Dear Lovely Readers,

First up, a huge thank you to those of you who have been asking for an update! My trip to Melbourne was hectic to say the least. (Thankfully I ate LOTS of food to fortify me!) I came back to Toowoomba late last Wednesday and by Friday afternoon I’d landed myself a new job. So, in the midst of recovering from my trip, I’ve been gearing up to go back to work and then, actually going back to work. (For those of you who are interested – work is a part-time gig editing/updating a consulting firm’s research reports and marketing materials. Lots of desktop publishing!)

Unfortunately, my return to work means the end of daily updates here – at least for the time being. I’m aiming to update 2-3 times a week, and perhaps more frequently as I become more au fait with work and no longer come away feeling like my brain’s been through a juicer. There’s the Working Mum thing to get used to, as well!

I’ll be posting some highlights of my Melbourne trip this week, and then some recipes to come – soon!

Thanks for coming by.

Jo

BBQ Man is a supremely capable Dad, but I thought I’d help out a little by cooking and freezing some meals for when I’m away in Melbourne. Otherwise I don’t think a single piece of vegetable will be eaten by BBQ Man or Little Miss over the 7 days that I’m away. So I did a cookout on the weekend, and made  beef and vegetable goulash pie, lamb and spinach pasta bake, Tex Mex bake (vegetarian, muahaha!) and soy sauce chicken with rice, (which hopefully BBQ Man will slice up some cucumber to eat with).

To make beef and vegetable goulash pie, fry 500g beef mince and a cup each of chopped pumpkin, carrot and peas with an onion. Add 2 heaped tablespoons of paprika and 1/2 cup water. Season well with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and top with either a sheet of puff pastry or mash potato, and bake.

I topped mine with mash potato, and added a touch of whimsy which I’m pretty sure the Little Miss would like.

I sprinkled paprika into a heart-shaped pancake/egg ring…

Voila!

Have a great week ahead and I’ll see you back here on Thursday.

Dear Lovely Readers,

On Thursday this week, I’ll be setting off on my own to Melbourne. We are going to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday on Saturday. My Ah Mah hasn’t been well of late and is in hospital on an extended stay. I’m feeling a bittersweet squeeze in my heart… Can’t help but wonder if this will be her last birthday. It’s an awful feeling. But I’m determined to focus on the positives.

We will be celebrating her birthday with a thanksgiving service, followed by an afternoon tea. I’ve offered to help with the catering and am oddly excited at the prospect of providing light refreshments for some 20-odd – oops, perhaps should I say – 20-plus people. So I will be busy organising that, and then having lots of family time once everyone arrives in Melbourne.

I’ve decided to take a break from blogging to focus on family. I’ll be taking photos and probably planning posts; but will be away from the blogosphere from Thursday 31 March. I’ll start posting again from Thursday 7 April.

Thank you for coming by each day – or every now and again – it’s always a pleasure to have you.

Jo

 

Creme brulee is that irresistible combination of crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, and of soft vanilla accents amidst the bite of burnt sugar. It’s a dessert so simple and yet, so, so decadent. A whole little pot of cream, enriched with egg yolks and infused with vanilla, topped with caramelised sugar, for each person! Bliss!

There are many variations on this classic French dessert. Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut praline, Coffee Creme Brulee, Baileys Creme Brulee, Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Creme Brulee… You’ll find a selection of those creme brulee recipes at http://www.taste.com.au/. (Just type in creme brulee in the search option.) I used the first recipe on that page, featured in Delicious Magazine. My variations on the recipe: I used a grill to burn the sugar, and the old thing wasn’t quite hot enough to completely melt the sugar – but it still caramelised and had a good crunch to it. Also, I used vanilla paste instead of vanilla bean.

Enjoy! 

    Welcome back to Friday Picks! I hope you enjoy these easy-to-make recipes! I’d love to hear from you as to what recipes you’d like to see here – more side dishes, or more desserts, or more pasta? Less meat? Super quick ones, or slow cooker recipes? I’d love to hear about the recipes you might have tried from the Picks, as well.

Enjoy your weekend!

 Meatos

   Lamb Tagine 

    Beef and Cashew Stir fry    

    Creamy Pesto Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes    

 

Vegos

 Veggie Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato Mash 

     Eggplant, Ricotta and Parmesan Bake 

  Vegetarian Phad Thai  

Dear Readers,

Today has been one of those days. I think I’ve sprained my brain – I guess brainstorming will do that – so this will be a short one.

I received a card from my lovely Yakky Sister-in-Law a couple of weeks ago. She saw the picture of the bowl of pears and thought of me, and wrote to tell me to hold out hope that my ‘writing dreams can come true if (I) keep writing, rattling doors and believing.’

It may take a word, a touch, a card, a gift. But if you see an opportunity to hold out hope to a loved-one today, please follow through and give a little of yourself to that person. That small gesture could be just the thing to help them get through, today or another day. Reading this card again gave me a much needed boost today.

Thanks, Sis! Love ya!

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

Our friends Connie and Fidelis had us to dinner recently, and we feasted on some seriously good curry. We had Bombay potatoes and a chicken curry, pickles and Fidelis’ own pickled green chillies, which blew my head right OFF (stop laughing, certain readers in Malaysia).

 

Pics by Fidelis Rego, Curry Chef Extraordinaire

Since then, I’ve been craving chilli hits at almost every meal. It wasn’t enough to just have my mouth tingle, but I was after some serious burn. So with that in mind, I set off to make my own curry, from scratch, from whole spices.

  

Mmm…whole spices smell amazing! Especially when I bash away at it with a mortar and pestle! Then I realise that while it’s an exhilarating sensory experience, it takes a loooong time to reduce it to a fine powder. Time for some reinforcements…

 

Put them all in a spice grinder…exert myself by pressing a button for 2-3 seconds…look! Fine powder! 

 

I chose to make this curry because, it’s really quite a simple one (relatively speaking) to make. All it needs is spice, meat and coconut milk, and then a gentle simmer until the meat is tender. If you don’t want to use whole spice (and having to grind them), just substitute with ground/powdered spice. I served this curry with rice and a very simple, tangy carrot salad. The tangy carrot salad/relish is not something I’ve made before, but I think now that I will always have that with a curry. The cool, tangy carrot perfectly balanced the rich, spicy curry. Now I understand why Indians love pickles with their curry!

You’ll find a similar recipe to the one I used, here. Enjoy!

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