A tiny slice of my life

This is a look at my life, and the many things I try to learn and do.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

Well I hope everyone one had a very Merry Christmas.

I had a very quiet Christmas with family at my parents house.

We had hailstones the size of goofballs in the afternoon. My sisters car didn't get any dents, but my parents have 2 holes in the laser light on their veranda.

Also we had spectacular thunder and lightening, which sent my parents dog Coco, into a barking frenzy.

Miss Jess just clambered not my lap and slept, Mr CLI was at his parents house.

We went off to the Boxing Day sales because Miss Fish had 3 vouchers to use, which we did and some.

Well on the car I jury front my shoulder is still giving me a great deal of trouble, I think I will need to go to the Doctors in the New Year.

I hope you are resting up for your New Years celebrations.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Didn't I speak to soon. ...

Well I thought I was entering into the last minute calm before the Christmas storm last week. How little did I know.

What noise exploding airbags make, is permently implanted in my mind.

On Wednesday I was driving along minding my own business when what do I see coming towards me 0n my side of the road but a car travelling very fast on my side of the road.

So I have my arm in the sling and a hairline fracture of my clavicle, and burns and bruising from the airbag.

So my blogs will be a bit up and down till my arm heals.

So I hope everyone has their Christmas festivities under control. Mine have now been curtailed trying to cook with one arm is nearly impossible. Never mind I am here to speak about it and luckily Miss Fish wasn't in the car.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All Calm Again

Well I am typing this on my iPad hence no pictures, I still have to work our how to do that.

Yesterday after waiting nearly a whole day to see if the new iPhone had come in I called and found out that the shop had just received their 47 boxes of products and the kind fellow on the phone checked to see if the iPhones had arrived.

After a moments wait he informed me that he had my new phone in his hand, so I told him that I was on my way. I rang Mr CLI and he said "meet me out the front" so I grabbed my handbag the other phone and hurried down the drive way which is no quick walk as our front fence is 80 meters from our back door. I only had to wait a moment till his car came hurrying along and off we went.

Now I must point out I am not even getting the newest and latest iPhone only the 3 gs because they are cheaper and they will do the job for me.

As my old phone when I use it the battery cover slides of and the battery has a crack in it, also when Mr CLI or Miss Fish send me a photo from their iPhone 4 my phone can't open the photos.

Hence the need for a new phone.

Also I have promised to have it turned on at all times so I can be contacted. Lol

I do have a habit of going out and not turning on my mobile, just when it seems all the world needs to speak to me about very important things !

So I have strict instructions from Mr CLI to keep my phone on today as he may ring me.

As I have to quilt Miss Fish's quilt I am giving her for Christmas today I will home most of the day, but I better make sure that I keep the phone close by. LOL

So till tomorrow I had better scurry and get quilting before I start playing with my new toys.

One final word from Mr CLI "aren't we lucky we didn't put these under the tree for Christmas Day"

I can only concur because I would have needed a vat of espresso martinis to have coped with all the drama. LOL

Monday, December 12, 2011

Frustration with Technology

Why haven't I been online yesterday, because I have been up to my eyeballs in technology and what now seems like a permanent fixture my phone attached to my ear for hours. No word of a lie I spent 2 hours on Sunday and 3 hours yesterday on the phone.

What you are asking was I trying to do that required so long on the phone, well I was dealing with the newest technology iPads and iPhones.

Why oh why would they create a system that has the Internet but requires you to go onto a computer to connect to the Internet to toggle with iTunes, what a nightmare.

I ended with neither the iPad or the iPhone working on the network we had selected. So back to the shop yesterday to replace both of the sim cards for another network, but the mobile with the other network was sold after we left the shop !!!!

Also to top it of when the salesman remove the hard plastic protective cover that we had bought he broke it !!!

As it was the last pink one I now have blue covers, much more manly for Mr CLI he was the one that wanted to get an ipad.

So I have to wait till today for new stock to arrive oh dear !

So what kept me busy yesterday connecting to the new service provider, you call and provide enough details to fill a screen. Then you have to go onto iTunes to finish the activation, why it baffles me and what was the result a frozen iPad that required calls to Apple with no results then Mr CLI came home at lunchtime so I could try on his laptop. What a lifesaver.

The result after 1 and 1/2 hours is an iPad that's works Yipeeee

What does today bring hopefully a new iPhone and NO problems. I will update you tomorrow.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Santa has escaped

Well last night we were at one of the many Christmas Parties Miss Fish has this year. Santa even came on a Fire Engine with the lights and sirens !

You might ask which Santa has escaped, well my Santa's have the are now lurking about my house.

Santa with the long legs.

He was the first Santa I made and he seems quite at home with a paper chain that Miss Fish made draped around him.

Miss Fish makes paper chains to decorate the house every Christmas, she has advanced from me cutting out the paper and using sticky tape to make the chains. To her cutting out the paper and using the stapler, her chains are just about perfect this year.

Cheeky Santa

He is all attitude.

Spooky Santa

Why is he spooky Santa because when I first made him I put him in the lounge room and at night he scared the heck out of Mr CLI.

He doesn't like him in the lounge room and each Christmas asks were he is so he doesn't get a fright.

I drew his face then colored him in with pencil. So he is very pale.

Have you got any spooky or scary Christmas decoration that scare anyone, or are all yours happy and sweet ?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bring Some Liquid Cheer to Christmas

Now I don't drink very often, but on Christmas day I don't mind one or two maybe even 3 or 4 after all the kerfuffle of lunch is over and we are sitting and opening our presents.

Now last year my parents came to my house for Christmas and I designed an espresso martini for my Dad and I,we both love coffee flavoured drinks and my Mum never drinks alcohol and Mr CLI doesn't anymore.

This was such a hit the bottle of champagne stayed in the fridge and we managed to get through about 2 litres of this cocktail, a friend of ours also popped in an had one or two , she lives within walking distance and my parents stay here for a rest, so no one had to worry about driving.

So don't panic I made these so you knew there was some alcohol in them but not that strong that it would knock your socks of after the first glass.

This recipe can be altered to make other cocktails with cream in them if you like cream based cocktails.

You can later and adapt this recipe to your taste.

Espresso Martini
1 litre cold espresso coffee - I used instant espresso granules and boiling water let it cool then refrigerated it, as you don't want any coffee grounds
2 cups sugar syrup - made by boiling 2 1/2 cups water with 1 cup caster sugar till slightly thickened but not browned in any way about 5 minutes of simmering

vodka, kahlua and creme de cacao

creme de cacao

In a large jug mix the litre of coffee add 1 cup of sugar syrup and 1/4 cup of each liquor , stir and taste. You may need more liquor you want it so you can taste the alcohol but it not burn your mouth also you want it slightly sweet but not sickly sweet.

Peppermint Crisp

per drink
1/4 cup cream, 1 shot (30 ml) kahlua, 1 shot (30 ml) creme de menthe, 1/4 cup cold espresso coffee

creme de menthe

Shake together in a cocktail shaker or whizz in a blender, pour into you glass and top with grated chocolate.

So there are 2 ideas for some Christmas cheer, if you want to make a non alcoholic chocolate martini, use the coffee and sugar syrup mix together then top with a dollop of softly whipped cream and a grating of nutmeg. It is similar to an iced coffee but without the milk.

So next time you think of Christmas or even for New Years eve, think cocktails have a fossick in your drinks cupboard and see what you have hiding in the back and invent a cocktail just for you.

Cheers !

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Some Christmas Fun

Now today I am going to give you some interesting Santa and Christmas things that you may not know.

While reading the papers on Saturday I found a little item about an app that you can download on your iphone to follow Santa's trip on Christmas eve.

I got Mr CLI to check if it costs anything it doesn't its free. The app is from NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command).

Now as Miss Fish still believes in Santa I might get him to download it, my only concern is that being in USA that they will be a day behind so we will have to see on Christmas Eve.

There is even a North Pole site on the web that has a count down till Christmas fun activities for kids and things for parents to do.

If you have children and they want to write a letter to Santa there is even a website just for that.

Everything seems to be electronic, what happened to the days of writing a letter to Santa and going to the local shopping centre and popping it in a specially marked box, or even leaving it out on Christmas Eve for Santa to read.

Talking of Christmas Eve in our house for many years Santa has only got water and carrots for the reindeer, as Miss Le Coiffure stopped the tradition of leaving a glass of Port for Santa when the

"If you drink and drive your a bloody idiot" ads started so Santa was banned for all alcohol ! LOL

Mr CLI and I put up our outside lights last night, when I get all the leads connected tonight I will take a photo, but we did this with a bit of sadness, as I love Christmas lights I purchased a 48 metre long rope light which I hung on our front fence.

Last year Mr CLI came home one night and said that some of the rope light wasn't working, as it was nearly Christmas I didn't do anything about.

When we checked it out last night the moron or morons that had swung on it with such force they had some how broken the connection in the rope so that only half of it worked !

We of course didn't hear anything when it was done, the same as when they hung of our 2 metre high front gate and pulled it from the pillar, because our house is set back 60 metres from the front fence.

So this year we hung up what was still working on the front of the house. The good thing that did come out of it is the Christmas Grinch, Mr CLI said I could get more lights for next year and we will keep them closer to the house.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Coconut Chicken with Mango and Peanut Salsa

Well this a meal I cooked the other night there hasn't been much cooking for the last couple of days because I am busy on the sewing machine making Christmas presents.

I will post photos after I have given the presents as I don't want Miss Le Coiffure to see them here.

This was another of my easy recipes that can be put together in about 1/2 an hour. A terrific idea for a BBQ.

You can make the salsa with either pineapple or mango, as I only had a mango I used that. As usual I served a salad with it, you know you need to get you greens in any way you can.

Coconut Chicken
4 chicken breasts cut into tenderloins, 1/2 400gm can coconut cream, white part of lemon grass finely sliced, 1 tsp ground coriander , 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tsps brown or palm sugar

To Serve - steamed rice and salad

Mix all ingredients together. Heat a griddle pan or frypan with 2-3 tbsps oil. Add chicken strips grill 3 - 4 minutes on one side, turn reduce heat to medium cook for a further 3 - 4 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with salsa, rice and salad.

Mango/Pineapple Salsa
1 small pineapple, peeled cored and cut into bite size pieces or 1 large mango peeled and cut into bite size pieces, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1/4 cup peanuts with the skin removed

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Star of Siam - Adelaide South Australia

Now the very first time Mr CLI and I went away to Adelaide , way back in 2005, the actual last time I rode my old motorbike anywhere, this is the first restaurant we ate at.

We have been going there ever since. I can still remember the first meal we had it was barramundi with a green mango salad, both of which we had never eaten before. It was divine.

We sat out the front of the restaurant under the veranda watching the passing parade of cars and pedestrians. The Star of Siam is in Gouger Street if you know anything about Adelaide you will know that this street is full of restaurants and the back of the Adelaide Central market is there as well.

We have taken Miss Fish there twice and she has thoroughly enjoyed, as she is a fried rice and dim sim girl she was a bit concerned that there wouldn't be anything she liked, but she happily sat and ate small spring rolls, rice and stir fried vegetables, before her and I had coconut ice cream.

Now for just their coconut ice cream it is worth going there.

A word of warning if you do intend to eat there for Dinner especially on a Friday night you will need to book , as it is very busy with people leaving work who then do there weekly shop at the market then have tea there then go home.

So if you want some divine food in a very friendly atmosphere go to the Star of Siam next time you are in Adelaide.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Some Christmas Cheer

Well we are officially in the Christmas spirit, even the Christmas Grinch (Mr CLI) can't complain because it is now after the 1st of December - Miss Fish and I decorated the inside of the house last Tuesday, because she had no work - and the Christmas Grinch complained that it wasn't even December !

Miss Fish & I love Christmas not so much for the presents, which are nice, but all the lights and decorations.

So we put our tree up last night. I always try to color theme the tree each year and I remembered that I had bought Christmas balls in January this year, when they were cheap.

So while Miss Fish was getting out the decorations I got out my new balls and tinsel only to discover that they don't have any hangers on them, what are we meant to do try and jam them onto our tree branches in the tiny holes at the top.

So Mr CLI got the job of tying ribbon loops onto them so that I could hang them on our tree. Which he did a very good job of, until he made the comment "that if he had bought the balls he would have noticed that they didn't have any hangers" after that comment he nearly had one of the balls in a place most uncomfortable. lol

When the tree was decorated Miss Fish officiated in Mr CLI hanging up her candy canes a must on our tree.


Here is a desperate dog Miss Jessie, who is 12 years old and our 3rd daughter she had her bed put up for vacuuming and we returned to find her asleep in it !

As I am typing this I am looking at her once again perched high on the lounge asleep, protected from the vacuum cleaner !


Miss Fish went to a race themed dinner last Friday night, she has a busier social life than me. She bought home a horse !

Giddy up !

We still have to put up our outside lights - the Christmas Grinch has to help, but I hope if the weather holds out we will get them up this weekend.

So if you haven't started already, have a merry time decorating your house.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mini Meatballs

Now as the theme for the party food was finger food I even made the meatballs small. Out of 500gms of mince I got about 40 meatballs.

As with most of my recipes this one is very easy, but the meatballs are moist and flavourful.

You can make them ahead of time then cover them in tin foil and reheat in the oven.

500 gms mince beef, 2 cloves garlic grated, 2 tbsps tomato sauce, 1 tbsps Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp celery salt, 1 tbps chopped fresh parsley.

In a bowl mix all ingredients together, the best way to do this is with your hands. Collect the mince together in a ball the throw it together on the inside side of the bowl. Do this several times till the meat melds together.

I do this so that the meatballs don't fall apart while cooking.

Roll into small balls, or larger if you wish for bigger meatballs. Heat 2 tbsps oil in a large frypan. Cook for 3-4 minutes rolling the balls around to get and even brownness over the meatballs.

Reduce heat to medium cover the frypan the cook for a further 5 - 7 minutes stirring a couple of times, till the meatballs are cooked through.

Remove from the frypan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Serve hot with tomato or BBQ sauce.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Very Easy Mini Egg and Bacon Pies

Now these are very easy to make you could make them bigger, but I think they are nice this size which is about 3 bites depending on the size of your mouth.

These went down a treat at the party the other day, with people commenting how tasty they are.

It is nice to get compliments for your food when you have worked hard to prepare it.

One lady even asked me if I catered for parties professionally ! In another life I may have, had I not been put of studying cooking at Emily MacPherson in Melbourne as a teenager.

This recipe is for 12 pies. You can multiple as much as you want. Also as it has so few ingredients you would probably have most of them in your fridge and freezer you can make them at a drop of a hat.

I used the smaller tray, but you could use a larger tray and double the recipe.

Also once cooled they can be frozen for another time.

Egg and Bacon Pies
1 sheet puff pastry,cut into 12 squares, 3 large or 4 small eggs beaten with a couple of grinds of black pepper, 3 rashers bacon, rind removed and chopped into 1 cm pieces

Preheat oven to 220.c.

Place the pastry squares into each hole. If your tray is not non stick I would spray the tray with a little oil to make it easier to get the pies out after baking.

Divide the bacon between each pie. Top with egg. Bake 15 minutes or until pastry is golden and the filling is set.

Remove from the oven and as soon as you can remove pies from the tray and cool on a cake rack.

Eat and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beans Means Dips

Well we are nearly into Summer so here are 2 recipes for dips that can be whipped up in a matter of moments, if you have guests pop in a the last moment or fancy something to nibble on while having afternoon drinkies in the Summer heat.

One is my favourite hummus.

You can get the recipe here.

The other is a spicy bean dip that can be made with a can of any beans that you like chickpea, kidney, butter beans or 4 bean mix, to name a few.

So I always have 1 can of chickpeas and another can of beans in the pantry just for this reason.

Spicy Bean Dip
1 400gm can beans drained, 1 small tomato cut into 1/4's, 1/2 - 1 tsp Tabasco sauce, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice

Place in ingredients in a food processor, process till either very smooth or leave a little bit chunky. Taste to see if it needs more juice or Tabasco. Put into a serving bowl and enjoy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Poached Chicken Sandwiches & Tuna Sandwiches

Well the Fiesta is over and I have recovered from it. Friday here was very humid and it was very hard keeping everything cold, but Miss Peru and I managed it and everyone had a wonderful time.

The 2 sandwich fillings I made was Not Quite Nigella's tuna dip and my own poached chicken in home made mayonnaise.

When setting the table I thought the platter holding the sandwiches felt uneven when I took the damp tea towel of I noticed that 1/2 of the chicken sandwiches were missing.

Feeling a bit perplexed I asked Miss Peru what had happened she look at the birthday boy (note 24 yrs old), who gave me a sheepish smile and said he was hungry. lol

Luckily we has made plenty or all the guests would have missed out

You can find Not Quite Nigella tuna dip recipe here.

Now 1 chicken breast will give you enough filling for 8 sandwiches. The mayonnaise recipe is enough for 1 chicken breast.

I make the mayonnaise by hand, about the only thing I will whisk by hand. I have tried to make it in the blender but for this small amount it doesn't seem to work.

All up it took about 15 minutes to make the mayonnaise, not long at all !

Poached Chicken
1 chicken breast all fat & skin removed, 2 cloves garlic flattened with the side of your knife, 1 tsp whole white peppercorns, 1 spring onion root end removed

To serve 16 slices bread, and some very thinly sliced iceberg lettuce

In a saucepan big enough to cover the chicken breast, add all the ingredients except the chicken and enough water to cover the chicken breast.

Bring the water to the boil, boil 10 minutes with lid one. Add chicken, simmer 4 minutes with the lid. Turn off heat but leave the chicken in the saucepan and the lid on.

Leave for 1/2 hour this will poach the chicken to moist tenderness. When cool enough to handle remove from the liquid and shred into the mayonnaise, stir together.

Spread some filling onto bread then top with the lettuce. Cut sandwiches into 3 fingers.

1 egg yolk, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground white pepper, 1/4 cup olive oil - make sure it doesn't have to strong a flavour or it will overpower the delicate flavour of the chicken, 2 tsps each lemon juice and champagne vinegar

In a bowl whisk together the yolk, mustard and salt. Slowly add the oil about 1/2 teaspoon at a time till the mayonnaise is thick and you have used all the oil. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Taste you may what more lemon juice or pepper.

Finished mayonnaise

This is the set up for making the mayonnaise, I have a tea towel on my granite bench top then my very heavy mortar.

Then I place another tea towel in which I put the bowl.

This makes for a very sturdy bowl that won't slip about while you do all the whisking.

So I hope you try these fillings as the are very easy but very, very yummy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Viva La Fiesta

Sorry about there was no blog yesterday, but the day disappeared and by the time I realised it was late last night.

What was I doing yesterday, well my good friend Miss Peru and I were talking last week and I said I really need to get her around for a meal, I would love to make it a High Tea with all the trimmings.

She exclaimed in excitement how about instead of having it at my house as it will be her Son's 24th birthday next week, why don't we do that for his birthday.

So that is it we planned the menu last week and yesterday I was busy, busy cooking.

Some of the things that I have made are little meatballs, sausage rolls, home made mayonnaise and poached chicken for sandwich fillings.

I have also made Not Quite Nigella recipe for tuna dip that we are going to use for another sandwich filling.

The most exciting thing that I made was a chocolate Charlotte Cake, for those of you that don't know it is a dense chocolate mousse surrounded with sponge fingers (Italian ladies fingers - savoiardi) that I am going to decorate with piped cream, strawberries and chocolate shavings.

So as you can see I have been very busy and when I take photos tonight of the finished items I will post the recipes over the next week.

Asi que es hora de fiesta esta noche !!!

(so it is party time tonight)

Catch you on the flip side.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An apple of a Dilemma

After making the chicken pot pie the other night, I was left with 3/4 of a sheet of pastry. As this was the only bit I had left I wasn't going to freeze it, but what to do.

Light bulb moment I had 1 apple in the fruit bowl why not make apple turnovers, one for each of us to have with ice cream.

This is what I did.

Now when I sat down to write today's blog I had a feeling of de ja vue, what was niggling in the back of my mind. Mmmmmm

What it was , was that I had already given the recipe for apple turnovers, never mind I will give you the amounts needed to make using 1 apple. This made 3 well filled turnovers. I did sprinkle a little caster sugar on top of the egg wash to give the pastry an extra crunch.

1 apple, 1 tbsp butter, 1 heaped tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp water, pinch of both cinnamon and star anise.

This is how the apple should look after being cooked.

Then follow the recipe in the attached blog.

Ready for the oven.

So back to the sewing machine for me, I am quilting a quilt for the lounge in our kitchen area.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of those filling meals that can be made in advance and you can add ingredients that you like.

A lot of my recipes are like that, that is my style of cooking I wing it in the kitchen, sometimes even cake recipes I am not too precise with, unless it is terrible important like sponge or pavlova.

Why pot pie I am not to sure this seems to be an American term for what we would call chicken pie, it just sounds a bit more interesting.

You can make the filling earlier in the day or even the day before, but remember that if your filling is cold from the fridge it is going to need to cook it longer in the oven. So start at a lower temperature till it starts to warm the filling, then increase the heat to puff the pastry.

You will know when the filling is hot because there will be puffs of steam coming from under the pastry if it isn't stuck to tightly to the dish and the juices will start to come out of the vent holes in the pastry.

This pie is large enough for 4 generous serves by itself or with mash potato you could get 6 serves.

Chicken Pot Pie
2 large or 3 small chicken breasts, cut into 2cm cubes, 2 cups mixed vegetables - I used carrots, peas, beans & corn kernels, 2 heaped tsps dijon mustard, 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, 1/2 cup milk or cream, 2 tsps dijon mustard, 1 tsps dried herbs or 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs - use soft herbs like thyme, parsley or oregano, salt & pepper,
Beurre Manie - used for thickening - 1 tbsp softened butter & 1 tbsp plain flour mixed together with a fork

1-2 sheets puff pastry, 1 egg beaten for egg wash

To serve - creamy mashed potato

Heat 2 tbsps olive oil in a large frypan, add the chicken, stir, when it turns white all over add the vegetables. Stir to mix in add the stock, herbs & mustard bring to the boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked 10 - 15 minutes.

Add the milk/ cream stir, then to thicken by adding half of the flour/butter mixture while stirring constantly if the sauce isn't thick enough add the other half. You need the sauce to be very thick but not claggy.

Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Place into you baking dish leave at least 20 - 30 minutes before putting the pastry on top.

Preheat the oven 220.c .

Cover the top of the dish with pastry, make 3 slits in the centre for air vents. Egg wash the top then sprinkle with a little freshly ground salt and black pepper on top.

Bake 25 - 30 minutes till the pastry is golden and the filling is hot.

Serve with creamy mashed potato.

A perfect meal for these cool days we are still having.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Food Bloggers Unplugged - For Fun

This is a game of tag, but doesn't involve running around and getting sweating. You just sit down and answer some questions, then just "tag" and pass it onto to your food blog.

I got the idea from Karen at Lavender and Lovage

She got the original idea from Susan at "A little bit of Heaven on a plate"

So sit back and read the questions see my answers then take the time to post your own answers on your blog.

1. What, or who inspired you to start a blog?
2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
3. Your greasiest, batter - splattered food/drink book is?
4. Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?
5. Another food bloggers table you'd like to eat at is?
6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?
7. Who taught you how to cook?
8. I'm coming to you for dinner what's your signature dish?
9. What is your guilty food pleasure?
10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?

Finally...tag 5 other food bloggers with these questions...like a hot baked potato...pass it on!

Now my answers to the questions
1 - After searching for recipes on the web I discovered all these blogs, but the one that inspired me was Not Quite Nigella by Lorraine Elliott.

2 - I don't have a particular person but I am inspired by anyone that uses fresh produce and recipes that don't have ingredients or utensils that I need to search the world for 4 people I do use there recipes often are Nigella, Ina Garten, Lidia Bastianich and good old Jamie Oliver.

3 - My most used book from when I bought it as a teenager is the Women's Weekly Chinese cook book. My next book would be the folder I have created with copies of my most used recipes, some of the plastic sleeves holding them are a bit sticky. LOL

4 - Having only travelled to two other countries USA - Anaheim, and New Zealand, I would have to say it was take away Chinese in the town of Thames on the North Island of NZ, we sat on the front veranda of our cabin and looked across the sea as we ate it.

5 - Lorraine Elliott - Not Quite Nigella.

6 - My most desired kitchen appliance well 2 actually a thermomix or an ice cream maker that doesn't need the bowl frozen for 24 hours.

7 - My Nana taught me the basics, but I am self taught I bought myself a stay sharp knife when I was 15 also my Women's Weekly Chinese cookbook and taught myself from there.

8 - My signature dish, that is a hard one because I have a few from different cuisines - if it is indian it would be my mouth watering lamb curry with pilaf rice - chinese my crispy pork with sweet and sour sauce - italian - spaghetti carbonara, with no cream in site, these just a few of my "signature" dishes.

9 - chips not hot fried ones but Smiths Crisps.

10 - I don't know if there is anything that is terrible exciting I have been trying to learn Spanish from my best friend who is from Peru, but we stop and start so it is slow going I can understand the spoken word and written but trying to format sentences is taking a bit longer. Also I am trying to create a line of hand made quilts and their patterns to sell online.

So please if you are reading this and have a food blog give this quiz a go and pass it along.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Taa Daah ! ! ! !

Well after a week were perseverance and determination won out, here is the quilt top that I have been working on for the last 15 years finished.

I have not quilted it or bound it yet, but that is a job that I can do later.

It is pretty amazing to think that I have shifted 3 houses and stared at the basket that this unfinished quilt top was sitting in and yet it just 4 days I had it finished. lol

Silly really when you think about it that it had me so worried that I couldn't finish the appliqueing.

The centre medallion.

So the next one to tackle is the crazy patchwork quilt, I will have to go and buy some material for the sashing then cut the squares to size and sew it together. This will only take me a day. See it really was silly of me to leave these quilt for so long.

A couple of the smaller blocks.

Why I had left it so long I don't know, but it is a good feeling to have 1 quilt top completed and a plan of action for the other one.

Now I can sit and design and create other quilts with a clear conscience.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preserved Lemons - A Terrific Christmas Gift

Now for those of you that love giving foodie gifts to your friends and family and want something easy to do , this idea is for you.

The amount of jars you make depends only on the amount of lemons you have, just make sure that your jars are filled to the brim so that air can't rot the lemons.

This is a hands on job, also make sure that you don't have any cuts on your fingers as you will know it when the salt gets in.

These last for ages as long as they are stored in a dark place. I store mine on the bottom shelf at the back of the pantry.

What to use these for the list is endless, all Moroccan food uses preserved lemons and when you see the price of the bought jars it will make you wonder why you hadn't made your own before. You can add them to couscous, rice, pasta, salads the list goes on and on.

You don't have to add the extra spices, you can just make them with salt only.

Preserved Lemons

As many lemons as you want to preserve for 2 500ml jars you will need about 12 lemons, you may need extra for juice – rock salt – any or none extra flavourings whole peppercorns, fresh bay leaves, whole chillies dried or fresh

Now cut the lemon into quarters BUT don’t cut all the way through to the bottom. Press into the centre of the lemon rock salt approx a heaped dessertspoon. Squash the lemon closed, and place into the jar, continue ensuring that the lemons are jammed into the jar. If using extra flavourings place them in the jar as you fill it. Cover with lemon juice, screw on a lid and place in a dark place IE the back of a cupboard. Leave for 1 month before using.

See isn’t that easy, a bit of cutting, squashing and juicing.

NOTE you may get a white mould on the top of the lemon, don’t worry this is harmless wash it of the lemons before using.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nearly 15 years in the making.

What takes 15 years to get finished. Well 2 quilts have and there still not finished yet. One is to be my Winter quilt for our bed and the other is to be my Summer quilt.

Why aren't they finished yet. Well the first one is a crazy patchwork one with a very large centre square and the surrounding 12 squares are one for each month.

I have just looked at the pattern I started this in 2001, so only 10 years working on this one.

This is the pattern for the crazy patchwork quilt.

These squares I had finished many years ago, but had never put them together so after much searching yesterday I found them in a boxed marked crazy patchwork quilt LOL

Don't you love it when you are sooooo tidy yet still need to search everywhere to find something.

The other quilt is an applique quilt that I had finished the smaller squares and nearly finished the large 34" centre square.

So I dragged that from behind my seat and cut out the last pieces the be appliqued, which I have been busy doing this week.

Why did this quilt take so long, well for a perfectionist like me I never liked the way I appliqued, but looking at DVD's recently that show how applique is done now, I can see it is now much easier.

Not that I am going to start another hand appliqued quilt anytime soon, but if I get these two quilts finished it will be like getting a large monkey off my back and will give me a clear conscience for all my future quilting projects.

When they are finished I will post photos of them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Glam up Leftovers

Now sometimes leftover food isn't that inspirational when you are looking for something tasty to eat, but never fear I will give you some ideas that may help next time you are staring hungrily into the depths of your fridge and all you can see are leftovers.

Steamed Rice - you can make a very nice fried rice with leftover rice. You can add anything to it leftover roast chicken, steamed vegies, bacon, eggs. what ever takes you fancy.

Just use the rice as a vehicle for the other ingredients.

You can also add it to a chicken and vegetable soup at the end of cooking to add some body to the soup.

Cornbeef - If you have cooked cornbeef and have some leftover make hash browns. This is also good if you have leftover potato and carrot as well.

Heat some oil in the frypan add the potato and carrot that you have cut into cubes. When crispy on the outside add the chopped up cornbeef. Drizzle with a little worcestserhire sauce and some tomato sauce to give it some flavour and moisture. Season with salt and pepper and if you have any add some chopped fresh parsley at the end.

Top with a fried egg.

Cold Roast Chicken - Now this is a very versatile ingredient. You can add it to nachos to make chicken nachos , you can make casadias with it, also add it to your fried rice.

You can even make yummy toasted sandwiches with it by buttering the outside of the bread and pan frying the sandwiches.

For a tasty sandwich filling - Finely chop the chicken add to a little mayonnaise, also add some finely chopped chives or spring onions.

Leftover steamed vegies - Use these to make a tasty pie filling. Depending on the amount of vegies you have you may need to add some steamed potatoes and/or cooked meat.

Make a tasty bechamel sauce by adding plenty of grated cheese and dijon mustard. Stir into the vegetables and meat. Place in a pie dish and top with puff pastry. Cut a couple of slits into the top to let the steam escape.

Egg wash the top of the pastry and sprinkle on some freshly ground pepper and salt or sesame seeds. Bake 200.c for 20 - 25 minutes of until the pastry is golden and the filling is hot.

I hope these ideas give you some inspiration next time you are confronted with leftovers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gluten Free Lasagna

Why am I making a gluten free lasagna, well a friend of Mr CLI's has a son that is gluten free and she was going to have a minor surgery last week so I volunteered to make something soft for her to eat.

Mr CLI suggested lasagna and his friends son jumped with joy. lol

So off to Woolworth's I went last week to look for gluten free lasagna sheets.

The only brand they had was Orgran, it wasn't till I came home and looked at the box that I realised they were mini sheets.

I searched on the internet to see what in my lasagna recipe I couldn't use, it turned out that I couldn't use flour in my bechamel sauce, so I used cornflour instead. Now beware even though it reads cornflour on the packet check the label on the back because not all cornflour's are from corn some have what they call " wheaten corn" what ever that is !

Also if you use bought pasta sauces, which I don't to use in your bolognese sauce, you must make sure that they don't have any wheat products, as you don't know what there thickener is these sauces I would be very cautious of using them.

So what was the end result like, well it was rich in tomato and was covered in a very cheesy sauce on top.

After Mr CLI dropped it off, he received a text message to say that the lasagna was yummy, so mission accomplished.

Recipe for lasagna below, substitute cornflour for plain flour you may need extra to get the bechamel to thicken.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Following Yesterday's Theme Today it's Different Ways with Vegies

After yesterdays theme of 5 ways with Fish, and as I didn't cook anything exciting yesterday I thought I might give you some ideas for vegetables.

Sometimes vegetables can be boooring ! and difficult to think of new ways to cook them, so here are my suggestions.

These ideas cover the foodie globe.

Italian Idea - Asparagus. Toss in olive oil and grated garlic. Griddle on a hot griddle pan till griddle marks appear. Squeeze over then juice of 1 lemon. Remove from pan and serve immediately. You can also do this with whole mushrooms.

Asian style beans - Top and tail fresh beans. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove from water and drain. Heat 1 -2 tbsps peanut oil in a wok or frypan till hot add the beans and 2 -3 peeled and flattened cloves of garlic.

Stir fry for 1 - 2 minutes or until the beans start to brown, add 1 tbsp oyster sauce, stir to coat. Remove from wok and serve.

Italian Grilled Vegetables - Thickly slice - about 1 cm - capsicum, zucchini, red onion, eggplant and mushrooms. drizzle with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of chopped herbs, like oregano, parsley or rosemary and a grated clove of garlic.

Heat your griddle pan or BBQ till hot add the vegetables cook till grill marks appear on both sides and the vegetables are tender.

If some of the vegetables cook before the others remove to a serving platter.

When the vegies are cooked and on the platter drizzle with a little more oil and the juice of a lemon.

These vegetables are good even at room temperature.

Indonesia - Gado Gado.

Arrange on a large platter
- steamed 1 cm slices of potato, hard boil eggs, peeled and sliced into 1/4's, strips of capsicum red or yellow, fresh beans topped and tailed, snow peas, string removed, slices of cucumber

To serve make a satay/peanut sauce

I hope this has given you some ideas next time you are faced with a fridge full of vegies and no ideas how to cook them.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

5 Ways with Fish

No exciting cooking happening last night, it was grocery shopping night. By the time I get home cooking anything involved is the last thing on my mind.

So I thought today I would give you 5 ideas on cooking fish.

Idea 1 - If you have a whole fish preheat you oven to 220.c. Place a double thickness of tin foil long enough and wide enough to wrap around the fish. Place a bed of fresh herbs and slices of lemon or limes, julienne of ginger and thin slices of garlic. Place the fish on top, fill the cavity with more herbs. The lay another herb bed as below on top of the fish. Drizzle with about 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp oil and the juice of 1 lemon or lime.

Fold the foil securely around the fish and bake for 2o minutes. Carefully remove and unwrap using a sharp knife cut into the thickest part of the fish to the bone to check if cooked through. If not cook re wrap and return to oven for another 10 minutes.

When the fish is cooked either place the whole fish on a platter of remove the flesh, make sure that you don't loose the juice as they area a perfect sauce for the fish.

If you serve the fish on rice pour over some of the sauce.

Idea 2 - Using fish fillets rub both sides with a cajun spice mix. Heat about 3 tbsps of oil in a large frypan, add the fillets skin side down leave until the fish is crispy and white around the edges, turn over and cook another 3 -5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

Idea 3 - Make a light tempura batter using 1/2 cornflour and 1/2 plain flour add enough cold water to make a thin batter. You want it to almost run off the fish.

Cut the fish into goujons. Heat at least 4 cm of oil til hot but not smoking. Dip the fish into the batter, drain of excess and carefully place the fish into the hot oil. Cook until golden on all sides. Remove with a metal slotted spoon or spider and drain on paper towel.

Serve with homemade chips and tartare sauce.

Idea 4 - Place a piece of baking paper on a oven tray, preheat the oven 200.c. Cut potatoes and tomatoes into thin slices.

For each fish fillet mix together 2 tbsps dry breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs of your choice, 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tsps lemon juice.

Layer on the tray potatoes, tomatoes, potatoes, fish fillets then press the coating on top.

Cover with foil bake 25 - 30 minutes or until the potatoes have cooked. If you want the coating to be browned and crusty leave the foil of for the last 5 minutes.

Serve with a garden salad.

Idea 5 - Fish Tacos.

Heat some flour tortillas, thinly slice some lettuce. Make a salsa with chilli, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, 1 tsp brown sugar, a squeeze of lime juice and about 2 tsps oil.

Cook your fish fillets anyway you want.

On the tortillas lay some lettuce, then salsa then the fish fillets roll up, if it isn't to fat, you may need to fold in half and eat.

I hope this has given you some ideas next time you think about cooking fish.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy First Anniversary to Me

A bit belated, but after posting yesterday on my new look blog, I wondered when was my first ever blog was, so I checked it out this morning. My first ever blog was on 27th October 2010.

So today is my belated 1st Anniversary celebration of blogging for 1 year.

Looking back over the previous years blogs, I see that I have become more consistent with my blogs. Yes I still only blog Monday - Friday, but I am going to try going into my second year to blog on the weekend. It;s a bit like a New Years resolution.

So what were some of my blogs from the previous year -

- For our 25th Wedding Anniversary, I confronted my cake nemesis and won, even though I used the wrong size tins.

- I told you about my first quilt I finished using free motion quilting. Which I am proud to say has a new owner in Western Australia.

- I told you about 2 of my 4 legged granddaughters, that Miss Le Coiffure has.

- I gave you my most favourite recipe for chicken - Satay Chicken

Along the way I have entered 6 Daring Kitchen Challenges.

I have had 2 articles published on the Daring Kitchen site, these are what I am most proudest of.

So what is in store for the coming blogging year, well one of my ideas is to try and use some of the ingredients languishing in my pantry. Why are they languishing and not being used, because I have bought them while on holidays or when I have been in Melbourne and am afraid once they are use up I won't be able to replace them

But if nothing a year of blogging has taught me that most ingredients can be found on the Internet. So I should just use them, then I will have room in my overloaded pantry for more interesting ingredients.

So Happy Birthday to me and talk to you tomorrow.