pepper.  Put the chicken on top with more salt and pepper and a little bit of olive oil.
Put it in the oven at about 190c for twenty minute episodes.  Pull it out and give it a toss in the fat that is rendering from the chicken.  Nothing really comes together for at least and hour.  I think I did another 20 minutes as well.  Just keep going until it looks the way you want it too.  The chicken is just releasing  its juices and creating a delicious sauce.

 When the asparagus is so thin and fresh like this I just pour on boiling water to cook it and it stays in the water until I am ready to use it without over cooking it.  For the beans I steamed them for 4-5 mins and then blanched them in ice water.
To assemble, find a large platter lay down the chicken with the carrots and onions followed by the greens and then pour on the pan juices.  Then add more salt and pepper.  This dish would so not do when I was a kid because I had very strong views about not allowing my different food groups to touch.  I would be horrified if that came to the table like that.  Anyway I have grown up now.
This is a really simple and easy satisfying dish.  The time is in the cooking so put it on early.

 Dinner was followed by strawberries and icing sugar.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Thursday, 22 November 2012


 Yay kids school exams are finally over.  I think I am more relieved than they are.  It has been a very stressful last month, well for me anyway.
Potatoes, bacon, mushrooms and eggs is Jacobs ultimate study food and what he has eaten just about every day for the past few weeks.  Sometimes there are tomatoes in there as well.  He makes it himself.
He peels, chops then parboils his potatoes before frying them in the pan that he has already cooked his bacon and mushrooms in and then finally cracking the eggs on top to finish.  By the looks of things I think there is some chopped fresh thyme sprinkled in there too.  This is heaven food for him.

This sandwich is Chris's ultimate.  A ton of sliced salami, peppers, tomatoes, feta cheese, avocado and lettuce.  Actually it's pretty good, the peppers and the salami are a wonderful combo.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

broad bean dip

This dip is made with frozen broad beans bought from the frozen section of the super market.  Not always that easy to come by as they are not always there year round, but they should be there as they are in season now.
They are actually a very good product, probably like frozen peas but unfortunately I  have a very unhealthy aversion too, due to childhood trauma of force feeding.

Anyway the recipe is as follows

  • 250g of frozen broad beans or 1/2 a packet
  • 10-15 mints leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and squirt of juice
  • pince of salt and pepper
  • a chunk of feta cheese, probably a large tablespoon
  • drizzle of good olive oil

This is what they look when the come out of the frozen packet, quite disgusting really.

Pour on some boiling water and leave for at least 5-10 minutes.  I find there is no need to boil them in a pot.  Drain off the water and them pop them out of their pods.  Look how beautifully devine they are now that they have shed their grey green skin.
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and whiz until you get the desired consistency.
You could just smash them all together too for a more chunky look.
Serve on toasted bread or as lily does something she dips her carrots into for school lunch.

Friday, 16 November 2012

prawn pot stickers

Lily loves dumplings so when I came across this recipe here at Rasa Malaysia, I decided to give it a go.
Just simply ingredients which were all in the house.
She used  square wonton wrappers but I prefer the round ones and I just used sweet chillie sauce as the dipping sauce and of course I didn't fold them like hers either.

Don't over fill them or it makes it difficult when it comes to the folding and sealing.
I folded them over in half using a bit of water as glue and then pleating them until sealed.
Put them in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
I also cooked them differently as I wanted pot stickers with the crunchy bottom.

When you are ready to cook them put the dumplings (frozen) in a frypan on a high heat along with 1/2 cup water and a dash of plain oil.  Put a lid on it and bring to the boil.  Once the water has evaporated take off the lid and turn the heat down to low.  The dumpling will come off the bottom of the pan once it has got some goldeness to it.  Don't be tempted to play around with them or you will get a big mess.
They probably take about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

gluten free lemon and almond cake

I made this cake yesterday for Finn as he has been doing a lot of whining lately that there is never any gluten free baking for him.   I did remind him there has been no baking for anyone.
I am not much of a baker so this cake was right up my alley as all I had to do was keep adding the ingredients to the cake mixer.
This was not originally a gluten free cake but as it had very little flour in it, I just substituted it for 'Healtheries' gluten free baking mix' and it worked a treat.
This is a very indulgent and decadent cake and I am all for it.  If you are going to eat cake it may as well be a proper cake, dense and rich.

I got the recipe from here amatteroftaste.me and she definitely is right when she says its better the next day.  It does improve with 1 night in the fridge.
I just substituted the 60g of flour with 60g of GF flour and it worked out wonderfully and enjoyed by all in my family.
I couldn't photograph the whole cake as 1/2 of it got eaten soon after making.
Well worth making for gluten free and non gluten free alike.

Monday, 12 November 2012

beef salad with thai dressing

Well I thought it was about time that I got myself organised and started posting again.
This was what I had for lunch yesterday, left overs from last nights dinner. The beef and the dressing were the same but the choice of vegetables were different.
What really makes this salad good is the dressing the coriander and mint, some crunchy vegetables topped of with some peanuts and deep fried shallots and of course some chile.

For this salad I used

  • lettuce leaves
  • bean sprouts minus their heads
  • yellow pepper
  • cucumber
  • a little bit of carrot, just because I like carrot
  • avocado
  • spring onions
  • red chile
  • mint
  • fresh coriander
  • asparagus was used on the sat night
  • chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
  • deep fried shallots
  • And don't forget the beef,  I used finely sliced BBQ rump

The dressing is really simple and goes perfectly with the beef, herbs and crunchy toppings

  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar or more depending on how sweet you like it
  • 2 tsps of fish sauce
  • I also used some kaffir lime leaves as they were in the garden pounded in the mortar and pestle with the sugar before I added the juice and fish sauce

Combine until all the sugar has dissolved and add at the very last minute before serving

Actually this is what the salad really looked like before I ate it.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012



Here might just do it...and a reason to visit Utah.
This is the magnificent 'Amangiri' part of the Aman Resorts
I want to go... now...

Monday, 6 August 2012

salad for dinner - Jeanne Kelley

I read about this book on 'A cup of Jo' a while back and I thought it sounded pretty good, so I requested it from the library.  It was published this year 2012 and hadn't quite arrived  but it said it was coming soon, so I put my name down and hence I was the first person to borrow it.
If you like substantial salads then this book is for you.  I really enjoyed it.  No fluffing about just good healthy tasty ingredients presented in a no fuss way, with really delightful flavoursome dressings.

There is a great variety with your classic 'Nicoise' to your more decadent 'Lobster salad with watermelon, yellow tomato, mache and mint'.

Raw fish and a grilled chicken salad.
Very inspiring and makes you want to eat well.
It has to go back to the library this week.  I'm sure I will get it out again, I might even buy it.