Monday, January 23, 2012

David's Kitchenalia - gorgeous tea cosy!

When I first saw this tea cosy I first though, maybe I'd better not blog this as it may be 'politically incorrect' but then I thought about it and for me, Golliwogs are not a symbol of racism or anything negative at all.  I love these and I grew up reading Enid Blyton, where Noddy was gay and Golliwogs were just a character.  Whatever the intentions were, as I was brought up to be accepting of and respecting people from all cultural backgrounds I have no problem to say I love Golliwogs and especially this one.  It's so cute!  I recently read about the history of Golliwogs and I can see there are some negative connections, especially in the UK and the US, however it's all about how you think about it yourself and I think they are just a cute toy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fresh and tasty with a bit of spice

I had some nice Sweetlip fillets in the freezer (thanks Chris) and felt like something tasty and healthy for dinner tonight.  This is the recipe I came up with to go with the fish.  YUM

Spice paste for fish
Works well with white fish fillets

1 small bunch coriander, including stems and roots, washed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2  teaspoons sambal oeleck (chilli paste)
a few sprigs fresh mint leaved, picked
2 tsp rice wine
2 tbs fish sauce

Place all the above ingredients in a small blender and blend to a thick paste.  Coat fish fillets in the paste and cover and marinate at least 1 hour.

Pan fry fillets in a little olive oil, turning once.  When fish is cooked, remove from pan and throw in the cherry tomatoes, cook for 2 minutes until warmed and slightly cooked. 

Serve fish over brown rice, and top with tomatoes.  Serve with Avocado Salsa

Avocado Salsa

1 medium avocado,diced
1 lebanese cucumber, diced
2 tbs chopped coriander
2 spring onions, chopped
juice of  1/2 lime
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Mix all ingredients to combine

Pork Belly - not for those watching their waistline!

Wow, this is a pork belly dish my nephew had when we were
recently in Brisbane. I had a taste and it was great, I had a
seafood risotto which was amazing. I usually don't eat
risotto much at restaurants as it can often be stodgy,
but at Verve Cafe Bar it was excellent.  In fact, eating here
was the best meal I had in Brisbane.  The atmosphere was great
the staff were extremely friendly and helpful and everyone loved
their meals.  I would definitely go there again!  It's in Edward St in the city and just around
the corner from where we stayed. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

David's Kitchenalia

This is the latest photo I've received from David of his mushroom butter dish and this cool cannister.  I love this cannister!!!  I would love that design on fabric and to make a skirt from it!!  I never see any cannisters that groovy these days.  I also like the clock at the bottom of the picture, looks like it could be a radio too?  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

David's Kitchenalia

How could you pass up the opportunity to buy this little beauty!  David didn't and is now the happy owner of this casserole dish/lobster pot which he snapped up for $3.00, actually no, it was 50% off so it was $1.50.  I think I missed something when I was last in Newcastle, I didn't see any of this stuff...will have to look harder next time.  David uses all his functional art which is great and seems to have an eye for it too.

This dish brings back memories of a party I went to in Wolfe St, Newcastle in 1992, where I was given a plastic lobster as a present for turning up at the party by the appreciative host.

It's all in the dressing

This is such a simple thing to make, and common too, but the special thing about this is the coriander yoghurt dressing.  It really makes it extra tasty.  I made the skewers with the dressing and salad for a tasty low carb dinner, then the next day cooked another  skewer and had it in a mountain bread rye wrap for lunch.  I love these wraps as they are so light and don't make you feel overly full.

This recipe is also from the October 2011 Delicious magazine, but it's not on so I've put the details here - slightly modified...

Chicken tikka masala skewers with coriander dressing

2 tbs tikka masala paste
1 1/2 cups Greek style yoghurt (I used Farmer's Union Light Greek Style Yoghurt)
1kg skinless chicken fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
1 bunch coriander
2 tsp caster sugar
4cm piece ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
juice of 2 limes

I served this with a salad of snow pea sprouts, seeded cucumber, mung bean sprouts and cherry tomatoes.

  • Soak 8 wooden skewers in cold water for 20 mins
  • Combine tikka masala paste with 1 cup yoghurt and season well.
  • Coat the chicken in the marinde and refridgerate for at least 15 mins (I usually leave for it for a couple of hours)
  • Place the coriander, including stalks and leaves, sugar, garlic, ginger, olive oil and half the lime juice in a food processor and whiz until a coarse puree.  Sir in the remaining yoghurt and set aside.
  • Place chicken skewers under a hot grill, cook until charred, usually around 5 mins each side (depending on how thickly you've cut your chicken) turning once.
Tip- when cooking the skewers make sure there is a nice thick coating of yoghurt on the, this stops them drying out under the grill.

Serve with the salad and dressing.

For the wrap I used one and a half pieces mountain bread putting the half piece in the centre of the full one - this makes it less flimsy.  Put down a layer of baby spinach and some left over salad, or just some cucumber and sprouts then add the chicken from one skewer, top with dressing and roll up!  Enjoy..

David's Kitchenalia

I was very impressed when I received this photo from a friend, David.  (almost as impressed as when he sent me some before and after photos of his dinner).  I am envious of his cow butter dish, as I haven't seen any like that around here.  I love all the old kitchen paraphernalia you can pick up at op shops, David said he got this one from the Salvos and it was a bargain.  I am also loving the salt and pepper shakers in the background, and I am hoping he'll keep sending more pics of his collection....

Amazing Mexican (not smothered in cheese and stodgy!)

I've been reading some past copies of Delicious magazine and came across this recipe by Jill Dupleix.  I thought it sounded like a nice change from the stodgy Mexican that all seems to taste the same and makes you feel so full!  I've avoided Mexican restaurants for a few years now but thought this recipe sounded like it was worth a go. I can tell you this was fantastic!!  The flavours were amazing, so fresh with a bit of tang and It was the tastiest, yummiest lunch.  This one is a keeper and is so easy too. 

For the tortillas I used Mission Brand Hi Fibre as they have the lowest carbs and calories of the range I looked at in the supermarket.

You could make this recipe with a lower fat content by using a bit less avocado but I wasn't too worried about it.  I always use Josephine's reduced fat Danish style feta, as it's really creamy but low in fat.

I also used double the amount of pumpkin, as pumpkin tends to shrink a bit when roasted and the amount was perfect.   I also used cherry tomatoes instead of roma as in the original recipe

Using my adaption this this recipe had around 495 calories per serve.
Roast Vegetable Tostadas

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

400g butternut or Kent/Jap pumpkin, sliced
approx 12 cherry tomatoes
2 red onions, cut into wedges
4 tbs olive oil
4 corn or flour tortillas
1 tbs finely chopped Jalapeno chillis and 1 tbs of the pickling brine
1 tbs lime juice plus extra to serve
125g can red kidney beans rinsed and drained
1 avocado, chopped
100g feta, crumbled
Mexican chilli salsa (approx 1 tbs per tortilla or to taste)
Coriander sprigs

Preheat oven to 180º and line a large baking sheet with baking paper.  Place the pumpkin, tomato and onion on the tray and drizzle with a little olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt and coarsley ground black pepper to taste.  Bake for around 40 mins or until vegetables are soft and lightly charred. Cool.

Wrap the tortillas loosely in foil and warm in the oven for 3 mins.
Meanwhile, whisk the chopped jalapenos, brine, lime juice and remaining olive oil in a bowl and season to taste.  Add the kidney beans and the avocado and mix gently to combine.

To serve, scatter avocado salad over warmed tortillas and top with roast vegetables, feta and salsa.  Garnish with coriander and an extra squeeze of lime. 

Let me know if you enjoy this as much as I did!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Anyone for a cigar?

One of my favourite cookbooks is 'Arabesque' by Claudia Roden, which I bought at an amazing bookshop in Fremantle, W.A. (although it's much cheaper at Fishpond).   It was one of those bookshops that have lots of books that the standard franchise shops don't have, as well as lots of beautiful cards and paper. 

I made this recipe the other night, but changed a couple of things:

- instead of using lamb mince, I bought diced lamb and put it in the food processor to mince it (less fat)
- I put Nigella seeds on top of each roll before cooking them in the oven
- I used olive oil with a pastry brush for the pastry instead of butter
- I made a yoghurt dip to serve them with ( so I processed a small bunch of coriander  and a small bunch of mint with 2 tbs natural yoghurt) then I added another cup and a half of natural yoghurt to that and put in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon and 1/2 tsp ground cumin.
-  I used 1tsp Sambal Oeleck (chilli paste) instead of dried chilli

  • Recipe:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 4 tbs veg oil
  • 750g minced lamb or beef (I used lamb as above)
  • 1/2 -1 tsp ground ginger 
  • pinch salt
  • black pepper or pinch ground chilli pepper
  • small bunch coriander, chopped
  • small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 5 eggs lightly beaten (for a lower fat option, leave out 2 of the egg yolks)
  • 500g large sheets of filo pastry
  • olive oil to brush on pastry

In a large frying pan soften the onion in the oil.  Add the meat, spices, salt and pepper or chilli and cook, crushing the meat with a fork and turning it over, until it changes colour, approx 10 mins.  Stir in the parsley and coriander and the beaten eggs and cook on low heat for a few moments, stirring until the eggs are set and a creamy consistency.  Allow filling to cool.

Lay a few sheets of filo pastry on top of each other and cut in half lengthways so you have strips of around 15cm x 30cm.  Put the piles of strips together and cover with a tea towel so they don't dry out.

Place one strip of filo on a chopping board and lightly brush the ends with oil and a little along the middle.  Lay a tablespoon of filling at one short end, about 2cm from each edge.  Roll up like a cigar, when you get to halfway, fold the sides in and then continue to roll letting the sides unfold so the cigars appear to be open.

Place the rolls side by side on a tray with baking paper and brush the tops with a light layer of olive oil.  Sprinkle with nigella seeds, or alternatively you can use white or black sesame seeds, and cook for around 20-30 mins in an oven preheated to 180ºc.  
Serve hot with the yoghurt sauce or plain.

These can be made in advance and just cooked prior to serving.  They got the thumbs up from my friends!

Blackberry Smoothie!

I am LOVING fresh blackberries at the moment, they are even cheaper than blueberries.  I am determined to get healthier this year and lose the weight of my textbooks that I have seemed to absorb over the last year of study.  I am enjoying smoothies for breakfast and this one is extra nice because it's bright purple!!   High in calcium and fibre and only around 290 calories it's a great start to the day.  After one of these I am so full I don't need to snack mid-morning.  

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) blackberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries
  • 250ml Physical no-fat milk
  • 1 tsp honey (optional for those with a sweet tooth)

Blend all of the above, admire the 'purpleness' and enjoy!

Raspberry, Pistachio and Rosewater Icecream

Yum - I made this for a recent dinner party and it was great!  So easy too!  I had Middle Eastern, mostly Morroccan food, so I wanted something that would go with that theme.  My sister gave me the idea from something my mum had made one Christmas, so I got the recipe from her, not sure where it came from originally.

  • 2 litres Streets Blue Ribbon ice-cream, softened
  • approx 400g frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 85g natural unsalted pistachios
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tsp Rosewater essence
  • Fresh raspberries and honey to serve

Put the softened icecream in a bowl add the raspberries, pistachios and rosewater essence.  Drizzle in 1tbs honey.  Stir gently to combine.  Press into a bowl or loaf tin (I used an extra long loaf tin) lined with plastic wrap and cover with more plastic wrap.  Refreeze.  

To serve, lift the icecream from the bowl or tin and slice, serve with the fresh raspberries and a drizzle of honey.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

New fabric and ideas

So I've just got back from Brisbane where I was inspired with new ideas.  I recently bought myself a wide bias maker and my plan is to make some lightweight denim skirts, blue and black A lines and I'll be putting a patterned bias around the hem.  With this and some original applique featuring some new fabrics and embellishments I should soon have a few one off skirts for sale (and some for me!) which will be around $60 each.    That's all for now (as I get interrupted every 5 mins in school hols) but will be back with some more soon!  I am planning to make 2012 a year of creativity combined with part-time teaching, and hopefully will get to teach my students some creativity too!

Here are some of the fabrics I've just ordered, can't wait to get them.


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