Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Comments are fixed

Ooops, I accidentally prevented most people from commenting on my blog. Just fixed it -- and now I will await a flood of comments ! :)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Weihnachten Pyramide

This "Pyramide" was something I asked my DH to buy for me when he was in Germany earlier this year. I bought one for my parents many years ago when I was an exchange student there, and I've always wanted one for myself. It's a traditional wooden Christmas decoration. The heat from the candles makes the fan -- and thus the little people -- rotate. Doesn't it look Christmassy with our simple dinner of salad, guacamole and ciabatta (Italian bread)?

Copy of a Sumo salad

My new favorite lunch spot at the mall (hey! I've been Christmas shopping a lot lately!) is Sumo Salad. You can get a box of any of their salads for $8. Today, for instance, I had Thai chicken and rice noodle salad; tabbouleh with lentils; and felafel salad with rocket, pumpkin and couscous. Filling, light and delicious.
I made the salad in the photograph for a BBQ we went to last night, and I copied it straight from another Sumo Salad. Baby rocket, canned corn, diced red capsicum and tuna packed in chilli oil, tossed with the oil from the tin of tuna and some lemon juice. The chilli added just a little heat to the crunchy munchiness.

The night before the markets

On the evening before I go fruit and vegie shopping, I often have bits and pieces of vegies that I need to use up. Tonight I used them up in a variety of vegie side dishes to be served with a big can of baked beans. The side dishes are:
  • coleslaw made with grated carrot and red cabbage tossed in Paul Newman's balsamic salad dressing
  • cold cooked potatoes cooked with a lonely zucchini and tomato
  • one mashed avocado.

Stir fry

Stir-fried broccoli, zucchini, red capsicum and 5-spice tofu with brown rice.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Salad nicoise

One of my favourite summer dinners is salad nicoise. In the cooler morning, cook the potatoes and eggs. Green beans or snow peas can be blanched briefly in the the potato water. I marinate these vegies in the fridge all day with a vinaigrette made of 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper. Then before serving place these on top of lettuce and garnish with fresh tomato, Italian-style tuna (packed in oil) and olives. Delish.

Birthday party

For my son's birthday party he requested:

jelly snakes
bread sticks
frozen icy poles (popsicles) and ice cream

Wow, I think I got off easy, as no cooking was involved and he actually requested fruit, woo-hoo.

For the adults, I added some olives, Turkish bread and dips, cheese, and cashews.

The cake has been the same since he was 2: a chocolate bear cake, first spotted in his 'Toddler's Big Book of Everything'. The sour cream chocolate cake recipe is from Betty Crocker (circa 1985) and was topped with a REAL chocolate icing (250 g cooking chocolate melted with 250 mL cream) and oh man was the icing divine.

Pirate Pete made an appearance at the party for a treasure hunt.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tofu tonight

My son told me this was the best tofu I've ever made. I simmered it in my normal sauce of spring onions, teriyaki sauce (from a bottle) and ginger. The only unusual addition was mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine), so perhaps that's the trick! Served with brown rice; shredded carrot and cabbage in Paul Newman 'original' salad dressing; and canned baby corn (BIG hit with kiddies).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Leftover surprise

This "Spanish tortilla" is a good way to use leftover vegetables . Last night's roasted potatoes, sauteed zucchini and peas were warmed in a non-stick pan with some spring onion. Six beaten eggs were then added, and the heat turned down low until the bottom is set (the top is still wet). Then place under the griller (broiler) until the the top is just cooked. Sprinkle with grated cheese and put under the griller again until melted.

On the side, we had steamed broccoli and raw carrot sticks. For dessert: yogurt and "berry delight" from a jar.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Chicken tonight

Chicken tenderloins roasted in the oven with red capsicums, cherry tomatoes, olives and garlic cloves. Served with broccoli and snow peas. Yogurt with mangos and honey for dessert.


Leftover vegie and barley soup, salad, and toast with avocado -- served with fresh red roses (A's choice) and my grandmother's quilted Christmas placemat.

Roasted tomato and rocket pasta

This recipe is on the cover of one of my favourite cookbooks, Off the Shelf by Donna Hay. Every time I look at it, I think it looks delicious, but I've made it for the first time just now. It's so simple. Roast tomatoes and garlic in the oven (30-45 minutes at 180oC for these Roma tomatoes, less for cherry tomatoes) then toss with freshly cooked pasta, chopped rocket (arugula) and extra virgin olive oil. Simple and yummy.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Mangos are definitely more seasonal than turkey dinners! We bought our first case of mangos this week and the kids are thrilled. Mangos taste delicious plus they are delightfully messy to eat. You cut the two 'cheeks' off, dice the flesh without removing the skin, then turn the cheeks inside out to eat the cubes of flesh. Then you gnaw the remaining flesh off the fibrous seed in one last decadent bath of mango juice.
When I first arrived in Australia, mangos were too richly tropical for me -- they tasted almost rotten to me. But my DH was intent that I would love mangos, and so he kept buying me them until I fell in love (with the mangos that is, I was already in love with him). In December we buy a case every other week until Christmas. Our school even has a very successful fundraiser where parents can purchase trays of mangos for $23 each!

Soup with turkey stock

We've been eating leftovers all week from Thanksgiving -- along with 300 million other Americans. And the final hurrah is a soup made with the turkey carcass. I made a rich stock then added barley and vegies (carrots, beans, celery and onion). Not really soup weather here -- with temps reaching 95oF -- but a simply enjoyed meal nonetheless.