A tiny slice of my life

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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Begonia City Motor Inn - Ballarat

Well my husband and I have been away for a short break, he thought he needed a break while painting the kitchen, as he has been working up to it for 2 years I can't understand the need. But never mind we went away for 2 nights.

On the second night we stayed in Ballarat at the Begonia City Motor Inn, we had never stayed there before and as it was on the road out of town, which would make it easier for me to navigate my motorbike home we selected it.

Well I can't speak highly enough of Michael who booked us in or the standard of the room. We had a deal which included breakfast, we selected the cooked breakfast, both of us choosing the bacon and eggs.

At the appointed time for breakfast we received a phone call to say that breakfast was on its way. We got 2 beautifully poached eggs and four rashers of middle bacon on 2 slices of toast. I valiantly ate it all. Thank goodness I was riding, not travelling in the car, as I would have been asleep not long after leaving.

So if you need somewhere to stay in Ballarat consider the Begonia City Motor Inn.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rubens Restaurant - Hepburn

On our trip to Daylesford, on the Sunday we took our daughter to Rubens restaurant in Hepburn. We enjoyed it so much that we went back on the Tuesday evening for dinner.

I had the seafood spaghetti, it was beautiful a bit light in the spaghetti department, but the seafood was beautiful the scallops were succulent and sweet. On my second visit I had the capricossa pizza. My husband had this on both visits.

As you can see by the photos the pizza is quite big, with a thin base which was crisp. We also had a greek salad on both visits. This was nice but a little light on contents, plenty of mixed lettuce leaves (goats thistles my husband calls them).

On the Sunday my sister had the pasta carbonara, which was very large serve not short in the pasta department. My mother had the flathead fillets with chips and salad. She got 3 lightly battered fillets with a generous portion of chips. The fish was very white and fresh. she thoroughly enjoyed it.

On the Sunday I had the homemade merinque, which was actually a small pavlova, which indeed was homemade. This was served with ice cream and mixed berry coulis. The tartness of the coulis goes well with the sweetness of the pavlova.

So if you are in the Daylesford area try to visit Rubens. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Very Easy Chicken Enchiladas (enchiladas de pollo)

Well I am back online after yesterday - the day from hell - when a fuse kept blowing taking out power, so no laptop.

I make these enchiladas all the time, the recipe is very versatile. I will give variations in the recipe, as they are very filling I can get 4 enchiladas from 1 large chicken breast and 8 enchiladas from 2 chicken breasts. If you don't want the dish to be hot leave out chilli powder/tabasco sauce, and if people would like some warmth they can drizzle theirs with either green or red tabasco sauce. I will quote amounts for 8 enchiladas.

Chicken Enchiladas
2 large chicken breasts - cubed, 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour, 1/2 cup milk ( I have made this with soy milk, you can also use low fat), 1/2 cup chicken stock (I use boiling water & stock powder), 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 teaspoon each ground coriander and cumin, 1 large/2 small cloves garlic grated, 1/2 tsp chilli powder or a few drops tabasco sauce, 8 flour tortillas

Tomato Sauce
1 cup tomato passatta, 1 teaspoon each ground coriander and cumin, few drops tabasco - if you want the sauce hot.

Mix together

Grated cheese. To serve greek yoghurt or sour cream.

Chicken filling
Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a frypan, add chicken cook until white, you can brown slightly if you wish. Make room in centre of frypan, add tomato paste, cook for 1 minute. Stir into chicken, add garlic, stir. Sprinkle over the flour, stir 1 minute. Add milk and stock, stir quickly to prevent lumps. Add spices. Stir until sauce has thickened. You want a bit of sauce as this it what makes the enchiladas moist, if the sauce thickens to much add a bit more boiling water. Remove from the heat.

Place tortillas on a flat surface, divide mixture evenly in the centre of each tortilla. Roll up into a sausage shape. I squeeze/push the filling to fill the length of the enchilada as I roll it.

Place half the sauce in base of your baking dish spread it around. Place the enchiladas in the dish. Spread the remainder of the sauce on top. Top with as much grated cheese as you want to use.

Bake in 200.c fan forced oven 15-20 minutes, if cooking straight after making the sauce, as you only need to heat through and melt cheese. If you have made it earlier it will take about 25 - 30 minutes.

I serve it with a salad and a dollop of greek yoghurt, I find sour cream to rich, but if you like it use it and Enjoy !

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Well we have just recently been to Daylesford, we took out daughter there for her birthday. Because our eldest daughter doesn't live at home anymore we needed to take out elderly Jack Russell - Jessie with us.

So the search was on, firstly in Adelaide, but all the dog lovers who take their pets had booked the accommodation until May !!

Finally I found a house that allowed dogs inside. It was in Hepburn, we have never stayed in Hepburn before, it was called Abelia Cottage.

We had a lovely time, I took my daughter to Endota Spa so the 2 of us could have a aromatherapy soak, then she had a billabong foot spa. Once my husband picked her up, I had an hour of please with organic endota facial, which included a billabong foot spa. Mmmmm pure heaven.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Anzac biscuits and chocolate slice

My husband is good at surprises, not necessarily good ones, but surprises never the less.

His latest was delivered 2 days ago, on the day we returned from a short holiday. It started like this Husband " Do you have many slice recipes that are easy to make" My reply "yes, what do you want it for ?" Husband "Well I am off to a meeting on Friday night, do you think you can make a slice for me to take" Me "Well I can make the chocolate, coconut slice that I have made for years, will that do ? Husband "Yes , what about the anzac biscuits you make, can you make some for Saturday. "

So what was I doing at 7.45am this morning - making slice and biscuits. As it was all cooked and dishes done by 8.45am, I have decided that perhaps this is a good time to bake instead at the end of the day, when I am tired.

The Chocolate Slice Recipe - from The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits by Womens Weekly
Chocolate Fudge Bars
1 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup coconut, 1 tablespoon cocoa, 185 gm butter - melted, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 egg
1 cup icing sugar, 2 tablespoon cocoa, 30 gm butter - melted, 1 1/2 tablespoon hot water, coconut

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, add butter, vanilla and egg.Mix together. Press mixture into the base of a parchment paper lined 28cm x 18cm lamington tin. Bake 180.C for 20 minutes. Cool in tin. Ice and sprinkle with coconut. When the icing has set cut into bars.

Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a small bowl , add butter and water, mix together.

Anzac Biscuits - from Like Grandma Used to Make by Readers Digest

1 cup plain flour, 1 1/4 cup rolled oats, 2/3 cup sugar, 3/4 cup desiccated coconut, 125 gm butter, 2 tablespoon water, 2 tablespoons golden syrup or honey, 1 teaspoon bi-carb soda

Preheat oven 150.c, line trays with baking paper. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add sugar, rolled oats and coconut. Combine butter, golden syrup/honey and water in small saucepan or microwave proof bowl, melt butter over stovetop or in microwave. Working quickly add bi-carb to butter mixture stir into the dry ingredients. Place desertspoonfuls onto trays flattening a little allow room for spreading. Bake 7-8 minutes then turn trays and bake further 5 minutes. Cool on trays, as they cool the biscuits will harden.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Moroccan meatballs

What to do when you are trying to use up everything in your freezer so it can be defrosted, and all you can find is pork mince.

Go straight to your Kylie Kwong cookbook from her first TV series - Heart and Soul and make moroccan meatballs. As we don't each large amounts of meat by itself , I also made mash potatoes with our pink pototoes we grew - called ruby red. They make the most creamy mash.

For the sauce I don't have dried blueberries, preserved cherries or fresh dates. I just used cranberries and 10 -12 dried dates sliced in half.

There was enough meatballs leftover for another meal, they heat very well in the microwave.

Moroccan-style Meatballs

2 large red capsicums Olive oil

4 garlic cloves 4 tbsp grated ginger

1 tbsp salt 250g pork mince

250g lean beef mince 2 eggs

Oil for frying 2 red onions

2 tbsp turmeric 1 tbsp preserved lemon rind

1/3 cup chopped coriander 1/3 cup coriander roots and stems

1/3 cup mint 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley

2 tbsp honey 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp ground cumin 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch black pepper

Berry Sauce

¼ cup dried blueberries

¼ cup dried cranberries

¾ cup preserved cherries

¼ cup olive oil

4 fresh dates

5 red onions

Salt and pepper

6 bay leaves

To serve - Greek yogurt

Moroccan-style Meatballs

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place capsicums in baking tray and drizzle with oil. Roast for 35 mins or until skin has blistered.

Transfer them to a plate to cool and reserve any liquid.Once cooled, remove the skin, cut in half, remove seeds and membranes and chop roughly.

Pound ginger, garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle until you have a fine paste.Combine pork and beef, capsicum, garlic and ginger paste, eggs and all remaining ingredients.Combine well with hands and shape into small balls, then toss in flour till lightly coated.

Heat oil in large pan and lightly brown and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.

Berry Sauce

Soak dried berries in ¾ cup boiling water for 20 mins, drain and reserve the stock. Heat pan and add chopped onions. Cook until tender.Add dates, bay leaves, berries and soaking water with the reserved capsicum juice.Simmer, uncovered, for 5 mins.

Add cherries and cook for 2 mins.

Place meatballs on plates pour over sauce. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt . Enjoy !

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lemon chicken and stirfry vegetables

Well hello , what a chilly day here for the first day of Autumn the weather has really turned, it is wet, cold and windy.

Tea last night for a change I altered the sauce I use for stirfry vegies. Before my husband had even tasted any he said "this smells great, I don't know what you have done but it smells really good" Thanks.

Steamed Rice - I cooked 2 cups of jasmine rice in my rice cooker.

Lemon Chicken
2 chicken fillets 1 egg 1 dessertspoon of cornflour 1 tablespoon light soy
for coating the chicken 1/4 of each cornflour and plain flour
peanut or vegetable oil for frying

Slice the chicken fillets into small thin slices, mix in a bowl with soy, egg and cornflour. Leave while preparing vegetables. Can be covered and left in the fridge longer, if needed.

To cook heat 1-2 cms of oil in the base of a wok. Add the extra flour and cornflour to the chicken mix chicken using a fork, note - the chicken won't have a thick coating just a thin coating don't worry if chicken is not completely covered.

Cook chicken on both sides in batches, it should only take 2-3 minutes if chicken has been sliced thin enough, drain on paper towel and keep warm in a oven set on a low temperature, while cooking the remainder of the chicken

Lemon sauce
In a small saucepan mix together 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons (2 stock cubes) chicken stock powder, 2 heaped teaspoons honey, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 cm cube fresh ginger grated or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. 1 dessertspoon cornflour for thickening mixed with 1 tbsp water

Mix everything, except cornflour together bring to boil, simmer 2-3 minutes check for taste. It should be equally sweet and sour, adjust with juice, sugar and/or honey as needed. Add enough cornflour to thicken sauce to your liking.

Stirfry vegetables
A selection thinly sliced vegetables
I used 2 carrots halved lengthwise and cut thinly on the angle, 1 stick of celery sliced thinly on the angle, 1/2 a red capsicum sliced on the angle, 1 small piece of broccoli cut into small florets and some of the stalk sliced thinly, 1/4 red onion sliced into triangles and a handful of snow peas with stalk removed
Sauce - 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon light soy, 2 tablespoons shaoxing wine, 1 tsp chinese black vinegar (you can replace it with malt vinegar)
1 dessertspoon cornflour for thickening of the sauce mixed with 1 tbsp water

Heat 2 tbsps vegie/peanut oil in base of wok add onion stirfry 30 seconds add all other vegetables except snowpeas. Stirfry 2 mins add 1/2 cup water and oyster sauce stir, this will steam the vegetables leave 2-3 minutes and remaining sauce ingredients and snowpeas, Stirfry 1 minute. Add cornflour stir, sauce should thicken immediately, you don't want a thick gluggy sauce just thick enough to coat the vegetables and not thin and runny.

Serve in a bowl with the rice in another bowl. I serve the chicken and sauce seperately so as not to make the chicken soggy. Enjoy !